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Archives for 02/17/2008 - 02/23/2008

Saturday, February 23, 2008

It’s Mourning in the Malls of America

posted by on February 23 at 8:08 PM


This placard is sitting just inside the entrance of the River Park Square shopping mall in Spokane, Washington. Ugh. I’m not sure what’s worse: That the management of a mall in Eastern Washington feels that it’s somehow their responsibility to honor students murdered half a continent away? Or the passive wording they chose for this memorial piece of cardboard? “We honor those who lost their lives…” Um… their lives weren’t car keys or contact lenses, you know. They weren’t misplaced. Their deaths weren’t something that just, you know, kinda, sorta happened.

Their lives were taken from them. And the responsible parties? The shooter, of course, but he had accomplices. Blame must also be assigned to an American electorate—the very same folks streaming past this placard—that tolerates a “gun culture” that wreaks so much havoc. Daniel, Catalina, Ryanne, Julianna, and Gayle didn’t carelessly misplace their lives. They were done to death by the evil fucks at the NRA, the stupid fucks in Congress, and average dumb fucks who think cheap sentiment, a stupid placard, and an ugly vase stuffed with wilting roses somehow exonerates us all.

The Grim Ripper

posted by on February 23 at 7:29 PM

Next on the chopping block—B&O Espresso:

Some of you may not know this yet, but a developer has proposed razing the landmark B&O Espresso on Capitol Hill.

The proposed project would result in a 65’ tall, 75-unit apartment complex with retail below. This would eliminate the existing businesses, including the B&O Espresso, as well as the two-fourplex apartments to the north of the B&O. To what degree is redevelopment appropriate and best for the community if it eliminates historical, architectural or cultural connections to our past? How much is enough when it directly jeopardizes and impacts the very core a neighborhood identifies with? Worthy of note is the B & O Espresso and Café, which was one of the first establishments offering espresso in Seattle, and recently celebrated its 30th anniversary at this location. This in itself establishes deep cultural ties to the neighborhood. Eliminating this building would destroy the unique character and cultural identity of this retail core.

And if we keep destroying what makes Seattle unique, we might as well replace the Space Needle with huge golden arches, and a sign reading, “Over 1,000,000 displaced.” Some of us do not want this to happen!

Here’s a link to a web page devoted to saving the B&O. There’s a petition you can sign, and the info where to write DPD Land Use Planner Bruce Rips. (I’m not kidding — that’s really his name.)

Blah on the NYT. The Washington Post Gets the Real Story on McCain.

posted by on February 23 at 7:03 PM

The NYT’s big McCain story on Thursday was pretty weak.

But I’m not sure why one of us ‘08ers here at Slog didn’t link this fat story from yesterday’s Washington Post.

It’s almost a humor piece with paragraph after paragraph, like these, stacked up one after the other:

McCain’s relationship with lobbyists became an issue this week after it was reported that his aides asked Vicki Iseman, a telecom lobbyist, to distance herself from his 2000 presidential campaign because it would threaten McCain’s reputation for independence. An angry and defiant McCain denounced the stories yesterday, declaring: “At no time have I ever done anything that would betray the public trust.”

Even before McCain finished his news conference, uber-lobbyist Black made the rounds of television networks to defend McCain against charges that he has been tainted by his relationship with a lobbyist. Black’s current clients include General Motors, United Technologies, JPMorgan and AT&T

McCain’s top fundraising official is former congressman Tom Loeffler (R-Tex.), who heads a lobbying law firm called the Loeffler Group. He has counseled the Saudis as well as Southwest Airlines, AT&T, Toyota and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Public Citizen, a group that monitors campaign fundraising, has found that McCain has more bundlers — people who gather checks from networks of friends and associates — from the lobbying community than any other presidential candidate from either party.

The only thing that’s missing from the piece is tying all the lobbyists (and all their clients) who work with McCain to McCain’s voting record.

Here’s a list of those clients: eBay, Goldman Sachs Group, Cablevision, Tenneco, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, General Motors, United Technologies, JP Morgan, AT&T, Alcoa, U.S. Airways, Southwest Airlines, Toyota, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. (Told you it was comical.)

It shouldn’t be too hard to find examples of McCain’s work in the Senate that benefited this corporate roster.

Here’s the dude’s voting record on significant legislation over the last few years. At a cursory glance, I see that he voted for the bankruptcy bill, a pet bill of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs—clients right there on the cronies of John list.

Hit that WaPo.

Quick & Dirty Oscar Picks

posted by on February 23 at 5:27 PM

My wild guesses are as follows:

Best Picture: No Country for Old Men

Actor in a Leading Role: Daniel Day Lewis (There Will Be Blood)

Actress in a Leading Role: Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose)—this is not necessarily the conventional wisdom, and I think the role was written without nuance, but Julie Christie already has an Oscar, and Away from Her was such a quiet movie. I also think people will feel guilty for not voting for Persepolis in the animated feature category—since it wasn’t nominated for foreign film—and will try to make it up to the Frenchies here.

Actress in a Supporting Role: I almost want to say Saoirse Ronan (Atonement), because Oscar voters haven’t given it to a kid since Anna Paquin, and who doesn’t love an Irish accent? But nobody agrees with me. And besides, everybody loves a crossdresser. Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There).

Actor in a Supporting Role: Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)

Directing: Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men)

Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody (Juno)

Adapted Screenplay: The Coen Bros again (No Country for Old Men)

Animated Feature: Ratatouille

Animated Short: I’ve actually seen all of these. Madame Tutli-Putli is gorgeous, but fairly dark for Oscar tastes. Still, you have to admire the animation, and—unlike Peter and the Wolf—it looks wonderful in film stills.

Documentary Feature: No End in Sight, to make up for the fact that the many war-themed narrative features didn’t make a dent in the prestige nominations, and because Sicko is kind of unsatisfying.

Documentary Short: I think Stranger Genius Award winner James Longley really has a chance this year. But I don’t want to jinx him. Elderly yet openminded Oscar voters want to make a statement about gay rights: Freeheld.

Live Action Short: These were all bad. I’m going to go with the lachrymose At Night, even though it’s a pain to sit through. The others are just too cheesy.

Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer (Atonement)

Cinematography: I’m going to go with two-time winner Janusz Kaminski for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly—who wrote me an angry email when I partially attributed the blissed-out look of the film to the director. There’s a passionate lobbyist. NCFOM can’t win everything, There Will Be Blood’s Robert Elswit is this year’s Emmanuel Lubezki, and the flashiest scene in Atonement—the long Dunkirk Steadycam shot—is inert.

Costume Design: Atonement, which will be such a fuck you to Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

Film Editing: The Bourne Ultimatum, because bestest means mostest, and the Coens are hiding under a pseudonym.

Foreign Language Film: The Counterfeiters—voting for the Israeli movie that muscled out The Band’s Visit would be bad form, and the others are wacky.

Makeup: La Vie en Rose’s surprisingly effective old age makeup

Music (Score): Dario Marianelli (Atonement)—flashy but not bombastic

Music (Song): “Falling Slowly,” Once

… and the total crapshoots:

Sound Editing: No Country for Old Men

Sound Mixing: Transformers

Visual Effects: Transformers

Am I right, or am I crazy? Be here for David Schmader’s liveblog of the Oscars, tomorrow at 5 pm.

You Know What’s Wrong With America?

posted by on February 23 at 4:31 PM

The president pees sitting down. Seriously. And that’s not right.

From Stranger reader Daniel Heller: “I know you guys love Barack Obama, so I thought I would forward a Barack illustration I whipped up.”

posted by on February 23 at 4:11 PM



posted by on February 23 at 12:39 PM

Just took out my first Zipcar today (whoops, I mean “Zipped up my reservation!”) Total for four hours, for a truck (now named “Tatoosh”!) that used to cost $8 an hour: $49.61. That’s $10.50 an hour, plus $7.61 in unspecified taxes and fees. (Yes, I’m driving a truck, which costs more than the standard rate of $9.50 an hour—but only because both of the two vehicles available in Columbia City—the truck and a hybrid Civic—are now in the $10.50-an-hour category. Because, you know, you should pay more if you want to drive a hybrid).

Why do you do this to me, Zipcar? Renting a car would be cheaper.

The Other Election

posted by on February 23 at 12:30 PM

Why is Mugabe confident he is going to be reelected? Because his main opponents, Mr Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and Simba Makoni, the former Finance Minister, are from Manicaland. I’m a Manica, my family comes from the mountains around the capital of Manicaland, Mutare. What is the problem with being a Manica? We are, to put it in terms that are not complicated, the smallest tribe of the the three main tribes in Zimbabwe. We might produce lots of educated men and women, but our intellectual power is not backed by the power of a large population. Because the bottom of all African politics is tribalism, Mugabe is guaranteed to hit rock bottom—he will win. In the African mind, the tribe is first and the stomach is a distant second.

A note on Makoni: I recall he was an excellent squash player. I used to watch him play in the courts at the Sun Hotel, the center of Gaborone’s society back in 1987. Makoni was then leading the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which was (and still is) based in Gaborone, Botswana. I even recall Makoni beating an Indian chap, the owner of the right to distribute cars manufactured by BMW, but that might be my imagination and not what actually happened.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on February 23 at 11:00 AM


‘Coming of Age’ at Crawl Space Gallery

Crawl Space may be small, but that hasn’t stopped it from organizing a national survey of early-career video artists. The room will be a jumble of screens showing more than 30 works by nine artists—so you’ll have to return after the opening to see it all. But what you’ll get from the party besides the wine is a talk by Seattle Art Museum curator Marisa Sanchez about what those crazy kids are doing with video these days. (Crawl Space Gallery, 504 E Denny Way #1, 201-2441. 6–9 pm, free.)


Oscars Live-Slog: Tomorrow, 5:00 pm!

posted by on February 23 at 10:41 AM


Attention citizens of the Slogosphere: Tomorrow evening starting at 5pm Pacific time, I will be live-slogging the Academy Awards.

Between the darkness of the nominated art (There Will Be Blood! No Country for Old Men! Ratatouille!) and Hollywood’s deep jonesing for glitz (the writers’ strike hobbled most of the year’s other celebrity trophy pageants), it should be a world-class freak show.

It might also be 17 hours long. Stock up on booze, see you back here tomorrow.

Reading Today

posted by on February 23 at 10:00 AM


After yesterday’s drought, it’s a bona-fide mini-deluge-ette:

We’ve got a mystery reading (from a novel featuring “television legend and amateur sleuth Polly Pepper”), an open mic, two group readings at Elliott Bay Book Company (one featuring women of color, the other featuring the African American Writers Alliance) and Elias Khoury at the library, reading from Yalo, an interesting novel with a boring cover.

Down at the McLeod Residence in Belltown, Nico Vassilakis reads from his new book, Text Loses Time. Vassilakis is a local poet, and an active part of the experimental writing scene we’ve got going on here. His book is a collection of quotes, prose, and poetry, which ranges from mildly associative to the big ol’ clusterfuck shown at the top of this post, a sample of one of the weirder ‘poems’ from the book. Party Volcano downgraded this one to cold lava, but I think as a reading, it should be pretty interesting.

Full readings listings, including the next week or so, here.

The Morning News

posted by on February 23 at 9:23 AM

Clinton Supporters Say She Needs ‘Economy’ Voters in Ohio: “Senator Obama, he’s supported artificially by people of wealth trying to protect the tax cuts they haven’t earned.”

GOP Congressman’s Family Ired Over Indictment: “We are disappointed that the Department of Justice would not allow a decent amount of time to pass to allow a son to mourn the passing of his father.”

Teen Shot Near Northgate Mall “After a while working here, you get to know who these guys are by what they wear.”

Pilots Safe, but $2-Billion B-2 Bomber Destroyed: “They have been evaluated by medical authorities and are in good condition.”

Iraq Warns Turkey Over Incursion: “But if it goes on, I think it could destabilise the region, because really one mistake could lead to further escalation.”

State House Approves Transportation Budget: “This budget is the equivalent of throwing a drowning man a short rope.”

Arrest in Fatal Shooting: “All I know is that my son is a great kid. If something like that happened, it had to be him defending himself.”

NYT Surprised by Reaction to McCain Hit Piece: “After all, we wrestled with our own doubts on that score.”

U.S. Evacuates from Serbia: “We are not sufficiently confident that they are safe here.”

Effort to Commit Harps’ Murder Suspect Before Stabbing: “He must be on medication in order to remain in the community.”

Two Players Suspended at Bellevue Christian: “We’re going to war with the guys we have.”

Good Morning

posted by on February 23 at 8:16 AM

A little good news for women that have been frustrated by their inability to find—and enjoy—their G spots: you may not have one.

Italian researchers have found that women who claim to experience vaginal orgasms in the so-called G spot are anatomically different from those who do not. They say this opens up the prospect that a simple ultrasound may show whether a woman should keep pursuing the elusive G spot orgasm, or abandon the search.

“For the first time it is possible to determine by a simple, rapid and inexpensive method if a women has a G spot or not,” said researcher Emmanuele Jannini, of the University of L’Aquila.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Every Child Deserves a Father and a Father…

posted by on February 22 at 8:00 PM


Victrola (Apparently) Sold

posted by on February 22 at 6:19 PM

So says Seattlest.

So we hear that Chris and Jen, founders and owners of Victrola Coffee, have sold “Capitol Hill’s living room” to a new guy, an established independent coffee entrepreneur, whom we believe is Dan Ollis of the Whidbey Coffee Co….

The sale is not all that surprising, given that the development of Victrola’s roasting operation meant there were really three businesses to manage, one wholesale operation and two bustling retail locations. It was a long, long way from the tiny little shop Victrola was when it opened.

(Posted, laboriously but hopefully accurately, from my iPhone.)


posted by on February 22 at 5:48 PM

Remember that parolee? That “person of interest”? The sometime Cornish student that the police thought might be the man that murdered Shannon Harps? And wasn’t? Well, someone just stabbed him to death. From the Seattle Times:

A man who had been identified as a “person of interest” in the New Year’s Eve slaying of Shannon Harps was found fatally stabbed early Thursday in North Seattle.

The body of William Francis Ball, 29, of Seattle, was found just after midnight in the 10300 block of Greenwood Avenue North. Seattle police said he suffered a single stab wound to the chest. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he died.

State Preempts King County Restaurant Guidelines

posted by on February 22 at 5:26 PM

Last Thursday, I Slogged about a bill that would preempt new King County health regulations that are set to go in place in August.

Both the state rules and the KC rules would require fast food chains to post nutritional info about all items on the menu. However, the state rules are weaker than King County’s. KC rules would require the information to be at the point of sale; the state rules would just require that they be “prominently displayed.” And most important, KC’s rules would apply to more restaurants—about 1,400 more individual restaurants. (King County’s rules apply to restaurant chains with 10 stores or more. The state rules apply to restaurant chains with 25 stores or more.)

A bitter dispute over the bill between KC health regulators and the Washington Restaurant Association, which wanted the weaker state bill to apply (and preempt the county rule), ended up tabling the bill.

Substitute legislation calls for a study. The substitute legislation also puts the KC rules on hold until the state comes up with new legislation after the study.

King County Health spokesman James Apa says the state shouldn’t be able to prevent local jurisdictions from implementing local standards and says they strongly oppose the substitute legislation.

Oly Action: Gov. Gregoire vs. House Speaker Chopp on Climate Change.

posted by on February 22 at 4:54 PM

I couldn’t be down in Oly on Tuesday to report on the big cutoff day for sending bills over to the other chamber. It turns out I missed a real bruiser between Gov. Christine Gregoire and House Speaker Frank Chopp.

I haven’t seen details of it reported elsewhere, so voila:

The big climate change bill, which Gregoire introduced on the first day of the session, still hadn’t come to a House floor vote as the clock was ticking down on Tuesday.

House Speaker Chopp wanted to amend the governor’s bill so that key language giving the Dept. of Ecology rule-making authority was amended to grant the legislature the authority instead.

The changes Chopp wanted would have actually rolled back authority that Ecology already has.

(I had asked Gregoire about this very issue in my interview with her the day before, and she said she wanted the legislature to have the authority to approve the cap and trade plan that the bill authorizes Ecology to design. However, that’s far different from giving the legislature authority to micromanage Ecology’s rule-making authority.)

So, as the story goes, Gregoire set Chopp straight. Gregoire marched into Chopp’s office around 3:30 on Tuesday, kicked out all the extra aides, and told him he had to run the bill and not amend it to usurp Ecology’s authority.

And that’s exactly what happened … although not before Chopp talked one freshman Rep., Troy Kelley (D-28, W. Tacoma), into voting against the bill later in the evening when the bill finally passed. It was the last bill to come to a vote in the House on deadline day.

Kelley says Chopp talked to him, but recalls that it was about a different bill—a bill dealing with military bases that Kelley was trying to get a vote on. He says he voted against the bill because he needed a fuller understanding of it and he needed to evaluate it from “my district’s perspective, which may be a little different from the being in line with the rest of the caucus.”

The bill passed by a big margin, so Rep. Kelley’s vote wasn’t key, but Chopp reportedly convinced Kelley that he was in enough of a swing district that a vote against powerful antagonists of the bill, like the Building Industry Association of Washington, could jeopardize Kelley’s reelection.

The bill passed 64-31.

Although, there is some annoying news about the bill: One aspect was amended from the initial version. The timber industry wants to get an offset credit to count against the carbon emissions cap because trees trap carbon (not so, says Grist!)—and language was added into the bill to give them the offset.

I had asked Gov. Gregoire about this issue on Monday as well.

Me: Weyerhaeuser wants credit in any cap-and-trade system for the carbon offset of growing trees.

Gov. Gregoire: I’m not going to do that today. That’s part of the process. I don’t want to get involved in a bill that decides who’s bad and who’s good. That’s premature.

Looks like she won one and lost one.

Watcha Doing Tonight?

posted by on February 22 at 4:42 PM

There’s a bug going around editorial—several staffers are out sick or “sick” or are MIA today… here’s what the dedicated skeleton crew claims to be doing this evening:

“Barbecuing and then going to Jules Maes in Georgetown to play pool.”
“Checking out the Belltown bar scene, starting at Queen City Grill.”
“Lifting weights until I feel like I’m going to throw up.”
“Going to a bar to look at a pretty woman.”
“Going to West Seattle, to Talarico’s to eat a slice of pizza as big as my head, then CD shopping at Easy Street.”
“Seeing WET’s new show, Mr. Marmalade.”
“Watching Narc on DVD—the cinematography is supposed to be great.”
“Either seeing Drop Dead Gorgeous at Central Cinema or Be Kind, Rewind.”

And you?

The Sun is Shining, The Leaves on the Trees are Budding,

posted by on February 22 at 4:24 PM


…it’s clearly time to think about death in general and, in particular, Charles Mudede’s lovely books lead from this issue, about David Shields’ new book, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead.

This is a book review, and a very good one:

If there is a leading theme in Shields’s work, it is exposure in a world where there is nothing left but humans, their bodies, fears, families. Not even the religion of literature offers us protection from the elements of reality. This is why Shields’s language is so clear, so transparent. Everything from the world makes its way through the words to the reader with little or no distortion.

But it’s also about something that we should all remember when it’s gorgeous outside and everything seems to exist for our pleasure:

Science has more than doubled our life spans but at the terrible price of living with the truth—that life is a process that has no shaper or shelter, that life is not about humans but about something else, something out of our control.

These sorts of days are always better when there’s a little death lingering at the edges. I promise that if you read this book review right now, it will improve your weekend. You can yell at me on Monday if it doesn’t work. Go read it.

Why Don’t the French Get as Fat as Americans?

posted by on February 22 at 4:18 PM

Depressingly, obviously, it’s because Americans don’t stop eating until the TV show is over (if then).

Actual and Alleged

posted by on February 22 at 4:15 PM

John McCain’s wife, Cindy, left. And Vicki Iseman, the lobbyist people thought John McCain might be having a romantic relationship with, right.


The New York Times couldn’t prove a romantic relationship between McCain and Iseman (though it did prove they spent an unusual amount of time together). Both McCain and Iseman say there was never anything romantic between them. But a Slog tipper—a straight guy who presumably knows a lot more about hetero men and blondes than me—thinks these pictures suggest something about McCain’s tastes.

In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on February 22 at 4:02 PM

Throw Me the Statue: Perform on a Washington State ferry.

Speaker Speaker: Perform an Elevator to Hell song at Sonic Boom in Ballard.

Boris: Declared “the greatest living rock band on the planet” by Brian Cook.

Exodus, These Arms Are Snakes: Are playing in Seattle tonight.

Cross-Dressing, Beer, and Bowling: Appearing at Sunset Bowl this Sunday.

Menomena, Blitzen Trapper, BOAT and Monotonix: Are also playing tonight and I forgot to say so in my initial “Tonight in Music” post. Sorry.

Gwar and Belle & Sebastian: Finally together.

Jeffery Lewis: The anti-folk singer from Portland covers 12 Crass songs.

PWRFL Power: Appears in an esurance commercial, interviews himself, and is also one of this year’s Young Ones.

Mates of State: A little something to listen to on this sunny day.

Joy Division, Edie Brickell, Jim Reeves: Their words have been floating in Charles Mudede’s head recently.

Dave Grohl: Pissed that his music is being used to promote geek shit.

The Lashes: Post new songs for free.

Teen Cthulu: Balances out all that pop business I posted earlier.

The Black Crowes, Maxim, and Gawker: (Surprisingly) surviving together.

I’m still obsessed with those tiger pigs:


Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on February 22 at 4:02 PM

I just couldn’t decide which of the five million photos from the Triple Grand opening party to put up here (how about some editing next time, vassertron?), so I went with this Tom Selleck head instead, from Flickr pooler shapefarm. Because who doesn’t love Tom Selleck?


Stuff White People Like

posted by on February 22 at 3:38 PM


  • #72: Study Abroad
  • #45: Asian Fusion Food
  • #57: Juno
  • #35: The Daily Show/Colbert Report
  • #68: Michel Gondry
  • #69: Mos Def

But don’t take my word for it—read the blog.

For the record, I’m barely even half-white; the other half gets a boner over sentences like this:

Cuauhtémoc Figueroa, Obama’s national field director, vowed that the candidate’s effort in Texas would be different.

EDIT: Skitt! In my constantly-working-on-secret-new and exciting-developments-for-this-website lifestyle, I have neglected to read Slog for, like, a week and missed Charles’s post about the same blog. Of course, this post was just an excuse for me to highlight my favorite subject—Aztecs in the News.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on February 22 at 3:21 PM


Academy Awards! I don’t know what it is—no massively embarrassing contenders for best picture, a writer’s strike that successfully curtailed hysteria season, a colorful presidential primary—but I’m having trouble getting worked up about the Oscars this year. I’ll post my predictions tomorrow or Sunday afternoon, but for now, I give you this badly edited NYT forecast (why does Carr talk about Diving Bell randomly in a category it wasn’t nominated for?)—because he was right on Crash—and Jeffrey Wells—because it’s short.

And, just for the next couple of hours: If you’re doing a movie times search for a Landmark/Seven Gables theater (that’s the Crest, Egyptian, Guild 45th, Harvard Exit, Metro, Neptune, Seven Gables, and the Varsity), don’t use our site. We got some bad data, and I’m trying to fix it, but I’m not there yet. Here’s Landmark’s Seattle page for now.

Opening this week:

Be Kind Rewind

From On Screen: the Michel Gondry film Be Kind Rewind (Charles Mudede: “None of this makes sense, none of it is bad, and none of it is as impressive as Eternal Sunshine. What can we call this kind of movie? A very strange fish”), the teen movie Charlie Bartlett (Andrew Wright: “Writer Gustin Nash’s greatest coup may be in the creation of the title character, who comes off as a throwback to the genre’s glory days: smart without being preternaturally wise, cool without seeming forced, and endearing without skimping on the vaguely dickheaded tendencies that made the likes of Ferris Bueller and the kid brother from Just One of the Guys so iconic”), the political thriller Vantage Point (Bradley Steinbacher: “Vantage Point aims to add a little Rashomon to the standard template. It misses the mark badly, resulting in a clunky, unnecessarily complicated thriller that never earns the gimmick of endless repetition it forces the audience to sit through”), the Alabama period piece Honeydripper (me: “John Sayles is good at magnifying details until they look the size of legends, but he’s no good at lengthening moments until they feel like sweaty Southern afternoons, thick with insects and resentment. Honeydripper is long (over two hours), but it doesn’t feel spacious. It feels hopelessly crammed”), and the horror triptych The Signal (Steinbacher again: “You can’t help but wish the directors had abandoned the three-director stunt in order to maintain the near-perfection established in the first act”).

