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Archives for 04/13/2008 - 04/19/2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Let’s All Take a Second to Yawn at the Yawners

posted by on April 19 at 11:17 PM

A letter to the editor, time-stamped 10:31 pm:

The thing I hate about the Stranger is the underlying fuck you attitude. For example, the slam on the Dali Lama in “Last Days” takes it humor from a general pot shot at all the shit heads in Seattle, then elaborates on biddies and sundry idiots, finally blasting its subject in another shop worn, burning issue of the day, the supposedly inevitable peccadillos of the Tibetan leader. Its all in good fun, and just a load of nonsense, except that the attitude here and in so much of the content of this rag seems to assume we all revel in the same arrogance. Its know all, see all, I’m so cool, and so much better and smarter than anyone else, and its boring as all hell, and seems weirdly struck in some previous decade, the 90’s, the 80’s? Its hard to tell, but for god’s sake, give us something new. Your formula is flat.

with a huge yawn,

Hans Nelsen

Goedenavond, Hans!

It’s Snowing

posted by on April 19 at 4:20 PM

…on Capitol Hill right now. In April. The Seattle Times quotes a National Weather Service meteorologist saying, “It’s schizophrenic weather. There was sun, it was dark and now there’s snow. It’s bipolar.” Um, yes. Aren’t crazy weather extremes a sign of climate change?

UPDATE: I note that the “Snow Sports” category is no longer available on Slog. I guess Slog has realized that instead of driving SUVs up to go snowboarding, we might want to be occupying ourselves with kissing our own asses goodbye.

An Open Letter to Snow

posted by on April 19 at 4:12 PM

It is motherfucking April already. Cut this shit out!

One Week from Today

posted by on April 19 at 12:00 PM


Last spring at the Crocodile, a whole bunch of people came together to make the first-ever Stranger Gong Show a mind-blowing success.

This spring at Chop Suey, we’re doing it again.

The date: Saturday, April 26.
The cost: Free.
The line-up: God only knows. We’re looking for any and all human-based entertainments, including but not limited to jugglers, magicians, jug bands, tap dancers, strongmen, yodelers, stand-up comics, sword swallowers, contortionists, slam poets, marching bands, mimes, guys who shove quarters up their noses, bird callers, puppeteers, tuba players, hula hoopers, comedy skits, chanteuses, ventriloquists, clog dancers, celebrity impersonators, butoh dancers, vaudeville acts, accordianists, and air bands.

The rules: All acts must run between 45 seconds and four minutes, and require a minimum of set-up. (We’ll provide a mic and amp.) Due to “laws,” no acts can feature fire or kids (it’s a bar).

Acts can get on the bill just by showing up at Chop Suey the night of the show, or by signing up in advance online.

Confidential to all those people who secretly want to perform at the Gong Show but instead of polishing their acts are searching for reasons to not do it: Stop it! Don’t hide your light under a bushel—put it on stage, so people can gape in amazement!

And oh yeah: Gong Show prizes include—among many other delights—passes to Sasquatch, Bumbershoot, and HUMP! and $100 cash!

UPDATE: Slog commenter Napoleon XIV asks, “Who gets to judge?” Stranger Gong Show judges are based entirely on the original Gong Show prototype.

Our Jaye P. Morgan-esque “boozy floozy” judge is Kerri Harrop!
Our Charles Nelson Reilly-esque homosexual judge is Adrian Ryan!
Our superstar celebrity judge (who also has a bit of the Jaye P. Morgan in her) is Sarah Rudinoff!
Our Zimbabwe-born Marxist judge is Charles Mudede!
And our final judge is a real judge, Judge Barry Wright!

Currently Hanging

posted by on April 19 at 11:00 AM

Alison Keogh’s Newsprint #1 (2008), layers of the British Financial Times on board

At Drop City Gallery. (Gallery site here.)

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 19 at 11:00 AM


Eli Hansen and Oscar Tuazon at Howard House

Brothers Eli Hansen, a glassblower, and Oscar Tuazon, a conceptual artist preoccupied with makeshift architecture, have sprung into view over the last year. In 2007, Tuazon won the Betty Bowen Award and Seattle Art Museum collected their glass-and-wood sculpture Crystal Math; now they have concurrent shows at SAM and Howard House. The noon talk at the gallery is intimate and free. (Howard House, 604 Second Ave, 256-6399. Noon, free.) JEN GRAVES


Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on April 19 at 10:32 AM

Fleet Foxes at Neumo’s


by Blush Photo

Reading Today

posted by on April 19 at 10:00 AM


Well, well. The drought of readings that I predicted last week has finally hit. Sherman Alexie is the keynote speaker at the Literary Voices 2008 event on the UW Campus. Ordinarily, I’d happily suggest any Sherman Alexie reading—the man is awesome when he’s onstage—but tickets for this are one hundred dollars. And it’s also sold out. So you’re out of luck.

Instead, in honor of the Pope’s visit to America, I’d like to direct your attention to a free download of a book called Awful Disclosures: or, The Hidden Secrets of a Nun’s Life in a Convent Exposed by Maria Monk.

The author of this book was a small, slender, uneducated, and persecuted young woman, who sought refuge in our country without a protector; but she showed the resolution and boldness of a heroine, in confronting her powerful enemies in their strong hold, and proved, by the simple force of truth, victorious in the violent conflicts which were waged against her by the Romish hierarchy of America and the popular press of the United States.

It looks like a weird bit of Anti-Catholic nastiness, but: naughty nuns! A reader on the book’s download page provides a little bit of background on the author:

“According to one account, author Maria Monk was a disturbed child who fled an asylum where her grandmother had committed her…She died in jail in 1849 after being arrested for pickpocketing in a bawdy house.”

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

UPDATE: This didn’t make it into the calendar, unfortunately, but there is a signing of a comic book called The Virgin Project at Jackson Street Books (Promenade Center, 23rd and Jackson) from two to four today. The Virgin Project is a comic book that anthologizes the true stories of how people lost their virginities. Some of the stories are short, some of the stories are long, some are told by men, and some are told by women. Most of them are very funny. There’ll be a review in an upcoming issue, but it’s worth it. And the authors are putting the proceeds from sales at this event to local agencies that help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, since this is National Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Awareness month. There’ll be another event tomorrow if you can’t make it to this one.

The Morning News

posted by on April 19 at 9:00 AM

posted by news intern Chris Kissel

Abducted: Al-Qaeda kidnapped Pakistani envoy, release tape.

Abused: Vatican addresses pedophilia as pope says mass in NYC.

Protested: Tibetan independence and French products, by crowds in China.

Intimidated: Clinton says activists to blame for electoral defeats.

Investigated: FLDS tip may have come from 33-year-old woman.

In the name of Freedom: “TechnoPatriots” keep an eye on the border.

JAMmed: Basra blows up once again.

Mad, crazy portraiture: Sixty percent of the world’s paintings come from Dafen, China.

Approved: Sonics’ planned move to Oklahoma City. And Ron Sims wants none of it.

Resigning: Former John Marshall principal, over being a “threatening person.”

Friday, April 18, 2008

What the Fuck is This?

posted by on April 18 at 7:10 PM

Uh… whaaaa?

Griet Verlinde explains all here.

David Shields on that Dizzying Feeling

posted by on April 18 at 5:20 PM


A sample paragraph:

When our difficult heroes (and all real heroes are difficult) self-destruct, watch us retreat and reassure ourselves that it’s safer here close to shore, where we live. We distance ourselves from the disaster, but we gawk in glee (the cheers and champagne that spontaneously broke out on the floor of the NYSE when word came of Client Number 9). We want the good in them, the gift in them, not the nastiness, or so we pretend. Publicly, we tsk-tsk, chastising their transgressions. Secretly, we thrill to their violations, their (psychic or physical) violence, because through them we vicariously renew our acquaintance with our own shadow side. By detaching, though, before free fall, we preserve our distance from death, stave off any serious knowledge about the exact ratio in ourselves of angel to animal.

