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Archives for 03/02/2008 - 03/08/2008

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Too Much Information

posted by on March 8 at 9:46 PM

One thing that always throws me off about the Fiction piece in The New Yorker is that it often comes with a photo.


It’s fiction. How is there a photograph? These houses and this street are real; vividly and mysteriously so. They have a history of their own. And so, I want to know about that history. Really.

Richard Ford’s story ends up competing with that.

I guess the real reason it’s jarring to run pictures with the fiction is because the rest of the magazine is loaded up with non-fiction. This week, for example, there’s a story on Michelle Obama with her picture. Makes sense.


But then you turn the page to the short story and there’s this:


It creates an inconsistency in the magazine. There’s a picture of a real person with a story about real people, and there’s a picture of a real person with a story about imaginary people. Mixed messaging.

It’d be like if you were at a restaurant, and with each course they brought out silverware, and then when they brought out the bill, they handed you a fork to sign with.

Who is that woman? Really.

Wyoming Democrats…

posted by on March 8 at 12:51 PM

…go for Obama. How long until a Clinton surrogate dismisses Wyoming Democrats as a bunch of latte-sipping pussies?

“Before you get off on the bullshit part of the answer…”

posted by on March 8 at 12:31 PM

Bill Maher lays into Terry McAuliffe on Real Time. It’s required viewing.

Via Sullivan.

3 AM Sleeper for Obama

posted by on March 8 at 12:16 PM

Too funny.

One of the little kids in that Hillary ad lives in Bonney Lake, is going to be 18 by the general election, and was a precinct captain… for Obama.

Via TPM and KONG 6/16.

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

posted by on March 8 at 12:13 PM

From this morning’s Seattle Times:

The first case to go to trial in last fall’s controversial sting operation of Seattle nightclubs came back with a quick verdict: not guilty….

The sting, which targeted 15 clubs in Belltown, Pioneer Square and the University District over a two-week period in August, culminated in a sweep of workplace arrests on a busy Saturday night in September.

DeLeon was among 15 bartenders and bouncers arrested and had the distinction of spending the most time—more than two nights—in King County Jail. A dozen other employees, most of whom were not working that night, were also charged criminally. In most cases, the charges were serving alcohol to minors or intoxicated patrons—administrative offenses usually handled by the state Liquor Control Board….

DeLeon’s attorney, Matthew Leyba, of Associated Counsel for the Accused, said he filed three unsuccessful motions to get the case dismissed, and trial began Wednesday. The jury deliberated for no more than 20 minutes before returning a verdict Thursday, he said.

Click through to the story if you want to listen to Tom Carr attempt to defend his over-the-top, politically-motivated prosecution of this poor bartender. Pathetic.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 8 at 11:00 AM


Xiu Xiu at Chop Suey

There are few voices in music today as instantly recognizable as Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart. Whether whispering, whimpering, or wailing, Stewart sings his impressionist, fractured confessionals in a voice that bleeds hurt while grasping at hope. It is not, obviously, a voice for everybody. But for those who find commiseration in Xiu Xiu’s songs, it is gut wrenching. Xiu Xiu is completed by Caralee McElroy on keys and Ches Smith on drums; live, the trio is manic-depressive, swinging from pacific calm to epileptic thrash with deceptive care. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 9 pm, $10, all ages.)


Currently Hanging

posted by on March 8 at 10:30 AM

The making of Seattle artist Nhon Nguyen’s mural Arterial Lines

At BLVD Gallery’s new Project Room in Ballard.

Reading Today

posted by on March 8 at 10:00 AM


A “Mystery Tea,” an open mic, and two other events today.

Steve Duno reads from Be The Dog at Third Place Books. This is a book about raising a pet, but perhaps you master/slave freaky sex folk might be able to learn something. It would probably liven up the reading, also.

At the Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery in Georgetown, they’re doing something called a Friends of the Nib Comics Jam. Apparently, this is a comics creation event, wherein people draw comics and alternate panels and such. Comics genius Jim Woodring hosts the event, and it’s also part of Georgetown’s artwalk, so it should be pretty lively. And! Special guest Kim Deitch, author of the above comic and underground comics legend, will be on hand. At 7:30, Deitch will show his weird 1960 short film, Dial M For Monster. Monster is a pretty hilarious bit of movie history, with some special effects that are unbelievable, considering they’re almost 50 years old and made on no budget at all. Guest stars include Pope Pius and Josef Stalin.

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

The Morning News

posted by on March 8 at 9:00 AM

posted by news intern Chris Kissel

Courting Wyoming: Dems caucus in the “Equality State.”

The “good times” are over
: Not that they were ever that good.

Keep on ‘boardin’: Bush vetoes legislation that would’ve outlawed waterboarding, along with other of the CIA’s cool, “alternative” interrogation techniques.

No thanks, guys
: Burma says no thanks to UN monitors who want to keep an eye on their “roadmap to democracy.”

Serbian PM calls for new elections: Kostunica miffed at pro-Western allies for EU support.

G’bye, Bennett: Sonics owner tells Gregoire he’s shovin’ off—and he’s taking his team with him.

It’s all his fault: Boeing supporters say McCain killed their chances by backing Airbus subsidies.

Too little, too latte
: Cops nab latte stand burglary suspect.

Hug-a-thon!: Arizona pre-teens protest two-second rule

Friday, March 7, 2008

Re: Sympathy for the ELFers

posted by on March 7 at 5:40 PM

I have a piece up on about the suspected eco-terrorism near Maltby, and the fact that the destroyed “Street of Dreams” was not exactly a cherished local landmark.

Here’s a quote that I was surprised to get for my story. It comes from FBI special agent Frederick Gutt:

A lot of people in the Northwest, on the west coast, and in the U.S. and in the world today are environmentalists, have concerns about the earth and mother nature, myself included… A lot of people up here may be more sympathetic to the objective. It’s a social objective many people can share.

Surprising because law enforcement officials are not always so thoughtful and personally forthcoming in their remarks about crimes such as this. Lest you think him an ELF sympathizer, however, here’s what else Gutt said:

I don’t think it makes the methods any more acceptable. There are ways to effect real change without resorting to crimes of violence.

Gore/Obama ‘08

posted by on March 7 at 4:52 PM

That’s the ticket I wanted all along—and, hey, maybe I’ll still get it. Says Chris Crain

The only solution I see is for a group of wise superdelegates to begin a “draft Gore” movement, placing his name in nomination at the convention, and try to organize a large enough bloc of delegates to deny a majority to either Clinton or Obama ballot after ballot. After it becomes apparent that neither will get the nomination, I would hope Obama would throw his delegates to Al Gore, giving him the nomination.

Gore is someone that the followers of both Obama and Clinton could get behind. Each faction would rather have Gore as the nominee than feel they had lost to their primary opponent. Feelings are that hard between these two camps. Gore just may be able to bridge these feelings as well as the fault lines in the party created by the two candidates.

As a reward for throwing his delegates behind Gore, I hope Gore chooses Obama as his VP.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on March 7 at 4:35 PM


This Believer transcript—of a conversation between Erroll Morris and Werner Herzog—is awesome:

WH: And I said that we were going to do a film there in Plainfield, and that really upset Errol a lot. He thought I was a thief without loot. This was his country, his territory, his Plainfield, and I shot in Plainfield. I shot a film, Stroszek, which I think is forgotten and forgiven by now, and we can maintain friendship over this now.

EM: I told Werner: For you to steal a character or a story isn’t real theft. But to steal a landscape, that is a very, very serious crime.

WH: I understand that. I take it to heart, but there actually is a film out there, and we can’t take it off the map.

EM: It’s a very good film.

WH: It has a beautiful end with a dancing chicken, and I really like it.

EM: Yes.

Woolly science: 10,000 B.S., care of the New York Post.

And a heads up: Sean Nelson Emeritus is in Austin this weekend to attend SXSW—he’s the star/co-writer of a film in competition there, Lynn Shelton’s My Effortless Brilliance, but he’ll be filing reports on the rest of the movies too. Stay tuned.

Opening this week:

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

In On Screen: a girly Jeeves and Wooster, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (David Schmader: “The whole thing flounces by inoffensively enough, and the set design [by Oscar® nominees Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer] is incongruously accomplished”); the Academy Award-winner for best foreign film, The Counterfeiters (Jen Graves: “Just as there are characters of varying virtue on the Jewish side of the camp, so there are Nazis of varying monstrosity. The real subject of this film is extremism: When is it not only justified but also productive?”); and the self-explanatory heist film The Bank Job (Paul Constant: “The movie suffers from a crippling lack of attention to detail—only a few characters’ hairstyles, dialogue, and outfits are in period, as though half the production crew forgot they were working on a film set in the ’70s—and the actors are given nothing to do but dutifully represent their respective clichés”).

Lindy West reports on Michael Seiwerath’s imminent departure from Northwest Film Forum.

And tucked away in the calendar this week, we have: the very circa 10,000 B.C. everywhere, the awesome SIFF ‘07 alum Girls Rock! at SIFF Cinema, the font doc Helvetica and other design-minded programs at Northwest Film Forum, Rome, Open City at SAM, and the rare Phil Karlson films Scandal Sheet and Gunman’s Walk at Grand Illusion.

What Do You Tip For That?

posted by on March 7 at 4:24 PM

Tacoma Starbucks barista to donate kidney to customer.

The Reason for Reason

posted by on March 7 at 4:05 PM

Our purpose on this living planet might very well be the production of pictures like this:

The world’s most powerful optical telescope has opened both of its eyes.

Astronomers at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona have released the first images taken using its two giant 8m diameter mirrors.

The detailed pictures show a spiral galaxy located 102 million light-years away from the Milky Way.

What does all of this mean? Not that humans can see the universe and record its happenings, but that the universe itself has the ability to see and think of itself. The universe not only produces stars, it produces thoughts about those stars and other cosmic events. The meaning of human beings is to be the means by which the universe thinks and records itself. We were made for the universe to see the universe.

This Is Just Wrong on So Many Levels

posted by on March 7 at 4:01 PM

My Little Pony meets Bratz. The result of this hellish doll-on-horse union? Strutz, the first children’s toy that will make you question everything you ever thought you knew about ponies.

Meet Sydney, the tousle-haired, pink-platform-loving Aussie…


… Rio, the busty Latina with a wild streak:


… And Milan, the sultry, mysterious Asiatic hottie:


Platform heels and horses should not even be together in the same sentence, much less in the same toy.

Via Chaos Theory.

The Education of Northwest Afternoon

posted by on March 7 at 4:00 PM

Charles Mudede was invited to appear on KOMO TV’s Northwest Afternoon to talk about his recent article The Education of Amanda Knox. Here’s the latest on the international murder case. Amanda, Raffaele, Rudy… I for one, am more confused than ever.

Overheard in the Office

posted by on March 7 at 3:47 PM

Paul Constant: “I’m totally the next Ballard. I’ve got condos growing on my ass.”

Members Only

posted by on March 7 at 3:41 PM

In the current issue of the Seattle Weekly, Damon Agnos has an article about the gang bill in the state legislature. Josh touched on it over here. Despite some token funding for social programs and limitations intended to protect civil liberties, the bill is broadly written. What’s interesting is who’s supporting it, who’s not, and who’s neutral.

Sen. Adam Kline, D–Seattle, co-sponsor of 2712’s Senate companion bill, and Rep. Charles Ross, R-Naches, co-sponsor of 2712, took turns thanking the legislation’s other contributors, each asserting that he was “speaking from the heart.”

The legislation’s opponents—among them the Seattle/King County NAACP and King County council member Larry Gossett—see a different picture: a bill heavy on punitive provisions, light on social programs, and ripe for abuse, particularly in the form of racial profiling. They find themselves butting heads with Kline, usually an ally, while the ACLU, which generally opposes such legislation, watches from the sidelines.

The bill is intended to be a multipronged tool to reduce the gang activity and violence that many smaller municipalities—particularly in the Yakima Valley—describe as increasingly problematic. It calls for social programs and a law-enforcement database to track suspected gang members, and would also enable prosecutors and city attorneys to issue civil injunctions against gang members, which could prohibit them from associating with one another….

Among the crimes the statute says can help establish a “pattern of criminal street gang activity” is third-degree malicious mischief, which was likely included to apply to gang graffiti, but which [the NAACP’s James] Bible notes can apply to something as small as deliberately stomping on a flower bed or scribbling a profanity on a stop sign.

I support using cops and criminal laws to put the kibosh on illegal gang activity. Fortunately, most of the activity we consider “gang related” is already illegal—we have laws to punish those who graffiti, steal, shoot, and kill. We should apply those laws. But stacking on another layer of enforcement and adding penalties seems mostly a feel-good, tough-on-crime measure, with the potential for unfair ramifications. If it passes – as appears likely – it will probably be applied in Washington with the same racial bias as jailing juvenile offenders, prosecuting pot smokers, arresting drug sellers, impounding cars, and searching drivers—poor, non-white people will bear the brunt of the criminal justice system while networks of white folks committing the same crimes are largely ignored.

Not Exactly the Love Boat

posted by on March 7 at 3:00 PM

For some reason I didn’t get this new note from the Prayer Warrior. (Maybe they’ve found me out?) But Seattlest did:


New Encounter with God!

This time together will be an outstanding opportunity to stand for righteousness and renew our commitment to God as individuals, as couples, and as a group.

God has called us to be salt. Do you know what that really means? During our time together I will help you understand through the Scriptures what it really means.

Got [sic] wants to make sure your salt doesn’t stay in the shaker so let’s get shakin’ for Christ! Let’s run the race and reach for the prize.

Pastor Hutch

YouTube Is Racist! (Or, Re: Re: The Politics of Color-Balancing)

posted by on March 7 at 2:35 PM

Attention all you people who got up in arms about the Clinton campaign allegedly darkening Obama’s skin and widening his nose in an attack ad. (Including, sort of, me—although, if this is any defense, I was just linking, not fuming.)

Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly has a must-read explanation of why the “Hillary is a racist who will stop at nothing!” meme completely misses the real culprit: the sinister forces of YouTube compression.

Over the past few days there’s been a huge fracas over accusations that Hillary Clinton’s campaign deliberately darkened Barack Obama’s face in an ad they ran in Texas. It started with a post over at Daily Kos on Tuesday and has been spread far and wide since then.

The problem is that it’s impossible to compare color tones using YouTube clips because their compression process doesn’t preserve color fidelity. However, got hold of a high-quality recording of the ad as it appeared on station KCEN in Waco, Texas, and then compared it to MSNBC’s streaming version of the debate from which the clip was taken… In the ad version, Obama’s face has been desaturated (i.e., there’s less color tone) but it doesn’t look any darker than the original. Nor has his face been widened to make Obama’s nose more prominent, as the original posters also suggested. That was yet another YouTube artifact.

From, here’s the YouTube clip:


Here’s the ad from the media player on Clinton’s web site:


And here’s the ad as it appeared on television in Texas:


“Gays are infiltrating city councils.”

posted by on March 7 at 2:35 PM

An Oklahoma state legislator speaks before a small group of like-minded bigots. Someone made a tape, and that tape somehow got to the Victory Fund.

Gayness is deadly and spreading, and it’s going to destroy this nation. You heard it here first. It’s like, you know, toe cancer. And you have to get it treated. You know, with a little chehomotherapy.

Here’s a picture of Sally Kern, the legislator you hear on the tape…


And here’s her contact info…

Capitol Address: 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 332 Oklahoma City, OK 73105 (405) 557-7348

District Address:
2713 Sterling Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73127


Video via Towleroad.

More on Arts Funding in Olympia (or, Hey Frank Chopp—Quit Bogarting My Bill!)

posted by on March 7 at 2:23 PM

Remember Old Number 6638, the arts-tax bill that funds 4Culture and, according to its lead sponsor, Sen. Ed Murray, “seventy-five percent of the small arts and heritage funds in King County”?

Well, lobbyists have been working on it for three years and, this year, it finally looked like it was going to achieve its apotheosis.

It sailed through the Senate floor, 44 to 5.

It sailed through the House Finance Committee, 7 to 2.

But Old Number 6638 has been stalled for days in the House Rules Committee—the committee run by Democrat and Speaker of the (Supermajority) Democratic House, Frank Chopp. I hate to pile on to our Dear Speaker (who’s getting it from all sides) but, you know, he’s bogarting our arts bill.

(You can also read Josh Feit’s feature, on how Chopp has been “blocking the democratic agenda,” here.)

So what gives? Why won’t Chopp let Old Number 6638 go to the floor to pass by the big, fat majority it’s had everywhere else?

Nobody wants to come out and say it—not senators, not, lobbyists, not people at 4Culture—because, as House Speaker and Rules chairman, Chopp holds the biggest weapons.

The dominant theory says Chopp wants to divert some of the tax revenue from arts to housing for the homelessness (his liberal-street-cred issue) and is willing to let Old Number 6638 die this year to try and squeeze out more money for his cause next year.

Sen. Murray is getting worried that the bill hasn’t yet been prized from Chopp’s committee onto the floor. “But it’s one of my two top-priority bills for this session,” he said. “That and domestic partnership.”

(Should you want to lean on Chopp to let the bill go the House floor, you can email his people at:

Calling All Skatepark Design Nerds

posted by on March 7 at 2:20 PM

Now that the Skate Park Advisory Committee (SPAC) has settled on a designer for the Seask8 skatepark replacement site, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty.

Over the next few months, SPAC and the Seattle Center will hold a series of design meetings and SPAC is hoping to get input from skaters early in the design process.

So, if you’ve got a grand vision for the new SeaSk8, make sure you show up to the first meeting. Just remember, Seask8’s only going to be about 9,000 square feet, and because the site’s being built over Key Arena’s kitchen, the new park can’t have a bowl, since construction can’t go below grade.

Input from skaters will be sent back to the park’s designer, Newline/VDZ, which will put together preliminary designs to show off at later meetings.

Meeting schedule:

Tuesday, March 25 6:30-8PM @ Seattle Center Pavilion A

Thursday, May 8 6:30-8PM @ Seattle Center Shaw Room

Thursday, June 5 6:30-8PM @ Seattle Center Shaw Room

The “Doomsday” Seed Bank

posted by on March 7 at 2:07 PM

The Global Seed Vault in Norway—AKA the Doomsday Seed Bank—just received its first installment of a million seeds. According to the NYTimes, the goal of the vault’s creators is to store and protect samples of every type of seed from every seed collection in the world, “in case natural disasters or human errors erase the seeds from the outside world.”

Although the NYT doesn’t go into much detail about this aspect of the story (noting only that “economics encourages farmers to drop crops”) those “human errors” include the near-universal practice of monoculture farming, which has replaced native and traditional seeds (the kind the multimillion-dollar Seed Vault will preserve) with hybrids developed for pest resistance and productivity. In other words, the “doomsday,” if it comes, will be mostly of our own making.

However, as the Slow Food USA blog points out, freezing seeds inside a mountain in the Arctic isn’t the only way to preserve rare seed varieties. Here in the US, at least two organizations—the Seed Savers Exchange and Native Seeds/SEARCH—are saving seeds the old-fashioned way: by encouraging farmers (and ordinary citizens) to grow them.

Cuckolding: Grounds for Termination?

posted by on March 7 at 1:58 PM

Straight people are messed up…

A former Pueblo police officer who said he was fired because he and his wife have a “cuckold” relationship will receive a $20,000 settlement from the city, the Pueblo city attorney’s office said today.

Michael and Tammy Bethel filed a federal lawsuit last year. In it, they said that Tammy Bethel is free to have sex with other people, as long as they are not married or minors, and provided she tells her husband about it.

Michael Bethel is not allowed to have sex with others, though he sometimes joins his wife when she is with others, the lawsuit stated.

The city of Pueblo maintains that it fired Bethel for official misconduct—and they seem to have a case.

Prosecutors said Bethel tried to convince a man not to testify in a burglary case because he was afraid the evidence would include a videotape of his wife having sex with the man. A judge threw out one charge, and a jury acquitted Bethel on the other charge.

The city says it settled with Bethel because tossing 20K at the cuckold was cheaper than going to court. Here’s a link to the story, here’s a link to Fleshbot (where I first read about this case), and here’s a link to a picture of the 20K-richer couple… but if you click through to the picture be careful that you don’t look into Mrs. Bethel’s eyes! Any man that looks directly into Mrs. Bethel’s will never get an erection again for as long he lives!

And, finally, do you think Bethel’s lawyer did his wife? I’m thinking he did.

Re: Resigned

posted by on March 7 at 12:52 PM

Obviously, the Obama campaign made the right decision in asking Samantha Power to resign over her statement that Hillary Clinton was “a monster”—you can’t claim to be “above the politics of personal attacks” and allow members of your campaign staff to make personal attacks against your opponent. The really offensive thing about Powers’ comments, though, wasn’t the “monster” crack—it was her utter contempt for low-income Americans:

You just look at her and think, ‘Ergh’. But if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive.

Those stupid working-class voters—they’ll fall for anything!

(Update: Obama fans, meanwhile, will go to any lengths to excuse anything.)

Yelling at Frank Chopp. Goldy’s Turn.

posted by on March 7 at 12:51 PM

I’ve been kinda sorta pressuring House Majority leader Frank Chopp (D-43, Wallingford) to pass the homeowners’ warranty bill (which he killed last session) all year this year.

If he doesn’t schedule a vote to pass the bill out of Rules by the end of the day today, it’s dead.

KOMO picked up on the story this week.

But never mind me or KOMO.

Now Goldy is in on it

There’s no kinda, sorta over at HorsesAss. Take it away, Mr. Goldstein:

… there’s only one “stakeholder” Chopp seems to be concerned with, and that is the BIAW. Now, I don’t know if Chopp is simply afraid of the BIAW, or if he’s worked out some kind of a deal with them in which he’s promised not to pass the bill, but that’s the only reasonable explanation for Chopp’s intransigence on a bill that merely gives buyers of single family homes the same rights condo owners have enjoyed since 1990. I can sue my doctor… I can sue my lawyer… I can sue my auto mechanic or even my barber… but I can’t sue a contractor for refusing to fix shoddy materials or workmanship in a brand new house. What’s up with that? …

[W]hen he’s so clearly caving to the BIAW on such an uncontroversial scrap of necessary consumer protection, one has to wonder if Chopp’s focus on building a majority is getting in the way of his willingness to use it?

Meanwhile in Italy

posted by on March 7 at 12:47 PM

The BBC reports

Italy’s highest appeal court has ruled that married Italian women who commit adultery are entitled to lie about it to protect their honour.

The court gave its landmark ruling after hearing the case of a 48-year-old woman, convicted of giving false testimony to police by denying she had lent her mobile phone to her lover.

I Don’t Know, Curt. What Do You Think About Web Censorship?

posted by on March 7 at 12:39 PM

Denver International Airport started offering free Wi-Fi back in November—all airports should have free Wi-Fi— but they’re using software to block “provocative” sites. Why? To protect the kiddies, of course, from all that evil pornography zooming through the Internets’ many tubes. Reporter Curt Milton has a post up about it at one of the PI’s 46,835 blogs.

And what kinds of sites are they worried about? Vanity Fair, and are among the many. Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit photos? No dice, even though the magazine is prominently available in the gift shops at the airport.

Milton quotes a Denver Post report: DIA is using, “the same kinds of software filters employed by the repressive regimes of Sudan and Kuwait.” That can’t be good, right? To make sure no kiddies catch a glimpse of tits or ass—or gossip or swimsuits—on some stranger’s laptop (or daddy’s laptop), DIA is censoring what adults can read on the web, and using the same programs beloved by dictators and religious thought police in places like Sudan and Kuwait and China to do it.

More from the Denver Post:

DIA blocks anything displaying partial nudity or even provocative underwear ads. That cancels everything from major magazines to non-prurient sex-education sites. It does not block Wikipedia’s illustrated entries for “pornography” or “erotica.” It blocks the barely-clothed supermodels of Victoria’s Secret, but not the aggressive profanity of a humor site like The Onion.

We can all agree that this is a bad thing, right? This censorship crap? Certainly anyone that works as a writer, editor, artist, or blogger would think what DIA is doing is a bad thing. Don’t all professional writers and bloggers believe that adults should be free to read—in print, online—whatever they like? If everything that would be inappropriate for a child to read or see has to be blocked in any environment frequented by children—places like airports, schools, our own homes—then adults wouldn’t be able to watch anything but Barney or read much besides Highlights for Children. Because, you see, children are pretty much everywhere.

So Curt Milton—a daily paper employee, a blogger, presumably a fan of the 1st Amendment—would naturally come out against DIA’s creepy, censorious web policies. Right?

Ah, no. You see since Milton writes a blog for a daily newspaper, Milton’s not apparently not allowed to have opinions. So he ends his post with this:

Are Denver airport officials overreacting? Is restricting Web access in a public place a good idea? Or, as critics contend, should people be trusted to do the right thing?

Thank God for all those contentious critics out there contending that people should be trusted to “do the right thing,” by which Milton means, I guess, that adults can be trusted not to read anything at the airport that couldn’t be read aloud to a child at bedtime. If it weren’t for those contentious critics no one would be pointing out how idiotic DIA’s policy is. Certainly not Curt Milton. Because Curt Milton blogs for a daily paper. And bloggers that work at daily papers aren’t allowed to have opinions—not even, it seems, about censoring the web.

I’m not sure if daily papers really understand blogging. Blogs are all about opinions. Blogs are opinion-delivery systems. Just tossing crap up and linking to it and saying “gee, readers, what do you think?” isn’t blogging. It’s regurgitating. Blogs without opinions are like a restaurants without food or porn without tits—what’s the fucking point?

David Postman at the Seattle Times manages to do a lively, readable blog without opinions—you do get the impression reading Postman that he actually has opinions, though, and if you read him closely enough you can spot one from time to time—but Postman’s blog is the exception. But dailies want to capture the excitement, eyeballs, and immediacy of blogging, and they’re ordering their staffs to blog their little hearts out, but they’re unwilling to let their staffs have and share their opinions. They can’t even put up a blog post that risks having an opinion about web censorship, for crying out loud.

So let me answer Milton’s questions: Denver airport officials are overreacting. Restricting web access in public places is a bad idea, particularly for the reasons citied by DIA, and it sets a bad precedent. And while most adults can be trusted to do the right thing, adults should be able to read whatever they like, wherever they like, even if someone else thinks it’s the “wrong thing.”

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on March 7 at 12:29 PM


from brian patrick cullen

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on March 7 at 12:00 PM

Another soon-to-be-classic from the wild, wild web. NSFW, if wild mushrooms, horse masks, and/or men wearing banana thongs are a no-no at your job…

From YouTube mrhorseshoe

This Week on Drugs

posted by on March 7 at 11:43 AM

Bush Poses: Releases drug-control strategy for 2008. Hey, that looks like the same strategy that was so effective in 2007.

Mukasey Loses: Courts begin commuting crack sentences despite AG protests.

Bill of Wrongs: “I regret more than I can say that we didn’t do more on it,” Bill Clinton said of racially disparate sentencing for crack and and powder cocaine under his watch. “I’m prepared to spend a significant portion of whatever life I’ve got left on the earth trying to fix this because I think it’s a cancer.”

Bill of Sale: Amherst reconsiders charging pot-fest organizers for cops.

Chewed Up: UN tells South American nations to ban chewing of coca leaves.

Chewed Out: UN decries Canada’s safe-injection sites.

Staying in Business: Federal judge allows medical-marijuana dispensary.

Staying in Jail: Denver makes more arrests after lowest-priority vote.

Reefer Madness: The musical.

Reefer Mushers: The Iditarod.

Dutch Ado About Nothing: Consider banning sales of pot growing equipment.

Little Ado About Something: UN angry at UK for being soft on celebrity drug use.

Where There’s Smoke: The mayor of Moss Point, Mississippi tried to oust a fire department captain who had tested positive for marijuana after being caught with pot and pills. The captain was supposed to be canned under the city’s zero-tolerance drug policy, even though he wasn’t accused of being under the influence at work. A majority of the city’s board of aldermen, however, voted to keep the firefighter on the payroll, and then they overrode the mayor’s attempted veto of their first decision. In response, editors of The Mississippi Press, which apparently believes in fighting firefighters with fire, spat that the “aldermen are content with the erosion of the fire department’s credibility.”

Writing With Your Genitals

posted by on March 7 at 11:35 AM

Via Reason comes the online gender guesser. If you upload more than 300 words of text, it will guess the gender of the writer.

I plugged some of my writing into the engine and it determined that I am a “Weak Male,” and that some of my “Weak emphasis could indicate European” origin. I decided to plug in some other Stranger writers and see what happened.

Christopher Frizzelle is a fellow Weak Male, though he is un-European. Jen Graves, Annie Wagner, and Erica Barnett were all decidedly (and un-weak) Males, said the engine. Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, Charles Mudede, Josh Feit, and Eli Sanders are all Manly Men. Dan Savage is Female, and Brendan Kiley is a Weak Female.

Charles Dickens is a Weak, and European, Male like me. But Brendan’s in good company: another Weak Female? Emily Dickinson. This post, if you’re at all interested, is decidedly Male.

Thanks to Slog Tipper JMR.

Burn on Me. Burn on Annie. Burn on McCain!

posted by on March 7 at 11:32 AM

Survey USA just came out with a poll that has Obama winning all those states Annie said he would against McCain: Minnesota, Colorado, and Virginia (!). He also wins Ohio and New Mexico. But he loses: PA, and Florida. Ultimately, he beats McCain 280 to 258.

Meanwhile, Clinton beats McCain where I said she would: Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida (!), and New Mexico. She also beats McCain in Minnesota. She loses Colorado. She beats McCain overall 276 to 262.

Imbeciles in America (or at Least in Deerfield, Illinois)

posted by on March 7 at 11:15 AM

Deerfield High School is again under fire by a North Shore Christian group because the school offers the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes” to college-bound seniors.
Lora Sue Hauser, executive director of NSSA, complained that the book is replete with profanity, overt racism, an explicit description of a sex act involving Mother Teresa and vivid depictions of sodomy.

“After almost 15 years of school advocacy and reviewing many objectionable books and curricula, I have never seen anything this vulgar and harmful to students,” Hauser said.

You should read Shakespeare sometime, Lora Sue. Try and count the cock and cunt jokes in Henry IV alone—you’ll lose your tiny, tiny mind.

Last year, Lora Sue and the NSSA slammed the Deerfield School District for the unconscionable crime of admitting there might be such a creature as a gay high school student:

The school district and NSSA clashed last year over a freshman orientation session where students talked about bullying and other issues and included gay students relating their experience in high school.

This year, the Christian imbeciles are pressuring the school board to fire all the principal, the district superintendent George Fornero, and all teachers involved with the Angels in America program (for which Tony Kushner shows up to discuss the play with those lucky, lucky students).

If you want to send an email to the school board encouraging them not to capitulate to willfully ignorant imbeciles like Lora Sue, email board president Helene Herbstman at:

And board vice president Ken Fishbain at:

And, if you want to tell the good folks at the NSSA to keep their imbecilic lit-crit to themselves, email Lora Sue at her “Illinois Family Institute” address:

But be polite.

The Coalition of Principlists vs. the United Front of Principlists

posted by on March 7 at 11:15 AM

Those are the political party choices in Iran’s upcoming parliamentary elections now that the clerics on the Guardian Council have barred any of the moderates or reformists from running for election.

“We believe that we must run the country based on a religious framework,” said Mohammad Reza Katouzian, one of the candidates [with United Front of Principlists]. “We must return to Islamic values, and they should become the basis for development of the country.”

The supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final word on all matters of state, also openly endorsed the idea of elections in which only the conservatives are permitted to run, saying in a speech last week that moderate forces “were not loyal to the values of the revolution.”

Okay, here’s how Animal Farm these mentally ill people have gotten. The grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini was barred from running.

Khomeini’s grandson, Ali Eshraghi

Obviously, the revolution in Iran got off track pretty fast in the 1980s, but the liberal principles that were originally part of its spirit sorta crept back in to the system in the late ’90s. Well, hoo boy, the backlash on that is complete.