Limited runs:

At Grand Illusion, the Rural Route Film Festival (including the SIFF repeat Huldufolk 102) and the late-night sexploitation film Pets, for real this time; at Northwest Film Forum, the excellent The Cool School: How L.A. Learned to Love Modern Art and a documentary about the making of a piano, Note by Note; at SIFF Cinema, a bad movie about erotic cookery, Eden; at the Market Theater in Post Alley, a marathon festival of short films by and about women; and at Cinerama, the immortal Tron in 70 mm.

Also, at the Varsity, starting today and running through Thursday at 4:45, 7:15, and 9:20 pm (with an extra 2:30 show on Sat-Sun), Alice’s House:


The lovely, intelligent actress Carla Ribas plays Alice, a middle-aged manicurist living in a crowded São Paulo apartment with her three sons, her mother, and her philandering husband. To the continual hum of the television set and a beloved astrological radio show, Alice’s mother cooks and cleans up after her flock, pretending she doesn’t notice glaring evidence of her son-in-law’s misbehavior. The boys tussle with one another and hustle on the side, as a particularly brazen young lady stops by to ask Alice for potions to seduce married men. Meanwhile, Alice’s husband is constantly trying to put her mother in a nursing home, apparently oblivious to the fact that the old lady takes care of all his laundry. Documentarian Chico Teixeira’s first narrative film is casual but busy, and though it seems somewhat longer than its 90-minute running time, the quiet characterizations soon get their hooks into you. (ANNIE WAGNER)

Obama’s World-wide Win

posted by on February 22 at 3:00 PM

The final results from the omnibus world primary, Democrats Abroad:


Obama is in green, Clinton is in blue.

While a big win for Obama, the enterprising contributor at the website OpenLeft who compiled these numbers noted Hillary running up some fantastic margins in the Dominican Republic and Israel, and winning convincingly in Somalia.

Also, apparently Antarctica is totally an Obama stronghold.

Delegates are won from Democrats Abroad in .5 increments, meaning Obama was awarded 2.5 of the possible 4.5 delegates up for grabs. For those wondering what this is all about, The New Republic did a pretty definitive article on this slightly off-kilter process, which can be found here.

Gun Play

posted by on February 22 at 2:32 PM

Arkansas university bans Sondheim musical.

A student production of Assassins, the award-winning musical, was to have premiered Thursday night at Arkansas Tech University, but the administration banned it — and permitted a final dress rehearsal Wednesday night (so the cast could experience the play on which students have worked long hours) only on the condition that wooden stage guns were cut in half prior to the event and not used.
The local newspaper reported that the administration was so concerned about the production that reporters were barred from the dress rehearsal. Adding to the anger of many on the campus is that the film American Gangster, featuring plenty of blood and violence — and none from singing historical figures — was screened on campus this week.

(Via ArtsJournal.)

I’m So Excited about the Weather I Took a Picture of the Sun (Or, As Brendan Kiley Wishes This Headline Read, I’m So Excited About the Sun I Took a Picture of the Weather)

posted by on February 22 at 2:22 PM


Oly Action: Perhaps

posted by on February 22 at 2:15 PM

Low-income housing advocates are nervous that Rep. Maralyn Chase’s (D-32, Shoreline) bill to adequately protect tenants who are displaced by condo conversion—which she moved out of the House a few weeks ago—is going to die in the Senate’s consumer protection committee.

The chair of the commitee is liberal Sen. Brian Weinstein (D-41, Mercer Island). Why would Sen. Weinstein sabotage the condo conversion bill? The theory was this: Sen. Weinstein wasn’t going to move on the House condo bill until the House moved on his homeowner protection bill.

Well, I just talked to Sen. Weinstein, and he said, “I expect to pass it,” by next Friday’s deadline. (Bills from the opposite house have until February 29 to pass policy committees.) “I have no problems with the bill,” he said

He also said the theories that he was holding up the condo bill to wait and see what happened on the House side with his homeowners’ rights bill are wrong. “They’re not related,” he said.

He also said he had a good meeting with House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43, Capitol Hill) about the homeowners’ rights bill. Last year, Weinstein accused Chopp of caving to the BIAW by snuffing Weinstein’s homeowner bill.

He didn’t say Chopp promised to move the bill forward, but he did say: “It was a good discussion. He asked good questions and it was a good meeting. Last year at this time, the bill was dead.”

So: He expects the condo conversion bill to pass and Chopp hasn’t killed his homeowners bill yet.

Señor Spoiler

posted by on February 22 at 2:03 PM

Don’t do it, Nader. Just… go play with lead toys somewhere. By yourself.

Dems, you might want to stock up on this DVD for emergency loans. It’s a pretty good documentary, actually.

Hillary Delivers

posted by on February 22 at 2:00 PM

Says her new Texas ad, which again hits the talk vs. action theme:

The Immortal Spirit

posted by on February 22 at 2:00 PM

Photos of a poshlust paradise:

Nabokov on what constitutes poshlust:

English words expressing several, although by no means all aspects of poshlust are for instance: “cheap, sham, common, smutty, pink-and-blue, high falutin’, in bad taste.” My little assistant, Roget’s Thesaurus, (which incidentally lists “rats, mice” under “Insects”—see page 21 of Revised Edition) supplies me moreover with “inferior, sorry, trashy, scurvy, tawdry, gimcrack” and others under “cheapness.” All these however suggest merely certain false values for the detection of which no particular shrewdness is required. In fact they tend, these words, to supply an obvious classification of values at a given period of human history; but what Russians call poshlust is beautifully timeless and so cleverly painted all over with protective tints that its presence (in a book, in a soul, in an institution, in a thousand other places) often escapes detection.

More on poshlust:

A hundred years ago, while civic-minded publicists in St. Petersburg were mixing heady cocktails of Hegel and Schlegel (with a dash of Feuerbach), Gogol, in a chance story he told, expressed the immortal spirit of poshlust pervading the German nation and expressed it with all the vigor of his genius. The conversation around him had turned upon the subject of Germany, and after listening awhile, Gogol said:

Yes, generally speaking the average German is not too pleasant a creature, but it is impossible to imagine anything more unpleasant than a German Lothario, a German who tries to be winsome… . One day in Germany I happened to run across such a gallant. The dwelling place of the maiden whom he had long been courting without success stood on the bank of some lake or other, and there she would be every evening sitting on her balcony and doing two things at once: knitting a stocking and enjoying the view. My German gallant being sick of the futility of his pursuit finally devised an unfailing means whereby to conquer the heart of his cruel Gretchen. Every evening he would take off his clothes, plunge into the lake and, as he swam there, right under the eyes of his beloved, he would keep embracing a couple of swans which had [65] been specially prepared by him for that purpose. I do not quite know what those swans were supposed to symbolize, but I do know that for several evenings on end he did nothing but float about and assume pretty postures with his birds under that precious balcony. Perhaps he fancied there was something poetically antique and mythological in such frolics, but whatever notion he had, the result proved favorable to his intentions: the lady’s heart was conquered just as he thought it would be, and soon they were happily married.

Here you have poshlust in its ideal form, and it is clear that the terms trivial, trashy, smug and so on do not cover the aspect it takes in this epic of the blond swimmer and the two swans he fondled.

Lifestyles of a Formerly Rich and Famous Presidential Campaign

posted by on February 22 at 1:55 PM

The New York Times piece on the spending habits of the Clinton campaign starts with this:

Nearly $100,000 went for party platters and groceries before the Iowa caucuses, even though the partying mood evaporated quickly. Rooms at the Bellagio luxury hotel in Las Vegas consumed more than $25,000; the Four Seasons, another $5,000. And top consultants collected about $5 million in January, a month of crucial expenses and tough fund-raising.

And then, if even possible, gets a thousand times worse. Just to bullet point some of the more memorable ‘you have to be joking’ expenditures:

• Hillary chief strategist Mark Penn’s firm has collected over $10 million from her campaign since she declared for the presidency, $3.8 million in January alone.

• Howard Wolfson, the Clinton campaign’s press secretary, has pulled in $730,000 from the campaign.

• $800,000 was paid to a group called Sunrise Communications, whose job it was to turn out black voters for Clinton in South Carolina.

• Over $95,000 was spent on sandwich platters in Iowa in an attempt to sway people attending the caucus.

By comparison, the article states that Obama has spent 2.8 million for media consultancy and polling throughout the entire campaign, or one million less than Hillary spent in January alone.

While the late quote in the article from former-Dean-campaign-manager-turned-former- Edwards-campaign-manager Joe Trippi might seem slightly less than objective, it probably nails it perfectly:

“The problem is she ran a campaign like they were staying at the Ritz-Carlton,” Mr. Trippi said. “Everything was the best. The most expensive draping at events. The biggest charter. It was like, ‘We’re going to show you how presidential we are by making our events look presidential.’ ”

Gin and Tonic

posted by on February 22 at 1:27 PM

Midday is sliding out of sight, and it’s officially time to look forward to the evening. Perhaps a perfect gin and tonic among friends, a relieved rehash of the week, a sunset viewing party?

According to various sources, the gin and tonic was an invention of the British East India company, who were quaffing bitter tonic water as a prophylactic against malaria. Quinine—an alkaloid derived from the bark of the South American cinchona tree—was the first effective treatment for malaria, used as early as 1631 in Rome, and is still prescribed in some cases. The story goes that gin—a Dutch medicinal invention of grain spirits flavored with juniper berries—was add to the tonic water to improve the taste (!?). Perhaps the lime was added to ward off scurvy.

Today’s major tonic-water brands are carbonated mixtures of water, high-fructose corn syrup, citric acid, preservatives, and a very low dose of quinine. Cadbury-Schweppes makes both Canada Dry and Schweppes brands, and we can thank German watchmaker Johann Jacob Schweppe for inventing carbonated water in 1783. Whole Foods’ 365 label tonic is sweetened with cane sugar. There is also an emerging market for premium mixers: see the U.K.’s Fever Tree, Stirrings, and Q Tonic. Before you consider the DIY route, look at this guy’s less-than superior results.

Other trivial bits that seem to warrant their own paragraph: Too much quinine can cause something called “cinchoism” (after the tree), symptoms of which include temporary deafness, blurred vision, nausea, ringing in the ears, stomach cramps, and eventually circulatory collapse, kidney failure, and coma. Quinine is an antipyretic, that is, it lowers body temperature. It is commonly prescribed to treat night-time leg crams. And quinine fluoresces under a black light (that’s why your G&Ts glow at the club).

Anyhow, a good gin and tonic is refreshing and simple:


• Add 4-6 ice cubes to a chilled highball glass.

• Pour 2 oz. of a good dry gin over the ice.

• Fill glass almost to the top with tonic.

• Squeeze one wedge of a washed lime into the glass. Drop the squeezed lime into the drink.

If you have the time, ice cubes made from tonic water prevent dilution.

Happy Friday.

UPDATE: Bethany’s Bar Exam column on Six Seven provides more fascinating details on quinine and the cocktail, including the fact that Six Seven (in the Edgewater) serves a terrific and truly homemade G&T.

Oly Outrage Pt. 2

posted by on February 22 at 1:24 PM

Other state legislatures, the latest being New Hampshire—are capping rates on payday loans.

The measure would cap interest rates on the small loans - which now top 500 percent in annual terms - at 36 percent a year.

The Democratic near-super-majority in Olympia has killed Rep. Sherry Appleton’s (D-23, Kitsap) payday loan bill two years running now.

Victimized Twice

posted by on February 22 at 1:19 PM

Coming forward with rape charges is hard enough—after the initial call to police, it usually involves a trip to the hospital, where the victim undergoes an extensive examination. The exam is generally done with forensic medical exam kit, more commonly known as a “rape kit,” which includes bags for clothing, test tubes for blood, swabs for fluid, a comb for pubic hair, and tests for pregnancy, HIV, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

Today, US News and World Report (via) gives another reason rape victims might avoid stepping forward: In many cases, hospitals charge victims for their rape kits, which can cost well over $1,000. In North Carolina, for example,

the vast majority of the 3,000 or so emergency room patients examined for sexual assaults each year shoulder some of the cost of a rape kit test.” A state victims compensation fund intended to help cover the bills is woefully underfunded and had capped payouts for the $1,600 test at $1,000. Since Locke’s story ran, “The cap has been lifted,” says North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety spokesperson Patty McQuillan, though she noted that the legislature would still have to provide the additional funds.


This Week on Drugs

posted by on February 22 at 1:17 PM

That Blasted Definition of Insanity: The more the U.S. spends on its “drug-control strategy” in South and Central America, the worse, it seems, things get.

In Colombia, troops this week were convicted of killing their own government’s anti-narcotics agents, funded by the U.S., and a prosecutor in the case has been accused of offering to aid the defense in exchange for dough. In Mexico, where drug-related murders have soared along with U.S. aid, our undeterred Drug Czar wants more of the same—more money to bust pot traffickers. The apparent logic of Drug Czar John “hope for treatment” Walters is that, rather than reducing demand in his own country, the U.S. must increase funding for interdiction campaigns abroad. But that’s obviously not working. Back in the U.S., former Drug Czar staffer John Carnevale released a scathing indictment of Bush’s insane drug-control spending from 2002 through 2009.

A review of the federal drug control budget shows that the current administration continues to favor supply reduction programs over demand reduction programs to reduce the demand for drugs by youth and adults. Since federal fiscal year (FY) 02, the budget has emphasized what research has shown to be the least effective ingredients of a federal drug control policy.

According to data from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, resources for supply reduction have grown the most since FY02, by nearly 57 percent. In fact, supply reduction resources now represent nearly two-thirds of the total federal drug control budget. By comparison, resources for demand reduction grew by less than 3 percent and its share of total resources now represents only about one-third of all resources.

Bush Administration Federal Drug Control Spending, by Function
FY 2002-FY 2009 (Budget Authority in Millions)


Get Them Off Drugs: Bill proposes withholding welfare from folks who fail piss test.

Get Them Off: Playboy launches new energy drink.

Get Them a Drink: Elysian winter beer festival on Saturday.

Double Jeopardy: Gov. Spitzer proposes crack tax.

Double Scotch: Liquor companies opposing China’s ban on lunchtime drinking.

High Strung: Man puts out girlfriend’s cigarette with fire extinguisher.

High Tide: 100 lbs of cocaine wash up on beach.

High Time: Bill would require F.D.A. oversight of tobacco.

On His Knees: Aaron Carter allegedly caught with pot, held in Texas jail.


Do I Know You?

posted by on February 22 at 1:15 PM

I found this at the bottom of my snail-mail box…


I have no idea how long this Polaroid has been in my box, and I don’t recognize the folks in the shot. Can someone help me out here?

In other news, Polaroid is dead. Long live digital photographs!

Oly Outrage

posted by on February 22 at 12:55 PM

This is awesome.

Stop Josh Feit before he ruins Oly

Published by Emmett on Friday, February 22, 2008 at 8:00 AM

I’ve been quiet throughout most of the legislative session about the cruel metonymy of Olympia.

While I’ll probably never be able to stop reporters, bloggers, pundits and conservative politicians from using the term “Olympia” to signify “state government” or rather “everything I hate about state government,” Feit of the Stranger has gone too far.

In recent posts on Slog, Feit has started to use the shortened “Oly” when talking about state capital campus goings-ons:

Oly Update: Take Heart Carless in Seattle
Oly Action
Oly Inaction

I’m sure you’d say: sure, Feit writes for the Stranger, so it could be assumed that he’d use the hipper, shorter “Oly” when writing about state politics.

Hell no!

Olympia is not Oly.

Olympia is the capital of the state of Washington, identifiable on maps in classrooms and travel lodges nationwide. It is a city that every elementary school kid memorizes (do they still do that?) as a state capital of a state near the end of the list of states. It was the first state capital and through a hard fight with Yakima and Ellensburg, stayed the state capital. Now we have fancy greek type buildings on a hill. It is home to state agencies, even the ones that are in Tacoma. And, for a couple months or so every winter, we’re home to folks like Josh Feit, though we actually try hard to ignore them.

Oly is a hometown, its where a lot of us are from. Though, tons of us are not from here (I’m from here, btw), the transplants will defend Oly with the fervor of a converted Catholic. Oly’s connection to Olympia is that we have some activists and many of us feed at the public trough. But, Oly as Oly has more to do with Evergreen, Lakefair, the house that Kurt Cobain lived in, and the Spaghetti Bowl. And the wood bat tournament. Oly is Oly in relation to Tumwater (Scumwater) and Lacey Sucks.

While I’d rather people use terms like “state government” or “the state legislature” when they’d rather be lazy and say “Olympia,” using the term “Oly” is entirely unacceptable. Please stop.

The wood bat tournament? I’m hoping that’s about bats—like flying nighttime bats—and not maple baseball bats.

My apologies, Emmett. I’m sure there’s much more to Oly than the goofy state capitol grounds. I have had some nice times sitting at the bar at Ramblin’ Jacks and perusing the great record and book shops on 4th St.

If you’ve got some other recommendations for proper Oly Action—good pizza?—let me know. I don’t tend to get off campus much.

Plan B Debate

posted by on February 22 at 12:25 PM

This is worth checking out: Next Wednesday, Feb. 27 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at UW Medical Center, there’s going to be a panel discussion about the contention that pharmacists should have the right to refuse to dispense medication they don’t approve of. Last year, the state Board of Pharmacy adopted rules requiring pharmacies to fill prescriptions for all medications, including Plan B.

What’ll make the discussion interesting is the presence of panelist Donna Dockter—a former member of the Board of Pharmacy who pushed the “conscience clause”—and owner of Sand Point Clinic Pharmacy.

Dockter, whose pharmacy has never refused to dispense Plan B, is a liberal—I profiled her in a feature story I did on the debate in 2006. But her cantankerous arguments on behalf of dissident pharmacists challenge liberal conventional wisdom on the issue.

It was Dockter’s strong will on the issue—in private negotiations with the governor and women’s health care advocates in the fall of ‘06—that ratcheted back the health care advocates’ demands for sweeping regulations to force all pharmacists to comply with the pharmacy board’s rules.

Certainly, the state’s guidelines—now being challenged in court—guarantee that women can get supposedly controversial medication like Plan B—but the guidelines weren’t as stringent as the advocates originally wanted.

For example, a pharmacist who hates you for requesting Plan B can pass you off to a coworker.

Highly recommended.

Washington Hall Is the New Oddfellows

posted by on February 22 at 12:25 PM

We saw it coming, though we hoped it wouldn’t—Velocity Dance Center has been priced out of Oddfellows Hall. They’ll move out July 31st, 2008.

This is a tragedy, not so much for dance (I am confident Velocity, which won one of The Stranger’s first Genius Awards, will find a new home), but for architecture: Velocity is one of the prettiest theaters—one of the prettiest anythings—in Seattle, with its gleaming blonde wood floorboards, frieze of roaring lions, ceilings so high they make a person dizzy, and, in the foyer, dark wood tables and benches that look like they were carved and pieced together by someone long ago, maybe on the beach of a tropical island, and floated over to Seattle in the hold of a tall ship.

(The furniture’s nice, but the hardwood floors are my favorite. You can’t tell unless you look closely, but the wood—that, from any normal distance, glows like skin—is beautifully scarred with thousands of tiny pockmarks. “Somebody went crazy with a staple gun,” former director KT Niehoff told me two years ago, for this column about Velocity’s tenth birthday. “A handful of us spent a week, all day and all night, just pulling up staples.”)

You should drop by Velocity soon, just to admire its insides.

Kara O’Toole (dancer, choreographer, and current Velocity director) says the dance center needs a temporary residence for about three years and hopes to eventually move into Washington Hall, the dilapidated building with a dignified history on the corner of 14th and Fir:


The building used to be home to On the Boards and its stage has been graced by W. E. B. Du Bois, MLK, Count Basie, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, and so on.

The Sons of Haiti currently own Washington Hall, but Historic Seattle is trying to buy it in the hopes that CD Forum and, now, Velocity can move in.

Back in November, Ted Schroth, the new owner of Oddfellows, wrote: “Paying retail for a building and not tearing it down creates the economic reality of having to raise rents to market levels in order to make retaining the building feasible from an investment standpoint.”

Two months later, he said, more directly: “I don’t want to sound like a victim, because I’m not, but I can’t afford to subsidize the arts.

Don’t be mad at Mr. Schroth. He is as good as his word.

Still—July 31, 2008 will be a dismal day.

Imbibing, Brains and Bullies

posted by on February 22 at 12:13 PM

Eat more drumsticks:

Broiler (meat) chickens have been subjected to intense genetic selection. In the past 50 years, broiler growth rates have increased by over 300% (from 25 g per day to 100 g per day). There is growing societal concern that many broiler chickens have impaired locomotion or are even unable to walk. Here we present the results of a comprehensive survey of commercial flocks which quantifies the risk factors for poor locomotion in broiler chickens. We assessed the walking ability of 51,000 birds, representing 4.8 million birds within 176 flocks. We also obtained information on approximately 150 different management factors associated with each flock. At a mean age of 40 days, over 27.6% of birds in our study showed poor locomotion and 3.3% were almost unable to walk. The high prevalence of poor locomotion occurred despite culling policies designed to remove severely lame birds from flocks. …

Worldwide approximately 2×1010 broilers are reared within similar husbandry systems.

(Gluten fearing monkeys, dog parasites and bullies after the jump.)

Continue reading "Imbibing, Brains and Bullies" »

Book That’s Handicapped to Win the Booker of Bookers Prize

posted by on February 22 at 12:07 PM

Yesterday, I wrote about how the Booker Prize people were awarding a “Best of the Booker Prize” Prize.

Today, news comes that bookmakers have placed Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi way up on the list of potential winners.

Jesus fucking Christ.

The Life of Pi is the M. Night Shyamalan movie of the book world, an embarrassing piece of fluff strung out into a “twist” ending so weak and unnatural that the author had to couch the twist with its own criticism in order to get away with it.

I remember when Martel read here in Seattle, just after winning the Booker, and someone in the audience asked him, basically, why he’s so great and why his book is so goddamned wonderful. “Well,” Martel responded, his voice thick with the condescension of a Wise Man about to Distribute Knowledge to the Ignorant Masses, “I think you can look at the book in three different ways…” And then he proceeded to provide thoughtfully fawning, awestruck, in-depth literary criticism of his own book. I have never seen this before or since, and I have attended readings by John Irving, who believes that John Irving is the Messiah. My jaw (literally) dropped, but the audience lapped it up and gave a huge round of applause.

If Yann Martel wins the Booker King Prize, I will stop reading Booker Prize-winning books. This isn’t a huge sacrifice, of course, because the nominees for the Booker Prize that don’t wind up winning are actually almost always better than the winner of the Booker Prize. But it will be the strongest piece of evidence yet that lit prizes don’t mean shit. And there’s a lot of evidence that points in that direction already.

Saturday in Conflicts of Interest

posted by on February 22 at 11:56 AM

The Independent Spirit Awards are tomorrow, and competing for the producers award are two NW players: Portland’s Neil Kopp (Old Joy, Paranoid Park) and Seattle’s Alexis Ferris (Police Beat, Zoo, and—maybe this one should be on the DL—Cthulhu). The other nominee is Anne Clements, who produced the lovely, if less high-minded, Quinceañera.

The award is accompanied by a $25,000 grant. Here are Variety’s mini-profiles of the contenders.

Also on Saturday: a sendoff party/fundraiser for Lynn Shelton’s boy-bonding drama My Effortless Brilliance, starring Calvin Reeder, Basil Harris, and Sean Nelson, Emeritus. The film is premiering in competition at SXSW on March 9. The party is at Northwest Film Forum at 11 pm: food, booze, Sean singing, good times.

