Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

Archives for 01/27/2008 - 02/02/2008

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Who’s Yo Mamma?

posted by on February 2 at 6:08 PM



Thank you, NapoleonXIV. You are so very right about it all.

P.S. I did not really post this. Forget! Forget! FORGET!

A Little Bad News for the Ladies

posted by on February 2 at 3:54 PM

Some boys are going to be using this as an excuse:

HPV gains as source of oral cancer in men, study finds

The sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer in women is poised to become one of the leading causes of oral cancer in men, according to a new study.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) now causes as many cancers of the upper throat as tobacco and alcohol, probably due to an increase in oral sex and the decline in smoking, researchers said.

The only available vaccine against HPV, made by Merck, is given only to girls and young women. But Merck plans this year to ask government permission to offer the shot to boys.

Thanks to Slog tipper Thor.

Music for Obama

posted by on February 2 at 12:30 PM

There seems to be some sort of surge in music-making for Obama lately. The Grateful Dead are reuniting to play a get-out-the-vote rally for him in San Francisco. In Seattle, a bunch of musicians just recorded this… uh… funk for Obama:

And now everyone’s sending around this link to an Obama anthem produced by a member of the Black Eyed Peas. Here’s the YouTube version:

Re: When It Comes to the Environment

posted by on February 2 at 12:10 PM

Nice post, Dan.

Dig this:

While the Seattle City Council sleeps, there is a bill in Olympia brought to you, of course, by Rep. Maralyn Chase (D-32, Shoreline) that would ban non-recyclable plastic grocery bags and authorize a fine of up to five hundred dollars per day for providing prohibited bags.

It’s all part of the Rep. Chase Agenda, which we’ve lauded before:

House Bills 2422, 2424, and 2425 (or “The Maralyn Chase Agenda!”)

They laughed at Representative Maralyn Chase (D-32, Shoreline) last year when she proposed a cap-and-trade bill on CO2 emissions and leadership quickly killed it. This year the session started with a Governor Christine Gregoire press conference in Seattle to announce a cap-and-trade bill. Now Representative Chase wants to outlaw nonrecyclable bottles and grocery bags, and outlaw death-to-the-environment small-engine equipment like leaf blowers. Listen to this woman. This year.

Rep. Chase only has three co-sponsors (none of them from Seattle), so I don’t expect this bill to go anywhere.

Maybe if Seattle’s delegation—Reps. Chopp (the speaker of the house!), Cody, Dickerson, Hasegawa, Hudgins, Kenney, McIntire, Nelson, Pedersen, Pettigrew, Santos, and Sommers— would join Rep. Chase, we’d see some action on this.

You can find their contact info here. Give them all a call.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on February 2 at 11:00 AM

Hiphop Party

Dyme Def at Vera Project

While a whole lot of Seattle’s hiphoppers are getting play these days, I gotta call out Dyme Def as my favorite. They’re more than a couple rappers and an MC—Dyme Def are rap and rolling astronauts, and their songs are as much catchy pop as ballsy hiphop. Tonight’s show also features dance performances by Miechia Taylor and the girls of Kutt’n’Up, and the whole party is hosted by Khingz of Abyssinian Creole. (Vera Project, Seattle Center, 956-8372. 7:30 pm, $6/$5 with club card, all ages.)



Sgt. Rigsby and His Amazing Silhouettes at Theatre Off Jackson

The annual return of Sgt. Rigsby and His Amazing Silhouettes is cause for celebration. This is shadow puppetry for sinners, with wicked, witty stories about randy preachers, merry drunks, and a recurring character named Jenny, a singing chicken turned Parisian whore. In this year’s show, innocent children search for their lost pets in a cruel metropolis—but the plot is just an excuse for Sgt. Rigsby (né Scot Augustson) to write testicle puns, an awkward sex scene between a hippo and a bear, and a conclusion wherein beer is the hero. (Theatre Off Jackson, 409 Seventh Ave S, 800-838-3006. 7:30 pm, $15.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Post Debate Reality Check. Clinton Gains.

    posted by on February 2 at 10:17 AM

    Despite the O-jobs in the media which have everyone convinced Barack Obama is surging or is Jesus, how about a little post-most-watched-debate-ever reality check?

    Per usual for debate captain Hillary Clinton, the daily tracking polls at Rasmussen Reports show this: 1/31/08 (the day of the LA debate) Clinton by 7; 2/2/08 (two days after the debate…sinking in) Clinton by 8. She’s at 45 (she hasn’t been that strong since late October).

    Obviously, there are other polls—and more importantly, Super-Tuesday-state-specific polls— that do demonstrate Obama is catching up.

    And so, I too am convinced the Stranger-endorsed Obama is poised to score big on Super Tuesday and then have a CNN coronation here in Washington on Feb. 9.

    But god damn. The fawning press coverage is embarrassing, and I thought I’d throw a little post-debate Clinton bump into the mix.

    And indeed, this text message came in last night from a colleague at the paper:

    From: —

    Im for hillary now

    2/1/08 6:16pm

    An Open Letter to KIRO

    posted by on February 2 at 9:58 AM

    Lefties, politicos, and fans of local talk radio are circulating an open letter to KIRO’s management. If you think killing David Goldstein’s show was mistake, you can sign the open letter here. The letter has more than 300 signatures on it so far.

    When It Comes to the Environment…

    posted by on February 2 at 9:38 AM

    …there’s cheap talk, and then there’s real action.

    In 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags; customers who want them must now pay 33 cents per bag at the register. There was an advertising awareness campaign. And then something happened that was bigger than the sum of these parts.

    Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94 percent. Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags, keeping them in offices and in the backs of cars. Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable—on a par with wearing a fur coat or not cleaning up after one’s dog.

    To prevent retailers from switching to paper bags—which are biodegradable, but create more greenhouse gases during production—Ireland’s minister for the environment threatened to tax those too. And Irish retailers, who aggressively opposed the tax, are now big backers of it.

    According to the NYT, 42 billion plastic bags are used worldwide every year, and most wind up in landfills. Except, of course, for the tens of millions that wind up in forests, fields, oceans, rivers, and streams. Also in today’s NYT, this op-ed about eco tourists at Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina:

    The most striking thing about the drive out of El Calafate on the way to the Patagonian glaciers is the trash. Sheer, flimsy, white plastic bags, tens of thousands of them, are strewn across acres of land. The harsh wind has blown them in curtains up against the chain-link fences around construction sites; thousands have been tilled into the mud of wide tire tracks; thousands more, tattered by sharp nettles, festoon the low, clumping bushes that cover the landscape.

    Taxing this shit out of plastic bags, changing what we expect at the grocery store, encouraging people to use cloth bags or, when they buy one or two items, to carry those things home in their hands or toss them in the bags and backpacks they carried into the store when they arrived: If we can’t make this kind of change—a small, simple, easy change, one that could implemented overnight—what hope is there for making the kind of big, systemic changes we’re going to need to make to slow or halt climate change?

    Greg? Sally? Tom? Tim? Nick? Jean? Richard? Richard? Jan? Bruce? Slap a tax on plastic grocery bags in Seattle.

    …And a Bill to Watch

    posted by on February 2 at 8:50 AM

    This bill, which has 31 co-sponsors in the House—including groovy libs like prime sponsor Geoff Simpson (D-47, Covington, Kiss Song), Rep. Sharon Nelson (D-34, Vashon, West Seattle), Rep. Maralyn Chase (D-32, Shoreline), Rep. Brendan Williams (D-22, Olympia), and Rep. Bob Hasegawa (D-11, South Seattle)—would mandate that fighting global warming become a requirement of the Growth Management Act.

    Practically speaking, that means: In addition to abiding by GMA rules that mandate things like density and wildlife preservation, now when local governments deal with zoning regulations, they’d also have to consider the carbon bootprint of development.

    Yesterday, the bill got the yay vote out of committee and the green light from leadership to get it into Rules (the last stop before it goes to the floor.) That sounds like good news, but I say keep your eye on this one. There is heavy opposition from business.

    I think part of the reason it was nudged out of committee (some sly Dem opponents on the committee reportedly gave it the thumbs up) is because it’s easier to mug things in the crowded Rules Committee where bills die all the time without the spotlight of contentious policy committee votes.

    There’s a Senate companion bill being sponsored by an equally impressive gang of Senate-side lefties including: Sen. Jeanne Khol-Welles (D-36, Ballard), Sen. Adam Kline (D-37, South Seattle), Sen. Craig Pridemore (D-49, Vancouver), Sen. Weinstein (D-41, Mercer Island), Sen. Karen Keiser (D-33, Des Moines), and prime sponsor Sen. Chris Marr (D-6, Fairwood.) The Senate version had a hearing on January 22.

    A Good Bill Passes the Senate.

    posted by on February 2 at 7:47 AM

    Sen. Brian Weinstein’s (D-41, Mercer Island) homeowner protection bill—a bill that caused quite a fuss last year when the House killed it—passed the Senate again yesterday.

    It passed 27-20 largely along partisan lines. Although, it’s worth noting that Republican Sen. Cheryl Pflug (R-5, Issaquah, Snoqualmie, North Bend) —a leader on the GOP side of the aisle, who had an ornery exchange with Sen. Weistein on the floor before the roll call—voted for the bill.

    I’m glad the bill passed. I’ve been tracking it since Sen. Weinstein reintroduced it this year, and I hyped it in a column at the beginning of the session flagging bills I wanted the legislature to move on this year.

    If the House kills it again this year—there is a House companion bill being sponsored by Rep. Brendan Williams (D-22, Olympia) which hasn’t gone anywhere yet—someone should run it as an initiative.

    Yes, it would be better if the Democrats in Olympia actually did their jobs and passed consumer protection legislation themselves without passing the buck to the voters who elected Democrats to get work done in Olympia in the first place. But think of the consequences of running an initiative.

    Instead of fighting the bill in the House, the Building Industry Association of Washington—which has a tight grip on House Speaker Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43, Wallingford)—would have to spend millions fighting it in November.

    Ha! 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—bringing Sen. Weinstein’s bill to the ballot would similarly screw the right wing BIAW, which is already committed to bankrolling Rossi.

    A Bad Bill Dies in the House.

    posted by on February 2 at 7:20 AM

    Yesterday, I Slogged that Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37, South Seattle) seemed to come out against her own bill. At a hearing earlier this week on the execrable bill, (the bill sought to expand the marketing of controversial Refund Anticipation Loans to payday loan outlets, 7-11s, Wal-Marts), Rep. Santos played bad cop, challenging the lobbyist sponsor with a series of tough questions.

    Today, I report this: The lobbyist sponsor of the bill, H&R Block’s lobbyist, Denny Eliason, has asked Rep. Santos and the chair of the financial services committee, Rep. Steve Kirby (D-29, Lakewood) to kill the bill.

    To: Sharon Santos (; Steve Kirby ( Subject: HB 3098 — Refund Anticipation Loans Good Afternoon: After protracted conversations with H&R Block, we are respectfully requesting that you suspend consideration of HB 3098. I very much appreciate your willingness to consider this issue. H&R Block believes that they deliver tax preparation services – including refund anticipation loans – in the most forthright and appropriate manner, and that HB 3098 would only continue that tradition. That said, it is clear that a great deal more work needs to be done with consumer groups before this type of legislation moves forward. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 206-XXX-XXXX. Again, many thanks for hearing this issue. Warm Regards, Denny

    Tonight in Racial Harmony

    posted by on February 2 at 12:22 AM

    Friday, February 1, 2008

    Making Babies Without Men?

    posted by on February 1 at 5:29 PM

    Here’s the latest.

    Depressing Growth Management News

    posted by on February 1 at 5:18 PM

    As I wrote yesterday, Sound Transit is working out the details of a new regional transit plan—and trying to decide whether it should go on the ballot in 2008 or 2010.

    What I didn’t mention was some disturbing news in one of the documents ST handed out at yesterday’s meeting—growth management, it appears, isn’t working.

    The long-range plan Sound Transit adopted in 1996 called for the agency to invest in high-capacity transit that would “increase the people-carrying capacity of the region’s most congested travel corridors” and “support the region’s growth management policies.” That means adopting policies that concentrate population growth in places that are heavily served by transit (like central Seattle), encouraging people to live close to where they work, and providing transit links between various parts of the region.

    Here’s the bad news. According to documents produced by Sound Transit’s consultant, Parsons Brinckerhoff, the biggest population growth is projected waaaaay the hell out in places like Marysville and far Southeast Pierce County—places that won’t be served by new transit. (The closest Sound Transit gets to Marysville is Everett, six miles away; the closest it gets to SE Pierce County is also several miles away—more if light rail only goes to Fife instead of all the way to Tacoma, a possibility.) Marysville is projected to grow by 117,000 residents (51 percent); SE Pierce County is projected to grow by 167,900 residents (45 percent); and Mill Creek is projected to grow by 83,500 residents (46 percent).

    Meanwhile, the places we ostensibly want people to move to (urban areas well served by transit) are projected to grow much more slowly. For example, Capitol Hill and Queen Anne are projected to grow 20 percent; North Seattle, including the area to which Sound Transit plans to extend light rail, will grow just 13 percent; and South Seattle to grow just seven percent. Similar numbers hold for denser suburban cities like Renton (16 percent), Federal Way (17 percent), Shoreline (4 percent) and Tacoma (18 percent).

    That’s really bad news, because it means the Puget Sound Regional Council, which did the projections, expects sprawl to continue unchecked in the formerly rural hinterlands of Snohomish and Pierce Counties.

    That’s not Sound Transit’s fault, of course—as the person who pointed this out to me put it, “What are they going to do—build light rail between Monroe and Marysville?”—but it does point to a problem transit alone can’t solve. Growth management doesn’t work without growth management rules that a) have teeth and b) are actually enforced; ignoring the rules and allowing an explosion of suburban sprawl produces, well, massive suburban sprawl. We can turn it around, but it won’t happen unless lawmakers do something to curb sprawl and encourage affordable housing in places, like Seattle, where people want but can’t afford to live.

    Civil Unions Law Takes Effect in Oregon

    posted by on February 1 at 5:07 PM

    A judge in Oregon dismissed a lawsuit brought to block Oregon’s new civil unions law—effective 4:20 PM this afternoon, a move that should doubly please Oregon’s stoner homos.

    The Portland Mercury’s Amy J. Ruiz—formerly the Stranger’s Amy Jenniges—was at the Federal Courthouse all day, and will be posting details and updates at the Portland Mercury’s blog.

    Mark Your Calendar

    posted by on February 1 at 5:05 PM


    Washington for Edwards Chair Endorses Obama

    posted by on February 1 at 4:45 PM

    These days, everyone’s wondering which candidate—Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama—will pick up the most John Edwards supporters now that he’s out of the race.

    Here in Washington, Obama just picked up one very prominent Edwards supporter: Seattle attorney Jenny Durkan, the Chair of Washington for Edwards in both 2004 and 2008.

    “I love John and Elizabeth Edwards, and was proud to be part of their efforts to better America,” Durkan said in a statement. “They helped shape the debate that continues now even after they have suspended their campaign.

    “I‘m now fully supporting Senator Obama. Barack Obama has the experience, character and values that America needs at this time in history. He will bring the voice of working Americans to Washington, and will restore our image abroad. He brings hope and inspiration at a time when America hungers for both. He has proven he has the judgment necessary to keep us safe, without sacrificing the very ideals that America stands for. ”

    If The Pitch Failed Here…

    posted by on February 1 at 4:34 PM

    …then why the hell would Oklahoma City’s citizens want to foot the bill for an NBA stadium and a practice facility, both for a Sonics team that hasn’t officially moved yet, to the tune of $121 million? Preach it, brother Bennett:

    “There would be an immediate tangible return through sales tax, certainly around downtown immediately. Then you’ve got players coming that are purchasing homes, buying vehicles, a staff of 150 or so jobs that’s developed.”

    Hold the phone, Clay. You expect NBA celebs to build mega-homes in Oklahoma?


    I’ve been to Oklahoma. Well, technically, I’ve been through Oklahoma, and that’s what the state is good for—to exist for stops on a road trip, or to give you a job with America’s armed forces, or to offer you a full ride for college so that you don’t attend school in a neighboring state instead. Or, of course, to preserve Native American culture, an aspect that’ll jive well with Kevin Durant’s episode of Cribs.

    When I think about the potential move to Oklahoma, I often get so caught up in anger that I forget a crucial issue—is an NBA team in Oklahoma City really sustainable? I know that New Orleans’ displaced team had surprising success while playing in OKC. Lots of at- or near-capacity crowds for their home games. Lots of corporate sponsorships. But then I peruse the above article and stumble upon info like this:

    While Oklahoma City might not be able to ask as much for naming rights as larger cities, Bennett suggested that a local company might go the extra mile to help overcome that potential revenue shortfall.

    I can see it now: The Arrow Trucking Rootin’ Tootin’ Dome. Or, Lord help us all, the Sonic Drive-In Sonics Center For Sonic and Sonics (nice ring to it). Does Bennett actually foresee true sustainability for the Oklahoma City Sonics, or is he simply hoping to capitalize on momentum fostered by the New Orleans drama, milk it dry with reduced overhead thanks to state-approved funding, then sell and scram before the bottom falls out? When the team in question still can’t hold on to a fourth quarter lead to save its life, you gotta wonder.

    Prayer Warrior Watch

    posted by on February 1 at 4:26 PM

    Ruh-roh! Those rascals at Focus on the Family have chimed in on the whole Rev. Ken Hutcherson/Mount Si High School controversy.

    It’s almost as good as Hutcherson’s chat with a bobblehead doll.

    (Confidential to FotF: “newsworthy” is an adjective.)

    Super Bowling

    posted by on February 1 at 3:59 PM

    Ah, the great day is almost here: The Super Bowl, like a stupid heterosexual male Mardi Gras. With neither the Seahawks nor the Bears involved, you might think that the crack Stranger Sports Team (hey Brad and Sherman!) could let this one go, but no: that’s not our way. The Super Bowl is above and beyond mere loyalty to particular teams. It’s about loyalty to the American Way. You know, mindful violence, gluttony, sloth, greed, lust, gambling, religious hypocrisy. And violence. There will be pre- and post- and in-game distractions, from Victoria’s Secret to a bunch of right-wing Fundamentalist Christian football players and coaches and Presidential politics Faux News style.

    Anyone with a heart is of course rooting for New England to go 19-0 just to shut up the obnoxious ‘72 Dolphins. For those of you who don’t follow sports … no, I won’t explain this. If you don’t follow sports, why are you reading this? Go to Line Out or someplace.

    For you sports fans, despite the seeming invincibility of Goddess-fucking Tom Brady and his teammates, the Giants have a chance, so we might get a good game. They played the Patriots tight in the season finale, but the Patriots’s coaching staff is simply evil genius personified, and they’ll not only be ready for everything the Giants did last time, they’ll be ready to adjust at halftime for whatever desperate ploy the Giants’ staff might have thought of while driving to work on the Jersey Turnpike.

    So, load up on salty, greasy, fatty snack food, and booze, and sit your ass down on a couch in front of a TV for four or five hours or more (I think the pre-game show has already started) and revel in being an American.

    So Much for the “Not Electable” Argument

    posted by on February 1 at 3:43 PM

    A new poll of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents shows that either Clinton OR Obama could beat any of the Republicans. Both would trounce Romney, and both were within one statistically insignificant point of McCain.

    Via the XX Factor.


    posted by on February 1 at 3:24 PM

    As we slide into a recession

    Exxon Mobil Corp. posted the highest quarterly results in U.S. corporate history on the back of record oil prices…

    The energy giant’s net income rose 14% to $11.66 billion, or $2.13 a share, compared with $10.25 billion, or $1.76 a share, a year earlier. The previous quarterly earnings record was the $10.71 billion Exxon recorded in the fourth quarter of 2005. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected $1.95 a share.

    Exxon’s annual profit of $40.6 billion was also a record, exceeding the $39.5 billion it …

    UPDATE: Once again, I have reposted a story already reported in Brad Steinbacher’s Morning News. This is because I, myself, am retarded.


    Why Didn’t Anyone Think of This Before?

    posted by on February 1 at 3:12 PM

    Ladies and gentleman… the glow-in-the-dark bike:


    The Puma bike has a single gear, includes an integrated wire lock system for safety, disc brakes, anodized silver alloy rims from Jalco, and a carbon steel chain. It’s also part of the recent folding bike trend that we’ve followed for over a year. But its key selling point is that it glows like Slimer, especially if it is left out in the sunlight all day. The bike will probably be really easy to see at night, especially when combined with its regular head and back lights.

    Via Towleroad.

    Poop and Vomit

    posted by on February 1 at 3:00 PM

    Dan Savage won’t watch Two Girls, One Finger—the pseudo “sequel” to Two Girls, One Cup—but he doesn’t believe that anything could possibly be grosser than the original vomit-inducing poopy-cup video.

    I say it is.

    So, I put it to you, Slog readers.

    What’s grosser: Two Girls, One Cup or Two Girls, One Finger?

    Not safe for work, not safe for children, not safe for, well, anyone.

    Apologies to your eyeballs.

    This Week on Drugs

    posted by on February 1 at 2:50 PM

    Obama Drama: He supported pot decriminalization in 2004, but he opposed it in 2007; then this week his campaign said he always supported it, but as of yesterday he opposed it again.

    Doughnuts as Life Preservers: Starbucks to close 100 stores, discontinue sales of dry sandwiches.

    People Still Drink Folgers: Who knew?

    Private to Humanity: Please stop emailing me this story.

    Up in Smoke: Cops searching for stolen stash.

    Colombian Drug Lord: Found dead in Venezuela.

    Heartening News: FDA approves coated stent.

    Handcuffed to Beds: Russia’s take on cold turkey.

    Sunday’s $5.4 million Super Bowl Ads: Expensive but not ridiculous.

    That Horrible Bill…

    posted by on February 1 at 2:44 PM

    … I was watching earlier this week—the one that would allow H&R Block to expand their Refund Anticipation Loan business by farming out the controversial (high-interest) service to 7-Elevens, Wal-Marts, and payday-loan outlets—is reportedly stalling.

    The bill’s very own sponsor—Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37, South Seattle)—actually used this week’s hearing on the bill to get more clarity from the actual sponsor, H&R Block, by asking their lobbyist some tough questions in public.

    Most of all, she said the bill seemed to contradict H&R Block’s commitment to personable service. Basically, she wanted to know how moving this piece of their business to a payday-loan outlet or a 7-Eleven—where a random clerk gets your personal financial info and signs off on your RAL—is in synch with H&R Block’s hands-on customer service.

    Having the bill’s own legislative sponsor, Representative Santos, playing bad cop doesn’t bode well for the bill.

    Afterward, the committee chair, Representative Steve Kirby (D-29, Lakewood), told the committee that even though he was scheduling the bill for a vote (next Tuesday at 8:00 a.m.), he was only doing so as a technical matter, and it isn’t likely he’ll actually move it.

    We shall see.

    Dirty Clean Flicks

    posted by on February 1 at 2:40 PM

    Once upon a time there was a little company based in Utah called Clean Flicks. It specialized in editing all the “objectionable” things from Hollywood movies. Hollywood, as you’d expect, didn’t take too kindly to that, a number of directors and studios sued, and Clean Flicks was forced to shut down.

    Now comes word — surprise, surprise — that the founder of Clean Flicks, Daniel Thompson, has been arrested for allegedly having sex with underage girls. Oh, and a ton of pornography was found on the premises as well.

    More at the Salt Lake Tribune.

    Update(s): As “infrequent” notes in the comments, Thompson’s store was allegedly a front for a porno operation.

    Also, Clean Flicks—without Thompson’s involvement—is still operational, but they no longer edit movies. From their website:

    In 2005, we were no longer allowed to offer edited films. Since then, we’ve carefully created an online database of great movies in every category that don’t need any editing to be safe and enjoyable for everyone. In fact, Cleanflicks is the only online DVD rental service that exclusively offers family friendly films for all ages and interests. Not just some, but every title on our site meets our Movies You Can Trust standards and includes our Parental Advice Information.

    That’s Isabella Rossellini.

    posted by on February 1 at 2:35 PM


    And what she’s doing in a bug suit, simulating sex, is explained here.

    Oh My God

    posted by on February 1 at 2:31 PM

    ABC News reports:

    Remote-controlled explosives strapped to two mentally retarded women detonated in a coordinated attack on Baghdad pet bazaars Friday, Iraqi officials said, killing at least 73 people in the deadliest day since the U.S. sent 30,000 extra troops to the capital last spring.

    The chief Iraqi military spokesman in Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, said the female bombers had Down syndrome and that the explosives were detonated by remote control indicating they may not having been willing attackers in what could be a new method by suspected Sunni insurgents to subvert stepped up security measures.

    I need a drink.

    UPDATE: Once again, I have reposted a story already reported in Brad Steinbacher’s Morning News. This is because I, myself, am retarded.


    Kerry at the UW

    posted by on February 1 at 2:10 PM

    I misread the event information and ended up missing John Kerry’s appearance this morning at the UW, where the former presidential candidate stumped for Obama alongside Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and Washington Congressman Adam Smith. But StrangrFlickr contributor Bryce Beamish was there. A couple more of his event photos here.


    Zipcar Worries

    posted by on February 1 at 2:07 PM


    First, let me say that with a few exceptions, Flexcar (which merged with the larger Zipcar last year) has just about the best customer service of any company I’ve ever dealt with. They’re helpful, quick to respond, and extremely accommodating; when I’ve been stranded because the previous driver didn’t return a car on time, they’ve either located one nearby right away or, in one instance, offered to send a taxi. When I lost my wallet and didn’t have a swipe card to get into the car, they let me use a friend’s, no questions asked.

    Given how awesome Flexcar has been, I have concerns about their merger with Zipcar—specifically, about whether they’ll continue to provide great service at a reasonable price without cutting back to save money, as so often happens with mergers. Early indications aren’t exactly promising. Today, the P-I reported that the company will be slashing service in LA and San Diego by two-thirds, with the 35 remaining cars in each market focused on college campuses—an alarming sign if it has any implications for Seattle. A company spokesman told the P-I that not many customers had been inconvenienced, because the company had already blocked members from using the cars weeks in advance of their removal. I hope the merged compny’s customer service reps (continue to) have a much better attitude toward their customers than their spokesman.

    Photo credit

    Caucus Potus

    posted by on February 1 at 2:03 PM

    Yesterday, a reader asked:

    I feel dumb asking this, but how can there be mail-in primary ballots in WA, and also these meet-up, informal sounding caucuses?

    Posted by feel dumb | January 31, 2008 9:44 AM

    This is a very, very good question. I got my absentee ballot for the February 19 primary in the mail yesterday and combed it carefully for any indication that my vote for a Democratic candidate would not count. (It won’t. The Democratic Party is using the results of next Saturday’s “informal sounding” caucus exclusively.) Nothing. I understand this is a stupid power play between the parties and our (Republican) secretary of state, but seriously. Should the state government be in the business of misleading the public about its impact on the nomination process?

    Here’s the deal: IF YOU LIVE IN WASHINGTON AND WANT TO HELP CHOOSE THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT, you have to caucus on Saturday, February 9 at 1 pm at your caucus location (find yours here). You can register for the first time or change your address at the caucus site (not sure if you’re registered at your current address? try searching for yourself on this locater), but it’s a good idea to bring your own registration materials (download a voter registration form [PDF] and print it out). You are also allowed to caucus if you’re only 17 but will be 18 on November 4, 2008.

    Caucusing is easy. I did it for the first time in 2004, and without any experience whatsoever, I was elected a delegate for Dean and went on to represent my precinct at the legislative district, county, and state levels. But you don’t have to run as a delegate if you don’t want to. Here’s how it works:

    First, you sign in with your name and your presidential preference. If you were for Edwards or Kucinich and you haven’t decided whom to switch to, just sign in as “uncommitted.” There will be time to switch later.

    Next, you get together with your precinct (which is tiny—just a block or two, in most cases) and break into candidate groups. The Precinct Committee Officer will figure out what percentage of the attendees each candidate has, and people will speak in support of their candidate. If your candidate (or “uncommitted”) doesn’t get enough votes to earn a delegate, you then have the opportunity to join a viable group—or, if you’re savvy, you’ll convince people from a viable group to defect and push your group over the threshold. Since there are only two real candidates remaining this year, this math shouldn’t be too complicated.

    Once the final percentages are set, the Precinct Committee Officer will divvy up your precinct’s alloted delegates proportionally. You’ll be told how many delegates your candidate gets, and then you’ll elect that number of delegates (plus alternates) to represent that candidate at later caucuses and conventions. Don’t agree to run unless you know you can make the legislative district meeting.

    Once this is all over, you can submit new planks, in writing, to the state Democratic platform or vote on planks that other people propose. (This is how Kucinich supporters got a “Department of Peace” plank into the state platform in 2004. Use your powers wisely.)

    After that, you get to go home.

    To reiterate: THE PRIMARY DOES NOT COUNT. (Unless you’re a Republican. Or if you’re a Democrat or independent who can’t make the caucuses and would prefer that Mitt Romney were the Republican nominee. Just sayin’.)

    Any questions?

    LA Times Endorses Obama

    posted by on February 1 at 2:00 PM

    This is a big one for Obama, who’s been trailing in the polls in Super Tuesday powerhouse California. On the Republican side, the LA Times goes for McCain.

    You Say You Want A Ron Paul Revolution?

    posted by on February 1 at 1:45 PM

    By Ryan S. Jackson

    He hadn’t come into view yet, but the UW’s Red Square was now roaring the words: “Ron! Paul! Ron! Paul! Ron! Paul!” The crowd, which previously had been milling in little pockets and cliques, suddenly coalesced into a stampede pushing forward, and I felt for a moment like I was going to get knocked over.

    Trampled to death at a fucking Ron Paul rally. That would be my obituary, wouldn’t it?

    Congressman Paul and his entourage —a pair of University of Washington security guards and his national campaign manager—had just arrived for yesterday’s on-campus rally, and Paul was cheerily autographing signs and assorted pieces of paraphernalia all the way to the landing in front of the student union building where he would be speaking.


    He climbed up onto an improvised dais and waived to the crowd. The woman behind me, who had brought her infant with her to event, asked the child in a sing-song voice, “Can you see Doctor Paul? Wave to Doctor Paul!”

    Paul hadn’t even started speaking, and this was already utterly surreal.

    Continue reading "You Say You Want A Ron Paul Revolution?" »

    Most Watched Primary Debate in Cable History

    posted by on February 1 at 1:19 PM

    Last night’s Clinton-Obama debate shattered records, with more than 8 million people tuning in. Wonder how many of them came away with their minds changed…

    “Staff at Woolworths baffled by fuss over the little girl’s bed called Lolita”

    posted by on February 1 at 1:08 PM

    “What seems to have happened is the staff who run the website had never heard of Lolita, and to be honest no one else here had either. We had to look it up on Wikipedia. But we certainly know who she is now.”

    Full story here.

    The All-Important D-List Endorsements

    posted by on February 1 at 12:57 PM

    You know you care.

    In Obama’s camp: Toni Morrison, Hulk Hogan, George Clooney, and Scarlett Johannsen.

    In Hillary’s corner: Maya Angelou, Anne Rice, John Grisham, Jenna Jameson, 50 Cent (!!!), and Martha Stewart.

    And rounding out the list for Edwards (and presumably shifting their support, if anyone bothers to ask) are Kevin Bacon, Lance Armstrong, and Harry Belafonte.