This story is so fucking sad.

Same Old, Same Old…

posted by on March 7 at 11:12 AM

The longest remodeling project in the history that no one cares to remember…

Seattle’s historic King Street Station will get a new green-tile roof and repairs to its clock tower in a new round of restorations, starting this year.

Mayor Greg Nickels announced this morning that the city has signed a deal to buy the station from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway for $10. That deal allows $16.5 million in federal and state spending to go ahead, along with $10 million in city money from the voter-approved Bridging the Gap property-tax levy.

Within the next three years, a dingy false ceiling will be removed from the waiting room, to reveal the original ceiling and its frescoes. Some brick walls will be removed at the northwest corner so a granite-and-marble staircase can be widened and reopened to the outdoors. The building will also be strengthened against earthquakes.

When will this city take rail transportation seriously? More promises, more minor repairs, more broken promises. The King Street Station’s regime of stupidity will never be defeated by the arrows of reason and criticism.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 7 at 11:00 AM


The Magnetic Fields at Town Hall

Distortion, the new record by the Magnetic Fields, finds Stephin Merritt’s witty and literate pop gems wrapped in an array of screeching, fuzzy feedback, and it’s wonderful—think Psychocandy with something to say. Tonight’s Town Hall show will be a quieter affair, with the recorded distortion swapped for the string-heavy gorgeousness of the Magnetic Fields touring band, who’ll be playing compositions from all chapters of the Stephin Merritt songbook, from The House of Tomorrow to Showtunes. (Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 8 pm, $27.50, all ages.)


Is This on Your Calendar?

posted by on March 7 at 10:56 AM


Havana serves a very fine mojito.

Currently Hanging

posted by on March 7 at 10:30 AM

Other’s Forget Bitters, linocut, 8 by 1 inches

At BLVD Gallery through Saturday (March 8).

Tim Gunn Interview

posted by on March 7 at 10:10 AM

The Chicago Tribune has an interview with Tim Gunn… in which he dishes serious dirt on Victorya—who was apparently a fierce cuntola during production.

“She was sourpuss, a crabby apple as I keep saying, throughout almost all the show, other than Days 1, 2 and 3…. On one occasion—they edited this out, I knew they would—we were at Mood [Fabrics], and I’m handing out money. They each have $250 dollars. She collects the envelopes from all the designers and hands them back to me. She said, ‘I want you to count it.’ I just stared at her. ‘You want me to do what?’

“She wanted me to count the money in each envelope. I looked to the producer on site with us, and I said, ‘I’m not doing this, am I?’ and he said, ‘The rules say that if a designer asks for the money to be counted, we have to count it.’ I said, ‘Fine,’ and asked why she wanted it counted. And she had pulled out this sheaf of papers – she had the rules with her – and she said, ‘I don’t believe that we all have the same amount of money.’ Why would we do that? If someone didn’t have the right amount, wouldn’t they come to me? So I counted the money.

“But that’s what it was like dealing with her.”

Uh… what the hell happened to PR’s producers? Why on earth would they edit that confrontation out?

Reading Tonight

posted by on March 7 at 10:10 AM


There are only two options for readings tonight, but they’re both interesting. The first is local author Lesley Hazleton at North Seattle Community College, reading from her book Jezebel. Charles Mudede wrote about Jezebel for us five months ago. Here’s the beginning of the piece:

The story ends badly. It’s in the Bible (the Old Testament), and concerns Jezebel, a ninth century B.C. Phoenician princess who marries the king of Israel, Ahab, corrupts him, scandalizes the kingdom, is cursed by the prophet Elijah, and meets (as predicted by Elijah) a gruesome death—she is thrown out of a window, trampled by a horse, and eaten by dogs. And precisely what did this woman do to deserve this horrible end and a bad reputation that has lasted for nearly 3,000 years?

Answer to that question is here.

At Open Books, Noah Eli Gordon reads from his newest poetry collection, A Fiddle Pulled from the Throat of a Sparrow. Here is part of a poem from that book: “forget almond trees, grapes & poppies/what he wouldn’t believe is the inescapable music here/the night filling with beloved firetrucks/cover your ears to cover the passing sirens/praise the passing sirens.”

Gordon reads with Joshua Marie Wilkinson, one of the authors of Figures for a Darkroom Voice. Here’s a description of Voice, from The Strangersold friend, “the rhetorical twisting of Noah Eli Gordon’s abstractions meld with the ominous narratives of Joshua Marie Wilkinson’s fragments, turning Wallace Stevens’ notion of a supreme fiction toward a supreme friction, one where the work of these two poets is fused into a voice as singular as it is sinister.”

I’m always interested in this kind of collaboration, especially when both the artists are on hand to discuss it. It looks interesting, and it’s free, and when it’s all over, there’s a Dick’s right nearby. It’s like the starving poets’ dream date.

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

Update: Commenter the shelver confirms that David Shields is at the University Bookstore tonight, too. My new intern starts on Monday, everybody!


posted by on March 7 at 9:46 AM

Obama adviser Samantha Power, over this:


Re: The New Math Doesn’t Add Up

posted by on March 7 at 8:56 AM

Annie is right to dismiss the Clinton camp’s boasts about California, New Jersey, and New York. Obama would win those reliably Blue sates against John McCain too. It’s more compelling when Clinton highlights her energetic win in Ohio (a contested swing state that’s worth an impressive 20 Electoral College votes come November).

Ohio, as Clinton said in her Tuesday night victory speech in Columbus, is a must win for any presidential candidate. And certainly, it’s up for grabs for either a Democrat or a Republican. For example, Republican George W. Bush won it in ‘04 and ‘00. Democrat Bill Clinton won it in ‘96 and ‘92. And Republican George H.W. Bush won it in ‘88. Now, Hillary Clinton has a tremendous and mobilized coalition in Ohio that could carry this rust belt swing state for the Democrats on November 4.

But Annie’s argument that Obama can make similar claims about states he won like Minnesota, Virginia, and Colorado is not as compelling as Clinton’s winning Ohio rap.

Minnesota, which is only worth 10 Electoral College votes—half as many as Ohio— has gone for the Democratic presidential candidate in every presidential contest over the last 20 years: ‘88 (Mike Dukakis!), ‘92, ‘96, ‘00, and ‘04. Like New York, NJ, and CA, Minnesota is already a reliable Blue state in presidential elections. Arguing that Obama will hold serve is a yawner.

To be fair: The newly sprawling Twin Cities suburbs have added some GOP momentum; Minnesota’s U.S. Senate delegation is split; and it does have a Republican governor. However, 2008 does not seem like the year the GOP is going to flip a historically deep Blue, anti-war state like Minnesota (the only state that didn’t vote for Ronald Reagan in ‘84.)

And Obama’s claim on Minnesota isn’t all that. His win in Minnesota was a caucus win. As we saw this week in Texas, caucus wins don’t necessarily reflect the popular sentiment. It’s noteworthy that Nevada, the one caucus that was made accessible to working class voters, was the one caucus where Clinton beat Obama.

I agree that Virginia, which seems Red (check me on this, but a Democratic presidential candidate hasn’t carried it since LBJ), is actually Obama’s best asset. Virginia’s northern suburbs (outside of D.C.) are an expanding Blue bloc that could give VA to the Democrats. Virginia elected a Democratic governor in 2005, and Northern Virginia was enough of a force to elect a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, Jim Webb, over the incumbent Republican, Sen. George Allen, in 2006. (Although, Allen’s idiotic “macaca” whopper really really helped Webb, as did Webb’s military background. Obama’s a law school professor.)

Virginia is a riskier bet than Ohio and not as valuable. It’s only worth 13 Electoral College votes. And again, Virginia went for Bush, Bush, Dole, Bush, and Bush.

Colorado has voted Republican in every presidential election in the last 20 years (with the exception of 1992 when it went for Bill Clinton) and Republicans currently have a 100,000 registration advantage. However, there’s evidence that Colorado is shifting politically. They elected a Democratic governor in 2006 and a Democratic U.S. Senator in 2004. The Senator, Sen. Ken Salazar, is one of three Hispanics in the U.S. Senate, which is fitting, given that part of Colorado’s drift to the left is explained by the growing Latino population.

However, like Minnesota, Obama’s win in Colorado was (asterisk) a caucus win—not a primary win. Moreover, given the Latino demographic, it seems to me that Clinton—more popular with Latino voters than Obama—might be better a candidate here.

Also, Colorado is only good for 9 Electoral College votes. It’s not a major prize.

In addition to hyping Minnesota, Virginia, and Colorado, Annie also put a challenge to Clinton fans: How would Clinton wrest New Mexico and Florida from the Republicans and hold on to Pennsylvania?

I’m not convinced Pennsylvania is in danger of going Republican this year. The Keystone State has gone Blue in the last four presidential elections: ‘04, ‘00, ‘96, and ‘92. And the governor, elected to a second term in 2006, is a Democrat.

Pennsylvania’s Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, Bob Casey, as opposed to Webb in Virginia, destroyed Republican incumbent Rick Santorum in ‘06, 59 to 41.

Still, given Pennsylvania’s moderate bent (and Casey’s conservative bent, he’s pro-life), PA is considered a swing state. But as this Washington Post article explains, Pennsylvania is, like Ohio, rich Clinton turf. The New York Times agrees.

New Mexico
New Mexico, where Clinton beat Obama on Super Tuesday, is the definition of a battleground state (party registration is deadlocked). I think Clinton is best positioned to beat the GOP here in November because New Mexico has the highest Latino population of any state— at 44%.

After the Democrats won New Mexico in 1992, 1996, and 2000, Bush stopped their streak and won it by 6000 votes in 2004. Bush famously won over Latino voters nationally, upping the GOP take to an astonishing 40 percent (up from 21 percent in 1996.)

As lots of pundits are pointing out, the Democrats should win back the Latino vote in 2008. The GOP jeopardized Bush’s gains with its wild anti-immigration rhetoric. Clinton, who has proven to be popular with Latino voters, is the candidate who can capitalize on this and bring NM back into the Democratic column. Obama has not been as successful with Latinos. John McCain split with his party on the issue, so he could actually hold New Mexico if he faced Obama rather than Clinton.

With 27 Electoral College votes, Florida is definitely a prize. And the Democrats have only won the presidential contest in Florida once (‘96) in the last 20 years. However, as recently as 2005, Florida had two Democratic Senators. One of them, the popular Bob Graham, was hawkish on national security … like Clinton.

With its senior citizen demographic (the state with the largest population of voters over 65 according to the New York Times) and a large Hispanic bloc, it seems to me that Clinton, who has dominated both categories, has a better chance in Florida than Obama. If the Democrats decide to schedule a “do-over” in Florida, we’ll find out if I’m right.

In summary: Add Ohio (where Clinton beat Obama decisively—54 to 44), + Pennsylvania (which looks a lot like Ohio), +Florida (where Clinton kinda won already and has an advantage with the demographics) +New Mexico (where Clinton can energize Latino voters like she did in California and Texas) and you’ve got 73 Electoral College votes.

Obama’s “big” swing state takes—Colorado, Virginia, and Minnesota—are worth 32 Electoral College votes. Sure, it’s silly for Clinton to sell New York, New Jersey, and California as potential Democratic pick ups if she gets the nomination (although I think it’s legit for her to hype her success with Latinos in California), but Colorado, Virginia, and Minnesota? Really?

Christian’s Fierce Plan to Save Britney

posted by on March 7 at 8:53 AM has an interview with Slog favorite Christian Siriano, winner of this season’s Project Runway, that touches on another Slog favorite, popwreck Britney Spears.

AE: I read in an interview with you that you said you wanted to save Britney Spears because she needs the gays.

CS: [laughing] She does. I know.

AE: Tell me what you’d do.

CS: Oh, my god. Listen, have you ever noticed Britney has no gays? She has no little fairies running around helping her. I don’t understand that.

AE: I know.

CS: It’s really horrible. Now I said to a producer once that I wanted to do a reality show called Project Britney instead of Project Runway, where I would take Britney for the next six months and I would do hair, makeup, wardrobe every day for her and become her personal staff every day. And then of course I would be, hello, the thanks that everyone has to give for saving Britney, ‘cause I would totally save her whole image and – oh my god, it would be flawless.

AE: But do you think she’d let you?

CS: No, she would never, no. She would never let anybody. I think that’s her point, like you know, everybody was doing that all her life, so she’s kind of rebelling. I mean I think it’d be fun. Most designers would never want to dress a celebrity like her, but I wouldn’t mind trying to like work her back into shape. It’d be fun.

“Need a GOOD Sewer!”

posted by on March 7 at 8:34 AM

So reads the subject line on this Craigslist post.

Just when you reconcile yourself to reading about someone’s non-good sewage experience, you realize the truth is much more special:

Looking for someone who can design and sew products for our company. We need someone ASAP and will pay on a per garment basis. Before you respond, please know you will be designing and sewing Adult Baby Clothes. If interested please contact me ASAP.

Thank you, Slog tipper Jake.

This Week’s Illustrated Letter to the Editor

posted by on March 7 at 8:14 AM

As you know if you read the print edition of The Stranger, every week on our letters page the illustrator Greg Stump illustrates one of the week’s letters to the editor. Here’s this week’s, in response to this piece about book thieves:


(Click image for a slightly bigger version.)

We just got a letter to the editor about this illustrated letter to the editor:

I want to respond to your “Illustrated Letter of the Week” for March 6, 2008, in which a reader tries to defend stealing from bookstores. My first reaction is simply to wonder what is wrong with their library card, but then I was struck by a more important fallacy: the idea that the University Bookstore is one of “the big guys” (i.e. corporate bookstores). This person claims that they have never stolen from an indie store, immediately after admitting to stealing from the largest independent bookseller in Seattle. I have never understood why many people stop perceiving a person or business as being independent, just because they start doing well. (When did George Lucas stop being an independent filmmaker? When he made money?)

Places like the U. Bookstore are our success stories, our hopes and dreams, of the indie store that still thrives after more than a century, and gives back to the community in every way they can. Please, support your local independent booksellers!

Paul S.

Thanks for writing, Paul. You’re right.

O, Jesus, I Knew It, I So Totally Told You So…

posted by on March 7 at 7:51 AM

…and now my head is exploding.

I just stumbled upon this truly horrifying thing, from


Bush and Cheney have set up the architecture to cancel the election entirely if a state of emergency is declared. Three possible scenarios spun correctly would result in a state of emergency.

Those three “scenarios”? War with Iran (wait for it…), the assassination of a presidential candidate (PEOPLE! GUARD OBAMA WITH YOUR LIFE!), and/or another “terr’ist attack”. Um.

I’m going to go crawl into a hole and die now.

If this is true…well. God help us all!


The Morning News

posted by on March 7 at 7:30 AM

While the Dems Duke It Out: The GOP is amassing a shit ton of money.

Lights Out: Karachi forgets to pay its power bill.

Rib Eye: USDA may install cameras in slaughterhouses.

Ballin’: Microsoft, Costco may bail out the Sonics.

Bring On the Soylent Green: Population growth, global warming could lead to massive food shortages.

Face the Music: RIAA may be forced to reveal investigative tricks.

Blowing Smoke: Minnesotans going to ridiculous lengths to smoke in bars.

Fucking Retarded: Pasadena City Council declares “No Cussing Week.”

And now, John Carpenter’s The Thing in…LEGO VISION!!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

McLeod Residence to Open (Finally) to the Public

posted by on March 6 at 5:48 PM


Jen Graves wrote about McLeod Residence a year ago—not that you could have gone back then. It was members only, for liquor-license reasons. But now, at long last, the place is opening up to the public:

Seattle, WA—March 6, 2008—The McLeod Residence Lounge, formerly available exclusively to members, will be open to the public six days a week beginning March 21. McLeod Residence will kick off opening weekend with The Dutchess and the Duke performing harmonious 60s-influenced folk rock on Friday, March 21. DJ Andrew Luck will be spinning a dance party on Saturday, March 22 and on Sunday, March 23 the place will go first-class with karaoke hosted by Adè. The public is now welcome to sip a cocktail invented by one of the members, check out the contemporary art throughout the space (including the bathrooms), and kick back on the comfy sofa. The McLeod Residence Lounge will be open Tuesday-Sunday from 6pm to 2am.

The whole press release is after the jump.

Continue reading "McLeod Residence to Open (Finally) to the Public" »

“The Most Anticipated Motion Picture of the Year”

posted by on March 6 at 5:41 PM

Hell, it’s gotta be the most anticipated film of the year somewhere, right? Bulgaria? West Virginia? Somewhere?


posted by on March 6 at 5:26 PM

The PI is rolling out another blog—its 45,827th—and the paper couldn’t be prouder…

Introducing… MOMSeattle

Check out our new community site by and for local moms, featuring blogs, forums and photo galleries of your kids and their amazing artwork.

Because, you know, only women have children.

UPDATE: ECB says, “No, no, it’s just that only moms care about their children.”

Another Day Older

posted by on March 6 at 5:14 PM


I noticed a couple of bagels wrapped in cling film sitting on the table outside Cafe Casbah on 2nd Ave. when I walked in the other evening. Hm. Someone forgot their bagels. I had some tea, a banana, and a completely and totally awesome piece of zucchini bread. On my way out I told the barista that I thought their zucchini bread was totally and completely awesome. She said there was more—outside, on the table. She’d set the day-old pastries out, on the table where the bagels were sitting when I came in. They were day old too.

“It’s set ‘em out or throw ‘em out,” she said, “and I hate to see good, day-old pastries go to waste.”

Cafe Casbah closes at 7 PM.

What They Did Last Summer

posted by on March 6 at 5:10 PM

In the new edition of X-TRA, book author and University of Pittsburgh contemporary art and theory professor Terry Smith provides the most cogent, self-directed, and compelling hypotheses I’ve seen about what happened last summer (with the confluence of Documenta, the Venice Biennale, and Muenster Sculpture Projects) (my travelogue here).

Here’s where he starts (emphases mine):

My reactions were, basically, the reverse of the reviewers’ consensus. I had come to these mega-shows with, I admit, a question that I hoped would be answered—in new and useful ways—by these exhibitions, and by others in Europe this spring and summer. Or, perhaps, as has so often, so rewardingly happened in my fortunate experience, the answers would be suggested by certain artworks that might appear within them. The question is a big one, having been wrought, during the past decade, with as much care as I can muster. A demanding question, yet wide open as to the kinds of answer it might attract. Here it is: Had the curators and their teams grasped the fact that the overriding concern of contemporary art around the world, the concern most proper to it as contemporary art, is the growing, alarming and inescapable disjunction—experienced by all of us living in the conditions of contemporaneity—between the small-scale, specific yet fragile facts of our everyday lives and the accelerating incomprehensibility, indeed, the often deadly incommensurability, of competing global world-pictures? If they had seen things this way, did they assemble works by artists able to display at least aspects of the extremely complex architecture of this dislocation, and by those artists able to point us toward the recovery, or discovery, of concrete kinds of locality, timeliness, identity and selfhood?

He lands in a Eurocentric place (I suppose the next task is to map an also-changing American position?):

European cultural institutions, including these exhibitions, seem anxiously aware of how they might look from what they imagine to be the multiple vantage points out there in the rest of the world, yet are increasingly ready to negotiate with these others. At the same time, Europe is, following the 2005 rejection of the proposed constitution, in the aftermath of a definitive moment in its own post-Cold War redefinition. Everyone of conscience senses that these two enterprises are profoundly linked, and is striving to understand how. There are many bleak prognostications, for example, those following “signature events” such as the murder of Theo van Gogh, the threats to Orhan Pamuk and the renewed rage against Salman Rushdie. On the other hand, the recent call by intellectuals such as Timothy Garton Ash and Wim Wenders for a Europe that moves beyond its current economic and bureaucratic forms to (re)discover its “geist” (a secular concept variously translated as “soul” or “spirit”) in a sense of community based on cultural exchange and artistic inventiveness is one sign of a possible shift to a more positive, constructive mood (see Wenders at www.signandsight. com/features/1098.html).

Look What I Found at QFC: Wild Cherry M&Ms

posted by on March 6 at 4:55 PM


And no, they’re not very good.

They’re like eating a crunchy chocolate-covered cherry. Without the cherry inside. Christopher put one in his mouth and then spit out the pieces after one chomp. Paul Constant, intrigued by his reaction, grabbed a few and said “Wow, this is going to cause cancer! Not bad, though. Still, I’m not going to dip into that well again.”

They’re not bad, no. But they’re really wrong.

Sex, Housework, and Gender Parity

posted by on March 6 at 4:27 PM

So this new study came out that concluded that even though American men still aren’t “pulling their weight” around the house, they’re still doing better than they were … in the 1960s. (Well, duh.) Only the thing is, most of the stories about this study focused not on the numbers themselves (basically, both men and women are working more, and women still work twice as many hours around the house as men) but their implications for men’s sex lives. It’s all about the dudes, you know?


For example:

Housework Gets You Laid (The Huffington Post)

The average dad has gradually been getting better about picking himself up off the sofa and pitching in, according to a new report in which a psychologist suggests the payoff for doing more chores could be more sex.

Doing dull chores could improve sex life, US experts say (AFP)

The reward for menfolk who help out around the house could be more sex.

“We sociologists generally don’t go there, but therapists say there’s a direct correlation” between men doing more housework and the frequency of sex, said Coltrane.

Men Doing More Housework, May Get More Sex (UPI)

U.S. men’s contribution to housework has increased about 15 percent in the last 40 years, but the men may get more sex, research suggests.

Men Doing Chores Around Home Has Its Rewards (McClatchy Newspapers)

Fathers are taking on bigger shares of chores and child care, recent surveys show, and marriage experts say that it’s probably good for their love lives.

Best foreplay is husband who cleans house (NY Daily News)

Husbands who pitch in around the house get more sex than those who won’t help clean up, researchers say in a study that could turn lazy guys into Ty-D-Bol Men.

Because sex is currency, only men are interested in “getting” sex, the ladies won’t give it up for free, blah blah blah.

Almost equally annoying: The study’s authors write that people seeking gender parity since the 1960s have harbored “unrealistic hopes for instant transformation” and started with “the naive assumption that the massive gender rearrangements that began in the late 1960s would, unlike any other major social transformation in history, have instantaneous results.” Um, guys? Last time I checked, the late ’60s were 40 years ago. That’s not exactly yesterday.

(Interestingly, the P-I was the only paper I could find that actually dug into the numbers—and eschewed the predictable sex-for-chores angle—reporting that men are now doing a grand total of 16 hours of work around the house, including six hours of childcare, compared to 30 hours for women. So they went from doing just over a third as much as women to half as much. And women still do most of the “invisible” household work, including scheduling appointments, buying the gifts their children take to birthday parties, and arranging holiday gatherings.)

Well, At Least Part of the Chase Agenda Passed

posted by on March 6 at 3:42 PM

Slog fave, Rep. Maralyn Chase (D-32, Shoreline)

ELF-liberal House Rep. Maralyn Chase (D-32, Shoreline) wasn’t able to pass much of what we here in the Stranger newsroom lovingly call “the Chase Agenda” —making plastic bags, and leaf blowers, and poisonous cosmetics illegal—but her bill to regulate condo conversions (a bill we’ve been watching all session) passed the Senate today, 36-11.

The bill gives cities the right to guarantee compensation (the equivalent of 3 months rent) and a minimum amount of time for a tenant to move (120 days) for people displaced by condo conversion. Seattle Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36, Ballard)—who added protections for seniors and disabled people—carried the bill in the Senate.

However, it’s still disappointing that an early Chase amendment to give cities the right to limit conversions of buildings at which 50 percent or more of units are affordable to low-income people failed.

I Knew It!

posted by on March 6 at 3:34 PM


So if you’ve bought Airborne, the herbal supplements that used to be marketed as a “miracle cold buster” you could be owed a refund. They can’t back up the cold-busting claims in court.

Perky Headline for a “Perking” Housing Market

posted by on March 6 at 2:40 PM

The PI is most certainly not plugging the real estate industry’s rhetoric on the front page. Nope. The pendulum is swingin’ and now is the time for buyin’. And those naysayers? They’re “doubters.”


A statement accompanying the data highlighted increases in pending sales from January to February, with jumps of nearly 30 percent in Seattle, and slightly less in King County and the 19 counties in Western Washington that the service covers.

“In March, the real estate market is set to get its mojo back,” J. Lennox Scott, chairman and chief executive of John L. Scott Real Estate, said in the statement. “We’re already seeing the momentum build.”

So… the housing market “perked up” after January, one of the slowest months for home sales. Okay. But the meat of Aubrey Cohen’s solid article seems to conflict with the headline. The big picture ain’t very perky. Since last year, sales are down and inventory is way up.

But compared with the same month a year ago, February’s pending sales were down 22 percent in Seattle, 36 percent in King County and 31 percent in Western Washington.

The number of homes on the market in February increased 64 percent in Seattle, nearly 69 percent in King County and 39 percent in Western Washington from February 2007.

“Apparently the market is so bad that the only way they can make it seem good is to compare month-to-month stats from what is traditionally the second-slowest month of the year. Awesome,” said [SeattleBubble] blog editor Timothy Ellis, mocking the listing service’s news release.

Private to SeattleBubble: Mwah!

The market will eventually pick up again, of course, but it may continue to decline before that happens. The implication that people need to buy now before it’s too late is industry propaganda. And here, the PI is pushing that hype and reporting the dip in the housing market as a local tragedy. But slow sales and added inventory was overdue. It’s a dynamic that could reduce (over-inflated) prices, making homes more affordable to the people who want to live in greater Seattle but can’t afford a half-million dollar bungalow. That said, I feel bad for the struggling real estate agents and folks who bought a home that’s temporarily depreciated in value. But as bad as I feel for them, I feel better for the people who might be able to buy a house and won’t be stuck in the same mess as these suckers buyers.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported Thursday that the number of loans past due or in foreclosure jumped to 7.9 percent, from 7.3 percent at the end of September and 6.1 percent in December 2006. Before the third quarter, the rate had never risen past 7 percent since the survey began in 1979.


And Now a Bill that Republican Leader Sen. Pflug Voted Against…

posted by on March 6 at 2:32 PM

the climate change bill.

This is the big global warming bill Gov. Gregoire unveiled on the first day of session

It passed the Senate yesterday 29-19 (it passed the House 64-31 last month on the last possible vote before House cutoff), and it’s on its way to Gregoire’s desk. It’s a good thing it’s not going back to the House, where Speaker Chopp—who had a standoff with the governor about how much power the Dept. of Ecology should have—might try again to amend it.

It’s a good bill (although there is a timber industry loophole allowing for questionable offset credits.)

The legislation directs the Dept. of Ecology to devise a cap and trade system. It sets goals for lowering greenhouse gas emissions (by 2020, reducing statewide emissions to 1990 levels; by 2035, reducing overall emissions to twenty-five percent below 1990 levels; by 2050, reducing overall emissions to fifty percent below 1990 levels, or seventy percent below the state’s expected emissions that year). It also says—without any funding—that the state will promote green collar jobs.

The most important thing I think the bill does is this: It directs the department of transportation to adopt broad statewide goals to reduce annual per capita vehicle miles traveled…18% by 2020, 30% by 2035, and 50% by 2050.

This has big implications for projects like 520 and the viaduct and transit vs. roads, nudging the state toward prioritizing transit.

Games: 24 Hours Into Super Smash Bros. Brawl

posted by on March 6 at 2:16 PM

For the uninitiated, Super Smash Bros. is a fighting franchise in which Nintendo’s cutesy mascots beat each other up. Mario kicking Pikachu. The Princess smacking Zelda with a frying pan. Etc. When SSB came out roughly ten years ago, other fighting games were convoluted Street Fighter clones—press a joystick 100 directions, then hit a three-button combination, and your little guy/girl might do some anime-styled move. What worked for Smash Bros. back then was that you didn’t have to memorize a technical manual’s worth of codes and moves to play. You had two buttons to attack, you could jump, and you could throw stuff. Simple. Get to kickin’ ass. Plus, four people could fight at once, making it a good party game next to its N64 sibling Goldeneye. The series wound up becoming one of Nintendo’s biggest worldwide properties.


The newest version, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, somehow reached my hands before its hyped release on Sunday, and I’m already hooked. I’m the target market, though—this is a game heaped with gaming nostalgia. Kid Icarus’ Pit shows up to whoop an ass. Wario farts to make foes dizzy, then runs ‘em over with a motorcycle. And the playground Sega/Nintendo debate is revitalized by this game’s Sonic vs. Mario duels…hopefully a Pogs resurgence isn’t soon to follow.

But this game isn’t meant for the Wii. It proudly boasts that you can use a zillion different controller types to play it, and that’s because the Wii’s default controls barely have enough buttons for this game. There’s no motion control—you won’t swing your arm to smack anyone, though the game has a hidden “wrist flick” option. And most importantly, the simple game ain’t Wii Sports-simple. The pick-up-and-play core is still intact—wear your opponent down, and instead of draining energy like Street Fighter, you eventually launch foes off a floating platform. But there are tons of other little bits and pieces to the game, strategies to learn and items to make sense of, and the game doesn’t do much to ease outsiders in. Other than a brief how-to video, it’s either trial by fire, or, ugh, study the game’s 36-page manual.

Doesn’t bother me, but I’m the target market. If you ever played and enjoyed Smash Bros before, you shouldn’t even question buying it—SSBB is a perfect mix of refinement and new blood for the series. (My only knock so far is that the series’ first-ever online mode stinks. Though it may be a temporary issue, my online play so far has been full of lag; making fights all kinds of herky-jerky. At least it’s not a paid service.) And I don’t think Nintendo should worry about this game specifically; you look at the box, covered in angry-looking game mascots, and you know whether or not it’s your bag. Nintendo’s proud about this game’s niche, and judging by the way the game has played for me so far—the spit-shined balance and variety of different fighters, the dozens of little modes, the, um, nostalgic Nintendo virtual sticker-collecting mini-games (I got an Eggplant Wizard sticker this morning, and I’m sad to admit that I was thrilled)—they’re serving their diehard nerds right.

But Nintendo’s got a problem with scheduling and with serving all niches. Where was last Christmas’ Wii Sports-style game, complete with crossover appeal and super-simple, super-fun motion gaming? That’s right—none came out, and grown-ups who dug the Wii (and actually managed to find one) have to wait until May for Wii Sports’ heir apparent, Wii Fit—the fitness game that comes with a weight-sensitive balance board (think skiing, yoga, and, er, hula-hooping). It’ll be a welcome weird game, but Nintendo had years to work out a strategy, to really make the most of their crazy Wii, and as of right now, they really haven’t. I enjoy playing games w/ outsiders; Wii Bowling with my mom is easily my #1 gaming memory, and as good as SSBB is, it’s not something I’d ever expect to play with her, my girlfriend, or a lot of non-gaming friends. And as a grown-up gamer with shit to do (aside from, er, collecting virtual nerd stickers), I think it’s a fair criticism.

Surrogate Spoiler

posted by on March 6 at 2:14 PM

I kind of wish I could be at this event to ask civilized questions about the practical effect of a Nader candidacy in 2008. Or maybe fight someone. The Socialist Alternative is sponsoring the following rhetorical question event:

Can Obama deliver real change?

Or should we support Nader?

Barack Obama has inspired millions with a message of hope and change. He speaks out against the Iraq war and claims to refuse donations from lobbyists. However, his record leaves many questions unanswered. Why has he repeatedly voted to fund the war if he is against it? Why has he received more money from Wall Street than any other candidate?

Ralph Nader recently announced he is running for president on an independent, anti-war, pro-worker platform. Can Obama deliver, or should we break from the two corporate parties and support Nader? Come hear why you should consider supporting Ralph Nader’s campaign, and join us for this important discussion!

7:00 PM
Seattle University (Broadway and Madison in Capitol Hill)
Wyckoff Auditorium (Engineering Building room 200)

SPEAKER: Philip Locker
* Editor, Justice Newspaper
* Nader Campaign Activist in 2000 and 2004
* Organizer of Antiwar National Student Walkouts

Tragically, I cannot attend. I’ll be at a screening of 10,000 B.C..