Oly Action: Democrats Continue Pushing Tough-on-Crime Agenda

posted by on February 22 at 11:40 AM

I’ve already given some Slog to the the Democrats’ election-year tough-on-crime kick. (Don’t want those Republicans to think Democrats are softies.)

Now this bill has come to my attention. The bill, co-sponsored by Seattle House Democrat Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36), broadens the definition of “gang member” and increases the punishments for crimes that are then considered gang related.

Activists focused on the unfair treatment of African Americans by law enforcement are alarmed by the bill—which also puts $2 million into a grant program to help fight gang activity. (I’ve included an e-mail from Justice Works below the jump that highlights some of their concerns about the bill.)

There’s a public hearing on the bill scheduled for next Wednesday.

Continue reading "Oly Action: Democrats Continue Pushing Tough-on-Crime Agenda" »

City Hall Campout to Protest Homeless Sweeps

posted by on February 22 at 11:22 AM

On March 13, Real Change will sponsor an all-day, all-night campout at City Hall to protest a proposed city policy that would give city employees broad new powers to evict homeless people from encampments and confiscate their possessions. The proposed administrative rule, which does not have to be adopted by the City Council , would give people living in “unauthorized encampments” 48 hours to move elsewhere (unless there’s evidence of “illegal activity”—say, drinking outdoors—in which case they could be forced out immediately; would allow city employees to throw away any possessions “reasonably valued at less than $25” (so much for family photos); and would require the city to contact the owner of property worth more than $25 only if the owner’s name is on the item.

The 2008 One Night Count of the homeless found more than 2,600 people living outdoors in sub-freezing weather on a night when emergency shelters were full.

Every Council Member Should Have a Blog

posted by on February 22 at 11:02 AM

That seems like a no-brainer, but so far, only two of them do—Sally Clark, whose most recent entry was on February 11, and freshman Tim Burgess, who updates his with frightening regularity.

Burgess’s blog provides insights into his views on all sorts of issues, including cop hiring (“Some will argue that Seattle’s crime rate is declining and, therefore, we don’t need additional officers and the funds for hiring can be shifted to other important areas of need. Not true…”); the mayor’s decision to give his State of the City speech at the Pacific Science Center rather than City Hall (“Alas, the room was packed with city staffers and Council aides, perhaps 150 at the most”); and homeless encampments (“The key is balancing the city’s need to maintain public safety and health and caring for the needs of those who are struggling and need special help.”)

Jean? Richard? Richard? Jan? Tom? Nick? Bruce? A blog doesn’t have to be more work than those newsletters you already send out every week or two—ideally, in fact, it could even replace them.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on February 22 at 11:00 AM


These Arms Are Snakes, Mouth of the Architect, Past Lives, Helms at El Corazón

If you’ve been paying attention at all to new local bands that rip shit up, then you already have your tickets to this show—which is the third-anniversary celebration for El Corazón. But it’s openers Helms Alee that I’m most excited about—they’re as much abrasive guitar-heavy hard rock as they are soaring, fuzzy noise. And they’re fantastic. (El Corazón, 109 Eastlake Ave E, 381-3094. 8 pm, $10 adv/$12 DOS, all ages.) .


Bad Boys

posted by on February 22 at 10:58 AM

I can’t help but feel sympathy for the teacher in this incident.

NEW DELHI: Two Class IV students of a Delhi municipal school were injured after they were allegedly beaten up by their teacher at Narela here on Thursday.

The teacher Pradeep Kumar has been arrested. A case has been registered against him under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 341 (wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code.

According to the police, the incident took place around noon when some Class IV students of a primary school, run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhiat Metro Vihar, were making noise in their classroom.

“The students refused to calm down despite repeated requests by the teachers. An angry Pradeep Kumar then stormed into the classroom and started beating them up. He slapped one student and his forehead hit the door bolt. The student began bleeding. Another student was also given a severe beating and he suffered bruises on his face,” said a senior police officer.

In my day, in my boys school, the beating would not have landed the poor teacher in jail but launched him into a constellation of respect. Every boy (shoes polished, socks up, ties tight) would see in the configuration of his shining scholarship the black form of a menacing panther.

Currently Hanging

posted by on February 22 at 10:30 AM

Lewis Wickes Hine’s Driver In A West Virginia Mine ( 1909), modern gelatin silver copy print.

At Whatcom Museum of History and Art.

Now Everyone’s Saying It

posted by on February 22 at 10:26 AM

Boston Globe:

The closing scene—and Hillary Clinton’s last words—at the crucial debate Thursday night in Texas set pundits to opine that, just perhaps, Clinton is coming to terms with the fact that she’s not going to win the Democratic nomination…

New York Times blog The Caucus:

Last night’s debate ended with a riveting moment that left many Caucus Readers suspecting that Senator Hillary Clinton was conceding the race.

Associated Press:

It was an unexpectedly gracious moment in a debate that was supposed to be a game changer for Clinton before the crucial Texas and Ohio primaries March 4. After losing 11 straight contests to Obama in a race now clearly breaking his way, the former first lady chose the high road and even delivered what sounded to many like the dress rehearsal for a campaign valedictory address.

Slog commenters:

I’m glad that she’s taking the high road; if the race is over, at least she’s not taking Mark Penn’s scorched-earth policy.

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

posted by on February 22 at 10:20 AM

Benjamin Sargent died with his eyes open, fists clenched and strapped into a car seat after eight days without food or water, the county’s top prosecutor said Wednesday.

The 5-month-old was dropped off at his parents’ house on Feb. 4, wearing a bright-blue snow suit and strapped into his car seat. Eight days later, he was found in the same position, said Peoria County State’s Attorney Kevin Lyons during a bond hearing for the parents, who are charged with capital murder for their son’s death….

“He died from starvation due to neglect from these two defendants, his parents,” [said Peoria County State’s Attorney Kevin Lyons], spitting out the last word with contempt.

The story gets worse. This link is not for the faint of heart.

The Full Hillary

posted by on February 22 at 10:15 AM

Dave’s already posted a YouTube clip below that has part of Clinton’s interesting final moment from the debate last night. And Christopher’s already made the good point that it sounded a bit like a concession speech (he’s in very good company on that one). But nowhere on the Slog do we have the full Hillary—her complete final moment from last night’s debate. So here it is:

And just to show you how good a moment the Clinton campaign thinks it was, here’s what I received shortly after last night’s debate ended from Clinton’s spokesman, Howard Wolfson:

What we saw in the final moments in that debate is why Hillary Clinton is the next President of the United States. Her strength, her life experience, her compassion. She’s tested and ready. It was the moment she retook the reins of this race and showed women and men why she is the best choice.

A short time later I received this from Terry McAuliffe, her campaign chairman:

Dear Eli,

There was a remarkable moment in tonight’s debate that we had to share with you. Watch it here:

Pass it on.


Terry McAuliffe
Chairman, Hillary Clinton for President

And in my morning HUBdate from the Clinton campaign:

Morning HUBdate: Final Moment

If You Watch One Thing Today: In the final moments of last night’s debate, Hillary demonstrated her strength, life experience and compassion. Watch.

So, you know, I think they’d like you take a look.

In Case You Missed It

posted by on February 22 at 9:50 AM

During last night’s debate, Hillary Clinton attempted to burn Barack Obama with a snappy diss of his phrase-borrowing practices:

Clinton then closed the debate with some phrases “borrowed” from John Edwards:

Classy. Still, at least there was some drama and conflict, and I look forward to more.

In the meantime, please enjoy this drama-and-conflict packed performance from the Eisenhower Elite Energy show choir, who would like to welcome you to the jungle.

(Debate videos found on Towleroad, show choir video courtesy of Auschglitz!)

This Morning’s Pit Bull Story…

posted by on February 22 at 9:47 AM

…comes to us from Australia.

The bloodthirsty pitbull which savaged two women in Sydney’s west yesterday—before a tradie shot it dead with a nail gun—had previously eaten a kitten.

The shocking claim—made by a reader of The Daily Telegraph today and backed up by a witness to yesterday’s attack—follows an outpouring of support for the quick-thinking tradie.

The man, who did not wish to be named, said he acted on instinct when he killed the animal, which was attacking a 17-year-old girl and a 43-year-old female, now believed to be her neighbour, in the front yard of a home in Greystanes yesterday.

Hm. Shot dead with a nail gun… that’s almost as good as boiled alive and fed to its idiot owner.

Reading Tonight

posted by on February 22 at 9:45 AM


Jiminy crickets, it’s an unexciting Friday night in the readings scene.

At Borders, we’ve got Joanna Ferlan and Mary Fox Prather, authors of You Are Special You Were Chosen, a children’s book, and at the Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library, Natalie Goldberg, the author of Writing Down the Bones is reading from her new book, Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir.

There’s a lot of bad you can say about Writing Down the Bones, (touchy-feely energy oozing off the page, obsessive need to make writing an “all about me” kind of activity) but you can’t deny the basic fact that it gets the mechanics of writing right: to become a writer, you have to write a lot. That’s the most important rule, and the one thing that holds most wannabe authors back: they simply can’t put in the time commitment to actually write. I haven’t read her new book, but if it inspires a new wave of memoirists, I am entirely against it with the depth and breadth of my being.

Full readings listing, including the next week or so, here.

“Mr. Obama, You Can’t Say That Dallas Doesn’t Love You”

posted by on February 22 at 8:35 AM

There’s good Kennedy mystique, and then there’s bad Kennedy mystique

Security details at Barack Obama’s rally Wednesday [in Dallas] stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.

The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department’s homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order—apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service—was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena’s vacant seats before Obama came on.

Uh… since when is the Secret Service less freaky about security than local police departments?

Thanks to Slog tipper Reggie.

The Morning News

posted by on February 22 at 7:57 AM

Protests: Cantankerous over American support for Kosovo, Serbians storm U.S. Embassy, McDonald’s, Nike store.

Counter Protests: Croatian police arrest 44 flag burners.

Indicting: GOP Congressman charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, extortion, and insurance fraud!

Debating: Clinton all but concedes.

Hamstring: Pakistani opposition parties outmaneuver Musharraf.

Six Hundred: Starbucks layoffs.

Six Point Oh Shit: Quake in Nevada.

Chopper: State cited for employee sliced by helicopter blades.

Stabber: In Greenwood.

Digger: School district to bury 230 cases of bad beef.

Developer: Appealing Denny’s landmark decision.

Passenger Jet in Venezuela: “The aircraft is practically pulverized.”

Local Catastrophe Roundup: Man killed in Tukwila, banks bashed in Bremerton, Francisco’s family offers larger reward, Tarleton pays for ethics violation.

Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dancer: World’s smallest therapy dog.

Open the Floodgates, Valve: Here comes Portal 2.

Microsoft: Our shitty code, let us show you it.

From Popularity Plus: Good Manners for Young Moderns, by Sally Simpson. Copyright 1947.


Why is petting so prevalent? No use shutting your eyes to the fact that it is.

Petting can mean anything from a few kisses in a parked car to serious delinquency—according to the definition you subscribe to. Let’s discuss the serious type.

Case histories of delinquents show that heavy or promiscuous petting is more likely due to a feeling of insecurity or a yearning for popularity. Yes, a boy or a girl may go on a petting bender when he or she feels uneasy or unhappy.

Unglamorous, unpopular teeners often get the idea that petting is the Open Sesame to success. Actually the opposite is true. The easy-loving lass broadcasts the fact that she is unsure of her charm and desirability.

Popular boys and girls seldom rely on petting routines. They’re too busy with other activities and interests.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Did Anyone Else Think Hillary Clinton’s Closing Statement in the Debate Sounded a Little Bit—Just a Little—Like a Concession Speech?

posted by on February 21 at 6:48 PM

It was a beautiful closing statement, don’t get me wrong. It just sounded kinda sorta like a concession speech.

UPDATE: Jeffrey Toobin just said basically this same thing on CNN—that she sounded like she’s realizing this campaign is at its end, and she’s trying to leave it on a high note.

LiveBlogging the Democratic Debate

posted by on February 21 at 4:55 PM

Hello again. Schmader is nursing a cold at his place and I’m nursing a beer at Amy Kate’s place. In just a few minutes, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will begin their second one-on-one debate, this time in Texas. As always, send us your comments through the liveblogging widget. If they’re worthy, Schmader will drop them into the liveblog in progress.

In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on February 21 at 4:39 PM

Five Years Ago Yesterday: 100 people died at a Great White concert.

Happy Birthday: Kurt Cobain would’ve been 41 years old yesterday.

Story Telling: Road warriors, These Arms Are Snakes talk about tour life.

Total Lunar Eclipse: Here’s what happens when 200 people sing a Bonnie Tyler song in the middle of Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” during a lunar eclipse. Review here. Video here. Enjoy.

Tonight in Music: Sia, Lesbian, Tacocat, and more.

Helloooooo Bremerton!: Death Cab for Cutie kick of a tour in Bremerton, not Seattle.

Hot Water Music Add More Dates: But they are also not playing Seattle.

The Mike Album: Everyone, even the Beatles, could benefit from a little editing.

The Little Rooster: Murdered.

Illegal Leak of the Week: Janet Jackson, Discipline.

You’re So Right for Me: TJ Gorton on Eastside Connection.

Today’s Music News: That Gene Simmons sex tape is (unfortunately) real.

Now Here’s a Video I’ve Been Looking For

posted by on February 21 at 4:15 PM

There’s been a lot of chatter about this anti-Obama speech, by Machinists Union President Tom Buffenbarger, who laid into Obama at a recent Clinton rally in Youngstown, Ohio, describing Obama as a coward, as “Janus, the two-faced God of Roman times,” as “a trained thespian,” and as “a shadow boxer” who won’t be able to hold his own in a real ring with a real Republican.

Buffenbarger reached the climax of his remarks (which Clinton supporters in the audience started to try to drown out by chanting “Hillary! Hillary!”) with this: “Yes we can? Give me a break. I’ve got news for all the latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust fund babies crowding in to hear him speak: This guy won’t last a round against the Republican attack machine. He’s a poet, not a fighter… And this, ladies and gentlemen, is no time for a poet.”

(via Ben Smith)

One Hour to Liveblog

posted by on February 21 at 3:54 PM

Just a friendly afternoon reminder that Schmader and I will be liveblogging tonight’s Democratic debate, which starts at 5 p.m. PST on CNN.

Cafe Septieme: Torture in Yellow!

posted by on February 21 at 3:51 PM

In the beginning, there were sugar cubes, and it was glorious.

They came in a white porcelain bowl, these cubes, and they were accessorized with shiny metal tongs with which to plunk them into one’s coffee. (Plunk!) The simple charm and aesthetic goodness of these sugar cubes should not be underestimated. They were brown and lumpy and rustic looking—like something someone’s barefoot French grandma had mashed together in her cottage kitchen in between kneading the daily baguette and force-feeding the goose. They were the cornerstone of myriad small and vital details that made my love of Café Septieme bloom.

But Septieme retired the old sugar cubes ages ago—just one of way-too-many small and completely wrong changes that the café has forced upon me. Us. Everyone. They replaced these wonderful cubes with trashy sugar packets…those obnoxious, infuriating little packets. And, oh, how I despise them!


The nasty little sugar packets create unsightly piles of garbage and shocking drifts of litter that gather in the corners of the table, stick to your fingers, and cling to the bottom of your cup. There is no place to dispose of them, they sift to the floor, and the waiters never take them away. They are awkward and vaguely disgusting. Septieme should never have traded them up. It was a mistake. An exercise in bad judgment. Septieme’s charm factor dropped 10 points accordingly. More, maybe. Definitely.

And now, they’ve come for the cream.


Septieme’s cream was once as God meant cream to be, served cool in its own little porcelain pitcher. Tragically, the cool white cream pitchers have been suddenly put to pasture and replaced with those cheap faux-cream “creamers” in plastic containers, each crammed to its faux-cream cranny with unnatural preservatives and evil intentions. They stand all day in the heat without fussing, and create fifteen times the landfill of the nasty little sugar packets. No honest person could claim that consuming these abominations of dairy is salubrious. God only knows the damage they do to one’s pancreas. They are against everything I stand for.


But there have been even more recent developments at Septieme that are cause for more serious alarm. Among these is the sudden and shocking appearance if an, um, electric organ. Yes. Electric organ. The kind of electric organ preferred by tent-revivalists, under-funded Lutherans, and queer public school music teachers with Phantom of the Opera obsessions called “Mr. Russell”. And if you’re wondering, the answer is yes, an electric organist came along with it (I don’t know his name…dare I guess, “Mr. Russell”?), and he organs during dinner, he organs at desert, and no matter what he’s organing, it all sounds like Lawrence fucking Welk. Because, hey, electric organ.


Um. Well, Jesus.

But hold onto your organ, for, indeed, there’s even worse news. Please forgive me for telling you. Someone has to.

The walls are yellow. You heard me.

Please to understand: Café Septieme has been around for a long, long time. It began life in Belltown and enjoyed an age when Dan Savage was counted among its colorful and surly wait staff (one day he shaved off his huge afro and disappeared—-no one has heard a word from him since.) I’ve eaten there close to three billion times. And, yes, I understand it went through a recent change of ownership or whatever, and yes, I know that change is inevitable. Thanks, mom. But one thing about Septieme was eternal, consistent, and completely dependable: Red walls.

And not just any old red: Dark, dirty, rag-painted café red, evocative of abattoirs and smoky Parisians. (The exact same red I painted my own bedroom, if you must know.) The red covered the walls and ceiling and was the blood-clot icing on the Septieme cake. It was warm and comfortable and embracing and decrepit and bohemian, like the wretched womb that gave birth to Bordeaux. It was perfect.

And now, well, yellow.


And what a yellow! Not lemon yellow, nor sunshine yellow, nor butter yellow (which would have been offensive enough), but sickly, rusty, sponge-painted-pee-of-an-Easter-egg-with-toxic-liver-syndrome yellow. And yellow is not a color for the café. Everyone knows this. It is a color for the McDonnald’s. The Denny’s. The Wendy’s. The Arby’s. The taco. It is the national color of fast food and hepatitis and the snow you never eat. And it breaks my heart.


They’ve only yellowed the walls in the big dinning room so far, but it seems inevitable that the ceiling and the bar area and the rest will soon fall too, don’t you think? That shit looks contagious.

Oh, Café Septieme. I’ve loved you so. Why are you doing this to me?!?!

Today’s Text Message from My Dad

posted by on February 21 at 3:39 PM

The wizards are doing as well as hillary i may go back to knicks and mccain

Have no fear, my old man, a stalwart Democrat, will vote for Obama. But he was a Hillary fan (he’s part of the demographic and—as a former government lawyer—he was turned off because Obama reminds him of those “stuck up Harvard Law Review guys I used to know.”)

As for the Wizards. Well, at least they’ve won 1 out of the last 10. Not Hillary.

She’s Gonna Do It

posted by on February 21 at 3:27 PM

Fair’s fair. I posted the “Huck Dance” video here, and now commenters have drawn my attention to a made-for-Hillary-Clinton video that deserves equal time. If Dina Martina was submitting an application to be Hillary’s new campaign consultant, this would be attachment A:

Truly, This is the Navel of Navels!

posted by on February 21 at 3:25 PM


I’m sorry that I used the above blog photo cliche, but it’s the only appropriate illustration for this story: The Man Booker Prize people are going to give a “Best of the Bookers Prize.” In 1993, for the prize’s 25th anniversary, they declared Midnight’s Children the Booker of Bookers. So is this going to be the Bookerest Booker of Bookers? The Booker King?

Or, as Brendan Kiley said, “A prize among prizes? Is that like a list of my favorite lists?”

Horse Feathers at Horses Ass

posted by on February 21 at 3:15 PM

I could simply leave a comment over at HorsesAss where they were kind enough to link my “good-but-too-snarky” Gov. Gregoire interview … but what the hell, I’ve got the Slog!

Will’s post takes me to task because I complained that the Governor wasn’t enthusiastic enough about campaigning for a potential 2008 light rail package.

Will writes:

I think the Governor is focused on replacing the 520 bridge and pushing ahead with the Alaskan Way Corridor Project. Light rail is a local issue, and besides freeing up MVET for use by Sound Transit, the Governor should not be a major player on the issue.

The fact that Josh is asking Gregoire to do heavy lifting for a light rail package that doesn’t exist yet is goofy, especially considering The Stranger’s ignorant slagging-off of light rail between the airport and Tacoma. I mean, what happens when Sound Transit 2.1 comes out and they find that not enough of it is being built in Capitol Hill?

1) 520 and the Viaduct may be state roads, but they are also local issues. And we talk all about them in my interview. In fact Will, if your position is that she’s right to focus on 520 because it’s a state issue, you might re-read her answer: She actually says she doesn’t want to get too involved. So, which is it for you? And also read her light rail answer. She’s all about going North… not South. Looks like she agrees with me.

2) The Governor should not be a major player on light rail? What? Rapid mass transit is a key issue for the economic engine of our state, the Puget Sound. It has major implications on global warming, growth management, traffic congestion, and the economy. It is exactly the type of issue the Governor should be taking a stand on. Why are you letting her off so easy?

And really, you Rah-Rah-Prop 1 guys at HorsesAss were all about whining last year: “Gregoire isn’t going to let light rail on the ballot in ‘08. No way! Never! Prop. 1 is our last chance.”

My how your goal posts have shifted. Never mind the fact that you were wrong when you predicted Gregoire would prevent light rail from going on the ballot in ‘08—now she’s actually considering stumping for it in ‘08.

We said it in our No on Prop 1 endorsement last year, and I’m saying it right now: Light Rail ‘08. We’d like it if our Democratic Governor—who’s in office because of King County—would get our backs.

p.s. And as for no Capitol Hill light rail in Phase 2. Exactly. It’s coming to Capitol Hill in Phase 1. Phase 2 better not have Capitol Hill in it. That’d be a little weird. We need to be hitting Shoreline and Redmond in Phase 2.

Sonics: FIRE SALE!

posted by on February 21 at 3:04 PM

Everyone must go! Yesterday, the Seattle Sonics said sayonara to Kurt Thomas, shipping him to San Antonio in exchange for a 2009 draft pick and two bit players (one injured, one who’s 32 and sat idle at San An). Today, minutes before the NBA’s trading deadline, ESPN reported that the team bid a fond adieu to Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak, both of whom are off to Cleveland, in exchange for mega-stars Donyell Marshall, Ira Newble and Adrian Griffin. Ira’s the only decent hand as a result of all of this, and that’s not worth shouting about.

Having been to San Antonio, Cleveland and Oklahoma City, I’m not sure which players are better off with each respective deal, but I will say that the PI’s praise of Sonics general manager Sam Presti in light of recent trades comes off as pretty forced. The praise assumes that the Sonics can convert at least one of their three recently acquired first-round draft picks into wise trades in the near future, resulting in a team with at least a few sturdy veterans to assist the young talent. Or maybe the money we’ve skimmed off the top will give us room to make some awesome moves. Because the past year of moves has been so smart and optimistic, right? Shave Our Sonics, I guess.

Alexander the Cut

posted by on February 21 at 2:22 PM

Pro Football Talk is reporting:

We’re hearing multiple rumblings from our connections at the Scouting Combine that the Seahawks could be cutting running back Shaun Alexander soon.

A media source told us moments ago that the move could come “in the next couple of days.”

The Denny’s Landmark Designation

posted by on February 21 at 2:12 PM

The Denny’s in Ballard, AKA the Drinkin’ Denny’s, was officially designated a historic landmark yesterday after a three-hour meeting of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Board. Now, before you get all “But it’s so ugly!” over the board’s decision, remember: A building does not have to be “pretty” to be designated a landmark. It merely has to meet one of the six criteria for landmarking—and the Ballard Denny’s arguably qualifies under two.


