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Archives for 01/13/2008 - 01/19/2008

Saturday, January 19, 2008

It’s the Delegates, Stupid

posted by on January 19 at 8:46 PM

So apparently Obama hasn’t exactly conceded to Clinton in Nevada. Why? Because… well… despite Clinton’s commanding 6 point margin in the popular vote, the process of apportioning delegates was weighted by the Nevada Democratic Party to favor rural areas over populous Clark County. Obama came in slightly ahead outside of Las Vegas, so he technically won more delegates.

The AP:

Nevada was the first western state in competition in the presidential nominating contests. Clinton won the popular vote, but Barack Obama won in the national convention delegates at stake, taking 13 to her 12.

“Obviously, this is about delegates,” Clinton said, speaking to reporters before flying to St. Louis, Mo., “but it’s also about what people are voting for and who they think the best president will be.”

Nice spin, HRC. In pledged delegates, Obama has pulled 2 ahead of Clinton, 38 to 36. But it’s also about superdelegates, and Clinton still leads there, 167 to 110. Here’s the most readable graph I can find to explain all of this.

UPDATE: OK, I know this whole thing is confusing, and Josh just texted me to dispute my count. Technically these delegates aren’t yet pledged, as the Nevada Democratic Party points out. But at the same time, not-yet-pledged (and I would guess, not-yet-selected) delegates aren’t supposed to up and change their minds for no reason—they’re much more stable than those fickle superdelegates, because they’re representing the views of actual voters. Via TPM:

Meanwhile, the Nevada Dem party releases this statement:

“Today, two out of three Nevadans who caucused chose a Democrat instead of a Republican for president. That is an overwhelming majority vote for a new direction. Just like in Iowa, what was awarded today were delegates to the county convention. No national convention delegates were awarded. The calculations of national convention delegates being circulated are based upon an assumption that delegate preferences will remain the same between now and April 2008. We look forward to our county and state conventions where we will choose the delegates for the nominee that Nevadans support.”

Late Update: The Nevada Dem party releases this clarification:

“No national convention delegates were awarded. That said, if the delegate preferences remain unchanged between now and April 2008, the calculations of national convention delegates being circulated by the Associated Press are correct. We look forward to our county and state conventions where we will choose the delegates for the nominee that Nevadans support.”


Clintonistas Ready For Their Date With the Washington Caucus

posted by on January 19 at 5:30 PM

Posted by Ryan S. Jackson


“It’s been a great day, but this contest is going to be decided state by state by state… what happens in the Washington caucus is going to count.”

King County Executive Ron Sims was speaking before a group of roughly 35 Hillary Clinton supporters who had turned out for this afternoon’s caucus training, held in a Machinists Union hall in the deepest regions of the South Park neighborhood. Those in attendance might have been getting over the fact that repairs to the South Park bridge had led to a twisting detour through south Seattle before arriving, but the room seemed drained of some of the energy you would expect from a group of people whose candidate had just won a hard-fought victory in Nevada.

Sims told me before going on that his wife had been in Nevada this morning organizing voters for Clinton, and that many of union voters had “utterly rebelled against the culinary union—they were tired of being told by anyone what to do.” The Culinary Union is the most prominent in Nevada and its endorsement of Obama was a major flashpoint in the caucus; it was interesting to hear a local politician get drawn into the national campaign narrative.

Jim Kainber, the buoyant high-level Washington organizer for Clinton, went on after Sims and took the group through the paces of the caucus process. Other speakers included powerful State Senator Margarita Prentice of Washington’s 11th District, who tailored her remarks to the now-familiar Clinton coalition of older voters and women voters. They responded to the question of, “How many of you have caucused before?” with a room full of raised hands.


The large group eventually broke up into “mock caucuses” by district; I decided to sit in on the 43rd, hoping to see the master strategy that would turn Capitol Hill into a Hillary Clinton bastion. The district Clinton co-chair seemed to be intent on having his district respond to some of the arguments that led to Barack Obama’s victory in Iowa: One of the group’s three young-ish voters made a remark about emphasizing Obama’s “present” votes in the Illinois senate, which was cut-off with a clipped, “I would stay away from anything that would appear negative.”

The co-chair also emphasized Obama’s success in asking voters to make him their caucus second choice, and encouraged Hillary’s caucus trainees to always be politely engaging about something they admire about Hillary rather than something they don’t about Obama. Given the youth demographics of the 43rd District, this seemed like a pretty sound strategy.

Before I left, I asked Jim Kainber whether there are official plans to match the Obama campaign’s decision to open an official Washington State office. He said he doesn’t think it will happen until after the caucus, and that the Clinton campaign is placing faith in aggressive phone banking with volunteers.

“The office is more of a psychological thing,” Kainber told me.

Clinton Wins Nevada

posted by on January 19 at 1:16 PM

Clinton wins 51 to 45.

Female voters out in force: 58 percent of the Democratic caucus goers were women.

Oldsters out in force: 36%, the largest percent of Democratic caucus goers, were over 60.

The 18 to 29 crowd? The smallest sliver, at 13%.

Stranger News Hour on 710 KIRO

posted by on January 19 at 12:27 PM

Tune in at 7pm tonight.

I’ll be talking about the first week of the legislature. And burn on me. Despite my curmudgeonly pre-session predictions, the Democrats are actually coming out strong with some good bills.

Erica C. Barnett (!) will join us this week to talk about the the new look city council and what she learned in her interview with Ron Sims.

And…holy shit…today’s the Nevada caucus. We’ll talk about the results. It looks like Romney declares victory and it’s neck and neck between Obama and Clinton. Umm…. was neck and neck a half hour ago. Now Clinton is holding a 50 to 45 lead according to CNN with 35% reporting.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on January 19 at 12:00 PM

Tall BIrds at the Vera project, by Flickr pool contributor tea...


Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 19 at 11:00 AM


The Teenagers at Neumo’s

Full disclosure: I’m one of the opening DJs for this show, so you might want to come late or whatever. But don’t miss the Teenagers, a Paris/London trio making their U.S. debut tonight. “Homecoming” is an R-rated he-said/she-said summer love song and one of 2007’s catchiest underground singles. Their debut album, Reality Check, might be one of 2008’s best, a youthful pop masterpiece, equal parts daft and darling. With the Pharmacy, Sam Rousso Soundsystem, and DJ Glitterpants. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $10, 21+.)


A letter to the editor sent in just now…

posted by on January 19 at 12:43 AM

…reads, in its entirety:

Liberal fag!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Not My Line

posted by on January 18 at 11:00 PM

Tonight on Bill Maher’s show something I’d read earlier in the day fell out of my mouth. Bill brought up Huckabee’s statement about the Confederate flag…

“You don’t like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag. If somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we’d tell them what to do with the pole. That’s what we’d do.”

…and I said:

“Does he pray to Jesus with that mouth?”

Credit where credit is due: I read that on John Aravosis’ blog earlier today. Things were moving so fast on Maher’s show I didn’t think to credit John, and Americablog. But… better late… on my blog… than never, right?

Violent U-District Arrest Caught On Tape

posted by on January 18 at 6:16 PM

Next week, Mark Hays will begin trial for assaulting an officer during an incident in the University District last November.

Officers from an SPD’s Anti-Crime Team unit stopped Hays and Micheal Lujan on 45th and University, after the two men allegedly crossed against a traffic light in front of an unmarked police SUV. Somehow, the incident escalated—police say Hays tackled an officer who had gotten out of the car to approach the men, something witnesses contest—and Hays was left bloodied and bruised from the encounter.

In this week’s paper, I wrote that a videotape of the arrest existed, but that SPD wouldn’t hand it over.

Well, today, I got to see the tape. No thanks to SPD.

The video— from the in-car camera of a patrol car responding to the scene after the initial incident—does not show how the incident began. When the patrol car pulls up, just before 9pm, you can immediately see 2 officers pounding on Hays. The officers appear to be struggling with Hays, in order to get his hands behind his back and cuff him. Hays is face down on the pavement.

Three plainclothes officers are on Hays, while another stands over him yelling “stop resisting.” Meanwhile, one of the officers grinds Hays’ face into the cement, while another punches him four times and knees him twice. I couldn’t see where the blows were landing—because of the camera angle and the fact that the officers are on top of him—but it’s clear they’re hitting him hard. “There’s a lot of blood over there,” one officer says, pointing at the ground, after cuffing Hays. Another officer has what appears to be several large bloody patches on the sleeve of his sweatshirt.

Some of the audio is hard to make out, but someone off camera repeatedly shouts at the officers, asking for their badge numbers, while a woman yells “he didn’t do anything.”

Finally, the officers get cuffs on a dazed looking Hays, cut off his backpack, pick him up and carry him off camera.

While officers deal with Hays, Lujan stands handcuffed in front of the camera, telling someone off camera that the incident was spurred by jaywalking.

Hays’ trial begins next week. I wouldn’t be surprised if the tape isn’t admitted as evidence. Police claim Hays tackled one of the officers, and SPD may deem the officers’ actions as “reasonable force.”

The problem with the tape, is that it doesn’t capture the whole incident. Hays could have tackled an officer, but a jaywalking incident never should have escalated this far.
Again, this arrest involved officers from one of SPD’s highly trained, undercover Anti-Crime Teams, who generally handle street crime.

Anecdotally, when I’ve looked up ACT officers records, I’ve found that it’s not unusual to find complaints of excessive force on their records. I called SPD to find out if ACT vehicles also have in-car cameras. The officer I spoke with didn’t know, but said they’d find out.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on January 18 at 6:00 PM

Random Student Drug Testing: That’s how to stop drug abuse before it starts, they say. Advocates led by the White House held two summits in Washington encouraging school administrators to begin randomly drug testing students. Under the programs, teens involved in extra-curricular school activities would be selected at random to pee into a cup and punished if their sample contained drug metabolites. “A lot of kids don’t want to use drugs and this gives them a reason not to,” said Bertha Madras, Deputy Director of the White House’s drug-policy office.

The most charismatic speaker was Lisa Brady, a perky Superintendent from New Jersey. She conducted one survey in 1999, while a drug-testing program was in effect, and another one three years later, while the program had been repealed during a lawsuit (which the district later won). The study found that the number of “multi-drug users” increased 52-to-316 percent after the drug testing stopped. Brady passionately framed the issue: “Deciding to randomly drug test is not about how bad your drug problem is, but about how much you are willing to do to keep your students off drugs.”

But while drug testing might allow schools to take a clear stand against drugs, it’s not clear it actually reduces drug use. The University of Michigan released the only peer-reviewed scientific report on the subject in 2005, finding that drug testing had no effect (.pdf). Madras dismisses the report because it included schools that weren’t testing students randomly. However, the report accounts for this, stating, “No statistically significant difference was found in student use of marijuana or other illicit drugs between these seven schools and the great majority of high schools that did not have random testing.”

Even if testing would reduce drug use, it raised other concerns for those at the summit. “The danger being if districts are not careful about policies and procedudes, kids might get punished without receiving counseling,” said Chris Harnish, a drug counselor in the Mercer Island School District. The federal funding—which has thus far totalled $36.1 million to over 400 schools—requires that students be referred to counseling but won’t pay for counseling, rehabilitation, or drug education. Another member in the audience was troubled that drug testing may prompt some students to use drugs that could metabolize over the weekend, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, rather than less dangerous drugs like marijuana, which stays in the body for a month.

Jennifer Kern of the Drug Policy Alliance, a national organization that opposes the programs, says, “This creates barriers for the students who need most to be involved in school activities.”

Prince of Pot: Packing for prison.

Sexist Medicine: If I don’t understand your disease, you don’t have one.

He Wanted to Be Taken Higher: Ike Turner was killed by coke.

Light Cigarettes: Supreme Court will decide if ads were deceptive.

Liquor Board: Has a legislative agenda.

A Death in Everett: Another controlled substance homicide case.

Chronic Offender: WSU student arrested for pot twice in same night.

This, Dan, Is What We Call the “Bible.” But you can call it the “U.S. Constitution.”

posted by on January 18 at 5:32 PM


I’m going to be on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher tonight, recounting my recent adventures in South Carolina.

When I sat down to talk with Catherine, the woman in the photo above, I was a worried that our interview would be brief. Catherine and her husband Tom were hosting a phone bank party in the offices of their pest extermination business in Rock Mill, South Carolina, when I barged in with a producer, a wrangler, a camera man, and a sound tech. They’re passionate supporters of Mike Huckabee, fundamentalist Christians, and hard-core social conservatives.

They were also among the nicest people I’ve ever met.

Now, I’ve met super-nice Fundamentalist Christians in the past; hell, Ken Hutcherson showered me with compliments about my dedication as a parent the one and only time we met face to face. (I apologized for not being able to stay for the end of his debate with Ron Sims because I promised my son I would be home in time to tuck him in, and Hutch humped away at my leg—figuratively—for about 20 minutes.) I think a lot of fundamentalists compensate for the meanness of their judgment by pouring on the sweetness and light.

But I expected a different reception in South Carolina—the South, the Bible Belt, where good, God-fearing, racist Christians turned out in droves in 2000 to vote against John “Mixed-Race Love Child” McCain. So I was amazed that after I came out to Catherine—by making an just-ever-so-slightly crude sexual joke—she laughed patted my leg, and continued with the interview. I ended up spending the better of two days with Catherine and her husband Tom. They cheerfully told me over and over again that I was going to hell, I made the occasional dirty joke, and then we agreed to disagree about shredding the U.S. Constitution.

But here’s what I found really interesting about the Huckabee supporters I met in South Carolina: Over and over again Huckabee supporters told me—on the record, cameras rolling—that they supported Huckabee because they wanted to see “a good, Christian man in the White House.” Because… uh… just look at the pickle all those Buddhists, Atheists, agnostics, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians presidents have gotten us into.

When I pointed out that we we already had one of those in the White House—good, Christian George W. Bush, the man South Carolinians helped elect in 2000 and 2004—and that things haven’t been going so well, there was a momentary silence before the fundamentalist version of the Great Walk Back began.

Conservative pundits have been pointing to George Bush’s prescription drug program and out-of-control spending and insisting that, despite what they believed/wrote/said about Bush, George W. Bush is not a real conservative. Yeah, right. What they’re doing, of course, is absolving themselves of any responsibility for the disasters that Bush has inflicted on the country by insisting that Bush isn’t one of them, never was, uh-uh.

Religious conservatives are doing the same thing. They voted for George W. Bush because he was a good Christian and being a good Christian is the chief qualification for the Oval Office. A good Christian is going to be a great president because he’s a good Christian. But George W. Bush has been a terrible president—and many of them recognize that.

So what to do next? Instead of reexamining the criteria they’ve applied in the past—a process that might lead them to conclude that good & Christian isn’t nearly as important as, oh, smart & competent—and look for other qualities in a candidate, a lot of fundamentalist voters in South Carolina have concluded that George W. Bush isn’t a real good Christian. One person we interviewed insisted that George W. Bush wasn’t just a poor Christian, but not a Christian at all.

Anway, I’ll be talking about this—and more—on Real Time tonight. I believe it’s on in Seattle at 11 PM, HBO.

You Couldn’t Pay Me to Give Ben Stein Money

posted by on January 18 at 5:19 PM

Looks like the producers of the intelligent design propaganda film Expelled are offering kickbacks to Christian schools that force their students to go see it:

What is the Expelled Challenge?

To engage Christian schools to get as many students, parents, and faculty from your school out to see Ben Stein’s new movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (opening in theaters April 2008).

* Here are some suggestions as to how to do that: Organize a school field trip and invite parents to attend as well.
* Offer extra credit to your students to go on their own time.

What is the reward?
Generous donations can be awarded to schools according to the number of movie ticket stubs they turn in. By accepting this challenge, your school could be awarded a donation up to $10,000, just for bringing your kids to see this film!

Your school will be awarded a donation based upon the number of ticket stubs you turn in (see submission instructions in FAQ section). That structure is as follows:

* 0-99 ticket stubs submitted = $5 per ticket stub
* 100-299 ticket stubs submitted = $1,000 donated to your school
* 300-499 ticket stubs submitted = $2,500 donated to your school
* 500 ticket stubs submitted = $5,000 donated to your school

Each school across the nation will be competing for the top honor of submitting the most ticket stubs with that school having their $5,000 donation matched for a total donation of $10,000!


(Via Laelaps and Andrew Sullivan.)

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on January 18 at 4:38 PM

The news:

The contenders for the foreign language Oscar have been whittled down to a short list, which basically eliminated all the favorites (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days; Persepolis), and at the same time, tossed a number of films with interesting female protagonists (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days; Persepolis). Films from Russia, Kazakhstan, Canada, Serbia, Italy, Israel, Brazil, and Austria advance; the final nominations will be announced Tuesday.

Sundance kicked off yesterday with the hitmen-on-the-loose-in-a-Belgian-town-known-for-chocolate-&-lace caper In Bruges (written and directed by playwright Martin McDonagh). Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir previews the narrative hot tickets; reviews will continue to roll out at IndieWire and Variety.

Plus, you can watch a new short film for each of the next 10 days at the Sundance website. The first one—an Australian entry about a mildly post-apocalyptic crush—isn’t bad at all.

This week:


Bradley Steinbacher reviews the 9/11 allegory Cloverfield: It’s “a smart, and in many ways groundbreaking, creature feature.”

And in On Screen this week: Cassandra’s Dream (Brad again: “Woody Allen piles on the bleakness, daring to make his two brothers alternately pathetic and unlikable. Unfortunately, the gamble fails”), Mad Money (Christopher Frizzelle: “We would all like to think that Diane Keaton is more than just hats and belts and Woody Allen jokes, that she’s a person with dignity, a person who’s learned from herself, a person who wouldn’t subject herself, and the audience she’s built, to flaming piles of crap, but Mad Money is a flaming pile of crap”), 27 Dresses (me: “So sugary it made my jaw ache. Or maybe I was just clenching my teeth”), and Deep End (Brendan “Gas Huffer” Kiley: “Deep End isn’t as amusing as Harold & Maude nor as smart and rich as Rushmore, but its dark chronicle of young sexual frustration is, perhaps, more memorable”).

Don’t miss Lindy West on Crispin Glover (and drunk assholes) in this week’s Concessions (“Maybe this makes me creepy or snooty or borderline dead inside, but I’m not that freaked out by Crispin Glover and his taboo-smashing ways”). Can’t get enough Crispin? Read Kelly O’s interview from 2006. Can’t get enough Lindy West? The complete Concessions archive can be found here.

Also of interest:

Future So Bright: Western Edge still

Courtesy Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland

Portland filmmaker Matt McCormick has an installation up at Seattle U’s Lee Center for the Arts on 12th Ave—I previewed it for the visual art section and finally saw it last night. Highly recommended.

Limited runs this week include Steep, Imaginary Witnesses: Hollywood and the Holocaust, and the 16mm Broth of a Boy at Kenyon Hall in West Seattle, plus a Walter Hill series (Hard Times and The Driver) at the Grand Illusion and two great evenings with editor Thelma Schoonmaker at Seattle Art Museum (if you’re picking between them, I recommend the rarer Bluebeard’s Castle on Tuesday, but Scorsese fans shouldn’t miss The Last Temptation of Christ on Wednesday).

For all your movie times needs, see Get Out.

In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on January 18 at 4:17 PM

Sean Paul Causes Seizures: Doctors discover a rare condition in which seizures are actually induced by music.

The Sonics Reunite: And they don’t play anywhere near Seattle, let alone the US.

This Week’s Setlist: With a live performance by the Sea Navy!

Teen Dreams: Interview outtakes from this week’s Fucking in the Streets about the Teenagers.

Fleet Foxes: Have signed to Sub Pop.

Happy Birthday, Jonathan Davis: I still don’t like your band.

Music News: Lily Allen’s miscarriage, Thurston Moore’s porn soundtrack, Britney’s obituary.

Tonight in Music: Sleepy Eyes of Death, Citay, Plaid, Sing Sing, the Pack, and more.

Hot Chip: The final video and the behind the scene outtakes.

The Decemberists Are Coming: And Christopher Frizzelle is preparing.

Is He Handsome?: The new Rings record Black Habit is both good and disturbing.

Hangover Science: Trent Moorman dumps Goody’s down his throat and chases it with water.

SXSW Updates: A post about the local bands playing, the breakfast tacos you’ll be eating, and Dolly Parton’s tits.

The Presidential Race: Who the Juggalos will be voting for.

Jackie Carter: Wants you to treat her like a woman.

Live Radiohead: In Rainbows in its entirety, as well as some other songs.


Sims Appoints Conlin to ST Board

posted by on January 18 at 3:51 PM

It’s official: King County Executive Ron Sims has nominated Richard Conlin to the Sound Transit board seat occupied by council member Richard McIver.

Conlin, who just prevailed in his second attempt to become council president, tried once before to win appointment to the board—in 2004, when he took over from McIver as head of the council’s transportation committee. Traditionally, the chair of the transportation committee also sits on the Sound Transit board; but McIver wanted to stay, and Sims decided to keep him. “The arguments at the time were the need for continuity—and McIver had experience—and with issues in the [lower-income, largely minority] Rainier Valley,” where surface-level light rail was controversial, Conlin says. He adds that Sims approached him this time, and not the other way around.

“I think he was surprised to get a call from me, because I had some sharply worded things to say” about Conlin in the past, Sims says—a reference to the protracted battle over the Brightwater sewage treatment plant in south Snohomish County. Conlin was among the plant’s loudest critics; Sims, one of its biggest boosters. “He’s attacked King County vigorously. So obviously, I don’t just appoint people who agree with me. … I don’t know what Richard Conlin’s position is on light rail or [bus rapid transit] or buses or variable tolling. I know he supports public transportation and that’s key to me.”

In fact, Conlin and Sims diverge on one of the key issues coming before the Sound Transit board this year: Whether to take light rail to the ballot this year or in 2010. Sims says he’d prefer to wait until after the first light rail line opens in 2009. “In 2010, it can’t lose,” Sims says. “What you’re seeing is that people want bite-size pieces,” he adds, rather than a huge package that goes to Tacoma and the Eastside as well as Northgate. Conlin, in contrast, says that “if I had my druthers, I’d go with 2008,” but he says he’s open to arguments for waiting.

The council may vote on the nomination as soon as Monday.

Just The Facts, Ma’am

posted by on January 18 at 2:33 PM

Catfish Corner and The Facts. These have been the familiar landmarks on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Way and E Cherry St. But even when I was a kid, The Facts newspaper building looked like it was falling apart.

Mona West, who purchased the property a year ago, has filed a proposal with the city’s Department of Planning and Development to build a three-story development with residential and commercial units on the site. “We are just exploring options at this point,” she tells me. If they do proceed, West is committed to keeping the newspaper based in the same location. “That’s The Facts’ corner and we’d like to continue that tradition in a more modern building—something that fits with the neighborhood,” she says.


The newspaper, published in Seattle for 44 years, is “From the voice of the African American community.” The current issue and the iconic yellow sign on the corner both promote the upcoming Martin Luther King Day march.

When I walked by to take pictures, four “open” signs were posted in the window. But nobody answered the door. When I called today, a gentleman answered but didn’t know anything about the development proposal. I’ll update this post when I hear back.

An early design guidance meeting is tentatively scheduled for February 20th at 6:30 PM.

Airport by Hieronymus Bosch

posted by on January 18 at 2:19 PM


Gawd, LAX is the ugliest, most depressing airport on earth. Here’s something I never got around to mentioning on my trip to Vegas with Kelly O: The Luxor’s nightclub used to be called Ra, which makes thematic sense. They changed the name, for some inexplicable reason, to LAX—and, yes, after the airport. The slogan is “take off for glamor” or some such bullshit.

Condo Conversion Cap Fails Again…

posted by on January 18 at 1:59 PM

..but there is some good news.

Low-income housing advocates scored two big wins in the state house today. Rep. Eric Pettigrew’s (D-37, South Seattle) bill to prevent landlords from discriminating against Section 8 tenants passed 63–37. The senate version, sponsored by Sen. Adam Kline (D-37, South Seattle) will get a hearing next week.

And Rep. Jeannie Darneille’s (D-27, Tacoma) bill to prevent cities from using building zoning laws to prevent landlords from renting out to special-needs tenants (domestic-violence victims, recently homeless renters, tenants with drug problems, sex offenders) passed the house 97-0. The Republicans liked the bill because it was seen as clearing out the red tape for landlords.

For more details on both bills, check this Slog post from earlier this week.

As for condo conversion, the house passed a bill that would guarantee compensation and guarantee the amount of time a displaced tenant had to move out. Bill sponsor Rep. Maralyn Chase’s (D-32, Shoreline) amendment to up the compensation from $500 to the equivalent of three months rent also passed. However, her amendment to up the time tenants had to move from 120 days to 180 days did not.

The big disappointment was this: Chase’s amendment to give cities the right to cap conversions on buildings where 50 percent of the rentals were low-income failed.

Chase says the cap amendment failed because people believed she was calling for a statewide moratorium. Despite the bad news on the cap, she called the 94-3 vote a “huge victory” because the legislation will force people to confront issues of homelessness. “53 percent of the people in shelters are children,” she says. “What are we doing to our families?”

Caucus Query

posted by on January 18 at 1:48 PM

A political junkie writes:

Hey Eli,

Know of any bars around town bizarre enough to show the Nevada results tomorrow night? I might want to venture out and still stay up to the minute.

I don’t, but I figure the Sloggy masses might be able to help. Anyone?

Get Crashed!

posted by on January 18 at 1:41 PM


Let the Bowies Hit the Floor:

Back inside, the party is collapsing on itself. It’s late, and as soon as the music stops, people start yelling. Swimming toward the exit, a pile of bodies crashes to the floor in front of me. There is no room to move. The mood is anxious and exhilarated, volatile. After escaping, we all agree this is one of the wildest parties any of us have ever beheld.

Last week’s party was insane - let’s have more of that. We can only crash your party if you tell us where and when to go. Email with the details and your party can live on in infamy forever.

Driver Convicted for Killing Council Aide

posted by on January 18 at 1:05 PM

Ephraim Schwartz, the driver who struck and killed 29-year-old David Della aide Tatsuo Nakata, was convicted today of assault in Nakata’s death, under a city law that says a driver can be guilty of assault if he or she violates a traffic law in a way and it results in a pedestrian’s death.

