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Archives for 12/30/2007 - 01/05/2008

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Words vs. Change, Angry vs. Calm

posted by on January 5 at 8:58 PM

Watch these two clips from tonight’s debate. I’m not saying any more about them until my feature is done, but these two clips, in which Clinton makes the same, very interesting argument in two different ways—well, they say it all.

Via Ben Smith.

LaRouche Bags

posted by on January 5 at 8:20 PM


Not all politically-active young people are working for Obama. Local LaRouchies were outside of Nordstrom on Pine today singing, um, impeachment carols, I guess. Which chromosome do you have to be missing to dedicate your life to Lyndon LaRouche?

Poor Hillary

posted by on January 5 at 7:54 PM

Two tough moments, in my opinion, for her during tonight’s debate. One was her shrill attack on Obama, calling him a “flip-flopper.” Why would she want to associate herself with Bush rhetoric?

The second was her being questioned about Obama being inherently more likeable. Obama’s comment, “she’s likeable enough,” was a low blow as well.

Still, the entire Democratic party seems much more serious and ready to lead than the Republicans. Go us!

Your thoughts?

Don’t forget to listen to Eli on 710AM, at 8pm tonight.

OK, Now Hillary’s Pissing Me Off

posted by on January 5 at 6:39 PM

It’s one thing to direct reporters to a well-reported story about Obama’s “present” votes in the Illinois state senate. It’s another thing to send voters a histrionic mailer that blatantly distorts the facts.

The mailer:



Text: “Hillary Clinton has fought efforts by far-right Republicans to limit or overturn Roe v. Wade. An original co-sponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act—federal legislation that would guarantee the right to choose for every American woman. Secured FDA decision on the over-the-counter sale of Plan B emergency contraception.”

Yes, good job, HRC, especially on the emergency contraception pressure (kudos to our very own Patty Murray, too). That was awesome. Not quite so awesome: turning on your pro-choice allies.

Text: “Barack Obama. Unwilling to take a stand on choice. Seven times he had the opportunity to stand up against Republican anti-choice legislation in the Illinois State Senate. Seven times he voted ‘present’—not ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ but ‘present.’ Being there is not enough to protect choice.”

As the New York Times reports, these present votes were part of a strategy devised by Planned Parenthood to protest Republican pressure tactics on Ds representing conservative districts:

In at least 45 instances, Mr. Obama voted [“present”] with large numbers of fellow Democrats as part of the tactical skirmishing with Republicans over the budget.

Seven other times, he voted that way as part of a broad strategy devised by abortion rights advocates to counter anti-abortion bills.

Pam Sutherland, president of Illinois Planned Parenthood Council, said Mr. Obama was one of the senators with a strong stand for abortion rights whom the organization approached about using the strategy. Ms. Sutherland said the Republicans were trying to force Democrats from conservative districts to register politically controversial no votes.

Ms. Sutherland said Mr. Obama had initially resisted the strategy because he wanted to vote against the anti-abortion measures.

“He said, ‘I’m opposed to this,’” she recalled.

But the organization argued that a present vote would be difficult for Republicans to use in campaign literature against Democrats from moderate and conservative districts who favored abortion rights.

Lisa Madigan, the Illinois attorney general who was in the Illinois Senate with Mr. Obama from 1998 through 2002, said she and Mr. Obama voted present on the anti-abortion bills.

“It’s just plain wrong to imply that voting present reflected a lack of leadership,” Ms. Madigan said. “In fact, it was the exact opposite.”

Taking marching orders from Planned Parenthood now counts as being anti-choice? Hillary, please find another issue on which to distinguish yourself from the new frontrunner. (I hear the ladies are against nuclear power.) Obama has a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America. Lay off it.

PS: Remember “sad, even tragic”? Not so long ago, really.

Well That Was Exciting

posted by on January 5 at 4:48 PM

Despite flirting with a collapse in the fourth quarter (Hasselbeck? Two INTs in four passing attempts? Really?), the Seahawks beat Washington 35-14. The Hawks D was brutal.

Lord Favre and the Packers are next, so expect heavy rotation of Hasselbeck’s infamous “we’re gonna score!” clip for the next 7 days.

Go Hawks!

Seahawks Open Thread

posted by on January 5 at 4:35 PM


Since no one else who cares seems to be around a computer, and it’s driving me nuts, let’s talk football. A little late, I know.

YES!!! Touchdown Trufant! Whew. We were freaking out over here for a little while there.

Anyway, discuss.

Good to Know

posted by on January 5 at 4:09 PM

Apparently you can get away with shoving Barack Obama’s campaign staffers—with the candidate himself standing nearby, and packs of Secret Service agents everywhere. You can shove Obama staffers all you want and no one’s going to arrest you or tase you or shoot you dead on the spot. So long as you’re Bill O’Reilly.

LiveBlogging the New Hampshire Debates

posted by on January 5 at 3:30 PM

I’m here at the bar of the Hotel Fort Des Moines in Iowa, where I’ll be doing what I’m calling a “lazy live-blogging” of tonight’s Democratic and Republican debates on ABC. I’m fried from five days on the trail and I have a feature to start writing, but first I need to watch this bit of political theater—and so do you, if you’re a political junkie.

You should know the drill by now: Send me comments through the liveblogging widget, and if they’re worthy I’ll drop them into the liveblog in progress. I need your comments now more than ever, Slog readers! The trail has turned my mind to mush.

UPDATE: Well, that was a big mess. Something’s bad with either the liveblogging app or my internet connection. Sorry. Liveblog over.

Stranger News Hour on 710 KIRO

posted by on January 5 at 3:18 PM

Tune it tonight at 8pm for a special installment of the Stranger News Hour on KIRO 710am.

Eli will talk with KIRO’s David Goldstein from the presidential campaign trail.

An Open Letter to the Seattle Art Museum

posted by on January 5 at 1:37 PM

And cc’ed to The Stranger (and the Seattle Times, the PI, King 5, and Komo 4):

To whom it may concern,

My family and I live in Belltown, very near the new Olympic Sculpture Park. I am writing because I am very concerned about the way the security staff treats visitors to the park.

When the park first opened my family and I had no trouble at all and my two-and-a-half year old son fell in love with his trips to “see the art.” And, even though he is very young, he understands when we tell him “no touching.”

We live so close to the park that we thought it would be a park, where we could play and run and engage “park”activities.

Instead we are approached when we are merely minding our own business, by security guards, clad in very police-like uniforms, and reminded not to touch what we are not touching and not to do what we are not doing.

On three different occasions, my son has been told not to touch the art, when he was not touching the art.

I could understand this heavy-handed security guard behavior in a museum or a store or an airport, but not at a park.

Most of us in America have a strong cultural reference to what a park is and what we can do there. The security guards behavior either needs to change, or the word park should be removed from the name of the Olympic Sculpture “Museum?”

My son is now scared to go in the park, he tells me hears fears the security guards and doesn’t want to go there any more.

This is sad for him to be afraid of uniformed men so early in life, especially when that fear was generated in a place where most of us feel free to play.

The Museum needs to publicly announce it’s mistakes and correct them, or I will persist in making the very borderline behavior of the security staff public.

Paco Jones

The Afternoon News*

posted by on January 5 at 1:26 PM

*Non-unpaid intern version

In New Hampshire: Candidates race toward Tuesday finish.

In Iraq: Iraqi soldier “killed US troops.”

In Kenya: President offers unity government.

In really, really bad ideas: McCain/Lieberman?

Surging: Obama, according to at least one poll.

Going Negative: Hillary, according to Bill.

Uh-Oh: Economy maybe fucked.

Released!: Britney’s at large.

Along the West Coast: It’s raining, and people lack power.

In Sports: There’s some sort of game going on.

Tonight’s Democratic Debate

posted by on January 5 at 1:03 PM

The stakes couldn’t be higher. If Obama wins the debate, and goes on to win the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, the nomination is most likely his. Is there anything Clinton can do to push back against the Obama phenomenon? Can Edwards do anything to break through? The Democratic debate starts at 5:30 p.m. PST on ABC (there’s a Republican debate, too, and it starts at 4 p.m PST).

I’ll definitely do some live-blogging of the Democrats, and probably of the Republicans as well, from my hotel bar here in Des Moines. See you then.

The Boyfriend Says…

posted by on January 5 at 11:48 AM

…Obama supporters are going to hurt their candidate if they run around New Hampshire booing Hillary Clinton. Aggressive, young, obnoxious supporters—they did real damage to Dean in ‘04, and they could hurt Obama in ‘08.

Was Washington State Ahead of the Obama Curve?

posted by on January 5 at 11:43 AM

Back when polls showed Hillary Clinton with a comfortable lead—back when she was the “presumptive nominee”—Barack Obama was raising three times as much money in Washington state as Clinton. Eli Sanders wrote this column about the first signs of an Obama’s surge in Washington state:

“There’s something going on in Washington,” says Peter Masundire, 47, a health-care consultant from South Seattle who acts as communications coordinator for Washington for Obama, an organization that operates independent of Obama’s official campaign….

King County Executive Ron Sims, who recently endorsed Clinton and signed on as her campaign cochair for this state, wouldn’t bite on the question of why Obama’s been doing so well in Washington. Instead, Sims simply repeated one pro-Clinton talking point: “Any poll that’s been done shows that she’s ahead, even here.” I asked: What about Obama’s money momentum in Washington? Sims: “The fact is, Senator Clinton leads in the polls in this state.” I asked: What about Obama’s strong grassroots support here? Sims: “Senator Clinton is the poll leader here.”

Knowing that there have been few polls of Washington State voters on the Democratic primary slate, I asked Sims what “polls” he was referring to. He had only one: a SurveyUSA poll from May showing Clinton at 38 percent, Obama at 30 percent, and Edwards at 19 percent.

A four-month-old poll is hardly a definitive rebuttal to the sense that Obama has become Washington’s man. And in any case, Masundire told me that he believes any poll focused on likely Democratic primary voters (that is, people who have voted in Democratic primaries in the past) is going to miss a lot of Obama support. Among the Obama enthusiasts, here and around the country, who Masundire believes are going uncounted: young new voters, people who only have cell phones (and thus aren’t on pollsters’ call lists), and people who haven’t voted in recent elections but will vote next year because of Obama.

Speaking of the D.C. prognosticators and their designation of Clinton as the front-runner, Masundire told me: “I think when the primaries come, they are really going to be surprised.”

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on January 5 at 11:16 AM

From Flickr pool contributor broianbro.


Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 5 at 11:00 AM


The Lashes at Vera Project

The Lashes haven’t performed since their “comeback show” at last summer’s Bumbershoot. Months prior, guitarist Eric Howk had an accident and was paralyzed from the waist down. The band’s future was anyone’s guess, but the Lashes surprised all when they (including Howk) took the stage last August with more enthusiasm than ever. They’ve got a new record called Thank You (Side A), a collection of strong power-pop tunes they’ll be celebrating tonight. (Vera Project, Seattle Center, 956-8372. 7:30 pm, $10, all ages.)


Obama Up 10 Points in New Hampshire…

posted by on January 5 at 10:56 AM

…according to latest polls. So things don’t look so good for Hillary. The Republican candidates debate tonight on ABC at 4 PM PST, the Dem candidates debate at 5:30 PM PST. And according to The Note, all the candidates, R and D, will share the stage for a few terrifyingly awkward moments during the transition from the R debate to the D debate. I’m tuning in for that.

M. Coy Books on Pine to Close

posted by on January 5 at 10:14 AM

It’s in the PI.

M. Coy Books & Espresso will shut its doors within the next month after 18 years on Pine Street, just a block from Pike Place Market.

Partners Michael Coy and Michael Brasky have fought the good indie fight at a difficult location, but a lost lease under their building’s new ownership forced them to recognize that their store’s struggles did not justify relocation.

A “Phony” Psychic

posted by on January 5 at 10:05 AM

Does the Seattle Times really need to qualify the word “psychic” with the word “phony”? Not all phonies are psychics, of course, but certainly all psychics are phonies.

Evon and Lee persuaded the victim, a recent immigrant from China, that she could free her boyfriend from the curse and be reunited with him by allowing them to pray over all the cash she could get her hands on, prosecutors said.

Despite her “doubts,” the victim withdrew more than $200,000 cash from her savings account and her parents’ retirement account and entrusted it to the two.

When the victim returned for an appointment with Evon and Lee two days later, she found the psychics and the money gone.

And if the Seattle Times is going to qualify “psychic” with “phony,” shouldn’t they qualify “victim” with “idiot”?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Why Erica Is (Mostly) Wrong on Barack Obama

posted by on January 4 at 5:28 PM

My reasons for preferring Obama to Clinton and Edwards are, I’ve admitted, not exclusively related to policy. I think Edwards comes off as a phony and I hate the idea that the first woman to have a real shot at the presidency is running on the achievements of her husband; meanwhile, Obama is thoughtful and persuasive, and his background suggests his personal politics are to the left of his primary D rivals. At the same time, he appeals to Rs and independents and may yet stave off a Bloomberg run (which I think hurts Ds). He’d make kickass nominations to the Supreme Court.

But I’m happy to talk about ECB’s policy contentions:

1. Obama’s environmental record speaks for itself. Obama received a rating of 96 from the League of Conservation Voters. Clinton is at a respectable 90, but Edwards received a ridiculous 63. Edwards is a Johnny-come-lately on environmental issues. I’m glad he’s led the field on energy, but when it comes down to it, I don’t trust him. Obama’s past support for corn-based ethanol and “clean” coal is troubling, I agree, but he’s from a Midwestern state and he was campaigning in Iowa—there’s still room for him to move on ethanol and he’s already yielded to environmentalist pressure on coal. On the big issues, the field is more or less level: Edwards wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050—so do Obama and Clinton. Each of the three candidates supports an auction-based cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions; Obama and Clinton would auction off 100% of the credits, while Edwards reserves the latitude to give some away. Even Edwards extols “clean” coal (“Edwards will invest $1 billion a year to research ways to burn coal cleanly and recycle its carbon underground permanently”) and corn-based ethanol (“Produce 65 Billion Gallons of Ethanol a Year by 2025: However, although millions of ethanol-ready cars are on the roads, only about 600 of the 169,000 gas stations have pumps for E85, a blend of ethanol and gasoline. Edwards will require oil companies to install ethanol pumps at 25 percent of their gas stations and require all new cars sold after 2010 to be “flex fuel” cars running on either gasoline or biofuel”). The enviro suspicion of Obama comes mainly from the fact that he was last to release his energy plan and he supports nuclear energy, with safety/storage caveats. The candidates really aren’t all that different, once you control for the states they represented in the Senate.

2. Politically, he’s pragmatic. It’s unfortunate that Obama didn’t directly apologize for the McClurkin incident, just like it’s too bad that Clinton didn’t admit she was wrong on the war. Which is a bigger lapse in judgment? The New York Times has been great on reviewing Obama’s canny state senate career: Read this piece on race politics and this one on those much maligned ‘present’ votes. In Illinois, Obama was known as a liberal who worked with Republicans to get things done. I’m a partisan D, but I have no problem with electing someone with that kind of record. Better that, in fact, than a centrist who refuses to work with Republicans as a matter of principle.

3. Paul Krugman is a rabid Obama hater. Obama was not fanning the flames by calling Social Security a crisis; he was suggesting some changes need to be made—and they’re progressive changes! If you can raise the ceiling on Social Security taxes by talking about solvency, why wouldn’t you do that? Let’s all chill out a little.

4. Here I actually disagree with ECB. None of the plans proposed by the major Dem candidates could supply universal health care. Universal health care will happen when we suck it up and agree that we’re willing to pay for a single-payer system through a progressive tax. Not before. All of the D plans will increase the number of Americans who have health insurance. The question is: Do you want to alienate prospective D voters by forcing them to pay money out of their own pockets to a third-party insurer? Until the candidates nail down a price for premiums and show me the subsidies for people who can’t afford it, I will never support a mandate. It’s political suicide. It won’t pass Congress, and it will hurt the Democratic party.

I’d like to get around to my policy reasons for supporting Obama this weekend. For now, have at it.

Let’s Help Mitt Win New Hampshire!

posted by on January 4 at 5:27 PM

I don’t know how I got on Mitt Romney’s mailing list, but the emails keep coming. This just in:

Please join your fellow Team Mitt members from across the nation for a special Call at Home day, this Monday, January 7th, from 2 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. EST. Just email “count me in” to to participate in this nationwide rally of support and volunteerism for Governor Romney. We will be reminding Romney supporters to turn out for the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, January 8.

Who: You and your fellow Team Mitt members. Goal: 5,000 callers.

What: New Hampshire Get-out-the-Vote Day

When: Monday, January 7, from 2pm – 8:30pm EST

Where: From the comfort of your home

Why: Send Governor Romney to Victory in New Hampshire and on his way to the White House!

How: By emailing “count me in” to You will then receive a USER NAME and PASSWORD and simple instructions.
Please ask your friends and family to make calls from home too. For those of you who participated in this high tech program in the past, you know how easy it is—spread the word!

Okay, okay—I’m spreading the word, Mitt!

If you would like a list of the home phone numbers of Romney supporters in New Hampshire—and, really, who wouldn’t?—simply email “count me in” to

Now Mitt Romney trusts that you won’t call his supporters in the middle of the night, or remind them that Mormons wear funny underpants and believe that Satan and Jesus are brothers and used to hate black people like that Obama dude and his wife and kids, or that Romney spent $17 million of his own money trying to buy Iowa and lost to that rube Huckabee and now Romney thinks he can buy New Hampshire. You shouldn’t do or say any of that. Governor Romney is trusting you with a valuable campaign asset—the home phone numbers of his supporters in New Hampshire—and you shouldn’t abuse the trust of a man that only wants to be president so he can double the size of Gitmo, continue to torture people, ban abortion, prevent your gay friends from marrying or adopting, etc.


Go Team Mitt!

Why I Caucused for Barack Obama

posted by on January 4 at 5:15 PM

Stranger Iowa caucus correspondent (aka Iowa caucus voter and former Stranger news intern) Sarah Mirk has an article up on our home page about her caucus day decision to leave Edwards’ progressive specifics behind for Obama’s candidacy of hope.

A new voter registers in Iowa, so he can caucus for Obama.

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

posted by on January 4 at 5:02 PM

And in cases where the actual mother and father can’t raise a child, it’s crucial that a child have male and female role models in the home. A child needs mother figures and a father figures. Having two parents of the same sex simply isn’t in the best interests of a child. It’s just wrong. It’s unjust. And I’m sure this child—who lives in Florida, where gays and lesbians are unable to adopt—will one day understand that, if you’re going to have your skin burned off, it’s better to have your skin burned off in a traditional heterosexual household.

A Central Florida man is accused of pouring hot cooking oil on a 17-month-old and using a hair dryer to burn his skin off because the toddler apparently would not stop crying and whining. Police said Darlanne Toussaint was charged with felony attempted murder on suspicion he abused his girlfriend’s son in an Apopka apartment building Thursday.

The mother of the child, Marlita S. Stokes, 23, was arrested on Friday and faces charges of child neglect and providing false information to police.

According to a charging affidavit, Toussaint poured the hot cooking oil on the boy, shook him hard for 10 minutes and then burned him with a blow dryer to the point that his skin fell off, Local 6 reported.

Via Pam’s House Blend, where RadicalRuss says…

Thank goodness some states, like Florida, don’t let gay couples adopt and others are considering or have considered bans on gay adoption. Why, who knows what awful parents gay people would be, what with their awful gayness. The poor kid might get gay cooties or something.

Better we just let the straights in Florida keep up their fine examples of parenting.

What’s that, Mitt “Dead Man Running” Romney?

“I believe that the development of children is enhanced by having a male and a female as part of their upbringing in their home. Even when there’s a divorce, you still have a mom and a dad. And even where one member of the partnership may pass away, the memory and the characteristics of that gender, of that partner influence the development of a child.”

So take comfort, little 17-month-old burn victim in Florida. Like Mitt says, even if one member of the opposite-sex partnership raising you is sent away for life, you’ll always have those memories to cherish.

Clone Burger

posted by on January 4 at 4:10 PM

Last night, I was told that the controversy over stem cell research is over.

The person who told me this, knows me well enough to understand that this was a low blow. (For, it’s true, and it stings.)

However, there is an exciting development in the world of cloning today that keeps the blessed technology relevant: The FDA is set to approve cloned livestock.

And, while the implications for extending the science to humans isn’t clear, at least they’re making similes to the human experience. The conversation begins anew!

The great problem of selling meat in restaurants is that, as in dating, there is no way to guarantee that you’ll get someone (or someone’s aged carcass) that you really like. So an ideal solution is to find one that you know is great and clone it.

Woodland Park Skatepark Is Coming Along Nicely

posted by on January 4 at 3:47 PM

Skaters rejoice! The Woodland Park Skatepark is well on its way to completion.


The project could be finished as early as the end of the month, or as late as March if something goes wrong. Keep your fingers crossed.


The Seattle Parks Department plans to have a big ol’ fancy party for the skatepark’s grand opening. No word on whether Mayor Nickels will be in attendance to show off his wicked kick-flip skillz.