    Via Scanner.

    R Is for Regionalism and Roads

    posted by on February 1 at 12:52 PM

    Sen. Mary Mary Margaret Haugen’s governance reform bill—the bill that turns Sound Transit into a transit and roads agency diminishes King County’s power.

    While the bill—which reduces the current board from 18 voting members to 10 voting members and 2 nonvoting members—would shrink the members from all three counties (King, Snohomish, and Pierce) King County will lose the most clout, proportionally speaking. Currently, KC has 10 of the 18 voting members. In the new makeup, KC would get 5 of 12 members.

    On the current 18-member board, the number of representatives each county gets is determined by population. Again, KC has 10 of those members—55 percent. The new bill is a split approach where only 6 of the 12 members are proportional representatives, the other members are either at-large or appointed one for each county.

    Snohomish’s (pop. 400,000) representation would go from 3 now to 2. Pierce’s (pop. 650,000) would go from 4 to 2. King County—population 1.6 million (bigger than the other two counties combined)—would go from 10 to 5. That’s 5 of 10 voting members, 50 percent.

    So, 55 percent to 50 percent. Bum deal for Seattle (and transit).

    Earlier this week (in a different context), Erica made the case that bipartisanship is shorthand for diluting the Democratic majority in favor of the Republican agenda. A similar phenomenon defines “Regionalism.” Regionalism—as Sen. Haugen’s bill makes clear—dilutes Seattle’s voice out of proportion to its rightful say in transportation planning.

    Mad Freelancer Vs. Scientist

    posted by on February 1 at 12:37 PM

    What does it take to be considered an expert? Well, that rant I posted yesterday about the half-assed, pot-causes-cancer report apparently qualified me as the world’s leading authority to refute it. Basically, I called bullshit on their claim that there’s an impending international “epidemic” of lung cancer, indicated by only 14 illin’ pot smokers in New Zealand. Sure, smoking pot is bad for the lungs, but the only complete previous study that used enormous sample sizes showed no link between pot smoking and cancer. People forwarded my post around the tubes and it worked its way Down Under. Last night a guy in Dunedin, NZ called me to say he heard about the post and ask me to speak about the study’s flaws on his radio program. The station is college radio for Otago University, one of the institutions that issued the report. And the other guest on the show – which started at midnight our time – was a cancer epidemiologist who conducted the study.

    Headline for Charles.

    Young America’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

    posted by on February 1 at 12:30 PM


    Kris and Jeff, a young gay couple living in New England, have started selling their used underwear via tubes on the Internet dedicated to used-underwear sales. Their site is called, um, Kris and Jeff are offering their undies and the undies of various jock friends—gay and straight—for the low, low price of $29.99 for boxer, briefs, or bikinis, or $39.99 for boxer-briefs. The couple hopes to expand into a growing niche and, in my opinion, mystifying niche in the amateur gay male porn market: straight boys doing it with their gay friends.

    “I think the term straight is misleading,” said Jeff, via email, when I asked him why his straight friends would be willing to appear in porn with him. “I think there have been studies done that show that most people are actually bisexual, and sexuality actually fluctuates throughout one’s life…. So doing gay porn isn’t anything that is strictly going against the ‘straight’ guy’s ‘being,’ it’s more just a consideration of money and whether or not they are comfortable doing these things in front of other people and not just inside their minds.”

    Recent studies have shown that sexuality fluctuates throughout one’s life—if one is a woman. Male sexuality tends to be more fixed. But sites like Sean Cody, et al, are proof that America is pumping out a seemingly unlimited supply of young straight/straight-identified men willing to engage in gay sex—and, unlike those grim gay-for-pay porn stars of the past, these guys seem to enjoy it. Perhaps because, as this study found, more young straight men don’t see one or two gay sexual experiences as somehow disqualifying them from identifying as straight.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Mark.

    Video of the Day

    posted by on February 1 at 12:29 PM

    In honor of her 5-year anniversary with Jimmy Kimmel, Sarah “she can do so much better” Silverman reveals a sexy secret.

    Via everywhere. Enjoy.

    Pinehurst Update

    posted by on February 1 at 12:19 PM

    125th and Roosevelt


    According the Department of Planning and Development’s semi-weekly bulletin, Kohary development is still going forward with part of demolition application process for an apartment building in North Seattle’s Pinehurst neighborhood, on 125th and Roosevelt Way NE.

    My story in this week’s paper addressed neighbors’ concerns about the possibility of another Kohary development in the neighborhood. A number of Pinehurst residents have complained about the lack of communication with the developer, as well as the aesthetics of Kohary’s previous project on 123rd and 10th Pl NE, which one neighbor described as “uninspired” and “crammed together.”

    Earlier this week, I spoke with Kohary Construction’s owner, Miklos Kohary, and he told me he was holding off on a planned townhouse development on Roosevelt, still listed as a “future project” on the company’s website.

    Well, somebody at the City’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) saw my story, and called Kohary to find out what his plans were. Apparently, DPD has a policy of contacting developers when they make public statements that seem to conflict with plans and applications already on file.

    According to DPD Spokesman Alan Justad “Kohary is planning to proceed with the [environmental review] for the demolition of the [apartments], but it is not proceeding with building applications at this time.”

    It’s still unclear what Kohary plans to do with the site. They could be planning to build soon, or they could just be preparing to sell the lot in the future. However, the building manager’s answering machine says there are “no vacancies” and there will be
    “no upcoming vacancies” in the building.

    Read and Don’t Weep

    posted by on February 1 at 12:12 PM

    For once, an economist who is saying something:

    In the 1980s, as developing countries across the world struggled with crushing debt burdens and slow-growing economies, they were pushed—by the United States and international financial institutions—to embrace a set of policies that promised to rescue them. These policies, which are often grouped under the label neoliberalism, proceeded from the assumption that developing countries interfered too much with the workings of their markets. Instead, countries needed to lower tariffs and embrace free trade, privatize state-owned industries, end subsidies to businesses and consumers, balance their budgets, and be friendlier to foreign investment. If a country got its financial house in order and let the free market work its magic, in other words, it had a good chance of watching its economy boom.

    But neoliberalism turned out not to be the panacea its advocates promised. Even as developing countries opened up their markets, sold off assets, and cut back on spending, their economies for the most part stagnated. In fact, over the past twenty-five years, growth rates in most of the developing world have been lower than they were during the 1960s and ’70s, when state interventionism was in economic vogue. And while there have been some massive success stories in recent decades—most obviously China and India—the gap in wealth between the developed world and most developing countries has actually widened. Plenty of explanations have been given for neoliberalism’s failure, including the persistence of corruption, the importance of culture, and the simple failure on the part of many countries to follow the neoliberal agenda completely. But in his new book, Bad Samaritans, the Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang offers a more succinct solution to the puzzle: Neoliberalism didn’t work because the advice it gave made no sense. In thrall to the “myth of free trade,” Chang argues, neoliberals ignored the “secret history of capitalism”: If developing countries’ embrace of the free market has failed to deliver what it promised, it’s because “free markets are not good at promoting economic development.”

    The “myth of free trade” is the core myth of capitalism. What it wants the world to believe is that it itself made itself what it is. Not the state, nor military force, but just the market and the invisible interests of private individuals made the accumulation of capital possible. This myth is at the end of all our modern myths. It’s even worse than Hegel’s mystical shell, as it is a myth without a rational kernel.

    “Hey Science! Bite Me!”

    posted by on February 1 at 12:12 PM

    I’m on the Seattle City Light “Green Up” plan, and I dispute your logic. While I don’t expect immediate change to come from my $12 green fee, I do believe that more people signing up for the program increases the perceived demand for alternate energy sources, which will eventually attract people who are eager to create supply for that demand. I’m voting with my dollars in our capitalist democracy. This path still requires responsible power consumption, and while I can’t speak for the general public, I can at least say that my own power consumption has not increased since I signed up.

    Now, carbon offsets on the other hand, that’s a complete load of crap that only exists to let people assuage their guilty consciences while they continue to live their wasteful lifestyles.

    My objectionable logic?

    Just to be clear, this program doesn’t actually cause wind power to enter your home—the turbines are too far away from Seattle and our distribution network to do that. Nor does it shut down the coal- and natural-gas-fired plants that provide about 10 percent of the electricity entering your house… Can this strategy—punching the environment in the stomach here, giving it an ice cream over there—be a net win for the environment? By making wind power competitive in the market, in theory, these certificates stop future carbon-releasing plants from being built. In truth, programs like this increase the amount of electricity produced with no increase in cost to the end consumer, encouraging increased consumption rather than conservation. In other industries where this has been tried—replacing concrete plants in the developing world with newer lower-emission plants—consumption goes up enough to actually increase net carbon emissions.

    As I pointed out in my column, wind power is really green—unlike biofuels, nuclear or hydroelectric—at least when considered in a complete life cycle analysis. The problem remains, however. Due to the quirkiness of the US high voltage power grid wind power generated in Eastern Washington has a difficult time making its way to Seattle.

    The logic behind supply and demand—increase the amount of a resource at a given price, and people will consume more of it—is pretty irrefutable, with multiple examples of other carbon “reducing” schemes resulting in even more carbon dumped into the atmosphere. Am I missing something?

    This sort of question brings up an essential conflict. You—the reader, the questioner—desire a cut and dry answer. Is this good or bad? Science can lay out empiric observations, many of which are on opposite sides. (Wind power is genuinely green, yet it cannot be provided to a Seattle household due to geographic quirks.) All I can do is present them, in their conflicted glory, and let you come to your own conclusions.

    You want to get upset because your pet cause—liberal or conservative, progressive or regressive—is not supported by the best available evidence? Reality says, “bite me.”

    Killer Cakes, Expanding Doughnuts

    posted by on February 1 at 12:01 PM


    Starting today and continuing through Valentine’s Day, Seattle’s Cupcake Royale is offering the Deathcake Royale, featuring “layers of single-origin chocolate decadence, espresso ganache, and [Cupcake Royale’s] own chocolate-cake deluxe, drizzled with rich chocolate ganache” to create “Seattle’s most lovingly lethal cupcake.”

    Last week, Cupcake Royale dropped off a couple sample Deathcakes, and they sufficed—deliciously—for the whole, hoggish editorial office. One or two bites is all any normal person can expect to take of a Deathcake—which isn’t really a cupcake, but a small, dense cube. If you like schmancy chocolate explosions, you have two weeks to get one. (Confidential to lawyers reading Slog: Does explicitly labeling the product a “deathcake” inoculate Cupcake Royale against lawsuits if someone actually dies eating one?)

    In other dessert news: Seattle’s Top Pot Doughnuts will soon be available nationwide, thanks to the beneficent hand of Starbucks. The Seattle Times has the full story here.

    UPDATE: Whoops, Brad already posted the Top Pot news below. But since it’s generating discussion in both posts, I shall leave it up. (The internet can expand to hold as much doughnut-related discussion as necessary…)

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on February 1 at 11:00 AM


    D.Black and
    at Chop Suey

    At the end of 2006, I predicted that two hiphop labels, Mass Line and Sportn’ Life, would have the biggest impact on the local scene in 2007. I was almost right. Mass Line had a spectacular year; Sportn’ Life did not. Two reasons: One, rapper Fatal Lucciauno went to jail right after Sportn’ Life released his CD; and two, Dyme Def and J.Pinder, the hottest young rappers in Seattle, left the label for greener pastures. The blows, however, did not kill the label. It still has D.Black. This show is all about the return of Sportn’ Life. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 8 pm, $7, all ages.)


    Debate Highlights

    posted by on February 1 at 10:55 AM

    Here are some clips from last night that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are highlighting on their YouTube pages:

    And here’s our liveblog. Got a different YouTube moment from last night that you want to show the world? Link it in the comments.

    Nickels Endorses Obama

    posted by on February 1 at 10:52 AM

    That news pretty much clinches it for Obama, huh?

    Free Reader Valentines! Now 100 Percent More Gay

    posted by on February 1 at 10:51 AM

    Our annual free reader valentines are greatly improved this year—your message will appear on a full-color art card on its own pretty, printable page online. Last night we added a few more card options, including this one by Mark Kaufman:

    Get your free Stranger mash note in—we’re gonna hit the 2,000 print ceiling soon (the rest will go on the website).

    The Year of the Youth Vote

    posted by on February 1 at 10:25 AM

    Yes, I know, every presidential election year at some point gets called something like “the year of the youth vote.” And TIME Magazine knows this, too. And yet it’s cover story this week is: The Year of the Youth Vote.

    Some of the stats that support the story:

    While enthusiastic Democrats of all ages produced a 90% increase in turnout for the first caucuses, the number of young voters was up half again as much: 135%. The kids preferred Obama over the next-closest competitor by more than 4 to 1. The youngest slice — the under-25 set, typically among the most elusive voters in all of politics — gave Obama a net gain of some 17,000 votes. He won by just under 20,000.

    The excitement that created — a “tidal wave,” in the words of Bill Clinton — nearly drowned the hopes of the former President’s wife. But Hillary Clinton answered with her own organizational prowess, whipping up huge numbers of working-class, female and older Democrats. Only the students have kept Obama in contention: in New Hampshire, his edge among young voters was 3 to 1; in Nevada, it was 2 to 1; and in Michigan, nearly 50,000 under-30s voted “Uncommitted” because Clinton’s name was the only one on the ballot. In a year of unprecedented levels of participation by Democrats of all ages, Obama is counting on a youthquake that reverberates upward. On the short road remaining to Super Tuesday, the race may come down to this: Will the youthful ranks of Obama’s movement grow virally as the election goes national? And will a public long trained to follow youthful trends be swept up in the tide?

    The MoveOn Candidate

    posted by on February 1 at 10:15 AM

    Barack Obama overwhelmingly wins the endorsement of, and the embrace comes one day after he was crowned the “most liberal” member of the Senate by the National Journal. Are you one of those people who hears the Republican press-release machines whirring whenever this kind of news comes out? You’re not just imagining things:

    “It’s no surprise would endorse the newly crowned ‘most liberal’ member of the Senate. Obama may claim to unite the country, but he’s only uniting the extreme-left wing of the Democratic Party,” said Alex Conant, a spokesman for the Republican committee.

    (More) Morning News

    posted by on February 1 at 9:48 AM

    I managed to miss this when I put together the Morning News post this morning: Top Pot, with the help of Starbucks, is taking its donuts nationwide.

    (The story’s from the P-I; it came to my attention thanks to Metroblogging Seattle.)

    O They Will Know We Are Christians By…

    posted by on February 1 at 9:47 AM

    …the 14 year-old girls chained to our beds.

    A Grabill man admitted Thursday to charges that he had sex with a 14-year-old girl after chaining her to a bed…. Cowan was arrested in November after the girl told police that Cowan, whom she met on the Internet, picked her up from her Rochester home and took her to his parents’ home in Grabill.

    He chained her wrists and ankles to the bed and had sex with her twice, then left to go to church before returning to the home to have sex again, court documents said.

    The girl alleges, according to the report, that “not all the instances were consensual.” And for the record: There’s nothing with chaining up someone that wants to be chained up, and having sex with that chained-up someone, so long as that chained up someone is of legal age and all of the instances of sex-having-with-chained-up-person are consensual.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Chris.

    Online Winkelen!

    posted by on February 1 at 9:09 AM

    I don’t know what any of it says, and I don’t really care what they sell, but I love this Dutch shopping winkelen. (Just wait a second after it loads.)

    via vsl

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on February 1 at 9:05 AM

    Cynthia Norton’s Apple Suckling Tree, mixed media video installation, 2007

    At McLeod Residence.

    “3 on Your Side”

    posted by on February 1 at 8:50 AM

    If people need sex toys anywhere, they need ‘em in Mississippi. But it’s agin’ the law to sell sex toys, for some idiotic reason, in the great state of Mississippi. The law’s the law, so twice last year the Jackson Police Department busted a sex shop, Adult Video and Books, for the crime of selling “3-dimensional devices.”

    And that should’ve been the end of Jackson’s 3-dimensional-device crime wave. But ace reporter Kandiss Crone—a pursed-lip, blue-nosed “reporter” at WLBT 3 News—got a hot tip: Adult Video and Books was back in the 3-dimensional device business! Crone—gotta love her last name—had no choice: To protect the good citizens of Jackson—presumably those that patronize this adult book store, as employees weren’t tossing vibrators at passing cars—from the imminent threat posed by those 3-dimensional devices (we don’t want the smoking gun to take the form of a mushroom-shaped dildo), Crone went undercover! And here are the exciting results of this shocking “3 on Your Side” undercover investigation (reproduced here exactly as posted at the WLBT 3 News’ website):

    Kandiss Crone entered the store and said “Hi…I’m going to a bachelorette party, I’m looking for a sex toy.”

    After looking over the stock Kandiss said “Can i [sic] have that purple one?”

    As soon as the sale was completed our team walked back into the store to confront the owner.

    Kandiss: “Hi charles, I’m Kandiss Crone from WLB [sic]. I understand this business was raided for selling sex toys illegally. I just purchased this sex toy and it is still illegal to sell them in the state of mississippi. Even though you were raided last year and you’re still selling them, what is your response to that?”

    Charles Hobby: “Where did you buy it at?”

    Kandiss: “I bought it here. I just walked in about five minutes ago and I bought this. Don’t you know it’s illegal to sell these? [sic]

    Hobby: “That’s not one of the required items listed as being prohibited.”

    But in fact, it is. Section 97 of the Mississippi State Law prohibits the sale of such 3-dimensional devices like the one we were sold.

    Hobby: “That’s not a sex toy”

    Kandiss: “What would you call this then? it’s a personal vibrator.

    Hobby: “It can be put on your arm, your neck, your leg if it’s hurting or anything, it’s just a vibrator.”

    Crone went running to the police for comment. She was, no doubt, hoping to end her report with some tape of the cops hauling Mr. Hobby out of his store in handcuffs. But the police don’t sound too thrilled about being the prospect of busting a sex shop owner for the crime of selling sex toys to the kind of people that patronize sex shops:

    JPD Assistant Chief Lee Vance issued the following statement:

    “The adult store is not a priority for our vice and narcotics officers. We will do the best we can. Citizens would rather see us using our resources to get drugs and prostitutes off our streets and work to decrease violent crime.”

    Crone’s report ends with this:

    I walked in to find dozens of sex toys on the front walls of the store.

    Selling the devices is a misdemeanor charge. If the person is convicted, they could be fined up to five-thousand dollars and could face six months in jail.

    This kind of bullshit—so typical of local TV news programs—makes my blood boil. The books are packed with deeply silly, sex-phobic laws that are rarely enforced because the police have better things to do than bust people for the “crime” of selling vibrators. But TV news “reporters” can’t resist using sex to attract viewers while simultaneously exonerating their viewers—and themselves—for their prurience by framing the story in a negative light. This hypocrisy drives me up the wall: TV news reporters titillate their views with these sorts of reports (“Vibrators! Sex shops! Film at 11!”). It’s sexual sensationalism tarted up in the drag of disapproval.

    This routine allows Kandiss Crones all over the country to pretend that they’re the noble defenders of the “values” of the communities they supposedly serve—“3 on Your Side!”—while at the same time tapping into the natural ratings appeal of sex. Because nothing sells like sex. Mr. Hobby knows it, and Ms. Crone knows it. They’re in the same business, really, but Mr. Hobby has the decency to be an honest smut peddler.

    KandissCrone.jpgAnd excuse me, Kandiss, but whose side are you on? Not Mr. Hobby’s side. Not the side of viewers in your area that buy sex toys—Mr. Hobby is selling those vibrators to someone in Jackson. Surely some of your viewers believe they should be free to enjoy their sex toys in the privacy of their own homes. And you’re certainly not the side of the Jackson police department, which seems to regard this law—and you, Kandiss—as a huge pain in its ass.

    And you’re not on the side of common sense, which would tell you that this law is not only ridiculous but unenforceable. If the police get the 3-dimensional devices off the shelves at Adult Video and Books, the people of Jackson can go here—or here or here or here—and order all the vibrators they want.

    What really annoys me about that “on your side” crap is this: Kandiss Crone assumes that all her viewers are sexually-repressed, church-going, 3-dimensional-device-fearing clenchbutts. (And, yes, I’m assuming that churchgoers are anti-sex toy, which isn’t fair.) That’s the way these stories always work on local TV news programs: All viewers are presumed to be just as shocked by sex toys—or sex shops, or strip clubs, or public gay sex—as the reporter is.

    Or, in this instance, just as shocked as Kandiss Crone pretends to be. How much do you wanna bet that Ms. Kandiss Crone—like a lot of sophisticated, professional, modern women out there—has buried a sex toy or two in her twat at some point in her life? Ms. Crone, according to her bio, attended the University of California, and worked at stations in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Yuma, Arizona, before landing in Jackson, Mississippi. She’s a sophisticated young professional—just the type that buys and uses sex toys. And I’m thinking WLBT’s anchors, other reporters, editors, cameramen, and sound guys can’t all be stranger’s to 3-dimensional devices—or even Mr. Hobby’s sex toy emporium. But they go on the teevee and cluck their tongues and look Very Serious and Concerned about this Very Serious Issue and play to the smug prejudices of small-minded, sex-negative assholes while at the same time making folks who do use sex toys—or sell them, or work in places that do—feel ashamed of themselves. (Hey, WLBT: Why not a story on how this law is ridiculous and, thanks to the Internet, unenforceable?)

    I think it’s time for a little vigilante justice in defense of sex toys, the people that sell them, and the people—in Jackson and elsewhere—that purchase them and use them. In the meantime, though, here’s some contact info for WLBT:

    Kandiss Crone can be reached via email:

    Dennis Smith is WLBT’s news editor. His email address is

    You can write to WLBT 3 News at…

    WLBT 3 News
    715 South Jefferson Street
    Jackson, Mississippi 39201

    And you can call them at…

    (601) 960-4426 newsroom
    (601) 355-7830 newsroom fax

    Finally, I’m always getting letters from people asking me how to dispose of used sex toys. So I’m going to look into the legality of mailing our used and unwanted sex toys to the crusaders for public decency at WLBT 3 News in Jackson, Mississippi. If Crone and the rest of the gang at WLBT 3 News don’t think people should be able to purchase or use 3-dimensional devices, I’m sure the gang at “3 on Your Side” would be only to happy to dispose of our used sex toys for us. I’m sure the gang will rest easier knowing that the sex toys we send ‘em aren’t laying around in drawers or on the shelves of closets where—heavens!—kids might run across ‘em.

    Watch Savage Love for updates.

    Lock Vista Apartments Saved

    posted by on February 1 at 8:40 AM

    30th Ave NW & NW Market Street


    Score one for affordable housing: it looks like Ballard’s Lock Vista Apartments won’t be converted to condos after all.

    After months of protests, angry letters to City Councilmembers, and speculation about sales, it appears the five-building Lock Vista complex will remain a rental property.

    The building owners are offering new leases, and are also giving residents $300 credits on their rent for the disruption caused by the the now-dead sale. The owners say the building could be sold in the future, but it looks like residents at Lock Vista can breathe easy for a while.

    The larger question here is what this means for our housing market, if anything. This was one of the larger conversion projects in the city, so I’ll be calling around later to find out just what happened with the sale.

    The Morning News

    posted by on February 1 at 7:30 AM

    Big Getting Bigger: Microsoft has put in a bid to buy Yahoo for the low, low price of $44.6 billion. Earlier this week, Yahoo announced it would be cutting 1,000 jobs.

    Speaking of Cutting Jobs: The U.S. economy lost 17,000 of them in January.

    A Little Good News: Abu Laith al-Libi, a senior commander of Al Qaeda, was killed yesterday in southern Pakistan.

    Dept. of Strong Convictions: Faced with the threat of a Clinton presidency, right-wing blowhards long on record for hating John McCain are giving the “maverick” another look.

    Rich Getting Richer: Exxon Mobile scoffs at Shell Oil’s profit of $27.6 billion, announces a profit of $40.6 billion.

    Yet Another Debate: Eli Sanders’s coverage of last night’s debate between Clinton and Obama is here.

    Are You Fucking Kidding Me?: Insurgents now using the mentally disabled for suicide bombings in Iraq.

    GodSpace: The 35,000-member “Atheist and Agnostic Group” has been booted from MySpace due to complaints from whining Christians.

    Snow, Snow, Snow: Governor Gregoire has declared a state of emergency after another night of heavy snowfall.

    Target Reached: The University of Washington has hit its latest fund-raising mark of $2.5 billion.

    Paying Up: Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Will He Ever Fucking Retire?) has paid $64,000 in damages to House Republican leader John Boehner.

    Seattle Public Schools: Not serving beef for the time being. The Westland Meat Co.’s “downer cow” scandal is the reason.

    Governor Wallace For President:

    Sweating the Small Stuff

    posted by on February 1 at 7:03 AM

    Let’s say you’re the biggest software company in the world, and you have a long-anticipated, super-flashy, translucent-tastic new version of your flagship product. If you find that you have to put up a page on your site that explains—with illustrationshow to open the box (you’ll need a knife), you might want to consider that you have some overall issues with thoughtful design.

    Just sayin’.

    Or you could scrape up $44 billion to buy another giant software company*, see if that helps.

    via Gruber

    * Yes it is.

    Thursday, January 31, 2008

    Obama? Yo Mama!

    posted by on January 31 at 9:41 PM

    The Stranger, God bless her, has endorsed Obama. Officially. Delightful!

    However. The Adrian? Well.

    Hillary! Hillary! HILLARY!!!

    I have made my decision. You heard me.

    (And as to “troop withdraw/deadlines”, dear candidates, a thought: Get out yesterday, leave nothing of us behind except George W. Bush, naked, smeared with the blood of Don Rumsfeld and covered in $100 bills, with a cartoon of Mohamed taped to his forehead, and tied to a chair that is perched upon a mountain of IPods. Anywhere in Baghdad will do. Just a suggestion.)

    And that is enough politics from me. Carry on!


    The Beautiful Thing About America

    posted by on January 31 at 7:36 PM

    Mike Huckabee, heckled in San Francisco today, made this observation:

    “The beauty of America is that a person can come and even make a disruption, and you know what, that person is not going to be taken out and shot.”

    Yeah, that’s what makes American beautiful. But it doesn’t exactly make American, you know, unique or anything. Canada is kinda beautiful that way too. And so is Germany. And France. And the UK. And Holland, Iceland, Norway, Argentina, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Australia, Poland, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Japan, Korea, South Africa, and dozens and dozens of other countries.

    As a measure of what makes a nation beautiful, the we-don’t haul-people-out-and-shoot-them standard sets the bar kind of low, Mike. A better beauty metric might be which countries provide, oh, health care for all their citizens in addition to democratic rights, freedom of speech, assembly, the press, etc.

    Two Girls, One Cup

    posted by on January 31 at 6:38 PM

    I’m pleased to say that I’ve never seen the video. And I never intend to. And the Stranger, noted for its low-brow sensibilities, hasn’t, so far as I’m aware, written anything about it. But Slate—classy Slateis all over it.

    LiveBlogging the Democratic Debate

    posted by on January 31 at 5:30 PM

    Hello. Schmader and I (and two bottles of wine) are here preparing to watch Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in their first one-on-one debate. As always, send us your comments through the liveblogging widget. This time you’ll have to impress Schmader with your insights and wit—a much higher bar than impressing me, to be sure. If he decides they’re worthy, he’ll drop them into the liveblog in progress.

    The Future of Sound Transit

    posted by on January 31 at 5:06 PM

    Sound Transit met this afternoon to discuss what to put on a future ballot—and when they should take a new transit package to the ballot.

    Currently, all three of the county executives on Sound Transit’s 18-member board want to wait to go to the ballot until 2010; most of the King County delegation, including Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, want to move forward with a ballot measure this year. Any ballot measure would involve an increase in sales tax, Sound Transit’s funding source; the most likely scenarios would increase sales taxes either three or four tenths of a percent. A 0.4 percent increase would yield an estimated $5.7 billion for new transit. That’s enough to get light rail across I-90 and up to Microsoft and to around Des Moines in the south. Reduce that to 0.3 percent and you get only to Northgate and Bellevue.

    The biggest difference between the “Roads and Transit” proposal voters rejected in November and the “menu of options” they discussed today is that the new proposal relies heavily on “bus rapid transit” everywhere north of Northgate and south of Des Moines. (A segment from south of Tacoma up to Fife that would still leave a gap in light-rail service between Fife and Des Moines is listed on documents as a “potential new ST2 investment.”) The ST2 plan on the ballot last year had those areas served by light rail. None of the “BRT” lines would be truly rapid transit, however, because they’d have to operate in HOV lanes along with all the other HOV traffic.

    That caused consternation among several board members. “Unless in the south corridor we’re going to be able, with dead certainty to promise, increased service on Sounder [commuter rail], I think people in Pierce County are going to see a broken corridor,” said Tacoma board member Julie Anderson. “It’s very difficult for me to make additional investments in BRT, which is not, in my view, a long-term, reliable, or sustainable mode of transportation.” King County Council member Julia Patterson noted in a similar vein that “we have to make sure we aren’t investing in BRT that ‘s just going to be stuck in traffic.” And Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg, whose county arguably gets the worst end of the latest Sound Transit proposals, demanded not only more Sounder service and more parking but a bigger package overall. “I don’t agree that we should take a meat ax to this thing [the transit part of Roads and Transit], because I don’t think that’s what we heard from the voters. They didn’t say this is a terrible thing—you ought to cut it down by two-thirds,” Ladenburg said.

    The board instructed staff to come back with “two or three scenarios” that would expand Sound Transit using rail and/or BRT; there are no current plans to add more service to Sounder commuter rail from Tacoma to Everett.

    UPDATE: Josh just pointed out that this was a pretty depressing post. Lest it all seem like dark clouds, I should point out two very positive things about the current thinking at ST: 1)It would cost a lot less (and thus be more palatable to voters) than the original plan on the ballot last November; and 2) The tax would only go through 2020, so the whole plan would be finished within 12 years.

    Rossi’s Budget: $5 billion in the red

    posted by on January 31 at 4:44 PM

    Crosscut has a story about State Sen. Joseph Zarelli’s (R-18, Ridgefield) hit on Gov. Gregoire.

    Sen. Zarelli thought it was suspicious and annoying that under Gov. Gregoire the state had stopped doing 6-year budget projections. Zarelli believed Gregoire’s 2007 budget was a road map for a big deficit. At his request, the state crunched the numbers and found he was right. In 2013, we will face a $2.5 billion deficit.

    Zarelli’s ploy—which he pulled off on the clock as a state senator using state lege staff to do so—immediately landed in campaign news releases from the state GOP and from candidate Dino Rossi.

    What’s missing from Crosscut’s article is the obvious follow-up question: Back in 2004, what did the state have to say about Rossi’s famous state budget, the one he constantly takes credit for hammering out as a State Senator in ‘03? After all, as Zarelli angrily pointed out, before Gov. Gregoire, the state was required to produce 6-year forecasts on the state budget. So, an analogous forecast exists for Rossi.

    Rossi’s 2003 budget? The one he’s so proud of? SURVEY SAYS: $5 billion deficit. That’s a 50% bigger shortfall than what the Republicans are so steamed about with Gregoire’s budget.