Schwartz was talking on a cell phone in a cluttered car as he drove his daughter to school just over a year ago. Nakata was walking in the crosswalk at 47th Ave. SW and SW Admiral Way when Schwartz hit him going around 30 miles an hour.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of $5,000 and a year in jail.

The Republican Field Girds Itself For South Carolina Showdown

posted by on January 18 at 12:36 PM

Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

The best on-the-stump quote ever, from The Politico’s Roger Simon as he follows Team Fred Thompson on the way to tomorrow’s make-or-break moment in the South Carolina primary:

“It’s good to be back in home territory where they know how to cook green beans!” he said.

Everybody cheered.

“And they are not crunchy!” he continued.

Everybody cheered again.

Folksy. Conservative. Breathing. Fred Thompson has it all going for him tomorrow except for his polling numbers, which are pretty horrid for a state where he intends to make his last stand.

Meanwhile John McCain, 2000’s pariah candidate of alleged-illegitimate-black-child fame, has swept the editorial endorsement of every major paper in the state, and the same polling shows him to be the probable winner; probably mostly because the poll in question has an undecided voter count of 19%, which makes it essentially meaningless.

Mike Huckabee continues his turn hard to the right, adding to his prior statements about homosexual marriage equaling a de facto bestiality endorsement by now coming out in favor of displaying the Confederate flag.

Mitt Romney won’t be actively participating in South Carolina (he’s headed to the sparsely attended Nevada Republican caucus instead), and is already spinning his loss. Following his lead, the Giuliani campaign remains camped out in Florida.

The Ron Paul Blimp, now a neglected media narrative, is presently hovering over a mall in South Carolina.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, who is becoming my favorite weird political obsession, is vowing to convince voters that he can really become the nominee—one rural South Carolina diner at a time.

Dude, Where’s My Bike?

posted by on January 18 at 12:13 PM

Apparently, a lot of people put their bicycles on the racks of Metro buses, then get on. But when they get off, they leave without them, said Kent Peterson, whose duties at the Bike Station on Third Avenue South near South Main Street include reuniting bicycles left behind by their owners.

“You’d think it would be pretty rare,” he said. But in 2007, 863 people walked off without their bikes.

Indeed, alcohol has been known to play a role, Peterson agreed. That and other substances.

The record number of bikes left on buses in a day was 26 during Hempfest, he said. “We seem to get a lot of bikes during Folklife, too.”

It kinda defeats the purpose of riding bicycles and public transit if you get stoned and leave behind 25 pounds of potential garbage.


posted by on January 18 at 12:13 PM

We know that the most famous German philosopher of the 20th century, Martin Heidegger, did not like “idle chatter.” For him, it was a fallen form of human communication; a type of speech that suffocated poetry, the language of being dead serious. In 2003, the Italian philosopher Paulo Virno reversed Heidegger’s judgment and declared that chatter was important for its “significant variances, unusual modulations, sudden articulations…” Why the strong disagreement? And was it entirely a philosophical issue? I found the answer in the streets of Rome. The chatter (background human noise) in the that Mediterranean city is not the same as the chatter in, say, Frankfurt. In short, Italian chatter sounds much better than German chatter. Heidegger would not have thought so poorly of chatter if he had been Italian.

Elections Will Be Post-Race When America is Post-Racist

posted by on January 18 at 12:08 PM

Ted Sampley, one of the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” who made an ad lying about John Kerry’s military service in Vietnam, has now taken up lying about Barack Obama’s “Muslim roots.” I won’t go into all the ridiculous details (OK, just one: Did he REALLY just accuse Obama’s relatives of slave-trading?)—the real thing that jumps off the page is the subtle graphic Sampley uses as illustration:


As Jesus’ General inquired in an open letter to Sampley, “Did you think just slapping the word ‘nigger’ across his face would be a little too subtle for your readers?”

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on January 18 at 12:00 PM

From Flickr pooler shapefarm


Savage Love Letter of the Day

posted by on January 18 at 12:00 PM

I am gay, closeted, and in high school. I’m sure that sounds dire, but I’m out to a lot of my friends and they are the most supportive people someone like me could ever have. My sex life is not really existent (since it is legally, physically, and emotionally unsafe for an underage minor like me to be canoodling anyways), but a couple of questions have been tickling my curiosity. How should I deal with crushes on straight boys? Is it damaging to my psyche in anyway? Should I just reject my feelings and move on? I don’t have any gay friends to bounce my ideas off, just very sweet and innocent female best friends that have no experience with this whatsoever.

Teenage Boy in Distress

One or two of the straight boys you have crushes on are probably gay, TBID, they’re just not out yet. But there’s really nothing you can do about that and, at your age, there probably isn’t anything you should do about it, if you could do something about it, which you can’t.

All you can do now is enjoy those crushes. But don’t conclude, like some dumb gay men have, that early crushes on straight guys means that you’re not and never will be attracted to other out gay dudes. You will, I promise you, once you start meeting them. For now, TBID, entertain yourself with whatever mental images you care to conjure up and your own right hand.

When you start meeting out gay dudes, BE SAFE, use condoms if you decide to have anal sex. But don’t feel like you’re somehow obligated to have sex—anal or otherwise—with ANYONE, ever, period. You don’t have to become sexually active to prove that you’re authentically gay or grownup. And please don’t feel like engaging in anal sex somehow makes you an all-grownup-now gay man. Plenty of grownup gay men don’t have anal sex at all or often; many gay men prefer oral sex or mutual masturbation.

And you, as a young gay boy, should avoid older gay men for all the same reasons that young straight girls are advised to avoid older straight men. Don’t fall for any “gay and lesbian brothers and sisters” rhetoric you may encounter online or at your first pride parade. Older gay men are not your brothers.

For now focus on school and friends and getting your ass into a good college—preferably a big state school. Once you’re there, TBID, I promise that you’ll meet tons of nice, smart, out gay boys, and you’ll start having crushes on guys that are capable of having crushes on you. Good luck.

You Suck — Here’s a Raise!

posted by on January 18 at 11:48 AM

The Seattle Mariners have agreed to a one year, $2.75 million deal with pitcher Horatio Ramirez. Yes, that Ramirez, he of the atrocious 7.16 ERA in 20 games. Last year Ramirez made $2.65 million.

Looks like U.S.S. Mariners’ countdown of days without a stupid Mariners move is over.

Update: In the comments, “bing” notes: “seems silly but that’s how arbitration works.” True, but still…ugh. Anybody got a flux capacitor so we can go back in time and stop Ramirez from joining the team in the first place?

Re: Will Washington Matter?

posted by on January 18 at 11:30 AM

Yesterday, in our online poll, an overwhelming number of Slog readers said no. Today, in a similarly unscientific poll of D.C. insiders, an overwhelming number of politicos said, essentially, yes.

Even more interesting: The percentages of “yes” and “no” answers in these two polls are almost exactly reversed. Slog readers believe, by a 62-38 majority, that Washington State’s Feb. 9 Democratic caucuses won’t matter. Insiders in D.C. believe, by a 60-36 majority, that the Democratic nomination fight won’t be settled on Feb. 5 and therefore Washington’s Feb. 9 caucuses will matter.

From a write-up of the insiders’ poll:

Some don’t see nominees emerging until early March. This is based partly on the fact that no candidate on either side has yet won more than one state in a row. That means the race is no longer about momentum, it’s about the long slow business of accumulating delegates.

At the same time, most of these insiders think Senator Hillary Clinton will eventually win the Democratic nomination and Senator John McCain will win the Republican nomination. (A full 80 percent of Republican consultants say Mrs. Clinton wins the nomination; wishful thinking?)

One theory emerging among this crowd: John Edwards, who is running third in the polls behind Senators Clinton and Barack Obama, will be able to rack up enough delegates to play kingmaker.

Other possible kingmakers: those patient states that didn’t try to elbow their way up front in the voting sequence.

Barack Obama opened a campaign office in Seattle last weekend. Hillary Clinton is holding caucus training sessions throughout Washington this weekend. Looks like they’re both thinking the same thing.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 18 at 11:00 AM


‘Seeps of Winter’ at Suyama Space

Seattle artist John Grade has the undying loyalty and affection of Seattle artists of all kinds. He is revered for his quiet, small, and painfully fine drawings, but lately he’s been building installations. This latest—inspired by a trip to Ireland in 2005—is his biggest: a skin of cast-paper pulp, glassine, and cellulose, stretched across the natural-lit ceiling at Suyama Space. It’s what he imagines it might be like to look up from the bottom of a bog. (Suyama Space, 2324 Second Ave, 256-0809. Opening reception 5–7 pm, free.)


Giving It Away

posted by on January 18 at 10:53 AM

As promised, this week’s In Art News column takes a look at what Creative Capital is paying Seattle artists to do (and here’s the list of all projects around the country):

To Five Executions in China, Utopia, and Maryhill Double, add Sun Hill Mini-Mart City Park and The Gurs Zyklus. The first three are major projects already completed by Seattle artists, each paid for—up to $50,000—by the New York foundation Creative Capital. Now Creative Capital has thrown its considerable weight behind the other two, meaning that you may soon find yourself inside an abandoned convenience store turned into a postapocalyptic conservatory by SuttonBeresCuller, or wandering through a performance installation titled after the word that has haunted Trimpin since his childhood: Gurs.

Trimpin and SBC (2005 Stranger Genius Award winners) were selected from more than 600 artists around the country to get Creative Capital’s coveted support. (Seattle filmmaker David Russo was a winner in the film and video category, for a fictional short involving male miscarriage.)

SBC’s idea for a recycled mini-mart refers to an earlier piece by the three artists, who built an idyllic haven of tranquility replete with grass, rocks, and a bench on a flatbed trailer, then parked it in the homelier parts of the city as a tiny, temporary greenbelt. For Sun Hill Mini-Mart City Park, the artists want to transform an eyesore—at a brownfield that was once a gas-station site, say: got one to recommend in your neighborhood?—into a wild indoor park with the hulks of industrial refrigerators but also meandering paths, trees, seasonal plantings, and benches. It could stay open for a few months or indefinitely, as long as the funding holds out.

Ben Beres says they envision “elements of the architecture or its previous life, whether it’s Slurpee machines or empty candy-bar racks growing plants. It will be a nice landscape, but postapocalyptic. Nature has taken over. We want birds to come in.” They’re looking for a location. (Originally the work was going to sit at the northernmost stop of the monorail, where instead of mass transit and art, there’s now a T-Mobile store.)

Trimpin’s project is also a long-mulled-over idea. As a boy in 1950s Germany, he wandered into his village’s Jewish graveyard and learned that two dozen Jews had been taken by the Nazis to an internment camp in the French town of Gurs. Many died there; survivors went to death camps.

The barracks at Gurs had also been used as a camp for political refugees from Franco’s Spain in the 1940s. When Trimpin met and collaborated with composer Conlon Nancarrow, he discovered Nancarrow had been a prisoner there. Then, when Trimpin made passing reference to Gurs in a New Yorker profile, a man whose family died at Gurs contacted him. Trimpin has letters from the time, and interviews with relatives of victims, and he’ll ride the train from his town, Efringen-Kirchen, to Gurs for the first time this summer.

The final work will be performed in Germany and the U.S., he hopes. He’s not sure what form it will take; something with song and sculpture, certainly, and maybe video appearing on a screen of steam.

Wearing the Habit

posted by on January 18 at 10:44 AM

MAN this morning has a weird situation on its hands. After an admiring and enticing two-part Q&A with Village Voice critic Christian Viveros-Faune, Tyler hit a serious snag on the third part: Viveros-Faune not only manages/organizes two commercial art fairs, he’s not the least bit concerned about the conflict of interest.

And neither is the Voice.

In response to Green’s perfectly reasonable questions, Viveros-Faune snaps back, “We’re not nuns here.”

Well, the implication that most critics work on the commercial side of the art world in addition to their editorial work is just plain wrong. Most of us don’t sell art. We write about it. I guess in the world of Viveros-Faune and the Village Voice, that makes us nuns.

UPDATE: Viveros-Faune is out at the VV.

Currently Hanging

posted by on January 18 at 10:21 AM


Tomory Dodge’s Epsilon, oil on canvas, 14 x 16 inches (2007)

At Lawrimore Project.

Republicanism: A Public Service Announcement…

posted by on January 18 at 10:20 AM

Shhh…. This only seems like a long post. It’ll be over before you know it.

Well, we’re all doomed, aren’t we. Doomed! It’s pretty hard not to notice at this point. The motes of dust that were once the maggot poop that was once the eyes of Helen Keller can see it. My shoe has noticed it. And my shoe hardly notices anything. It’s all over but the crying.

Do you think Hillary will save us? Never. And Obama? Smart young man. He’ll be shot. God forbid. Mark my words.

The waters are rising, everything else is burning. The Big Ice that makes our ecosystem happen has drizzled down to a snow cone. The government denies any of it’s happening, and will give you a free Hummer if you tell them you use it for “work.” Meanwhile tornadoes—-Jesus, dozens of them at a time!—-are playing “kick-the-double-wide” in trailer parks that no self-respecting tornado has set foot in since dinosaurs roamed the earth, and as if things can’t get any worse, “Mitt Romney Wins in Michigan!”

In response to these urgent perils, the US government, such as it is, has wisely decided to save us with a daring plan to put clever little microchips into all of our passports and drivers’ licenses so our every move can be tracked starting just next month (no kidding, enjoy). And, let’s not kid ourselves, it just snowed in Baghdad. Baghdad! Where camels roam and the sand lives. And, um, the government? Well, it’s wisely building a wall along our borders to “protect” us from the evil that is Mexicans. If you’re just dumb enough to believe that.

And you know why all this is happening. You do. You did that report on “1984” in Junior High. You saw “House of the Spirits.” (Winona Ryder’s skin? Porcelain. I’m telling you.) You’ve read “Revelations.” You get “The History Channel.” Hell, every man, woman, child, man/woman, manchild and blooming daffodil with the historical perspective that God gave a donkey knows why all this is happening, and why all this is happening is Republicans. REPUBLICANS!

Republicanism is a disease. It is a dangerous mental illness. It has ruined millions of lives. It has lead the world into serious, undeniable peril. It must be stamped out and destroyed at all costs.

Symptoms of Republicanism Disease include a manic compulsion to create the world in the dystopian image of “A Handmaid’s Tale” whether or not you read the book (probably not—- although Mitt Romney carries the Cliff Notes version wherever he goes and refers to it when writing speeches—he claims an angel called “Macaroni” or something gave it to him). Republicanism Disease is also typified by an insistent, zombie-like faith in slash-and-burn capitalism, and a compulsive need to dally overlong in the toxic fields of American Evangelical Christianity. The symptoms are agitated by the existence of homosexuals, brown people, and patchouli.

There is only one possible cure for Republicanism; it must not be tolerated in any form whatsoever. Immediate, complete and proactive intolerance of aggressive stupidity is the only answer. There is no excuse for what we’ve let these fools get away with. I am ashamed of us.

There is no middle ground with Republicanism Disease. (Are you listening Christine Gregoire? Yeah, you better be.) One can’t invade Iraq “a little bit”, one can’t oppress gays “just a smidge”, one can’t profiteer and warmonger at the expense of clean air and water and food and public safety and health and general well-being “a bit”, and one can’t call global warming “a lie” and refuse to address the issue for profit until the problem is so huge we are all surely dead soon “just this once”, and one can’t “rewrite the Constitution to reflect ‘the living word of God’” (hello again, Mr. Romney) just a tad. It’s like being “slightly dead” or “a little bit of a serial murderer.”

If you or someone you love should experience any symptoms of Republicanism, you should call your health care provider at once. And they should shoot you in the face.


Serious Time-Waster Alert

posted by on January 18 at 9:55 AM

The pain and heartbreak of potentially losing Scrabulous has lessened, now that I’ve found Word Sandwich.

Props for Reggie Watts (and Amy O’Neal!) in the NYT

posted by on January 18 at 9:47 AM


Former Seattleite Reggie Watts (and current Seattlelite Amy O’Neal) earn some good ink in the New York Times, for Watts’ show Distortion, running in the Public Theater’s Under the Radar fest.

DISINFORMATION Public Theater Through Sunday

“Some of you are time travelers. Welcome,” the absurdist comedian Reggie Watts says by way of introduction. “Please don’t give anything away.” In “Disinformation,” a sharp, wry and elusive entertainment, Mr. Watts, a man comfortably at home in the world of the ridiculous, transforms himself as quickly as a couch potato changes channels. He moves seamlessly from skits to songs to off-kilter stand-up, while talking in a subway train full of accents. He also occasionally mispronounces words for no particular reason: “bed” and “grandfather” become “bead” and “grainfather.” It’s a jittery, fractured show seemingly built to appeal to those with attention deficit disorder. You can try to keep up with this gifted performer, but don’t bother making sense of him.

Mr. Watts, who straddles the lines between comedy, music and theater, has a look as striking as his style: large tufts of hair sprout from the top and bottom of his sizable head. There’s a hint of a smirk during his cockeyed one-liners (“I was attending a conference on conferences”), but when he breaks into a James Brown-like song or a human beat box, he turns deadpan, putting his nimble baritone to great use.

He’s assisted by a team of good-looking, young performers including a flirty singer named Orianna Herrman and an astounding hip-hop dancer, Amy O’Neal, so magnetically creative on her feet that for a few minutes she manages to steal the focus away from Mr. Watts. JASON ZINOMAN

Hurrah! Please perform it here soon.

Kelly O and Dan at the Adult Entertainment Expo: But Where Are the Sex Robots?

posted by on January 18 at 9:37 AM

Sadly sex robots aren’t available just yet. But if you’ve been seized by a sudden desire to fuck the shit out of the workout ball while doing crunches at the gym, or if you think there’s not enough double penetration during your average game of Spin the Bottle, or if think whip cream is a sex toy (as opposed to the gas used to make it), or if you dig father-son granite dildo teams, this sex toy expo’s for you:

Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty

posted by on January 18 at 9:23 AM

News from the SF Zoo

One of the two survivors of the San Francisco Zoo tiger attack that left a 17-year-old dead told the victim’s father that the three had yelled and waved at the animal while standing atop the railing of the tiger’s exhibit, police said in court documents filed Thursday….

An autopsy conducted by a zoo veterinarian on the Siberian tiger after police shot it to death showed that the animal had been “very determined to get out,” Matthews said. Its claws were broken and splintered by clambering up the concrete moat wall, Matthews quoted the veterinarian as saying.

“This behavior may be consistent with a tiger that has been agitated and/or taunted,” Matthews said.

Taunting a tiger at the zoo is an asshole thing to do, of course, but it’s not a hanging offense. The boys, engaged in teenage assholery, had a reasonable right to expect that the zoo’s tiger enclosure would keep the tigers, you know, enclosed. This news will probably knock a couple of million off the city’s inevitable settlements with the two survivors and the estate of the boy that died. But let’s not forget that the walls of the enclosure were only 12 feet high, not the regulation 16.5 feet (tigers can jump 16 feet), and that zoo officials weren’t even aware of the exact height of the walls until days after the attack.

But for future reference: Taunting ferocious animals at the zoo is always a bad idea. Please make a note of it.

The Reverse Bradley Effect

posted by on January 18 at 9:10 AM

As Eli linked in Morning News, the NYT is reporting that Southern blacks are split over Obama vs. Clinton.

Yeah, good luck with that bit of analysis. The Times story isn’t riffing off any polling they’ve done, but rather they’re talking about splits on black newspaper boards and splits among prominent black leaders. But even if they were talking about polling, their reporting would be just as naive.

Fact: When blacks go to vote, they will overwhelmingly vote for Obama over Clinton. Duh. Don’t know if pollsters will be able to prove it with exit polling, but the actual vote count will make it clear that blacks who say they voted for Clinton will be fibbing the pollster.

The Morning News

posted by on January 18 at 8:30 AM

Bobby Fischer: Dead at 64.

Bill Clinton: Get angry on the stump, get a profile in both of the big papers.

$800 rebates for all: Enough to stimulate the economy?

Southern blacks: Divided by Obama vs. Clinton.

Gone missing: Lots of White House emails from between 2003 and 2005.

Secret Service intrigue: The case of the man who confronted Dick Cheney.

Dr. Phil: In trouble for Britney visit.

67 below: Siberian forecast.

Teenage prostitution: Local 12-year-old coerced into charging for sex.

Capitol Hill stabbing: Person of interest is a former Cornish student whose addresses (East Olive to the Summit Ave rehab strip) tell a sad and scary tale.

OMG: A Reporter Not a Stenographer!

posted by on January 18 at 8:22 AM

Romney lies and a reporter busts him—in real time, on camera. Romney says his campaign isn’t run by lobbyists, and he doesn’t have lobbyists “tied to” his campaign. Watch this:

The reporter sitting on the floor putting actual, tough, reality-based questions to Romney is AP reporter Glen Johnson—and someone ought to pin a medal on him. Romney lied, Johnson called him on it. He didn’t run off and find a Democrat or a rival for the GOP nomination to “dispute Romney’s claim.” He reacted the way any reporter—any person—ought to react when they’re being lied to.

And you gotta love the Romney campaign douchebag/senior staffer that reprimands Johnson for “being argumentative with the candidate.” God fucking forbid. And I love the Romney supporter who felt the Johnson was “rude”—as opposed to, you know, the candidate that just lied to her face. But most of all you gotta love Johnson’s response. The staffer tells Johnson to “save your opinions,” and “act professional.” and Johnson responds like any professional reporter should: “It’s not an opinion. It’s a documentable fact.”

Thank you for that, Glen Johnson. I’m sure it won’t be but… gee… wouldn’t it be nice if Johnson’s stand marked an end to the kind of reporting characterized by leads like this: “Leading Democrats-today contested the president’s assertion that the moon is made of green cheese.”

Mike Huckabee on Flags & Fags

posted by on January 18 at 6:00 AM

I hope one of the reporters following Mike Huckabee around South Carolina will ask the candidate if his states-should-mind-their-own-damn-business policy applies to all states or just to states that display of the Confederate battle flag. Today in South Carolina Huckabee had this to say:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told South Carolina voters Thursday that the government had no business making decisions over the Confederate flag.

“You don’t like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag,” Huckabee said at a Myrtle Beach campaign event. “In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we’d tell them what to do with the pole, that’s what we’d do.”

Hm. That’s very interesting. Because when I was in South Carolina earlier this week I heard Mike Huckabee promise a room full of South Carolinians that he would do all he could to ban same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and put an end to civil unions in Connecticut and Vermont and California (where the state legislature has twice approved full marriage rights for same-sex couples). So…

Will some enterprising young reporter please ask Mike Huckabee how come the residents of South Carolina have a right to impose their values on Massachusetts where marriage equality is concerned but the residents of Massachusetts don’t have a right to impose their values on South Carolina where racist douchebaggery is concerned?

I’d kinda like to have an answer to that question.

Candy Canes for Jesus

posted by on January 18 at 12:27 AM

The Meaning of the Candy Cane

Hard candy: Reminds us that Jesus is like a “rock,” strong and dependable.
The color Red: Is for God’s love that sent Jesus to give his life for us on the cross.
The Stripes: Remind us of Jesus’ suffering–his crown of thorns, the wounds in his hands and feet; and the cross on which he died.
Peppermint Flavor: Is like the gift of spices from the wise men.
White Candy: Stands for Jesus as the holy, sinless Son of God.
Cane: Is like a staff used by shepherds in caring for sheep. Jesus leads us and watches over us when we Trust him.

An incredibly interesting case was decided by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals this week.

Just the summary of the basic facts in Section 1 of the decision (follow the link above and read it!) is like some sad Raymond Carver story with lines like: “If Joel still wished to sell the candy canes with the card, he could do so after school in the parking lot.”

It’s about a 5th grader in Saginaw, Michigan who sets out to sell candy canes with a religious note attached explaining why candy canes symbolize Christianity. (Peppermint Flavor: Is like the gift of spices from the wise men.)

Adding the explanatory note was the boy’s dad’s idea. The boy was attempting to sell the candy canes as part of school exercise (that only involved play money) that directed the young students to come up with and market a product and compete for sales at a market bazaar in the gymnasium.

Little Joel Curry—whose “business partner,” classmate Siddarth Reddy, was put off by the product proclaiming, “nobody wants to hear about Jesus”—was ultimately prohibited from selling the product.

His parents, furious, sued the school claiming that Joel’s first amendment rights were violated.

Of course, the opinion involves Tinker and Hazelwood—two landmark Supreme Court decisions on student speech that I’m preoccupied with.

The court (unjustly, I think) ruled against the boy and his parents because they said—according to the Hazelwood Standard—a school can suspend the right to free speech in the context of a school-sponsored program (like a mock bazaar) if the administration’s decision is based on “pedagogical concerns.”

The school felt that Joel’s message offended some students and therefore it disrupted the educational program. The Court sided with the school.

The Court’s decision shows exactly why the Hazelwood standard is bad news. One could just as easily argue that Joel’s “offensive” product was good for the lesson plan. His poor sales and failing business could have served as some kind of lesson about how marketplaces work. The fact that the school banished his Christian candy canes proves that the “pedagogical” standard is arbitrary and subjective—hardly a fair standard for something as serious as determining free speech rights.

(Footnote: Hazelwood is typically used by conservative courts and school administrators to encompass all school activities whether they are literally pedagogical moments like the mock bazaar or not—and so administrators have broad latitude to suppress speech throughout the school day on the vague premise that it disrupts the educational setting.

The much fairer Tinker standard, displaced by Hazelwood, had presented censors with a tougher standard that says the speech in question must actually disrupt the school day as opposed to the subjective “pedagogical” purpose of the school day.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

As if the Gigantic Ron Paul Signs on the House Weren’t Enough

posted by on January 17 at 8:34 PM

Check out what’s in the yard (under still-more Ron Paul signs).



I’m gonna guess the folks who live in this Central District house aren’t big fans of The Stranger.

The View From Mt. Si

posted by on January 17 at 5:35 PM

The Stranger’s Jonah Spangenthal-Lee jumped in a car this afternoon and headed out to Mt. Si High School to see what all the fuss was about.


The school’s principal, Randy Taylor, told Jonah that having Rev. Ken Hutcherson speak at today’s Martin Luther King, Jr., assembly was a fine idea.