Photos by Matthew Lee Johnston via

Letter from a Reader

posted by on January 4 at 3:21 PM

Hi Stranger,

I’m writing to thank you, and to show you how a pile of your old newspapers inspired me to take better care of the environment. Architects and designers here in Seattle, my roommate and I couldn’t help but notice a gallery call for “chairs made of recycled materials.” Admittedly, we enjoy letting Strangers pile up beside the couch as much as we enjoy reading them, so we put two and two together and the idea matured as a reminder of an important problem we all face today—the current state of our environment.

“Making a chair out of Stranger issues” quickly became “giving garbage new life.” Waste can equal food. It must, actually. So, I thought I would share our progress with you. There are some videos on our blog showing how we’re using your newspapers and some old cardboard. The gallery opens February 15th, and there will be a Stranger scrap chair in your honor.

Thank you for writing about local environmental issues.


Here’s a mock-up.


This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on January 4 at 3:16 PM

Prospects for the Golden Globes next weekend are looking dismal, but at least we have another thrilling political debate!

New in theaters this week:

There Will Be Blood

Bradley Steinbacher’s review of this week’s most exciting release, There Will Be Blood, appears in On Screen: “Tempering his usual fireworks, Paul Thomas Anderson has crafted a true American epic.” Also in On Screen: Charles Mudede’s preview of Northwest Film Forum’s series on the early work of Béla Tarr, which starts next Tuesday (“The most important thing that Tarr’s early movies have contributed to cinema is the art of the long conversation”), Lindy West on The Orphanage (“What exactly is a baby ghost going to DO to me after it crawls into my bed at night and I think it’s my handsome-ish husband? Cuddle me TO DEATH?”), and me on He Was a Quiet Man (it’s “efficiently directed, and the low-budget CGI—mostly devoted to animating Bob’s chatty pet fish—is admirably unobtrusive. But the script is a travesty”).

Limited Runs this week include a second week of Diva at SIFF Cinema, the locally produced experimental feature All My Love at NWFF, Blazing Saddles at Egyptian late nights, the Chinese male weepie Sunflower at Grand Illusion, and more. See Get Out for complete movie times.

Das Capital

posted by on January 4 at 2:56 PM

enjoy_capitalism.jpg Enough said.

Heard in the Future

posted by on January 4 at 1:55 PM

I can hear someone in the future saying something like this: “You know how bad Bush was? He was so bad, so hopeless, so ignorant, he made white folks vote for a black president. You can’t get no worse than that. No siree!”

The Horse Race

posted by on January 4 at 1:52 PM

“We are Seabiscuit!” — John Edwards.

“I feel like Seabiscuit!” — Mike Huckabee.

Sunset Bowl Is Closing

posted by on January 4 at 1:48 PM

After 51 years, Seattle’s best bowling alley, the Sunset Bowl, is closing. For real.

Rumors of Sunset Bowl’s demise have been floating around for years but, this time, General Manager Verl Lowry confirms this is the real deal.

“We’ve been sold,” he says. “I don’t know who the new owners are.” Lowry says the staff only found out about the sale two days ago.

King County records do not indicate who the new owner of the $3 million property might be.

Sunset Bowl will likely close by the middle of April, Lowry says.


Photo by Katkrieg via Flickr.

Why I’m Not For Obama

posted by on January 4 at 1:39 PM

First, a caveat: Obviously, like 98 percent of the Democrats I know, I’ll be thrilled to vote for any of the three frontrunners come November. But of the three, Obama excites me the least—primarily on policy grounds (‘cause I’m a wonk like that) but also on personality. Anyway, here are a few reasons Obama’s not my guy.

1) His energy plan is the least progressive and most status quo of the three. The plan, released last October, includes every pale-green, fake-environmentalist scheme you can imagine: Expanded nuclear, doubling or tripling of corn production for ethanol, a carbon sequestration scheme that relies on technologies that don’t yet exist, and so-called “clean coal,” which isn’t really clean at all. Yes, his plan does pay lip service to greener technologies like cellulosic ethanol and plug-in hybrids; and yes, he would implement a fully auctioned cap-and-trade system whose proceeds would pay for investments in clean energy development. But on the whole, Obama’s done little more than pay lip service to clean energy and environmental reforms—speaking out against mining reforms, for example, that would have eliminated a notorious mining law that allows companies to mine public lands for free. He also attacked Clinton for being anti-ethanol.

2) Politically, he’s an appeaser. He issued a convoluted response when news broke that he was touring with Donnie McClurkin, an “ex-gay” homophobe, then allowed McClurkin to use his campaign as a platform to spread his homophobic message to thousands of African-Americans. He’s attempted to reach out to Republicans, both by triangulating on several key Republican issues and by stating directly that he would include Republicans in his administration. In 2005, he even wrote that Republicans were not, contrary to what Democrats believed, a “sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners” party, calling those descriptions mere “labels” and “jargon.” Maybe his positions have changed since then, but I find it alarming that Obama would dismiss as “labels” a description of the Republican Party that was and is undeniably true.

3) And speaking of parroting Republicans (and their talking points) … He’s bought into the false idea that Social Security is in a “crisis,” going so far as to use that word. Social Security is not in a crisis. To quote Paul Krugman, “This isn’t 1992. The DLC isn’t the Democratic party’s leading edge. The center isn’t somewhere between Joe Lieberman and John McCain. I can’t understand how Obama can be this out of touch.”

4) His health care plan, unlike his opponents’, wouldn’t cover everyone. Unlike Edwards’ and Clinton’s plans, Obama’s would not include a mandate that every American participate (it contains a mandate for children, but not adults); without a mandate, the plan would not qualify as universal health care. The whole point of universal health care is that everyone pays into the system, even if they don’t think they need health care at the time; in return, everyone gets coverage when they need it. Without a mandate, healthy people could choose to wait until they have a health problem to buy in, forcing those who bought insurance when they were healthy to subsidize those who waited until they weren’t.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on January 4 at 1:30 PM

Light Sensitive: ER docs more likely to prescribe painkillers to whites.

Fixing Stupid: Clinical trials for cocaine vaccine.

Bumpin’: Traffickers hiring flat-chested women to smuggle cocaine in their bras.

Pass the Fucking Dutchie: Man killed after Bogarting that joint.

All Shook Down: Chicago cops sentenced to prison for stealing and dealing.

Unstuck: D.C. to spend $650,000 on needle exchange after federal ban lifted.

Big High Country: Montana wants to ban medical marijuana for sick parolees.

Lure or Cheap Cut? US “flooding” with ecstasy cut with meth.

Brewing Violence: Kenya yielding coffee crops despite warfare.

Someone’s got to Eat All that Ice Cream: Governor considering decriminalizing marijuana in Vermont.

Salvia: Legal in Indiana and Kentucky, a felony in Illinois.

The White Powder Album: The DEA’s year in pictures.

King Cobra Strikes Cap Hill

posted by on January 4 at 1:19 PM

The former owners of Kincora have moved into the former home of Sugar to open a new live-music venue on Capitol Hill. The King Cobra is expected to open for business in a couple weeks.

“There is already great live music almost every night of the week thanks to Neumo’s, the Comet Tavern, and Chop Suey. We want to complement what is already going on, and hopefully add something new,” says owner Che Sabado. “We want people to know whoever they are, if they come to 10th and Pike they’re going to have a good time.”

The place is keeping a majority of the staff from Kincora. According to booker Jason Rothman, he’ll be bringing in local and national acts of just about every variety, from hiphop to indie rock, and working with established local bookers to keep things diverse. Sound will be engineered by “Paul the Sound Viking” and “Greedy Greg, who worked sound at Neumo’s forever.”

Seattle’s burgeoning “entertainment district” continues to grow.

Full story on Line Out.

Viaduct Coming Down

posted by on January 4 at 12:49 PM

The governor is taking action—swift and terrible action!—and, with God as her witness, no foolin’, don’t try to stop her, she is going to tear the goddamn Alaska Way Viaduct down. In 2012—just eleven short years after the Nisqually Earthquake damaged the viaduct in February of 2001.

“It’s coming down in 2012. I’m taking it down—the middle,” she said, referring to the elevated portion of the span that runs roughly from Battery Street Tunnel to Pioneer Square, which has been the most vexing and controversial piece of the transportation puzzle.

“That’s the timeline. I’m not going to fudge on it. And if we don’t have some alternative by then, boy are we going to have a mess on our hands because it’s coming down.”

Asked if she, as governor, could trump the state’s largest city and county and unilaterally tear down a highway that carries more than 100,000 vehicles a day through the heart of Seattle, Gregoire said:

“Yeah, watch me.”

Wait… I thought we had all agreed to wait until the viaduct fell down? Well, there’s still time. If an act of God doesn’t bring down the viaduct in the next 48 months, the governor will.

Get Crashed

posted by on January 4 at 12:42 PM


Throwing a sweet party this weekend? Want it to get covered in the paper? It’s the first weekend of the year; don’t tell me you blew your whole load on Monday. Send the details to and we can get to having a good time.

Something Not About the Iowa Caucuses

posted by on January 4 at 12:38 PM

Scientists to Make Cows Fart Like Kangaroos to Cool the Planet


Cow farts are a source of greenhouse gases, while kangaroo farts are methane free thanks to a particular bacteria in their stomachs. Now, in a bizarre twist of science-reality, scientists from Australia are trying to neutralize cow-produced methane by transferring that kangaroo bacteria to cattle and sheep’s guts.

Via BoingBoing.

Hillary Faces Gender Hurdle

posted by on January 4 at 12:24 PM

Josh has his pro-Hillary spin; here’s my anti-Hillary spin. Not to say that I don’t like Hillary — she’s currently my second favorite (more on why I’m not an Obama fan later today)—but the numbers indicate she faces one serious obstacle: Men don’t like her. What’s worse, women’s support isn’t strong enough to make up the difference. In last night’s Iowa caucuses, Obama narrowly bested Clinton among women (Clinton 30 percent; Obama 35 percent). But men voted overwhelmingly for Obama—35 percent supported him, compared to Clinton’s 23 percent. (Second-place Edwards took 24 percent of the male vote). Those numbers are bad news for Clinton, who needs stronger support from the ladies to make up for her poor showing among men.

The Farmers Are Alright

posted by on January 4 at 12:16 PM

Wev with the kids.

Here’s the pro-Clinton news—that you won’t see teased out of the numbers* in the press because well, they hate her. (For example, going in to last night, the press said she was supposed to come in an embarrassing 3rd place. The fact that she’s neck and neck with Edwards for 2nd in Iowa should be a story. It isn’t).

Anyway, here’s my pro-Clinton spin.

Look at the vote last night broken down by county. (Second chart on this link.)

Clinton rocks the rural areas—that is, the long coveted pick-up truck turf that Howard Dean tried to prioritize. This is the vote Democrats must win back to win nationally.

We already have the cities and much of the inner burbs (an idea we clung to in our rousing Urban Archipelago concession speech.

That’s right, concession speech. That issue made us all feel good about being Democrats. But it was also a band aid for the real issue: We lost.

I slogged back in January 2007 that Hillary Clinton was strong with this important bloc by crunching the numbers from her New York wins. And the results last night bear me out. From Monoma County (38%) to Harrison (40%) to Pottawattamie (42%) to Mills (42%) to Fremont (42%) to Wennebago (35%) to Worth (35%) to Mitchell (38%) to Howard (42%) Clinton crushed in these areas.

*It turns out there is a brief write up about this in the NYT (sorry link is blocked, but it’s on their Caucus blog.) But they simply say Obama lost to Clinton and Edwards in these Counties, while failing to mention that Clinton actually won them. Decisively.

Mitt Romney to Greet My Friends and Family

posted by on January 4 at 12:12 PM

I just got a desperate email from Mitt Romney. Not a personal email (we’re no longer friends), but a mass email from Romney’s reeling campaign. Mitt says it’s not over—he’s right, of course, as there are plenty more humiliating defeats coming his way before this is over—and asks me to invite five friends to join Team Mitt.

But what’s in it for me?

I’ll even record a customized voicemail greeting for your cell phone if you’d like. Imagine the surprise your friends will get when they call.

And Mitt will record a customized voicemail greeting for your cell phone too—for a contribution of $25. Just click here.

My Iowa Caucus Site, and a Young Woman Named Olivia

posted by on January 4 at 12:05 PM

Even though it came out a bit blurry on the Stranger camera, this is my favorite picture from my experience in Iowa:


I took it last night at the caucus site I observed in Des Moines. The woman in the foreground wearing the yellow sweater is Olivia Johnson, 26, part of the huge influx of young voters who pushed Obama to victory.

I talked to Olivia during the horse-trading session of the caucus meeting—which, by the way, was held inside Grace United Methodist Church:


Where placards lined the aisles…


…and Obama supporters packed the left bank of pews…


…and observers watched, calculators at the ready for use in double-checking the complicated caucus math:


While we’re speaking of math, an aside: As Dan relayed yesterday, the numbers at my caucus site were fascinating and, it turns out, representative of what happened in Iowa as a whole. First of all, turnout at the site was up significantly, from 278 caucus-goers in 2004 to 322 this year—a small piece of the big Democratic picture in Iowa, which was record-shattering turnout, especially among younger voters like Olivia.

Second, at my caucus site Hillary Clinton almost didn’t reach first-round viability, an amazingly poor showing for a candidate who is so well-known and well-funded. Clinton needed 49 supporters to be viable, and she only had 48 until the lone Kucinich supporter in the room saw what was going on and helped the Hillary folks out. With that we headed into the second round, in which the only viable camps were Clinton (49 supporters), Edwards (53 supporters), and Obama (151 supporters). Horse-trading ensued as the viable camps competed for the supporters of the non-viable candidates, with Biden and Richardson folks conferring quietly…


…and a Hillary supporter cozying up (unsuccessfully) to a Biden backer:


In the end the Biden supporters went mainly to Obama, the Richardson supporters went mainly to Edwards, and after all the horse-trading the final second-round tally wound up mirroring the larger Iowa standings: Hillary in third with 62 supporters, Edwards in second with 72 supporters, and Obama in first with 175 supporters.

But back to where I started. It was during the horse-trading session that I talked to Olivia…


…who announced very quickly that she would not be moving from the Obama camp. She was eligible to caucus last cycle, but didn’t. This time she felt she had to—that she could not and would not miss the chance.

Olivia was in college in New Orleans during Hurrican Katrina, attending Xavier University where she majored in English. Now she works customer service at a wall-covering distributor in Des Moines. But the experience during Katrina made her see the caucuses as hugely important.

“For me, having went through Hurricane Katrina, it’s time for us to have somebody in power that’s not going to forget about their people,” Olivia told me. “Whether they’re black, white, green, purple, poor, rich, middle class—I feel like I was forgotten.”

What’s interesting here is that Clinton talked on the stump about “invisible” Americans and the shame of Katrina, while Edwards made fiery promises not to neglect the average citizen any longer. But somehow that didn’t move Olivia—or, at least, it didn’t move her as much as hearing a similar message from a voice and presence like Obama. Coming from him, change really meant something. Or, perhaps, it meant more. I asked Olivia why she thought Hillary was losing so badly to Obama at the caucus.

“It’s about change,” she replied. “It’s all about change. He’s not marketing to one specific group. He’s trying to get everybody to come together to be one America. Which is what it’s all about. We are a melting pot of all different nationalities, sexes, races, and it’s all about coming together and doing what’s right to make our country strong again.”

And Hillary wouldn’t bring about that change?

“It’s just all about that movement to get things to be better,” Olivia continued. “And yes, Hillary is a great candidate, but Obama is the one that is speaking the truth. He’s speaking about what needs to be done to bring us together so that we don’t have all of this separatism.”

So much for Edwards’s presentation of himself as the only “truth teller” in the election, and so much for Clinton’s presentation of herself as the real “change agent.” Also, notice that Olivia is speaking only in platitudes and impressions here. I heard this repeatedly in Iowa. For all the focus on issues where the candidates diverge, it seems a lot of Democrats were motivated not by policy difference but primarily by emotion and, yes, something as ephemeral as hope.

When I pressed Olivia to tell me about an issue that had pulled her into the Obama camp she told me it wasn’t about the issues. “Mostly, for me, I like his message,” she said.

Over in the Hillary crowd, William Cotton, 74, joked that maybe all of Obama’s young supporters would skip out between the first and second rounds of caucusing to grab beers and never come back, thus giving Hillary the win. They didn’t.

“It’s a surprise,” Cotton told me. “And I worry that this turnout of young people might skew the whole process for the general election.”

Well, I replied, what if young people turn out to be the pivotal force in the general election that they were on caucus night here in Iowa?

“I’m not so sure about that,” Cotton replied. “I hope that’s true. I have grandchildren that are involved in this, most of them for Obama. I would like to think it’s another Kennedy revolution. That would be my hope. I’m not sure about that, though.”

Holes for Huckabee

posted by on January 4 at 12:01 PM

Slog reader Mickey Mephistopheles is proposing this, er, viral marketing campaign.


Mickey wants patriotic, God-fearin’ Americans everywhere to decorate glory holes carved between public restroom stalls with “Huckabee ‘08.” It’s a natural fit—not only are the men that patronize toilets with glory holes likely to be religious and conservative, and therefore likley Huckabee voters, Huckabee himself is a complete dick.

Electrocuted Elephants Are a Rich Metaphor

posted by on January 4 at 11:51 AM

One hundred and five years ago today, Thomas Edison electrocuted an elephant to try and discredit Westinghouse and Tesla’s alternating current.

Edison’s aggressive campaign to discredit the new current took the macabre form of a series of animal electrocutions using AC (a killing process he referred to snidely as getting “Westinghoused”).
Edison got his big chance, though, when the Luna Park Zoo at Coney Island decided that Topsy, >a cranky female elephant who had squashed three handlers in three years (including one idiot who tried feeding her a lighted cigarette), had to go.

In order to make sure that Topsy emerged from this spectacle more than just singed and angry, she was fed cyanide-laced carrots moments before a 6,600-volt AC charge slammed through her body. Officials needn’t have worried. Topsy was killed instantly.

It’s a gruesome anniversary, but I’m still excited about last night, and it’s hard not to think about it as a good omen.

(Via Wired, Boing Boing, and Mike Daisey, whose new monologue—called How Theater Failed America—is coming soon to CHAC. Everyone buy tickets now.)


From Mike Daisey: “I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the reason Edison killed the elephant was to help bolster his monopoly on DC current, which Tesla was upending with his AC current. I bring this up because the monologue MONOPOLY!, which I’m bringing to CHAC, is actually about this very conflict.”

Right you are, sir. I’m so excited for HTFA, I failed to mention the more relevant monologue—MONOPOLY!: Tesla, Edison, Microsoft, Wal•Mart, and the War For Tomorrow, which runs Jan 18 to Feb 3 at CHAC. Buy tickets here.

#1 on My “Bucket List”

posted by on January 4 at 11:50 AM

Watch Morgan Freeman sing while taking a bath in a casket.

The Kids Are All Right

posted by on January 4 at 11:26 AM

Here’s the story on the youth turnout for Obama. (See the Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International entrance poll results—based on a sample of 2,178 Dem voters—at the New York Times, and further analysis of the same poll by The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement.)

Young voters went overwhelmingly for Obama, and 30-44-year-olds loved him too. Meanwhile, Clinton—with her free sandwiches and shoveled walks and volunteer drivers for seniors—won a robust plurality of the 65+ crowd. Edwards eked out a narrow lead among the huge number of voters between 45 and 64, but it was too tiny a margin to deliver a victory.

% of total turnout Obama Clinton Edwards
22%: 17-29 years old 57 11 14
18%: 30-44 years old 42 23 21
38%: 45-64 years old 27 28 31
22%: 65 and older 18 45 22

In other words, the 40% of Iowa caucusgoers who are under the age of 45 delivered the state for Obama. Future primary campaigns will have a much tougher time dismissing younger voters as all enthusiasm and no follow-through.

It’s also interesting to compare turnout over the last three caucuses. 13% of eligible under-30-year-olds turned out for either the R or D caucus yesterday (against 17% of over 30s); this is a huge jump from the 4% turnout of under 30s in 2004 and 3% in 2000. At the same time—even with a huge overall jump in turnout for the Democratic caucus—under 30s increased their proportion of overall caucusgoers from 17% in 2004 to 22% in 2008.

Dems need to turn out younger voters if they’re going to win in 2008. Obama is showing everyone else how it’s done.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on January 4 at 11:14 AM

From Flickr pooler ~petem~.


Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 4 at 11:00 AM


Fire Retard Ants at SOIL

In last spring’s show of graduating UW art students, Michael Simi showed Beef Stew Monster, a stubby mechanical creature that waddled menacingly after viewers. In a video, Fred Muram stuffed a hamburger into his mouth with three hands. Now Simi and Muram have teamed up as the Fire Retard Ants, whose short blog includes a long account of a delicious burger. The show will probably involve video, digital sculpture, and beef, but nobody’s sure. (SOIL, 112 Third Ave S, 264-8061. Noon–5 pm, free.)


Comments Problem

posted by on January 4 at 10:25 AM

We apologize for the fault in the comments. Those responsible are sweating bullets and working quickly on a resolution. Unfortunately, some of the most recent comments may be lost. Stay tuned.

UPDATE : Ugh. My sincere apologies for this mess. In an attempt to rid the Slog of a series of shitty racist comments, we cast a slightly wider net than necessary. Rest assured that you are no longer all labeled racists. The comments have been restored from our most recent backup, but sadly most comments from this morning were not included in that backup.