Four More Years

posted by on March 6 at 1:54 PM


Via Towleroad.

238th Anniversary

posted by on March 6 at 1:40 PM


Yesterday was the anniversary of the Boston Massacre, when British troops killed 5 colonists during an epithets, snowball, sons of liberty fracas outside the Boston Customs House in 1770.

Rats. I forgot to mark it here on Slog.

Last year, I was in Boston for the big day, and I got to go to a reenactment—and stand outside in the sub zero weather— and drink tea and eat cookies in the custom house after the big show with the actors.

Afterward, high on tea and cookies, I took the T across town.

From the Mouth of MC Rove

posted by on March 6 at 1:32 PM

Karl Rove:

A long Democratic battle doesn’t automatically help the Republicans. In fact, it hurts the Republicans in certain ways. Mr McCain becomes less interesting to the media. Stories about him move off page one and grow smaller. TV coverage becomes spotty and short. There are not yet big and deep and unbridgeable differences between the two Democrats and there is plenty of time to heal most wounds (except, perhaps among the young if Mrs Clinton were to win). Continuing to build a profile and lay the predicate for the short fall campaign against either Democrat becomes the challenge for Mr McCain while the Democrats battle it out.
Is this hate? Or is this the truth?

$55 Million

posted by on March 6 at 12:55 PM

Obama’s haul for February, $45 million of it from online donations.

What Your $5 Will Be Doing Tonight

posted by on March 6 at 12:36 PM

Tonight’s Young Ones concert is also a benefit for Real Change. But Real Change is more than just a paper sold on the street for a buck. From their website,

The Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project has many faces, a newspaper, an advocacy group, a Homeless Speakers Bureau, and literary workshops. We do a lot, and all of it is working toward building bridges among the poor, homeless and the greater community, while engaging the broader public in fighting for economic justice. By publishing the newspaper and mobilizing the public around poverty issues, Real Change organizes, educates and builds alliances to find community-based solutions to homelessness and poverty. The Real Change is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization.

And the Young Ones showcase—tonight at Neumo’s, headlined by Arthur & Yu and Dyme Def—is just one way you can help out their important cause. A week from now, Real Change is asking you to do more than donate money or buy a paper.

On Thursday, March 13th, the Real Change Organizing Project and friends will stand with those who struggle to survive in Seattle’s public spaces. Your support is vital. If you have a few hours during the day, we need you. If you can spend the night at City Hall Plaza, we need you. Come stand for human dignity, compassion, and public accountability.

Since last spring, the Mayor’s office has coordinated a campaign of harassment and intimidation against homeless campers. The obvious question has been asked a thousand times: Where are these people supposed to go?

On March 13, concerned citizens have the opportunity to send a clear message to the Mayor and his staff.

Our message is simple: Help, Don’t Harass. End the sweeps of homeless encampments. Work with advocates to provide alternatives. Provide real outreach, sufficient emergency shelter alternatives, and expanded services to those in need.

Visibility teams will stand throughout the downtown with banners, leaflets, and petitions to raise awareness of the City’s actions. Dinner, provided by Operation Sacklunch, will be served at 5:30 pm on City Hall Plaza by leaders of Seattle’s faith community. We will camp overnight on City Hall Plaza to highlight Seattle’s critical need for housing and shelter. There will be a final visibility push before the tents come down on Friday morning.

More information can be found at And you can take the first step in supporting the work Real Change does tonight, by checking out some amazing local talent at Neumo’s and Sole Repair for only $5, which will go directly to Real Change.


See you there!

Oly Inaction: Chopp is Stalling Again

posted by on March 6 at 12:23 PM

Last year, Sen. Brian Weinstein’s (D-41, Mercer Island) homeowner bill of rights turned into an explosive issue when it died in the House. Sen. Weinstein blamed House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43, Wallingford).

For many, the issue became a symbol of Chopp’s kowtowing to the conservative Building and Industry Association of Washington (BIAW)—which itself became shorthand for Chopp’s weird strategy of not using his giant majority for fear of losing it. (And so, the point of having the near-super-majority is…?)

Anyway, as Slog readers know, I’ve been tracking Sen. Weinstein’s homeowners’ rights bill this session.

And, with some hilarious footage shot last night of Chopp avoiding the cameras, KOMO’s on it now too!

Click on “watch the story.”

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on March 6 at 12:11 PM


from flickrd1

IED in Times Square

posted by on March 6 at 12:05 PM


But it was a teeny, tiny IED. Nobody was hurt.

Witnesses saw a “suspicious” man on a bike, wearing a grey hoodie. Police say that matches descriptions of the young person who bombed the British and Mexican consulates last year—someone in his 20s, wearing a hoodie, riding a bike, who threw homemade bombs:

The arc of the device—with its lighted fuse—was visible on the videotape.


Hoodie + bicycle + fuses = vintage anarcho-terrorist chic.

The Hippies Have Won!

posted by on March 6 at 12:04 PM

When the city backed off on plans to put a bike lane along Stone Way in Fremont, citing concerns from a single property owner, Suzie Burke, that the lanes would make it hard for trucks to get around, cycling activists, including the Cascade Bicycle Club, went to work. They commissioned an analysis that showed the city’s traffic projections for Stone Way were completely out of whack with current trends in traffic growth, held a well-attended bike protest, and did their own traffic analysis, which found that traffic numbers have not grown since 2001, the last time the city did an actual count. The message: Don’t backpedal on our bike lanes!

Yesterday, those crazy cyclists got their wish, when the city’s department of transportation (SDOT) announced that “based on further analysis,” the department will cut the number of lanes on Stone Way to two, and install bike lanes on both sides of the road, as the original bike plan called for. Score one for the two-wheelers! Next up: Put Rainier Ave. South and 23rd Ave. South on road diets.

Re: It Gets Worse

posted by on March 6 at 12:04 PM

The fake charitable foundation set up by the author of that fake memoir? It appears that she faked it with the help of her literary agent. From the NYT:

With help from her agent, Faye Bender, Ms. Seltzer also set up a Web site,, in October to describe the foundation and promote her book. Since the revelations about the book, however, Ms. Bender has taken down the Web site.


Crunchy, Data-ey

posted by on March 6 at 12:00 PM

Seattle has one of the nation’s most developed technology-and-art programs, at the University of Washington: DXArts. Nobody is really sure what they do in there. Artists from the department will be showing their works in a free event at the Henry next Thursday, the 13th.

But until then, here’s a cool feature on Wired about “data-crunching artists.”

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on March 6 at 12:00 PM

I’ve always been afraid to go downhill skiing or snowboarding. This video pretty much guarantees that I’ll remain this way forever. Yep. I think forever…

From YouTube pattaya1983

Oly Action: Domestic Partners Expansion Passes Senate

posted by on March 6 at 11:57 AM

After passing the state House 62-32 earlier this session, the domestic partnership bill passed the Senate yesterday, 29-20.

This year’s bill would provide gay couples with about 174 more rights (married people have 480 total). Some of the new rights in this year’s bill are the right to go to family court when dissolving a partnership, the right to transfer property between partners without paying real estate excise taxes, the right to share nursing home rooms and private nursing home visits, and the right to exclude your house as an asset when applying for Medicaid funding for nursing home residency. Romantic!

Last year, the state created a domestic partnership registry and granted about 23 of the rights that married couples have, including hospital visitation and allowing partners to give informed consent in medical decisions, make funeral arrangements, and inherit property in the absence of a will.

Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill), the Senate lead on the bill, was happy to point out that this year’s Senate vote picked up two new Republicans over last year’s vote—”the most Republican votes we’ve ever gotten on a gay rights bill in the Senate,” Murray says.

Two votes might not sound like a lot, but as Murray points out, jumping from one Republican supporter to 3 in a 49-seat body is a jump from 2 percent to 6 percent—a 200% increase.

One of the pick-ups is Sen. Cheryl Pflug (R-5, Maple Valley), the deputy leader of the Senate Republicans. For my money, she’s actually been the R leader this year, taking a high profile on things like transportation and the budget and, I think, doing the Rossi campaign’s framing work for the upcoming election.

Republican leader Sen. Cheryl Pflug. Loves the gays!

Interesting that she would go for the domestic partnership bill.

I’m expecting a call back from her so she can fill me in on why she broke with her caucus on this issue.


posted by on March 6 at 11:47 AM

Esquire sent a reporter to cover Heath Ledger’s final days. There apparently wasn’t enough ‘there’ there, and so they just published a first-person, fictionalized account of Ledger’s last weekend.

From the introduction (emphasis mine throughout):

To write a conceivable chronicle of Heath Ledger’s final days, writer Lisa Taddeo visited the actor’s neighborhood, talked to the store owners and bartenders who may have seen him during his last week, and read as many accounts and rumors about the events surrounding his death as possible. She filled in the rest with her imagination. The result is what we call reported fiction.

And from the beginning of the story:

For me, it was just like any other weekend in my life. I didn’t eat a last meal, I didn’t jerk off any more or any less, I didn’t climb a mountain or end up swinging from a noose with Mozart’s Requiem in the background. But suddenly it’s important exactly what I did, because they are the last few days, and what you do in the last few days, down to your last lunch, becomes a fairy tale.

If you force me to make my last weekend a microcosm of my existence, and what my existence means to you, then I’ll tell you how it went and who I played. But first things first: It was an accident. I’m not some fucked-up star who couldn’t deal. I could deal; I just couldn’t sleep.

If you’re at all interested, you should read it now, before it gets pulled.

Perhaps It’s My Jewish Roots

posted by on March 6 at 11:42 AM

But I’m kinda fine with an overweight, lazy German military.

“The public perception is that soldiers are slim, sporty and healthy. Unfortunately, the reality is very different,” said Germany’s army commissioner Reinhold Robbe as he presented the report.

Some 40 percent of soldiers between 18 and 29 are overweight compared to 35 percent among Germany’s civilian population, said the report, which also found young male and female soldiers smoked too much and failed to do enough sport.

By comparison, the Chair Force makes up 16 percent of U.S. military, but, as of 2005, obesity was reportedly the leading reason for discharging American soldiers.

It Gets Worse

posted by on March 6 at 11:38 AM

So Margaret Seltzer wasn’t a gang member, or really anything but a white kid with an overactive imagination and a contract to publish a memoir. But did she also fake an entire non-profit that allegedly existed to help kids get out of street gangs? All signs point to yes.

Another Unhelpful Comment from an Obama Surrogate

posted by on March 6 at 11:35 AM

This one from his foreign policy adviser, Susan Rice:

Via The Caucus

Winning the War on Dogs

posted by on March 6 at 11:32 AM

Because one fucked up soldier-on-dog video a week just isn’t enough.

Thanks to Slogtipper Brett!

Radical Mod

posted by on March 6 at 11:30 AM


Liz Cohen, the artist I recently interviewed in The Believer (she’s represented in Seattle by Lawrimore Project), has finally—almost—finished building her car. It’s not a sculpture, though, it’s an entire process that includes building the car, building her body up to be its model and spokeswoman, and taking it to compete in car shows. The first one she’s planning to go to is in Las Vegas in October.

For this spring, though, the car—an East German Trabant 601 deluxe that transforms into a Chevy El Camino in less than 15 seconds—is part of a group exhibition called Car Culture at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. This is the first time it has ever been exhibited in the U.S.

As a public art project simultaneous with the exhibition, Cohen is organizing a car show at the Scottsdale Civic Center on March 20. It will feature cars and bicycles with radical modifications: spinning truck beds, pop-up hoods, suicide doors, and hydraulics. (For fans: Gene Bare’s Inferno, a customized 1951 Chevrolet Deluxe named Lowrider Magazine’s Classic of the Year in 2005, 2006, and 2007, will be there.)


posted by on March 6 at 11:24 AM

Once I counted up the number of times New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani used the word “limn” since she started reviewing for that newspaper—the total was over 50. I just noticed she did it again recently. I wish I could limn my feelings about this word, this annoying, annoying word, more articulately.

How Many Times…

posted by on March 6 at 11:15 AM

…can the dollar drop to “historic new lows” before the business press is forced to describe the dollar as being in free-fall?

The New NAFTA-Gate?

posted by on March 6 at 11:10 AM

Did both the Obama and Clinton campaigns give private assurances to the Canadians that their NAFTA rhetoric was just… rhetoric? If so, you can bet the Obama camp wishes they’d known this before the vote in Ohio.

Since 75 per cent of Canadian exports go to the U.S., Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton’s musings about reopening the North American free-trade pact had caused some concern.

Mr. Brodie downplayed those concerns.

“Quite a few people heard it,” said one source in the room.

He said someone from (Hillary) Clinton’s campaign is telling the embassy to take it with a grain of salt… That someone called us and told us not to worry.

Government officials did not deny the conversation took place.

They said that Mr. Brodie sought to allay concerns about the impact of Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton’s assertion that they would re-negotiate NAFTA if elected.

(Although, I have to say, this story reads in a very strange way—jumping from the alleged Clinton call straight to the Obama campaign being on the defensive in a manner that doesn’t make intuitive sense, or at least doesn’t track with the narrative we’ve heard so far, which is that Obama was on the defensive because his campaign had made private assurances. Maybe a string of typos in which the writer replaced “Obama” with “Clinton”? If not, the plot certainly thickens…)

The Crap that Passes for “Historic” Around Here

posted by on March 6 at 11:03 AM

Really? This sign—a rusting arrow—is “historic”? And its theft is big news? Really?

The New Math Doesn’t Add Up

posted by on March 6 at 11:03 AM

Honestly, Josh, this “new math” of which you speak will cripple young political thinkers for ages to come. It simply tells us nothing when you say a state is “big” or has X number of electoral votes. It matters whether the state is blue, red, or neither—then we can start analyzing the details.

So how has Obama fared in those states that are the crucial building blocks of a Democratic general election strategy? He’s won his home state of Illinois, plus Wisconsin, Washington and Minnesota. Together, these states account for 51 electoral votes. Clinton has won her home state of New York, as well as California, New Jersey and Michigan, representing a total of 118 electoral votes. This sum deliberately leaves out Ohio and Florida, which will be hotly contested in the fall.

There is a reason some states are called general election “battlegrounds.” It is because partisan identification is roughly even, or because certain groups in the electorate, such as Catholics, Hispanics or blue-collar whites, switch their allegiances — or split their votes.

Hate to break it to RCP and their fuzzy mathematicians, but California, New York, and New Jersey are not general election battlegrounds. Only a completely incompetent Democrat would lose those states, and neither Obama nor Clinton is incompetent.

Clinton can and should be making the argument that she has a better chance of winning Ohio (20 electoral college votes), where she beat Obama by a healthy ten point margin. But both candidates should be competitive there against McCain, who is prone to making arguments like “”The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should. I’ve got Greenspan’s book.”. That’s Alan “Frothy” Greenspan, people.

Meanwhile, Obama should be arguing that he is more competitive in the swing states of Colorado (9 electoral college votes), where he beat Clinton by 31 (delegate) percentage points; Minnesota (10 electoral college votes), where he beat Clinton by 34 (delegate) percentage points; and particularly Virginia (13 electoral college votes), where he beat Clinton by 28 (popular vote) percentage points—and drew more votes than all the Republican candidates combined.

I am so sick of this mindless bloviating about whether Obama can win big states. You simply need more detail to be able to discuss this issue substantively. Please, give me all the arguments you got about how Clinton can wrest Florida and New Mexico from the Rs and how she can hold on to Pennsylvania. But shut up already about New York and California. I just don’t care.

ELFer Guilty

posted by on March 6 at 11:00 AM

From the PI:

A federal jury has found accused Earth Liberation Front arsonist Briana Waters guilty of two charges stemming from the firebombing of a University of Washington research center.

Both charges carry a minimum of five years in prison.

The jury deadlocked on more serious charges, including arson conspiracy and possession and use of a destructive device.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 6 at 11:00 AM


The Young Ones at Neumo’s and Sole Repair

Over the last year, The Stranger’s music staff has combed through hundreds of local bands to find our favorite eight. We call them the Young Ones: the Pharmacy, Talbot Tagora, Truckasauras, the Moondoggies, Throw Me the Statue, the Physics, PWRFL Power, and Sleepy Eyes of Death. We adore their music, predict they’ll have a collectively amazing 2008, and salute their efforts with a big ol’ party at Neumo’s and Sole Repair. Even better: The $5 door charge goes directly to benefit Real Change. Last year’s Young Ones Dyme Def and Arthur & Yu return to headline. Be there. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, and Sole Repair, 1001 E Pike St, 8 pm, $5, 21+.)


Reading Last Night: Richard Powers

posted by on March 6 at 10:58 AM


Last night was the Richard Powers talk at Seattle Arts and Lectures, and it turned out exactly as I expected: an excellent reading, followed by an incredibly lame question and answer session. Powers, hiding his skinny frame in super-baggy business casual clothing and sporting an archetypically bowl-shaped bowl haircut, looked like the Bill Gates of literature (he actually did work as a computer programmer before becoming a novelist.)

Powers read a new story, “Modulation,” in its entirety. It was the story of four people: A journalist in Iraq, a retiring music professor, a former hacker now working for the RIAA, and a man who is on tour with a retrospective of 80s and early-90s video game music. In typical Powers form, music was examined in many different ways. It functions as a morale-boosting tool to improve enemy-soldier-killing performance and as something enslaved that begged to be freed from the malicious bindings of copyright. The professor regrets portable music devices, at one point realizing that “He should’ve known that music, like the most robust of weeds, would one day come in pods.” Everything builds to the creation of something utterly new, and we watch the different characters respond to the event with varying levels of disbelief. It was an amazing story, the best kind of science fiction, and hearing it read aloud really brought something wonderful to the experience.

The Q&A was mercifully brief. The only real high point was when Powers referred to both programming and writing as similarly “tweaking the ratios.” The final question was the windbaggiest, referring back to a 1999 article Powers wrote and quoting liberally from it for what seemed like forever, before finally asking the question: “Do you feel bleak or hopeful about the future?” Powers’ answer was long, though not as long as the question, but his answer was basically: “both.” Then everybody applauded as though he had bestowed the meaning of life upon us. It wasn’t a bad enough Q&A to dispel the power of the reading, but it sure wouldn’t convince any first-time SA&L-goers to come back to one of their readings.

Currently Hanging

posted by on March 6 at 10:30 AM

Howard Barlow’s Seven Pains 2 (2008), shot steel, recycled bullet-lead solder, reconstructed broken window panes

At Punch Gallery.

Youth Pastor Watch

posted by on March 6 at 10:19 AM


A United Methodist Church minister from Conneautville arrested Wednesday on Internet pornography charges has been suspended from his ministerial duties—including that as the church district youth minister.

The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General alleges [Rev. Steven Richard] McGuigan engaged in sexually explicit e-mail conversations in Internet chat rooms with what he believed was a 13-year-old girl seven different times between December 2007 and January, including one from chat from his place of employment—the church. Authorities also allege that during two of the conversations McGuigan sent sexually explicit videos of himself to her via the Internet.


A Clermont County man was found guilty Tuesday of molesting two foster sons, now 17 and 16…. Judge Robert Ringland of Common Pleas Court ordered Bell, 32, jailed until he is sentenced April 8.

Bell, a real-estate salesman and former youth minister, faces up to five years in prison and might have to register as a sexual offender for 25 years.


Robert Carter Terral and Trent Austin Coley, both of Fairhope and members of Boy Scouts of America Troop 47, received their Eagle Scout awards at a recent ceremony….

The invocation and benedictions for the Eagle Scout Court of Honor were delivered by Trent and Carter’s pastor, Rev. J.D. McDuffie, of The Way. The Eagle Pledge was given by Gray Strickland, their youth pastor.

Crime in the age of Myspace

posted by on March 6 at 10:14 AM

The look of death:

Words from her Myspace site:

daVi—————-(da-“V”) SHORT FOR MY LAST NAME DAVILA…..I’m A SoldIer* I’m always listening to music* i like ballet *i like any type of fruit juice* I like fishing* I like to run* I have a punk/fucked up emo/chola’ wardrobe* i like earth/dirt* I enjoy planting gardens* I like gorgeous snakes* I like fencing(fighting kind)* I crave my mans voice, hug, and kiss* I like organizing things* I enjoy the road* I like cooking* I’m addicted to hot sauce* having a project makes me happy* I love adventures/missions* i like various blacks, greys, reds, or bronzZzy colors* I’m a fan of beautiful style* joining the army has been one of my best choices ever* I love meeting new friends*

What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.

Lessness and Neo-Appropriation

posted by on March 6 at 10:13 AM

These curators seem to be on a mission to be as pretentious and irrelevant as possible. And it’s only day one of Time magazine critic Richard Lacayo’s Q&A with Whitney Biennial curators Shamim Momin and Henriette Huldisch.

But given the biennial’s new performance wing at the Armory and a little trickle of early positive testimony (the major reviews aren’t in yet), maybe the legendarily unpopular show will succeed despite its curators? We can always hope.

In the wait for the reviews, I want to recommend this good read on two of my favorite recent discoveries, video-performance artists Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn of LA. Don’t miss the excerpt of their video Can’t Swallow It, Can’t Spit It Out.

Reading Tonight

posted by on March 6 at 10:10 AM


Tonight, we have an open mic and a discussion about evidence-based policy, which is something that I can’t really begin to explain, and so I will link to the similarly unhelpful Wikipedia page. All I will say is that it seems like an idea with some problems.


At the Seattle Public Library, there’s a discussion called “Africa 101.” Apparently, it’s going to provide an overview of African history and culture. If they really expect to provide an overview of an entire continent’s history and culture, it could go well into next week, so you might want to pack a nice sack lunch.

At the University Bookstore, Alan Drew reads from his new novel, Gardens of Water. It’s about a Kurdish girl falling in love with an American boy in Istanbul. I expect that if you’re a fan of The Kite Runner, or you’re in a book club that reads middling novels set in other cultures, you might enjoy this book.

Stephin motherfucking Merritt is in a discussion with Lyall Bush at the Hugo House at Town Hall at 8 o’clock. I think that, despite David Schmader’s wonderful self-interrogation about interrogating Stephin motherfucking Merritt on stage at Bumbershoot in this issue of The Stranger:

Merritt’s one-word answers and long stretches of scowly muteness didn’t help. Eventually, we just sat there, silently staring at each other. It was a standoff—he wasn’t going to force himself to be bubbly and forthcoming for my sake, and I wasn’t going to force myself into some solicitous Larry King buffoonery for his sake. It was extremely odd and awkward, perhaps one of the great Dada moments in media relations. Afterward, Merritt came up to me and apologized.

or, perhaps because of it, this would definitely be worth checking out. It could be painfully awkward. Also, it’s Stephin motherfucking Merritt. You owe him a debt you can never fully repay for 69 Love Songs and you know it.

If you want to avoid the inevitable crush of people at the Hugo House Town Hall, maybe you should make your way down to the always-delightful Faire Coffee Shop and Gallery for the Louis Liard 20th issue release party. I have yet to read an issue of Louis Liard, the self-proclaimed Franco-American “International journal of creative expression,” but their MySpace page has some zippy French music on it for your morning enjoyment. They apparently always celebrate new releases of the magazine with dual launch parties in Seattle and Bordeaux, so they must know how to throw a party, and there will be live music and it will be free, so even if the magazine sucks, there is that.

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

Thanks to Chris McCann for the correction on the Merritt reading/performance. Sorry to everyone for the misinformation.


posted by on March 6 at 9:56 AM

This sentence from today’s NYT is classic.

They predicted that Mr. Obama would make up the delegates he lost on Tuesday with coming contests in Mississippi, with a heavily black electorate, and Wyoming, which has caucuses, a process that draws more committed voters, who have tended to support Mr. Obama.

That’s one way of describing a caucus (like maybe in an SNL parody).

Here’s another: … caucuses, a process that unfairly excludes working class voters, who have tended to support Mrs. Clinton, but can’t get off work.

You’ll remember that the Nevada caucus was set up so the bulk of Nevada’s service industry—workers on the Vegas strip—could caucus at the casinos where they worked. Nevada, it turns out, is the only caucus state (besides American Samoa) where Clinton won.

In the Nevada caucus, she was carried by Clark County (that’s where Las Vegas is) 54-44.

p.s. Obama actually got more delegates in the Nevada caucus, but Clinton got more votes in the caucus.

As The Clinton Campaign Turns

posted by on March 6 at 9:55 AM

This Washington Post reconstruction of the dysfunction and in-fighting in Clinton-land can’t be good for her “ready on day one” argument…

For the bruised and bitter staff around Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Tuesday’s death-defying victories in the Democratic presidential primaries in Ohio and Texas proved sweet indeed. They savored their wins yesterday, plotted their next steps and indulged in a moment of optimism. “She won’t be stopped,” one aide crowed.

And then Clinton’s advisers turned to their other goal: denying Mark Penn credit.

Juciest exchange:

Penn was growing increasingly aggravated by what he saw as an untenable management structure, which another aide described as an “oligarchy at the top.” Penn had no real people of his own on the inside and chafed whenever Solis Doyle or Ickes got involved in his sphere. At one point, he and Ickes, who have been battling each other within the Clinton orbit for a dozen years, lost their tempers during a conference call, according to two participants.

“[Expletive] you!” Ickes shouted.

“[Expletive] you!” Penn replied.

“[Expletive] you!” Ickes shouted again.

A must-read for Clintonologists.

As the Color Wheel Turns

posted by on March 6 at 9:30 AM

Green Screen #5 by Liz Deschenes, lamda fujiflex print

Peter Plagens’s new Newsweek piece on color in art is worth a read for its unabashed painter’s bias. (Plagens is a painter.) Unsurprisingly, he doesn’t really like the new “Color Chart” show at MoMA, which he describes as “dryly premised on a jokey objectification of the most subjective element in art.”

From the amazingly thorough exhibition web site, “Color Chart” does look pretty dry.

Still, Plagens’s question “what ever happened to color, anyway?” makes it sound like color has been abused and abandoned. Hogwash. What happened is that it got a different kind of workout—finally! imagine you’re color! something new to do!—for about two short decades, most heavily in the 1960s. The show, which covers works since 1950, has a conspicuous absence of any works at all between 1977 and 1987 (a time when the traditional, subjective use of color was in full return after the relatively brief modern hiatus prior to that and the relatively brief identity work to come in the 1990s). The article’s kicker, “Why has the color drained out of contemporary art?,” is just silly. (You probably can’t blame Plagens for that one—writers often don’t write their headlines.)

There’s plenty of color out there, being used in every which way, perhaps especially the old-fashioned eye-seducing way. Don’t believe me? You can’t walk through the new BCAM in Los Angeles without being chromatically concussed every few steps. Commercial galleries from Chelsea to Pioneer Square are full of splashy painting and video. (Maybe it’s as hard finding a home for black art as it is finding a home for black dogs?)

Here’s a perfect example of a new show by a New York-Richmond artist I call “an editorial colorist.” She uses color in ways both subjective and objective. The juicy painting survey “The Prom” at Lawrimore Project last month was almost entirely in the old mold. Color’s still here and still gloriously confusing and variable. It just has a history of new tricks now, too.

The New Math

posted by on March 6 at 9:30 AM

While the Obama campaign is busy hyping the math argument—that is, there’s no way Clinton can add up enough delegates to beat him in this race for the Democratic nomination—Real Clear Politics lays out a different math equation this morning.

It’s about the general election, and they make the case that the math favors Clinton when it comes time for the Democratic nominee to win back the White House.

I’m not so sure you can translate Democratic primary tallies into accurate predictions of how a contest between a Democrat and a Republican will go in the general, but here’s their calculus:

Add up all the states he has won in his historic drive to become the nominee, including all of those small and deeply “red” Republican states where the Obama supporters boast of their candidate’s transcendental appeal, and so far Obama has won in places representing 193 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Add up Clinton’s victories thus far and she has triumphed in states representing 263 electoral votes.

Of course, some states in Clinton’s column — Texas comes most readily to mind — that have a large trove of Electoral College votes are highly unlikely to wind up Democratic in the fall. But the same holds true for Obama, whose strength in southern Democratic primaries has rested on the huge margins he has run up among African-American voters. African-Americans are a crucial constituency for Democrats, but their votes in recent contests haven’t been enough to win such states as Alabama, South Carolina or Georgia.

So how has Obama fared in those states that are the crucial building blocks of a Democratic general election strategy? He’s won his home state of Illinois, plus Wisconsin, Washington and Minnesota. Together, these states account for 51 electoral votes. Clinton has won her home state of New York, as well as California, New Jersey and Michigan, representing a total of 118 electoral votes. This sum deliberately leaves out Ohio and Florida, which will be hotly contested in the fall.

There is a reason some states are called general election “battlegrounds.” It is because partisan identification is roughly even, or because certain groups in the electorate, such as Catholics, Hispanics or blue-collar whites, switch their allegiances — or split their votes.

Good Morning American Sexphobes

posted by on March 6 at 9:18 AM

A “Savage Love” reader writes…

ABC’s Good Morning America (GMA) had a ‘story’ on this morning (Mar 6th, 2008) regarding ‘pornographic’ material and sex toys being viewed by and sold to minors all across America. Apparently this means in specific malls where a company called Spencers ( has established stores. The GMA story brings the focus to North Carolina where apparently some parents are concerned that their precious little snowflakes will be exposed to the horrors of sexually explicit greeting cards, body oils, fantasy costumes, and 3-D pleasure devices.

Anyway, this ‘news’ story validating the puritanically mindset of a few parents really fucking pissed me off. The job of government is not to protect children from viewing, touching, or buying things which their parents find offensive. If these parents are so fucking concerned then they should spend every waking moment hovering over their children telling them what they can and can’t do when and where they can and can’t do it. Anyway, just thought you might like to hear about another bullshit ‘news’ story which highlights what is wrong with our country.

Anybody catch this report?

The Morning News

posted by on March 6 at 7:36 AM

The Saga Continues: Florida and Michigan discussing do-over primaries.

Slick Talk:
OPEC blames record oil prices on “mismanagement” of American economy.

Bright Idea: Is solar thermal power the next big thing?

Fun Facts of the Week: Government health report says Vermont has the most pot heads, Utah has the most crazy people.
Gah: Man chops off baby’s head in supermarket.

Privacy Schmivacy: FBI Chief admits rights violations, shrugs.

Union Headbusting:
AFL-CIO looking to take down McCain.

Health Scare of the Day: Don’t eat snow.

Boom: Exploding star’s gamma rays could burn up earth’s atmosphere, kill us all. I hope this happens instead:

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

American Idol—Nipples or No?

posted by on March 5 at 11:12 PM

Now that Project Runway is finally over, we turn our gaze to other television realities, and other screaming homosexuals. By which, of course, I mean American Idol, and this guy:


Every season it’s fucking something, and this season that fucking something’s name is David Hernandez. That’s him in the pic above.

David is a top (ahem) contestant this time around, and he’s also apparently a big gay ‘ho. Or a big ‘ho for the gays. Whatever.

The story goes that he found gainful employment as a rather nude stripper/topless bartender (with emphasis on the stripper) at a gay, gay, GAY! bar in the recent past, and everyone knows that this sort of frivolous behavior is deeply frowned upon by the prudes that run A.I.

So will Idol allow David to continue singing his little heart out, now that it’s been uncovered (ahem, ahem) that he’s all gay-for-pay and crap? And/or that he’s obviously none too shy about revealing his man-nipples? Or will he be unceremoniously dumped, like some unfortunate and booby-showing acquaintances of mine? And if he isn’t dumped, does that constitute a dreadful double standard?

Speculation is pointless. And I’m not watching the damn thing to find out.

Full story (and lots of nipply photographic evidence) here.

Oh, Sanjaya! Where are you?!?!


Nobody answer that.