    Metro Contract Goes Into Mediation

    posted by on January 31 at 4:24 PM

    Earlier this month, Metro union members narrowly rejected their contract with King County, sending the contract into a mediation process that will begin with a meeting next Monday. Although neither the union itself nor Metro management would comment about the negotiations (that’s standard; Metro general manager Kevin Desmond told me “we’re not going to negotiate this contract in the press”), King County and Metro employees said the substance of the contract dispute was not so much about money (although some union members were unhappy with the three percent cost of living pay increase) as it was about discipline—specifically, the procedure in the new contract for disciplining and firing drivers.

    According to several drivers, the new contract would allow management to discipline drivers for an “accumulation” of complaints from customers, including anonymous complaints or complaints that are not sustained. One driver speculates that the new focus on complaints resulted from a fatal crash last year in Enumclaw. The bus driver, a 35-year-old woman named Sandra Olosky, ran head-on into a pickup, killing its driver; in the ten years leading up to the crash, passengers and motorists had filed 25 complaints about her reckless driving—not enough for Metro to discipline or fire her.

    Everyone who rides the bus with any frequency knows that our bus system needs improvements. Everyone has stories about rude or scary drivers and rude, unsanitary, and drug-using passengers. The question is, what to do about it? Disciplining based on complaints, if that is indeed the current proposal, seems like a bad idea (what if I call to complain because a driver wouldn’t let me on for free?), but so does ignoring multiple complaints about serious infractions. Drivers say they want more security, including transit police escorts and cameras, and they’re probably on to something. On the other hand, security cameras and King County sheriff deputies cost money—and transit service needs to be beefed up, too. Ultimately, perhaps the solution should involve giving a little to everybody—more security, more attention paid to serious complaints, and more discretion to fire really bad drivers and overlook frivolous complaints from customers.

    Russian Beauty; Russian Death

    posted by on January 31 at 4:02 PM

    From CNN:

    Russian authorities are investigating the recent killing of a model-turned-bodyguard.

    Anna Loginova, a 29-year-old former successful model, ran a private security firm of female bodyguards, highly trained in martial arts, demanding high prices to protect Russian billionaires.

    One notable client was Russian boxer Kostya Tszyu.

    From China Daily:

    Loginova, also a former model and the head of a private security firm, on Sunday tried to fight off the carjacker and clung to the door handle. She was killed after being dragged along the street at high speed as the car screeched away.

    “She suffered serious injuries and died at the scene,” said a police spokesman.

    Loginova was a famous Russian model before venturing into the security business and had shot advertising campaigns for BMW, Chanel and other world-known brands.

    She took lessons of Jiu-Jitsu martial art and mastered the sword handling. Afterwards, she opened her own security firm for women.

    In a recent magazine interview, she insisted that she and her team of glamorous bodyguards gave better protection than the more traditional beefy male security men.

    “I do think that a girl should be a girl, not a Terminator,” she said. She posed semi-naked for a Moscow men’s magazine to make it clear that she was feminine as well as good with a gun.

    Anna, where ever you are, rest in peace.

    Coming Feb 14: Slog Happy + Valentine’s Bash

    posted by on January 31 at 4:01 PM

    An early invite for your planning purposes:


    followed by…


    If you’ve never been to a Bash, you should go—Savage presides over a wild spectacle of destruction and a hot singles scene. Footage from last year’s:

    (Sorry for the XL post.)

    Mother Norway, Take Me Home!

    posted by on January 31 at 3:21 PM

    I am very, very liberal. Indeed. Also, a pacifist. Mostly. I am a tree-hugger. I hug the trees. I am a secret hippie. I am damn proud of it. Damn proud.

    But in Norway, I’m a total freakin’ Nazi, man.

    As I earlier explained, I just finally glued my ass down and forced myself to watch “Sicko.” Now, just this moment, I have found something in the DVD extras that I think everyone should see. Forgive me if you’ve experienced this before, but the world? Well, it just needs to know. It bears repeating. If, indeed, I am repeating it. Whatever. So. It is a scene so shocking, so unfathomable, that Mr. Moore claims it was unfit for American sensibilities. And it is on YouTube. (God bless it.) And here it is:

    Well, ja-ja! Color me fishy and knit me a sweater! I think it’s time to start yodeling.

    Do Norwegians yodel?

    In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

    posted by on January 31 at 2:50 PM

    The Finches: Perfect for a cold, cloudy day.

    Dance Dance Revolution: Oh, how the hours pass when you watch anonymous women dance to their favorite songs.

    Where Does the Spit Go: Sax player Skerik answers that and other important questions.

    Pictures: Great shots from Tuesday’s Liars/No Age show.

    Kimya Dawson Continues to Be Hot Shit: Juno makes it to #1 on the Billboard charts and David Schmader interviews the woman responsible for the soundtrack’s greatness.

    Some Things Just Stick in your Mind: Terry Miller on the new collection of rarities from Vashti Bunyan.

    Today’s Music News: Britney’s not the only one in the hospital, the New Kids on the Block release a new song, and Bill Cosby’s gonna release a rap record.

    The Russians are Coming: Jeff Kirby’s stoked for their show at the Sunset tonight.

    Field Manual: A review of the new Chris Walla record.

    Shuffle Torture: David Schmader’s iPod plays for him the worst song ever made. (It’s sorta his fault for having such a tragic tune on his MP3 player, though.)

    You’re Not Alone, Sam: I, too, find this commercial ridiculously entertaining.

    You Don’t Care: But Avril’s coming to town.

    In Booker News: Greg Garcia officially announces his move from the High Dive to the Tractor.

    This is Your Brain on Nyquil: Sandy Bull’s “Carmina Burana Fantasy.” It’s done with a banjo, people. It’s awesome.

    Oh Man!: They play music full of magic spells, even if no one’s around to hear it.

    Contextualize: Eric Grandy’s review of the Past Lives/No Age/Liars show.

    liarslive.jpgLiars Photo by Morgan Keuler

    Other Rooms and Other Voices

    posted by on January 31 at 2:45 PM

    This is a view from a posh condo near the middle of the new 24-story 5th and Madison building:
    3750437_0671e1a47f.jpg Two days ago, the PI’s architecture critic, Lawrence Cheek, had this to say about the tower and its situation:

    The more of these towers that sprout downtown (and likewise in Bellevue), the less view remains for each resident and office tenant. The Seattle skyline may look increasingly impressive from the deck of the Bainbridge ferry, but it’s not so enchanting from inside the thicket. Nine new towers are under construction downtown, and there are 25 more undergoing permitting or design review.

    When the view consists mainly or entirely of other buildings, is there any point to it?

    Traditionally, yes — the fundamental rationale for the American skyscraper has always been to express power, wealth and urbanity. Seattle, though, is different — or at least it used to be. Our great value resides in the city’s natural setting, not in its buildings.

    The point? Look, if you want to see nature, leave and stay out of the city; if you want to see other people and other buildings, stay in the city. You can’t have it both ways. It must be one or the other.

    But School Children Will Still Be Able to Use “Gay” As an Insult, Right?

    posted by on January 31 at 2:43 PM

    Playwright Tennessee Williams was gay. Poet Lord Byron had several homosexual affairs in his day. And artist Leonardo da Vinci was charged with sodomy at the age of 24.

    But public school students in Tennessee won’t learn that information if a bill passes barring teachers from discussing homosexuality.

    Representative Stacey Campfield of Knoxville filed a bill last week that would prevent public elementary and middle schools from allowing “any instruction or materials discussing sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.”

    Mountains of Snow

    posted by on January 31 at 2:22 PM

    Snoqualmie Pass is still closed due to avalanche danger (at least until 9 am tomorrow), as is Stevens Pass (due to a multi-vehicle accident this afternoon; night operations are canceled tonight).

    Crystal has 9 inches of new in the last 24 hours, it’s snowing heavily, and the road is currently open (pack chains). Mt. Baker has 14 inches of fresh snow and has issued a deep-snow warning. Stevens is reporting 13 new inches and Snoqualmie Summit, 10. Baring more avalanches or highway closures, it should be a fantastic weekend on the slopes. Viva La Niña!

    Filipino Grandmothers, Tinola, Guns

    posted by on January 31 at 2:10 PM

    In further adventures of our food writers, The Stranger’s Angela Garbes is currently in the Philippines for a month, where she’s been on the hunt for home-cooking and wild chicken.


    One of the perks of being a guest at my grandmother Ima’s house (which is above the family business, a massive supermarket that also houses a cantina that serves food) is that we can request specific dishes for our meals. (My first request was for daing na bangus, milkfish marinated in vinegar, then fried and served with salted preserved duck eggs, chopped tomatoes, and rice. It’s my favorite thing to have for breakfast and impossible to recreate in any respectable manner in the states.) Archimedes made a request for tinola, a clear soup made with chicken, green papaya, pepper plant leaves, and ginger—and demanded it be made from native free-roaming, Filipino chickens. My uncle (Diomedes, nickname “Bong”) was more than happy to oblige. All we need to do, he explained, is drive to the rice mill and shoot one. “Do you want to come?,” he asked me.

    Read all about it here.

    Chi Chi LaRue Fights the Good Fight

    posted by on January 31 at 2:06 PM


    From Towleroad:

    Given the recent reports of a surge in HIV infection in men under 30 and an increase in so-called “barebacking” gay porn, 20-year veteran and adult industry legend Chi Chi LaRue has decided to speak out about the importance of wearing a condom, and also the importance of setting an example in the adult film industry. He has recorded a Public Service Announcement on the importance of wearing a condom and vows never to shoot bareback porn.

    The PSA premiered on Towleroad today. It’s NSFW and too long by half, but the message is unimpeachable. Check it out here.

    Italian Hotties, Pasta, Nudity

    posted by on January 31 at 1:53 PM

    The Stranger’s own Thadius Van Landingham III happened upon the opportunity to make pasta with the Italian theater company Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio the other night. Not being a fool, he seized it and shot some video. If Hey Girl!—their show at On the Boards from tonight through Sunday—is anywhere near as hot as their pasta-making, well, hell’s bells. And it seems likely: There will be nudity.

    Here they are strangling priests (the translation of strozzapreti, the name of these hand-rolled noodles):

    …and moving gnocchi over forks in ways that make a person feel funny—watch the hands of the man on the right:

    SPD Makes Arrest in 23rd and Union Shooting

    posted by on January 31 at 1:36 PM

    Seattle Police have arrested Rey Davis-Bell and will hold a press conference at 1:15pm.

    UPDATE: At 11:16 this morning, SPD arrested Rey Davis-Bell after a short foot chase near the 3900 block of S. Kenyon, 24 hours and 1 minute after the shooting at 23rd and Union.

    Davis-Bell will be booked on charges of homicide, assault and attempted murder.

    SPD says they’re still trying to figure out the connection between Davis-Bell and the man who was killed inside of Philidephia’s Best Cheesesteak, but they believe it is related to a domestic dispute between Davis-Bell and his girlfriend. Police do not believe Davis-Bell knew the other victim, who is currently in critical condition at Harborview.

    Additionally, police believe Davis-Bell may have been involved in another shooting yesterday, at 12:45pm in the Rainier Valley. No one was injured in the shooting, but an off-duty officer reported hearing gunshots and saw a vehicle—similar to the one Davis-Bell is believed to have been driving—”fleeing at a high rate of speed.”

    All You Pot Smokers Are Going to DIE!!!!!

    posted by on January 31 at 1:27 PM

    Egads. Is this the green death?

    Smoking a joint is equivalent to 20 cigarettes in terms of lung cancer risk, scientists in New Zealand have found, as they warned of an “epidemic” of lung cancers linked to cannabis.

    The researchers interviewed 79 lung cancer patients and sought to identify the main risk factors for the disease, such as smoking, family history and occupation. The patients were questioned about alcohol and cannabis consumption.

    In this high-exposure group, lung cancer risk rose by 5.7 times for patients who smoked more than a joint a day for 10 years, or two joints a day for 5 years, after adjusting for other variables, including cigarette smoking.

    “In the near future we may see an ‘epidemic’ of lung cancers connected with this new carcinogen. And the future risk probably applies to many other countries, where increasing use of cannabis among young adults and adolescents is becoming a major public health problem.”

    Scared you’ll be hit by a procession of Hearses carrying hemp caskets? Don’t be. You should be scared of articles like this one.

    Of the 79 people with lung cancer studied in New Zealand, the story says, those who smoked more than one joint every day were 5.7 times more likely to have lung cancer than people who didn’t. Those findings are mostly true, for the group of heavy pot smokers.

    But, looking at the study, how many people are in that group? Only 14. And how many control subjects are these 14 people compared to? Only four. Extrapolating every marijuana-related lung cancer case from those 14 people is insane. Even more is insane is extrapolating the world population of heavy pot smokers, as the control group, from only four people. You simply can’t draw the conclusion that pot smoking causes cancer at this rate from such a small sample—particularly because more credible studies say it doesn’t.

    I’m not a scientist. But obviously, inhaling smoke, including pot smoke, is bad for you and may contribute to cancer. So let’s assume these findings are, in fact, based on credible samples. Is there an impending “epidemic,” as the researchers claim? Well, that would presume the rate of marijuana smoking is increasing. It isn’t; more people smoked pot in the late ‘70s.

    If this tiny sample actually related to the entire human race and the pot-smoking-to-cancer relationship existed, millions of wizened hippies would already be laid up in cancer wards. Instead, we have cigarette smokers dying in cancer wards. Which takes us to another problem with the study’s methodology. Several of the pot smokers had also smoked cigarettes.

    Continue reading "All You Pot Smokers Are Going to DIE!!!!!" »

    What’s Killing the Coral Reefs?

    posted by on January 31 at 1:20 PM

    Sunscreen worn by swimmers, snorkelers, and divers:

    The sunscreen that you dutifully slather on before a swim on the beach may be protecting your body—but a new study finds that the chemicals are also killing coral reefs worldwide.

    Four commonly found sunscreen ingredients can awaken dormant viruses in the symbiotic algae called zooxanthellae that live inside reef-building coral species….

    The researchers estimate that 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers annually in oceans worldwide, and that up to 10 percent of coral reefs are threatened by sunscreen-induced bleaching.

    Via Towleroad.

    A Lesson for Legislators from the Harps Murder

    posted by on January 31 at 1:16 PM

    This bill in the state legislature—which seems to me like a thoughtful piece of civil rights legislation (scroll down on the link to “another important housing bill”)—has stumbled into a potential minefield: The Shannon Harps murder.

    The bill would bar local governments from passing rules that prevent landlords from signing leases with special needs providers—such as nonprofits that provide housing with services for former felons, people with drug problems, and mental illness.

    The housing is known as “service enriched housing” —buildings with special in-house services (like homes for battered women). Currently, cities including Tacoma have regs on the books that tell landlords who they can and cannot rent to.

    That type of legalized neighborhood lynch mob discrimination may have gotten a boost from the Shannon Harps murder on Capitol Hill: James Williams, her murderer—who attacked her randomly—was living in temporary housing, the Curben Hotel, on Summit Avenue. Obviously, this could be used as fodder to snuff the bill.

    However, Harps’ murder actually makes the case for special housing even more urgent. The state releases 9,000 people from prison every year. They have to live somewhere. If service providers are discouraged from setting up housing—housing that provides help for tenants to deal with their problems—people like Williams would end up living in unmanaged housing or under a bridge. The Curben Hotel, in fact, was not service-enriched housing.

    More housing with services would mean that tragedies like the Harps murder will be less common.

    How Theater Failed America

    posted by on January 31 at 12:55 PM


    That’s the title of Mike Daisey’s new monologue. Listen to the first six minutes here, in which he makes fun of TCG conferences (“everyone has their oat bran muffin in one hand and their free bagel in the other hand… and they’re dialoguing with each other like if there’s enough dialogue, something will happen”) and people who equate arts funding with good art (“in Sweden, the government just shits money into your mouth, all day long!”), and the title How Theater Failed America (“it’s a sensationalist, graceless, bombastic title—it’s bullshit”).

    It’s infuriating, how consistently good Mike Daisey is. Buy HTFA tickets here.

    Seattle? We’ll Travel Anywhere for Our Celebrity Sightings!

    posted by on January 31 at 12:22 PM

    An urgent communiqué has just reached me from the border!

    Hey Adrien-

    I cant have my real name attached to this because I’m in the business and don’t want it to bite me in the ass later- BUT!

    I was at a party for the upcoming movie “Game” last night, in New Mexico where they filmed it. It stars the hunky, almost grossly buff Gerard Butler and Amber Valletta. Throughout the night you could tell that there might be a spark between the two—-she grabbed him, yanked him over to the side street and they fought, kissed, then he left with her.

    Oh man, probably the best celebrity sighting ever. Might I add, she’s married with kids?

    Princesses Quetzequotal Jones
    (Not her real name.)

    Gerard Butler? You jest! Amber Valletta? No kidding! In New Mexico? Astonishing! (The old Mexico wasn’t good enough for ya? Republican.)

    I’m so lost. And apparently my name is “Adrien” now.

    Heaven give me strength.

    Thanks, “Princess!” Thanks,!


    Talking Back to Schrammie

    posted by on January 31 at 12:10 PM

    You think a little Schrammie is going to stop Rev. Ken Hutcherson? Think again:

    Seattle’s Sexiest Still Raging!

    posted by on January 31 at 12:04 PM

    Some examples:





    You have until 5 pm today to submit to The Stranger’s Flickr Pool! Remember to tag all photos with “seattlesexy” for them to be included in the Seattle’s Sexiest contest.

    Wanna browse the current submissions? I highly recommend it, there’s great stuff. Click here.

    [NOTE: Comments removed and turned off at the request of the editor, who thinks it’s unfair that people are publicly dogging on innocent folks whose friends uploaded them to the Seattle Sexiest contest. You’ll have to find someone else to pick on.]

    The Sleepytime Express

    posted by on January 31 at 12:02 PM

    Around 50 arts nerds drove to Olympia yesterday for the hearing on state senate bill 6638, aka the hotel/motel tax bill, which funds arts in King County.

    (Just writing that sentence made me a little drowsy. One group named its capital-bound van the “The Sleepytime Express.”)

    Spoiler alert: The bill is gonna pass.

    (Sort-of briefly: In 1989, the legislature started a 2% hotel-motel tax in King County to help pay down Kingdome debt. Some of the excess revenue goes towards arts funding, but only until 2012. Bill 6638 extends the arts funding past 2012 and specifies how it will be distributed. The tax is important—it is the primary source of funding for 4Culture and is listed on the donor wall of the Seattle Rep, up there with Eve Alvord and the Benyaroyas, as if “hotel/motel tax” were a generous person.)

    Anyway, Olympia: It’s a weird little campus down there. It feels like a theme park, with its neo-classical buildings, well-tended lawns and hedges, and school groups running around. The capitol dome wants a gravitron:


    Clutches of special-interest groups loitered around, waiting for their moment: leather-faced cowboys smoking in the drizzle, wearing hide jackets and “Backcountry Horsemen of America” patches; a group of people with Down syndrome eating in the cafeteria; and, crowded into hearing room four, the art people.

    Some of them, like Jim Kelly of 4Culture, wore suits. Others, like Jen Zeyl, wore jeans. Seventeen art people signed up to testify for the bill, zero against.

    “We don’t have time to hear 17 people testify,” said committee chair Margarita Prentice. “But, like they say in the theater, always leave your audience wanting more.”

    A few people—including Ed Murray—said some nice things about the bill. Prentice asked those who had come to support the bill to stand. Seventy-five percent of the crowd stood up.

    “Well, that was boring,” a guy said on the ride back to Seattle. “No controversy, no opposition.”

    “No it wasn’t,” a lady countered. “Look at all the people who showed up to support the arts. Put that in the good news category.”

    LiveBlogging Tonight’s Big Debate

    posted by on January 31 at 12:00 PM

    If you haven’t watched the Democrats go at it yet, you really should tune in tonight at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST. It’s the last debate before Super Tuesday, and it’s the first debate since John Edwards dropped out, meaning it will be the first debate to feature just Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama—mano-a-womano, as Mark Halperin put it earlier today.

    I’ll be liveblogging the debate as usual, with a huge assist from Dave Schmader, who will be helping me insert all of your comments into the liveblog in real time. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? See here.)

    So grab your laptop and find a place were you can watch CNN (or get ready to livestream). And if you’re really into this stuff, submit a question for the candidates. See you later this afternoon.

    Obama on the Air in Washington; Kerry (and Nickels, and Smith) at the UW on Friday

    posted by on January 31 at 11:25 AM

    Having raised a record-breaking $32 million this month, the Obama campaign is looking beyond the Feb. 5 states and starting to buy up air time in Feb. 9 states (like ours).

    Today the Obama camp announced it will be running this ad in Washington starting tomorrow:

    Also, here are the details on the John Kerry event I posted about yesterday. Note that Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels appears now to be an Obama supporter.

    Fun with $$$

    posted by on January 31 at 11:23 AM

    The Huffington Post has a great campaign donations tracker that maps donations down to the street address. Spy on your neighbors! Guess how many candidates Howard Schultz has donated to! Who strikes Ruth True’s fancy? Play spot the Mormon! The search function kind of sucks, but it’s entertaining.

    You Read it in the Weekly

    posted by on January 31 at 11:22 AM

    OK, probably not. Anyway, here’s the “Smart Alternative“‘s only mention of the shooting at the Philadelphia Cheese Steak restaurant at 23rd and Jackson, where two people were shot and one killed, in its entirety (from their food blog, Voracious):

    It’s Official: Bottomfeeder is a Curse

    Remember last week, when we wrote that garnering mention in Bottomfeeder [a food column] might be a curse on your restaurant? Well, we wrote about this place [the restaurant]. Then this happened [a link to the P-I story about the shooting.]

    Seattle Weekly: Keeping it classy since 1976!

    Re: Superdelegate Watch. Gregoire.

    posted by on January 31 at 11:20 AM

    I had a long conversation with someone from the Governor’s office yesterday afternoon.

    I can’t report what they said about Gregoire’s Obama/Clinton decision, but I can tell you what I said: She’d be dumb not to endorse Obama. Gregoire is aching to get some momentum with the Democratic base in Seattle. (For example, why was a prominent Gregoire staffer spending so much time with moi, the Stranger’s news editor and why was Gregoire scheduled to go on Goldy this weekend?)

    With all our mainstream politicians (Cantwell, Murray, Sims, Inslee) endorsing Clinton, Gregoire would look (by contrast) like she’s dialed in to the street-level zeitgeist in Seattle.

    Meanwhile, serving her obsession to appease Eastern Washington, she’d disassociate herself from Clinton, who is a Satanic icon among the red meat Republicans. They’d just shrug at an Obama endorsement. Everything to gain. Nothing to lose.

    Putting Down the Paper

    posted by on January 31 at 11:00 AM

    That’s the title of my column this week, a column that leaves me feeling ambivalent.

    It describes how, last week, I tried to explain in print that there wasn’t enough room in print for everything I’m writing about art—that there was more room online. But then, there wasn’t enough room in print for that column.

    The second-to-last paragraph of the column is a compilation of what we’ve been doing online in the last few weeks (with links to the 22 items), if you’re interested.

    Add to that, since the column came out yesterday: a podcast with Ellen Forney and Kelly O at the R. Crumb show; my review of the great Nazi art-looting movie “The Rape of Europa”; and Nancy Stoaks’s encouraging words for the Bellevue Arts Museum in light of the new traveling show of sculpture there.

    Online is where it’s at. It still makes me feel weird to say that.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on January 31 at 11:00 AM


    MGMT, Black Mountain, Yeasayer, Howlin’ Rain at Neumo’s

    Tonight’s show offers a dizzying (and bicoastal) array of psychoactive rock. Representing the West Coast are Black Mountain (Vancouver, BC) and Howlin’ Rain (San Francisco); from back East come Brooklyn bands Yeasayer and MGMT. Black Mountain deals in druggy classic-rock dirges, Yeasayer in oddly hopeful millennial gospel. But most exciting is MGMT, a young duo who met at Wesleyan College. Their tripping ranges from liberal-arts-school noise jams to poppy, polished psych-funk to bleary-eyed ante meridiem folk. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $12, 21+.)


    Re: Washington Superdelegate Watch

    posted by on January 31 at 10:55 AM

    Of the ten uncommitted Democratic superdelegates in Washington State, here’s the one I currently find the most interesting: Congressman Jim McDermott.

    Politically, McDermott seems a natural vote for Obama—they both opposed the Iraq war from day one, for starters. Additionally, McDermott’s core constituency, lefty Seattle, is probably the most pro-Obama collection of voters in this state.

    Further: One of McDermott’s hometown papers, The Seattle Times, has endorsed Obama. And America’s Hometown Paper, The Stranger, just endorsed Obama as well.

    Plus, and I know this is a highly subjective assessment, but temperamentally, McDermott just seems like more of an Obama guy. I mean: He backed Bradley in 2000 and Dean in 2004.

    (Also worth adding to this mix of things that might drive McDermott toward Obama: A local politician who keeps coming up as a likely McDermott challenger—state senator Ed Murray—has long since announced he’s backing Obama.)

    So it would seem that predisposition and political forces would be pushing McDermott into the Obama camp. But Bill Clinton has been on the phone with McDermott lately, no doubt reminding McDermott that he helped raise money for McDermott’s legal defense fund back when McDermott was fighting a long and complicated court battle against Republican John Boehner. And perhaps I’m wrong in my analysis. Perhaps McDermott is more of a Clinton guy.

    In any case, this is definitely a superdelegate decision to watch. McDermott’s spokesman tells me he’s not sure if the Congressman will make a decision before Washington’s caucuses—which seems a little strange, since even Gov. Christine Gregoire, who’s up for election this year, is planning to take a position before the caucuses. Stay tuned.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on January 31 at 10:30 AM

    Ross Sawyers’s Untitled (Blue, Sky 1), archival inkjet print, 35 by 50, 2007

    At Gallery 4Culture.

    Mark Your Calendar

    posted by on January 31 at 10:29 AM


    Obama Tightens Up Race in California

    posted by on January 31 at 10:08 AM

    A new Rasmussen poll has Obama within 3 points of Clinton in California. The last Rasmussen poll had her 5 points up.

    The poll was done immediately after the Florida “primary.”

    Some things to note:

    Obama leads among liberal Democrats while Clinton leads among the moderates.

    Obama leads among white Democrats. Clinton (decisively) among Hispanic Democrats.

    1 on 1 Debate in LA tonight.

    The first commenter on this post was quick to pick up why I hyped the “liberal” vs. “moderate” stat—it sort of undermines the idea the Obama is a watered-down GOP appeaser.

    Although, I was also highlighting that stat to throw another wrench into the conventional wisdom. Clinton’s lead among moderates seems to indicate that she may be more appealing in the general while Obama’s appeal to liberals hints that he’s not the great uniter we may think.

    …Or… this is all irrelevant when it comes to the general because we’re only talking about Clinton and Obama in the context of Democratic voters, not among Independents and Republicans.

    Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

    posted by on January 31 at 10:04 AM

    A jury was set to hear opening arguments Thursday in the trial of a woman accused of killing her 1-month-old daughter by burning her in a microwave oven…. Coroner’s officials say the baby suffered high-heat internal injuries and had no external burns. They have ruled out scalding water, open flame or other possible causes of death that could have damaged the skin….

    Arnold said she and her children were the only ones in the apartment until her boyfriend arrived several hours later and noticed something was wrong with the baby.

    The Latest Anti-Catholic Outrage

    posted by on January 31 at 9:58 AM


    It’s an ad for a gym. Bill Donohue craps his pants here. In addition to taking on a gym, in the last few weeks Donohue and his flying monkeys have gone after Bill Maher, ESPN, Carnegie Hall, Utah’s NPR affiliate, and those uppity trannies. Someone needs to let Bill know that he needs to pick his battles—he needs to be a bit more selective—or we’re going to have a hard time taking him seriously.

    But in the interests of fairness I pledge to closely scrutinize the advertisement reproduced above for any hints of anti-Catholic bias.

    Republican 520 Plan: 6=8

    posted by on January 31 at 9:55 AM

    Yesterday afternoon’s state Senate transportation committee hearing featured a heated disagreement between Democrats and Republicans (Democratic Seattle Sen. Ed Murray vs. Republican Issaquah/North Bend/Snoqualmie Sen. Cheryl Pflug, mostly) that put the spotlight on an issue that will figure prominently in this year’s stand off between Gov. Gregoire and Republican challenger Dino Rossi: How to redesign 520.

    The bill in committee yesterday afternoon (a governor’s request bill) calls for “six total lanes … four general purpose lanes and two lanes that are for high-occupancy vehicle travel and can accommodate high capacity transportation … the bridge shall be designed to accommodate light rail in the future.”

    This means: Gregoire and the Democrats want a grand total of 6 lanes. 4 would be general purpose. 2 would be HOV. One day, 2 of the lanes could be given over to light rail (or BRT).

    However, while the Republicans are okay with 6 lanes including 2 for HOV for now, they do not want 2 of those lanes to ever disappear for high-capacity transit. If one day there’s a light rail or BRT plan, the Republicans say two more lanes must be added to accommodate all those cars.

    Rossi’s going to hit the trail in Seattle’s Eastside suburbs with this auto capacity rap for eternally expanding pavement. Gregoire (I hope) is going to stand by the notion that the future is mass transit and on 520, 6 lanes equals 6 lanes.

    Washington Superdelegate Watch

    posted by on January 31 at 9:30 AM

    Superdelegates are a big deal this cycle, with some scenarios suggesting they could even decide the race for the Democratic nomination.

    Don’t know what I’m talking about? Saying to yourself: “Super-wha?” Try to keep up, please. It’s only the presidency and the future of the Democratic party that’s at stake. (Or click here for a good explainer.)

    Anyway, with this state’s caucuses right around the corner on Feb. 9 (find your caucus location here), I’d been spending a few of my free moments this week trying to compile a list of all of Washington’s superdelegates and who they’re pledged to. But it looks like The Seattle Times beat me to finishing the list.

    So here, with an assist from the Times, is THE LIST. There are 17 superdelegates in Washington State and surprisingly, only 7 of them have pledged their support to a candidate (though one, Gov. Christine Gregoire, is promising to make her pick public before the caucuses, and meanwhile is fending off lobbying calls from Bill Clinton and Barack Obama). I’ll update this list as more of our superdelegates get off the fence, but for now Clinton in way ahead of Obama in the Washington State superdelegate race:

    Rep. Brian Baird: Uncommitted.

    Sen. Maria Cantwell: Clinton.

    Democratic National Committee member Ed Cote: Uncommitted.

    Rep. Norm Dicks: Uncommitted.

    Former House Speaker Tom Foley: Clinton.

    Gov. Christine Gregoire: Uncommitted.

    Rep. Jay Inslee: Clinton.

    Rep. Rick Larsen: Uncommitted.

    State party Vice Chairwoman Eileen Macoll: Uncommitted.

    Democratic National Committee member Sharon Mast: Uncommitted.

    Rep. Jim McDermott: Uncommitted.

    Democratic National Committee member David McDonald: Uncommitted.

    Sen. Patty Murray: Clinton.

    Democratic National Committee member Pat Notter: Obama.

    State party Chairman Dwight Pelz: Uncommitted.

    King County Executive Ron Sims: Clinton.

    Rep. Adam Smith: Obama.

    Britney Gets Some Help

    posted by on January 31 at 9:28 AM


    …and all it took was an ambulance, a dozen motorcycle officers, two police helicopters, and a meticulously planned “snatch and grab” intervention led by her formerly estranged mother Lynne.