I’ll be out front crying if anyone wants to come by and kick me in the head.

Xoming Out for Xmess! Or, “Hmuh?”

posted by on January 4 at 10:20 AM

The gayest benefit of living in such a relatively fudgepacktastic place as Seattle is this: one is rarely forced to actually divulge one’s gayness to anyone—-to “come out”, as they say. Seattleites in general understand the gay thing instinctively, and only a complete boor would ask you about it to your face.

And this is a true luxury indeed, for “coming out” is an intermindable process for we poor ‘mos. As any whiney 90’s fag with a wedge in his hair will eagerly say to you, everyone is assumed heterosexual by default, and we heterosexuality-deficient are forced to reveal ourselves endlessly to an ever fresh and often rude parade of new people, Jesus, somebody please help me, there’s a 90’s wedge in my hair. The stress of it can be crushing.

I have a five year old niece that we’ll call Katie, for lack of an appropriate pseudonym, and she’s whatcha call a pistol. She is also not a Seattleite, God help her, and, as I said, she’s merely 5 years old. But even with these considerable drawbacks working against her, I though she’d have sorta gotten the big gay message regarding the celebrated homosexuality of her dear Uncle Adrian, especially after witnessing me and her also very out Aunty Robin bringing our same-sex partners home for holidays and vacations, and witnessing us do such gay things as smooch and sleep in the same beds with them. Sadly, this message was somehow lost. Two days before Christmas, in the back seat of a car, we had this adorable and mildly startling conversation:

“Uncle Adrian, why didn’t (“Mr. X”—my ex) come with you for Christmas,” says Katie.

“Well, we broke up,” says I.

At this point she perked up like a Pop Tart, her eyes sprung wider than hubcaps, and she made a precious little perplexed noise that sounded like, “Hmuh?” After a moment she hunkered down close and whispered in my ear, “Does everyone know you’re…GAY?”

“Yes, Kaitlyn, everyone knows I’m gay! Everyone in the world! I thought you knew.”

“Nope. Does my mom know?”

I burst out laughing and assured her again that EVERYONE ON THE PLANET knows, unless, let’s face it, they are deeply stupid and live in a hole. That seemed to satisfy her, and that, as it were, was that.

Or was it?

On Christmas morning, a package marked “To Uncle Adrian, From Kaite” bore this gift:


Yes. She gave me “soap on a rope” for Christmas.

Oh, my niece understands her uncle’s homosexuality now, indeed. And she clearly wants me to be alone forever.

Rossi Pollster in Trouble

posted by on January 4 at 10:16 AM

Oregon pollster Bob Moore, who did work for Dino Rossi in 2004 (and also a recent poll that has Rossi neck and neck with Gov. Christine Gregoire) is being accused by the New Hampshire AG of doing negative “Push Polling” against Mitt Romney. Push polling—which mixes negative or positive campaign messaging into polls—is a serious No No. Moore’s polls allegedly knocked Romney for being Mormon.

The Oregonian has the story.

The Washington Public Disclosure Commission shows that Moore Information Inc. billed Rossi about $150,000 for polling work in 2004.

One Teen Killed, One Wounded At Late-Night Party

posted by on January 4 at 9:22 AM

Just before midnight, police were called to Studio One-Sixteen—a rented art space on 1st and Elliot Ave W—after shots broke out at a birthday party, leaving a 17-year-old boy dead and a 13-year-old girl injured.

According to police, two men showed up at the party—filled with over 100 area high-school students—and got into a verbal altercation with the 17-year-old. The uninvited men flashed guns and fired shots into the crowd.

The men fled the party, but police say they may have identified one of the suspects.

Caucus, Schmaucus—Britney’s in the HOSPITAL!

posted by on January 4 at 9:04 AM


Clearly furious at being upstaged by the hubbub in Iowa, Britney Spears ratcheted up the crazy last night, reportedly refusing to hand over her two children to primary parent Keven Federline at the scheduled time, instigating a three-hour standoff with police during which Britney “appeared to be under the influence of an unknown substance” and after which Britney was strapped to a gurney and hauled off in an ambulance. She’s reportedly being held in a Los Angeles hospital for psychological evaluation.

After that, the drama really begins, as allegations of Britney’s “substance”-fueled mini-kidnapping of her children are investigated by various authorities. At best, she’ll probably never enjoy unsurpervised visits with her kids again. At worst, she could face criminal charges.

In other news, Britney Spears is desperately mentally ill. Last year, I wrote at least twice that humanity is forbidden to stand around and watch as Britney’s sucked into the same pathetic public death-trap as Anna Nicole Smith. This year, I think Britney will be lucky to have so dignified a death. After last night’s ruckus, I can easily imagine her being fatally shot in a McDonald’s parking lot by a man in a police helicopter.

On the Radio

posted by on January 4 at 8:35 AM

I’ll be on KUOW’s Weekday this morning, starting at 10 a.m., to talk about Barack Obama’s big win here in Iowa last night and what it all means going forward. Meanwhile, you can see my post and some photos from Obama’s history-making victory speech here (along with video), and you can find all my blogging from my time on the bus tour of second-place finisher John Edwards here.


Photo by Laurie Ragen Gustafson

The Morning News

posted by on January 4 at 7:47 AM

In Iowa: Obama, Huckabee, by surprising margins.

Caucuses: Record-breaking numbers of Democrats; Republicans, not so much. (Oh, and they’re old, too.)

Huckabee: A victory for evangelicals. Fine by us.

Edwards: Caucuses were a repudiation of Clinton.

McCain: Celebrating (but still creepy).

Out: Biden, Dodd.

God: Still talking to Pat Robertson, this time predicting result of 2008 election.

2008: Maybe the year that Saudi women will win the right to drive.

Nutty: Mentally ill son seeks to inherit estate of mother he killed.

Sick: “Tummy-tuck tourism” to poor countries catching on.

Trees: Absorbing less carbon dioxide as world gets warmer, study finds.

Unsatisfactory: Bhutto assasination inquiry, according to Musharref.

Police: Called to Britney Spears’ house in custodial dispute.

Scab: Jay Leno writes his own monologue, in violation of writers’ strike.

Ew: Chocolate-mint-flavored water? No.

Recipe of the Day: Chicken and Dumplings (recipe and photo via Smitten Kitchen)


Continue reading "The Morning News" »

Youth Gone Wild

posted by on January 4 at 1:15 AM

I just got a text message from our very own youth caucus voter Sarah Mirk (doubling as an Iowa correspondent here on Slog all day long.) She texted:

Youth youth youth!

She also e-mailed this “a-picture-is worth-1,000-words” picture of a new youth voter registering to vote … for Obama.

She writes:

You can see the all important shaggy-haired Youth Voters registering to caucus for Obama.

I just drank a couple bottles of wine in the caucus hall with the Obama supporters while watching the results come in and a pie chart attacked Anderson Cooper on CNN. Edwards voters were definitely keeping their heads up, but Clinton’s kids were pretty crushed when it became clear Biden would be viable in our ward while she wasn’t.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Obama’s Victory Speech

posted by on January 3 at 10:08 PM

Barack Obama just appeared at Hy-Vee Hall—the same place where, a few weeks ago, I saw him and Oprah Winfrey do a joint campaign event—and he gave a rousing victory speech in which he declared his win in Iowa proof that “America is ready to believe again.”


The crowd was ecstatic, and so was a Seattle woman who happened to be standing next to me, Laurie Ragen Gustafson, who gave me these photos she took of the event.

Campaign workers hugged. A band of young people in some sort of drill team did a rump-shaking danced around the room as a warm-up act. And reporters pressed against the metal barriers of the media area and jostled for the best view spot.


“On this January night, at this defining moment in history, you have done what the cynics said we couldn’t do,” Obama began.

And it was indeed something unprecedented and hard to believe: A black candidate had won the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination in a state that is over 90-percent white. There were tears in people’s eyes even as television commentators were doing their live stand-ups and cautioning that Obama still has a long way to go. He seemed to acknowledge that reality as he continued, speaking to both the crowd and the national television audience: “You have done what the state of New Hampshire can do in five days.”


He was interrupted frequently by the crowd chanting: O-bam-a, O-bam-a, O-bam-a.

“The time has come for a president who will be honest about the choices and the challenges we face,” Obama continued. “Who won’t just tell you want you want to hear, but what you need to know.” And he got his biggest applause for this: “I’ll be a president who ends this war in Iraq and finally brings our troops home. Who restores our moral standing. Who understands that 9-11 is not a way to scare up votes but a challenge to unite America and the world against the common threats of the 21st century.”

He also tapped into the sense that something new is happening in this country, and that the result in Iowa is only its first manifestation. “Years from now,” Obama said, “you’ll be able to look back with pride and say this was the moment when it all began. This was the moment when the improbable beat what Washington always said was inevitable… Years from now you’ll look back and say this was the moment, this was the place where America began to hope again.”


He then launched into a defense of his campaign’s emphasis on hope, an idea that he (accurately) said had been mocked as a bit too starry-eyed and impractical by other campaigns recently as they’ve tried to stop Obama’s rise. “Hope is what led me here today,” Obama said. “With a father from Kenya, a mother from Kansas, and a story that can only happen in the United States of America. Hope is the bedrock of this nation. The belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us. By all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage remake the world as it should be. That is what we started here in Iowa, and that is the message we can now carry to New Hampshire and beyond.”

The crowd went wild, and a very new type of candidate, and a very new type of first family, suddenly seemed a very real possibility.


UPDATE: Here’s the video:

Seattle Obama Supporters Bask in Victory

posted by on January 3 at 10:00 PM

Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

My cab driver was listening to the steady drone of NPR election results at a volume that reduced conversation to mostly short bursts of yelling back-and-forth.

“Have you been listening to the news?!” he asked.

“Yeah,” I replied. “Obama looks like he’s walking away with it!”

He laughed loudly. “And I bet Mitt Romney is feeling like shit right now!”

After months of a “campaign” that has essentially consisted of little more than idle speculation and hilariously creepy YouTube clips, the voting was finally underway and the nation was giving its attention to the presidential race. And I was headed out to spend the evening with the winners of the first round of the contest, the victorious members of Washington for Obama.


The party was well underway when I arrived: Iowa had been called for Obama by all the major news outlets, and John Edwards was nearing the end of his concession speech. Over a hundred people were packed into the Washington for Obama offices, gingerly squeezing past each other to gather around the digital projector that was showing election results.


I was asking Obama-volunteer Heidi Romman if there had been official word on whether Obama intended to send paid staffers to Washington when someone began the first of many choruses of the Obama chant, “Fired up! Ready to go!”

Over the cheering, Romman told me that there had been a phone call that night from the campaign, but that nothing had been officially announced yet. She joked that the Obama campaign had officially “recognized their existence,” a reference to the fact that Washington for Obama isn’t affiliated with the official Obama campaign.


Some attempt was made at speech-giving and building volunteer infrastructure for the February 9th Washington caucus, but the atmosphere seemed too charged to stay focused on the minutia of organizing. When Washington for Obama organizer Shanna Sawatzki climbed atop her chair she announced that she would keep her comments brief, and concluded with: “This is a night for celebration!”


This seemed to suit Obama-enthusiast Patrick McFadden fine. When asked what brought him down tonight, he laughed and said: “Free wine.”

I admired his enthusiasm, and promised him I would make him internet famous.

Props to the Kids

posted by on January 3 at 8:09 PM

Obama’s campaign advisor David Axelrod is giving credit where credit’s due. GOTV—and don’t you dare discount the students. Awesome.

Shut Up Hillary

posted by on January 3 at 6:45 PM

Savage has me pegged as a Patty Hearst fan—which is true enough (mainly cuz she looked like Laurie Partridge with a machine gun )—but I’m also a Hillary Clinton fan… and my advice to Clinton is to stop spinning this Richardson story.

From ABC:

8:17 pm CT: Clinton folks are pushing the storyline of a deal between Richardson and Obama possibly contributing to defeat.

It makes you look like a sore loser. (And what’s the story really? Richardson delegates don’t like you? You’re not good at making deals? Those aren’t such great stories…)

Your spin should be: You’re not a loser. You’re actually more of a winner than many of the polls predicted yesterday.

Dude, you’re in a dead heat with Edwards. No one predicted that. This was supposed to be Edwards’s turf, but with 80% reporting you’re at 30.2% to Edwards’s 30.5%. Obama is at 36.3% Thanks Oprah.

Barack Obama

posted by on January 3 at 6:28 PM

NPR calls it for Barack Obama…

Iowa Caucus Reality Check

posted by on January 3 at 6:26 PM

So how helpful is a win in Iowa? Courtesy of the Iowa Caucus Wiki page—which has been hacked (there’s a picture of Barack Obama floating in the middle of the page. Winners from Iowa caucuses past…


2004: John Kerry (Kerry was the Dem nominee, lost to Bush)
2000: Al Gore (Gore was the Dem nominee, “lost” to Bush)
1996: Bill Clinton (ran unopposed, won a second term)
1992: Tom Harkin (Bill Clinton was the nominee and won the White House)
1988: Richard Gephardt (Mike Dukakis was the nominee)
1984: Walter Mondale (Mondale was the nominee)
1980: Jimmy Carter (Carter was the nominee and lost the White House)
1976: “Uncommitted” (Carter second, won the nomination, won the White House.)
1972: “Uncommitted” (McGovern came in third, won the nomination)


2004: George W. Bush (unopposed)
2000: George W. Bush (GOP nominee, stole the White House)
1996: Bob Dole (GOP nominee, lost to Clinton)
1992: George H. W. Bush (unopposed, lost to Clinton)
1988: George H. W. Bush (GOP nominee, won the White House)
1984: Ronald Reagan (unopposed, won a second term)
1980: George H. W. Bush (Reagan won the nomination and the White House)
1976: Gerald Ford (GOP nominee, lost to Carter.)

Huckabee Takes Iowa

posted by on January 3 at 6:01 PM

NPR is projecting that Mike Huckabee has won GOP caucuses in Iowa—by eleven motherfucking points.

UPDATE: Says Drudge


Obama 33.20; Edwards 32.09; Clinton 31.77

WINNER: Huckabee 33!; Romney 24 McCain 11 Paul 0; Thompson 17 Giuliani 0

Live from the Iowa Caucuses: “Hillary is not even Viable.”

posted by on January 3 at 5:59 PM

Sarah Mirk, going for Obama and not even considering Clinton, reports:

We just did the first vote through, where an old man shouted the names of candidates and everyone filed with their group into the voting hall. The precinct leaders counted heads and did some calculations while we all chatted and watched one another. I still have commitment issues, but a history professor just about fully swayed me to Obama.

“I know he’s a great guy and all, but do you think he’s really got the strong policy?” I asked, just before the county chair came on the loudspeaker to quiet us down. “I’ve met the man,” whispered my professor, “He’s brilliant.” That’s the last thing I heard before being forced to make a choice. I decided, what the hell. The caucus is the place to choose the president I want, not the one who’s on the ticket and I’ll reluctantly choose instead of a Republican. Edwards is smart and calm and intelligent but I really WANT Obama to be in charge of this country. I’d be excited about that in a way I can’t get excited about a tort lawyer from North Carolina.

The first vote from the precinct came up surprising: At this student heavy district, Hillary’s not even viable. Out of the 484 people voting here, only 44 went her way. Edwards got 102 and Obama 240. We now have 30 minutes to make our final decisions. This is it!


posted by on January 3 at 5:42 PM

Do you know you can watch an Iowa caucus LIVE from Des Moines on CSPAN?

Oh my god. I am such a nerd.

A Text Message from Eli

posted by on January 3 at 5:40 PM

He’s at a caucus site in Iowa…

Bigger turnout here at my site, Grace United Methodist Church in Des Moines, than in 2004. In 2004: 278. In 2008: 322. Way more Obama supporters than any other group. He is going to win this site, and obviously, if the same thing is playing out across the state, win Iowa.

Clinton’s supporters here are older and whiter and more sedate—and lots are older women. Obama’s supporters are younger, more diverse, and LOUD. The most excited people in the room. Although an elderly black Edward’s supporter just ran down a church aisle screaming for her man.

UPDATE: More news from Eli via text…

Hillary almost wasn’t even FIRST round viable at my site. She needed 49 supporters. She only got to 49 because the lone Kucinich supporter gave up and went to help the Hillary people out.

That Kucinich supporter is going to be in trouble with Dennis—he had instructed his hordes of supporters to throw their support to Obama if, by some strange circumstance, Kucinich wasn’t viable, i.e. didn’t have enough supporters in the room to win the caucus site. Oy, it’s complicated. People at the caucus site express their preference—really, that’s what they call it—and if a particular candidate doesn’t win, say, the support of 20% of the room, that candidate’s supporters are free to go with their second choice.

UPDATE: More from Eli via text…

Fierce competition for Biden and Richardson supporters. Neither had viable support. Richardson people going to Edwards. Biden people going to Obama.

UPDATE: A final text from Eli…

Obama wins big here. Hillary: 62. Edwards: 72. Obama: 175.

The Most Important Day in the History of Ever

posted by on January 3 at 5:36 PM

I’m writing this post in the car—that’s “the car,” not “my car,” as I don’t know how to drive and technically don’t own this car. My boyfriend owns this car. You’ll find his name on the title, officer, not mine, because I hate cars and refuse to learn how to drive and certainly don’t want to own one of the damn things.

But I appreciate my boyfriend’s willingness to drive me places.

Anyway, we’re on our way back from Snoqualmie Pass, where I spent the day—Iowa Caucus Day, the most important day in the history of ever!—snowboarding with the kid and the boyfriend. Man, I wish that I’d learned to snowboard fifteen years ago when I first moved to Seattle and not three years ago; I cheated myself out of so much greenhouse-gas spewing, pristine-natural-environment despoiling pleasure.

A word about snowboarding with the kid: It’s a blast. He’s been snowboarding since he was six years old and he’s almost ten now. He rides boxes and rails, spins 360s, charges down double black diamond runs, does a little back country riding. It’s always fun to watch teenagers laugh at the little kid in the terrain park—until they see what DJ can do. And the kid can do stuff that most eighteen year-old kids can’t. He’s always breaking hearts up there on the mountain.

Anyway, I took the day off, since I’m going to have to work through the weekend on Eli’s feature—betcha didn’t know we went to the trouble of editing Eli’s features, huh?—and my boyfriend suggested that we get the hell out of the house, lest we spend all day listening to the radio and checking blogs for news about something that wouldn’t happen until late in the evening anway. I speak, of course, of the Iowa caucuses. Which are tonight—and that’s why today is the most important day in the history of ever. Because finally—finally—we’re voting, or Iowans are (go Eddie!), for the next goddamn president of the United States of America. This means, of course, that the current president of the United States isn’t going to be president for ever. Or much longer, really. And that is a balm.

Anyway, Annie is for Obama, ECB is for Edwards and/or Clinton, Eli is coy about who he’s for (haven’t beaten that daily paper training entirely out of him entirely). I’m not sure who Josh is for—Patty Hearst, I shouldn’t wonder. My buddy Andrew Sullivan is for Barack Obama and Ron Paul.

And who am I for? Al Fucking Gore. I may be the last Gore partisan, the final holdout. I don’t expect Gore to jump into the race but I still say “Gore/Obama” when people ask me who I’m supporting. But it would be more accurate to say: Edwards, Obama, Clinton, Dodd—since I could get excited about any one of them, I’m not that worked up about any one of them now. Who am I supporting? The candidate that manages to win the Democratic nomination, whoever it is.

So I’ll be delighted if Edwards wins tonight, because I like his health care plan best. And I’ll be delighted if Obama wins, because I like his personal narrative (and, yes, I’ll forgive him for sucking the dick of that ex-gay preacher). And I’ll be delighted if Hillary wins, because she’s got a vagina and that’s pretty neato (even if she’s for the flag-burning amendment) and, man, I like the idea of Bill back in the White House.

And hey: If you’re tempted—and if you don’t want to know who wins the Iowa Caucuses until late tonight—the snow was piling up at the Pass when we left—hell, it had been snowing pretty much all day. It’s not crowded, there are no lines at the lifts, and you can have entire runs all to yourself—rare conditions at the Pass. The mountain is open until 10 PM.

Superman Is Dead

posted by on January 3 at 5:14 PM

Constant Reader this week (online only) is about what is happening to comics—and to comic-book stores.

While superhero movies have thrived in the past 10 years, corporate superhero comics are on the verge of extinction. One of the better-selling Marvel comics of last year featured zombie versions of Spider-Man, Giant-Man, and other heroes cannibalizing each other. Children stopped reading comics decades ago, and the audience age keeps climbing: It’s not outrageous to believe that the average superhero-comics fan is a man in his early to mid-30s.

Also discussed: The Million Year Picnic in Massachusetts; why it is that Seattle has nothing like it; and what happened the one time Constant took a female friend into Zanadu Comics in downtown Seattle.

Who Will She Vote For?

posted by on January 3 at 4:40 PM

Another report from former Stranger news intern, Sarah Mirk.

It’s two hours until the caucus and, like many Iowans, I’m still a flip-flopper.