Also discussed: Spitzer, Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, Greek tragedies, the 2008 University of Memphis men’s basketball team, and those two most recent authors busted for fictionalizing their non-fiction books. There’s also a little Freud and a little Kundera. It’s awesome.

Re: Church to Become Condos?

posted by on April 18 at 5:17 PM

As I posted earlier this week, the Medhane Alem Church on 13th and Olive has been sold.

I just talked to the real estate agent again, and while he would not give information about the buyer, he did confirm that the site will no longer be a church.

That is all.

Overheard in the Office

posted by on April 18 at 5:09 PM

ERICA C. BARNETT: Alanis Morissette got her start on that show.

JONAH SPANGENTHAL-LEE: I know that. Everyone who’s ever had a TV knows that.

“Gibson, you’re preposterous. Actin’ like a toy with your boy Stephanopoulos.”

posted by on April 18 at 3:30 PM

The Soulja Boy mashup, via The Caucus:

Breaking Sports News!

posted by on April 18 at 3:26 PM

Isiah Thomas was just fired from his position as coach of the New York Knicks.
I don’t really care, or anything, I just wanted to see what it felt like to be a sports blogger.

The Knicks are basketball, right?

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on April 18 at 3:15 PM

I got no time for news this week, but if anyone has anything choice, stick it in the comments.

Opening this weekend:

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Forgetting Sarah Marshall, from Judd Apatow & friends, kicks off On Screen with a great deal of excitement (Lindy West: “Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. I am going totally Geronimo-banana-bonkers over here. Someone actually made a really and truly enjoyable romantic comedy!”), followed by The Visitor (Jen Graves: “The movie is fine, but Richard Jenkins is a miracle”), My Blueberry Nights (yours truly: “When a semiconscious, visually obscured, human-napkin makeout session is the emotional core of your movie, you’ve got a problem”), The Forbidden Kingdom (Andrew Wright: “Chop-socky icons Jackie Chan and Jet Li do briefly duke it out in The Forbidden Kingdom, but, somewhat disappointingly, they spend most of their time on wires battling CGI ninjas and imparting life lessons to a young audience surrogate”), Backseat (Brendan Kiley: “Watching it is like eating at a Chili’s—another replication of a familiar experience that offers no surprises and gratifies every expectation. Which is just fine, if you’re into thirtysomethings, gnawing self-doubt, and jalapeño poppers”), Priceless (oh, it’s me again: “It’s not often that one finds oneself yearning for a French film to indulge in a touch more cynicism, but this is what Audrey Tautou hath wrought”), Young@Heart (Christopher Frizzelle: “The group’s director is a not-old guy, Bob Cilman, who thinks men and women in their 70s and 80s singing songs by Sonic Youth and Coldplay is hilarious, inspiring, a good thing”), and Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? (me once more: “Morgan Spurlock should really stick to hamburgers”).

There’s some fantastic stuff in Limited Runs too. Most notably, Chop Shop, from NYC director Rahmin Bahrani (yeah, he’s Iranian-American—his depressing first movie was inspired by Rumi), at Northwest Film Forum:

Chop Shop

It’s the kind of film that renews your faith in cinema. Don’t miss it. Also tucked away in the calendar: the paralyzed Iraq vet doc Body of War (co-director Phil Donahue in attendance 7, 9:20 shows at the Varsity tonight); Jezebel, The Virgin Queen, and The Nanny in Grand Illusion’s Bette Davis series; Charles Burnett’s Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation wrapping up the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival this Sunday (Burnett will be in attendance); more short films by Apichatpong Weerasethakul at NWFF; the Seattle Polish Film Festival at SIFF Cinema this weekend, followed by fair-trade agitdocs The Price of Sugar and All This in Tea; another vintage gay nightlife movie, The Detective, from Three Dollar Bill Cinema; and a last-minute booking that didn’t make it into the print edition: Superman in 70 mm all week at Cinerama. See Movie Times for everything.

Confidential to Cogswell: The people want to know about a Cthulhu DVD release. Got anything to tell ‘em?

In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out…

posted by on April 18 at 3:08 PM

NW Top 10: The local artists selling in local record stores.

Enjoy the Campaign: District of Columbia’s “Hail to the Teeth.”

Glow in the Dark Tour: Photos and a review of Wednesday’s star-studded Kanye show.

Proper Nouns: The sonic burst of sun that saved Eric Grandy’s otherwise shitty Thursday.

Tonight in Music: Claymore (RIP), Blitzen Trapper and the Fleet Foxes, Stars of the Lid, A-Trak, and more!

We Have a new Line Out Writer!: Griet Verlinde reports on the Eurovision Song Contest.

Today’s Music News: E Street Band’s keyboardist dies, Lance Bass does PSA for Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, and Pete Dougherty gets relocated after rumored prison attack.

Did You Get Yours?: Capitol Hill Block Party tickets officially go on sale today.

Tomorrow is Record Store Day!: Jason Hughes talks about what Sonic Boom has in store for the “holiday.”

Tomorrow is Björk 3-D Glasses Day: As part of Record Store Day, 3-D glasses will be available at local record stores so you can fully experience the new 3-D Björk video. Find out where to get them here!

Daniel Johnston: Photos and videos from last night’s show.

Why? & Mt. Eerie: Both were amazing at the Vera Project last night. Read Eric Grandy’s review of the show, watch videos from Why?’s set.

Jesus, There Were A Lot of Shows Last Night: Sam Machkovech has video and words re: last night’s Dirty Projector’s show at Chop Suey.

Skeletons and Sickles: Kim Hayden laughs at California Love and Government Warning cover art.

Live on Letterman: The Black Keys performing “I Got Mine.”

Coming Soon: Rumors have it that Microsoft is making a Joy Division-themed Zune.

Claws and Knives: See what this rad fan won in a knife fight.


Don’t forget that tomorrow is Record Store Day! See the list of local events here. Tons of sales, freebies, in-store performances, popcorn, and cupcakes for everyone!

New U.S. Embassy in Baghdad

posted by on April 18 at 2:50 PM

This is up now on Drudge…


Sounds great—but how many helipads does it have?

Streetcar Collisions: Less Hysteria, Please

posted by on April 18 at 2:47 PM


I’m sure this is a losing battle, but I’m sick of seeing every collision with the downtown trolley framed as “OMG the trolley hit another car!!!” Here’s just a smattering of headlines from this morning’s newspapers and local blogs:

South Lake Union Streetcar has fourth collision since December

SLUT, 4 Cars, 0

The Streetcar Crashed Again Today

The South Lake Union streetcar: A menace to all who venture near it!

Except, not really. What ACTUALLY happened yesterday, contrary to all those screaming headlines, was that a car ran a stop sign and ran into the trolley. But that doesn’t make for catchy, see-I-told-you-it-wouldn’t-work headlines like “SLUT 4, Cars 0”.

(See also: “The SLUT Hits Its First Parked Car”; Streetcar Crashes Again; Slut Bangs SUV, etc.)

In the other three collisions involving the streetcar (and just HOW many collisions are there involving cars every day?), a pickup truck crossed abruptly into the oncoming streetcar’s path; an SUV ran a red light and drove in front of the streetcar; and a pickup truck parked partially on the streetcar tracks, causing the trolley to graze it as it passed. But I bet we won’t be seeing the headline “Cars Pose Threat to Streetcar” any time soon.