    The bred-to-be-insane pop star will reportedly remain involuntarily hospitalized on a “mental health evaluation hold,” which will last at least 72 hours and could extend to two weeks.

    For those who care, the story’s here, here, here, and here. (And probably a zillion other places.)

    Speaking of troubled American product: Starbucks has announced it will discontinue its line of breakfast sandwiches.

    Who Needs Goldy?

    posted by on January 31 at 9:22 AM

    So the suits over at KIRO fired Goldy and some other local talkers. Ratings were up at KIRO, sales were up on Goldy’s show, and Christine Gregoire was coming on Goldy’s show this weekend. But, eh, it’s not like we want for strong, local talk radio ‘round these parts. I mean, we’ve still got Weekday, “a daily two hour public affairs program,” over at KUOW, right? And right this very minute Weekday host Steve Scher is blowing the motherfucking lid off, um, pocket parks.

    As density and development continue to redefine the region, some people are thinking small. Today we talk about the movement to create more pocket parks: small lots that are transformed into magical urban oases. Green places where you can read a book, access the water or just sit and take it all in. What works? What doesn’t? What’s possible? Tune in to talk about your favorite little parks here and around the country.

    I’d tune in but I don’t want that heated discussion to fry my laptop.

    And coming up in the 11 hour: home repair with Roger Faris. Yes, yes—that choice of topic seems a bit sensationalistic coming off yesterday’s shootings in West Seattle and the CD, to say nothing of last night’s GOP debate. But it is an election year, people.

    Let Freedom Reign

    posted by on January 31 at 9:11 AM

    The government in Afghanistan—the democratic government we set up—has sentenced a journalist to death. What for? For downloading a report on women’s rights. Via Americablog:

    A young man, a student of journalism, is sentenced to death by an Islamic court for downloading a report from the internet. The sentence is then upheld by the country’s rulers. This is Afghanistan—not in Taliban times but six years after “liberation” and under the democratic rule of the West’s ally Hamid Karzai.

    The fate of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh has led to domestic and international protests, and deepening concern about erosion of civil liberties in Afghanistan. He was accused of blasphemy after he downloaded a report from a Farsi website which stated that Muslim fundamentalists who claimed the Koran justified the oppression of women had misrepresented the views of the prophet Mohamed.

    In other news, the Canadians are threatening to pull their battered troops out of Afghanistan if NATO doesn’t send in reinforcements. And with the Taliban resurgent, experts predict that Afghanistan is headed for “failed state” status.

    The Carnage Continues

    posted by on January 31 at 8:29 AM

    A paralyzed Lexington man was rushed to the hospital Tuesday after he woke to find his dog had chewed off parts of his toes, police said.

    The man woke about 9 a.m. at his home on the 1400 block of Bryan Avenue to find that his pit bull pup had “chewed off four tips of his toes,” Lexington police Lt. Mario Russo said.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Victoria.

    The Morning News

    posted by on January 31 at 7:54 AM

    McCain, Romney, and That Crazy Christian Guy: Eli Sanders’s liveslogging of last night’s GOP debate is here.

    Raking It In: Obama received $32 million in donations in January. Tonight he squares off against Clinton at the home of the Oscars.

    Kenya: For the second time in a week, an opposition lawmaker has been killed

    The lawmaker who was killed, David Kimutai Too, was shot by a policeman in Eldoret in the country’s volatile Rift Valley where many people have already been killed or have fled their homes, but Kenyan government officials were quick to say the latest killing was connected to an illicit love triangle. The opposition, however, called it an assassination.

    Meanwhile in Afghanistan: A deputy governor and five others have been killed during afternoon prayers by a suicide bomber.

    First It Was Toys: Now it’s tainted leukemia drugs made in China.

    Six Days Before Super Tuesday: A big story in the New York Times about Bill Clinton, a mining financier, a deal that stuns the mining industry, and a $31.3 million donation to Clinton’s charity.

    Supporting the Troops: American soldiers are committing suicide at a record level…

    Suicides among active-duty soldiers in 2007 reached their highest level since the Army began keeping such records in 1980, according to a draft internal study obtained by The Washington Post. Last year, 121 soldiers took their own lives, nearly 20 percent more than in 2006.

    Who’s Got the Better Economic Stimulus Package?: In this corner, Bush and the House. In that corner, the Senate.

    Fighting Them Over There…So They Can Kick Our Asses Over Here: An independent commission has determined that the U.S. military is unprepared for a catastrophic attack on American soil.

    $27.6 Billion: Shell Oil’s profits in 2007.

    Once a Penal Colony, Always a Penal Colony: Australia wants 11 prisons and other sites listed as symbols of the nation.

    Back in the Hospital: Britney Spears.

    Central Area Shooting: The shooter remains at large. Jonah Spangenthal-Lee’s coverage can be found here.

    Making MAAD Mad: King County judges ruled yesterday that the state’s toxicology lab used “fraudulent and scientifically unacceptable” practices in breath-test readings. The ruling could affect thousands of drunk-driving cases.

    Mean Blue Line: The Seattle P-I digs into police accountability, finds

    The Seattle Police Department hasn’t disciplined any officers for unnecessary force in the past 18 months, during a time when it ruled on at least 161 force cases. During that same period, 12 other excessive-force complaints resulted in supervisory intervention with officers.

    Snow Is Pretty, Dangerous: After yesterday’s avalanche, I-90 at Snoqualmie Pass will remain closed for at least this morning.

    Eisenhower For President:

    KIRO Cancels Goldy’s Show

    posted by on January 31 at 12:25 AM

    KIRO radio has snuffed David Goldstein (Aka Goldy, Aka HorsesAss).

    Goldstein’s three-hour Saturday night radio show (on which the Stranger news team got the microphone for the first hour to hype our stories and yell about the week’s news) got the axe on Wednesday for “budgetary concerns.”

    Bryan Styble and Carl Jeffers, two other KIRO weekend political talkers, were also iced. And longtime KIRO staffer Dustin Hornby reportedly quit over the news—according to Blatherwatch.

    Indeed, Blatherwatch has a series of posts on KIRO’s decision to knife its weekend stable of radio heads. Blatherwatch, aka Michael Hood, also posits that KIRO’s conservative talk jock Dori Monson is to blame for the bloodbath.

    Goldstein offers his thoughts on the bad news over at HorsesAss.

    And that’s what makes this bit of news not as much of a drag as it could be for the fans. While Goldy had an entertaining knack for yelling on the radio with fast-on-his-feet left wing calculus proofs, HorsesAss is why he was asked to be on the radio in the first place—and HorsesAss is still going strong.

    We can still read David on his obnoxious blog. And really? Radio? That show was just KIRO’s Old World attempt to tap into what David’s already doing on-line.

    Extra bummer: Erica C. Barnett and Annie Wagner were lined up to go on the show this Saturday for a reenactment of Frazier Ali II. That’s not going happen. The Stranger News Hour is out too.

    kiroroom.jpgFortuitously, for a sentimental slob like me, I took this cell phone shot of Goldy’s studio door as I was leaving last week. I had a sense!

    Wednesday, January 30, 2008

    And Now, Some Serious Investigative Journalism!

    posted by on January 30 at 10:01 PM

    Michael Moore. Well, he’s a lovely man. Lovely. I’m not against him. But he is to an optimist’s attitude what salt panties are to a snail’s clam. His films take my fitful little attitude—desperately sunny with threatening apocalyptic storm fronts (“The waters aren’t rising that much! And we’ll all be able to rush the border when Huckabee disbands Congress and claims America for Jesus, no problem!”)—crumple it into a poopy little wad and flush it straight to hell. I just forced myself to watch Sicko. I’d avoided it long enough. It destroyed me.

    But never mind all that.

    I noticed something as I watched the film, just a few minutes in, and it was this energetic young fella…


    …and he is called Eric Turnbow. You will recognize him as the daring gentleman who made the pilgrimage to London for the express purpose of videotaping himself walking across Abbey Road—a la The Beatles on their famous album cover—but, um, on his hands.


    He promptly dislocated his shoulder. Superlative British healthcare ensued. All of this is documented in Mr. Moore’s film.

    Eric Turnbow is from Olympia. He is a musician. You might know this.

    But, here is what you might don’t know:

    Eric Turnbow, famous shoulder-dislocater, is also the brother and/or male sibling of none other than this man…

    (Photo: Barbara Pomer)

    …who lives in Seattle, and is called Jon Strongbow. Jon has, for as long as anyone can remember, been creating distinctive psychedelic Seattle landscapes like this one…


    …which hung at places like Gravity Bar, when there was a Gravity Bar, and still hang at places like Traveler’s on Pine Street and Twice Sold Tales. He is a prolific artist, fascinating local character, and Pike Place Market fixture. You might even know this!

    But what you probably might don’t know even more is that both of these brothers—-Turnbow and Strongbow—-are the sons of this Oly-guzzling son-of-a-gun:


    …and he was, and is, called Avaton Turnbow. He ran a psychic bookstore in downtown Olympia in the ‘60s, until he decided it was a better idea to found his very own religious cult. He called it “The Fellowship,” and had himself all sorts of jaunty adventures, I’m sure. He sounds like an interesting dinner guest.

    Indeed, a source that will eat me alive if I name him (or her) says, “Almost every member of that family is a mad genius. I adore them all.”

    Sounds like a fascinating story, doesn’t it? Just, doesn’t it?!

    Tonight’s GOP Debate: One Bonus Answer, One Bonus Question

    posted by on January 30 at 7:56 PM

    The first question, asked in remembrance of him, was this: “Are we better off than we were four years ago?” The answer to that, of course, is yesbecause four years we were facing another four years of George W. Bush.

    And since Mike Huckabee didn’t feel he received his fair share of questions, I’d like to put this one to the governor: “The leader of the Mormon church died a few days ago. Is he already in hell?

    LiveBlogging the Republican Debate

    posted by on January 30 at 5:00 PM

    If you can believe it, neither The Stranger nor yours truly has cable. So, owing to vagaries of my life as a cable-moocher, this liveblog of the Republican debate will be based on an online livestream, not a live TV-feed. Which means… Well, it may make no difference at all. Or the timing may be a little off. Or the livestream may cut out. We’ll see. Cross your fingers and, as always, send me your comments through the liveblogging widget.

    Clinton Campaign Officially Doomed

    posted by on January 30 at 4:27 PM

    Hulk Hogan — and his 24-inch pythons — has endorsed Barack Obama.

    A Wretched Thing Happened to Me on the Way to the Theater

    posted by on January 30 at 4:24 PM

    So last night, I was innocently minding my own business (and maybe a little bit of the business of my friendly companion) when I experienced the most terrifying interaction I have ever had with a street person.

    I was walking on Broadway to the Harvard Exit to see Persepolis and I was walking in front of the old, closed down QFC. A man approached me and asked if he could have some money. He was about 6’3”, Asian or Native, and wearing the typical uniform of a street person—dirty baggy clothes of an indeterminate blue-green-grey-brown-tan.

    I refused to give him any money. Walking down Broadway, I’d already been asked for money four times. I didn’t have any money to give. Just cards. And, in any case, I don’t give panhandlers money. Sometimes I will buy traveling kids some food, but that’s it.

    In any case, he began to follow me, calling me names.

    “Fuck you, bitch!”

    I rolled my head back on my neck and groaned to my companion. I can deal with “Fuck you, bitch.”

    “You fucking slut!”

    Again, been there, done that.

    “I’m gonna…”

    This is where it started to get truly obnoxious.

    “I’m gonna grease your asscrack up with Vaseline and fuck you like the bitch you are!”

    This is the part of the conversation where, if I had been born the way God originally planned, I would have reared my big fucking tall head around, asked this motherfucker to repeat himself, and when he did, beat the living shit out of him.

    But through some freak accident, I was born into the body of a tiny little girl. And we were late for the movie. And my friend is probably not into confrontation (I didn’t ask). So I did nothing. I just kept walking.

    I regret it. Generally, I don’t like to let people get away with threatening to violently rape me.

    But here’s where I start to run into problems: What could I have done? Told him off? Probably a bad idea. He was obviously fucked-up and a lot bigger than me and my friend. Called the cops? Then, I would have had to wait until they got there to give a statement, if they ever came. What if he just walked away while I sat in Pagliacci’s and waited?

    They all seem like dead ends. The only thing I could come up with is taking a picture of him with my cameraphone next time I see him and putting it on Slog.

    The Stranger Endorses Obama. Caucus on Feb. 9

    posted by on January 30 at 4:17 PM

    Today’s edition of the paper includes our endorsement for the February 9 Democratic Presidential Caucus where we make the case that Sen. Barack Obama is the best candidate to send into battle against the GOP and the best suited to enact the Democratic agenda once he’s in the Oval Office.

    Here’s our conclusion:

    The election of Obama to the presidency would be a jump cut in American history, something the up-and-coming generation is clamoring for. President Bush’s ugly politics have felt like a culmination of divisive culture wars dating back to the 1960s. Obama, who was born in 1961, represents a chance to move on, finally.

    That’s the energy of this election, and Obama, not baby-boomer Clinton, is the one who best represents our interests. Certainly, the SECB recognizes the history-making value in the possibility of a woman president, but Obama offers the chance for a truly seismic shift. And no, it’s not about race (although we don’t underestimate the symbolism—to the rest of the world—of electing a black man after eight years of cowboy diplomacy). It’s about transcendence. Barack Obama, with his rhetorical appeal to the center, is poised to make the Democratic Party the mainstream political voice in America.

    To find out where your caucus location is and how it all works go here.

    Kerry Coming to Seattle for Obama

    posted by on January 30 at 4:10 PM

    So it begins: John Kerry will be at Seattle’s Town Hall in Seattle for a town-hall-style event on Friday that’s meant to drum up support for Barack Obama in advance of this state’s Feb. 9 Democratic caucuses. Then Kerry will head to a house party in Tacoma, and onward to events in California.

    The event details are still being finalized, but consider this the first big salvo in the fight for caucus votes in Washington State.

    Olivia Munn Injured in Baby Oil Accident

    posted by on January 30 at 4:10 PM


    Defamer has the whole story.

    I Don’t Know What to Make of this Sound Transit Bill. And My Phone isn’t Working.

    posted by on January 30 at 4:07 PM

    Today is turning into a bit of a wash for me. My phone isn’t working. (I can receive calls, but I can’t make them. And no one is calling me.)

    So, I’m having a hard time doing any follow up on the parade of bills that are in play, like this bill that Seattle Transit Blog is crooning about.

    The bill would give new MVET authority to regional transit authorities. It sounds good. And I do think the pro-transit crowd needs to go on the offensive rather than sitting back and reacting to tricky bills like this one from the transportation chair, Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10, Camano Island). But, for example, in concert with Haugen’s bill—which remakes Sound Transit into a general transportation agency—this bill, it seems to me, could end up funneling transit money to roads.

    Until I can do some reporting on this one, I’m going to reserve judgment. The details and the convoluted politics in any bill involving Sound Transit are hard to figure at a first glance. ST is about as polarizing as Hillary Clinton, and ulterior motives lurk!

    …My phone is ringing. It’s either T-Mobile calling to tell me (again) that I haven’t paid my bill…or a call from Dino Rossi explaining how global warming can be addressed through the power of prayer…

    Shooting at 23rd and Union

    posted by on January 30 at 4:06 PM

    Originally posted at 12:15pm

    Seattle Police are on the scene of a shooting at 23rd and Union.

    More info coming…

    Dominic Holden is at the scene of the shooting, which occurred inside of Philly Cheese Steak. Two people were shot—a customer and an employee—and were taken to the hospital.

    Dominic says FBI agents are also at the scene.



    Update 2: The Gang unit, homicide detectives and Chief Kerlikowske are at the scene, and SPD just held a press conference.

    According to Sergeant Deanna Nollette, the shooting at Philly Cheesesteak may be connected to a domestic violence incident which took place in West Seattle a few hours ago.

    Just before 11am, SPD responded to a domestic violence call on the 5900 block of Delridge Ave SW. A bullet had been fired through a window at the house, but no one was shot.

    SPD believes the man involved in the domestic violence incident is the same suspect in the Philly Cheese Steak shooting.

    Police say the suspect is believed to be heavily armed and are concerned there could “additional incidents.”

    The victims of the shooting at Philly Cheese Steak are reportedly in critical condition.

    Seattle Police will be releasing information about the suspect in the next half-hour.

    Update 3: It looks like the Feds are getting involved in Seattle’s apparent gang problem. FBI Special Agent Fred Gutt says FBI agents are indeed at the scene of today’s shooting, “shadowing” SPD Gang Unit officers. Gutt says a 90-day FBI pilot program is in the works, to figure out an “appropriate federal response” to gang violence in Seattle.

    Gutt says agents have just completed the first month of the program.

    UPDATE 4: SPD has named Rey Alberto Davis-Bell, 23, as the suspect in this morning’s shooting.

    Davis-Bell left the scene of the Delridge shooting in a black 2002 Lincoln Continental with heavily tinted windows and chrome rims, license plate 210-XMJ. The vehicle is not registered under Davis-Bell’s name.

    Police have not yet named Davis-Bell as a suspect in the Philly Cheese Steak shooting, but stated that the vehicle at both incidents were “nearly identical,” leading them to believe that the events may be connected.


    UPDATE 5: A Harborview hospital spokesperson confirms one of the victims of this afternoon’s shooting has died. The other is in critical condition.

    UPDATE 6: Just spoke with several residents of the apartment building where this morning’s shooting took place. Residents say a man—presumably Davis-Bell—stood outside the building and “unloaded his gun” through the window of his girlfriend’s apartment.

    According to neighbors, Davis-Bell did not live in the building, but they’d seen him around. They also noted seeing him driving a car similar to the one described by police.

    Want to Win Free Tickets to the Upcoming Pinback Show at Showbox at the Market?

    posted by on January 30 at 4:03 PM

    Yes, you do. Pinback are fantastic. And the show’s on February 14th, so it’d make a good Valentine’s Day date.

    Go over to Line Out to find out how to win.

    In/Visible Is Up: R. Crumb, Ellen Forney, and Kelly O on Sex and Comics

    posted by on January 30 at 4:02 PM

    In this episode, the cartoonist and the porn-columnist come together at the Frye Art Museum to talk about the R. Crumb exhibition, Forney’s new hardback book LUST (opening party for the accompanying art show Saturday at Fantagraphics), and whether they would let R. Crumb jump on their backs for a ride. (Video coming soon…)

    LUST is a collection of Forney’s Lustlab cartoons, which appear every week on her blog, in addition to on the Stranger’s site. Here’s the latest, a tribute to a woman who likes Odd Nerdrum, Zdzislaw Beksinski, and Joel-Peter Witkin:


    Avalanche on I-90

    posted by on January 30 at 4:01 PM

    King 5 is reporting there was an avalanche on I-90 near Snoqualmie Summit. An unknown number of cars are reportedly trapped under the snow.

    From King 5’s site:

    The new snow slide happened about 3 p.m. in the westbound lanes at milepost 50, about two miles west of Snoqualmie Summit. Jeff Merrill with the Washington State Patrol says the slide is about 150 feet long by as much as 30 feet deep.

    Searchers are probing the snow for vehicles. So far, one car has been unearthed and the driver is not injured, Merrill said.

    Eastbound I-90 remains open. Westbound is closed at milepost 54.

    (Thanks to Cato the Younger Younger for the heads-up.)

    Congrats to DESC

    posted by on January 30 at 3:44 PM

    When the Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC) announced it would build “wet” housing where chronic alcoholics would be allowed to drink (most such housing requires residents to stay sober), residents erupted in protest. Neighbors said their area would be overrun with drunks, alleged that the housing (known as 1811 Eastlake) would lead to crime, and protested that allowing people to drink wouldn’t do residents of the project any good anyway. An Eastlake residents’ group eventually sued to prevent DESC from placing the housing in their neighborhood. They lost, and the housing went in, and guess what? Chaos did not ensue, crime did not erupt, and the neighborhood was not overrun with alcoholics. To the contrary, the setup appears to be working: DESC reports that residents are drinking less, costing the city less, and getting better medical care than when they were living on the streets.

    Last week, DESC received the Maxwell Award of Excellence for the 1811 Eastlake project from Fannie Mae, the nonprofit mortgage-lending organization—an award that carries a $75,000 prize. Congratulations to DESC and its director, Bill Hobson, who fought so hard to build the project.

    Ron Paul Blimp: 2007-2008. Never Forget.

    posted by on January 30 at 3:36 PM


    “Wow, when I saw the blimp I thought “Ron Who?” I decided I needed to take the advice on the blimp and look him up on google. So far I am totally amazed. This appears to be the candidate I was waiting for all my life, and a BLIMP TOLD ME ABOUT IT!” -Kristen Henders, Salisbury, MD

    Truly, a blimp told me about it. But that blimp is gone now:

    Current Blimp status: The blimp is headed back home to it’s hangar in Elizabeth City, NC. The blimp did not receive enough sponsorships to keep it afloat any longer. We will be keeping the banners in hopes of flying the blimp for “round 2” in a few months. If you would like to sponsor the blimp we would still appreciate it as we still have a balance due to Airship Management Services.

    Whatever you may think about Ron Paul and his more fanatical devotees (the former, probably a less-than-closeted racist, the latter, possibly crazy), the Ron Paul Blimp was proof that politics isn’t as brutally cynical and micromanaged as we’d all like to believe. A group of people, even if unhinged in their enthusiasm, decided that they would do something momentous, and they did it. That their efforts at this point probably have led to nothing is secondary to the fact that they did something at all.

    So, Ron Paul Blimp, I salute you one last time:

    In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

    posted by on January 30 at 3:19 PM

    Today’s Music News: Kanye announces new tour, the Beatles are invited to Israel, and Forbes finds out which women are making bank.

    Soul Nite is Back: NWFF to show classic footage of Ike & Tina, Curtis Mayfield, and Sly and the Family Stone. In other already known news, Tina Turner has amazing legs.

    Numba One: Seattle, meet Super Greg.

    Boys Noize: Coming to Seattle to blow the lid off this new rave clusterfuck.

    The Best Use of Fossil Fuels: According to a man on the bus.

    Stringing and Surfing and Breakdancing: By Kay Kay and the Weather Underground’s Phil Peterson.

    Tonight in Music: The Decemberists and Nada Surf.

    RIP: Gruntruck singer, Ben McMillan, died Monday.

    LiveFastDie: Drinking, thrashing, trying to stay alive tonight at the Funhouse.

    The Debate Continues: What’s proto? What’s not?

    Connect the dots… la la la.


    Josh Roman Has Quit the Seattle Symphony

    posted by on January 30 at 2:52 PM

    Here’s the letter he just sent out:

    Dear Friends and Family,

    I am writing to let you know of my decision to leave the Seattle Symphony following the current 07-08 season. I informed the orchestra management of this decision yesterday. I thought it would be nice to tell all of you myself, instead of you hearing the news from others. This email was the best way I could come up with. In any case:

    This decision comes at an exciting time for me. I have had so many opportunities since I came to the Seattle Symphony, and lately I have been taking more solo and chamber engagements here and elsewhere. I really appreciate the willingness of the Seattle Symphony to have placed so much faith in me at this critical point in my career.

    I will miss many of the friends that I have made here, including two of the musicians that I sit next to almost every week; my stand partner, Susan Williams, and the charming man who sits next to me in the violins, John Weller. There are many more in the cello section, orchestra, staff, and around the city that I will remember fondly. My sincere hope is that our relationships will be lasting and flourish no matter where our roads take us.

    As much as I have loved my time in Seattle, it is very important for me to keep a strong focus and commitment to my goals, and the foremost musical goal I have is to become the best cellist I can be. To that end, I will be doing tons of traveling over the next years, listening to many great musicians, practicing hard, performing a lot, and doing other cool stuff too. I plan to return to Seattle frequently and I already have several engagements here next season. Seattle is like a home to me; I love this place and the people I’ve met here!

    I thank all of you for your support, especially my family, who has always thought that I was a bit nuts to want this life, but has supported me in everything nonetheless. It is because of this support that I am able to carry on and I hope to make the best of every opportunity and trust I am given.

    All the best to all of you-

    Joshua Roman

    Re: That Horrible Bill Josh Was Talking About

    posted by on January 30 at 2:49 PM

    I covered refund-anticipation loans in a few columns in 2004; at the time, Tom Rasmussen was fighting against them, and Sharon Tomiko-Santos was fighting him as hard as she could. I mean, if Seattle’s progressive South End rep doesn’t stand up for usurious payday lenders, who will? Here’s what I wrote then:

    Seattle Rep. Sharon Tomiko-Santos is sponsoring a bill that would undercut a Seattle law regulating tax-refund-anticipation loans, which provide fast cash against anticipated income-tax refunds, often at astronomical interest rates. Although the law has been stripped of some of its more heinous provisions, many serious problems—including watered-down disclosure requirements, lowered penalties, and a loophole that lets other, nearly identical products escape regulation—remain. City Council Member Tom Rasmussen, who sponsored the city’s own more stringent law, seemed disappointed and a little mystified that Santos (a progressive rep) would support a law overriding Seattle’s liberal legislation. It’s interesting to note that Santos took in more than $2,000 last year from groups that represent accountants and other pro-RALs organizations during the last election: precisely the groups that stand to benefit from weakened Seattle legislation.

    Looks like she’s at it again.

    On Bipartisanship and Rhetoric

    posted by on January 30 at 2:46 PM

    Annie writes: “Rhetoric is a beautiful thing,” but cites policy, not rhetoric, in explaining why she’s such a fan of Obama. She includes the same example everyone everywhere always cites when bashing Hillary—the flag-burning amendment. She doesn’t mention the war vote because, I’m pretty sure, she agreed with Hils on that one. But, as many supporters of both candidates have pointed out, Obama’s record and Clinton’s are pretty damn similar—with caveat that it’s sometimes hard to tell where Obama stands on critical issues because of all the times he didn’t vote. (More on that in a moment.)

    Notable exceptions, while we’re pulling examples out of context, include the following:

    The Energy Policy Act of 2005, which lavished $14.5 billion in tax breaks on companies producing oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy. Hillary opposed it, Obama voted for it.

    The confirmation of Bush circuit court appointee Thomas Griffith—a staunch opponent of Title IX, which guarantees equal athletic opportunities to boys and girls, and a member of the ultra-conservative Federalist Society. Obama supported the nomination, Clinton opposed it.

    An act that prohibits law enforcement from confiscating guns during an emergency. Obama supported it, and I’m actually with him on this one, but Hillary took the “liberal” position. And Obama supported allowing police to prosecute people for using locally banned handguns to defend against intruders during his brief state senate stint in Illinois.

    A Joe Lieberman-sponsored act changing FEMA’s name to USEMA but leaving the troubled agency otherwise within the Department of Homeland Security and otherwise intact. Obama supported it; Clinton opposed it.

    As for those “not voting” votes, here are a few:

    The border fence (Clinton supported funding it); legislation condemning MoveOn.Org for the Petraeus ad (Clinton voted no); SCHIP (children’s health insurance) reauthorization (Clinton voted yes); a bill expressing the Senate’s will that future funding for military operations in Iraq be included in the regular budget proposal and not in an emergency supplemental appropriation bill (Clinton voted yes); the no-confidence vote on former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (Clinton supported it); several national-security-related bills, including funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which Clinton supported; legislation cutting subsidies to student lenders, legislation making it harder to import affordable medication (Clinton opposed it); legislation implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission (Clinton voted yes; the nomination of Bush circuit court nominee Judge Richard Griffin (Clinton voted yes; and several “sense of the Congress” resolutions for which Clinton voted. Where does Obama stand on those and other issues? You’ll have to take his word for it, because you can’t look at his record.

    All of that said, my point wasn’t about votes, it was about rhetoric: Specifically, Obama’s rhetoric about wanting to bring Republicans into his inner circle and be a “uniter” (hmm, where have we heard that before? I’m concerned that Obama will be a triangulator (watering down the Democratic Party’s agenda in the interest of “bipartisan” compromise), not a fighter, once he’s actually facing the demands of the White House. Obama’s rhetoric suggests he’s more interested in building consensus than in taking back America.

    John McCain for President

    posted by on January 30 at 2:36 PM

    I want a Democrat to wake up in the White House on the morning of January 21, 2009, just as much as the next commie pinko faggot. But I was thinking about McCain today, and stressing out about the chance that he might win, and then… well, this fantasy played out in my mind…

    John McCain hates George W. Bush—still. He’s gotta, in his heart of hearts, deep down inside, after the supremely dirty way George W. Bush knifed him in South Carolina back in 2000. (Bush surrogates attacked McCain’s daughter, a Bangladeshi orphan McCain adopted with his wife, claiming she was McCain’s interracial love child.) McCain, a victim of torture during his years as a POW in Vietnam, watched helplessly as Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney made torture—excuse me, “harsh interrogation techniques”—official U.S. policy. He watched helplessly as Rumsfeld and Bush screw up the war, refusing to put more troops on the ground in Iraq, while that country descended into civil war. And now, five years into the war, he has to watch George W. Bush do a victory dance in the end zone because, hey, his totally genius idea—the surge—is working! Because putting more troops on the ground tamped down the violence—no one could’ve predicted that!

    Anyway… so the Dems nominate Hillary, and McCain, with an assist from the worshipful media, scoops up independents and some of the Dems he romanced back in 2000, and with Huckabee as VP manages to pull in the Agents of Intolerance vote. And John McCain is sworn in as our 44th president. His first official act? End torture as official U.S. government policy. His second official act? Give a still Democratic-controlled Congress every goddamn piece of paper it wants. Welcome every subpoena, and throw open the archives of the Bush White House. Torture. Renditions. Domestic spying. Politically-motivated prosecutions. Cronyism.

    Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzeles, et al, got away with breaking the law—flagrantly, repeatedly, gleefully—because they bet that the country didn’t have the stomach for another impeachment. And we didn’t. But once the bastards are out of power… gee… maybe the country will have the stomach for a mess of indictments? And trials? And convictions? And long prison terms?

    And McCain… a rule-of-law man… an opponent of torture… won’t have to lift a finger. He’ll just have to honor subpoenas and get the hell out of the way. And then he’ll get to see George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzeles and John Yoo all packed off to jail. And when they come crying to him for pardons and commutations, John McCain can put his daughter on the line—his adopted daughter—and let her scream, “Rot in prison and die, you miserable sacks of shit!” into the phone.

    It’ll be McCain’s way of making amends to his daughter—and the country—for this:


    Greg Nickels Must Be Running Out of Space on the Walls of His Office

    posted by on January 30 at 1:49 PM

    Remember this?

    Seattle mayoral candidate Greg Nickels today blasted Mayor Paul Schell’s handling of Seattle’s Mardi Gras violence and vowed to hang Kristopher Kime’s death certificate on his wall if elected mayor “to remind me every day that protecting the public is my job.”

    That morbid bit of political posturing—along with Paul Schell’s myriad shortcomings—helped lodge Greg Nickels’ ass in the the mayor’s office. Kime’s death, at the hands of some thug during the city’s since-cancelled Mardi Gras street party, seemed an aberration at the time. (Kime was beaten to death during a riot as the chief of police—where is that guy now?—looked on from his “command post.”) Now it seems like it’s been open season around here on pedestrians (RIP Shannon Harps), gay people (there are more and more reports of bashings), cyclists (we ever catch those assholes with the BB gun?), and, yes, club-goers (Sugar, Tabela, Baltic Room, et al). And besides the highly dubious busts of few doormen, the city, under Greg Nickels’ increasingly Zelig-like leadership, doesn’t seem particularly interested in public safety.