I just got done talking to the only Republican I know here—a former chairman of the county’s Republican party who was shot through the face in the Vietnam War and now goes only by the name The Colonel. He laughed at the complexity of the Democrats’ caucus, which involves physically herding voters into candidates’ corners and a system of delegates that requires hours of vote counting and calculation. The Republicans just give speeches on behalf of the candidates, mark a secret ballot and drop it in a box. “We’ll be done in 45 minutes!” the Colonel laughed.

With Democrats, it’s a completely public vote where I’ll have to actually stand with all the people choosing my same candidate. Over the last four months: I’ve attended an event for every candidate; eaten cookies with Clinton’s name on them; gotten drunk with Edwards campaign workers; shaken Obama’s hand, and I still don’t know who to vote for. Whoever I choose tonight, I’ll have to stare down two-thirds of a room full of friends and classmates and tell them with my choice that they’re wrong.

Sarah’s pal Alec, president of the College and Young Democrats of Iowa.

Asking around campus, a lot of the smartest people I know are going to caucus for Obama, which gets me thinking I probably should, too.

Obama supporter freezes to death.

While I sit down with my friends (two enthusiastic Obama supporters and one reluctant Edwards voter) to order sandwiches, an old man—a trustee of the college who has a concert hall named after him—comes up just to tell us he’s a personal friend of the Obamas and they are magnificent people.

But colleges are Obama’s stronghold. Maybe the John Deere crowd that turned out for an Edwards’s event I attended at an Eagles Lodge a few weeks ago really have more perspective than my twenty-year-old friends and I who live within the college bubble. Yeah, Obama is fiery and exciting and young, but I really liked Edwards too, when I interviewed him a couple weeks ago for my college paper. One on one, Edwards was down to earth, relaxed in a way Obama’s not, and funny.

And Hillary! Whether or not I personally like Hillary is irrelevant. So many other Americans will always hate her that I decided months ago I didn’t want to vote for a highly divisive president. But over lunch with my friends, I asked why so many Americans hate her. The anti-Hillary crowd seethes with a virulence usually reserved for terrorists and illegal immigrants, so I can’t help but think some subconscious sexism might be at the root of Hillary-hating, too. Maybe she does repulse people more strongly than other candidates because of ingrained misogyny. So I’m not supporting Hillary because she’s divisive and she’s divisive in part because she’s a woman?

I actually got excited about Hillary for about 30 seconds … in September. She spoke at a big Democratic rally and told an anecdote about shaking hands with an old lady born before women had the right to vote. Hillary promised her that before she died, she’d see a woman president. That gave me goose bumps. Maybe I should forget that Hillary has the face-to-face charisma of a well-maintained ficus; overlook that she definitely ran the sketchiest campaign of any Democrat in Iowa; and forget that she voted for war and caucus above all else for a strong and intelligent woman.

Thoughts on the Edwards Bus Tour

posted by on January 3 at 3:45 PM


You can find my photoblogging from the John Edwards 36-hour bus tour through Iowa here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. But in a few words:

It was a grueling experience, and I came away with a lot more appreciation for the stamina required of the reporters and candidates involved in this crazy process of just getting to first official picking of one candidate over another. It’s not an easy line of work. As I bailed out on the ride two stops before the finish (and two stops after another bunch of reporters bailed out), a wire service writer who was committed to the whole journey confided that he was at his breaking point. “It was the second sunset that got to me,” he said—meaning that watching the sun set twice from a bus that won’t let you sleep more than a couple hours at a time is rough on the body and spirit.

I also came away with a lot more appreciation for the technology involved in what has become basically a 24-hour job for “print” writers who are now filing constantly for the web. (And I mention the technological aspect because just now, as I was typing this, the power cord for my laptop… well, it’s hard to describe what happened but basically it looks like the power just burned right through the cord. Which means it’s no longer working. Which means that I have until my battery runs out to find another cord somewhere in Des Moines, an hour and a half before the caucuses start.)

In terms of politics—and speeding this up a bit because of the above-mentioned power cord problems—I thought the Edwards tour was impressive in that there were sizable crowds everywhere he went. I mean, really, it was impressive that there were simply crowds at all, sizable or not, for the events at midnight and 2 in the morning and 5 in the morning. But I heard from other people who had covered Edwards’s last campaign in Iowa that his crowds actually seemed smaller than they did in 2004, and I heard from a couple of potential caucus-goers that while they found his stump speech invigorating, with its angry, anti-corporate, anti-status-quo bluntness, they also found it a little thin on policy specifics, policy proposals, policy anything. The Edwards campaign seemed aware of this and passed out Edwards’s 80-page “Bold Solutions for Real Change” policy pamphlet to anyone who would take one. But my sense was that people wanted to hear more about policy from him in his speech, not from a pamphlet.

Also, for what it’s worth, and again with the caveat that I’m cutting this short due to technical difficulties: All the chatter I’ve heard from jouranalists in Des Moines today is that Obama, with his last-minute deals (here and here) and his strong momentum, will win this. The chatter also says that Hillary Clinton, having fallen far from her front-runner status, will have a rough road ahead.

24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on January 3 at 3:40 PM

In Defense of Britney Spears: Stephen Elliot on Blackout

Superbad: Bootsy Collins and Lyle Workman

Superbadder: the Bar-Kays

“Those kids WEREN’T allowed on MY halfpipe”: Nipper on Jane’s Addiction

Coming to Seattle: Hot Chip, Boredoms

Read Meat: My Internet Beef

Entrance Themes: Today in Pointless Compilations

Old Man Gloom Announce West Coast Tour: But Will the Metal Supergroup Play Seattle?

The Oboe Slave: Trent Moorman on Muzak

First Impressions

posted by on January 3 at 3:22 PM

Boom Noodle is the brand-new (as of yesterday) noodle house brought to you by the people of Blue C conveyor-belt sushi. (Rumor has it that one of the Boom chefs came from the execrable P.F. Chang’s chain, where a friend once dined; he described one dish as “drawer knobs in water sauce.”) Boom Noodle’s on 12th and Pike on Capitol Hill. (“12th: The New 15th!” Or maybe: “12th: What Broadway Always Wanted to Be!” [Did you know that the country of Scotland recently paid an ad agency one grazillion dollars for a new tourism slogan? The result: “Welcome to Scotland”—seriously.])

Boom Noodle is very mod—all windows, angles, hard surfaces, the requisite garage-style doors for when it’s nice out again, if that ever occurs. Some walls are fantastically green. It promises to be very loud when full. The food seems better than fair, with a chance of excellence. The servers were individual quivering bundles of nerves (we were checked on approximately 27 times in a highly anxious manner at dinner last night—better than being ignored, absolutely forgivable, but did they beat them severely during training?). The prices may cause balking, especially considering the communal tables and/or at lunch (ramen $9.95, udon $9.95–$12.95, soba $8.95–$10.95). Are the ingredients organic/hand-picked by union elves/etc.? The menu is silent on this subject. (Still, the soup I had did not best the Kobe-beef-broth pho served at Monsoon’s weekend brunch, which is around the same price. Or the pork ramen at Samurai Noodle, which is less expensive.) Boom Noodle is highly concepted. The logo is imprinted on the inside of the soup bowls—I am eating your food, must my eyeballs be force-fed your branding with each bite as well? As someone said recently of the Caffe Vita porcelain cups, imprinted on the interior rim with the Caffe Vita URL, “The Internet’s in my cup, and I don’t like it.” Boom!

Also part of the Boom Noodle concept: photographic images of a lady wearing John Deere coveralls on the chopsticks wrappers. And this, which seems foreboding.

The bar looks great. The yuzu lemonade (nonalcoholic) is reportedly excellent.

Does not wanting to pay $10 for a bowl of noodle soup while seated next to strangers make one a cheapskate?

Your Iowa Predictions?

posted by on January 3 at 2:30 PM

Click the permalink to find out what all the fuss is about… Today’s your last chance to weigh in.

Continue reading "Your Iowa Predictions?" »

Ecstasy: Safer than Aspirin?

posted by on January 3 at 1:40 PM

There’s a big debate in the UK right now over the risks of taking ecstasy. The Chief Constable of North Wales, Richard Brunstrom, told BBC’s Radio 4 last week, “Ecstasy is a remarkably safe substance – it’s far safer than aspirin. If you look at the Government’s own research into deaths you’ll find that Ecstasy, by comparison to many other substances – legal and illegal – it is comparably a safe substance.” Politicians and an anti-drug group have called for his resignation, claiming that there is no safe dose. Meanwhile, cops have backed up Brunstrom’s position.

As someone who’s taken both ecstasy and aspirin, though, I disagree with the ecstasy-is-safer-than-aspirin claim. Granted, lots of people die from anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin (about 7,600 in the US in 2000). While there are no reliable stats for ecstasy deaths in the US, there are certainly fewer. (UPDATE: David Wright points out in comments that Brunstrom’s comparison is statistically flawed: “Even if death is the only danger under consideration, the relevant statistic is not the number of deaths, it’s the number of deaths divided by the number of doses.” Agreed, David.)

And what about the drugs’ impacts on people who don’t die?

Second worse to taking ecstasy and dying has got to be taking ecstasy and living. The serotonin depletion that follows the high is enough to make a joyologist despondent for a week. It also causes dehydration and increases the risk of heat exhaustion. Aspirin just doesn’t have those effects.

And if anyone doubts that ecstasy can be fatal, check out the feature I wrote for this week’s issue. It’s a sad story. It covers how one person died after taking a relatively small dose of ecstasy but how fear of punitive drug policies may have prevented friends from saving her life.

Another Iowa Caucus Party in Seattle

posted by on January 3 at 1:36 PM

After I posted the details for Obama’s Iowa Caucus night party in Seattle, an Edwards supporter emailed these details for the local Edwards caucus-watch event:

Join other Edwards supporters for the Iowa Caucus Return Watch Party at Spitfire:

Thursday, January 3, 2008 5pm
(to help set up, come at 4pm)
2219 4th Avenue* Seattle, WA
*located between Blanchard and Bell

Seattle Opera 2008/2009 Productions & Photos

posted by on January 3 at 1:29 PM

Seattle Opera sent over the official press release on their 2008/2009 season, of which I gave a preview yesterday (updated with more cast info). It was a lot of text, but now I can give some visuals to get you hyped and answer some questions we had about the productions. Click any of the photos, as they may have larger popups with a detailed view. UPDATE: Seattle Opera has the season up on their site now; you can take “Visual Tours” for each of the operas.

aida2.jpgThe 1992 Aïda will not be revived or revamped. Instead, a traditional production from Tony award winner Michael Yeargan that had its debut at San Diego in 1996 and was seen there in 2001 but still looks sharp and fresh:

Photos © 1996 Ken Howard, San Diego Opera.

More photos and spec sheet at the San Diego Opera Scenic Studio page.

bluebeard03.jpgThe Stranger’s “The Score” columnist Chris DeLaurenti says in the comments “I hope the Bluebeard/Ewartung double bill is the Robert Lepage production that was so dazzling in Vancouver back in ‘99.” You’re in luck, Chris. The acclaimed production, originally for Toronto Canadian Opera Company, has travelled extensively since its premiere in 1992. Stage director François Racine, who has worked the production in every one of its previous appearances and will be Seattle’s director, told La Scena a bit about the production’s inspiration and concept:

The success of this production comes from the brilliant way it blends together the expressionist sense of emotional breakdown with powerful visual images. Michael Levine… designed this huge frame around the set that suggests a painting by Klimt.


The space of Bluebeard is very closed and dark, giving a powerful sense of physical claustrophobia, with the doors just providing a glimpse of what is outside. Erwartung, by contrast, is a very open space, with just one wall, and a lot of light, but the piece still conveys a sense of mental claustrophobia. The woman’s hallucinations encroach upon her. This theme of enclosure, physical in the first, internal in the second, is very important to the production.


Photos 1995 © Michael Cooper, Canadian Opera Company.

Intrigued? Me too. Elektra and Pearl Fishers under the cut:

Continue reading "Seattle Opera 2008/2009 Productions & Photos" »

Granta Is 100

posted by on January 3 at 1:19 PM

Granta’s name came from the upper part of a river in Cambridge.

It began as a student magazine began in 1889, went to sleep for a few years, and woke up in 1979 under the editorial regime of Bill Buford, who would become its longtime, Falstaffian editor. (He had some editorial partners, but nobody remembers them.)

Since then, Granta lost a lot of money and published a lot of good writing. Every publication that has ever existed grumbles about Granta’s list of contributors: Doris Lessing, Martin Amis, Milan Kundera, Susan Sontag, Jonathan Raban, Gabriel García Márquez, Ben Okri, A. L. Kennedy, Graham Greene, Zadie Smith, Sherman Alexie, et cetera.

Read the Guardian’s elegy (no matter how much it tries to sound enthusiastic about Granta today, it’s an elegy) here.

In Related News, Existence of Jail Ends Crime

posted by on January 3 at 1:04 PM

Bush Administration concludes that saving drug addicts’ lives leads to more drug addiction! Via Alas:

Every year, overdoses of heroin and opiates, such as Oxycontin, kill more drug users than AIDS, hepatitis or homicide.

And the number of overdoses has gone up dramatically over the past decade.

But now, public health workers from New York to Los Angeles, North Carolina to New Mexico, are preventing thousands of deaths by giving $9.50 rescue kits to drug users. The kits turn drug users into first responders by giving them the tools to save a life. […]

The nasal spray is a drug called naloxone, or Narcan. It blocks the brain receptors that heroin activates, instantly reversing an overdose.

Doctors and emergency medical technicians have used Narcan for years in hospitals and ambulances. But it doesn’t require much training because it’s impossible to overdose on Narcan.[…]

New data compiled for NPR by researcher Alex Kral of the consulting firm RTI International show that more than 2,600 overdoses have been reversed in 16 programs operating across the nation.
But Dr. Bertha Madras, deputy director of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy, opposes the use of Narcan in overdose-rescue programs.

“First of all, I don’t agree with giving an opioid antidote to non-medical professionals. That’s No. 1,” she says. “I just don’t think that’s good public health policy.”

Madras says drug users aren’t likely to be competent to deal with an overdose emergency. More importantly, she says, Narcan kits may actually encourage drug abusers to keep using heroin because they know overdosing isn’t as likely.

Madras says the rescue programs might take away the drug user’s motivation to get into detoxification and drug treatment.

“Sometimes having an overdose, being in an emergency room, having that contact with a health care professional is enough to make a person snap into the reality of the situation and snap into having someone give them services,” Madras says.

Yeah—or, you know, dying.

Rossi Emerging as Candidate of the Christian Right

posted by on January 3 at 12:41 PM

This is a pretty long-winded email from Gary Randall, president of the Faith and Freedom Network—the conservative lobbying and activist group that stands up for Washington State’s oppressed Christians.

But it’s noteworthy. The ultimate message is this: The Faith and Freedom Network is throwing its weight (and money*) behind gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi because they want to fight against the secularist agenda. (*They don’t have much cash on hand right now, according to the Public Disclosure Commission—about $600.) Randall’s Rossi email says:

Faith and Freedom will have a lobbyist team in Olympia beginning this next week. Faith and Freedom has also set up a political action committee (PAC). The PAC will be used to endorse, recruit, help train and fund like-minded political candidates. The PAC is raising money to directly support Dino Rossi and other conservative candidates. It has already conducted one candidate training session and will be holding at least 5 more.

Funny, Dino Rossi keeps saying he’s not running on their issues.

Of course, I don’t buy that. And, obviously, neither does the Faith and Freedom Network.

“How Green Is Your Shopping Tote?”

posted by on January 3 at 12:15 PM

This is the question put forth on the cover of the most recent Seattle magazine. It’s also the question that inspired my fella to swipe said magazine from his doctor’s waiting room. “I must confirm the greenness of our shopping tote,” said Jake. “If it’s not green enough, we’re throwing it in a landfill and getting a greener one.”

I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I’d have wagered that our shopping tote was pretty fucking green. We use one of those red vinyl-y Trader Joe handle bags, and it seemed unlikely TJs would affiliate itself with a less-than-green tote. Green in the whole point of the shopping tote, right?

Turns out Trader Joe’s totes aren’t even acknowledged by Seattle magazine. Despite the galvanizing cover text, the actual piece is concerned not with your tote bag’s greenness, but it’s stylishness. Making Seattle’s top three stylish totes: Metropolitan Market’s 100-percent-recycled polypropylene tote, PCC’s sturdy purple fabric tote, and Eat Local’s 100-percent-cotton canvas tote adorned with an “eco-inspirational” illustration by local artist Nikki McClure.

I am left unsure of my tote bag’s level of greenness. Thanks a lot, Seattle magazine.

The Truth About Buildings

posted by on January 3 at 11:55 AM

The Seattle City Hall is bad because is does not tell a truth or offer a course to a truth.
SeattleCityHall.jpg Yes, truths exist. They exist as much as untruths exist. One proof of the existence of untruths is the war in Iraq. There is no truth in that war; it was made possible by a systematic negation of actual facts.

Let’s turn to local architecture.

Bellevue’s City Hall is better than Seattle’s because it tells a truth: Bellevue must awake from the stupid sleep of suburban architecture. And a successful awakening will occur by a public rather than private process. Seattle’s City Hall is worse than Bellevue’s because it says something that is not a fact of life: political and economic power in Seattle is racially and culturally diverse. The management of this city, however, is uniform; nor was there any diversity in the making of the Seattle’s City Hall. Because diversity does not exist in a powerful or actual way in this city, and because there is no real public or private effort to diversify power in Seattle, the City Hall’s diverse look has no reality, it is empty. The lack of a truth has resulted in a building that is not dialogical but an idealogical mess.

What are the greatest truths are the greatest buildings.

Iowa Gives a Shit!

posted by on January 3 at 11:53 AM

I’ve been trying extra hard not to follow any coverage of the presidential race, but even a dumb-ass like me knows that it’s caucus day in Iowa (that rhymes if you’re from there). Anyway, I was recently on tour in Ames, IA and I stopped at a convenience store (I wanna say Kum & Go, but I don’t remember; mainly I just like saying Kum & Go), to use the men’s room. I was sufficiently impressed by the discourse contained in the toilet stall graffiti sloganeering that I took a cell phone picture or two. The text is a little hard to make out, but I’ll transcribe:

A few highlights:

“Hillary in the White House: The War Moved to America”
“Hey Hillary has a former president as a husband THINK ABOUT IT”
“So, W has a former Prez as a dad”
“Bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran”
“Hilary likes it dogstyle when she’s in back”
“Go Mit Romney, Save America From itself”

It’s hard to argue.

SPD HAS NOT cleared Sierra Club Volunteer

posted by on January 3 at 11:53 AM

This morning, the Seattle Times reported that the Seattle Police Department had cleared a Sierra Club volunteer in their investigation of Shannon Harps’ murder.


However, SPD spokeswoman Renee Witt, who’s quoted in the Times article, says that’s not true. “That was a misquote. I did not say that,” Witt says.

SPD says they’re still receiving tips about the case and they haven’t ruled anyone out as a suspect.

Again, the number for SPD”s tip line is (206) 233-5000


Earlier today, I called to confirm that the SPD had cleared the volunteer. Initially, I spoke with SPD spokesman Mark Jamieson, who would neither confirm or deny that the volunteer had been cleared. Later, I called back to talk to Renee Witt about her quote in the Times, and she defensively told me she’d been “misquoted.”

Well, SPD Spokeswoman Renee Witt just called to tell me that she “misspoke” when she told me she had been misquoted in the Times. However, Witt also told me that no suspects have been cleared.

The SPD has been remarkably tight-lipped about this case, and it appears that they let something slip when they shouldn’t have. But, with all the backpedaling, it sure sounds like the Sierra Club volunteer has been cleared.


An Iowa Caucus Night Party in Seattle

posted by on January 3 at 11:45 AM

Commenter Travis asks:

Anybody have any good tips on where to watch the Iowa action unfold tonight?

Here’s one, if you’re into Barack Obama:

Seattle, WA- Grassroots supporters of presidential candidate Barack Obama (D-IL) announced today that they will be holding an “Iowa Caucus Watch Party” on Thursday, January 3 at 7:00 pm at the grassroots supporters headquarters located on the 3rd floor of the Howard Building in Pioneer Square, at 614 First Avenue in downtown Seattle.

“We are calling on all Obama supporters in the Western Washington area to come out and join the people in Iowa as they stand for change on this historic day” said Dean Andro, Senator Obama’s high school classmate and one of the event hosts.

And for those of you who prefer a virtual political experience to an actual political experience: My intern, Ryan Jackson, will be down there with them, hopefully sharing some images of the party with the Sloggy masses.

Chris Dodd Sweeps Montlake Caucuses!

posted by on January 3 at 11:38 AM

OK, not really, but he did TIE (that’s right, TIE) with Edwards and Obama at the Drinking Liberally beer caucus at the Montlake Ale House last night, after sneaky Dodd and Obama supporters bribed and cajoled four members of Team Edwards away from our table. That meant that Edwards, who formerly had three “delegates,” lost one, tying with Obama and Dodd for two delegates each. (Clinton got one.) Obviously, I blame the demon liquor for the shakeup. For a detailed breakdown of the two caucus votes, check out David Goldstein’s blog.