The applicants who came to yesterday’s meeting to argue against landmark status, representing Benaroya and developer Rhapsody Partners, had planned to tear down the Denny’s and develop the site as condos. (Prospective developers often use the landmarking process to argue against landmark status, because applying wards off any future applications.) They spent the better part of their time arguing that the former Manning’s Cafe wasn’t actually representative of “Googie” design—a type of midcentury roadside architecture that employed bold angles, colorful signs, large planes of glass, and cantilevered roof lines. Judith Sobol, an art and architecture historian from Los Angeles, said the Denny’s was “just not Googie…. there’s nothing about the exterior that makes the exterior work as a whole.” The Space Needle is perhaps the most famous example of Googie architecture. Here are others:



Whether the board bought its Googie argument or not, the applicants continued, the architect, Clarence Mayhew, was a nobody. “None of Mayhew’s buildings anywhere have been called out as historical or as an architectural resource,” said Timothy Rood, an architecture professor at the University of California at Berkeley. “Mayhew was not a particularly noted architect and this building is not an outstanding example, or even a good one, of his work.”

The developer turned next to the question of “integrity,” arguing that because the building has been so heavily altered (a drop ceiling was added in the 1970s to conceal a new air-conditioning system; more than 70 percent of the original windows have been boarded up or removed), there wasn’t enough of the original building left to make it worth saving. Next, the applicants argued that the building had been “dwarfed” by the condos around it, making it difficult to see from several blocks away. Finally, they turned to outright condescension. “If you designate this building you can satisfy the not unimportant sentimental yearnings for the coffee shops you visited in the past,” architect Larry Johnson told the board. “But this is the landmark preservation board. It is not the landmark restoration board. Your credibility as a board will ultimately be undermined if you designate this building.

The board, clearly, did not agree. Five of eight board members present voted to save the Denny’s, agreeing that the building is a landmark in the traditional sense — a significant building that is recognizable to anyone in the neighborhood. “Being able to apply a label to it [Googie] is not as important as looking at the building and being able to say it’s important to the city,” board member Tom Veith said. “It sticks in your mind and you use it to navigate, remind you where you are.”


The designation thwarts the condos and throws the future of the building into question, but it does not force future owners to restore the building to its former glory, above; the decision only landmarked the outside of the building, leaving the fate of the interior in the hands of its future owners.

Google’s Loose Change

posted by on February 21 at 2:01 PM

Ever since I covered them, I’ve been keeping an eye on 9/11 Truth websites, and the above video has been making the rounds. First: that’s some pretty sweet animation, I have to say. Second, I think that the movie makes some good (but oft-covered) points. Third, I think that the ending—“Every human being would become completely transparent”—is maybe an eentsy little bit histrionic.

American Gangsta

posted by on February 21 at 1:48 PM

He fought the law…
larry-davis.jpg…and the law won.

How he met the end:

Mr. Davis, 41, was stabbed to death by another inmate around 7:30 p.m. during a recreational break on the grounds of the Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Ulster County, about 80 miles north of New York City, corrections officials said. The other inmate, Luis Rosado, used a crude, nine-inch shank to stab Mr. Davis repeatedly in his head, arms, back and chest, said Erik Kriss, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections.

How he became famous:

Nov. 19, 1986, 20 police officers attempted to raid an apartment in the Morrisania section of the Bronx where Mr. Davis, a suspect in the murders of at least five drug dealers, had been staying.

As the officers stormed the apartment with their guns drawn, Mr. Davis, in blazing fashion, grabbed a pistol and a shotgun and fired at them from a darkened bedroom. At least six of the officers were hit, and two were wounded seriously. The fusillade left the apartment bloodied and littered with spent cartridges, yet Mr. Davis managed a narrow escape through a window.

His escape sparked a nationwide manhunt that ended 17 days later after a standoff at a Bronx apartment building. Mr. Davis took a family hostage in a 14th-floor apartment and gave himself up only after police officers assured him he would not be harmed.

Earth accept this dishonored guest
Larry Davis is laid to rest.

Let’s Dance. The Huck Dance.

posted by on February 21 at 1:45 PM

Because even if a candidate is uncomfortable with the gays and the cultural hedonists, he might still need as his soundtrack a song that’s a staple of tea dances and sloppy prom night hookups everywhere:

What I Want to Know About

posted by on February 21 at 1:29 PM

Wikipedia is failing me, mostly.

I just finished Graham Robb’s excellent The Discovery of France, which—to put it broadly—describes how the incredible cultural diversity of medieval France was funneled into a single national identity. (Here’s a googly-eyed New York Times review; here’s a pursed-lipped critique from The New Republic.) There’s a tantalizing section in the book about the cagots, a persecuted minority (probably more caste than race) whose origins were variously attributed to leper colonies, Saracens, or Visigoths; whose looks were usually described as tall and blond, but sometimes short and dark; and whose population was long ago absorbed by the general French and Spanish peasantry. But traces of their existence still persist, in cagot-only church entrances and baptismal fonts, in birth records, and in slang insults. Who knew?

I’d love to read more on the subject, but SPL doesn’t recognize the word and the UW is almost as unhelpful. Is there really no English-language book on the cagots?


I Am Now Extremely Excited For Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

posted by on February 21 at 1:29 PM

Each year, movie studios spend millions on sending lame promotional gimmicks to media outlets. In the past, The Stranger has received (among other things) a bloody foot for the remake of The Hills Have Eyes


…a pair of panties for John Tucker Must Die


…and a Nerf football (perplexingly) for Rambo


It’s all useless crap (except for the milkshake for There Will Be Blood, which was delicious), and serves nothing but making Annie Wagner’s cubicle even messier than it already is.

Today, however, I received a package from Paramount Pictures that really stood out…


It was for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and the label claimed the package contained an “Indiana Jones DVD” and “Indiana Jones leather whip.”

But when I opened it up, all that was inside was a pound of sand.


Thanks, Paramount. Let your marketing department know they at least got a Slog post out of their little fuck up.

Update: Damn you Mola Ram! Earlier today, Adam Sekuler from the Northwest Film Forum sent me a cryptic email that said:

Throw me the idol and I’ll throw you the whip.

Confused, I replied:

Dr. Jones, again we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away.

To which he replied:

You’re digging in the wrong place.

As it turns out, the promo package sent for me was delivered to NW Film Forum by mistake — and now the scoundrels are holding my “Indiana Jones leather whip” hostage.

My apologies to the fine folks in Paramount’s marketing department. As for Northwest Film Forum…I shall have my revenge!

Save the Starbucks Breakfast Sandwich!

posted by on February 21 at 12:30 PM

No, really:

It’s the Save the Starbucks Breakfast Sandwich website.


Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson: Remember That Title

posted by on February 21 at 12:05 PM

This show—which I saw in LA last week before its final tweaks and big unveiling in NYC—is going to be huge:

Sadly, the youtube clips are sub-par and make the musical (by Alex Timbers, of NYC’s Les Freres Corbusier) seem amateurish. Yes, it’s an emo-rock/sketch-comedy musical about Andrew Jackson, but Bloody Bloody both deploys and mocks the emo-rock/sketch-comedy aesthetic. Like if Jon Stewart and Green Day got together to write a show—it rocks and it winks at the same time.

It’s all about populism, you see. You can hear the show’s flagship number, “Populism Yea Yea!” (which, on the recording, also sounds more bloodless and amateurish than it was live) here.

The show posits Jackson as a sexy, petulant, rock-star president. The conceit fits—Jackson was the drunkest, fightingest president we’ve ever had, and a contradictory, emotional basket case: He married his wife while she was married to another guy, fought 13 duels (mostly over her honor), and waged brutal Indian Wars while his adopted Creek son was running around the White House.


And Bloody Bloody creates its own universe of rock-star sexiness eerily well. During one of Jackson’s rallies, actresses playing teenage girls squealed “We want to fuck you, Andrew Jackson!” and held placards reading “emocracy now!” Then actual teenage girls, in the the actual audience, started squealing about wanting to fuck the actor playing Jackson.


That actor, Benjamin Walker, is a dynamo and the set is fantastic—it begins as a saloon-bordello (piano, chandelier, taxidermied deer, squirrels, and alligator) and turns into this:


Imagine that, but blindingly bright, the music roaring, the teenage girls onstage and offstage screaming, Jackson wailing “life sucks, and my life sucks in particular” while the ensemble sings behind him:

Sometimes you have to take the initiative.
Sometimes your whole family dies of cholera.
Sometimes you have to make your own story.
Sometimes you have to shoot the storyteller in the neck.
Sometimes you have to take back the country.
Sometimes you have to kill everyone, everyone.

Populism, yeah yeah!

Until the interweb deigns to give us more and better clips of the show, you’ll have to take my word for it—start asking your favorite theater to bring Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson to Seattle now. You will love it, they will make piles of cash, and the world will be a better place.

Cartoon of the Era

posted by on February 21 at 12:04 PM


Via Ezra Klein. (And originally by xkcd.)

But Which Way Will Melville Go?

posted by on February 21 at 12:02 PM

Here, via the fabulous Maud Newton (whose website still looks as though it was designed by a blind man from 1986) is a list of popular authors and their contributions to the candidates.

I’m not at all surprised by Daniel Handler giving money to Obama, or Tim (Left Behind) Lahaye donating to Huckabee, but David Mamet’s 4,600 dollars to Chris Dodd seems bizarre, as does Walter Mosley giving as much as he can to Clinton and that fucker Dean Koontz giving $4,600 to Romney and $2,300 to Fred Thompson makes me hate him even more, which I didn’t even think was possible.

Dept. of Finance

posted by on February 21 at 11:57 AM

Seattle’s inflation rate is rising faster than the national average, and even out-pacing that of “pricey” West Coast cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Penny by penny, the cost of life in the Seattle metro area — of visiting the doctor, flipping on a light switch and drinking a bottle of beer — is mounting.

The price of goods in Seattle rose faster than in the rest of the nation last year, and among Pacific cities, Seattle’s inflation outpaced both San Francisco and Los Angeles.

For the past 15 years, the annual rate of inflation in Seattle has averaged 3 percent. In 2007, the inflation rate was 4.6 percent, which was higher than the national rate of 4.1 percent.

Stranger Interview with Gov. Gregoire, Unabridged Version.

posted by on February 21 at 11:49 AM

I have an interview with Gov. Gregoire in this week’s print edition of the Stranger. At the bottom of the interview it says: “An expanded version of this interview, including a Q&A about Gregoire’s climate change bill (C+), family leave (C), the earned income tax credit, the viaduct (B), and more on 520 can be found online at

However, that wasn’t true until right now. Read the whole thing here.

Reading Tonight

posted by on February 21 at 11:37 AM

Me, at a bar, finally finishing (in that great way where I don’t want to finish, but can’t resist finising) this fantastic 600-page book on the Manson Family.

The book, simply titled The Family, came out in 1971, a few years before Vincent Bugliosi’s richly-reported classic Helter Skelter.

The Family is equally, if not even more thoroughly reported than Bugliosi’s masterpiece, and is written in a quietly snide, even comical, counterculture prose.

The author, Ed Sanders, was a key player in the burgeoning beat-into-hippie underground in the early and mid 1960s. He was in the Dadaist Greenwich Village folk-rock group The Fugs, and after founding Fuck You: A Journal of the Arts in 1962, he became involved in the underground press movement starring the East Village Other and the L.A. Free Press—precursors and templates for today’s alt weekly industry. Voila L’Etranger!

His writing is in the neighborhood of Lester Bangs and Hunter S. Thompson—only calmer, quieter, and, I think, smarter. (I’d never heard of Sanders until I picked up this book.)

The octane for Sanders’s book comes from his obvious angst over the fact that the Manson Family was emerging—when he wrote the book—as a de facto indictment of Sanders’s revolutionary generation. Bummer, man. And boy does Sanders use some acidic prose to cut Manson up.

Sanders, again, a freak at the time, had complete access to the Family, and hangs out with them on several occasions, having dinner with them at the infamous Spahn Ranch, getting propositioned by the weirdo Manson girls, and driving around with member-murderer Steve Grogan.

Anyway, it’s a great book, sort of an informal version of Bugliosi’s book (with equally impressive reporting). Highly recommended, if you want to get creeped out.


We’re Number One

posted by on February 21 at 11:19 AM

In healthy living, according to Cooking Light magazine, which ranked US cities according to 15 criteria, including wages, green space, availability of produce, farmers’ markets, and walkability. They don’t venture much outside downtown (which may be the reason they said our streets were “walker-friendly”?) but they do hit a lot of the less cheesy tourist highlights. Also on the list: Denver (??), San Francisco, Portland, Austin, and Colorado Springs.

LiveBlogging the Democratic Debate

posted by on February 21 at 11:15 AM

Tonight’s debate will be only the second time that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama get the one-on-one format. But man, how things have changed since their first one-on-one debate just before Super Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Back then the race seemed within the grasp of either candidate. Now, after ten straight wins for Obama since Super Tuseday, Clinton is in serious need of a very strong, and even game-changing, performance. Will it happen?

I’ll be liveblogging the debate as usual—and once again I’ll have the indispensable help of David Schmader, who is graciously going to power through his cold in order to help moderate your comments, process the drama, and generally make the world safe for Democracy.

Debate starts at 5 p.m. PST on CNN. It will be livestreamed, I’m sure, for those of you who will still be at work or who don’t have cable. See you then.

The Incredible Resurectable Book

posted by on February 21 at 11:08 AM

Steve Jobs says books are dying. No, wait: Tim Egan says they’re still alive. It should be noted, though, that Jobs works for a tech company and Tim Egan is an author of books: There could be some bias at play here, is what I’m saying.

Big ups, as the illiterate* kids say, to Slog tipper and commenter Aislinn.

Continue reading "The Incredible Resurectable Book" »

Reading Tonight

posted by on February 21 at 10:53 AM


If we got all the authors from all the readings together in one room tonight, it sure would be a bizarre discussion.

There’s an open mic, a children’s book, an anthropologist, and a couple of thrillers: Sadly, by the time you read this the Dana Stabenow signing at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop is probably almost over, but there’s still the April Smith signing there at noon to consider.

At Queen Anne Books, Debra Dean, the author of the bookclub-friendly The Madonnas of Leningrad, reads from her new collection of short stories, while at Elliott Bay Book Company, Lynne Cox reads from her book Grayson about how she befriended a baby whale that she named Grayson.

Up at Third Place, megachurch pastor Casey Treat, who I wrote about here, reads from his book. Here’s some of what you can expect, based on my experience at his church: “With his rickety rock-star charisma, Treat has a lot to say about a lot of things: He calls Paris Hilton “retarded,” he mentions “the 9/11” frequently, but mostly he talks about money, a whole lot. Treat preaches prosperity: God wants you to be rich.”

If the idea of a full house at Third Place for a megapastor annoys you, maybe the best way you can protest is by going to the Hugo House, where The Gay City Health Project launches their anthology Gay City, Volume One.

Full listings, including the next week or so, here.

Today in Outsider Art

posted by on February 21 at 10:40 AM

I’m out sick today, and the only thing that makes me feel better is whining and watching competitive performance videos by high-school show choirs.

For those unfamilar with show choir, it’s a thrilling combination of choir, cheerleading, karaoke, and an acid flashback, in which large groups of teenagers don glitzy costumes and jazz hands to interpret popular songs, often via medley.

Lucky for me, there’s a whole blog devoted “to the magic that is the American amateur show choir,” under the swoon-worthy title Auschglitz!

Here’s Eau Claire, Wisconsin’s Old Abe Show Choir, with an invigorating Prince medley.

Thank you, Auschglitz!

Currently Hanging

posted by on February 21 at 10:30 AM

Bruce Barnbaum’s The Canyon Crucifix: Wolverine Canyon, Utah (2007), silver gelatin print.

At Benham Gallery.

What Makes Humans Humans?

posted by on February 21 at 10:25 AM

I finally have the answer!
mall-1-1.jpg This must be it. What distinguishes the human animal from all other animals? It’s not a sense of morality or mortality; it’s not language or the arts. What is it? It’s money. No other animal has a sense or system of exchange. Only humans borrow, barter, and buy.

Writes the American philosopher Graham Harman in “On Vicarious Causation”:

We are not more critical than animals, but more object-oriented, filling our minds with all present and absent objects, all geographical and astronomical places, all species of animal, all flavors of juice, all players from the history of baseball, all living and dead languages.
Yes, this is true. But, as Harman knows, many animals in the animal kingdom have this capacity—the capacity to be extremely object-oriented. My cat at this very moment is obsessed with a ping pong ball—it’s pinging and ponging all over the apartment. But my cat can’t exchange that beloved ball for a plate of more beloved fish. Only a human can do that. If you do not know how to buy or sell, you are not a human animal.

The Story Behind the McCain Story

posted by on February 21 at 10:25 AM

The New Republic has posted a must-read story that sounds like it was, in a significant way, part of the process that led to the publication of the New York Times’ McCain story today.

TNR’s piece looks deep inside the internal Times debate over the McCain article:

The publication of the article capped three months of intense internal deliberations at the Times over whether to publish the negative piece and its most explosive charge about the affair. It pitted the reporters investigating the story, who believed they had nailed it, against executive editor Bill Keller, who believed they hadn’t. It likely cost the paper one investigative reporter, who decided to leave in frustration. And the Times ended up publishing a piece in which the institutional tensions about just what the story should be are palpable.

The writer, Gabriel Sherman, recounts this terse email, received from Times executive editor Bill Keller while he was doing his reporting:

In an email to me on February 19, Keller wrote: “This sounds like a pointless exercise to me—speculating about reporting that may or may not result in an article. But if that’s what Special Correspondents of The New Republic do, speculate away. When we have something to say, we’ll say it in the paper.”

Sherman also suggests that competitive pressure, in the end, might have forced the Times to publish the story now:

When the Times did finally publish the long-gestating investigation last night, the McCain camp immediately tried to train the glare back on the Gray Lady. In fact, McCain advisers stated that TNR’s inquiries pressured the Times to publish its story before it was ready so this magazine wouldn’t scoop the Times’ piece. “They did this because The New Republic was going to run a story that looked back at the infighting there, the Judy Miller-type power struggles — they decided that they would rather smear McCain than suffer a story that made The New York Times newsroom look bad,” Salter told reporters last night in Toledo, Ohio.

The WineRack

posted by on February 21 at 10:19 AM

Every man should have one of these.


The whole “Beer Belly” thing is just too obvious for smuggling liquor into a dry venue—one unnatural jiggle and the cat’s out of the bag. But these babies, woah, obviously not real. Fags like me could live out their inner drag queen; straight guys could feel themselves up and be buzzed enough to think they’re getting away with it. And who would have the balls to confront a person of indeterminate gender identity with some medical-looking tube dangling from his or her shirt? Someone you want to meet, that’s who. One downside, however: The more you drink, the smaller your rack.

A dip of the cleavage to Slog tipper Michael.

McCain: The NYT Ambient Journalism

posted by on February 21 at 9:38 AM

I hate to go all Postman on you guys, but as much as I love the McCain story, this shit wouldn’t have passed Stranger newsroom standards.

Certainly, the NYT establishes that Sen. McCain’s friendship with telecom lobbyist Vicki Iseman alarmed his staff circa 2000 and that staffers told him to stop hanging out with her so much. And that’s a story. But the NYT should have run that story without the “concerned that the relationship had become romantic” line.

The NYT has no one saying the pair was having an affair. Nor do they have any proof or compelling evidence. They’ve only got anonymous people saying they suspected it. Yet, they then go and ask both McCain and Iseman if they were having an affair. Lame.

The NYT simply doesn’t have the goods on this. And let’s be honest: The energy of this story, the ambient takeaway, is the insinuation that McCain was doing political favors for a woman he was sleeping with.

If they wanted to do that story, they should have gone out and gotten it. Interview rival telecom company lobbyists, interview Iseman’s exes, Iseman’s colleagues; interview McCain’s colleagues; get McCain and Iseman’s lobbyist and financial disclosure reports. These are all places to start.

But here’s all they’ve got:

Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.
That February, Mr. McCain and Ms. Iseman attended a small fund-raising dinner with several clients at the Miami-area home of a cruise-line executive and then flew back to Washington along with a campaign aide on the corporate jet of one of her clients, Paxson Communications. By then, according to two former McCain associates, some of the senator’s advisers had grown so concerned that the relationship had become romantic that they took steps to intervene.
But in 1999 she began showing up so frequently in his offices and at campaign events that staff members took notice. One recalled asking, “Why is she always around?”.

Sorry, but that is not enough to put the microphone in McCain’s face and ask him if he was having an affair.

If McCain was actually having an affair with a telecom lobbyist who represented legislation that McCain supported, it would be a major story—particularly relevant given that McCain—whose whole persona is framed by his apparent righteous integrity—is about to become the GOP Presidential nominee.

But the NYT doesn’t have that.

Look, I love the idea of this story, but if a Stranger newsie had brought this story to me, I would have said: Is anyone saying the pair was actually having an affair? Can they give you any proof? Do you have any proof? If not, you’ve got an interesting story about staff warning McCain to stop hanging out with this lobbyist so much. Tell that story but leave out the anonymous quotes about their suspicions.

I understand that I’m now going to get blasted with examples of the Stranger’s own lacking standards. Okay. Either way, I’m still surprised the NYT ran this story this way.

There is one Stranger story I’m sure will get thrown in my face. But actually, re-reading it side by side with the NYT story highlights the shortcomings of the NYT’s decision to run their story the way they did.

We once ran a story about rumors that then-Republican-State-Senator Luke Esser was gay. But please read Eli’s thoughtful story.

The story doesn’t coyly suggest Esser is gay and then use that as a spring board to insinuate that Esser was a hypocrite (Esser was an outspoken leader in the GOP against gay rights and marriage). Eli’s story cites, by name, a Democratic State Senator who believed Esser was gay and had actually written a letter to the NYT Ethicist column asking about the ethics of outing colleagues. That was our news peg and starting point.

Eli’s article goes on to investigate and pooh-pooh the rumors and makes no effort to use the rumors as a foil to Esser’s political positions. It’s a totally different animal than the NYT’s hint hint McCain story.

Anyway, certainly there are examples of lapses in the Stranger newsroom, but that’s not the issue here. The issue is the NYT McCain story. And Red red flag, Bill Keller, your paper’s story doesn’t even have a picture of McCain and Iseman together. And that’s my takeaway from your story.

To War. Again.

posted by on February 21 at 9:13 AM

John McCain’s reaction to the big New York Times story on his very close relationship with a lobbyist?

He’s “going to war” with the paper.

Because that last war he supported went so well.

Could There Be a Connection?

posted by on February 21 at 8:25 AM

Two headlines caught my eye this morning. From the Seattle Times

U.S. dementia rates are on the decline

And from the New York Times

More Americans Are Giving Up Golf


The Morning News

posted by on February 21 at 8:05 AM

One Up: U.S. fires missile at toxic satellite.

One Down: Meteor came close but didn’t hit.

Stay Down: Longer idle for unemployed.

Touchdown: Torture flights secretly used British airstrips.

Something to Talk About: The right is revolting over this McCain story.

Budget Cutter: “I hope I never said we’d save $1 billion.”

Ribbon Cutter: Federal Way favoring ceremonial mayor.

Cookie Cutter: Four board games for silver screen.

Talks Putter: Some see progress in Kenya, others don’t.

Investment Shudder: King County loses millions.

Plagiarism Accusations Are the New Black: First Obama and now the “noose” professor.

Middle Class: Stanford provides discounts on tuition.

Less Trash: Seattle proposal for recycling.

More Cash: Seattle prices inflating.

From Popularity Plus: Good Manners for Young Moderns, by Sally Simpson. Copyright 1947.


Urged to go where parents say no? It can be rugged.

You’re double dating and someone suggests the Kute Kat Cocktail Bar. For you, this is strictly off the reservation.

In many states it’s actually illegal for teeners to frequent cafes. Perhaps the Kute Kat is ready and willing to admit minors. But you and your parents are law-abiding citizens, aren’t you?

Even when there’s no state statute, your parent’s word is the law. The place your pals have picked may have an unsavory reputation. It may be a super-sophisticated spot where you’ll be gossip-bait.

Whatever the reason for you family’s thumbs-down, it can create a shattering situation. If you moan about mom’s injustice, you’ll let yourself in for temptation: the what-Mom-doesn’t-know-won’t-hurt-her line. If you sulk and pout, you’ll be tagged a poor sport.