Project Runway Season Finale Live Blog

posted by on March 5 at 9:55 PM

Here we go… one more hour of competition and then you all can have your Wednesday nights back. Dan Savage, Megan Seling, Eric Grandy, and I are tag-teaming the commentary from an undisclosed location (use whatever image your imagination likes best). Please chime in with comments; I’ll add the best of them to the conversation. Thanks for watching.

Is It Just Me…

posted by on March 5 at 9:11 PM



Ya know?

This Is a Photo from 1888

posted by on March 5 at 9:06 PM


On the right is Anne Sullivan. On the left is Helen Keller. Researchers just uncovered this photo—believed to be the earliest photo ever taken of the two. They found it in a pile of stuff belonging to a crazy old guy, who said in a statement, “It just seemed like something no one would find very interesting,” before being hospitalized.

Anyway, wanna hear my dad’s favorite Helen Keller joke? Okay: What’s Helen Keller’s favorite color?

[Answer after the jump.]

Continue reading "This Is a Photo from 1888" »

Greetings from America’s Wang

posted by on March 5 at 8:11 PM

Dear everyone: I’m spending the week with my folks in central Florida, which means I won’t be doing much slogging.

It also means—thanks to the miracle of time zones—that I know who wins this year’s Project Runway.

Is it fierce little Christian Siriano? Pretty Jillian Lewis? Rami “Statutory Drapist” Kashou?

No spoilers here, just the non-spoily fact that this year’s is the first finale to make me tear up.

Have fun! Wish you were here!

In Non-Obama-and/or-Hillary News!

posted by on March 5 at 5:52 PM

Although we’ve been obsessing about the ‘08 election here in the Stranger newsroom, we haven’t forgotten about what really matters: Local news!

Props to Erica C. Barnett and Jonah Spangenthal-Lee for staying focused on the important stuff.

Erica’s got the specifics on the plan that Sound Transit is now just a few board-member votes away from taking to the ballot… this November. She’s also got some bitchy quotes about the behind-the-scenes politics:

The only outliers among the King County delegation are reportedly King County Council Member Julia Patterson (who did not return a call for comment) and King County Executive Ron Sims, who has not been attending Sound Transit meetings. “He’s waiting for the perfect plan,” board member Larry Phillips says derisively. Sims did not return a call for comment.

Jonah outs Seattle’s corporate elite, including Microsoft, for cozying up to and funding the ultra-homophobic Boy Scouts of America:

The Stranger called a number of companies listed on the BSA’s “Scouting Breakfast” brochure as major contributors to the local BSA chapter—Microsoft, Alaska Airlines, Boeing, and the Perkins Coie law firm, the chief counsel for Democrat Barack Obama’s election campaign.

Boeing spokeswoman Sue Bradley says her company donates to BSA to support “programming and infrastructure,” and claims the programs they give to aren’t discriminatory. “We don’t get into any questions of policy,” she says. “We leave that to the Boy Scouts.”


In Other News features a sexy item and a boring item: Another weird firing at; and Jonah continues his coverage of the Seattle police guild vs. the mayor.

And finally, Erica—I think she’s with the terrorists—has a piece on the arson in Woodinville.

The Crazy Talk Express

posted by on March 5 at 5:05 PM

This TPM video is pretty goddamn damning. John McCain enthusiastically accepted the endorsement of televangelist John Hagee, an evangelical Christian “leader” who apparently never got the memo about how “people of faith” are all on the same side now. Evangelical Christians, conservative Jews, the right sort of Muslims—they’re all supposed to be united against our wicked secular culture, to say nothing of those hurricane-enticing homos, lesbian feminists, abortionists, yoga instructors, etc.

But Hagee still talks about Catholics the way—well, the way Protestants talked about Catholics for hundreds of years. Here’s the video…

When will John McCain reject and denounce John Hagee?

And isn’t gluttony a sin?

A Re-Do for Florida and Michigan?

posted by on March 5 at 4:25 PM

The chatter increases. If you think the campaign is endless now, wait until these two states start trying to re-schedule.

However. With all the swirling questions about whether Obama can win in big swing states, scheduling make-up votes in Florida and Michigan (votes that would actually count) does seem a logical way to resolve the lingering viability questions, give Florida and Michigan some seatable delegates, and perhaps end this contest once and for all.

Currently Leaning

posted by on March 5 at 4:08 PM


Untitled by Anonymous, looks like oil on wood, across the street from Barca, near the corner of Pike and 11th.


posted by on March 5 at 3:59 PM

Next time I’m on TV I’ll make sure to use one of these:

Mike Huckabee: Television Star

posted by on March 5 at 3:50 PM

Commence drinking now.

As Mr. Huckabee’s campaign plotted a concession speech on Tuesday, some analysts suggested that viewers would see the longshot Republican presidential candidate on television again very soon.

On the MSNBC program “Morning Joe,” the Republican strategist Mike Murphy predicted Mr. Huckabee would “suspend his campaign, hire excellent agents, and begin negotiations for a cable TV talk show, all within the next 10 days.”

“We’ve got a chair here he could fill,” the co-host Mika Brzezinski remarked.

The New York Times blog post that brings us this insanity goes on to mention numerous options for the affable Huckabee, including taking a kind of Pat-Buchanan-but-funner role on one of the cable news channels, or, uh, a recurring guest spot on VH1’s Best Week Ever.

The most promising, however, would seem to be an offer from ultra-religious Baldwin brother Stephen for Huckabee to take a role at the Christian Values Network. The only problem with this option is that, per the same blog post, it’s hard to ascertain whether the CVN is actually real:

“The Web site launches on Friday, so Mike, I’m going to be calling you soon,” Mr. Baldwin said, putting his thumb up for the camera.

Newish Dish

posted by on March 5 at 3:45 PM

Artdish, the art and garden and politics site run by the sharp-minded Jim Demetre, has changed its format.

I tell you this in case you’re not going there already, but I’m not sure about these changes. What seemed like the magazine-reviews section before is now the blog, and what seemed like the blog before but was called the “Forum” is still called the “Forum” but acts like a blog. I think.

Still, I’d tell you to read Demetre and company (including writers Victoria Josslin, Gary Faigin, and Igor Keller, along with some pretty great commenters) no matter how hard it is to figure out his format. It’s a place where they actually talk about art, back and forth. Imagine.

Conversation With a Book Thief

posted by on March 5 at 3:42 PM


I got a lot of responses to last week’s books lead, about shoplifters. The most interesting one, though, was from an actual book shoplifter. Here’s the (sic throughout) text:

Paul Constant, In your article “Flying off the Shelves” you demonized book thieves and talked about their “underground economy”. Well, I am a major book thief; only I confine myself to the big guys, Barnes and Noble, Boarders, and occasionally the UW Bookstore. I’ve never lifted anything from an independent shop. Also, I never steal for profit. Instead I am the type who steals books because I am poor and I like to read. Anyway, the point is, you did not give us “to poor to buy book thieves” a fair shake, and there are a significant group of us who simply steal for the pleasure of the read. It’s a hard job to do simply for pleasure and getting harder. Barnes and Noble does not even keep Bukowski on the shelf anymore, you have to ask the clerk to get it from the back before you run out the door with it. And yes, I’m fast, and have quite the collection but I don’t think that my actions are exactly wrong, not super great but certainly far from the Beelzebub’s work. After all, I’m not masturbating in the children’s section. [Name Withheld]

I responded with a question, something I’ve always wondered:

Why don’t you use the library?

The response was:


Good Question. Ever try to find Bukowski at the library? The wait list is not short for the most part. The other thing is I, and I’m assuming others, want to keep the books. I think that often times people steal to complete their personal collection. Lastly, I could not steal from the library; it would be wrong to steal from such a good institution. I look at them like a friend of the community, and you don’t steal from your friends.

It was signed, “Peace.”

Total Damage!

posted by on March 5 at 3:28 PM

Click for bigness.

Seattle Weekly’s Corporate Parent Fined $15.6 Million for Predatory Pricing

posted by on March 5 at 3:08 PM

Village Voice Media, the chain that owns Seattle Weekly, lost a decision in San Francisco court today. VVM’s San Francisco edition, The San Francisco Weekly, got dinged for $15.6 million in a predatory pricing suit filed by local independent weekly The Bay Guardian, according to the Association of Alternative News Weeklies.

Predatory pricing—selling ads below cost with the goal of putting your competition out of business—is typically something alt weeklies cover, not something they get caught and fined for.

The Republican Party Meets the New Boss

posted by on March 5 at 3:06 PM

John McCain gets an official coronation in the Rose Garden from the man whose campaign once accused him of being a deranged Manchurian Candidate with an unquenchable thirst for fathering black children:

McCain, joined by his wife, lunched with President Bush at the White House before taking questions from reporters in the Rose Garden.

Pressed if he would campaign for McCain, the unpopular incumbent said he would do whatever helps his party’s nominee.

“If my showing up and endorsing him helps him - or if I’m against him and it helps him - either way, I want him to win,” Bush said, adding “it’s not about me.”

McCain and his entourage then strode across the capitol to meet with the chairman and committee members of the Republican National Committee, to plot early strategy and take up his new position as de facto controller of the fortunes of his party.

Down Pennsylvania Avenue a few minutes later, McCain and his top campaign aides, all dressed in rarely-deployed suits, met with RNC chairman Mike Duncan and committee staffers.

“Today we turn to a new standard bearer,” said Duncan at a press conference afterward, standing next to McCain and just below a portrait of a smiling Ronald Reagan. “He’s a dedicated reformer and a dedicated conservative.”

Somewhere, Mitt Romney is very, very sad.

Really, MoDo?

posted by on March 5 at 3:05 PM

Maureen Dowd files another predictable anti-Hillary column in today’s NYT, arguing (unique angle!) that “some [unidentified] women” don’t support Hils because “They feel that women have moved past that men-are-pigs, woe-is-me, sisters-must-stick-together, pantsuits-are-powerful era” that Hillary represents. “They” (whoever they are!) call it “shoulder-pad feminism.”

Um, MoDo? I thought Hillary “isn’t a feminist.”

Currently Hanging

posted by on March 5 at 3:00 PM

Laura C. Wright’s Ticket to the Gun Show I (2008), 9 1/4 by 9 1/4 by 19 inches, iron and fur

At Grey Gallery and Lounge.

Slog Happy at Havana Next Week

posted by on March 5 at 2:47 PM


In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on March 5 at 2:40 PM

Neurosis Loves Akimbo: And so Akimbo’s new album will be released on Neurot Records. Sweet!

Fleet Foxes Tour Diary #2: The band gets hit by a meteor! Not really, but they see a fucking giant crater left by one.

Tonight in Music: Bisc1, DJs Terry Miller and TJ Gorton, Tilly & the Wall, and “Awesome.”

Stupid Coheed!: Jeff Kirby’s favorite metal band, Baroness, is finally coming to down, and they’re playing with fucking Coheed and Cambria. Ew.

Corporate Turd Bag: 50 Cent is getting in the ring.

Today’s Music News: Pavement to reunite? Bjork pisses off Suburbia? Can you trust MTV? Get all the answers here.

Which Rockstar Would Get Eaten First: Eddie Vedder, Ben Gibbard, Slats, Keith Richards, Glenn Danzig, 50 Cent, Jackie Hell… ??

In the Dark: Charlie Dark’s gots to feel the spirit.

Heyjowhayagowit…WTF?: The Hazards sing like they’re Hungarian, but they’re actually from Virgina.

Day by Day: Sasquatch announces how the line-up breaks down, day by day.

Riso Connection: TJ Gorton on Joe Isaac’s unique disco project.

As Cool as Mr. T: Whodini—rappers in leather.

Your Turn to Play Music Critic: Listen to toyesterday’s random MP3, Fort Hell.

And don’t forget… Tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow!


Bill May Have Been the First “Black” President. But Hillary Could be the First “Latino” President.

posted by on March 5 at 2:36 PM

While we’re on the cusp of electing the first black President or female President (or the 44th white guy President), it’s a safe bet that this racist country isn’t going to elect a Latino or Asian President, um, ever.

And that’s a whole different Slog post: A country that had African slaves and then Jim Crow laws is now poised, just 40 years after the turbulent civil rights movement, to elect an African American (?! …totally excellent!), but is nowhere near electing a Latino or Asian? … That’s some weird psychological shit there, worth someone smarter than me unpackaging.

But for now, let me address this idea that I’ve seen in the comment threads today, most recently in Dan’s post of the Obama vs. Clinton map.

The idea is this: The Democrats aren’t going to win the red states anyway, so whatever with Hillary’s win in Texas, where she stitched together a coalition of Latinos, working class voters, and women.

Hold on a minute, I say. Howard Dean’s 50-state-strategy was right, and Clinton’s mass appeal with Latinos offers a big opportunity to start reclaiming some ground for the Democrats.

Indeed, a parade of recent articles in the NYT, The NYT Magazine, and Rolling Stone have made it clear that Latino voters could start flipping states for the Democrats.

Rolling Stone, for example, reports:

“This issue [anti-immigrant rhetoric] is destroying the Republican Party of the West and Southwest — annihilating it wholesale,” says Richard Nadler, president of the archconservative think tank Americas Majority. A study of precinct-level data released by Nadler’s group projects that a full-scale backlash among Hispanic voters would drive formerly red Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Florida and Iowa into the blue column in November — and with them, the presidency.

Democrats, meanwhile, can hardly believe their luck. They predict that a swell of Hispanic support could even tip Arizona their way — and that the party’s chances grow stronger with every mile of border fence pledged by the Republicans. “We’ve seen this movie before,” says Simon Rosenberg, president of the Democratic think tank NDN. “It’s Pete Wilson. Here was a Republican governor of California in the 1990s who lashed out at immigrants and made a state that had produced Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan irrevocably blue, because of the huge demographic tide that went against the party.”

Indeed, the Latino vote has been a key ingredient of the GOP electoral strategy in recent years, and the Democrats could deliver a fatal blow by not only winning that vote back, but energizing them the way Clinton seems to.

In 2000, Karl Rove understood that the GOP could not remain a viable national party unless it improved its standing among Hispanics. Embarking on an unprecedented outreach project, he peeled off Latinos by appealing to them with a “values agenda” that focused on family and faith. In short order, Bush carved out a thirty-five percent share of the Latino vote — up from the pitiful twenty-one percent who had supported Bob Dole four years earlier.

In 2004, Bush built on that support, garnering forty percent of the Hispanic vote. “The Bush campaign certainly understood this strategic opening,” says Rosenberg. “The Kerry campaign didn’t — and it may have cost him the election.”

With Hillary Clinton on the ticket, “Maverick” John McCain will be forced to fight for a voting bloc that Rove had turned into a key piece of the GOP equation. Forced into that fight, McCain—who’s not above flip-flopping thanks to his GOP vs. Independent conundrum (hello waterboarding bill)—will have to alienate GOP regulars even more by fully embracing his path to citizenship position. This could deflate any chances McCain has of keeping it together.

This Is Starting to Get Weird

posted by on March 5 at 2:32 PM

Yet another gray room.

How to Do It

posted by on March 5 at 2:29 PM

Moe at Jezebel points to an actually satirical (and actually funny) op/ed the Washington Post ran way back in 1994, titled “Sex and I.Q. — An Apologia,” by Gene Weingarten.

It begins:

This thesis will reluctantly examine the painful though inescapable scientific fact that women are stupider than men.

The author wishes to emphasize at the outset that not all women are stupider than all men; indeed, some women are very smart, such as Marie Curie and Katharine Graham.

However, the unassailable evidence from all available aggregate data — as measured physiologically, taxonomically and through the application of empirical testing procedures involving highly scientific terminology such as “standard deviation” — is that women, in comparison to men, are imbeciles.

This conclusion should not be used to discriminate in any way against women, nor to make any assumptions whatsoever about the cognitive abilities of individual women, many of whom have made valuable contributions to society, such as Sandra Day O’Connor and Katharine Graham.

Before summarizing his findings, the author also wishes to acknowledge his indebtedness to Charles Murray and the late Richard J. Herrnstein, authors of the controversial, gigantically scientific new book arguing, with grave misgivings, that black people are genetically inferior to white people in intelligence. Drs. Murray and Herrnstein make this courageous assertion at the very real risk of being labeled dangerous, evil racists and making many millions of dollars.

And ends:

Next week: Why Presbyterians are idiots.

Patrick Swayze Is Dying, For Real This Time

posted by on March 5 at 2:19 PM

The National Enquirer’s earlier report has been confirmed.

In Which All the Good Ones Go Elsewhere

posted by on March 5 at 2:18 PM

Am I missing something or do all the best contemporary art speakers go somewhere else besides Seattle when they come to the Northwest?

I bring this up today because today, San Francisco artist Kota Ezawa (who made the cartoon version of the OJ Simpson trial that showed at Seattle Art Museum a few years ago) is speaking in Spokane. It’s part of Eastern Washington University’s 2007-2008 Visiting Artist Lecture Series, Real, Surreal and Cartoons, focusing on artists whose work “is variously populist, anti-establishment, and plain fun.”

When’s the last time the University of Washington art department brought in an artist that drew a crowd? Not the Henry, mind you, but the art department?

Portland is the real heavy-hitter, though. French Philosopher Jacques Ranciere, Chicago artist Nick Cave (he’s responsible for the Soundsuits in SAM’s African galleries), artist Emily Prince (known for her project recording every death of American soldiers in Iraq, seen at this summer’s Venice Biennale), and Turner Prize-winning artist Richard Deacon all have spoken in Portland in the last month.

Can the budgets for speakers get a little more love around here? The art’s out there in the middle of crickets.

Will Arnett/Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen/Matthew McConaughey SEX TAPE!!!

posted by on March 5 at 2:04 PM

Councilmember Burgess Asks OPARB Member to Re-Interview for Job

posted by on March 5 at 2:04 PM

City Councilmember Tim Burgess has put out a call for applicants to the Council’s Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB)—the Council’s police accountability oversight group—and has asked current OPARB member Sheley Secrest to re-interview for her position.

Secrest says Burgess called her three weeks ago to inform her she’d have to reapply. “He told me I have 50/50 chance,” she says.

This is the first time a board member has been asked to reapply for their job. Previously, Review Board members had been allowed to serve three consecutive two-year terms on the board without re-interviewing.

If Secrest kept her job, she would be the only member of the current Review Board to carry over to the new OPARB. Review Board Chair Peter Holmes’ third and final term ends in April, and Brad Moericke is stepping down to focus on his work as an attorney. Secrest’s current term is up, but she’s eligible to serve at least two more years on the board.

The Mayor’s Police Accountability panel has recommended OPARB’s board be expanded but to do that, the City would have to negotiate a deal with the Police Guild.

A lack of consistency could hurt OPARB, who’s already been handicapped by a suit by the Police Guild, which barred the board from accessing unredacted internal investigation files.

There are two two-year terms, and one one-year term open on the Review Board. OPARB holds two monthly meetings and members receive a monthly $400 stipend.

Applications are being received through March 28, 2008 at 5 p.m.

Applications should include a resume and cover letter which explains how the individual meets the required qualifications and why they want to serve on the review board. Applicants should include three references and their contact information. Applications are due March 28, 2008, by 5:00 p.m. Applications may be mailed to Councilmember Tim Burgess, Chair, Public Safety, Human Services, and Education Committee, Seattle City Council, P. O. Box 34025, Seattle, WA 98124-4025; e-mailed to; or faxed to 206-684-8587. If faxing, please note on a cover sheet that the materials are to be delivered to Councilmember Burgess.

Six Shooter? Ron K.? Packratt? Now’s your chance.

The Future of 23rd and Union

posted by on March 5 at 2:00 PM

This could be a pivotal evening for the intersection of 23rd Ave and E Union St. At Seattle Central Community College, a design-review board will consider the merits of a six-story development proposed at the site of the long-gone Coleman Building.


A few years ago, the brick retail front and neighborhood anchor was demolished due to irreparable damage from the Niqually earthquake. The lot has stood vacant since, fenced and overgrown. In recent months, the pharmacy closed on the adjacent corner, and a fatal shooting on the kitty corner has left Philly Cheese Steak with shut doors and a pointed memorial.


It is urban decay in an otherwise-vibrant neighborhood. A former historic-preservation architect named Jim Mueller bought the Coleman Building parcel in 2006, and he plans to redevelop the site (no word on the future of Philly’s). JC Mueller, LLC has proposed a 65’, 91-unit apartment building with two retail spaces at the ground floor.


Mithun Architects

It looks like a good design—unlike the reprehensible housing slab at 23rd and Madison—the varying shapes of the building and approachable ground floor promote the sort of pedestrian activity that the corner desperately needs. And the upper floors provide the rental units that the housing market demands. “I believe when we’re done, the intersection won’t be sketchy,” says Mueller. “My job is to make change with as much sensitivity as possible to people already in the community.” If it comes to be, and the units are rented at reasonable rates, the development would bring hundreds of eyes to the street from the types of community members who love the Central District, help direct money to nearby businesses, and give the neighborhood hub another chance.

But there’s one catch.

Zoning on this corner only allows construction up to 40’, and some neighbors at the design-guidance meeting last summer voiced opposition to building any taller. One commenter is reported saying, “A six story building on this site is disproportionate to the neighborhood, especially the single family development.”

Mueller says, “I don’t know how I would do this at 40 feet.” In order to make back the costs of development, he says, the building requires two additional stories. That calls for the city council to rezone the land. “It’s pretty much a deal breaker.”

Mueller says members of the neighborhood, ultimately, are the ones who can convince the design-review board to recommend an upzone to the council. If that doesn’t happen, Mueller thinks he will sell the land. “In the city you will find many areas, blocks, and commercial intersections that never look healthy. There are many reasons,” he says, “one is that it’s not economical to put another use on the property the way it’s zoned.”

The design-review meeting is at 8 p.m. tonight at Seattle Central Community College, room 3211.

The Bright Side

posted by on March 5 at 1:59 PM

Back when I worked at The News Tribune in Tacoma, Street of Dreams would contact me every year in a bid to get me to write about the art in the houses.

Which reminds me—look at the bright side of yesterday’s Street of Dreams burnings: Art like this was burned to the ground!



Charlotte Allen Proves Her Point, Kind Of

posted by on March 5 at 1:47 PM

Charlotte Allen—the anti-feminist writer who penned a piece for the Washington Post titled “We Scream, We Swoon, How Dumb Can We Get?” arguing that women are “dim”—did a live chat with WaPo readers earlier this afternoon. Although most of the questions were on point, not insulting—e.g., “If men are better drivers, why do insurance companies charge them more?”—Allen’s answers were disappointingly dodgy (and, as if to prove her point, kind of dumb). Asked why women’s self-indulgent pastimes (Grey’s Anatomy, “Eat, Love, Pray”) are evidence that they’re stupid while men’s equally mindless pastimes (James Bond, porn) demonstrate nothing, she responded, “I agree that many men do many dumb things, and many men have dumb tastes.” She also continued to defend her relentlessly unfunny op/ed as “humor,” asking defensively, “Why can’t a woman make fun of women?” And she revealed that: She doesn’t know when women get the vote; she reveres the “macho men” fighting in Iraq; and she doesn’t believe it’s possible that women who fainted at Obama rallies could been suffering heat exhaustion.

Re: The Politics of Color-Balancing

posted by on March 5 at 1:42 PM

Yesterday it was all about Obama’s apparently-adjusted skin color in a Clinton attack ad. Today it’s also about alleged nose-widening in the same ad.

My two cents: This isn’t nice stuff to see, but in the end it all rests on a somewhat subtle visual distortion. Even though it recalls this…


…it’s not quite as bad (and as blatant) as all that. And, more importantly, it’s nothing compared to what Republican ad-makers will surely do to Obama if he’s the nominee.

Dildos in Texas

posted by on March 5 at 12:56 PM

The state Attorney General in Texas, Mr. Greg Abbott, is appealing the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal’s pre-Valentine’s Day decision to toss out his state’s ban on sex toys, vibrators, and dildos. Allowing Texans to own dildos, the state believes, will lead to Texans fucking members of their immediate families—and then marrying all their relatives too. Only a ban on dildos, it seems, stands between Texas and total incestuous, bigamous anarchy.

Project Runway Finale Tonight at 10 pm

posted by on March 5 at 12:55 PM

Tonight we’ll watch the remaining designers shine in their own spotlights on the runway at Bryant Park.
badrunway3.jpgGod knows they deserve to show real work after laboring through a dozen absurd challenges this season (clothes from candy wrappers, dressing female wrestlers and prom-bound brats, reworking Spandex and denim…).

Last week Rami’s sophisticated constructions (nary a drape in sight) beat out Chris March’s human-hair-embellished (gorgeous) dresses. Rami joins Jillian and Christian in the final walkoff tonight.

Don’t be fooled by the pomp though—Bryant Park isn’t a total return to respectableness: Victoria Beckham shows up as a guest judge. Posh will adore fan-favorite Christian to death, I’m sure. (Anyone else relieved for this season to end?)

If you need to catch up, Bravo is running a Season 4 marathon all day today. Then come back at 10 pm when Eric Grandy, Dan Savage, Megan Seling, and I will host one last PR live blog. See you on your couch.

A Nation Divided

posted by on March 5 at 12:40 PM

Yahoo tossed up this map

Hm. Discuss.

Thanks to Slog tipper Will.

Hillary Backs McCain…

posted by on March 5 at 12:34 PM

…over Obama.

Says John at Americablog

Why the hell is she saying that the Republican candidate is more qualified to be president than our own presumptive nominee? And what the hell does our party plan to do on stopping this train wreck? She can’t win, it’s over, she doesn’t have the delegates and can’t get the delegates. She’s hoping she can destroy Obama and step in after he’s toast. And if she’s wrong, she’ll simply leave Obama destroyed for the general election campaign against McCain, the guy she has now said four times is more qualified to be president than our presumptive nominee.

Wait, Obama’s the presumptive nominee? After last night? Well, yeah:

Barack Obama regained lost ground in the fierce competition for Democratic convention delegates on Wednesday based on results from the Texas caucuses, partially negating the impact of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s string of comeback primary victories. Late returns showed Clinton emerged from Rhode Island, Vermont, Texas and Ohio with a gain of 12 delegates on her rival for the night, with another dozen yet to be awarded in The Associated Press’ count.

That left Obama with an overall lead of 101 delegates, 1,562-1,461 as the rivals look ahead to the final dozen contests on the calendar. It takes 2,025 to win the nomination.

Currently Hanging

posted by on March 5 at 12:30 PM

A detail of Francisco Guerrero’s unfinished T.G. (2008), enamel on panel, 17 by 47 inches

At Seattle University’s Kinsey Gallery, in Campus Cuties.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on March 5 at 12:28 PM


by sea kay

Dept. of It’s About Time

posted by on March 5 at 12:25 PM

A gentleman named Memo Garcia emails that he’s just opened a 24-hour Mexican restaurant on the Ave called Memo’s.


Memo says, “It’s pretty unbelievable how stoked our customers have been. Especially students who come from other states. They say they have been looking for this sort of food all over Seattle. I even had a customer yell of happiness when he tasted our food…. our busiest time of the day is Friday and Saturday after the bars close. Now Seattle will have a place to eat delicious food 24/7. Our price range is 95 cents to $6.99.” His family owns Mexican restaurants in California and Oregon.

At the moment, two-thirds of Stranger reader-reviewers like Memo’s in the yelling-of-happiness way (“Bomb diggety”!). On behalf of our fair city and, in particular, the good beer-drinking students of the University of Washington: Thank you, Memo. Memo’s is at 4743 University Way NE, 729-5071.

In other 24-hour dining news: The 13 Coins has upgraded the decor and downgraded worker healthcare benefits. Workers from the 13 Coins leafleted Sonics fans at Key Arena last Friday; former coach Lenny Wilkens is an investor in the restaurant. He also runs the Lenny Wilkens Foundation, which “funds organizations that provide basic healthcare and education with dignity to culturally diverse communities in the Northwest” (and is associated with the truly wonderful Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic). Stranger reader-reviewers haven’t flocked to the 13 Coins because of the remodel; the consensus is that the food’s mediocre and overpriced.

Call to Action

posted by on March 5 at 12:14 PM

The email below is just in from Annex Theatre artistic director Bret Fetzer.

The issue is pretty simple—there’s a lodging tax that basically funds 4Culture, due to expire in 2012. A bill currently in the state legislature, waiting to get on the House floor for a vote, would extend the tax.

The tax is important—it is the primary source of funding for 4Culture and is listed on the donor wall of the Seattle Rep, up there with Eve Alvord and the Benaroyas, as if “hotel/motel tax” were a generous person.

And, well, take it away Bret:

SB 6638 has passed through the Senate; it’s made it through a committee in the House; now it needs to get on to the floor of the House for a vote, and there’s STILL resistance. The only way to overcome that resistance is by speaking up.

You don’t need to say much. You don’t need to be eloquent. What will matter is numbers. We need to make it clear that there are a lot of voters in King County who care about this issue. All you have to say is “Support SB 6638. Support funding for the arts.” Anything you want to say about yourself is valuable, but not as valuable as that simple statement: “Support SB 6638.”

If you’ve written e-mails or made phone calls before, please do it again. Don’t come this far, then let this falter on the brink of success. Voice your support for SB 6638 and make it happen.

Write to Speaker of the House Frank Chopp:

Write to your legislators. To find out who they are and how to reach them, go to, where there will be links and information that will help you.

Thank you, Bret


posted by on March 5 at 12:09 PM


Fabrizio Troccol, a Perugian photographer, to me:

I met Amanda Knox. I used to own a gallery near the Piazza San Francesco. Paintings, pictures, that kind of thing. And she came to the gallery with a friend. Yes, I remember her because we talked about Seattle. She said she didn’t like it. Seattle did not have a center. Just a lot of houses that all looked the same. But no center to this place. Perugia is better, she said. It had a center and looked better. We talked about this for 30 minutes. She is an attractive woman. Don’t you think?

Amanda Knox might be on to something. Seattle does not have a real center. It has neighborhoods, a downtown, club districts, but nothing that is clearly the center in the way that Piazza Novembre is the center of Perugia, Italy. The closet thing we have to a center is the Central Library, but a center should be open and not enclosed.

Note: At three today I will be on Northwest Afternoon talking about this Amanda Knox.

Bad News for Gregoire

posted by on March 5 at 12:00 PM

Dino pulls ahead… but in a statistically insignificant kinda way.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Washington voters found Governor Christine Gregoire locked in a tight re-election campaign with Republican Dino Rossi. Four years ago, the 2004 election between the same two candidates was one of the closest elections in the state’s history.

Now, looking ahead to the fall of 2008, Rossi leads Gregoire 47% to 46%, a statistically insignificant difference. The two candidates are tied at 44% among unaffiliated voters.

I realize, of course, that a Gov. Rossi would veto the expanded domestic partnership package that Jamie Pederson and Ed Murray got through the state house and senate. But considering our dithering, largely useless Dem “super majority” in Olympia—why can’t we rein in payday loans? why can’t we ban (or tax) plastic shopping bags? why aren’t we doing something about the viaduct?—I’m finding it hard to get exercised about the possibility of Dems losing control of the governor’s mansion in Oly.

Via TPM.

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on March 5 at 12:00 PM

This video is called Edward Acki Naprawde Potrzebuje Zony !!! I wish I knew what it meant.

Or maybe I don’t. Now get back to work!

Gay Marriage News

posted by on March 5 at 11:52 AM

Proposed gay marriage ban dies in Iowa.

Oregon bigots make second attempt to repeal state’s civil unions law.

The California Supreme Court hears arguments about gay marriage, and observers detect an almost evenly divided court.

British MP—a Tory (that’s a Republican, basically, over there)—announces plan to enter into “civil partnership,” a.k.a. get all gay married, with his male partner.

And, of course, Washington state approves law that expands domestic partnership rights, which Gov. Gregoire has pledged to sign.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 5 at 11:00 AM


Choklate at Jazz Alley

What does it mean for Seattle’s most important, most traditional, and most international jazz establishment to invite Choklate, a local and emerging neosoul singer, to perform for two nights? It means something big is happening. It means Choklate’s world is expanding beyond the limits of neosoul and hiphop, into the immaculate realm of America’s classical music. For this show, Choklate will perform with three members of Industrial Revelation. (Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave, 441-9729. 7:30 pm, $20.50, all ages, also Tues March 4.)