Leading the charge for Sen. Dodd was DailyKos contributing editor Joan McCarter (AKA McJoan), who argued that a symbolic vote from the Drinking Liberally crowd would “send a message” of support to Dodd, even if he can’t win nationally. On Daily Kos, McCarter has praised Dodd for staunchly opposing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which would have given retroactive immunity to phone companies that illegally handed over customer information to the Bush Administration. Dodd’s filibuster threat effectively killed the legislation last year. “Of all the senators running for president, Dodd’s the one who’s shown real leadership” on issues like FISA, the Military Commissions Act [which stripped detainees at Guantanamo and elsewhere of due process and other rights] and habeas corpus,” McCarter says. “He’s kept netroots issues on the front burner.”

“Dodd is a favorite of the netroots because he’s the only one who’s been out there standing up for our issues,” adds Goldstein, who likes Dodd but supported Edwards at last night’s caucus. “There’s been a tacit understanding that if you look at a combination of where [Democratic candidates] stand on the issues and their experience, Dodd might be the best potential president out there.”

While Goldstein blames “personality issues” for Dodd’s “incredibly poor” showing in the national polls, McCarter thinks the real culprit may be a “media narrative” that called for a “historic race … with the first viable woman and the first viable African-American” in the lead. Dodd, in contrast, is “just another white-haired senator from the Northeast.”

Interestingly, under Iowa rules (which, unlike Washington’s wonked-out system, have a 15 percent threshold for inclusion), the final tally would have been Obama, 3; Edwards, 2; Dodd, 2; and Clinton, 0. Real Iowa caucuses commence tonight.

Who Will She Vote For?

posted by on January 3 at 11:33 AM

Former Stranger news intern Sarah Mirk is caucusing in Iowa today. Here’s her initial report:

Before my alarm could even go off this morning, my college roommate called from Maine to tell me I should caucus for Barack. I was bleary-eyed and frog-voiced, but I still managed to grumble the mantra that’s been sustaining my indecision since September, “But Edwards’ health care plan is stronger.” “You only like Edward’s because of that t-shirt you have!” my roommate shouted, referencing the “John Edwards is a Hottie” shirt I proudly wore during the 2004 election.

But times are different now. I am a more mature political thinker who is very policy-focused and rational when it comes to choosing a leader who can fix our Bush-fucked infrastructure. And besides, now I’m in love with Obama. It’s only noon here in Iowa, but all morning things have been looking up for Barack.


Everyone in Grinnell, from the suspenders and John Deere-hat crowd to the gender-queer religious studies majors, gathers at Saint’s Rest coffee shop downtown. Entering such a warm and crowded place from the miserable, biting Iowa cold caused my glasses to fog over and so I stumbled straight past the Obama campaign table right inside the door without noticing it. I rubbed off my glasses while talking to Hannah and Susan, two Grinnell College students who are also Saint’s Rest baristas. Hannah, from Tennessee, drove up to caucus for Edwards. I asked her if she felt like a carpetbagger, since I drove caucus-bound across the border yesterday, too, with a Minnesotan and a student from Wyoming in back. [Ed. note: Sarah doesn’t have to be back at school until later in the month, so she and other nerdy students came back early to caucus. The NYT actually did an article on this yesterday and interviewed one guy who was driving down from Minneapolis to caucus. Mirk was in the car with him.] Susan, a native Iowan, took over to tell me she doesn’t care who comes in for the caucus.


Yesterday Edwards stopped by the coffeeshop and filled the place with 168 voters and journalists who, Susan noted, were very friendly and, most importantly, tipped well. Personally, she’s voting for Obama. “I know it’s cliché, but hearing him speak really got me excited,” she said, “His speech as about global warming, Darfur, Guantanamo, and I was like, ‘These are all the issues that I care about!’ Hilary Clinton only talked about healthcare.”

Two of Iowa’s many undecided voters sat talking in low tones over their cups of coffee at a table near the counter. They were late-30s women wearing baggy sweatshirts and I interrupted their conversation with impertinent questions about who they would caucus for. Both women, were waiting for candidates’ caucus workers to convince them. Issues, experience, policy… these things didn’t matter too much, they said. Instead, both were looking for “Whosoever is the least sleazy of a politician.”

“As a woman, we go on intuition more,” explained one of the undecided, college employee Megan Perry, as I gritted my feminist teeth a little. “I’m going to go with my gut on whoever will do the least damage.”

From there I get wrapped up talking to the Obama campaigners who set up camp near the coffeesshop door. The workers are a younger woman covered in “Women for Obama” buttons and an older woman wearing puffy suspendered snowpants and a single button. I ask them both why they’re excited about Obama and the younger woman replies with a lot of wonky policy stuff. The snowpants woman gets me more, though. She says she read Obama’s first book and looking at me very seriously, she tells me how wise Obama seems for such a young man.

Behind the Obama people, I noticed my friend John Bell leaning over his laptop in the corner, agonizing not over his election choice but what to order off Netflix. John’s a quiet-minded art major who I figured wouldn’t do things like vote, but when I ask he nods and says, “I feel like I have a moral obligation to use the system.” John’s caucusing based on gut response. “Obama’s the only one I trust. I read his book, the one about him doing drugs, and it wasn’t the most gripping read. But it was at least sincere.”

What about Edwards, I ask. “More than anything,” says John, selecting an Ingrid Bergman film, “he’s a suit.” Oh God, I can’t vote for a suit, can I?


The Embarrassment of Splashes

posted by on January 3 at 11:23 AM

Went to see No Country for Old Men last night. Holy shit balls, that’s a fantastic motion picture show. (Confidential to a friend who wanted to know: yes, it’s incredibly violent, but in a striking, beautiful way.) But I’m not here to talk about No Country for Old Men. If I say anything about any movie, especially if I mention anything that happens in any movie, Gillian will get up from her desk and saw my head off. (If you like, Andrew Wright’s review of it is here: “Call it terrifying, stunningly bleak, humane, epic, intimate, darkly funny, deadly serious, or what have you: Whatever laudatory adjectives you throw its way are going to stick.”)

What I actually want to discuss—sorry ladies—are the urinals at Pacific Place. I ran in to use the restroom before the movie started, but the first urinal I stood in front of had something in it. So I went to the next one, and that urinal had something in it too. The same thing. Not an easy thing to describe. I took a picture.


What is that in there? Some sort of cloth? A rug? There’s a part that hangs on the back of the urinal, like a tapestry, and then there’s a part that sits on the bottom of the urinal, like a little bathmat. Both of them together almost look like an easy chair. A small easy chair for the good of urination to sit in. It’s a spongy material that appears to have captured in its fibers all manner of foreign objects, hairs, loogies, etc., and in the sponginess is imprinted a url.

The url is, and if you make a quick visit to the website you discover the most annoying music you’ve ever heard and an explanation of the product.

In today’s world, everyone understands the need for a safe and sanitary environment in their public restrooms. The public is especially appreciative given their increasing fear of the spread of diseases and the embrassment of splashes. The following are some of our customers currently using anti-splash products in their facilities:

Which is curiously followed by blank space. Even though they have at least one customer—the movie theater at Pacific Place. But back up: the fear of spreading diseases? Hey Golob, isn’t urine sterile? Since when does urine spread diseases? One thinks of that old piece of wisdom about how if you have a dog pee on your contact lenses that’s more sterile than if you clean them with your own spit—is that no longer true “in today’s world”? (A subsequent page on the site says that the product “addresses a very important problem in today’s world of international travel, and that is limiting blood born pathogens found in urine.” Anyone? Same page goes on to say that the product is made with “fused synthetic fibers which break the urine droplet upon contact” and that “Although it comes in four basic colors (red, blue, white, and brown) other colors, company logos, and artwork can be produced at an additional charge.”

As for embarrassment, well, one wonders if anyone’s ever been embarrassed at a urinal before. One wonders how much Pacific Place paid for these magic blue embarrassment-stoppers. One wonders what Alex Schweder would think.

Looking for Something to Do on This Rainy Thursday?

posted by on January 3 at 11:15 AM

One of the actors in The Neverending Story at Seattle Children’s Theater suggested eating a pot cookie before seeing the show—and who are we to contradict an artist’s request?

SCT has always been a pleasant haven for small children and stoned adults\, with its sparkly star-patterned carpeting and abundant water fountains. The not-stoned adults at the Children’s Theatre always seem even more tightly wound than their offspring, shouting in high, panicked voices: “Kendra! Come here! Don’t tease Mommy!” Or: “Oh my God, where’s my credit card?!” Or: “DON’T PRETEND TO JUMP OFF THAT!

Anyway—The Neverending Story is an adaptation of a children’s novel written in the late 1970s by a German named Michael Ende. (In 1945, at 16 years old, Ende was drafted into the German army, but he threw away his rifle and deserted, by some accounts joining an anti-Nazi underground movement. Take that, Günter Grass.)

Seattle actor (and Stranger Genius) Gabriel Baron plays a dreamy, nerdy boy with a recently deceased mother.


One morning, he hides from bullies in a bookshop, where the gruff proprietor sort of gives him (and sort of lets him steal) the perfect book—a book about a fantasy world our dreamy nerd eventually falls into, where he finds his courage and becomes its hero.

The action is chopped into appropriately short episodes with monsters, trolls, people who are born old and grow young, a talking horse, and a giant grumpy turtle.


The puppets, designed by Douglas N. Paasch, are simple and great, and the actors are among Seattle’s finest: Baron, Hans Altwies, Sarah Hartlett, Michael Place (of Washington Ensemble Theatre), Tim Hyland (often of Strawberry Theatre Workshop), and so on.

The story is an allegory about depression—a great Nothing is negating the fantasyland, its Childlike Empress has a mysterious wasting disease, one character dies in the Swamps of Sadness because he can’t cheer up, and the Luck Dragon (Altwies) saves people by being endlessly relaxed and optimistic.


High-strung grown-ups take note.

(You’re on your own for pot brownies, but you can get your tickets here.)

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on January 3 at 11:11 AM

From Flickr pool contributor ERIK98122.


Today in Presidential Politics; Or, Just Hours Until the Iowa Caucuses

posted by on January 3 at 11:10 AM

A Biden-Obama deal? Reports and denials.

Caucus day talking points: For Clinton and Obama.

Predictor-in-Chief: Bill Clinton calls Iowa for Huckabee.

The role of the independents: Another exploration.

Turnout models: Revised.

What high turnout means: A Romney loss.

Thompson: Not quitting (at least not today).

Shifting slogans: A look back at Hillary Clinton’s catch-phrases.

And looking ahead to New Hampshire…


posted by on January 3 at 11:03 AM

Okay, yeah, I’m pulling for Obama in Iowa. But I also sort of secretly hope Huckabee trounces Romney and John McCain finishes a strong third. Coming out of New Hampshire, that could mean an Obama v. McCain match-up. I know, that’s not very partisan of me, but wouldn’t it be magic? Just like that, everyone agrees torture is wrong, McCain can apologize for reversing on the Bush tax cuts, and we can have a serious discussion about the real issues: health care, the war in Iraq, global warming. And, uh, youth versus decrepitude.

But most importantly? That match-up looks like it would shut out Bloomberg. Though, actually, if I’m reading this New York Times article right, Obama versus anybody would shut out Bloomberg.

Remember, Dems, Obama’s “signature move is to fake right and veer left”. Change we can believe in, indeed.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 3 at 11:00 AM


‘Five Easy Pieces’ at Northwest Film Forum

The question of whether Five Easy Pieces is sexist or about sexism has been troubling movie nerds for 30 years. The answer is yes. Even the title is a sexist double entendre; those pieces aren’t piano music, dude. But it’s also unquestionably about sexism, or at least a sexist (Jack Nicholson at his most robust), whose woman-mauling behavior injures everyone, himself included. Throw in the chicken-salad-sandwich scene and you’ve got an imperishable emotional weather report from the dawn of the American 1970s. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 267-5380. 7 and 9:15 pm, $5–$8.50.)


The Seahawks Have a Secret Weapon For Their Game Against the Redskins on Saturday…

posted by on January 3 at 10:50 AM

…and it’s Matt Hasselbeck’s skeezy moustache.


(Via Seth Kolloen’s Enjoy the Enjoyment.)

Update: Via Seth again, this time on Seattlest, Hasselbeck has shaved it off. Which is a mistake. After all, throwing past Shawn Springs is much easier when he’s buckled over in laughter.

Savage Love Letter of the Day

posted by on January 3 at 10:30 AM

I didn’t think much of your response to LIMP, Dan. He may not be the most likable guy, but he obviously has a serious anxiety problem—one that is keeping him up at night and is ruining his relationship. He needs to work through and challenge the thoughts that are causing him so much trouble. He needs to stop cross-examining his girlfriend who “let it slip” that she was once with a bigger man. I doubt that ridiculing LIMP and telling him to stop obsessing is going to be helpful. It’s a good thing you’re not a suicide hotline counsellor (“Oh my god! Shut up, just shut up! It’s all “me, me, me” with you people!”).


Yes, M.K., it’s a very good thing I’m not a suicide hotline counselor—because then people would get me on the phone without knowing what they were in for. But someone that writes to me via my advice column, M.K., reads my advice column. I’m not stealing and answering Abigail Van Buren’s mail here.


posted by on January 3 at 10:10 AM

Remember way back before 9/11 when the Bush administration was fumbling downed military planes in China and government stem-cell funding? Back when there was a lot of chatter by Cheney and other republicans that Alaska needed to be explored for oil? Well guess what’s happening now:

The federal government will open up nearly 46,000 square miles off Alaska’s northwest coast to petroleum leases next month, a decision condemned by enviromental groups that contend the industrial activity will harm northern marine mammals.

The Minerals Management Agency planned the sale in the Chukchi Sea without taking into account changes in the Arctic brought on by global warming and proposed insufficient protections for polar bears, walrus, whales and other species that could be harmed by drilling rigs or spills, according to the groups.

The lease sale in an area slightly smaller than the state of Pennsylvania was planned without information as basic as the polar bear and walrus populations, said Pamela A. Miller, Arctic coordinator with Northern Alaska Environmental Center. The lease sale is among the largest acreage offered in the Alaska region.

The Morning News

posted by on January 3 at 7:19 AM

Tasered: “Disturbed” woman walking on I-90 bridge.

Launched: An investigation into destruction of tapes depicting CIA interrogations.

Still no solid leads: In Capitol Hill slaying of Sierra Club staff member.

Dangerous: Air fresheners turn out to be toxic; no one surprised.

Eek: Female college grads face an average of 16 years of student debt, compared to male graduates, who average 11.

Impressive: Oregon health plans must pay for the Pill.

Tightening: Races between top candidates in Iowa.

Suing: California, whose greenhouse-gas limits were denied by the EPA.

Terrifying: 300 dead in Kenyan election violence.

Fretting: The nation’s citrus industry, faced with plummeting temperatures in the South.

Reopening: The San Francisco Zoo, in the wake of tiger attack.

Endorsing: Nader throws support behind Edwards. Um… Thanks?

Quitting: Britney’s lawyers, as she no-shows at a deposition hearing.

Turning mean: Huckabee, under attack from Romney in Iowa.

Recipe of the Day: Minetrone with Sausage, Butternut Squash, and Parmigiano-Reggiano Toasts (Photo and recipe via Well Fed)


Continue reading "The Morning News" »

“A people perverted…”

posted by on January 3 at 7:11 AM

Only Rudy can be trusted to…

…kill all those crazy brown people, even the cute little ones in cute little white pillbox hats.

Via Atrios.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Project Runway

posted by on January 2 at 10:00 PM

Sorry, folks, but the liveblogging software isn’t working. Tragic.

10:05 PM: Ricky is already weeping. And Heidi’s makeup is fu-huh-ucked up. And I think, since I can’t access the liveblogging software, I’m just going to sign off and watch the show. But I have to agree with the woman who just said she was traumatized by being wakened by Tim Gunn. I would be too.

Can’t… just… watch… must… comment…

10:10 PM: Hershey’s Time Square—the sweetest place in New York. Ugh. Bad American chocolate and folks are jumping up and down with delight? Chris looks like he’s in heaven. Wait—they’re making clothes out of candy? WTF? Yes, thanks Michelle—thanks for letting us trash your store.

10:12 PM: Ack, Santino Rice! What’s with the trotting out of previous season’s contestants every week? All it does it drive home how lame this season’s contestants are. And does anyone really care where Santino goes for inspiration?

10:17 PM: I don’t remember anyone’s names. No one is making a lasting impression, and the two week break didn’t help. Hm… blue teddy bears and brown pillows… a print. That’s going to be fugly. But Chris’s dress looks cool. “Real food is not practical,” says Chris. No comment.

10:21 PM: Severe head injury—that explains a lot. It doesn’t, however, excuse naming your daughter “Caliape,” however that word is spelled.

10:23 PM: “Jillian, what are you doing?” “Crashing and burning, Tim.”

10:24 PM: Tim to Sweet Pea: “It looks like a coffee filter or a maxi pad.” That can’t be good, right? And… uh… Ricky’s outfit looked good in that quick shot, didn’t it? Is that why they didn’t show us the Tim/Ricky interaction.

10:30 PM: Project Runway is brought to you by Hershey Chocolate.” Yeah, no shit. Says MadameCrow in comments: “today’s lesson: never take a risk with twizzlers.” Too true. Jillian is going down… or maybe not. They’re drawing so much attention to her and her troubles and that’s usually a sign that someone else is going down. Unless the producers are as dull as this season’s contestants and they’re not faking us out anymore.

10:33 PM: Says Chris… “I have been there, exactly where she is, using real food and having it fall off.” I want more details about that incident. Christian re: Sweet Pea: “Her dress was a hot mess.”

10:35 PM: Okay, here’s hoping one of the designers finally—finally—explodes at the judges. “This doesn’t look wearable,” says Michael Kors. “Yeah, Michael. We had to make these dresses out of CANDY WRAPPERS, you dumb bitch! You ever do that? You wanna give a whirl and see how ‘wearable’ a dress you can come up with, you MISERABLE BITCH?!?!” It really is about time—the challenges this season have been nearly impossible. It’s time for someone who knows he/she is going down to take a chunk out of the judges.

10:39 PM: Okay, someone got to Heidi’s face and fixed her makeup. Good thing.

Ricky’s dress: nice, but a bit tarty.

Chris: Looks like a tube sock—nice use of materials. But not fitted.

Kit: It’s a mess.

Kevin: Eh.

Elise: A mess.

Christian: He thinks his outfit looked amazing!

Pea: She pulled it off.

Rami: NIce.

Jillian: No Twizzlers fell off her dress! She pulled it off!

Victoria: The “ice princess” pose didn’t work. The dress is boring.

10:43 PM: Rami—he impressed the judges. Elisa—no joy in her dress. Come Elisa, explode! Explode! Someone explode! Jillian—she’s not going home. Told you so. Victoria—“She works at the Dairy Queen.” Chris—good dress. “This girl could go into a studio and be shot for the pages of Elle.” Sweat Pea—Heidi says it’s boring, Nina says it looks easy, no joy says Michael.

10:48 PM: Who do you think is gonna win? I’m hoping it’s Chris. But I think it’ll probably be Jillian—edible garment and all. Who’s going home? I’d say Sweat Pee—and, man, is Sweet Pea’s model a little too skinny or what?

10:53 PM: From the comments: “I think the guest judge has a boner for Rami.” I think he’s the sleeper sex symbol this season—now that Jack’s giant tits are off the show, Rami’s hotness can be appreciated.

10:55 PM: Here we go…

Continue reading "Project Runway" »

Something to Look Forward To

posted by on January 2 at 5:07 PM


Project Runway Live Blogging

posted by on January 2 at 4:51 PM

It’s on tonight, right? If so—if it’s a new episode—I’ll be liveslogging the thing. So take your laptop to bed and join the conversation. First topic: Is this season the lamest yet? Is it the end?

Also in Iowa…

posted by on January 2 at 4:22 PM

…one Sarah Mirk, former all-star Stranger news intern.

Sarah lives in Iowa—or goes to a hippie liberal arts college there, anyway—and she’s caucusing with the Democrats tomorrow.

She’s a typical Democratic voter: Most in sync with Edwards’s left-of-center politics; most inspired by the hopeful Obama; and most in favor of having a female president.

She’s going in tomorrow to see who sways her, and she’s going to file a story on that for us tomorrow night.

Based on this e-mail she sent me a month ago, though, I say Sarah’s already got her mind made up:

Obama visited Grinnell on Tuesday and the fire marshal wound up shutting the doors because so many students wanted to get in. When I tried to talk my way in, the normally friendly mustached head security guard looked me in the eye and said, “Either you move or I arrest you.”

So I hightailed it around the back of the building, hoping to sneak in through the campaign workers entrance and who should I run into but Barack himself also slipping behind the crowds!

He shook a couple of my friends’ hands and mine, too, and then there was a real awkward pause where no one knew exactly what to say in the extra few seconds. “How are you guys doing?” Obama asked and someone offered, “We’re just chillin.”

Then he went inside. Obama has smooth, agile hands. Like a violinist’s.

UPDATE: And as the NYT is reporting, apparently there’s some controversy about carpetbaggers like Mirk, who’s actually from California.

End of the Road With Edwards

posted by on January 2 at 3:54 PM

The Edwards bus tour is heading into its last two events, and I’m going AWOL, jumping into a van with some other reporters and heading back to Des Moines to try to catch the “closing arguments” from Clinton and Obama. Here’s the last of my bus tour photoblogging. I’ll post more about the tour and where things stand for Edwards tomorrow.