(Photo by Wintrhawk, via Flickr.)

Local Horror

posted by on April 18 at 2:43 PM


I don’t know what Lindy West is going to say about it (she’s reviewing it in next week’s paper), but she and I saw the Seattle premiere of a locally produced horror movie, Frayed, at the Egyptian last night.

The three guys who wrote and produced and directed the movie, Rob Portmann, Kurt Svennungsen, and Norb Caoili are from Auburn, Puyallup, and Renton, respectively. (The place was packed with cheering friends last night.)

The trio are obviously Friday-the-13th-style horror movie aficionados. Frayed is a straight-up enthusiastic knockoff of early ’80s slasher movies. It’s got psycho ward escapees, sexy teenage girls on camping trips, child molesters, clown suits, creepy kids, chases through the woods, headlights on eerie back roads, and lots of stabbing.

I was pretty much hooked from the first scene—ominous grainy home video footage of a creepy birthday party.

Like the grainy video intro, the movie is a bundle of cliches (nod and wink style, I guess). My favorite moment last night was when the guy who’s getting chased through the woods stumbles upon an isolated house and called out, “Anybody here?” Lindy retorted, “Ummm… No.”

But I must say, I had a blast, and was even looking over my shoulder when I got home to my apartment.

The movie was picked up by Lionsgate and is being released on DVD.

And One Very Bad Poll for Dino

posted by on April 18 at 2:40 PM


Two Bad Polls for Obama

posted by on April 18 at 2:39 PM

Gallup says his lead is shrinking, and more Democrats than Republicans think Obama’s a Muslim.

A Very Bad Poll For Clinton

posted by on April 18 at 2:25 PM

The new Newsweek national polling numbers:

Obama: 54%

Clinton: 35%

From their summary of the results:

The survey of 1,209 registered voters found that Obama now leads Clinton by nearly 20 points, or 54 percent to 35 percent, among registered Democrats and those who lean Democratic nationwide. The previous Newsweek poll, conducted in March after Clinton’s big primary wins in Ohio and Texas, showed the two Democrats locked in a statistical tie (45 percent for Obama to 44 percent for Clinton). The new poll puts Obama ahead among women as well as men, and voters aged 60 and older as well as younger voters.

Irish Custody Battle Should Make CWfA Heads Explode

posted by on April 18 at 2:14 PM

I got an email this morning from the anti-gay nutters at Concerned Women for American—you know, Tim Burgess’ old pals—about how desperately Lisa Miller, a resident of Virginia, needs our prayers (and CWfA needs our money). From the CWfA’s press release:

We’re asking for your pledge to pray for Virginia residents Lisa Miller and her 6-year-old daughter Isabella. Miller, who is now a born again Christian, and little Isabella are living examples of what happens when God’s definition of marriage and family is twisted and mocked. The Vermont Supreme Court recently granted Janet Jenkins, Miller’s former lesbian partner, parental rights over Isabella even though Jenkins has no relationship to the little girl and is neither an adoptive nor a biological parent. The Virginia Supreme Court is now scheduled to hear oral arguments on Thursday, April 17, 2008, to determine whether Lisa and Isabella will be bound by the Vermont decision.

Here’s what Lambda Legal, which is representing Jenkins, has to say:

Janet Jenkins (formerly Janet Miller-Jenkins) filed an appeal with the Virginia Court of Appeals seeking to ensure respect for a Vermont court order saying she must have regular visitation with the daughter she and her former partner, Lisa Miller (formerly Miller-Jenkins), had when the two women were joined in a Vermont civil union…. In this case, the Virginia Court of Appeals rightly recognized that federal law protects parents against the very thing Lisa Miller did—shopping around for a court to give them sole custody. The message is clear: lesbian and gay parents must be treated like other couples when courts evaluate the best interest of the child in custody cases.

And here’s a long Washington Post story on the case from February 2007.

But here’s what interests me: When CWfA argues that Jenkins has “no relationship to the little girl,” they mean that Jenkins was neither the biological parent nor had she taken the time, or shouldered the considerable expense, of doing a second-parent adoption. So it’s just too bad for the God-mocking dyke, right? There have been lots of lesbian custody disputes that hinged on the failure of the non-biological mother to do a second-parent adoption, which, again, are quite expensive. (And the expense can seem like an unnecessary one when your child is young, money is tight, and your partner is, um, still a lesbian.) Numerous courts have recognized the rights of non-biological lesbian mothers in cases like this—cases where some scummy ex-lesbian like Miller leans on anti-gay laws to deny her lesbian ex-partner access to a child she helped raise from birth.

Anyway, the good men at CWfA and Ms. Miller are shitbags of the highest order—that’s quite clear. What I want to know is this: Where would CWfA come down in this gay custody dispute out of Ireland? A gay male donor sued for guardianship over a child created with sperm he donated to a lesbian couple—and the donor lost.

Rejecting his claim yesterday, Mr Justice John Hedigan said the child’s welfare was best served by remaining with the couple, and by the man in his forties having no guardianship or access to the infant.

There was nothing in Irish law to suggest that a family of two women and a child had “any lesser right to be recognised as a de facto family than a family composed of a man and woman unmarried to each other and a child.” ….

The child’s welfare was the paramount consideration. Where there were factors negative to the child’s welfare, the blood link was of little weight, he said. Where there were positive factors beneficial to the child, there might be rights inherent to the sperm donor.

The Irish kid is almost two, a court-appointed psychiatrist described the women as “excellent parents,” and the judge declared the women and their son a, “loving, secure, de facto family,” which is supposed to be a compliment, I’m guessing.

I’m thinking this custody dispute would present a real brain teaser for the men at CWfA. Do you leave the baby—or toddler—with his “excellent” lesbian parents, one of whom has “no biological relationship” to the child? Or do you take him out of the only home he’s ever known and place him with this gay dude, the kid’s biological father? It’s hard to know how CWfA would come down on this case—I mean, besides subjecting all gays and lesbians everywhere to forced sterilization to prevent anything like this from every happening again, of course. They’d be for that.

But what outcome, I wonder, would CWfA have us pray for in this case?

UPDATE: Here’s a follow-up article about the gay dad…

PRESSURE is growing on the Government to bring in laws on “assisted reproduction” after a gay sperm donor was denied access to his biological son in the High Court.

Lobby groups said the decision was a major setback for fathers’ rights and called for legislation that would eradicate the “inequality” in Irish family life. Opposition parties accused the Government of being “paralysed” by fear of controversy in bringing in laws on same sex couples.

Gay rights groups also acknowledged that updated family laws are “badly needed”.

I agree with those gay rights groups—family laws, in Ireland and everywhere else, badly need updating. I also believe that this kid has a right to know his biological father—and the father has a right to visitation, if not custody—and I’m not sure if, under Irish law, “guardianship” and “custody” are the same thing.

Don’t Make Me Ride Bike To Work! Anything But That!

posted by on April 18 at 2:07 PM

Second in an ongoing series? (Again, via Grist):

This Week on Drugs

posted by on April 18 at 2:00 PM

Candy or Cocaine? Stop, you’re both right.

Ask Your Doctor About Placebo: Sativex fails in trials.

Dope Head: Bush to nominate new DEA administrator.

Mayor on Drugs: Advice for the next president.

Love Is in the Air: Cannabis perfume.

Who’s More Advanced on Drug Policy than the US? Even Iran.

Waving the Flag: Frank introduces marijuana-decriminalization bill.

Between the Cartels and American Noses: Cops killed in Mexico.

Mugshot of the Week: Matthew Gibeault was arrested for drug paraphernalia in Ada County, Idaho.