“Hutch has a profound life history,” Taylor told Jonah. “All of the students of color were very appreciative of Dr. Hutcherson coming in and giving a speech.”

Taylor suggested that the members of the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance who were upset by Hutcherson’s appearance should have been able to separate Hutcherson’s speeches against gay rights from the speech he gave today about his experiences as a black man. The teachers who booed and publicly questioned Hutcherson, Taylor said, had behaved in a “very unprofessional” manner.

The school’s policy on bringing in speakers, according to Taylor, is: “If what they’re about is hate, prejudice, and violence, they don’t belong here.” He saw no conflict between that policy and inviting Hutcherson.

“Hutch’s message was very appropriate for our kids,” Taylor said. Asked whether it was appropriate for the school’s gay students, Taylor replied: “Well, you’ll have to ask the students that.”

Jonah spoke to a number of students who shared Taylor’s view that it was inappropriate to give Hutcherson such a poor reception.

A 17-year-old student named Quinn told Jonah that today’s events would further marginalize the Gay-Straight Alliance in a school that has a history of not being entirely friendly to gay students. “Subconsciously, people are going to start associating GSA with the ridiculous political correctness at the school,” Quinn said.

A 15-year-old student named Amanda told Jonah: “No one even knew [Hutcherson] was against gays. I don’t want to sound bad, but the majority of students at our school are against gay rights.”

Kit McCormick, an English teacher at Mt. Si who also acts as an adviser for the Gay-Straight Alliance, told Jonah that there is a considerable amount of “anti-gay sentiment” in the school’s community.

“I’m astonished this person was brought to the school to talk about equality,” McCormick said of Hutcherson. She added: “This is totally going to help me teach irony in my English class.”

During Mt. Si’s annual “Day of Silence,” which is meant to remind students about the difficulty of life in the closet, posters about the day have been ripped down, there have been some isolated incidents of gay students being shoved, and some people have shouted in the hallways: “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”

After this morning’s assembly, about 50 kids gathered in McCormick’s class for a GSA meeting—many more than usually show up. A 17-year-old GSA member named Lindsey told Jonah she was happy that a disturbance was caused during Hutcherson’s presentation. “Is anyone going to listen to us if we write a nice letter to the principal?” she asked. “I’m willing to be the bad guy because he’s the bad guy.”

For her part, McCormick, the adviser, said she was not interested in Hutcherson’s suggestion that he come back to the school to explain his positions to gay students. “I don’t want to sit down and talk with people who want to oppress entire groups of people,” she said.

Dave Hildebrand, spokesman for the umbrella organization that oversees the entire network of Gay-Straight Alliances in Washington State, said he supports the stand McCormick and her students took.

“I can see why they reacted the way they did,” Hildebrand said. “They’re right. Hutcherson has been vehemently against equality for individuals regardless of their orientation or identity. To have him jump on that soap box, and then on the other side do have him go around denouncing people for who they are, is just hypocrisy.”

Sen. Tom Continues His Life as a Born Again Democrat. And You Know How Zealous Born Again Types Can Be.

posted by on January 17 at 5:35 PM

Here’s another bill that pushes the Democratic theme that’s emerging this session that I Slogged about yesterday: housing issues.

The hearing is at 8am, so I’m not going to make it, but the bill deserves attention.

It offers up a common-sense fix to one problem with the mortgage industry. The bill forces mortgage brokers to disclose any special fees (kickbacks?) they get from lenders.

The intent of the bill is to rein in a practice known as “yield spread premiums.” This is when lenders give mortgage brokers an incentive to hook borrowers up with steeper rates than necessary by giving them a cut.

The bill is being sponsored by Republican-House-member-turned-Democratic-Senator, Rodney Tom (D-48, Medina).

Zipcar Tax Relief in Play

posted by on January 17 at 5:15 PM

As promised, Seattle state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36), along with Vancouver Rep. Deb Wallace (D-17) has introduced legislation that would exempt carsharing companies such as Zipcar (I’m still having a hard time not calling the merged company “Flexcar”) from the rental-car tax. As I’ve written before, carsharing is not the same thing as renting a car. As Zipcar noted in an e-mail to members,

Car sharing gives members a convenient and cost effective alternative to owning a car. Each car sharing vehicle added to the streets takes approximately 15 privately owned cars off the street, resulting in less congestion and fewer resources dedicated to parking infrastructure. Car sharing members also increase their use of public transit, biking, and walking, while decreasing their car use, helping to conserve fuel and reduce emissions. Washington follows other leading states in making legislative changes to recognize car sharing and its members, including Oregon, Illinois, Massachusetts and others.

The rental-car tax has significantly increased the cost of car-sharing; getting rid of it would eliminate an unfair penalty on people who decide that getting rid of their cars is the right thing to do.

12th Avenue Now Has Banners Confirming the Existence of 12th Avenue

posted by on January 17 at 5:04 PM


Notes from the Prayer Warrior

posted by on January 17 at 4:20 PM

The subject line of this email from the Prayer Warrior was: “Controversy.” The issue at hand is explored here.


Thursday, 17 January 2008

Today I was speaking at a public school about Rev. Martin Luther King, and was booed by members of the Gay Straight Alliance. One of the sponsors stood up and challenged me during the assembly. Then one of the teachers called a gay newspaper. [FACT CHECK: The teacher did not call The Stranger about the incident. —ES]

I have been quiet as a parent, but now the line has been crossed. Pray for wisdom as I deal with this situation!

On another note, tomorrow I will be a guest on the Rush Limbaugh Show between 2:00 - 3:00 EST, with my annual football discussion. Pray for this speaking opportunity.

Pastor Hutch

Teen, Overall Birth Rates Up; Abortions Down

posted by on January 17 at 4:17 PM


Here’s some rather disturbing news! While abortions are down in the US to their lowest level since 1974, it might be because women and teenage girls just don’t have access to abortion anymore—according to Newsweek, 87 percent of US counties don’t have a single abortion clinic—and are carrying more unwanted pregnancies to term; in 2006, more babies were born in the US than in the previous 45 years. Experts attribute the rise to “a decline in contraceptive use, a drop in access to abortion, poor education and poverty.” Awesome! Meanwhile, the teen birth rate, which had been declining started to go back up again in 2006. Finally, the “family values” warriors have something to celebrate.

Image credit Milwaukee, WI United Way.

Hutcherson Booed at Mt. Si High School MLK Assembly

posted by on January 17 at 4:00 PM

Rev. Ken Hutcherson, a prominent opponent of gay rights in Washington State, was the guest speaker today at an assembly at Mt. Si High School, where he spoke about his experiences as a black man and was booed by the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, pointedly questioned by a school teacher about his antipathy toward equality for gays and lesbians, and, Hutcherson says, made to feel “embarrassed.”

According to Hutcherson, the assembly, intended to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was arranged by his daughter, who is a senior at Mt. Si High.

In a phone interview this afternoon, Hutcherson told me that he couldn’t remember the exact question posed to him by the Mt. Si teacher, but that it was shouted from bleachers in the back of the school gymnasium, and was along the lines of challenging him for claiming to admire Dr. King but simultaneously being dismissive of the fight for equal rights for gays and lesbians.

“I think her deal was that I don’t believe in equal rights for everybody,” Hutcherson told me.

School officials could not immediately be reached for comment, but Hutcherson called the confrontation inappropriate. “I was embarrassed for my daughter, because she was the one who planned the assembly,” Hutcherson told me. “It was an assembly for the kids and for Martin Luther King, who pushed strongly for equality for skin color.”

Asked whether there is, in fact, a disconnect between the message of Dr. King (whose close adviser, Bayard Rustin, was gay) and his own efforts to fight against equal rights for gays and lesbians, Hutcherson expressed some frustration, telling me: “I guarantee you, my brother, you can say whatever you want about Martin Luther King, but he was not fighting for people’s rights in the bedroom. Do not go down that road with me. If you go down that road with me, you’re gonna get a fight.”

He then ended the interview.

Earlier in the interview, he expressed comfort with the kind of confrontation that occurred today, saying: “I take that all the time. It’s just part of the stand. But when it start affecting the kids that planned it and my daughter, I think that something else should be done. I think it was a disrespect for the kids.”

He also proposed a future meeting with the school’s gay-straight in which he would explain his views.

During his presentation, Hutcherson told me, he spoke mainly about his experience as a young black man growing up in the South. “I wasn’t even a person,” he told me. “All I was, was three-fifths of an individual.”

That appeared to be a reference to the Three-fifths Compromise of 1787, which stated that every American slave was to be counted as, essentially, three-fifths of a person. The “compromise” was repealed by the 13th Amendment in 1865.


In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on January 17 at 3:42 PM

Freak Folk: The Finches want you to “Step Outside.

Southpaw: Trent Moorman interviews Sweet Hereafter guitarist Phil Wandscher.

The Last Time I Saw Them They Were Boring: But Jeff Kirby thinks Tera Melos will be killer tonight.

For Sale: Everything’s 20% off at Sonic Boom in Fremont.

Sleepless in Seattle: Documentary Punk: Attitude kept Donte Parks up all night.

Music News: Kimya Dawson is getting famous, the Eels will show a commercial during the Super Bowl, and the Rolling Stones are signing to a new label.

Swoon: Jeremy Enigk still makes my heart happy.

Why?: The band. Coming to Seattle. So Eric Grandy gives you a Cure cover to enjoy in the meantime.

Tonight in Music: Shark Lake, Sound Tribe Sector Nine, Climax Golden Twins, and Stanley Clarke.

Multimedia Workout: Eric Grandy reviews Dan Deacon’s Ultimate Reality DVD.

1996: Two posts about one year.

The Music of Led Zepplin: To be performed by a 50-piece orchestra.

We Need a New Music Intern: And we pay in candy.

Classic Dance Tracks: TJ Gorton on Lamont Dozier.

Blake Lewis, everyone.


Taken by Blush Photo. Find more in the Stranger’s Flickr Pool.

Resolved: Sound Transit Dissolved

posted by on January 17 at 3:32 PM

I got a copy of a draft bill that state Senate Transportation Chair Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10, Camano Island) wrote that would dissolve Sound Transit and turn over its functions to a new regional transportation agency called the RTC, the Regional Transportation Commission. (I’ve copied her proposal below.)

The idea is a replay of an idea that floated around behind the scenes a few years ago called Sound Transportation—which was a scheme to get rid of the Regional Transportation Investment District, leave highway building to the state, and remake Sound Transit as Sound Transportation, putting the new agency in charge of transit and HOV lanes. The idea got sidetracked by the joint roads and transit initiative, which evolved into last year’s $17 billion Prop. 1.

In the wake of Prop. 1’s failure, Sen. Haugen is working through this new idea to get rid of Sound Transit altogether and let an elected body figure out how to coordinate roads and transit projects.

Here’s one major problem with this approach right off the bat: $750 million.

The feds, at the behest of U.S. Senator Patty Murray’s appropriations sub-committee on transportation, are prepared to sign off on $750 million this summer to get Sound Transit from downtown to the U District. That’s 43% of the $1.7 billion segment. If Sound Transit goes away that money is gone. That means light rail is dead.

We turned down federal money in 1968. Let’s not do it again by dissolving the agency that’s in good with the feds and replacing it with a roads and transit mish mash.

Continue reading "Resolved: Sound Transit Dissolved" »

Apparently There’s A Rumor Going Around That Britney Spears is Pregnant

posted by on January 17 at 3:26 PM

And apparently this photo—reportedly taken last night—conclusively refutes the rumor.

Click if you dare, and don’t come crying to me after…

(Full story at X17.)

Talk and Action

posted by on January 17 at 3:24 PM

Hillary Clinton has a new ad up in California in which she speaks in a much more emotive tone about making sure people’s voices are heard. Meanwhile, a judge in Nevada just ruled against the somewhat-Clinton-connected effort to limit voter participation in the upcoming Nevada caucuses.

Substance vs. Substance

posted by on January 17 at 3:24 PM

Originally posted yesterday. I’m moving this up because I posted it last night after everybody was in bed. Juicy debates in the comments thread about nuclear power and merit pay for teachers, if you’re interested. —Annie

The charge that Obama lacks substance is completely specious. It’s become a commonplace in this campaign, but that doesn’t mean it’s accurate. The accusation stems from the relatively modest number of policy proposals Obama enumerates in his stump speeches—speeches which help set the tone of a campaign but which are not the primary source of information for most voters. (We can’t all live in Iowa or New Hampshire.) There is an enormous amount of detail available at his website for anyone who’s interested in specific policy matters.

Further, let’s keep in mind that promises made during campaigns are not magically realized after a president is elected. The proportion of voters who buy into a candidate’s vision (and the enthusiasm they exhibit) has a huge impact on the feasibility of that president’s agenda once he or she takes office. I believe Obama’s reticence about wonkish detail on the stump is part of how he’s able to appeal to such a wide audience: The greater the precision with which you describe policies, the more chances a voter has to disagree with you. This was, as many have realized, George W. Bush’s exact strategy in 2000—and guess what, it worked. (Well, except for the whole winning the election thing.) He made a sharp right turn upon taking office, and thanks in part to a roll-over-and-play-dead Congress (which included first-term senator Hillary Clinton), he was able to ram his agenda through. Obama’s agenda would be both progressive, in contrast to Bush, and innovative, taking on some entrenched interests that Clinton is afraid to touch.

To address Erica’s specific points:

On the environment. Erica points out that “Clinton voted for higher fuel efficiency standards for SUVs (S 517, 2002)”—but somehow overlooks the fact that more recently, in 2005, Clinton voted against an amendment which would have boosted CAFE standards to 40 mpg by 2016 and moved SUVs out of the “light truck” loophole. At the time, Grist noted that Clinton had “presumably done some electoral math and decided [she] didn’t want to piss off Michigan.” Obama voted yea on that amendment (alongside Cantwell and Murray, if you’re curious). Yes, Clinton’s newfound support for tougher CAFE standards brings her to a goal of 40 mpg by 2020 and 55 mpg by 2030 (Grist has a good graph on all the candidates’ positions on enviro issues). Obama has so far matched only that first milepost—40 mpg by 2020—but, crucially, he would also toughen the standards for SUVs to 32 mpg by that same date. Clinton hasn’t touched the light truck category. Moreover, Clinton has never, so far as I can tell, sponsored legislation on this issue. Working with Washington’s own Jay Inslee in the House (and a number of hawkish Rs in the Senate), Obama introduced the Health Care for Hybrids Act in 2005, 2006, and 2007, along with the Fuel Economy Reform Act to increase CAFE standards and close loopholes in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

Erica slams Obama for promoting nuclear power without mentioning that Clinton claims to be “agnostic” on the subject (talk about lack of substance!). I share some doubts about nuclear power, but when the most pressing issue facing the planet is global warming and the most accessible fuel source is coal, issues like nuclear storage NIMBYism start to look less insurmountable. Oh, and speaking of “pie-in-the-sky” notions like “clean” coal and ethanol, Clinton LOVES ‘em (her Strategic Energy Fund would fund 5 new coal-fired plants; you can read all about her love for corn-based ethanol at her website). Barack Obama’s energy plan is available here (download the PDF at the bottom).

Continue reading "Substance vs. Substance" »

Starting a Family Conversation

posted by on January 17 at 2:50 PM

A technical bill implementing last year’s unfunded family leave bill is getting a hearing in the House tomorrow.

It’s hard to get excited about a technical bill that implements something that’s not even funded. (Last year’s family leave bill allows people to take leave to care for kids but still lacks about $40 million in funding.)

However, the new bill may be an opening for its sponsor, Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36, Ballard, Queen Anne) to get some momentum for both finding real money and expanding the bill to include what it included last year before it was gutted: the right to take leave to care for spouses, adult children, parents, and domestic partners, as well as kids.

Says Dickerson: “There are preliminary discussions about funding and benefits, and it might apply to this session.”

Hardly a bold commitment, but it’ll be interesting to see if tomorrow’s minor discussion jump-starts efforts for a real family leave bill.

Oh Google, You Know Me So Well…

posted by on January 17 at 2:14 PM

This targeted web advertisement showed up on my Gmail today:

People Farting - - 10 Fart Videos That Changed The World. Watch Free Instantly!

WOW. FINALLY. The farters at are guaranteed to be people. People farting. No more of the same old antelopes farting, or submarines farting, or Roman statuary farting. Please, friends, do not laugh at these fart videos. These fart videos are amazing. Not only that, these fart videos have actually changed the world! Now, you no longer have to wait in long lines or pay high prices for the all the amazing fart videos that you desire. You can watch them for Free. Instantly.

Today in Unbelievable Company Names

posted by on January 17 at 1:32 PM



via Cabel Sasser

I , Anonymous: Seattle Times Insider Edition

posted by on January 17 at 1:07 PM


This just in to I, Anonymous:

First, a disclaimer: I work for the Seattle Times and accept culpability for retaining a job which kills my soul. I’ve got bills and, well, have you seen the lackluster Craigslist offerings lately? Anyhow, “debuting in the Sunday newspaper in April 2008,” this niche publication known as Footprint will “help readers make smart choices as well as allow businesses to let the community know about their earth-friendly practices” Problem is, this publication will be printed on high-gloss magazine stock much like the Times’ Pacific Northwest Magazine. NOT on recycled post-consumer paper. WTF? I may very well suggest it be printed on toilet paper so as to have multi-usage capabilities. Oh! there it goes again……another partial death rattle of my soul.

FOX’s Super Bowl Coverage to Become Even More Unwatchable

posted by on January 17 at 1:05 PM

Ugh. From the New York Observer:

On Feb. 3, a k a Super Bowl Sunday, in an original News Corp. smorgasbord, reporters from FOX News will be teaming up with reporters from FOX owned and operated stations from around the country for a three hour broadcast event, focusing on—USA! USA!—presidential politics and professional football.

Shepard Smith, of FOX News, will headline the production from Glendale, Ariz., the site of this year’s Super Bowl. FOX News anchor (and Cincinnati Bengals fanatic) Bill Hemmer will contribute from New York, along with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly.

As the anchors toggle back and forth between discussion of the Super Bowl and Super Tuesday, they will chew over political dispatches from FOX Broadcasting reporters from around the country.

That sounds… delightful.

Your New Sound Transit Board Member …

posted by on January 17 at 1:03 PM

… is, as Josh let slip below (gotta be more careful with those text messages!) Seattle City Council President Richard Conlin. Nothing’s official or confirmed yet, but numerous sources say Conlin will take over for his colleague Richard McIver, whose board position expired this year. I’ve got a call in to Conlin, the former chair of the council’s transportation committee and a member of the Puget Sound Regional Council, to see what his priorities will be on the board and whether he’ll support putting Sound Transit on the ballot this year or in 2010.

Interview with a Landlord

posted by on January 17 at 12:43 PM

It should’ve been a shitstorm, but it wasn’t.

Over one hundred people congregated at the Capitol Hill Arts Center last night (yesterday’s Slog post about it here) to talk about how artists are being squeezed out of Capitol Hill—and, sometimes, out of existence—by the city’s overheated real estate market.

All the combustibles were there: aggrieved artists and theater companies, Nick Licata (city council), Susan Shannon (Mayor’s Office of Economic Development), Michael Killoren (Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs), Charlie Rathbun (4Culture), and Ted Schroth, the commercial developer who just bought Oddfellows Hall.


(A brief history: Oddfellows has been an incubator for low-rent arts organizations for decades. Since its sale a few weeks ago to Schroth, current arts tenants—Velocity Dance Center, Freehold Theater, the Century Ballroom—have said the developer’s proposed rent increases will displace them. And that Oddfellows Hall will, most likely, become all offices and retail.)

Before the meeting began, artists huddled, muttering darkly and drinking beer.

Shitstorm, right? But no.

The discussion was occasionally heated, but predictable. Artists blamed the city (“give us money”), city officials gently chided the artists (“make a fuss, give us a reason”), and the landlord said nothing—nobody asked him. Nobody asked about Oddfellows Hall, or what anybody could do to keep developers from kicking artists out of buildings.

So, after the meeting ended, I asked Schroth.

“Of course arts are important,” he said. “A lot of people are angry that Oddfellows sold, but the owners wanted to sell and we paid ten times as much as they did for the building. Now I have a mortgage and partners to pay and I can’t operate at a loss.”

So you have to raise rents.

“Look, landlords are easy targets. I’ve got a bulls-eye on my chest. But there’s a new economic reality [for the Oddfellows Hall and, one gathers, for the city]. I don’t want to sound like a victim, because I’m not, but I can’t afford to subsidize the arts.”

So if we could wave a magic wand and invent a plan that would help you keep arts organizations in the building, what would it be?

“Government incentives to bridge the gap between what the artists can pay and the economic reality, property tax breaks like the ones for 501(c)3s, and more from the end user: Hallie [the proprietress of the Century Ballroom] charges $5 for people to dance—pretty cheap. If her patrons value the arts, they should pay $12 instead of $5.”

(Which recalls a quote from Lucky Jim: “If one man’s got ten buns and another’s got two, and a bun has got to be given up by one of them, then surely you take it from the man with ten buns.”)

It seemed like a depressing evening, but today Licata is all excited about it: “That was a tremendous turnout! The next step is to have something like that in city hall, in front of council members. Then the council needs to devote its resources, and maybe a new dedicated staff member, to help identify buildings that need to be saved and help broker the deals between artists and developers.”

This could, he said, be the beginning of something good.

Cheap-ish Condos on Capitol Hill?

posted by on January 17 at 12:43 PM

The building at the corner of Pine and Bellevue has been vacant for months, awaiting conversion into condos. (Full disclosure: I have a friend who used to live there; she couldn’t afford what they were asking and moved into a different neighborhood.) But with the imminent crash of the market for conversions, the building’s owner, The Stratford Company, has decided to take a different route; they’re tearing the whole thing down and rebuilding it as small, affordable (the company likes to call them “attainable”) new-construction condos.

In recent years, the Pike-Pine corridor has changed dramatically, as developers have announced plans to demolish affordable housing or convert expensive apartments into even-more-expensive condos. (See: The block that formerly housed the Bus Stop and Kincora; the Press Condos—nee Press Apartments). But there’s reason to feel hopeful about this new development. For one thing, the building it will replace will be no great loss-brown brick apartments perched atop street-level parking, with no retail or other street amenities to speak of. For another, Stratford (which is primarily a condo conversion company) says it wants the new condos to be affordable to people making the Seattle median income, currently around $52,000 a year. According to Stratford sales VP Virginia Grady, the company is aiming for condos that are “low-cost but not low-quality”—around $250,000 for a 400- to 500-square-foot unit. “We’re looking at, how do we design a smaller space that’s highly functional and appealing?” she says.

To that end, the company is doing an online survey to find out what amenities people want and what things they might be able to live without; some cost-saving possibilities include loft-style designs, compact kitchen appliances, small, energy-efficient washer/dryers, no assigned parking spaces, and no air conditioning. As a renter, I’m encouraged to see a developer targeting my demographic—people with decent jobs and no kids who can’t afford the “From $695,000!” crap that’s replacing so many older single-family homes in this area.

A Beautiful Spam.

posted by on January 17 at 12:23 PM

Oh, that tricky spam! How surprising, how moving, how annoying that crap can be. I’m sure we all know this, but please to forgive, for this lovely spam, that I just got, just this second, I simply must share, for it is surely the lovliest and most romantic spam that has ever blossomed in the manure that is an inbox. It goes like this:

To: Adrian Ryan

Re: A Kiss So Gentle…


inside my pussy…(Link to penis enlargement sight or Jesus knows what malware.)

Indeed, “A kiss so gentle, inside my pussy.” Now that’s spam almost anyone can appreciate (yes, even me); spam that could capture the heart of a poet or a serial molester and set the most cynical mouse to clicking. Except mine. I didn’t click it. As I am not retarded.

Yes, that’s some good spam, ladies and gentlemen. That’s some good spam.

Sorry. I’ve been quiet for while. How’re you doin’?


Close Encounters

posted by on January 17 at 12:02 PM


Rome just gave me an idea: The city is a chaos that works. Big cities in the Third World are chaotic, but they don’t work. For a city to be outstanding it must be at once chaotic and not fall apart. The water must run, the trash be collected, and the electricity radiate to the tidal tails of the city. But what makes this complex emergence work? The combination of wealth and love. A city must be rich (I’m not against wealth but the capitalist domination of wealth and its generation) and, most importantly, be loved. A city with just wealth is as dead as a city without it. Love is needed for the productive chaos of humanity.

While flying across the Atlantic, I listened to Gangstarr’s “In Memory Of.” Not far from the close of that melancholy track, Guru, the rapper states: “Without love, we would never exist.” We can give this statement more substance by saying: “Without love, a big city would never exist.” Because the city is about love, the country (its opposite) must be about hate. There is always something severe and mean in the manner and expressions of those who live in small towns or outside of the city. When you see them praying in a small church, or driving a pickup truck down a desolate road, what you are watching is a profound hate for humanity. There is no real love in country people.

The nature of a galaxy is not be alone in the middle of nowhere. At this moment, Andromeda is fleeing the space of its loneliness and approaching our galaxy. In six billion years, the two will meet and create one massive system of stars. Other galaxies are also coming our way, and in a future at the edge of the imagination, there will emerge a mother of a galaxy. Complexity and propinquity are the cosmic imperative, the galactic truth, the sideral law. The force of this law is love.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on January 17 at 12:00 PM

From Flickr pool contributor RedButtons


If You Want Something Done Right…

posted by on January 17 at 11:57 AM

Before his death, Vladimir Nabokov unequivocally stated that he wanted his survivors to destroy his final manuscript, a book called The Original of Laura. His son, Dmitri, has wondered for decades whether he should actually destroy the book. Now Slate, which I’m honestly a little shocked to discover is still in business, wants to hold a forum to determine what happens to the book, because there’s a moral quandary and should the world be denied another work by Nabokov and blah blah and etc. I’ll repeat the first sentence of this post, with emphasis added:

Before his death, Vladimir Nabokov unequivocally stated that he wanted his survivors to destroy his final manuscript, a book called The Original of Laura.

In conclusion, Dmitri Nabokov is an idiot. That is all.