8:30 a.m. Jan 2
Fairfield, Iowa. The candidate boards the press bus to deliver some coffee and answer a few questions…


…and as the bus pulls out of Fairfield, a cute little Ron Paul enclave is spotted through the window.


1 p.m. Jan 2
Burlington, Iowa. At a small Edwards campaign office the crowd spills out into the hallway and watches through a large glass window as first Elizabeth…


…and then John Edwards rally the supporters.


While the reporters stake out every outlet in sight.


Then it’s off to Iowa City for an event that was too packed to move in (much less take pictures in), and now here, to Cedar Rapids. There were some questions earlier (scroll way, way down) about what rural Iowa looks like. Here is what rural Iowa looked like from the bus window:



And here’s the sunset as we headed into Cedar Rapids. Bye for now!


Friends, Colleagues Say Harps Was Quiet, Unassuming, Kind

posted by on January 2 at 3:41 PM

Few new details have emerged yet in the sad story of Shannon Harps’ death, except a rather scary-looking sketch of a “person of interest” in the murder, released by police earlier today. (The sketch of the “person of interest” matches the description of the suspect police released yesterday). Representatives from the Sierra Club, where Harps worked as an associate regional representative promoting the Cascade Chapter’s Cool State campaign, have not returned calls for comment.

Friends and coworkers we have talked to, however, describe Harps as a quiet, mild-mannered young woman who was a little shy but who had a great sense of humor once you drew her out. Harps worked for the Sierra Club for at least eight years—first in Columbus, Ohio, and then in Seattle, where much of her job involved signing cities up for the Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement, in which cities agree to voluntarily reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions. “It’ll be a terrible loss,” says Sierra Club Cascade Chapter chair Mike O’Brien, who worked closely with Harps. O’Brien describes Harps as thoughtful and helpful—always the first person to show up at events to help out and the last person to leave after cleaning up. “She was just a really good person… just very positive and uplifting,” O’Brien says.

Marc Conte, a friend of Harps who worked with her in the Club’s Columbus office, says Harps was always supportive and positive, even when victories were few and far between (as they frequently were in Ohio.) She never got mad or raised her voice, he says, even during heated debates. “Some take an adversarial approach but Shannon rose above it. People on ‘the other side’ of an issue were her opponents, not enemies. She might have disagreements with those folks but never arguments…”

Harps moved to Seattle about four years ago to work at the Sierra Club. She was stabbed by a bearded, “scruffy-looking” man, according to witnesses, outside a condo building on 15th and Howell, where she had lived for two years, and died of injuries to her upper chest and abdomen before paramedics could get her to a hospital. She had planned to meet up with friends for a New Year’s Eve party, and was just heading back from Madison Market with groceries when she was attacked. Police haven’t yet said whether they believe the killer was someone Harps knew, but an SPD spokesman did confirm to the Stranger that police are interviewing co-workers to determine whether the man was connected to the Sierra Club. Meanwhile, police have increased patrols in the area around 15th and Howell. O’Brien says he can’t imagine anyone targeting someone like Harps for a random attack; however, the alternative is equally unimaginable. “It doesn’t make sense,” O’Brien says. “If it’s not random, then who the hell would want to target someone like that?”

24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on January 2 at 3:30 PM

Midnight with Moe: Christopher Frizzelle on Moe Bar’s New Year’s Eve

Rainy Day: Trent Moorman Breaks Out the Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book

Midnight with James Murphy: The Three Records I Heard on New Year’s Eve

Friends of SNL: Jeff Kirby on the Rentals’s Maya Rudolph. Bonus: Chevy Chase and Steely Dan.

Friends of Full House: John Stamos with the Beach Boys

Today in Music News: the Kinks, Wii, MC Hammer, and More

Snowgaze: Terry Miller on Ride’s “Vapour Trail”

Mellow Lovin’: TJ Gorton on Judy Cheeks

This I Saw U Rules

posted by on January 2 at 3:25 PM

I was walking down Broadway when I noticed you in the window at Castle. After realizing it was my own reflection I was overcome by narcisism [sic]. No wonder everyone’s always staring at me. When: Friday, December 21, 2007. Where: Capitol Hill. You: Man. Me: Man. #908275

We’ve all had these thoughts, but only this guy placed an ad about it.

Read more I Saw U’s here.

A Libertarian Takes On Ron Paul

posted by on January 2 at 3:05 PM

OK, so some of you don’t like my liberal takedown of Ron Paul. How about a libertarian takedown? From Postman:

In the article [in The New Individualist, a libertarian magazine], [writer and libertarian Stephen Green] says Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas, “combines some of the worst instincts of the Republicans with some of the nuttiest ideas of the Libertarians.”

He goes after one of Paul’s key claims to being a different sort of politician. Green says that Paul has won earmarks in the federal budget, including for finding and marketing American shrimp. Paul says he’s never voted for anything not specifically authorized by the Constitution.

How does Paul justify the shrimp pork? Green says by getting the money into the budget but then voting against the budget on the floor of the House.

Green covers Paul’s stand on the economy, trade, immigration and foreign policy, which he hits at hardest. Paul preaches a strict policy of non-intervention, wants a quick withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and has been critical of domestic U.S. intelligence work.

It’s interesting too that when it comes to immigrants, he says, “The economic, cultural, and political situation was very different 100 years ago,” and thus open borders are no longer feasible. Yet he’s unwilling to admit that, just maybe, a high-tech, continental superpower of 300,000,000 people might require a foreign policy different from that of the fragile coastal nation of 3,000,000 farmers in George Washington’s time. In the weird world of Ron Paul, immigration policy should be permitted to change with the current political winds; but a retiring president set our foreign policy forever in stone in 1796.

Exactly: An inconsistent right-winger who, as I wrote before, “believes in slashing government where it actually helps people, and dramatically increasing the size of government to restrict rights he doesn’t agree with.”

Focus on the GOP

posted by on January 2 at 3:05 PM

A pet peeve of mine is that the media doesn’t pay as much attention to the GOP as it does to the Democrats. Geez, we had the NYT this Sunday breaking down the Democratic frontrunners by their favorite pronouns and what they mean: Hillary (I), Obama (We), Edwards (Us and Them).

I’ve complained about this before while giving props to David Postman for actually taking a closer look at GOP thinking.

So, I’m psyched to learn that KUOW will have three GOPers on tomorrow’s Weekday to discuss the question: “Is there room for moderates in the GOP?”

It’s going to be: Alex Hays, executive director of Washington State’s Mainstream Republicans; Luke Esser, state GOP chair; and Larry Stickney, director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington.

Face it: The GOP is a more interesting party in transition. This is certainly reflected by the rambunctious and divergent GOP field for president.

Meanwhile, I cannot believe I’m plugging KUOW. Tune in tomorrow morning.

Seattle Police Release Sketch of “Person of Interest.”

posted by on January 2 at 2:50 PM

The Seattle Police Department has put together a sketch of a “person of interest” —meaning a person they’d like to talk to—about the murder of 31-year-old Shannon Harps. He is not a “suspect” in the murder the SPD tells me, but potentially a witness to the crime.

(Me—and the Seattle Times—initially reported that SPD suspected this man of murdering Shannon Harps. The SPD called to say that is not correct.)


If you know this guy, call the SPD’s tip line at (206) 233-5000.

The Boxes of Bowery

posted by on January 2 at 2:47 PM

More than this?

The New Museum is located on the Bowery…
The building, a dramatic stack of six rectangular boxes, is clad in a seamless, anodized expanded aluminum mesh to emphasize the volumes of the boxes while dressing the whole of the building with a delicate, softly shimmering skin.
With windows just visible behind this porous scrim-like surface, the building appears as a single, coherent form that is nevertheless mutable, dynamic, and animated by the changing light of day.

How can we feel anything but happiness at the sight of such a work? It is a stack of happiness.

As for this:
-3.jpg A heap of rubbish.

Wishin’, and Hopin’… and Behavioral Economics

posted by on January 2 at 2:32 PM

If recent conversations with my friends are any indication, I’m assuming you all have heard Hillary Clinton say some variation on the following:

HILLARY CLINTON: You know, some people think you can bring change by demanding it. And some people think you can bring change…

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s John Edwards, right?

CLINTON: … by hoping for it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s Barack Obama, right?

CLINTON: I think you bring change by working really hard for it. And that’s what I’ve done my entire life.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is the frame you’ve set up. But their point is, you know, you take money from the system as it is right now. You take money from lobbyists. You’ve heard that argument all through this campaign…

I’m guessing you haven’t heard Barack Obama say this:

In the end, the argument we are having between the candidates in the last seven days is not just about the meaning of change. It’s about the meaning of hope. Some of my opponents appear scornful of the word; they think it speaks of naivete, passivity, and wishful thinking.

But that’s not what hope is. Hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task before us or the roadblocks that stand in our path. Yes, the lobbyists will fight us. Yes, the Republican attack dogs will go after us in the general election. Yes, the problems of poverty and climate change and failing schools will resist easy repair. I know - I’ve been on the streets, I’ve been in the courts. I’ve watched legislation die because the powerful held sway and good intentions weren’t fortified by political will, and I’ve watched a nation get misled into war because no one had the judgment or the courage to ask the hard questions before we sent our troops to fight.

But I also know this. I know that hope has been the guiding force behind the most improbable changes this country has ever made. In the face of tyranny, it’s what led a band of colonists to rise up against an Empire. In the face of slavery, it’s what fueled the resistance of the slave and the abolitionist, and what allowed a President to chart a treacherous course to ensure that the nation would not continue half slave and half free. In the face of war and Depression, it’s what led the greatest of generations to free a continent and heal a nation. In the face of oppression, it’s what led young men and women to sit at lunch counters and brave fire hoses and march through the streets of Selma and Montgomery for freedom’s cause. That’s the power of hope - to imagine, and then work for, what had seemed impossible before.

That’s the change we seek. And that’s the change you can stand for in seven days.

I’m guessing you’ve heard that Clinton and Edwards’s health care plans include a mandate and that Obama’s doesn’t. But have you seen that distinction elaborated like this?

The easiest way to describe Senator Clinton’s philosophy is to say that she believes in the promise of narrowly tailored government policies, like focused tax cuts. She has more faith that government can do what it sets out to do, which is a traditionally liberal view. Yet she also subscribes to the conservative idea that people respond rationally to financial incentives.

Senator Obama’s ideas, on the other hand, draw heavily on behavioral economics, a left-leaning academic movement that has challenged traditional neoclassical economics over the last few decades. Behavioral economists consider an abiding faith in rationality to be wishful thinking. To Mr. Obama, a simpler program — one less likely to confuse people — is often a smarter program.

Must reads.

Dreaming Up A Solution

posted by on January 2 at 1:57 PM

Why do we dream? A suggestion:

A dream researcher at the University of Turku, in Finland, Revonsuo believes that dreams are a sort of nighttime theater in which our brains screen realistic scenarios. This virtual reality simulates emergency situations and provides an arena for safe training. As Revonsuo puts it, “The primary function of negative dreams is rehearsal for similar real events, so that threat recognition and avoidance happens faster and more automatically in comparable real situations.”

It’s a lovely idea, one that neatly fits most of the available evidence. Rats denied REM sleep fail at basic survival tasks; humans placed in real crisis situations feel as though they’re in a dream; people who dream about their relationships tend to stay together better than those who do not; humans have about one to four negative dreams a night. And so on.

Some things don’t fit. Recall of dreams, for example, is terrible. How could one use something that cannot be recalled by the conscious mind?

Like many arguments about why a particular trait evolved, it is essentially unprovable. Still, fun to think about.

Triptych from Mount Pleasant, Iowa

posted by on January 2 at 1:47 PM




Today in Presidential Politics; Or, 1 Day Until the Iowa Caucuses

posted by on January 2 at 1:40 PM

The politics of embarrassment: Romney promises to be less embarrassing than the Clintons.

Should Hillary have skipped Iowa? The Politico explores.

Another big quarter: For Ron Paul.

Independents: Predictions that they’ll be a big factor in the Iowa caucuses.

Early state resentment: But you know all about that, Washington, don’t you?

The Huckabust: Or maybe not.

Amping Up: Edwards.

Iraqi Amnesty

posted by on January 2 at 1:39 PM


The Iraq government is considering the release of some 5,000 prisoners but a spokesperson said it would not include terrorists or homosexuals.

Via Queerty.

Youth Pastor Watch

posted by on January 2 at 1:21 PM


He’s been the youth pastor of Bible Way Church in Augusta for two years. Investigators say Falcon Davis who’s 36 years old performed sex acts on a 14-year old girl three separate times.

They say Davis confessed to the crimes. He is now in jail awaiting a bond hearing.

Investigators took him into custody after the girls mother called the Sheriff’s Department this weekend. During the investigation they found 37 pages of Yahoo Messages between Davis and the teenager. Many of them were sexual in nature.
And investigators say the teen eventually told them that Davis came to her house to perform oral sex on her.

Gee, maybe she provoked him?

In other youth pastor news, the youth ministers at Alabama’s Emmanuel Praise Church hope to “take kids off the streets.” Fewer witnesses that way.

Rape Me, Father! Rape Me!

posted by on January 2 at 1:16 PM

A Roman Catholic bishop in Spain is in trouble for… well, this:

There is outrage in parts of Spanish society following declarations made over Christmas from the Bishop of Tenerife, Bernardo Álvarez.

His comments were that there are youngsters who want to be abused, and he compared that abuse to homosexuality, describing them both as prejudicial to society. He said that on occasions the abuse happened because the there are children who consent to it. “There are 13 year old adolescents who are under age and who are perfectly in agreement with, and what’s more wanting it, and if you are careless they will even provoke you,” he said.

So. Abuse happens because 13 year-olds want it, provoke it, and cruelly take advantage of careless, sweaty, old Catholic prelates. If only Catholic parents could keep their children under control, the Catholic Church wouldn’t be making huge cash settlements with so many so-called abuse “victims.”

Dept. of Unsubstantiated Rumors

posted by on January 2 at 12:35 PM

This just in:

Was there a shooting near ASKO/Burke Building? Cops everywhere, SWAT, streets blocked off. Is this in connection with the Cap Hill shooting?

Doubtful. But anyone know what’s going on down there?

UPDATE: The incident at the Burke building concerned a “suspicious package,” which has since been determined to be a package and not, you know, a bomb.

Ron Paul Supporters Drive Me Nuts

posted by on January 2 at 11:54 AM

I’m so tired of lefty Ron Paul supporters who refuse to learn anything about his political positions. For example, from the comments on my morning news post, below (sic in all cases):

“He’s the only (R) candidate calling for an end to the war, and he’s consistently and genuinely called for down-scaling the Federal government, including a material downsizing of the US military.”

“Corporations in the fascist terminology are descendents of medieval guilds and are political bodies in which the economic leaders are oganized in state-sanctioned councils which determine the economic course of the country. Since Ron Paul is a defender of a free market, in which such councils do not exist, he cannot be considered a fascist.”

“eric, you are fucking dumb. romney and guiliani are fascist. Romney wants to double guantanamo, and guiliani is all about the unitary executive. contrast that with ron paul who is against a strong federal government and imperialist military adventures.”

OK, fine; maybe calling Paul a “fascist” was a bit much. How about “right-wing lunatic who believes in slashing government where it actually helps people, and dramatically increasing the size of government to restrict rights he doesn’t agree with”? Not as catchy, but more descriptive.

For example, Paul:

Wants to use state intervention to prevent women from having abortions;

Opposes the UN;

Wants the US government to build a fence along the US-Mexico border;

Thinks birthright citizenship should be abolished;

Thinks the IRS, the Federal Reserve, and most of the Cabinet should be abolished;

Would eliminate all income taxes;

But would be fine with a national sales tax that would disproportionately impact the poor;

Wants to return America to the gold standard;

Thinks it’s OK to not pay taxes, comparing such refusal to nonviolent protests by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.;

Prefers a fully privatized health care system (meaning: health care for the rich, but not for you and me);

Thinks it’s OK for teachers to lead students in prayer in public schools;

Supports amending the Constitution to ban flag-burning;

Opposes all forms of gun control, including on automatic weapons;

Supports a federal ban on embryonic stem-cell research;

Supports the death penalty;

Opposes legalization of gay marriage;

Supports “don’t ask, don’t tell”;

Opposes environmental regulations;

Voted against renewing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964;


Opposes any restriction on campaign contributions, including those by corporations.

Oh, yeah, and he likes pot and hates the war or something.

UPDATE! Oh, and P.S.: Appearing on television is not a “constitutional right.” You can’t love the free market AND cry “censorship” when the free market declares that you’re not a viable candidate.

The First-In-The-Nation Presidential Caucus…

posted by on January 2 at 11:52 AM

…isn’t in Iowa. It’s in Seattle, at Montlake Ale House, tonight.

The caucus/primary season officially kicks off tonight, one day ahead of Iowa, when the Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally holds its first-in-the-nation presidential caucus, 8PM, at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue East. Republicans and Democrats alike are invited to join us for this momentum setting event that will surely set the tone for tomorrow’s better known if Johnny-come-lately Iowa caucuses.

In the same post Goldy announces his support for Edwards:

Edwards is the only one who appears to be running as a Democrat. Delivering a consistent message of economic populism at home and abroad, Edwards is the only front-runner who seems to know what he wants to do with the office, and the only one whose specific proposals on health care, regulatory reform and economic justice seem targeted toward addressing the real issues that ail our nation. While other candidates promise hope or experience or competency, Edwards is the only Democrat truly promising change

But Goldy isn’t an idiot or an asshole—he goes on to say that, should Edwards fail to win the nomination, he will enthusiastically support the Democratic nominee whoever it is. We all need to make a similar pledge. The stakes are too high this year to support a third-party candidate—they were too high eight years ago, but let’s leave that alone—and they’re too high for sulking. If your preferred candidate doesn’t make it to the nomination, suck it up, send a check to the nominee, and do what you can to evict the GOP from the White House in ‘08.

One Step Forward, One Step Back

posted by on January 2 at 11:47 AM

The next few months are going to be agony for Sonics fans. First, from ESPN:

Oklahoma City residents will vote March 4 on whether to levy a one-cent sales tax to pay for improvements at Ford Center in hopes of luring an NBA team, the City Council decided Wednesday.

The vote will take place about six weeks before NBA owners meet to vote on an application by the Seattle SuperSonics to relocate to Oklahoma City.

The tax would last for 15 months, starting on Jan. 1, 2009, the day after a current one-cent sales tax used to fund school improvements expires, and would generate an estimated $121.6 million. It would also pay for an NBA practice facility.

The Ford Center opened just 6 years ago, and cost around $89 million.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma City might be getting all giddy—and tax-happy—about the prospect of landing the Sonics, but Sonics Central remains upbeat about Seattle’s chances of keeping the team:

On the arena front I have to continue the frustrating process of asking people to be patient and advising that there is action behind the scenes. They mayors office promised a completed proposal a couple of weeks ago and they have one. Unfortunately Clay Bennett continues to re-iterate that he will not consider a Key Arena option or even have the discussion and that is the only plan that is being worked on. There is corporate sponsorship available and viable local ownership groups. The big question is whether the league will let a guy move a team simply because he doesn’t want to negotiate. I have been told very clearly and specifically that there will be no rubber stamp process in moving a team from this established market if there is ANY viable arena plan on the table that has revenue streams which are equal or greater than those available in OKC. If that is true, then the city basically has the ability to block a move by putting a competitive package together.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Obesity Epidemic

posted by on January 2 at 11:42 AM

A family home was saved from burning down when a pair of giant knickers were used to put out a fire. Jenny Marsey’s size 18-20 cotton pants were a lifesaver when they were grabbed to cover a frying pan fire at her home in Meryl Gardens, Hartlepool, Teesside.

Her son and nephew were trying to fry some bread when the blaze broke out.

But the quick-thinking pair used the Marks & Spencer underwear from a pile of washing, doused them in water, and threw them over the fire. Mrs Marsey, 53, said: “My £4.99 parachute knickers have come in handy for something. We’ve had a good laugh that they were a bit like a fire blanket.”

Thanks to Slog tipper Reggie.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 2 at 11:00 AM


‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ at Central Cinema

The best American romantic comedy since Annie Hall also contains the least repellant performance Jim Carrey will ever give, and this week, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind—Michel Gondry’s miraculous meditation on the glories and joys of “failed” relationships—lands at the charming Central Cinema. Revisit a postmodern classic while obliterating your own memory with beer. (See movie times for details.)


The Making of a Minimalist

posted by on January 2 at 10:43 AM


The recent “Winter Fiction” issue of The New Yorker (have you heard of it? It’s terrific!) contains a story I’ve been waiting my whole life to read: “Rough Crossings,” about the hardcore-kink editorial relationship between short-story superstar Raymond Carver and his friend/mentor/editor Gordon Lish.

That Raymond Carver, American Minimalist(TM) was a two-man creation is no secret, but the (mysteriously un-bylined) New Yorker piece lays out some impressive details of the Carver-Lish alliance.

Impressive detail #1: The original manuscript for Carver’s second collection of stories—the reputation-securing What We Talk About When We Talk About Love—was cut by Lish by 40 percent (to eliminate “false lyricism and sentiment”) before publication.

