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Archives for 02/24/2008 - 03/01/2008

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Liveslogging the Death of My Six-Month-Old Macbooks Harddrive Whilst Trying Not to Lose My Shit in the Apple Store

posted by on March 1 at 7:17 PM

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Sent from my Iphone, which will probably break tomorrow.

Hope You Like that Hole at Second Ave and Pine St

posted by on March 1 at 3:37 PM

Construction of the luxury 1 Hotel & Residences is on hold until at least late summer while the $200 million downtown Seattle project undergoes a redesign to become more appealing to lenders, its developer says.

The project — first in Seattle to offer “condo-hotel” units — has been stung by slow sales and the national credit crisis, Paul Brenneke said Thursday. “It’s obviously a difficult credit environment out there,” he said, “and we’re trying to position this project in the best possible light.”

This could be a bellwether of a slowdown in downtown’s development. Or it could just be that 1 Hotel & Residences was a poorly marketed, crappy idea all along. I’ve disliked the project since I saw a 17-page ad in an in-flight magazine billing it as the “New Urbanism.” Seriously? A building that contains all the amenities a millionaire wants in one exclusive fortification isn’t New Urbanism. It’s a gated country club that happens to be downtown. Cosmopolitan centers don’t need imposed mechanisms for getting people lunch and massages; that’s what downtowns naturally do.

So the main problem here is a bad model, not the national credit mess. Plenty of other Seattle developments, from luxury towers to squat apartment buildings, are moving right along. However, the luxury condo market is small, and to compete, developers must build residences that are distinctive and exquisite. 1 Hotel & Residences was neither. The developers are smart to pause and rethink the business model. If they can’t create something truly magnificent—and the designs thus far haven’t been—the developers of this project and other luxury high-rise condos downtown should revamp their plans and build smaller units and sell them for less.

Oly Anger: A Letter to Slog from State Senator Brian Weinstein

posted by on March 1 at 12:36 PM

Josh, as you know I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m appalled at the comments to your two posts on lobbyist Kim Justice. Kim was sexually objectified by both gays and straights which, in my opinion, was inappropriate, and minimized her heroic achievements as a lobbyist.

Yes she is “cute”, but your award to her was intended as serious praise for her excellent work on behalf of the voiceless in Olympia. She worked fist and glove with me and speaker Chopp and was extremely effective in fighting very well paid mortgage brokers lobbyists to get SB 6381 passed out of committee, a bill which imposes a fiduciary duty on mortgage brokers. This very important piece of consumer protection legislation would not have passed without her . See below for information about this landmark legislation.

Here, here, and here.

Thanks again for honoring Kim Justice.

Here and here are my two earlier posts recognizing Kim Justice, a lobbyist for the Statewide Poverty Action Network, for her great work in Olympia this year—like when she nuked this nasty bill.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on March 1 at 11:52 AM

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Sonnet Is ‘Dangerbunny’
by Blush Photo

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 1 at 11:00 AM

Music

Feral Children, Holy Ghost Revival, the Pharmacy at Comet

Two shows in one night—you can do it, old man. First, at the High Dive, Feral Children and Holy Ghost Revival play early sets for live broadcast on KEXP’s Audioasis. Go and thrash to Feral Children’s strident noise—it sounds like Isaac Brock’s angsty little brother—then follow Holy Ghost’s glam-rock revival to the Comet where they’ll perform again to help the Pharmacy celebrate the release of their new album. (High Dive, 513 N 36th St, 632-0212. 6 pm, $7, 21+; Comet Tavern, 922 E Pike St, 323-9853. 9 pm, $6, 21+.)

MEGAN SELING

It’s 3:02 AM…

posted by on March 1 at 10:49 AM

Thanks to Slog tipper Lee…

Currently Hanging

posted by on March 1 at 10:30 AM

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Marcus Gannuscio’s Neil (2008), oil on canvas, 38 by 32 inches

At Davidson Contemporary.

Reading Tonight

posted by on March 1 at 10:00 AM

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March is coming in like a humping elephant. I shudder to think how it will go out.

There’s an open mic and a mystery author, and a few other things about hyperserious subjects, too.

Bruce Barcott, who read yesterday at Elliott Bay Book Company, is up at Third Place Books today with his well-reviewed environmental reportage The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw, about one woman’s efforts to save a Macaw’s nesting grounds from a dam. And at Elliott Bay tonight is the impressively-named Indran Amirthanayagam, with his new book The Splintered Face: Tsunami Poems, which is about the massive, apocalyptic tsunami from a few years ago now. It’s also a great title, and I really like Amirthanayagam’s previous book title, The Elephants of Reckoning.

At SPL Central Branch, David Smith-Ferri reads from Battlefield Without Borders: Iraq Poems, which he wrote while in Iraq as a member of a fact-finding delegation. The vast majority of the sales of the book—$12 out of $14!—goes toward the Direct Aid Initiative.

Full readings calendar, including upcoming, non-deadly-serious-issue-related books, here.


The Morning News

posted by on March 1 at 9:44 AM

Plagiarizing: Bush aide resigns.

Dismissing: Mukasey won’t prosecute Bush aides.

Strafing: Israel kills 45 Palestinians.

Vying: Obama needs the Jewish vote.

Appointing: SPD names feel-good positions.

Flaming: 300,000 at Sydney gay pride.

Retracting: Judge yanks injunction on Wikileaks.org.

Just Stop Flushing: Local water to dry up.

Just Stop Popping: ADHD stimulants not linked to substance abuse.

Can You Spot the Glaring Omission? Bush identifies top drug-producing nations.

Air Fuss: Boeing employees pissed after Pentagon chooses to buy un-American.

Please Be Healthier than that Baby Elephant We Named: Zoo wants us to name baby gorilla.


Friday, February 29, 2008

LiveBlogging Savage on Bill Maher

posted by on February 29 at 9:51 PM

God, Christopher Hitchens is a douchebag.

God, Christopher Hitchens is a douchebag.

God, Christopher Hitchens is a douchebag.

God, Christopher Hitchens is a douchebag.

God, Christopher Hitchens is a douchebag.

God, Christopher Hitchens is a douchebag.

Hey, there’s Dan!

God, Christopher Hitchens is a douchebag.

God, Christopher Hitchens is a douchebag.

A Message from Macy’s

posted by on February 29 at 5:02 PM

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David Beckham wears underpants and so should you.

I’m in LA to do Real Time with Bill Maher. HBO, 11 PM. Tune in, if you like. Right now I’m in my hotel room watching Mike Huckabee… on the Tyra Banks show. Which is making my head hurt.

A Compelling Reason to Stay Home on Friday Night

posted by on February 29 at 4:58 PM

Our very own Dan Savage will be appearing on Real Time with Bill Maher (a show that apparently is on a television station referred to by the kids as “The HBO”) tonight at 11 pm (8 pm eastern). Other guests include Christopher Hitchens and Harry Shearer.

Any Slog readers who have both technical and pay cable capacities are encouraged to put the show up on YouTube for posterity.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on February 29 at 4:45 PM

The Department of Justice: An Op-Ed by the acting deputy U.S. attorney general, Craig Morford, ran in the LA Times.

A Move to Revise Offenders’ Sentences Should Stop Until Its Effects Can Be Weighed.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission recently decided to apply — retroactively — new, lighter sentences for those convicted of crimes related to crack cocaine. As a result, on Monday, courts across the country will begin to decide whether 19,500 of them should be released early from federal prison.

A disproportionate share of these prisoners came from urban areas such as Los Angeles, and those communities will bear the brunt of their return.

Morford’s tactics are taken from the Bush Administration’s playbook on this issue. You may remember that a couple weeks ago Attorney General Michael Mukasey lobbied Congress to block the release of inmates convicted of crack offenses, claiming it “would produce tragic, but predictable results.” The idea that releasing 19,500 crack prisoners over a period of five years, dispersed around a country of 300,000,000 people, didn’t seem to convince lawmakers to block the prisoners’ release. So he’s apparently assigned his minion to drum up public support, err, fear. And, in essence, what Morford is saying is that crack offenders (disproportionately black), despite having already served sentences as long as cocaine offenders (who tend to be white), are more dangerous to the community. Even if Morford’s claim were true, the fault should be pinned on his own Department of Justice for emphasizing a system that relies overwhelmingly on lengthy incarceration rather than rehabilitation.

White Planes: Cocaine smuggling craft linked to U.S.

Those Danes: Start heroin-maintenance program.

Slow Ride: Mushrooms slow perception of time.

More Hype in UK: BBC film to show effects of injecting cannabis.

London: Police single-out gay bar for drug raid.

Sydney: Police seize drugs headed to gay Mardi Gras.

Supplemented: Vitamin D is hot; vitamin E is not.

Targeted: Cartels strike border guards.

Jailed: Student who gave teacher pot cookies.

Re: Slog’s Lobbyist of the Year!

posted by on February 29 at 4:35 PM

Duh.

One thing I totally forgot about when I announced the Slog’s lobbyist of the year, is how she, Kim Justice, first came to my attention.

It goes like this: Early on in the session, she alerted me (and the public!) to this horrible bill, and then she fucking stomped on it.

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Captain Justice

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on February 29 at 4:32 PM

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By This Empty World

The Other JFK Junior

posted by on February 29 at 4:29 PM

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Is he really JFK’s love child? His family says no. Vanity Fair thinks yes.

It’s Leap Year Day

posted by on February 29 at 4:28 PM

Also known as bissextile day.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on February 29 at 4:14 PM

The news:

Michael Seiwerath, who won our Genius Award for film in 2005, is leaving Northwest Film Forum. He’s been with the organization practically since the beginning, and his tenure (since 2001) as executive director has seen impressive growth, including the move to the two-screen 12th Avenue cinematheque and “start-to-finish” funding of several feature films (most notably, Robinson Devor’s Police Beat). It’s going to be tough to find a replacement who’ll work as hard and for as little money as Seiwerath (according to NWFF’s 990s, he received a salary of just $29,400 in 2006—and he has two young daughters). We’ll be reporting further on his departure and the search for a new executive director in the print edition.

New Line is being absorbed by its sibling company, Warner Bros, according to the LA Times. Expect less Lord of the Rings, more Will Ferrell. Variety’s Anne Thompson notes that we still don’t know what’s going to happen to Warner Independent and Picturehouse.

Also via Anne Thompson: You can download some excellent short films via iTunes and Sundance. I recommend the Oscar-nominated Madame Tutli Putli.

New this week:

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In On Screen: the forlorn Israeli-Arab comedy The Band’s Visit (me: “What follows could be described as a culture clash, but it’s more of a culture bump—discomfort, flirtation, fleeting moments of connection, and then more awkward silence”), Semi-Pro (Bradley Steinbacher: “Much as in Will Ferrell’s high-water mark, Anchorman, what keeps the movie afloat is the constant threat that things will spin into absurdity”), Penelope (Brendan Kiley: “I’d hoped watching Christina Ricci wearing a prosthetic pig nose for 101 minutes would add at least a grain of amusement to this romantic comedy. I was wrong”), The Other Boleyn Girl (Charles Mudede: “It’s good to be the king”), and City of Men (me: “Perhaps you recall the opening scene in City of God, which followed an emancipated chicken on a tear through the maze of a city slum. Unfortunately, there’s nothing like that in this new film, directed by one of Meirelles’s assistants. It’s just a copy of a copy of a copy; and where the style has faded, sentiment has flooded in”).

Lindy West reviews some choice ’70s sexploitation in Concessions.

Tucked away in Limited Runs this week, sometimes justly and sometimes not: The Business of Being Born at SIFF Cinema (Ricki Lake gives birth on camera), Duck Soup at the Admiral (Groucho Marx impersonator in attendance), Final Friday Freakout #2 tonight at Cafe Rozella (featuring talented direct animator Devon Damonte), Five Against the House and The Brothers Rico at Grand Illusion (these Phil Karlson rarities are cool enough to make Suggests), Hannah and Her Sisters (Charles Mudede judges this this fifth-best Woody Allen film), the inimitable McCabe & Mrs. Miller at Metro Classics, Jean Renoir’s The River at Seattle Asian Art Museum, Tron in 70 mm at Cinerama, Teenage Hitchhikers at Grand Illusion late nights, and the first installment of a comedy series called What the Funny (starring Seattle theater luminary Darragh Kennan) at Northwest Film Forum.

Re: Sonics Deal?

posted by on February 29 at 4:09 PM

The PI has a story on the possible deal.

You Will Probably Have Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul to Kick Around Some More

posted by on February 29 at 4:00 PM

As reported by the New York Observer, the Federal Reserve will most likely still have its greatest nemesis in Congress, and the Department of Peace its greatest champion: polling leading up to the March 4th local primary challenges to Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul show both congressmen crushing their opponents:

A new poll from the Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling shows Kucinich handily beating [Cleveland city councilman] Cimperman, 55 to 29 percent. The only potentially troubling sign for the incumbent: He trails Cimperman among independents, who are free to vote in Tuesday’s primary. A (much) higher than expected independent turnout could tighten the race…

Meanwhile, another Public Policy poll in Texas has Paul routing his Republican congressional challenger, Friendswood Councilman Chris Peden, 63 to 30 percent. Peden has made Paul’s libertarian-based assault on some conservative orthodoxies the linchpin of his effort, calculating that the district’s Republicans were previously unaware of Paul’s strident opposition to the Iraq war, among other issues.

There had been suggestions that both were looking at trouble for taking time out of their normal duties to run for higher office. Apparently that’s not looking to be the case. A big win would be especially sweet for Kucinich, considering that the current mayor in Cleveland (Kucinich’s hometown and the heart of his congressional district) has been campaigning actively for his defeat.

The End of the Purge

posted by on February 29 at 3:50 PM

This was at the bottom of my stacks and shit:
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1. “Do not expect a kiss from her and do NOT go for it on the first date.”
2. “The Russian women like to believe that you are a desired man by other women!”
3. “The mothers here are always the problem.”
4. “Dancing with these women.”
5. “…[T]he good women here will NEVER eat unless you are eating too.”
6. “But I can tell you that I have had to play instructor EVERY single time that oral sex was going to be performed.”
7. “Katya…so beautiful yet she was an emotional thief and an economic tyrant.”

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

posted by on February 29 at 3:46 PM

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Photo of downer cow being dragged to slaughter via Farm Sanctuary.

February 18, 2008: The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) issues the largest beef recall in history, three weeks after the Humane Society released a video showing slaughterhouse workers administering electric shocks and high-intensity water sprays to cows that were too sick to stand, and rolling the cows over with forklifts. According to the Boston Globe, “One worry when an animal collapses is that it may have bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the infection known as ‘mad cow disease.’” The majority of US mad cow cases have come from such so-called “downer” cows.

February 29, 2008: USDA director Ed Schafer rejected calls to ban downer cows from the food supply and said he wouldn’t support stiffer penalties against meat processing plants that violate food-safety laws. Although the recall came only after the Humane Society released a videotape made surreptitiously by a slaughterhouse worker documenting the violations, Schafer said he believes the system worked. “The rules are adequate,” Schafer said.

Monday, March 3: This is the deadline to submit comments to the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, which recently proposed lowering the standard for meat producers who want to label their products “naturally raised.” Under the proposed new standard, meat could be labeled “naturally raised” if it was produced without growth hormones, antibiotics, or mammalian or avian byproducts. That means, for example, that cows that were raised on factory farms on corn (not grass, their natural food), with no access to the outdoors, without natural breeding methods, and under inhumane conditions—and taken to massive, polluting industrial feedlots for fattening and slaughter—could be labeled “naturally raised.”

If you want to stop the United States’ food-quality standards from slipping even further, submit a comment to the USDA here.

Oly Action: Seems Like It

posted by on February 29 at 3:03 PM

Two bills we’re monitoring here at Slog made today’s cutoff to be passed out of policy committees in the opposite chambers.

One bill, which Rep. Maralyn Chase passed out of the House earlier this session, would provide fair compensation and adequate moving time for tenants displaced by condo conversion. The second bill, one that Sen. Brian Weinstein passed out of the Senate earlier this year, would give consumers the basic right right to have a warranty to protect against faulty construction.

Both bills made it out of their respective committees earlier this week.

Obama’s Own 3 a.m. Commercial

posted by on February 29 at 2:30 PM

In response to this new Clinton ad, Obama releases this new ad in Texas:

The Trophy Building

posted by on February 29 at 2:15 PM

Most of the block bordered by Denny Way, Yale Street, and Howell Street has been redeveloped in the past decade—save for a patch of land owned by Northwest Trophy Inc.

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The family-owned award manufacturer holds the one-story building sandwiched between the Marriott SpringHill Suites and the Downtown Emergency Services Center on Howell Street. In 2006, the land was rezoned along with the rest of the Denny Triangle to allow for skyscrapers, so the Anderson family, which has owned the property for 25 years and resented the drunk new neighbors, put the land up for sale. Seattle design firm and developer Pb Elemental submitted a bid to buy it. “This is urban infill basically,” says Elemental principal Chris Pardo. On less than a 3,000 square foot parcel, the firm plans to build a 440’ tower.

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The incredibly small footprint poses a structural challenge that Pardo says required guns from Magnusson Klemencic Associates, engineers behind the downtown Seattle Library. “It ends up being a flagpole,” he explains. The tower is supported by a 30’ hollow concrete spine, rooted 90’ deep in the ground. Each floor is only about 2,100 square feet.

“The name has nothing to do with ego or anything,” Pardo says of calling it the Trophy Building, a description normally ascribed to prestigious civic architecture. Nevertheless, the distinctively slender and flaring design makes for the sort of landmark that will define Seattle. But such monuments rarely contain residences afforded by ordinary folks. The Trophy will be no exception. Lower units will begin at $2 million; upper penthouses, which consume two levels, will top out at $18 million.

The building will contain only 19 units.

But because there are fewer than 20 units, the building is exempt from the city’s design-review process, according to Pardo. He says that falling through the loophole was inadvertent. (My calls to the Department of Planning and Development to verify this loophole haven’t been returned.) It’s interesting, perhaps even alarming, that a skyscraper can be built without some sort of design guidance from the city. And in the case of the Trophy Building, it’s particularly surprising because it will be 40’ taller than surrounding proposed skyscrapers, such as 1200 Stewart and the Stewart Minor Tower, which are subject to extensive design guidance.

Continue reading "The Trophy Building" »

In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on February 29 at 2:13 PM

It’s about more than music, people. Line Out is about night life—drinking, dancing, headbanging at King Cobra.

5 Minutes Wasted: Musical Comedy steals a piece of Terry Millers’s life.

Your Turn to Play Music Critic: Listen to House on a Hill, tell us if you like it.

Two Shows, One Review: Sam Makchkovech hits up Beestings at the Comet and Velella Velella at Nectar.

What Does Miles Davis Have to Do With a Kid on a Ferris Wheel Eating Too Much Cotton Candy?: Trent Moorman brings it all together.

Goody Goody!: TJ Gorton on Dimitri’s Goody Goody remix. Also, there’s a picture of some very nice boobs.

Today’s Music News: A guy from Blur wants in the Parliament, singer of Dave Clark 5 dies at age 64, Amy Winehouse is cleared, and a bunch more stuff you need to know.

Schlager 101: Terry Miller schools you on some Brotherhood of Man and Kelly Marie.

Stage6 Shuts Down: You can no longer get scores of amazing videos via their site. Sorry.

King Cobra’s Grand Opening: The photos! the videos, the dudes with long hair headbanging to songs about robots from the future.

Sasha Frere-Jones on Amy Winehouse: Surprise! He finds a way to make it about race.

There’s a hell of a lot more to read about too. Lots of pictures, lots of videos, lots of everything, my friends. Go check it out.

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(Photo by Kelly O from last night’s King Cobra Grand Opening.)

Breaking: Michael Seiwerath Leaving Northwest Film Forum

posted by on February 29 at 2:10 PM

Michael Seiwerath has announced that he’s stepping down from his position as executive director of Northwest Film Forum. From an email he just sent out to friends and supporters:

After much thought, I have decided to move on from my position as Executive Director of Northwest Film Forum. This is an organization I love dearly, and where I have spent much of my waking life for the last twelve years.

Since the organization’s founding in 1995, I have worked with a talented team to build a film community, support artists and bring vital films to Seattle audiences. I was hooked from the day I met founders Jamie Hook and Deb Girdwood in their windowless space behind the old Storeroom Tavern, filled only with a futon, shag carpet, cats and a monstrous 16mm Steenbeck film editor. In a city that prided itself on loving film and the arts, there was no comprehensive center for filmmakers and audiences in Seattle. I’m proud to say that over the years, NWFF has grown from this small space to fill that void […]

While I believe as firmly as ever in the mission and work of NWFF, I am leaving because it is time for me to seek something new. I’ll be staying on to the beginning of this transition, likely though the summer. While I’m unsure what the future holds for me, it is inspiring to know that NWFF will remain a part of it.

All the best,

Michael Seiwerath
Executive Director

Clinton’s Rule

posted by on February 29 at 2:10 PM

A local Obama supporter, responding to the scary ad that Hillary Clinton is now running ahead of March 4, reminds that another Clinton, Bill, has a rule about this kind of campaigning:

Texas Dems: We’d Prefer You Not Sue Us

posted by on February 29 at 2:00 PM

The Texas Democratic Party is asking in advance that both the Obama and Clinton campaigns resist the urge to sue should they not enjoy the results of Texas’s hybrid caucus/primary:

“It has been brought to my attention that one or both of your campaigns may already be planning or intending to pursue litigation against the Texas Democratic Party,” [Texas Democrats’ legal council] Dunn wrote in the letter, obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Such action could prove to be a tragedy for a reinvigorated Democratic process.”…

Democratic sources said both campaigns have made it clear that they might consider legal options over the complicated delegate selection process, which includes both a popular vote and evening caucuses. But the sources made it clear that the Clinton campaign in particular had warned of an impending lawsuit.

“Both campaigns have made it clear that they would go there if they had to, but I think the imminent threat is coming from one campaign,” said one top Democratic official, referring to the Clinton campaign. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

The story, by Jay Root of McClatchy’s Washington bureau, doesn’t specify what exactly the campaigns are looking to file suit over, though the conventional wisdom is the dispute will almost certainly be over the states’ caucus. Much like Washington, Texas has both a primary and a caucus. Unlike Washington, the caucus is held the same night as the primary, after the primary polls close.

The Obama campaign, which in the past has benefited from caucuses, is less than enthusiastic about this news:

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said the Clinton campaign was trying to minimize the results of the caucuses. The former first lady and her team have made clear their unhappiness with caucuses, believing that they cater to the hard-core party activists who tend to support Obama. The Illinois senator has won 13 caucus contests in states and overseas U.S. territories so far, while Clinton has won just two.

“This takes it to a new level, which is they don’t want the people who are participating in those caucuses to have their results reported in a timely fashion. And I assume that’s a very self-serving decision,” Plouffe said.

Payable in Livestock

posted by on February 29 at 1:38 PM

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan elders may impose a fine on U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, payable in livestock, after a photo of her rival Barack Obama in robes dragged their people into the race for the White House.

The picture, which appeared on a U.S. Web site, showed the Illinois senator in a white headdress and traditional Somali attire during a 2006 visit to Wajir in Kenya’s remote northeast.

(Via Ben Smith)

Huckabee Chases the Impossible Dream

posted by on February 29 at 1:20 PM

The Politico’s Jonathan Martin attempts to answer one of the last, great questions of 2008: what could possibly be the motivation for Mike Huckabee to stay in this race?

The new line of reasoning from party insiders trying to figure out the strategy behind Huckabee’s increasingly quixotic, totally mad run for the White House? People will look back fondly and say, “at least he did better than Mitt Romney.”

“Huckabee is playing for second,” said Republican strategist Craig Shirley, a McCain backer and author of a book on the 1976 presidential race. “He wants the story written that he came in second to McCain and not Mitt Romney. That way he will have what he believes is the more legitimate claim to be the heir apparent for the GOP nomination, and not Romney, in 2012 or 2016.”

Playing for a better position in 2012 is clearly on the mind of Huckabee strategist Ed Rollins, whose hopes for the Arkansas governor’s future appear to rest on the idea that sometime during his presidency, John McCain may die:

And even if McCain does win in November, Rollins noted that the Arizonan will already be 72 years old.

“It may be open again in four years. And Mike is 51. He’s got a long way to go before his political career is over.”

Yet others suggest that possibly we’re over-thinking Huck’s motives:

“I think he’s looking for a high profile and a job,” said John Brummett, columnist for the Arkansas News and a veteran of the Little Rock press corps. “He’s always needed work.”

“And I think he thought he could be a bigger deal if he stayed in it for a while.”

So, there you have it: either Huckabee is trying to position himself as the New Reagan, or he is hoping that people realize how old McCain is, or he’s hoping McCain dies in office, or he simply wants a paycheck and his own little plot of fame in the evangelical right. Or possibly all four.

Slog’s Lobbyist of the Year!

posted by on February 29 at 1:10 PM

Not all lobbyists are old white guys in suits. Lobbyists can also be young women—gay women even.

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Meet Kim Justice—yes, that’s really her name—who is, appropriately enough, the lobbyist for the Statewide Poverty Action Network.

You wouldn’t figure the young-looking Justice as a power player down in Olympia, but the 28-year-old did the heavy lifting on the central bill of this year’s progressive agenda—helping pass a piece of timely corporate accountability legislation to make sure mortgage brokers aren’t duping borrowers.

The bill, now bound to pass, sailed though the House consumer protection committee yesterday (one day before cutoff) after clearing the full Senate earlier this session.

Justice wasn’t always political. She was a music head in college (University of Missouri) where she worked at a radio station and studied mass communications. (She still loves music and says she loves going out “anywhere there’s live music.”)

She lives in Olympia during the session—her house, which she shares with a housing lobbyist, the Jewish Federation lobbyist, and the Children’s Alliance lobbyist, hosts an annual “gay party” for gay legislators, staffers, and allies. The rest of the year she lives in Seattle on Capitol Hill.

She created a political stir at her all-girls Catholic High School in St. Louis (Sisters of Leretto Nerinx Hall) in 1997, when her friends rallied around her cause to take her girlfriend to the junior prom. There was a petition drive, an all-school meeting, and Justice and her g.f. were allowed to go to the prom together—changing the rule that all couples had to be boy-girl.

Justice got her first dose of politics politics when, after a mentor at college convinced her to attend a program in Washington, D.C. on social justice (!) organizing, she was sent out to do political field work in Oklahoma (trying to stop a “right-to-work” initiative). Next, she hit Washington State, working to elect Rep. Brian Sullivan from the 21st District in Edmonds and later for Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48, Medina).

While working on these key tide-shifting races, she met Speaker Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43, Wallingford) and soon enough, she was working as his session aide in 2002.

After that session, she was hired by the Poverty Action Network to jump-start an electoral organizing component for the non-profit, engaging low-income voters in the details of state politics. Last year, she took on the group’s state lobbying responsibilities.

Asked how she approaches the job, Justice says she mimics what other successful lobbyists in Oly do: “Just be yourself and build personal relationships.” I imagine she took her cue from her excellently boisterous veteran lobbyist housemate Nick Federici, another Oly gem.

On next year’s docket? Justice says “we have every intention of working for payday loan oversight.” The issue, a hot topic last year, was MIA in Olympia this year (although not in other states). Justice says work went on behind the scenes on the issue this year to cultivate support. And, she hints, “we have a lot of support.”

Star legislators she praises this year for taking up the fight for consumer advocacy and low-income people include: Sens. Brian Weinstein (D-41, Mercer Island) and Rodney Tom (D-48, Medina) (they were the sponsors on the broker accountability bills); Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D-37, South Seattle) (who sponsored a renters rights bill), Rep. Jeannie Darnielle (D-27, Tacoma) (who also sponsored a renters’ rights bill); and Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43, Wallingford), who’s making a big stand to put more money into the statewide housing trust fund.

For those that are intimidated (or bored) by Olympia, Justice says they should come down and check it out. In fact, she brought down a friend one day who claimed to have no interest in local politics and said her friend was blown away by how accessible the legislators were (true) and how many important issues are at play (true).

Congratulations to Kim Justice, Slog’s lobbyist of the year.

Sonics Deal?

posted by on February 29 at 12:49 PM

Sources in Olympia confirm that there may be a new Sonics deal in play.

Details are scarce, but apparently a super-rich local crew is interested in putting up a major chunk of change to renovate KeyArena—with the public picking up a much smaller portion of the $250 million KeyArena deal that failed in the legislature two years ago.

I Have Faith in the Future of Humanity

posted by on February 29 at 12:39 PM

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How to make a salad bowl out of bacon. God bless us, every one.

Crumb’s Dick

posted by on February 29 at 12:24 PM

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SF Signal has a link to a Robert Crumb comic that I’ve never seen before about Philip K. Dick’s religious, possibly tumor-inspired delusions. Imagine if there was a religion in the world based on Philip K. Dick’s writings instead of L. Ron Hubbard’s. I might consider joining, if just because it would be so mind-numbingly odd.