Let’s face it: you’ll have to use all your tact, but cheerfully. Try suggesting another place. And make with real enthusiasm about its superior food and fun and music. Or invite the crowd over to hear the platters and raid the icebox.

You Saw the Gene Simmons Sex Tape, Right?

posted by on February 21 at 8:04 AM

It has given many people new things to talk about. It was linked to yesterday on Line Out.

Good morning!

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

posted by on February 21 at 5:56 AM

This is a very special installment of Every Child Deserves—it’s a bad-parenting, pit-bull-attacking Slog twofer:

A West Seattle girl was hospitalized Tuesday afternoon after being bitten by a pit bull. The 9-year-old suffered severe cuts to her upper and lower lips and to her chin and face, after being attacked at a Highland Park home, according to police reports.

Firefighters were called to a home at 7945 Delridge Way S.W. where the girl had been attacked by the 90-pound dog. A neighbor phoned for help after seeing the girl bleeding from her face.

Seattle Fire Department medics arrived and treated the girl, but advised her parents that, because of the severity of the wounds, she would need to be taken to Harborview Medical Center.

The girl was rushed to the hospital by private ambulance. Harborview officials were unable to verify her condition Wednesday afternoon.

Thanks to Slog tipper Paul—and, once again, pit bulls should be boiled alive and fed to their idiot owners. And something worse should be done to parents that don’t seek treatment for a mauled, bleeding child, leaving it to neighbors to call the paramedics.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

This Building…

posted by on February 20 at 10:04 PM


… is now a historic landmark.

Report from this afternoon’s marathon landmark meeting coming shortly. Photo by Jonathan Assink on Flickr.

UPDATE: Brilliantly, I left not only my laptop battery—which is prone, bizarrely, to falling out with nary a whimper—but my notebook containing notes from today’s hearing, at the office. So a full update will have to wait until tomorrow. Meanwhile, please excuse me while I go talk myself into supporting Obama.

John McCain’s Bimbo Eruption

posted by on February 20 at 8:57 PM


Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself—instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity….

The lobbyist, a partner at the firm Alcalde & Fay, represented telecommunications companies for whom Mr. McCain’s commerce committee was pivotal. Her clients contributed tens of thousands of dollars to his campaigns.

Mr. Black said Mr. McCain and Ms. Iseman were friends and nothing more. But in 1999 she began showing up so frequently in his offices and at campaign events that staff members took notice. One recalled asking, “Why is she always around?”.

The Sandpoint, Idaho, Men’s Room Caucus

posted by on February 20 at 7:17 PM


According to the graffiti over the urinal, it looks like Hillary took it.

Look East Right Now

posted by on February 20 at 7:11 PM

Last chance for a few years…


Thanks Nic!

To Geek or Not to Geek

posted by on February 20 at 5:26 PM

David Fincher is directing Black Hole, based on a Charles Burns comic, with a script from Neil Gaiman and Leonardo DiCaprio is producing a like action Akira movie.

Re: Proud to Be an American

posted by on February 20 at 5:02 PM

Just so it’s not missed by anyone on the Slog, here’s what Bill O’Reilly said yesterday on his radio show regarding the “controversial” words of Michelle Obama:

I don’t want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there’s evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that’s how she really feels — that America is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever — then that’s legit.

Via Media Matters.


posted by on February 20 at 4:42 PM

Gov. Gregoire got misty eyed last month when talking about her opposition to former Gov. Booth Gardner’s death with dignity initiative.

The BIAW, the ultra-conservative and powerful state building industry lobby, pounced on the moment.

From their latest newsletter:

Gregoire’s tears stun the capitol press corps reporters into silence. Next topic please. Is this Gregoire’s new plan to revamp her Hillary Clinton-esque image of a heartless, power-hungry she-wolf who would eat her own young to get ahead? If it worked for Hillary, could it work for Gregoire, two women cut from the same cloth?

That is so retarded on so many levels, I’m just going to send you back to Charles Barkley for a Binaca blast to get the taste out of your mouth.

French Rubber

posted by on February 20 at 3:48 PM

Holy shit! The French have invented a rubber that can repair itself.

The as-yet-unnamed material - a form of artificial rubber - is made from vegetable oil and a component of urine.

The substance, described in the journal Nature, produces surfaces when cut that retain a strong chemical attraction to each other.

Pieces of the material join together again as if never parted without the need for glue or a special treatment.

This remarkable property comes from careful engineering of the molecules in the material.

The French researchers are already making kilogramme quantities in their Paris laboratories and say the process is almost completely green, and could be completely so with a few adjustments.


François Tournilhac, who runs Dr Leibler’s laboratories, demonstrated the healing to me.

Using a razor blade he severed a thin strand of the yellowish material (the colour of corn oil), showed me the clean square faces, and then pressed them together.

Almost immediately, the grip was strong enough for him to hold the sample just at one end.

Within an hour the bonds had rebuilt themselves so thoroughly that it was possible to stretch the strand to twice its length without any sign of weakness where the cut had been made.

Those who have read William Gibson’s Idoru know what’s now in my head. This technology is much like the technology that rebuilds Tokyo after the great earthquake in the novel’s near future.

In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on February 20 at 3:48 PM

The Perfect Music for the Impending Spring: Cortijo Y Su Bonche.

Grand Archives Video: The band played four songs with eight guitars yesterday in Ballard.

Weird: We lose one Sonic Boom, gain another.

“You Losers Can Have It”: Eric Grandy defends his love for rock and roll.

Happening Today: A 51-minute performance of “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” No jokin’.

Slats Poll: Does Slats walk down Broadway, or does Broadway roll under Slats?

One More Thing that Didn’t Need to Happen to the World: A Gene Simmons sex tape unsurfaced.

Tonight in Music: Saigon, Grand Archives, Men, and Speaker Speaker.

Killer Queen: The woman who kills Kanye in his new music video is not only hot, but she doesn’t use deodorant.

Young Ones of the Day: The Pharmacy.

Look! Tiger pigs!


Kim Frizzelle’s Never-Before-Revealed Apple Pie Recipe (Confidential to Mom: Obama Made Me Do It)

posted by on February 20 at 3:48 PM


Look at that. That’s an apple pie. It is one of the few things I know how to do in a kitchen. A friend of mine who’s a food critic, and a huge fan of this pie, says that if aliens came to Earth in search of the perfect apple pie, the most ideal, the apple pie qua apple pie, this is the one they would settle on and study and transport home. If I don’t say so myself, it’s motherfucking delicious.

Since I cannot do anything else worthwhile in a kitchen, the recipe has gained the status of a state secret. I’ve never given it out. This particular specimen sitting on the window sill in my kitchen was photographed this past Thanksgiving with my cell phone, as I fully intended to put up the recipe on Slog as a kind of holiday gift to Slog readers of the world, and then I just sort of didn’t get around to it. It’s not that I don’t want Slog readers in Singapore and Sydney and Spokane and wherever else Slog readers live to be able to make this—I do!—I just don’t want my friends to be able to make this. Because, then, what will I have that’s mine? Over Thanksgiving I took not only this picture but pictures of the whole process of making the thing, to illustrate the process for you so you know you’re doing it right, and the photos have just been sitting on my desktop, waiting.

I don’t know if it’s because we’ve had a couple beautiful days of weather or because I have Obama fever or what, but I decided this morning: Now is the time. I decided: It’s morning in America. Yeah, I realize it’s afternoon. But it will be morning again tomorrow, and apple pie is the best breakfast there is. Without further ado:

I. Go to the store and get (or make sure you have) 6-8 Granny Smith apples (tart, green); sugar; flour; cinnamon; nutmeg; unsalted butter; lemon juice; salt; a tub of shortening; and cold water. (Tap water is fine.) That’s all you need.

II. Preheat oven at 400 degrees.

III. Sift 2 cups flour and 1 tsp salt together in a medium-sized bowl. Then plop 2/3 cups shortening into the flour/salt mixture and use two butter knives to cut in the shortening. You do this by crossing the knives, scissors-like, and chopping the shortening apart into smaller and smaller pieces, every little piece coated in flour/salt. Eventually you’ll have a bowl full of rubble—tiny little balls of flour/salt-coated shortening, the largest of them the size of peas. (While this dough looks delicious, it is not delicious.) In case you’re wondering, this crust is this recipe’s only secret, its only departure from lots of other recipes you’ll find out there: no butter in the crust.

IV. Pour one tablespoon of cold water over a section of the rubble. Then scoop out that section and use the moisture to form a larger ball. You’ll do this seven times until you have seven larger balls total. When you’re done with each ball, set it aside on a small plate. Here I am about halfway through.


V. When you have seven of these, combine them into two larger balls. One of them will be slightly bigger than the other, naturally. Knead them and even out the texture and coat them in flour and put them in the fridge. (You can cover them in saran wrap or put them in plastic baggies.) They don’t HAVE to be refrigerated while you do the next step, but that’s how the Frizzelle’s do it.

VI. Combine one cup of sugar, 2 tblspns of flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg in a small bowl. Mix together and set aside.

VII. Slice up the apples. (I cut each apple by cutting off the top and the bottom, slicing off the skin with a knife, and coring it. Then I slice it in two and then chop up each half into thin slices.) When you have a bowl full of apple slices, douse them in the tblspn of lemon juice and make sure they’re evenly coated. Then pour the sugar/flour/cinnamon/nutmeg mixture on top of them and mix them up until each slice is coated. (These coated slices of apples are delicious and you should eat as many as you like.)

VIII. Grease your glass pie pan in shortening and then take out the two crust dough balls from the fridge. Roll out the slightly larger of the two balls and then place it into the glass pie pan. You want to make sure there is plenty of dough on all sides. It looks like this:


IX. Pour the sliced apples in. Since the shape of the pile of apple slices will determine how the top crust sits, make the apple slices slightly taller in the center and shorter around the edge. Like so:


X. Divide two tablespoons of butter into four or five little chunks of butter and scatter them around the top of the apples. Then roll out the second ball of dough and place it on top of the butter and apples. Then, dip your finger in cold water and run it along the edge where the top crust meets the bottom crust and pinch the two together—all the way around. (The water seals the bond, the pinching makes a pretty shape.) Slice three slits in the top of the pie, sort of like the three spokes of the Mercedes Benz logo, except don’t let these slits intersect in the center. (I don’t have a better photo of this, alas, and Google image search comes up with nothing helpful. More than three slits is ugly. Don’t do this. Or this.) Then dust the very top with sugar—this will make the texture look great when it comes out of the oven.

XI. Bake for 50 minutes at 400 degrees. When it comes out, let it cool for at least 20 minutes before you touch it. Next to a window. Preferably with a view.

Let’s just look at it one more time.


Oly Action: For Real

posted by on February 20 at 3:45 PM

House Majority Leader Frank Chopp (D-43, Wallingford) has stood by his word. The House released its budget today and check it (synopsis linked below the jump), there’s $90 million in new money for the Housing Trust Fund—which provides funding for low-income families and people with special needs

At the beginning of this year’s session, the Democrats made a big deal about housing issues. They attacked on several fronts, proposing legislation that would tighten up regulations on lenders (Sens. Tom and Weinstein); shoring up rules against discriminatory rental practices (Reps. Pettigrew and Darnielle); and infusing state low-income housing programs with cash.

While the Governor proposed adding $50 million into the Housing Trust Fund—taking it from $130 million to $180 million—advocates from the Low-Income Housing Alliance were agitating for a $100 million upgrade, as was their ally, Chopp.

Well, Speaker Chopp came through today, budgeting the fund at $220 million.

The Senate’s budget is due next week. Judging on interviews with Sen. Majority Leader Lisa Brown (D-3, Spokane), I don’t expect them to match Chopp’s housing fund line item.

However, by coming out strong, Chopp has now tilted the bargaining in the right direction.

Continue reading "Oly Action: For Real" »

Attention Jim McDermott and Rick Larsen

posted by on February 20 at 3:26 PM

You two are Washington’s remaining undecided superdelgate Congressmen. And look what’s happening to another Congressman who hasn’t definitively made up his mind yet:

(WASHINGTON) — Rep. John Lewis’ waffling over the Democratic presidential nomination has earned him a challenger of his own in the November election.

Markel Hutchins, a 30-year-old Atlanta minister, announced Wednesday that he would run for Lewis’ Atlanta congressional district.

Hutchins said he had been considering a bid for several weeks but was ultimately swayed by Lewis’ recent “flip-flopping” over whether he supports Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential race.

Oly Action: Sorta

posted by on February 20 at 3:10 PM

Yesterday was the latest cutoff day in Olympia. No, that doesn’t mean all the hottie legislative aides were running around in cutoffs—it means it was the last day for a bill to pass its original chamber—for consideration in the other. (Gotta pass both houses to become a law.)

Arguably the best bill that’s been in play this session is Sen. Craig Pridemore’s (D-49, Vancouver) bill to provide a state tax rebate equal to 10 percent of a taxpayer’s federal Earned Income Tax Credit. (The fed program gives lower-income taxpayers a tax rebate on income taxes. Since there’s no income tax in our state and there are no sales tax rebates available to lower-income residents at the state level, Pridemore’s fix simply translates federal rebates into state rebates. Smart.)

So, I was glad to see that the bill got voted out of the Senate yesterday. In fact, it was the last bill to get voted out of the Senate yesterday32-16.

Here’s the bad news, though. The bill would cost the state about $60 million. As attentive Slog readers know, the latest state revenue projections—announced last Friday—are $423 million shy of initial expectations.

Soooo: While the bill passed, it passed in an amended form.

It used to simply do this:

Declares the intent to provide a sales and use tax exemption, in the form of a remittance, to lower-income working families in Washington.

However, before passing it yesterday, senators added a little caveat:

Declares that the department of revenue must assess the implementation of the working families’ tax exemption in a report to the legislature to identify administrative or resource issues that require legislative action.

I imagine, the legislature is going to do exactly what they did with family leave last year—pass the policy without funding it.

Annoying. And also: blockheaded policy. The way to deal with cyclical downturns is to get money into the hands of working families—as the left-leaning Washington Budget and Policy Center correctly argues here.

The Big Rock Candy Wiki

posted by on February 20 at 2:56 PM


Some young punks (I mean that word literally) have started a Steal This Wiki, which can be downloaded in book form as Steal This Book Today. Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book is pretty outdated, but I still think it would be hilarious if his estate sued the pants off this website.

Here’s an exciting bit of information from the wiki, about eating urban pigeons:

If the soup kitchens are providing nothing but watered broth and the dumpsters are picked clean there is still an easy source of protein if you are careful and fits your philosophy. First of all realize that this is both contraversial in that some will call it cruelty and secondly it could be an excuse for the pigs to haul you in.

Ramona Quimby Wears Prada

posted by on February 20 at 2:32 PM

Yesterday, the New York Times did a story about product placement in Young Adult novels. Product placement’s been done in a couple of instances in adult fiction—the big one was Fay Weldon’s The Bulgari Connection. I have to say, though, that one was doomed from the start: Poor Fay hasn’t been taken seriously for decades, although I always did love The Life and Loves of a She-Devil. The surprising thing is that this isn’t drawing the same kind of vitriol that Weldon and others inspired; are people just used to marketers selling to kids, now? Or is the important factor the seven years between the former and the latter? Either way: Ewww.

Confidential to the Argus Lounge in San Francisco

posted by on February 20 at 2:29 PM

Calling a cocktail of Stoli vanilla, ginger ale, and “a crushed cherry” a JonBenet Ramsey is not funny.

Oly Inaction

posted by on February 20 at 1:59 PM

I know gun control isn’t a winning issue for Democrats vs. Republicans. But the State House Democratic leaderships’ knee-jerk impulse to shy away from any gun control bills is getting embarrassing…and dangerous.

This bill (which died in the State House yesterday because, despite making it out of committee to the floor, it never got brought up for a full vote) would have simply closed a loophole in state law so that people who have been involuntarily committed under our state’s preliminary 14-day commitment process cannot get firearms.

Seattle Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Capitol Hill) and Seattle-area Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45, Seattle Eastside Suburbs) were co-sponsors on the failed bill.

Memo to the House of Chopp: The precious “One Washington” coalition—the House Democrats’ slogan for prioritizing issues that are of concern to both sides of the mountain—won’t collapse if we prevent people with serious mental problems from getting guns. Just saying.

Thanks for the tip, MM.

Proud to Be an American

posted by on February 20 at 1:45 PM

Michelle Obama, who yesterday made this easily-pounced-on statement about her feelings on America, and today, in a nod to predictable right wing outrage such as this, says this.

More Than You’ll Ever Want To Know About Last Night’s Primary

posted by on February 20 at 1:30 PM

Some minor observations while poring over the Secretary of State’s voting totals from yesterday’s Washington Primary:

The Republicans

• Candidate percentages by county were generally pretty uniform, and John McCain rarely dipped below 45% anywhere. For the most part, Eastern Washington voters didn’t respond to Huckabee any better than King County voters did.

Mitt Romney finished the night with 19.75% of the vote, despite having suspended his campaign. That probably saddens the Huckabee camp just a little bit.

Ron Paul took over 11% of Spokane County, his best percentage in a Washington county with a major city.

Alan Keyes beat Fred Thompson in four counties, including Whatcom. In fact, 1,520 people in this state voted for Alan Keyes. That’s kind of… unnerving? Unnerving is probably the word I’m looking for.

The Democrats

• To start with, all numbers and meaning are totally suspect: with word circulating about the meaningless nature of the primary, it would be anyone’s guess over how this would have turned out if all sides had taken it seriously. While Eli noted that some of Hillary’s Washington surrogates were hoping to turn this into a referendum on whether the caucus is a fair way to hold an election, this effort was officially disavowed by the Clinton campaign itself.

• Of over 500,000 ballots cast, Obama’s victory margin was slightly under 16,000 votes.

• Unlike the caucus, which was an all-counties tsunami for Obama, Hillary held her own throughout the state. Eastern Washington was something of a patchwork, although Clinton narrowly won Spokane County.

• Obama’s victory margin came mostly from running up the score in King County (where he won by 11%), Whatcom County (where he won by 20%) and San Juan County (where he won by 38%).

Clinton won Tacoma-dominated Pierce County (home of Clinton-endorser and superdelegate Rep. Norm Dicks) by 6%.

• Alan Keyes received more votes than Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, or Bill Richardson. I said unnerving, right? Totally unnerving.

Project Runway Reunion

posted by on February 20 at 1:12 PM

We’re down to Rami, Chris, Christian, and Jillian, and, in TV-land anyway, they’re hard at work on their Bryant Park collections. If you need to catch up, here’s TV Guide’s look at the final four.

Tonight’s episode is the (season-stretching) reunion show, where all the Season 4 contestants gather to reflect, kvetch, and try to polish their reputations. We’re not liveblogging the occasion, but you can look forward to next Wednesday when we’ll convene a Stranger fashion board and Slog the hell out of the finale.

Burlesque: Not Just for Grownups!

posted by on February 20 at 1:07 PM

You know a form of culture is here for good (and beginning the process of ossification) when they start doing kids’ versions: theater for kids, rock shows for kids and now—burlesque for kids?



The Von Foxies are putting on a kids’ cabaret. There won’t be any stripping, but someone who calls herself “the Naked Folksinger” is scheduled to perform.

Top Building

posted by on February 20 at 12:52 PM

To use a line by MC Milk…
pub_18636_w500h500q75bw1_208532533-1.jpg…”What more can I say?”

Last Call for Sprawl?

posted by on February 20 at 12:15 PM

Consider these two developments. First, this Texan exurb.

Big Dallas seemed to be knocking on little Lavon’s door. Thousands of lots were laid out and hundreds of houses built, as developers tried to meet what seemed to be an insatiable appetite for inexpensive single-family homes. Land values soared, the population hit 2,500, and by November, the city was finally flush enough to afford a full-time police department.

But that was when the knocking stopped. Banks were no longer giving mortgages to anyone who could fog a mirror. “For sale” signs went up and stayed up. Weeds, not houses, sprouted on the scraped-earth plots.

Unlike many other states with housing troubles, Texas as a whole is booming, continuing to attract new residents and create jobs. But across the state’s outermost exurbs, formed by waves of new housing, building has ground almost to a halt.

Second, this mega-development proposed between Redmond and Duvall.

Redmond Ridge East — 337 acres east of Redmond, on Novelty Hill — is part of a development plan that goes back to the 1980s and was caught up in litigation over traffic for much of this decade…. Quadrant Homes… announced Friday that it started selling the first of what will eventually be up to 800 homes.

The project was planned in a much different market than today’s. In January, the inventory of houses for sale in the Redmond area was up almost 60 percent from a year earlier, while sales were down nearly 40 percent, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Countywide, inventory increased about 56 percent and sales dropped almost 31 percent.

The slowing market has affected the project, however, most notably in its range of homes. Two or three years ago, such a project probably would have focused just on houses from $700,000 to $900,000, Reece said. Now, it includes smaller houses with prices as low as $550,000, he said.

This development and others like it present a litmus test for the future of Seattle’s housing market. Thousands of new condos are opening in and around downtown, and thousands more are on the way. But suburban developments like this one, lowering prices, will compete with the downtown high rises. (Of course, downtown buyers are less likely to have kids like the suburban buyers, and Seattle’s market differs from Dallas’s—there’s a semi-autonomous Eastside economy.) However, we’ve been told again and again that Seattle’s housing remains in demand—like Texas—and that even if prices drop, demand will stay high. But is there enough demand to fill the sprawl and the tall? Will one of them stand vacant for a decade while the market catches up?

If the tract developments go vacant while condos fill up, that’s a promising sign for density advocates.

I Am The Greatest Movie On Earth

posted by on February 20 at 11:59 AM


I Am Cuba opens with the sky meeting the sea, and the waves of the sea meeting the verdant land of Cuba. As the camera flies between the clouds and the land, which is thickly covered by tropical trees, we hear the simple beat of a small drum and a simple tune strummed on a cheap guitar. This is the sound of two or so pathetic peasants; this is the sound of their little lives, their little money, their little learning. A moment later, the simple tune from the guitar is picked up (in the German sense of aufhebung) by a chorus of noble spirits. The heavenly hum of the tune expresses what the exploited long for—a better world. As individuals, their lives might be small and meaningless, but as a whole, as a class that dreams of and struggles for real social transformation, they are great. They are great because they have against the West a moral advantage. No amount of economic abuse and beating can stamp out the nobility of their souls as a whole.

Fidel Castro, my fidelity is to the event that once made you great.

Whither Mike Huckabee?

posted by on February 20 at 11:59 AM

Last night’s open thread for the Wisconsin primary contained a comment stating that CNN was reporting that Mike Huckabee is leaving the race. The SLOG masses rose in anguish: was the season of political miracles really over?

The truth? Mike Huckabee is staying in. Possibly forever. Mostly in the interests of “the foot soldiers of the Republican Party.”

Huckabee scoffed at the notion that his staying in the race hurts Republicans by preventing McCain from starting a general election campaign. The idea that Americans “can’t afford to have an election, we just need to have a coronation” is “the most un-American, un-Republican kind of comment and attitude I think I’ve ever heard,” he said.

Earlier in the article, the size of the sacrifice Huckabee is making for those foot soldiers becomes pretty clear:

Arizona Senator John McCain beat Huckabee yesterday in contests in Wisconsin and Washington State. With those victories, McCain added to his lead of about 600 delegates over the former Arkansas governor.

Huckabee campaign manager Ed Rollins gives the Washington Post a subtle hint as to what their thought process for the course of the campaign is, and how they intend to pull this one out:

Meanwhile, Huckabee’s campaign manager was gleefully proclaiming the possibility that the former governor could force an all-out fight at the Republican National Convention this summer. “It’d be great fun,” Ed Rollins said on CNN.

Rep. Reichert. Not Immune.

posted by on February 20 at 11:44 AM

After a series of recent left-leaning votes—voting to override Bush’s veto on children’s healthcare, voting for anti-discrimination laws to protect gays in the workplace, supporting green energy—U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-8) voted with the president last week and against a Democratic play in the House to scrap telecom immunity in the FISA update bill. (The Foreign Intelligence Security Act update would extend Bush’s authority to wiretap without warrants and, more controversial at the moment, grant retroactive immunity to private companies like AT&T who have done Bush’s Fourth-Amendment-busting dirty work.)