Impressive detail #2: The hand of Lish in the work of Carver grew to torture the latter, with Carver spilling his guts in hysterical letters to Lish prior to the publication of the far-more-expansive-when-compared-with-What We Talk About When We Talk About Love collection Cathedral.

These gut-encrusted letters are excerpted at length in the New Yorker, which also features the original Carver version of a Lish-edited classic, and a fascinating look at the original Lish edit.

Moral: Behind every good man is another good man, and sometimes these men grow to resent each other.

Mitt Romney Will Kill Someone With His Bare Hands Tonight

posted by on January 2 at 10:31 AM

And hopefully it’ll be an Iowan. Hey, maybe the dude that indicted me in 2000?

How else can Romney—the flip-flopping, formerly pro-gay/pro-abortion rights governor of a liberal state—respond to this charge leveled in Huckabee’s pulled-from-the-airwaves/shared-with-reporters attack ad?

About mid-way through the ad, during a litany of accusations against Mitt Romney, Huckabee criticizes his rival with this data point: “No executions.”

Apparently, Huckabee—you know, the evangelical, pro-life Republican—is going after Romney for not having executed any Americans during his gubernatorial tenure.

I realize Republican politics are far more crass than norms should allow, but it’s disconcerting to think “You didn’t kill anyone” has suddenly become a criticism in conservative circles.

We know that Romney will do anything to get his animatronic ass elected. And with Huckabee out in front in Iowa and McCain surging in New Hampshire, Romney—who has not only spent millions of his own money on this campaign, but sacrificed his five sons too—is gonna stop talking about muffins and start offing pig farmers.

Informed Speculation

posted by on January 2 at 9:47 AM

The 2008 Consumer Electronics Show is about a week away, meaning that on January 7, thousands of tech middle-management types will pay for blowjobs in Las Vegas while their bosses make announcements about HDTVs, cell phones, GPS devices, and so on.

What, no video games? Yeah, they’ll be there, but CES’ timing is pretty bad in that regard, as most games companies have blown their productivity wad on the Christmas season. Gaming PR usually hibernates until February. But that hasn’t stopped Brier Dudley at the Seattle Times from foaming at the mouth about Bill Gates’ “final” CES keynote speech. (“Gates will not return for the 2009 keynote, after he cuts back on Microsoft work this summer and dedicates more time to philanthropy,” Dudley writes. Right. Gates is the tech world’s Celine Dion—I’ve already pre-ordered tickets to his return tour.)

Most of Dudley’s CES guesses aren’t too far off the mark, but his piece has been getting a lot of play on nerd sites for making a few out-of-the-blue gaming guesses. For one, he thinks MS will “license the Xbox gaming platform to consumer-electronics companies.” Better put, companies like Toshiba will, according to Dudley, create all-in-one units that play HD DVD movies, act as a DVR and play Xbox games. Interesting guess—with no attribution or data to back it up. Never mind that Nintendo tried this sort of thing a few years ago—the Panasonic Q, a semi-all-in-one unit in Japan that was pulled from the market after two years of tepid sales. Never mind that DVR companies like TiVo are dying in the face of cable and satellite providers hocking their own TV-recording devices. And never mind that the Xbox is still sputtering in this device’s target Asian markets—it’s informed speculation, after all!

Even better, Dudley’s comments open the floodgates so that yokels LIKE ME can make equally informed tech predictions. Like these:

Microsoft will kick the iPhone’s touch-screen ass by debuting the Zune Suit—an all-in-one body entertainment center that is controlled by touching icons that pop up on your clothes. They haven’t developed a prototype of the unit yet, but Lily Allen’s already been tapped to write a song that will withstand being played 4,000 times a day to promote the fucking thing. Priorities.

Microsoft will release the Fleshlight XP, which improves the original model’s networking, security and file-sharing features. Testers have reported being pleased with the new model. Incompatible with the Zune Suit—users will have to download a patch.

Windows Vista will still suck and people will still not want to buy it.

Boy, I can’t wait for January 7th!

The Morning News

posted by on January 2 at 9:41 AM

Scary: Sea-level rise could be twice as high as previously predicted, displacing 100 million people worldwide.

Stonewalled”: 9/11 commission chairs, writing in the NYT.

Delayed Elections in Pakistan, due to ongoing violence.

Rising: Oil prices hit $100 a barrel for the first time ever.

Tragic: Police seek suspect in Shannon Harps stabbing; meanwhile, it appears the killer may have known the victim.

Dashing: Candidates in Iowa, with one day left until caucuses.

Deluded: Huckabee, who insists God is on his side.

Also deluded: Young men who have flocked to the campaign of neofascist Ron Paul.

Leading in New Hampshire: Clinton, McCain, according to a recent poll.

HIV Infection Rates Rising Among Young Gay Men

posted by on January 2 at 9:04 AM

It seems like we read the same story about HIV infections every few years: more young people are getting infected, what does it mean, what do we do, etc.. From today’s NYT:

For years he had numbed his pain and fear with drugs, alcohol and anonymous sex. But in a flash of clarity one day, when the crystal meth was wearing off, Javier Arriola dragged himself to a clinic to get an H.I.V. test, years after he stopped using condoms.

He knew the answer before he received the results, but it was far worse than he thought: At age 29, he had full-blown AIDS.

He had planned to have a party for his 30th birthday. Instead he was thinking of hanging himself in his apartment in Hell’s Kitchen.

What’s to blame for the rising infection rates among young gay men?

So far, they say, the significant factors feeding the trend appear to be higher rates of drug use among younger men, which can fuel dangerous sex practices, optimism among them that AIDS can be readily treated, and a growing stigma about H.I.V. among gays that keeps some men from revealing that they are infected.

And what do we do? The story tells us that new HIV prevention education campaigns targeting young gay men are planned. Of course. It’s the same course of action taken—or recommended—the last four or five times this story was written. But so long as gay health educators refuse to level with gay men—there’s no “moderating” your meth use; you can suck too much cock; anal sex isn’t a first-date activity and having anal sex with hordes of anonymous partners, even with condoms, is sure-fire way of contracting HIV—these new campaigns won’t have much of an impact.

And so we’ll be reading this story again in a couple of years, yet another story about HIV infection that makes tragic heroes of guys like Javier Arriola and goes on to suggest that straight talk about HIV infection is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Take this example:

Kyle, who found out that he had the virus two years ago, at the age of 23, said he had grown weary of what he called “pity dates,” men who agreed to go out with him after he revealed he was infected, but had no intention of pursuing a relationship…. “They blame you and want nothing to do with you; they put you at the end of the line,” said Kyle, who spoke on the condition that his last name not be used because he said he believed his condition would hurt him professionally. “The older generation sees AIDS as a tragedy, the younger generation sees it as self-destructive behavior.”

He said he was infected by someone who did not reveal that he had the virus until after they had unprotected sex.

I feel great sympathy for Kyle. But his infection at 23 is tragic and it was the result of self-destructive behavior that Kyle chose to engage in.

And Kyle? The person with whom you having unprotected sex, the one who didn’t reveal his status to you, couldn’t have had unprotected sex with you if you weren’t willing to have unprotected sex with him.

On the Radio

posted by on January 2 at 8:06 AM

I’ll be on 710 KIRO (AM) this morning, talking with host Ron Reagan about the race toward the Iowa caucuses. Don’t know where in Iowa I’ll be when the show calls at about 11:30 a.m. PST, but I’ll be talking about life on the trail with John Edwards.


Stabbing Update: Volunteer Made Sierra Club Staff Uncomfortable

posted by on January 2 at 7:20 AM

Originally posted last night around 10:45pm.

A Sierra Club source told Erica tonight that there was a volunteer at the Sierra Club, where Shannon Harps worked— who appears to fit the description that the police are giving of the suspect in Harps’s murder.

This volunteer, Erica learned, made members uncomfortable, and “his picture was up at the office.” Erica’s source explains: “It was pretty clear, don’t leave this guy alone in here.”

This may have been related to the volunteer’s interest in Harps.

Erica’s source says the volunteer had asked Harps out on a date. Harps said, ‘No.’

“We don’t know if he continued to ask her out,” the Sierra Club source adds.

The volunteer reportedly stopped coming around during the Sierra Club’s No on Prop 1 campaign. (Prop 1 was the roads and transit measure.) So, members were surprised when the volunteer showed up at the Sierra Club’s election night victory party at Piecora’s on Capitol Hill when Prop 1 lost. “It was unusual,” Erica’s Sierra Club source says. “He was not a regular volunteer.”

The volunteer also showed up at the Sierra Club’s offices right before Christmas. “It seemed like something was motivating him,” the Club member says.

It’s impossible to know right now if this has any bearing on Harps’s murder, but it is jarring information.

Where Are We? What Time is It?

posted by on January 2 at 5:28 AM

Oh look, it’s 5 a.m. again. They tell me I’m in Ottumwa. While we have another brief moment of electricity, warmth, and wireless, some more photoblogging from the Edwards up-all-night bus tour.

12:00 a.m. Jan 2
Atlantic, Iowa. This was a farm house, very American pastoral, where John and Elizabeth Edwards had cornbread and black-eyed peas…


…and reporters took notes through indoor windows dressed in lacy trim (in the background is the cutest wood burning cooking stove ever)…


…and the farmer who owns the house looked like this:


2:15 a.m. Jan 2
Creston, Iowa. This stop was notable for the fact that we got to sleep two hours before it happened. The drill now is this: Sleep, fret about battery life, wake up, ask where you are, have no idea what it means, pull on jacket, know it won’t help that much, step out into the dark, feel physically ill from the temperature difference, and find yourself, say, in a lovely house with blue interior.


The stump speech keeps getting shorter, and I feel like I could give it myself by now… “Fight for you,” “Stand up,” “The power of the corporations,” “This is very personal to me.”

Only about 15 more hours and 8 more stops to go. See you at the next stop with wireless. Meanwhile I hear the sun just came up… And indeed it did.


It’s morning in America, wherever in America I am, and it’s time to get back on the bus.

Seattle Opera Upcoming Seasons

posted by on January 2 at 12:13 AM

Hello. Welcome to a long-assed post that probably three people will read.

Even though it hasn’t been made officially, totally public yet, here’s a look at Seattle Opera’s very, very exciting and ambitious upcoming season (and a bit beyond). Via Opera-L, from the Seattle Opera 2008-2009 subscription brochure.

2008/2009 Season
Aïda, August 2-23, 2008
Aïda: Andrea Gruber/Lisa Daltirus
Radames: Antonello Palombi/Rosario La Spina
Amneris: Stephanie Blythe/Luretta Bybee
Amonasro: Charles Taylor/Richard Paul Fink
Ramfis: Luiz-Ottariva Faria/Carsten Wittmoser
King of Egypt: Joseph Rawley
High Priestess: Priti Gandhi
Messenger: Karl Reyes
Conductor: Riccardo Frizza
Set Designer: Michael Yeargan
Costume Designer: Peter J. Hall

I could really do without Andrea Gruber in anything ever, and I’m curious to know what they’re going to do for the Aïda, whose last production—new, at that time—was apparently booed and panned. Apparently the production concept was that the whole thing was set in an antiquities museum, where, instead of a Triumphal March, there was, like, an offloading of pallettes of Ptah statuettes. Will they revive it? Revamp it?

Elektra, October 18-31, November 1, 2008
Elektra: Janice Baird/Jayne Casselman
Chrysothemis: Irmgard Vilsmaier/Carolyn Betty
Klytemnestra: Rosalind Plowright/Luretta Bybee
Aegisthus: Richard Margison/Thomas Harper
Orestes: Alfred Walker
Young Servant: Simeon Esper
Overseer: Mary McLaughlin
Conductor: Lawrence Renes
Director: Chris Alexander
Set Designer: Wolfram Skalicki

I don’t know much about the alternate cast, but the main cast ought to be pretty amazing. I don’t love any of their voices, but with the exception of Chrysothemis, none of the voices need to be pretty; hell, they can be downright scary—and there’s a good bit of that here. Oh, hay: you can actually listen to Janice Baird sing the monlogue here (part 1, “Allein! Weh, ganz allein”) and here (part 2, “Vater! Agamemnon”).

Les Pêcheurs des Perles, January 10-24, 2009
Leila: Mary Dunleavy/Larissa Yudina
Nadir: William Burden/John Osborn
Zurga: Christopher Feigum/David Adam Moore
Nourabad: Patrick Carfizzi
Conductor: Gerard Schwarz
Director: Kay Walker Castaldo
Set Designer: Boyd Ostroff
Costume Designer: Richard St. Clair

If I’m not mistaken, this is a production where the men are often scantily clad and covered in green body paint. If I am mistaken, then Seattle Opera needs to get on that tip. Mary Dunleavy’s the fucking bomb; I’m surprised she got casted. I loved William Burden L’Italiana and Iphigénie, and he’s perfect for Nadir. I don’t know Christopher Feigum. I don’t need to tell you about Gerard Schwarz, but if I did, I’d probably make a “limp baton” joke.

Bluebeard’s Castle and Erwartung, February 21-28, March 1-7, 2009
Bluebeard: John Relyea
Judith: Malgorzata Walewska
The Narrator: Arthur Woodley
The Woman: Susan Pierson
Conductor: Vjekoslav Sutej
Production: Rober Lepage
Director: François Racine
Set & Costume Designer: Michael Levine

Psychological drama double bill! This will be the hot ticket of the season. John Relyea was hands-down the best thing in SO’s Tales of Hoffmann a few seasons back. He’s handsome, magnetic, and has hell of a voice (which recently I’ve heard being pushed a bit, to his detriment, but still). And Erwartung?!? Whoa. A one-act monologue by Schoenberg and his first big atonal piece. Stream-of-consciousness text, possible links to a Freud case. There a few recordings of it, but get your ass on the Jessye Norman train because it’s the only one that Goes There.

Le Nozze di Figaro, May 2-16, 2009
Figaro: Oren Gradus/Nicolas Cvallier
Count Almaviva: Mariusz Kwiecien/Johannes Mannov
Countess Almaviva: Twyla Robinson/Jessica Jones
Susanna: Christine Brandes/Elizabeth Caballero
Cherubino: Daniela Sindram/Sarah Castle
Marcellina: Joyce Castle
Dr. Bartolo: Arthur Woodley
Don Basilio/Don Curzio: Ted Schmitz
Antonio: Barry Johnson
Conductor: Dean Williamson
Director: Peter Kazaras
Set Designer: Curtis Wallin

This will totally be a big ole sex romp, with gratuitous chest baring for Kwiecien, who’s Seattle Opera’s resident barihunk, and damn, he can sing. Gradus’s voice is decent, if a bit clumsy and driven. Speight Jenkins is clueless as ever about female voices, but it doesn’t even matter because the real battle is getting enough energy and interest in the staging that people will be able to sit there for four hours. And Seattle Opera’s really good at that, so.

Ben Heppner/Ascher Fisch, August 14, 2008
International Wagner Competition, August 16, 2008


August 2009
The Ring Cycle

Let’s not.

Beyond this, I’ve got bits and pieces. Some of these productions and dates are tentative and speculative, but they’re based on real information from real interviews, biographies, and schedules of the individual singers. After the jump…

Continue reading "Seattle Opera Upcoming Seasons" »

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Stabbing Update: Volunteer Made Sierra Club Staff Uncomfortable

posted by on January 1 at 10:43 PM

A Sierra Club source told Erica tonight that there was a volunteer at the Sierra Club, where Shannon Harps worked— who appears to fit the description that the police are giving of the suspect in Harps’s murder.

This volunteer, Erica learned, made members uncomfortable, and “his picture was up at the office.” Erica’s source explains: “It was pretty clear, don’t leave this guy alone in here.”

This may have been related to the volunteer’s interest in Harps.

Erica’s source says the volunteer had asked Harps out on a date. Harps said, ‘No.’

“We don’t know if he continued to ask her out,” the Sierra Club source adds.

The volunteer reportedly stopped coming around during the Sierra Club’s No on Prop 1 campaign. (Prop 1 was the roads and transit measure.) So, members were surprised when the volunteer showed up at the Sierra Club’s election night victory party at Piecora’s on Capitol Hill when Prop 1 lost. “It was unusual,” Erica’s Sierra Club source says. “He was not a regular volunteer.”

The volunteer also showed up at the Sierra Club’s offices right before Christmas. “It seemed like something was motivating him,” the Club member says.

It’s impossible to know right now if this has any bearing on Harps’s murder, but it is jarring information.

On the Road with Edwards in Iowa

posted by on January 1 at 10:30 PM

Hello from the 36-hour “Marathon for the Middle Class,” featuring John Edwards, his “Main Street Express” bus, another bus full of journalists trailing close behind, and a non-stop sprint through the darkness of what is shaping up to be a very long, and very interesting, Iowa night.

There are no power outlets on the press bus (cue the jokes about “two Americas” and the John Edwards energy policy), so we’re all fighting battery death. Thus far the stops have been too quick and chaotic to recharge laptops, but here in Cass County I have a brief moment with a power outlet and a wifi connection, hence some photoblogging. Oh, the places I’ve been:

7:15 p.m. Jan 1
A phone bank at the United Steelworkers Local 164 in Des Moines…


…where the media watched the media watch the phone-bankers…


…and the place was very, very packed…


…and yours truly failed to know who this was…


…and also had to be coached on the pop-culture importance of another semi-celebrity endorser in attendance, Jean Smart, who even has a local connection, being from Seattle and all.

9ish p.m. Jan. 1
On the bus, somewhere in the middle of nowhere


10:00 p.m. Jan. 1
A campaign office in Council Bluffs, where the candidate makes time for the local news…


…and the locals know what to wear in temperatures that people in the crowd put at somewhere between 10 above and 10 below zero…


…and the candidate takes a moment to look a distressed supporter in the eye and tell her, “God Bless You.”


A Witness Speaks. Victim, Sierra Club Organizer, Identified.

posted by on January 1 at 7:59 PM

Seattle Police are still looking for suspects in the fatal stabbing of a 31-year-old woman last night on Capitol Hill. Police have released a description of the suspect, and are hoping more witnesses will come forward with information about the attack.

One of the victim’s neighbors, who lay on the sidewalk with 31-year-old woman in the moments before police arrived, didn’t see the attack, but heard the victims screams from her apartment. “I heard the scream,” the neighbor says. “There’s a building on the corner, mentally ill people live there. There are screams all the time, but not screams like that.”

The neighbor—who asked not to be named—says she ran out of her apartment after the attack and saw a man wearing a large blue jacket fleeing towards Madison avenue.

According to information the neighbor received from police, the 31-year-old victim had just returned from shopping at nearby Madison Market when she was killed. “The police told me that it was not a robbery,” the neighbor says. “Her money and ID was [still on her] and her groceries were still in the stairwell.”

The neighbor says she’s always thought her neighborhood was a safe place. “I would walk my dog at night or early in the morning [by myself],” she says. “[This is] really devastating.”

Seattle Police are encouraging people to contact them if they have any information.


Here’s what we’ve been able find out about the victim.

Shannon Harps, 31, spent the last 4 years working as an organizer for the Sierra Club after moving to Seattle from Columbus, Ohio. Former Washington State Sierra Club Chair Mike McGinn says: “Shannon was a wonderful person and a wonderful person to work with.”

Recently, Harps had worked on public outreach in east King County and, according to McGinn, was instrumental in “getting Dave Reichert to vote the right way on the Alaska wildlife refuge.”

Another of Harps’ co-workers described her as, “Funny but quiet. [You] had to draw her out a little bit. There’s no way she could have been a provocateur in any way. She was not someone who would make anyone angry.”


Shannon Harps, right, in a photograph posted to the Sierra Club’s Flickr account .

A Description of the Killer

posted by on January 1 at 5:53 PM


Police have released some details about the killing on Capitol Hill last night. From the PI:

According to police, the as-yet-unidentified man attacked a 31-year-old woman just after 7 p.m. outside her home on the 1700 block of 15th Avenue. Police spokesman Mark Jamieson said the woman was stabbed multiple times near the Howell Street entrance to her building, then staggered to the sidewalk crying for help….

Witnesses estimate that the man was white, about 6-feet tall and in his 40s, Jamieson said. At the time of the attack the man was wearing baggy pants, a blue parka or athletic-style jacket and a dark knit hat. He may also have been wearing a yellow hooded sweatshirt.

Jamieson said the man had a 3- to 4-inch-long beard and that witnesses described him as “described as scruffy or transientlike, but ‘not too dirty.’”

UPDATE: Capitol Hill Triangle writes

I just watched Kiro 7 local news at 5 and the top story is the stabbing at 15th & Howell. They released some details that news outlets have not yet published online (not even KIRO’s website has the footage I saw on TV). The victim’s name was Shannon Harps. She was 31 years old and worked as an Associate Regional Rep at the Cascade Chapter of the Sierra Club.

UPDATE 2: Anthony Hecht, a Stranger staffer who lives near the scene of the crime, took the picture that’s now at the top of the post about a half an hour ago (8 PM). He writes…

Just went out to take some photos of the candles. A couple people walked up and lit candles or just stood and looked as I was taking the shots. An SPD car was around, and all the media vans are camped out across the street in the (former) Christian Scientist Church parking lot.