The Battle Over the Pro Parks Levy

posted by on January 17 at 11:54 AM

As I wrote in this week’s paper, there’s a battle shaping up over whether—and how—to renew the $270 million Pro Parks Levy, which funded capital and operations investments in parks, open space, and community centers. Council president Richard Conlin wants to renew the levy (for capital investments only; operations would be paid for out of the general budget) and make new investments in Pike Place Market and Seattle Center; Mayor Greg Nickels wants to focus on Seattle Center and Pike Place Market only.

Tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the Central Library, the Seattle Great City Initiative is hosting a forum titled “Post Pro-Parks: What is Seattle’s Next Round of Green Infrastructure Investments?”, with panel members including City Council parks committee chair Tom Rasmussen, Seattle Parks Foundation member Bruce Blume, and Open Space Seattle 2100 co-director Nancy Rottle. Great City head Michael McGinn says the group is supporting renewal of the Pro Parks Levy; if the last forum they held at the library (on Seattle’s role in reducing global warming) was any indication, it should be an interesting discussion.

What About John?

posted by on January 17 at 11:23 AM

A cute video from the Edwards campaign. It closes with a recent poll that shows Edwards within striking distance of Clinton and Obama in Nevada, which holds the next Democratic nomination contest this Saturday.

Savage Love Letter of the Day

posted by on January 17 at 11:21 AM

Hey Dan,

Since you were instrumental in derailing Rick Santorum by helping name a sex related term after him. I think the time has come for you to do the same for Mike Huckabee. He has now began to publicly compare homosexuality to bestiality. So what do you think? Can you open up a new contest to name a Sex act or term The Huckabee? Thanks,

Olympia, WA

Every time someone says something idiotic in public—myself included—I get letters from readers angrily demanding that Coulter, Scalia, Cheney, Thomas, myself, et al, come in for the “santorum treatment.” This is the first time I can honestly say that I’ve been tempted.

Shall we?

Slog Poll: Will Washington Matter?

posted by on January 17 at 11:17 AM

I was at the official opening of Barack Obama’s new campaign office in Seattle on Saturday. It was the first presidential campaign office to open here, and a sign that at least one candidate thinks Washington’s Democratic caucuses on Feb. 9 could influence the outcome of the Democratic nomination fight.

But whether or not we’ll actually influence the outcome is still a very open question. Super Tuesday—or, as many are calling it, Super Duper Tuesday—falls on Feb. 5 and, with more than 20 states and over 2,000 delegates at stake, it could easily end up deciding the Democratic contest four days before Washington gets to weigh in.

Or not. If it doesn’t, the next date for nomination contests is Feb. 9, and our Democratic caucuses (as opposed to the Feb. 9 contests in Louisiana, Nebraska, and the Virgin Islands) hold the biggest prize on that day: 97 delegates.

At this point it’s anyone’s guess as to whether we’ll matter. Which means it might as well be your guess. So:

Will Washington’s Feb. 9 Democratic caucuses matter in the Democratic nomination fight?

The Boringest Video Game of All Time

posted by on January 17 at 11:05 AM


In which players must sort books according to the Library of Congress classification or some shit.


Currently Hanging

posted by on January 17 at 11:00 AM


Robert C. Jones, All or Nothing, oil on canvas (2007)

At Francine Seders Gallery.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 17 at 11:00 AM


Benjamin Franklin Climbs 5,000 Stairs at The University of Washington’s Red Square

Have you always dreamed of watching someone dressed like Benjamin Franklin climb 5,000 stairs? Today’s your lucky day. This afternoon in the University of Washington’s Red Square, historical presenter G. Robin Smith dons his Franklin garb and hauls himself up 5,000 stairs, to raise awareness and funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. (UW’s Red Square, between Odegaard Library and Kane Hall, 2–4 pm, free.)



‘Future So Bright’ at Lee Center for the Arts

Best known for his experimental films, including The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal (a cheeky parody of Greenbergian art history), Portland’s Matt McCormick is branching out into formal video art installations. This series is about ghost properties—bleached houses and gutted hotels sitting in gorgeous Western landscapes that seem to stretch on into infinity. Who knew it would take a filmmaker to bring aesthetic concerns back to video art? (Seattle University Lee Center for the Arts, 901 12th Ave, 296-2244. Opening 5–8 pm, free.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Hoping to Connect to Evangelical Voters, Huckabee Looks to the Barn

    posted by on January 17 at 10:50 AM

    Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

    I’m kind of struggling with why there seems to be such a direct, knee-jerk enthusiasm amongst evangelical candidates to always use some kind of analogy involving barnyard sex:

    QUESTIONER: Is it your goal to bring the Constitution into strict conformity with the Bible? Some people would consider that a kind of dangerous undertaking, particularly given the variety of biblical interpretations.

    HUCKABEE: Well, I don’t think that’s a radical view to say we’re going to affirm marriage. I think the radical view is to say that we’re going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal. Again, once we change the definition, the door is open to change it again. I think the radical position is to make a change in what’s been historic.

    It’s also kind of sad to see Huckabee—whose initial campaign approach seemed to be a kind of folksy, Christian brand of post-partisanship—finally hit the levels I knew in the back of my mind he’d probably hit when it was time to reach out to the evangelical base. The question would now seem to be: With only two days to go before South Carolina, can he go lower than insinuations of horse fucking?

    The Real Text Message of the Week

    posted by on January 17 at 10:35 AM

    Okay, Josh is asking for it.

    The number one text message of the week:

    Your caucus location is the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters.
    10:42 pm 1/11/08

    Want to find your caucus location? Go here.

    Re: Text Message of the Week

    posted by on January 17 at 10:24 AM

    Earlier this week, Stranger movie columnist Lindy West slogged her “Text Message of the Week.”

    As many of my colleagues and friends know, I am interested in chronicling text messages—and have a web site dedicated to just that.

    I will not cede this poetic and informational turf to Lindy West. Text Messages of the Week:

    Received at 10:38pm on 1/11/08: “My caucus location is in somebody’s house!”
    Received at 7:06pm on 1/11/08: “I think Conlin’s the next sound transit board member.”

    Process Love

    posted by on January 17 at 10:16 AM

    A friend writes:

    I love that the primaries are still wide open. Despite the mainstream media’s obsession with calling a winner as early as possible, the race is rolling along oblivious to the script that the stale pundits are trying to enforce upon the process. Dare we hope that for once a significant number (and cross-section) of Americans will choose the final candidates rather than the typical anointment by a handful in Iowa and New Hampshire?

    For Whom the Toll Tolls

    posted by on January 17 at 10:00 AM

    Earlier this week, I slogged from Olympia that a battle was brewing over tolling.

    The question: How should money generated from tolling be divvied up between roads and transit? (Note to Will at HorsesAss, “Transit” means BRT, HOV, bike lanes, light rail and light rail connections among other investments that get us out of cars.)

    The debate gets underway today with two important hearings, one in the Senate Transportation Committee at 1:30 and one in the House Transportation Committee at 3:30. The key player in all of this is House Transportation Committee Chair Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-41), who, environmental activists worry, wants to prioritize roads. “Prioritize” means something like a 90/10 split for roads.

    This has big implications for what type of transit component will be part of the 520 replacement project. However, Gov. Gregoire—who has prioritized 520 in this election year—may upend Clibborn by offering her own 520-specific tolling plan that would divvy up the roads and transit priorities more appropriately there.

    The Video the Church of Scientology Doesn’t Want You to See

    posted by on January 17 at 9:46 AM

    It’s been floating around the web for the past week: a video in which Tom Cruise holds forth, passionately and terrifyingly, on the wonders of Scientology.

    Every time the video is posted, “mysterious forces” insist on its removal—but now Gawker is calling bullshit on claims of copyright infringement: “It’s newsworthy, and we will not be removing it.”

    See the whole amazing thing here.

    (And here’s Radar’s very helpful glossary of Scientology terms, which will aid you in making sense of what the fuck Cruise is talking about, kinda.)

    Hey, Those Aren’t Stress Balls!

    posted by on January 17 at 9:45 AM

    A judge in Halifax, Nova Scotia, had this to say about a case before his court:

    “This could be a letter from Savage Love.”

    A Halifax man offered to help two women—an aunt and her niece—move the younger woman’s belongings into her new apartment. All he asked in exchange was a chance to practice the “reflexology” massage technique he was studying at school.

    Once the move was completed, the aunt was first to get the massage.

    In her niece’s bedroom, boxes still unopened, Fells told her to lie down. The door was closed. Blankets and pillows were piled on her chest, ostensibly to keep her warm. He told her to read out loud to relax, and he handed her her niece’s yearbook.

    She could not see what the man was doing.

    “I’m thinking, ‘This is kind of strange,’” the woman testified. [She was told to move her feet back and forth like “windshield wipers.] “Fells told her this was simply a new technique. The woman said she felt something spongy and soft on her feet as she moved them back and forth….

    Like her aunt, [the younger woman] was told to lie down as pillows and blankets were pilled on her chest. Like her aunt, she could no longer see the man. The woman said Fells was rubbing “objects” against her feet.

    She wanted to believe they were “stress balls.” Soon, she would come to think otherwise.

    A Case for Senator Hillary Clinton

    posted by on January 17 at 9:40 AM


    Hillary Clinton, through the course of the campaign and the debates, has me utterly convinced. She really is the wonk of the group with the keenest sense of how the political process grinds to create policy. Without a doubt, she makes a completely compelling case for herself… as Senate Majority Leader.

    Before I am accused of writing yet more “pro-Barack Obama propaganda,” I have an embarrassing fact to admit: I love the United States Congress. And I believe the Constitution and founding fathers—endowing the House and Senate with the control of the budget, the right to approve all appointees, set all laws the executive branch must follow, and decide when we go to war to name a few exclusive powers—have my back. The presidency, by comparison, is meant to be a vestigial limb—a fake king for a people shaking off monarchy—shackled by the laws of the land, the courts, and the will of the people.

    Since the Republican revolution of 1994, Congress steadily declined to the present state, a training ground for future lobbyists and a farm league for piles of inept presidential aspirants. Few remain with any interest or talent in legislation. Most bills passed are written by powerful outside interests, concatenated into an impenetrable mass, left unread and forced through the vote in the dark of night.

    It wasn’t meant to be this way. Congress should be where the brightest minds, the most detail-oriented minds, the minds most able to evaluate complexity gather to make the needs and bold sweeping goals of the nation happen—minds, it must be said, like Clinton’s. It’s hard to remember this, to even conceive of this in the Bush-era unitary executive. The decline of our nation, in no small part, can be attributed to the decline of Congress in power and as a deliberative body. We need more congressmen and congresswomen like Barbara Mikulski, Carl Levin and Paul Wellstone under the leadership of someone with the breadth and eloquence of Hillary Clinton.

    Great presidents are left six, maybe seven years to accomplish their goals. Great congressional careers are measured in decades. Clinton’s interests and talents—a glacier-like focusing in on details and policy crafting—are ideally suited to the Congress, this branch of government, and this sort of public career. I have no doubt she could come up with detailed and compelling plans of action—plans that could out compete the conflicted crap written by lobbyists. We need Clinton, or someone like Clinton, running the Senate. Pair a Clinton-led Senate with a series of rhetorically strong Democratic president—like Obama, who can sell her brilliant plans to the public in a way that she cannot—and you have the mixture to accomplish great and world changing acts.

    Hands-on and detail oriented, or visionary and inspiring? To borrow from Eli, it takes both. Using Clinton’s own example, it didn’t just take MLK’s soaring rhetoric and LBJ’s signature to bring the Civil Rights Act into reality. It took brilliant political maneuvering by Mike Mansfield (the Senate Majority leader from 1961 to 1977)—building a unique collation of Northern Democrats and Republicans—to finally overwhelm the Southern bloc of votes that had consistently filibustered the bill in the past. Without a talented and brilliant Senate Majority Leader, it never would have happened.

    Clinton v. Obama ‘08

    posted by on January 17 at 9:34 AM

    Both Annie and Erica make great arguments.

    And even though I believe Obama would ultimately be the better nominee for the Democratic Party (for the reasons I wrote here on Slog), I’m personally a Hillary Clinton fan. So, I want to address two things about Annie’s post.

    1. While Obma’s education plan is more thoughtful than Clinton’s, it’s only a plan. Plans are nice, but I think Obama’s candidacy rests too much on proposals and plans. Not only does Clinton plan to attract and recruit teachers to low-income, high-need areas, but she’s already done it—in the real world—legislatively. She got millions in federal dollars to recruit teachers to ailing schools in New York, and she created a program to do the same nationwide. This is the type of thing that Clinton fans mean when they talk about experience.

    2. The environment. On the campaign trail Clinton specifically talks about investing money in green jobs. Guess what? She’s already done the heavy lifting by writing and moving legislation that does just that, the Strategic Energy Fund which invests $50 billion in green jobs.

    Where’s the money come from? Taxing excessive oil company profits that have resulted from the oil company giveaway that Obama voted for and Clinton voted against in 2005. (No wonder, environmental super star Rep. Jay Inslee—who stumped and voted against the oil company giveaway in the House—has endorsed Clinton.)

    Admittedly, she hasn’t been a legislative leader on the environment, but she votes the right way on the environment: check her record.

    And that’s good enough when she’s been busy picking her own to-do battles in the U.S. Senate. Women’s rights has clearly been her emphasis—and she’s gotten results during this socially conservative era. Erica already documented many of the results in her post, but Erica forgot to mention the paycheck fairness act and guaranteeing affordable birth control for college women. For a look at what Clinton’s done in the U.S. Senate, check out her record here.)

    Erica, did note Clinton’s successful fight to make Plan B available, but that one is worth mentioning again. Think about that. Clinton made that happen (alongside our own Sen. Patty Murray) during the Bush Dark Ages.

    Again, these are things Clinton’s spent time on and fought for in the halls of power, not things she promises in white papers or in campaign speech rhetoric.

    Oh, Please.

    posted by on January 17 at 9:29 AM

    The SGN engages in a little revisionist insta-history:

    The LGBT Community Center [has] been moved out of its five-year residence on Pike Street by the forces of Capitol Hill gentrification.

    Uh, no. The LGBT Community Center went tits up due to financial mismanagement, poor decision making, a lack of critical oversight from what passes for the gay press around here (and no, ‘mo, we’re not the gay press), and a divisive, Ahab-esque obsession with keeping the pride parade on Capitol Hill. The fuckwits, tools, and fools running the LGBT Center seemed to think that they worked for George Bacon and Seattle’s gay bars, not Seattle’s gay community, and consequently it is no more. The small handful of people that relied on the center for “service, resources, and celebrations” will miss the place. But most queer folks aren’t going to notice a difference.

    Juan Williams, Thy Sin Is… Timothy Egan’s?!

    posted by on January 17 at 9:05 AM

    I recently criticized Juan Williams for not identifying HRC supporters as such when they were asked to comment on Obama’s campaign. Now the New York Times’ Timothy Egan has committed the same sin:

    When [voters] see black this or black that — even a positive black first — it’s trouble.

    I say this from the experience of having followed as a reporter two of the most talented African-American politicians in the land — Norm Rice, the former Seattle mayor, and Ron Sims, the chief executive of King County, the 12th most populous county in the United States, which includes Seattle. In their earlier campaigns, race was not a factor because people were too nice, in our Northwest, Scandinavian-liberal tradition, to bring it up.

    And so it seemed reasonable that both men could step up. Rice ran for governor, and so did Sims, in separate open elections. Rice lost to a man who became America’s first Chinese-American governor. Sims lost to a woman.

    In both cases, barriers were broken. But the ceiling seemed to remain only for blacks. What happened to them is what could lie ahead for Obama.

    “He’s got to stay away from race,” said Sims when I spoke to him this week. “He’s got to stay away from it. Race remains the one thing a black cannot talk about openly in a political campaign in this country.”

    Sims endorsed Hillary Clinton in September.

    Besides that, Egan’s tale seems like a radical oversimplification of the Gregoire-Sims primary race. Remember, Sims broached the sacred income tax question? But in any case, identifying Sims as a Clinton supporter would have sufficed.

    Sanctity of Marriage Watch

    posted by on January 17 at 8:56 AM

    Comic actor Eddie Murphy and his new wife Tracey Edmonds have split up just two weeks after their romantic wedding in French Polynesia, People magazine reported on Wednesday.

    The Morning News

    posted by on January 17 at 8:51 AM

    New Obama Endorsement: From Sen. Leahy.

    Prada: Suggesting men sit to urinate.

    Tied up: The race between Clinton and Obama, according to a new poll.

    Pay as you go: TimeWarner to try new internet access pay scheme.

    Split: The Congressional Black Caucus.

    Crash landing: In London.

    Bill Clinton: “Furious, outraged, angry, and utterly dismissive of Obama.”

    Capitol Hill stabbing: New person of interest questioned.

    Is Seattle’s Building Boom Over?

    posted by on January 17 at 8:08 AM

    The national housing market is tanking. Seattle’s housing market – a year or so behind the national market – is circling the same drain for the same reasons. That’s the thinking.

    With this in mind, I expected to see fewer proposals for new developments filed with the Department of Planning and Development in the first couple weeks of the New Year than in 2007. But that’s not happening. Instead, eight proposals for major mixed-use and residential projects were announced just in the past two weeks; only six were filed by this time last year. There are lots other notices filed for projects getting started in the next six weeks. Developers clearly believe Seattle housing will still be in high demand when their projects are finished in a couple years. That or they’re nuts.

    Take veteran developer Michael Mastro. He’s the man behind Mastro Properties, a firm revered for its impeccable investment timing. “There’s a lot of crying and weeping about foreclosures, but that might be expected given the exuberance with which lenders were financing,” he tells me in a paced, gravelly voice. “Greater Seattle has a migration number that exceeds many areas of the country. They’re not coming here for the rain but for the jobs, I can assume.”

    About a year ago he bought a parcel on First Hill, at 504 Terry Ave, across the street from the unfinished Harborview expansion, and he recently proposed his intentions for the lot: Harbor Vista, a 26-story residential tower, containing 350 apartments and 9,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, with parking for only 200 cars. Currently on the site is the San Juan Apartments.



    Renter Jeff Gordon heard in October he would have to move. Gordon just moved to the San Juan Apartments a year and half ago, after living in a building on 15th Ave E and E John St, which was demolished to make way for another development. He wants to live on Capitol Hill but says he can’t afford it on his construction wages. “I’ll probably move to the south end,” Gordon says.

    But I don’t think Gordon will have to live in the south end – at least, not for long – or that Mastro is nuts. The profit margin on large-scale residential developments is enough that housing prices can drop and developers can still make a killing. And as long as demand to live in the urban core remains high among people like Gordon, the developers will supply what they demand: apartments. While the new rentals won’t necessarily be cheap, adding them to the market will keep costs down for everyone.

    Clinton/Obama ‘08

    posted by on January 17 at 7:03 AM


    It seems to me that recent peace offerings exchanged between the Clinton and Obama camps—their let’s-call-the whole-(race-war)-thing-off exchange of conciliatory press releases, their kinder, gentler handing of each other at the Nevada debate—point to a desire on the part of both candidates to at least keep the possibility of a Clinton/Obama ticket viable.

    When those press releases went out last week I thought, “They’re running together—or at least talking about it.” But I haven’t seen much discussion of the possibility.

    Now I haven’t had the chance to read every political blog out there, so perhaps someone else has pointed this out already. But I haven’t seen it pointed out an any of the political blogs that I do read every day. Am I the only one that had this reaction?

    15th & Howell, 6:43 AM

    posted by on January 17 at 6:44 AM

    The police have a “person of interest” in custody in the New Year’s Eve murder of Shannon Harps. Here was the scene outside the building where Harps lived earlier this morning—TV reporters doing stand-ups across the street from the sidewalk memorial to Harps.


    The PI and the Seattle Times aren’t printing the name of the man in custody, as he hasn’t been charged with the crime yet, but the PI—which has the better coverage by far—includes these details in its report:

    The 29-year-old man, who has a history of violent assaults against women, was picked up for violating conditions of his parole several days after the killing and is being held in the state correctional facility at Monroe awaiting Department of Corrections proceedings…. Detectives first questioned the man after a tipster contacted police to tell them the man had made statements about the case in the days following the killing. He was found to have been drinking at the time police contacted him, a violation of the terms of his supervision, and for which he was arrested.

    The man, who has a history of drug abuse and violent assaults on women, has made several threats to kill people, is an artist who used his own blood as ink, and once attacked a bouncer with a box cutter, according to court documents.

    Ring any bells?

    Wednesday, January 16, 2008

    Obama v. Clinton v. Rove

    posted by on January 16 at 11:16 PM

    While Annie and Erica continue slugging it out over Obama and Clinton (fyi, this fight between Annie and Erica is fall out from this morning’s special editorial staff meeting where we decided which candidate to endorse), Karl Rove explains why either candidate will lose to the GOP.

    Development in Harps Murder Case

    posted by on January 16 at 8:48 PM

    The police have a “person of interest” in custody. The Seattle Times has the story:

    The 29-year-old prison parolee has been in custody since Jan. 4 when he was picked up by the state Department of Corrections (DOC) for allegedly violating the terms of his community custody, this state’s version of parole. He was questioned that night by Seattle police because he resembles a sketch of the man seen leaving the scene where Shannon Harps was slain, the source said.

    The man was booked in the King County Jail on Jan. 5, stemming from an allegation that he had been drinking on New Year’s Eve. The terms of his prison release forbid him from drinking alcohol, according to corrections officials.

    Police are awaiting the results of DNA testing to determine whether the man is connected to Harps’ slaying, the source said. Assistant Police Chief Nick Metz declined to confirm or deny that the man is a person of interest. He said the case is still under investigation….

    The Seattle man has a criminal history in Washington state and in Florida. He was convicted of felony harassment in King County in 2004.

    Save Scrabulous!

    posted by on January 16 at 6:05 PM

    Facebook is basically stupid, but being able to play Scrabble online is awesome. And I am positive it turns a profit for Hasbro, Scrabble’s parent company. (Why did I buy an official Scrabble player’s dictionary again? Sure isn’t ‘cause my boyfriend plays board games with me at home.) Anyway, this accusation of copyright infringement was bound to happen. (RIP, Networdz.) But it is sad. Can’t Hasbro get with the 21st century and offer a free online program of its own?

    (Thanks, Carollani—and RMC and CD.)

    Tattoo of the Day

    posted by on January 16 at 5:09 PM

    Someone doesn’t like the Game of Life…


    More info at the Blog Blog.

    As Usual, Props to Rep. Eric Pettigrew. And Surprise, Surprise: Props to Chopp!

    posted by on January 16 at 5:01 PM

    I’m in the habit of finding fault with state house Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43, Seattle), so let me take this opportunity to throw some flowers at him.

    Given a clusterfuck of forces (the subprime crisis, the pending recession, and condo conversions), housing has emerged as a front-and-center issue for voters this year. And Speaker Chopp has made it clear he wants to take action.

    While Governor Gregoire has proposed upping the Housing Trust Fund from $130 million to $180 million this session (a whopping nearly-40 percent increase), Chopp is getting kudos from low-income housing advocates for leading the fight to increase the fund to $230 million—a manna-from-heaven—76 percent increase.

    Given that the word from Democrats is “no budget increases” this election-year session, if Speaker Chopp is in earnest about making this happen (and makes it happen), he’ll deserve high praise come March when thing wrap up here.

    Meanwhile, housing and civil rights activists owe thanks to Slog-fave Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D-37, South Seattle) who’s bringing a bill to a vote on the house floor this Friday that will prevent landlords from discriminating against Section 8 tenants (i.e., not renting to them.) The practice—often a cover for racism—is illegal in Seattle, but it’s a problem in south King County and the rest of the state where it’s a-okay.

    Section 8 vouchers work like this: Low-income renters who qualify pay 30 percent of their income on rent and the vouchers cover the difference in the total.

    The Pettigrew bill passed the house last year, but got killed in the senate by some crummy amendments that caused the sponsors to drop the whole thing.

    Another important housing bill coming up for a house vote—one that did not pass the house last year, is legislation that would prevent zoning regulations from dictating types of tenants. The bill is aimed at zoning law that exists in Tacoma, for example, that uses the law—typically about number of units, size, business, etc.—to prevent landlords from renting to what’s known as “service-enriched housing”—housing for victims of domestic violence, people with disabilities, the formerly homeless, people with mental-health issues, people with chemical-dependancy problems, and sex offenders.

    This seems pretty unconstitutional to me, but it’s going on in Tacoma. Downtown planners intent on upgrading downtown have zoned out the property owner’s right to rent to people with disabilities, for example. (There are already municipal rules about sex-offender housing—distance from schools, etc.—but zoning laws are intended to define types of housing, not types of people.)

    The bill is sponsored by Rep. Jeannie Dareille (D-27, Tacoma).

    R.I.P. Jade Pagoda, Hello Poppy!

    posted by on January 16 at 4:27 PM

    Today’s Seattle Times has all the info on Poppy, the restaurant coming soon from the Herbfarm’s Jerry Traunfeld, except the location. A person who always magically knows everything that’s happening in our fair city just told me Poppy will be in the former home of the Jade Pagoda on Broadway.

    Everyone was sad to see the Jade go—the bar was divey and excellent, the food was terrible—and yes, Poppy will be an entirely different affair. But! Traunfeld wants to keep prices reasonable—he supposedly parted ways with the South Lake Union forces-that-be when they wanted him to do something ultra-upscale/expensive there. He is a man with a good heart, and Poppy cannot help but be tremendously great. Also: This one tremendously great thing will at last kick-start Broadway’s renaissance. The Taco Bell, recently closed, can rot in hell; as for the Jade, we’ll always have our memories. Now: Poppy!


    The Bob Oke Bridge: Will Gays and Lesbians Be Allowed to Drive Over It?

    posted by on January 16 at 4:15 PM

    On Friday January 27, 2006, the Washington state legislature passed a comprehensive gay rights bill—after 29 years of struggle—that banned discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing, employment, and public accommodation, and credit.

    The bill was controversial, of course, and Washington state’s religious bigots were in an uproar. So the galleries were packed when the Senate voted on the final version of the bill that Friday afternoon. According to a Seattle Times reporter, “activity in the Capitol all but halted” while the senators debated the bill. With all eyes on the Senate, State Senator Bob Oke (R-Port Orchard) delivered a speech that shocked the gay rights supporters. Here’s the Seattle Times’ account:

    Sen. Bob Oke, R-Port Orchard, gave one of the most gripping speeches, talking to fellow senators about his daughter.