In the Future, Your Arm Will Be Your Phone

posted by on February 29 at 12:12 PM

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Physorg.com explains:

Jim Mielke’s wireless blood-fueled display is a true merging of technology and body art. At the recent Greener Gadgets Design Competition, the engineer demonstrated a subcutaneously implanted touch-screen that operates as a cell phone display, with the potential for 3G video calls that are visible just underneath the skin. The basis of the 2x4-inch “Digital Tattoo Interface” is a Bluetooth device made of thin, flexible silicon and silicone. It’s inserted through a small incision as a tightly rolled tube, and then it unfurls beneath the skin to align between skin and muscle. Through the same incision, two small tubes on the device are attached to an artery and a vein to allow the blood to flow to a coin-sized blood fuel cell that converts glucose and oxygen to electricity. After blood flows in from the artery to the fuel cell, it flows out again through the vein.

I’m scared. Thank you, MetaFilter.

Re: Just for the Record

posted by on February 29 at 12:06 PM

I HAVE:

1. Talked on the phone to Ron Jeremy.

2. Never seen Terminator 2.

3. Been detained for protesting.

4. Read the most books of my fourth grade class.

5. Had many bangovers.

ron-jeremy.jpg

I Just Can’t Escape These Goddamned Book Awards

posted by on February 29 at 12:01 PM

It’s another book award, this time bracketed. Previous winners include are Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (definitely not the best book of the year it was released in), Smith’s The Accidental (didn’t read it), and McCarthy’s The Road (a good choice, but it won everything short of the Nobel last year, so it’s not really in keeping with the award’s “We’re not the big prizes” ethos).

Here’s the rationale behind the prize:

The Tournament of Books, we vowed, would be completely transparent. The names of the judges would be known to all, and the judges would admit to their own personal biases as well as their reasoning for every decision. The winner of this award wouldn’t be any less arbitrary or any more legitimate than the winner of any other award, but the crowning of our arbitrary and illegitimate Best Book of the Year—the Champion Book of the Year, would be lots more fun.

And here are the contestants:


Run by Ann Patchett
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson
Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
Petropolis by Anya Ulinich
Ovenman by Jeff Parker
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
You Don’t Love Me Yet by Jonathan Lethem
New England White by Stephen L. Carter
Remainder by Tom McCarthy
The Shadow Catcher by Marianne Wiggins
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño
Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida
Shining at the Bottom of the Sea by Stephen Marche
What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England by Brock Clarke

Actually, with all these books, I think you could at least be guaranteed a good—if flawed—read. My money’s on Then We Came to the End or The Brief Wondrous Life for the big winner, with a slight lean toward the latter. Vendela Vida should totally win the prize, though.

A New Democratic Coalition, and a New Generation

posted by on February 29 at 11:35 AM

This article in The National Journal is well worth a read. It looks at the demographics of this year’s surging Democratic turnout and finds the makings of a new Democratic strategy, a new Democratic generation, and a new Democratic governing majority:

From New Hampshire to California, and from Arizona to Wisconsin, exit polls from this year’s contests show the Democratic coalition evolving in clear and consistent ways since the 2004 primaries that nominated John Kerry. The party is growing younger, more affluent, more liberal, and more heavily tilted toward women, Latinos, and African-Americans…

The implications for the general election could be significant. If Democrats can maintain the allegiance of the constituencies now pouring into their primaries — especially young people — they could seize an edge in November’s election, and potentially well beyond. “These are long-term opportunities that could change a generation of leadership in the country and give the Democrats a huge leg up on obtaining or achieving elective office,” says Matthew Dowd, the chief strategist for President Bush’s 2004 election campaign and now a consultant for ABC News. “But it all depends on how they conduct themselves.”

The most dramatic change has been in Democratic voting by young people, something that Dowd, in a the article, says could hurt Republicans well beyond this election.

In 2000, under-30 voters split about evenly between Bush and Gore, according to exit polls. In 2004, they preferred Kerry over Bush by 54 percent to 45 percent. In the 2006 House elections, they backed Democrats by 60 percent to 38 percent. In a race between Obama, 46, and McCain, 71, even many Republicans wouldn’t be surprised to see that wide a gap among the young.

“If you look at Ronald Reagan and how he performed among youth, he created a generation of Republicans that was able to sustain itself,” Dowd says. “Well, what Bush has done in his presidency is almost the opposite: He has won elections and lost a generation. Now this generation is emerging, and if Democrats end up winning this election, and then govern in a way that gives people a sense that it is a new politics, they will have a generation. It will be the reverse of Reagan.

Re: Just for the Record

posted by on February 29 at 11:34 AM

I HAVE:

1. Never voted in my life.
2. Been a member of a radical Marxist group.
3. Never learned how to drive a car.
4. Worked in a brick factory in Barking, London.
5. Never seen Victoria Falls (“the smoke that thunders”).
6. Seen Niagara Falls.
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Dance Dance Revolution

posted by on February 29 at 11:26 AM

Obama was on Ellen yesterday. Watch it through to the end to see him bust a move or two:

Obama also danced his way into Ellen’s studio last October, in case you missed that clip:

Ellen, who has endorsed Clinton, talked to her this this week, too. (Unfortunately more than half the interview is consumed by jokey banter about banning glitter, and Clinton doesn’t dance.)

No Jail Time for Nakata’s Killer

posted by on February 29 at 11:25 AM

A West Seattle rabbi was sentenced to 500 hours of community service, ordered not to drive for two years and fined $500 Thursday for hitting former Seattle City Council aide Mathew “Tatsuo” Nakata with his car and killing him.

A jury found Ephraim Schwartz guilty of assault last month. The charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Five hundred dollars? What the FUCK? This was the second time in less than two years that Schwartz had hit someone with his car—the previous time was in 2005, when he was driving on the wrong side of the road and injured a woman riding a bike

So tell me again, why is this man going to be allowed to drive EVER again?

(Addendum: Both stories on the sentencing focused heavily on the fact that Schwartz is a rabbi and was “tormented” by the fact that he killed Nakata. The Times story actually starts with two paragraphs about Schwartz’s “anguish,” saying that his prayers on Yom Kippur “illustrated the despair the West Seattle rabbi felt over the death of Tatsuo Nakata.” You know what? Screw that. The man killed someone who had decades of life ahead of him. I’m not going to have my heartstrings tugged over how he prayed for eight whole hours on Yom Kippur.)

Notes From the Prayer Warrior

posted by on February 29 at 11:20 AM

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Friday, 29 February 2008

God answered your prayers! The documentary filming yesterday was fun, educational and entertaining. The film crew was very professional, I was very straightforward with my answers and it ended with the same sex marriage activist wanting to have her picture taken with me. It was wonderful! Praise be to God!

Pastor Hutch

Ellen Speaks…

posted by on February 29 at 11:16 AM

…just moments ago…on her show…about a murdered little gay boy…and don’t watch the clip of it (available below from TMZ, yag), or you will really cry.

Here.

Re: Just for the Record

posted by on February 29 at 11:14 AM

I HAVE:

1. Been a vegan.

2. Belonged to a radical environmental group.

3. Subscribed to Ms. Magazine.

4. Seen Megadeth in concert.

Confessions of a Gasoline Huffer: the Board Game!

posted by on February 29 at 11:09 AM

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Sometimes people do things they regret. Sometimes, if those people are like me, they are compelled to write about the things they regret and then, if those people are just like me, they regret their compulsion to write about the things they regret.

A few months ago, I wrote an embarrassing story about huffing gasoline. A few days ago, I found out that a Cornish student, Ryan O’Neill, turned that story into a board game:

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(You can see a bigger, enlargable version here.)

How does it feel to relive one of the more shameful episodes of one’s life as a board game? Surprisingly, Kind of neat! Everyone should have one:

My Overdue Divorce: the Board Game!

I Was a Pudgy Bed-Wetter: the Board Game!

Suddenly Susan: the Board Game!

And so on.

Thanks, Ryan O’Neill. You may have invented a whole new kind of therapy.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on February 29 at 11:00 AM

Music

Mahjongg at Vera Project

Mahjongg shows are a glorious mess—on the band’s last visit to Seattle, they crowded the Rendezvous’s small stage with spray-painted computer towers and television monitors—and their music is every bit as bizarre, a chaotic mix of dance punk, electro funk, Afro pop, and militaristic noise. Their latest album, Kontpab, captures the energetic mayhem, cryptic patterns, and tense movements of their live shows. Calvin Johnson and So Many Dynamos open. (Vera Project, Seattle Center, 956-8372. 7:30 pm, $8, all ages.)

ERIC GRANDY

Bus Fares Going Up Tomorrow

posted by on February 29 at 10:52 AM

On March 1, Metro is raising the one-zone adult fare to $1.50, and the peak fare to $1.75.

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Go here to read Erica Barnett’s explanation of why the fare increase is happening and why it’s a good idea, including reducing crowding and the need for increased security.

Currently Hanging

posted by on February 29 at 10:30 AM

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Byron King’s Untitled (2007), pen on paper, 6 by 8 inches.

At Joe Bar.

Rep. Simpson Revives Environmental Bill

posted by on February 29 at 10:30 AM

Yesterday, the House Democrats in Olympia killed a smart environmental bill that would have made carbon impacts a factor in growth management decisions.

However, the the bill has been resurrected. Rep. Geoff Simpson (D-47, Covington, Kiss Song), the liberal chair of the local government committee who fought for the bill, but lost when the “Democrats” on his committee, particularly the outspoken Rep. Deb Eddy (D-48, Kirkland), voted it down—is holding a special executive session his afternoon at 4:30 to bring it back.

Good for Rep. Simpson. The gossip and buzz in Oly yesterday was that Simpson “got rolled” by his dissident committee members.

Today is the last day for bills like this one—sent over from the opposite chamber—to make it out of policy committees like Rep. Simpson’s local government committee.

Happy Birthday

posted by on February 29 at 10:24 AM

“My delivery was so sudden,” said the Bhuri Kalbi, the mother of the infant, born two months prematurely. “I did not even realize that my child had slipped from the hole in the toilet.”

Reading Tonight

posted by on February 29 at 10:19 AM

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Five readings on this, the leapiest day of the year:

Dan Kennedy is reading from Rock On at the Sunset Tavern. I read Rock On, and I liked it quite a bit, which was surprising to me. The subject (working at a corporate music label) didn’t interest me, and it wasn’t exactly packed with stunning observations about the music world, but Kennedy, a contributor to McSweeney’s, is very funny, and a amiable-enough narrator. Hopefully, he’ll be the same in person. There’s a review by Stranger book critic (and current books intern) Christopher Sabatini here.

George Legrady will be discussing his artwork on display in the Seattle Public Library Central Branch at the SPL today. If I had my way, there wouldn’t be any art in the library; in libraries, as in the home, books are all the decoration you need. But, then, I’m biased.

Jean Haner reads from The Wisdom of Your Face (yes, I’m serious, and it does sound like a put-down: “Oh, yeah, the Wisdom of my Face? Let me tell you about the Wisdom of Your Mom!”) at Third Place Books, and Bruce Barcott reads from The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw, which got a good review on the front page of the NYT Book Review a week or so back, at Elliott Bay. Barcott will be reading elsewhere this weekend, too, so don’t feel bad if you have plans but you also have a powerful urge to learn about scarlet macaws. You’ll have your chance, my friend. You’ll have your chance.

And, lastly—and a late addition not on the readings calendar!—there will be some musicians at the Rendezvous Jewel Box Theater, starting at 7:30, but there will also be a spoken word set by the always-entertaining Doug Nufer where he will channel “Jackie Mason, Perry Mason, and a verbal version of Chainsaw Jason.”

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

McCain: A Proud Conservative Liberal Republican

posted by on February 29 at 10:15 AM

Via TPM, an interesting series of slips (Freudian slips?) from the presumptive Republican nominee. Listen, in particular, for the words “liberal” and “dispirited.”

2nd Ave Shut Down

posted by on February 29 at 10:11 AM

On my walk to work today I passed a women standing on the edge of the Moore Theater building threatening to jump. She has been up there for about an hour and I believe she still is.

Thanks to Slogtipper Brady for sending this in.

Update: SPD says they received a call about the woman at 8:17 this morning.

2nd Ave is closed between Stewart to Virginia while officers and case workers at the scene try to contact the woman.

UPDATE: She’s down. All is well.

Good News

posted by on February 29 at 9:35 AM

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The National Weather Service says a cold front blowing through Washington Friday night and Saturday will bring more snow to the mountains including highway passes.

Obama Confronts African American Crowd on Gay Rights

posted by on February 29 at 9:11 AM

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Okay, Obama went on the Pat Robertson’s hateful little cable network too, just like Hillary—bad marks for both on that score. But in addition to releasing an open letter to gays and lesbians yesterday, Obama also went out of his way to confront a largely black crowd on its homophobia.

Obama’s rally in Beaumont today was the highest-energy of this Texas swing, with a crowd that was about three-quarters black cheering at almost every turn.

An interesting moment came when he was asked a question about LGBT rights and delivered an answer that seemed to suit the questioner, listing the various attributes—race, gender, etc.—that shouldn’t trigger discrimination, to successive cheers. When he came to saying that gays and lesbians deserve equality, though, the crowd fell silent.

So he took a different tack:

“Now I’m a Christian, and I praise Jesus every Sunday,” he said, to a sudden wave of noisy applause and cheers. “I hear people saying things that I don’t think are very Christian with respect to people who are gay and lesbian,” he said, and the crowd seemed to come along with him this time.

I haven’t seen a tape of the event, but it seems clear that Obama went beyond the call of duty in Beaumont yesterday. Asked about gay rights, he began his answer with an anti-gay rights rhetorical formulation popular with religious bigots everywhere: the Ken Hutchersons of the world argue that anti-discrimination laws should apply only to “immutable” characteristics like race and gender. (Never mind that religious belief is a highly mutable characteristicespecially in the United States—and discrimination against people on the basis of religion is illegal.) And when Obama said we shouldn’t discriminate on the basis of race, the largely African American crowd cheered; when he said we shouldn’t discriminate on the basis of sex, the crowd cheered; and when he said we shouldn’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, the crowd sat silent.

Obama could have moved on here, hurrying off to his next point, returning to some safer piece of ground. Obama, being a Democrat, said what he had to say about gay rights; basically, “I’m for ‘em, even if makes some people that are for me uncomfortable.” A lot of politicians, having done the bare minimum for the gays, would have refrained from pressing the point, and opted to quickly toss out something to get the crowd cheering again. But Obama didn’t do that. He took in the crowd’s silence, recognized it for what it was (an expression of bigotry), and proceeded to challenge the largely African American crowd its homophobia—and he did it using explicitly religious language.

Back to Politico…

The moment reminded me of a conversation I had recently with a senior figure in the national gay rights movement, who noted that Obama’s deference to some black Christian discomfort with homosexuality—his refusal to dump the “ex-gay” gospel singer Donnie McClurkin from a tour—angered some gays and lesbians; but conversely, that his ability to sell gay rights in the black church is unique and appealing.

But Obama isn’t just able to sell gay rights to blacks that have been exposed to the virulent homophobia peddled by African American churches. He seems willing to do it—and willing to do it at a particularly crucial stage in the campaign.

I’m impressed. I’m used to seeing viable Democratic presidential candidates give us a little lip service, a little hushed support around the margins—maybe a speech at the HRC dinner, maybe a quick mention during the general election. But never before has a Democratic candidate on the verge of winning the nomination risked votes by coming out so strongly and so publicly for gay rights.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan on Obama’s stand yesterday

It’s time to be candid about this—because gay voters, in my judgment, could make the difference in Ohio and Texas and Vermont and Rhode Island. There are very large gay communities in Texas’ cities, and Ohio has the sixth largest gay community in the country. A plea: Do not sleep-walk into that voting booth with vague good feelings about the Clintons. Walk into that booth with eyes open and see what gay people have in front of them….

Yes, the McClurkin flap was poorly handled and a casualty of the usual gay-straight tensions in the African American south. But it is overwhelmed by Obama’s clear support and understanding of gay people and willingness to support our dignity at times and in places where others have not. I’ve seen it unprompted in private and unapologetically in public. I never saw it in the Clinton years, and Clinton herself is a victim of the defensive crouch that has immobilized progress at the national level for a decade or more….

What Obama is doing on the gay issue has the potential transform it and help us as a society to move past it. No, he’s not a savior. No, we shouldn’t expect miracles. No, we should never delegate the work of our equality to anyone else. We, after all, are the ones we’ve been waiting for. But within the Democratic contest, the case for backing Obama at this point in time is, to my mind, urgent, vital, historic.

Obama, Obama…

posted by on February 29 at 9:10 AM

The new wil.i.am video:

The Morning News

posted by on February 29 at 8:50 AM

Immediate withdrawal: Prince Harry, from Afghanistan.

The long run: Republicans begin trying out their Obama attacks.

Falling: Stocks, on inflation fears.

Alarming: Ricin found at Las Vegas hotel.

Facing execution: Chemical Ali.

It’s leap day: Explained and celebrated here.

Vitamin E: UW study says pills are not as helpful as hoped.

Late night phone calls: Hillary’s reminding voters about them, many see a similarity to this Mondale ad, and Obama’s up with his own security spot:

Senate Stars

posted by on February 29 at 8:44 AM

Did you know the only astrological voting blocs in the U.S. Senate to vote the right way on Sen. Chris Dodd’s amendment to strike telecom immunity from the FISA bill were Scorpio and Libra?

That’s right: Sens. Joseph Biden, Barbara Boxer, Sherrod Brown, Robert Byrd, Dick Durbin, Tom Harkin, and Jack Reed outvoted their fellow Scorpios in the U.S. Senate, Sens. Jim Bunning, Saxby Chambliss, James Inhofe, Mel Martinez, and Ted Stevens,7-5 on Dodd’s amendment. And U.S. Senate Libras: Sens. Jeff Bingaman, Maria Cantwell, Ben Cardin, Patty Murray, and Sheldon Whitehouse outvoted their fellow U.S. Senate Libras, Chuck Hagel, Blanche Lincoln, and Bill Nelson, 5-3.

How do I know this?

Because the Washington Post’s handy vote tracker, in addition to breaking down votes by Party, State, Region, Gender, and Age—also breaks it down by star sign. ???

Story developing.

Obama is Half White…

posted by on February 29 at 8:22 AM

…so can a half white, half Asian actor portray him on Saturday Night Live? From the Washington Post:

Debate over that question has been pinging around the Internet since [Fred] Armisen, a veteran cast member, donned darker makeup to portray the Democratic candidate for the first time Saturday. Armisen played Obama opposite Amy Poehler’s Hillary Clinton in a sketch satirizing the supposedly cushy treatment his candidacy has received from the media.

“SNL” impresario Lorne Michaels said yesterday by phone that he thought the sketch played so well that the show intends to air another Obama/Clinton debate spoof tomorrow night, with Armisen and Poehler reprising their characters.

Nobody much cared about Armisen’s racial background (he is of white and Asian heritage) when he played Prince and Steve Jobs during seasons past of the NBC show. Nor did it seem to matter that “SNL’s” Darrell Hammond, who is white, has impersonated the Rev. Jesse Jackson for years. Or that decades ago on “SNL,” Billy Crystal played Sammy Davis Jr.

Have we reached a point where someone that isn’t black can play a black character, or impersonate a black politician, without stooping to crude racist caricature? I think we have.

Flag Bashing

posted by on February 29 at 8:17 AM

Okay, this is hilarious…

Via TPM.

Just for the Record…

posted by on February 29 at 8:16 AM

I have never:

1. Had a latte in my life
2. Driven a Prius
3. Worn Birkenstocks
4. Had a trust fund

SF Proposes Anti-Loitering-Outside-Clubs Law

posted by on February 29 at 8:14 AM

Responding to a recent spike in violent crimes in and around San Francisco’s popular nightclubs, Mayor Gavin Newsom announced new legislation Thursday intended to make the venues safer.

Under the proposed legislation… it would be illegal to loiter within 10 feet of a club for more than three minutes between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. People smoking or waiting for a bus or taxi would be exempted, and police would have to issue a warning before citing a loiterer.

Vote for Hillary…

posted by on February 29 at 7:51 AM

…or all these cute kids will DIE!


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dear Microsoft

posted by on February 28 at 10:26 PM

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My wife is happy. I am not.

Zipcar Responds

posted by on February 28 at 6:20 PM

Zipcar spokeswoman Kristina Kennedy, whom I spoke to for my story this week, took issue with some of the statements I made in my piece. In an e-mail to Stranger editor Christopher Frizzelle, Kennedy wrote that “the extreme number of inaccuracies transcends personal opinions to make this story simply, factually incorrect” and asked us to take the story down or make 11 corrections. Having read through the list of items Kennedy called “factually inaccurate,” I see no need to take the story down, but I’m happy to address them in order.

1. [Quoting from my story] “When the state Department of Revenue determined Flexcar members would have to pay state and local rental-car taxes, it was two Seattle officials, Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles and City Council Member Jan Drago, who took on Flexcar’s cause.”

Zipcar’s Kennedy:

While we certainly appreciate the efforts of these leaders as well as the efforts of others that have drafted and supported the bills- the effort was led by Flexcar- now Zipcar. This include heavily investing financial and personnel resources, launching an online petition, hosting rallies, recruiting members to testify, and countless meetings and phone calls with other transportation and environmental advocacy groups.

As regular Slog readers know, we broke the news that the state Department of Revenue was going to charge Flexcar the tax, and spent a ton of space on Slog covering the issue. In my coverage, I regularly cited the fact that Flexcar worked to engage its members in fighting the tax. The point of that paragraph was to note that people in Seattle feel passionately about carsharing, and loved Seattle-born Flexcar, as evidenced by the fact that two Seattle reps picked up the cause.

2. [Me]: “Flexcar members who tried to access Zipcars over a recent three-day weekend discovered that Zipcar had completely shut down its service.”

Kennedy:

Zipcars were pulled out of service overnight for a period of less than 18 hours.
Well, that wasn’t my experience when I tried to reserve a Zipcar on the afternoon of Saturday, February 23, and received a message telling me “there are no cars within 17 miles of your location.” Nor was it the experience Josh, also a new Zipcar member, had when trying to reserve a car that same afternoon for Sunday. Nor was it the experience of dozens of commenters on this blog and other web sites, and people who emailed to share their experiences, who reported being unable to reserve cars all weekend. If this is true, it belies the experience I had, the experience Josh had, and the experiences reported by other Zipcar users.

3. [Me]: “Zipcar spokeswoman Kristina Kennedy acknowledges the transition could be “frustrating and confusing,” but says most calls were answered within 30 seconds.”

Kennedy:

As we provided Erica in our Q&A, 90% of calls were answered with 30 seconds—we believe this should be communicated with a different word than “most.”

I think we can all agree that 90 percent=”most,” yes?

4. [Me]: “The biggest is that Zipcar is substantially more expensive. ”

Kennedy:

While rates did go up on some vehicles under Zipcar’s model and pricing- rates on 60% of Seattle cars actually went down.

OK. This is only true either if you ONLY include the base per-hour cost under the “standard” plan that most people subscribe to (ignoring other fees and overlooking rebates and special programs that have been eliminated); or if you ONLY compare the total range of possible costs under every different rate plan (in which case you could pay $250 a month and get the lowest rate, $8.08 an hour). If you look at how much each company actually charges, total, in the real world, Zipcar is indisputably more expensive.

Let’s take the standard plan. The standard rate for Flexcar was $35 a year (a fee that was easy to get waived) and $10 an hour, plus discounted rates on certain cars and at certain times of day. They also offered rebates for things like filling up the tank with gas, and special rates ($9 an hour) for members of local environmental groups and co-ops. The standard rate for Zipcar is $50 a year and $9.50 an hour, with no special rates. They also charge the rental-car tax, which Flexcar was waiving, which actually makes it MUCH more expensive. For example, a regular Honda Civic, under Flexcar’s old plan, would cost you a flat $40 for four hours. That same Honda Civic now costs $42. Maybe that will change when the state hands over funding promised by Gov. Christine Gregoire to help defray the cost of the rental tax, but the Civic will still cost a minimum of $38 for four hours. That’s more than I used to pay with my PCC member rate—and doesn’t account for the higher annual fee, or the fact that if the Civic happens to be a hybrid it’ll cost you $10.50 an hour.

5. [Me]: “The ‘premium’ category includes not just luxury vehicles like SUVs, Minis, and BMWs, but hybrids—including Flexcar’s old Honda Civic hybrids.”

Kennedy:


Hybrids are not priced the same as high end cars. They are in the mid-price range alongside cars such as the VW Jetta. BMWs, MINI’s, etc. would be in a higher price class, while cars such as Scion xA, Nissan Versa, and VW Rabbit would be in a lower price class.


OK, this was my mistake. Hybrids and SUVs now appear to be in a midrange level of $10.50 an hour. (Minis, contrary to what Kennedy says here, are actually $10.50 an hour in Seattle—and we don’t have BMWs yet, as far as I can tell.) So the sentence should read, “The ‘midrange’ category includes not just luxury vehicles like SUVs and Minis but hybrids—including Flexcar’s old Honda Civic hybrids.”

Continue reading "Zipcar Responds" »

The Police Contract Clusterfuck

posted by on February 28 at 6:20 PM

Seattle Police Department officers, already weary from a drawn-out contract negotiation process, are seething over a move by the Mayor’s office to circumvent the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG). Additionally, Guild President Rich O’Neil says SPOG will be filing an unfair labor practice complaint tomorrow. SPOG got their way the last time they filed a labor complaint—to prevent the Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB) from receiving unredacted police files, effectively crippling OPARB. Now, the Guild is screaming about what O’Neil refers to as “union busting.”

Yesterday, several of the department’s assistant police chiefs—who are not represented by SPOG—showed up at the department’s four precincts during roll call, on behalf of the Mayor’s Office, and passed out a document outlining the city’s salary increase offer. All of the Guild’s representatives were in a training that day, and not immediately available when they were contacted about what was happening.

According to O’Neil,officers were so outraged at the South Precinct, one officer threw packets of Kool-Aid on the ground in front of an Assistant Chief and screamed, “We’re not drinking your Kool-Aid!”

While the mayor’s move was a gutsy one—bringing the contract proposal directly to officers in the hopes they’d urge push their leadership to settle on a contract—it appears to have backfired and SPOG may end up with even more power at the bargaining table.

Officers, outraged by the mayor’s move, appear to be rallying around SPOG, even though they don’t seem displeased with the offer on the table. “The money’s not bad, really,” says one officer, who asked not to be named. However, he says, “We have a guild to represent us. That’s their job. [The city] circumvented the system because they didn’t like bargaining with [SPOG]. Everybody feels like it’s a slap in the face.”

It appears officers are primarily upset with the principle of the mayor’s move, rather than the details of the contract. However, there are still a few sticking points. Although O’Neil claims the Guild was close to a “blockbuster deal” with the city, sources familiar with the bargaining process disagree.

One of SPOG’s major objections was to one of the mayor’s 29 Points for improving police accountability. The current SPD contract requires internal investigations into misconduct to be completed within 180 days, which has allowed several officers to escape punishment. The City wants to remove the 180-day window, and have investigation be at the discretion of OPA’s director.

According to O’Neil, that’s just not going to happen. “There’s no amount of money we’re ever going to agree to for that,” he says. “There has to be some end to an investigation.” O’Neil claims the city asked the Guild to sit down at the bargaining table without a mediator, and see if things could be worked out. However, O’Neil says the city requested confidentiality for the discussions, something he feels was broken when the city distributed contract offers to officers.

O’Neil claims he’s privately received apologies from negotiators, but, he says, “I had someone in the mayor’s office say they never agreed to confidentiality. When they’re on the stand under oath when we file our unfair labor practice [complaint], we’ll see.” However, O’Neil adds, “[The City] can call this off with a phone call.”

For now, the Guild and the city aren’t talking, but according to the officer I spoke with earlier today, things need to get back on track or the city—and department—are going to have an even bigger problem on their hands.

There’s like 50 officers [who have] put in to transfer to other departments if the contract doesn’t come in,” the officer says. “The ship is sinking here. They’ve got to settle something. On top of that, the officer says there’s growing resentment in the Department. “Why go out and police if every time I contact someone, I’m going to be considered a racist, or something?” [Officers] are going ‘I’m going to work in Bellevue or the county where everybody likes each other.’ Nobody wants to work in Seattle.”

Re: Obama and Clinton: Compare and Contrast

posted by on February 28 at 4:57 PM

If you’re outraged that HRC sat down
with Pat Robertson’s gay-baiting Christian Broadcasting Network… well, um, so did Obama.

That Riot at Evergreen

posted by on February 28 at 4:55 PM

A group called Hip Hop Congress has released a mini-documentary to clear up what the video’s director describes as “misconceptions and misinformation about what happened” during a riot on Valentine’s Day at the Evergreen State College. For reasons not fully explained in some mainstream media reports, students leaving a Hip Hop show allegedly pelted police with rocks and flipped a squad car after a man was arrested.