Your Favorite Band’s Poster Design (circa 1992)…

posted by on March 5 at 10:45 AM

…and Pat Robertson’s theology (circa 1662).


Mars Hill—Mark Discroll’s gay hatin’, woman-dominatin’, rock-n-rollin’ church—is opening a new franchise this month. The poster promoting Mars Hill’s first services at their “downtown campus,” the site of a former a nightclub, are popping up around town. I spotted this one in the window of Super Genius Tattoo… right next door to the Wildrose, Seattle’s only lesbian bar.

Do the folks at Super Genius know what Mars Hill is about? Do they care?

Currently Hanging

posted by on March 5 at 10:30 AM

Kader Attia’s Ghost (2007), aluminum foil

At Henry Art Gallery.

What’s A Bunga?

posted by on March 5 at 10:28 AM

Via ABC News comes word of Abunga, a Christian counterpart to Amazon dot com, because “The largest online book and media marketplaces today are also among the largest sellers of pornography and illicit materials in the world.”

With the dual slogans: Empowering Decency and Your Family Bookstore, Abunga sells books, but it also bans books deemed offensive by popular customer vote:

* Internal Filter – We remove broad classifications of illicit materials by the information classifications set by the publisher. Currently, over 65,000 books are eliminated from our available inventory to protect your family.

* Individual Customer Block - On any search, any Abunga customer member can click the block button and that particular book will never show up as an offering on their account.

* Community Block – Abunga records your blocks and if a number of customers block the same product, Abunga will remove it from their offering.

Removed books currently include The Golden Compass. Dan’s book Skipping Toward Gomorrah is still (currently) available, though.

If that wasn’t enough, 5% of all book purchases go toward the Faith Action group of the purchasers’ choice.

The first thing that people want to cry in this case is ‘censorship,’ which is, of course, idiotic. It’s not censorship to ban a book from a private business. But it is bad business. I think that, if Abunga takes off with the Christian fundies, it’ll become a purified Christian bookstore where people take, Wikipedia-editor-like, to the virtual shelves to extinguish all sin. But enough Christians read trashy fiction—Tom Clancy, John Grisham even (gasp!) Stephen King—that once those books are banned for not being pious enough, they’ll stop shopping there. It’s a self-defeating business plan.

But I am totally sick of hearing about how the American Family needs protection, like it’s some fragile orchid that needs delicate handling. People, as always, are fucking like horny minks, and there’s no sign of that stopping anytime soon. Can we motherfucking relax about the fate of the American Family, please? The children are going to grow up, same as always, and some of them are going to be messed up but most of them are going to be okay and the American Family, Gawblessit, will persevere. Amen.

On the Radio

posted by on March 5 at 10:20 AM

I’ll be on KUOW’s The Conversation this afternoon, starting at 1 p.m., to talk about the results in Ohio and Texas, and to help parse all the exit poll data.

That’s 94.9 in the FM.

Want to pre-spin me? Drop what you think are the most interesting exit poll data points into this comment thread and maybe I’ll mention your prized piece of exit poll proof on the show.

Where’s the Outrage?!?!

posted by on March 5 at 10:06 AM

The secular Jews that control Hollywood and hate Christianity are at it again, Mr. Donohue!


Bill! Release the hounds! I mean, the release the press releases!

Reading Tonight

posted by on March 5 at 10:01 AM


It’s a pretty diverse night in the Seattle readings world.

First, it’s the Poetry Slam at ToST. For reals, this time. It’s on Wednesdays now, not Tuesdays, like I said last week. Apparently, it’s been on Wednesdays for months and our calendar never represented that. I apologize to the Slam people, to ToST, and to you, the innocent Slog reader. To convey my apology to the world, I will embed a commercial for the Poetry Slam, from their website, at the end of this post.

Next, at the Central Branch of the SPL, there will be a discussion named “What’s Up With Autism?” I wish these discussions about important and serious ailments didn’t have such silly names. It sounds like a Sesame Street sketch, like adults trying to be “hizzip widda kids” or some such. And at Town Hall, John Gottman reads from Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child. I bet there’ll be some really bratty kids in the audience.

The Main Event tonight is Richard Powers, reading at Benaroya Hall as part of Seattle Arts and Lectures’ current season. I write about Powers’ last novel in this week’s Constant Reader. A sample:

Richard Powers’s most recent novel, The Echo Maker, is all about brains and brain damage, and so it’s about perceptions and self-deception, and so in many ways, it’s also about the act of reading. Mark Schluter, The Echo Maker’s main character, suffers from Capgras syndrome, a rare condition caused by brain damage: Once he emerges from a coma, he believes against all evidence to the contrary that his sister, his friends, and even his dog have been replaced by clever duplicates sent as agents of a weird conspiracy. He thinks his home has been replaced by an exact replica and moved several inches to the side.

If you’re not willing to spend the big bucks to see Powers read—although you should also know that he’s reading a brand-new story commissioned for the event tonight about iPods and music before you decide not to go—David Shields is reading up at Third Place Books, and that’s free. I have tons of issues with Shields’ earlier books, but Charles Mudede had many nice things to say about his new one last week in the books section. The first sentence:

Though written in language that feels entirely liberated from the tradition of letters, from the tone of authority, from the heaviness of history—a language that sparkles not like special stones in the depths but purely on the surface of things—though the writing feels and flows with an energy that is new, sensitive to the thin film of the present, David Shields’s latest book, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead, sings a very old song.

Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, here. And now, a message from Seattle Poetry Slam:

Moses High on Holy Shit?

posted by on March 5 at 9:59 AM

The Israelites might have been tripping, too, says this professor.

Writing in the British journal Time and Mind, Benny Shanon of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University said two plants in the Sinai desert contain the same psychoactive molecules as those found in plants from which the powerful Amazonian hallucinogenic brew ayahuasca is prepared.

The thunder, lightning and blaring of a trumpet which the Book of Exodus says emanated from Mount Sinai could just have been the imaginings of a people in an “altered state of awareness,” Shanon hypothesized.

Shanon wrote that he was very familiar with the affects of the ayahuasca plant, having “partaken of the … brew about 160 times in various locales and contexts.”

Could it be that drug-induced states of delirium also explain visions of the burning bush, Jesus moving that rock, Moses parting the Red Sea, miracles for the Huckabee campaign…?

Patrick Swayze Might Be Dying

posted by on March 5 at 9:51 AM

Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that this is might be sad news.

Swayze, 55, has been sick with the disease since he was diagnosed in late January with pancreatic cancer. The cancer has since spread to other organs and now the actor/dancer is dying.


Update: Transworld got this from the National Enquirer, so who knows if it’s true. Sorry.

The Lunch Pail Crowd?

posted by on March 5 at 9:34 AM

Is that a polite way of talking about these Ohio Democrats?


Translation: Clinton won big in Ohio among the 20 percent of Democrats who told exit pollsters that race was an important factor in their decision. That has led to lots of talk today about how white Democrats in Ohio were considerably less ready than their Democratic counterparts elsewhere to vote for a black candidate, and what that might mean for Pennsylvania.

Houston, We’ve Got a Problem

posted by on March 5 at 9:22 AM

Obama fans were biting their fingernails last night, waiting for the vote in Houston to pour in and help Obama regain the lead after Clinton pulled ahead at the 20 percent reporting mark in Texas.

It never happened.

Certainly, Obama cleaned up in Houston (56-43). He wins the urban combo of white liberal progressive yuppies, young voters, and black voters.

And so did … John Kerry.

As the lopsided Texas and Ohio maps showed last night, Clinton has a lock on the voters Democrats have been desperate to get for years: The Reagan Democrats, the lunch pail crowd.

To be fair, Obama has scored wins among this crowd too, particularly in Wisconsin (pop. 5.5 million), but not on the big-state scale that Clinton showed she can do it in Ohio (pop. 11.4 million). She’s also shown that she can do it against a Republican, as she has done in upstate New York, twice.

The Stranger famously argued in 2004 that Democrats represent the Urban Archipelago. But that was more of an uplifting pep talk, than a practical political remedy. Democrats are not going to win the Presidency any time soon if they circle the wagons and keep losing the suburban and rural contests. (Indeed, part of Obama’s appeal has been his ability to reach out.)

And Obama has shown that he can win those voters. However, in a battleground state like Ohio, it is a necessity.

The fact that Clinton won Ohio by double digits is a disconcerting asterisk and makes me nervous about the pending Obama nomination.


posted by on March 5 at 9:15 AM

Clinton this morning

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton hinted at the possibility of a Democratic “dream ticket” with Sen. Barack Obama.

Speaking on “The Early Show” on CBS, Clinton said “that may be where this is headed, but of course we have to decide who is on the top of the ticket.”

Speaking as a former agnostic—“for either or both,” as I’ve said since Edwards dropped out—but recent arrival in the Obama camp, I not only support the idea of a Hillary and Barack on the same ticket… I also think that Obama should take the VP slot.

He’s created a stirring grassroots movement, small donors love throwing money at him, and he demonstrated superior judgment with his early opposition to the Iraq war. Maybe he can be on conference call with Hillary when she answers—after six long rings—one of those 3 AM “something’s happening in the world” phone calls. A combined ticket—with her political chops (hard not to admire her cutthroat campaigning), his charisma (the man gives good stump), her experience (oversold), his transformative presence (overblown)—would, if its rolled out right, bring Dems together, healing wounds that seem to get a bit bloodier with each passing primary/caucus night. (Hey there, ECB!)

Why Obama for VP instead of P? Well, he is younger, and could run in 2016. She couldn’t. And it’s clear that Clinton’s attacks on Obama’s experience and, perversely, his judgment are making headway with voters. I’ve always said that I want a Democrat in the White House next January more than I want any particular Dem in the White House. And if voters in big states like California and Ohio and Texas feel that Obama isn’t ready, and Clinton is, then we should go with her at the top of the ticket. But Obama—still leading in delegates, btw—can’t be tossed aside. He didn’t lose, she didn’t win. They fought each other to a draw. They’ve both earned the right to run, and they both belong on the ticket.

Which is too bad—I was looking forward to Obama, if he got the nomination, naming Sen. Jim Webb (D-Virginia) as his running mate. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a Marine, and a decorated Vietnam War combat veteran, Webb on the ticket would go a long way toward neutralizing many of McCain’s advantages. Oh well.

Thanks to Hils, WA Demoted to “Likely Democrat”

posted by on March 5 at 9:10 AM

Here’s why there’s no freaking way Washington’s undeclared supers are going to go for Hillary in the end. A new Rasmussen poll of 500 likely Washington voters has the following unhappy news:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely Washington state voters finds John McCain and Barack Obama essentially tied in a general election match-up. McCain leads Obama 45% to 44%.

McCain tops Hillary Clinton 48% to 40% in the Evergreen State.


With the release of this poll, Washington will shift from Safe Democrat to Likely Democrat in the Rasmussen Reports Balance of Power Calculator. The calculator factors in poll results, results from Rasmussen Markets, voting history, and other factors to determine a state’s rating.

The margin of error is 4.5 percentage points.

I don’t have access to all the crosstabs, but it’s pretty clear that Obama’s relative strength is coming from his appeal across genders, while HRC is boxing herself in with women: “In Washington, Obama leads McCain among female voters 46% to 41% but trails him 50% to 42% among men. McCain holds a nineteen-point lead over Clinton among men, but the two are essentially even among women.”

It’s becoming increasingly clear—and you can bet the superdelegates are paying attention. We can’t afford to nominate HRC with John McCain on the other side.

Please, Make it Stop

posted by on March 5 at 9:10 AM

I don’t really feel that way about the Democratic nomination fight. It’s a big, messy, amazing drama that’s fun (even if exhausting) to write about. But Democratic leaders with their eyes on the big prize—the White House and Congress—are starting to really want some closure. And soon.

Thanks, Telecoms!

posted by on March 5 at 8:42 AM

Warning: Watching this video on an empty stomach this morning made me feel really queasy. Might want to eat a piece of bread or something first.

You got that? The telecom companies are being sued “because they are believed to have helped America.” Well, that’s just crazy! They “may have helped save American lives!

It’s not particularly relevant that they indisputably broke the law, because they were asked to break the law by The Leader. Since He asked them to break the law, and he is The Law, the law they broke was not really The Law in the first place, anyway, QED.

I’m going to be sick. If you vote for politicians who don’t often and loudly decry this man and his insane, terrifying rule, you are, in my judgment, a very, very bad person.


via Think Progress

Mock the Caucus

posted by on March 5 at 7:42 AM

Obama fans who are pointing out that Obama still leads in delegates and that Clinton didn’t exactly win Texas because Obama won the Texas caucus, may be establishing a double whammy argument against Obama’s case that, when the time comes, the superdelegates oughta join his camp.

Real Clear Politics’ super wonk, Jay Cost, concludes his Ohio and Texas wrap up with this warning to the Obama campaign:

The early indication is that the Obama campaign is proclaiming they won the Texas caucus by double digits. Indeed, they did. But they need to be careful not to proclaim this too loudly. How does it look that Clinton won a majority of the more than 2.5 million Texans who voted in the primary, but Obama won the caucus that saw less than 100,000 people participate? That might be a feather in the Clinton’s cap—the “smoking gun” that the caucuses are not a good gauge of voter preferences. Obama needs to talk up his pledged delegate lead, and talk down how it is dependent upon his performances in the caucuses.

Of Obama’s 29 wins, 13 have been caucus contests: Iowa, Nevada (despite losing the overall caucus vote in Nevada, he won more delegates there), Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Washington, Maine, Hawaii, and Texas.

This accounts for about 20%, or 262 of his 1340 pledged delegates. He’s only beating Clinton by 134 pledged delegates. She has 1206.

Clinton has won 1 caucus, American Samoa.

Obama has won 16 primaries. Clinton has won 13 primaries (not counting Florida and Michigan.) And with the exception of Illinois and Virginia, she’s won the big primaries: California, New Jersey, New York, and now Ohio and Texas.

The Morning News

posted by on March 5 at 7:12 AM

Welcome to Earth: Clinton wins Ohio, Texas primaries. McCain locks up GOP nomination.

Good News, Bad News: Gay couples in Washington getting closer to having the same rights as the straights. Meanwhile, California’s Supreme Court splits over gay marriage.

Reaching Out: Seattle Police looking for serial groper.

Stupid, Stupid Dust Bowl:
Oklahoma City aggressively plotting to steal our basketball team.

The Game is Afoot:
Severed feet mysteriously washing ashore on Canadian beaches.

Researchers Discover What Slog Already Knows:
People are assholes on the internet.

UN Discovers What Drug Addled Stranger Staffers Already Know: The war on drugs isn’t working. Which is why Chicago wants to ban baggies.

A Higher Power: Jewish professor says Moses and Co. were high as fuck.

Find the Robot of Your DreamsJust click here.

And now, Wilford Brimley tells it like it is:

How Was It? Super Tuesday II

posted by on March 5 at 6:30 AM

Guest interviewer David Meinert talks to people at The Spitfire Grill…

Does a fight break out between a female Hillary supporter and some male Obama fans? I think it does.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Re: Clinton Takes Texas, Ohio Primaries

posted by on March 4 at 10:38 PM

Spin THAT.

(Footnote 1: Yes, I’m gloating. It’s gratifying to see Hils whallop Obama in Ohio and win handily in the Texas primary, just days after gloating Obama fans were saying she should just drop quietly out of the race.)

(Footnote 2: According to a recent Pew poll, a quarter of Hillary’s supporters would jump ship and support McCain in November—compared to just ten percent of Obama’s.)

Clinton Takes Texas, Ohio Primaries

posted by on March 4 at 9:57 PM


Says CNN.

Obama Speaks: “The Eyes of the World Are Watching to See if We Can”

posted by on March 4 at 9:05 PM

I know I’m going to get flamed in the comments for not quoting from Obama’s speech tonight as liberally as I quoted from Clinton’s. But it was very similar to his stump speech, which I’ve already written a lot about.

New and notable additions:

• Obama, like Clinton before him, evoked the idea of the 3 a.m. call. He said it’s important that the person answering have good judgment and the wisdom to know when to send American troops into harm’s way—and when he or she does that, to send them to “fight on the right battlefield.”

• And there was a new focus on the idea that “the world is watching.” I see this as a ratcheting-up of pressure on voters to help him close the deal, and a linking of the urgency of finishing up the Democratic contest with the sense of urgency among Democrats in restoring America’s international reputation.

But at the end of the speech, Obama still has only one win (Vermont) to Clinton’s two wins (Ohio and Rhode Island). And Texas is still too close to call with Clinton holding a slim lead in the primary.

Obama will very likely come out of tonight still ahead in the delegate count. But the mantra on TV right now is “You can’t win by losing.” Meaning: Obama needs both wins and delegates to finish this up. Meaning: Showdown in Pennsylvania.

Hillary Speaks: “Yes We Will”

posted by on March 4 at 8:38 PM

A great, exuberant speech by Clinton in Ohio just now. Did she just fire her old speech writers and install new ones? Or did she just finally hit on the right formula for tweaking Obama’s rhetoric to her own ends?

Some quotable moments:

For everyone in Ohio and across America who has been counted out but refused to be knocked out, and for everyone who has stumbled but stood right back up, and for everyone who works hard and never gives up, this one is for you.

You know what they say: As Ohio goes, so goes the nation. Well, this nation’s coming back and so is this campaign… The people of Ohio have said it loud and clearly: We’re going on, we’re going strong, and we’re going all the way…

She noted that no recent Democratic candidate has won the White House without winning Ohio, and shortly after she said this the crowd began to chant a rejoinder to Obama’s “Yes we can” mantra:

Yes she will! Yes she will! Yes she will!

Clinton continued:

Ohio has written a new chapter in the history of this campaign, and we’re just getting started. More and more people are joining this campaign, and millions of Americans haven’t voted yet…

Sounds like she’s going all the way to Pennsylvania, at the very least.

Americans don’t need more promises. They’ve heard plenty of speeches. They deserve solutions, and they deserve them now.

They need:

A fighter, a doer, and a champion for the American people again.


When that phone rings at 3 a.m. in the White House, there’s no time for speeches or on-the-job training. You have to be ready to make a decision.

Finally, the best rhetorical flourish, and one she would be smart to start wrapping into every speech from here until the end of this campaign:

Together we will turn promises into actions, words into solutions, and hope into reality. It will take leadership and hard work but we’ve never been short on either.

Got that? Obama offers promises, words, and hope, but doesn’t have the stuff to turn his heady mix into actions, solutions, and reality. Finally, and yet maybe still too late, a strong, well-put argument from Clinton.

Re: A Mess in Texas?

posted by on March 4 at 8:15 PM

In this earlier post about Texas’s chaotic caucuses, I wondered:

A prelude to the Clinton camp winning Ohio, losing the Texas primary, and challenging the validity of the Texas caucus results? And then calling the whole night a confusing draw that needs to be resolved in a less chaotic fashion on a night with only one contest? Say… the night of April 22 in Pennsylvania?

Now comes to my in-box this email from a Clinton campaign lawyer on “caucus irregularities” in Texas:

The campaign legal hotline has been flooded with calls containing specific accusations of irregularities and voter intimidation against the Obama campaign. This activity is undemocratic, probably illegal, and reflects a wanton disregard for the caucus process.

The three most egregious categories are:

1) Irregularities: Prematurely Taking Precinct Convention Packets by Obama Campaign

Numerous calls have shown that Obama supporters prematurely removed convention packets from polling places. Packets may not legally given out until 7:15 PM or when the last voter has cast a ballot in the primary. The Texas State Party warned the Obama campaign in writing that they may not take these packets early or remove them from the polling locations. The Party directed that these irregularities be reported to law enforcement “since they amount to criminal violations.” The Party stated “removing convention packets … will not be tolerated.” …

2) Voter Intimidation: Lock-out of Clinton caucus goers by Obama Campaign

Numerous calls have been received that the Obama campaign has taken over caucus sites and locked the doors, excluding Clinton campaign supporters from participating in the caucus. The Clinton supporters have been unable to enter the premises to caucus. In at least one instance, law enforcement was called and forcibly opened the caucus site…

3. There are numerous instances of Obama supporters filing out precinct convention sign-in sheets during the day and submitting them as completed vote totals at caucus. This is expressly against the rules. The sign-in sheets were copied by the Obama campaign from the Texas Democratic Party website and taken by supporters to various polling places to sign-up caucus goers prior to the start of the caucuses.

Well, Dan, I’m Glad We Waited for those Columbus Votes

posted by on March 4 at 8:00 PM

… The Columbus, Ohio results are in (the city went for Obama, as I noted in the comments to my post below), and, as Dan and Eli both note below, CNN’s finally calling it for Clinton, 57 to 41 percent 58 to 40 percent—i.e., the same percentage she was leading by a higher percentage than she was leading by when I asked why they weren’t calling it 45 minutes ago.

(And I am feeling quite “calm,” thanks… unlike some prObama Sloggers I could name.)

Clinton Wins Ohio

posted by on March 4 at 7:56 PM

Says CNN.

Re: Clinton Takes the Lead in Texas

posted by on March 4 at 7:55 PM

CNN also explains that, via the same phenomenon that’s causing them to wait before calling Ohio, the major population centers in Texas haven’t reported very many votes yet—and the votes they have reported are breaking heavily for Obama.

Clinton Takes the Lead in Texas

posted by on March 4 at 7:51 PM

According to CNN… and CNN just called Ohio for Clinton. So you can calm down now, Erica.

And with exit polls showing that voters in Ohio that made a choice based on race picked Clinton… that means Clinton took the racist vote, right?

Says Sullivan

…however depressing it is, the Clintons have helped unearth those white voters who simply won’t vote for a black man. The Clintons’ argument for the super-delegates will almost certainly be that if Obama can’t win white working class voters in Ohio, he can’t win the general. This is the classic Clinton position. They will tell the Democrats that America is just too racist for Obama, and that fear is always a surer bet than hope.

In Other News

posted by on March 4 at 7:40 PM

The expanded state domestic partnership law made it out of the Washington State Senate today. It was already approved by the State House, and now it heads to the governor’s desk for her signature. Here’s the PI

House Bill 3104 adds domestic partners to sections of laws where previously only spouses were mentioned, including areas referring to probate and trusts, community property and homestead exemptions, and guardianship and powers of attorney.

The underlying domestic partnership law, passed last year, already provides hospital visitation rights, the ability to authorize autopsies and organ donations, and inheritance rights when there is no will.

The measure makes dozens of changes to state law, including requiring domestic partners of public officials to submit financial disclosure forms, just as the spouses of heterosexual officials do. It also would give domestic partners the same spousal testimony rights that married couples have, allowing domestic partners the right to refuse to testify against each other in court.

Congrats, Ed.

But what about this bit of fine print…

To be registered as partners, couples must share a home, must not be married or in a domestic relationship with someone else, and be at least 18.

Does the state require married heterosexuals to live under the same roof?

A Mess in Texas?

posted by on March 4 at 7:30 PM

The Clinton campaign held a conference call a short time ago to complain about the way Obama supporters have been conducting themselves at the Texas caucuses. And… an Obama campaign official ambushed the conference call, creating “possibly the most entertaining conference call in campaign history“—which, of course, you can listen to online.

But what about the Texas issues that the Clinton and Obama surrogates were arguing about? Ambinder says:

Objectively, the process seems very messy and the state party seems in over its head.

Josh Marshall adds:

There’s too much confusion and disinformation in the air to know what to believe and which side’s doing what, but the reports we’re getting from on the ground in Texas sound pretty wild: doors getting shut early with various folks locked out, various kinds of gaming of the process.

If earlier caucuses in this cycle are any guide, a lot of this is the product of so many new caucusers who aren’t familiar with the rules, haven’t been through earlier cycles. But it looks like a contact sport on the ground tonight.

A prelude to the Clinton camp winning Ohio, losing the Texas primary, and challenging the validity of the Texas caucus results? And then calling the whole night a confusing draw that needs to be resolved in a less chaotic fashion on a night with only one contest? Say… the night of April 22 in Pennsylvania?

Re: WTF?

posted by on March 4 at 7:21 PM

Here’s why CNN, the NYT, MSNBC, NPR, etc., haven’t called Ohio for Clinton yet, Erica: Obama is beating Clinton by ten points in Columbus, one of Ohio’s big cities. No returns have come in yet from Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Dayton—you know, all of Ohio’s other big cities, the cities where Ohio’s progressive, urban, younger, and blacker voters happen to live.

I think Clinton’s going to win Ohio. But there are hundreds of thousands of votes left to count, and in places that favor Obama by wide margins.

Meanwhile in Texas

Don’t have a clear sense of where the remaining votes are from, and the percentage of precincts reporting are deceptive because of this, but Hillary Clinton is making steady progress against Barack Obama. It’s down to a two point margin.

So while we’re obsessing about Ohio, Clinton is sneaking up on Texas. Looks like those “it’s 3 AM and a phone is ringing in the White House” ads worked. MSNBC says, with 20% of Texas precincts reporting, it’s Hillary 49% and Barack 49%. We’ve got a tie, ladies and gentleman.


posted by on March 4 at 7:16 PM

Clinton’s beating Obama in Ohio 57 to 41 percent (with 31 percent reporting). So why is CNN saying the race is still “too close to call”?

McCain Speaks

posted by on March 4 at 7:12 PM

I’m not at Spitfire, so I was able to hear McCain’s speech. But there wasn’t a whole lot of there there.

He suggested the Democrats were having “an uncivil brawl over the spoils of power.” He said he was the right person to finish up the job in Iraq with honor and in a way that best serves American interests. And he tried to cast himself as the most forward-looking candidate in the race.

But man, after spending so much time watching Clinton and Obama, it’s really hard to get past the visual contrast created by watching a McCain speech. He’s old. He’s halting in his delivery. He seems convinced of what he’s saying only about 1/3 of the time he’s talking.

It made me think: This man could lose on visual contrast alone.

From What I Can Tell…

posted by on March 4 at 6:43 PM

…the governor of Pennsylvania is on MSNBC right now arguing that we have to nominate Hillary Clinton, “because we have to nominate the person who can win in the blue and purple states,” like California and Ohio. The implication, I guess, is that California—bright blue California—will go for the GOP nominee in November if Clinton isn’t on the ballot in November.

Oh, wait… here’s John McCain… but I can’t hear a word he’s saying… argh! I think he’s saying something about “peace with honor,” or a “secret plan to end the war.” Whatever he’s saying, here’s what we should be saying: John McCain = Bob Dole. Old man running.

Not raising any money, W. strapped to his back, not gonna win.

UPDATE: And over on the Dem side… Clinton is crushing Obama in Ohio and Rhode Island, Obama is edging Clinton in Texas and crushing her in Vermont. So right now it looks like the night might be a draw. And if things keep tacking this way… if Dem voters refuse to choose… when do Hillary and Obama concede victofeat and join forces? Clinton/Obama ‘08? Or Obama/Clinton ‘08?

Then again… Bill did say that Hillary had to win Ohio and Texas to stay in the race.

And Hillary may not win Ohio. With 31% of the vote counted, she’s way ahead: 57% to Obama’s 41%. But only a tiny number of votes in most of Ohio’s big cities—Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati—have been counted. So… the NYT isn’t calling Ohio yet, and neither am I.

Watching Returns at Spitfire…

posted by on March 4 at 6:36 PM

…a very nice Obama supporter invited me to come sit at her table, “whether you’re supporting Barack Obama or not.” I didn’t tell her that I’m a little gay for Obama, or that my newspaper, also a little gay, endorsed Obama. But I didn’t join her and her friends at their table. Because I don’t think I’m going to stick around. It’s kinda noisy in here, and I’m having a hard time hearing Mike Huckabee’s endless concession speech. I’m tempted to go find a quieter spot to savor Huckabee’s demise.


But Huckabee, of course, will be back. John “Agents of Intolerance” McCain may yet name him as his running mate. And if McCain loses the election—please God—Huckabee, a youngish man, will definitely run again in 2012.

Hey, does anyone know if Alan Keyes is still in the race?

UPDATE: I couldn’t hear anything Huckabee said, so I only just learned, reading Eli’s post below, that Huckabee didn’t even mention McCain’s name. Guess he’s not interested in the VP slot after all.


And what about the white elephant in the room—isn’t God 1) all powerful, and 2) behind Huckabee’s campaign? Either premise one or premise two were obviously wrong.

UPDATE 3: And here, via TPM, is the video of Huckabee’s concession speech…

Clinton Wins Rhode Island

posted by on March 4 at 6:30 PM

Says MSNBC. And thus ends her losing streak.

John McCain is the Republican Nominee

posted by on March 4 at 6:10 PM

It’s official. With his projected win in Texas, McCain now has enough delegates to absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt clinch the Republican nomination. So long, Mike Huckabee.

And in the Dept. of Questionable Next Moves: CNN says President Bush will endorse McCain tomorrow.

UPDATE: Huckabee drops out, and in his concession speech (which begins with a very long and convoluted baseball analogy) says to his supporters:

The two campaigns that have been run in the most civil manner are the two in the Republican party… It’s now important that we turn our attention, not to what could have been or what we wanted to have been, but what must be.

He quoted the Apostle Paul:

I fought the good fight. I have finished the race. And I have kept the faith.

And he said of McCain… Nothing.

Re: In ‘Nam, We Burned Babies. In Iraq, We Throw Puppies

posted by on March 4 at 6:07 PM

In case anyone is traumatized by Jonah’s puppy-tossing post, I give you the antidote:

Playing the Permutations Game

posted by on March 4 at 6:05 PM

Our Ohio results thread is here. Our Texas results thread is here.

While we wait for more info about who’s up by how much in which state, here’s what I think about some possible scenarios.

Obama wins Ohio and Texas (both the primary and the caucus): Unlikely given the results in Ohio so far. But if he somehow does this, game over. Clinton will withdraw, or she will be forced to withdraw.

Clinton wins Ohio, loses the Texas primary, and loses the Texas caucus: This is one of the harder scenarios to game out. Clinton might very well try to spin a win in Ohio into a rationale for going on—because, she might argue, if Obama can’t win Ohio then he’ll have a hard time winning the presidency. But does this argument fly if she loses both the primary and the caucus in Texas? I don’t think so, especially if she loses big. If she doesn’t lose big, she has more room to maneuver.

Clinton wins Ohio, wins the Texas primary, and loses the Texas caucus: If this happens, Clinton makes the argument that she’s back in it, that the caucus results should be ignored because caucuses tend to favor Obama, and that the delegate count (which probably still won’t favor her) should be ignored because she’s “just getting warmed up” or something similar. The race will go on until Pennsylvania votes on April 22.

Clinton wins Ohio, wins the Texas primary, and wins the Texas caucus: Unlikely given Obama’s strength in caucuses. But if this happens, same prediction as immediately above, but with hardly any resistance to Clinton pushing on.

In ‘Nam, We Burned Babies. In Iraq, We Throw Puppies

posted by on March 4 at 5:55 PM

I’m not convinced this is real. Still, it’s the must-see intarweb video of the moment.

This One’s for You, Kelly

posted by on March 4 at 5:43 PM

Was just trying to read up on Drudge about how much Obama is winning in Vermont and was totally sidetracked by this:

Eight British Commandos have been flown home in disgrace for stripping naked and engaging in appalling behaviour in a Norwegian bar during an Arctic training exercise.

The men disgusted onlookers in the town of Harstad with a drunken game of “naked bar.”

After whipping off their clothes, they urinated on each other - splashing other customers and furniture - before slurring insults and abuse.

Pictures? Yup.

If this story makes you happy, you’re gonna love Drunk of the Week in tomorrow’s issue:


Texas Primary Results

posted by on March 4 at 5:22 PM

Obama is currently up 58-percent to 41-percent. But that’s with only one percent of precincts reporting.