    I grew up in Chicago in the 1970s and early 80s. It was a dangerous time in big American cities. But I never once saw a gun growing up—never saw a gun pulled on anyone, never saw a gun fired. I used to think that my son, growing up in Seattle today, lived in a safer city, at a safer time. Six months ago my son saw a man get pulled from a car and shot at point-blank range. At 23rd & Union. So, shit, maybe it’s time to move somewhere that feels safer—like New York City or Chicago or, if things keep going at this rate, Detroit or DC.

    The stats say crime is down in Seattle, I realize. But those crime stats are seriously out of out of whack with perceptions about public safety and, fairly or not, perceptions about safety tend to trump stats about crime. If people don’t feel safe on the streets, they don’t go out, and with fewer eyes on the streets, the streets become less safe. Crime stats may be down—for now. But we may be at the start of a negative feedback loop and those stats may change rapidly. They may already have.

    And what’s Greg Nickels going to say when some ambitious pol decides to run for mayor and pledges to hang Shannon Harps death certificate on his office wall?

    So, That Horrible Bill I Was Talking About…

    posted by on January 30 at 1:45 PM

    It’s this.

    While Democratic voters are waiting for the Democratic majority to do something about payday loans, it looks like Democrats are moving in the opposite direction.

    You’ve heard of refund anticipation loans (RALS)?

    These are high-interest loans, brokered through financial companies like H&R Block, that people get using their tax returns as collateral. They’re controversial, like payday loans, because of the high interest and, critics say, because they exploit poor people.

    Rep. Sharon Tamiko Santos (D-37, South Seattle) is sponsoring this bill, which would expand the practice by creating a simple process for companies like H&R Block to authorize clerks at 7-11 or Wal-Mart or any accessible retail outlet to act as intermediaries and process the loans.

    The bill, which strikes me as handwritten by the industry, popped out of nowhere last Friday—Santos’s co-sponsor is Dan Roach (R-31, East King and Pierce County)—and it has a hearing tonight at 6pm.

    At a time when iffy loans are in the news for derailing our entire economy, it seems weird that the legislature would propose a bill that would infect the economy with more potential for widespread funny business.

    The rap from proponents is that expanding accessibility to RALS will help people who need loans.

    Just for Slog Readers

    posted by on January 30 at 1:11 PM

    Get a jump on the V-Day scramble: You can submit a FREE valentine to be printed in our Feb 14 issue right here, right now. Your lover will be SO impressed! And it’s free! And so simple!

    We only have room for the first 2,000 in print (the rest will go online) so act now before the wide world becomes privy to this deal when the papers hit the street this afternoon.

    Hate everyone? Fine, but our Valentines page is worth a visit just to hear Dina Martina’s sugar-sweet rendition of “Some Enchanted Evening.”

    The Rape of Europa

    posted by on January 30 at 1:05 PM

    Yesterday I saw a screening of the new documentary film The Rape of Europa, opening in Seattle next week. I can’t believe this movie hasn’t been made before. It tells the comprehensive story of the Nazi march on Europe—not through field battles, but battles for art.


    That picture is of a guard at the Louvre in 1939, standing in front of an empty frame that held a Veronese painting before the museum was evacuated on the eve of Hitler’s invasion of Paris.

    There is plenty of eye-popping footage like this from the period: more than 6,000 paintings found hostage in a deep, dark mine; the Victory of Samothrace rolling treacherously down a flight of stairs. The interviews are also incredible. One is with the daughter of the family charged with watching over the Mona Lisa while it was in hiding.

    No question: the film is a towering achievement, based on the book by Lynn H. Nicholas, narrated by Joan Allen, and written, produced, and directed by Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen, and Nicole Newnham.

    In one scene, a current docent at the Warsaw Royal Castle says people ask why the castle was rebuilt after being demolished by the Nazis. “The answer is the same as the reason it was destroyed. The Poles could not live without the castle.”

    Obviously, the systematic crushing of souls is nothing compared to mass murder. But unlike murder, some crimes can be reversed. This film is the Nuremberg trials for what might be considered the misdemeanors of the Nazi regime: the theft and destruction of art and monuments across Europe. These may only be objects, but for many people, there is life in these objects, too.

    There’s Maria Altmann, the old woman whose (successful) quest to see her family’s Klimt paintings returned is also her battle to expose Austria’s historic complicity with Hitler. There’s the middle-aged Christian German man dedicated to reuniting confiscated Torah ornaments with the families of their rightful owners. There’s the Utah curator who hopes that the return of his museum’s prized Boucher to the daughter of a looted Jewish dealer “will confer a little humanity back on all of us.”

    Like the saga of the Holocaust, the plunder of Europe—not modern, Jewish, or Slavic art, of course, but Italian, French, and old art—is made that much more chilling by the organization with which it was carried out. Before invading countries, Hitler would compile lists of the artworks he wanted, from Leonardo’s Lady with an Ermine in Warsaw (see it recovered after the war, below) to Rembrandts, Raphaels, and Vermeers in France, Russia, and Italy. At the end of the war, 49 train car loads of stolen art and artifacts were carried away from Hitler’s hiding place at the Neuschwanstein Castle.


    On the other side of the equation was an equally determined army, made up of people who wanted to keep art out of criminal hands. This included museum staffers (some died in the freezing cellar of the Hermitage); the little-known American “Monuments Men,” who worked for the military but were often at odds with its attack plans; and mousy little Rose Valland, the French spy.

    In many ways, The Rape of Europa is timely. New claims to recover art stolen by the Nazis are constantly coming to light, and museums are cooperating. (Seattle Art Museum returned a Matisse in 1999.) But in other ways, it represents a distant, unrecognizable time. Tragically, a time when art mattered to invaders of all kinds now seems quaint.

    Young Republican Pizza Party

    posted by on January 30 at 12:34 PM

    I’m down in Olympia (and am eager to start reporting on a shockingly bad bill that’s come to my attention), but first I want to file a bit of a report about an event on Capitol Hill last night.

    A large crew of young Republicans met up at Piecora’s pizza at 14th and Madison last night, renting out the back room to get fired up about Dino Rossi and listen to live music. Rossi was scheduled to show up at 6:30, but got stuck on the East side of the mountains and was gonna be an hour late. I couldn’t stay.

    I had planned to ask him some questions about a few bills that are in play in Olympia. (He’d have to answer questions like that, right? Surely, Mr. “I’m not running on that” or “I haven’t made up my mind yet” gets that as a gubernatorial candidate he’s expected to address legislative business in Olympia.)

    I wanted to ask him about Governor Gregoire’s global warming bill—starting out with this: “Do you think global warming, CO2 emissions, are a problem?”

    I also wanted to ask him about the Governor’s push to add $50 million to the housing trust fund and about the tax rebate bill for Washington families. Finally, I wanted to see what he thought of the domestic partnership bill.

    However, he wasn’t around. So, I made use of my time by asking several of the young GOP voters what they thought about…Barack Obama, the candidate who’s bringing out young voters.

    What’d they think of him? Why doesn’t the GOP have a candidate that’s appealing to youth? (The wall TVs in the background were blaring with the news that Old Man McCain was sewing up their party’s nomination). And…As Republicans, would they rather run against Obama or Clinton?

    “Barack Obama is incredible,” 22-year-old Matthew Lundh told me. “When he speaks, you just have to pay attention.” He added that he thought Mike Huckabee appealed to youth as well.

    “He’s approachable. He’s listening,” said Amanda Grove, 19. “He’s got a lot of charisma.” She added that a lot of her apolitical friends were wowed by the Oprah endorsement.

    Landon Cunningham, 19, said the Democrats would be morons not to nominate Obama, who he said young people could “relate to…He’s young.” His take seemed more focused on how bad Clinton is, though. (He called her “old” and “a polarizing icon.”)

    However, a 23-old woman (she didn’t want us to use her name) sitting on the other side of the large pepperoni pizza from Cunningham, said Clinton was “more of a powerhouse” and she’d be “harder to run against.”

    Cunningham concluded that although he disagreed with Obama on all the issues (he scoffed that “Obama would withdraw the troops” and was for “big government”), he said he’d rather have Obama in the White House than Clinton. “I can’t stand her,” he said.


    I Thought That When You Had an Acoustic Guitar/It Meant That Were/A Protest Singer.

    Re: “Bipartisanship” Benefits Them, Not Us

    posted by on January 30 at 12:31 PM

    Thanks for waiting till Wednesday, Erica, that was very courteous.

    If you read Greenwald’s column, and I suggest you do, he decries the goofy “this country needs more bipartisanship” whining coming from surrogates for Bloomberg. I too think that whining is stupid, and should either be ignored or coopted. But what does this have to do with Obama?

    First, Obama has apparently passed the smell test for being open to bipartisanship. An Obama-McCain contest still appears to be the one ballot that keeps Bloomberg out of the race. (In case you’ve forgotten, keeping the pro-gay-marriage Bloomberg out of the race benefits Democrats.)

    Now let’s figure out what Obama means when he brags about his bipartisan record. Obama has demonstrated bipartisan leadership on the following happy fuzzy togetherness issues:

    Avian flu preparedness

    Meaningful ethics reform

    Badly needed death penalty reforms in the Illinois State Senate

    None of these bipartisan efforts is the least bit objectionable to progressive Ds. But you know what bipartisan effort should draw your ire? Hillary Clinton’s pandering cosponsorship of a bill to make flag-burning illegal.

    You gotta be smart about bipartisanship—you gotta claim the mantle, but not cede the ground. Obama’s claiming, and it’s working; Clinton’s ceding, and it’s failing. Rhetoric is a beautiful thing.

    John Edwards Bows Out

    posted by on January 30 at 12:30 PM

    People in the comments keep saying they really like it when we post the full, un-mediated text of significant political speeches. Here, then, is the speech John Edwards gave today in New Orleans announcing that he’s leaving the presidential race, but not the fight against poverty.

    Thank you all very much. We’re very proud to be back here.

    During the spring of 2006, I had the extraordinary experience of bringing 700 college kids here to New Orleans to work. These are kids who gave up their spring break to come to New Orleans to work, to rehabilitate houses, because of their commitment as Americans, because they believed in what was possible, and because they cared about their country.

    I began my presidential campaign here to remind the country that we, as citizens and as a government, have a moral responsibility to each other, and what we do together matters. We must do better, if we want to live up to the great promise of this country that we all love so much.

    It is appropriate that I come here today. It’s time for me to step aside so that history can blaze its path. We do not know who will take the final steps to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but what we do know is that our Democratic Party will make history. We will be strong, we will be unified, and with our convictions and a little backbone we will take back the White House in November and we’ll create hope and opportunity for this country.

    Continue reading "John Edwards Bows Out" »

    The Bellevue Landscape

    posted by on January 30 at 12:25 PM

    by Nancy Stoaks

    While three panels from the famous “Gates of Paradise” are on view at SAM, the exhibition Material Terrain: A Sculptural Exploration of Landscape and Place (through May 4 at the Bellevue Arts Museum) may remind you of another set of celebrated gates: Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s 7,503 saffron-colored fabric panels that reframed NYC’s Central Park for 16 days in February 2005.

    In the exhibition catalogue for Material Terrain, Glenn Harper (editor of Sculpture magazine) writes that The Gates were remarkable for their element of “aesthetic surprise”—prompting awareness of what normally remains unseen. Material Terrain is based on a similar premise. It brings together 11 artists who, through various means, make us look more closely at our surroundings.

    There’s a reason why the exhibition title sounds ambiguous. Curator Carla Hanzal, from the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC, would like the works to bridge diverse issues, among them the tension between what is natural and artificial, the allure/possible folly of genetic engineering, cycles of cultivation and consumption, and a nostalgia for landscapes that no longer exist. Roxy Paine’s scientifically precise depictions of dry rot and fungi meet, for example, Dennis Oppenheim’s reindeer with flaming antlers.

    Ursula von Rydingsvard and Kendall Buster provide some of the most evocative works in the show. Like Joseph Beuys, von Rydingsvard uses a medium replete with symbolic associations. Her cedar constructions—minimal in form, based on the simple structure of a column or a set of stairs—boldly feature cracks and roughly textured surfaces, challenging the rationality and perfection that we like to create in built environments. By contrast, Buster’s steel armature aspires to that rationality and perfection, yet remains unsettling. Hovering in air and familiar only in its resemblance to the molecules we studied in high school science classes, her model for an architectural space could be meant to protect or to control.

    Ursula von Rydingsvard’s Hej-Duk, cedar, 9.9 by 8.9 by 11.8 feet, 2003

    Kendall Buster’s Parabiosis III, steel, electrical cable fasteners, shadecloth, 2.5 by 3 by 6.7 feet, 2004

    Material Terrain was designed to expand beyond the museum into the landscape surrounding it: more than half the works in the exhibition are suitable for installation outdoors. In this regard, I regretted seeing BAM’s presentation of Material Terrain largely confined to gallery spaces. Of course, the museum’s location in the heart of downtown Bellevue prevented them from doing much else, but I have to wonder what the impact of works like those above or Donald Lipski’s cast-resin logs (“believable” in every way except for their improbable shapes) would be outside the walls of the gallery.

    Still, Material Terrain represents a step in the right direction for a museum that is still in the process of inventing itself. While BAM’s tagline advertises art, craft, and design, the latter two disciplines have been dominant since the museum’s reopening in 2005. Maybe this exhibition signals a healthier balance between all three.

    What Happens Now: Republican Edition

    posted by on January 30 at 12:20 PM

    Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

    So, after five contests that did little more than rid the field of the likes of political giants Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, and Tommy Thompson (who made the decision to winnow himself long before any actual electoral embarrassment could), last night’s Florida Republican primary may finally be the contest that causes one person to emerge as a possible nominee.

    John McCain won big last night, and he’s looking fierce in general election polling already:

    With John McCain now the true front-runner for the GOP nomination, it will soon be time to start testing the theory that, if nominated, he would stand a good chance of winning in November, despite all the negative trends for his party in this election cycle. Rasmussen’s latest head-to-head numbers show McCain jumping to beyond-the-MOE leads over both Hillary Clinton (plus 8) and Barack Obama (plus 6) — and those results are from a survey that was completed before McCain won the Florida primary last night.

    As for everyone else?

    - The undisputed loser from last night, Rudy Giuliani, will be endorsing John McCain at the Reagan Library just prior to tonights big GOP debate. The autopsy of the Giuliani campaign has already begun: Jonathan “Politico” Martin’s take is here, Mark “The Page” Halperin’s is here.

    - Mitt Romney is going to continue his campaign. The AP reports that Camp Romney is presently debating where the Romney message will play best, how hard to hit McCain at the debate tonight, and how much of his personal fortune he intends to spend on the campaign.

    - Huckabee? It should be noted that I had to go digging deep into Google news to find out what exactly Huckabee is up to in these days before Super Tuesday. His strategy seems to be heading to the states with the most organized evangelical voting blocks and hoping for the best. He’s totally vanishing from the national horserace narrative (yes, narrative).

    - The Ron Paul Blimp is finished (and so are my dreams). More to come on this later today.

    Dailies Miss Opportunity to Revamp Dumb Ethics Policy

    posted by on January 30 at 12:15 PM

    As Dan mentioned earlier, David Postman at the Seattle Times spilled more than 700 words this morning on the subject of whether Impartial Journalistic Ethical Objective Journalistic Journalists should be allowed to participate in presidential caucuses, vote, or express even innocuous political convictions.

    Unlike Dan, though, I do care about this policy—because it’s outdated and unrealistic, and it needs to go.

    Postman writes:

    Management says people involved in political news should not participate at all and others are strongly discouraged from doing so and told to inform their supervisor if they plan to take part in either the Feb. 9 caucus or Feb. 19 primary.

    Executive Editor David Boardman has posted a note about the subject on the Times internal Web site. Management’s position relies on the Times Code of Ethics section on political activity, which begins with this:

    Our profession demands impartiality as well as the appearance of impartiality. Public political activity puts that at risk, and is discouraged.

    It also says:

    Staff members should avoid active involvement in any partisan causes that compromise the reader’s trust in the newspaper’s ability to report and edit fairly. Public political activities that may raise concerns include contributing money, signing petitions, wearing political buttons, displaying bumper stickers, publicly espousing a cause, or participating in demonstrations.

    Ugh. Are we really still having this debate? OBVIOUSLY, Times journalists aren’t impartial—they’re human, right? And presumably somewhat well informed?—so the first part is ridiculous on its face. As for the second part: What does management do—police the parking lot to make sure nobody has a “Hate is not a family value” or “Love your mother Earth” sticker on their car? It’s pretty unrealistic to think that reporters who cover politics have the ability to do so without forming opinions about the people and races they cover. I realize this has been Times and P-I policy for ages, but this hotly contested—and highly emotional—presidential election could have been an opportunity for the dailies to reform their outdated, unrealistic, ethics policies. Instead, the Times used it as an opportunity to parade an above-it-all superiority that has never existed except in management’s minds.

    Incidentally, the Stranger does not, as far as I know, have an official policy on political participation, but informally, we’re encouraged to participate, caucus, vote, support candidates, argue, and have political opinions. I can’t imagine what the office (and this blog) would be like if we couldn’t. Boring, I guess, if the dailies’ blogs are any indication.

    Anal Bleaching

    posted by on January 30 at 11:45 AM

    I declared anal bleaching a “myth” on a recent installment of the Savage Lovecast. That was wishful thinking on my part. Here’s the proof (NSFW).

    Press G7 For A Big Bag of Indo

    posted by on January 30 at 11:41 AM

    Vending machines have long been used to hawk everything from Skittles and sandwiches to juice and java, but now one is being used to offer a new product: medical marijuana.

    Not just anyone can pop some coins in and get some bud. The machine, developed by Los Angeles medical-marijuana dispensary owner Vincent Mehdizadeh, gives up to an ounce of pot per week only to preapproved patients.

    No word on whether the machine will also dispense Starburst and Fritos.

    (Confidential to our office managers: can we get one of these to put next to the Coke machine?)

    SPD’s Gang Unit Investigates Another Shooting

    posted by on January 30 at 11:35 AM

    The Seattle Police Department is investigating another shooting, which happened over the weekend.

    Last Saturday, just before midnight, SPD received a 911 call about shots fired in the 5500 block of South 119th street.

    Officers arrived and found an 18-year-old man lying in the back seat of a 1991 Cadillac Deville, who, according to a police report, had been “shot multiple times in different parts of his body.”

    The man was transported to Harborview. His current condition is unknown.

    SPD’s Gang Unit is taking part in the investigation.

    “Bipartisanship” Benefits Them, Not Us

    posted by on January 30 at 11:20 AM

    As I mentioned yesterday, I’m concerned by Obama’s talk of “bipartisanship”—specifically, the idea that if he’s elected, both Republicans and Democrats will rally around “a common purpose,” stop bickering over “partisan” issues, and unite to support the President’s (his) policies. He’s put out ads featuring prominent Republicans (ads that, by the way, didn’t play well with actual Republican voters) and said he’d appoint a Cabinet including Republicans such as Chuck Hagel and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    Today, Salon’s Glenn Greenwald has a piece arguing that “bipartisanship” has done nothing for Democrats or Democratic policies. In Congress, “bipartisanship” has meant that “enough Democrats join with all of the Republicans to endorse and enact into law Republican policies, with which most Democratic voters disagree.” In almost every case, bills that have passed with “bipartisan” support have been Republican bills favored by the Bush Administration and supported by every single Republican. They include the Bush-supported FISA (unwarranted wiretaps) bill, a resolution condemning’s Petraeus ad, a resolution declaring English to be America’s official language, renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act, and confirmation of Bush appointee Samuel Alito to the Supreme Co

    In almost every case, Democratic “bipartisans” have joined with lockstep Republicans to pass Republican laws. This is what bipartisanship means in Washington. Is it really what we want in a President?

    (Thanks to Slog tipper Josh.)

    Today in Black Houses

    posted by on January 30 at 11:04 AM

    According to Boing Boing, Anton LaVey’s famous Black House in San Francisco has been turned into condos.

    After falling into disrepair, the Black House was sadly demolished in 2001. The current owners of the property built three cheesy condominiums in its place that are just now up for sale.

    Anton LaVey, of course, is the founder of the Church of Satan.

    This has nothing to do with the Black Houses of Olympia, those magical and secretive punk/artists residences owned by a man known locally as “the Dark Dentist.”


    posted by on January 30 at 11:00 AM

    In a small dark room painted forest green tucked into the third floor of the Seattle Art Museum, you’ll find Lorenzo Ghiberti’s 500-year-old Gates of Paradise. The Gates are not really gates; they’re three gleaming golden panels, spotlit like diamonds on dark velvet, held inside clear oxygen-free cases filled with nitrogen.

    The heist-movie lighting is more fun—and, literally, more illuminating—than the way the panels appeared when I caught them two months ago at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There, they were subsumed in another tableau, installed in the reconstructed patio of an early 16th-century Spanish governor’s castle, slightly overcome by the natural light streaming in.

    Truth be told, there is no bad way to see Ghiberti’s gilt-bronzed reliefs. They are spectacular objects. To make them, Ghiberti revived the Roman lost-wax casting technique. He created 10 panels to be installed in the door of the Baptistery of the Duomo in Florence—and all together, they stood 20 feet tall and weighed a mighty three tons. It was a project that took Ghiberti and his crew 27 years to complete, from 1425 to 1452. Legend has it that Michelangelo dubbed them “the Gates of Paradise,” and Michelangelo’s famous Adam-and-God-touching-hands moment at the Sistine Chapel echoes Ghiberti’s depiction (see bottom left below).


    The panels—3 of the 10 are at SAM, each 31.5 square inches—synthesize tradition and innovation. In keeping with medieval style, Ghiberti portrayed several scenes in a single panel: the creation of Eve from Adam’s rib (see front and center above), Adam and Eve with the serpent (back left), the expulsion (front right).

    He dispensed with other traditions. He blended emerging perspectival rules of painting and the in-the-round depth of sculpture. He scrapped the limited frame of the Gothic quatrefoil seen on other sides of the Baptistery. These panels are open squares, waiting for action.

    They get action. Seemingly every millimeter of depth is used to create the range of relief. Figures and objects in the farthest distance are given the least detail. And relief is related to time: At the top right of the Adam and Eve panel above, check out the angel at the middle right, coasting through the archway and into the real space of the viewer. She becomes dimensional as she moves.

    Some of the objects in the highest relief have broken off over time, but for the most part, the panels are in mint condition.

    In a single panel, Ghiberti makes room for an army of soldiers, and an entire cityscape. Here’s his teeming, urban vision of the David and Goliath story:


    If you’re wondering why that one is more worn, it’s because it hung lower. It suffered from the affections of admirers.

    The third and final panel is the tale of Jacob and Esau, using the trope of the raked floor and graduated arches to achieve perspective.


    (As an aside, this summer I visited Borromini’s perspective gallery in Rome, where an attendant walks the distance to puncture the illusion. Here it is:


    The distance looks 37 meters long, but is only 8 meters long. The sculpture at the far end looks life-size, but is only 60 centimeters high.)

    This exhibition, The Gates of Paradise: Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Renaissance Masterpiece, is at SAM through April 6. It stopped in Atlanta, Chicago, and New York before this, and marks the first time the panels have traveled outside Italy to be displayed. SAM is the last stop before they return to Florence to be mounted permanently at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. It’s said they’ll never tour again.

    The current tour is a way to show off the restoration of the panels, which were ravaged by the elements in all their years outdoors, culminating in a 1966 flood of the city that tore six of the panels right off the doors. Today, when you visit the Baptistery, you see replicas. The originals have been undergoing restoration for more than 25 years.

    There’s much explanation in the exhibition about the cutting-edge laser technique that has cleaned the reliefs while preserving the gilding—so that you’re seeing what Ghiberti and company actually did (look for gilding brushstrokes), not a restorer’s in-fill—but the real drama takes place in the art, not the restoration. I’ve seen this show twice already. I’ll be back at least that many times.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on January 30 at 11:00 AM

    The End

    Laffhole w/Randy Liedke at Chop Suey

    The Week of Fun saves the best for last. Laff Hole, the weekly showcase put on by the People’s Republic of Komedy, is arguably the best comedy show in town. Along with the regular cast of crazies, this week’s show features the amazing Randy Liedke, a surreal mountain man with a heart of gold, who will be filming a DVD. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 9 pm, $5, 21+.)


    Sonics… Win?

    posted by on January 30 at 10:33 AM

    Go Team

    As the buzzer sounded last night, barely audible through the riotous cheers in Key Arena, Sonics point guard Luke Ridnour chucked the basketball in the air, presumably to celebrate a victory in a nail-biter of a game. To celebrate snapping a 14-game losing streak, the longest in franchise history. To celebrate beating the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs. To celebrate the damn near impossible.

    Time froze for me as I watched that ball fly, because for whatever reason, Ridnour hurled it toward the opposing basket. In that moment, in spite of the crowd’s roar, my ears heard absolutely nothing in Key Arena, save one low, guttural whisper—the mumblings of Sonics chairman Clay Bennett. “Make it make it make it make it make it.”

    But even the owner’s anti-Seattle hopes couldn’t will that ball into hilariously tying the game back up, sending it into overtime and somehow screwing the Sonics into yet another loss. Nor could a seemingly endless series of awful referee calls—during the game, I saw three clean blocks called as fouls against Seattle, turning our team’s surprising and promising defensive boost into a frigging liability as the San An Floppers flailed and faked to keep themselves in the game. And even when the Sonics’ defense fell apart in the fourth quarter—as it always does, PJ—the Spurs couldn’t capitalize on it, jacking up awful open shot after awful open shot to continue the champs’ descent into mid-season mediocrity (now 11-13 in their past 24 games, making this loss a little less surprising than it should be). 88-85. I watched the whole thing in person and barely believed it myself.

    But the Spurs lost this game as much as the Sonics won it. Kevin Durant started strong and delivered a clutch go-ahead jumper in the game’s final minutes. Johan Petro whooped some ass in his few minutes on the court, blocking shots on one end and rattling the rim on the other. Nick Collison’s few minutes were similarly tenacious (though muted by those awful calls). Lots of scrambling, fighting and tipping led to the team’s key victory in outrebounding the Spurs. And in spite of the entire crowd screaming “DON’T SHOOT THE BALL, KURT THOMAS,” the center managed to sink two clutch jumpers in the fourth, both of which rattled atop the rim long enough to give Bennett a temporary, schadenfreude-induced hard-on.

    The Western Conference may be all but lost—as might the team’s hometown status—but at least the players aren’t acting like it.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on January 30 at 10:30 AM


    Liza vonRosenstiel’s Whirlwind, oil on canvas, 30 by 30, 2007

    At Davidson Contemporary.

    An Oil Drilling Operation at Spiral Jetty

    posted by on January 30 at 10:29 AM

    Tyler over at MAN just forwarded a very worrisome letter from Robert Smithson’s widow, the artist Nancy Holt. To protest, respond today. It reads:

    Yesterday I received an urgent email from Lynn DeFreitas, Director of Friends of the Great Salt Lake, telling me of plans for drilling oil in the Salt Lake near Spiral Jetty. The deadline for protest is (today) Wednesday, at 5PM. Of course, DIA has been informed and are meeting about it today.

    I have been told by Lynn that the oil wells will not be above the water, but that means some kind of industrial complex of pipes and pumps beneath the water and on the shore. The operation would require roads for oil tank trucks, cranes, pumps etc. which produce noise and will severely alter the wild, natural place.

    If you want to send a letter of protest to save the beautiful, natural Utah environment around the Spiral Jetty from oil drilling, the emails or calls of protest go to Jonathan Jemming 801-537-9023 Please refer to Application #8853. Every letter makes a big difference, they do take a lot of notice and know that publicity may follow. Since the Spiral Jetty has global significance, emails from foreign countries would be of special value.

    They try to slip these drilling contracts under the radar, that¹s why we found out so late, not through notification, but from a watchdog lawyer at the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the group that alerted me to the land leasing for oil and gas near Sun Tunnels last May.

    Don’t Piss Off Harry Truman

    posted by on January 30 at 10:23 AM

    Margaret Truman Daniel, daughter of President Harry S. Truman, has died. She was 83.


    An accomplished mystery writer and TV personality, Mrs. Daniel was also once a singer.

    A curious anecdote from her life was a performance in December of 1950 at the famed Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. The performance did not go well. The next day, Washington Post critic Paul Hume’s review of the show was brutal, containing lines such as:

    …Miss Truman cannot sing very well…

    …There are few moments during her recital when one can relax and feel confident that she will make her goal, which is to end the song

    …She communicates almost nothing of the music she presents… And yet still the public goes and pays the same price it would for the world’s finest singers

    …[A]s long as Miss Truman sings as she has for three years, and does today, we seem to have no recourse unless it is to omit comment on her programs altogether.

    So pissed off was President Truman after reading the review that he dashed off an angry letter to Hume. David McCullough reprinted the letter in his great biography Truman:

    Mr. Hume: I’ve just read your lousy review of Margaret’s concert. I’ve come to the conclusion that you are an “eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay.”

    It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful. When you write such poppy-cock as was in the back section of the paper you work for it shows conclusively that you’re off the beam and at least four of your ulcers are at work.

    Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you’ll need to a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!

    [Westbrook] Pegler, a gutter snipe, is a gentleman alongside you. I hope you’ll accept that statement as a worse insult than a reflection on your ancestry.

    Hume and his editor decided it would be unseemly to print Truman’s letter. But copies had already circulated, and the Washington News, in true tabloid fashion, put the letter on page 1. The resulting scandal filled the letters pages of newspapers across the country — and Mrs. Daniel’s singing career never recovered.

    Slog Poll: Electability

    posted by on January 30 at 10:20 AM

    The electability question has been huge in Democratic circles this year. “Which Democratic candidate will be strongest against which Republican in the general election?” A lot of people are making their decisions based on this query, but until now it’s been hard to handle all the possible permutations: Edwards vs. Giuliani? Clinton vs. Huckabee? Obama vs. Romney?

    Today it just got a lot easier. With Edwards and Giuliani dropping out, we’re left with what seems to be a two-person race in both the Republican and Democratic fields: Clinton and Obama on one side vs. McCain and Romney on the other. Hence, two new Slog polls that revel in the politics of fewer permutations. Remember to vote in both.

    Who do you think is more likely to beat John McCain in the general election?

    Who do you think is more likely to beat Mitt Romney in the general election?

    And: Why?

    Fetish of the Day

    posted by on January 30 at 10:13 AM


    A lonely Japanese man has been arrested for allegedly calling directory assistance thousands of times because he liked to be scolded by female operators, police and reports said on Wednesday.

    Takahiro Fujinuma—who is 37, single and unemployed—reportedly would whisper “darling” as he tried to start a conversation and then pleaded with operators not to hang up.

    Confidential to the Seattle Times

    posted by on January 30 at 9:48 AM

    While we don’t think someone should have to renounce his or her rights as a citizen to become a journalist, we really don’t care if your editors and reporters take part in the Washington state caucuses or not.

    And prohibiting your reporters from taking part in a caucus? I’d love to see someone do it anyway, get fired, and then sue for wrongful termination. That would make an interesting case.