The video claims Olympia Police Department officers who arrived as backup turned on the crowd with pepper spray, escalating the protest over the “questionable arrest of one black male” into a full-scale fracas. In a news release about the incident, Julie Chang Schulman, Northwest Regional Director for Hip Hop Congress, says, “We were concerned with what seemed to be the omission of the Olympia Police Department’s role in this incident.”

Some audio NSFW.

UPDATE: Larry Mizell, Jr. has more over on Line Out.

America and Europe: Compare and Contrast

posted by on February 28 at 4:51 PM

When the FCC held hearings on Net Neutrality in Boston recently, the room was so packed that many interested citizens had to be turned away. Seems like good news, right?

Well, no. Turns out Comcast had hired a bunch of sleepy folks to show up early and fill the seats, thereby preventing regular people from voicing their concerns.

Fuckers. Anyone getting their cable service through Qwest or another provider in Seattle? I would really love to drop Comcast.

Here’s some video:

Meanwhile, in Europe, the EU is considering adopting a proposal that would classify Internet censorship as a trade barrier, meaning they could impose sanctions on countries that restrict their citizens’ access.

Thanks to Slog-tipper Fnarf.

Obama and Clinton: Compare and Contrast

posted by on February 28 at 4:31 PM

Obama came out with his open letter to the gays today… and Hillary Clinton talked about her faith on Pat Roberton’s gay-baiting 700 Club last week. Yeah, yeah: the Democrats have to reach out to religious voters. But on the 700 Club?

Abortion Rhetoric

posted by on February 28 at 4:21 PM

Erica, I think you are being insane. That statement Obama made in response to a question from a pro-life fanatic in Iowa was, in my opinion, brilliant. I think I’ve linked to it on the Slog before, but if I haven’t, I can tell you for sure: That line from our Obama endorsement about abortion rights (“He has eloquently defended abortion rights on the campaign trail, and his votes in the U.S. Senate have earned him a 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America”)? I was referring to this exact response.

Here’s the entire context and quote:

The Questioner: “I see a great a contradiction going on in our society, right now, and I don’t understand it. Maybe you can help me out. On the one hand, we see a guy like Michael Vick, who will likely lose his livelihood and spend some time in jail and there’s been a tremendous outcry against this man because of fighting dogs. There’s been a huge, huge reaction. On the other hand, we have 34 years and counting where thousands of innocent, sweet babies are being killed every day through what we call abortion, yet that voice has seemingly died out. What would you do about that and what’s happening in our society when people can’t seem to see this contradiction?”

Mr. Obama: “The issue of abortion, I don’t think, has gone away. People think about it a lot, obviously you do and you feel impassioned. I think that the American people struggle with two principles: There’s the principle that a fetus is not just an appendage, it’s potential life. I think people recognize that there’s a moral element to that. They also believe that women should have some control over their bodies and themselves and there is a privacy element to making those decisions.

“I don’t think people take the issue lightly. A lot of people have arrived in the view that I’ve arrived at, which is that there is a moral implication to these issues, but that the women involved are in the best position to make that determination. And I don’t think they make it lightly. I don’t think they make it callously, so I reject a comparison between a woman struggling with these issues and Michael Vick fighting dogs for sport. I don’t think that’s sort of how people perceive it.

“Now, this is one of those areas – again, I think it’s important to be honest – where I don’t think you’re ever going to get a complete agreement on this issue. If you believe that life begins at conception, then I can’t change your mind. I think there is a large agreement, for example, that late-term abortions are really problematic and there should be a regulation. And it should only happen in terms of the mother’s life or severe health consequences, so I think there is broad agreement on these issues.

“One area where I think we should have significant agreement is on the idea of reducing unwanted pregnancies because if we can reduce unwanted pregnancies, then it’s much less likely that people resort to abortion. The way to do that is to encourage young people and older people, people of child-bearing years, to act responsibly. Part of acting responsibly – I’ve got two daughters – part of my job as a parent is to communicate to them that sex isn’t casual and that it’s something that they should really think about and not think is just a game.

“I’m all for education for our young people, encouraging abstinence until marriage, but I also believe that young people do things regardless of what their parents tell them to do and I don’t want my daughters ending up in really difficult situations because I didn’t communicate to them, how to protect themselves if they make a mistake. I think we’ve got to have that kind of comprehensive view that says family planning and education for our young people and so forth – to prevent teen pregnancies, to prevent the kinds of situations that lead to women having to struggle with these difficult decisions and we should be supportive of those efforts. That’s an area where there should be some agreement.”

I see no way you could possibly read this entire statement as anything but a calm, compassionate way of talking to someone who will never agree with Obama on the issue of abortion. He recognizes that some people think abortion is wrong and that women should not be allowed access to make that moral determination independently. He then explains that he disagrees. He says encouraging abstinence makes sense, but then thoroughly rejects the notion of abstinence-only education.

Let’s compare this scenario to one in which Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, intentionally and without being asked, introduced the topic of a woman’s emotional response to abortion. In fact, she brought it up in front of a completely friendly audience: the New York State Family Planning Providers. Here’s what she said:

This decision, which is one of the most fundamental, difficult and soul searching decisions a woman and a family can make, is also one in which the government should have no role. I believe we can all recognize that abortion in many ways represents a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women. Often, it’s a failure of our system of education, health care, and preventive services. It’s often a result of family dynamics. This decision is a profound and complicated one; a difficult one, often the most difficult that a woman will ever make. The fact is that the best way to reduce the number of abortions is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies in the first place.

Objectively speaking, the two candidates were saying the same thing: Abortion has a moral dimension that some people find troubling. But the government should not be able to make that moral determination for a woman. Moreover, the best way to reduce abortions is to reduce unwanted pregnancies, and that goal requires quality sex education. Here’s how their statements differ: Where Obama defused emotion, Clinton injected emotion.

I think Obama’s response was smart, and it’s obviously zero cause for alarm about his support for abortion rights. This is getting ridiculous.

Shame on Ron Sims

posted by on February 28 at 4:16 PM

One thing I did hear from Deputy Mayor TIm Ceis today was this: Mayor Nickels—the new Sound Transit Board chair—is systematically lining up votes on the Sound Transit board to take a light rail initiative (heading north and east) to the ‘08 Barack-Obama-ballot. (Smart.)

One person, however, who’s not with Nickels? KC Executive Ron Sims.

That’s ridiculous, Ron. You helped kill the light rail package in ‘07—and I’m glad you did—but that brave move should have been coupled with a commitment that other anti-Prop 1 environmentalists were making at the time: Vote down the roads and transit package, so we can come back with a transit-only package in ‘08.

Ron, you spun your contrarian position last year as bold leadership. Well, show some.

Dept. of Community Service

posted by on February 28 at 4:10 PM

seagull.jpg

Slog tipper Shalimar writes: “Found this near Harborview last night. Please tell the crazies to not pin dead seagulls underneath windshield wipers.”

Done and done, Shalimar.

The More You Know

posted by on February 28 at 3:56 PM

Via Sullivan.

When Snowboarders Disappear

posted by on February 28 at 3:47 PM

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This week in The Stranger, Courtney Nash writes about the three snowboarders who disappeared a couple months ago in the Crystal Mountain backcountry.

On Friday, November 30, 2007, Kevin Carter, Devlin Williams, and Phillip Hollins—roommates and coworkers—set out for a weekend of backcountry snowboarding near the Crystal Mountain Ski Area. It was an adventure they’d been planning for months. After an uneventful November, the snow was suddenly falling heavily, and the Cascade Mountains were covered in fresh, untracked powder. During the summer and fall months, the men had built a lean-to shelter near Union Creek, a few miles southeast of the resort, and by all accounts that was their planned destination. But they never made it to the shelter and they never came home.

Nash talks to Joseph Schaaf, the last person to see the three of them alive. The photo above—taken by Sean Hallissey—is of a memorial someone’s put up on the ridgeline near where Schaaf saw them.

Evil and Stupid: This is Our Youth

posted by on February 28 at 3:40 PM

I finally got around to reading this morning’s Seattle Times and… man.

Four teens have been charged with rape in the alleged assault of a 16-year-old Bellevue girl last November…. She was returned to her home about three hours after the teens picked her up. Her mother, alarmed at her appearance, took her to Overlake Hospital. An examination determined she had been raped, and police were called, according to court filings.

The girl went to MySpace.com, found profiles for two of the teens and identified them as two of her assailants, according to a police affidavit.

Police got a search warrant for MySpace.com records and found descriptions of the attack. “The messages included details of the assault … and confirmed that four males were involved,” Detective Carl Kleinknecht said.

In other messages, two suspects and other recipients exchanged ideas that included possibly killing the girl if she went to police, concocting a cover story and even boasting of the attack.

Copper Cure

posted by on February 28 at 2:51 PM

Robin Leventhal, owner and chef of Crave (and friend of mine), is cooking up something fantastic: She’s distributed her collection of copper Jell-O molds to dozens of Seattle’s best chefs, asking them to bake something special in the mold that can be auctioned off at a benefit for lymphoma research. An no, the molds aren’t the same bakeware that used to adorn the exterior of the Cyclops (where Leventhal was chef off and on between 1996 and 2003), but they’re inspired by that collection.

Tom Black (35th Street Bistro) is making a lobster pot pie and Maria Hines (Tilth) is working on a bubbles and caviar theme: beluga lentils accompanied by a bottle of Rosé Veuve Clicquot. Also expect creations from Anna Brenner, Matthew Dillion, Ethan Stowell, Johnathan Sundstrom, and loads more fancy cooks.

Those of you who know Robin know she’s a vivacious dynamo and a lymphoma survivor. She’s recruited all these culinary talents to raise money for lymphoma research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center—specifically for a new, targeted radio-immune gene therapy that’s currently being tested here.

The party (March 15, 11 am at the Century Ballroom) is also laced through with Robin’s vim: Savage will host and in addition to the auctions, the Can Can cabaret dancers will perform (look for Fuchsia Foxxx, Seattle’s sexiest Burlesque dancer), and Crave will cater brunch (chorizo pigs in a blanket, Waldorf salad, pineapple upside-down cake, etc).

The price is rich ($100 per person), but if you’ve got the funds, go and celebrate food and community, cancer research, and the inexplicable joy that is Jell-O.

More info at www.cravefood.com, tickets at brownpapertickets.com.
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Despite Any Bitchiness

posted by on February 28 at 2:25 PM

in my previous post about the iffy Democrats…

it is a beautiful day here in Olympia.

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…And David played the harp beautifully for Saul.

News Intern Needed

posted by on February 28 at 2:22 PM

Originally posted by Josh Feit
Our last intern, Brian Slodysko, covered the anti-war protests down in Olympia, wrote about evil polluters in Georgetown, put a microscope to Rep. Dave Reichert’s voting record, eyeballed corporate donations to state Sen. Margarita Prentice (D-11, Renton), and got chased off the Seattle Times parking lot by Seattle Times security for taking a picture of Frank Blethen’s purple porsche.

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He also did karaoke at city council member David Della’s “victory” party. He sang “It’s the End of the World as We Know It.”

For these reasons, we loved Brian Slodysko. (Although, we didn’t love that he liked ZZ Top as much as he did.) We need a new Brian Slodysko. ASAP.

You don’t have to have an opinion about Obama or Hillary (and Erica doesn’t bite), but it helps.

If you want to work in a local newsroom (for no pay!), please e-mail josh@thestranger.com

Not Being Able to Recite Lame Facts Doesn’t Mean You’re Stupid, Dumbass

posted by on February 28 at 2:15 PM

I HATE this story that’s going around:

On literature, the teenagers fared even worse. Four in 10 could pick the name of Ralph Ellison’s novel about a young man’s growing up in the South and moving to Harlem, Invisible Man, from a list of titles. About half knew that in the Bible Job is known for his patience in suffering. About as many said he was known for his skill as a builder, his prowess in battle or his prophetic abilities.

Hey survey idiots: Just because someone hasn’t read a specific book doesn’t mean that they are stupid! I never was even asked to read Invisible Man in high school. Instead, you know what I read? Dostoevsky, Faulkner, and Daniel Quinn. I had no fucking clue what Job is known for in the Bible…because they don’t teach BIBLE in school! I’ve never even read the goddamn New Testament, and I think that’s A-OK (so does my agnostic father).

Christ, kids today aren’t stupider than they used to be. In my high school (class of ‘03), we were told all the time that memorizing specific facts and details was significantly less important than being able to parse out causes and effects, or being able to extract themes and lessons from any given text. Maybe all the people who gave this survey should spend some quality time with an actual modern curriculum instead of dooming today’s idiot youth.

The Democratic Agenda Pt. 2

posted by on February 28 at 2:05 PM

Earlier today, I Slogged about how the Democrats at the national level have their shit together.

Now, onto the Democrats in Olympia. I’m not saying they’re losers, but this morning’s action neatly sums up this session’s mixed record and confused agenda.

Three Committee Meetings.

1. Democrats Join with GOP to Kill Environmental Bill

At an 8:00 a.m. meeting of the house Local Government Committee, a great environmental bill that passed out of the senate 31-18 two weeks ago (the bill added climate change impacts into growth management standards so that development projects had to be environmentally responsible) got torpedoed by conservative Democrat Representative Deborah Eddy (D-48, Eastside Seattle suburbs).

At this morning’s committee meeting Eddy offered an amendment that—hugs and kisses BIAW—not only scrapped the idea of making climate change a standard in growth management guidelines, but went further to make sure it wouldn’t be possible in the future.

Committee chair, and the bill’s house sponsor, liberal Representative Geoff Simpson (D-47, Covington, Kiss Song), rejected Eddy’s amendment as “out of scope”—the bill’s title is “Addressing the impacts of climate change through the growth management act” and Simpson rightly argued that Eddy’s striker amendment did the opposite.

Then Simpson called for a vote on the bill itself. It lost 5-2 with two Democrats, including Eddy and Representative Dean Takko (D-19, South Bend) voting with the committee’s three Republicans against the bill and Simpson and rookie-of-the-year Representative Sharon Nelson (D-34, Vashon Island) voting for it.

2. Democrats Stand by Their Housing Agenda

While they’re botching it on the environment, the Democrats continue to make good on their mission this session to deal with the housing and related mortgage broker crisis. Senators Brian Weinstein and Rodney Tom had sent two bills over to the house that would govern mortgage brokers to ensure the brokers weren’t duping housebuyers into bad loans.

The bills landed in the house consumer protection committee, and this morning, after a scare that the language would be watered down to simply say brokers must work “in good faith” for the borrower, committee chair Representative Steve Kirby (D-29, Tacoma) added tougher legal language—“must act in the borrower’s best interest”—into the bill.

It’s curious, though, that Senator Tom’s bill explicitly dealing with hidden kickbacks that brokers may get, was dropped. However, the house did write language into the bill that addressed Tom’s intent: “A mortgage broker must disclose to the borrower all material facts… that might… affect the borrower’s interests….” Lefty housing advocates seemed happy with that.

3. Democrats Continue to Push “Tough-on-Crime” Agenda

There wasn’t a vote, but there was a hearing in the senate Committee on Human Services and Corrections this morning on this creepy bill that expands the state’s ability to collect DNA from people convicted of misdemeanors like assault in the fourth degree, prostitution, and animal cruelty. Proponents of the bill, like prosecutors, argue that people who commit misdemeanors go on to commit more serious crimes so it makes sense to have them… on file. (Is that the right way to describe it?)

Mark Prothero, a private attorney from Kent who testified against the bill on behalf of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers said the bill “edged into the realm of Big Brother.”

At least one senator, Senator James Hargrove (D-24, Clallam Bay, Hoquiam), agreed, saying we might as well implant chips in people when they’re born. Senator Hargrove was responding to testimony supporting the bill from prosecuting attorneys who said it made sense to collect DNA from prostitutes because prostitutes often end up as murder victims—and their DNA samples could help crack those cases. In addition to how weird, repellent, sexist, and discriminatory the prosecutors’ line of argument is, it also doesn’t make too much sense: You can get a DNA sample from a murder victim once they’re a murder victim and track the killer at that point.

The senate version of the DNA bill is likely to be less creepy than the house bill (the senate only wants to include assault in the fourth degree when it involves sexual assault) but it’s worth keeping an eye on as the compromise bill emerges.

One in One Hundred U.S. Adults is Incarcerated

posted by on February 28 at 1:50 PM

If the findings of this new study are not a national shame, I don’t know what is. Hillary Clinton is the first out with a statement:

America’s prison population has grown at a staggering rate over the past quarter century. A new report now reveals a staggering and heart-breaking statistic: One in 100 American adults is currently behind bars. Our incarceration rate is several times greater than that of any other developed country. To state it plainly, the 1-in-100 figure represents a failure of our society at a number of levels. And the cost – to our families, to our communities, and to state budgets to the tune of almost $50 billion – are simply too great to bear. Many of those costs are borne disproportionately by minority communities: One in 15 African American adults is behind bars, and one in 36 Hispanic adults. We need a President who will be tough on crime, but smart about it too. A President who will take innovative steps to ensure our crime policies are reducing crime in the long run so that we have fewer victims of crime and fewer prisoners.

To reverse this alarming trend, interventions are needed before crimes are committed, before offenders are shipped to prison, during their terms of incarceration, and as they are released and begin to reintegrate themselves into our communities. I will work to deter crime by re-investing in our communities, re-invigorating the COPS program, and putting 100,000 new officers committed to community policing into neighborhoods across America. Studies have shown that the COPS program deters crime. And I will close the revolving prison door by reforming our sentencing policies, promoting effective alternatives to incarceration, and investing in new “second chance” Reentry Partnership Grants to support reformed offenders and reduce recidivism. The solutions are within our grasp. What we need now is leadership, and that’s what I’ll provide.

Something that’s noticeably absent from Clinton’s statement: Any mention of the drug war, which is a significant force behind the high incarceration rates in the U.S.

UPDATE: D’oh. Maybe I’m a candidate for drug-related incarceration. I somehow missed that Dominic posted about this same story, making almost the exact same point, more than two hours ago.

Save the Old Folks!

posted by on February 28 at 1:34 PM

Old people. God damn them, they are my kryptonite. My Achilles’ fricking heal. They make me so sad. They are just so cute and tiny and pathetic and breakable. I can laugh at JonBonnet jokes from sun-up to dusk—toss in a few dead puppies and a burning busload of paraplegic retarded kids and I’m yours forever. But old people! They break my weird little heart.

Please don’t ask me to explain it.

So I was walking somewhere on Capitol Hill, late, on one of those streets dotted with old mansions, and, from the doorway of one of said mansions, the littlest, frailest old woman that ever old womaned was trying to flag me down. Not me, specifically, but anybody. She was as big as a box kite, rather hysterical, and waving a dishrag. Jesus. I knew somebody must be dead in there.

And somebody was. A few people actually. But that was much earlier.

What had happened was she couldn’t turn her oven off. That was it.

I rushed up to see, oh, dear, what could the matter be, and she rushed me into her ginormous mansion, through her rather exquisitely appointed hallway, past the closed French doors of the drawing and television rooms, into her charming little kitchen, where she kept calling me “Kiddo”, and introduced me to the stove. It was an old-ish stove, one of the knobs had gone wonky, she could no longer figure out how to manage the off switch, the burner was red hot, and she was beside her little old self. “Oh, kiddo, I was so scared, I couldn’t go to bed, oh, kiddo, what if there was a fire, I was so so so scared, no one would stop, everybody just walked by, you were the only one, oh, kiddo!”

Frankly, she was damn lucky. The street was a fucking freakshow.

So I fiddled with her knob, if you’ll pardon the expression, and managed to cool her oven down. She cooled down also. The aneurysm was averted. I finally took a good look at her. She was all of 86 pounds, white as a Christmas pubic hair, and deafer than Academy Award Winner Marley Matlin. (Who is, like, professionally deaf.) I’ll go out on a limb and say that I don’t think her eyes worked none too good, neither. I screamed; she barely caught a word. I pointed; she squinted. She managed to tell me her name (Hazel or some shit, no kidding), and also that she lived totally alone, that “everyone” was just recently deceased. She was darling as a teacup. She was completely depressing.

I made sure she was relatively calm and that she understood the stove, and I wrote down my cell number, in case. I let myself out and locked her door behind me, and now I feel like a total turd.

This old woman cannot be left alone, let’s be frank. I don’t know how she’s survived this long. I’m going to force myself to go back there later to check on her…but…my hand to God, she is going to plotz. There must be some city agency or…well…something…to help this woman. I just have no clue what it is. I’m just some weirdo off the street.

Anyone?

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Someone Likes Zipcar

posted by on February 28 at 1:30 PM

Over on Seattle Livejournal. His reasons: You can park in multiple spaces if you’re getting the car from a “pod” of several Zipcar spots; the key stays in the car and the car unlocks faster; the online reservation system has maps; and they charge fees as an incentive for people to behave.

Yeah, all those things are true. But it’s also true that, as I noted in my piece this week, Zipcar is substantially more expensive than Flexcar, and focuses more on profits than the environmental principles that are nominally part of its mission.

In addition to higher annual fees, cars that used to cost $8 or $9 an hour went up to $9.50 or $10.50 an hour, depending on whether a car is regular or “premium.” The “premium” category includes not just luxury vehicles like SUVs, Minis, and BMWs, but hybrids—including Flexcar’s old Honda Civic hybrids, their Flexcar stickers removed and replaced by Zipcar’s sunny “Wheels When You Want Them” motto.

Zipcar’s Kennedy says the company charges based on the cost of the car, not its environmental footprint, and that “the hourly rate of the hybrids is compatible with other Zipcars at the same purchase price.”

Another costly change is that all reservations must now be made in hour increments, meaning that a half-hour trip that used to cost less than $5 now costs $12 or more.

One thing I didn’t have room to mention in the paper is that Zipcar’s first move in the Los Angeles market was to remove all vehicles that weren’t based on college campuses—leaving thousands of loyal Flexcar members without transportation. It’s hard to reconcile that with the fact that Zipcar purports to care about “the significant, positive environmental impact of car sharing” (and brags on its web site that each Zipcar takes 15 privately owned vehicles off the road). Combine that with the fact that Zipcar charges more for hybrids, and that they specialize in flashy, fuel-guzzling cars like BMWs and Ford Mustangs, and it starts to look like Zipcar cares more about its bottom line than its environmental mission.

Barack Obama’s Open Letter to the Gay Community

posted by on February 28 at 1:13 PM

Full text, via Towleroad, after the jump. But here’s a taste…

As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws. I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment. But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples—whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage. Unlike Senator Clinton, I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)—a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether. Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does. I have also called for us to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and I have worked to improve the Uniting American Families Act so we can afford same-sex couples the same rights and obligations as married couples in our immigration system.

The rest, again, after the jump…

Continue reading "Barack Obama's Open Letter to the Gay Community" »

It’s Funny ’Cause It’s True

posted by on February 28 at 1:11 PM

This just in from Slog Tipper Steve: “Today I found a piece of paper taped to the door of the now-closed Café Minnie’s at 1st and Denny. This is what it read.”

Dear Customers,

We are sad to announce that we will no longer be able to treat you like the piece of crap that you are. We regret that we will no longer be able to make you wait for 15 minutes at the door before seating you. We will miss not taking your order until you’ve been here an hour. We will miss disappearing for twenty minutes without having to explain ourselves. It’s not because we really liked hanging out here, but you annoying customers just got in the way. We were busy with our music, our conversations, and our smoke breaks and you customers just never seemed to understand: we hate you!

For those few remaining customers that we could not piss off enough, we have decided to close because we just can’t stand serving you anymore.

Mini’s
Management

Obama and Hillary on Reproductive Rights

posted by on February 28 at 12:58 PM

So I have a piece up on RHReality Check comparing Hillary and Obama on reproductive rights. Although I think either candidate would be light-years better than any Republican on reproductive issues, my position remains the same as it’s always been: Both Clinton and Obama talk a good game on women’s right to control their own bodies, but Clinton has made it more of a priority both in her campaign and as a senator. (As Melissa McEwan points out here, it might be easier to know where he stands if he had, say, a page on his web site devoted to women or reproductive rights—but hey, a candidate has to have priorities.)

Today, Zuzu at Feministe points out a statement Obama made in Iowa that gives me, as a pro-choice voter, cause for concern. The statement was in response to a man who wanted to know what Obama would do to protect the “thousands of innocent, sweet babies [that] are being killed every day through what we call abortion.”

Obama:

I think that the American people struggle with two principles: There’s the principle that a fetus is not just an appendage, it’s potential life. I think people recognize that there’s a moral element to that. They also believe that women should have some control over their bodies and themselves and there is a privacy element to making those decisions.

Yes, some control—a position that’s consistent with his statement ion the Senate floor, in response to a question about whether teenagers should have the right to get abortions, that the choice to abort or not “generally is one that a woman should make.” Back in Iowa, and still in response to the innocent, sweet babies question, Obama continues:

One area where I think we should have significant agreement is on the idea of reducing unwanted pregnancies because if we can reduce unwanted pregnancies, then it’s much less likely that people resort to abortion. The way to do that is to encourage young people and older people, people of child-bearing years, to act responsibly. Part of acting responsibly – I’ve got two daughters – part of my job as a parent is to communicate to them that sex isn’t casual and that it’s something that they should really think about and not think is just a game.

I’m all for education for our young people, encouraging abstinence until marriage, but I also believe that young people do things regardless of what their parents tell them to do and I don’t want my daughters ending up in really difficult situations because I didn’t communicate to them, how to protect themselves if they make a mistake.

Yes, you may say, but Obama clearly supports comprehensive sex education and the right to choose—the fact that he hedges on those positions and couches his response in right-wing rhetoric when responding to a right-wing questioner shouldn’t matter.

Here’s why it does: 1) Endorsing abstinence-only education in public schools—even as part of a larger strategy in which the government encourages parents, and adults without kids, to take responsibility—is endorsing a failed system that has done nothing to reduce the teen pregnancy rate or the rate of STDs and abortions. 2) Ninety-five percent all Americans have had sex by the time they get married. Isn’t it time for the next Democratic president to acknowledge that instead of embracing the failed model of “abstinence until marriage”? 3) Rhetoric is important. The government, under Bush, already has an official policy encouraging “people of child-bearing years to act responsibly”—it’s called adult abstinence until marriage, and the federal government is spending millions of dollars a year to promote it. If Obama doesn’t support the policy, he shouldn’t talk about unmarried adults “acting responsibly.”

Yes, Clinton did call abortion, “in some cases,” a “tragedy.” But assuming Obama is the frontrunner now, I think all thinking Democrats should be holding his feet to the fire for hemming and hawing on issues that should be central to any Democratic candidate’s platform and message.

Former Seattle Man Faces Freaky Arson Charges in San Francisco

posted by on February 28 at 12:42 PM

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Last month, 47-year-old Lance Farber, a Seattle chiropractor, moved to San Francisco with his partner John Raheim, who’d taken a job as the City’s planning director.

Last Friday, after what Farber’s lawyer identifies as a “lovers’ quarrel” between the two men, Lance Farber set fire to the mattress the couple had been sleeping on, in the house they’d been provided by the city while searching for a permanent home.

Now Lance Farber has been charged with felony arson, and is being held on $1 million bail.

Adding irony to injury: The house the men had been inhabiting—and that Farber’s accused of torching—is the Dennis T. Sullivan Memorial Fire Chief’s Home, a city landmark built in 1923 to honor a fire chief engineer killed in the 1906 earthquake.

SFGate has the full funky story here.

And here’s Lance Farber’s website. (He seems pretty New-Age woo-woo for an alleged arsonist.)

Thank you, Slog tipper David.

In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on February 28 at 12:35 PM

Here’s what’s waiting for you over on Line Out, the music and nightlife blog that hardly ever talks about Obama:

Tonight in Music: King Cobra’s grand opening, My!Gay!Husband!, and the Ball of Wax CD release show.

RIP: Buddy Miles dead at 60.

Funplex: The new B-52s single!

Herbie Mann: TJ Gorton discovers his hidden 70s treasures.

The Clash: Watch the trailer for the new documentary by Don Letts.

Poll: Who’s the bigger douchebag?

The Eurythmics: Appreciation by way of Mr. Mudede.

Show Reviews: Eric Grandy writes about Holy Fuck and A Place to Bury Strangers at Chop Suey, and MSTRKRFT at Neumo’s.

Speaking of A Place to Bury Strangers: Donte Parks has some pretty pictures of their set.

And Speaking of Holy Fuck: They’re playing Rachael Ray’s SXSW showcase…???

Sleepy Eyes of Death: One of this year’s Young Ones.

Ladies Choice: An interview with Adam Bass.

Finding Comfort in the Shuffle: Eric Grandy’s MP3 player knows what he needs to hear.

You’ll also see photos like this:

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(Taken by Jeff Kirby)

Want to follow Line Out on Twitter?
Click here to do it!

Border(line) Patrol

posted by on February 28 at 12:32 PM

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Two things to remember when you hear McCain, et al, say we need to “fortify U.S. borders.”