Sierra Club Pushes for 520 Changes

posted by on April 18 at 1:59 PM

Under pressure from Sierra Club activists who refused to sign off on the agency’s latest transit plan unless it met certain conditions, Sound Transit just agreed to replace the parking garages in the plan with more flexible “station access funds”; agreed to fund a first-of-its-kind greenhouse-gas analysis of the project; and agreed in principle to leave a future rail line across 520 on the table.

Fresh from that major victory, the Sierra Club is trying to bring the same pressure to bear on the city, state, and federal governments.

In a letter earlier this month, the Sierra Club’s Mike O’Brien and Tim Gould urged Gov. Christine Gregoire, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, and WSDOT and Federal Highway Administration officials to “correct [the] deficiencies” in the current, six-lane plan for replacing 520 during the upcoming environmental review. Among other things, the Sierra Club wants the plan to include a greenhouse-gas analysis; update 520’s traffic models to account for changes in traffic patterns due to tolls; reserve two of the six lanes as “transit only,” and build the bridge to accommodate light rail in the future, instead of retrofitting it later; and continue evaluating a “reasonable” four-lane alternative. “Past assumptions and practices concerning our transportation system will no longer serve us in a changing world,” Gould and O’Brien’s letter says. “We know that our future will bring us climate change impacts and rising energy costs, the only question is how rapidly. … The objectives that all these alternatives seek to achieve must emphasize moving people and goods rather than vehicles.

It’s unclear how receptive city and state leaders will be to the Sierra Club’s request this time around. Because the Club’s (extremely vocal) opposition helped sink last year’s roads and transit ballot measure, Sound Transit came into this year’s discussions about a possible 2008 ballot measure with a strong incentive to get them on board. This time around, though, there’s no vote to give the Sierra Club political leverage over the state. Without that leverage, it’s hard to see a cautious governor and a so-far-disinterested mayor pushing for measures (like the greenhouse gas analysis) that are sure to be controversial with voters outside the Puget Sound region—including those who might support Gregoire’s road-happy opponent Dino Rossi.

Rep. Reichert Introduces Bill to Make Iraq Pay

posted by on April 18 at 1:40 PM

Fresh off the recent congressional testimony of Gen. David Petraeus and Iraq Ambassador Ryan Crocker—where the subject of Iraq’s massive oil revenues and its willingness to contribute them to its reconstruction was raised repeatedly—Congressman Dave Reichert has joined with another moderate house Republican, Chris Shays of Connecticut, to offer a bill that would force Iraq to either begin contributing funds to its own reconstruction or face the prospect of all subsequent US aid coming in the form of loans.

From the text of the bill (.PDF WARNING):

It is the sense of the House of Representatives that funding for future Iraq reconstruction initiatives and training of Iraqi security forces should come from Iraqi revenues, and if the government of Iraq cannot properly allocate and spend its revenues, any funding from the United States to Iraq for reconstruction and security training should be provided as a loan to Iraq.

The problem? The bill is at this point nothing more than a “sense of the House” bill, wherein Congress is allowed to voice an unbinding opinion. Or, as Darcy Burner spokesman Sandeep Kaushik described it, the bill is “nothing more than a sternly worded letter.”

“Congressman Reichert is trying to blur the lines on Iraq. His actual record in crystal clear,” Kaushik said, “he was 100% for Bush, 100% for the surge.”

While calls to Congressman Reichert’s office have not yet been returned, Reichert Chief of Staff Mike Shields told the Seattle Times’ David Postman yesterday:

Further, Dave [Reichert] cosponsored legislation to make the ISG recommendations law in the House. How is this “empty platitudes?” Her plan calls for an immediate withdrawal of troops. Recently the Democrat Co-Chairman of the Iraq Study Group, Lee Hamilton, flat out said he thought that was a bad idea. Her plan then says we should pump more U.S. taxpayer dollars into the black hole that our leaving will create. This announcement by Reichert amounts to the opposite of that: keep troops there to provide security, and force Iraq to stand up its economy and pay its own way. That’s a big difference in the two approaches.

Whatever Reichert’s opinion on the findings of the Iraq study group—and previous interviews suggest Reichert might not have been as enthused with it as his campaign is now claiming he was—the battle to define Reichert’s record on Iraq will be one of the larger flash points of the 2008 congressional rematch.

Back to the new Reichert bill itself, two competing proposals from the right and left have sprung up as well, both of which would be binding.

From the right, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a conservative Republican from California, is offering a bill that essentially would call for a complete pull out from Iraq if the Iraqi government is unwilling to fund its own reconstruction. From the left, Democratic moderates in the Senate are pushing for a bill that would require that Iraq pay for the fuel costs incurred by US forces.

I’ll update when I hear more from the Reichert camp.

Right Back at Ya

posted by on April 18 at 1:34 PM

Demonizing Seattle is a standard campaign ploy … from Republicans.

However, Democratic lands commissioner candidate Peter Goldmark (thank god someone is running hard against GOP incumbent Doug “Washington Aggregate & Concrete Association” Sutherland) is now using the tactic himself.

Goldmark, who ran and lost badly to U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-5) in ‘06, lives in eastern Washington, and hyped that fact at his Seattle kickoff.

However, in another role reversal, the GOP fired off a press release today condemning Goldmark’s “divisive” ploy of pitting urban against rural voters. Ha. Then they went and pulled the same stunt themselves. From the GOP press release:

Sutherland’s appeal to those who live near and work on Washington’s lands is proven by the fact that 90 percent of Sutherland’s financial support comes from outside Seattle. By contrast, nearly half of Goldmark’s donors are from Seattle and the urban residents he says don’t understand the very job he wants.

Granted: It’s kind of a burn on Goldmark.

Northwest Gas Consumption at Lowest Level Since 1966

posted by on April 18 at 1:20 PM

According to a new report by the Sightline Institute, drivers in the Northwest are using less gasoline than at any point since 1966. In fact, per-capita gas consumption has dropped 11 percent in the last eight years, an average of nearly a gallon a week. Put another way, that’s the equivalent of every driver in the Northwest taking five weeks off from driving last year. According to the report, people are driving less, using transit more, buying more fuel-efficient cars, and moving to compact, pedestrian-friendly communities.


But never mind. Obviously, driving is inevitable, people never change their behavior, adaptation is impossible, blah, blah, blah. I mean, why look at the evidence when you’ve already formed an opinion?

A Reach, And A Miss…

posted by on April 18 at 12:59 PM

Remember those God damn horrible “Love See No Color” T-shirts from the ’90s? Of course you don’t. I don’t either. Well, these unfathomable little horrors have just been unleashed upon the streets of Seattle…


Since my innards are always strung from post to pillar in the comments every time I use the word “retarded”, would someone else care to deconstruct this for me?

Thanks in advance.

Compare and Contrast

posted by on April 18 at 12:58 PM

The new trailer for Battle in Seattle (which, if you haven’t heard, is the opening night film at SIFF this year):

And the theatrical trailer for Medium Cool.

NBA Owners Approve Move

posted by on April 18 at 12:30 PM

NBA owners vote 28-2 (Paul Allen and Mark Cuban voted Nay) that the Bennett can move the Sonics to Oklahoma.

Holy Shit!: The FLDS Mess Gets Messier

posted by on April 18 at 12:19 PM

You know that call from an abused 16-year-old girl that launched the whole FLDS mess?

It may have come from a 33-year-old woman in Colorado.

Lawyers, help me out: If this turns out to be true, will it poison the whole search? And will Texas authorities just have to hand the kids back to their rapey, rapey parents?

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on April 18 at 12:15 PM

Fun with YouTube, the Divorce Edition

Brothel Busted Near Olympia

posted by on April 18 at 12:08 PM

Hm… this could get interesting.