Memoirs and the Lying Liars Who Write Them

posted by on March 4 at 5:21 PM

Geoffrey Kloske, publisher of Riverhead Books, tells the New York Times that there was “nothing else that he or Sarah McGrath, the book’s editor, could have done to prevent the author from lying.” Here’s what they did do…

Despite editing the book in the aftermath of the scandal surrounding James Frey, author of a best-selling memoir, “A Million Little Pieces,” who admitted making up or exaggerating details in his account of drug addiction and recovery, Ms. McGrath said she did not independently check parts of Ms. Seltzer’s story or perform any kind of background check. She said she relied on Ms. Seltzer to tell the truth.

“In the post-James Frey world, we all are more careful,” Ms. McGrath said. “I had numerous conversations with her about the need to be honest and the need to stick to the facts.”

Uh… gee. McGrath knew the authors real name, and the author claimed to have been in the foster care system, in trouble with the law, a university graduate—all things that 1. weren’t true and 2. are pretty easy to check out. The New York Times, of course, published a piece on Seltzer last week—and they didn’t check out her story either. Why not?

Tom de Kay, editor of the House & Home section, said he asked Ms. Read to track down other people from Ms. Seltzer’s past to corroborate her story. Because Ms. Seltzer told Ms. Read that her foster siblings were dead, in prison or no longer in touch, it was difficult for Ms. Read to find people to interview.

Mr. de Kay said that ultimately, “I was to some degree trusting that the vetting process of a reputable book publisher was going to catch this level of duplicity.” But, he added: “Do I wish in retrospect that we had called L.A. child services and tried to run down the history of this person? I certainly do.”

What the Fuck is Wrong With

posted by on March 4 at 4:52 PM has fired another employee for blabbing about their workplace. Arielle Davis, 20, who was named “Seattle’s Sexiest Customer Service Rep” in The Stranger’s February 13th issue, was fired from her job as a receptionist—contracted through an employment agency—last week because, she says, of an off-handed comment she made about a crazy customer.

Davis’s firing comes two weeks after Amazon fired Stranger blogger Sam Machkovech for writing about a Billy Ray Cyrus performance at Amazon’s downtown offices, on Line Out, The Stranger’s music blog. Amazon claimed Machkovech’s post reflected poorly on Amazon, even though Machkovech did not directly reference the company in his original blog post.


In her “Seattle’s Sexiest” interview, Davis joked about a “crazy caller” she had dealt with, who” claim[ed] be Jeff Bezos’s sister…crying, to contest a $2.50 shipping and handling fee.”

Davis says her co-workers playfully teased her about her Stranger appearance, but when Davis read about Machkovech’s firing she became concerned. After re-reading her quote about the customer, Davis contacted The Stranger and asked us to remove the comment from the website. She also emailed an apology to her co-workers. Then, Davis says, Amazon’s Public Relations department contacted her.

Instead of firing her, Davis says Amazon asked her if they could put her ?Stranger’s Sexiest” write-up on the company’s internal employee page. Davis says Amazon’s PR department told her the comment was “no big deal.”

A week later, on February 28th, Davis was fired. “I’ve never been fired before in my life,” she says. “I’ve never had a disciplinary hearing, I’ve only called in sick once in my life. [This] really sucks. “

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.

If you’ve got a fucked up Amazon story, email us.

Ohio: Too Close to Call

posted by on March 4 at 4:32 PM

The polls are now closed in Ohio and the Democratic race there is too close to call, according to CNN.

On the Republican side, McCain—no surprise—is the winner.

Some exit poll data to chew on here and here.

UPDATE: More exit polls here and here.

One interesting finding:

The ability to “bring needed change” beats “experience” as the most important quality in a candidate by about a 20-point margin in Ohio and by about 15 points in Texas, according to preliminary exit poll results.

Another: 58-percent of voters told exit pollsters in Ohio that the economy was their most important issue. Among those Ohio “economy” voters, a majority (52-percent) backed Clinton.

UPDATE: A judge has ordered polls to stay open for an extra hour in rural Sandusky County because of lack of ballots. The Obama campaign has asked for (but not yet and received) an extension of polling hours in Cuyahoga County, which holds Cleveland.

Seattle Reads a Book With an Ugly Cover

posted by on March 4 at 4:30 PM

Seattle Public Library has announced that this years’ Seattle Reads choice (the program formerly known as “If All Seattle Read the Same Book…”) is The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu, who is originally from Ethiopia.

It’s got one damn ugly cover:


I haven’t read it yet. The novel is about a Washington DC neighborhood in the 1970s. There’s also quite a bit about Alexis de Tocqueville, which is promising, and lots of talk about class issues, which could be interesting in a discussion at the library, since the library tends to draw upper-middle-class bookclub ladies and also lots of lower-middle-class-and-lower people to their readings. Maybe a class war will break out. There will be five author appearances at branches of the SPL and Seattle Central Community College, spread over May 7th through the 10th. SPL probably has a ton of copies of the book at their various branches, if you’re interested.

Gee, Thanks

posted by on March 4 at 4:29 PM

More than 83,000 adults have entered a state-sponsored lottery that will provide health insurance to 3,000 randomly selected people, a fraction of Oregon’s 600,000 uninsured. The lottery, the Oregonian notes, though “cruel,” will also “serve the greater good as a jarring reminder of just how broken the U.S. health care system really is.” Um, I’m sure the 597,000 people who won’t be getting health insurance this week will be glad to hear that.

Obama Wins Vermont

posted by on March 4 at 4:25 PM

Sorry, just got back from talking with two guys I’d never heard of before today, Ron and Don.

CNN tells me that Obama’s won Vermont while I’ve been away from my computer. (And so has McCain.)

Ohio is up next, with the polls closing at 4:30 p.m. our time.

The Youth Vote, YEAH!!

posted by on March 4 at 4:08 PM

The youth vote has been a long sought prize. This year, research shows the sleeping giant awakening. There needs to be specific legislative goals to create an enduring involvement with citizens passing between the ages of 18 and 30. This agenda must come from youth itself, as well as the political establishment.

This is not the first time the youth vote has been stirred. Urged to Choose or Loose, voting was cool in 1992. At the same time, the economy was slowing and after 12 years of Reagan / Bush, the 46 year-old Clinton was a fresh face. Clinton made a point to speak to youth. That November youth turned out in the largest numbers since 1972. […]

It’s taken for granted that youth don’t care for politics. But things are changing. A new democratic vitality is being cultivated on the Internet. Youth are connecting with peers locally, nationally and internationally. Even old media, like television, is presenting politics in an entertaining way.

Wag the Dog, Eh?

posted by on March 4 at 3:20 PM

Is Canada’s conservative government fucking with Obama?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper fended off allegations Monday that his government deliberately meddled in the U.S. primaries by trying to undermine Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s stand on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Despite Harper’s attempts at damage control, the controversy spilled over into the politics of both countries Monday. Hillary Clinton, facing a final defeat at Obama’s hands, sought to exploit the controversy on the eve of key primaries in Texas and Ohio.

In Ottawa, NDP Leader Jack Layton accused Harper of attempting to damage Obama, the Democratic frontrunner, and called for the firing of a key prime ministerial aide for allegedly leaking a diplomatic memo that suggested the Illinois senator was saying different things in private and in public about NAFTA.

Via Americablog.

Seattle to Denver: You Must Respect!

posted by on March 4 at 2:57 PM

“The Denver Center Theatre Company is taking 100 percent credit for conceiving the book ‘Plainsong’ as a play,” said co-artistic director Myra Platt. “But the truth is, without Kent Haruf’s and Kent Thompson’s association with Book-It Theatre’s world-premiere production, the DCTC production would have never come to fruition. We don’t feel like we got credit where credit is due.”

Sooo—does that mean Book-It owes an apology to everyone who’s adapted, say Persuasion or Snow Falling on Cedars or Peter Pan or just about every-goddamned-thing in their 2007 season, all of which have been adapted before?

(Full story here.)

What Have They Done For You Lately?

posted by on March 4 at 2:53 PM

Back on the first day of the session in Olympia two months ago, I highlighted Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles’s (D-36, Seattle) bill to streamline the legal process for women to get protection from dangerous men.

The bill was nicknamed, appropriately enough, the Rebecca Griego Act. (Griego was murdered last year at the UW by her stalker ex-boyfriend after she had difficulty getting a protection order.)

With a little over a week left in the session, the bill passed the House unanimously today. Kohl-Welles passed it out of the Senate unanimously on February 12.

Next stop, after a perfunctory sign off in the Senate, the Governor’s desk.

Nicely done Sen. Kohl-Welles.

In Environmental News

posted by on March 4 at 2:37 PM

1. Gas breaks record high, even adjusted for inflation; News Tribune speculates that people may actually start finding other ways to get around, but only once “it really starts to hurt.”*

2. Two US agencies announce plan to “flush” the Grand Canyon with a simulated springtime flood, which they say is needed “to scour accumulated sand off the Colorado River bottom, then gradually restore sandy beaches and side pools for endangered species and campers,” the LA Times reports. The US Park Service is not happy.

3. Although virtually every media outlet initially reported uncritically that the Earth Liberation Front “had claimed responsibility” for a Snohomish County arson (based on the presence of the ELF’s initials on a sign at the site), FBI officials are now saying they did not find any “sophisticated incendiary devices,” like those found at other ELF-associated arsons, at the site.

* And a footnote: While the TNT is right that people drive less when gas is more expensive, they reach the wrong conclusion: Instead of arguing that we need new technology to make cars less dirty, they should have made the case that governments should promote smarter development patterns, so that people can live, work, and shop without needing a car to do so.

On the Radio

posted by on March 4 at 2:35 PM

I’ll be on the Ron and Don show (710 AM KIRO) from 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. this afternoon talking about the big votes today in Texas, Ohio, and elsewhere, and what it all might mean.

Then I’ll be back here on Slog blogging about the results as they come in. See you here after 4 p.m., and until then, consider this an open thread for predictions about what’s going to happen tonight.

Oh, and our (growing) list of local election night parties is here.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on March 4 at 1:59 PM


By Mattoly

The Sausage Closest to my Heart

posted by on March 4 at 1:54 PM

I had an assignment this morning in the U District (thanks to Dan for covering the big book story of the morning), and I had finished with it at about noon, which meant I was looking for lunch up there, which really only means one thing:


A sausage at Shultzy’s. The El Diablo, in particular: A spicy hot sausage split down the middle and covered with salsa and sour cream, served on a mountain of fries and with a side of coleslaw for $8.99. I like Thai Tom and a few other U District restaurants and everything, but goddamn if Shultzy’s isn’t one of the best lunch places in town.

Putin Girls, Extended Version

posted by on March 4 at 1:25 PM

It’s always seemed at least possible that “A Man Like Putin” was a Kremlin creation (see this BBC article about how nobody knew anything about the band or the origin of the record when it started dominating Russian airwaves), but it wasn’t until I saw last week’s Frontline mini-episode on Russia that I started to believe it.

Here’s the link; you have to chose “Watch this video” and then “Chapters”: “Planning for the Future.” The segment is about Nashi, a Kremlin-sponsored youth group and summer camp where kids daily pass by satirical posters of Kasparov, an opposition leader, in women’s lingerie, and learn to say that all those who oppose Putin are “fascists.” This is wild enough, but then—well, just keep watching until the mass weddings and the barge full of tents for rapid conception.

Planning for the Future

This whole thing also reminded me of the Discovery Institute’s pro-Putin Real Russia Project and blog—which I have tangled with before—and this weird rant about an opposition party using sexy girls and music videos to get votes (“Perhaps the liberal parties in Russia and their highly-paid Western advisors need someone to explain to them why babushkas are not easily rallied to their banner by underage lesbians cavorting across their television screens”). As far as I can tell, Real Russia has not weighed in on the sexuality of the girls in the Putin video.

Flattery Gets You Everywhere…

posted by on March 4 at 1:15 PM

Or at least it gets you invited to a BIAW dinner.

Yesterday, I gave a Slog Lobbyist of the Year Award to the team from the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW).

Despite how trendy and P.C. global warming is, the stalwart band of BIAW lobbyists were able to defy the near-supermajority Democratic stronghold in Olympia and snuff out a bill that would have given local governments the power to put the kibosh development projects that were bad for the environment.

I only had access to the BIAW’s January lobbying reports, so I wasn’t able to give a full account of their operation. It looks like they’re spending dough right up until the end of the session.

They’re hosting a dinner for legislators “honoring House Democrats … who are working against this year’s homeowners rights bill,” according to the e-mail I just got from BIAW lobbyist Tom McCabe, inviting me to the shindig. (Certainly, I was invited thanks to the shout out I gave McCabe and his fellow BIAW lobbyists yesterday.)

I am a little surprised McCabe used the Democrats’ term, “homeowners rights”—the bill, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Brian Weinstein (D-41, Mercer Island), would make it easier to sue contractors.

The BIAW shot down the homeowners rights bill last year, but this year it seems to have more momentum—at least making it out of committee last week and into Rules.

In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on March 4 at 1:14 PM

Eddie Van Halen: He’s undergoing secret medical treatment.

Today’s Music News: More information on all the stories you’re probably tired of hearing about (including Vampire Weekend, American Idol, and corupt boy band promoters—Lou Pearlman might go to jail!).

Coco Coca: An interview with this week’s Band of the Week.

New Presidents Video: Directed by Weird Al! (Seriously!)

Tonight in Music: Taken by Trees, British Sea Power, Panther, and the Gutter Twins.

Crystal Castles Cancels: Due to injury.

“Don’t Smoke”: Jeff Kirby loves this (sort of) new Phil Everum song.

Face to Face Broke Up: But now they’re playing shows again. Although, none in Seattle. Yet.

A Conversation in a Song: “What?” “Oo-oo-oo wee.”

The Best Six Minutes of the Weekend: More love for the Pleasureboaters. (Followed by a debate of whether or not they sound like Chinese Stars.)

Ah, Memories: Casey Catherwood’s guilty pleasure is Everclear’s “Father of Mine.”

From Start to Finish: The new trend of bands playing entire albums in concert.

Your Random MP3 of the Day: The Collective Conscience. Listen and let us know what you think.

Darkness into Light: The new remixes of Johan Agebjörn and Sally Shapiro’s “Spacer Woman From Mars” make Terry Miller all emotional.

Neon Neon: Their new album is a concept record about car-maker John DeLorean. That’s awesome.

Charlie Discovers Radiohead: Read the review written by Line Out’s favorite 14-year-old.

Joose: The energy drink for juggalos, meth heads, and the otherwise unemployable.


The Sources of Literary Creation

posted by on March 4 at 12:59 PM

One source is surely wine

Says Tartakovsky:

Cratinus wasn’t entirely kidding: Legend says he died of grief upon seeing a full cask of wine break into pieces. And writers of subsequent ages have taken his sentiment to heart. Wherever you find the pen-and-ink set, drink is an emblem of vivacity and wit, at times regarded with semireligious reverence.

Says Tartakovsky:

Some writers have found even deeper use for alcohol. Tennyson, according to his friend James Knowles’ 1893 reminiscence, would “look upon his bottle of port as a sort of counsellor.” When the poet received the letter offering him the poet laureateship of Britain, he brooded inconclusively until finally composing two letters — one accepting and one declining — placing them on his table and resolving to decide which to send after finishing his bottle of port. He accepted.

Says Tartakovsky:

Intoxication, if not the source of literary creation, creates a cerebral aura congenial to it. It recasts the glare of life in a softer hue. It soothes anxiety and other stultifiers of reflection. It warms the mind and thaws thoughts frozen in timidity. The fruit of the vine does not give us insight but aids our discovery of it; it can allow you to eavesdrop on yourself.

Says Baudelaire:

De vin, de poesie ou de vertu, a votre guise. Mais enivrez-vous.

Hebberoy to (Probably) Open a Restaurant(-ish Thing)

posted by on March 4 at 12:31 PM

Culinary impresario Michael Hebberoy—reviled, beloved, and all sorts of other things—is (probably) opening a restaurant(-ish thing) in the tiny former Frites space on 10th Avenue at Pike. Or so it is rumored; he has been characteristically oblique on this topic. Here is the pertinent email exchange:

B.J.C.: i heard a rumor you’re opening a restaurant(-ish thing?) in the frites space. care to confirm or deny?

M.H.: hey. what a great idea. i definitely think someone should open something rad in that spot.

Hebberoy emigrated from Portland a while back, leaving a mini-restaurant empire in flames. (In November, The New York Times ran an unflattering story on his departure there and arrival here, saying among other things that he has “a Barnum-like knack for hype.”) In Seattle, Hebberoy’s been running the underground-ish One Pot dinners and working for Caffe Vita. He is also said to be still at work on a book called Kill the Restaurant, about how “there is a new generation of culinarians. actively questioning the establishment. questioning it by acting, cooking, dining outside the bureaucratically controlled mainstream of american food.” (Hebberoy himself dipped back into the culinary mainstream in July, writing this piece for Food & Wine magazine. The editors there apparently ran it through a translator/repunctuator, though they failed to catch the fact that Pian Pianino, lauded in the piece as both a restaurant and a lifestyle, was not yet open—nor is it now, to the best of my knowledge.)

A recent look inside the open door of the Frites space revealed construction debris and a lineup of what looked suspiciously like One Pot’s collection of Le Creuset pots on a shelf. A noise was heard, but no one was seen.

It Begins

posted by on March 4 at 12:21 PM

You think the “color-balancing” controversy is bad (in this instance, I actually think Obama just looks sort of gray and sickly, but whatevs)… Check out this clip of Rush Limbaugh, who laughed loudly when a caller said Obama reminded his daughter of Curious George, the cartoon monkey. Limbaugh later apologized, saying he had never heard of Curious George. Uh-huh.

Via Pandagon.

A Lunchtime Fantasy

posted by on March 4 at 12:07 PM


The pizza at Hot Mama’s? Great. Best slices in town. But the location? The bottom corner of SCCC’s depressing, block-killing, brutalist parking structure? Not great. It’s small, spare. Some stools, the door constantly opening and closing, cold breezes. Still, I go, I sit, I eat. And grabbing a seat at the counter and wolfing down a slice isn’t painful or anything. It’s just not, you know, a space you enjoy occupying while you eat your pizza. It’s not a place you want to linger in—and, of course, it’s not a place that wants you to linger. There aren’t many seats, and Hot Mama’s needs you to get in, eat, and get out.

The pizza at Bill’s Off Broadway? Not great. It’s okay, I’ll eat it, but it’s not, you know, destination pizza. But the space? Awesome. A totally comfortable bar, beat up in all the right ways, the kind of worn, lived-in space that Linda Derschang spent a lot of money recreating at Linda’s, Smith, King’s Hardware, et al. And the bar has a great selection of beers (and a great selection of bartenders too). And the place is huge—tons of seats. You can linger at Bill’s when you’re done eating, have another beer, read the papers. It’s just too bad that the pizza isn’t better.

Wouldn’t it be great if Hot Mama’s moved—their ovens, their cooks, their recipes—up the street to Bill’s space? The best slices in town served in a big, comfortable, friendly bar? Good beer, great bartenders, awesome slices. Wouldn’t that be swell?

The Obama Putin Girls

posted by on March 4 at 12:02 PM

I, for one, never liked the Obama Girl. Or all the attention towards what pop songs the candidates play at their rallies. Or even that the candidates play pop music at their rallies. Why? Because the marriage of politics and pop culture comes uncomfortably close to totalitarianism.

I realize that idea sounds like it hatched from a paranoiac in a bunker who has mated with a grad-school geek, but you can see the logical conclusion of pop-plus-politics in “Kagoko Kak Putin,” the sing-along favorite of all the poor gulls cheering at Putin rallies—you know, the big rallies for the president who’s about to become co-czar with his protegee, Medvedev.

Anyway, the music video:

If the whole situation weren’t so depressing, the lyrics would be a scream (that, and the fact that the French subtitles spell Putin “Poutine”):

My boyfriend is dumb, he smokes and he’s drunk
My boyfriend is dumb, more than Powers Austin
I told him get out, I need a new boy
I thought and I know he must be like Putin.

He must be like Putin, that to begin
He must be like Putin, then I’ll give in
You must be like Putin, there’s just one way
You must be like Putin, you’ll not run away.

Like how they slip from “he must be like Putin” to “you must be like Putin” via a sexual imperative? And how good Vladimir sits down with a common schlub—ostensibly the bad boyfriend—to improve him by osmosis? And the shots of him on the judo mat? Sexy, tough, gallant: Putin equals Daniel Craig.

All of which recalls Adorno (who is responsible for the “kill your TV” bumper sticker), writing in The Culture Industry about how mass culture and dance music numb the brain and pave the way for the sneaky totalitarianism of late capitalism:

The illusion of a social preference for light music as against serious is based on that passivity of the masses which makes the consumption of light music contradict the objective interest of those who consume it.
… this falls in line with the suspicion widely shared, though hard to corroborate by exact data, that the majority of television shows [and mass culture] today aim at producing, or at least reproducing, the very smugness, intellectual passivity, and gullibility that seem to fit in with totalitarian creeds.
The uncompelling and superficial nature of the objects of refined entertainment inevitably leads to the inattentiveness of the listeners… the advanced student who in every gathering is ready to play jazz with machine-like precision for dancing and entertainment; the gas station attendant who hums his syncopation ingenuously while filling up the tank; the listening expert who can identify every band and immerses himself in the history of jazz as if it were Holy Writ… He pictures himself as the individualist who whistles at the world. But what he whistles is its melody.

And, my favorite, his defense against being called a snob:

[The apologists for mass culture insist that] “We are all in the same boat”: nobody should be better off—the snob, the intellectual, the pleasure seeker are always attacked. The undercurrent of malicious egalitarianism, of the brotherhood of all-compromising humiliation, is a component of fascist propaganda and fascism itself.

The Obama Girl, the Putin Girls, Will.I.Am. Forgive me for being a prematurely old crank, but they echo each other in discomforting ways.

All are (supposedly) spontaneous gestures in support of a candidate—and attempts to woo the public’s allegiance by appealing to its appetite for mass culture and chicks instead of its political interests.

And they all make me a little queasy.

Gary Gygax, RIP

posted by on March 4 at 12:00 PM


Gary Gygax, co-creator of groundbreaking role playing game Dungeons & Dragons, passed away today at the age of 69.

A small testimonial: As a pre-adolescent nerd, Gygax’s work had a pretty profound impact on me. My step-dad bought me the Basic Edition D&D boxed set (the red one) for my birthday one year (or maybe for Christmas); he had been an avid D&D player while stationed with the Army in Germany. He was still a relative new-jack in the step-dad department, and playing D&D with him, then learning to run campaigns of my own, was a great bonding experience. In grade school, a lot of the friends I made were through D&D; we would camp out in the library at recess, rolling up characters, getting together on the weekends to play. We kept at it through junior high, until I discovered punk rock, girls, and pot. Still, D&D had a tremendous effect on my creativity, my social-skills, and my story-telling abilities, probably as valuable to me today as anything I learned from punk.

RIP, Gary.

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on March 4 at 12:00 PM

Remember when I suggested scoring some BLOW from Taboo Video this past Christmas? I wondered if the sh*t would ever hit the fan with this product…

Water World

posted by on March 4 at 11:52 AM

What Steven Spielberg will miss this August:
3watercube-1.jpg What should we do at the sight of such a building? Laugh a little or laugh a lot? How can we take it seriously? Water as a leading motive for a structure? You must be kidding me. You must be kids. A grownup does not play such childish games with architecture.

The Politics of Color-Balancing

posted by on March 4 at 11:00 AM


Aravosis, following up on a DailyKos post, writes:

It just keeps happening again and again and again. The Clintons keeps doing things, saying things, that sound awfully racist.

At issue: The darkness of Obama’s skin in this ad…

…as compared to this debate clip (and others):

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 4 at 11:00 AM


‘Hello’ at Howard House

Seattle-based artist Gretchen Bennett has translated photographs of landscapes into portraits made entirely of peeled-off street stickers. She constructed Mount Rainier from water-bottle labels. She spray-painted icons from Brooklyn onto the pavement in Seattle. For Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, she used the simple device of her own hand. Bennett took footage from YouTube and Gus Van Sant’s Last Days and, shaped by her own memory of Nirvana’s time and place, she stops motion to re-create single frames in colored pencil on paper. (Howard House, 604 Second Ave, 256-6399. 10:30 am–5 pm, free.)


See Persepolis

posted by on March 4 at 10:46 AM

I’ve seen it twice in the last month. I’d see it again.

Funny. Sad. Smart. Beautiful.

Proof of all those adjectives? This line: “Is that Michael Jackson!!??” “No. It’s Malcolm X.”


Here’s Annie’s review and show times.

Bareback Porn = Child Porn

posted by on March 4 at 10:42 AM

Child pornography cannot be produced without children being raped. That’s the reason why penalties for consuming child porn—even “vintage” child porn—are so severe. Someone that consumes child porn is creating more demand for child porn which leads to more child porn being produced which means more children are being raped.

Consumers of bareback porn—that is, porn produced for gay men that not only features unprotected anal sex but fetishizes unprotected sex—creates a similar destructive loop. Someone that consumes bareback porn is creating more demand for bareback porn which leads to more bareback porn being produced.

And you can’t create bareback porn without putting porn actors at risk of HIV infection. Consumers of bareback porn argue that these actors are adults, and they’re aware of the risks they’re running, and so consumers of bareback porn are not quite as culpable as consumers of kiddie porn. And they’re right. But many of the actors in bareback porn are very young, very naive, and very vulnerable, and the demand for bareback porn is doing real harm to real people.

As this BBC report makes clear:

Three films have been withdrawn from sale following a Newsnight investigation into the health risks of so-called bareback gay porn—which shows men have unprotected sex…. Two of the DVDs featured footage from a week-long shoot during which eight British models had sex with each other in multiple combinations without condoms.

Four of those who took part were diagnosed as HIV positive soon after. One of the men told the BBC he was distressed that footage which he believed showed him becoming infected had been put on sale.

In a separate case a British producer, Rufus Ffoulkes, was jailed last week on a child pornography charge for putting a 16-year-old boy in a gay porn film in which he had unprotected sex. The US company which released the film had refused appeals to stop selling the DVD until it was approached by Newsnight.

The production of porn doesn’t have to leave a trail of victims in its wake. But porn consumers have to make ethical choices about the porn they consume. Want to watch condom-free porn? Watch porn produced pre-AIDS epidemic—those guys are already dead. Can’t get off unless some 16 year-old twink is “taking loads” and risking his health and quite possibly his life? Get professional help.

Porn director Chi Chi LaRue recently filmed an anti-barebacking PSA directed at gay men that buy bareback porn. In the UK an anti-barebacking campaign is being launched. The BBC:

In Britain the campaign against bareback is being lead by a director called Steven Brewer. He is inviting both producers and performers to sign up to a new code of practice designed to minimise risk within the gay porn industry.

He told Newsnight: “I just don’t want another 18-year-old model crying on my shoulder not sure how to tell his partner or his parents that he is now HIV positive.”

The last time I was in San Francisco I walked into a store on Castro that was selling shitloads of bareback porn. There oughta be a law.

Blackface, Whiteface, Gaijinface

posted by on March 4 at 10:35 AM

Meanwhile in Japan—Obamaface! (In honor of Obama, Japan.)


An actor prepares:





The pièce de résistance:


And, in the interest of equal time:


Baka gaijin, yo!

(Thanks to hot tipper Ben.)

Currently Hanging

posted by on March 4 at 10:30 AM

A detail from Nathan Mabry’s Currently Untitled (2007), bronze, 84 by 36 by 24 inches.

At Cherry and Martin in Los Angeles.

Reading Tonight

posted by on March 4 at 10:00 AM


Oh, boy. Let’s get down to it:

At Town Hall, we have a sort of Pakistan 101 lecture, headed by Ethan Casey, and someone who follows the events in Pakistan “very closely.”

At the Nordic Heritage Center, Barbara Sjoholm is reading from her new book The Palace of the Snow Queen: Winter Travels in Lapland. There will also be slides. I have never found slides to be that entertaining, but if you like travel slides, this will be the event for you. Since reading Vendela Vida’s last book, which I can’t seem to stop talking about, I’ve been obsessed with Lapland though, and so should you: It seems like a magical place, if a little on the cold side.

Up at Third Place, Jonathan Javitt, the former Chair of President Bush’s Health Subcommittee of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee (say that five times fast) and a vocal hater of genetically modified foods, reads from his new GMO thriller, Capitol Reflections.

At Elliott Bay Book Company, Terese Svoboda reads from Black Glasses Like Clark Kent: A GI’s Secret from Postwar Japan.

And at the University Heights Center, wherever that is, Ed Pavlic reads from Winners Have Yet to be Announced: A Song for Donny Hathaway, a collection of poems about a 70s soul singer. Any book of poetry about a soul singer automatically has to be my pick for the best reading of the night. Somebody find out where the University Heights Center is, stat!

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

Sympathy for the ELFers

posted by on March 4 at 9:37 AM

A friend who’s an architect at a fancy out-of-state firm, and who used to live near the site of yesterday’s suburb-burning eco-terrorism, writes:

I hate to say it, but if this was ELF, they’re making an interesting point. The house that got totally torched was the “greenest.” But of course it was a 5000 sf house in the middle of nowhere.

He’s not the only one. From today’s New York Times:

On Monday, Eric Olsen, 21, who grew up in the area and still lives a few streets north, said many neighbors were still angry that the development had ruined beaver dams and backwoods trails. He said some people believed the increased paving in the area had already pushed polluted runoff into streams where salmon spawn.

“Stick it to the man!” Mr. Olsen said when told who claimed responsibility for the fires. “I’m not supportive of those tactics but there’s been far too much development.” He added, speaking of the development, “Nobody wanted it.”

Having looked at the Quinn’s Crossing web site, my architect friend tells me the project that was burned down smacks of what people in his office call “greenwashing.” Which is, he says: “Marketing a product or building as environmentally-friendly when the only efforts are token.”

While we’re airing reactions that people are hesitant to have in public, here’s another reaction, this one involving only suspicion and wild speculation, not fact, and also from my architect friend:

There’s a part of me that suspects that it was actually just an insurance job. Here’s why: The ‘Street of Dreams’ was in June. And not a single house has sold yet. Each one is about $2M. And the market is only getting worse. If I were a developer… a $7M insurance payout would help a lot.

Again, suspicion and wild speculation not founded in anything but… suspicion. But it says something about the animosity and cynicism some people feel toward developers of these huge suburban houses that this idea, and the above reactions, would come immediately to some people’s minds.

Clinton on The Daily Show

posted by on March 4 at 8:45 AM

Not the funniest Jon Stewart interview ever. Not the shortest or most hard-hitting, either. But worth a watch as we await the results later today.

Bullshit Artists

posted by on March 4 at 8:42 AM

The New York Times on Margaret B. Jones, February 28

Her memoir is an intimate, visceral portrait of the gangland drug trade of Los Angeles as seen through the life of one household: a stern but loving black grandmother working two jobs; her two grandsons who quit school and became Bloods at ages 12 and 13; her two granddaughters, both born addicted to crack cocaine; and the author, a mixed-race white and Native American foster child who at age 8 came to live with them in their mostly black community. She ended up following her foster brothers into the gang, and it was only when a high school teacher urged her to apply to college that Ms. Jones even began to consider her future.

“Why take out loans? I figured I’d be dead,” she said. “One of the first things I did once I started making drug money was to buy a burial plot.”

The New York Times on Margaret B. Jones, today

In “Love and Consequences,” a critically acclaimed memoir published last week, Margaret B. Jones wrote about her life as a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up in South-Central Los Angeles as a foster child among gang-bangers, running drugs for the Bloods.

The problem is that none of it is true.

Margaret B. Jones is a pseudonym for Margaret Seltzer, who is all white and grew up in the well-to-do Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, with her biological family. She graduated from the Campbell Hall School, a private Episcopal day school in the North Hollywood neighborhood. She has never lived with a foster family, nor did she run drugs for any gang members. Nor did she graduate from the University of Oregon, as she had claimed.