One: Immigrants, most of them middle-class aspirants, are less likely to commit crime (other than, you know, the horrendous crime of crossing an imaginary line to try to find a job).

Witness this new study: “The report released Monday by the Public Policy Institute of California also suggests that the foreign-born population, which makes up more than a third of the state’s adults, plays a disproportionately smaller role in serious crime.”

Two: Our border-fortifiers? Let’s peruse today’s headlines:

Suit filed over disabled U.S. citizen’s deportation ordeal.

Pedro Guzman, 30 [and a U.S. citizen], who is developmentally disabled, was missing for nearly three months before he was found in Mexico and released to his family, his attorneys said. Guzman had been dropped off in Tijuana with $3 in his pocket and spent much of his time wandering Baja California on foot, eating from dumpsters and bathing in rivers, they said.

Immigration agent kills self amid porn, swastika flag.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent killed himself after an armed standoff with a police officer and three colleagues, Grand Prairie police said Wednesday.

Border Patrol Agent’s Trial in Killing of Illegal Immigrant Starts in Arizona.

The agent, Nicholas W. Corbett, 40, was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide for a shooting that prosecutors say was unprovoked as the immigrant, Francisco Javiér Domínguez, 22, was surrendering.

The prosecutor, Grant Woods, a former state attorney general, said Wednesday at the trial that Agent Corbett had lied to supervisors about what occurred. Scientific evidence, Mr. Woods said, overwhelmingly supported the accounts of Mr. Domínguez’s companions, all relatives.


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So we have to choose between more immigrants and more border patrol?

I’ll take the immigrants, thank you.

UPDATE: Photo credit where photo credit is due. The first came from Wikipedia Commons. The second—it’s beautiful; click on it to see a bigger version—came from the Crossings series by photographer Alex Webb.

Speaking of Free Books

posted by on February 28 at 12:14 PM

Charles Bock’s Beautiful Children is available as a free download from Random House until noon tomorrow. I had my doubts about this one, but, you know, it’s free. Maybe you should download it and save it for a rainy day?

Oly Illustrated

posted by on February 28 at 12:01 PM

I ran into Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis, Mayor Greg Nickels, and KC Council Member Dow Constantine lurking around in the legislative building this morning. They claim they were meeting with the governor to talk about the viaduct. They wouldn’t say much else—although Ceis said my tie ruined my “image.”

I didn’t get their picture, but I did get a picture of this man lobbying for parks money playing the flute outside Senate chambers. And the lord God created the fruit on the vine.

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p.s. And this is a hint about a post to come (The Democratic Agenda Pt. 2) that I’m still doing some reporting on. A major environmental bill—one of my favorite bills this session—got iced in a hearing this morning…by the Democrats. If you click on the link (“bills”) scroll down to the latest update—”Feb 28 Executive action taken in the House Committee on Local Government at 8:00 AM” …

Oy vey. Stay tuned.

For Fuck’s Sake

posted by on February 28 at 12:00 PM

Will someone please tell Congress that Alberto Gonzalez used steroids? Maybe that’ll convince Congress to get off its ass and investigate the abuses at Justice during his tenure.

Shopliftingology

posted by on February 28 at 11:45 AM

In this week’s book section, I write about chasing after shoplifters in my recently-ended career as an independent bookseller. Here’s what I would do if I couldn’t catch them:

On the rare occasion when a shoplifter would run faster than I could, I would shout at his back as he escaped into the city: “Why don’t you steal from a fucking corporate bookstore, you asshole?”

This morning I got a very thoughtful, eloquent e-mail from a bookseller who took umbrage at the above passage. In order to preserve the booksellers’ identity, I’m going to run portions of the e-mail, and emphasis is mine.

I work at a corporate bookstore in Seattle…I’m one of the “security guards” you mentioned in your article…When you said in your article that you ask shoplifters why they don’t steal from corporate bookstores instead of independent ones, I was so disappointed. I know that theft doesn’t mean the same thing to my company that it means to an independent bookstore, but it means a great deal to me and my coworkers. I (have been) personally assaulted by two shoplifters I was attempting to stop. I saw my coworkers pushed, threatened with knives, threatened with violence, one was even slashed with a box cutter.

Those “security guards” you so disdain, who put their safety on the line with every confrontation (don’t make much money). But this isn’t about money, even, it’s about our humanity, which you imply is somehow lessened by the fact that we’re employed by a large company. Yes, I’m just a number to my CEO, but I’m still a person, Paul. I still get angry when I see injustice. I didn’t lose all capability for independent thought the second I signed my w-4 and donned my name tag…My point is that it’s incredibly small-minded of you to imply that it’s somehow less of a crime to steal from my store than from yours.

I envy the freedom you have to chase the shoplifters; you’re right about the corporate rules that keep my coworkers and I from doing the same thing. What that leaves us with is a sense of helplessness; these people can take things from us and we can’t even chase them down and try to reclaim our stolen dignity with a few angry shouts. When some one steals while I have to watch helplessly as they run away, regardless of if they struck me or not, they’ve taken something from ME, not just from my employer.

The same mentality that spurs shoplifters in your store, (or any store) that it is somehow justifiable to steal from you because you have enough money to own your own shop, to buy food (or drugs, or booze) or have a car or a house, makes it OK for they who have less to take from you who has more, this same mentality is what fuels your “steal from the corporations” suggestion. That because it won’t put Borders or Barnes and Noble out of business to take a few books from them, it’s OK (or at least less criminal) than stealing from a smaller store.

You should be ashamed of putting such an poorly constructed argument, based on such immature reasoning in print…(W)hen I get shoved by a crackhead making a dash for the door with a bag full of stolen merchandise, it won’t hurt any less, my bruises don’t fade any faster, and I sure as hell don’t get paid any more for the trouble, because I work for a big corporation rather than a small independent store. Think about that next time you’re encouraging some lowlife to go to my store instead of yours.

My response is after the jump:

Continue reading "Shopliftingology" »

Notes from the Prayer Warrior

posted by on February 28 at 11:35 AM

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Thursday, 28 February 2008

There is a documentary in the making about a woman named Kate Fleming who drowned in the basement of her Seattle home during the flooding of December 2006. Kate’s lesbian partner who was not allowed to see her in the hospital immediately after she was rescued, has become an activist for gay rights. The filmmakers who will be here today at 4 pm have asked me to play myself in the documentary. Please pray that my words will be a strong witness for the Lord!

Also, please pray for the challenge I have made to the Snoqualmie Valley School District to sponsor a debate between the Rev. Wayne Perryman, Rabbi Daniel Lapin and me and any three people of their choosing to discuss why homosexual rights should not be viewed in the same way as civil rights for African Americans.

Your Pastor,
Hutch

I’ll See Your $35 Million and Raise You…

posted by on February 28 at 11:25 AM

Most of the Slog world seems to think Hillary Clinton is finished, but the rest of the online world? Well, it helped give Clinton her best fund raising month ever in February, bringing her $35 million in donations, much of that from online contributions that have been pouring in at a rate of about $1 million a day.

That’s a lot of money for ads in Texas and Ohio.

Still, Obama is reportedly on track to report an even bigger number: over $50 million in February.

A New Record

posted by on February 28 at 11:18 AM

From today’s NYT.

For the first time in the nation’s history, more than one in 100 American adults is behind bars, according to a new report.

Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million. Another 723,000 people are in local jails. The number of American adults is about 230 million, meaning that one in every 99.1 adults is behind bars.

Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 black adults is, too, as is one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34.

The report, from the Pew Center on the States, also found that only one in 355 white women between the ages of 35 and 39 is behind bars, but that one in 100 black women is.

We also bear the distinction of the world’s leading jailer, according to this Human Rights Watch report released in December, meaning we beat out progressive nations such as Libya, Iran, and China. One of the most glaring reasons our incarceration rate is outpacing population growth is—you knew I’d go there—our drug laws. Drug use rates have remained fairly steady over the past 25 years, but arrest rates for low-level drug offenses have nearly tripled.

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FBI Reports from the Department of Justice.

Land of the free, my ass.

Spanking Leads to Sexual Deviancy

posted by on February 28 at 11:16 AM

Modern science says

Researchers have uncovered another damaging consequence of spanking: risky sexual behaviors, or even sexual deviancy, when the child grows up.

And this, I guess, is a reason not to spank. I guess.

Linda Greenhouse Is Leaving the New York Times

posted by on February 28 at 11:13 AM

It’s a buyout, according to the AP. (Via Media Notes.)

Along with NPR’s Nina Totenberg, she’s one of the great Supreme Court reporters. This is a big loss.

The Democratic Agenda Pt. 1

posted by on February 28 at 11:01 AM

Before I tell you about three committee hearings in Olympia this morning that pretty much sum up the the Democrats’ agenda this session, let me give you some good news about the Democrats… at the national level, anyway.

There’s an editorial in the Wall Street Journal today that attempts to prove that the Democrats are in trouble.

Ha! The editorial does a much better job explaining why the Democrats are now in the driver’s seat.

The editorial works like this:

It starts out asking why Hillary Clinton, who’s been positioning herself for years as a moderate for broad appeal, ended up imploding this year? The WSJ says it’s because—and they use a Hollywood casting metaphor here—the dogmatic netroots forced the Democratic hopefuls to audition for a role from a script (agenda) that’s already been written: antiwar, anti-NAFTA, universal health care, orthodox environmentalism. In short, Democrats, the editorial proclaims, were looking for a spokesperson for a scripted agenda rather than seriously hearing out candidates for new ideas.

The editorial points out that Clinton had to abandon her centrism and read from the script to get the part. She succeeded somewhat at playing the role (everyone has noted that Clinton and Obama are pretty much indistinguishable on the issues), but given Obama’s status as a stadium draw, he was better suited for the starring role. And so, the Democrats are just fitting him into the slot.

The real thesis of the casting metaphor isn’t to slag on Obama, but to make the larger point that Democrats are a party in lockstep, without room for nuance and creativity.

Well, that’s one way of looking at it.

Here’s another, and we gleefully noted this a few weeks ago in our Obama endorsement:

Can you believe the Democrats once seemed lost for an identity? Now, thanks to Bush, the Democratic Party is at the forefront of a focused agenda to achieve universal health care, end the occupation of Iraq, combat global warming, reestablish the United States as a respected international leader, reverse the erosion of civil liberties at home, and make the economy work for the middle class instead of just the wealthiest.

In other words, the Democrats stand for something now. Just two, three, and particularly four years ago, the loser rap on the Democrats—from the likes of the WSJ—was that the party didn’t stand for anything at all.

Well—and thank you, cuckoo GOP—it turns out their agenda is now honed sharp.

Funny, when the Democrats used to bog down in ideology scraps, they weren’t accused of being a party overflowing with creativity, they were branded as being a party in disarray. Now that they’re moving ahead with a focused agenda, the WSJ is attempting to recast them as zealots. Yawn on the WSJ. Can’t have it both ways, dudes.

Stay tuned: There’s a series of votes in Olympia this morning that tell a different story about our Democrats at the local level.

Women’s Liberation and the Rise of Christianity

posted by on February 28 at 11:00 AM

For too long the habit of the imagination has been to code liberation as an opening. But liberation in reality can also be a closing. An example of a closing that liberates can be seen in the rise of Christianity in the 3rd century. If the victory of the Church and the defeat of paganism is not read in the context of a women’s movement, a movement for an improved social standing/status/situation in the Roman Empire, then it is being badly misread.
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Scholars to this day wonder why Constantine I, the emperor of Rome (306 –337), converted to Christianity—the pivotal moment in Western (if not world) history. But the answer to that question will not be found in the emperor and his dreams but in the women who surrounded him, particularly his mother. The question, then, should not be: Why did Constantine I convert to Christianity? But, instead: Why were Roman women abandoning paganism for Christianity?

The answer to that question can be found in the Acts of Paul and Thecla, a text that was excluded from the final version of the New Testament but in its day, 1500 years ago, held the status of a bestseller. Thecla’s fame was up there with the mother of Jesus, Mary. And what did Thecla do to obtain such popularity? She renounced her marriage, her sexual slavery to a man (Thamyris), and followed Paul—a man who closed up her sexuality and offered her freedom/salvation (and adventure) in the form of chastity. Here, the rejection of sex meant the rejection of male power, which was systematized and reinforced by the pagan order. (Today we read paganism as more natural and against convention and Christianity as unnatural and conventional.)

Sex in the age of Constantine I was not empowering (or positive in any kind of way) but a tool of repression. And a direct attack on this instrument of repression was Christian chastity, a new kind of power for women. In its praise of cleanliness and the closed body, Christianity liberated women from the exploitation of the open body.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on February 28 at 11:00 AM

Reading

Ryan Boudinot and Jonathan Raban at Frye Art Museum

As the Frye’s current Crumb exhibit proves, writing and art go together like the internet and copyright theft— so the museum has invited two of Seattle’s brightest literary lights to read stories inspired by art. Boudinot, who writes either uncomfortably funny or funnily uncomfortable short stories, will read a new piece based on last year’s Life After Death show at the Frye. Raban, a certified Stranger Genius, will read a monologue about 19th-century painter Albert Bierstadt, whose work is part of the permanent collection. Another Stranger Genius, Rebecca Brown, hosts. (Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave, 622-9250. 7 pm, free.)

PAUL CONSTANT

I Heart Rummage Is Back

posted by on February 28 at 10:45 AM

It’s now at Chop Suey: First sale this Sunday, March 2, noon to 4 pm.

Thanks for the tip, Dana.

Reading Tonight

posted by on February 28 at 10:36 AM

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Tonight there are two open mics, “a reading of first-person true stories” at the Rendezvous (I tried to find out more information about this one, but that was seriously the most in-depth description I could find), and “inspirational reflections on black history” at Third Place Books to celebrate the waning days of Black History Month. Also:

Two very Stranger-centric readings tonight: First, Ellen Forney is at Bailey/Coy Books with Lust, which is of course a collection of Stranger readers’ most sextastic personal ads. She always puts on a good show. And: Stranger Genius Rebecca Brown hosts an evening at the Frye art museum featuring awesome young writer Ryan Boudinot and another Stranger Genius, Jonathan Raban. Boudinot and Raban will be reading new pieces based on artwork from the Frye. If it helps, think of it as a live comic book, only with the art entirely separated from the text (by both decades and space).

Gary Wills, author of the fabulous Nixon Agonistes, is at First Baptist Church, with What the Gospels Meant. Wills also wrote What Jesus Meant and What Paul Meant, and both were bestsellers. He’s providing new translations, along with interpretation. He’s not a literalist; he believes that the gospels were intended to be used as prayer and meditations. Still not my cuppa, but I won’t think less of you if you go.

And, at the Hugo House, we’ve got a tagteam duo of poetry: Janet Norman Knox and Jeannine Hall Gailey. I don’t know Knox’s stuff, but I know that Gailey has written poems with titles like “Amazon Women on the Moon” and “Cinderella at the Car Dealership.” That’s something right there.

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


Currently Hanging

posted by on February 28 at 10:30 AM

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Gretchen Bennett’s When you wake up this morning, please read my diary. Look through my things, and figure me out. (2008), Prismacolor pencils on paper, 22 1/2 by 30 inches.

At Howard House.

Dirty Architects!

posted by on February 28 at 10:10 AM

Wait—they’re all doing it. Working for bad guys, that is.

Here’s the story (thanks to the beloved C-Monster).

Sex in Seattle: Addendum

posted by on February 28 at 10:09 AM

Because there wasn’t enough room to mention it in my column (which concerns Hugo House and the theater company that produces Sex in Seattle), I’m flogging it here:

Tomorrow night is the second (third?) annual Bang for the Buck, a tripartite evening of stripping and sex to benefit AIDS LifeCycle, hosted by the aforementioned Blue and Mistress Midori. And it’s all by and for the ladies. No boys allowed.

Part one: Stripping lessons.

Part two: A stripping contest, with all tips donated to AIDS LifeCycle.

Part three: “After you are all hot and bothered there will be the women’s sex and play party.” Ahem. [Blush.]

Strip-o-Rama and Bang for the Buck: Wet Spot, 1602 15th Ave W, midoriparty@wetsport.org. $15–$20. Fri Feb 29 at 6:30 pm.

Obama’s Play for Gays

posted by on February 28 at 10:08 AM

Obama lost the gay vote by a 2-to-1 margin in California. He’s not going to let that happen in Texas and Ohio. Full details on Obama’s big gay ad buy at Towleroad.

In other presidential election news, McCain wasn’t born in the United States—so doesn’t the Constitution bar him from serving as president?

And the Commission Goes To

posted by on February 28 at 10:05 AM

… Berlin-based Danish artist Jeppe Hein, for the work of art that could become a downtown landmark situated right on top of the Tashiro-Kaplan building.

4Culture held its interviews and made its choice between three finalists (Hein, Lead Pencil Studio, and John Grade) yesterday. The budget for the commission is $145,000.

The artists didn’t give specific proposals to the panel; it made its decisions based on their past works. So what Hein will do with the commission—in fact, he was flying last night and didn’t have a chance to formally accept it right away—is totally unknown.

But a few of his past works can be seen here, here, here, and here, and he also has several projects on YouTube.

Here’s an interview with him from last fall:

“There’s a Lot of Blood Over Here”

posted by on February 28 at 10:00 AM

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Two weeks ago, a jury found Mark Hays guilty of assaulting an officer in the University District last November.

Police say Hays tackled an officer during the November incident which began when Hays and another man jaywalked in front of an unmarked police SUV.

This is the video of Hays’ violent arrest.

O They Will Know We Are (Coptic) Christians By…

posted by on February 28 at 9:52 AM

…the way we starve exchange students.

Jonathan McCullum was in excellent health at 155 pounds when he left last summer to spend the school year as an exchange student in Egypt.

But when he returned home to Maine just four months later, the 5-foot-9 teenager weighed a mere 97 pounds and was so weak that he struggled to carry his baggage or climb a flight of stairs. Doctors said he was at risk of a heart attack.

McCullum says he was denied sufficient food while staying with a family of Coptic Christians, who fast for more than 200 days a year, a regimen unmatched by other Christians.


No Do-Overs, People

posted by on February 28 at 9:42 AM

Once you’ve had sex, you’re no longer a virgin. If pre-marital sexual activity violates your idiotic religious beliefs, don’t engage in pre-marital sex. But once you’ve gone and had sex—and pissed off your Pentecostal dad—you’re not a virgin anymore and never will be again. You can’t “renew” your virginity, or “rewrap the gift,” particularly after you’ve been in a relationship for seven years and had two kids.

And having your hymen surgically restored? Uh… that’s just fucked up. That’s not virginity as a state of sexual purity, that’s virginity as a sexual fetish.

There’s a Terrible Dong Shortage…

posted by on February 28 at 9:25 AM

…in Vietnam.

Remember…

posted by on February 28 at 9:17 AM

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But should you forget, voters, count on GOP fear pimps to remind you.

Image via the PI’s BigBlog.

Who’s About the Past Now?

posted by on February 28 at 9:16 AM

John McCain is trying to wrestle the aura of future-ness from Barack Obama. I’m not sure it will work, but it’s an interesting gambit. Speaking about Obama’s focus on the errors that led to the Iraq war, McCain has now taken to saying:

That’s history, that’s the past… . What we should be talking about is what we are going to do now.

Century 21 Settles on a Plan for Seattle Center

posted by on February 28 at 9:00 AM

The City finally has a plan for the Seattle Center. Wednesday afternoon, the Century 21 Committee—tasked with revamping the aging Center—selected a plan for a redesign of the 74-acre campus.

Century 21 documents published in January indicate the selected plan—which is still being fine tuned—will connect the Center with a more linear east-west path through the campus. The Center will also increase green space by demolishing the Fun Forest—replacing it with a water feature and “active open space”—and redeveloping the hideous Mural Amphitheater site.

The plan also mentions a possible acquisition of Memorial Stadium, which is owned by the Seattle School District. Century 21’s plan calls for Memorial Stadium to be demolished and replaced with 1300 underground parking spaces, topped with green space, a new 5,000 seat sports field and an amphitheater.

The Center House and Mercer Arena would both be revamped—the latter at the hands of the Seattle Opera—and Century 21 wants to redesign the Broad Street Green, to create a central entryway to the Center. The Northwest Rooms could be also replaced with a 5 story building, which would include ground floor retail space.

The future of Key Arena has been a big x-factor in the Seattle Center redesign, but Center spokeswoman Deborah Daoust says the City plans to refurbish and preserve the facility even if when the Sonics leave town.

“[The City sees] key arena as a multi purpose venue,” Daoust says. “There are revenue implications if the Sonics leave, but [the city thinks] they can make it up with increased concert traffic.” Daoust estimates the city would need to put forward a long-term investment of $20-30 million to improve Key Arena.

There is no indication if Century 21’s approved plan would require yet another reconfiguration of the long-delayed SeaSk8 skatepark replacement.

The Morning News

posted by on February 28 at 8:30 AM

Not running: Bloomberg, who name-checks Seattle and gets a little Urban Archipelago in his explanation.

Virtual border fence: Delayed.

No recession… Yet: Says Bush.

Foreign policy: The likely center of the McCain-Obama debate?

William F. Buckley: The obit, and the desk. (You think Charles has a messy work space? Check this one out.)

Introducing Dmitri Medvedev: The next Russian president.

Born outside the U.S.: John McCain. So can he be president?

Burly bikers: It takes more than a machete to rob them.

Contempt of Cop: Blacks in Seattle charged at a disproportionate rate.

A new-ish Clinton ad from Texas, where she’s down in a new Rasmussen poll:


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Liveblogging Project Runway

posted by on February 27 at 9:55 PM

There Is No Morality Without Religion

posted by on February 27 at 8:38 PM

A pastor described by police as charismatic and controlling pleaded guilty Wednesday to numerous counts of child rape and molestation involving five young girls in Kitsap County.

He’s coming for you, Rick Steves…

posted by on February 27 at 6:39 PM

Comedian Andy Haynes REALLY wants you to go to Laff Hole tonight.

How can you say no to that shit? Come on. His parents are divorced!

For Those Who are Pretending…

posted by on February 27 at 5:15 PM

that it’s 1960, and Obama, like Kennedy, is about to usher in a jump cut in history, let’s check in to see what was on the cover of Time this very week in 1960.

It was Pat Nixon, wife of VP and GOP Pesidential hopeful Richard Nixon.

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That is all.

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Cheese Problems Solved!

posted by on February 27 at 4:51 PM

Another book contest, this one for odd book titles. The contestants:

I Was Tortured By the Pygmy Love Queen
How to Write a How to Write Book
Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues
Cheese Problems Solved
If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs
People who Mattered in Southend and Beyond: From King Canute to Dr Feelgood

I’d rather see a contest in which authors have to write new books from these titles.
(Thanks to Slog tipper Lara for directing me to the website.)

Here Comes Peter Cottontail, Hoppin’ Down the Jihad Trail

posted by on February 27 at 4:29 PM

This Palestinian children’s TV show CAN’T be real, can it? And if so, is this Jew-eating jihad bunny gonna come for The Stranger one day?!

Man, and I always thought watching all those Little House on the Prairie reruns after school was upsetting…

Project Runway: Penultimate Show Tonight

posted by on February 27 at 4:22 PM

I know it’s getting hard to care enough to watch Project Yawnway… but we only have two episodes left; don’t bail on me now, TV friends.

Tonight’s agenda: “In Part 1 of the two-part Season 4 finale, the finalists gear up to showcase their lines at Fashion Week at Bryant Park in New York City.” Perhaps we’ll know who of the final four get to show?

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Megan Seling will host the LiveSlog tonight starting at 10 pm. See you back here then.

Apologies…

posted by on February 27 at 4:14 PM

…for the two consecutive land use posts.

To liven things up, here’s a picture of a CD rack shaped like a swastika.

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David Duke Neutral on Obama

posted by on February 27 at 4:05 PM

Which I guess is progress. Or something.

Meanwhile the KKK defends itself against “yellow journalism” that apparently led some people to believe it had endorsed Obama.

(Via TNR)

“Green” Safeway Gets Green Light

posted by on February 27 at 3:54 PM

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125th and 15th NE

The deadline to appeal a proposed Safeway redevelopment/rezone in North Seattle’s Pinehurst neighborhood has passed and, with no formal objections raised, the project should be moving on to the early design phase. Safeway’s proposed “green” design would reclaim heat from its refrigeration units, use local materials for construction, and rebuild the store’s parking lot and sidewalks using permeable surfaces.

The project still needs to be approved by Safeway’s board—and the City Council would have to OK a rezone which would allow Safeway to rezone three adjacent residential properties for commercial use—but Safeway should be releasing preliminary designs for the project in the next few weeks.

Several neighborhood councils opposed the Safeway redevelopment—they claimed allowing Safeway to rezone could lead to a loss of single-family housing in the north end—but none of the groups filed an appeal to contest the project.

I Have No Way To Make This Post About Land Use Interesting to Those Uninterested In Land Use

posted by on February 27 at 3:30 PM

… So please accept, as my humble offering, this photo of Javier Bardem. (Note: I looked for a more beefcakey shot, but Bardem’s chest is strangely hairless, and thus looks weird without a shirt.)

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Council member Sally Clark’s land use committee meeting this morning started, as land use meetings typically do, with an outraged comment from a disgruntled citizen. The proposal in question: Legislation from the mayor’s office that would raise the threshold for environmental review, effectively exempting some smaller developments (about 30 a year) from review under the State Environmental Policy Act. The change, Dennis Ross of the Admiral Community Council argued, would “drastically decrease citizen oversight of our building codes … result in shoddy construction and turn our neighborhood commercial zones… into urban slums.”

In reality, that’s not what the changes would do at all. Instead, they’d essentially exempt smaller developments (the size depends on the zoning for the area) from SEPA review, a process that adds time and expense to land-use permitting. SEPA has also become “less relevant” in recent years, council central staffer Michael Jenkins said, because so many new rules have been put in place since the passage of the Growth Management Act in 1990. Clark said she also wants to look at expanding the design review process by lowering the size of new developments that have to go through design review—a change that would actually address the design-related issues residents tend to complain about. Many of the development-related complaints council members receive have to do with unattractive, out-of-scale townhouse developments that are currently too small to trigger design review.

Oly Action: Millions in Tax Breaks

posted by on February 27 at 3:24 PM

First the good news:

PI reporter Chris McGann broke the news a couple of weeks ago that the state was set to give Microsoft and Yahoo a big tax break on their server farm project in Eastern Washington.

Well, I think McGann’s reporting had something to do with the latest news: The giveaway was officially killed this week when the Senate released its budget and seconded last week’s House budget by snuffing the exemption.

I got a chance to ask Gov. Gregoire about the tax break last week, and she stood by it.

the Stranger: You campaigned on fiscal responsibility, on no new taxes, and closing tax loopholes. Have we closed any tax loopholes? Why are we giving a $75 million tax break to Microsoft to build a server farm in Eastern Washington?

Gov. Gregoire: On fiscal responsibility, all you need to do is go to Wall Street and see we have the highest rating for bonds. I inherited a $2.2 billion shortfall, and we have money in the bank. We funded 728 (smaller class size); funded teachers’ cost-of-living increases, the pension system. I got rid of the bed tax we had on seniors. The liquor tax. I got rid of that. We brought fiscal responsibility back. People had been talking about a rainy-day fund—well, we got it done.

We’ve now got a savings account that any family should have.

[Regarding the Microsoft Server Farm tax break:] The competition [to get their business] is fierce. Other states are offering them what we can’t do constitutionally. We can’t just dole out money. We’re not giving them anything at the outset. We’re giving them a reduction in sales tax when they have to replace their equipment every three years. We’re building economically in a part of the state that, candidly, desperately needs it. Otherwise it’s not going to be here.

GRADE: The governor didn’t name a single tax loophole that’s been closed. And the server farm is supposed to create just around 25 jobs. C-

Now, some other news:

However, taking a look at the House budget, it looks like they passed about $72.9 million worth in tax breaks this session (added up over the next three bienniums.)

None of them sound outrageous—although $33,000 in exemptions for tail grooming services is certainly curious. Mostly there are breaks for free-to-be-you-and-me things like purchasing energy efficient equipment and giving loans to women, veteran, and minority owned businesses.

However, there are some that I’ve got questions about. I promise to report back.

Meanwhile, what about cutting out tax loopholes instead of adding them?

Last session, the legislature heard from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee, JLARC, a committee set up the previous year to review corporate tax breaks to see which ones were and were not worth it. To my knowledge, JLARC has not been persuasive enough to kill any of the state’s corporate freebies.

And Tom Cruise Is a Bad Copy of Errol Flynn

posted by on February 27 at 3:02 PM

Did L. Ron Hubbard plagiarize Scientology? Read Scientology: Science of the Constitution and Usefulness of Knowledge (originally published in 1934) and find out.