Tumwater police raided the suspected brothel Wednesday, arresting five women ages 19 to 34, after two of the women agreed to have intercourse and perform other sex acts with the officer in exchange for $440, court papers state.

Suspected madam Ramona Person, 34, of Shelton was arrested on suspicion of a possible felony charge of leading organized crime. Tumwater detective Jen Kolb said the charge will be forwarded to the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Leading organized crime is a Class A felony, punishable by up to life in prison and a $20,000 fine…. Police think the brothel has been operating out of the apartments, off Interstate 5, since at least September.

During the four-month investigation, Tumwater police, with the assistance of the Washington State Patrol, conducted video surveillance of men going in and out of the apartment for short periods, court papers state.

Tumwater is just a short drive from Olympia and, as we’ve seen, elected officials near and far have been known to seek the services of sex workers. So… I wonder who is on that tape? One man cooperated with the police after he was taped going into the brothel. Wonder who that was?

Thanks to Slog tipper Matt.

UDDATE: The busted brothel’s website, and the alleged Tumwater Madam has an alleged blog. (It’s technically “not her blog,” says Slog tipper Matt, “but a community blog, but those are her kooky, tinfoil-hate wearing posts.”) It seems that the alleged Tumwater Madam is a Ron Paul supporter, as well she should be. Libertarians are pro-legalized prostitution—although it’s too late for Tumwater’s finest.

Now here’s the alleged Tumwater Madam’s recommended reading list from a February blog post:

1. The Bible by Jesus Christ

2. George Orwell’s 1984 by Karen Brodeur and George Orwell

3. Obedience to Authority by Stanley Milgram

4. Behold a Pale Horse by William Cooper

5. The True Story of the Bilderberg Group by Daniel Estulin

6. Pawns in the Game by William Carr

Everyone’s a Critic

posted by on April 18 at 12:00 PM

And some of them are mean and hilarious.

From the reader reviews of The Stranger’s restaurant guide, a bracing assessment of North Shore Hawaiian Barbecue:

The Stranger’s review of this place was pretty spot on, except for the bit on the Mac Salad. It didn’t need a few shakes of salt and pepper… it needed to have its cage cleaned out. Seriously, it tasted like how the zoo smells. And not the part of the zoo where they charge you $10 for a crappy caesar salad and it smells like old hot dogs. No, I’m talking about the part of the zoo where the hippos wallow in their own shit and fuck each other. Yeah, it tasted like that.

(Do you eat out and have opinions? Add your voice to the ever-burgeoning Stranger Restaurant Guide.)

Two Very True Statements

posted by on April 18 at 11:51 AM

The first is from the Nalgene story that Eli linked to this morning:

If I was a fetus and my mother was using a plastic water bottle, I wouldn’t be bothered.”

and secondly, from Swampland, Vladimir Putin was asked about the rumors that he’s secretly divorced his wife and is about to marry a very young gymnast lady. His response:

“I have always reacted negatively to those who with their snotty noses and erotic fantasies prowl into others’ lives.”

Over My Head

posted by on April 18 at 11:49 AM

So, I was about to continue my “Obama’s an elitist” lecture.

After all, the common denominator between his “I don’t agree with Wright, but I understand him” and his “No wonder they cling to guns” comments is: condescension. That is, Obama is evidently smart enough to contextualize issues while he thinks Wright and working-class whites are not.

But then I saw his Jay-Z speech.

I didn’t get it at first. I had no idea he was referencing a Jay-Z song, and my initial reaction to the speech was: Wow, this guy is smarmier than I thought! What’s this shit he keeps doing with his hand brushing his shoulder?

I was complaining about this to a fellow Stranger hipster (who was equally clueless.) While she knew O was referencing something (thought she may have read on the political blogs that is was Jay-Z), she admitted she had no idea. (The Black Album? Huh?)

Jay-Z is over my head. I guess I’m the elitist.

W/ apologies to Jay Z (and Obama) my new hit video, “Over My Head”:

A Compelling Reason For Trains

posted by on April 18 at 11:45 AM

Subway Crush, which operates like an I Saw U and an I, Anonymous for the New York Subway system:

am rarely on the shuttle train since it just runs between two horrible place….BUT….BUTT! Girl with the tight tights on around noon…I wrote a poem about your butt, here it goes:

I would like to play golf with your butt,
With my club I will putt.
I would like to eat with your butt,
Lets go to Pizza Hut.


Friday night: You thought it was a good idea to smoke a philly blunt on the L train from Bedford Ave to 8th ave. I‘m not too sure why you thought this was a good idea but you kept yelling “I DON’T GIVE A FUCK, I JUST GOT OUT OF JAIL!” I don’t really care what you do, but there were babies in strollers on the train and I got off stinking like smoke. Thanks NYPD for being non-existent.

and also:

Hasid woman looking ha-good: You were with your husband and kids traveling on the J train this morning. I know this is a special weekend for you, but why not slip away from the passover festivities and give me a call. I gave you a wink this morning and you shyly smiled. I KNOW YOU ARE DOWN SO LETS DO THIS!

For some reason, this works best with trains. I can’t really imagine a Metro bus equivalent: “I sat in your pee. Let’s make out!”

Jeffrey Simmons Is a Name You Should Know

posted by on April 18 at 11:40 AM


So says Jen Graves in her review of Simmons’s show up now at Greg Kucera Gallery.

Let’s begin by clearing up one fact: Jeffrey Simmons’s paintings are, in fact, paintings made by Jeffrey Simmons. This is true in the most traditional possible sense. He uses paintbrushes, on canvas. Laboriously, he layers acrylic paint on and sands it down. That’s how they’re made.

It’s necessary to make this point because people endlessly mistake these paintings for photographs. People also mistake them for images powered by electric light, plugged in, lit from behind, illuminated by some secret source besides paint. The people making these mistakes are only getting halfway there. The paintings do look like photographs in light boxes at first; it’s the fact that they’re not that sends the mind spinning. In order to get the full cognitive dissonance, you need the mistake and the fact, the illusion and the truth.

Simmons is a Seattle artist whose name you ought to know; he has been making interesting paintings since 1996…

The rest of the piece—a wonderful piece of criticism—is here.

The Seattle Times Buyout List, and a Prediction of An “Extreme May-kover” for the Newspaper

posted by on April 18 at 11:35 AM

A memo went out at the Seattle Times a short time ago listing the newsroom employees who are taking the paper’s buyout offer.

There were, apparently, four more “expressions of interest” (EOIs) from employees who wanted buyouts than the paper was willing to approve. Times Executive Editor David Boardman writes in the memo:

We accepted EOIs from 19 people, two of them in a job share and five of them editors. These people will take with them a wealth of talent and experience, leaving an enormous challenge for those of us who remain. But their willingness to step forward preserved the jobs of people with less seniority and whose Seattle Times careers are largely ahead of them.

Here’s the buyout list, with job identifications as described by a Times source:

Melinda Bargreen, Classical Music Critic

Scott Barry, North Bureau editor

Ted Basladynski

Paula Bock, Pacific Northwest Magazine Writer

Arlene Bryant, East Bureau Editor

Florangela Davila, TV and Radio Writer

Rich Dilworth

Ranny Green, Pet Writer

Jerry Holloron, Copy Editor

Shirleen Holt, Reporter

Marsha King, Metro Reporter

Lee Moriwaki, Editorial Page

Tom Reese, Photographer

Bill Ristow, Web

Nyssa Rogers, East Bureau

Francine Ruley

Tom Scanlon, Music Writer

Janine Steffan, Reporter

Betty Udesen, Photographer

What’s this “Extreme May-kover” all about? It’s explained in the memo, which is in the jump.