    “Having a child who chooses to be homosexual is very painful. I know this because my daughter has chosen the life of a lesbian,” Oke said. “From the very first day she shared with me what her lifestyle was, she has been trying to change me. And I, quite frankly, have been trying to change her.”

    Oke said his daughter called a while back and asked to come visit, bringing her partner. “There was a long hesitation on my part and I said, ‘I can’t have that,’ ” he said. “That’s called tough love.”

    With the cameras on him, Oke held up a large, framed photograph of the woman he’d just outed—a daughter he refused to accept, a woman whose partner he refused to allow in home—to help make his point. His daughter, Oke continued, wasn’t “right in God’s eyes.” Wow. Father of the year.

    “It was incredible sad,” says George Cheung, a founding board member of Equal Rights Washington, who was in a Senate gallery during Oke’s speech. “The hope is that as people will become more accepting of LGBT people when people close to them come out. But that wasn’t true in this case. He turned away his own daughter’s partner. It was just so tragic and so last century.”

    “It was one of the most demoralizing statements I’ve ever heard from another member during my years in Olympia,” says State Sen. Ed Murray. “I don’t know his daughter, but I was worried about how any child would react to a parent calling them immoral and showing her picture on the Senate floor like that.”

    “I was sitting in the gallery and it was horrific,” says State Representative Jamie Pedersen. “Here’s this guy who was dying of cancer and he’s bragging about how he’s showing character by not letting his daughter come home with her partner. And you think about how misguided and sad that is. That he would cut himself off from his family like that in his final moments.”

    Oke died of cancer in May of 2007. And now a Democratic member of the legislature—State Senator Ken Jacobsen—is pushing a “memorial resolution” that would rename the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge in honor of Bob Oke. State Sen. Ken Jacobsen is a Democrat who represents Seattle’s 46th District in the Senate.

    I’ve got a call in to Jacobsen’s office. I want to ask the Seattle Dem this: If the bridge is named for Bob Oke, will Washington state’s gays and lesbians be allowed to drive over it?

    If the memorial resolution is approved by the Senate it passes to the house, where it might encounter some resistance.

    “I would not support naming the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge for Bob Oke,” says Jamie Pedersen, one of four openly gay members of the Washington State House of Representatives.

    Another Post About Bridges

    posted by on January 16 at 4:10 PM

    If you’re tired of all this Obama/Clinton back and forth, get ready for a mind-blowing argument against floating bridges, straight from our mail room.

    Cleaned up, bolds are mine, not transcribed in all caps as it was written. Read on.


    For what to do about the SR 520 hole in the water into which hundreds of millions of tax dollars are gobbled up, lets thing BIG really BIG. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge was built long before it was still strong. Yes, floating bridges are cheaper to build but must be replace more often. [unreadable].

    Think BIG! A TOLL BRIDGE BUILT by a private company with tax generating very high end condos built around the towers!

    Condo marinas at the base of the towers, broadcast antennae on top of towers, exclusive transit—bus, rail, taxi—lanes, non motorized lanes. Double decker. A multi jurisdiction sheriff’s boats station and multi-jurisdiction and high speed hydrofoil (!!!) fire tug would be stationed there. There are many very expensive houses and boats on Lake Washington accessible by very tiny roads and few fire hydrants.

    It is time to stop throwing our tax money on it and make it PAY tax!!!

    Up and over spans for the University Bridge on Montlake Bridge could be attached to the bottom of it, smoothing both land moor and marine moor traffic. EVERYBODY WINS. Tourists would arive from all over to see it and it would have a helipad and dirigible tours.

    Quick! Someone call the Governor! We have a plan.

    Re: Homeless Encampments

    posted by on January 16 at 3:53 PM

    Erica’s post on Monday—about the City’s upcoming meetings on homeless encampments—reminded me that I’d actually been to a few over the summer, and had some photos lying around on my hard drive.

    Last July, Community Police Team Sergeant Paul Gracy took me to a camp on the east side of Queen Anne, tucked back in the woods above Highway 99.


    It was a long, slippery, difficult trudge up a muddy hillside. There were piles of garbage, bottles, plastic sheets and other unidentifiable items along a steep “trail,” which eventually lead to a clearing. Sort of.


    Gracy said this was one of the larger encampments, and had been cleared out by city teams before. No one was home but there were sleeping bags laying around, so the space was clearly “in use.”


    Indeed, it also appeared that whoever lived there was also using the space as a makeshift art studio.



    When the city comes in to these camps, they toss everything. Art, sleeping bags, clothes. There is obviously an argument to be made that these camps pose a health hazard. There were a half-dozen full buckets of urine strewn around the camp, and there were knee-high piles of garbage in some spots. There was also pile of burned Barbie dolls.


    Gracy told me that he offers services to people he encounters when out walking the woods, but is often rebuffed. He also said SPD isn’t equipped to act as both a law enforcement agency and social services. Still, he was warm, cordial and friendly to the few folks we encountered at another park on the other side of Queen Anne.

    Obviously, there isn’t going to be some easy catch-all to solve Seattle’s homeless problem. However, banning homeless people from city parks is just going to move the problem around. These people are still going to need somewhere to go.

    Inspiration Vs. Substance

    posted by on January 16 at 3:07 PM

    Last night’s debate reminded me, once again, of the thing that worries me most about Obama: He just isn’t substantive. I get why people like Obama, but I don’t get why progressives seem so convinced he’ll represent their interests; on nearly every issue, Hillary’s record is as or more progressive than Obama’s promises.

    On the environment: Clinton voted for higher fuel efficiency standards for SUVs (S 517, 2002) and against using Yucca Mountain, NV, as a repository for spent nuclear and high-level radioactive waste. Obama, meanwhile, has been in favor of expanding nuclear energy. And, dude, he voted for the 2005 energy bill—which, as Clinton has pointed out, was “larded with all kinds of special interest breaks, giveaways to the oil companies.” Oh, and let’s not forget that he criticized a mining reform bill as too tough—on the mining industry. As for proposals: Clinton’s climate plan (like Obama’s) includes a cap-and-trade system, aiming for 80% emission reductions from 1990 levels by 2050, that auctions 100% of pollution credits. But her plan would get most of its reductions from efficiency, rather than pie-in-the-sky notions like “clean coal” (which Obama has supported) and corn-based ethanol (whose use Obama has said he wants to increase dramatically.) Clinton wants to adopt an ambitious fuel-efficiency goal of 55mpg by 2030, new green building standards and incentives, a federal program to finance home efficiency projects, incentives for smart grid technology, and a phaseout of incandescent light bulbs. She would fund training for so-called “green-collar” jobs, and she would invest in green energy and efficiency by rescinding tax breaks given to oil companies. She would make permanent the tax credit for solar and wind production. And she would create a National Energy Council along the lines of the National Security Council. No, her plan isn’t perfect—like all the leading Ds, she buys into the notion of increasing “home-grown biofuels” and she wouldn’t do much to help developing nations reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions—but on the whole, I think it’s the better plan of the two.

    On foreign policy: Some liberals can’t forgive Hillary for voting for the war. Fine. But let me point out a few more votes she’s taken in the many years since: the Iraq Troop Reduction Act (written by Clinton); legislation preventing funding for military action in Iran that (cosponsored by Clinton); a bill requiring the Pentagon to prepare to redeploy troops currently in Iraq. Moreover, on Iraq War-related bills, her record and Obama’s are virtually identical.

    On health care: Only Clinton’s plan would provide universal mandatory health insurance. Obama supporters have argued that Clinton’s plan would “force” people to buy health insurance, including people who couldn’t afford it. That’s wrong on two counts. First, it’s wrong rhetorically: A mandate merely ensures that coverage is actually universal. Without a mandate, healthy people could stay out of the system until they get sick, forcing everyone who did the right thing and bought insurance to subsidize the latecomers’ bad behavior. That’s not universal health insurance, and it won’t work. Second, it’s wrong literally: Clinton’s plan would subsidize health care for low-income people by rolling back Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy. Everyone would get health care; no one would be left behind. Plus, her plan would crack down on insurance companies that waste millions on CEO salaries, lawyer fees, and marketing.

    On choice: Clinton has a 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America. She has worked to expend family planning services abroad, and has consistently spoken out against right-wing attacks on women’s access to reproductive health care. She opposed the nominations of Alito and Roberts to the Supreme Court, arguing they represented the worst threat to Roe v. Wade in history. She opposed the “partial birth abortion” bill; the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which was designed to define a fetus as a person; the Child Custody Protection Act, which would have made it illegal to take a young woman across state lines for an abortion; and the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which would impose new national parental notice requirements on young women. She co-sponsored legislation to repeal the global gag rule, which has led to clinic closures and elimination of family planning services worldwide, particularly in poor and rural areas. She and Patty Murray led the effort to make “Plan B” emergency contraception available over the counter. She led the fight for comprehensive, medically accurate sex education, introducing legislation that would have funded comprehensive sex ed. She introduced the Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies Act to ensure that rape victims get necessary medical care, including Plan B, and the Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act, to ensure that servicewomen have access to Plan B. She supports the Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act, which requires insurers who pay for drugs to cover contraception. Her top priorities include providing paid leave for new parents and caregivers, expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act to include 13 million new workers, and ending discrimination against pregnancy workers. I’m not saying Obama wouldn’t take many or all of the same positions; it’s a matter of leadership and priorities. Hillary has made reproductive health and freedom a priority in a way that Obama hasn’t.

    On gay rights: Hillary scored 89 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2006 scorecard—the same as Barack Obama. She voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman and could have prevented recognition of civil unions and domestic partnership benefits. Yes, she opposes gay marriage, favoring supports civil unions—but then, so does Obama. In her own words, “I believe in full equality of benefits, nothing left out. From my perspective there is a greater likelihood of us getting to that point in civil unions or domestic partnerships and that is my very considered assessment.”

    I’m leaving out a lot of issues here, obviously—the economy, Social Security, and education, for example. For info on those and other issues, check out Hillary’s and Obama’s issue pages. Overall, though, it’s worth noting that Hillary has a 95.8 percent lifetime progressive record from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action.

    I know people are inspired by Obama. As a friend said last night, “he has such a nice smile.” But smiles are one thing, policies another. (And I haven’t even gone into experience, electability, or symbolic value—three more areas where I think Hillary knocks Obama out of the water). Either Hillary or Obama would move this country in the right direction; I’m just convinced that Hillary would do more, and faster, than the good-looking young guy with the steep learning curve.

    Political Quote of the Day

    posted by on January 16 at 3:06 PM

    Watch out, Clinton-doubters. There’s nothing Americans (and the American media) love more than a redemption narrative, and ever since the New Hampshire primary the Clinton campaign has been spinning a good one.

    It goes like this: Clinton reached an emotional breaking point in New Hampshire that brought tears to her eyes and forced her to realize that she needed to let her true self shine through to the people. Now, after winning New Hampshire in part because of that realization, she’s back in the game and realer than ever. She’s found her voice. She’s found her true self.

    Tonight on the NBC Nightly News, Clinton pushes this narrative in person:

    WILLIAMS: What was it you felt turning in New Hampshire? Enough with the analysis. Let’s hear it from the candidate. What do you think happened in New Hampshire?

    CLINTON: I think the election in a very real way started with the New Hampshire debate. I felt like that debate really began to draw the comparisons and contrasts– among us as candidates. I– as soon as I left the stage, I was walking out, a cameraman grabbed my hand and said, “That was great.”

    I began to hear from people that, you know, didn’t have any stake in it one way or the other that, you know, they agreed with me on the issues. They thought that I had really put forth a strong– argument for my candidacy. I went door to door– in Manchester, in and out of people’s homes. I could feel the sense that people had that this election needed to be about them.

    You know, enough with the– with all due respect, the people on TV and being told what’s going to happen. You know, New Hampshire voters are notoriously independent. They wanted to make their own judgment. I answered hundreds of questions. I saw thousands of people. I– I think I began in a much better way than I had previously in the campaign, you know, connecting with people on all levels.

    You know, as a woman, I may have gone a little overboard in the beginning of this campaign to really make my case to be commander-in-chief. Because I know at the end of the day people look at who’s running for President and they have to ask themselves, “Is this somebody who will protect and defend us?” And I didn’t spend as much time talking about why I’m motivated to do what I do, what I’ve done for 35 years. All of that came together in New Hampshire. And I felt really good about it.

    Condo Conversion Bill

    posted by on January 16 at 3:05 PM

    In my Oly column this week, I wrote about several worthy bills that are in play this session—bills like expanding health care coverage—that show some Democratic members defying orders to pursue the low-expectations gameplan this session.

    However, I failed to include a bill that I just learned today is in play: the condo conversion bill.

    The bill, which would give cities the right to limit condo conversions, is getting a hearing in the House this Friday. A companion Senate bill is queued up for a hearing next week.

    (A similar idea was stripped out of a condo conversion bill last year to make it more palatable to conservatives. But that bill ultimately failed.)

    The bill would give cities authority to require developers to provide adequate relocation assistance to tenants displaced by condominium conversion and also give larger cities and counties in the Puget Sound area the right to restrict the number of low income rental units converted to condominiums occurring annually in their community.

    Seattle co-sponsors on the bills are: Reps Sharon Tomiko-Santos, Bob Hasegawa, Phyllis Kenney, Mary Lou Dickerson, and Senators Jeanne Kohl-Wells, Ken Jacobsen, Adam Kline, and Ed Murray.

    Low-income housing activist John Fox, who’s lobbying for the bill, makes the case:

    Since the early 1980’s to 2004, the number of conversions occurring annually in the five county Puget Sound area (King, Pierce, Snohomish, Kitsap, and Thurston) averaged only about 300-500 units lost per year. Since Jan. 2004, in the five county area, over 16,000 rental units have been converted to condominiums with most occurring in Snohomish (4000) and King Counties (11,000). Seattle alone has seen a loss of over 6000 rental units conversion during that period. Last year we lost 1700 units to conversion, the second highest annual total in city history. Despite an overall slowdown in new housing construction, the problem of conversion shows no signs to date of slowing appreciably. As a result of conversions and given the fact that most new housing construction is in the form of condominium development, King and Snohomish County have actually seen a net decline in their rental housing stock since 2005.


    posted by on January 16 at 2:00 PM

    There’s a very interesting debate shaping up between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama over leadership styles. On Monday, Obama told the editorial board of the Reno Gazette-Journal:

    I have a pretty good sense of my strengths and my weaknesses.

    I am very good at teasing out from people who are smarter than me what the issues are and how we resolve them. I don’t think there is anybody in this race who can inspire the American people better than I can. And I don’t think there is anybody in this race who can bridge differences … better than I can.

    But I’m not an operating officer. Some in this debate around experience seem to think the job of the president is to go in and run some bureaucracy. Well, that’s not my job. My job is to set a vision of ‘here’s where the bureaucracy needs to go.’

    The full video of the interview is here. Many have remarked that the leadership style described by Obama above sounds a lot like the leadership style of George W. Bush—that he’s all about the big vision, and it’s left to the smart people around him to work out the details. There was some discussion of this at last night’s debate. (Wish I could find a YouTube clip of that moment, but can’t—can anyone out there help?) If I remember correctly, Obama said that the big stylistic difference between him and Bush is that he values dissenting opinions and has the ability to change course. Clinton, during the debate, pressed her more hands-on leadership style, and today she continued that line of argument in this television appearance:

    I don’t know how much traction this will gain with voters, but I find it a really fascinating, if somewhat academic, discussion: What style of leadership gets more done, the “hands-on” approach or the “big-vision” approach? (I say somewhat academic because in reality, I think, anyone in the Oval Office is probably forced to use both approaches; they’re not mutually exclusive.)

    UPDATE: Found the clip. Obama talks about the “operating officer” quote at about 3:20 and Clinton compares Obama’s management style to Bush’s at about 8:20. But the whole clip involves a back-and-forth between Obama and Clinton over leadership (with a long interlude from Edwards on his mill-town upbringing and his passion for fighting for the middle class).


    posted by on January 16 at 1:58 PM

    Seattle Times columnist Lynne K. Varner in this morning’s paper:

    When I tell Seattleites I make my home on the Eastside, I get the kind of stare usually reserved for someone claiming residence on Mars.

    Uh, Lynne? Seattleites are shocked when we meet a Seattle Times columnist or editor that doesn’t live on the Eastside.

    Bring A Personalized Mitt-Stravaganza To Your Friends And Neighbors

    posted by on January 16 at 1:25 PM

    Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

    As Ana Marie Cox will tell you, the newly victorious Mitt Romney has “found his voice.” And what better way to share the excitement of Romney Mania with everyone you know than by having his halting speech patterns awake them from their sleep at 4 a.m. with a personalized message… from you!

    Via the campaign blog of Romney’s sons, Five Brothers:

    Wish Your Friends A Happy New Year (With A Phone Call From My Dad)

    I just used this to have my dad make personalized calls to a bunch of my friends. It’s easy and a lot of fun.

    As the middle Romney brother so eloquently informs, it really is both easy and fun, and with numerous “voter concern” options like “radical jihad” and “American values,” you may never run out of ways to share the Mitt Romney message. At least I haven’t.

    Show Us Your Nipples!

    posted by on January 16 at 1:21 PM

    No, kidding, don’t. But do nominate your secret video-store crush or the bomb who filled your prescription last week—we’re still collecting nominees for Seattle’s sexiest people. Just upload them to our Flickr pool and tag them “seattlesexy.”
    Jarred, tae.rhee’s nominee

    Tonight: Save Oddfellows Hall

    posted by on January 16 at 12:09 PM


    Remember back when Ted Schroth bought Oddfellows Hall (read about it here)?

    Remember when everybody was freaking out and some people (like me) said: We don’t know what’s going to happen, so let’s not freak out yet?

    Looks like it might be time to freak out.

    Rumor says Schroth is raising the rents and demanding minimum five-year leases, meaning Freehold is out, Velocity is probably out, and the Century Ballroom is trying to negotiate a deal to stay for a couple of years, but will eventually probably be out.

    Matthew Kwatinetz, of the Capitol Hill Arts Center has organized a meeting tonight to discuss the future of Oddfellows Hall. (Technically, it’s a Chamber of Commerce/CHAC/Creative Conversations meeting about real estate and the arts, but all anyone will want to talk about is Oddfellows Hall.)

    Likely to attend: Jim Kelly and Charlie Rathbun (4 Culture), Susan Shannon (Mayor’s Office of Economic Development), Michael Killoren (Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs), Nick Licata (city council), and a pack of bunged-up artists.

    Likely topics of discussion: Arts spaces, government subsidies for arts spaces, non-profits that are rumored to want to buy Oddfellows back from Schroth, people’s memories of and affections for Oddfellows Hall, and the Save the Oddfellows group, whose website is here.

    5:30. CHAC. Be there.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on January 16 at 12:00 PM

    Bass! Band of Horses at the Vera Project, by Flickr pooler tea...


    The Politics of Passover

    posted by on January 16 at 11:45 AM

    Oops. Looks like the Washington State Democrats scheduled the party’s county conventions for the eve of Passover, sparking a Move the Convention online petition that declares:

    The eve of Passover is not an acceptable day for an inclusive party to hold county conventions.

    In this relatively un-Jewish state, how many Jews with strong opinions about the county caucuses can there actually be? As of this moment, looks like 259.

    The Morning After: Michigan

    posted by on January 16 at 11:42 AM

    Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

    Ross Douthat of the The Atlantic sums up the increasingly wild/wacky race for the GOP nomination better than anyone else I’ve read this morning:

    After each GOP primary so far, the winner has faced an immediate test. For Huckabee after Iowa, it was whether his appeal could translate beyond his evangelical base. Two primaries later, the answer seems to be no. For McCain after New Hampshire, it was whether he could use his momentum and what looked liked a favorable schedule to break through his 30-percent ceiling and become the front-runner. After tonight’s result, the answer likewise looks like no. Now it’s Romney’s turn to be tested: Can his Mormon, flip-flopping, starched-shirt northeastern self do well in Dixie? If it can - if he can compete strongly in South Carolina and Florida, and maybe win one of the two - then he’ll be off to the races.

    Which is to say that none of the candidates have been able to create a lasting coalition of voters that’s strong enough to consistently win states for them. And what’s more, the next contest goes into one of the few states where Fred Thompson may still be a viable player in the race.

    Oh, and then after that there’s Florida, the last remaining bastion of Rudy Giuliani-dom, where polling has him neck-and-neck with McCain for the lead. Attempting to impose conventional wisdom on the Republican race seems to be totally impossible at this point, and everyone is either a winner or a loser, depending on how you view the situation.

    Unless you count Rep. Duncan Hunter, who’s 0.33% share of the vote in Michigan probably means it will be hard to view him as a winner.

    Except in my heart.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on January 16 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Billy the Kid’ at SIFF Cinema at McCaw Hall

    Fifteen-year-old Billy has a Maine accent, an abiding love for KISS, and a crush on a girl who works in a diner. He’s also a badass: “I know I’m unique. I don’t let it go to my head.” Billy was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome—a highly verbal disorder on the autism spectrum—after the film was finished, and some have accused the filmmakers of exploiting their subject. But Billy the Kid lets you see the character first and his autism second. It’s a terrific documentary. (SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St, 633-7151. $8–$10, 7:30 pm, Jan 11–17.)


    The Re-[Re?]-Return of Skillet

    posted by on January 16 at 10:40 AM

    After many moons, Skillet, Seattle’s finest mobile dining operation/figment of the imagination, is back in business as of lunch today. (First Skillet got shut down by the health department, then Skillet’s vintage Airstream trailer broke, then maybe something else happened to Skillet—no one can remember.)

    From the Skilleteers:

    we are back… we might get shut down again…ok….not funny…we won’t, we refuse to!!! also, we are going to be operating tue/wed/thurs around town… fridays/saturdays we will be doing events etc.

    so……..check us out sometime soon… we can’t wait to see all of you…

    Lunch today will be served out of the repaired Airstream down in Sodo at 2935 Utah Ave. On the menu:
    • The Burger, Kobe, bacon jam, bleu, arugula, brioche, hand-cut fries, $7
    • lemongrass pork sandwich, cilantro aioli, slaw, soft roll, hand-cut fries, $7
    • poutine, white cheddar, herby chicken gravy, hand-cut fries, $5

    More menu, maps, schedule, and Danny’s cell number so you can make sure they’re really there here.

    Well, Good Morning!

    posted by on January 16 at 10:38 AM

    This morning brought the following email to my inbox, with the charming subject line “LOOK AT THIS, YOU COCKSUCKER”:

    Hey faggot: Look at this. You still think you fucking pieces of filth are worthy of Christian “marriage”? Thanks to you fucking FAGGOTS all of America is under threat. Thanks you fucking glory-hole dwelling “I want my rights” faggot cocksuckers. How filthy are you? AIDS is an easter basket compared to this you filthy queer shit suckers. When will America rise up and just dispose of you and all the other filth here? How many kids will die because you have to suck an asshole for “cumm”? You deserve to die. Slowly and in pain. Fuck you faggot you are FILTH. - PJL

    You can reach letter-writer “PJL” at Tell him hi for me!

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on January 16 at 10:35 AM


    Doug Keyes, multiple-exposed diptych, Museum of Natural History, New York (2007)

    At G. Gibson Gallery.

    Public Sex Environments Really Private, Says ACLU

    posted by on January 16 at 9:37 AM


    The ACLU is getting Larry Craig’s (sexy) back, as Josh has already pointed out.

    In an effort to help Sen. Larry Craig, the American Civil Liberties Union is arguing that people who have sex in public bathrooms have an expectation of privacy.

    Craig, of Idaho, is asking the Minnesota Court of Appeals to let him withdraw his guilty plea to disorderly conduct stemming from a bathroom sex sting at the Minneapolis airport.

    The ACLU filed a brief Tuesday supporting Craig. It cited a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling 38 years ago that found that people who have sex in closed stalls in public restrooms “have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”


    Public sex is hot because it’s… public. It’s risky, you might get caught, someone might see you, blah blah blah. A pair of toilet cruisers may go out of their way to avoid getting caught—they may be quiet and stealthy and creep into each other’s stalls on tiptaptoe—but the off chance that they’ll be heard by someone else in a neighboring stall or seen through the cracks in the stall door by someone walking past is an integral part of the charge.

    Are You a Muslim?!?

    posted by on January 16 at 9:31 AM

    Postman brings up a moment in last night’s Democratic debate that I had forgotten about.

    It’s when Obama was asked to address the notion that he’s a Muslim and that he was sworn into office on a Koran. (Postman’s point—in an atypical moment of editorializing for the journalistic journalist—is that the question was inappropriate because it de facto spread Internet lies.)

    What I didn’t like about the question, or more important, what I didn’t like about Obama’s answer, was that the whole narrative of both the question and the answer was this: Muslims are bad guys.

    Rather than slapping down the question by saying something like, “I’m not sure why it matters if I’m a Muslim or not Brian. My religion is important to me, but it doesn’t have anything to do with why you should vote for me…” Obama sheepishly said he was Christian, was sworn in on a bible, and pledges to the American flag. Oh, well thank Jesus.

    Lame question. Lame answer.

    I don’t mean to pick on Obama. Clinton certainly blew the BET question and the fear mongering campaigning question, but Postman’s post reminded of this moment during last night’s debate which captures one of my big reservations about Obama, he’s such an appeaser. Hello Donnie McClurkin.

    They’re Building Lyons All Over Again, in Dubai

    posted by on January 16 at 9:28 AM

    Here’s the mind-blowing item. (Via the great, great, read-it-every-day C-Monster.)

    So if we had to take a simulated city in Seattle, which one would it be and which neighborhood would you want to get rid of to make room for it? (Lyons-Dubai is 700 acres.) What about a little Tacoma downtown?

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on January 16 at 9:15 AM


    “Think about getting hit in the stomach unexpectedly and getting the wind knocked out of you.”

    That’s how Pastor John Anderson describes his congregations reaction after one of the East Tucson Baptist Church youth ministers was arrested for several sex crimes. Anderson said, “Shock, anger, denial rationalization, all of those are taking place right now.”

    Taking place because Christopher Decaire was arrested on Friday and charged with nine felonies. He’s accused of sexually molesting a 13-year-old girl from the church….