Looks Like a Terrorist and Soft on Terrorism

posted by on February 27 at 2:35 PM

Stephen Colbert on the Obama-in-a-turban silliness:

Unearthed While Cleaning Out My Office

posted by on February 27 at 2:29 PM

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A ball point pen from The Holiday Inn, Alpena Michigan; one “snugger fit” Lifestyles lubricated condom that expired on 07/2001; artwork that was *almost* a tramp stamp, I mean, a “lower back tattoo” drawn by my now ex-boyfriend; and some Polaroid pictures of “Santa” from a Christmas Drunk of the Week column…

Ed Lin Is Totally Awesome

posted by on February 27 at 2:24 PM

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Ed Lin is now in my Top Five Readers of His Or Her Own Work. Last night, at Elliott Bay Book Company, to an audience of 40 to 50 people, he read from his newest book, This Is a Bust, and he nailed it.

Bust, which is about a Chinese-American police officer in New York’s Chinatown, is set in 1976. “Bruce Lee is dead,” Lin read, and Serpico had just cashed in a multimillion-dollar publishing check and moved to Europe. The first part of the reading, which took place in a few garbage-crusted alleys and a studio apartment with more litter than space for a human being, set the stage: It was not a good time to be a cop, to be a Chinese immigrant, or live in New York City.

The second portion, about a dim sum restaurant’s serving staff going on a hunger strike and picketing the restaurant, was more about what it meant to be a cop in Chinatown in the ’70s: The picketers held signs in English that read “Jade Palace Steals Our Tips,” but the signs in Chinese read: “Jade Palace Drinks Our Blood.” Lin is a strong reader, telling the story rather than staring at his book and mumbling. He even effectively put on distinct voices for each of his characters, something that most authors wouldn’t dream of doing.

After a hockey sequence (in which the main character informs a young street punk that “Sometimes it’s right to hit people,”) Lin took questions. As I predicted yesterday, a lot of the questions had to do with The Motel, the film version of Lin’s first novel, Waylaid. Lin was surprisingly dismissive. “This is where a book lives,” he said, gesturing to the reading room and the bookstore, “It dies when it hits the screen.”

Lin then told the crowd about Winston Groom, the author of Forrest Gump. He pointed out that the blockbuster film, according to the movie studio, still had yet to make a profit, and so Groom made no royalties off it. When the audience groaned in disbelief, Lin suggested that people illegally download films: “Rip those DVDs, people,” Lin said, “Keep on streaming those puppies!” Then he groaned and said he was committing career suicide right in front of us, and then it was time for him to go and sign books and talk about hockey with that one guy.

Ol’ Tooth Eye

posted by on February 27 at 2:20 PM

The headline is a weird one…

Blind Irishman sees with the aid of son’s tooth in his eye

…and the story is even freakier:

After doctors in Ireland said there was nothing more they could do, McNichol heard about a miracle operation called Osteo-Odonto-Keratoprosthesis (OOKP) being performed by Dr Christopher Liu at the Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton in England.

The technique, pioneered in Italy in the 1960s, involves creating a support for an artificial cornea from the patient’s own tooth and the surrounding bone.

The procedure used on McNichol involved his son Robert, 23, donating a tooth, its root and part of the jaw.

McNichol’s right eye socket was rebuilt, part of the tooth inserted and a lens inserted in a hole drilled in the tooth.

Unearthed While Cleaning Out My Office

posted by on February 27 at 1:50 PM

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Obama Endorsed by Black Militant

posted by on February 27 at 1:42 PM

We march today for jobs and freedom, but we have nothing to be proud of, for hundreds and thousands of our brothers are not here—for they have no money for their transportation, for they are receiving starvation wages…or no wages at all. In good conscience, we cannot support the administration’s civil rights bill.

This bill will not protect young children and old women from police dogs and fire hoses when engaging in peaceful demonstrations. This bill will not protect the citizens of Danville, Virginia who must live in constant fear in a police state. This bill will not protect the hundreds of people who have been arrested on trumped-up charges like those in Americus, Georgia, where four young men are in jail, facing a death penalty, for engaging in peaceful protest.

The revolution is a serious one. Mr. Kennedy is trying to take the revolution out of the streets and put it in the courts. Listen Mr. Kennedy, the black masses are on the march for jobs and for freedom, and we must say to the politicians that there won’t be a cooling-off period.

—23-year-old John Lewis gives the hot sidebar to MLK’s speech during the famous March on Washington on August 28, 1963.

Rep. Lewis makes it official.

Light Rail Survives GOP Attack

posted by on February 27 at 1:00 PM

The Republicans in Olympia have made two attempts in the last 24 hours to prevent Sound Transit from going to the ballot in ‘08.

Yesterday, in the Senate Transportation Committee, Sen. Dan Swecker (R-20) proposed an amendment to the transportation budget bill saying Sound Transit was prohibited from going to the ballot in ‘08.

Committee chair, Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10), ruled the amendment out of scope.

Today, just a few hours ago on the Senate floor, Sen. Cheryl Pflug (R-5) (the GOP team captain this session as far as I can tell) tried a stealthier tactic.

She proposed an amendment to the transportation budget bill that said light rail couldn’t go to a vote of the people until 60 days after an impact study about light rail across I-90—authorized by a House bill—was completed. There’s no deadline in the House bill for completing that study.

Pflug’s amendment was shot down along party lines. And then the full bill passed overwhelmingly 39-10. Sen. Pflug voted nay on the final bill. Sen. Swecker voted yea.

Mudede’s Freestanding Pile of Trash Very Important Things

posted by on February 27 at 12:55 PM

As you might have heard, we’re having a cleaning-up-the-office day here at The Stranger. We’re throwing away broken chairs, swastika-shaped CD racks (remember CDs?), our Knute “Skip” Berger memorial doll, several thousand stacks of police reports, a busted TV, more books than you can imagine, a pink plastic flamingo, etc., etc.—and while we’re at it, we’re tearing down some cubicle walls. Here’s what we found when we took down one of cubicle walls at the entrance to Charles Mudede’s area.

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Yes. That is a freestanding pile of trash. Stuff just standing there of its own accord. This picture does it no justice.

Here, let’s zoom in.

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Life in Obamaland

posted by on February 27 at 12:53 PM

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Obama is the President of Seattle.

Free Beer! And Sake!

posted by on February 27 at 12:05 PM

Drinking enthusiasts, unite! Saké Nomi“a place where everyone’s in it together and those left out are to be pitied”—offers free samples of beer and sake from Kiuchi Brewery (est. 1823) this evening from 5 to 8 p.m.

It’s “Seattle’s First Vertically Integrated Tasting” of the two—”…or Whatever.” Free beer and sake!

If you fall off your stool here, they blame “an unevenness of the floor.” This place rules.

Saké Nomi
76 S. Washington St. (in Pioneer Square)
TEL: 206-467-SAKE (7253)

UK Rejects Foster Parents with Anti-Gay Views

posted by on February 27 at 11:54 AM

Not sure where I come down on this

They are devoted foster parents with an unblemished record of caring for almost 20 vulnerable children. But Eunice and Owen Johns have been forced to abandon their good work because they refuse to tell children as young as ten that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle.

To do so, they say, would go against their Christian beliefs. The devastated couple withdrew an application to their council to continue as foster carers after being told they must condone homosexuality to adhere to gay rights laws.

There aren’t enough foster parents—particularly good ones—in the UK or the USA. But a significant number of foster kids are gay. Putting a vulnerable gay kid in the home of a raving anti-gay bigot only compounds his victimization; there are lots of gay foster kids out there with horror stories to tell about being placed with bigoted foster families. But is there any evidence that these two foster parents are raving anti-gay bigots?

Or are they just your run-of-the-mill, standard-issue-religious, we-disapprove-of-homosexuality types? Like, you know, many of the biological parents out there that somehow managed to raise millions of gay kids that grew into happy, well-adjusted gay and lesbian adults?

If they’re the latter, it seems foolish to bar this couple from serving as foster parents.

Via Towleroad.

Unearthed While Cleaning Up My Office

posted by on February 27 at 11:45 AM

A souvenir from the Seattle Police during WTO.

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(Yes, it’s been that long since I’ve given my office a good cleaning.)

Who Said That?

posted by on February 27 at 11:40 AM

Can you guess who said this:

“Even if you infer that various States acting through their legislative process have repealed sodomy laws, there is no protected right to engage in extrasexual—extramarital sexual relations, again, that can trace their roots to history or the traditions of this nation.”

If you guessed Houston District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal, you’re right! And he made that statements before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2002’s when it was hearing Lawrence v. Texas. Rosenthal was arguing that Texas had a right to criminalize adult, consensual, homosexual sex. All gay sex, of course, is extramarital because gays can’t get married—see how that works?

Well, guess who just joined the parade of GOP sexual hypocrites?

Last December, as part of a federal civil rights lawsuit into how justice is meted out in the county, [Rosenthal] turned over the (partial) contents of his government e-mail account. And what a batch of e-mails it was. Black ministers called for the Republican to resign because of racist material, including a cartoon depicting an African-American suffering from a “fatal overdose” of watermelon and fried chicken. There were adult video clips and love notes from Rosenthal to his secretary, his mistress during a previous marriage.

Hilarious—oh, and guess what? Rosenthal may be going to jail. Find out why at Pandagon.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on February 27 at 11:00 AM

Film

‘The Cool School’ at Northwest Film Forum

“Even though we didn’t have any evidence, we were completely convinced we were doing the right thing, and that everybody else was full of shit.” That’s what now-legendary artist Robert Irwin says of the early days of L.A.’s contemporary art scene, remembered vividly in Morgan Neville’s fun, fast-paced, jazz-and-testosterone-fueled new documentary, The Cool School. Everybody’s in there, and there’s even a black-and-white, Broadway Danny Rose–style reunion of the old guys—Irwin, Craig Kauffman, Ken Price, et al. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 329-2629. 7:15 and 9:15 pm, $5–$8.50, Feb 22–28.)

JEN GRAVES

Letter of the Day

posted by on February 27 at 10:38 AM

Your “Gray Area” artbiz spat article reminds me of the rancorous Fitzgerald-Hopkins Trial right here in Metronatural Seattle in the mid-1960s, when artists James Fitzgerald accused a younger artist, Robert Hopkinds, of imitating his (Fitzgerald’s) work.

One prosecution witness was the painter William Cumming, always ready for Drama, but this time I think in the wrong play. Sculptor and U.W. art professor emeritus Everett Dupen was one of the major Defense witnesses, and I remember sending a supporting letter from California where I was then on a fellowship residency.

Fitzgerald lost; and in Seattle magazine William Cumming was quoted, post-verdict, saying that Hopkins had better never be in any show for which he, Cumming, was a juror.

I detest the “Art Scene” … the Poops and Pedants and Promoters and Pretenderes … the incessant search for “new” “breakthrough” (bullshit) “insights” … DUNGbeetles digging for GOLD. (It’s ALL “imitation” … vapid revisions with witless statements of “concept.”)

Let us take notice of obscene (example the $90 million recently stolen European painting) prices for crumbling ancient daubs that “authorities” have designated timeless; and this local TWITFIGHT: it’s about MONEY, and EGO … not “art.” (I was able to buy back one of my own “works” last year … and I’d buy more if I knew where the hell they ARE.) Hey, Art Establishment: Get STUFFED.

Gordon Anderson

And other Gray Area postscripts:

You should be aware that Lead Pencil Studio not only create “derivative” art, they SWIPED THEIR FREAKING NAME!!! In the 70s there was an extremely prominent team of artists in Seattle—Les LaPere and Frank Samuelson (sometimes joined by Ken Corey)—that went by the name…yes, you guessed it—Lead Pencil, or the Pencil Brothers.

And these artists weren’t exactly low profile. LaPere, Samuelson, and Corey showed regularly at the popular Manolides Gallery in Pioneer Square. A lovely LaPere illustration graced the cover of Tom Robbins’ book “Still Life with Woodpecker.” Samuelson famously won the top prize at the Seattle Art Museum’s 1976 Northwest Annual using the assumed name “Dustin Washington.” As part of the award, he was given a solo show at SAM’s Modern Art Pavilion at the Seattle Center in 1977 (together with internationally recognized photographer Richard Avedon). Corey was posthumously honored with a solo exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum in, like, 1995—with a substantial catalogue. He also exhibited at SAM’s new downtown facility earlier in that decade. Seattle’s original Lead Pencil were associated with the influential West Coast “Funk” movement of the 70s era—which included heralded artists such as William T. Wiley, Roy DeForest, Robert Arneson, etc. In other words, they made their reputations here, and they were highly visible. Samuelson still creates and exhibits his work. I very much admired their delicate renderings and it’s shameful that their memorable work has been usurped by these current Lead Pencil imposters.

Oh, and the term “artist-architect” should be immediately consigned to the gallery of oxymorons that includes “military intelligence,” “jumbo shrimp,” and “glass art.”

XO, Larry Reid

Continued on the jump …

Continue reading "Letter of the Day" »

Currently Hanging

posted by on February 27 at 10:30 AM

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James “Buddy” Snipes’s Little Billy, enamel on tin, wood, 3 by 3 by 1 inches.

At Garde Rail Gallery.

Reading Tonight

posted by on February 27 at 10:28 AM

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Well, now. We’ve got a book club favorite, a ‘behavioral economist’ who I refuse to talk about at length, and a whole lot more.

Out at Bastyr, Elisabeth Squires reads from bOObs: A Guide to Your Girls, which is about breast health and maintenance. Squires’ website is loaded with breast puns and other breasticisms, which are like witticisms, only with breasts instead of wit.

At Kane Hall, Irving Gottesman is reading from…well, he’s not reading from anything but notes, really, but he is giving a lecture about genetics and mental disorders and lots of other things.

Local author Molly Gloss is reading at Queen Anne Books. She can write a purty sentence, that Molly Gloss, but I’ll never forgive her for the first If All Seattle Read the Same Book book, Wild Life, which used having sex with Bigfoot as a metaphor for living the free life. And it was completely uninteresting! How do you write an uninteresting book about fucking Bigfoot?

And Diane Wei Liang is reading her newest Mei Wang mystery at the Douglass-Truth branch of SPL. I’ve heard that these are good, if you like mysteries with serial characters, and the author, who participated in the Tiananmen Square protests, should give a lively Q&A session.

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


One Down…

posted by on February 27 at 10:11 AM

…too many left to go:

A Seattle police officer killed one pit bull and wounded another after the animals attacked a West Seattle man and later charged police Tuesday night.

A neighbor said he called animal control officers about 8:30 p.m. because the two dogs were harassing his dog and causing a disturbance in the 8800 block 24th Avenue Southwest. The dogs turned and attacked a man in his 60s who was walking his smaller dog, then fled down the block.

Police spokeswoman Renee Witt said when officers arrived, the pit bulls charged one of them. That officer drew his service weapon and fired an unknown number of shots.

Says Slog tipper Andrew…

I am still waiting for the story of the border collie killing someone….and waiting.

Yes He Can

posted by on February 27 at 10:00 AM

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I just finished watching Barack Obama give a speech in Columbus, Ohio. It was quite a speech—the crowd, of course, was with him (although he’s lagging well behind Clinton in the polls here). Best part? Obama’s response to John McCain. Last night during the debate Tim Russert asked Hillary and Barack about whether they would go back into Iraq—presuming they get us out of Iraq—if Al Qaeda went into Iraq. McCain shared the “news” with Obama this morning that Al Qaeda is already in Iraq. “I’ve got news for you, John McCain,” Obama said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “Al Qaeda wasn’t in Iraq before you helped George W. Bush start this misguided war.”

Obama made it clear that he would go after Al Qaeda wherever they go—and so if they’re in Iraq now, he’ll get ‘em there, but with targeted strikes (like, you know, some more of those cruise missiles Clinton lobbed at Osama back in the nineties). Anyway, great speech. The gays get a shout out, so I am, of course, smitten now.

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It was great to hear Obama hit back, and hit back hard—that’s a skill the nominee is going to need. I thought Obama was weak in the debate last night (particularly on the Farrakhan issue), so he redeemed himself for me with his slap back at McCain.

Oh, and here are the urinals in the men’s room near the press section.

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I came this close to taking a leak next to Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter. Off to the airport.

Tilth Gets Love from the New York Times

posted by on February 27 at 9:59 AM

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Today the NYT’s Frank Bruni published his list of the ten best new restaurants in the U.S., one of which is Seattle’s own Tilth.

As I stepped into Tilth, I felt as if I were dropping by somebody’s home, not entering a restaurant. There’s no proper vestibule, no host stand. And the tables — for only 40 diners — are squished together in two downstairs rooms of a Craftsman-style bungalow with a humble fireplace in which squat, fat candles flicker. That’s a big part of what distinguishes and recommends this sweet, sweet restaurant…

Read the whole thing here. (And revisit Bethany Jean Clement’s Tilth 101: A Guide to Your New Favorite Restaurant here.)

Poor William F. Buckley Jr.

posted by on February 27 at 9:49 AM

Yeah, he’s dead, and just imagine what those final days must’ve been like: Dying of emphysema, watching his precious conservatism transforming over decades from Goldwater’s small-government movement into a bloated, anti-intellectual overly religious knee-jerk reaction to fear. Worst of all, watching his magazine, the National Review, become a spider-hole of dunderheaded readers and loudmouth editors must’ve been like living hell to him. I honestly can’t imagine a worse way to go out.

Re: Plastic Bags Banned in …. China.

posted by on February 27 at 9:42 AM

Rep. Maralyn Chase’s bill to do away with non-recylable bags died in the state house in January—she only had three co-sponsors and no co-sponsors from supposedly hippie-dippie Seattle. Sigh.

(“Josh! You idiot! Don’t you get it?! It’s not good to have Seattle legislators sign on to the hippie dippie stuff because it makes it look like Seattle is being pushy and forcing its left wing agenda on the rest of the state and that just dooms the bill! It’s better if Seattle legislators just keep their names off that stuff because then it has a better chance to pass.”)

Hmmm. Okay. That worked.

And what if the rest of the state pushes its agenda on Seattle?

Say Seattle or King County simply tried to keep its hippie-dippy agenda to itself…oh, you know, like if KC passed rules that required fast food stores in King County to prominently display detailed info about the food.

No, no, no. The state legislature decided this session that the County cannot pass health rules that are tougher than state rules.

To recap:

1) Rep. Maralyn Chase’s bill to ban non-recylable bags died because it didn’t have many co-sponsors.

2) Seattle legislators shouldn’t add their names to bills that would do things like ban non-recylclable bags because that would doom the bill.

3) Seattle shouldn’t push its agenda on the rest of the state.

4) The rest of the state can stop King County from enacting health rules in King County.

Another Celebrity Fuck Tape

posted by on February 27 at 9:34 AM

Don’t worry—it’s the funny kind, not the suicide-inducing kind.

I’m Fucking Seth Rogen. (Audio NSFW.)

Disposable Plastic Shopping Bags Banned…

posted by on February 27 at 8:30 AM

…in China.

China’s war against “white pollution” has claimed its first large-scale victim with the closure of the country’s biggest plastic bag manufacturer.

The shutdown of Suiping Huaqiang Plastic, which employs 20,000 people, highlighted the social costs of a government drive to clean up one of the world’s most polluted environments.

It comes less than two months after the state banned production of ultra-thin bags and ordered supermarkets to stop giving away free carriers from June 1. That surprise move—which went further than anything done by the US, the UK and many other developed nations—was hailed by Greenpeace, Earthwatch and other green groups as a sign of growing environmental awareness in China.

So Washington state lags behind China—China—on this issue. Pathetic.

Mayor’s Office Selects Solid Ground to Distribute Frozen Tenant Fund

posted by on February 27 at 8:30 AM

The City is in the final stages of securing a deal with non-profit Solid Ground—which recently assisted the city with a program to help homeowners saddled with sub-prime mortgages—to distribute part of a City Council fund for displaced tenants, which was frozen by the Mayor Greg Nickels’ Office earlier this year.

In January, the City’s Department of Human Services (DHS) was faced with a half-million dollar shortfall, due to a loss in federal funding. Because the federal money was used to pay for homeless shelters and food bank programs, Nickels instructed DHS to hold off on distributing a $350,000 Council fund—which was added to DHS’s budget, but earmarked to assist tenants displaced by condo conversion—until their budget problem was solved. Nickels neglected to mention the fund freeze to the Council. Two weeks ago, Councilmember Tim Burgess asked the Mayor’s Office to cough up $50,000 of the fund. Nickels said he would release half of that.

While tenants have been left out in the cold by the City—and the state legislature has been slow to act—some of the funds should be available soon. According to DHS spokeswoman Sara Levin, the City is hoping to finalize a contract with Solid Ground and begin community outreach later this week. Levin says the City will provide Solid Ground with a list of 15 buildings—with 166 units—which have filed for conversion since September, and Solid Ground will work to contact tenants and determine who’s eligible for relocation assistance.

Displaced tenants who make 51-80% of Seattle’s median income—which is about $41,000—will be eligible to receive $500 in City relocation funds. Those who make 31-50% are eligible for $1,000, and those who make 30% or less of median income are eligible to receive $1,500 from the City. It’s unclear whether building owners will also have to pay low-income tenants an additional $500, as required by current conversion regulations.

While housing activists don’t believe the $25,000 will adequately cover all of the displaced tenants, Levin believes it will be enough. “We’ve looked at the preliminary [displacement] numbers,” she says. “Not everyone is going to be eligible. We’re making a guess that [this is] the right amount of money.” Guesswork aside, Levin says the City is ultimately relying on the legislature to take statewide action to assist displaced tenants.

While Levin remains optimistic, Solid Ground’s spokesman Mike Buchman admits If a number of the displaced tenants make less than 30% of median income—about $13,000 a year—the money DHS is releasing may not be enough. “There’s only money for about 20 households,” he says. “If all the households are 30% and below, that’s not going to be enough.”

The Morning News

posted by on February 27 at 8:00 AM

Last Gasp: Clinton digs in barbs at Ohio debate.

Last Sip: Bad water in Gaza.

It’s Our Occupation: U.S. wants Turkey out of Iraq.

No, It’s Our Occupation: Turkish troops kill 77.

Third Fine’s a Charm: Microsoft to pay $1.3 billion for anti-trust violations.

Third Runway Alarm: This makes our airport debate and banner unfurling seem like child’s play.

Pissed: Thank God every city department doesn’t have a lobby as powerful as the police guild.

Punked: Kindergartener suspended for Mohawk.

Bumped: Local housing prices up by 0.5 percent.

Schooled: Baristas hear bean dreams.

Foreclosed: Neverland Ranch goes to auction.

Put Your Ass into It: Dems close to ruling NY Senate.

Put Your Gas Into It: Fueling up could cost $4 a gallon by summer.

I wasn’t going to… but here’s one more irresistible installment from Popularity Plus: Good Manners for Young Moderns, by Sally Simpson. Copyright 1947.

ADVICE ON DRINKING

Most of you have no illusions about the cup that cheers and inebriates. You know about lost weekends—and you’re not having any! The one that bothers you is the correct method for refusing a proffered drink.

As a child, you were taught to eat what was set before you. But, kids, this rule has never been applied to beverages. A guest may refuse coffee or tea or milk or coke and nobody thinks about it.

It should be the same with alcoholic drinks. Yes, it’s perfectly proper for you or any other guest to decline a cocktail or highball or glass of punch.

If your glass is filled with spirits in spite of this, just ignore it.

To the Mac Business Unit at Microsoft

posted by on February 27 at 12:19 AM

Egads!

Custom error bars are gone?! I’m a scientist. I use Excel for a terrifying amount of my data analysis. Error, you know, comes up on occasion in the real world. Reviewers have this annoying tendency to force us all to recognize reality. I need error bars; we all could use some error bars. And, with all due respect, I might know how to calculate the error for my data better than a program that routinely fucks up counting.


You removed custom error bars in charts
. This is terrible. Horrifying. You removed one of the few, the very few, essential features in Excel for my work—a program that hasn’t had a useful feature added since the mid ’90s. Hell, this is a deal breaker for anyone doing any sort of scientific or engineering work with Excel.

I, one of the six graduate students stupid enough to pay for a copy of Office 2008 rather than pirate, have to downgrade to 2004. Fucking Rosetta!

Boo! A pox on all your houses! Boo, I say! Boo!


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

LiveBlogging the Democratic Debate

posted by on February 26 at 6:00 PM

Live from New York… It’s me; my brother (who likes to remind that he’s been an Obama supporter since 2006); and a bunch of Indian food. We’re in an apartment in Park Slope getting ready to watch what could be the last Democratic debate. Back in Seattle, Amy Kate is getting ready to moderate your comments. As always, if you have something to say, drop it into the liveblogging widget, and if it’s worthy Amy Kate will add it to the discussion.

Memo to That Nice Canadian Girl I Totally Plowed Into Snowboarding Last Week

posted by on February 26 at 5:31 PM

Sorry about bending your pole with my face.

Thanks for having a sense of humor, and for not having brittle bones.

And if it makes you feel any better, check out my bruise, one week on:

bruise.jpg

Fucking hurts.

Who’s Buying Your City Council Members?

posted by on February 26 at 5:20 PM

Incredibly, there’s currently no way for citizens to know who’s being paid to lobby their elected officials. Although county, state, and federal lobbyists are required to register with those jurisdictions, lobbyists that seek to influence city legislation have for decades operated in complete darkness.

Tomorrow afternoon at 2:00, the City Council’s Culture, Civil Rights, Health and Personnel Committee will take up long-pending legislation that would remedy that oversight, requiring lobbyists to register with the city’s ethics and elections commission. The legislation, sponsored by council member Nick Licata, would require paid lobbyists to file quarterly reports saying who they work for, how much they got paid, what they lobbied about, and how much they spent, including campaign contributions. (Unpaid citizen lobbyists and those who visit the council or mayor fewer than four times a quarter would be exempt.)

Licata and other council members didn’t know precisely how many lobbyists would fall under the new regulations, but they estimate it would be between 15 and 20; King County’s lobbyist directory includes 24. Given that there are so few lobbyists who actually deal with the City Council, the surprising thing is that this legislation (which Mayor Nickels also supports) didn’t pass years ago.

Based on the council’s sign-in sheets, conversations with council members, and King County’s lobbyist directory, here are a few of the folks who might have to register under the new proposal, some of their clients, and a few of their bigger political donations.

Randy Bannecker, a lobbyist for the Seattle-King County Association of Realtors and for Arena Sports, which is trying to convince the council to give it exclusive use of a large hangar at Magnusson Park that is currently used by several smaller nonprofit groups. Individually and through his company, Bannecker & Associates, Bannecker gave $2,300 to city council candidates in 2007—all but $300 of it to incumbents.

Desiree Leigh, lobbyist for Children’s Hospital, which is petititoning the city to expand its facility in Laurelhurst. Laurelhurst residents’ groups oppose the expansion, saying it would make traffic worse. Leigh gave council candidates a total of $1,250 in 2007, all but $350 to incumbents.

Tim Hatley, a music-industry lobbyist who has lobbied against council and mayoral proposals placing new restrictions on nightlife. Hatley and his wife Rachel Bianchi, with whom he shares a consulting firm, gave council candidates $1,900 in 2007, including $550 to Tim Burgess’s bid to unseat David Della.

Carla Okigwe, executive director of the Housing Development Consortium. Okigwe has not been a big spender on local campaigns, although she did give Sally Clark $50 in 2006.

UPDATE: A spokeswoman for the Port of Seattle says that Bob Minnot does not, contrary to what I wrote earlier, lobby for the Port. I apologize for the error.

Lynn Claudon, whose clients include Waste Management, Inc., which just signed a new solid waste collection contract with the city, the Woodland Park Zoo, which is in ongoing discussions with the council over a planned six-story parking garage, and Nitze-Stagen & Co., a major Seattle developer. Claudon maxed out to Jean Godden, Tom Rasmussen, and Tim Burgess in 2007, and gave a total of $3,600.

Various employees of One Reel, which runs Bumbershoot and is involved in ongoing discussions over what should be included in a potential Seattle Center levy and how Seattle Center should be redeveloped. One Reel employees contributed $860 to then-parks committee chair David Della in 2007; the parks committee oversees Seattle Center.

Vulcan lobbyists Dan McGrady and Lyn Tangen. Tangen gave $2,900 to council candidates in 2007, maxing out to Bruce Harrell and Tim Burgess; McGrady gave $300 total to several of the same candidates.

City Brings Police Contract Offer Directly to Officers

posted by on February 26 at 4:46 PM

This morning, during precinct roll calls, Seattle Police officers received a document detailing the City’s contract offer to the police guild.

SUMMARY OF CITY’S CONTINGENT ECONOMIC OFFER TO SPOG

►With a compounded 23.8% wage increase, Seattle becomes the top paid police agency in the Puget Sound (based on current contracts). Officers would receive a compounded 23.8% wage increase over the life of the contract. (8% in year 1; 4% in year 2; 5% in year 3; 5% in year 4)

Current Salary 2008 Salary 2010 Salary
• 12-year officer: $72,072 $80,952 $89,250

• Retroactive pay (12-year officer) as of March 2008: $6,285

►Starting salaries would be immediately increased by 8% on top of the compounded 23.8% raise. Entry-level police officer pay would increase by a compounded 33.9% over the life of the contract.