Who busted Margaret B. Jones/Seltzer? Her own sister, after reading last week’s piece in the New York Times (which appeared in the House & Homes section, and concerns itself mostly with Ms. Jones’ home in Eugene, Oregon).

Ms. Seltzer’s older sister, Cyndi Hoffman, saw the article and called Riverhead to tell editors that Ms. Seltzer’s story was untrue…. In a telephone interview, Ms. Seltzer’s sister, Ms. Hoffman, 47, said: “It could have and should have been stopped before now.” Referring to the publisher, she added: “I don’t know how they do business, but I would think that protocol would have them doing fact-checking.”

Yeah, Cyndi, you might think memoirs would come in for a little more scrutiny in this post-James-Frey era. (Or puff pieces in the New York Times about memoirists for that matter.) Guess not.

Finally, guess who helped Ms. Seltzer/Jones get her book deal? A Stranger alum…

Ms. Seltzer said she had been writing about her friends’ experiences for years in creative-writing classes and on her own before a professor asked her to speak with Inga Muscio, an author who was then working on a book about racism. Ms. Seltzer talked about what she portrayed as her experiences and Ms. Muscio used some of those accounts in her book. Ms. Muscio then referred Ms. Seltzer to her agent, Faye Bender, who read some pages that Ms. Seltzer had written and encouraged the young author to write more.

It’s March 4!

posted by on March 4 at 8:35 AM

Another Tuesday, another cluster of Democratic nominating contests. But what do we call this one? Super Tuesday II: Judgment Day? Nightmare on Tuesday, the Return-watch Returns? Presidential Campaigns Die Hard, Part 13?

Anyway, here we are, two months after the Iowa caucuses, with the race for the Democratic nomination still not settled—but perhaps about to be finally settled tonight. Or not.

The real question is: Where will you be when it all happens? Of course you should be here with us on Slog, where we’ll be blogging the results. But if you also want to inhabit a non-virtual space this evening, two parties we’ve heard about are below. (If you know of others, send them to me and I’ll add them to this post.)

But before we get to the parties, here’s the returns schedule, with all times PST: Vermont returns begin to come in at 4 p.m.; Ohio returns at 4:30 p.m.; Rhode Island returns at 6 p.m.; Texas primary returns at 6 p.m.; and the Texas caucuses kick off at 6:15 p.m.

Now the parties. Here’s one at Spitfire:

This Tuesday March 4 come watch the Dems finally choose their candidate – Election results should start coming in around 6pm with all the numb-nut analysis of the pundits to follow. Obama fans will surely be able to celebrate, Clinton fans can argue about why Hil should keep running, or maybe Clinton will be the new ‘comeback kid’, again. Anyhow, Spitfire has 22 TV’s, great food, and lots to drink. If you want a table get there early. Hope to see you.

2219 4th Ave between Bell and Blanchard

And here’s another one at F.X. McRory’s Steak Chop & Oyster House:

Seattle, WA- Grassroots supporters of presidential candidate Barack Obama (D-IL) announced today that they will be holding a “Super Tuesday 2 (TX/OH/RI/VT) Results Watch Party” tomorrow, Tuesday, March 4, starting at 5:00 pm at F.X. McRory’s Steak Chop & Oyster House, located at 419 Occidental Avenue South in the Pioneer Square district part of downtown Seattle.

“With polls showing Senator Obama closing the gap in both Texas and Ohio, it is very unlikely that Senator Clinton will win by a wide enough a margin to justify her continuing in the race, ” said Peter Masundire, media and communications director for the grass-roots group Washington for Obama. “We may wake up on Wednesday morning with a nominee for the Democratic Party” he continued.

In addition to watching the results from the four states coming in, attendees will also get an opportunity to learn about the Legislative District caucuses that take place on April 5th where delegates for legislative districts will be elected.

UPDATE: Another party:

Hey Eli,

This is Toby Crittenden over at the Washington Bus. Thought you’d like to know we’re throwing an election night party tonight at Moe Bar, along with Fuse Washington. It’s the same deal as the Super Fat Tuesday we co-sponsored with you all there, happy hour prices until 8, flat-screen tvs and swag galore. Folks will be there starting at 5:00, and we’ll be holding down the fort until the cows come home (or until the results are in, whichever comes first).

Thanks Eli!

UPDATE: And another…

Hey Eli:

I’ve got one more for you. No fancy organizations behind this party, so bring your own swag and if you have some extra (buttons yard signs or otherwise) bring them to share. We are just a bunch of 43rd Legislative District Delegates meeting up to watch some good political theater at Pazzos on Eastlake. So join us to watch the returns and to discuss the next steps in our states caucus process.

Matthew Stubbs

Pazzo’s Pizza
2307 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102

After Today

posted by on March 4 at 7:45 AM

What’s truly weird about the convention brawl scenario is this: It’s not about the agenda or direction of the party like the infamous brawls in ‘68 and ‘72 that shattered the Democratic Party for a generation.

Indeed, the Democratic Party is actually united for the first time in decades.

But if this thing doesn’t end today, the party is headed straight for some kind of convoluted superdelegate deal or embarrassing televised mess in Denver. So, despite the rare moment of unity, it’ll be the disarray of ‘68 all over again, wrecking the ‘08 momentum.

Sadly, this brawl is about something much less important than the direction of the party. This brawl is about two huge personalities and egos represented by two cults of personality.

McCarthy vs. Humphrey was about Vietnam. McGovern vs.Everybody was about the culture and values of the Party. (Carter vs. Kennedy in ‘80 and Mondale vs. Hart/ Jackson in ‘84 rehashed the same painful Party divide.)

Obama vs. Hillary is about Obama vs. Hillary. It’s a little silly.

The Morning News

posted by on March 4 at 7:27 AM

Just Another Manic Tuesday: There’s some voting thing today. Whatsherface has a lead.

This Can Only End Badly:
Hamas claims victory as Israel pulls out of Gaza. Israel vows to take “further action.”

Gruesome: Parkland couple shot, bathed in acid.

Urine Trouble: Eight British commandos arrested in Norway for stripping and peeing on each other.

Drink Up: Government review says 24-hour liquor sales in the UK are going well.

Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Life, I Learned From the Terminator: Gun toting robots will kill us all.

Fox News finally discovers Cyber Sex.

And now, because no one demanded it, Wilford Brimley and furry midgets:

While Madden Gently Weeps

posted by on March 4 at 7:20 AM

After 750 seasons in the NFL, Brett Favre is officially retiring. ESPN’s round-the-clock coverage begins now.

Rezko, Obama and the Republicans

posted by on March 4 at 6:50 AM

In response to an earlier post by Eli questioning why the media hasn’t jumped all over Obama’s connection with indicted political fund-raiser Tony Rezko, and whether Obama has answered all the questions, a small dose of Illinois politics needs to be added to the conversation. The key question isn’t why the media aren’t digging into this more: it’s why the Republicans haven’t been beating Obama over the head with it. As John Kass put it in a column in the Chicago Tribune Sunday

But the Republicans aren’t swinging. They’re keeping their bats on their shoulders. This should concern Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who will likely face Sen. Obama (D-Rezko/Daley). As most Clinton operatives and Republicans know, Rezko is the indicted political fixer who helped Obama buy his dream house.

The sellers split the parcel in two, one a vacant lot and one with a home. Obama got a $300,000 discount on the house. The Rezkos paid the full asking price for the lot next door. Obama, who keeps insisting he’s told us everything, until something new comes out, admitted recently that he toured the home with Tony before that magical sale. So the real estate fairy sprinkles the magic fairy dust on the Obama dream home. Obama becomes the reform candidate for president, to change American politics as we know it — except of course in Chicago, where the Daley Machine runs things.

All this could have been Republican fodder, with Rezko facing unrelated extortion charges for playing politics the Chicago Way: using government muscle to force business owners into funding political campaigns, with extra cash to stuff a few pockets.

With Rezko’s jury being selected, you might think Republicans would feel some excitement running down their legs, the way liberal pundits tingle with Obamamania, or the way teenage girls respond to photographs of Justin Timberlake. Instead the Republicans are subdued. As I’ve warned before, the Rezko trial isn’t about Obama. It is about Rezko and some Democrats, like Gov. Rod “The Unreformer” Blagojevich. But it also involves Rezko and powerful Illinois Republicans with national reach.

What’s on trial is the Illinois Combine.

The key witness is former Republican power broker and alleged cocaine user Stuart Levine, who will testify he stacked state boards that decide which politically connected investment firms get billions of state pension fund dollars to play with.

Confused? Combine Republicans and Democrats put their friends on those government boards, grease each other up with deals and kickbacks, and squeal with delight. We pay for this bipartisan cooperation in higher taxes, the Chicago Way.

The Rs cannot use this against Obama because it would air too much Republican dirty laundry, exposing the bi-partisan Combine of political hacks that loot the Land of Lincoln. If McCain and Company were bringing this up all the time, then the MSM would be all over it, and in Chicago, they are: it’s just the national folks who don’t seem to notice. But as long as McCain leaves it be, so will the boys and girls on the bus.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Lindy West: Pointless, Shitty, Not as Bad as Mudede!

posted by on March 3 at 6:29 PM

This guy was so mad at me about this column that he sent this mean letter to my Myspace:

yo yo

you know that your column in the stranger serves no purpose right? your,”review,” if we can even call it that of,”Pets,” is worse that Pauline Kale’s review of Farewell Uncle Tom. I understand that the capitol cocaine hipster set has to approach everything with irony,but leave the Grand Illusion and exploitation cinema alone. Granted,you’re not as bad as Charles Mudede name checking fucking Hegel in a movie review,but still,shit is shit.



You’re welcome, Jason! You seem awesome.

But here’s the thing: that was a positive review. I guess I didn’t communicate it clearly enough (must be all this “capitol cocaine” clogging my brainz), but I had the fucking time of my life watching Pets at the Grand Illusion. And are you suggesting that you watch ’70s exploitation films without a hint of irony? Because that’s just weird.

Anyway, I’m sure the Grand Illusion appreciates your crusade to defend it against praise of all kinds.

What’s Up with the Democrats in Olympia?

posted by on March 3 at 5:58 PM

Once again, it looks like the House Democrats in Olympia have botched an environmental bill.

Last week, after the Senate sent it over, they mangled a bill that would have given local governments authority under the Growth Management Act to use carbon emission impacts as a standard for saying yea or nay to developments. (The bill was almost saved late in the week, but a compromise deal kept it impotent.)

Today, they mangled another bill, sent over from the Senate after Senate Majority Leader Sen. Lisa Brown (D-3, Spokane) resurrected it, that would have prevented Glacier Northwest from expanding its strip mining work on Maury Island. The bill, as amended, now allows the Republican commissioner of public lands, Doug Sutherland—a Glacier NW ally—to green-light the company’s environmentally suspect work.

Viaduct Retrofit Delayed

posted by on March 3 at 5:26 PM

After voters rejected both freeway options for replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct in March 2007, the state and city departments of transportation (WSDOT and SDOT) came up with a list of “consensus” projects that could move forward while stakeholders debated what to do with the central waterfront portion of the viaduct. At the time, proponents of the surface/transit option worried about two particular projects—one that would replace the viaduct on the south end from South Holgate to Royal Brougham, and one that would strengthen the existing viaduct from Lenora to the Battery Street Tunnel. Surface/transit backers opposed the former project because it assumed a six-lane freeway on the waterfront, and the latter because it would effectively preclude any non-freeway option.

Well, the first project has reportedly been redesigned beyond recognition, and the second is effectively off the table. The south-end viaduct replacement has, according to People’s Waterfront Coalition co-chair Cary Moon (the earliest advocate for the surface/transit option), been redesigned in a way that could feed into a four-lane urban street, instead of the six-lane freeway the design previously presumed. (The images in WSDOT’s presentation still show six lanes, though.) Even more significantly, state transportation planners have indefinitely postponed the Lenora-to-Battery viaduct retrofit—because, as a WSDOT representative told the council’s viaduct committee this afternoon, “it became obvious that as we were looking at potential solutions for the central waterfront … that a significant portion of this could have to be reworked” if the city and state choose a surface-transit option. “We’re going to wait until we see what the central waterfront solution is before we pull it back off the shelf.”

The PWC’s Moon says WSDOT’s turnaround is “amazing. It’s just great, because that was the one squirrely [project] that forced there to be a highway in the central portion.” Moon notes that at least 15 different organizations wrote letters several months ago asking WSDOT to delay the project, including the PWC, which wrote, “Until the long-term solution is understood and traffic routings and volumes are known, this segment of high-volume, high-speed elevated highway should not be rebuilt.” By delaying the project, Moon says, “they basically said, ‘We heard you.’”

Games: Lost Meets Loading Times

posted by on March 3 at 4:18 PM

I ranted about TV-inspired video games just a few months ago. Generally, they’re crap. Cash-ins. Ways to wring a few extra bucks out of an IP. So why’d I go and get my expectations up for the Lost: Via Domus game?

Not even a year ago, I swore that I’d never watch the show. I’d weaned myself off of network television, particularly any series that were serial, and particularly any serial series that didn’t make any goddamned sense. I’d watched Days of Our Lives as a child, and the whole Hope/Gina amnesia thing… guh, the thought of it makes me sick.

But then I wound up dating a Lost-head, so I was practically forced to watch it all from the beginning and wound up loving the show—well, the stories and characters, not so much the plot twists. When its video game was announced about a year ago, I figured this would be the TV-to-game translation that actually worked. Perhaps the basic gameplay would be average, but the show has a lot in common with the Half-Life game series created just up the road in Bellevue—quality in scripts, acting and implementation of story. (You’ll even find Dharma logos and Hurley’s numbers scattered around Half-Life 2 if you look.)

Lost’s staff loves the show and will treat its game transition properly, I thought. But it’s a shame JJ Abrams didn’t hand the property to HL developer Valve. The “game review” is simple here—in Via Domus, you try to jog a new survivor’s memory by running around the island, talking to castaways, and occasionally running through the jungle. It’s really short. Should only take you a few hours to beat (and half of that time is padded with load times). Controls are awkward, and the game whisks by with only a few out-of-nowhere math/logic puzzles as a challenge. Rent, don’t buy.


But this is more than a merely bad game; everything that makes the TV show immersive and interesting has been gutted. The show’s cast members look like emotionless robots in game form—think the Final Fantasy movie, but much worse. In the first minute, you meet Kate, and while she gripes at you, her face is pretty much stoic, the mouth opening and closing like a puppet. Michael’s worse; his face is frozen in a rigid, bug-eyed state as he talks and yells to find his son (the above photo doesn’t do the in-motion horror justice). Also, most conversations are one-sided like the old Lucasarts games from the 80s and 90s—you ask a simple question, the character speaks a long-winded answer out loud that is supposed to give a hint. The TV show works when its varied characters are forced to interact and struggle, thereby making the oddities of the island real and human. Instead, in the game, you listen to quotes from Tickle-Me-Hurleys while picking up coconuts on the ground to trade to Sawyer for a torch.

This B-movie fare has enough issues—makes no sense to anyone who hasn’t seen the show, is a rip-off at $60 on the Xbox 360 (though it’s cheaper on PC)—but what bugs me is that the game’s shittiness comes off so flippantly. “Nobody’ll care that this game is a beating, cuz, hey, who has expectations for a video game? Get it out in time for the fourth season.” And to drive the point home, flip to the back page of the instruction booklet for a subscription offer for Lost Magazine. Wonder if they have a Q&A with Desmond about his favorite jogging shoes.

Lousy games are nothing new, but a national TV hit like Lost drives new people to games, and all the makers have to show for it is this embarrassment. The next wave of sophisticated, plot-driven games takes another blow—if a slapped-together TV show rehash can instantly sell a few hundred thousand, fewer good games will get funding greenlights, and that means the eventual Heroes game is going to suck total ass. Thanks, JJ.

(And for you Lost-freaks, the story and spoilers are after the jump.)

Continue reading "Games: Lost Meets Loading Times" »

Breaking News—Kandiss Crone Reporting!

posted by on March 3 at 4:18 PM

No, really—she’s actually reporting!

A few weeks ago Kandiss Crone, Teevee News Reporter, went undercover on the mean streets of Jackson, Mississippi. Her assignment: Bust a Jackson-area adult bookstore that was selling “three dimensional devices,” a.k.a. vibrators and dildos, which are illegal in Mississippi and three other states.

Or were illegal. Shortly after Crone filed her first report—which was shortly after the Jackson Police Department told her it had better things to do than bust adult bookstores and shortly before I encouraged readers of “Savage Love” to send Crone their used sex toys for safe disposal—the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Texas couldn’t toss people in jail for two years for selling “obscene devices” because that would violate the 14th Amendment and our right to privacy.

Well, I somehow missed Crone’s February 20 follow-up report. The teevee news journalist informed her viewers that, in the wake of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, it was now legal to sell three dimensional devices in Mississippi. Take it away, Kandiss

Selling sex toys in Mississippi may not get you in trouble anymore.

That’s because the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Texas law banning the sale of the devices violates your constitutional right to privacy. Professor Matthew Steffey from Mississippi College School of Law says since the court’s ruling has binding authority in Mississippi, it will be nearly impossible to enforce the Magnolia state’s current law against sex toy sales.

Jackson residents we spoke with say Mississippi’s law is absurd, given the fact that this state is only one of four where selling such adult items is a crime.

It’s too bad that Kandiss didn’t speak to some of those sensible, level-headed Jackson residents before filing her first report. Crone’s initial report, you’ll recall, was crude and sensationalistic and stopped just short of demanding that the police raid Jackson’s adult bookstore, seize their illegal stock of vibrators, and execute the store’s owner. Had Kandiss included a few of those comments in her first report—what’s that called again? oh, yeah: balance—then maybe I wouldn’t have blown my stack, published Crone’s email address ( in my column, and encouraged my readers to send her angry letters (and expired dildos). A comment or two from sex educators about the heath benefits of using sex toys would’ve rounded the report out nicely. (And for the record: Mississippi’s ban on sex toys wasn’t absurd because the state was only one of four that banned their sale. Even if all fifty states banned the sale of sex toys, Kandiss, Mississippi’s law would still be stupid, unenforceable, and, thanks to Lawrence v. Texas, unconstitutional.)

Still, it’s nice to see that Kandiss Crone, Teevee News Reporter, filed a follow-up—and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that her second report was more balanced. I think all the angry letters sent to Crone by “Savage Love” readers, which can be read here (scroll down), had an impact. Good work, gang.

Re: “Offends the Internet”

posted by on March 3 at 4:16 PM

That Wonkette parody is funny.

Ironically, the headline reminds me of a desperate Bush 1 bumper sticker from 1992 when Herbert Walker was about to get knocked out by the other Clinton.

It said: “Annoy the Media. Vote Bush.”

Full circle?

The Canada Connection

posted by on March 3 at 4:15 PM

In addition to the return of Rezko, there’s another storyline that’s been giving Obama trouble lately.

To begin at the beginning: While Obama has been strongly criticizing NAFTA on the campaign trail, especially in Ohio where many voters blame the agreement for costing their state jobs, Canadian media recently reported that an Obama aide privately told the Canadian government not to take Obama’s NAFTA criticisms seriously.

Within the last month, a top staff member for Obama’s campaign telephoned Michael Wilson, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, and warned him that Obama would speak out against NAFTA, according to Canadian sources.

The staff member reassured Wilson that the criticisms would only be campaign rhetoric, and should not be taken at face value.

The Obama campaign has strongly pushed back against this story, but it acknowledged today that Obama’s senior economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, had indeed spoken to a Canada’s consul general in Chicago about Obama’s NAFTA rhetoric. There’s even a memo written by a consulate staffer about the meeting. It says, among other things, that Goolsbee “cautioned that this [NAFTA] messaging should not be taken out of context and should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans.”

The Obama campaign says Goolsbee’s remarks were misconstrued, and Obama himself said the same today in a reportedly heated press availability. The Canadian government has issued a press release saying something similar. And Obama is trying to throw this all back in Clinton’s face:

Let me just be absolutely clear what happened… The Canadian Consulate in Chicago contacted one of my advisers, Austan Goolsbee, on their own initiative, invited them down to meet with them. He met with them as a courtesy. At some point they strated talking about trade and Nafta and the Canadian Embassy confirmed that he said exactly what I have been saying on the campaign trail.

So this notion that Senator Clinton is peddling that somehow there is contradictions, or winks and nods, has been disputed by all the parties involved. What has not been disputed is that Senator Clinton and her husband championed Nafta, worked on behalf of Nafta, called it a victory, called it “good for America,” until she started running for president.

I know the Clinton campaign has been true to its word in employing a kitchen sink strategy. … It doesn’t change the facts.

The reaction up north? Well…

Potential Clinton Ohio Victory Offends Internet

posted by on March 3 at 3:12 PM


It’s the same crap they’ve been pulling for decades: an egomaniacal “win” leads to demonic “momentum” which gives them a racist “chance” at becoming Hitlerish “president.” What Hillary’s done with this Ohio poll is only the bitchy “tip” of the tranny “mountain” of… lies. She lies all the time!

A Question for the AP Reporter Covering the Eco-Arson in Woodinville…

posted by on March 3 at 2:59 PM

If they were really “seven-figure dream homes,” then how come no one had bought them?

(This provides some of the answer, as does this and this.)

Obviously, I don’t condone burning down houses (even unoccupied, unsold “eco-dream homes”)—for one thing, it obliterates the efforts of mainstream enviros to get the word out about the real, catastrophic climate impacts of choices like living in the suburbs. But the statement the ELF allegedly spray-painted on a sign at the arson scene—“McMansions in [rural cluster developments] r not green,” is neither debatable nor particularly controversial.

Return of Rezko

posted by on March 3 at 2:25 PM

Tony Rezko, the Chicago real estate investor and political maneuverer who once sold Barack Obama a plot of land, is back in the news because his trial is getting underway. (Trial liveblog here.) And that means more questions for Obama about his relationship with Rezko—questions that Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, claims he’s already answered, and that the investigative reporters covering the Rezko story claim he has not.

On ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday, Axelrod had this exchange with Stephanopoulos:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Before you go there, David, let me just follow up on one point, because Lynn Sweet writes in the Chicago Sun-Times, I believe it was yesterday, that in fact Senator Obama has not sat down with the Chicago reporters who are most familiar with the Rezko case. Is he willing to do that, or is Ms. Sweet wrong, in your opinion?

AXELROD: I think she is wrong. We’ve talked to reporters from — and he’s talked to reporters from both papers several times in several sessions about this, and each time the conclusion is the same: There’s no evidence of any wrongdoing related to Mr. Rezko.

On her newspaper’s blog, Sweet responds:

On Sunday, the chief strategist for the Obama campaign disagreed with my conclusion where I wrote that Obama has not talked to reporters who know the Tony Rezko story the best.

For more than a year, that has been a pretty small group of investigative journalists—from the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. I checked with the Sun-Times reporters before I wrote my column and rechecked again. They all said they have never had a chance to discuss Rezko with Obama.

At a press conference in San Antonio today, Obama did take some questions about Rezko from the traveling political reporters, but didn’t provide any new information. He said:

I entered into a real estate transaction with him where I bought a strip of land under an adjacent land he purchased. I said that was a mistake cause there was already a cloud over Tony Rezko. There has been no allegatiosn I did anything wrong, no allegations that I traded the public trust, no allegations that I did him favors. We have disgorged all the money (associated with him). That is the extent of the story.

I understand this is a hot story at this point cause there is a covergence of a trial that is unrelated to me as a presidential candidate.

Who’s prosecuting Rezko? Why that would be Democratic hero Patrick Fitzgerald.

I Defy You To Read This and Not Think of Mitt Romney

posted by on March 3 at 1:58 PM

At Cynical-C, there’s a link to A Mormon’s Guide to Overcoming Masturbation. A few suggestions:

6. If the temptation seems overpowering while you are in bed, GET OUT OF BED! Go into the kitchen and make a snack, even if it is in the middle of the night, and even if you are not hungry. The purpose behind this suggestion is that you GET YOUR MIND ON SOMETHING ELSE. You are the subject of your thoughts, so to speak.


9. Pray. But when you pray, don’t pray about this problem, for that will tend to keep it in your mind more than ever. Pray for faith, pray for understanding of the Scriptures, pray for members of your family who need help. Pray for your friends, BUT KEEP THE PROBLEM OUT OF YOUR MIND BY NOT MENTIONING IT EVEN IN YOUR PRAYERS. KEEP IT OUT of your mind! The attitude of a person toward his problem has an affect on how easy it is to overcome. It is essential that a firm commitment be made to control the habit. As a person understands his reasons for the behavior, and is sensitive to the conditions or situations that may trigger a desire for the act, he develops the power to control it.


20. Set up a reward system for your successes. It does not have to be a big reward. A dollar in a jar for every day you don’t masturbate. At the end of the month you can buy something you like. If you don’t make it to the end of the month, donate the money in the jar to charity - this one works quite well.

Friends, if masturbation is a foe to overcome, you can consider me France.

Look at What I Found at Walgreens: Peanut Butter Whoppers

posted by on March 3 at 1:17 PM


And yeah, they’re awesome.

Required Reading

posted by on March 3 at 1:14 PM

After years of listening to David Brooks go on and on and on about how real Americans loved the exurbs—we can’t get enough of those big yards, soulless bedroom communities, and long commutes—I was thrilled to read this piece in The Atlantic yesterday.

Pent-up demand for urban living is evident in housing prices. Twenty years ago, urban housing was a bargain in most central cities. Today, it carries an enormous price premium. Per square foot, urban residential neighborhood space goes for 40 percent to 200 percent more than traditional suburban space in areas as diverse as New York City; Portland, Oregon; Seattle; and Washington, D.C….

Author Christopher Leinberger points out that American exurbs are likely to suffer the same fate that American inner cities did from the ’50s to the ’80s: soaring crime rates, deteriorating schools, falling property values…

The experience of cities during the 1950s through the ’80s suggests that the fate of many single-family homes on the metropolitan fringes will be resale, at rock-bottom prices, to lower-income families—and in all likelihood, eventual conversion to apartments….

As the residents of inner-city neighborhoods did before them, suburban homeowners will surely try to prevent the division of neighborhood houses into rental units, which would herald the arrival of the poor. And many will likely succeed, for a time. But eventually, the owners of these fringe houses will have to sell to someone, and they’re not likely to find many buyers; offers from would-be landlords will start to look better, and neighborhood restrictions will relax. Stopping a fundamental market shift by legislation or regulation is generally impossible.

Which suburbs will avoid this fate? According to Leinberger suburbs and exurbs served by commuter rail—particularly those with walkable urban-ish centers (older suburbs with small retail strips in their “downtowns areas” or newer developments with “lifestyle centers”)—may buck the trend. But as gas prices continue to rise and more people choose walkable cities over car-dependent exurbs, the fate of McMansions will be sealed: they will become, Leinberger argues, “the new slums.”

So… exurbanites? Want to make sure your property holds its value? Want to avoid owning a crumbling McMansion surrounded by foreclosed properties sold off to aspiring slumlords? Agitate for light rail, I guess, and cross your fingers. Or sell now and move to the cities.

Read the whole piece here.

From WaPo to MoDo

posted by on March 3 at 1:13 PM

Meanwhile, as I was getting all upset (whoops, hysterical!) about Charlotte Allen’s idiotic “chicks are dumb” op/ed in the Washington Post, Maureen Dowd has a column this week that literally compares Hillary to Andrea Yates (the mom who murdered her kids) and “Mommie Dearest,” calls her campaign “hysterical,” and says Clinton “snipped” at a reporter on Nightline—”tangled in her own victimhood.” Poor lil’ MoDo—who will she attack when she doesn’t have Hils to kick around anymore? Michele Obama better watch her back.

Destroying the Democratic Nominee in an Attempt to Save a Candidacy?

posted by on March 3 at 1:05 PM

The Clinton campaign thinks it has—finally—found a way to gain traction against Obama on the potentially election-defining issue of national security.

The strategy is: Discount Obama’s Iraq war opposition as just an old speech from before he was in the Senate (which Clinton has been doing for a while now), but pair that attack with an argument that while Obama was in the Senate he not only had a much more nuanced take on the Iraq war than he currently lets on, but also fell down on his job as chair of a subcommittee overseeing NATO operations in Afghanistan.

I have no idea why it’s taken the Clinton campaign so long to come up with this attack formula, but it’s a more potent one than they’ve trotted out in the past. It hits Obama on style (relying heavily on the power of words) and on substance (his actions, and non-actions, in the Senate). And, whether you agree with the attack or not, it does add some heft to the long-running Clinton critique: That while Obama sure sounds good, he’s just not ready or experienced enough to lead America in a dangerous world.

But coming so late, does this line of attack risk softening Obama up on national security in a way that ends up benefiting John McCain far more than Clinton? We’ll find out tomorrow whether Clinton has saved her candidacy with this, but if she hasn’t, and she stays in and keeps up this drumbeat, it seems to me that she’s going to do real harm to the Democrats’ chances in November.

It also seems to me that her campaign knows this—and perhaps doesn’t care? Here’s the latest memo to land in my in-box from Clinton strategist Mark Penn:

To: Interested Parties

From: Mark Penn

Date: Monday, March 03, 2008

Re: Why Hillary Clinton is Ready to be Commander-in-Chief

In the last few days, serious and significant question about Senator Barack Obama have been raised, which have made this election a test about who is ready to be Commander-in-Chief on day one. We believe that after the votes are counted tomorrow, only one candidate will have passed that test, and that will be Hillary Clinton.

In fact, just by raising the issue, we have seen a defensive reaction from Sen. Obama and his campaign. The bottom line: If Sen. Obama can’t convince voters in his own party that he is the best able to protect our country, how will he convince all Americans in a general election against Sen. McCain?

Just over three years ago, Barack Obama was a state senator in Springfield, Illinois. During that time, in 2002, he delivered his Iraq speech at an anti-war rally. That’s the same speech Barack Obama is using as his major qualification to be Commander-in-Chief of the United States.

In 2004, when he was running for the United States Senate, Barack Obama struck a very different tone. He said that his position on the war was the same as George Bush’s. Then, after he arrived in the US Senate, Obama voted the same way as Hillary Clinton. In fact, it took him 17 months to deliver a speech in the Senate against the Iraq war.

When it comes to the war in Afghanistan, Senator Obama has said that we should be doing far more, and that the United States has abdicated responsibility in Afghanistan. Obama made this claim while he was in charge of the subcommittee with oversight over NATO in Afghanistan – and yet he didn’t hold a single meeting. When asked about his inaction, Obama admitted: “I became chairman of this committee at the beginning of this campaign, at the beginning of 2007. So, it is true that we haven’t had oversight hearings on Afghanistan.”

National security is the first and most solemn duty of the President. Every president makes that pledge when they take the oath of office – to protect and defend our country. Our next president has a job to do – to end the war in Iraq and win the war in Afghanistan, while keeping our nation safe.

Hillary Clinton has the strength and experience to give our country a better and safer future. She has the support of 30 generals and admirals. They believe she has met every test to be Commander-in-Chief on day one…

If Barack Obama says it’s fear mongering to talk about how Senator Clinton will protect America, he is going to have a rough time up against John McCain. This is not a debate he can duck with two wars going on. Hillary is best prepared to go toe-to-toe with John McCain. She is the best candidate to end the war in Iraq, keep us safe, and restore our credibility around the world on day one.

Death Star Hotel

posted by on March 3 at 12:58 PM


This 521-foot-high hotel is coming to Baku, Azerbaijan, either to host a bunch of Imperial forces or obliterate the local population with a giant death ray. They call it “Full Moon” but they are not fooling us: this is a fully armed, fully operational battle station.

What is the power of the Death Star? What gives its idea so much force in the constellation of our thoughts? The Death Star is our sun gone terribly wrong. Our sun in a state of madness. This madness is much like the one that seizes Ajax in Sophocle’s tragedy. The tragedy of being for and not against the void. For the void to turn black the sun is the absolute negative.