    This is the search warrant officers served the church on Friday. It shows police got swabs of Christoper Decaire’s mouth for DNA. Other evidence they looked for included pieces of flooring, couches, curtains and other furniture found to contain biological material when viewed with a forensic light source.

    Police say those materials would indicate they suspect some of the acts of abuse occurred at the church.

    God’s Standards

    posted by on January 16 at 9:13 AM

    In case you missed the video, here’s Mike Huckabee pledging to amend the U.S. Constitution to bring it in line with “God’s standards” where the family is concerned:

    There’s a lot of interesting stuff in the Bible about family life—when it’s permissible, excuse me, righteous to allow your daughters to be raped, or the correct way to sell your daughters into slavery, or when you’re allowed to kill your children—but Mike isn’t talking about any of that. Not to worry, heterosexuals. None of the crazy-ass crap in the Bible that applies to you will be written into the U.S. Constitution under a Huckabee administration, just the crazy-ass crap that applies to the homos.

    When I brought up the fact that fundamentalists ignore plenty of stuff in the bible that applies to them—like a ban on eating lobster—he assured me that Jesus’ blood on the cross he redeemed even lobster. “But not me?” I asked. “No, not homosexuals.”

    Rejoice, shellfish! You are redeemed and the followers of Christ can boil you alive and serve you with melted butter and hush puppies! Repent, homosexuals, for the blood of Christ wasn’t powerful enough to redeem you.

    Question of the Day

    posted by on January 16 at 9:10 AM

    Courtesy of the Starbucks stand in the Broadway Market QFC…


    Uh, anyone?

    ACLU Defends Larry Craig

    posted by on January 16 at 8:59 AM

    In a brief filed in the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the ACLU is arguing that arresting Sen. Larry Craig for trying to pick someone up in a bathroom violates his civil rights.

    They make two key arguments. First, the government has no compelling interest in prohibiting someone from hitting on someone else. The ACLU argues in its brief:

    The government does not have a constitutionally sufficient justification for making private sex a crime. It follows that an invitation to have private sex is constitutionally protected and may not be made a crime. This is so even where the proposition occurs in a public place, whether in a bar or in a restroom.

    Second, they point out that the sting went too far. If, as the arresting charges against Craig claim, the Senator had no business contacting someone in the stall next to him—the charges alleged that he looked into a “place where a reasonable person would have an expectation of privacy” —then didn’t the cops violate Craig’s privacy?

    I’m glad the ACLU is weighing in and defending Craig’s right to hit on somebody.

    It’s satisfying that a Republican Senator was exposed for being a giant hypocrite, but it’s terrifying that the state can bust you for flirting.

    The Morning News

    posted by on January 16 at 8:57 AM

    Inflation: Up.

    Stock market: Down.

    Ronmey’s spirits: Up.

    The Republican candidates in general? Down on them.

    South Carolina: Up next.

    Kenya: Downer.

    Richard McIver: Upstanding citizen.

    Blue Collar jobs: Down.

    Perks at Google Fremont: Up.

    Tuesday, January 15, 2008

    Brad Renfro

    posted by on January 15 at 11:08 PM

    …is no longer alive.

    Romney Takes Michigan

    posted by on January 15 at 8:57 PM

    Mitt finally gets the gold.

    LiveBlogging the Democratic Debate

    posted by on January 15 at 6:00 PM

    Here we go. The Dems are in Las Vegas in front of a live crowd of about 1,800 people. As usual, drop your comments in the liveblogging widget and I’ll add them if they’re worthy.

    How to Swear Like an African-American Teenage Male, Circa 1985

    posted by on January 15 at 5:53 PM

    Last night’s Colson Whitehead appearance at Benaroya Hall was a fun and funny time. I forgot my camera, so I wasn’t able to get a picture of Whitehead’s fabulous suit, which appeared brown from a distance but kind of glowed olive green and gold upon closer inspection. (After the talk, Whitehead proudly discussed the source of his suit’s light-diffracting power: cheapness. He said that it cost “like ninety dollars” and it felt like it was made of some sort of polyester/plastic blend.)

    The framework was basically a “Who I am and how I came to be” sort of deal, and, after an initial fakeout story (“I was born a poor black boy in Mississippi…I can still recall how we were all out on the porch a-singin’ and a-dancin’…”) Whitehead relayed the facts (born and raised in Manhattan, grew up reading comic books and sci-fi, desperately wanted to become the “Black Stephen King and write The Black Shining and The Black Salem’s Lot,” got a job at The Village Voice until he wrote his first novel and, um, then we all woke up in Benaroya Hall, the end.)

    And then Whitehead read from his untitled next novel, which probably won’t be out until some time next year. “I wish I could tell you the plot, but nothing happens,” he said, looking kind of pained. Unlike his other novels, which range from outright sci-fi to weirdly spare symbolism-rich fable-things, it’s going to be an autobiographical sketch of his upbringing, kind of along the lines of the brilliant first half of Jonathan Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude (which is not to be confused with the wretched second half of Jonathan Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude.)

    Using a visual aid, Whitehead explained the construction of N-verb insults among friends from his youth: (Pop-cultural reference or general insult) + (verb ending in n’) + (the words “bitch,” “motherfucker” or “nigger”.) Some examples: “You George Jefferson-lookin’ motherfucker” or “You Members Only Jacket-wearin’ bitch.” For additional flavor, Whitehead said, you could add “You fuckin’” before the insult, and close the whole thing by saying, “…with your monkey ass.”

    The high point of the evening for me came at the end of the (rather weak) question and answer period, when someone asked (in reference to the Richard Ford-spitting-on-Whitehead incident I wrote about in this week’s Constant Reader) whether Whitehead had, in his thirties, reconsidered his distaste for Richard Ford’s writing, particularly the Frank Bascombe novels. After a delicious pause, Whitehead said that there are lots of people who enjoy reading novels about “male menopause,” and that there’s nothing wrong with that, and that it’s great that they never have to wait very long for “The next Frank Bascombe sequel to be churned out.” The laughter was both strong and uncomfortable for the Seattle Arts and Lectures crowd, which does quite a bit of worship at the altar of literary celebrity.

    And then there was nothing left to say, so we all left.

    Voicemail of the Day

    posted by on January 15 at 4:34 PM

    Hi Anthony, this is ______, calling from the Fox News Channel, and I’m looking to speak with someone regarding a new business venture involving your website. This is a new revenue-building opportunity that we’ve come up with, and we’d like to invite your company to partner up with us on. Umm, this is an entirely new endeavor and what we’re trying to do is talk to companies - newspaper companies - with websites and see what the interest is like. So basically we’ve created a video player that would provide video streams for your website, and um, we have the most generous of revenue shares out on the web. So if you have any.. if you would like to speak to me more regarding this, uhh, this, I guess, revenue opportunity, please call me.

    Anemic Michigan Voter Turnout

    posted by on January 15 at 4:00 PM

    Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

    The Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports that the McCain camp is cutting back hard on expectations for tonight’s Michigan primary result as reports of bad weather and possibly sub-20% voter turnout may be just the right mix to put Mitt Romney over the top.

    Senior Adviser Steve Schmidt strolled back into the press section of their charter plane en route from Traverse City to Yspilanti to start framing potential results. “Regardless of what happens here, we feel very good about South Carolina,” Schmidt said.

    Michigan, Schmidt said repeatedly, amounts to a home game for Romney.

    “I think he ran a favorite state candidacy — we’ll see if it works.”

    Predictably, Schmidt said the stakes were enormous for Romney here.

    Regarding his own candidate, Schmidt said it wouldn’t have a lot of impact either way.

    “I think that if we win in Michigan, we get a little bit of a bump and I think that if we lose, we take, maybe, a quarter step back, but i don’t think it’s a big deal any way,” Schmidt argued.

    McCain was hoping for a strong showing from independent voters and Democrats without anyone to vote for tonight, which, if early anecdotal reports are correct, probably isn’t going to happen.

    Down to the Wire

    posted by on January 15 at 3:49 PM

    NBC’s fight to keep Dennis Kucinich out of tonight’s Democratic debate went all the way to the Nevada Supreme Court today. Still no decision. Tune in to my debate liveblog, which begins at 6 p.m. PST, to find out who’s on the stage.

    From Now On, Oct 12 Is Syphilis Day…

    posted by on January 15 at 3:32 PM

    … since it looks like Columbus brought syphilis back to Europe after all.

    The fight about who to blame for syph—and what to call it—is as old as its first appearance in Europe around 1500:

    … syphilis had been called the “French disease” in Italy and Germany, and the “Italian disease” in France. In addition, the Dutch called it the “Spanish disease”, the Russians called it the “Polish disease”, the Turks called it the “Christian disease” or “Frank disease” (frengi) and the Tahitians called it the “British disease.” … It was also called The Black Lion.

    Now we know—it’s “the American disease.”


    “This controversy has gotten pretty emotional,” said researcher Kristin Harper, an evolutionary biologist at Emory. “Whenever you talk about a sexually transmitted disease and its origin, it seems like people want to blame some other country.”

    new genetic data from deep in the jungles of Guyana suggests that while other forms of this bacterium have plagued humans since early in our evolution, it emerged as venereal syphilis only when carried back to Europe by Columbus and his crew.

    The likely carrier? One Martin Alonzo Pinzón, a navigator and pilot who died of syphilis in November 1493, just nine months after returning from the New World. Too bad there weren’t PSAs back in the 1400s.


    Turning to Tyra

    posted by on January 15 at 3:30 PM

    Hillary Clinton is going to be on the Tyra Banks Show on Friday. Clips and excerpts are leaking out—and being pushed by the Clinton campaign, which just sent me this humanizing snippet:

    TYRA: Senator Clinton got a lot of attention recently when she showed her vulnerable side in New Hampshire. That has been everywhere. Everybody is talking about it and when I was watching you I was like I have been there. How many women here have been there when it is just like, the pressure gets so much and you just break? I’m curious to know when you went home, what did you think about that? Did you feel weak?

    SENATOR CLINTON: No, because what happened, was so touching to me. This woman said, “Well, how do you get up in the morning?” It just struck me, how do any of us get up in the morning? How do we keep it together, how do we do what we have to do, and there was such a moment where it wasn’t sort of me on one side of the table running for office and everybody else out there. It was us together. It really did make me emotional because that is when I think we are at our best as a country; when we really are honest and real … I’m running for President because it really means a lot to me that we give kids the same chance that we had.

    I think so many people are feeling really kind of under the gun — I’m just not making the progress; the health care is so expensive, the energy costs are so expensive, the jobs are not there, the income is not there. That is not the way we work the best so I want to try and make the difference for people. …

    …I have a lot of moments like that where somebody says something to me that is so touching where one day in New Hampshire a woman grabbed my hand and said, “you have got to help me, my son needs an operation and the insurance company won’t pay for it.” … Those moments really keep me going and they make it real as opposed to being on the big stage and making speeches, that is part of it and those aren’t the really motivating reasons why I do this.

    And this:

    TYRA: … If you were a contestant on a reality show, would you rather be on Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, or America’s Next Top Model?

    SENATOR CLINTON: In my dreams I would be on America’s Next Top Model but in reality I would have to choose my limited talents and of them dancing is better than singing. You do not want me to sing.

    The world awaits the YouTube clips of the show. Meanwhile, never forget:

    In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

    posted by on January 15 at 3:20 PM

    New Jamie Lidell Video: It’s more gooey and loose.

    Cameo: Cut Chemist teaches Chemistry in Juno.

    X is Coming: Original line-up, even.

    Songs for Snowy Days: “Informer” (which isn’t good) and “Hit the Snow” (which is).

    Today in Music News: Rockstars on steroids, Coachella crosses the country, and some other stuff too.

    Branded: Trent Moorman talks to Brent Amaker (of Brent Amaker and the Rodeo) about his burning buns.

    Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: And peppers, and apples, and watermelon, and peas in Jape’s video for the song “Floating.”

    Castanets Continue to Fascinate: At Jules Maes tonight.

    Not Nice, Baby: Vanilla Ice goes crazy on MTV.

    It’s Official: Music critics love LCD Soundsystem.

    Guns ‘n’ Roses: Done with banjos?


    And Some More Feminism From Olympia

    posted by on January 15 at 2:37 PM

    So, as Sen. Karen Keiser fights for your right to Plan B, Rep. Maralyn Chase (D-32, Shoreline) is fighting for your right to look foxy without getting poisoned.

    Chase is reintroducing a bill that died last year that would clamp down on “beauty” products… It’s not that lipstick doesn’t make women look simply beautiful…it’s that it can cause cancer.

    They Like Mike

    posted by on January 15 at 2:31 PM


    So Huckabee was here and gone—and the room filled up—but idiotic me didn’t think to take a picture of Huckabee while he was speaking. I was too caught up in… gee… the triumph and the will of the moment, I guess.

    Huckabee was charming and self-effacing and the crowd was worshipful and quick to clap for the Man From Hope 2.0. The loudest applause lines? Banning gay marriage, passing the Human Life Amendment, and supporting our troops with medical care and services they need once they get back from Iraq. Let’s dwell on who isn’t doing enough to ban gay marriage and abortion, or who exactly is failing to provide services for our troops. The people in this room don’t want to be reminded that they voted for current occupant of the White House. They want to be told that the country is in serious trouble but they can rescue the country by supporting Mike Huckabee.

    Uh-huh. Let’s talk about the Human Life Amendment. The HLA would stick language into the U.S. Constitution that made abortion unconstitutional. And since Reagan, every Republican presidential candidate has solemnly sworn to get that HLA passed after he takes office. And since Reagan every elected Republican president has failed to deliver. They talk about the HLA as candidates but, once elected, the HLA gets swept up with the confetti and the balloons.

    But Huckabee supporters—former Bush supporters, one and all—are like so many Charlie Browns facing down so many footballs. They’re convinced that this time Lucy isn’t going to swipe that football away. Like second marriages, social conservatives faith in GOP candidates is the triumph of hope over experience.

    When I brought this up with Tom—the nicest guy that ever told me I’m going to hell—he promised me this time it was going to be different. Huckabee is different. Unlike that Wiccan priestess George W. Bush, Huckabee is a man of God. And he’s going to keep his promises. And they’re finally—finally—going to get action on the HLA. And maybe so: Huckabee made it clear yesterday that he’s anxious to amend the U.S. Constitution in countless ways.

    There were tons of kids in the room—including one with a woman with a small child that told me she supported Mike, abstinence education, and traditional marriage. But—surprise!—she was unmarried and her pregnancy wasn’t planned. Anyway, tons of kids, rabidly pro-life crowd. I composed this little song in my head while I was waiting for the candidate to arrive:

    If you’re pro-life and you know it, bring your kids!

    If you’re pro-life and you know, bring your kids!

    If you’re pro-life and you know then in your womb you grow it,

    If you’re pro-life and you know it, bring your kids!

    Inane, yes, but it passed the time.

    Anyway, I asked Tom to promise me that if Huckabee gets elected and, like Reagan, Bush 1, and Bush 2 before him, proceeds to do nothing to get the HLA passed Tom will support a Democratic candidate in 2012. He said he couldn’t do that—but he did invite me, Terry, and DJ to come back in the summer, for a visit. He wants to meet my family—a family that he doesn’t think should, you know, exist. But still: I seem like nice people, he said. And, he told me, maybe by the time I come back to South Carolina I’ll have had a religious experience and come to God. The triumph of hope over experience rears its empty head again.

    On the way out the door I run into Jake Tapper, a reporter for ABC News. We haven’t seen each other since the GOP caucuses in Iowa in 2000. We were both in town for back then—Jake was doing real reporting, I was licking Gary Bauer’s doorknobs. He asks me what I am up to in South Carolina. I assure him that no knobs were harmed during my visit to South Carolina.

    On Ideology

    posted by on January 15 at 2:10 PM

    Verso recently reprinted Terry Eagleton’s book Ideology. The reason for the book’s strange return was the sense that ideology had made a strange return to the center stage of American life. For much of his presidency, Bush has operated within an ideological program constructed by the man who made him, Karl Rove. And Fox News, a major information source for Americans, has a strict ideological agenda: right is more than right; the rest are more than wrong. But all of this ideological business seemed way out of place in a post-historical world. Thinkers like Fukuyama marked the end of the Cold War as the end of ideology: American ideology rose to the condition of reality; Soviet ideology sank into the depths of the past. Human development had reached its terminal point with democratic capitalism. If this were the case, if humanity was down to one direction, one inevitable system of thought and politics for all, why had ideology not not only disappeared but also intensified in the first decade of the 21st century? The ground on which the war in Iraq stands is completely ideological. The war Bush wants with Iran finds its justification nowhere else but in ideology. The problem with them (the Arabs) is they do not like us, like our way of thinking. To Fukuyama’s shock, ideology survived the Cold War, the end of history. But what shocks him today should at no time surprise us. We know that for as long as there are humans here in the now of things and beings there will be one or more ideologies.

    Ideology in itself is not bad or good. All thinking appears in a system that is ideological. As Spinoza once stated, and Damaisio currently asserts, our mind is the idea body. As the mind is the idea of the body, the mind is the idea of the society. We do not have a direct line to world. There is no such thing as sense-certainty, unconditioned experience, life as life is. In order to experience the world, to go through it, to be in it, to enter and exit it, we must make a fiction of it. Ideology, fiction, and what Jameson calls cognitive mapping are one and the same thing. The issue then is not whether something is ideological or not but the amount of reality (truth effects, or truth procedures) that the ideology holds, grasps, maintains. It is this complexity that I want to resolve. A truth must be for all; and yet we must speak of truth in terms of a fiction. One, to say that truth can only be a fiction; two, because a truth is fictional does not mean it is untrue. I have no other task than this.

    Group Supports 40-Cent Gas Tax Increase

    posted by on January 15 at 1:39 PM

    Man the barricades! An organization did a two-year study and found that a 40-cent increase in federal gas taxes would improve traffic safety, reduce congestion, and promote greenhouse-gas-reducing alternatives to driving.

    They also suggested more tolls, more “congestion pricing’ measures, and higher fees for freight.

    The name of this insidious group of social engineers? The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, created by Congress in 2005.

    Under the proposal to raise gas taxes, the current tax of 18.4 cents per gallon would be increased by 5 cents to 8 cents annually for five years and then indexed to inflation afterward to help fix the infrastructure, expand public transit and highways as well as broaden railway and rural access.

    Other sources of revenue could come from tolls, peak-hour “congestion pricing” on highways, freight fees and ticket taxes for passenger rail improvements, according to the report.

    They’re supported, by the way, by other well-known anti-American organizations such as the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

    Action on Plan B in Olympia

    posted by on January 15 at 1:34 PM

    Sen. Karen Keiser (D-33, Kent) unveiled a bill yesterday on the first day of the legislative session that would require pharmacies to show that they’ve filled all legal prescriptions that physicians requested for their patients in order to maintain state certification as a pharmacy.

    In other words: If a pharmacy doesn’t want you to get Plan B, they don’t get to be a pharmacy.

    Beginning January 1, 2009, a pharmacy owner must file with the department an annual declaration that it has complied with its duty to timely dispense all legally prescribed drugs and devices or the therapeutic equivalent in order to meet the pharmaceutical needs of its patients, unless the department has granted an exception to that pharmacy owner. If the pharmacy owner fails to file the declaration required by this section, no renewal or new license shall be issued.

    I asked Sen. Kaiser’s legislative assistant if Sen. Kaiser’s bill might be a little irrelevant. After all, there’s a pending court challenge on behalf of a pharmacist’s “right of conscience” (a pharmacist’s “right” to force their values on patients basically). What if the judge rules in favor of the dissident pharmacists?

    “That’s why we wrote it to regulate pharmacies,” he said.

    Cloned Food: What Gets Measured Matters

    posted by on January 15 at 12:42 PM


    The FDA just determined that food from cloned animals is safe for human consumption. What standard did they use to make that assessment? According to the Washington Post,

    the same simple but effective standard used by farmers since the dawn of agriculture: If a farm animal appears in all respects to be healthy, then presume that food from that animal is safe to eat.

    Feeling reassured? Consider this: Cows with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or “mad cow” disease, “appear in all respects to be healthy,” too—all respects the FDA measures, that is. That’s how they’ve ended up in our food supply. There are many aspects of food safety we simply don’t understand—BSE-causing particles called prions, for example—so I’m not convinced that a “health” assessment (which found, incidentally, that newborn cloned cows were “usually extremely overweight and have respiratory, gastrointestinal and immune system problems,” but that they “somehow” got over those problems) is enough to ensure the safety of cloned meat. In fact, most clones are kept alive with high doses of antibiotics and other medications—more veterinary drugs that will end up in our already polluted meat supply. Clones, in fact, are often born horribly disfigured and fatally diseased; although cloning proponents assure consumers that most defective clones die young, the fact is that cloning is only ten years old, and the “long-term studies” on the safety of cloned meat lasted all of three and a half months. The rush came, of course, at the behest of agribusiness companies in a hurry to make money breeding cloned animals; and since they’ve done such an awesome job running that whole factory-food system, why not fast-track cloning, too?

    Photo Credit

    Is Anyone Safe?

    posted by on January 15 at 12:21 PM

    Breaking news from Fort Mills, South Carolina…


    In the OTHER Primary

    posted by on January 15 at 11:51 AM

    Hey, remember that other party? The one with the guy who wears the special underwear, the philandering multi-divorcee, and that angry dude who wants the war to go on forever? Well, here’s the latest wackiness from the Grand Old Party: Mike Huckabee (you know, the guy who said women should submit graciously to their husbands’ leadership on all matters) now wants to amend the Constitution to put it in line with “God’s standards.” Here’s Cuckoobee:

    I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.

    Republicans, keep it up. You’re doing an awesome job.


    posted by on January 15 at 11:43 AM


    (I love you, Little Bird. I miss your pictures.)

    LiveBlogging the Dems

    posted by on January 15 at 11:30 AM

    Heads up, I’ll be liveblogging the Democratic debate tonight. It starts at 6 p.m. PST; takes place in Las Vegas; features Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama, maybe Dennis Kucinich, and definitely a crowd of 1,800 people; and will be broadcast (most-likely livestreamed, too) by MSNBC.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on January 15 at 11:00 AM


    Randall Kennedy at Town Hall

    Randall Kennedy, a Harvard Law School professor and author of Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, reads from his new and timely book Sellout. Now, who is a sellout? Condoleezza Rice is a sellout; Colin Powell is a sellout; Clarence “Uncle” Thomas is a sellout; even Barack Obama is a motherfucking sellout. And what is a sellout? A sellout is a black person who sold his/her soul for white recognition and success. Kennedy’s book explores the history of the idea of “racial betrayal.” (Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 634-3400. 7:30 pm, $5.)


    I’m Never Having Kids

    posted by on January 15 at 10:53 AM

    If everything I’ve ever done to my parents came back to me, in some twofold karmageddon, my kids would be like this…

    Waiting for Mike

    posted by on January 15 at 10:46 AM


    I’m in Rock Hill, South Carolina, at the swank great room of a mega-house/mini-mansion housing development, waiting for Mike Huckabee to arrive and give a speech. We’ve been hanging out with the nicest bunch of evangelical Christians you could ever want to meet. A Newsweek reporter and a reporter from the Los Angeles Times showed up, hadn’t had lunch, and there’s nothing to eat. They’re leaving with Huckabee on the press bus after his speech and they were stressing out about not having anything eat. So exterminator and Huckabee volunteer we drove over here with gave them the keys to his car—without asking their names—and directions to a restaurant.

    The exterminator—who I’ve been hanging with for two days—doesn’t believe in evolution, the gays, or that there was a budget surplus under Bill Clinton. He’s utterly charming and he’s trying to talk me into supporting Huckabee. He says he’s worried about Obama getting the Democratic nomination because he doesn’t trust him. Not sure if it’s “the Muslim thing,” but he’s convinced something will come out that destroys Obama.

    He also doesn’t think I should be allowed to adopt or marry—but he loved watching the video of my kid snowboarding that I posted to Slog.

    SPD Offering Reward in UW Assault Case

    posted by on January 15 at 10:42 AM

    The Seattle Police Department is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in an assault on a 22-year-old UW student, who was beaten while parking her car last Tuesday morning.

    The police have released a description of the suspect:

    A white male, 20 to 30 years old. He has short, possibly brown hair and is 5’8” to 6’00 tall and average build. He is possibly clean-shaven. He may have been wearing a dark baggy jacket, dark baggy jeans, and a light colored hat or head cover.

    Anyone with information can call SPD at 206-684-5550.

    I have to say, I’m a little surprised that this is the case SPD is offering a reward for. Police haven’t announced any arrests in the the murders of Shannon Harps, Allen Joplin or DeChe Morrison. I’ve got a call in to SPD to find out what it takes for them to offer up a reward.

    UPDATE: SPD says Crime Stoppers makes the call on offering rewards. However, SPD couldn’t tell me how Crime Stoppers picks their cases, as the person in charge is on vacation.

    Today in Apple Hype

    posted by on January 15 at 10:37 AM


    Because I know Slog readers are a bunch of hype-hungry Apple fanboys and girls, following is a quick recap of the new products Apple announced at Macworld this morning. Aren’t you so excited!?!

    Time Capsule - An Airport Extreme (wireless router) with a big internal hard drive, for backups using Leopard’s new Time Machine.
    iPhone - SDK for third-party apps (still) coming in February. New software update coming today, featuring psuedo-GPS, web clips, rearrangeable home screen, and more. iPod Touch to get Mail, maps, and other iPhone features, making it precisely an iPhone without the phone. $20 upgrade.
    iTunes - Movie Rentals. All major studios are on board, rentals to cost $2.99 - $3.99. Start watching within 30 days, watch for 24 hours. Launches today.
    AppleTV Take 2 - No computer required. Rent/buy movies, music, TV shows, etc., directly from iTunes Store on your TV. HD movies also available, with Dolby 5.1 surround sound. Free software update for existing AppleTVs.
    Macbook Air - “World’s Thinnest Laptop.” 0.76” thin, built in iSight camera, Core 2 Duo. Sports a multitouch trackpad (like an iPhone screen). No optical drive, Superdrive accessory for $99, and some kind of software to let you “borrow” another PC or Mac’s optical drive. 5 hour battery life. “Fits inside an envelope.” 64GB solid-state flash drive optional.