Current Salary 2008 Salary 2010 Salary
• Entry-level officer: $47,340 $57,508 $63,402

• Retroactive pay (entry-level) as of March 2008: $4,851

• Existing recruiting incentives over and above City’s offer:

• $5,000 hiring incentive
• $2,500 in equipment provided to new recruits
• $14,000 (maximum) potential moving allowance

►Contract would provide for full protection of current SPOG healthcare benefits for 4 years.

►New shifts would allow 23 additional days off per year.

Contract negotiations between the City and the Police Guild (SPOG) have been at a standstill for months now, and the City’s move appears to be an attempt to bypass SPOG and go straight to its members, many of whom are unfamiliar with the details of the negotiations.

While the move is certain to raise the hackles of SPOG, Mayor Nickels’ spokesman, Marty McOmber, says the city was well within its right to put the contract offer directly to officers. “It was the rank and file’s right to know,” McOmber says. “We’re absolutely still open to sitting down and working with the guild [but] this package is as far as the city is able to go financially.”

Councilmember Tim Burgess also issued a statement this afternoon.


“This is disappointing news because it signals that contract negotiations between the city and SPOG have completely broken down. I’m particularly disappointed because we have a unique opportunity right now to strengthen police accountability/transparency and take huge steps toward solving our officer recruitment and retention problems. The city’s offer, as spelled out in the attachment from Regina, is very generous and, over the term of the contract, increases officer compensation to the highest in the greater Puget Sound region, something our officers rightly deserve, in my opinion. I hope SPOG will reconsider the city’s offer.”

UPDATE: Seattle Police Officers’ Guild President Rich O’Neil is fuming over the City’s move. “I’m appalled and disgusted,” he says. “Both sides [the City and the Guild] agreed it would be confidential. For them to go around the Guild negotiation team, directly to the members, is unprecedented and illegal and we will be looking into filing an unfair labor practice.”

O’Neil claims the Guild was very close to striking a deal with the City. However, he adds, “They have thrown a bucket of cold water on the whole process. Whoever authorized this needs to be fired. They have set back labor relations and set back a blockbuster deal that could have been done.”

O’Neil also points out that the City’s offer does not say what officers would be agreeing to—in regards to changes to the police accountability system—by accepting the offer.

O’Neil says his phone has been ringing off the hook with Officers calling to express their outrage over the City’s move and O’Neil expects to see an even greater turnout at an upcoming SPOG rally at City Hall.

State’s Evidence

posted by on February 26 at 4:45 PM

My spider senses tingled a little a bit last week when I saw that the House had passed this bill to expand the DNA-collecting powers of the state.

No longer are DNA collections limited to felons; if this bill is passed, the state will be able to make people surrender DNA samples for crimes like prostitution.

However, when I originally reported on this bill—it’s now in the Senate—I failed to highlight some other misdemeanors that give the state the right to your code. These are the ones that the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers are antsy about: animal cruelty in the second degree; assault in the fourth degree; and violation of a court order.

Amy Muth, who co-chairs the defense lawyers’ legislative lobbying group, explains that assault in the fourth degree is the most common crime committed in the state and covers just about any fit of anger—throwing a soda pop at someone is an example of a fourth degree assault she once litigated.

The cost, she says, of getting DNA samples on every fourth degree assault charge would be enormous. (The fiscal note I saw says it would cost about $1.1 million per budget cycle.)

Animal cruelty in the second degree is negligence—like not feeding your pet or failing to provide safe shelter. And violating any court order? Well, that could cover just about anything.

There’s a Senate hearing on the bill this Thursday at 8am.

Seattle-area Reps. who co-sponsored the legislation are Rep. Phyllis Kenney (D-46, North Seattle) and Rep. Zach Hudgins (D-11, South Seattle). No Seattle-area senators have signed on.

Movin’ On

posted by on February 26 at 4:33 PM

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In case you don’t have a magnifying glass handy, that sign in the far-off window partially reads “Coming Soon/Twice Sold Tales.” They’re having a moving sale in their present location at the moment because their building is going to be torn down and replaced by a Sound Transit station, and they’ll be in their new location, at Harvard and Denny, “soon.” We’ll have word from Twice Sold Tales, especially about how they’re planning to spruce up the new space, in the coming days.

Thanks to Slog tipper-and-photo-taker Brian.

State Trooper Goes Apeshit Over Student Demonstration

posted by on February 26 at 4:09 PM

On February 24th, a small group of University of Washington students gathered on the 45th street overpass above Interstate 5, carrying a 30-foot banner, which read “Education not incarceration.”

After an hour of perfectly legal protesting—you’re allowed to assemble on overpasses, as long as you don’t hang signs from the freeway and aren’t blocking traffic—the students were getting ready to head home when a Washington State Patrol Officer arrived on scene.

“We heard the woop woop [of the siren],” says UW student Jamie Brown, 27. According to Brown, State Trooper Douglas Power told the group to take their sign down and move on. “He wouldn’t or couldn’t tell us what law we were breaking,” Brown says.“He was saying it was a safety issue, that we were threatening people on the freeway.”

Next, Brown says the Trooper grabbed one of the students and pulled the sign down on top of the group. The entire incident was caught on tape.

The State Patrol is pretty candid about the Trooper’s conduct. “When the trooper got there, he thought there was a hazard of the sign possibly blowing into the lanes of I-5,” says State Patrol Spokesman Bill Gardiner. “He probably overreacted.”

According to Gardiner, the demonstration “should have been ok” since nothing was affixed to the overpass, and he blames Power’s behavior on a lack of experience. “[He] may not have developed that skill of defusing things,” Gardiner says. Because of the incident, Power will receive additional training and a record of the incident will be added to his personnel file.

Several of the students say they will be filing complaints with the Washington State Patrol.

It’s Ladies Night!

posted by on February 26 at 4:08 PM

Every Tuesday is Ladies Night. At the gun range. At yee ole Wade’s in Bellevue. From 10 am-10 pm, ladies get half-price lanes, and free rentals. You can rent a little handgun, or something more like this gun:

free-rentals.jpg

You can also bring your own.

gun-butt.jpg

You buy their ammo. Small targets are four-for-a-dollar, large targets, a buck a piece. You’re not allowed to draw faces on them.

Some girlfriends and I have been going, pretty frequently, since Christmas. For me, joining this new club was partially (unfortunately) inspired by THIS, but also by learning to shoot THIS, in Michigan, on New Years Day.

I hoped I’d suddenly look and feel like THIS woman after blasting through a bunch of boxes of brass, but instead I’m still terrified of doing THIS. And I’m too skittish to pick up anything bigger than a .22 in the loud chaotic range environment.

Also, for anyone who’s interested, here’s the HOW WAS IT? video I filmed at Wade’s last Tuesday. The lady with the customized leopard print fanny pack, that she carts her WWI-era .45 around in, is pretty much the most interesting person I’ve talked to in a very very long time.

She Said What?

posted by on February 26 at 4:00 PM

Democrats want to “put a bullet right in the hearts of our troops,” says Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas. “The Democrats out to introduce a censure resolution condemning” Hutchison,” says John at Americablog. “It’s what the Republicans would do to ensure that this never happens again. But we’re too nice.”

Hillary’s Next Move

posted by on February 26 at 3:56 PM

To the Supreme Court, says Sullivan—and President Obama should put here there.

Jeff Rosen explains why the Dems have a shortage of SCOTUS candidates ready on Day One. It’s as good a time as any to repeat my own suggestion. A president Obama should offer the first SCOTUS vacancy to Senator Clinton. It’s perfect for her: she gets to lord it over others, she’s a sharp lawyer, it appeals to her vanity, she doesn’t have to get elected, and as a sitting senator, she’d be a shoo-in. The base would love it.

I love it. How about you, Sloggers?

Have You Been to Line Out Lately?

posted by on February 26 at 3:45 PM

Because that is, as the kids say, where the party’s at.

Happy Birthday: The Little Red Hen celebrates Johnny Cash tonight, on the anniversary of his birth.

Me, Myself, and I: Charles Mudede on the self in song.

Tonight in Music: MSTRKRFT, Holy Fuck, A Place to Bury Strangers, Harsh and more.

Caption Please: What do you get when you combine Guitar Hero, a helmet, and devil horns?

Is She Still Bald?: David Schmader appreciates Sinead.

Nerf Herder Get Old: But they’re still wearing their golf shirt.

Iron Maiden to Play White River: Happy Birthday, Ari!

In My Head: The Microphones have been stuck in Eric Grandy’s head for weeks.

3,000 Words: A few gems from the Stranger Flickr Pool.

Get Healthy: MusiCares offers free check-ups to Seattle musicians!

Who’s Inducting Who: The list for 2008’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees and inductors.

“Meow Meow Meow Meow”: A list of songs that are used to torture.

The Magic Number: Three new records that Terry Miller likes.

perezhilton.jpg

Stop Perez Hilton: Sign my petition to keep the celeb-blogger from getting a record label. I choose my battles well, don’t I?

Guitar for Sale: And it’s signed by Rush.

Speaking of Rush: This post has something to do with them, Pink Floyd, the Wizard of Oz, and chocolate.

And Speaking of Chocolate: TJ Gorton re-visits a Chocolate City classic.

LiveBlogging the (Final?) Dem Debate

posted by on February 26 at 3:30 PM

Join me tonight starting at 6 p.m. PST. You know you want to. Plus, Brendan makes a very compelling case.

(Network: MSNBC. Livestream? Should be right here.)

Once Is Too Much

posted by on February 26 at 2:45 PM

Oh, and by the way: I don’t care if it won the Oscar for Best Original Plaintive Whine or whatever—I still stand by my original review.

Once

dir. John Carney

The major selling point for this unpleasant slog through a banal musical about honkies in love is its star. Glen Hansard, formerly of Irish band the Frames, is supposed to be some kind of balladeer heartthrob in real life, but he seems like a twit.

Hansard’s other movie credit is the guitar player in The Commitments. It was, at least according to Wikipedia, “a role he subsequently regretted, believing it distracted from his music career.” Really? Like, you just couldn’t wriggle free from those 13 minutes of C-level fame circa 1991? Twit.

Anyway, the movie: Irish twit busks the streets of Dublin and works at his father’s vacuum-repair shop. Czech gal (Markéta Irglová, also of the Frames) pursues Irish boy. Their love is inevitable—a cheating girlfriend broke his heart; an indifferent babydaddy broke hers—and unconsummated. She fawns over his music and they put together a band and make a record that everyone, from the jaded studio manager to Irish boy’s father, thinks is cool.

The problem is the awful fucking music, and, this being a musical, the awful fucking music sinks the ship. (The scene with Irglová singing while listening to headphones, walking down a Dublin street in her pajamas late at night, isn’t bad. But that’s only enough material for a music video.) Hansard’s songs are all of the genus “mewling heartbreak.” They begin with a plaintive honky honk and build to a strained honky howl—all of them repetitive, lazy, and cloying. Once isn’t half bad when Hansard shuts the hell up and lets someone else get an emotion in edgewise. But mostly, it’s barf. BRENDAN KILEY

Are You Smarter Than the Typical American Teen?

posted by on February 26 at 2:20 PM

Take this simple quiz:

1) When did Columbus sail for the New World?
A. Before 1750
B. 1750-1800
C. 1800-1850
D. 1850-1900
E. 1900-1950
F. After 1950

2) When was the Civil War?
A. Before 1750
B. 1750-1800
C. 1800-1850
D. 1850-1900
E. 1900-1950
F. After 1950

3) President Abraham Lincoln wrote …
A. The Bill of Rights
B. Emancipation Proclamation
C. The Missouri Compromise
D. Uncle Tom’s Cabin

4) Which American poet wrote the volume of poetry Leaves of Grass?
A. Robert Lowell
B. Edna St. Vincent Millay
C. Archibald MacLeish
D. Walt Whitman

5) What is the novel 1984 about?
A. Destruction of the human race by nuclear war
B. Dictatorship in which every citizen was watched in order to stamp out all individuality
C. Invasion and ultimate takeover of Earth by creatures from outer space
D. Man who went back in time and changed history

In a telephone survey of 1,200 17-year-olds attending US public schools, one-quarter of all students couldn’t answer question 1; nearly 60 percent failed question 2; nearly 20 percent failed question 3; more than a quarter missed question 4; and fully half missed question 5.

Other findings of the survey:

• Just half of all students knew that the controversy surrounding Sen. Joseph McCarthy had to do with communism;

• About a quarter were unable to correctly identify Adolf Hitler as chancellor of Germany during World War II (other choices included a munitions maker, an Austrian premier and the German Kaiser);

• And only four in 10 teenagers could pick the name of Ralph Ellison’s novel about a young man who grows up in the South and moves to Harlem, “Invisible Man,” from a list of books.

No child left behind, indeed.

A Trite, but Wonderful Epiphany

posted by on February 26 at 2:14 PM

Shooting around before my weekly game last Sunday, I was nervous because one of our best players wasn’t there. (We’ve been bumped up to a tougher league, and believe me, we need our best players.)

I asked his friend where he was. “I brought Aaron this week instead,” he said. “He’s black,” he concluded, introducing me to our new teammate and stating the obvious.

Another regular teammate joined in on the joke, “He’ll be good then!”

Blah blah, we were goofing on a classic stereotype as a way, I guess, of some pre-game speed-bonding with our new player.

However, it struck me during the silliness that less than a year from now, the basic image of black men may be in for a serious upgrade.

The “turn the page” seismic shift stuff did hit me in the head at that moment. It was cool.

“We’ve Served This Nation to Protect the Rights of Ingrates Like You!”

posted by on February 26 at 1:55 PM

When the Berkeley City Council stupidly approved a measure stating Marine recruiters were unwelcome in the city limits, the shit, predictably, hit the fan.

And when the council then rescinded the vote, but made a point of refusing to apologize, the shit hit the fan all over again.

This is the result of all that shit hitting all those fans, currently airing on Fox News:

Alert Bill Donohue!

posted by on February 26 at 1:29 PM

Remember the orchestrated uproar over the Folsom Street Fair’s 2007 poster? The one that featured a leather/fetish parody of Leonardo’s Last Supper? Well, I just stumbled across the most offensive parody of the Last Supper that I’ve ever seen. Brace yourselves before clicking here.

Re: Garfield, With and Without

posted by on February 26 at 12:49 PM

garfield.jpg

LiveSlogging the Dem Debate

posted by on February 26 at 12:47 PM

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Meet Jose Antonio Ortiz. The Pennsylvania man allegedly stabbed his brother-in-law in the stomach after the pair quarreled about their respective support of Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Tonight, from 6–7:30, Eli Sanders will LiveSlog the final Democratic debate before the crucial Texas and Ohio votes—and perhaps the final Democratic debate of 2008. Watch it with someone you love.

LiveSlog: Because it’s hard to stab someone through the internet.

Incredible Opportunity to Get Behind-the-Scenes

posted by on February 26 at 12:39 PM

Dan Whiting (202)224-8078 Will Hart (208)342-7985

For Immediate Release:
February 26, 2008

Craig Accepting Applications for Summer Interns
Deadline Quickly Approaching

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Idaho Senator Larry Craig is currently seeking intern applications for the summer term, which runs from May to August. The application deadline is March 15, however if more time is needed for the application process, please contact Senator Craig’s office for an extension. Craig offers paid internships within the Washington, D.C., office. Preference is given to Idaho applicants attending Idaho schools who are in their junior or senior years of college (including graduating seniors).

‘“Interns have the chance to be an essential part of a working congressional office,” said Craig. “They participate in the legislative process as well as ensure that constituent services run smoothly. For those interested in politics, it is an incredible opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at how our government functions while serving the people of Idaho.”

Interns are paired with staff members based on experience and interests, in order to best utilize their talents. They are also expected to fulfill some administrative duties such as answering phones, sorting mail and greeting constituents.

Applications and more information about the internship program are available on Craig’s website at http://craig.senate.gov/internships.cfm or at any of Craig’s six regional offices in Coeur d’Alene, Lewiston, Boise, Twin Falls, Pocatello and Idaho Falls. It is recommended that applications be delivered personally to the regional offices or sent via fax to (202) 224-2573. Applications can also be mailed, but delays are likely due to heightened security measures for Senate mail.

Mailed applications should be directed to:
Office of Senator Larry Craig
ATTN: Internship Program
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510-1203
(202) 224-2752
[30]

Garfield, With and Without

posted by on February 26 at 12:38 PM

First, two years ago, came this thread that posited Garfield could actually be funny if you removed Garfield’s thought balloons:

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Now, there’s this blog that removes Garfield entirely from Garfield, making it a “comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life”:

scaled.garfield_minus_garfield2.jpg

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And there’s also Lasagna Cat, which adds real life, music, and some high-class editing to Garfield and is also very funny.

Does this mean that Jim Davis is, in some way, funny?

The Condom Applicator’s Advocate

posted by on February 26 at 11:59 AM

If you find oversimplified condoms amusing, then you’ve never seen LifeGuard Man:

IMG_1117.jpg

About a year and a half ago, I traveled to Uganda and saw the above yellow mascot all over the place (along with the slogan “Life is Precious, Defend it Well!”). In Uganda, ads are painted onto the walls and fronts of almost every street-side market, mostly to advertise powdered milk and cell phone cards. But this little feller kept popping up, as did a series of billboards with a young Ugandan woman’s smiling face and a slogan saying that she was saving herself for marriage.

I can’t help but remember those ads when I read Dan’s post; Pronto condoms are marketed in South Africa, and there’s a good reason. It’s one thing to be too stupid to figure out a condom; it’s another to try and reduce barriers of entry, be those ignorance or unwillingness to rubber up, in battling an AIDS epidemic that just won’t go away. If that takes something as goofy as the crack-and-swipe condom to cover even a few hundred more dicks, I’m all for it. (By the way, Uganda is reportedly better off in terms of AIDS prevention; I suppose LifeGuard Man beat down the Trojan Man in a good ol’ fashioned jerk-off.)

The Condom Applicator

posted by on February 26 at 11:23 AM

I never found putting on a condom to be that hard—excuse me, that difficult. But some folks are less dexterous, it seems, hence the condom applicator.

More at BlogBlog.

Right On! Gov. Gregoire

posted by on February 26 at 11:16 AM

One thing I forgot all about in my judgmental interview with Gov. Gregoire last week was her right on fight to fund low-income children’s health care.

I had given her much deserved props on this before.

Turns out, the Governor is in D.C. today continuing to stump on the issue.

The Olympian has the story.

“It’s vital that federal regulators stop creating onerous rules that serve only to bar states from carrying out programs whose stated goals are to ensure access to coverage for children and youth,” Gregoire said in testimony before the health subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Kids come first.”

Gregoire said the new rule, which involves federal poverty level eligibility guidelines, could result in 8,100 children in Washington state failing to receive coverage under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. The federal government picks up about two-thirds of the cost of the program.

Dino Rossi has not been so good on this issue.

Currently Hanging

posted by on February 26 at 11:08 AM

Moss.jpg
Ben Frank Moss’s N.W. Landscape Dream No. 196 (2000), oil on paper, 4 1/2 by 4 inches

At Francine Seders Gallery.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on February 26 at 11:00 AM

Reading

Ed Lin and Friends at Elliott Bay Book Company

Ed Lin’s excellent first novel, Waylaid, was a coming-of-age story set in a motel, the perfect setting for a young Asian-American protagonist obsessed with alienation and random acts of sex. His second novel, This Is a Bust, is a noir set in New York City’s Chinatown in 1976. Expect funny, angry riffs on tokenism and hard-boiled detective fiction. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S Main St, 624-6600. 7 pm, free.)

PAUL CONSTANT

Music

MSTRKRFT at Neumo’s

MSTRKRFT’s Jesse Keeler recently explained the title of the techno rockers’ new single, “VUVUVU,” thusly: “The song was inadvertently named by Xavier [de Rosnay] from Justice. He says the music they make is [imitates] ‘PRPRPRPR TISH, PRPRPRPR TISH’ and the music we make is ‘VUVUVU.’” Indeed, MSTRKRFT’s DJ sets keep up a thick, heavy bass pulse more in line with straight techno than with Justice’s metal riffs and disco breaks. With LA Riots and Lazaro Casanova. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $13, all ages.)

ERIC GRANDY
  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Reminder: Starbucks Closed Today…

    posted by on February 26 at 10:57 AM

    scaled.britney-starbucks.jpg

    …between 5:30 and 9 pm while they “retrain” employees. Those employees they “retrained” out of jobs last week will probably be spending the time looking for work online.

    Press release, including lots of cutesy ideas about what you can do during that time, here. Having worked in a corporate bookstore, I think they’re going to hit all their employees with a green-apron version of the following speech:

    Upsell! Upsell! Upsell! Any baristas who’d like to share what the meeting was about should e-mail me tonight: pconstant@thestranger.com.

    Laura Bush in Town for Reichert

    posted by on February 26 at 10:55 AM

    For security reasons the Dave Reichert campaign is not allowed to confirm that Laura Bush will be in town tomorrow to do a fundraiser for the suburban Seattle Congressman.

    Reichert is trailing his Democratic challenger in cash on hand by $145,000.

    Perhaps, the reason the Reichert campaign is keeping the fundraiser on the D.L. is because the last time a Bush came to help—that’d be the President Bush—Burner raised $123,000.

    The $500-a-head fundraiser is in Medina.

    Like a Rolling Stone

    posted by on February 26 at 10:35 AM

    I’m glad that Schmader linked the Rolling Stone story on Britney Spears.

    At a time when magazines seem archaic, Rolling Stone seems to have some renewed journalism vigor lately.

    I picked up the previous issue recently and hunkered down with the story on the feds’ hoaxy Joint Terrorism Task Force.

    The story I really liked in that issue, though, was the one about the GOP losing the Hispanic vote. Yeah, that’s common knowledge, but it was a well-reported piece with candid quotes from GOP big wigs like Grover Norquist dropping some acid sarcasm about how dumb his party is:

    Grover Norquist, a top ally of Karl Rove, believes that the “vicious” rhetoric by GOP candidates could prompt Hispanics to flee “in droves” to the Democrats. “Talking about a strong border is one thing,” Norquist says. “It’s when you get into enforcing the law — which means deport — that you lose people’s votes. Oddly enough, people resent the idea that you might throw their mother out of the country.”

    It also dinged both Obama and Clinton for voting yea on the border fence, which I’d forgotten about.

    One thing I think the story left out, though, was how surprisingly good George Bush had been on the issue.

    This Is Your Commodity

    posted by on February 26 at 10:10 AM

    The story of a carton of eggs:
    Egg-Carton.jpg

    The life-story of a chair:
    chair3.jpg

    And best and most strangest of all, the brief life of a loaf of bread:
    bread_pic1_big.jpg

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on February 26 at 10:04 AM

    scaled.dscn1737.JPG

    The Poetry Slam is tonight, along with a book club favorite author, and then there’s a bunch of other things, about which more here:

    The Stranger Suggests Box should be popping in at any moment, I’m sure, but this is an additional reminder that tonight is the Ed Lin reading at Elliott Bay Book Company, featuring Anna Marie Hong and Hannah Moon. Lin’s previous book, Waylaid, was a pretty amazing first novel (and it was also made into a movie called The Motel which was also pretty amazing, but you shouldn’t ask questions about that at the reading because readings are usually pretty depressing when all the questions are about movies.)

    Speaking of which, Charles Burns is doing a signing and talk at the University Bookstore tonight. I’m sure that there will be a ton of questions about the potential movie adaptation of Burns’ book Black Hole. Expect to hear a lot of clipped “I don’t really know what’s going on with that”s, mixed liberally with some “The movie will be its own thing”s, along with awkward attempts to move on to the next question, which will also be about the movie*.

    Jacqueline Winspear is at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop this afternoon and at Third Place Books tonight. I will repeat, one more time, that her mystery is about “a land-buying issue in a picturesque Kent village.” There will be thrills.

    And finally, Karen Armstrong is reading from her biography of the Bible at University Temple United Methodist Church. I was flippant about the book in my calendar writeup, but Armstrong does do some decent nonfiction about religion, especially if you don’t know anything about a given religion and you’d like a thorough crash course. There shouldn’t be any proselytizing, hopefully.

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


    Continue reading "Reading Tonight" »

    Art and NSFW

    posted by on February 26 at 10:00 AM

    sunlightonfur.jpg
    Something to click safely back to when you’re led astray by the links below.

    Yesterday I posted an image to Slog that probably is still gathering NSFW protests. It was an artwork by Kirsten Stoltmann called Punk (You Can’t Handle the Truth)—a portrait of the pregnant artist seen from the front, sitting spread-legged on a chair, with the words “You Can’t Handle the Truth” scrawled over her image, covering one of her breasts. Her other breast is exposed and so is a thatch of pubic hair under her distended belly.

    At 3:45 pm I got an email from a reader:

    Your recent post on the slog almost made me crap myself. I read the slog at work and having a book cover with a totally naked lady on it could have potentially made me lose my job depending on who would have seen it. Please never do that again.

    I have mixed feelings about this.

    On the one hand, I don’t want anybody getting fired over a work of art (the image I put up is a work of art, not a book cover). If the question is not whether the image is pornographic but whether employers can be conservative jackasses, obviously, the answer is yes.

    On the other hand, should I never post a nude except behind a link? That would pretty much have me hiding the history of art behind a curtain.

    So what? you say. That “curtain” is nothing more than a technological detail, a run around the censoring bastards. It’s meaningless. It doesn’t matter whether the image is an artwork—with all the intentions of an artwork—or a paparazzi-snapped shot of Britney’s vag as she wobbles out of a limo. They should be treated the same because of said bastards.

    Except they aren’t the same thing.

    And the curtain isn’t a totally meaningless device. It has not only pragmatic value, but a theatrical effect, too. I’m not beyond using it. In October, I posted a Nan Goldin photograph of two girls at play behind a jump because, I wrote, “It’s not that it’s NSFW. It’s that it’s not safe for adulthood.” One of the girls at play has her legs spread. This was in the middle of a British debate about whether the photograph is obscene (the court decided no). In addition to the drama of using a jump, I thought it was interesting that, by choosing to click to see, online viewers would have a totally different experience from a gallery visitor who simply turns around and comes upon the image (as happened to me at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle).

    Now we come to yesterday’s image of the nude, pregnant Kirsten Stoltmann. It’s a straight-on portrait with nothing sexual going on, and one breast fully showing (it actually reminds me of pre-Renaissance madonnas like this one more than anything else).

    Because I think women are ashamed enough of their bodies, I don’t want to put a naked pregnant woman behind a curtain, and I’ll admit that one reason I like working at The Stranger is that I don’t have to. I’d also wager that’s one reason you like reading The Stranger and Slog, even if you protested. It’s not as if we’re pretending the rest of the world doesn’t exist when we make decisions to put things out there; we make those decisions, in part, as a fuck-you to the inanity of people who think a naked pregnant woman is obscene in the first place.

    But on top of that is the fact that I’m posting art. Which nudes are OK? Just the old ones? Painted, but not photographed? (How about this classic?) Just the non-pregnant nudes, or pregnant nudes, which Charles claims couldn’t entice anyone anyway? Or just the nudes, like Kirsten Stoltmann’s, that might actually act as sexual deterrents, which are, in fact, making sex look like an event with possibly terrifying results? (Are come-ons like this album cover, which Amazon—a conventional workplace—is happy enough to post to its own web site, more or less SFW?)

    I’m sincerely asking:

    What are the actual guidelines of companies?

    Is everyone who screams NSFW actually afraid of losing a job, or is it just that some things look even less like you’re doing work than others?

    If we agree that there’s a substantive difference between art and celebrity shots or porn, then aren’t you in a position to defend the difference?

    Has anybody had to have these conversations with their employers? What was that like? Has anybody lost a job over this?

    Another Expression I Hate

    posted by on February 26 at 9:56 AM

    … “and what not.”

    That’s a telltale sign.

    If You Read Only One Nine-Thousand Word Essay About Britney Spears This Year…

    posted by on February 26 at 9:53 AM

    scaled.63869.jpg

    …make it this one.

    If there’s a Britney-specific Pulitzer for 2008—and there should be—Vanessa Grigoriadis will win it.

    (I’d excerpt a “favorite” bit, but excerpting anything skews the balance of salaciousness unfairly, so if you’re at all interested, read the whole thing. Trust me.)

    Congress v. Clemens

    posted by on February 26 at 9:15 AM

    This makes my head explode:

    A Congressional committee has taken the first steps toward asking the Department of Justice to start a criminal investigation into whether Roger Clemens committed perjury during testimony about performance-enhancing drugs, according to three lawyers with knowledge of the matter.

    How many Bush administration officials have lied to Congress under oath? Alberto Gonzales gets a pass and Clemens get indicted? The Democrats that control Congress can’t be bothered with investigating the politically-motivated prosecution of a Democratic governor by the U.S. Justice department but it has all the time in the world to roast retired athletes over a spit? Christ.