The Senate had passed, and Bush had praised, a FISA bill that included telecom immunity earlier in the week, but then the House Democrats pushed for a FISA bill without telecom immunity. That bill failed and now a showdown is brewing between the White House and the House to see if they’ll pass something more like the Senate bill. House leadership is saying they will not.

I had called Rep. Reichert’s office before the House vote last week to ask how Rep. Reichert was going to vote. It seemed to me that he was in a tough spot. He’s a security hawk, but he’s also facing a formidable challenge from Darcy Burner (which explains some of Reichert’s recent left-leaning votes), and while creepy eavesdropping bills have proven a bit too esoteric for the general public to get angry about, this one probably wouldn’t go unnoticed in Reichert’s Libertarian/Wired Magazine Eastside district.

I got my answer when the vote was taken that very afternoon. Reichert voted with Bush, indicating that he was in favor of giving the telecom companies a get-out of-jail-free card.

Reading Tonight

posted by on February 20 at 11:22 AM


There’s a lot going on tonight. There’s a night of poetry with poets aged 25 to 85 at the Hugo House, an author of short stories up at Third Place Books, and a fictionalization of the Mount Saint Helens eruption out in Kirkland.

Charles Baxter is reading at the University Bookstore, from his new book The Soul Thief. Last year, he published this lovely little paperback original writing tutorial book called The Art of Subtext. I can’t really speak to it as a how-to-write-fiction book, but as a kind of mini-Seven Types of Ambiguity, it was pretty fantastic. Baxter also wrote The Feast of Love, which is the basis of, but is actually far superior to, last year’s Morgan Freeman-starring bomb, The Feast of Love.

James McBride, author of the memoir/love-letter-to-mom The Color of Water, is at Elliott Bay with his new novel, Song Yet Sung. I was at a McBride reading for his last novel, Miracle at St. Anna, and it was kind of sad: all everyone wanted to talk about was The Color of Water. Those are always the most depressing readings, when nobody cares about the new book. Maybe he’s grown past it.

Lastly, and perhaps most intriguingly, Jon Entine is at the Henry, discussing what it means, genetically speaking, to be Jewish.

Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here.

Teamsters to Endorse Obama

posted by on February 20 at 11:18 AM

Via the AP:

The Teamsters represent 1.4-million members, and are considered one of the largest and most powerful unions. They also are a potent source of campaign cash and get-out-the-vote workers for Democrats.

Obama was endorsed on Friday by the nation’s largest union, the Service Employees International Union.

Meanwhile, another AP article worth noting: Race is Obama’s to lose. It says of the Hillary Clinton campaign:

It’s panic-button time.

Rumors and Lies

posted by on February 20 at 11:12 AM

Did you hear that rumor that was going around about artistic director Bart Sher leaving Intiman for points east? It wasn’t too outlandish, since Sher spends a lot of time gadding about in New York and DC, directing Il Barbiere di Siviglia (apparently a “winsome new staging”) and suchlike.

Anyway, it ain’t so—not yet.

From Intiman central command:

Bartlett Sher has extended his contract through the end of the 2009 production season. Sher is currently in New York directing the first Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, which opens on April 3 at Lincoln Center Theater. He will direct the world premiere of Namaste Man, a play written and performed by Andrew Weems, at Intiman in the spring.

Somehow, I don’t imagine we’ll be seeing much of old Bart after 2009. And soon longtime managing director Laura Penn will be gone, off to run the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

Anyone looking to take over Intiman? Start plotting now.

The Day in Unfortunate Acronyms

posted by on February 20 at 11:05 AM

At yesterday’s state of the city speech, Mayor Greg Nickels announced a new plan to make housing more affordable in Seattle. The name of his proposal? The “Affordable Seattle Strategy.”

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on February 20 at 11:00 AM


‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ at Central Cinema

Am I the only one who prefers 1999’s Drop Dead Gorgeous to any of the faux-documentary works of Christopher Guest? Sure, Michael Patrick Jann’s fake beauty-pageant doc falls apart toward the end, but not before it scores several movies’ worth of major and thoroughly malevolent laughs. The cast is the key, from a pitch-perfect Kirsten Dunst to a ridiculously hilarious (pre–Hollywood makeover) Brittany Murphy to the faultless Allison Janney. (Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave, 686-6684. 7 [all ages] and 9:30 pm [21+], $5, Feb 20–23.)


Currently Hanging

posted by on February 20 at 10:30 AM

Kenneth Callahan’s Figures in Motion, tempera and sumi on paper, circa late 1960s, 43 by 120 inches

At Woodside/Braseth Gallery.

Damien Hirst

At the Wright Exhibition Space.

Clinton’s Contrast

posted by on February 20 at 9:37 AM

This morning in New York, Hillary Clinton again ratcheted up her efforts to draw a stark contrast between her experience and Barack Obama’s accomplishments. Here’s a (blurry) excerpt of her speech, in which she draws attention to a Chris Matthews interview that found an Obama supporter unable to name one Obama accomplishment in the U.S. Senate:

And here’s the uncomfortable interview Clinton’s talking about:

Charles Fucking Barkley

posted by on February 20 at 9:27 AM

As Towleroad reports, Christians are pissed.

(Thank you, Slog tipper Skweetis.)

Political “Plagiarism.” It’s Everywehere!

posted by on February 20 at 8:55 AM

Did Bill Clinton steal a line for his inaugural address in 1993? From a pastor at a Brooklyn church!? Is lifting lines from a clergyman worse than lifting them from Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick?

This is getting a little silly. But since we’re on the subject: Is it possible to watch this 1990s video and not think that Barack Obama, or his campaign, studied it very closely?

Weird Hyphen, Vol. II

posted by on February 20 at 8:36 AM

From flickr’s irons:


Previously in this series: “Walk-Right In.”

The Morning News

posted by on February 20 at 7:57 AM

Ten in a Row: Wisconsin and Hawaii hand it to Obama.

On the Go: McCain’s the man in Washington.

Four more Years: Musharraf won’t step down despite losing parliament.

New Pakistan Government: Negotiatin’ with terr’ists.

Quake: In Indonesia.

Leak: Judge muzzles Web site on confidential information.

Streak: Meteor over Spokane.

Freak: School district officials get restraining order against Omari Tahir-Garrett.

Copycat: If Kosovo jumped off the Empire State Building, would Palestine also want to jump off the Empire State Building?

They Should Really Have Seatbelts on those Things: Four dead in school-bus crash.

Whew: Atlantis lands with “twin sonic booms.”

Lunar Eclipse: 7:01 p.m. to 7:51 p.m.

Clean Slate: Raúl hints at more democratic Cuba.

Clean State: Green legislation passed by state House.

Dirty SLUT: Graffiti removed from orange trolley.

From Popularity Plus: Good Manners for Young Moderns, by Sally Simpson. Copyright 1947.


You’ve spotted your glamor boy, your would-be One and Only. Maybe he’s the Big Man on campus or just that nice lad in Freshman Lit.

Anyhow, you’re out to get your man.

First and foremost, don’t let your hero know he’s your prey. If you chase him, he’ll run. The campus Big Shot will resent or ridicule your ambitions: he’s been pursued before! And the ordinary nice guy will be embarrassed and self-conscious.

So keep mum about your intentions. Don’t go ‘round raving about him to others, either. Rumor will reach him, for sure.

Meanwhile make yourself a pretty package—something special that everyone will want to pick from the Christmas tree. Neat and sweet in appearance, of course. Bright and attractive in mood and manners, too.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

February is the Cruelest Month

posted by on February 19 at 9:17 PM

For Hillary Clinton. Nine losses in a row since Super Tuesday. A blowout developing in Wisconsin. A tenth loss likely in Hawaii later tonight. Analogies that require handcuffs and lack or air—or, worse, analogies that involve Jesse Jackson.

Politics aside, I’m with the friend I was IMing with earlier this evening, who wrote, simply:

I feel bad for Hillary.

War’s Over

posted by on February 19 at 8:28 PM

Iraq and Afghanistan may still be clusterfucks, but we can finally pull our troops out of the HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray war.

Far too much has been wasted (like this post) on this senseless struggle, and now, at long last, we can get our guys out of there.

After Wal-Mart, Netflix and other big players announced that they were backing Blu-Ray, Toshiba—inventor of the HD-DVD format—gave up the fight today, saying they would no longer develop, produce, or market HD-DVD players.

So I guess this means I can get a Playstation 3 now.

And the Washington Primary Goes to…

posted by on February 19 at 8:11 PM

John McCain, so far.

Nineteen Republican delegates will be apportioned by this primary, making it marginally meaningful to conservatives, but over on the Democratic side the vote is a mostly meaningless exercise. No Democratic delegates are at stake—though, if Clinton wins the primary, her local supporters will take some solace in that, especially after Clinton’s big loss in our Feb. 9 caucuses.

But, for the record, Obama is currently ahead of Clinton in the Washington primary—just barely. Keep clicking here and watch the results change by the minute second. (Memo to Luke Esser: Now that’s how you post online election results.)

The Coming End of Expensive Energy

posted by on February 19 at 7:00 PM

Today, for the first time ever, oil ended the day above $100 a barrel.

It won’t last.

Why not? Ask Canada.


An even more impossibly nerdy version of this post is on my blog. Else please continue after the jump.

Continue reading "The Coming End of Expensive Energy" »

Wisconsin Primary Returns

posted by on February 19 at 6:05 PM

The polls have now closed, and the AP immediately projects McCain as the winner.

No word yet on Clinton vs. Obama.

UPDATE: NBC calls it for Obama. Exit poll results are here.

This is the ninth contest in a row that Obama has won and, scanning the exit polls quickly, the few demographic groups that Clinton is holding on to in Wisconsin include voters with little education, voters who said race was a factor in their decision, Catholics (just barely), white women, and voters over 65 years old.

UPDATE: McCain’s victory speech previews his line of attack on Obama, via The Caucus:

Mr. McCain says he will make sure that “Americans are not deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change,” a swipe at Mr. Obama that gets the crowd going. He then completes the sentence, adding that this empty call for change “promises no more than a holiday from history.”

Mr. McCain takes another swipe at Mr. Obama on the foreign policy front, saying that he once suggested bombing our ally, Pakistan, and sitting down with leaders of rogue nations. This speech is essentially an outline of how Mr. McCain would campaign against Mr. Obama in a general election — painting him as weak and inexperienced on the world stage.

And in case you missed the point, Mr. McCain says: “I’m not the youngest candidate, but I am the most experienced.”

Full McCain speech here.

UPDATE: Obama, at a celebratory rally in Texas, declares: “Houston, we have liftoff.

Clinton’s ConcessionContrast Speech

posted by on February 19 at 5:35 PM

While we wait for the Wisconsin results…

Earlier today (and perhaps in anticipation of a loss in Wisconsin?) the Clinton campaign sent out excerpts of a speech she’s going to give tonight in Youngstown, Ohio.

The speech is big on contrasts, and big on Clinton’s theme that she’s the one who’s ready for the job on Day One:

Tonight, I want to talk about the choice you have in this election – and why that choice matters….

This election is not about me or my opponent. It’s about you. Your lives, your dreams, your future.

Right now, too many people are struggling. Working the day shift, the night shift, trying to get by without health care, just one paycheck away from losing their homes. They cannot afford four more years of a president who just doesn’t see or hear them.

They need a president ready on day one to be commander in chief. Ready to manage our economy. And ready to beat the Republicans this November.

I will be that president.

This is the choice we face:

One of us is ready to be commander in chief in a dangerous world…

One of us has a plan to provide health care for every single American – no one left out….

Finally, one of us has faced serious Republican opposition in the past. And one of us is ready to do it again.

The contrast between me and our likely opponent couldn’t be more stark. John McCain is willing to continue the war in Iraq for 100 years – I will start bringing troops home in 60 days. He admits he doesn’t understand the economy — I have a plan to turn our economy around and create five million new jobs. He wants eight years more of the same – I’ll deliver 21st century solutions to move this country forward again.

Both Senator Obama and I would make history. But only one of us is ready on day one to be commander in chief, ready to manage our economy, and ready to defeat the Republicans. Only one of us has spent 35 years being a doer, a fighter and a champion for those who need a voice. That is what I would bring to the White House. That is the choice in this election…

It’s about picking a president who relies not just on words – but on work, hard work, to get America back to work. Someone who’s not just in the speeches business – but will get America back in the solutions business…

You’re Next, Rachael Ray

posted by on February 19 at 5:09 PM

Martha Stewart just bought Emeril Lagasse.

Another Obama “Plagiarism” Video

posted by on February 19 at 5:07 PM

Via Ben Smith, who asks a good question:

I’m perplexed by the fact that the source of these videos is insisting, apparently, on being identified as a “rival campaign.” (C’mon, Ron Paul — just admit it!) And a bit confused as to why this — like, to be fair, many videos that “surface” against Hillary, McCain and others, most of them not this well edited — is posted to the newly created YouTube account of “chrisoh7,” rather than to that of an identifiable creator.

Underwood Update

posted by on February 19 at 4:58 PM

Colby Underwood, the fundraising consultant who sued a former employee, McKenna Hartman, to prohibit her from competing with him after she left his firm, will move forward with his case, currently scheduled for trial in July 2009. On Friday, a judge lifted a temporary restraining order against Hartman that prevented her from going into the fundraising business for herself, allowing her to take steps to start her own firm.

One revelation in the case that emerged on Friday was the fact that Hartman had copied the hard drive of her work computer, which she also used for personal purposes, before quitting Underwood’s firm. The computer, which Hartman’s attorney Roger Townsend says Hartman was allowed to take home for personal use, included a copy of Underwood’s donor database——the subject of the initial suit by Underwood, who accused Hartman of using his database to start a competing firm. Hartman, Underwood’s attorney Janyce Fink says, “took … property that she had no right to keep or use” and “never admitted to this until [Underwood] took her to court on February 15.”

Hartman’s attorney, Roger Townsend, says disputes over company information are “really common,” and likened Hartman’s copying of her hard drive to “cleaning out her desk.” The judge made it clear, he says, that “she can compete against Colby—she can’t use his confidential information to do it … which is something she doesn’t want and doesn’t need to do.” Townsend says Hartman will delete her hard drive and provide him with a copy in case the case does go to trial; however, he adds, “the only reason to pursue a lawsuit like is to impose legal fees on your competition.”

Your Thursday Night Democratic Debate

posted by on February 19 at 4:49 PM

… Will be brought to you, once again, by Big Coal. (Via Grist).


posted by on February 19 at 4:35 PM

From the National Review

First Word on Wisconsin Exits

I’m hearing that after two waves of data, Wisconsin looks like a blowout in favor of Obama, in the neighborhood of 60 percent to 40 percent.

In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on February 19 at 4:33 PM

As compiled by Casey Catherwood.

Morality Check: An inspirational interview with Saigon

What a freak!: A guest review of last night’s scandalous Marilyn Manson concert

Coke Poetry: Larry Mizell, Jr. reviews the new Clipse mixtape, We Got It For Cheap Vol. 3

Midlife Crisis?: Modern Life Is War decides to call it quits.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems: Puff Daddy claims man walked into his fist.

Tonight in music: Grand Archives, D. Black, Jay Barz, Grynch, GMK, and much, much, more!

Theory of the Bang: Where, and where not to find the true hip-hop.

New club kicks off with “rockin” schedule: King Cobra to host 3 Inches of Blood & Visqueen.

Out today: Burn to Shine: Seattle’s musical showcase filmed in a beat up house, in stores today.

“This is the greatest night of my life”: A summary of Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground’s sold out show at the Triple Door.

Lurching Toward Progress on 520

posted by on February 19 at 4:22 PM

Mayor Greg Nickels delivered his annual State of the City speech this morning at a children’s museum—specifically, the Pacific Science Center, which is currently doing an exhibit on “strange matter.”

While Nickels was talking about innovation (didja know we’re going to be the “Green Building Capital of America”?) his deputy, Tim Ceis (AKA the real mayor) was up at the Museum of History and Industry, where the mediation team that’s hammering out designs for a new 520 bridge met today to discuss the latest community-driven option. That alternative, known as the “East Montlake Interchange” or, more ominously, “Option K,” would combine two previously discussed options (G and J, for those keeping score) into a new compromise alternative that would go through the land currently occupied by MOHAI and have less of an impact on the Arboretum than the other two potential options. The new alternative
would also provide direct service for cars and a Metro bus-rapid transit line to a new light rail station at Husky Stadium.

Both Ceis and Governor Gregoire’s senior advisor, Ron Judd, said they liked the new concept in principle, with the caveat that certain design details (a drawbridge vs. a tunnel connecting 520 to Montlake and Pacific Street, for example) still need to be hammered out. (Native American tribes and federal agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a representative of which sits on the mediation team, are skeptical of any tunnel proposal, because tunnels can disturb wetlands and burial grounds.) “[Gregoire] wants to move that [East Montlake] option forward, within the context of a couple of things,” Judd said. “One, we have a budget [of $3.9 billion]. Two, this is about the whole corridor, not ust the west side. Three, we need to design this in the [environmental review process]. This should not be designed in Olympia.”

Neighborhoods around the proposed 520 interchange met last Saturday to hammer out a consensus proposal, and a group of 520 stakeholders met with Gregoire on Monday. The new proposal will become one of three considered in the environmental impact statement for 520. Alternatives the mediation team has also considered include various versions of the much wider “Montlake Interchange” and the once-popular “Pacific Interchange,” which would have included a bulky bridge from Foster Island over Union Bay to Husky Stadium.

The mediation team has until April 1 to come up with a list of proposals for environmental review.

More Wisconsin Exit Polling

posted by on February 19 at 4:20 PM

Via The Page, and with less than two hours to go before the polls close…

Among Democrats:

Women: Obama 51%, Clinton 49%

Families with income under 50,000: Obama 51%, Clinton 49%

Independents: Obama 63%, Clinton 34%

Seniors: Clinton 60%, Obama 39%

Top quality — experience: Clinton 95%, Obama 5%

Union households: Clinton 50%, Obama 49%

Among Republicans:

Among very conservative voters: Huckabee 50%, McCain 40%

Among conservative voters: Huckabee 45%, McCain 45%

Among all Republicans:McCain’s issue positions are: About right– 48%, Not conservative enough– 44%, Too conservative– 6%

Talk-radio listeners: McCain 56%, Huckabee 32%

Best to beat the Democrat: McCain 82%, Huckabee 11%

Notes from the Prayer Warrior

posted by on February 19 at 4:10 PM


Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Praise for all the things that are happening that seem wrong, because we KNOW God is in control. Pray for tonight, the Jock and the Jew, at the Bellevue Westin, as we deal with unity for righteousness. Tickets are still available at the door, and I hope you can come.

Pastor Hutch

The Queen of England

posted by on February 19 at 3:55 PM

I saw this satisfying Spanish actress, Ana Torrent, in a movie, The Other Boleyn Girl, that previewed at noon today at the always controversial, always difficult, always dizzying (space) Pacific Place.

The thing in the film that trapped all of my attention was not Natalie Portman’s forehead (it plays Anne Boleyn), not Scarlett Johansson’s fleshy upper lip (it plays Mary Boleyn). Both of these fine particulars could not compare with the exquisite mole that’s just above the right side of Ana Torrent’s upper lip. (It’s hard to see the mole in the above picture, but it’s there.)

A minute of the film that did not have that mole in it was a wasted minute. When her mole trembled, my soul trembled. When the mole was still; my heart raced. As the moon influences the movement and mood of large bodies of water, that mole exerted its mysterious force on the water that is so much of my body. If the walls of the Pacific Place crumbled all of sudden, I would have missed that catastrophe because all of my mind was held by the power of that Spanish mole.

E-meter Incompatible with Ebay

posted by on February 19 at 3:38 PM

In 2000, nerd news mecca Slashdot reported that eBay was actively complying with Church of Scientology requests to take down auctions of used e-meters. At the time, eBay’s explanation went as follows: “…someone who claims to be an owner of Intellectual property can send a notice sworn under penalty of perjury that an item is infringing.” Plenty is said in the Slashdot piece about the ridiculousness of that allegation, along with the legal reasons nobody has challenged it—or, more specifically, has enough cash to file suit. Because they blew all their cash on those e-meters in the first place. Vicious cycle, much?

The story has resurged this week because this auction-canceling process has become mighty efficient. As reported by Reality Based Community, it turns out the CoS is now removing e-meter and other Scientology auction listings as a member of eBay’s VeRO program. Wuz that mean?

If you’re uninitiated to eBay, you’d probably think that for each of these removals, the Church of Scientology informs eBay of the violation of its rights, eBay considers the merits of their argument, and then only then does eBay yank the listing. But that’s not what happens at all. Instead, eBay effectively deputizes Scientology, which logs into eBay and removes the listings itself.

VeRO was started to help legitimate companies clear out widespread false auctions (fake designer handbags, etc.) without nagging eBay over and over. Thanks to creative legal wording, the CoS is in the legal clear to join the program until someone effectively complains, even though it further blurs the CoS’s line between religion and business. The whole thing cracks me up, really—with all of the negative press Scientology has gotten lately, are their leaders really worried about a booming stay-at-home membership surge? Do these new Scientologists join up after taking a particularly brutal personality survey on MySpace? Is an outlet store on the horizon in Burien? Quit with the overreacting, guys. Resold Scientology equipment will never have the same effect as the original material—the good shit. Handed to you by someone who can stand at your side and tell you that you’re not good enough yet. Everybody knows an e-meter’s worthless without that new-insecurity smell.

Weird Hyphen

posted by on February 19 at 3:32 PM


Good News/Bad News

posted by on February 19 at 3:25 PM

The good news is that Warren Ellis has a new, free weekly webcomic that starts right here.

The bad news is that it starts with a woman waking up and saying “Uurrgg. I feel like someone parked a car on my brain. What did I drink last night?” I think every comic that Ellis has written in the last ten years has begun that way.

Seriously: I would pay good money to read a Warren Ellis comic book where the main character is a teetotaling nonsmoker who really hates swearing. At least then he wouldn’t be able to use his “Lost soul finds purpose and a reason to live but stays a hard-drinking-and-smoking wiseass because it’s supercool” routine.

More Flaunting of The Wifestyle

posted by on February 19 at 3:01 PM

Marriage proposals are getting weirder. I think some guys assume that if the proposal is very public, then the she wouldn’t, I mean, she couldn’t possibly say “NO”…

Banished, Print Film Critics

posted by on February 19 at 2:44 PM

Banished has played in Seattle twice in recent months—once with the director in attendance—and I’ve missed it both times. But I won’t be missing it tonight, because it’s coming to my TV: KCTS, 10 pm. Here’s a bit of Manohla Dargis’s review:

There are ghosts haunting Marco Williams’s quietly sorrowful documentary “Banished,” about the forced expulsion of black Southerners from their homes in the troubled and violent decades after the Civil War. Dressed in what looks like their Sunday best, in dark suits and high-collar dresses, they stare solemnly into an unwelcoming world. A couple ride in a cart along a pretty country road, and others stand awkwardly before houses with peeling paint. There are few smiles. Photography was then a serious business, though being a black landowner, part of a fragile, nascent Southern middle class, was more serious still.

It’s stunning how loudly the dead can speak, and with such eloquence.

Marco Williams previously directed the excellent Two Towns of Jasper, which played SIFF in 2002 and also landed on PBS eventually. I love public television. Charles McGrath can suck it.

Also tonight: Our very own Charles Mudede holds forth at a roundtable discussion on the future of print film criticism, along with upstart critics from the likes of SIFFblog and Greencine. That’s at Northwest Film Forum, 8 pm, and it’s 5 bucks for non-members.

Reading Tonight

posted by on February 19 at 2:43 PM


There’s a ton of stuff to do tonight:

Mike Chinoy, the Senior Asia Correspondent for CNN, is at Town Hall talking about China.