Continue reading "The Seattle Times Buyout List, and a Prediction of An "Extreme May-kover" for the Newspaper" »

My Own Private Metro

posted by on April 18 at 11:33 AM


The 43 from the U-District at 10:57 this morning.

Currently Hanging

posted by on April 18 at 11:26 AM

Margot Quan Knight’s Pistoletto (2008), Fujitrans print mounted on Plexi, 2-way mirror, Plexiglas, aluminum fluorescent light box, wood; 96 by 54 by 8 inches

At James Harris Gallery. (Gallery site here.)

Two Stories of Sheer Weirdness

posted by on April 18 at 11:25 AM

This week: Two stories of sheer weirdness involving two local chefs.

First, more details on the Washington State Liquor Control Board halting the lawless drinking of chardonnay (and the use of wine in, say, wine-reduction sauces) during cooking classes on Beacon Hill. Chef Gabriel Claycamp of Culinary Communion calls the situation “a shitstorm” and says the WSLCB enforcement officer at the door said, “I’m not here to arrest you, though I could. But I will next time.” (Claycamp’s the one who did the recent pig kill.) But is Claycamp’s widely known involvement in a so-called “underground restaurant” (one with a website; one that’s been featured on Anthony Bourdain’s TV show) partly to blame? My attempt to clarify is here.

Second, the death-defying tale of the local chef who ate his way to 469 pounds, got gastric bypass surgery, was in a coma for almost six months, recovered, and opened a gourmet burger shack called Lunchbox Laboratory in Ballard. The amount of one of the (great) burgers he’s making at his new place that he is physically capable of eating? One-eighth of one burger. More than that, and “It feels like somebody’s stabbing me in the stomach.” The whole story is here.


The FLDS Mess

posted by on April 18 at 11:24 AM


As you’ve probably heard, there’s a huge, Mormon-scented shitstorm swirling around Texas, following the evacuation of over 400 children from a compound run by the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints. The Fundamentalist Mormon church was formed after the regular Mormon church renounced the practice of polygamy, and the current shitstorm is centered in a polygamist FLDS compound in Eldorado, Texas, where police were summoned after a teenage girl phoned a domestic abuse hotline to report the sexual and physical abuse she’d suffered within the compound. Last week police came in, rounded up the 400-plus children, and now the courts are stuck with the largest, messiest child-custody case in history.

The shit’s unfolding as I type this, so there’s nothing conclusive to report, just a zillion fascinating questions.

*If investigators are unable to find the girl who made the call, will the case dissolve? (The girl’s call was the probable cause that instigated the investigation; if the source of the probable cause can’t be verified, the entire search could be deemed illegal.)

*Will FLDS lawyers gain traction with the claim that the entire raid is religious persecution? The FLDS argument: Using one child’s claim of abuse to validate the removal of all the compound’s children from their parents is unfair; police didn’t round up every altar boy during the Catholic sex abuse scandal. The great complicating fact: The most widespread abuse chronicled in the FLDS compound is the marriage of very young girls (13 and up) to much older men—what we call statutory rape, and what they call “spiritual marriage” ordained by God. (Still, the FLDS abides within the United States, whose laws require us to view the FLDS compound not as a unusual church but as a full-scale statutory rape camp.)

*And finally, are the women and children of FLDS so inherently traumatized that they can’t be expected to tell the truth about their experiences? (And will the damning testimony of former FLDS members—such as Brent Jeffs, who claims he was raped by his uncle, imprisoned FLDS leader Warren Jeffs—help cut through the cult-speak?)

God only knows, stay tuned…

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 18 at 11:00 AM

Heavy Metal Dance

Metal Makes Change at Pigott Auditorium

It sounds like a disorienting dream: heavy metal, Melville, modern dance, and nuns pouring drinks. Rafe Wadleigh, a music teacher at a Catholic girls’ school in Seattle, adores Mastodon—the prog-metal band whose most famous album, Leviathan, is a 45-minute tribute to Moby Dick. Wadleigh assembled a Mastodon cover band (with one of his students on bass) to play the entire record and invited choreographers to set dances to its 10 songs. The evening is also a benefit for AIDS relief in Lesotho. Says Wadleigh: “This is for the sisters in the trenches.” (Pigott Auditorium, Seattle University, 7:30 pm, $15, all ages.)


Mistakes Were Made

posted by on April 18 at 10:53 AM

It’s easier to defeat an enemy if you don’t arm them:

Nato forces mistakenly supplied food, water and arms to Taliban forces in southern Afghanistan, officials today admitted.

Containers destined for local police forces were dropped from a helicopter into a Taliban-controlled area of Zabul province.

The coalition helicopter had intended to deliver pallets of supplies to a police checkpoint in Ghazni, a remote section of Zabul late last month.

By mistake they were dropped some distance from the checkpoint where it was taken by the Taliban, the Internal Security Affairs Commission of the Wolesi Jirga — the Afghan parliament’s lower house — was told.

Hamidullah Tukhi, a local politician from Zabul, told the parliamentary commission that the consignment had been taken by a local Taliban commander.

A Nato spokesman said the pallets were carrying rocket propelled grenades, ammunition, water and food.

Some Afghan politicians think the drop was made on purpose, prompting a NATO spokesman in Brussels to reply:

“It sounds like someone made a mistake. It was a cock-up rather than a conspiracy.”

A cock-up indeed.

What He Said

posted by on April 18 at 10:51 AM

Atrios on buses vs. trains

But there are good reasons people don’t like buses, though some of them can be improved upon. Buses are generally slower and less predictable. The rides are bumpier and less pleasant. The routes aren’t as fixed, and people are less sure where they go. Get on the wrong train and you can just get off at the next stop and return. It’s less clear what to do if you go wrong on a bus.

But you can make a better bus system. With GPS systems you can have real time information at bus stops about when (and what) bus is arriving. The simple step of having good up to date maps and schedules, along with fare information, at bus stations is a big help. Transfers to/from other buses and trains should be free and easy. Express buses which don’t stop every block should be on some routes. Giving buses the ability to force a stoplight change improves speed.

Lots of ways to make buses better, some of which require little in the way of capital expenditures.

Still they aren’t a substitute for fixed rail. An important element of a transit system is to have it impact land use patterns, to have denser development around transit routes. Since bus routes aren’t fixed, they’re less likely to lead to land use changes.

Yes, buses can be made better—and I’m running for the bus now, so it’s not like I won’t park my fussy ass on the bus. (Although I’m always careful to take a good look at the seat of a Metro bus before I sit down—lots of surprises on what often are, thanks to the idiotic ride-free zone, rolling homeless shelters.) But, like the man says, buses are not and never will be a substitute for fixed rail.

We may not get more light rail on the ballot this year, but once Sound Transit’s light rail line opens to the airport and people around here—people that don’t travel or don’t pay attention when they do, or the folks that are convinced that Seattle is perfect in every possible way just as it is (or was in 1964)— get a real taste of real mass transit, voters will be clamoring to approve and pay for more rail lines.

Hey, You, With the Nalgene Bottle

posted by on April 18 at 10:45 AM

Oh, I’m sorry, did everyone in Seattle just turn around at once? Well, just wanted to say, in case you’ve missed it: Your earth-saving and shatter-resistant water bottle seems likely to be declared toxic by the Canadian government.

Like So Many Republicans Before Her…

posted by on April 18 at 10:38 AM

…Hillary Clinton can’t resist bashing San Francisco.

Reading Tonight

posted by on April 18 at 10:11 AM


Three readings today, but only two authors. How can that be? Well, let me talk at you for a minute about it.