    Checking in With Bill Donohue

    posted by on February 26 at 9:15 AM

    Some Catholic nuns want to purchase two non-Catholic hospitals in the Denver area, according to the latest press release from Bill “There’s An Anti-Papist Under Every Bed!” Donohue’s Catholic League. According to Bill’s Catholic League, an evil, anti-Catholics bigots has proposed legislation that would prevent the sisters from taking over the two hospitals. And this, of course, is anti-Catholic bigotry. Says Bill:

    “The idea that the Catholic Church wants to impose its will on the public is one of the oldest and most invidious canards ever expressed. Ironically, here we go again—except in reverse: It is the Church’s adversaries who want to impose their secular conception of health care on the Sisters. What is bothering some Colorado lawmakers is the right of Catholic hospitals not to perform operations, or make available certain drugs, which violate their ethical standards.”

    Here’s the Rocky Mountain News on the controversy:

    As it is with the other nine hospitals owned by Sisters of Charity, Lutheran and Good Samaritan medical staff would have to follow Catholic ethical and religious directives, which prohibit abortions, tubal ligations, vasectomies and other forms of birth control unless deemed medically necessary. The rules also restrict removing feeding tubes from people in a persistent vegetative state.

    So it would seem that the sisters do intend on imposing their will on staff and patients at these two hospitals. Perhaps this canard is old and an invidious, Bill, because it’s true. From choice to same-sex marriage to end-of-life decisions, the Catholic Church actively seeks to impose its will on us all.

    And the proposed piece of legislation doesn’t block the sale. Back to the Rocky Mountain News:

    Colorado Rep. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, negotiated with the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth to change the timeframe on a bill that would give Colorado’s attorney general more authority to question whether hospital mergers are in the public’s best interest.

    The bill doesn’t block the sale, only allows Colorado’s attorney general to ask if the sale is in the public’s best interest—and since the answer to that question may very well be “no,” you can see why Bill “False Witness” Donohue is so exercised about it.

    Oh, and you can sign a petition right now at the Catholic League’s website calling for the immediate beatification of Pope Pius XII, a.k.a. “Hitler’s Pope.”

    If Hillary Wins the Nomination, Blame Washington State.

    posted by on February 26 at 9:02 AM

    If Hillary wins the nomination (which she’s not going to…calm down Obamanoids), it’ll be all Washington state’s fault…

    at least according to the long-shot scenario dreamed up by the in-house numbers wonk at Real Clear where he outlines the case Hillary may be be able to make to legitimately line up more superdelegates.

    Here’s the incriminating paragraph:

    Fourth, and most important of all, she could attack the fairness of the caucus system. This will be her best bet, I think. Obama has won most of the caucus states overwhelmingly. Clinton could assert that the caucus favors Obama by unfairly excluding voters who happen to favor her - namely, “downscale” Democrats who cannot take off work to attend and elderly voters who are unable to. Clinton will have some evidence to buttress this claim. The Washington state caucus allocated 68% of the state’s delegates to Obama on February 9th. Ten days later, on February 19th, the state held a non-binding primary in which Obama won 51% of the vote. Texas might yield a similar result. If Obama beats Clinton in the caucus, and she beats him in the primary - Clinton can argue that the caucus system unfairly skews toward him.

    In other pro-Hillary analysis, there was yesterday’s Geraldine Ferraro op/ed in the NYT.

    Ferraro makes the case that superdelegates aren’t the bugaboo that the House of Obama implies. She trots out the standard HRC arguments: Obama’s caucus wins don’t represent large enough sample of voters; don’t include enough working class voters; and in many cases, include Republican voters and Independent voters. She also makes a point I’ve been pushing for a while: If Obama fans think elitist party rules are unfairly empowering Hillary superdelegates, why aren’t they equally upset that elitist party rules disenfranchise the voters of Florida and Michigan?

    Make of all that what you will.

    But the part of Ferraro’s editorial I found thin was the part where she tried to justify the existence of superdelegates in the first place.

    Here’s the heart of her explanation:

    Democrats had to figure out a way to unify our party. What better way, we reasoned, than to get elected officials involved in writing the platform, sitting on the credentials committee and helping to write the rules that the party would play by?

    Most officeholders, however, were reluctant to run as delegates in a primary election — running against a constituent who really wants to be a delegate to the party’s national convention is not exactly good politics.

    So we created superdelegates and gave that designation to every Democratic member of Congress. Today the 796 superdelegates also include Democratic governors, former presidents and vice presidents, and members of the Democratic National Committee and former heads of the national committee.

    If the intent of the superdelegate system is to make sure Democratic leaders like Sens. Cantwell and Murray have a hand in writing the Party’s platform without having to run against their own constituents for a convention delegate spot, why not just give superdelegates the authority to write and vote on platform matters, but leave the nomination up to the rank and file delegates?

    Crazy, But That’s How It Goes

    posted by on February 26 at 8:54 AM

    Auschglitz!, the blog devoted to “the magic of the American amateur show choir,” continues to make me very happy to be alive.

    This morning’s treasure: Poca, West Virginia’s Visual Volume, going off the rails on a crazy train.

    The first five seconds of this clip almost kill me. Then it gets even better. Thank you thank you thank you, Auschglitz!

    I’m Not Alone

    posted by on February 26 at 8:53 AM

    When I posted something to Slog about just how annoying I found the messy, disorganized caucus process, I was accused of being a snot. Well, it turns out I’m not alone:

    A majority of registered voters across party lines would prefer that Washington become a primary-only state, according to a new Washington Poll…. The new poll, with a 5.6 percent margin of error, found that only 10 percent of voters would prefer a caucus-only system; 30 percent would prefer to keep both caucuses and primaries; and 52 percent would prefer only primaries.

    You Like that Big Baggette, Don’t You?

    posted by on February 26 at 8:47 AM

    We needed to grab some breakfast in Dublin, Ohio, this morning on our way to Ohio State University, where we plan to interview some college students about, well, you know. Anyway, we spot this French place in an older building in historic Dublin, and pulled over. When we walked in a latino cook greeted us with a “bonjour!” in perfectly accented Franish. We placed our orders, found a table, and proceeded to eat our eggs and thoroughly Americanized croissants. (In France, a croissant fits in the palm of your hand; in America, they’re bigger than your face—and, no, out-of-control portion sizes have nothing whatsoever to do with America’s obesity epidemic, and you’re an anti-fat bigot for even bringing it up.)

    Anyway, looked up from my croissant and noticed a framed picture on the wall.

    bitemybread.jpg

    Is it just my filthy mind or is there something deeply fucked up about that painting?

    Obama’s Turban

    posted by on February 26 at 8:40 AM

    I was away from the Slog yesterday, so I didn’t get a chance to post about the Drudge-Clinton-Obama turban extravaganza.

    nyc.jpg

    The whole thing is absurd, especially when you consider this. (And this.)

    Still, I don’t think one can discount the extent of Americans’ ignorance about turbans, and the political uses to which that ignorance can be put.

    I mean, granted, this was almost seven years ago now, but don’t forget what happened in this country, and in this city, after Sept. 11:

    In SeaTac last week, a man was charged with attacking a turban-wearing Sikh cab driver, calling him a “butcher terrorist.” In Seattle, a man was arrested after he allegedly tried to choke a Sikh, telling him, “You have no right to attack our country.” In Arizona, a man shot a Sikh gas-station owner to death, later explaining to authorities: “I’m a patriot.”

    Hundreds of other assaults on Sikhs have been reported across the country, a trend that strikes many as bizarrely misguided.

    Yes, Sikhs wear turbans. But they have no connection to the Islamic extremists now wanted by the U.S….

    Those seem to be distinctions many are unaware of. John Cooksey, a Republican congressman from Louisiana, recently offered this suggestion for weeding out terrorists: “If I see someone come in and he’s got a diaper on his head and a fanbelt wrapped around the diaper on his head, that guy needs to be pulled over and checked.”

    That’s from an article I wrote in The Seattle Times in late September of 2001—an article that had the hilariously basic (but apparently very necessary) headline: “Turbans: Don’t Link Them to Terrorism.”

    Linking turbans to terrorism is, of course, what the release of the Obama photo was all about. The implicit argument: Obama once was photographed wearing a turban, therefore Obama is vulnerable in the general election to smear campaigns that will inevitably stoke the fears and exploit the ignorance of people like… Well, people like Congressman Cooksey, for starters.

    The Clinton campaign, which is full of non-denial denials about being the source of the photo, was trying to hide out on the high road yesterday. Campaign manager Maggie Williams said in a release:

    Enough.

    If Barack Obama’s campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed. Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely.

    This is nothing more than an obvious and transparent attempt to distract from the serious issues confronting our country today and to attempt to create the very divisions they claim to decry.

    We will not be distracted.

    Her release wasn’t helped by the fact that Obama was in Kenya, not Somalia, at the time the turban photo was taken. In any case, if Maggie Williams, or anyone else, wants to take a look at the lovely illustrated guide to turbans that ran with my article, it’s here. (A friend recently joked: Was the illustrated guide provided so that people could more easily search out the Muslims they wanted to beat up? Answer: No.)

    I’m traveling today, so I can’t get to the bottom of this myself, but here’s a remaining question I have that I hereby crowd-source to the Slog mob: When Obama donned that turban in Kenya, were his hosts even Muslim?

    Because this “traditional garb” that he’s wearing could just as easily have belonged to a non-Muslim ethnic (or religious, or tribal) group as to a Muslim group. Do we potentially have an American ignorance hat-trick here: Wrong country, wrong underlying religion, and, of course, wrong potential outrage?

    The Morning News

    posted by on February 26 at 8:16 AM

    McCain: If I can’t convince Americans the Iraq war is succeeding, “Then I lose.”

    Weasel Words: Mr. Straight Talk downplays support for 100-year war.

    Just Words: Poll finds growing support for Obama.

    Loss for Words: Kenya negotiations reach deadlock.

    Crisis of Faith: Americans switching religions.

    Two Nations, One Fuckup: Pakistan to restore YouTube despite “anti-Quranic” Dutch clips.

    Two Parties, One Budget: Partisan rhetoric in the state House.

    No Show: Kim Jong-il snubs New York Philharmonic.

    Lowdown on Downloads: FCC questions Comcast about delaying Web traffic.

    Under the Gun: China open to human rights discussion before Olympics.

    Under the Sea: Google to lay 10,000km of fiber-optic cable.

    Under the Needle: New plans for Seattle Center.

    Did This Make Slog Yesterday?

    posted by on February 26 at 6:59 AM

    Could Mitt Romney really be thinking about jumping back into GOP nomination race—after suspending his campaign, after endorsing McCain? One of his sons said as much to the LA Times.


    Monday, February 25, 2008

    Hillary is Mom Jeans

    posted by on February 25 at 6:17 PM

    Hillary wants you to leave Britney alone.

    Hillary wears socks with sandals.

    Hillary writes everything in Comic Sans.

    Hillary hardly ever understands why the Far Side is funny.

    And dozens more to be found here.

    (Also: barackobamaisyournewbicycle.com; thanks for the links, Robby.)

    Quiz Time

    posted by on February 25 at 5:53 PM

    scaled.peanuts1nt7.jpg

    scaled.peanuts2li8.jpg

    Completely genius answer to this analogy is here.

    Slog Zeitgeist

    posted by on February 25 at 5:39 PM

    Top 10 search terms that lead to Slog over the past month:

    • slog
    • two girls one cup
    • the stranger
    • stranger
    • savage love
    • stranger slog
    • hillary clinton lesbian
    • dan savage
    • jane fonda cunt
    • the slog

    Top 5 (non-search) sites sending traffic our way:

    • andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com
    • politico.com
    • americablog.com
    • fleshbot.com
    • my.barackobama.com

    Analyze.

    Anyone Know What’s Up?

    posted by on February 25 at 5:15 PM

    Slog tipper Jamie writes:

    I’m sitting here (8th and Spring) sewing and for the past 30 minutes or so, the police helicopter hs been hovering above. I’ve heard police and ambulance sirens as well (the abmulnce may be unrelated, this being 1st hill and all). I checked all the news outlets, and nothing. Also, there’s no traffic moving on the 5. Very interesting….

    I think I speak for everyone, Jamie, when I ask: what are you sewing?

    This Exists

    posted by on February 25 at 4:48 PM

    chelada.jpg

    I never knew…

    Smellmeand.com

    posted by on February 25 at 4:10 PM

    smellmetocome.jpg

    A scent for the sophisticated knob-grasper.

    Make sure to watch the video, which is safe for work if your work is into titties.

    Thanks for the grossout, M. Hickster!

    Games: Put the Shovel Down

    posted by on February 25 at 3:50 PM

    I was going to play video games all weekend long and post about them to make up for the lack of a games column in recent printed issues. But the sun showed up, so I broke character and took advantage—played a few pickup games of basketball (yes, real basketball); stopped by a farmers market; drove to Olympia and wandered around downtown; came back home and did some minor gardening with the girlfriend. Of course, it all comes around full circle.

    “For a second, I actually thought that planting something next to our walkway would attract a Cinnamonkey,” the gf said.

    3pinatas.png

    She’s recently become addicted to Viva Piñata, a year-old Xbox 360 game where you build a garden and use it to attract living, breathing piñata-creatures (she begged for the game, so I gave it to her on V-Day, aww). When it came out in ’06, the game was marketed to Pokemon-loving kids, complete with a cartoon TV show tie-in, but its sales were awful because the game is both too simple and too complicated. Though there’s no way to die or lose, my girlfriend still has to consult a Web site called Piñata Island every minute or so to make sense of the game’s obtuse multi-garden plots and planting strategies. Planting strategies!

    On the flipside, real-life gardening is relatively new to my life, and it blows my nerdy mind. Sort and arrange on a small patch of grass, and if you do it right, you get food. It’s like Tetris, only with a high score you can eat. So on a sunny day, all I could think about were games with green thumbs. Are you familiar with these? Pretty much any weird concept has been converted to a video game by now (dog-walking, cow-milking), but farming games have done surprisingly well in the past decade. Animal Crossing on the DS requires that you power the game on every day to manage a town’s trees, fruits and weeds—and it has sold millions. Harvest Moon has been going since 1997, making you play through seasons of growing crops, reaping the harvest and—hoo boy—finding a wife so your male character can make an organic baby (no same-sex marriage on this farm, sorry). Shigeru Miyamoto, the man behind Mario and Zelda, even made a gardening-inspired strategy game called Pikmin a few years back (and years later, released the worldwide-smash puppy-raising sim Nintendogs).

    The earliest days of games were about the fantastic and unreachable—Asteroids, Space Invaders. And games have generally kept this up; even recent “normal” games like The Sims or Rollercoaster Tycoon at least let gamers play god. But what happens when normalcy becomes the new fantasy? When you plant apple trees to attract purple piñata horses? Hope this doesn’t come off as trying to sound deep, but maybe these games are a reaction to urbanization, to being out of touch with our hunting/gathering roots—hell, in Viva Piñata, everything in the game can be broken open to reveal wrapped candies. Kinda creeps me out when I think about it.

    Is a bizarre sense of normalcy going to be the new gaming wave as mass appeal ramps up? As the original gaming generation becomes moms and dads, and companies shift their development accordingly? I fear this—already, there’s a game based on The Office in which you race to file the most documents within a time limit. Some people would love for games to be more like movies, going on about how games can be artistic, but at this pace, they may wind up more like a Sunday afternoon…and then what the hell will I do to have a break from normalcy? Pick up a fucking shovel? Or, heaven forbid, the Wii-Shovel?


    [Since Games hasn’t run for a few weeks in print, I’m trying out an online column with either reviews or whatever else is recently relevant about games. Next week, assuming I get a copy in time, I’ll talk about the Lost video game that comes out this week.]

    Today (and Over the Weekend) on Line Out

    posted by on February 25 at 3:42 PM

    Got Twitter?: Follow Line Out on Twitter and get the breaking news on your phone!

    Breaking News Like: Who’s playing Sasquatch 2008!

    These Arms Are Snakes Photos: With blood, sweat, and mustaches.

    Muppets and Music: Coming together in an art project.

    Courtney Love on the Oscars: Fortunately, she was conscious long enough to write this blog post.

    Long Live Permanent Media!: Brian Cook interviews Jeffery Taylor of Wall of Sound.

    Tonight in Music: The good (Yes, Oh Yes) and the bad (Arsonists Get All the Girls).

    It Ain’t No Joke: Is Jay-Z making money from the African Slave Trade.

    Fuck the Hives: And their giant neon sign.

    Great, Now “Love Machine“‘s Gonna Be Stuck in My Head All Day: TJ Gorton loves no one but Tempest Trio.

    Jeffrey Lewis: Eric Grandy explains why he’s so awesome.

    How to Wreck a Bar: Monotonix almost burn the Comet down.

    Sound Off! 2008: Meet the bands who played round three of the semi-finals, and then find out who won.

    New Rule: No more yelling “Freebird” at concerts.

    Do you Live in Seattle and Make Music?: Then get yourself listed in The Stranger’s Musician’s Directory.

    thesearms6.JPG

    Photo by Morgan Keuler.

    For Typography Nerds Only

    posted by on February 25 at 3:40 PM

    A neologism.

    (Thank you, Paul.)

    My Home State

    posted by on February 25 at 3:37 PM

    Where the people continue to elect batshit crazy, numbskull homophobes:


    The NYTimes’ Deborah Solomon: Let’s talk about your new book, “On My Honor,” which draws on your experience as an Eagle Scout and champions the values of the Boy Scouts of America, to whom you are donating your royalties.

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry: Yes, to their legal-defense fund.

    Solomon: Which has been fighting the A.C.L.U., to keep gays out of the scouts. Why do you see that as a worthy cause?

    Perry: I am pretty clear about this one. Scouting ought to be about building character, not about sex. Period. Precious few parents enroll their boys in the Scouts to get a crash course in sexual orientation.

    Solomon: Why do you think a homosexual would be more likely to bring the subject of sex into a conversation than a heterosexual?

    Perry: Well, the ban in scouting applies to scout leaders. When you have a clearly open homosexual scout leader, the scouts are going to talk about it. And they’re not there to learn about that. They’re there to learn about what it means to be loyal and trustworthy and thrifty.

    Solomon: But don’t you think that homosexuals might also be interested in being loyal and thrifty?

    Perry: The argument that gets made is that homosexuality is about sex. Do you agree?

    Solomon: No.

    Perry: Well, then why don’t they call it something else?

    Hahahahahahahaha! I also love it when she asks him whether Boy Scouts should have a child-care badge (in addition to a dog-care badge) and he says he “wouldn’t have a problem with that”—because, “why not teach scouts to help out moms”?

    Poster of the Quadriennium

    posted by on February 25 at 3:27 PM

    leap_year_poster.jpg

    I don’t know these bands and I don’t really care if they suck or not, but this is an awesome poster. First off, it has a retro Rock-poster design with a kitten right in the middle of it. Rock-kittens are awesome. But more important, it’s a Leap Year poster. Or, I should say, it’s a Leap Day poster.

    The show falls on the quadrillennial February 29th, this Friday. It’s been 16 years since Leap Day fell on a Friday or Saturday, back in 1992. The next time will be in 2020. Traditionally, women were allowed to propose to their gents on Leap Day. But such a numerically auspicious day should have some sort of modern ritual associated with it, ideally one that involves leaping.

    My Flicker Photo of the Day

    posted by on February 25 at 3:19 PM

    This powerful image has its sonic equivalent in the sounds and dubs of Burial:
    Picture%204.jpg …It’s all in that touch/dub/dab of blue in the tunnel.

    Oly Folly

    posted by on February 25 at 3:15 PM

    As I’ve Slogged a couple of times now, one of the best pieces of legislation in play this session in Olympia is Sen. Craig Pridemore’s (D-49, Vancouver) working families tax credit.

    With a price tag of about $60 million, the program would allow low-income families (families who qualify for the federal level Earned Income Tax Credit) to get a tax rebate at the state level. These taxpayers currently can’t get a break at the state level because Washington State doesn’t have an income tax (we have a regressive sales tax). And since these aren’t the type of wage earners who can file at the state level for sales tax deductions that higher income taxpayers get to claim, Pridemore’s fix simply calls on the state to give them a rebate based on their federal deduction.

    Sen. Pridemore passed the bill out of the Senate, with a caveat that they wouldn’t have to fund it this year. (As the bill made its way to the Senate floor last week, state revenue projections dropped by $423 million.)

    This has given the House a legitimate excuse not to pass his legislation, though. Why bother with something that isn’t funded?

    I talked to Sen. Pridemore today, and he argues that the advantage of passing the legislation this year is that it will take a year to get the program in place anyway. If Pridemore holds off, working families will be strapped unnecessarily for an extra year. If the program is in place, the momentum will be there to fund it next year.

    It’s an okay argument (an okay argument), but really, Sen. Pridemore should have stuck to his initial bill, and passed funded legislation. After all, as our conversation proceeded, Sen. Pridemore landed on his best argument for passing the bill this year: “We’re going to have $750 million in reserves, saying we don’t have the money for this is not true.” Exactly.

    The bill is currently in the House finance committee where the House finance chair, Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond), has told Sen. Pridemore he doesn’t have the votes.

    Mo’ Better than the Book

    posted by on February 25 at 2:59 PM

    Let us make our way down the list:

    David Cronenberg’s movie, Crash, is slightly better than J. G. Ballard’s book.
    crash4.jpg

    David Fincher’s movie, Fight Club, is significantly better than Chuck Palahniuk’s book.
    fight_club_5.jpg

    Carl Franklin’s movie, Devil in a Blue Dress, is a little bit better than Walter Mosley’s book.
    devil-blue-dress.jpg

    Steven Spielberg’s movie, The Color Purple, is much, much, much, much better than Alice Walker’s book.
    tn2_color_purple_2.jpg

    Heist of the Day

    posted by on February 25 at 2:24 PM

    Thieves in Milan took millions from a jewelry showroom the old fashioned way. From the BBC:

    Undisturbed, the thieves dug a 3ft (1m) tunnel into the cellar of the jeweller’s showroom.

    The seven men, unarmed and unmasked, came through the wall as staff above them prepared the jewels for a celebrity Oscars party.

    The thieves tied the staff up with plastic cable and sticky tape.

    They then locked everyone in the bathroom except the manager, who was taken to the safety deposit room and forced to empty the lockers.

    The gang then left the same way they came in. So far, police have few leads.

    A-Team-Cell.jpg

    “I love it when a plan comes together.”

    Hometown Hero

    posted by on February 25 at 1:08 PM

    The NYT Magazine fawns over profiles Bart Sher.

    22sher-500.jpg

    “Sher’s contract [with Intiman] is up in 2009; last year he spent 210 days in New York.”

    The Death of a Bicycle Thief

    posted by on February 25 at 1:05 PM

    The primitive and powerful instinct to live could not overcome the force of the shame:

    LONGVIEW, Wash. — A popular podiatrist who was charged with stealing about $55,000 worth of expensive racing bicycles in Washington, Oregon and Utah has committed suicide at a hospital.

    According to a police report, Jacob J. Bos, 35, hanged himself Friday night in his room in the psychiatric ward of St. John Medical Center at Longview. Two certified nursing assistants found his body Saturday morning, police reported.

    Bos, 35, had been released on $5,500 bail while awaiting trial in Cowlitz County Superior Court on nine counts of first-degree possession of stolen property and three counts of trafficking in stolen property.


    How can a podiatrist be popular? Are there that many happy feet? Only God knows.


    Earth accept this dishonored guest.
    Jacob J. Bos is laid to rest.

    I’m Worried

    posted by on February 25 at 12:57 PM

    When I moved to the Pacific Northwest 12 years ago, one of the first things I noticed was the popularity of the expression: “Right on.”

    You didn’t have to restrict it to its actual meaning: “exactly” or “well done” or “hurray.” It was a malleable expression that worked its way into every single conversation.

    Someone would tell you about their love life troubles, and in the pause, you’d say: “Right on.” Someone would tell you that you inadvertently cut in line, you’d say: “Right on.” Someone would tell you they had to leave town on an emergency because their mother was deathly ill, and you’d say: “Right on.” Someone would tell you they didn’t have that $20 they owed you, and you’d say: “Right on.”

    And, of course, it also retained its original meaning. Someone would explain why tort reform was a GOP plot against consumer rights, and you’d say: “Right on.” Or if you scored tickets to a show you wanted to see, you’d say: “Right on.”

    I don’t know when the term fell out of fashion. 1999? But in recent months, I’ve noticed a new expression that’s seeping into the vocabulary: “No worries.”

    Currently, it seems restricted to its basic meaning—”no problem” or more loosely, “I understand.” But that last interpretation is dangerous ground. And I’m feeling it shift into that annoying zone where it starts to mean everything.

    Now, I’m okay with a little lazy Nadsat—teenage vocabulary of the future—but “no worries” is just too happy and stonery.

    There are worries, people. There are worries.

    Re: Cool It In Ohio

    posted by on February 25 at 12:45 PM

    I’m not even going to address Josh’s WTO-as-EPA analogy, because we’ve been arguing about that for, oh, about 47 years now.

    But I do have to take issue with his description of Maureen Dowd’s column calling Obama feminine and Hillary masculine as “smart analysis.”

    For context, here’s Dowd:

    And when historians trace how her inevitability dissolved, they will surely note this paradox: The first serious female candidate for president was rejected by voters drawn to the more feminine management style of her male rival. …

    At first in Austin, Hillary did not channel Jane Austen. She tried once more to cast Obama as a weak sister on his willingness to talk to Raúl Castro.

    Obama tapped into his inner chick and turned the other cheek. To cheers, he said, “I think that it’s important for us, in undoing the damage that has been done over the last seven years, for the president to be willing to take that extra step.”

    Hillary tried to rough up Obama on copying his pal’s language even as she copied her husband’s line from 1992: “The hits that I took in this election are nothing compared to the hits that the people in this state and this country are taking every day of their lives under this administration.”

    While Obama looked at her warily, even fearfully, Hillary suddenly switched to her feminine side. Getting New Hampshire misty, she said she was “absolutely honored” to be there with him and that “whatever happens, we’re going to be fine.” (Her campaign defended the originality of the John Edwardsian sentiment, saying it had even been expressed by the likes of Lindsay Lohan). The press hailed the moment as heartfelt, but it was simply Hillary’s calculated attempt to woo women and protect her future in the party — by seeming more collegial. She’s furious that the Chicago kid got in the picture.

    Hmmm… Why does this sound so familiar? Oh, this must be it:

    She won her Senate seat after being embarrassed by a man. She pulled out New Hampshire and saved her presidential campaign after being embarrassed by another man. She was seen as so controlling when she ran for the Senate that she had to be seen as losing control, as she did during the Monica scandal, before she seemed soft enough to attract many New York voters…

    How humiliating to have a moderator of the New Hampshire debate ask her to explain why she was not as popular as the handsome young prince from Chicago

    .

    Or this:

    Again and again at debates, he looked eager to greet her or be friendly during the evening and she iced him. She might have frozen him out once more Monday night had he actually tried to reach out.

    But Obama is the more emotionally delicate candidate, and the one who has the more feminine consensus management style, and the not-blinded-by-testosterone ability to object to a phony war.

    Or this:

    The debate dominatrix knows how to rattle Obambi.

    Mistress Hillary started disciplining her fellow senator last winter, after he began exploring a presidential bid. When he winked at her, took her elbow and tried to say hello on the Senate floor, she did not melt, as many women do. She brushed him off, a move meant to remind him that he was an upstart who should not get in the way of her turn in the Oval Office.

    He was so shook up, he called a friend to say: You would not believe what just happened with Hillary.

    She has continued to flick the whip in debates. She usually ignores Obama and John Edwards backstage, preferring to chat with the so-called second-tier candidates. And she often looks so unapproachable while they’re setting up on stage that Obama seems hesitant to be the first to say hi.

    Or this:

    When pundettes tut-tut that playing the victim is not what a feminist should do, they forget that Hillary is not a feminist. If she were merely some clichéd version of a women’s rights advocate, she never could have so effortlessly blown off Marian Wright Edelman and Lani Guinier when Bill first got in, or played the Fury with Bill’s cupcakes during the campaign.

    She was always kind enough to let Bill hide behind her skirts when he got in trouble with women. Now she deserves to hide behind her own pantsuits when men cause her trouble.

    We underestimate Hillary if we cast her as Eleanor Roosevelt. She’s really Alfonse D’Amato.

    Or this:


    But maybe the qualities that many find off-putting in Hillary — her opportunism, her triangulation, her ethical corner-cutting, her shifting convictions from pro-war to anti-war, her secrecy, her ruthlessness — are the same ones that make people willing to vote for a woman.

    Few are concerned that Hillary is strong enough for the job. She is cold-eyed about wanting power and raising money and turning everything about her life into a commodity. Yet, the characteristics that are somewhat troubling are the same ones that convincingly show she will do what it takes to beat Obama and Rudy. She will not be soft or vulnerable. She will not melt in a crisis.