    Is Mad Cow a Disease? Or Is It Revenge?

    posted by on January 30 at 9:42 AM

    Okay, this video from the Humane Society is going to keep me off beef for at least a year:

    An investigation by The Humane Society of the United States at a cattle slaughterhouse has documented that animals too sick or injured to stand or walk—called “downers” by industry—have been kicked, beaten, dragged with chains, shocked with electric prods, sprayed in the face with hoses, and pushed by forklifts in efforts to get them to their feet to pass USDA inspection. This unacceptable cruelty potentially puts the food supply at risk—at least 12 of the 15 identified cases of mad cow disease in North America to date have reportedly been downers.

    A humane society—gee, wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in one?

    Via Americablog.

    Sen. Patty Murray Endorses Clinton

    posted by on January 30 at 9:35 AM

    This means Washington State’s two Senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, now both back Hillary Clinton:

    “Hillary and I both came to Washington together in 1993, and since that time she hasn’t stopped working on the priorities that matter most to America’s families,” Murray said.

    “Together we have partnered to pass strong port security legislation, stand up to an Administration that put ideology above science, and provide the care that our nation’s veterans have earned. She understands the challenges that face us here in Washington state from security at our Northern Border to cleaning up Hanford. Hillary is ready to lead this nation from her first day in office and deliver the change we need.”

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on January 30 at 9:25 AM


    Youth pastor Matthew C. Porter, 30, of Ellenton was charged this month with nine counts of video voyeurism, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. He is accused of videotaping students ages 12 to 16 over a two-year period at a home in Ellenton and at an apartment in Bradenton.

    Prosecutors and detectives reviewed the tapes and conducted interviews.

    They say Porter confessed, saying he made the tapes for his sexual gratification. Porter resigned from the church in July. He will plead not guilty to the charges, his attorney said. Authorities say Porter taped the children undressing in a bathroom and in a bedroom.


    A one-time Toledo Board of Education candidate and a former youth pastor at a local church will go to trial March 17 on several counts of child endangering….

    Mr. Brown, 34, is accused of abusing two brothers, now ages 16 and 18, whom he met while a youth pastor at Friendship Baptist Church, 5301 Nebraska Ave.

    According to the prosecutor’s office, two of the endangering counts involve coercing the boys into posing for inappropriate photos and two counts involve corporal punishment.


    posted by on January 30 at 9:25 AM

    Lots going on in politics today. (See here and here.) Dropouts, big endorsements, winnowed fields. In honor of the shake-up:

    Is Clay Aiken Asexual?

    posted by on January 30 at 9:15 AM


    ABC News wants to know, and devotes an impressive amount of ink to mulling it over.

    In a recent interview with New York magazine, Aiken said that he has never had a romantic relationship and has no interest in finding one, either. [W]hen asked whether he ever has sexual “urges” or “needs,” Aiken responded, “I mean, not really. I’ve just kind of shut it off, maybe. Is that bad?”

    “My experience is that people who are leading non-sexual lives are often sad, depressed and confused about it,” said sex therapist Ian Kerner to ABC News. “[T]hey think it’s easier to be asexual than to acknowledge their unique sexuality and identity.”

    Read the whole odd thing here.

    American Beer

    posted by on January 30 at 9:00 AM

    The beer for those at the top of things:

    “How about that thirst?”

    The beer for those at the bottom of everything:

    “You look at what we have and buy!”

    The Morning News

    posted by on January 30 at 8:53 AM

    57 Delegates: McCain wins the Florida GOP primary.

    Dropping Out: Giuliani and Edwards. Guiliani backs McCain, Edwards has yet to endorse.

    The Big Slowdown: The U.S. economy grew at a meager .06% last quarter. Meanwhile, the Fed is expected to cut interest rates yet again today.

    When Urban Legends Become Fact: Some 500 people in India are missing kidneys thanks to a group of sick doctors.

    Still Listening: Congress extended the expanded intelligence surveillance laws yesterday after the White House threatened a veto.

    The Torture Party: Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused to discuss waterboarding before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Pink Slips: After a dismal fourth quarter, Yahoo! will cut 1,000 jobs.

    “You Can Win, and You Can Win Properly”: UW President Mark Emmert responds to the Seattle Times’ series on the 2000 Husky football team.

    Shannon Harps: King County prosecutors call her murder a “random predatory violent killing.”

    Buy Organic: This is scary:

    Government promises to rid the nation’s food supply of brain-damaging pesticides aren’t doing the job, according to the results of a yearlong study that carefully monitored the diets of a group of local children.

    The peer-reviewed study found that the urine and saliva of children eating a variety of conventional foods from area groceries contained biological markers of organophosphates, the family of pesticides spawned by the creation of nerve gas agents in World War II.

    More Oversight, More Transparency: Mayor Nickels backs a review board’s recommendations for the Seattle Police Department.

    Military Honors: Staff Sgt. Jon Hilliard and Sgt. 1st Class Ismael Iban, two Fort Lewis soldiers, are to be awarded the Silver Star for service in Iraq.

    Vote Johnson:

    Fear of Flying

    posted by on January 30 at 8:46 AM

    An Air Canada flight made an emergency landing in Ireland after a pilot apparently suffered a mental breakdown. A passenger said the pilot was carried from the plane shouting and swearing, saying he wanted to talk “to God”….

    One of the passengers, Sean Finucane, said he saw the co-pilot being carried into the cabin in restraints. “He was very, very distraught. He was yelling loudly at times,” he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

    “He was swearing and asking for God and very distressed. He basically said he wanted to talk to God.”

    Edwards Out

    posted by on January 30 at 6:39 AM

    Now it’s a two man—er, now it’s down to Clinton and Obama.

    Tuesday, January 29, 2008

    “It’s not over ‘till it’s over!”

    posted by on January 29 at 8:49 PM

    And it’s over. Rudy Giuliani’s concession speech—enjoy.

    Florida Results

    posted by on January 29 at 5:22 PM

    Clinton wins the Democratic primary—in which no delegates were at stake.

    On the Republican side, with 25 percent of precincts reporting, it’s:

    McCain 34, Romney 31, Giuliani 16, Huckabee 14

    UPDATE: McCain wins Florida, while talk of an endorsement by the now dead-in-the-water Giuliani swirls.

    Mark Your Calendar

    posted by on January 29 at 5:00 PM

    Super (Duper) Tuesday is exactly one week away. Where are you going to be when the results come in?

    How about with us? You know you’ve always wanted to see Ecce Homo and Erica C. Barnett in the same room. You know you’re dying to hear Annie Wagner read from her “independent academic” dissertation, Post-Racial Politics in the Pre-Inaugural Barack Obama Era. You know you want to listen to Josh Feit yell at a flat screen television and maybe watch Dan Savage roll his eyes. Now you can.

    The Stranger and friends are hosting a party to watch next Tuesday’s potentially election-defining results at Moe Bar. Details:

    Feb. 5

    5 pm until whenever a winner gets declared in American Samoa

    Drink specials on Blujitos and double price for Red Beers

    Plasma TVs

    And more!

    See you then.

    Looks Like We Won’t Have Melanie McFarland to Kick Around Anymore

    posted by on January 29 at 4:56 PM

    Wait—did we ever get around to kicking McFarland around? I don’t think we did. And now it’s too late.

    Rudy’s Florida Strategy

    posted by on January 29 at 4:51 PM

    It seems to be paying off. Rudy is way out in front… of Ron Paul. For a change.

    “Questions For Barack Obama”

    posted by on January 29 at 4:45 PM

    OK, I couldn’t resist.

    Responding to the SOTU address, Senator Obama concluded his remarks with the following:
    Each year, as we watch the State of the Union, we see half the chamber rise to applaud the President and half the chamber stay in their seats. We see half the country tune in to watch, but know that much of the country has stopped even listening. Imagine if next year was different. Imagine if next year, the entire nation had a president they could believe in. A president who rallied all Americans around a common purpose. That’s the kind of President we need in this country. And with your help in the coming days and weeks, that’s the kind of President I will be.

    That sounds awesome—truly, it does. But I’ve got a few questions.

    1. Why will the Republican members of Congress rise to applaud you, and the conservative half of the nation tune in to support you, unless you pursue an agenda that appeals to them? How do you pursue an agenda that appeals to conservatives, but is also progressive?

    2. What is the common purpose around which you envision the country rallying? Do you regard “transcending partisanship” an end in itself, and do you foresee the GOP rallying around this goal? If so, how and why do you imagine that will happen?

    3. Assume for a moment that you are nominated and subsequently elected, and, despite being “the kind of president” in whom Americans can believe, the profound partisan rancor that currently plagues the nation doesn’t evaporate, that Americans fail to rally around a common purpose. What is Plan B? Do you move ever rightward trying to find support among those who refuse to rally, or do you say “Screw ‘em,” and go leftward to honor those who voted for you?

    They’re good questions, ones I’d like to hear Obama answer substantively (rather than with vague appeals for optimism and hope). Read the rest here.

    Wait, Who Are the 18-to-24s Voting for, Again?

    posted by on January 29 at 4:39 PM

    In a really depressing piece of news, the National Endowment for the Arts has found that nearly half of all 18-to-24-year-olds don’t read for pleasure at all. Meanwhile, Americans ages 15 to 24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV, and only seven minutes reading anything at all. (In fairness to the kids, older folks are only a bit better, with only 59 percent of adults between 25 and 44 reading books that aren’t required for work or school.)

    King County Files Charges In Harps Murder

    posted by on January 29 at 4:15 PM

    This afternoon, the King County Prosecutor’s office filed charges against James Anthony Williams for the murder of Shannon Harps.

    This has been all over the news today, but I wanted to share an incredibly haunting passage from the charging papers, written by one of the detectives.

    At first [Williams] denied any involvement in this murder. He then admitted that he’d killed Shannon Harps. He described in detail seeing her walk on 16th Ave. and he started following her. He said he had no reason to pick her. He did not know her prior to this event, and later said that Harps had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    He followed her into the stairwell and just started stabbing her multiple times. He said he had no sexual motive, no robbery motive, or any other motive. He just wanted to kill her.

    As Part of My Semiserious Bid Not to Post About Hillary Or Obama…

    posted by on January 29 at 4:08 PM


    I bring you news about Amy Winehouse:

    Amy Winehouse’s mum says she’ll be dead in a year

    Janis Winehouse has only watched it once: the grainy video of her daughter Amy doped up on Valium and smoking crack cocaine. But she knows its significance.

    “I’ve known for a long time that my daughter has problems,” she says, numbly. “But seeing it on screen rammed it home. I realise my daughter could be dead within the year. We’re watching her kill herself, slowly.

    “I’ve already come to terms with her dead. I’ve steeled myself to ask her what ground she wants to be buried in, which cemetery. Because the drugs will get her if she stays on this road.

    “She’s invited me to the Grammy awards next month, but part of me thinks she won’t be alive by then.”

    A) I fucking love British tabloids.

    B) This woman seriously does not know how to shut up. Seriously, the writer lets her yammer on for like 2,000 more words.

    C) Annie: You’re welcome. (You too, Obamatons!)

    In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

    posted by on January 29 at 4:07 PM

    One Shot: The new Mountain Goat’s video and other single shot video treasures.

    SXSW Breakfast Taco: Full of gooey Zooey Deschanel.

    New Gnarls Barkley: Sounds like the Go! Team.

    Tonight in Music: Liars and No Age at Showbox at the Market.

    Today’s Music News: Emo lives, Britney cries, free music dies, and Gwen gets pregnant again.

    Orgone Doner: TJ Gorton says Orgone has a lot more to offer.

    LL Cool J Says: Don’t call it what it is.

    PWRFL Power’s Tour Diary: Kaz eats McDonald’s and almost gets married.

    Good Impressions: Josh Feit on the wonders of Curtis Mayfield’s pop group.

    Gallows Are Not Assholes: (I don’t think) and they killed it at last night’s show.

    My Saviours: Jeff Kirby on the best metal record to come out in the last year.

    Proto-What?: Trent Moorman asks for the definition of proto-grunge.


    A New Study Says Afghanistan Could Fail as a State

    posted by on January 29 at 3:46 PM

    The Associated Press reports.

    Any of you politicos out there—calling Annie? Erica?—know the Democratic candidates’ stances on Afghanistan?

    “You’ve Gotta Find That Boogie Body”

    posted by on January 29 at 2:58 PM

    With all this talk of politics, more politics, and the gayest argument known to man currently filling up Slog, I hereby submit this for your viewing pleasure.


    posted by on January 29 at 2:45 PM

    The New Yorker is running a contest to find a thoroughly 2008 Eustace Tilly.


    Eustace Tilly, of course, is the dandy/mascot who appeared on the cover of the first issue of the New Yorker in 1924, shown above, and Tilly’s appeared on the cover at regular intervals ever since. Here are the contest submissions so far. Andrew Sullivan has been posting some of the entrants to his widely, wildly, crazily, ginormously influential blog. Like this buff, urban, presumably heterosexual Eustace:


    Well today Sullivan posted a link to what Sullivan is calling the “gay Eustace”…


    And of Gay Eustace, Sullivan has this to say…

    Suspended between the past and the future, like the rest of us.

    Hmph. Any fool can see what Sullivan means by that crack: Gay Eustace, in his leather vest, cap, arm bands, gloves, and dog collar, looks down his nose at a gold band. Gay Eustace contemplates the wedding ring and the future it represents, a future characterized by family and commitment. The leather gear Gay Eustice wears, of course, represents a past characterized by promiscuity and sexual excess. When Sullivan asserts that Gay Eustace is suspended between the past and the future, between the wedding band and the leather gear, he is arguing that commitment and dog collars are mutually exclusive. To move into the former you must, Sullivan would have us believe, unbuckle the latter.

    That is not the case. A man, gay or straight, can wear a wedding band and enjoy all it symbolizes—commitment, stability, family—and wear the fetishized skins of dead animals if that appeals to him. In fact, we should encourage him to do so.

    If we want to strengthen the institution of marriage—and that is what all in the gay family values movement want (although I’m starting to have my doubts about Mr. Sullivan)—we must fight with every tool at our disposal the pernicious notion that marriage, by definition, must always and everywhere signify the death of sexual experimentation and adventure. A man, gay or straight, can be married and trot about Manhattan in a dog collar, if it pleases him and his spouse. And he should be able to do without the depth or sincerity of his commitment being called into question. Just as we don’t presume that a man wearing a wedding band is incapable of adultery, Mr. Sullivan, we shouldn’t presume that man in a leather vest is incapable of commitment.

    Sexual dissatisfaction and boredom are frequently cited by divorcing couples as a factors in their decision to split up. If we wish to stem the tide of divorce, Mr. Sullivan, we should not promote the idea that life presents us with an either/or choice between wedding bands and leather outfits in appallingly bad taste. We should make singles and couples, gay and straight, aware that they can have their commitments and their sexual adventures too.

    Full disclosure: My boyfriend and I are going to IML this year.

    Here Come the Feb. 5 Commercials

    posted by on January 29 at 2:30 PM

    Meanwhile, the Clinton and Obama camps are busy pre-spinning the significance of today’s primary vote in Florida. Dueling media conference calls aimed at affecting tonight’s coverage (one of them featuring John Kerry) can be listened to here and here.

    UPDATE: Oh, and here come the Feb. 5 commercials, Spanish edition:

    Who Gets Fired from the Force?

    posted by on January 29 at 2:05 PM

    Today’s PI examines how many local police officers accused of lying got fired. In short: Most didn’t, and some weren’t even investigated. In the five years prior to July 2007, only 13 officers in the study’s sample were booted from the force, but more than two-dozen kept their badges.

    Among them, a Tacoma officer accused of falsifying sick-leave reports in 2004; a Federal Way officer who allegedly tried to cover up improperly throwing away drug evidence in 2002; and a King County sergeant accused of making “misleading statements” about her alleged pressuring of a subordinate regarding a public sex arrest case.

    Apparently, accusations of making “misleading statements” and “throwing away” drugs is fine. Another officer got off with a slap on the wrist after allegedly leaving his firearm unattended, allowing someone to fire the gun. So what is a firing offense?

    A Mountlake Terrace police officer, Jonathan Wender, has accused his department and the Snohomish County prosecutor’s office in a federal lawsuit of railroading him with a bogus dishonesty charge because he has favored the decriminalization of some drug use.

    Wender had been with the department for 15 years when he was terminated Oct. 19, 2005. His lawsuit says he had had no significant disciplinary issues.

    “In Sgt. Wender’s case, a substantial reason this sanction was imposed and resulted in his termination was his advocacy of drug policy reform, speech that was disapproved of by the defendants but protected by the First Amendment,” the lawsuit said.

    Wender was a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (L.E.A.P.). That may have ired the department’s brass, but it’s not against the rules because he was speaking on his own behalf. “They don’t like what he’s saying,” says Jack Cole, a former New Jersey undercover narcotics detective and director of L.E.A.P.

    Wender’s official charge, according to the PI, was “failing to follow up on a citizen’s tip about a drug-growing operation.” But that sounds bogus. Officers in Snohomish County can’t possibly respond to every pot-garden tip —it’s considered the leading marijuana-producing county in our bud-basket of a state. But it makes for a plausible-sounding reason to can Wender. I called the Mountlake Police Department but they couldn’t verify the reason for his firing without a formal records request.

    But we throw the Constitution out the window when drugs are involved. The same way Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable searches are suspended when drugs are suspected, this officer’s First Amendment right to speak on his own behalf was cast aside. “For one, police departments in the U.S. average about 20 percent of their funding from the war on drugs,” says Cole. “If you’re a police administrator, it’s not good to have your working members speaking against it.”

    But Did He Mention Public Transit? No, He Did Not.

    posted by on January 29 at 1:13 PM

    Although, as Josh noted earlier, Think Progress did a pretty thorough job calling bullshit on Bush’s final SOTU last night, one thing they didn’t mention was that Bush’s “energy independence” proposal (how I hate that phrase!) completely ignored one of the most effective means of reducing oil dependence and greenhouse gases: Investing in public transportation.

    Fortunately, the American Public Transportation Association (responsible for some of the most focused, righteous press releases EVER) is on the case:

    With high gas prices, many Americans are feeling the pinch and using public transportation is one way that they can save money. President Bush talked about a plan to put more money in the average citizen’s pocket. What he failed to mention was that households that use public transportation save more than $6,200 every year, compared to a household with no access to public transportation. This is a significant amount of money and represents more than the average household pays for food each year.

    While mentioning energy independence, President Bush failed to recognize that public transportation is part of the solution, saving 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline every year. This is the equivalent of 108 million cars filling up, almost 300,000 each day. One of the quickest ways to reduce our country’s dependence on oil is for people to use the public transportation system in their community. If public transportation was expanded so that more Americans could use public transit, this savings would grow and our national goal of realizing energy independence would be closer to being achieved.

    Public transportation is more effective at reducing greenhouse gases than environmentally friendly household activities which everyone should do, such as home weatherizing, changing to efficient light bulbs, and using efficient appliances. An individual switching to public transit can reduce their daily carbon emissions by 20 pounds; that’s more than 4,800 pounds in a year. Compare this to:

    Home weatherizing and adjusting the thermostat for heating and cooling saves 2,847 pounds of carbon per year. Transit use saves almost twice the carbon.

    Replacing five incandescent bulbs to lower wattage compact fluorescent lamps saves 445 pounds of CO2 per year. Transit use saves more than ten times the CO2.

    Replacing an older refrigerator freezer with a highly efficient one saves 335 pounds of CO2 per year. Taking public transportation saves more than fourteen times the carbon.

    Take that, home weatherizing, replacing incandescent bulbs, and replacing an older refrigerator freezer!

    Shiftless Canadians

    posted by on January 29 at 12:29 PM

    I’m not even sure what to say about this

    It was a routine e-mail from the boss sent to congratulate a junior prosecutor in Houston, Tex., who had won manslaughter convictions against an intoxicated driver.

    “He convicted Mr. Sosa of a double intoxication manslaughter, got a weak jury to give him 12 years in each, and then convinced Judge Wallace to stack the sentences,” Harris County assistant district attorney Mike Trent wrote in an office-wide memo. Then came the odd part: “He overcame a subversively good defence by Matt Hennessey that had some Canadians on the jury feeling sorry for the defendant and forced them to do the right thing.”

    The e-mail was sent in 2003 but came to light only this month as part of an unrelated controversy with his office, forcing Mr. Trent to defend himself against accusations of bigotry—not because he offended the people of Canada, but because “Canadian” has apparently become a code word for blacks among American racists.

    We’re All Gonna Die

    posted by on January 29 at 12:27 PM

    You know that flu that’s been going around the last few weeks? The one that people initially blamed on food poisoning or bad oysters (why are people always so quick to blame the poor oysters?) but, after two dozen people got it, was undeniably an epidemic? The flu that reminds me of this crappy movie?

    Well now it’s everywhere. Prisons in California. Schools in Texas. On your keyboard.

    And the New York Giants have it. Before the Super Bowl, even.

    We’re all gonna die. Or at least we’re all gonna


    January Gloom

    posted by on January 29 at 12:08 PM

    In tomorrow’s Constant Reader, I talk about how most publishers don’t release interesting books in January and February. Thankfully, publishers of comic books haven’t gotten the memo, and a couple of interesting comics have come out in the weeks since New Year’s.

    One of the biggest surprises from the rise of comic sales in regular bookstores is that non-fiction comics frequently sell better than fiction. A good example is Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, which wound up as Time magazine’s Book of the Year in 2006.

    Houghton Mifflin, Fun Home’s publisher, just put out a book called Blue Pills, by European comic artist Frederik Peeters. It’s the exact same size and shape as Fun Home, it’s also autobiographical, and, perhaps for luck, the cover features the same nauseating hunter’s orange color that marred Fun Home’s hardcover release.

    Pills isn’t as good as Fun Home. Peeters tells the story of his romantic relationship with an HIV-positive woman, and though he skillfully sidesteps almost all the sentimental clichés that would suffocate most authors, the book itself feels slim, like a chapter in an ongoing story. Still, it covers a lot of interesting ground—those wondering what the condom situation would be like in such a relationship will discover in detail what the realities are, for example—and it’s a thoughtful love story that doesn’t fall back on any cheats.

    Those more interested in history should pick up J. Edgar Hoover: A Graphic Biography by Rick Geary. Geary, who’s perhaps best known for his charming, informative Treasury of Victorian Murder, sums up Hoover’s complicated life (cross-dressing orgy rumors and all) in 102 pages. Geary’s faux-woodcut cartoons, which shouldn’t capture body language as well as they do, are perfect for depicting Hoover—one minute, he’s a nasty, thuggish bulldog of a man, the next he’s a quivering ball of frightened paranoia.

    The best part of Geary’s artwork is that all his characters can look like either wizened old crones or overgrown toddlers, depending on how you look at them, and so a lot of his work has the delightful sense of being an oddly miscast community theater production. Hill and Wang, the publishers of this Hoover biography, published the comic book version of the 9/11 Report. They also published a strange biography of Ronald Reagan, which ended with Reagan, about to walk through the pearly gates to the accompaniment of a heavenly choir, turning and winking at the reader like Clark Kent at the end of a Superman adventure. After publishing two right-wing figures, I hope that their next biography will be a Geary version of FDR’s life. I’d pay good money to see Eleanor and Franklin, with their weird, sausage-like Geary fingers, holding each other in an embrace.

    I’m Usually Pro-Graffiti

    posted by on January 29 at 11:53 AM

    Really I am. But I call bullsh*t on this, over on First Hill, by the Frye Art Museum…


    Will Vinton’s Coming!!!!!

    posted by on January 29 at 11:07 AM

    Will Vinton is the most amazing stop-motion animator to ever live.

    Perhaps you remember these commercials?

    But look at this:

    Wallace and Gromit ain’t got shit.

    Will Vinton is coming to the Northwest Film Forum this Saturday Feb 2 at 3 pm. He will speak and then they’re gonna show a bunch of his really early work. It is the Children’s Film Festival, so if you like to watch your movies with no accompanying gurgles, yelps, or “Mommy!”s, this show isn’t for you.

    Also—I went to see The Robber Hotzenplotz at the CFF last weekend. I’m sure no one else in SlogLand saw it, but it was pretty amazing, until they started using computer animation for a crocodile-hybrid dog thing that looked terrible and was completely unnecessary to the story. Why did they feel the need to make a children’s film longer? Cut it off twenty minutes earlier and cut out the CGI and it’s a masterpiece.

    The Tech Primary

    posted by on January 29 at 11:00 AM

    Or, at least, a tech primary. It comes via TechCrunch, which used a combination of online votes and the smarts of its writers to arrive at the following endorsements: Obama for the Democrats and McCain for the Republicans.

    On Obama’s tech bona fides:

    Senator Obama has put more time and effort into defining his technology policies than any other candidate. In November he released a detailed position paper on technology issues, and we had a one-on-one interview with him two weeks later.

    He is staunchly in favor of net neutrality, and has promised to make it a priority to reinstate it in his first year in office. He has proposed intelligent programs for increasing technology education and access to children. He doesn’t believe the FCC went far enough in their proposed rules for opening up the 700MHz spectrum auctions. He wants to see increases in the number of H1-B visas given out each year. He strongly supports research into renewable energy sources and he has a realistic, market based approach to capping carbon emissions.

    More importantly, though, Senator Obama talks about the future with a sense of optimism that the other candidates seem to lack.

    And on McCain:

    Choosing Senator Obama for our Democrat endorsement was relatively easy. We had a lot more trouble with the Republicans. The trouble comes because, based on their positions on the issues, none of them are the perfect candidate. The leading candidates - Romney, Huckabee and McCain - all have flaws. And while Ron Paul won the TechCrunch primary by a very large margin, he too has flawed technology policies - not the least of which is that he is staunchly against net neutrality, and doesn’t want the FCC to get too involved with spectrum allocation rules.

    The problems stem from Republicans’ general rule to “let the market decide,” which appeals to my libertarian leanings but can cause real problems in a monopoly-type markets. People tend to have few choices when it comes to Internet or mobile providers. In those cases using government to force a level playing field and open access is what actually stimulates economic growth. Republicans also tend to shy away from “green” issues such as pollution (carbon emissions), and alternative fuel research. Finally, their reluctance to get the Federal government involved directly in education means that they avoid issues like increasing math and science curriculums in public schools, or providing Federal funding or incentives to address the digital divide (in particular, getting computers and Internet into schools). Their resulting policies tend to put off technology focused voters.

    Taking all of the Republican candidates positions into consideration, as well as TechCrunch reader voting, we are endorsing Senator McCain as the best candidate from that side of the aisle.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on January 29 at 11:00 AM

    Drunk-Ass Dramedy

    The Entertainment
    at Sunset Tavern

    Some venues provide artists with vouchers for drinks or food. The Sunset gives you a washtub full of Pabst. I like that. In fact, I think it pretty much sums up the comedy of Entertainment Show masterminds Travis Vogt and Kevin Clarke, except that their tub also includes guns and Bob Hope. This month’s multimedia comedy extravaganza includes Scott Moran, Solomon Georgio and World’s Sexiest Comedian Paul Merrill. (Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave NW, 784-4880. 9 pm, $6, 21+.)


    Simply Horrifying!

    posted by on January 29 at 10:59 AM

    People like Dr. Harp upset my world and send shocks up and down my delicate spine. I wish there was a way to keep them out of all culture. I wish there was a guard at the gates of literature. I wish there was a Ministry of Culture that had the power to punish and banish writers like Dr. Harp. I wish…

    On the surface, Grady Harp seems just the sort of enlightened consumer who might lead us out of Web 1.0’s darkness. A 66-year-old gallerist, retired surgeon, and poet, he has reviewed over 3,500 books, CDs, and movies for Amazon. In turn, he has attained a kind of celebrity: a No. 7 ranking; a prominent profile on the Web site; and, apparently, a following. In the week after his endorsement of my work appeared, more than 100 readers clicked on a button that said, “I found this review helpful.” His stated mission is to remain “ever on the lookout for the new and promising geniuses of tomorrow.” At present, Dr. Harp’s vigil runs to about 500,000 words—a critical corpus to rival Dr. Johnson’s—and his reviews are clearly the product of a single, effusive sensibility. Jose Saramago’s Blindness is “A Searing, Mesmerizing Journey” (five stars); The Queer Men’s Erotic Art Workshop’s Dirty Little Drawings, “A Surprisingly Rich Treasure Trove” (five stars).

    Scientific Abstract of the Day

    posted by on January 29 at 10:54 AM

    In this study, the authors investigated the hypothesis that women’s sexual orientation and sexual responses in the laboratory correlate less highly than do men’s because women respond primarily to the sexual activities performed by actors, whereas men respond primarily to the gender of the actors. The participants were 20 homosexual women, 27 heterosexual women, 17 homosexual men, and 27 heterosexual men. The videotaped stimuli included men and women engaging in same-sex intercourse, solitary masturbation, or nude exercise (no sexual activity); human male–female copulation; and animal (bonobo chimpanzee or Pan paniscus) copulation. Genital and subjective sexual arousal were continuously recorded.

    The genital responses of both sexes were weakest to nude exercise and strongest to intercourse. As predicted, however, actor gender was more important for men than for women, and the level of sexual activity was more important for women than for men. Consistent with this result, women responded genitally to bonobo copulation, whereas men did not. An unexpected result was that homosexual women responded more to nude female targets exercising and masturbating than to nude male targets, whereas heterosexual women responded about the same to both sexes at each activity level.

    The study is here. A scorching hot picture of bonobos doing it is here.

    Tomorrow: Our Endorsement

    posted by on January 29 at 10:30 AM

    Tomorrow’s print edition features our endorsement in the Democratic race for the Presidential nomination. We wanted to hit before Super Tuesday so that our endorsement has an impact beyond Seattle’s 43rd District, of course.

    I’m not going to say who we chose (and despite his attempts to get through, we did not take Bill Clinton’s call.)

    Two weary Stranger Election Control Board members stayed here until Midnight on Friday night hammering it out (and offing a 6-pack of Corona Light).

    I’m proud to say, the word “narrative” does not appear in our endorsement. Here some words and phrases that do:

    “If we were Republicans”

    “goose bumps”

    “nearly 30%”

    “The SECB is not interested in pandering”

    “Shhh—don’t tell the Republicans.”

    “Senator Bernie Sanders’s (VT-Socialist?)”

    “This strategy is disarming, and it just might work.”

    “…an embarrassing 58%…”


    “the one to represent our interests”

    “either a dilettante or a schizophrenic”

    Night Riding

    posted by on January 29 at 10:27 AM

    Nights at Stevens Pass are magical—spotlights on flocked trees, long shadows, and empty lifts make it feel like a movie set. Last night was extra spectacular. It snowed all day yesterday and most of last night, dry, tiny flakes that made an extra-fast, smooth carpet. A moderate wind wrapped clouds around us and gathered snow into mini twisters. Lift ops trundled out of their huts to load us—that’s how empty the hills were.

    There are valid reasons not to go to the mountains: It’s expensive. But Shell is offering a two-for-one coupon with 10 gallons of gas, good for Monday nights at Stevens (and other days at other resorts). That makes a lift ticket $16. And it’s a long drive. Thankfully, the women I ride with banter about sex and politics, laugh, and picnic on the way, which makes the two hours fly by. And it’s a hassle. It is: donning three layers and digging out wool socks, tightening bindings, applying Chapstick, goggles, gloves… but flying downhill, alone save for trees and moonlight, makes me grateful for the Northwest, for the strength in my legs, for my lungs and heart. On the mountain I am temporarily but completely unburdened.