    So which one are you so excited about the most?!?

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on January 15 at 10:30 AM



    Eric Eley’s Prospect Fields, two views.

    At Platform Gallery.

    Re: Race-Baiting and Its Ugly Fallout

    posted by on January 15 at 9:55 AM

    And also via the Dept. of Exploited and/or Wildly Precocious Kids. (And, fundamentally, via Sullivan):

    Time Machine

    posted by on January 15 at 9:53 AM

    Last night at 11:00 I got the following confusing press release. At first I thought it was a mistake. But no: Apparently, the Seattle Monorail Project board has been limping along, trying to clear up unfinished business, for all these months:

    [UPDATE: I just got a call from Jonathan Buchter, the SMP’s finance director, who says the reason the agency didn’t just disband a year ago is several lawsuits against it were still pending. The last one was just dismissed; hence the final FINAL meeting.]

    Public Meeting Notice

    Below is the agenda for the Seattle Monorail Project’s Board meeting, scheduled at a special date and time. The meeting will be held on Thursday, January 17, 2008 Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Conference Center, the Securities Building, 4th Avenue entrance, 1913 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101.

    The Board meeting will begin at 5:30 pm.

    Thank you –

    Seattle Monorail Project
    Meeting of Board of Directors
    Special Date and Time

    Meeting Date: January 17, 2008
    Time: 5:30 pm
    Location: Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Conference Center
    The Securities Building, 4th Avenue entrance
    1913 4th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101

    The Seattle Popular Monorail Authority (The “Seattle Monorail Project”) is charged with the authority to build, own, operate and maintain a Citywide Monorail System as called for in the Seattle Popular Monorail Plan that was adopted by the Elevated Transportation Company on August 5, 2002 and ratified by Seattle Voters on November 5, 2002 pursuant to Seattle Citizen Petition/Proposition No. 1.

    Call to Order

    Public Comment

    Report on the Last 13 Months

    Audit and Financial Report: (includes report on 2007 Financial Statements and Audit of Liquidation Period)


    Adoption of Minutes
    November30, 2006

    Discussion and Vote
    Resolution No. 08-01
    Authorizing the Transfer of Remaining Assets and the Execution of an Asset Transfer and Trust Agreement

    Discussion and Vote
    Resolution No. 08-02
    Authorizing the Dissolution and Termination of the Seattle Monorail Project

    Public Comment (Please sign in prior to or during the meeting to be called to speak for this comment period.)


    Race-Baiting and Its Ugly Fallout

    posted by on January 15 at 9:43 AM

    So, this is really minor, but when I woke up this morning I enjoyed some truly sloppy reporting care of NPR’s Juan Williams. (Here’s the segment in question.) Re: Clinton’s comment about LBJ and Martin Luther King, Jr:

    JUAN WILLIAMS: It really did cross the line in terms of the feeling of black people that they’re able to make a difference in their own lives.

    RENEE MONTAGNE: Well, you say that, but could one argue that the Obama side is taking needless offense, as in making this something bigger than it is?

    WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah, and I think that they have been trying to fuel the fire, if you will, Renee. Representative Charles Rangel, who’s the longest serving black in Congress, the dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, says this has been “overanalyzed.” You know, he’s looking for the white person who insulted him or any black person… John Lewis, the civil rights icon, now Georgia Congressman, added that Obama “is no Martin Luther King or Bobby Kennedy,” people that Obama has been analogizing himself to.

    Um, those are great examples of black leaders who didn’t take exception to Clinton’s remarks. But did you bother to check which candidate they’re supporting? Rangel endorsed Clinton way back in March and yesterday called Obama “absolutely stupid” for daring to suggest Clinton’s original remark was “ill-advised.” (Gasp!) John Lewis has also endorsed Clinton.

    It’s not too hard to find unaffiliated but prominent black politicos who have questioned the tone of Clinton’s remarks. (Rep. Clyburn and Donna Brazile have both been very vocal on the subject.) But it’s pretty blatantly irresponsible not to identify Rangel and Lewis, in particular, as partisans in this race.

    And I have yet to see a quotation in which Obama “analogizes himself” to MLK or Bobby Kennedy. Ugh. This stuff is getting so ridiculous.

    Maybe Howard Kurtz will mediate for me?

    Celebrity Chef Hates Fat People So Much He’s Carving Them Up On the TV

    posted by on January 15 at 9:30 AM

    A shocking stunt pulled by UK celebrity chef—and anti-obesity crusader—Jamie Oliver for Channel 4 should take the heat off me:

    Jamie Oliver is set to shock TV viewers into eating healthier food—by cutting up a 25 stone [350 pound] man who ate himself to death. The TV chef teams up with celebrity surgeon Gunther von Hagens for the gruesome autopsy on the anonymous corpse.

    On Channel 4 show Eat To Save Your Life—on Wednesday at 10pm—Jamie, 32, tells viewers: “This all stems from shoving s*** in your mouth.
    This man ate himself to death.”

    Here’s a review of the program by a biased—and bigoted—British nutritionist.

    Thanks to Slog tipper JTC.

    The Morning News

    posted by on January 15 at 8:20 AM

    Democratic debate tonight: But will Kucinich be allowed to participate? The Nevada court system will decide.

    Three-way dead heat: The Nevada Democratic race, according to a recent poll.

    Michigan primary today: Big stakes for the GOP, no stakes for the Dems.

    Courting the Hispanic vote: A challenge for Obama.

    Safe, according to the FDA: Food from cloned animals.

    $10 Billion loss: For Citigroup, another sub-prime loan casualty.

    Dissolving: Seattle’s John Marshall Alternative School.

    MySpace changes: For the children.

    Mini-spins: From Edwards. Here’s one:

    Michigan Votes Today

    posted by on January 15 at 8:01 AM

    And someone out there is hoping Mitt Romney does well…

    Thanks to Slog tipper Mike of Renton.

    While in Perugia…

    posted by on January 15 at 7:58 AM

    I finally found something that can do a bit of the afro pick trick.
    The existence of the monster comb would have remained in the dark had I not been looking for an air freshener (every toilet in Italy has a twin—I do not trust this open and opposite twin). The comb was near the corner of a very small shop (near the closed Le Chic) that sold disinfectants, detergents, dishwashing soap, and air fresheners.

    How you like me now?

    Monday, January 14, 2008

    Bad News for Gay Men

    posted by on January 14 at 9:53 PM

    The New York Times is reporting that a new and virulent strain of “flesh-eating” bacteria is spreading among gay men in San Francisco and Boston.

    In a study published online by the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the bacteria seemed to be spread most easily through anal intercourse but also through casual skin-to-skin contact and touching contaminated surfaces…. The new strain seems to have “spread rapidly” in gay populations in San Francisco and Boston, the researchers wrote, and “has the potential for rapid, nationwide dissemination” among gay men.

    The study was based on a review of medical records from outpatient clinics in San Francisco and Boston and nine medical centers in San Francisco.

    The Castro district in San Francisco has the highest number of gay residents in the country, according to the University of California, San Francisco. One in 588 residents is infected with the new multidrug-resistant MRSA strain, the study found. That compares with 1 in 3,800 people in San Francisco, according to statistical analyses based on ZIP codes.

    Anything you can do to protect yourself? Yeah, say the docs: scrub with soap and water after skin-to-skin contact. We might also think about reducing the number of our sex partners—you know, having more sex with fewer people. That’s the advice we got at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. It was a pretty effective sexual health strategy, you know, back in the day.

    More at Towleroad.

    That’s My Boy

    posted by on January 14 at 7:53 PM

    5 Days is 5 Days Too Long in Vegas, and 10 Things I Learned at the Porn Convention

    posted by on January 14 at 7:30 PM

    I’m back! I had to buy an extra suitcase just to haul all the porn schwag and freebies. When I got home, there was one of those airport inspection slips inside the bag. How I wish I could’ve seen the inspector’s face when he cracked this baby open…


    I’m very tired - and feel a bit crazy. Five days is way too long to spend in Las Vegas. For anything or anyone. It hurts your brain. All in all, though, this years’ convention and the AVN Awards - “The Oscars of Porn”- was a frickin’ wild ride. One of the highlights, for me, was meeting a bunch of folks that write for FLESHBOT. What a bunch of super-smart sassy-pants. Their coverage of the AVN is the BEST out there. I love them.

    Another (unfortunate) highlight was seeing a glimpse of Jenna Jameson, and not even recognizing her. She officially retired from porn, hopefully just in time to eat a damn sandwich. Jenna is becoming Tara Reid. A stick-thin popsicle stick, with no curves anywhere. It’s sad to see.

    (photo from

    Let’s see, what else did I learn… 10 things, and a ton of photos, after the jump.

    Continue reading "5 Days is 5 Days Too Long in Vegas, and 10 Things I Learned at the Porn Convention" »

    No Major Resistance to ‘08 Light Rail Measure in Olympia

    posted by on January 14 at 7:12 PM

    The rap from the liberal side of the Pro-Prop 1 debate last year was that Prop 1 was our last chance to vote for light rail.

    The legislature, we were told, would simply not allow light rail to go onto the ballot in 2008. (Gregoire and the Democrats, the explanation went, didn’t want any tax measure on the ballot while Democrats were also on the ballot. That seemed pretty stupid to us because 2008 was/is going to be a huge D turnout year—thanks Barack Obama!—which should help light rail pass as opposed to helping defeat Democrats.)

    Anyway, the buzz in Olympia today was this: Democratic leadership is not going to stand in the way of Sound Transit going to the ballot in ‘08. I repeat: The Democratic leadership has no intention of blocking Sound Transit from going to the ballot in ‘08.

    Sound Transit, the ball’s in your court.

    And Now, Some Nice Words

    posted by on January 14 at 5:10 PM

    Ever since the New Hampshire primary last week, the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been going at each other over racially charged statements, counter-statements, and insinuations (and also over whether or not those statements, counter-statements, and insinuations even deserve to be considered “racially-charged”).

    Click the links above for the highlight reel, and then, assuming the below can be believed, say goodbye to this line of intra-party fighting. (But first, you really should give a listen to this.)

    From an Obama press conference this afternoon:

    “You have seen a tone on the Democrat[ic] side of the campaign that has been unfortunate. I want to stipulate a couple of things. I may disagree with Senator Clinton and Senator Edwards on how to get there, but we share the same goals. We all believe in civil rights. We all believe in equal rights. They are good people. They are patriots…

    I don’t want the campaign at this stage to degenerate to so much tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, that we lose sight of why we are doing this.”

    Obama said he wants to send “a strong signal to my own supporters that let’s try to focus on the work that needs to get done. If I hear my own supporters engaging in talk that I think is ungenerous or misleading or unfair, I will speak out forcefully against it….

    Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have historically been on the right side of civil rights issues. They care about the African American community.… That is something I am convinced of. I want Americans to know that is my assessment.”

    And shortly afterward came this statement from Hillary Clinton:

    Over this past week, there has been a lot of discussion and back and forth - much of which I know does not reflect what is in our hearts.

    And at this moment, I believe we must seek common ground.

    Our party and our nation is bigger than this. Our party has been on the front line of every civil rights movement, women’s rights movement, workers’ rights movement, and other movements for justice in America.

    We differ on a lot of things. And it is critical to have the right kind of discussion on where we stand. But when it comes to civil rights and our commitment to diversity, when it comes to our heroes - President John F. Kennedy and Dr. King - Senator Obama and I are on the same side.

    And in that spirit, let’s come together, because I want more than anything else to ensure that our family stays together on the front lines of the struggle to expand rights for all Americans.

    24 Hours on Line Out

    posted by on January 14 at 3:55 PM

    Quartet for the End of Music Criticism: The New York Times Breaks it Down

    Talk to Me, Goose: A Gun That Shoots Knives’ #1 Fan

    A Date with John Waters: L7’s Camel Lips

    Where the Juggalo Roam: Jeff Kirby Takes a Trip to the Dark Side

    Tonight: Throw Me the Statue, Cascade Symphony Orchestra

    Photo of the Day: Dyme Def @ the High Dive

    East Infection: Jeff Kirby’s Survey of Young Eastside Bands

    A Gun That Shoots Geese: Trent Moorman on AGTSK’s “Fuckin Bullshit”

    Music News: Björk, Kurt, Britney, and more…

    Zapp’d: Terry Miller on Frank & Moon Zappa’s “Valley Girl”

    Egypt, Via Chicago: Lupe Fiasco & Egyptian Lover

    Crocodile Hunters: Software Company Buys Croc?

    Love is the Answer: TJ Gorton on Cerrone

    Mitt Needs Michigan… Desperately

    posted by on January 14 at 3:47 PM

    Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

    Tuesday’s primary in Michigan won’t really matter to the Democrats—the state was stripped of Democratic National Convention delegates after it decided to move up the date of its primary, and has been boycotted by most of the field of Democratic contenders. On the Michigan ballot, the three leading liberal lights are Clinton, Kucinich, and Uncommitted. However, Michigan could play a decisive role in the Republican fight, sending one of the most beloved of the conservative cast members stumbling back to Massachusetts.

    Mitt Romney needs to win something, anything, to continue to justify his well-coiffed presence in the race, and his father’s old stomping ground of Michigan could be that magic state that saves “Mitt-stravaganza ‘08” from an early and ignoble end.

    Here’s the late numbers, from Politico GOP campaign embed Jonathan Martin:

    The breakdown:

    McCain: 27
    Romney: 26
    Huckabee: 19
    Giuliani: 6
    Thompson: 5
    Paul: 4

    The poll was taken Wednesday through Sunday, so it includes McCain’s New Hampshire bounce.

    Predictably, McCain is doing well among indies and Dems while Romney leads among Republicans.

    Also worth noting is that McCain has a strong precedent in the state (having beaten Bush there in 2000) and Martin reports that Huckabee may be quietly and effectively weaving his folksy spell on Michigan’s evangelical voters, often thought to be part of the Romney base.

    For what its worth, Romney claims he will continue, even if it means a third silver medal—or worse.

    LGBT Center Update

    posted by on January 14 at 3:39 PM

    As I wrote last Friday, the Seattle LGBT Center is moving out of their facility at 11th and Pike. It appears funding problems may have been a big factor in the Center’s abrupt relocation.

    “All non profits are struggling in this economy,” says LGBT Center Co-President Jerry Stewart. “We’ve never been as fully funded as we’d like to be.” According to Stewart, the Center’s annual budget is about $250,000, a figure he hopes to increase.

    The Center will move into Equal Rights Washington’s (ERW) offices for “a couple of months” and the Center’s library and meeting spaces will be temporarily unavailable.
    With the move, Stewart says the Center will be restructuring to provide services for the elderly and other “under served members of the community.”

    Stewart expects to announce a new, permanent location as early as next week.

    Clever Idea of the Day from Olympia: Screw the BIAW

    posted by on January 14 at 3:28 PM

    For the last couple of days, I’ve been Slogging updates on Senator Brian Weinstein’s (D-41, Mercer Island) effort to pass his house-buyer protection bill.

    The bill seems pretty righteous in its own right (f’d over consumers currently don’t have the right to sue builders and contractors in our state). But making it a bit controversial, the bill seems like a personal attack on the Speaker of the House, Frank Chopp (D-43), who killed the bill in the house last year. Senator Weinstein contended that Chopp was doing the bidding of the powerful BIAW, the builders lobby.

    So, here’s a fun solution so that we actually get action on this. Someone should run this consumer bill of rights as a ballot measure this fall instead.

    I know, I know: The legislature shouldn’t pass the buck to voters. It should do its job and just pass Senator Weinstein’s bill.

    But just as last year’s insurance-claim ballot measure, R-67, forced the insurance industry to lay out millions in an unsuccessful effort to kill consumer rights, taking the house-buyer bill to the ballot would similarly screw the right wing BIAW, which is already committed to bankrolling Rossi.

    Roads vs. Transit. Again.

    posted by on January 14 at 3:07 PM

    It seems to me, the real environmental battle in Olympia this session is going to concern tolling.

    It’s not that anyone is lining up against the idea—which landed on the front pages when Governor Christine Gregoire announced last week that she was going to fund a six-lane 520 bridge rebuild in part by tolling car trips.

    The battle will be over this: What percentage of the money that’s generated from tolls should go to roads and what percentage should go to transit? The annoying negotiating starting point is a 90/10 split—90 for roads.

    The transportation chairs in both the senate and the house—Senator Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10) and Representative Judy Clibborn (D-41), respectively—are reportedly leaning toward keeping the dollars funneled toward roads for now.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on January 14 at 2:43 PM

    Claire Cowie’s Homunculus Sketch, Girl with Moose (2007), watercolor and pencil on paper, six by six inches

    At James Harris Gallery.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on January 14 at 2:40 PM

    From Flickr pool contibutor RedButtons


    Nightclub Sting’s Trials and Errors

    posted by on January 14 at 2:35 PM

    Eight of the defendants charged in the Seattle Police Department’s nightclub sting last summer, “Operation Sobering Thought,” are taking their cases to trial. That’s a big gamble. If found guilty on charges of allowing minors into bars and serving them alcohol, those bouncers and bartenders could be sentenced to a full year in the slammer. City Attorney Tom Carr had offered the first-time offenders plea bargains of 20 days in jail. Why wouldn’t they take the plea deal?

    “I have clients charged with felonies who have gotten better offers than these defendants,” said Jessica Riley, who is defending a bouncer from Cowgirls, a Pioneer Square bar. “In this case they didn’t seem to be open to any kind of negotiation.”

    Another defendant’s attorney, David Gehrke, said in his three decades practicing law, he has never seen prosecutors recommend significant jail time for first-time offenders, including people charged with driving under the influence and domestic violence.

    Carr said the plea offers are based strictly on sentencing guidelines and a defendant’s history. He said he has been trying to rein in staff attorneys from using their discretion and offering deals that could vary unfairly from case to case.

    “I’ve been trying to get better control over what we do,” Carr said. “I worry about being fair to the 20,000 people we charge here” annually.

    Carr is saying that, in order to be fair, he needs to punish the handful of people caught in a high-profile sting operation with a jail sentence. But that’s not fair. Most liquor-code violators are simply fined $250-500 by the Washington State Liquor Control Board or charged with a simple misdemeanor carrying a $250 fine—and jail time is unheard of unless it’s a repeat offense. But Carr is going for the throat. He’s charging them all with gross misdemeanors and making a starting offer of jail time.

    Every aspect of “Operation Sobering Thought” makes me need a drink. The name, for starters… The police work was sloppy. The sting was an obvious political ploy, supposedly providing the impetus for additional nightlife legislation to rein in nightclubs. And it was exorbitantly expensive—costing over $50,000 to make the arrests, and now, because Tom Carr apparently wants to set an example, the cases are going to trial and will drain thousands more city dollars.

    I hope these poor saps get off with a fine; their offenses are garden variety. The only thing that should be on trial here is whether the City should butt out and let the Washington State Liquor Control Board do its job.

    Governor Gregoire’s Climate Change Legislation

    posted by on January 14 at 2:31 PM

    Governor Christine Gregoire unveiled her climate-change bill this morning.

    It’s got some common-sense stuff in it: Require reporting of CO2 emissions; design a regional cap and trade plan by August; and, for now, try to enforce caps on emissions (limit greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035, and—kinda wimpy—50 percent below 1990 by 2050. Environmentalist activists say that should be more like 80 percent.)

    It’s hard to get truly excited about this in 2008. It all seems like policy that should have been taken care of in 2007. And it’s still not clear to me how the emission caps are enforceable targets rather than nice goals. Is the governor going to amp the budget over at Department of Ecology so the state can enforce all this?

    Although, the bill does sync up emission reductions with the state clean air act, so—say environmentalists—if we’re not tracking toward our goals (like say if Dino Rossi gets elected) environmentalists can sue the state.

    Another major outstanding issue is how to deal with transportation emissions. For example, how does Alaska Airlines and car traffic fit into the pending cap and trade system?

    Make It Stop

    posted by on January 14 at 2:30 PM

    “The ‘Girlfriend Posse’”? “Honey”? Ugh.


    Lindy West’s Motion Picture Column

    posted by on January 14 at 2:09 PM

    You already know that Lindy West now has a weekly column in The Stranger’s film section, yeah? Just checking. It’s been running for four weeks.

    Let’s recap!

    How the Fancy Film People Party
    “Northwest Film Forum director Michael Seiwerath seemed sad that I had chosen the winning nog instead of his Northwest Film Forum signature nog.”

    Free Garbage
    “An uncharismatic KISS 106.1 intern was giving away ‘prize packs,’ which are literally bags of garbage.”

    YouTube on Polio Meds
    “After I stopped crying and hyperventilating, my mom gave me some decongestants and an oxycodone left over from her foot surgery. Then, high as a fucking kite, I had nothing left to do but wander through YouTube all day.”

    I Hate Le French TV
    “So I was in France the other day, which is unusual for me. I am not normally in France.”

    What will Lindy’s column be about this week? Crispin Glover? Maybe!

    The Politics of Praising Omar

    posted by on January 14 at 1:38 PM

    In our comments, and in the comments over at Towleroad (which picked up my post about Barack Obama liking The Wire’s Omar), there’s some anger at the way Obama talked about the gay gangster.

    Obama said of Omar, in part:

    He’s this gay gangster who only robs drug dealers, and then gives back. You know, he’s sort of a Robin Hood. And he’s the toughest, baddest guy on this show, but he’s gay, you know. And it’s really interesting. It’s a fascinating character.

    From our very own bober:

    Obama says: “He’s the toughest, baddest guy on this show, but he’s gay.”


    Is that like being African American but “articulate and clean?” Obama supporters freaked out when Sen. Joe Biden said he was the first African American candidate who was “articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy … “

    It’s not unusual for gay people to be bad-ass and tough - look at Alexander the Great and the Sacred Band of Thebes.

    Towleroad’s PeterParker makes the same point. But Slog’s Elenchos smacks back with a very plausible counter-argument:

    Obama’s probably attracted to the fact that this is a character that could have been yet another stereotyped gay or stereotyped black, and instead the character goes against type. He doesn’t conform to the mold, and he’s popular. Sort of like Obama.

    Rebecca Griego Act

    posted by on January 14 at 1:32 PM

    Scanning the action in the legislature this week (with an antenna up for “What Are They Doing for You Lately,”) I came across a cool bill being sponsored by—of course—Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36, Seattle).

    Informally known as the Rebecca Griego act, Senator Kohl-Welles is trying to streamline the process for women to get protection from dangerous men. You’ll remember last year, Griego, who was murdered at the UW by her stalker ex-boyfriend, had trouble getting action from the authorities.

    And as Jonah reported shortly after the murder, the problem seemed pervasive.

    Senator Kohl-Welles’s bill doesn’t have a number yet, but here’s a description of what it would do:

    Simplify service of process. A victim should not be penalized if the abuser cannot be served. In the UW murder-suicide incident, although Rebecca Griego made it clear that she wanted her abuser to be prosecuted when he was found, she was unable to serve process on her abuser. The protection order was not served because her stalker had evaded the Seattle Police Department, which is fairly common. Senate Bill XXXX will make it easier for victims to serve process by mail or by publication when an abuser has successfully evaded the authorities.

    Griego’s sister Rachel may testify when the bill is introduced in the Judiciary Committee this Wednesday.

    City Considers New Homeless Encampment Policies

    posted by on January 14 at 12:26 PM

    The city is considering new procedures for removing homeless encampments from public property, and allowing city officials to confiscate any property that’s abandoned or deemed “hazardous.” Work on the new protocols started after protests last year, when crews working for the city showed up at 10 camps and cleared them out without notice, confiscating and destroying the property of people living there.

    The proposed rules would give homeless people 48 hours to move along (as long as there’s no “evidence of other illegal activity”), an improvement over the previous zero-notice policy. However, it would also apply the city’s much-reviled parks exclusion ordinance, which allows the city to ban people from parks for “rule violations,” including camping, to all other city-owned property in Seattle. The Mark Sidran-era parks exclusion rule allows the city to ban people from public property even if they haven’t committed any crime. The ordinance also allows city officials to deputize “any person or association” they choose to enforce the rules; for example, if the city wanted, they could give the Downtown Seattle Association authority to exclude homeless people from public property near downtown businesses. Even more alarming, the new rules would allow the city to confiscate and destroy any property deemed “hazardous”—a definition that “may include blankets, clothing, sleeping bags, tents, or other soft goods that may be contaminated by unknown substances that may pose a risk of harm to members of the public or to cleanup personnel who come in contact with the material.” As Tim Harris of Real Change puts it on his blog, “What, exactly, would that definition leave out?”

    According to the fact sheet put together by the city’s department of Health and Human Services, the new policies are all part of the city’s 10-year campaign to end homelessness.

    Working with local partners, the city is implementing the Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness by finding permanent housing for homeless people and connecting them with services critical to living independently. The city also has the responsibility to protect the health and safety of the general public and residents—including the homeless people in unauthorized encampments—and enforce city laws. Unauthorized encampments are not an acceptable or humane option for shelter or housing.

    I doubt anyone—least of all the people who actually sleep in city parks—would disagree with that last sentiment. On the other hand, last year, the King County Coalition for the Homeless counted 2,159 people camped outside in the middle of the night last January—a four percent increase from 2006. Nearly 1,600 of them were in Seattle. Something tells me that at least some of those folks need more than just “connecting with services” to get off the streets.

    The health and human services department will hold a public hearing on the new rules on January 28, at 6 p.m. in the Rainier Room at Seattle Center.

    Text Message of the Week

    posted by on January 14 at 12:24 PM

    From my friend Charlotte:

    There’s no reason for anyone to ever say “merely.” People who decide to use that word are assholes. Y/N? Y/Y.

    Music for Obama?

    posted by on January 14 at 11:05 AM

    Remember back in December, when Barack Obama came to Seattle and held an event at Showbox SoDo is which the Dusty 45s and Brad played? And remember how Eric Grandy and I had a short discussion about how Blue Scholars would have been a better pick for the event, but how they might not have been Obama’s first choice for political reasons? (Of course you don’t. I barely remember. Basically, we were talking about the razor’s edge a black candidate has to balance on when selecting rap music for campaign appearances.)