Anne Enright is at SPL, reading from her Man Booker Prizewinning The Gathering, a book that I feel terribly guilty for not having read yet.

Charles Bock is reading from Beautiful Children at Elliott Bay Book Company. I have a copy of Beautiful Children at home, but I keep finding other books that I want to read more. It looks to me like one of those super-hyped first novels that frequently disappoint. But I could just be small-minded and petty, too.

Up at Third Place Books, Ted Van Dyk is reading from Heroes, Hacks, and Fools, a book that I loved and wrote up here. The only downside of Heroes, Hacks, and Fools is that it keeps getting “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” stuck in my head.

Today’s listings and tons of upcoming readings are here.

And lastly, something that my faithful calendar-assembling monkeys completely missed: Tonight at Bailey Coy Books (414 Broadway E, 323-8842) at 7 pm, Susie Bright will be reading. She’s in town to celebrate the launch of the fifteenth anniversary edition of The Best American Erotica series, titled The Best of Best American Erotica 2008*. The reading is free. Rumor has it that this might be the last time that Bright mounts the BAE’s editor’s chair, so this has all the makings of an exciting literary evening, in more ways than one.

Continue reading "Reading Tonight" »

Getting Stoned with the Candidates

posted by on February 19 at 2:33 PM

Hendrik Hertzberg on drugs.

Early Wisconsin Exit Polling

posted by on February 19 at 2:29 PM

No, not the kind that tells you the predicted results. That will come closer to the Wisconsin poll-closing time, which is 6 p.m. PST. Instead, this exit polling tells you something about what voters were thinking, and lets you read the tea leaves, if you can:

An exit poll finds Wisconsin Democratic primary voters are not big fans of globalization. Seven in 10 say U.S. trade with other countries takes more jobs from Wisconsin and fewer than one in five say it creates more jobs for the state. One in 10 say international trade has no effect on the state either way.

The exit poll for The Associated Press and television networks Tuesday also finds Wisconsin Democrats are overwhelmingly pessimistic about the nation’s economy. At least half said the nation’s economy is not good and nearly all the rest said it is poor.

John McCain Keeps Calling Me

posted by on February 19 at 1:42 PM


I finally got my first cell phone three months ago, and I’m maybe the only person in the greater Seattle area with a landline. This is the only rational explanation I have for why John McCain keeps calling me at my house. In the last week, I’ve gotten robocalls from John McCain, Dave Reichert (telling me to vote for his “good friend John McCain”), Syndee (or however she spells it) McCain (telling me that I should vote for her husband John McCain and, by the way, not that it matters, but their brown babies are adopted and not illegitimate), and a poll (sponsored by John McCain) asking who I’m going to vote for in the Republican Primary.

Here’s what I’ve learned: I hate John McCain’s whimpering voice. He sounds pathetic, like I’ve hurt his feelings and he’s about to cry. His voice begs for pity, and that’s why it’s so silly to hear him talking about strong borders and strong right-wing judges and killing islammyfascists with our strong military cock and strong strong strong: He’s got the timbre and cadence of a grandpa who’s wet himself and is asking for help with the cleanup.

I’m so glad that the primaries are finally over today, so that I can go home and delete the nine more messages I’m sure I’ll have on my answering machine and know that that will be the end of it. The one good thing that I’ve gotten out of McCain’s hot and heavy phone crush on me? In the poll, I announced that I was for Huckabee and that my main reason for voting for him is Iraq. That ought to fuck with his pollsters for a little while.

Currently Hanging

posted by on February 19 at 12:28 PM

Ronald Hall’s Amistad (2006), oil on canvas

At CoCA Belltown Gallery.

She’s Worked the Night Shift, Too

posted by on February 19 at 12:00 PM

Hillary Clinton’s new Ohio ad:

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on February 19 at 11:44 AM

From Flickr pool contributor slackrat



posted by on February 19 at 11:14 AM

Via Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times comes word of some great news for Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus.

Oh, Yeah, It’s Primary Day

posted by on February 19 at 11:07 AM

If you’re a Republican, your vote counts. Sort of.

If you’re a Democrat, your vote doesn’t count. Although Hillary Clinton’s local supporters think it might count for something.

Here’s the NYT’s take:

It appears that the primary, first approved in a 1988 referendum with the goal of giving greater voice to voters who might not be able or inclined to attend a party caucus, may have the distinction of being one of the few essentially irrelevant contests in a presidential race so fierce this year that even outposts like Idaho and Alaska have nudged their way into the national spotlight for a moment or two.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on February 19 at 11:00 AM


‘The Great Communist Bank Robbery’

A documentary about the making of one of the strangest films in the history of cinema, Reconstruction, which was completed in 1960 and was about a real robbery that happened in Romania in 1959. Here’s the twist: The people playing the bank robbers are the people who actually committed the crime. The Romanian Communist Party promised to drop the death sentence if the gang—five men and one woman—reenacted the robbery. (See movie times.)


Condo Owners Vs. Condo Builders on Capitol Hill

posted by on February 19 at 10:40 AM

You know that house on the corner of Belmont Ave and Republican St with all the televisions and weird crap in the yard?


It’s being demolished. That house and the two houses to the north will be replaced by a six-story brick building, containing 40 condominiums—five street-level townhouses and 35 residential units.


The ghastly mauve sandstone color represents brick. The big trees will stay. Illustration by Arca Architecture.

But the project was almost much larger. Developer Belmont Properties had proposed adding 22 more units by using an adjacent parking lot to the north, owned by the Lamplighter building across the street. The deal would have provided the Lamplighter 10 additional parking spaces underground and a private lobby. However, despite majority support from the Lamplighter’s residents, the offer was rejected for failing the consensus required among owners of the 80 units.

According to Arca Architecture’s Alan Clark, “more than 90 percent” of the residents approved his company’s proposal, which, he says, was also supported by the city’s design review board. “There aren’t any arguments against it. It’s a 60’ wide lot; it cannot be developed,” he says. “It made sense to work with us.”

“I’m glad that we blocked it,” spat a dashing resident, who asked not to be named. The deal, it turns out, would have required selling the condo owners’ land, thereby giving up any appreciation value. “I’m tired of these five-story buildings going up all over Capitol Hill,” he told me before entering the 10-story Lamplighter.

Shallow Impact

posted by on February 19 at 10:38 AM

From the Olympian:

A meteor streaked through the sky over the Pacific Northwest and apparently landed in Eastern Washington early Tuesday.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman in Seattle, Mike Fergus, says a Horizon Airlines pilot saw the meteorite hit earth about 5:45 a.m. Fergus says the pilot reported a flash and a burst of light near State Route 26 and the Lind-Hatton Road in the southeast corner of Adams County.

Remember kids, if you come across a crashed meteorite don’t touch it — lest you end up like poor Jordy Verrill:

Spokesperson for Congressman Inslee Clarifies His Superdelegate Stance

posted by on February 19 at 10:35 AM

Yesterday I put up a post about this Feb. 16 story in the Bainbridge Island Review. In the story, Christine Clapp, spokesperson for Washington Congressman Jay Inslee, was quoted and characterized as saying that Inslee’s strong support of Hillary Clinton does not necessarily mean he will vote for her as a superdelegate at the Democratic National Convention.

Here’s the quote from Clapp in the Review article:

“In terms of being a superdelegate, he is expecting things to clear up before August rolls around,” Clapp said. “Hopefully we’ll all be behind one candidate and Jay will support whomever that is 110 percent.”

And here’s the preceding characterization of Clapp’s quote:

Inslee plans to see how the rest of the campaign unfolds before announcing whom he will support at the August national convention, spokesperson Christine Hanson Clapp said Thursday.

I tried to confirm the Review story with Clapp yesterday, but it was a holiday and she didn’t get back to me until this morning, when she emailed me (and Ben Smith) to say that the Review story is wrong. In her email to me, Clapp wrote:

It’s not accurate. When Jay endorsed Hillary Clinton, he intended to vote for her and that hasn’t changed.

I followed up with Clapp to find out what, specifically, was inaccurate in the Review article. She wrote:

I’d say I was mischaracterized. The quotation in the article is correct:
“In terms of being a superdelegate, he is expecting things to clear up before August rolls around,” Clapp said. “Hopefully we’ll all be behind one candidate and Jay will support whomever that is 110 percent.”

What is inaccurate, is this paraphrase and other inferences made in the article… [What] I meant is that Jay thinks we’ll have a consensus candidate before the convention, superdelegates won’t change the outcome, and Jay will wholeheartedly support whoever the nominee is.

It was a quick conversation that turned into an article without clarification.

I also sent an email to Douglas Crist, editor of the Review. He says the paper stands by its reportage:

The Review stands by its reportage in Saturday’s edition; Inslee spokeswoman Christine Clapp’s comments were quoted accurately. But Ms. Clapp contacted us this morning and said she misspoke as to Inslee’s position as a superdelegate. She also sent us the following statement from Inslee confirming his continued endorsement of Hillary Clinton…

I’ll leave this as a difference of opinion (and maybe even interpretation) between the Review and Inslee’s office. The broadest lesson seems to be that superdelegates are—no surprise—under the microscope these days.

The Inslee statement that Crist referred to is in the jump.

Continue reading "Spokesperson for Congressman Inslee Clarifies His Superdelegate Stance" »

Negativland - “My Favorite Things”

posted by on February 19 at 9:58 AM


Shh. Don’t.

Interview with Gov. Gregoire

posted by on February 19 at 9:30 AM

I had a half-hour sit down with Gov. Gregoire yesterday. A full account of the interview will run in tomorrow’s paper, but here’s a snippet I love because it seemed so “non-Gregoire.”

Obviously, given that Obama started his post-Super Tuesday momentum-building-run here in Washington on February 9, and given that Gregoire was a big part of that national story, I asked her about her momentous decision to endorse Obama.

I had heard from a number of high-dollar, Democratic women donors who attended a February 8 exclusive Clinton breakfast fund raiser at the Edgewater that when news of Gregoire’s endorsement came through that morning, the room of 30 women felt a collective “gut deep sense of betrayal.”

One woman said that instead of donating to Gregoire this year, she was going to double her donation to Clinton.

Again, I’ll report on Gov. Gregoire’s answer in this week’s paper—although clue: She has a bust of JFK in her office, a photo right above her desk of JFK speaking at the UW, and she has a replica of JFK’s presidential rocking chair in her office, which no one’s allowed to sit in.

However, this is the part I love: As I began the question, simply saying, “I want to ask about the Obama endorsement,” Gregoire briefly turned into a cartoon villain, mischievously smiling with a fat: “heh, heh, heh.”

“The Kissing Test”

posted by on February 19 at 8:46 AM

After gay chicken comes the horny monkey.

For the record, the above film is 10,000 times more explicit than anything in this film. (Nevertheless, the Kissing Test video is completely safe-for-work.)

Thank you, Slog tipper Grandma Shirley.

The Morning News

posted by on February 19 at 7:58 AM

Dictator Downers: Cuban President Fidel Castro (who I suspect has been dead since last summer) has announced his retirement on a Web site, vowing to remain a behind-the-scenes force in government as “a soldier of ideas.” Meanwhile, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf concedes a slamming defeat at the polls, despite widespread disenfranchisement of voters and a spate of bombings at pre-election opposition rallies.

Cheese Heads and Pot Heads: Primaries today in Wisconsin and Hawaii.

Our Heads: Washington primary voters to prove caucusing is/isn’t strictly an “activist” activity.

Majority Role: State senate passes bill to shift Electoral College votes.

Stripper Pole: Dividing Oceanside, Oregon.

Rejecting: Supreme Court won’t hear domestic spying case.

Shocking: Russia not that into the Kosovo independence thing.

Ongoing: Another bomb in Kandahar.

Screening: Random Amtrak passengers.

Cyber Stalker: Woman charged in Seattle.

Herbert Walker: Elder Bush chides Republicans for not backing McCain.

From Popularity Plus: Good Manners for Young Moderns, by Sally Simpson. Copyright 1947.


A boy and girl who really like each other won’t pet with anyone else. And a girl won’t pet a fellow she doesn’t like.

If the couple is going steady, a right guy is as loyal to his gal as she is to him. But on casual dates, the free-and-easy female rates more criticism than her male counterpart. Unfair, maybe, but that’s the way it is!

Even worse, however, is the teaser who leads a lad to expect kisses and caresses she never plans to give. Maybe she’s a first date with flirtatious tendencies. Perhaps she’s a guy’s steady who hopes to hold him with unfulfilled promises. Either way, her tactics don’t add up.

Of course, it’s always up to the girl to keep things under control, whether the couple is first-dating or has been going together for months. But rebuffs must be handles with tact. It’s not suave to get peeved or coy or to make the guy feel guilty. Keep calm, and say: “Let’s just listen to the radio for a while.” Or, “How about buzzing over to Betty’s?” Or, “Guess it’s time to make tracks for home.”

First They Came for the Prostitutes

posted by on February 19 at 12:01 AM

The Democrats are a little crazed this election-year session to look/get tough on crime, and so they’ve been enthusiastically passing sex offender legislation.

The latest bill, which passed the House tonight 80-15, seems a little wild-eyed to me.

It requires people who commit the following misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors to give DNA samples to the state:

Animal cruelty in the second degree; Assault in the fourth degree; Custodial sexual misconduct in the second degree; Failure to register; Indecent exposure; Patronizing a prostitute; Permitting commercial sexual abuse of a minor; Permitting prostitution; Prostitution; Sexual misconduct with a minor in the second degree; Unlawful harboring of a minor; and Violation of certain protection orders.

Obviously, some of these are horrendous crimes (e.g. sexual misconduct with a minor). But that only highlights how questionable it is to require DNA samples on some of the other crimes (prostitution?) listed here.

Monday, February 18, 2008

2008 Bash Highlights

posted by on February 18 at 9:39 PM

Courtesy of Kelly O…

“Hillary4U&Me” Reaction Video

posted by on February 18 at 7:27 PM

Two guys, one candidate…

Courtesy of Slog tipper Rex—whose reaction blog post is here.

Excitement, Trepidation in Columbia City

posted by on February 18 at 6:53 PM

Last Friday, the city’s landmarks preservation board met to discuss a new mixed-used development in Columbia City, currently the site of the Columbia Plaza shopping center and its sea of parking spaces. As it turns out, Columbia Plaza sits smack in the middle of the Columbia City Historic District… although you’d never guess it from looking at the site:

photo.jpg" />

Because of the landmark designation (of the site, not the building), the redevelopment is subject to landmark review; as such, it has to follow the landmark preservation board’s criteria. Among them: Maintaining the “self-contained, small-town quality” of downtown Columbia City; encouraging a mix of uses; and being a size “consistent with the massing of existing historic buildings.”

That last one is where the project could run into problems. The massing plans presented by Dana Behar of HAL Real Estate Investments and Ed Weinstein of architecture firm Weinstein EU showed one or more six-story residential buildings with retail on the ground level facing Rainier and Edmonds—a smaller street that runs perpendicular to Rainier down to the planned light rail station at MLK. The buildings would probably cluster around a central courtyard.

Residents of the neighborhood have expressed alarm at the scale of the developments planned for the area, several of them similar in size and scale to the Columbia Plaza proposal. “The neighborhood does hope and pray that you’ll build to a 40-foot height limit,” resident Chris Osborne said. Residents have been similarly perturbed over plans by developer Harbor Properties (which did the Harbor Steps project downtown) to redevelop an old plastics warehouse at the corner of Rainier and Hudson, on the south end of the historic district, into a 375-unit condo complex six stories high.

While I’m sympathetic to concerns about preserving the historic district (as my coworkers know, I even think they should preserve the Ballard Denny’s), that isn’t what’s at stake here. What is at stake is an ugly plastics warehouse and an uglier parking lot that fronts on a small mall selling hip-hop clothes and cigarettes—both of which are available at many other places in the neighborhood. Both sites are underutilized (Columbia Plaza turns its back on a park that’s a crime hot spot for the area) and would benefit tremendously from new housing. What’s more, the teams associated with both the projects have a history of making developments fit in with the neighborhoods where they’re located. For example, Weinstein AU designed the Agnes Lofts at 12th and Pike…


… the award-winning downtown Banner Building:


… and a bunch of proposed developments around the city, images of which you can find at their insanely over-Flash-enhanced web site.

As Weinstein told the landmarks board, “We’re looking to do authentic buildings that are appropriate only for their sites and their circumstances.” That ought to be exciting news for Columbia City residents—not cause for chagrin.

And speaking of exciting news… Weinstein mentioned something I was not aware of: The city has preliminary plans to put Rainier Ave. South between Rainier Beach and Alaska Street on a “road diet,” reducing traffic to one lane in each direction. Given that the city’s action on accident-prone Rainier (1,743 collisions between 2002 and 2004 alone) has so far consisted of billboards (because what better way to improve driver safety than encouraging drivers to take their eyes off the road?), that’s a promising rumor indeed.

My Dream Ticket: Obama/Sound Transit ‘08

posted by on February 18 at 6:31 PM

Someone like Wes Clark would probably be a good VP choice for Obama: tough, older, NATO, security white dude.

But there’s a lot of other people who should jump on with Obama. This guy’s going to have coat tails. Gov. Gregoire was smart to endorse him, and she will win if he’s on the top of the ticket.

Right now, the Sound Transit staff and board are trying to decide if they should go to voters with a light rail plan in ‘08. My advice: Don’t make your decision until you see if Obama cinches the nomination. If he does: go, go, go!

Voters will be thinking big. They’ll be voting for sweeping measures. And they’ll be a pack of energized liberals.

There are a lot a pluses to Obama—for one: he’s a flaming liberal egghead wrapped up in charisma—but a big plus locally? Progressive measures will fly.

Quick, someone dust off that city council districts initiative; haul out an income tax measure; and by all means, light rail is sure thing.

Introducing the 2008 Young Ones!

posted by on February 18 at 5:50 PM

This time last year, The Stranger compiled a list of great, up-and-coming bands and called them the Young Ones—bands who were new to the scene or hadn’t gotten much press but were destined for big things in the coming year. We’re doing it again for 2008.

So who made our list? Click over to Line Out to find out.

Then join us on Thursday March 6th for the Young Ones showcase at Neumo’s and Sole Repair—nine stellar bands playing at two venues for fives bucks that goes to benefit Real Change.

It’s gonna be an amazing night. Read all about it here.

You Know What they Say About Stopped Clocks

posted by on February 18 at 5:09 PM

Holy fucking shit, I agree with Christopher Hitchens: It isn’t the job of the press to self-censor and distort facts in the service of prudishness.

Take, just for an example, the obituaries for Earl Butz, a once-important Republican politician who served Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford as secretary for agriculture until compelled to resign after making a loutish and humorless observation in the hearing of the Watergate whistle-blower John Dean. In the words of his New York Times obituarist, Butz (who “died in his sleep while visiting his son William,” which, I must say, makes the male offspring sound exceptionally soporific) had “described blacks as ‘coloreds’ who wanted only three things—satisfying sex, loose shoes and a warm bathroom.” There isn’t a grown-up person with a memory of 1976 who doesn’t recall that Butz said that Americans of African descent required only “a tight pussy, loose shoes, and a warm place to shit.” Had this witless bigotry not been reported accurately, he might have held onto his job. But any reader of the paper who was less than 50 years old could have read right past the relevant sentence without having the least idea of what the original controversy had been “about.”

What on earth is the point of a newspaper of record that decides that the record itself may be too much for us to bear?

He’s still a fucking moron about women, though.

Reading Tonight

posted by on February 18 at 5:00 PM


It’s a super-light Monday in the land of the literary. Charles Barber is reading at Elliott Bay from his new book, the unfortunately-titled Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry is Medicating a Nation, which means that this is the reading that Big Pharma doesn’t want you to attend. Or something.

Otherwise, there are two open mics, including one at Bai Pai Thai, which I hear is a fun, chaotic open mic, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Full listings for the next week or so here.

Monday in the Park

posted by on February 18 at 3:57 PM

Just walked past Vivace and there was a line out the first door, out the second door, and down the ramp. Then I walked to Cal Anderson Park and was almost literally tripping over people. Hot damn, there are a lot of unemployed people in Seattle.


Then I remembered: it’s a holiday.

Youth Pastor Watch

posted by on February 18 at 3:44 PM


The youth minister who confessed to a 1994 killing is being widely forgiven by members of his former congregation, who say they admire his courage in finally surrendering to police.

Calvin Wayne Inman, 29, remains jailed without bail since he was charged Wednesday with capital murder in the stabbing death of a convenience store clerk during a robbery. He was 16 at the time.

During Sunday’s service at the 800-member Elim Church, congregants praised the recently ordained Inman as a born-again role model taking responsibility for his sin.

“He’s a hero, really,” said Kelley Graham, 24.

Flaunting Your Wifestyle

posted by on February 18 at 3:25 PM

One of the anonymously-submitted questions I got last week when I spoke at University of Idaho—a question I frequently get when I speak at universities—was this:

Why do gays have to flaunt their lifestyle?

I’m sorry to say that I didn’t get around to answering that question during the talk. Ther were other, more pressing questions. But if it’s not too late I’d like to submit the cover of this week’s Columbia Valley Pioneer as my answer to the big why-do-gays-have-to-flaunt-our-lifestyle question:


From the paper’s top story:

Kent Kebe offers his hand in marriage

This week we have an exciting announcment—Kent Kebe of Radium Hot Springs has chosen to propose to his beloved, Lydia Helmer, on our front page.

Like Web 2.0, Only Dumber

posted by on February 18 at 3:22 PM

This story (from last week) is about the new face of Borders. There’s the burn-your-own-CD station, which I think other record stores are doing, and there will also be places where you can chart your own genealogy and possibly, in the near future, publish your own book, which could then, potentially, be sold on the shelves of the Borders. This is possibly the most unappealing bookstore idea I’ve seen since Magnetic Poetry.

In the Last 24 Hours (or more) on Line Out

posted by on February 18 at 3:10 PM

Fremont Sonic Boom Says Goodbye to Fremont: Today is the store’s last day. Reminisce here.

Converge and Neurosis: Reviews of night one and night two.

Sunday Bloody Sunset’s Kick Off Party: There was no special secret guest, but they did have donuts and balloons and Thee Sgt. Major III.

Love Me or Hate Me: The Dead Science and Implied Violence take lip-syncing and fake blood to a new level.

Tonight in Music: Marilyn Manson, Kay Kay & His Weathered Underground, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.

Miwagemini: “Like Siouxsie Sioux run through a turn-of-the-century folk group.”

Duh: The Heavenly States make Eric Grandy revisit Archers of Loaf’s Icky Mettle.

Yes We Can!: Why Chris Walla can’t support Hillary Clinton.

This Man vs. That Man: Adrian Leverkuhn is not Bill Evans.

Sound Off!: Round two of the Semi-Finals was this weekend. Here’s who played, here’s who won.


Taken and contributed to the Stranger Flickr Pool by mattoly.

And Also? “Zipster” Is Not a Word

posted by on February 18 at 3:09 PM

Flexcar members who tried to reserve cars on Flexcar’s web site over the weekend were greeted with a disheartening sight: Every single Flexcar in the Seattle area appeared to be reserved all weekend (and on every date in the future), meaning that Flexcar members (including those who had reserved vehicles in advance) had no access to Flexcar service for over the three-day weekend. The lockdown was due to the systemwide transition to Zipcar, a larger car-sharing company that merged with Flexcar last year. However, Flexcar members who tried to use the new Zipcards that arrived in the mail last week were also out of luck; instead of a reservation, former Flexcar members got a message saying that “no Zipcars are available within 17 miles of your location.”

According to Flexcar’s web site, the new Zipcar system will not be fully activated until later this week. However, what’s not clear from the web site is that thousands of former Flexcar members will have no service or only limited service until then. (Right now, unless you’re downtown, in the U District, or on Capitol Hill, you’re shit out of luck.) Instead, the “member notice” on the web site claims that “there will be limited availability February 16-19.” “Limited availability,” in Zipcar’s world, apparently means no availability at all. People who contacted Flexcar and Zipcar over the weekend were put in touch with emergency operators who were frequently unable to tell them what was going on.