    Photo by Jack Brauer, this and other fine prints for sale on his website.

    All Some Eyes on Florida

    posted by on January 29 at 10:20 AM

    Florida is holding its primary today. For Republicans it could be a winner-take-all state—and, polls suggest, the end of the road for Rudy Giuliani.

    For Democrats, the situation is considerably more complicated. When Florida moved up its primary date last year in violation of party rules, the Democratic National Committee punished the state by vowing that its delegates would not be seated at the convention this fall. The Democratic presidential candidates, following the DNC’s lead, all vowed not to campaign in Florida.

    But, looking to wrap herself in a win heading into Super (Duper) Tuesday on Feb. 5, Hillary Clinton is now promising to seat Florida’s delegates at the convention, telling the press that Florida does count, and, while still technically not campaigning there, is preparing to hold a victory rally in the state tonight as soon as polls close. The Obama campaign, meanwhile, is staying far away from Florida and arguing that the state’s primary is a “non-event.”

    Polls close at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST tonight. Watch to see who the Republican winner (and likely Republican nominee) is going to be, and also watch to see, on the Democratic side, what kind of event or non-event this actually becomes.


    posted by on January 29 at 10:18 AM


    For weeks, as he was getting shellacked in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan and South Carolina, Rudolph W. Giuliani, former front-runner for the Republican nomination, answered his skeptics with a simple refrain: just wait till Florida, his stronghold and his bulwark against the tide of losses in the early states.

    Now Florida has arrived, and Mr. Giuliani’s bulwark is looking a little leaky.

    The Giuliani campaign chartered a 727 on Monday for a day of barnstorming on the eve of Tuesday’s big primary, but none of the rallies at airports in Sanford, Clearwater, Fort Myers or Fort Lauderdale drew even a hundred supporters [The] crowds at some of the airport rallies were so small that it might have been more efficient to fly them to the candidate, instead of vice versa.

    The complete collapse of the Giuliani campaign has been a beautiful thing to watch.

    Hillary on Gay Teens

    posted by on January 29 at 9:52 AM

    John at Americablog gives Hillary credit for answering a question she could easily have avoided. But I have a couple of follow-up questions: Hillary says she’s done a lot of work on this issue in New York state. Can we get some specifics on that? And it’s pretty easy, these days, to say that you “support” depressed, suicidal gay teenagers. We’re all against depression and suicide. But what about gay teenagers that want something more out of life than just being not depressed or not suicidal? What about gay teenagers that want to enlist or get married, Mrs. Clinton? Where’s the support for them?

    Patty Murray About to Endorse?

    posted by on January 29 at 9:47 AM

    Sure sounds like it. From Anne Kornblut and Shailagh Murray at the Washington Post:

    Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) refused to offer any observations about [Ted] Kennedy’s endorsement. “I’m staying out of the race between Obama and Clinton,” Reid said. But others appeared to be wavering. “I’ll be letting you know in the next couple of days,” said Sen. Patty Murray, a member of the Democratic leadership, whose home state of Washington will hold its Democratic caucuses Feb. 9.

    Which counts for more: initial position on the war or womanhood? I’m gonna guess she’ll go for Clinton, but have it out in the comments.

    Meanwhile, also via WaPo, it sure sounds like Bill Richardson is leaning Obama:

    [H]e said he likes Obama, telling a story about how Obama saved him during one of last year’s Democratic debates:

    “I had just been asked a question — I don’t remember which one — and Obama was sitting right next to me. Then the moderator went across the room, I think to Chris Dodd, so I thought I was home free for a while. I wasn’t going to listen to the next question. I was about to say something to Obama when the moderator turned to me and said, ‘So, Gov. Richardson, what do you think of that?’ But I wasn’t paying any attention! I was about to say, ‘Could you repeat the question? I wasn’t listening.’ But I wasn’t about to say I wasn’t listening. I looked at Obama. I was just horrified. And Obama whispered, ‘Katrina. Katrina.’ The question was on Katrina! So I said, ‘On Katrina, my policy …’ Obama could have just thrown me under the bus. So I said, ‘Obama, that was good of you to do that.’”


    If Richardson is to endorse either Clinton or Obama — “I might, I might not, how’s that for an answer?” — he said he’ll do so by the end of the week.

    “If I do endorse, it’s going to be a gut feeling. It’s not going to be about statistics, about past ties,” Richardson said. “I’ve been on the campaign trail with both of them. I feel that I know them. I feel I know the issues. I feel I know what makes them both tick.”

    Wing(s) of SAM Closed

    posted by on January 29 at 9:47 AM

    I’m remiss in not yet writing about The Gates of Paradise: Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Renaissance Masterpiece, which opened Saturday at Seattle Art Museum. (I’ll make up for that later today.)

    But there’s another SAM question I want to address. The 16th-century wood room on the fourth floor is closed, and so is the room adjacent to it (with the Uccello). Beneath them on the third floor, Gary Hill’s installation has been removed, the area taped off.

    When I asked a guard what was going on, he said there was a water leak in the museum. But SAM spokeswoman Cara Egan says there has been no water leak, and no damage to any of the art.

    Egan says the closures have been caused by an HVAC malfunction. Museum engineers refused to provide details, but Egan insists the art is not in danger.

    As for when the areas will open again, she says the museum hopes to make the repairs in a month or so, “but you never know.”

    Still a weird dead zone.

    On another note: The Second Avenue entrance of SAM—the entrance at the top of Venturi’s grand staircase—is once again moot. It has been locked for the duration of the Ghiberti show and the upcoming Roman art from the Louvre exhibition. “It’s a test to see if that improves circulation,” Egan said.

    Today’s Slog Obama vs. Clinton Moment

    posted by on January 29 at 9:37 AM

    Here’s hoping that at Thursday night’s debate in LA Obama and Clinton are asked to duke it out over this disagreement.

    From The Hill’s report on President Bush’s State of the Union speech:

    When Bush proclaimed, “Ladies and gentlemen, some may deny the surge is working, but among terrorists there is no doubt,” Clinton sprang to her feet in applause but Obama remained firmly seated. The president’s line divided most of the Democratic audience, with nearly half standing to applaud and the other half sitting in stony silence.

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on January 29 at 9:30 AM

    New Jersey:

    A former youth minister at the Church of Christ in Washington Township has pleaded guilty to a second-degree sexual assault charge, admitting to a sexual relationship with a girl in the church congregation that began in 2005 when the girl was 15 and continued until shortly before his March 9, 2007 arrest.

    The girl was a member of the youth group where Paul Glover, 33, formally of Glassboro and a current resident of Hattiesburg, MS, held the youth minister position since 2000.


    Youth pastor takes message to kids.

    He doesn’t wait for young people to find him.

    Seattle Times Continues to Bust the Huskies (and the City County)

    posted by on January 29 at 9:13 AM


    The Seattle TimesKen Armstrong and Nick Perry continue their series of reports on the University of Washington’s football team of 2000, the year the Huskies won the Rose Bowl, with a team reportedly packed with coddled criminals.

    It’s an amazing report (here’s yesterday’s Slog processing of the first installment). Even the chapter titles are potboilers:

    Day 1: Convicted of assault and accused of rape, star player received raft of second chances

    Day 2: Key UW linebacker played entire season after his bloody print was tied to shooting

    Day 3: To Huskies fans a tragic hero, to the courts a wanted felon

    Today in Obesity

    posted by on January 29 at 9:10 AM

    If the belly fat doesn’t kill you

    By now, everyone knows that overweight people have a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes and other problems that arise from clogged, hardened arteries. And people who carry their extra weight around their waist—giving them a “beer belly” or an “apple” shape—have the highest risk of all.

    But despite the impact on human health, the reasons behind this connection between heart disease and belly fat—also known as visceral fat—have eluded scientists. Now, a new study in mice gives the first direct evidence of why this link might exist.

    … insensitive, cruel, and criminally negligent medical professionals will.

    Overweight and obese patients have long complained that doctors treat them insensitively and are too quick to attribute health problems to their weight. But their claims of bias were often met with skepticism—until recently. Now research from such academic powerhouses as Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania is adding to evidence that the problem may be real and may affect patients’ quality of care. And actions by the giant health maintenance organization Kaiser Permanente show the medical establishment is beginning to respond.

    Who’s Got My Back?

    posted by on January 29 at 8:59 AM

    As made clear by Mr. Bush’s last State of the Union address, the situation in Washington is marked not only by a shift in political power but a shift in dramatic power.

    The sense of transition was magnified Monday by intense focus on the body language in the House chamber as the two leading Democratic candidates for president, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, returned for a couple of intelligence-related votes earlier in the day and the president’s speech. And they did so on the same day that Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts delivered a ringing endorsement of Mr. Obama that many saw as a rebuke of former President Bill Clinton and his recent conduct on the campaign trail. Mr. Obama walked into the chamber, with Mr. Kennedy directly behind him. They took their seats, side-by-side, sealing the image of their newfound partnership.

    Sitting just four chairs away, Mrs. Clinton was engaged in conversation with a number of senators, but not Mr. Obama. When Mr. Kennedy extended his hand and they exchanged a brief handshake, Mr. Obama’s head turned the other way. After the address, Mr. Obama chatted briefly with Mr. Bush, while Mrs. Clinton exited the chamber.

    For Democrats, the political theater was a highlight of the night.

    Obama and Hillary have all the drama; the Republicans have nothing new to show. What can we expect but sleep and shallow dreams from a play whose main actors are a very old man, a Mormon, and a Jesus hick?

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on January 29 at 8:51 AM

    A detail of Matt Mitros’s Merlot, resin and wood, 36 by 84 by 16, 2007

    At Crawl Space.

    The Morning News

    posted by on January 29 at 7:56 AM

    SOTU: Bush talks war, the economy, and scholarships for low-income children, among other things. Eli Sanders’s blow-by-blow is here.

    Another Plan: A week after Bush and the House put together an economic stimulus plan, the Senate has put together a plan of its own: $500 to almost every American, plus an extension of unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.

    Kenya: More bad news:

    Mugabe Were, a freshman parliamentarian, could have been one of the keys to unlocking Kenya’s crisis but on Tuesday he was shot dead in his driveway.

    Everybody’s Feeling the Pinch: Wall Street bonuses totaled just $33.2 billion last year, down a whopping 2%.

    Meanwhile: Foreclosures were up 75% in 2007. 405,000 people lost their homes.

    Florida GOP Primary: 57 delegates are up for grabs today.

    War is Expensive: The Department of Defense wants $70 billion more for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Up Periscope: Brazil hopes to be the first Latin American country to have a nuclear submarine.

    Get Off Your Ass: Active people have “cells that look younger on a molecular level than those of couch potatoes.”

    Fly the Naked Skies: A German travel agency is offering reservations for a nude flight.

    Dangerous Dawgs: The Seattle Times’ impressive series on the UW football team continues today with a depressing story on deceased player Curtis Williams.

    Homeless Hassles: Seattle’s plan to clear homeless encampments labeled inhumane by homeless advocates during a public hearing yesterday. Real Change’s Tim Harris reports on the hearing here.

    The “Gate” That Won’t Go Away: Frank Colacurcio Sr. pleaded guilty yesterday for his involvement in 2003’s “Strippergate.”

    One Week Reprieve: The Discovery Park coyote won’t be shot — this week.

    Just 16 Days Until Spring Training: The Mariners-Orioles deal for pitcher Erik Bedard is “stalled.”

    Christopher Knight for Rockingham County Board of Education:

    Monday, January 28, 2008

    Hearing the Homeless

    posted by on January 28 at 10:50 PM

    Erica was at at Seattle Center’s Rainier Room earlier this evening covering the public hearing on the Seattle Housing and Human Services Dept.’s proposal to crack down on homeless encampments.

    She reports that about 120 people were on hand. About 75 testified. And getting her 11th grade Marxist on (in a good way), Erica sounded pretty moved by the diversity and wisdom of the speakers.

    Formerly homeless teen, Ivy, testifies at Seattle Center tonight

    We’ve got to focus on the print edition right now, so I’m going to link Real Change Director Tim Harris’ report.

    Stay tuned for Erica’s report.

    Mistate of the Union

    posted by on January 28 at 8:35 PM

    Go to Think Progress right now for a liberal response. Also known as a fact check.

    They’ve got a parade of posts up (22) just like this one here:

    SOTU: Bush said: “And let us complete an international agreement that has the potential to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases. This agreement will be effective only if it includes commitments by every major economy and gives none a free ride.”

    FACT — BUSH BLOCKED GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE EFFORTS: The United States remains the only industrialized nation to refuse to sign the Kyoto Protocol. At the most recent global conference on climate change in Bali, the United States rejected mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions and was “principally responsible for obstructing progress.” [National Geographic, 12/3/07; BBC, 12/15/07; Reuters, 12/13/08]

    FACT — ‘MAJOR EMITTERS’ MEETING UNDERMINES GLOBAL EFFORTS: This week, the United States will convene a “major emitters” meeting in Hawaii. By meeting outside of the U.N. framework and by likely agreeing only to “aspirational targets,” Bush’s ‘major emitters’ meetings undermines the efforts of the United Nations to draw up a global binding agreement. [Reuters, 1/27/08; NYT, 9/24/07; BBC, 12/13/07]

    Sen. Ed Murray on Rev. Hutcherson.

    posted by on January 28 at 7:36 PM

    Re: Rev. Ken Hutcherson at Mount Si High School on MLK Day.

    State Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill) sent this letter:

    Principal Randy Taylor Mt. Si High School 8651 Meadowbrook Way S.E. Snoqualmie, WA 98065

    Dear Mr. Taylor,

    Today, every American is familiar with Dr. Martin Luther King’s great leadership in the fight for civil rights for African Americans.

    However, Dr. King’s example was not simply limited to the tireless quest for equality. It was also found in the manner in which he treated his opponents, embracing them with respect and without vitriol – even while they denigrated and insulted him. When we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, we would do well to remember this, too.

    One man’s own personal experience of racism, while certainly regrettable, is not enough to qualify him as a spokesperson of Dr. King’s values. To truly uphold Dr. King’s example, one must also uphold his humility and his fundamental objection to derogate those who disagreed with him.

    Rev. Ken Hutcherson decidedly does not follow in these footsteps.

    Here is a man who, in his battle against equal rights for gays and lesbians has said: “You know how the Bible says, ‘Turn the other cheek?’ Well, I did that. But I’m not giving them the big cheeks.” These kinds of degrading remarks about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens are simply obscene.

    Here is a man who, after viewing the movie ‘The Passion of the Christ’ told a reporter that the Jews were responsible for killing Christ: “The truth is that they did push to have Christ crucified. That’s just plain truth… that’s Biblical truth.” This libel has resulted in the suffering and death of millions over twenty centuries of Western history.

    Intolerance and contempt are objectionable enough. Using Christianity to support them – to use, in other words, the tools that Martin Luther King developed not to extent rights but to deny them – is a cynical order of magnitude worse.

    History has taught us that we must speak out, and speak out vigorously, against these slanderous attacks. There are many leaders in the African American civil rights movement, including some who oppose my position of sexual orientation, who would have better represented the example of Martin Luther King.

    As an agent of intolerance and contempt, Hutcherson should not have been invited to speak at your school’s Martin Luther King Day event. I have no doubt that he has very painful stories of the inequality he has experienced in his life. But his story today is about perpetuating inequality among gays, lesbians and Jews. And that cannot and should not be condoned.

    A member of your staff thought as I do, and, at the end of Hutcherson’s remarks, respectfully questioned him about his commitment to the values of acceptance and respect as they apply to gays and lesbians. I was shocked to learn that you issued Hutcherson an apology as a result. This – and your subsequent “fact-finding” inquest into your staff’s actions – only adds insult to injury.

    Although a minimal amount of circumspection alone might have helped you determine that inviting a known bigot to speak on Martin Luther King Day may have offended members of your student body, staff and faculty, I am heartened to know that you plan to examine your policies and standards related to speakers and presentations at your school.

    However, to not disavow Hutcherson’s presentation at your school will continue to amount to an endorsement of his views and values – neither of which follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther King.


    Sen. Ed Murray

    I had to look up the word “derogate,” but otherwise: as MLK Jr., John Lewis, Stokely C., Diane and the gang used to say: Make it plain Sen. Murray!

    Watching the State of the Union: Calm, Cool, Collected

    posted by on January 28 at 7:30 PM

    I can’t watch Barack Obama give a speech before a big crowd without stressing out the whole time. Watching Obama speaking live before a big crowd, like I said on Sunday, is extremely unpleasant. I find myself muttering, “Please don’t get shot, please don’t get shot, please don’t get shot,” the entire time. I’m almost unbearably tense.

    Oddly enough, I have the opposite reaction when I watch George W. Bush give speech. I’m not the least bit tense. Not at all.

    Weird, huh?

    UPDATE: Whoa, whoa, whoa: Some folks in the comments thread have suggested that I suggested that I would be pleased if President Bush got shot. Not true. I never went there—nor would I, as I don’t want any harm to come to the George W. Bush. I also learnt my lesson about making kill-the-president cracks way, way back in 1992. (On the radio I said that teh gays would kill Bill Clinton if he backed out of his pledge to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military—meaning we would be so frustrated we would want to kill him, not actually kill him—and subsequently spent four hours explaining myself to a Secret Service. Bill did, of course, and we didn’t.) All I was said in the above post was that I am tense when I watch Obama speak, and suddenly quite the opposite — calm, cool, collected—when I watch Bush speak. I never suggested that I longed for the president to meet a bad end before (or after) the end of his term.

    I am, of course, looking forward to the end of his term, like all sane people everywhere, but I don’t wish Bush harm and I certainly don’t want to see Dick Cheney installed—officially, at least—in the Oval Office before January 20, 2009. Cheney already has the powers of the presidency—he doesn’t need the powers of incumbency too.

    And this state of calm is, for me, real progress. For seven years of his presidency my blood boiled when I watched Bush speak. Now with the light at the end of the tunnel getting brighter with each passing day, I can watch Bush speak without audibly grinding my teeth.

    I’m sorry some people took this post the wrong way. They need to look inside their own hearts.

    LiveBlogging the State of the Union

    posted by on January 28 at 6:00 PM

    Here we go. There’s been a request that I do a better job of keeping up the play-by-play in addition to integrating the comments of Slog readers. I will definitely try my best, though operating this thing can be a bit like walking and chewing gum and riding a bicycle and singing in public all at once. What I may end up doing is dropping in excerpts of Bush’s speech as they’re spoken, which will allow you all to have your way with them/him in real time (and allow me to keep up). As always, send me your comments through the liveblogging widget and I’ll add them if they’re worthy.

    The State of Our Union Is…. ?

    posted by on January 28 at 4:25 PM

    Bush’s last SOTU speech is less than two hours away and the advance excerpts, as usual, are being released.

    Don’t forget the liveblog/group-watch. It all begins at 6 p.m. PST.

    Sharpton on The View

    posted by on January 28 at 4:13 PM

    His televised advice to Bill Clinton: “Shut up.”

    A Friendly For-the-Record

    posted by on January 28 at 3:50 PM

    Since this and this seemed to be directed mostly at me, I commissioned a quick study of Slog posts dating back to September 2007.

    Slog posts by Eli about Hillary Clinton: 58

    Slog posts by Eli about Barack Obama: 46

    I also commissioned a quick study of ECB’s posts dating back to September 2007:

    Slog posts by ECB about Hillary Clinton: 16

    Slog posts by ECB about Barack Obama: 9

    I just shared these results with ECB and we both agree: Probably most people don’t care. But since there’s been so much talk about the multiple Obama postings on Slog today, I thought I’d add the long view.

    Something Else They’re Doing In Olympia

    posted by on January 28 at 3:15 PM

    I promised I’d say more about the domestic partnership bill.

    As I Slogged on Friday, there’s a whole new batch of rights that this year’s domestic partners bill would add on to the list of rights that couples got last year.

    Last year, the state created a domestic partnership registry and granted about 23 of the rights that married couples have, including hospital visitation and allowing partners to give informed consent in medical decisions, make funeral arrangements, and inherit property in the absence of a will.

    This year’s bill would add about 174 more rights (there are 480 total). Some of the new rights in this year’s bill are the right to go to family court when dissolving a partnership, the right to transfer property between partners without paying real estate excise taxes, the right to share nursing home rooms and private nursing home visits, and the right to exclude your house as an asset when applying for Medicaid funding for nursing home residency.

    That last one may sound a bit confusing, but it’s a big deal. Medicaid covers a portion of nursing home expense based on an individual’s assets, and won’t count their house as an asset—which would otherwise ratchet down the financial aid—if their spouse is still living in the house. This would give gay and lesbian domestic partners the same treatment.

    Meanwhile, there are 3,247 registered domestic partnerships in the state right now (since the law passed last year). And there are couples in every legislative district in the state including places like Monroe (39 couples), Yakima (9 couples) and Wenatchee (17).

    Seattle leads the way, of course, with 1,101 couples registered—where 52% of the couples are gay and 45% are lesbian. (2% are hetero senior couples). Statewide, lesbians make up 53% of the registered couples while gay men make up 39% of the couples.

    In the Last 24 Hours (or more) on Line Out

    posted by on January 28 at 3:14 PM

    RIP the Holy Land: A house party house bites the dust.

    Work the Problem, Not the Person: Dr. Phil will talk to the Ying Yang Twins about saggin’ pants on today’s show.

    That’s My People: Charles Mudede says the fall of hiphop began when LL Cool J said he needs love.

    Slats Was There: Eric Grandy goes to King Cobra’s soft opening.

    Glue Girls: A new song from the band with the longest name in the world, Someone Still Loves you Boris Yeltsin.

    Mullets and Dick Ties: And backdropped and scratched beats.

    Chic-Chica-Chic: TJ Gorton on Biddu Orchestra.

    Music News: David Yow is hospitalized, Led Zepplin reunion tour might be materializing, and more.

    Tonight in Music: Gallows and Cancer Bats at Chop Suey.


    Meanwhile, Somewhere in America

    posted by on January 28 at 2:59 PM

    People are selling, and presumably buying, absolute truckloads of sexist anti-Hillary garbage. Broadsheet has a roundup of their favorites, including t-shirts that proclaim “No Penis, No Problems,” “I Wish Hillary Had Married OJ,” “Want to See Hillary Run? Throw Rocks at Her!” and this:


    What They’re Doing for You Lately in Olympia

    posted by on January 28 at 2:34 PM

    Rep. Sharon Nelson (D-34, Vashon) is living up to her word.

    Often, when the voters send someone to Olympia, the representative quickly backs off his or her campaign-trail rhetoric and spends warm-up time schmoozing and compromising to make allies so they can eventually get to that stuff they said they’d do. Uggggh.

    Not so with Rep. Sharon Nelson.

    While Nelson was appointed (she had to win votes from 34th District committee officers … which is about 130 folks), she was certainly sent to Olympia with a specific mandate from the 34th: Fight Glacier Northwest’s mining operations on Maury Island.

    And, sure enough, I give you HB 2530—which would upgrade Dept. of Fish & Wildlife licenses for companies doing work that affects fish reserves so that getting the license actually means companies have to protect fish.

    The bill deals with licenses in general (and the Dept. acknowledged in testimony before a House agricultural committee hearing on Nelson’s bill that the licenses weren’t strict enough to ensure smart practices), but Nelson has tacked on some targeted language:

    Until the requirements of this section are completed, and the legislature can obtain a better sense of the protections offered by chapter 77.55 RCW, the department of fish and wildlife may not, within the Maury Island aquatic reserve created by order of the commissioner of public lands on November 8, 2004, approve or renew any approvals under chapter 77.55 RCW for any commercial, industrial, or barge loading facilities.

    Rep. Ed Orcutt (R-18, Kalama)—over $1,000 in contributions from Glacier Northwest—is aiming to kill that section.

    “I like very much to use my penis.”

    posted by on January 28 at 2:07 PM


    I’ve never heard of Swedish popstar Basshunter before… but, man, that kid has a kick-ass crisis management team. Basshunter hosted an orgy at his parents’ house and someone snapped a bunch of candid pictures of Mr. Bass in action—full frontals, fully erect—and decided to share ‘em with the world via the Internets. When asked about the pictures and the scandal Mr. Bass said, “I like very much to use my penis.” Not only couldn’t Basshunter care less but his mother—who was first to find the photos online and brought them to her son’s attention—couldn’t care less either.

    You gotta love the Swedes.

    Via Fleshbot. You can see Basshunter’s blurry penis in use here. For a crystal-clear, NSFW shot, click here. And while the full “back, sack, and crack” is all the rage in the UK, thanks to David Beckham, Swedish popstars prefer naturally curly asscracks.

    And Now, a Word from New York NOW

    posted by on January 28 at 2:00 PM

    Via Ben Smith, New York’s chapter of the National Organization for Women has just put out a super-scathing reaction to Sen. Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama:

    Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal. Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard. Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, the Family Leave and Medical Act to name a few. Women have buried their anger that his support for the compromises in No Child Left Behind and the Medicare bogus drug benefit brought us the passage of these flawed bills. We have thanked him for his ardent support of many civil rights bills, BUT women are always waiting in the wings.

    And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He’s picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list of progressive white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton (they will of course say they support a woman president, just not “this” one). ‘They’ are Howard Dean and Jim Dean (Yup! That’s Howard’s brother) who run DFA (that’s the group and list from the Dean campaign that we women helped start and grow). They are Alternet, Progressive Democrats of America,, Kucinich lovers and all the other groups that take women’s money, say they’ll do feminist and women’s rights issues one of these days, and conveniently forget to mention women and children when they talk about poverty or human needs or America’s future or whatever.

    This latest move by Kennedy, is so telling about the status of and respect for women’s rights, women’s voices, women’s equality, women’s authority and our ability – indeed, our obligation - to promote and earn and deserve and elect, unabashedly, a President that is the first woman after centuries of men who ‘know what’s best for us.’

    “This Slog Post: Totally Worth Reading!” - Me

    posted by on January 28 at 1:34 PM


    I was just at 15th video and saw the new Twin Peaks box set. I like the most prominent quote on the back. I wonder what other directors have provided positive reviews for their own work. Did you know that Orson Welles thought that Citizen Kane was “really good”?

    This just in: My mom says I’m cool!

    Oh Mormon, My Mormon!

    posted by on January 28 at 1:09 PM

    When people often ask me—and oh, how they do ask me! —why I insist on hating and hating and HATING (OMG!!!) Mitt Romney—and picking on all things Mormon by extension—- when everyone knows that Mike Huckabee would gleefully wipe his Bible-beating butt with the Constitution and replace it with “JESUS JESUS JESUS!!!” written in the blood of homosexuals on a napkin if he were left alone for half a moment, I tell them, “Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!” and run away screaming like a little girl.

    But there are reasons. And here is one of them:

    Jeremy Stockstad, Champion of the Oppressed. Allow me to explain.

    Mormons, as I understand them (and I understand them good and a-plenty) are an oddly kind, generally harmless, good hearted, and clean-livin’ sort of folk; Friendlier than a “Howdy-do!” and honest as an Indian head nickel. Of course they are insane, but so are you. So am I. So what. Mormons are whatcha call good apples, fly-not-hurters, and other jolly hyperbole. Please don’t make me say, “Some of my best friends are Mormons,” for it demeans us both, and this brings us to Jeremy. Jeremy was Super-Mormon.

    In high school, Jeremy was a very close friend. He was loyal as an old spaniel and as Mormon as Moroni’s magic underpants. He was a huge geek. He didn’t care one whit that I was gayer than geese and had probably sold my soul to Satan (which were the persistent rumors, and at least half true). I loved him to pieces.

    Shortly after his graduation (he was a few years my senior), my friend Jeremy—who volunteered for Special Olympics and collected for MDA and sang in the Mormon Choir with his Mormon girlfriend and NEVER missed a church service, by golly—said to me exactly these words:

    “You know, Adrian? I’ve been attracted to guys all my life, and I can still look at another guy and say, ‘Yeah, he’s good looking’, but I love this church, it’s important to me, and I want to do it right, so…”

    He was confessing, and digging of course, and I changed the fucking subject. I wasn’t ready to deal with it. Personal reasons.

    Shortly thereafter, Jeremy skittered off on one of those predictable and insistent “Missions” that Mormons are always going on, and then he Josheph-Smithed his little LDS butt off to College in Utah. We lost touch, and that was that.

    Three months ago I Googled him for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Holy Moroni!

    Here is the story as best as I can piece it together: After college, Jeremy moved back to Montana and married a nice Mormon girl (also of my acquaintance—I know them all, I tell you) and before you could say “Golden Tablets!” they squeezed out a brood of Brigham-youngin’s. How nice. But one day Jeremy met an even nicer young man. (You see where this is going, don’t you?) They fell in love. (Exactly.) Jeremy’s beloved church, which allows for millions of extra wives but zero extra husbands, said, “Well, that’s lovely dear, see you in hell,” and his wife? Well. She grabbed up the kids and ran for the hills. Of course.

    But that wasn’t all. She was angry. She was spiteful. (And who could fail to understand?) And being a good Mormon girl, taught that innocent buggery is a sin “worse than murder”, she went a little overboard and started to flex the dusty old muscles of “The Montana ‘Deviant Sexual Conduct Laws’” (that STILL somehow exist in that most backwards of States), in a frantic ploy to prevent Jeremy from ever seeing his children again—far be it from me to call any child’s mother a “heinous cow.”

    Anyhoozits: Reacting to these gaily singular challenges, or so the story goes, Jeremy stepped so far out of character that he could have fallen off the edge of it. He came flying out of the closet in a determined, very public, and media-rich spectacle. He marched on the State Capitol, roused rabble with the Montana Supreme Court, and shook lapels in the legislature! He scored protesty interviews with local news stations and write-ups in the rags. He hired lawyers. He testified at teary hearings. I don’t know if he ever got to see his kids again, or what the final outcome was (the story trails off…), but, wow. Quiet, polite, thoughtful, geeky, honest, girlfriend-having, big Mormony Jeremy—thundering at The Man, champion of civil rights, fighting for his children and the basic dignity of h’mos everywhere! I was so proud. So proud.

    AhhMormons. God love ‘em.

    But then the season changed, politics happened, and Mitt Romney blew into the picture like The Devil’s Sunday morning breath, hard hair a-gleaming, demanding to Rule the Free World and hankering to kick some Mexican ass. When I finally started paying attention (let’s be frank, mostly I just cling to my bong and try to forget global warming), I thought to myself, “THIS is a MORMON? You jest.” I looked at him and remembered poor Jeremy, fighting so hard against his entire religion, his family, his rearing (so to speak) and the government to get them to do the simple, decent thing. I thought of the other four million Mormons I’ve known (many of which turned out to be big fags too, for reasons that go far beyond the scope of this work) and I compared them to the helmet headed Anti-Christ I saw on TV that was accusing John McCain in the most scathing of tones of giving “amnesty” to disenfranchised foreigners in need, and swearing that he would NEVER but NEVER (How DARE you?) do anything so basic and humane as that. Amnesty! Jesus wept.