    And, unlike Obama, she doesn’t need to talk herself into manning up.

    Or this:

    When Hillary voted to let W. use force in Iraq, she didn’t even read the intelligence estimate. She wasn’t trying to do the right thing. She was trying to do the opportunistic thing. She felt she could not run for president, as a woman, if she played the peacenik.

    By throwing in with Joe Lieberman and the conservative hawks on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard issue, she once more overcompensated in a cynical way. She’d like to paint Obama as the weak reed who wants to cozy up to dictators, while she’s the one who will play tough. It was odd, given her success in the debates conveying the sense that she is the manliest candidate among the Democrats, that she felt the need to man-up on Iran.

    Or this (imagining a conversation between Bill and Hillary):

    Her voice softening, she asks, “Do you know what your First Lad project will be?”

    “ ‘Just Say Yes?’ ” he proffers. Going back to his crossword puzzle, he asks, “Do you know an eight-letter word for `loving wife?’ ”

    “Overlord,” she replies, smiling lovingly.

    Or this:

    Many people I talked to afterward found Michelle wondrous. But others worried that her chiding was emasculating, casting her husband — under fire for lacking experience — as an undisciplined child.”

    Or this:

    I’m just not certain, having watched the fresh-faced senator shy away from fighting with the feral Hillary over her Hollywood turf, that he understands that a campaign is inherently a conflict.

    The Democrats lost the last two excruciatingly close elections because Al Gore and John Kerry did not fight fiercely and cleverly enough.

    After David Geffen made critical comments about Hillary, she seized the chance to play Godzilla stomping on Obambi.

    As a woman, she clearly feels she must be aggressive in showing she can “deck” opponents, as she put it — whether it’s Saddam with her war resolution vote or Senator Obama when he encroaches on areas that she and Bill had presumed were wrapped up, like Hollywood and now the black vote.

    If Hillary is in touch with her masculine side, Barry is in touch with his feminine side.

    Or this:

    When she was little, Hillary Rodham would sit on a basement bench and pretend she was flying a spaceship to Mars. Her younger brother Hugh, perched behind, would sometimes beg for a chance to be captain.

    No dice. “She would always drive, and I would always have to sit in the back,” he once told me.

    Through all the years of sitting behind Bill Clinton on his trip to the stars, Hillary fidgeted and elbowed, trying to be co-captain rather than just wingman, or worse, winglady.

    In Iowa, her national anthem may have been off-key, but her look wasn’t. It was an attractive mirror of her political message: man-tailored with a dash of pink femininity.

    For Maureen Dowd, politics is a lunchroom battle played on the national field. Tough girls like Hillary are mannish bullies, and boys who show their emotional side are wimpy, skirt-hiding girly-men. You get the sense that she really, really can’t get over the time that cute jock turned her down for Sadie Hawkins in 11th grade.

    The Commodity

    posted by on February 25 at 11:59 AM

    The Greatest American Hero aired between 1981 and 1983:
    greatest_american_hero.jpg
    Despite its short life, the point of the show’s premise has a meaning that radiates back into the deep past (the 19th century) and into the future (the 21st century). What is its potent core, the source of the program’s incredible energy? An American consumer, William Katt, receives from aliens an amazing product: a “power suit.” But immediately after the aliens return to space, the consumer loses the instructions to this amazing product. He himself must now learn how to use the alien product.

    For one, the premise of the show turns the alienation that deeply worried classical Marxist thought into a comedy. The worker/consumer literally receives the product from an alien. And because he does not understand how it works, he crashes into buildings, falls from the sky, runs into trees. We laugh at the fate of the clueless consumer. He has no idea what to do with his product; it is alien to him.

    The fate of the consumer in American Hero, however—and this is the program’s truth and power—reflects a larger shift in the relationship between consumer and the producer of the commodity, capital. That shift has less to do with Marxist alienation and more to do with how capital wants the consumer to take greater (and eventually complete) responsibility of the use and burden of the commodity.

    Capital wants no post-purchase relationship with the consumer. It wants the consumer to buy and go away. In short, capital desires the death of customer service, one of its most public (socialistic) institutions. Customer service, tech support, help desks are a burden on capital, and so it works relentlessly to shift more and more of that load onto the back of the consumer. In the case of American Hero, capital’s wish is fulfilled: the consumer is entirely responsible for the product.

    Believe it or not it’s just me, the consumer, the buyer, the last American hero.


    What He Said

    posted by on February 25 at 11:56 AM

    Neil Steinberg at the Chicago Sun-Times

    A reader inquires why no one in Chicago has yet written about Lawrence King, the Oxnard, Calif., boy who was murdered two weeks ago for the crime of being gay. King, 15, had begun sometimes coming to class wearing makeup, a capital offense in the view of 14-year-old Brandon McInerney, who, according to police in the town north of Malibu, strode into their middle school computer lab Feb. 12 and shot King in the head in front of two dozen classmates.

    “Where’s the moral outrage?” asks reader Bob Zuley, who answers his own question: “This hateful behavior is learned by a society that condones homophobia expressed through families that practice bigotry, churches and schools that practice exclusion, and national leaders that fight to prevent equality and acceptance.”

    Sounds right to me. But is that the complete answer? One could once count on Chicago’s active gay community to raise an outcry over such matters, but they have gone quiet in recent years. I’m mystified as to why—perhaps the reduced lethality of the AIDS crisis has lowered the flame under gay social activism. Perhaps gays have grown comfortable and secure—a tad prematurely, perhaps, given crimes such as the one against King. Perhaps their voices are lost in the swelling informational cacophony.

    Religious groups are another matter. They’re always going on how they love the sinner while loathing the sin. That said, and given how religion is responsible for much of the vacant faux moral blather that underlies hatred of gays, you’d think they’d step up after cases such as King’s with the bold pronouncement that, vile as the sin of homosexuality is, you shouldn’t murder gays, at least not while they are still children. We seem to expect the entire Muslim community to rise as one and publicly denounce every act committed in their faith’s name anywhere in the world. Why shouldn’t our home-grown faiths take responsibility for the fruit of their efforts?

    Typically, condemnation for a crime falls upon the criminal. But when that criminal is a child, it is easier to see the hand of society at work. Lawrence King died for your sins.

    In other news of dead gay teenagers, an openly gay teenager was shot to death in Florida, an anti-gay state, as we’ve recently been reminded.

    One Book Award Down

    posted by on February 25 at 11:50 AM

    scaled.thequills_mandate.jpg

    The Quill Awards, the self-described “only book awards to pair a populist sensibility with Hollywood-style glitz,” are suspended and will probably never return again. The Quills were an attempt by Publishers Weekly and other media companies to try to have a televised sort-of Oscars for books. The nominees were decided by a large number industry employees, librarians, and booksellers (full disclosure: I voted in the 2005 Quills. It was an embarrassing experience, and none of the books I chose even made it to the nomination stage), and the winners were chosen by the public on the Quill Awards homepage.

    Past winners of The Quills’ three historic years of operation include some Harry Potter book or another, The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore, He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, and, the 2006 Book of the Year winner, Don’t Make a Black Woman Take off Her Earrings: Madea’s Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life, by Tyler Perry. Nobody will ever miss The Quill Awards—except maybe Marley and Me author John Grogan, who will never, God willing, win another award ever again—and they’ll be forgotten the minute you stop reading this post.

    The Demystification of What?

    posted by on February 25 at 11:27 AM

    Jen’s post reminded me of the brilliant Fleetwood Mac-meets-Joy Division g.f. I had in college.

    At this ancient time in the history of the world, a very trendy word on college campuses was “demystification.”

    All the punk rock feminist grrls talked about demystifying this and that. Of course, this and that invariably meant the patriarchy. You know, we had to expose the lie of the power structure.

    However, my Fleetwood Mac-meets-Joy Division girlfriend thought this tactic ceded too much power to the power structure.

    We all had radio shows. Hers was called: The Demystification of What?

    I’ve always liked that.

    Misogyny=Homophobia=Misogyny=Homophobia

    posted by on February 25 at 11:25 AM

    The Rev. Ken Hutcherson, everybody’s favorite anti-gay crusadin’ Christian, went off the deep end in a recent sermon, telling his flock at Antioch Bible Church that “God hates soft men” and “God hates effeminate men.” He continued, “If I was in a drugstore and some guy opened the door for me, I’d rip his arm off and beat him with the wet end.” On the religion page of last Friday’s P-I, writer/consultant Anthony B. Robinson took Hutcherson to task for the “joke.”

    What it sounds like are the kinds of words that have paved the way for atrocities in such places as Serbia, Kosovo and Rwanda. You have to dehumanize somebody before you beat them up. Labeling some men as “soft” and “effeminate” and saying “God hates them” does that.

    Well, no. “Effeminate” only dehumanizes men if you accept the premise that women are not fully human. Hutcherson’s homophobia (and Robinson’s more-than-implied misogyny) is based on the premise that, for a man, being perceived or treated as female is so insulting that violence is an appropriate reaction. Hutcherson hates gays not just because they engage in “abominations,” but because they challenge traditional gender roles. In the world of “men’s movement” men like Hutcherson, any challenge to those roles—men as warriors for God, women as their submissive helpmates—is “feminizing”: the ultimate insult.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on February 25 at 11:00 AM

    Chow

    Mac ‘n’ Cheese Monday at The Tasting Room

    Heaven visits earth every week at Pike Place Market’s the Tasting Room, courtesy of Mac ‘n’ Cheese Monday, where $12 gets you three half-glasses of Washington State artisan wine and a bowl of bubbling mac ‘n’ cheese made with the legendary wares of the nearby Beecher’s. Unsurprisingly, everyone loves a thrifty gourmet mac ‘n’ cheese/artisan wine pairing, so get there early and hope for the best. (The Tasting Room, 1924 Post Alley, 770-9463. 5–7 pm, $12.)

    DAVID SCHMADER

    What’s an “Ebook?”

    posted by on February 25 at 10:56 AM

    Apparently, Read an E-Book Week is coming right up, the week of March 2. To celebrate, perhaps you should download a Newbery-, Pulitzer-, or Nobel Prize-winning book from this page. Or, if you think that all prizes suck, may I recommend Mary Elizabeth Braddon? She was the most popular female novelist of Dickens’s day, writing 80 novels about subjects as including lesbianism, deafness, and murderous, evil orphans. All but two of her books (The excellent Lady Audley’s Secret and the really fun The Trail of the Serpent) are out of print and really hard to find. She’s maybe the best excuse for reading an e-book that I’ve ever seen.

    Cool It in Ohio

    posted by on February 25 at 10:54 AM

    Sunday’s NYT had some smart stuff on its op/ed page. For the first time ever, I thought Maureen Dowd was interesting to read: Obama’s feminine side, she argued, trumped Hillary’s macho side. I’ve always thought the GOP had an advantage on the Democrats for being the macho party, and Dowd’s ability to turn this on its head was smart analysis.

    However, the editorial that I liked most was this one that warned Obama and Clinton against the anti-NAFTA baiting.

    The advice is worth quoting at length:

    Middle-class voters across the country are legitimately anxious. Tens of thousands of workers have lost their health insurance, while wages have barely risen. But blaming Nafta or any trade agreement only feeds misguided protectionist sentiments at home and strains already difficult relations around the world.

    It is also factually inaccurate. In a review in 2003, the Congressional Budget Office concluded that Nafta had slightly increased growth in the United States and that any disruptive effects on employment were small. Trade opens foreign markets for American producers and gives consumers more choices, while competition spurs productivity growth at home.

    If the candidates are not careful they will quickly pen themselves into dubious policy positions that they would have to follow, or flip-flop on, once elected.

    Would the Clinton administration really stand by its call for a “timeout” on trade deals even if that were to scuttle the Doha round of negotiations aimed at helping the world’s poorest countries? Would an Obama or a Clinton administration follow up on both candidates’ call for a 27.5 percent tariff against Chinese imports as punishment for the manipulation of exchange rates? Give them another week and a half and they might talk themselves into even more difficult corners.

    Even more important, the Democrats’ posturing on trade threatens to divert the nation’s attention from what is really needed: a set of domestic policies to help American workers cope with the dislocations wrought by globalization and technological progress.

    These policies include health care reform, to ensure that workers who lose their jobs do not lose access to affordable care. It includes improved unemployment insurance, more progressive taxation to deal with the stagnation of middle-class incomes, and more investment in the lifelong training and education of American workers.

    The Democrats are already calling for many of these policies. When they rail against trade, they also divert attention from their own strongest suits. The presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain, defends free trade, but has only perfunctory proposals on how to help the victims of economic disruption.

    The Democrats need to articulate a coherent vision for how this country can compete in and benefit from a globalized world. Taking rhetorical axes to Nafta is not only pandering, it is bad policy and counterproductive.

    It’s nice to see the knee jerk Democrats at the NYT’s editorial page buck the party line on globalization.

    Look, being anti-NAFTA and anti-WTO is like being anti-EPA.

    Sure the current leadership, treaties, and specific rules are troubling, but better to have a governing body in place that, if reformed, stands a chance of checking global corporate power.

    I like the idea that there are rules. Let’s not just say the rules suck and walk away. Liberals should embrace the idea that there are bodies and treaties out there that may be able to stop corporate power from running amok.

    For example, several years ago, the WTO prevented Boeing from getting $300 million in tax breaks by stopping the Fortune 500 company from channelling sales through overseas subsidiaries.

    Which Truth?

    posted by on February 25 at 10:51 AM

    Stoltmann.jpg
    Kirsten Stoltmann’s Punk (You Can’t Handle the Truth) (2007), vinyl lettering on Plexi-face mount Lightjet print, paint, wood, 65 by 43 inches

    Two Fridays ago—shortly before I fell off the planet thanks to this bug that’s going around—Roberta Smith drew my attention to this image by suggesting that, “no disrespect intended,” it be turned into a poster. It’s a portrait of Stoltmann herself, very pregnant, on display in the show Vaginal Rejuvenation with Stoltmann and Amanda Ross-Ho at Guild & Greyshkul in New York.

    That same day, I was teaching feminism in my contemporary art history class at Cornish, so I brought in the image and asked my students who they thought the macho question was directed to. Structuralist feminists, they said.

    Pregnancy: where the rubber hits the road.

    “I’ve got the best protection in the world. So stop worrying.”

    posted by on February 25 at 10:30 AM

    Today’s New York Times has a front-page story about the question that’s been on a lot of people’s minds:

    There is a hushed worry on the minds of many supporters of Senator Barack Obama, echoing in conversations from state to state, rally to rally: Will he be safe?

    Dominic linked to it earlier, but if you didn’t already know Obama’s Secret Service knickname is Renegade, you might have read right over the link. It’s a fascinating piece—you learn that John Edwards didn’t get Secret Service protection even though Obama and Clinton have had it for a while; that Obama has become such pals with his security detail that they play basketball on election days together; that Gerald Posner, who wrote books on the assassinations of Kennedy and King, doesn’t think Obama’s in any greater danger of being shot than Clinton or her husband.

    Mentions of the fate that befell President John F. Kennedy and Senator Kennedy only increased after Mr. Obama was joined on the campaign trail by Caroline Kennedy and Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

    “I’m pretty familiar with the history,” Mr. Obama said. “Obviously, it was an incredible national trauma, but neither Bobby Kennedy nor Martin Luther King had Secret Service protection.”

    At the end of the piece, Obama is traveling through Dallas.

    Mr. Obama’s motorcade passed Dealey Plaza and the Texas Book Depository building, where the fatal shot was fired at President Kennedy in 1963. Several campaign aides looked out their windows, silently absorbing the scene.

    Not so for Mr. Obama, who later said he had not realized he was passing the site. And no one in his car pointed it out.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on February 25 at 10:29 AM

    17place.jpg
    Ryan Molenkamp’s 17 Place (2007), oil on panel, 34 by 70 inches

    At Form/Space Atelier.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on February 25 at 10:20 AM

    scaled.upset_stomach.jpg

    Two open mics, a poetry reading, and a few other readings going on tonight.

    At Town Hall, Frederick Kaufman is reading from A Short History of the American Stomach. Here’s what Publisher’s Weekly said about the book:

    “…a hip, journalistic approach to America’s all-consuming relationship to the gut, from Puritan rituals of fasting to the creation of the Food Network. Kaufman maintains that the feast-fast syndrome that torments America—obesity, anorexia, overeating, dieting, fads and cures, gastroporn, pollution and purity of food, and self-sufficiency—all originate from our understanding of virtue and vice, first established by the Puritans.”

    To which I say: “Duh.” But maybe there’s something worthwhile in there somewhere. If there is, let me know.

    Manil Suri, who I wrote a little about yesterday when he read at Third Place Books, is reading at Elliott Bay Book Company tonight. This is your last chance.

    Ellen Klages, an author of science-fiction and young-adult novels, is reading at the Hugo House. Not having read any of her work, I have absolutely nothing to say about her, except that her book covers are horrible, but I’m sure she doesn’t have any choice in the matter.

    The University Book Store is hosting two-time-Booker-Prize-winner Peter Carey. Carey’s last novel, Theft, wasn’t good at all, and I’d bet good money that his newest novel, His Illegal Self, isn’t so hot either, but this is worth attending for his previous work, Oscar and Lucinda and Jack Maggs in particular. I’m of the personal opinion that Carey’s just in the throes of a middle-aged author rough patch, and that he’ll emerge from it a better novelist than he was before.

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

    What if People Spoke Like They Commented?

    posted by on February 25 at 10:12 AM

    “Can’t my dick say anything without your vagina turning it into me fucking you a lot?

    Via Chaos Theory.

    They Behead Witches, Don’t They?

    posted by on February 25 at 10:00 AM

    Why yes, Virginia, they do—in Saudi Arabia, our ally in the war on terror. Here’s the CNN report…

    And here’s a bit more from the Register

    Fawza Falih Muhammad Ali is currently languishing in Quraiyat Prison having “exhausted her appeals” against the sentence. The illiterate defendant was arrested back in 2005, and allegedly beaten and obliged to fingerprint a confession that she couldn’t read.

    The conviction was based on the testimony of several witnesses who said she’d bewitched them, including one who claimed she’d made him impotent. Fawza Falih retracted her confession in court, but Human Rights Watch notes: “The judges never investigated whether her confession was voluntary or reliable or investigated her allegations of torture. They never even made an inquiry as to whether she could have been responsible for allegedly supernatural occurrences, such as the sudden impotence of a man she is said to have ‘bewitched’.”


    The Present Now Will Later Be Past

    posted by on February 25 at 8:55 AM

    Yesterday, I posted a picture of Ralph Nader on the cover of Time magazine from December 12, 1969. My point being: Obama is right, the times they are a-changin’, Ralph. And it’s time to step aside.

    Although, that same fall, on October 24, 1969, Time ran this cover:

    1101691024_400.jpg

    Sigh.

    No More Pot for You, Seattle

    posted by on February 25 at 8:19 AM

    Smoke it while you’ve got it, Seattle-area potheads. The police busted a local grow-op this weekend—surely the last local grow-op—and those good little drug-war soldiers at the PI dutifully report on the raid.

    Investigators say they seized more than 4,000 marijuana plants from homes in King and Snohomish counties during raids last week. More than 1,100 plants were found in houses in Lynnwood and Everett, and in a related case, about 3,200 plants were seized in two houses in King County.

    Detectives believe the indoor pot farms were set up and tended by drug traffickers connected to Vietnamese criminal groups.

    “These were professional jobs. We’re not talking 10 plants in a closest,” Lynnwood police Sgt. Jim Nelson, a supervisor with the South Snohomish County Narcotics Task Force, told The Herald newspaper of Everett.

    First off, does anyone believe that the police, if they discovered 10 plants in someone’s closet, would look the other way?

    And thanks, as ever, to the PI for handing the mic to the cops and failing, as always, to devote a single graph, sentence, or sentence fragment to the futility of it all. This raid will make no dent whatsoever in local pot supplies, as many PI staffers can attest. And so long as pot is illegal, drug traffickers and criminal groups will control its production and supply. Want to put Vietnamese gangs out of business? Legalize pot, let farmers grow it, tax it, and let people use it without fear of arrest or prosecution.

    For Erica!

    posted by on February 25 at 8:10 AM

    Tina Fey for Hillary.

    “Bitch is the new black.”

    The Morning News

    posted by on February 25 at 8:05 AM

    Leading Polls: Clinton ahead by eight points in Ohio.

    Dodging Bullets: Secret Service nickname “Renegade” not worried, but his friends are.

    Extinguishing: Supreme Court denies case from tobacco firms.

    Testing: Virgin Atlantic takes biofuel flight.

    Selling: Visa to go public for over $15 billion.

    Dying: Two oxygen tanks empty and defibrillator broken on American Airlines jet.

    No Country for Old Men: The Oscar went to…

    No Country for Gay Cops: Gay Jamaican officer flees for his life.

    No Comfy for Drug Addicts: Work therapy was “like slavery.”

    No Courtesy for Gay Couples: Denied portraits in church directory.

    Shot: Two in Federal Way.

    Found: Man dead in Renton alley.

    Same Shit, Different President: “Raul has put old guard people in, but they will die at some point, and he will have a problem.”

    Same Shit, Different Countries: Bombings in Pakistan and Iraq.

    Soda Cop: Obama wants schools to “reexamine how easily they make soda available.”

    Fucking Celebrities

    posted by on February 25 at 7:40 AM

    I’m going to guess that I’m supposed to dislike Jimmy Kimmel, so I’ll probably get in trouble for defying the orthodoxy here, but fuck it, this is kinda funny.

    First there was this pretty funny smack from his hot-ass girlfriend:

    Then, last night, there was this star-studded, gay-chicken-referencing response:

    The Sunshine Hate

    posted by on February 25 at 5:17 AM

    Gay couple? Well, scratch Florida off your list of possible vacation options.

    Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond had planned to take their three children on a family cruise. The Olympia, Washington couple had been together 18 years and with their children were looking forward to the holiday.

    But just as they were about to depart on the cruise from Miami, Florida. Pond, a healthy 39-year-old, suddenly collapsed. She was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami with Langbehn and the children following close behind.

    But once Langbehn and the children arrived at the hospital the hospital refused to accept information from her about Ponds’s medical history. Langbehn says she was informed that she was in an antigay city and state, and she could expect to receive no information or acknowledgment as family.

    A doctor finally spoke with Janice telling her that there was no chance of recovery.

    Other than one five minute visit, which was orchestrated by a Catholic priest at Langbehn’s request to perform last rites, and despite the doctor’s acknowledgement that no medical reason existed to prevent visitation, neither she nor her children were allowed to see Pond until nearly eight hours after their arrival.

    Soon after Pond’s death, Langbehn tried to get her death certificate in order to get life insurance and Social Security benefits for their children. She was denied both by the State of Florida and the Dade County Medical Examiner.

    From the Olympian

    Pond suffered the aneurysm just before the R Family Vacations cruise ship left Miami for the Bahamas in February, Langbehn said. After Pond was taken to the emergency room, Langbehn said she was informed by a social worker that they were in an “anti-gay state” and that they needed legal paperwork before Langbehn could see Pond.

    Even after a friend in Olympia faxed the legal documents that showed that Pond had authorized Langbehn to make medical decisions for her, Langbehn said she wasn’t invited to be with her partner or told anything about her condition.

    Langbehn is suing.


    Sunday, February 24, 2008

    Academy Awards Live-Blog

    posted by on February 24 at 4:35 PM

    Demolition on Boren

    posted by on February 24 at 4:30 PM

    The Northcliffe Apartments have stood vacant for the last four years, according to a neighbor standing at Boren Ave and Seneca St yesterday afternoon. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” she said, holding her camera phone. But it was news to me. I’d just ran off the bus because the driver announced we had to take “a detour to avoid a building demolition.”

    Virginia Mason Hospital is expanding. The existing wings have some seismic instability problems, the hospital says, so its razing the Northcliffe to make room for a new wing. Fair enough. But, still, the Northcliffe is a stately brick gentleman of a building and he was being torn down, so I was like, “Aww.”

    northcliffe_apts.jpg

    But then out came The Claw—a gigantic articulated arm with a massive steel pincher that can crush brick. And I was like, “Hells, yes, tear that sucker down!”

    demo2.jpg

    More demolition porn and a rendering of the new building after the jump.

    Continue reading "Demolition on Boren" »

    A Cooler Head

    posted by on February 24 at 3:56 PM

    Atrios on Nader

    Who cares?

    .38% in 2004.

    I could get .38%.

    Hillary Is Disappointed in Barack

    posted by on February 24 at 12:20 PM

    Ralph Nader…

    posted by on February 24 at 12:17 PM

    In a perfect world the Secret Service wouldn’t have to screen Obama’s crowds—and Ralph Nader would have to worry about his security.

    Turn the Page

    posted by on February 24 at 11:52 AM

    Hey Ralph,

    My complaint isn’t that you’ll be a spoiler. I just think you’re a bad candidate.

    No disrespect, but you know that thing Obama’s saying about a new generation…

    1101691212_400.jpg
    December 12, 1969

    He’s right.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on February 24 at 11:00 AM

    Film

    ‘Be Kind Rewind’

    Michel Gondry, the man behind some of the greatest music videos ever made (“Human Behavior,” “Everlong,” “Protection”) and a masterpiece of contemporary cinema, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, has made one of the strangest films I have ever seen. Be Kind Rewind is so strange, so singular, that I can’t say how I feel about it. It takes place on no other terrain than that of the dream, and only wants to be as good as a dream can be. As a critic, I surrender: It’s up to you to judge this film. (See movie times at www.thestranger.com.)

    CHARLES MUDEDE

    Reading Today

    posted by on February 24 at 10:00 AM

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    Three readings today, of very different subjects. At Elliott Bay Book Company, John Graham reads from his memoir Sit Down Young Stranger, a title that I’m pretty sure is supposed to reference a Gordon Lightfoot album. Here’s the writeup for that book:

    John Graham shipped out on a freighter when he was sixteen, took part in the first (and only) ascent of Mt. McKinley’s North Wall at twenty, and hitchhiked around the world at twenty-two, covering every war he found along the way as a stringer for the Boston Globe. A Foreign Service Officer for fifteen years, he was in the middle of the revolution in Libya and the war in Vietnam.

    What the book description doesn’t tell us is why we should read the book. A very full resume doesn’t make a compelling reading experience.

    In more hopeful news, Manil Suri reads at Third Place Books. What can I say? I liked The Death of Vishnu. I’m a little embarrassed that Amy Tan likened it to Anna Karenina, but still: I think he’s a good, solid novelist (not a force of nature or anything) and worth checking out.

    And lastly, John W. Marshall a co-owner of Open Books, reads from his first poetry collection, titled Meaning a Cloud. This is worth checking out, especially if you’ve never been to Open Books. I’m thrilled that Seattle can support a bookstore that’s entirely devoted to poetry, and you should be too, even if poetry’s not your thing. It’s the kind of bookstore that makes all these “reading is dead” arguments seem as ridiculous as a pony in roller skates.

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

    Nader’s In

    posted by on February 24 at 9:02 AM

    Dickhead.

    Obama on Nader:

    You know, he had called me and I think reached out to my campaign — my sense is is that Mr. Nader is somebody who, if you don’t listen and adopt all of his policies, thinks you’re not substantive. He seems to have a pretty high opinion of his own work. Now — and by the way, I have to say that, historically, he is a singular figure in American politics and has done as much as just about anybody on behalf of consumers. So in many ways he is a heroic figure and I don’t mean to diminish him. But I do think there is a sense now that if somebody is not hewing to the Ralph Nader agenda, then you must be lacking in some way.

    The Morning News

    posted by on February 24 at 8:56 AM

    Clinton Mad About Mailers: “Shame on you, Barack Obama.”

    Ralph Nader Is Still a Megalomaniacal Asswipe: “I have decided to run for president.”

    Cuba to Select New Head of State: “With Chavez in the background providing cheap oil, the new government will see less need to adopt a progressive economy.”

    They Were Headed to Karbala: “At around 3:00 pm, when pilgrims were eating their lunch inside the tent, a bomber blew himself up amid the crowd.”

    Flaming Rocket Man: “I wanted redemption for the fact that during the ’80s, as a gay man, I didn’t do enough for HIV and AIDS.”

    GLEAM on You Crazy Diamond: “From the beginning there was no secret about my sexual orientation, because Bill Gates and Paul Allen had known me for a number of years already.”

    Prosecutors Call School Shooting a Hate Crime: “They teased him because he was different. But he wasn’t afraid to show himself.”

    Beware the Ides of this Week: “With housing numbers coming out, it’s not a good thing in this market, given that they always seem to disappoint.”

    Feds Cut Protection for Gray Wolves: “We’re going to have hundreds of wolves killed under state management.”

    I Want One: “One person could live comfortably here, maybe even two people.”

    Schmader to Live-Slog the Oscars: “It should be a world-class freak show.”