Susan Griffin is reading from Wrestling with the Angel of Democracy at noon at the Elliott Bay Book Company, and then at seven tonight at the university bookstore. Tricky Susan Griffin! Her book focuses on America through the lens of Thomas Jefferson. It studies how we want to simultaneously be an empathic and democratic nation and then simultaneously want to take over everything in the world because we’re America, fuck yeah.

But also, at Neptune Coffee, Suzanne Burns reads from her new book, Double Header, which is a dual-story flip book published by Future Tense Books, an Oregonian publisher that does really fine work. The two stories are about a woman who eats dirt and the smallest man in the world. There might be music, although things are looking tenuous in that direction. It should be really neat and you should go.

Check out the upcoming week’s worth of readings in the readings calendar.

Required Viewing

posted by on April 18 at 9:18 AM

Sorry, sorry—an awful lot of YouTube this morning, I realize. But “Bosnia and Back Again” from simply can’t be missed.

Via Americablog.

Youth Pastor Watch

posted by on April 18 at 9:15 AM


Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Marilyn Miles held up charges of lewd behavior with a minor against accused child molester Andrew Belant Wednesday, but told the district attorney that the evidence didn’t support felony charges of sexual assault on the dates outlined in the complaint….

Belant, 25, was a youth pastor at the Eureka First Presbyterian Church and an after school aide at Jacoby Creek School. He was arrested in March and charged with two counts of molesting a child under 14 years old, and was later charged with 15 additional counts stemming from alleged acts with a total of four children. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.


For several hours, Calhoun County Circuit Court jurors heard explicit testimony from transcripts which prosecutors allege were from conversations between Troy Deal, 35, of Battle Creek, and people he believed were 14-year-old girls. The girls were actually undercover officers from the Office of the Michigan Attorney General and the Wayne County Sheriff Department.

Over several months before he was arrested in July, Deal allegedly used his computer to suggest performing various acts with the young girls, including threesome sex, bondage and submission.

Deal, at the time of his July arrest, was the director of youth ministries at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church in Battle Creek.

Lincolnshire, England:

A mentally ill man who set fire to a block of flats has been jailed for three years. Peter Nottage (28) torched a block of flats in Gainsborough because he thought it would help him get rehoused, Lincoln Crown Court heard…. When interviewed by police he admitted arson which recklessly endangered life.

A psychiatric report described Nottage as a vulnerable person who had started the fire in an emotional outburst. He was supported in court by YMCA staff and residents and the court was told that he wants to become a youth pastor with the Christian charity.

2008 Green Architecture Awards

posted by on April 18 at 9:15 AM

There’s a lot of talk about green design: why we need it, which developers are doing it, when elected officials set goals for it. This is all good. But under-recognized are the architects who actually figure out how to reduce a building’s environmental impact, while still creating structures that meet the traditional challenges of good design.

So three cheers to the Seattle chapter of the American Institute of Architects. For the past ten years it has encouraged architecture firms to submit designs for a “What Makes It Green” gallery. This year AIA Seattle received 57 entries from around the Pacific Northwest. And last week, before about 250 industry bigwigs at a forum called Regeneration, the top ten submissions won awards for the first time.

“We wanted to inspire designers and policy makers to think about the future of the built environment in creating sustainable design,” say Lisa Richmond, Executive Director of AIA Seattle. The awards give architecture firms the recognition they deserve.

Here are two of the ten. The Bertschi School on north Capitol Hill, completed in April of last year, won the jury’s unanimous approval.


In addition groovy stuff like re-using rainwater and recycling building materials, the smart architects at The Miller|Hull Partnership were recognized for conserving energy.

The new project incorporates photovoltaic panels which will supply 6.1% of the school’s energy. … The gym has an integral natural ventilation scheme which uses fresh air coming in low at the roll up doors and the natural stack effect of hot air and vents high with operable louvers in the skylights tied to a thermostat. No CFCs or HCFCs are used in the mechanical units. The scale and proportion of the building enhance it’s ability to use daylight to illuminate the spaces. A daylighting study was used to optimize window and skylight size and placement for this use. Occupancy and daylight sensors are used to minimize the use of electric lighting.

Another winner—yet unbuilt—Portland City Storage will store 350 boats to reduce river contamination. It’s designed by MulvannyG2 Architecture and slated to be finished by 2010.


The project’s goal is to meet the USGBC LEED gold certification requirements and produce more power than it uses through alternative electrical power in the hopes of giving back to the Portland grid. The hybrid design will integrate a wind farm located at the top of the storage buildings and an innovative regenerative elevator system that feeds into the building system grid. … Using median average figures based on average wind speed for the Portland metropolitan area, the wind farm should produce approximately 800,000 KWH of usable system power output per year.

The full line-up of winners, including Seattle’s Mosler Lofts by Mithun Architects, is over here.

Dean to Dem Super Delegates

posted by on April 18 at 9:13 AM

It’s time to make up your damn minds already.

Just Do It

posted by on April 18 at 9:10 AM

Even if banning plastic bags only saves on life, it’ll be worth it… right, Sloggers?

South Australia state said Thursday it would ban plastic bags from next year after a meeting of environment ministers failed to agree on a national programme to address the issue.

The state announced it would go it alone after federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett ruled out imposing a levy on plastic bags and set up a working group on the matter instead.

“After six years … we’re still unable to come to a nationally consistent approach,” state environment minister Gail Gogo said. “But South Australia can hold its head high. We will bring about a ban.”

Thanks to Slog tipper Will.

The Morning News

posted by on April 18 at 9:00 AM

The debate about the debate: It continues, including here and here.

Clinton: Stop complaining.

Superdelegates: Not moved by Clinton’s attacks.

McCain’s tax returns out: He made nearly $260K last year.

Losses and layoffs: At Citigroup.

5.2 earthquake: In the Midwest.

Nickels: Seattle should secede over transportation issues.

Snow this weekend? Could happen.

And, via Ari Melber, a new Obama mashup—and confirmation that Obama has, in fact, been listening to a lot of Jay Z lately:

Uruguay Embraces Marriage Equality

posted by on April 18 at 8:57 AM

Sort of.

Uruguay on Thursday became the first nation in Latin America to marry a gay couple, after a law allowing couples living together to formalize their union went into effect at the start of the year…. The so-called “cohabitation union law” went into effect on January 1, allowing heterosexual and homosexual couples living together for at least five years to receive the same legal rights and benefits that traditional marriage bestows.

So it’s not exactly marriage equality—basically, Uruguay allows same- or opposite-sex couples living together for at least five years to enter into civil unions that bring all the rights and responsibilities of marriage. It’s less marriage equality than it is common-law marriage with a step involving paperwork. Heteros in Uruguay, unlike homos, will have access to legal marriage; a opposite-sex couple can marry after being together for three days and enjoy all the rights and responsibilities of marriage while a gay couple that’s been together for three years can not. And that’s a huge injustice. Imagine being with someone for four years, eleven months, and twenty-nine days and having your partner suddenly die and being barred from his funeral by hostile family members.

Still, Uruguay has taken a huge step in the right direction. And while I’d rather see full marriage equality in Uruguay (and everywhere else), the ability to legally marry on drunken impulse—you know, like Britney—is a “right” that does more harm to heterosexuals than good.

And for geography-challenged Americans, here’s Uruguay….


Slow ‘Mos

posted by on April 18 at 8:03 AM

Andrew posted some extreme—dude!—slow-mo video of a water balloon being pricked with a pin. Which reminded me of this slow-mo masterpiece…

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Colbert’s Trifecta

posted by on April 17 at 9:13 PM

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and some dude named John Edwards—they’re all on the Colbert Report tonight. The Caucus at the New York Times has a spoileriffic blog post about the whole shebang.