The cops were talking to one of my neighbors when I walked back down the alley, showing her the description of the suspect (basically the same as Dan posted). They said that’s all they have, they don’t have a trail or solid direction he went or anything else on him. They said now they’re thinking maybe he’s in his 50s.

The police said much of the description comes from another “transient” or someone drinking on the corner who said this guy passed him on the sidewalk and said, “Someone just got stabbed around the corner,” and then kept going. This guy was a suspect but in now a primary witness. They’ve had several suspects that have been cleared by multiple checked-out alibis. They think the victim was coming back from shopping at Madison Market. They have no motive at all. I asked if she had been robbed or anything was missing and they said variously “no” and “we don’t know.” They were telling everyone to be very careful and not to walk around alone.

Also… Jonah got an interview with the woman who found the body. We’ll have that posted shortly.

UPDATE 3: Here’s a picture—we believe—of the victim. Capitol Hill Triangle had it up earlier—found via Flickr. A few other folks have sent it to us as well.


Fuzzy New Year

posted by on January 1 at 5:47 PM


2155439689_2557d1aeae.jpg(Both by fffssss)

Marianne on the Decks Last Night

posted by on January 1 at 5:45 PM

2155899369_db2ae5cccc.jpg(by gaijinrunner)

Last Meal

posted by on January 1 at 2:57 PM


Before I spend about 24 hours on the John Edwards “On The Road to a Stronger Middle Class” bus tour. The tour will be rolling through the Iowa night, to places like Council Bluffs, Creston, and Centerville, and by my count we’re going to hit a total of 13 campaign stops (sample times: 12 a.m., 2:15 a.m., 5:15 a.m., 7 a.m.) before we wind up back here in Des Moines tomorrow evening for a John Mellencamp concert in Edwards’s honor.

I told the waiter who served me the above salad that I was about to do this. He gave me a look of pity. I said I was excited about seeing rural Iowa (to the extent that I can stay awake while it’s going by). He told me rural Iowa is ugly.

Don’t know exactly what my wireless situation will be on the road, but I assume there will be opportunities to post about what the Road to a Stronger Middle Class looks like. See you then…

Ryan Recalls His Madonna Phase

posted by on January 1 at 2:31 PM

21543diana-arens1.jpg(by Diana Arens)

Kucinich Tells Supporters to Back Obama

posted by on January 1 at 1:50 PM

That is, Kucinich tells them to back Obama in the (likely) event that Kucinich fails to make the 15-percent threshold at Democratic caucus meetings here in Iowa on Thursday. From Kucinich’s statement:

This is obviously an ‘Iowa-only’ recommendation, as Sen. Obama and I are competing in the New Hampshire primary next Tuesday where I want to be the first choice of New Hampshire voters.

I hope Iowans will caucus for me as their first choice this Thursday, because of my singular positions on the war, on health care, and trade… But in those caucus locations where my support doesn’t reach the necessary threshold, I strongly encourage all of my supporters to make Barack Obama their second choice. Sen. Obama and I have one thing in common: Change.

Who knows what impact this will actually have, but Obama is pleased.

Savage Love Letter of the Day

posted by on January 1 at 1:35 PM

Please disregard my previous e-mail. As of the new year, my girlfriend is no longer a virgin.

Bird in a Box

posted by on January 1 at 12:20 PM

Our fearless distribution team has found all manner of things in Stranger boxes, but this is a new one. Queen Anne driver Dalene took the photo.

The View from Home

posted by on January 1 at 12:07 PM

fecki1.jpg(by Fecki)

Today in Presidential Politics; Or, 2 Days Until the Iowa Caucuses

posted by on January 1 at 12:01 PM

Obama and Hukcabee in the lead in Iowa: According to The Des Moines Register.

Flawed poll: According to Clinton and Edwards.

More poll parsing: From Yespen.

With backers like these: Nader is supporting Edwards.

Not invited: Ron Paul, to the last New Hampshire debate.

Huckabee: Still slamming Romney.

Obama: Hey, I used to be middle class, too.

Life on the bus: What I have to look forward to tonight.

Digital Cure for Loneliness

posted by on January 1 at 11:58 AM

21532seattlescott1.jpg(by seattlescott69)

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 1 at 11:00 AM


‘The Savages’

Tamara Jenkins’s (Slums of Beverly Hills) latest is about the misery of family. Specifically, the clashes, panic, and rampant self-absorption that occurs when parents need to be taken care of by their children. With sharp writing, predictably fine performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney, and a standout turn from Philip Bosco as the père in need, the movie clicks on nearly every level—just don’t see it with your folks. (See movie times for details.)


Prayers for Peace

posted by on January 1 at 10:49 AM

21525jenwaller.jpg(by Jen Waller)

Anticipation City

posted by on January 1 at 10:44 AM


dylank2.jpg(both by Dylan Koutsky)

Last Night’s Big Bang

posted by on January 1 at 10:35 AM

packrat2k1.jpg(by packratt2k)

Morning News

posted by on January 1 at 9:43 AM

Violence in Kenya: Mob burns church, kills at least 40.

Campaign Finance: Independent expenditure groups pour money into Iowa.

Pakistan: Elections delayed until February.

Sudan: US diplomat gunned down in Khartoum.

Israel and the Palestinians: Olmert says Israelis must fathom the idea of divided Jerusalem.

Obama Widens Lead: New Iowa Poll.

Ralph Nader: Bashes Clinton, says he supports Edwards.

Recession? : Will one hit Seattle?

Music Industry Clampdown: UW trying to verify illegal downloads.

Stabbing on Capitol Hill: Woman in mid-20s murdered at 15th and Howell.

Heading to Iowa

posted by on January 1 at 5:10 AM


I’m on my way back to Iowa, on a trip that begins with the whimper-inducing departure time above and should deliver me—much, much later tonight—into the seat of a bus rolling through rural Iowa on John Edwards’ all-night “Marathon for the Middle Class” tour. (Somewhere in Seattle, Jenny Durkan is smiling.)

Here’s the story from my last trip to Iowa. For this trip I’ve actually remembered to bring along the digital camera, so I hope to post images of my journey with the Edwards campaign and other Iowa adventures as we head toward the caucuses on Thursday. (Assuming my hands can even hold a camera in this weather.)


posted by on January 1 at 12:41 AM

Not sure what’s lamer—tonight’s fireworks, or the fact that I’m kicking off the new year with a Slog post about them. Either way, thanks to a Space Needle computer meltdown, the huge fireworks display froze up twice tonight, and once they were finally thrown into manual override, they were pretty much all set off at once. Looked awful. Somebody, quick—figure out how this is foreshadowing for Seattle public policy in ‘08.

Even worse than standing out in the cold to watch them downtown, though, was watching channel 5’s broadcast of the thing as the hosts tried to make up for the dead air. Yeah, tell me how fucking beautiful the Space Needle is again. Here’s a suggestion for a New Year’s resolution, Joyce Taylor: Shut. Up.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Woman Stabbed To Death on Capitol Hill

posted by on December 31 at 10:58 PM

Just after 7pm, police responded to an assault call on 15th and Howell. When officers arrived, they found a woman in her mid-20s lying on the sidewalk with multiple stab wounds. The woman was taken to the hospital where she died from her wounds.

Police have not released a description of the suspect.

Will update if new information becomes available.

Keep Running

posted by on December 31 at 8:34 PM

I moved today. I moved and came across this briefcase.
-1.jpg A relative gave it to me too many years ago. I don’t remember the relative who once called this thing his own; nor do I recall why he felt that such a thing needed to be owned by me. Nevertheless, it has been with me ever since it exchanged hands. It went with me to Botswana in 1987, to United Kingdom in 1988, to Sweden in 1989, to New York City in 1990, to Harrisburg in 1991, to Pioneer Square in 1992, to Sand Point in 1994, and to the Central District in 1996. Somewhere along the way I stopped opening the briefcase. Why? Because somewhere along the way I began to fear that one of the letters it contained had this opening: “To Whom It May Concern: Keep This Nigger-Boy Running.”

Happy New Year to Barack Obama

posted by on December 31 at 8:20 PM

From the Des Moines Register, which just released its much-anticipated final poll heading into the Iowa caucuses:

Obama 32

Clinton 25

Edwards 24

As for the Republicans:

Huckabee 32

Romney 26

McCain 13

Paul 9

Thompson 9

Links to methodological quibbling and other poll deconstruction tomorrow. For now: Happy New Year, Sloggers!

50 Most Loathsome

posted by on December 31 at 8:06 PM

The Beast, which looks to be some kind of juvenile and petty (ahem) web magazine kind of thing, annually publishes a list of the 50 Most Loathsome People for the preceding year. It’s often funny, and anyway it’s a good way to look back at the past year and remember all the stupid and horribly depressing things that happened in politics and celebrity-ics.

Happy New Year!


posted by on December 31 at 7:54 PM


Happy New Year’s Eve 1973 from Bend, Oregon, where we’re staying in a two-bedroom time warp. Gotta love that light fixture over the dining room table. Have five bare light bulbs ever looked better?

A Great Paper to End 2007

posted by on December 31 at 6:19 PM

Global warming is actually caused by growing numbers of CO2-emitting bacteria on the sea floor, says a study published online on 3 November in the Journal of Geoclimatic Studies [pdf]. “Those who subscribe to the [human-caused climate change] theory have overlooked the primary source” of CO2 emissions, write Daniel Klein and colleagues at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

The president is right! We did just need to study more!

The problem is that Klein and his team don’t exist. Neither does their Department of Climatology; Okinawa University, where the journal is purportedly published; or its editor, OU climatologist Hiroko Takebe


It’s a hoax designed “to expose the credulity and scientific illiteracy of … ‘climate skeptics,’ ” according to “Mark Cox,” the self-described real author of the article. Cox says several anti-global warming Web sites cited the paper but hastily erased their coverage when the hoax was revealed.


Happy New Years, y’all!

In Commemoration of the Soon-to-be-Dead 2007…

posted by on December 31 at 5:26 PM

Please allow me to revisit the two greatest “viral videos” that entered my life this past year. I’ve watched each clip dozens of times, and both feature a woman hollering in the most amazing way imaginable. May 2008 be blessed with such riches.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on December 31 at 3:44 PM

Jim Anderson at the board for the Unscrew the Crocodile Employees benefit show at Chop Suey, courtesy of Flickr pool contributor sarah joann murphy.


The Seattle Times. I Thought They Were Against Media Consolidation?!?

posted by on December 31 at 3:31 PM

The Seattle Times announced, gleefully, today that they now have weekday rights to New York Times articles and columnists.

It’s sort of strange that they’re so psyched about it.

Haven’t they been grandstanding all year about localism and independent media? Isn’t the point of locally-owned, independent media that you promote your own columnists and writers, rather than expanding your use of NYT copy?

Indeed, doesn’t making more room for NYT reporters and writers swipe space away from local writers and opinion?

Happy consolidated New Year from the Frank Blethen and the Seattle Times. Oh, and good luck in the new year to the Seattle Times own writers and reporters.

This Year on Drugs

posted by on December 31 at 3:00 PM

Most drug news sucks. It’s either a starlet snorting lines or a linebacker getting stoned. And both fuckers say how bad they feel and get off the hook. But these sorts of sin-to-redemption stories are irrelevant. This Year on Drugs endeavors to cover the top ten significant developments and entertaining tragedies of 2007. And, no, Amy Winehouse doesn’t make the cut.


All Time High: A report released by the FBI in September shows pot arrests continued to climb, reaching an annual record of 829,625, at a cost of roughly $8 billion, in 2006. That’s a six percent increase from the previous year—out of proportion with population growth or the rate of use. The Census Bureau estimates the US population increased by only one percent that year. The rate of pot use has remained comparatively stable since the 1980s.

Your tax dollars at work.

Legal Aliens: It’s unclear what test group approved ads depicting a crayon animation girl dumping her stoner boyfriend for a sober Martian. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill were as nonplussed by the bizarre scenario in the drugs ads as the rest of us—so the Democratically controlled Congress slashed the White House’s National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign budget by 40 percent from the previous year, to less than half of Bush’s request.


Cartel Violence: Mexican President Felipe Calderón decided to step up the drug war with alarming consequences. A record 2,500 people were killed by cartels—which specifically targeted musicians, politicians, and police. Undaunted by the apparent relationship between escalating drug enforcement and a rise in organized crime, Calderón is seeking an additional $1.4 billion from the U.S. in 2008 for Plan Mexico. The name is borrowed from the US-funded Plan Colombia, which failed to curb cocaine production but made that country one of the most violent places on earth.

Continue reading "This Year on Drugs" »

Today in Presidential Politics; Or, 3 Days Until the Iowa Caucuses

posted by on December 31 at 12:20 PM

Cantwell Endorses Clinton: Cites her energy policy.

Tailing Bubba: With Bill on the road in Iowa.

What counts as a win? An exploration.

Snow bird: Rudy heading to Florida for Iowa caucus night.

Reverse psychology: Huckabee goes negative on going negative while going negative.

What if Iowa settles nothing? Something to consider.

What if a Clinton supporter disses Iowa? This happens.

Obama’s electability: A PowerPoint presentation.

Dry Run

posted by on December 31 at 11:25 AM

The Cincinnati Post prints its final edition today, another print-media dinosaur going extinct. But it’s not the reporters’ fault. They’ve worked hard. They’ve been committed. Some for decades. So on closing day—on New Year’s Eve—they should enjoy a commemorative toast. Right?

To: Colleagues; From: Mike; Subject: Last day

Here’s what I know about how things are going to work on December 31, our last day:

John Vissman will arrange for food, beverages and treats for all as we get the last editions out, clean out our desks and say good-bye. But … tempting as it may be … please do not bring any alcoholic beverages into the newsroom. Let’s go out like the professionals we have been these last, difficult weeks.

Each staffer will also receive six free copies of the 50-cents-a-piece newspaper. Cheers.

Via The Bellwether Daily.

My One Regret

posted by on December 31 at 11:24 AM

I regret not having read Badiou’s Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil
..before making Zoo, a film that currently has one of its best critical examinations in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Badiou’s concept of the truth as an event that occurs on the edge of (and presents a void to) the state of a situation, what the Greeks called “nomos”—the order, the rule, the custom, the standard, the society of opinions—better expresses the spatial organization or geographic location of the Enumclaw Horse Sex Case than Plato’s Phaedrus, one of the two books that heavily influenced the film’s structure and concepts. (The other important book is Foucault’s History of Sexuality: Volume One.)

What Are You Doing Tonight?

posted by on December 31 at 11:13 AM

I polled the office on Friday and got a long list of dinners and house parties (notable twists: Scrabble, homemade black-eyed peas, Chihuahua races). We’re for the most part coasting through the final hours of an exhausting year. Anyone have plans they’re excited about? Is NYE entirely overrated unless you’re single and wealthy or single and very young?

Don’t forget to add your photos (with an NYE07 tag) to the Flickr pool. See you in 2008.

Cantwell Endorses

posted by on December 31 at 11:05 AM

Becomes the 10th Senator to back Hillary Clinton, saying:

Hillary is ready to address our energy challenges on day one with a bold, comprehensive plan to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and move America toward a renewable energy future.

(And this despite Obama having come to Seattle last year to help Cantwell with her re-election effort.)

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 31 at 11:00 AM

Annual Futility

Make and Keep Resolutions

Start going to the gym. Quit smoking. Only two drinks a night—no exceptions. No pot until the weekends. No coke until the weekends. Start volunteering for a charity. Give money to PBS. Keep the apartment clean. Do laundry once a week. Don’t let dishes pile up. Buy a bike. Start taking the bus to work. More NPR, less Bravo. New Yorker yes, Us magazine no. Be a better husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend. Try not to be such an asshole in 2008.


Morning News

posted by on December 31 at 8:52 AM

posted by news intern Brian Slodysko

Pakistan: Bhutto’s husband—and eventually, her 19-year-old son—to take over as head of opposition party, promise elections will go ahead as scheduled. Musharraf’s government isn’t so sure, though questions about the government’s motives are being raised.

Blame Game: North Korea blames U.S. for country’s behind-schedule progress towards nuclear disarmament.

Year In Review: 2007 deadliest year for U.S. troops, with 899 deaths.

Stonewalling Bush: Vacationing Senate Democrats take turns holding seconds-long pro forma sessions to block emergency Bush appointments.

Oligarchical Power Dynamics: Iran’s concentric circles of elite rule.

Transit: DOT plans more intercity bus lines, including Port Angeles to Seattle route.

Fixed Results: 103 killed during protests of Kenya’s recent kangaroo election.

GOP Replacement: Conservative Mississippi congressman to hold Trent Lott’s seat until special election is held.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bring It On, You Racist Chumps

posted by on December 30 at 7:17 PM


Redskins vs. Seahawks, next Saturday.

Oh, Fantastic.

posted by on December 30 at 3:21 PM

Stop worrying about a Ron Paul third-party run. Start worrying about Bloomberg. (Via The Note.)

Could anything on earth be less unifying than a “Unity” candidate?

Fauntleroy Place

posted by on December 30 at 1:20 PM

If you woke up this morning in West Seattle craving a tempeh scramble on rice bread and some kombucha tea to wash it down—God save you—only one store could supply your fixin’s: The West Seattle PCC.

But Blue Star Development, behind several large projects in California, is about to change that, when it constructs a six-story building on the corner of SW Alaska St and 39th Ave SW. The site is currently home to Hancock Fabrics and a 38,000 square foot parking lot.



Fauntleroy Place will contain 170 apartments, 532 underground parking spaces, and 72,000 square feet of retail space—for a new Hancock Fabrics store and a massive Whole Foods. Awesome.


But not everyone is hitting the peace pipe in anticipation of the national munchie market. “I am actually a little worried for my precious PCC. Mum and I went to the original Ravenna store way back when it was new, and I’m a lifer,” writes commenter The Velvet Bulldog on West Seattle Blog. The PCC in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood closed its doors in 2001, about a year after Whole Foods opened its Roosevelt supermarket one mile west.

Easton Craft of Blue Star Devlopment doesn’t think that will happen to the PCC one mile from the proposed Fauntleroy Place. “The folks who shop at PCC now will continue to do so, but get other items from Whole Foods,” he speculates.

Sure they will. PCC and its narrow aisles are doomed.

Mississippi-based Hancock Fabrics, which sold the property to Blue Star, will receive payment to offset lost revenue during the year and a half it’s closed during construction, Craft says.

Craft expects Blue Star will break ground by the end of April and be ready for tenants in the new building by late 2009. The first proposals were submitted to the city in 2005; the design review board will make its final design recommendations at a public meeting tentatively scheduled for February 14.

Cheers to You, Old Man 2007

posted by on December 30 at 12:37 PM

Don’t forget to upload your party photos to our Flickr pool with the tag NYE07. I’ll post a bunch of them to Slog on New Year’s Day.

Today in Presidential Politics; Or, 4 Days Until the Iowa Caucuses

posted by on December 30 at 11:05 AM

Huckabee: Can he hang on?

Clinton: Grasping for a win.

More polls: And still it’s all tied up for the Democrats.

Yespen: The electability question.

Needs: Who needs what in order to get a win in Iowa.

Dirty trick: Targets Romney’s Mormonism in South Carolina.

Bill Clinton: No formal policy role in Hillary’s White House.

McCain: Sweeps the New Hampshire endorsements.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 30 at 11:00 AM


BOAT at Neumo’s

It’s dark, your hoodie’s wet, the wind hates you, the things you love are closing at an alarming rate, and you haven’t heard a song that’s made you happy since August. What you need is a dose of BOAT. Loud, gorgeous, reverby guitars? Yes. A let’s-just-have-a-fun-time attitude? Yes. A charming frontman? Yes. Songs about ice-cream trucks, haircuts, and punctuation? Yes, but not in an annoying way. I will be dancing. Don’t you want to dance? Other bands on the bill: the awesome “Awesome” and the dangerous Harvey Danger. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $12 adv, all ages.)



Unscrew the Crocodile Employees Benefit Show at Chop Suey

Without any notice, Crocodile Cafe owner Stephanie Dorgan closed the club a week before Christmas, leaving all her employees jobless. But the local music community has rallied to support them; former Croc booker Pete Greenberg (now booking at Chop Suey) has put together a benefit show with performances by members of Fleet Foxes, Peter Parker, the Pale Pacific, Siberian, Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death, Pleasureboaters, J. Tillman, Damien Jurado, and David Bazan. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 7 pm, $10, 21+.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Morning News

    posted by on December 30 at 8:21 AM

    posted by news intern Brian Slodysko

    Pakistan: Al Qaeda an increasing presence in the wake of Bhutto’s assassination. Government accused of cover-up, refuses foreign assistance in investigation.

    SCHIP: Bush signs childrens’ healthcare bill without expanded coverage sought by Democrats.

    New Audio Tape: Bin Laden warns Sunni Muslims not to resist al Qaeda, threatens Israel…yes, again.

    Depressing: Massachusetts man runs over and kills a 13-year-old on a bike while texting.

    CIA Tapes: Recordings made to prove detainee wasn’t killed while in U.S. custody.

    Questionable Circumstance: Father of man shot by trooper on I-5 plans on suing state patrol.

    Patriots: First NFL team to finish regular season 16-0. First team in 35 years to have an undefeated season.