Resolving this problem would have been easy. Instead of taking ALL Flexcars offline for three days and not making ANY Zipcars available, the merged company could have done a phased rollout—transitioning a third of the cars in each neighborhood at a time. That would have at least given members limited access over the weekend, when car-sharing members use the service the most. Cutting members off for three days without so much as an email alert is an awfully loutish step by a company that should be doing all it can to retain dubious Flexcar members. Raising rates and getting rid of special rate categories (for co-op members, low-income job seekers, and UW students, faculty and staff, among others) is another. I’m staying a Zipcar member—it’s the only option for carsharing in Seattle—but what I’ve seen of their customer service so far gives me real cause for concern.

I Would Like to Visit the World’s Newest Country

posted by on February 18 at 3:05 PM

Well, it’s new to us, anyhow.


I hear the national sport is hurtling babies over barbed-wire fences!


Seen At Northgate & 5th:

posted by on February 18 at 2:48 PM

A man in his late 50s/early 60s with thin tufts of gray hair, ragged pants, and a semi-soiled T-shirt with black and white stripes and a phrase embroidered on the chest: “SEATTLE ARTIST.” Last seen walking past a Tony Roma’s to a nearby liquor store.

Oly Inaction: Environmental Bill Stalled in the House

posted by on February 18 at 2:42 PM

Again, hip hip hooray for the state Senate, where Sen. Majority Leader Lisa Brown (D-3, Spokane) resurrected a bill to thwart strip mining on Maury Island and then passed it today (as the deadline for passing bills out of one chamber to the other—end of business tomorrow— winds down.)

However, boo hiss to the House. A smart environmental bill sponsored by liberal House Rep. Geoff Simpson (D-47) that would add consideration of a development’s carbon footprint to the list of prerequisites it must meet when trying to pass muster with the Growth Management Act (GMA) is bogging down.

While the bill met last week’s deadline to get out of committee and make it to the final stop before a floor vote, the Rules Committee, environmental advocates are now worried that House leadership is going to let it die there.

The powerful BIAW (Building Industry Association of Washington) is reportedly putting pressure on House members in swing districts to put the kibosh on the bill or water it down so that local GMA counsels don’t have the actual authority to make global warming an issue.

There’s a duplicate bill in the Senate sponsored by Sen. Chris Marr that has strong support, including the backing of Senate leadership. However, the fact that the House version is in trouble doesn’t bode well for the Senate version when it makes its way over to the land of Chopp.

p.s. Again, sorry for the lack of links, but wifi is spotty in Olympia today, and I don’t have the patience or time to sit through the spinning beach ball of hell.

Texas Getting Interesting

posted by on February 18 at 2:14 PM

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp poll

…the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination between Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois is a statistical dead heat in Texas, which holds primaries March 4.

In the survey, out Monday, 50 percent of likely Democratic primary voters support Clinton as their choice for the party’s nominee, with 48 percent backing Obama.

But taking into account the poll’s sampling error of plus or minus 4½ percentage points for Democratic respondents, the race is a virtual tie.

And then there’s this:

Supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton are worried that convoluted delegate rules in Texas could water down the impact of strong support for her among Hispanic voters there, creating a new obstacle for her in the must-win presidential primary contest.

Several top Clinton strategists and fundraisers became alarmed after learning of the state’s unusual provisions during a closed-door strategy meeting this month, according to one person who attended.

What Clinton aides discovered is that in certain targeted districts, such as Democratic state Sen. Juan Hinojosa’s heavily Hispanic Senate district in the Rio Grande Valley, Clinton could win an overwhelming majority of votes but gain only a small edge in delegates. At the same time, a win in the more urban districts in Dallas and Houston — where Sen. Barack Obama expects to receive significant support — could yield three or four times as many delegates.

“What it means is, she could win the popular vote and still lose the race for delegates,” Hinojosa said yesterday. “This system does not necessarily represent the opinions of the population, and that is a serious problem.”

Here’s a question: With Texas being so important to Clinton’s campaign, why did her team discover the Texas delegate rules just last month?

Oly Action: Sen. Lisa Brown Moves Maury Island Bill Forward

posted by on February 18 at 2:05 PM

A bill to stop Glacier Northwest from expanding its strip mining—the bill would question whether or not Glacier actually had ownership rights to the minerals there—appeared to die in the Senate on Saturday—and with it, the last hope for Maury Island residents who have been fighting for years to halt Glacier’s environmentally destructive work.

(A series of “save Maury Island” bills, including an identical one on mineral ownership rights, had already failed in the House despite the strong leadership of sponsors like Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D-33, Sea-Tac) and Rep. Sharon Nelson (D-34, Vashon Island).)

However, Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown (D-3, Spokane) pulled a parliamentary maneuver—she switched her vote to the winning side (voting nay) so that she had the right to re-introduce the bill. (Members of the prevailing side are allowed to re-introduce losing bills.)

Well, the bill came back up today and Brown, along with Sen. Ken Jacobsen (D-46, N Seattle), who had voted nay on Saturday, voted yea and the bill passed 25-23-1.

p.s. I’d like to link the relevant bill and my previous Slog coverage of Rep. Nelson’s efforts on this issue, but wifi is spotty in Olympia today, so there you have it. And props to Sen. Brown.

Lord, Please Give Me a Sign!

posted by on February 18 at 1:18 PM


Ballard’s Grand Slam

posted by on February 18 at 1:12 PM

It looks like Jonah can have his Mother Butler Pies and eat them, too. The erstwhile Ballard Denny’s and the encroaching condos have apparently reached a compromise.


Ah, but looks can be deceiving.

Via tipper Damon and the incredible, wonderful, lovable hugeasscity.

Props to HRC

posted by on February 18 at 1:09 PM

I like this:

If elected president, Hillary Clinton would ask the Justice Department to determine if alleged 9/11 plotters currently held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could be tried in civilian courts or regular military courts rather than face military commissions that have sparked controversy both inside and outside the United States, her campaign says.

Clinton’s response to questions about charges filed last week against six Guantanamo prisoners was the most far reaching of the three leading presidential candidates.

Her opponent for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said that the so-called “high-value detainees” at Guantanamo should be tried in federal or traditional military courts, but did not say what actions he would take to move the trials.

Republican Sen. John McCain, the likely Republican nominee, said he plans to continue the military commissions even if the detention center in Cuba is closed, as he has advocated.

In general, I don’t think it’s right to ding Obama for lacking specificity. His website is jammed with details (and is, in my experience, easier to navigate than HRC’s)—but equally important, we should recognize that the majority of the candidates’ policy proposals would need to wind their way through Congress before landing, in an altered state, on the president’s desk. This is an exception. Props to HRC, and I hope Obama offers a similarly detailed description of how he would seek legitimate trials for Guantánamo detainees.

(Via TPM)

Nicholas Francisco is Still Missing

posted by on February 18 at 12:58 PM


…but his car has been found.

(Source: KIRO.)

George Jefferson!

posted by on February 18 at 12:56 PM

Slog commenter Jezbian brought to my attention the fact that David Schmader posted a Presidents Day song by Dina Martina here last year. It’s pretty great. We should make it the official song of Presidents Day.

Inslee Refines his Superdelegate Stance

posted by on February 18 at 12:09 PM

I’m working on a piece about superdelegates right now, and as part of that project my intern, Ryan Jackson, dug up a story from Saturday’s Bainbridge Island Review that I’d missed.

In the story, Washington Rep. Jay Inslee, one of Hillary Clinton’s strongest backers in this state and a co-chair of her national campaign’s task force on energy and the environment, says that while he’s supported Clinton so far, he’s not sure how he’ll cast his vote as a superdelegate at the Democratic convention in Denver this August:

Inslee plans to see how the rest of the campaign unfolds before announcing whom he will support at the August national convention, spokesperson Christine Hanson Clapp said Thursday.

“In terms of being a superdelegate, he is expecting things to clear up before August rolls around,” Clapp said. “Hopefully we’ll all be behind one candidate and Jay will support whomever that is 110 percent.”

Why might Inslee be leaving the door open for an eventual vote in favor of Obama?

Inslee’s constituents strongly favored Obama in the caucuses.

Results showed Obama picking up 80 percent of the island’s delegates. He claimed 70 percent of delegates in Kitsap County, and four of the six national delegates from Inslee’s 1st Congressional District will be awarded to Obama, according to the Washington State Democrats.

All of which puts Inslee in a position very similar to that of Rep. John Lewis, who last week pioneered the strategy of describing a Clinton endorsement as not necessarily a promise to vote for her at the convention.

Don’t Go Boxing My Heart

posted by on February 18 at 11:43 AM

On February 15th, a day that Hugo House Executive Director Lyall Bush referred to as “Valentine’s Boxing Day,” three authors read at an event called Love Is the Drug. The intent, Bush explained in his introduction, was to explore the relationship between love and pharmaceuticals, but instead was a showcase for three very different writers at varying stages of their careers, and each of the readings inspired its own kind of love.

Monica Drake, whose first novel, Clown Girl, was released last year, read a story that recalled the giddy, unearthly feeling of first love. Ostensibly about a man sitting on a toilet, reading a newspaper article about an old girlfriend who just won elected office, the story quickly became a hilarious fight between a lovelorn schlub and a modern bathroom filled with automatic sensors. The protagonist’s humiliation was raw and pungent, and the story was dazzling, and you could feel the audience falling in love with Drake.

Rick Moody, author of Purple America (good), Demonology (great), and The Diviners (nigh-unreadable), presented a more middle-aged kind of love, the kind that suffers from back hair and divorce. “Oh, this is a bad one,” Moody said, before he started reading. He was right. His story presented the feminine side of a he-said she-said, and it was almost intolerable.

The first segment was the woman, on a first date, describing how much she hated the man’s badly balding head—describing it as, among other things, a soccer ball with octagonal patches of flaking skin, a bad day at the beach, and medical therapy that involves maggots. The second segment, about the woman and the man now (inexplicably) living together, was somewhere between fifteen minutes and three years long and entirely about toothbrushing. It featured the kind of thesaurus-atomizing vocabulary that no human being—save a writer desperately trying to be clever via over-intellectualizing minutia—would use, and its major point seemed to be that women hate football and think men are stupid. It was an embarrassing, shallow, anti-love piece of writing completely out of place with the other works, an arduous journey to nowhere.

Hallelujah, then, for the historical perspective provided by Hugo House’s writer-in-residence, poet David Wagoner. Wagoner, who resembles your favorite high-school science teacher in both his appearance and the calm, thoughtful timbre of his voice, simply told stories of the failures that poets had experienced in love. Yeats (“Oh, he made a mess of it,” Wagoner groaned) unsuccessfully proposed to an actress over thirty times and then wound up proposing to her daughter, too.

Wagoner read poems by the authors he was discussing, and some of them, by Thomas Hardy and Charles Harper Webb, seemed renewed and refreshed by his commentary. His gentle, intelligent manner created a bond—a deep and abiding love—between the poet and his adoring audience: No boxing necessary.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on February 18 at 11:42 AM

From Flickr pool contributor RedButtons


Alain Robbe-Grillet

posted by on February 18 at 11:32 AM

Dead. As a rule, I love French novelists, although I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve only read The Erasers. I liked it a lot, but perhaps the similarity of many of his novels—lots of them are about detectives, or crime—is what’s kept me from exploring him further. I have a few of them on my bookshelf at home. Still, any day that we lose an experimental French novelist and filmmaker is a sad one.

(Thanks to Slog tipper Davey.)

American World

posted by on February 18 at 11:16 AM

The solution to our immigration problem?
Let the whole fucking world live here:

The US debate about immigration has been brewing for some time. It has triggered emotions on many sides and given rise to many proposals, including the bipartisan reform legislation pending before Congress. What would the population density of the United States be if everyone in the world, about 6.7 billion people, were to live there?

A. 400 people per square kilometer

B. 700 people per square kilometer

C. 1,000 people per square kilometer

D. 5,000 people per square kilometer

B. 700 people per square kilometer is correct.

If the entire world population of 6.7 billion lived in the United States, the country’s density would be about 700 people per square kilometer, according to the New York-based Center for Migration Studies.

The Netherlands has a density of about 400 people per square kilometer. Other cities with a high number of people per square kilometer include Singapore (6,500), Hong Kong (6,600), Macao (18,500), and Monaco (22,000).

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on February 18 at 11:00 AM


Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground at Triple Door

Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground put on one hell of a sprawling, psychedelic carnival show. A dozen or more players pack the stage, surrounding the standard guitars and drums with a host of horns, strings, and backup singers, not to mention the Super 8 projections and the floral arrangements. At the center of all this is Kirk Huffman’s casually pretty voice and Kyle O’Quin’s deft pop arrangements. Tonight, the band celebrates the new four-sided ww version of their self-titled, self-released debut by performing the record live from beginning to end. (Triple Door, 216 Union St, 838-4333. 7:30 pm, $10, all ages.)



posted by on February 18 at 10:59 AM

I don’t know if we should be nervous. The splashy climate change bill, the one Gov. Gregoire unveiled on the first day of the session, only has today and tomorrow to pass out of the House (there’s no Senate version), and it’s not on the long list of bills that the House is taking up right now.

The bill would jump-start a cap and trade program.

The sticking point is how the rules would be administered. Business interests that are nervous about the bill, including Weyerhaeuser and Boeing, don’t want the state’s Dept. of Ecology to be empowered to make rules on the issue. They’d rather have one rule (that they help hammer out) locked down by the legislature to dictate how the system will work. They worry that giving an executive dept. like Ecology the reins to run the system will put businesses at the mercy of bureaucratic sticklers who are bent on decreasing emissions.

However, since the specific system—a regional system involving California, Oregon, Alaska, Mexico—isn’t designed yet, the legislation needs to be open-ended enough so that state regulators can design it once the legislation passes. Locking down hard-and-fast rules right now without giving future leeway to Ecology could jeopardize the success of the system.

Furthermore, Ecology already has regulatory power and stifling their power just to ease the fears of Weyerhaeuser would actually give Ecology less power than they have today in general. If that happens, liberal legislators who have been pushing this bill all session wouldn’t support it anymore.

This is the conundrum legislators face as we head into the last 24 hours for this bill to stay alive.

Millard Fillmore, I Love You

posted by on February 18 at 10:14 AM

Today is one of Value Village’s many 50%-off sales, this one because a bunch of American presidents have been born and then died. I was really excited about working at The Stranger for many reasons, and one of those reasons was the proximity to a Value Village.

The whole Value Village shopping experience is magical: Easy listening music, including songs you may not have heard since the late eighties! Six t-shirts and two pairs of pants for 18 bucks*! Crazy old men wandering around wearing Tommy Hilfiger sweats two sizes too big! Women faking orgasms over purple faux-silk tops!


Forget those semi-nude Lindsay Lohan pictures, this is the story of the day. There are still plenty of Christian Youth Group t-shirts to be bought, so get to it.

Continue reading "Millard Fillmore, I Love You" »

Gimmicky-Assed Opera

posted by on February 18 at 9:53 AM

I was listening the the Metropolitan Opera broadcast in the car this weekend, wondering What could they possibly be talking about? What is going on? I’ll tell you what’s going on: Opera directors with pommel horses up their asses trying to “make” “opera” “interesting.” Even if Karita Mattila—the much-lauded, much-favored diva among opera queens (not this one, henny)—had actually hit the intended pitch of high C, those splits would still have embodied the very essence of modern opera production—vulgar, farcical, wasteful, and meaningless.

Interviewer and Actual Reigning Soprano Renée Fleming (literally) does not stoop to that level:

Gay Chicken

posted by on February 18 at 9:49 AM

It’s just like the classic game of chicken, only instead of cars, guys use their faces.

It’s a cross-cultural phenomenon. A common variant is the “nervous game,” which is less about kissing and more about fondling. (Sometimes it gets out of hand.)

Will “gay chicken” eventually be recognized as an Olympic sport? Or will it be just another YouTube phenomenon that complicates the adult lives and political careers of a generation? Who knows, but drunk shirtless men love it.

(Thank you, Slog tipper Jake.)

Just Words, Just Coincidence, and the New Anti-Obama Meme

posted by on February 18 at 9:06 AM

Here’s part one in what seems to be an increasing effort to take Obama down a notch via YouTube, the medium by which many of his speeches have reached his most fervent supporters. The clip, via Lynn Sweet, compares the words of Barack Obama to the highly similar words of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick:

The similarity in the speeches has become a story and it is explained, in part, by the fact that both men have relied on the help of political consultant David Axelrod. But the broader point, no doubt intended by the “rival campaign” that is circulating the clip (who could that be? hint: there are only two left), is that Obama is not a singular figure but a borrower—or, even, a plagiarist.

Part two is this YouTube video, which suggests that Obama plants fainting people in the audiences at his rallies:

This video doesn’t seemed to be linked to a “rival campaign” and it’s a lot easier to dismiss—people fainting at crowded political rallies is a common occurrence, and hardly limited the Obama phenomenon. At the Clinton rally in Seattle just before the Washington caucuses, I saw two people taken out by paramedics. And even John Kerry, not the kind of speaker you would expect to make people faint, found himself interrupting a speech in Tacoma in 2004 to call for EMTs. Also, see here for a woman fainting at a recent Bill Clinton speech and here for suspicion that Hillary Clinton has planted fainters in her audiences.

So this staged-fainting business doesn’t seem like something to take seriously, but the intended message does, because it’s similar to the message contained in the first video. That is: Obama’s charisma is built on a foundation of on-stage chicanery.

Watch for this idea to keep circulating as Obama’s rivals look for ways to neutralize his oratorical advantage.

UPDATE: That didn’t take long. The Clinton campaign today is saying of the Obama-Patrick story:

If you’re going to be talking about the value of words, the words ought to be your own.

The Obama campaign is hitting back with this:

When We Were Kings

posted by on February 18 at 8:40 AM

The current cover of the National Geographic
…has to be a part of that massive wave of images and words that constitute what the American mind has come to recognize as Obama-mania.

The Morning News

posted by on February 18 at 7:58 AM

Meat of the Grey Matter: Most beef in history’s largest recall has already been eaten.

Just Say Whoa: Reagan falls, can’t get up.

Voting: Low turnout in Pakistan elections may favor Musharraf.

Stabbing: In the scary alley behind Neighbours.

Mediating: Condoleezza in Kenya.

Million is the New Thousand: Gates Foundation gives to stillbirth research.

Twisted: God’s wrath in the Bible Belt.

Charged: Kosovo leaders face treason.

Repeated: 35 more bombed in Afghanistan.

Reported: Civil unions represent second-class for NJ gays. A “day of prayer to protect marriage” was called by these douches, who say they will not “stand by in silence” and have chosen instead to kneel in silence

Sorry, Ladies: Anti-HIV microbicide ineffective for study’s volunteers.

Guten Tag: Klum invites Britney to join the Seal pups.

Al Fayed: On the money or nutty as a fruitcake.

From Popularity Plus: Good Manners for Young Moderns, by Sally Simpson. Copyright 1947.


Dating isn’t all parties. You don’t go out on the town every evening. Do you know how to entertain a boy at home?

First, get things straight with the family. If there’s just one living room, try to schedule events so you’ll have the use of it at certain times. Much as your date may admire your Pop and Mom, it’s a strain to be with them for hours. Work something out so you Tom or Dick or Harry can have your gab fest in comparative privacy.

Pop or Mom should be on hand, though, to greet your caller. Especially if he is a new boy. Yes, parents are entitled to a look-see at every new acquaintance.

If you and your date have a long evening ahead, plan a program. Dancing or listening to records. Or a game of gin rummy or checkers. You can’t rely entirely on chit-chat. Without some planned activity, you’re tagged as a target for heavy petting!

“There is no miracle here.”

posted by on February 18 at 7:12 AM

Hello from Hue, Vietnam. I’m sitting in the lobby of the Thai Binh II Hotel, taking advantage of the free internet to get my NBA fix (details on All Star Weekend, the video of Dwight Howard’s amazing Superman Dunk, and LeBron and the East’s upset over the West), when I come upon this headline:

Stern: Sonics to Leave Seattle

And this quote:

It’s apparent to all who are watching that the Sonics are heading out of Seattle,” Stern said during his annual All-Star Weekend news conference. “I accept that inevitability at this point. There is no miracle here.”

I know most of you aren’t surprised (or, sadly, upset) about this news, but I am. I’ve always held out hope, however delusional that may be. Hope is a good thing for a fan. And now, so far away, on an amazing month-long stay in Southeast Asia, I must admit that, strangely, this is the first time I’ve felt sad and homesick.

Fuck you very much, David Stern, Clay Bennett, and Howard Schultz.

I’m heartened by the City of Seattle’s recent rejection of Bennett’s $26 million buyout offer, and take a bit of comfort from, of all things, this Steve Kelly column. But the impending loss of the Sonics saddens me in a way I can’t quite begin to describe.

Goodnight from Vietnam and Go Sonics. I’ll be seeing you at Key Arena the day after I get back to the States, when AI and my beloved Nuggets come to town.

Dept. of Unsubstantiated Rumors

posted by on February 18 at 6:14 AM

We’re hearing that someone was stabbed last night outside Neighbours at 2 AM. Sloggers are saying that King 5 reported it, but there’s nothing (that I can find) on King 5’s website. Anyone got a link? Or more info?

UPDATE: File that rumor under substantiated

Police in Seattle are trying to find a man who stabbed and cut four people on Capitol Hill… [One] person was stabbed in the back at 1:39 a.m. Monday and the others were less severely cut. All have been taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment, and Jamieson says one of the injuries appear to be life-threatening.

He adds that everyone involved apparently knew each other, and the stabbing does not appear to be random. No arrests have been made.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Impressionable Minds

posted by on February 17 at 9:13 PM

On a kid’s TV Network in Canada, alongside commercials for Bratz, Bionicles, and CHAOTIC (some kind of card game—I have no idea), they’re showing this:

It’s a funny commercial—you know, because they say ‘pee.’ But the positioning is a little odd, no? The target demographic for the show that was on couldn’t have been much more than 13.

Here it is in French:

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on February 17 at 11:39 AM

From Flickr pool contributor box of birds


Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on February 17 at 11:00 AM


Converge, Neurosis at Neumo’s

You’re some lucky motherfuckers, Seattle. Converge and Neurosis—two nights in a row this weekend all because Infinite Productions says they can. Hardcore legends Converge are bringing their brain-damaging, skin- blistering chaos all the way from Boston, while heavy-as-fuck metal warriors Neurosis will be traveling from California. Bones will be busted; shit will be lost. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. Sat at 8 pm, $20 adv, 21+; Sun at 7 pm, $20 adv, all ages.)


Reading Today

posted by on February 17 at 11:00 AM

It’s a brisk Sunday in the Seattle book-world. There’s a business book reading at the Rendezvous and two poetry readings (three if you include Toby Barlow reading from his book-length werewolf poem Sharp Teeth. Barlow read at Third Place Books yesterday, and today he’s at the Ballard Branch of the SPL.)

Jeanne Heuving, reading from Incapacity at Open Books, looks pretty interesting. The publisher claims that it “juxtaposes poetics, fiction, autobiography, biography, and photography—while performing silence, space, and the intervals in between. Unlike anything you have ever read.” What more could you ask for on a Sunday in February?

Full listings here.

The Morning News

posted by on February 17 at 8:50 AM

So Close: City rejects $26.5 million offer to jettison Sonics.

So Fast: State senate approves traffic cameras for Seattle.

So Caught Up: Man arrested for attacking former therapist.

Undecided: Super-duper-delegates.

Unauthorized: Glitch gave F.B.I. access to email.

Uncovered: Melting snow reveals student’s body.

Unresolved: The search for Nicholas Francisco.

No Dog in the Fight: Taliban denies responsibility for 80 killed at dogfight.

No Surprise on the Right: Bush family backs McCain.

No Stars in Sight: Seattle paparazzi single and desperate.

At Least They’re not Building Them Here: Local architects design towers in the park.

Out of Africa: Bush won’t visit continent’s scariest places.

Out of Nowhere: Mid-air collision in New Zealand.

Fuck YU: Albanians declare independence today.