    Yes, Huckabee is evil, of that there is no doubt. No question. But we know exactly what to expect from him—he’s very vocal about it. But Romney. Romney. There is something seriously insidious and disturbing about that man—especially for a Mormon. And if a Mormon—a MORMON!—can go as totally rotten as Mitt Romney so clearly has—with his blinding will to power, relentless dishonesty, and streak of corruption so mean it could startle Satan’s accountant’s cat—-well. Something has gone seriously, seriously wrong with that Mormon. Seriously wrong, indeed. And I pray that the freaky American Jesus save us all from it.

    I’ll say nothing further.


    The Death of the Gay Press

    posted by on January 28 at 12:57 PM

    Wondering what killed the gay press in the United States? Integration, that’s what.

    Seattle Times Busts the Huskies (and the City)

    posted by on January 28 at 12:49 PM


    I labelled this post City, though it could just have easily fallen under Sports, Sex, Drugs, Media, Politics, and ??!!.

    Long story short: Yesterday the Seattle Times kicked off a series of reports on the University of Washington’s football team of 2000, the year the Huskies won the Rose Bowl, with a team reportedly packed with coddled criminals.

    As the Times reports:

    When that Rose Bowl season began on Sept. 2, 2000, the UW’s starters included:

    • A safety who, according to police reports, had cut his wife’s face, broken her arm and broken her nose. He had already served time for choking her into unconsciousness. While playing in front of 70,000 fans on Montlake that day, he was wanted on an outstanding warrant.

    • A linebacker under investigation for robbing and shooting a drug dealer. He had left behind a fingerprint stained with his blood. By the season opener, police knew the print was his — but they didn’t charge him until the season was over.

    • A tight end under investigation on suspicion of rape.

    At least a dozen members of the Rose Bowl team were arrested that year or charged with a crime that carried possible jail time.

    As for the coddling:

    When one player was sentenced to 30 days in jail, the judge wrote in her order: “To be served after football season.”

    Another Husky, facing a felony charge of assaulting a police officer, was released without bail and granted a delay so that he could keep playing.

    Yet another player in trouble was allowed to perform 150 hours of community service at football camps.

    Here’s Chapter 1 of the Times’ series—“Convicted of assault and accused of rape, star player received raft of second chances.”

    Thank you, Times, and thank you, Slog tipper Fnarf, who sent the link with a summation:

    The UW covering up rape of one of their students? The King County Prosecutor’s Office covering up rape? Saintly Norm Maleng, COVERING UP RAPE BECAUSE IT’S A FOOTBALL PLAYER? The UW deliberately trying to harrass and humiliate a rape victim? TWENTY-FOUR CRIMINALS on the Rose Bowl team? Football corrupts.

    The Idea (or Ideology) of Seattle: Part One

    posted by on January 28 at 12:25 PM

    Getting the gist of this city’s existence:

    In celebration of Mom’s birthday, we all got together high above Seattle at the SkyCity, which is a fancy restaurant located at the top of the Space Needle. The entire restaurant revolves a full circle every 50 minutes, so our window seats treated us to views of the Cascade Mountains, Puget Sound, a beautiful glowing orange-sky sunset over the Olympics, and the Seattle skyline as it brightened throughout the night. Best part of the food was Mom’s dessert: a funky UFO-themed ice cream dish that came complete with fog-producing dry ice!

    Since It’s Apparently News Every Time Obama Gets An Endorsement…

    posted by on January 28 at 12:20 PM

    I thought it might be helpful (in the interest of equal time and all) to tick off a few of the endorsements Hillary Clinton (you know, that annoying lady standing in the way of Obama’s coronation) has scored:

    The New York Times.

    The American Nurses Association.

    Billie Jean King.

    Former VP candidate Geraldine Ferraro.

    The National Organization for Women.

    Barbra Streisand.

    The National Women’s Political Caucus.

    The Women’s Campaign Forum.

    Director Steven Spielberg.

    Poet Maya Angelou.

    Washington State Rep. Jay Inslee.

    Former House majority leader Dick Gephardt.

    California Senator Dianne Feinstein.

    San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

    The United Transportation Union.

    The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

    King County Executive Ron Sims.

    General Wesley Clark.

    The International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers.

    Rob Reiner.

    The Alabama Black Caucus.

    The American Federation of Teachers.

    Civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis.

    The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

    Barney Frank.

    Walter Mondale.

    The governor of Ohio.

    The governor of Pennsylvania.

    The United Farm Workers union.

    WCLA-Choice Matters.

    House Intelligence chair Silvestre Reyes.

    Former HUD secretary Henry Cisneros.

    Former Washington governor Gary Locke.

    Washington State Sen. Maria Cantwell.

    Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski.

    Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

    The Amalgamated Transit Union.

    Assignment:South Africa

    posted by on January 28 at 12:18 PM


    Hello Seattle. I’m far far away from you now, writing from an overly air-conditioned hotel lobby in sunny (and dangerous) South Africa, where I am continuing to intern on your behalf.

    I’ve started blogging about being a white liberal homo here. Read, react… I’ll be back in your arms mid-March.

    Love, Steven

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on January 28 at 12:15 PM

    Laundry day, from Flickr pool contributor kjten22


    Slog Poll: Clinton or Obama?

    posted by on January 28 at 11:50 AM

    Sorry John Edwards fans, but your guy is finished. Time for a new kind of Slog poll.

    Who do you want to be the Democratic nominee?

    Last Week on Drugs

    posted by on January 28 at 11:48 AM

    Tony Blair may have left office, but his legacy as a lapdogging neo-crusader lives on in his first official portrait, says much of the UK press.


    The blood-red flower of a poppy. Dashing. The Remembrance Day flower is a reference to Blair’s (unpopular) war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the opium poppy is also inadvertently coincident with the war on drugs. The painting was unveiled along with news that, a) opium poppy farms have been seeded across Iraq, and, b) despite the British counter-narcotics team’s eradication efforts in Afghanistan, another record-breaking poppy crop is expected in 2008. The high price of liberation.

    A Cop-a-Day Murdered in Mexico: Putting third-world police departments between the world’s biggest drug producers and world’s largest drug market proves akin to using tree frogs to stop bulldozers.

    PTSD Immunity: The Pentagon is pushing a drug to make soldiers numb to the trauma of combat, callous to humankind. Pass the Soma, please.

    Higher Priority: Smoking pot and driving without a license is still illegal in Seattle. You think this is funny? Kinda sorta.

    Higher Latitude: Vancouver, B.C. considers hard-drug replacement.

    Deaf Justice: 15 people convicted by lying informant.

    Case Study: Treatment reduces crime.

    Feeling Unlucky? Drug money may have paid for winning ticket.

    New Hampshire: Might decriminalize pot.

    Nebraska: Might recriminalize pot.

    The California Supreme Court Doesn’t Rule: If cancer patients smoked pot in December, judges said, they’re too stoned to work in January.

    Group Health: Bring us unused pills, but mix Oxycontin with kitty litter.

    Wait a Second—Didn’t the Surge Fix Everything?

    posted by on January 28 at 11:36 AM


    Five American soldiers were killed in the northern city of Mosul on Monday when militants attacked them with a roadside bomb and then fired on their patrol from a nearby mosque with machine guns, military officials said. The troops returned fire and Iraqi forces raided the mosque, but the gunmen had fled, they said.

    It was the second catastrophic attack on United States forces this month, after a house rigged with explosives killed six soldiers in Diyala three weeks ago. The attack underscored the grim situation in Mosul, Iraq’s northern hub, which remains a stronghold for Sunni extremist fighters.

    Why Are Straight Guys So Aroused by Prison Rape?

    posted by on January 28 at 11:15 AM

    Seriously. Oz on HBO was prison rape porn for straight men. After 10 PM MSNBC’s “doc block” is all-prison-rape, all-the-time. And now a nice straight boy in Kansas—the son of that state’s governor—is selling a prison rape board game. It’s called “Don’t Drop the Soap.”

    Fight your way through 6 different exciting locations in hopes of being granted parole. Escape prison riots in The Yard, slip glass into a mob boss’ lasagna in the Cafeteria, steal painkillers from the nurse’s desk in the Infirmary, avoid being cornered by the Aryans in the Shower Room, fight off Latin Kings in Gang War, and try not to smoke your entire stash in The Hole.

    Each game comes with a “soap dish parole card holder,” and “handcrafted” figurines, which include an Italian mob boss, a latino paraplegic, and a black gang member.

    Kathleen Sebelius is the governor of Kansas. She’s a Democrat, her son is 23 years old, straight, and lives in the mansion with his parents—oh, and he’s selling “Don’t Drop the Soap” out of the governor’s mansion.

    Via JoeMyGod.

    On Critique

    posted by on January 28 at 11:15 AM

    Right now, at this very moment, I am in the throes of the peer-review process—attempting to resubmit a manuscript for scientific publication.

    The cynic’s description of the process: Other scientists in your field (your peers; your competitors) get to read your write-up anonymously and send you scurrying back to correct mistakes, flaws and weaknesses. The critiques fall into two broad categories: things legitimately wrong (“you’re missing a control for this experiment”) and bullshit (“this would be more interesting if you did some-impossible-experiment instead.”) Often your competitors send you off to do such an impossible task, giving them time to publish similar data in the meantime.

    Its slightly less fun than being torn to shreds by Slog commenters after working for hours on a post.

    The idealists impression: this back and forth is where science actually occurs, where the design and meaning of experiments are actually discussed, where actual leaps in human knowledge are born.

    Looking for a style guide for cover letters, I came across the following Sample Cover Letter for Journal Manuscript Resubmission by Roy F. Baumeister:

    Dear Sir, Madame, or Other:

    Enclosed is our latest version of Ms # 85-02-22-RRRRR, that is, the re-re-re-revised revision of our paper. Choke on it. We have again rewritten the entire manuscript from start to finish. We even changed the goddamn running head! Hopefully we have suffered enough by now to satisfy even you and your bloodthirsty reviewers.

    I shall skip the usual point-by-point description of every single change we made in response to the critiques. After all, it is fairly clear that your reviewers are less interested in details of scientific procedure than in working out their personality problems and sexual frustrations by seeking some kind of demented glee in the sadistic and arbitrary exercise of tyrannical power over helpless authors like ourselves who happen to fall into their clutches. We do understand that, in view of the misanthropic psychopaths you have on your editorial board, you need to keep sending them papers, for if they weren’t reviewing manuscripts they’d probably be out mugging old ladies or clubbing baby seals to death. Still, from this batch of reviewers, C was clearly the most hostile, and we request that you not ask him or her to review this revision. Indeed, we have mailed letter bombs to four or five people we suspected of being reviewer C, so if you send the manuscript back to them the review process could be unduly delayed.

    (emphasis added)

    Ha! Worth a read in entirety…

    In Other News

    posted by on January 28 at 11:05 AM

    There are Democratic presidential candidates other than Barack Obama.

    Shocking to those who get their news from Slog, (seriously, FIVE Obama press release posts since 8 this morning?!), I know.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on January 28 at 11:00 AM

    Show Us Your Knits!

    Purlygirls at Blue Star Cafe & Pub

    All the girls love knitting these days, and they gather to trade yarn recipes. Imagine if you were a BOY who could KNIT!! The world would be your oyster, and so would all those women of various ages and patterns. So grab your needle and go to the Purlygirls Knitters Gathering! Tell them it wasn’t my idea! (Blue Star Cafe, 4512 Stone Way N, 548-0345. 5:45 pm, free, all ages.)


    Satan’s Funny Bone

    The Comedy Hellraisers at Mainstage Comedy and Music Club

    Descend into the fire with your host Derek Sheen! He will be bringing you some of the freshest and fiercest comedians this side of the river (or band) Styx. Bad case of “the Mondays”? Destroy them and anyone who uses that phrase! Stiff drinks and surprisingly good food available. It’s time to get metaltarded! (Mainstage Comedy and Music Club, 315 First Ave N, 217-3700. 8 pm, $6, 21+.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Oh Yeah, the SOTU

    posted by on January 28 at 10:50 AM

    Remember that guy who’s still president? He’s giving a big speech tonight at 9 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. PST. He has a few things he wants to say. A few big ideas for his last year in office.

    I’ll be here on Slog with our handy new liveblogging widget (which is really, in some ways, more like a portable chat room in which everyone can join the “liveblog”).

    So if you’ve ever wanted the whole world to hear you shouting at your television—or if you’d just like someone other than your cat to listen as you tell the deliverer of the SOTU to STFU—join me at 6 p.m. We’ll tell the world together.

    See you then.


    posted by on January 28 at 10:46 AM

    A friend-of-Slog sent me this email:

    In an effort to get decent top-of-rotation pitching in Erik Bedard from Baltimore, The Mariners will trade 23 yo outfielder Adam Jones and lefty reliever (and fan favorite) George Sherrill to Baltimore.

    Bedard’s stats are 13-6 last season with the Orioles before being sidelined by a strained oblique for the rest of the season. “He was thought to be a strong contender for the Cy Young award, pitching 182 innings and striking out 221 batters, a total that ended up leading the American League.” accordign to More here.

    This FOS originally sent this email to Brad, since Brad cares about the Ms. But Brad’s not in and so he sent it to me. And asked me to post it. So here it is. I can’t fully appreciate the implications, of course, since I only go to the games for the beer.

    Vamos al Autobús

    posted by on January 28 at 10:32 AM

    Anybody else stuck waiting while three packed buses whipped past your stop today? Or are the stories I’ve started to hear (along with my own long-ass wait) mere anomalies in an otherwise pristine day of King County Metro service?

    Florida is Rudy Country

    posted by on January 28 at 10:30 AM

    Liberals begged voters in Michigan to keep Mitt in the game—and they responded—and now a call is going out to Florida voters: Keep Rudy in the running!

    Sign of Desperation?

    posted by on January 28 at 10:28 AM


    Or sign of the times?

    A huge banner has appeared on the nearly empty, fully ugly apartment-building-on-sticks that squats at Pine and Bellevue. In October of last year Dom wrote a post about the building’s impending demolition and included what little was known about the proposed new development at the site. Back then Dom, like everyone else, anticipated more lux condos coming to Capitol Hill…

    The property owners have proposed replacing the thing with a six-story structure that has 116 units and two levels of underground parking. The street level would house commercial spaces. However, the residential units—90 more than rented currently—would all be condos. 65’ at its highest point, the views over Chapel toward downtown are sure to be spectacular, so the units are sure cost a small fortune.

    That was then. Here’s a close up shot of the banner on the side of the building. It says, “Want to live in a brand new condo building on this site? Not sure if you can afford it? Help us design appealing new condos in your price range. Take our survey at”

    And here’s a little of the info up at the website:

    Today, there are many condominium homes being built and sold in the Seattle metro area, but very few of them are within the reach of today’s average income earner. Thus, many people who work in Seattle cannot afford to own a home there.

    In Seattle, the 2007 median income is estimated at $51,484, which typically enables a person to afford a home that is approximately $250,000. On the other hand, the current median condo price in Seattle (as of November 2007) was significantly higher than that at $305,000 (Seattle-wide) and $321,225 (Capitol Hill). It’s this imbalance that we are striving to address.

    So it would appear that the developers are… altruists. Or socialists. They’re not doing this to make a buck, but to help Seattle’s struggling average income earners buy a home. Which they intend to do by selling—with your help and design input—400 square foot condos. (Seattle’s average income earners are advised to have small, stackable families.) The developers no doubt planned to do all along and the sudden downturn in the Seattle housing market had no impact on their plans for this development.

    Ant Parasite Turns Host Into Ripe Red Berry

    posted by on January 28 at 10:28 AM

    Scientists have found teeny worms that turn ants’ rear ends all red, making them look like a tasty little berry to birds. Nature red in tooth, claw, and behind!

    Climbing around on old trees on obscure tropical islands, being puzzled/named Dudley, drinking beers, making bets, operating a microscope while under the influence—sounds like fun:

    In May 2005, when searching for a colony of the ants in a downed tree on Panama’s Barro Colorado Island, Dudley was puzzled to see some members of the colony with bright red abdomens—something he, Yanoviak and Kaspari had never before seen….

    “Like other ant biologists, I initially thought this was another species of Cephalotes,” said Kaspari. “Robert didn’t think so, and we made a bet over beers. Then Steve opened one up under the scope and—wow! I lost the bet.”


    “No Country for Old Assholes”

    posted by on January 28 at 10:12 AM

    Sent last night to I, Anonymous:

    The theater was barely one-quarter full tonight, yet your dumpy, miserable, old ass still found a way to ruin someone else’s night. Sure, my mom had to use the restroom in the middle of the movie, but really, worse things could have happened to you tonight than having to move your porky legs to let her by. Apparently, when she returned from the restroom, instead of letting her by, you told her to sit somewhere else. Amazingly, and unbeknownst to me, she did. So, 20 minutes later, when I had to pass in front of you to look for her, find her, and then route the both of us right back in front of your fat ass, I hope we got totally in your way. In fact, I hope we ruined the movie for you—just as you did for us. I feel sorry for your husband and kid in suggesting this, but if you can’t handle the “inconveniences” of going out in public, do us all a favor—stay home and keep your shitty attitude to yourself.

    From the Mouth of Ted Kennedy

    posted by on January 28 at 10:00 AM

    With multiple Kennedy endorsements swirling around today, commenter Big Sven says:

    Let me reiterate that the only Kennedy opinion that matters is Ted’s.

    Well put, at least politically-speaking. Here, then, is what Big Ted had to say today at the Obama rally in Washington, D.C.:

    I feel change in the air.

    Every time I’ve been asked over the past year who I would support in the Democratic Primary, my answer has always been the same: I’ll support the candidate who inspires me, who inspires all of us, who can lift our vision and summon our hopes and renew our belief that our country’s best days are still to come.

    I’ve found that candidate. And it looks to me like you have too.

    But first, let me say how much I respect the strength, the work and dedication of two other Democrats still in the race, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. They are my friends; they have been my colleagues in the Senate. John Edwards has been a powerful advocate for economic and social justice. And Hillary Clinton has been in the forefront on issues ranging from health care to the rights of women around the world. Whoever is our nominee will have my enthusiastic support.

    Let there be no doubt: We are all committed to seeing a Democratic President in 2008.

    But I believe there is one candidate who has extraordinary gifts of leadership and character, matched to the extraordinary demands of this moment in history.

    He understands what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called the “fierce urgency of now.”

    He will be a president who refuses to be trapped in the patterns of the past. He is a leader who sees the world clearly without being cynical. He is a fighter who cares passionately about the causes he believes in, without demonizing those who hold a different view.

    He is tough-minded, but he also has an uncommon capacity to appeal to “the better angels of our nature.”

    I am proud to stand here today and offer my help, my voice, my energy and my commitment to make Barack Obama the next President of the United States.

    Like most of the nation, I was moved four years ago as he told us a profound truth—that we are not, we must not be, just red states and blue states, but one United States. And since that time I have marveled at his grit and his grace as he traveled this country and inspired record turnouts of people of all ages, of all races, of all genders, of all parties and faiths to get “fired up” and “ready to go.”

    I’ve seen him connect with people from every walk of life and with Senators on both sides of the aisle. With every person he meets, every crowd he inspires, and everyone he touches, he generates new hope that our greatest days as a nation are still ahead, and this generation of Americans, like others before us, can unite to meet our own rendezvous with destiny.

    We know the true record of Barack Obama. There is the courage he showed when so many others were silent or simply went along. From the beginning, he opposed the war in Iraq.

    And let no one deny that truth.

    More thinly-veiled Clinton hits, lots of talk about young people, and a comparison to John F. Kennedy in the jump…

    Continue reading "From the Mouth of Ted Kennedy" »


    posted by on January 28 at 9:23 AM

    … if you’re listening to KUOW right now, conservative black writer Shelby Steele is lying about the percentage of the white vote Obama got in South Carolina. He actually received about a quarter of the white vote, double what he was supposed to get according to the last polls going into the election. Steele is reversing those figures to support his dubious contention: His book is called A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can’t Win.

    Here’s the exit poll: Obama received 24% of the white vote, compared to 36% for Clinton and 40% for Edwards.

    Here’s the McClatchy poll Steele was trying to use to bolster his argument: A poll conducted between Jan 22-23 in South Carolina found that Obama’s support among whites had dropped to around 10%.

    Obama overperformed.

    UPDATE: OK, good job, KUOW fact-checkers. You gave Scher the actual exit poll numbers. Now give him the poll and have him contradict Steele. “Isn’t this… isn’t this?” isn’t going to cut it.

    UPDATE: Thanks for reading the Slog, Steve! But I asked you to correct the poll numbers too. Steele was asserting that Obama’s support among whites had collapsed compared to the last polls (that’s Bradley-effect conventional wisdom, folks); to contradict him, you would have to demonstrate that the polls underpredicted his actual performace. Which they did. Thanks.

    Yet Another Kennedy for Obama

    posted by on January 28 at 9:21 AM

    And this one, Rhode Island Rep. Patrick J, Kennedy, is also a superdelegate.

    They Like Us, They Really Like Us

    posted by on January 28 at 9:00 AM

    The Seattle Times must really love Slog, because last week, one of their reporters sent us an email, begging for us to post, link, or otherwise make a bigger deal about one of their forgotten stories.

    From: Date: January 25, 2008 —:—:— AM PST To: Subject: SlogTip — do u think this is funny? My paper ran it on the web yesterday but not today and nobody saw it. I thought seattleites would want to know.

    We’re not going to link the story or name the writer, since it might get them fired.

    Thanks, Seattle Times. We love you too.

    Toni Morrison, She of the Famous “First Black President” Line, On Obama

    posted by on January 28 at 8:50 AM

    Here’s Toni Morrison in 1998, writing about Bill Clinton:

    This is our first black President. Blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children’s lifetime.

    Now Morrison tells Obama: “You are the man for this time.”

    What Has Happened to Honeycrisp Apples?

    posted by on January 28 at 8:47 AM

    They used to be the biggest apples in the grocery store by far—freakishly big. Suddenly they are the smallest apples by far. They are like glorified grapes now. Here is photographic evidence—for reference, those pears next to them are normal size.


    They continue to be motherfucking delicious.

    The Democratic Nomination: “A Hoot.”

    posted by on January 28 at 8:27 AM

    There are 4,049 Democratic delegates. A candidate needs 2,025 of them to get the nomination. Obama currently has 63. Clinton 48. And Edwards 26.

    The super showdown on Super Tuesday (1 week from tomorrow) where 2,064 delegates are up for grabs, isn’t likely to settle the contest. Nor is Washington state, where the Democrats are holding caucuses the following Saturday, February 9 to ultimately send 97 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August.

    Indeed, the whole thing could come down to a wild floor fight in Denver where superdelegates (kind of like reserved seats for elected politicians, party officials, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton) might play a key role.

    There are 796 superdelegates, including Sen. Maria Cantwell. (She’s supporting Clinton.) So far, about 25% support Clinton and about 10% support Obama.

    In an article about the superdelegates in today’s NYT, Cantwell was one of two superdelegates they quoted (the other was Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd.)

    She’s getting a kick out the whole thing:

    “It would be fun,” said Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, who is supporting Mrs. Clinton. “Just like the old days. It would be a hoot to see it, just the floor politics.”

    The Morning News

    posted by on January 28 at 8:02 AM

    A Proper Send-Off For the Long Trip to Hell: Tens of thousands attended former Indonesia dictator (and U.S. Cold War ally, and killer of hundreds of thousands of left-wing opponents) Suharto’s state funeral this morning. Meanwhile, U.S. officials issued a statement calling him an “historic figure” who “achieved remarkable economic development.”

    Kenya: Machetes, clubs, and rocks are the weapons of choice during rioting between rival tribes this morning. 800 people have been killed in the past month.

    Obama’s Endorsements: First Caroline, now Ted Kennedy.

    Le Swindle: When you’re behind the biggest trading fraud in history, you’ve gotta figure charges are headed your way.

    Quack, Quack, Quack: President Bush will reportedly discuss congressional earmarks during his final State of the Union Address.

    The Plunge: New home sales had their biggest annual drop in 2007.

    LDS RIP: Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has died. He was 97.

    Dept. of Egads: An Ohio woman is on trial for microwaving her newborn baby.

    Capitol Hill Shooting: Friday night’s murder of Maurice “Moe” Allen outside the Baltic Room was the third shooting on the Hill in three weeks. See also here and here.

    Trimming the Fat: In anticipation of a bleak 2008, Governor Gregoire is looking to cut from the state’s $33 billion budget.

    Wanted: The Navy wants to shoot a coyote at Discovery Park.

    Just 17 Days Until Spring Training: A deal to send Mariners outfielder Adam Jones and others to Baltimore for pitcher Erik Bedard is reportedly close to being finalized.

    Nixon Courts the Youth Vote:

    Sunday, January 27, 2008

    Mormon President Dies. Mitt Romney Tragically Unaffected.

    posted by on January 27 at 10:10 PM

    No “magic underpants” jokes just now, please.

    This adorable, grandpa-lookin’ mother fella’s name was Gordon B. Hinckley, and he was the President of the Mormon Church. (There is a President of Mormons? Fascinating.)


    And I say, “he was”, because, well, he isn’t anymore, technically speaking. Behold:

    Gordon B. Hinckley, the Mormon church’s oldest president who presided over one of the greatest periods of expansion in its history, died Sunday. He was 97.

    The full story can be read here.

    Confidential to Michael Strangeways

    posted by on January 27 at 3:30 PM

    We didn’t add you to make nice after I was a dick to you on Slog—could you imagine how long our blog roll would be if we did that every time I was a dick to someone? And my boyfriend isn’t allowed to use deodorant at all.

    Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

    posted by on January 27 at 3:02 PM

    A former Albany man has been sentenced to 46 months in prison for using a high-voltage stun gun on his 18-month-old son.

    Rian Wittman was arrested in February and agreed to a plea bargain last year. The sentence was imposed Friday. Prosecutor Reed Dinsmore said the stun gun delivered 30,000 volts during testing….

    The prosecution said the child’s mother saw marks on the boy in January 2007 and, thinking it was a rash, wanted to take him to a doctor. But Wittman talked her out of it, Dinsmore said.

    “He described to her that he used the stun gun to play peekaboo with the child,” Dinsmore said. “The mother did not report the incident, and that was a mistake on her part.”

    Re: The South Carolina Victory Speech

    posted by on January 27 at 1:46 PM

    I watched it live at the gym. It was a great speech. But I was only able to really appreciate it when I watched the tape. You see, when I watch Obama speak live before a crowd… I’m thoroughly riveted. Can’t take my eyes off him. But for the wrong fucking reason: I find it hard to look away because I’m stressing out the whole time about the guy getting shot. The tension is terrible. I hope he’s got a great bunch of Secret Service agents around him at all times.

    Double Happiness

    posted by on January 27 at 1:44 PM

    Seattle’s Chinatown finally got a gate. And it was worth waiting for…


    It straddles S King Street, at 5th Ave S, clearly defining King as the neighborhood’s commercial thoroughfare. Take that, S Jackson. An employee at Seattle’s Best Tea Co, next to one of the mostly painted columns, says the scaffolding came down about six days ago. The official unveiling will be held February 9th. Northwest Asian Weekly has more on why our gate kicks San Francisco’s gate’s ass.

    The South Carolina Victory Speech

    posted by on January 27 at 1:25 PM

    If you missed it, or were searching for it:

    The Deer Hunter

    posted by on January 27 at 12:59 PM


    I played BBH at Sunset Bowl AND Shorty’s. It was wonderful.

    Thanks, Slog.

    Di di mau!

    Another Kennedy for Obama

    posted by on January 27 at 12:40 PM

    I’m sitting in LAX catching up on what I missed over the course of a few hours. The biggest new thing: In addition to Caroline Kennedy, who endorsed Barack Obama today, Senator Ted Kennedy is going to endorse Obama at a rally in D.C. on Monday:

    The coveted endorsement is a huge blow to New York Senator Hillary Clinton, who is both a senatorial colleague and a friend of the Kennedy family. In a campaign where Clinton has trumpeted her experience over Obama’s call for hope and change, the endorsement by one of the most experienced and respected Democrats in the Senate is a particularly dramatic coup for Obama…

    Kennedy plans to campaign actively for Obama, an aide said, and will focus particularly among Hispanics and labor union members, who are important voting blocks in several Feb. 5 states, including California, New York, New Jersey, Arizona and New Mexico.

    More on the Romney Whisper

    posted by on January 27 at 12:35 PM

    Remember this?

    Might it be due to the ear piece Romney reportedly wears for communications from his staff?

    The Seattle Times Endorses…

    posted by on January 27 at 12:14 PM

    Barack Obama.

    After seven years of George Bush’s failed presidency, after five years of unnecessary war in Iraq, America is ready to write a new narrative. All candidates favor the now-bromidic slogan: change. Only one candidate truly embraces the yearnings this word represents.

    Washington’s Democratic Caucuses are on Feb. 9. There’s a Stranger endorsement coming soon. Stay tuned…

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on January 27 at 12:06 PM

    From Flickr pool contributor shapefarm.


    Can We Now Officially Ban the Word “Narrative,” Please?

    posted by on January 27 at 11:54 AM

    With all the talk of the black vote going for Obama, it should be noted (and it was to me by Annie, promptly) that Obama got twice as much of the white vote in S.C. as he was projected to get. He got about a quarter of it.

    Here’s two other things to note:

    Among young white voters in South Carolina (not a huge percentage of the vote, but they will be one day) Obama got 52%! Talk about the New South. Right on.

    This, and another supposed anomaly—Obama’s heavy support among white voters in the outlying precincts in Nevada (63-31 in Elko County! 50 to 41 in Washoe County)—upends any notion that Obama is “the black candidate” —or “Jesse Jackson”—as Bill Clinton idiotically put it.

    A thorough look at the demographic breakdown in all the races so far notes these complicating factors among many others (including the difference between richer white voters and poorer white voters and the difference between Hispanic turnout and black turnout).

    It’s a must read for anyone who’s trying to come up with a neat narrative for this election. Because, it turns out, the data says there isn’t one.

    My suggestion right now, let’s ban the word “narrative.” Please.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on January 27 at 11:00 AM

    Open Celebrities

    Open Mic
    at Comedy Underground

    Our home club, the Comedy Underground, opens its doors for a “Celebrity Open Mic” featuring local superstars, including TV legend John Keister, cartoonist Peter Bagge, and writers from The Stranger. Some spots will be reserved for newbies, so you—yes, you!—could perform on this night. Arrive at the club by 7:30 pm if you want to put your danglies in the water. (Comedy Underground, 222 S Main St, 628-0303. 8:30 pm, $6, all ages.)


    Shannon Harps, RIP

    posted by on January 27 at 10:54 AM


    Now that the man who killed Shannon Harps has been arrested—I’m leaving off the “allegedly,” as the man has reportedly confessed to the police—I can walk past the sidewalk memorial to Harps without aching for Harps… and looking over my shoulder. Now comes the tricky part: With the murderer behind bars and Harps’ spirit, if she (or anyone) has one, hopefully a bit more at peace, it’s probably time to remove the street memorial. I’m sure the person trying to sell a condo in Harps’ building is anxious to see the memorial—which still includes some flowers I put there the day after the murder—gone.

    But how? And when? In the light of day? In the middle of the night? And who removes it? A janitor? Harps’ friends? Does someone say a few words? And how do you toss the component parts of a street memorial—candles, flowers, notes—in the trash without seeming disrespectful to Harps? Is there a protocol here? Or do we gather everything up and move it to the sight of the most current random slaying on Capitol Hill?