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

posted by on March 3 at 12:42 PM

Pleasureboaters photo by Morgan Keuler.

King Cobra’s Grand Opening: Thrashing, headbanging, and air guitar everywhere.

The Fleet Foxes: Part one of their tour diary.

Saviours: Innovative stoners.

The Party that Never Happened: And the pictures that don’t exist.

Elmotorhead: More “Muppets Meet Metal” art.

New NIN: Trent Reznor goes the way of Radiohead, offering part of his two-disc surprise record last night for free.

Tonight in Music: Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks and Lake of Falcons w/the Ironclads.

The Pharmacy’s CD Release Show: In fantastic photos.

The Pharmacy’s CD Release Show: In fantastic words.

The Pharmacy’s CD Release Show: In chaotic video.

Jeff Healy: The bluesman died of cancer at age 41.

Only in Dreams: Trent Moorman interprets the images in a metal drummer’s head.

Pela: Had to cancel their tour (including tomorrow’s Seattle date) due to injury.

Mick Jagger: The Hells Angels tried to kill him!

And join us this Thursday for the best show of the year (so far)…


Hillary Surging in Ohio

posted by on March 3 at 12:27 PM

Perhaps it’s a little premature to speculate about Hillary setting a timetable for withdrawal if she tanks tomorrow in Ohio and Texas. Current polling shows Hillary’s lead in Ohio growing, not shrinking, despite Obama pouring millions into that state in hopes of delivering a “knock-out blow.”

What Was I Thinking…

posted by on March 3 at 12:17 PM

… giving Slog’s Lobbyist of the Year Award to the lone lobbyist from the Statewide Poverty Action Network, the young woman—on track to make about $21,000 a year judging from her January disclosure report— who single-handedly killed an evil bill from the loan industry and passed a landmark bill that regulates the loan industry?

Silly me.

Obviously, Slog’s Lobbyist of the Year Award should have gone to a much more influential and powerful crowd: The 12-lobbyist team for the Building Industry Association of Washington. So, congratulations to Elliot Swaney, Tom McCabe, Trent Matson, Andrew Cook, Thomas Kwieciak, Eric Lohnes, Brian Minnich etc. Great work making sure that the environmentalist “Local Solutions” bill to establish carbon emissions as a standard for approving development projects went pfffft.

Despite how trendy and P.C. global warming is, the stalwart band of BIAW lobbyists were able to defy the near-supermajority Democratic stronghold in Olympia and keep the global warming whiners at bay.

Clearly, these folks know how to run a lobbying shop.

In the month of January alone, the BIAW gave its hefty crew $35,175 to work with—including paying for lunches for Reps and Senators—like a $17-per-person luncheon in Minority Leader Rep. Richard DeBolt’s (R-20, Chehalis) office.

Oh, and don’t worry, I’m certainly not shortchanging the hard-working ladies in Olympia by taking the award away from Kim Justice and giving it to Team BIAW. Four of the twelve-member team are chicks (although only three of them got paid in January, two of them getting the lowest pay of the bunch).

And the gang does include Julie Nichols.

I know Kim Justice is supposed to be this super fox and all—and obviously that’s the real reason I originally gave her the award—but sorry Kim, Julie Nichols is a super duper fox. And she’s straight!

Slog Poll: What Should Hillary Do?

posted by on March 3 at 12:05 PM

This question gets a little bit ahead of the facts. But it’s worth asking because so many people have been talking in recent days about what Hillary Clinton should do after tomorrow’s contests in delegate-rich Texas and Ohio. (Oh, and in delegate-poor Rhode Island and Vermont, too.)

There are a lot of possible scenarios for March 4. Clinton could lose both Ohio and Texas. She could win Ohio but lose Texas. Or she could win Ohio, win the Texas primary, and lose the Texas caucus. (Because, in an arrangement that makes Washington’s caucus-and-primary madness look brilliant, Texas has both a Democratic caucus and a Democratic primary, both on the same day, both of them counting toward delegate apportionment.)

Clinton suggested today that she’ll fight on no matter what happens tomorrow, saying: “I’m just getting warmed up.

But for the purposes of this poll, let’s take as our starting point the marker that Bill Clinton laid down in late February. That is, that Hillary Clinton probably can’t be the nominee if she doesn’t win both Ohio and Texas tomorrow.

Which brings us to the question. Read it carefully so you know what you’re answering:

If Hillary Clinton loses both Ohio and Texas tomorrow, should she drop out of the race?

Today on the Tube

posted by on March 3 at 12:01 PM

In case you missed it…

Posted by YouTube videocafeblog

John McCain: No Money, ‘Mo Problems

posted by on March 3 at 11:58 AM

The estimated campaign contribution totals for the last two months are in, and John McCain may have a serious money problem on his hands:

McCain: $24 million.

Clinon and Obama combined: $130 million

The reaction? Pretty much what you would expect, via the always informative Jonathan Martin:

At this point in the campaign, nothing seems to alarm Republicans more than the incessant sound of ringing cash registers coming from the other party. The jaw-dropping fundraising by Democrats — and Obama in particular — is leading Republican officials both in and out of McCain’s campaign to think that they’ll never be able to match the war chests of their likely rivals. And this from a party that traditionally has pummeled Democrats when it comes to fundraising.

As for the candidate himself? He’s taking it in stride. I guess:

Asked by reporters at a campaign stop here how much he brought in last month, McCain said he was only certain of one thing.

“I can assure you it’s not nearly the amount raised by Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton,” he said with a chuckle. “We’ve got a ways to go to catch up with them.”

A late quote from Rick Perry, Republican governor of Texas, sums up the McCain path to victory over the perceived threat of being outspent by millions from either an Obama or Clinton candidacy:

“There’s a point in time where money is not what matters, ideas are what matters,” Perry said, speaking after a McCain event near Austin. “And I think that’s the big difference — [examining] John McCain and what he believes in versus Obama and his socialist agenda will be a very eye-opening moment for Americans.”

To the Person Who Tagged the Granite Sculpture at 21st and Union

posted by on March 3 at 11:44 AM

May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits, crotch, and spray-paint nozzles.


Poster of the Day

posted by on March 3 at 11:34 AM


Or should we go fuck ourselves?

Thanks to Slog tipper Will.

I Officially Love Ellen Page

posted by on March 3 at 11:33 AM


In the wake of mainstream speculation about her sexual orientation, Juno darling Ellen Page toyed with the hype in a strange and brilliant sketch this weekend on Saturday Night Live.

(Thank you, Defamer.)

Re: Just Kidding

posted by on March 3 at 11:32 AM

If I was the Washington Post’s editorial page editor, I’d just quietly repudiate Charlotte Allen’s idiotic op/ed (which argued, in part, that women are “stupid” and should learn to “not mind the fact that way down deep, we are … kind of dim”). Something simple, like, “Although the Washington Post’s policy is to present a range of opinions, we recognize the difference between a legitimate opinion and a categorical insult targeted at an entire class of people. We would never have run such an op/ed had it been directed at a certain race or religious group. We regret the error in judgment.”)

Instead, they’re calling it a joke.


For context, here’s Allen in 2001, writing about Laura Doyle’s controversial book “The Surrendered Wife”:

For example, Doyle advises: “Let your husband handle the finances.” I’ve been doing that for years, as I can’t add or subtract. The last time I even tried to balance my checkbook was in 1989. Let him take the wheel of the car, Doyle admonishes, and “don’t correct him by telling him where to turn.” Fine by me—I hate to drive, and I’d rather look at the scenery than keep track of a bunch of damn street signs. Doyle says you should say, “I need the help of a big strong man,” when you want him to lift something large and heavy that you don’t feel like lifting. Got a problem with that, Betty Friedan? I don’t. “Make yourself available at least once a week” for marital sex, even if you don’t feel like it. What? Only once a week?

Here she is in 2002, writing about an aspiring female firefighter who challenged the NYFD’s physical fitness test:

We want our firefighters to be able to carry victims out of harm’s way in their arms if need be, and our soldiers to be able to go hand to hand against a murderous enemy.

Sorry, Brenda Berkman (and we appreciate your efforts on September 11), but sometimes, perhaps most of the time, those are jobs that only a guy can do, and if we lower our standards because some women may feel bad about not living up to them, it is going to cost lives. It took an act of monstrous criminality to show us this, but we now know that the crisis of masculinity is over and some of the worst excesses of affirmative action may be over. We’ve come to appreciate that there’s nothing like a guy.

And here she is in 2005, responding to Harvard president Lawrence Summers’ assertion that men predominate in science because of innate differences between the sexes :

Even if you’re not up on the scientific research – a paper Mr. Summers cited demonstrating that, while women overall are just as smart as men, significantly fewer women than men occupy the very highest intelligence brackets that produce scientific genius – common sense tells you that Mr. Summers has got to be right.

Asserting that men and women are innately identical is, in strictly scientific terms, like asserting (as the Nazis did) that Jews are an inferior race or (as the Marxists did) that the history of the world can be explained as a process of class struggle.

Let’s remember, also, that this is the woman who wrote an editorial titled “Why Are Airline Flight Attendants So Awful—and So Ugly?”; made fun of “radical leftist” college courses like critical race theory and “nonviolent responses to terrorism”; and suggested that women who don’t want to become “bag ladies” should shut up and get married. What a kidder!

Street of Dreams

posted by on March 3 at 11:27 AM

The PI:

Explosive devices were found inside multimillion-dollar show homes that burned in a suburb north of Seattle Monday, fire officials said. Authorities also found a spray-painted sign purportedly left by a radical environmental group at the scene.

The story goes on to report that the four houses that burned were for sale, and that, owing to the market conditions, realtors were having a hard time lining up buyers. An explosive device was hidden in a fifth houses, but it failed to ignite. That house has a buyer lined up… a buyer that might be having second thoughts about living in a house that someone else wants to burn to the ground.

Re: Comments…

posted by on March 3 at 11:20 AM

To add to Dan’s post, here’s another recent sighting of a Slog-admired blogger who’s been grappling with what to do about comments.

From Ben Smith on Feb. 17:

I just wanted to take advantage of a (relatively) slow news day to make a quick point about comments. They are, ideally, ideas, not rants; content, not therapy. They’re at their best when you’re sharing something somebody else might want to read — a fact, an opinion, an argument.

Attacking me and others is, among other things, extremely boring.

I fought to have an unmoderated, open comments section when this blog launched because I really like the free flow of information, and I think moderation and registration sometimes push away the occasional poster who has some specific piece of knowledge to add on a given thread.

But I’m also starting to get a lot of complaints, and requests for moderation, because over the last few weeks, the conversation has sometimes degenerated a bit.

Smith goes on to say that for now he’s in favor of keeping his blog’s “light touch” approach to moderating comments. But he adds a caveat that could apply just as well to the political posts in Slog-land:

The only thing these comments affect, in aggregate, is the reputation of the candidate who commenters support. Obama’s online enthusiasm is a marvel, and has gotten him a lot of justifiably good press; the venom from his supporters across the blogosphere has the opposite effect. As with Dean in 2004, it freaks out people in the middle.

Anyway, for now, I’d just like to ask some commenters to treat this more like a conversation, less like the wall in a public bathroom.

And thanks so much to those who are keeping up the smart, sane conversation, a fairly rare thing in the comments section of a political blog these days.

I’m under no illusions about the likelihood of getting an unmoderated comment thread on a political blog to sound like Plato’s Symposium. (UPDATE: Oops, I meant Plato’s Republic, but Symposium kinda works too.) But as far as the appreciative shout-out to the smart and the sane: What Ben said.

Two Things You Should Read

posted by on March 3 at 11:14 AM

Over at the New York Review of Books, the ever-delightful (except for that one book) Nicholson Baker goes on at length about Wikipedia:

The Pop-Tarts page is often aflutter. Pop-Tarts, it says as of today (February 8, 2008), were discontinued in Australia in 2005. Maybe that’s true. Before that it said that Pop-Tarts were discontinued in Korea. Before that Australia. Several days ago it said: “Pop-Tarts is german for Little Iced Pastry O’ Germany.” Other things I learned from earlier versions: More than two trillion Pop-Tarts are sold each year. George Washington invented them. They were developed in the early 1960s in China. Popular flavors are “frosted strawberry, frosted brown sugar cinnamon, and semen.” Pop-Tarts are a “flat Cookie.” No: “Pop-Tarts are a flat Pastry, KEVIN MCCORMICK is a FRIGGIN LOSER notto mention a queer inch.” No: “A Pop-Tart is a flat condom.” Once last fall the whole page was replaced with “NIPPLES AND BROCCOLI!!!!!

And then, at the New York Times Book Review, Colson Whitehead, who I adore, is talking about the problems with being a writer from Brooklyn when everybody who lives in Brooklyn is a writer:

In fact, the physical act of moving your possessions from Manhattan to Brooklyn is now the equivalent of a two-year M.F.A. program. When you get to the other side, they hand you three Moleskine notebooks and a copy of Blogging for Dummies. You’re good to go.

A lot of this article was previously read at Whitehead’s Seattle Arts and Lectures talk, but his writing is always worth a look, especially when he goes on about that old film, The Warriors.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 3 at 11:00 AM


Tough Guys Don’t Dance at Grand Illusion

The ideal movies to see at Grand Illusion’s jewel-box theater are old (the small screen is best suited to films with squareish aspect ratios, common during the 1950s and before) and slightly seedy (it’s the Upper Ave). Bingo: a program of rarely seen films by B-movie specialist Phil Karlson, with mob operatives, a Korean War vet suffering from a traumatic brain injury, and—in Five Against the House—an early role for Vertigo’s Kim Novak. (Grand Illusion, 1403 NE 50th St, 523-3935. Five Against the House at 7 pm, The Brothers Rico at 9 pm, $5–$8.)


Def Dime

posted by on March 3 at 10:53 AM

It’s been up for a few weeks now, but I have to express my love for this:


Good job, whoever put this up in a couple different locations. It might not be art, but I think it’s real purty.

Tell Sound Transit What You Think

posted by on March 3 at 10:50 AM


Puget Sound residents have until March 9 to fill out an online survey and give their opinions on the future of Sound Transit.

According to the site: “The survey will help Sound Transit decide how best to tackle increasingly poor commuting conditions with the right expansions of regional light rail, commuter rail and express bus service and infrastructure.”

The information will be used to determine what transit-expansion plan has the most support. The results of the survey will be presented to the Sound Transit Board in mid-March.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on March 3 at 10:35 AM

By Whatsthatbug?

Currently Hanging

posted by on March 3 at 10:30 AM

Molly Landreth’s Meg and Renee, Denny Blaine Beach, WA (2006), digital pigment print

At Photographic Center Northwest.


posted by on March 3 at 10:30 AM

Andrew Sullivan’s blog doesn’t have them—it never has. Now he’s thinking about adding them. Says Andrew

Most other blogs have them; they give readers a place to write and vent and discuss. No one has to read them. The experience of reading the Dish would not be affected if you don’t like comments by a little extra spinach at the end of posts. I’d keep doing what I’ve always done - which is read your emails and post the best - but readers would also be able to comment spontaneously, without my filter. Some have criticized this blog for not having them, as if I’m scared or something. My only worry is personal, anti-gay or anti-HIV diatribes. But they’re out there anyway, I suppose, and tend to indict the emailer rather than yours truly. So what the hell?

Andrew hasn’t decided to add comments. He’s asking his readers to vote—as many times as they’d like—about whether or not he should add comments. So far, with 4100+ votes counted, it’s 61% against adding comments.

Video of Obama on Gay Rights in Beaumont, Texas

posted by on March 3 at 10:20 AM

I wrote about this on Friday. Here’s the video…

Pre-Spinning Texas and Ohio

posted by on March 3 at 10:15 AM

As anyone who’s watched the Democratic debates knows, Hillary Clinton doesn’t do hypotheticals. But her spokesman sure does.

Here, via Ben Smith, is some hypothetical pre-positioning from a conference call today with Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson:

“Let’s say we do win in Texas and Ohio,” he said. “Then we will be able to say that we’ve won Texas, Ohio, New York, California, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Tennessee, New Mexico, and Arizona, a diverse set fo states from coast to coast, north, south, east, and west, red and blue.”

“Senator Obama came into Ohio and Texas with every possible strategic advantage. He outspent us massively. His allies outspent us massively . He and his allies have declared the race over so many times I can’t even count,” he said, hypothetically. “And despite that we have been successful.”

“If he can’t compete with us on who can be commander-in-chief, who can be a steward of this economy, he can’t compete with John McCain on these issues,” he said.

Reading Tonight

posted by on March 3 at 10:05 AM


There are three open mics tonight, and four other readings that are, shall we say, maybe not general-audience happy.

Kim Harrison (who I wrote about yesterday when she read at Third Place with The Outlaw Demon Wails, the new entry in her horror/romance/thriller series) is at the University Bookstore tonight. One commenter yesterday read the series and loves it, two others hate the fact that their titles are bad plays on Clint Eastwood movie titles.

Tonight at Third Place Books, Isabel Stenzel Byrnes and Anabel Stenzel will be reading from The Power of Two : A Twin Triumph over Cystic Fibrosis, which is “ultimately a story of perseverance and hope.” Lots of people with cystic fibrosis and friends and families of people with cystic fibrosis are saying that this is a good book about the subject.

Thomas Moore is at Elliott Bay Book Company, reading from A Life at Work: The Joy of Discovering What You Were Born to Do Moore also wrote Care of the Soul. He’s a former Catholic monk and he wants to help you “find sacredness in everyday living by inviting soul” into your life. I’m willing to bet that his spiritual philosophy isn’t against buying more bullshit, especially self-help books.

Lastly, Eavan Boland reads at the Intiman. It’s one of those pricey deals—$20 tickets, $10 if you’re a student—but I’m fond of her poetry, which is kind of like Billy Collins’ cut-to-the-chase style without all the preciousness. Here’s a bit of her poem “The Pomegranate:” “The only legend I have ever loved is/the story of a daughter lost in hell./And found and rescued there./Love and blackmail are the gist of it.”

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

Strike a Pose

posted by on March 3 at 9:52 AM


The Gay Recluse, a blogger in New York City, is hosting a contest. After posting some pics of hot gay statues in Washington Heights (including the shot above), TGR has set out to find the neighborhood in America with the hottest gay statuary. Here are the rules…

The statues must be in (at least) a quasi-public place—as opposed to a private collection—in which members of the general public can observe the statuary in question without paying an admission fee.

The statues must be in the United States (because everyone knows Europe is basically overflowing with hot gay statues); that said, we won’t discourage our European readers (or anyone else) from submitting snaps, although you obviously won’t be eligible for the top designation.

Statues of either gender are acceptable, but we expect photographs to be taken with a “gay eye” and we will judge entries accordingly. Obviously, the statues must be smokin’ hot.

Seattle was still in its infancy when the Age of Hot Gay Statuary passed into history, so I’m not sure we’ll be able to compete with Chicago, Boston, New York, St. Louis, etc. And for the record… there’s nothing homoerotic about this.

Just Kidding

posted by on March 3 at 9:45 AM

That Sunday Washington Post opinion piece that infuriated feminist bloggers? The editor of the piece tells Politico it was meant in jest:

“If it insulted people, that was not the intent,” Outlook editor John Pomfret told me this morning, calling the piece “tongue-in-cheek.”

That’s not the only Post opinion piece that upset people on Sunday. There was also this, by Linda Hirschman:

Black voters of all socioeconomic classes are voting for the black candidate. Men are voting for the male candidate regardless of race or class. But even though this is also a year with the first major female presidential candidate, women are split every way they can be. They’re the only voting bloc not voting their bloc.


posted by on March 3 at 9:45 AM

Here are my favorite passages in a short essay about the importance and uses of Shakespeare in modern India:

There are three reasons why many young Indians including students of English Literature shy away from Shakespeare. One common complaint that students have is that: “Shakespeare writes in difficult English, madam”.
In their book, India’s Shakespeare: Translation, Interpretation and Performance, Poonam Trivedi and Dennis Bartholomeusz provide an exhaustive history of Shakespeare in India. The first performance of “The Taming of the Shrew” in Gujarati was held in Surat, in 1852. A 1903 Gujarati “Othello” became so popular that the male actor playing Desdemona adopted “Sundari”, the heroine’s name in this version, as his permanent stage name.
“The Magic Hour in Khelkali”, combined two stories of William Shakespeare, “Othello” and “A Mid Summer Night’s Dream” with scenes from Kathakali stories.
But if we want to keep Shakespeare alive for this generation of young people, we have to make him speak to them in their idiom. Shakespeare in comic form or Shakespeare performed in Tamil. It doesn’t matter. And, who knows, one day these young people might just decide to blow up their money over a copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare instead of over an Espresso at Café Coffee Day. Either way though, Shakespeare wouldn’t mind.

Negative and Positive in Texas

posted by on March 3 at 9:25 AM

Clinton’s new Texas ad:

And Obama’s new two-minute Texas spot:

Jesus Christ, War Criminal

posted by on March 3 at 9:25 AM

The liberal blogs aren’t going to let this rest: Barack Obama was forced to denounce and reject—or was it reject and denounce?—Louis Farrakhan after the bigoted leader of the nutty Nation of Islam endorsed him. Barack didn’t seek Farrakhan’s endorsement, never met with Farrakhan, etc. Days later John McCain welcomed the support of John Hagee, an evangelical pastor with all sorts of bigoted things to say about, well, everybody—but particularly Catholics.

Anyway, the whole world is sifting through past nutty statements of John Hagee, and today John at Americablog posted this.gem

HAGEE: All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are—were recipients of the judgment of God for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades. So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing. I know that there are people who demur from that, but I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the day of judgment. And I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.

I wrote about this in my book The Commitment—not about Hagee, but about other evangelicals that claimed that the earthquake and tsunami that killed a quarter of a million people in Asia was God’s way of expressing his displeasure with gay marriage in Massachusetts. The same folks argue that God sent Katrina to punish New Orleans for tolerating gays in general and welcoming Southern Decadence, an admittedly sleazy gay street party. (Straight visitors to New Orleans, of course, are always very well behaved, completely sober, fully clothed, etc.) God, according to Hagee, is all-knowing and all-powerful… but incapable, it seems, of a surgical strike. Annoyed by the gay decadence in the French Quarter, God sent a hurricane that drowned little old ladies in their attics in the Ninth Ward, sick people in their beds in hospitals, and old folks in retirement homes. The French Quarter’s gay bars—site of all that decadence—survived Katrina unscathed. As I wrote in The Commitment

God may be all-knowing and all-powerful, but He is, it seems, a lousy shot, the Mr. Magoo of higher powers.

God also, according to Hagee, has the morals and of a Nazi. We executed Nazis that ordered reprisal killings and collective punishment, i.e. rounding up and shooting innocent villagers for after local resistance forces staged attacks. But Hagee blithely argues that Jesus—the Prince of Peace, the Friend of the Poor, the Lamb of God, etc.—-will drown scores of little old ladies in nursing homes when He’s angry at gay people cavorting in bars ten miles away. Reprisal killings and collective punishment—how do Hagee, Robertson, Dobson, et al, get away with ascribing the morals of Adolph Hitler (or Saddam Hussein) to Jesus Christ?

Actually… Hagee would have us believe that Jesus is worse than Hitler. The Nazis executed innocent villagers in part because they couldn’t lay their hands on the resistance fighters in Norway, France, Italy, the Netherlands, etc. The Nazis, you see, weren’t omniscient. Jesus Christ, however, is. So He doesn’t have to kill little old ladies in nursing homes when the gays piss him off. He has the power to send hurricanes just to the French Quarter, and then only to the gay end of the street, to punish those wicked and decadent homosexuals (while sparing those wicked and decadent heterosexuals). But Jesus, according to Hagee, chooses not to do that. Instead He engages in reprisal killings and collective punishment, just like Adolph Hitler, Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin, and Saddam Hussein.

Right now John McCain is being asked to denounce and reject the support of a man that has such terrible things to say about Catholics. It seems to me, though, that Hagee has said much, much worse about Jesus Christ.

It’s 3 AM in America…

posted by on March 3 at 8:47 AM

Another parody of Clinton’s scare-up-votes campaign ad….

Rem Koolhaas’s Dubai

posted by on March 3 at 8:47 AM


Read Nicolai Ouroussoff’s entire piece on the design, because it is about the life of all cities. Ouroussoff lays out both sides of Koolhaas’s project—and each side’s potential powers and dangers—really well, especially his salutes to Warholian sameness and, at the same time, his outbursts of egotism.

Up In Smoke

posted by on March 3 at 8:39 AM

The Street of Dreams… is burning.

Four large homes are burning at a “Street of Dreams” model home development north of Woodinville, and the Snohomish County District Seven Chief Rick Eastman told KING-TV that a sign saying ELF was left at the scene.

ELF, of course, stands for Earth Liberation Front.

KING-TV video of the sign spray-painted on a sheet found early today shows that it mocks claims the homes are environmentally friendly and refers to rural cluster developments (RCDs):

“Built Green?

Nope black!

McMansions in RCDs r not green.


The Morning News

posted by on March 3 at 7:00 AM

Somalia: U.S. fires missiles at “known terrorist target.”

Recession: Buffet says so.

Ohio: Clinton and Obama trading blows with just one day to go.

Texas: Veterans vs. rookies.

Iran: New evidence about old nuclear efforts.

Under pressure: Clinton, to quit.

Grilling McCain: More fun for him than you think.

More than $1 billion: The UW endowment. So why is tuition going up?

Black History Museum: Now open.

Clinton says Obama’s not a Muslim, “as far as I know.”

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Shorter Washington Post: Bitches Ain’t Shit

posted by on March 2 at 3:52 PM

This piece of shit actually ran in a major American newspaper:

“Women ‘Falling for Obama,’ ” the story’s headline read. Elsewhere around the country, women were falling for the presidential candidate literally. Connecticut radio talk show host Jim Vicevich has counted five separate instances in which women fainted at Obama rallies since last September. And I thought such fainting was supposed to be a relic of the sexist past, when patriarchs forced their wives and daughters to lace themselves into corsets that cut off their oxygen.

I can’t help it, but reading about such episodes of screaming, gushing and swooning makes me wonder whether women — I should say, “we women,” of course — aren’t the weaker sex after all. Or even the stupid sex, our brains permanently occluded by random emotions, psychosomatic flailings and distraction by the superficial. Women “are only children of a larger growth,” wrote the 18th-century Earl of Chesterfield. Could he have been right?

I’m not the only woman who’s dumbfounded (as it were) by our sex, or rather, as we prefer to put it, by other members of our sex besides us. It’s a frequent topic of lunch, phone and water-cooler conversations; even some feminists can’t believe that there’s this thing called “The Oprah Winfrey Show” or that Celine Dion actually sells CDs. A female friend of mine plans to write a horror novel titled “Office of Women,” in which nothing ever gets done and everyone spends the day talking about Botox.

What is it about us women? Why do we always fall for the hysterical, the superficial and the gooily sentimental? Take a look at the New York Times bestseller list. At the top of the paperback nonfiction chart and pitched to an exclusively female readership is Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love.” Here’s the book’s autobiographical plot: Gilbert gets bored with her perfectly okay husband, so she has an affair behind his back. Then, when that doesn’t pan out, she goes to Italy and gains 23 pounds forking pasta so she has to buy a whole new wardrobe, goes to India to meditate (that’s the snooze part), and finally, at an Indonesian beach, finds fulfillment by — get this — picking up a Latin lover!

Because men are too busy doing productive, smart, important things to waste their time withanything silly or superficial.

Environmentalists of the World Unite.

posted by on March 2 at 11:33 AM

There’s an excellent editorial in today’s Washington Post that makes the lefty case for global trade treaties.

Last week, riffing off a compelling NYT editorial, I fretted over the blockheaded anti-free trade rhetoric that Obama and Clinton are pushing in Ohio.

My argument on international trade organizations is this: Transnational corporations—that is, 21st Century corporations that operate in their own global interests rather than the national interests of their home turf—need to be governed by a global body. Workers of the world unite, man.

While organizations like the WTO are certainly compromised by the corporate interests that currently pull the strings, this isn’t an indictment of global regulation in concept, it’s an indictment of the regulators for letting corporate interests shmooze their way into power.

Think of it this way: The EPA sucks under President Bush, but you wouldn’t want it to go away. Likewise, the WTO is capable of important work.

Democrats shouldn’t cater to the reactionary populism that scorns international trade agreements on principle. Democrats should begin calling on international trade agreements to do the job they were supposedly set up to do: Checking corporate power.

Appealing to the left’s environmental agenda, today’s editorial in the Washington Post explicitly makes this case.

The WTO, particularly its dispute-settlement tribunal, represents a rare triumph in the management of globalization. While money, goods and people flow in ever-greater quantities across national borders, governments remain stubbornly local, and efforts to bolster multinational governance are generally unsuccessful. The launch of the WTO in 1995 was the exception, but it remains politically fragile. The coming argument over “green tariffs” — to offset other countries’ failure to cap or price carbon — may end up in front of the dispute-settlement tribunal, and those who don’t like the tribunal’s decision will question its legitimacy. Primed by the Clinton-Obama attacks on trade, it may not be long before we hear echoes of former senator Bob Dole, who once proposed a panel to second-guess WTO rulings that went against the United States.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 2 at 11:00 AM


‘Tron’ at Cinerama

Step one: Purchase ticket from underpaid Cinerama staffer. Step two: Retreat to vehicle in order to… uh, put yourself in the proper frame of mind. Step three: Return to theater, take a seat up front, and get ready to watch Tron—yes, Tron!—the way it needs to be seen, in its full 70 mm cinematic glory. “Take that program to the holy pit!” (Cinerama, 2100 Fourth Ave, 441-3080. Noon, $7.25–$8.25.)


Reading Today

posted by on March 2 at 10:00 AM


Three readings going on today, and at least one of them should be good.

Firstly, at Third Place Books, Kim Harrison reads from The Outlaw Demon Wails, “the sixth book in her Rachel Morgan series,” a series that includes other bad Clint-Eastwoody titles like For a Few Demons More. I think this is one of those Anita Blake-y romance horror series. There’s also an elf politician in the book: Insert Dennis Kucinich joke here, I’m sure.

At Elliott Bay Book Company, Alice Rothchild reads from Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: The Stories of Jewish and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience. Rothchild “has sought to build alliances between Israelis and Palestinians in opposition to Israeli policies of occupation and to promote a more honest dialogue within the Jewish community in the United States.” It seems to me that if you want to build alliances, you shouldn’t name your website “”.

Also at Elliott Bay, Gin Phillips reads from her debut novel, The Well and the Mine, a book set in the deep south that begins with a nine-year-old witnessing a woman throwing a baby down a well. I just read this last week, and it’s a pretty goddamned good book. It’s a southern novel, it’s totally a southern novel written by a southern author, but it avoids most of the southern clichees: there’s no inbreeding or still-running or all that old-timey religion with a hypocritical preacher or anything like that, just decent people trying to do the right thing. It’s probably my favorite new southern novel since Bastard Out of Carolina, and though it’s not as good as Bastard, it’s seriously pretty goddamned good. If you like southern fiction, you should defnitely go.

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

The Morning News

posted by on March 2 at 9:30 AM

State of Emergency: Protests over Armenia’s dubious election leave eight dead.

State of Perfunctory: Russia to vote for shoo-in candidate.

State Visit: Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iraq.

State’s Rights: Judge considers ballot title on “assisted suicide.”

States Left: Obama leads 46% to 45% in Texas; Clinton leads 47% to 43% in Ohio.

Live from New York: Clinton and Giuliani appear on SNL.

Dead in Gaza: Israel kills 54 more people.

Dead in the Water: Palestine ends peace talks with Israel for the obvious reasons.

Deal in Kenya: Kofi Annan brokers pact.

Don’t They Know Marijuana Makes You Gay? Jamaica considers legalization.

Fairview Fanny: “Our city is changing rapidly, and not necessarily for the better.”