    Anyway, check this New York Post item out:

    January 14, 2008 — PRESIDENTIAL hopeful Barack Obama claims to run a clean campaign, but someone in his camp took a swipe at Hillary Clinton through the candidate’s theme song.

    As Obama and his wife, Michelle, strolled triumphantly into his victory party in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 3, Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” was blaring. In it, Jay raps, “I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain’t one.”

    Some listeners took it as a not-so-sly reference to Hillary.

    Which, by the way, does not mean it’s true. The indispensable Ben Smith can’t confirm this playing of Jay-Z actually happened.

    I was there at Obama’s victory rally in Des Moines. And while I can’t say I would have recognized “99 Problems” if I’d heard it, I can say that my ears definitely would have perked up if I’d heard lyrics like “I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain’t one” playing during Obama’s entrance. I know Obama’s been entering and exiting to U2 lately, and I’m quite sure he either exited or entered to a U2 song that night. But I’ll cue up my digital audio recording of that speech and see if I can catch any previously-unnoticed Jay-Z…

    UPDATE: My digital audio recording has Obama entering his victory rally in Des Moines to U2’s “City of Blinding Lights” and exiting to Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” You can listen to it here.

    In-Between Days

    posted by on January 14 at 11:02 AM

    Interim number one: Vivian Phillips, a former Paul Schell spokesperson and co-director of the Hansberry Project (“a professional black theatre company dedicated to the artistic exploration of African American life, history and culture”), has been appointed interim director at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center.

    Jackie Moscou, the former (maybe former?) director of LHPAC is still on administrative leave (as she has been for months) and is still the subject of a mysterious investigation (as she has been for months). Still, nobody seems to know anything about anything.

    Interim number two: Kevin Maifeld, former managing director at Seattle Children’s Theater, has been appointed interim managing director at Intiman Theatre while its board looks for someone to replace Laura Penn, the outgoing managing director. The search for Penn’s replacement is led by Greg Kandel, the man who led the national search that resulted in the hiring of Bart Sher—and whose name is an anagram for “darn keg leg.”

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on January 14 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Charlie Wilson’s

    The Aaron Sorkin–penned Charlie Wilson’s War tells the story of a Dem from East Texas in the 1980s who loves the ladies, hates the Commies, and believes the Soviet Union must be vanquished in Afghanistan, even if it means pouring billions into the pockets of the little-understood rebels known as the mujahideen. Tom Hanks isn’t annoying, Julia Roberts plays a Republican, and Philip Seymour Hoffman is a fat CIA slob. It’s a timely reminder: Ending a war is all very nice, but watch out for what comes next. (See movie times for details.)


    Tony Romo, Jessica Simpson, and Bothell, WA

    posted by on January 14 at 10:59 AM

    Can we claim a local, vested interest in more than one athletic choke job this weekend? The New York Post thinks so. Their Dallas Cowboys game prank yesterday at Texas Stadium has been making the Internet rounds this morning, and wouldn’tcha know it:

    Simpson [as in Jessica, girlfriend of ‘Boys QB Tony Romo] didn’t show up yesterday, but The Post brought [Lynsey] Nordstrom - a 21-year-old nanny from Bothell, Wash. - to Texas Stadium. We sat her in the third row behind the Dallas bench, and she must have made the difference - Romo’s final drive was stopped short of the end zone.

    Not just any nanny, of course—a blonde nanny in a pink Tony Romo jersey. An impersonator! The whole idea is that this professional lookalike would wave and wink and cause an uproar, much like the real Jessica did a few weeks back to earn the nickname “Yoko Romo” from sports fans. A repeat distraction would then give Romo a perma-bone and thus impact his play (“Why’d you run to the left, T.O.?” “Cuz that’s where you were pointing!”). But here’s the problem with this genius plan:


    Something tells me that Nordstrom’s claim to fame is being the best Jessica Simpson lookalike…in Bothell, WA. Anyone who watched the game knows that the blame rests on many Cowboys variables other than Fake Jess—the no-show by defensive safety Roy Williams, a bunch of overpaid guys letting passes slip through their hands, that stupid motherfucker Roy Williams, and so on. But on the bright side, perhaps we can milk the local girl’s 15 minutes and secure her services for a Strangercrombie ‘08 auction. “Attend a football game with Bothell’s Jess!” “Take Bothell’s Jess to Aveda!” Oh, the possibilities.

    The Comment Everyone’s Talking About

    posted by on January 14 at 10:51 AM

    Watch it here:

    Read about it here, here, and here.

    Obama on The Wire

    posted by on January 14 at 10:15 AM

    J. Patrick Coolican, formerly of The Seattle Times, now of The Las Vegas Sun, scores an interview with Barack Obama in which he briefly talks with the presidential candidate about two of Slog’s biggest loves: The Wire and The Gays.

    Even more Sloggerific: Despite the tolerance he showed toward an anti-gay preacher back in October, Obama reveals his favorite character on The Wire to be… Omar.


    That’s right, Omar (above center), the gay gangsta who robs drug dealers for a living, cries over the brutal death of his gun-toting boyfriend (above left), and turns out to make a killer government witness. (And, you know, full disclosure: Omar’s also my favorite Wire character.)

    You can listen to audio of the interview here, but it’s short and, in the world of the Slog, probably comes close to breaking news, so I’ll also transcribe it for you:

    Obama: I gotta say Omar’s a great character. That’s not an endorsement.

    Coolican: (Laughing.) Uh oh, you’re making national news here.

    Obama: Exactly. That is not an endorsement. He is not my favorite person. But he’s a fascinating character.

    Coolican: And there’s a real life story behind it, too.

    Obama: He’s this gay gangster who only robs drug dealers, and then gives back. You know, he’s sort of a Robin Hood. And he’s the toughest, baddest guy on this show, but he’s gay, you know. And it’s really interesting. It’s a fascinating character.

    Remember What I Told You…

    posted by on January 14 at 10:00 AM

    about the mind-boggling fiasco that was Queen Latifah’s hosting of an audience-free People’s Choice Awards?

    I wasn’t kidding. Here’s a short video sampler, rich in scatty goodness.

    The last bit is my favorite. Not only does she think we’re hungry to hear those two weird notes one last time, she hilariously assumes she’ll be hosting the awards—or doing anything in public—next year.

    (Extra mind-boggling punchline: Last night, the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a miniseries or movie went to….Queen Latifah, for her work as an HIV-positive wife and mother in HBO’s Life Support. Well shut my mouth.)

    Bjork Repeats Herself!

    posted by on January 14 at 9:44 AM

    Bjork, who is insane just a little bit (God love her), waxed almost as repetitive as that, “WAAAA—-oooo—-AHHH—-oooo” scream she insists on doing at least once in every damn song by physically attacking some poor fool newsperson in an airport yesterday. The report from the terrified victim:

    “As I turned and walked away she came up behind me, grabbed the back of my black skivvy (T-shirt) and tore it,” he reports. “As she did this, she fell over, she fell to the ground,” he said. “At no stage did I touch her or speak with her.”

    Although “falling on her ass” is a fresh new twist on the scenario, one can’t help wonder: Did some local reporter molest her under the tree on Christmas morning? Murder her father in a bar fight? Get her pregnant and stiff her on the abortion money? Call her fat at the prom? Speculation, let’s face it, is pointless.

    Oh, Bjork. She’s gonna getcha!


    No Afro Picks

    posted by on January 14 at 9:40 AM

    In the rush to catch a flight, I forgot my afro picks in Seattle.
    Photo-0048.jpg I’ve failed to find a shop that sells even one pick in Perugia. Rome might have picks, but it’s over two hours away. I have not combed my hair in a week. It’s been nappy everyday in Perugia.

    Anonymous Vengeance

    posted by on January 14 at 9:35 AM

    Sent to I, Anonymous:

    I hate to glorify what you did by giving it any more publicity but this is no lurid recap of your grotesque crime. This is a warning and a not so thinly veiled threat. I may not have known Shannon Harps, but I am a thirty year old woman living alone in Capitol Hill who could just as easily have been coming home with an armload of groceries at 7 o’clock this New Year’s Eve. And I know many other women like Shannon and myself. Independent, socially conscious, loving, beautiful, intelligent women working jobs that make the world a better place who moved here to start adult lives for themselves. Whole, complete lives and Shannon will never get to do that. Because of you. You didn’t want her groceries, her money or her sex. You wanted her life. And though she screamed for it, you still got it. Well, you should know there are a lot of angry women and the husbands, fathers, brothers, boyfriends, guy buddies (and their pit bulls) that love them who are just as pissed off. Women are brushing up on their self-defense, traveling in pairs, and looking over their shoulders while keeping their trigger fingers on the mace. If you’re caught before this goes to print- good. I hope you rot in jail and let this warning go out to any other soulless asshole who thinks it might be fun to attack a woman. If not, although the SPD can’t issue threats, I sure as hell can. Watch out motherfucker, this enraged white female isn’t carrying mace. I’ve got my own knife. And I’ll be aiming right for your balls.

    Nothin Is Against the Rules

    posted by on January 14 at 9:29 AM

    Because we have a moment, and because it only deserves a moment, let’s take a look at a few of the commonsensical things Robert Jamieson has to say (“This ‘hater attitude’ has got to stop”) about a murder that happened not too long ago at a place not far from where he works:

    …Allen Joplin, a Seattle public high school student and gridiron standout…was fatally shot at a party a week ago on Elliott Avenue West, near the Olympic Sculpture Park.

    Joplin’s attacker, a young man, remains on the run. Seattle police are on the case. People who attended the high school party believe the coldblooded act came after a trifle escalated.

    Joplin, just 17, was known to roll with members of a Seattle gang, Deuce Eights, named for the area around 28th Avenue South near Leschi they claim as turf.

    Last week, 28th Avenue South at South Jackson Street became a sidewalk memorial with stuffed animals, photos, candles and a bag of Lay’s potato chips. Black bandannas were wrapped around a street pole for the teen, buried Friday after an abbreviated life.

    If this sounds like a sad, broken record, it is: a black victim; a black suspect; young men wiping out young men in a violent cycle that doesn’t stir City Hall to sound the alarm.

    So I’ll turn up the volume on two sharp voices — from starkly different places — calling for an end to the madness.

    “Senseless crime,” Tramaine Isabell, a Seattle man in his 30s with Deuce Eight ties said in a message he posted on MySpace.

    Isabell, who loved Joplin like a son, made perfect points with imperfect grammar.

    “I understand protectin yur self but murderin sumbody 4 nothin is against the rules,” he wrote after the slaying.

    Isabell urged peace: “All this South end, (Central District), West Seattle, Tacoma or where ever yu from (the) beef needs ta stop. Now Im not an angel and I will practice what I speak … and put an end to this hater attitude we have toward 1 another. Grown men need ta start leadin by example.”

    Robert, it wasn’t necessary to warn your white readers; Isabell’s writing is perfectly readable and grammatical. The relationship between its deep structure and surface expression is very close. Just because the surface expression wasn’t composed with the strict set of rules that you’ve been told (and retold) are the right set of rules (my use of the word “right” in this context preserves its older meaning of power, domination, law, king), doesn’t mean it is ungrammatical. In fact, Isabell’s English is more alive, electric, fertile than the dead standard (the way I use the word “standard” in this post preserves its older military sense) you worship, and whose power/authority you reinforce by designating what is broken/black and what is right/white. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on January 14 at 9:00 AM


    A former youth minister convicted of molesting boys inside his home was sentenced on Friday to more than 10 years in prison.

    Robert Reeves, who served as a minister at the Olive Green Church of Christ in Sunbury, pleaded guilty to five counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of attempted gross sexual imposition….

    The crimes occurred during computer game parties that Reeves (pictured, right) held at his home, Landers reported.


    Testimony started Tuesday in the trial of a Sinton youth minister accused of sexually assaulting a 6-year old girl.

    Steven Livingston, 65, faces numerous charges in San Patricio and Nueces counties for allegedly sexually assaulting the young girl at the Five Points Theatre in Calallen in May of 2007.

    The trip to the theater was one of many that Livingston took part in as a volunteer youth minister at First Baptist Church in Sinton.


    A Flint man and self-described youth pastor who preyed on children was re-sentenced after a judge exceeded his guidelines at an earlier sentence. Genesee Circuit Judge Archie L. Hayman told Paul L. Gagnon he wished he could sentence Gagnon to life in prison….

    The case began in July 2006 when a teen who lived with Gagnon at his residence, 508 Leland St., found an elaborate spy camera system that led to Gagnon’s bedroom. He later found pictures in Gagnon’s office of himself getting dressed, of Gagnon standing over him and taking pictures as he slept nude, and pictures of his girlfriend using the toilet….

    Later, Gagnon’s family members found more computer equipment while cleaning out the residence. That equipment, allegedly containing child porn, also was turned over to police.

    Officials said they found evidence that Gagnon has been engaged in this behavior for years; at least one tape was made in the early 1990s.

    One of those family members was Gagnon’s stepson, who found nude pictures of himself and of several friends, secretly taken by Gagnon. The man said he would have been 12 years old then and said seeing the images disgusted him.

    A video made in the 1990s was also found of a naked Gagnon standing over a sleeping boy and masturbating.

    The Morning News

    posted by on January 14 at 7:00 AM

    Polls, polls, polls: Obama and McCain gain in both Washington Post-ABC and New York Times-CBS.

    Race and the race: Another round of racially-charged sparring between Clinton and Obama.

    Golden Globes: Writers’ strike version.

    New drug: For a non-existent disease?

    Antarctica: Ice loss escalating.

    Iran: More ratcheted-up rhetoric from Bush.

    Voting in a casino: Welcome to the Nevada caucuses.

    From the weekend: Ryan Lizza on race and the New Hampshire polls.

    Sunday, January 13, 2008

    And Now a Few Words from Clay Aiken!

    posted by on January 13 at 9:30 PM

    Clay Aiken did this interview because she would like to make a few things perfectly clear, and I quote:

    I couldn’t even get off the toilet the other day. It hurts so bad.


    I can’t move and think at the same time.


    I thought Monty Python was a person.

    And apparently…

    I’ve had ladies throw Depends at me that say, “Your older fans love you, too.”

    Well. Isn’t that fascinating.

    And now, for your re-pleasure (as I think I might’ve shared this before; if so, please to enjoy again anyway somehow) I give you the flower of American masculinity, Miss Clay Aiken:

    Pardon me: MADAME Clay Aiken, I meant to say. She likes to be called MADAME.

    Golden Globes

    posted by on January 13 at 8:59 PM

    The big winners at this year’s non-event were Atonement for best drama and Sweeney Todd for best comedy or musical. Julian Schnabel for direction is a mild surprise, but the acting awards went to everyone you expected. Complete lineup here.

    The local angle: Eddie Vedder won for best original song—and somehow we managed to review the best motion picture made for television winner in the DVD column. Sean Nelson didn’t like it.

    And the Jane Austen series on Masterpiece Theatre begins… now!

    House Work

    posted by on January 13 at 3:15 PM

    During last year’s legislative session you’ll remember Sen. Brian Weinstein (D-41, Mercer Island) got a bill through the Senate giving consumers the right to sue contractors and builders for bad construction work. With much controversy, the bill was killed in the House.

    Sen. Weinstein told me this morning that he’s bringing the bill back this year.

    I’m not sure how far the bill will get, but Sen. Weinstein—who’s retiring after this session (he was originally elected in 2004)—seems in part motivated by a desire to take on House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43, Wallingford.)

    An e-mail from Sen. Weinstein says:

    From my conversations with many stakeholders as well as the press last year, everyone took for granted that homebuyers already have the right to sue a builder or contractor for damages if they do not exercise reasonable care. Unfortunately, homebuyers currently do not have the right to hold a builder or contractor liable.

    This bill should give homebuyers the right that everyone presumes they already have.

    I anticipate strong opposition again from the BIAW and have no commitment from Chopp that he will support it.

    *I’m having trouble downloading the text of the bill. I’ll link it when I can.

    As I wrote in my column earlier this week and as the Seattle Times agreed today—despite having a Democratic governor and fat majorities in both houses, Democratic leadership is muting expectations for any bold initiatives this session.

    Eyes are on the election in November instead of the legislative session in January, February, and March.

    I’m not sure why they’re so obsessed with winning elections when they seem nervous about using the majority they win in those elections.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on January 13 at 2:40 PM

    First of all, there are absolutely, positively too many pictures of cute animals posted on Slog. Secondly: baby rabbits! From Flickr pool contibutor MichaelPgh.


    Sweet Jesus, Kate Harding is Such a Dishonest, Paranoid Douchebag

    posted by on January 13 at 1:55 PM

    Kate Harding, a blogger of size, has taken something I said out of context on her blog—again. (I would provide a link to the last time she did it, but the item has gone missing from Harding’s blog—perhaps she has a conscience and removed it from her site?) Back in July Harding posted just my response to a letter in “Savage Love” from an aggrieved woman of size…

    First off, LARDASS, you neglected to include a sign-off, forcing me to create one for you. I tried to create one that captured the spirit and tone of your letter, and I think I did pretty well. Too bad about the acronym, though, huh?

    Ooh, see how mean I am to fat people? But Harding conveniently omitted the letter to which I was responding because that put my intemperate comments into context and made one of her sisters of size look bad/worse:

    You ASSHOLE…. How dare you oppress women, large and small, with your judgments! Maybe if you enjoyed putting something in your mouth every once in a while that wasn’t cock, Mr. Skin and Boners, you would see things differently. At least food is supposed to go in our mouths. Food, it’s what’s for dinner. For some of us, anyway.—Large and Royally Disgusted About Savage’s Sermons

    Wow. You can almost see why I would be pissed enough to lash out at that reader, huh? Well, over at Kate’s blog today you can find this:

    Turns out Dan’s discovered the “obesity is a lifestyle choice” thing. And linked to our discussion of it. And yeah, take a wild guess what he thinks about it.

    No, wait, don’t guess. Here you go:

    No, you certainly can’t say that you’ll lose weight if you stop eating fast food, get more exercise, and eat more vegetables. It’s true, of course, but you’re not allowed to say it.

    I’m not even gonna bother with that. Obviously, I’m lying through my teeth about my eating and exercise habits, as are the majority of Shapelings. It’s all donuts, all the time. In fact, I’ve rigged a system of ropes and pulleys between the couch and the kitchen, so I don’t ever have to expend any calories getting up to get more donuts. Periodically, Al flips me so I don’t get couch sores, but I hate that part, ‘cause then I can’t see the TV until he flips me again.

    Oh for crying out loud, Kate. I’m fine with you being big—I have nothing against people of size, really, but I’m happy to be your pretenemie it turns your crank—but I have to take exception to the way your dishonesty humps away at your self-regard. I never said you were lying about your eating or exercise habits—I don’t know anything about your eating and exercise habits, Kate, or any system of ropes and pulleys that you’ve got rigged up at home. (I’ve got some ropes and pulleys at home too, but not for dining purposes.) My comments weren’t necessarily directed at you.

    Here’s the context Kate omits:

    Obesity is not a choice for Alley English, a 28-year-old mother from Missouri who has struggled with a weight problem all her life.

    “If you knew that you could be what society considers normal, why would you not choose to do that?” English told AFP. “As we get older, life does get more rushed and we do tend to make the easier choices sometimes,” English, who currently weighs 392 pounds (178 kilograms), told AFP.

    “But you can’t say if you quit going to the drive-through, exercise more and eat more vegetables, you’ll lose weight. There are so many more factors involved.”

    My comments—“No, you certainly can’t say that you’ll lose weight if you stop eating fast food, get more exercise, and eat more vegetables. It’s true, of course, but you’re not allowed to say it.”—were meant to be read in the context of Ms. English’s admissions about her eating and exercise habits, not yours, Kate, or those of all overweight people everywhere. For the tiresome ol’ record: I do solemnly swear that I believe people come in all different shapes and sizes, and that not everyone can or should be a size 0, and further I believe that people can be healthy, relatively speaking, and large, and I believe that big people are attractive—to people that are attracted to big people.

    But you know what, Kate? There’s a difference between big or or heavy or stocky and morbidly fucking obese. Ms. English weighs 392 pounds. Thats unhealthy and unsustainable. Her health risks are legion. And by her own admission, Ms. English is making “easier choices,” i.e. fast-food, no exercise, and she has a poor diet. And if Ms. English—a 400 hundred pound woman—stops eating drive-through garbage, starts exercising, and eats a few more vegetables, she’s going to lose weight. Period. Is she going to be a size 0? Probably not, Kate, but I don’t think she needs to be a size 0, and never said that she or your anyone else had to a be a size 0. Ms. English will, however, if she can resist the drive-through and get off her ass, be lighter and healthier than she is today.

    And anyone whose eating and exercise habits are similar to Ms. English’s eating and exercise habits is going to lose weight and keep it off if he or she knocks off the fast food and gets a little more exercise—not as a temporary measure, not as a diet, but as a permanent lifestyle change. If you’ve already done that, Kate, and you’re still big, maybe you are at your body’s naturally “set weight” or whatever it’s called. But Ms. English, at four hundred pounds, has a weight problem, and a potentially life-threatening one.

    Of course, if Ms. English is content at 400 pounds, and wants to assume the health risks that come with morbid obesity, and isn’t interested in making changes to her eating and exercise habits, that’s her absolute right. She shouldn’t be mocked or discriminated against or poked with sticks. But the rest of the world doesn’t have to pretend that eating and exercise habits don’t have an impact on weight just to make Ms. English feel better about the unhealthy choices she’s making now.

    And you are, of course, not allowed to say any of that—lest the codependent thought police, in the guise of Ms. Harding, jump down your throat.

    Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

    posted by on January 13 at 12:49 PM


    When the Arlington father caught his teenage stepson sexually assaulting his 8-year-old daughter late Jan. 2, the 32-year-old man did the right thing—he called police, investigators say. The 18-year-old was arrested by Arlington police on suspicion of aggravated sexual assault. The girl was taken to the hospital where an examination revealed she’d been raped anally. And the father issued a stern warning to his wife.

    “He didn’t want anybody to help [the teen],” said Sgt. Cheryl Johnson, supervisor of the Fort Worth sex crimes unit, adding that the man also stated that he would hurt his stepson.

    But unbeknownst to the father, police say, the man’s wife posted bond for her son’s release from the Arlington Jail. When the teen called home for a ride on the early afternoon of Jan. 3, his stepfather answered the phone and arrived at the jail to pick up the teen.

    But the pair didn’t go home, investigators say. Instead, the Arlington man reportedly drove his stepson to an abandoned house in east Fort Worth where he delivered his own brand of justice. Police say he severely beat the teen with a baseball bat, then anally raped him with a wrenchlike metal tool.

    Thanks to Slog tipper BD.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on January 13 at 11:00 AM


    ‘It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine’ at Broadway Performance Hall

    Crispin Hellion Glover is back with the second part of his macabre and uncompromising trilogy starring the severely handicapped. Last year’s What Is It? was a surreal mindfuck starring snails, gorgeous red-lipped girls with Down syndrome, and Adam Parfrey in blackface. It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine is an explicit psychosexual fantasy about a shunned man. Its author and star lived in a nursing home and died of complications from cerebral palsy shortly after the film was made. Glover, as always, will be there for a slide show and Q&A. (Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway, 7 pm, $17–$20, Jan 10, 11, and 13.)


    Oh, the Hypocrisy

    posted by on January 13 at 9:44 AM

    You know, I like Hillary Clinton in the abstract. But her campaign thus far has been annoying. Really annoying.

    This latest development is downright unpleasant. So, Hillary doesn’t like the caucus system. Why? (Besides the obvious.) Because, she argues,

    You know in a situation of a caucus, people who work during that time—they’re disenfranchised. People who can’t be in the state or who are in the military, like the son of the woman who was here who is serving in the Air Force, they cannot be present.

    That’s not entirely true in Washington, at least—you can have a proxy go to the February 9 caucus for you if you’re in the military (or have a relevant disability, or observe the Sabbath on Saturdays) and you make your request by February 1. But let’s accept the premise. HRC doesn’t want to disenfranchise you. As the Washington Post reports:

    Democratic officials [in Nevada], working with national party leaders, came up with the idea of caucusing in the casinos for the first time to increase participation in a town that doesn’t know the meaning of a 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday workweek[…]

    [On Friday], the Nevada State Education Association contended that Obama and the culinary workers are altogether too friendly, and asked a federal court to shut down the casino caucus sites because, the association said, they give preferential treatment to culinary union members.

    State Democratic officials, who had been expecting the suit, said they had worked with each presidential campaign since last spring to craft the process, including the casino precincts, to drum up the largest turnout possible.

    “The time for comment or complaint has passed,” the state party said in a statement after the suit was filed by the teachers’ union and several individuals. The union, which has not endorsed a candidate, has some leaders who individually support Clinton. It is using a law firm with at least one prominent lawyer who backs Clinton. (Another teachers’ union, the American Federation of Teachers, has endorsed Clinton and is airing radio ads in Nevada on her behalf.)

    Clinton was also endorsed by the New Hampshire NEA, though the national organization has stayed neutral. These unions are generally not Obama fans because he backs merit pay for teachers. Apparently, they dislike him so much that they’d try to prevent his supporters from voting.

    The Morning News

    posted by on January 13 at 8:50 AM

    Supermajority Democrats: Bold plans for the Evergreen State, but not in 2008. Don’t want to rock the boat in a year when liberals are charged up and there’s a strong turnout of young, progressive voters, you know.

    Against the Fence: Texans who will lose their land.

    Trained Killers: Iraq and Afghanistan war vets charged with 121 US slayings.

    Fear and Voting in Las Vegas: Clinton backers afraid casino precincts may favor Obama.

    About 100: Civil Unions in New Hampshire.

    Worth a Million Words, Apparently: Pundits still finding the joy inside Hillary’s tears.

    Huck’s Army: Not your father’s evangelicals, but still certifiably freaky.

    Those Kids Tossed into the River by Their Dad? The bodies are showing up.

    Kenya Protesters: Cops make unofficial “shoot to kill” policy.

    It’s a… Media Frenzy: Aguilera and Richie make new little people.

    RIP: Guenther Woerne of Woerne’s European Pastry Shop and Restaurant – on the Ave since the beginning of forever – passed away at 75.

    Start Cutting that Line of Claritin: “Kitties Sweeter Than Wine” cat show comes to Seattle Center.