Where Is the Eye of the Beholder?

posted by on April 17 at 5:54 PM


Presumably in preparation for the new edition of Dungeons and Dragons that’s going to come out in June and totally own your world, the good folks at Wizards of the Coast are schlepping a thirteen-foot tall Beholder (above) around town for a week. You’ve already missed today’s visit to the Seattle Public Library, but there are three magical appearances still to come:

Rat City Rollergirls Bout 2

Tuesday 4/22/08 9.00am-1.00pm
Zanadu Comic Shop

Tuesday 4/22/08 2.00pm-6.00pm
Cafe Umbria

If you’re blissfully unaware but would like to lose your nerd maidenhead, here’s part of the Wikipedia entry for Beholders.

A Beholder is an aberration comprising a floating spheroid body with a large fanged mouth and single eye on the front and many flexible eyestalks on the top.

A beholder’s eyes each possess a different magical ability; the main eye projects an anti-magical cone, and the other eyes use different spell-like abilities (disintegrate objects, transmute flesh to stone, cause sleep, slow motion of objects, charm animals, charm humans, cause death, induce fear, levitate objects, and inflict serious wounds.)

Beholders are extremely xenophobic, to the point of being engaged in a violent intra-species war with others of their kind who differ even slightly in appearance. They will sometimes take members of other, non-beholder races as slaves. Beholder communities in the Underdark often, when provoked, wage war on any and all nearby settlements, finding the most resistance from the drow and illithids

So you drow and illithids might want to steer clear of Pioneer Square next Tuesday.

Obama Gets That Dirt Off His Shoulders

posted by on April 17 at 5:30 PM

Snatched almost whole-cloth from Matt Yglesias: Barack Obama today managed to criticize the ABC debate while also subliminally channeling Jay Z—which must be a campaign first.

Check out Obama at about 2:20.

And now, Jay-Z:

This Is Going Up in the Olympic Sculpture Park

posted by on April 17 at 5:08 PM


It’s Dennis Oppenheim’s 18-foot-tall, fiberglass Safety Cones (2007), pictured on Park Avenue, in a rendering by Amy Plumb. (It was actually first installed in December 2007 at the entrance to the SCOPE Miami art fair.) They’re scheduled to be up from mid-May through the fall.

It’s Oppenheim season: The appearance of the cones corresponds with a show of models, drawings, and photographs of Oppenheim’s work at Gallery4Culture starting next first Thursday, May 1, and running through May 30. On April 30 at 7 pm, Oppenheim will give a lecture at the Seattle Public Library. Admission is free.

Yup, It’s A Hoax

posted by on April 17 at 4:50 PM

I mean, “creative fiction.”

This Sonics Thing Is Getting Totally Great

posted by on April 17 at 4:41 PM

Here’s the mayor’s office’s response to Bennett’s accusation today that the city was secretly plotting to buy the Sonics back:

Clay Bennett’s misleading motion got only one thing right - the mayor’s goal has been to keep the Sonics in Seattle and playing at KeyArena, just as he has said from day one.

The fact is that Mr. Bennett knew the terms of the KeyArena lease when
he bought the team, and he was the one who initiated a legal action to
break it. The city will be in court in June to hold him and the other
owners to the agreement they made.

True, Nickels doesn’t exactly deny Bennett’s accusations of “duplicity” (although, also true, Bennett’s accusations are a bit vague)… but this standoff is the best thing to happen to Mayor Nickels since Al Runte.

I’m a Bad Person

posted by on April 17 at 4:23 PM

I get it, I get it—building a suicide barrier on both sides of the Aurora Bridge from one end to the other will save lives. But the views from the Aurora Bridge when you walk across it—the views over that low railing—are beautiful. The experience of walking across that bridge—particularly at night—is transcendent.

Not that the views will be entirely lost, or experience entirely destroyed, once a suicide barrier is constructed on both sides of the Aurora Bridge from one end to the other. But neither the views nor the experience will be the entirely the same. Once the suicide barrier is built being on the Aurora Bridge is going to feel like being in a cage.

And so… I’m kinda, sorta against putting up a suicide barrier on both sides of the Aurora Bridge from one end to the other. I guess I just don’t think that absolutely everyone for all time should be deprived of the views from the Aurora Bridge—as they exist now, unobstructed, as they’ve existed since the bridge was opened—just because a handful of deeply unhappy and/or deeply disturbed people off themselves by climbing over that low railing every year.

But, like I said, I’m a bad, bad person. I know. And while I’m against building a suicide barrier on both sides of the Aurora Bridge from one end to the other, I’m not going to take any extreme measures—besides this one blog post—to stop the construction of a suicide barrier on both sides of the Aurora Bridge from one end to the other.

Because, shit, when was the last time I walked across that bridge anyway?

Hello, I Must Be Going

posted by on April 17 at 4:16 PM

This just in: David Esbjornson, artistic director of Seattle Rep, has decided not to renew his contract. He came to the Rep in 2005 and his contract expires June, 2009.

He’s a fairly taciturn guy (I made up an interview with him when he first got here and was reluctant to speak to the press) and only says, through a Rep spokesperson, that he’s leaving “for a complex of reasons.”

Build the Damn Fence Already

posted by on April 17 at 3:05 PM

Last night, Seattle Police officers spent 45 minutes trying to talk a man down from the Aurora Bridge. It didn’t work.

Police were called just before 10pm, and a group of officers spent 45 minutes trying to coax the man down, before he leapt to his death from the north end of the bridge and landed on the pavement below.

According to the state’s own Aurora Bridge suicide prevention website, more than 50 people have committed suicide on the bridge since 1995. Nine of those were in 2006, and there were at least seven more in 2007.

This is going to happen again, and again, and again until the city and the state get their shit together and builds a barrier on the bridge, or close it off altogether. And yes, fences work.


Since 2006, neighborhood groups and community activists have been pushing for a suicide prevention barrier on the bridge.

It’s an old bridge, with historical landmark status, so there’s been a lot of hemming and hawing over the logistics of building and maintaining a fence. Instead, the state installed a phone system which connects directly to a crisis counseling line. Clearly, that’s not enough.

The process has also been slowed by some community groups, who made a fuss about the barrier—which will save lives—because it might block the view from the bridge.

At some point, neighbors relented and in the last few months, things have been coming together. Community groups from Fremont and Queen Anne met with city and state reps to discuss potential designs for the bridge, but it’s going to be at least two years before anything gets built.

When people repeatedly get hurt at intersections, we put crosswalks and stoplights in. When people get shot at nightclubs, the city shuts them down. So when one bridge becomes such an attractive spot for people to kill themselves, why is it taking us so long to build a fence?


Photos via Flickr

Speaking of Dealing with the Issues

posted by on April 17 at 2:48 PM

In a talk this afternoon at Cornish, art dealer Scott Lawrimore mentioned that the Henry Art Gallery has been steadily, but subtly, exploring political issues in its exhibitions over the last two years.

He’s right. The Henry has been doing a great job at this, peppering every rotation of exhibitions with at least one trenchant show. The war- and international-politics-related works of Walid Raad, Kader Attia, Kim Jones, An-My Le, and Dawn Cerny coalesce into a group show in the mind when you think back on them—Raad’s technically degraded photographs from a violently degraded Beirut, Le’s portraits of battle rehearsals and re-creations, Attia’s thin but insistent boundaries and borderlines, Jones’s aggressive vulnerability, and Cerny’s paper soldiers and waiting rooms stocked with tissues.

Walid Raad

Kim Jones

Coming in June, a topical cherry on top?: Curator Sara Krajewski’s show The Violet Hour opens June 21, and it comes with this description, taken from the Henry’s website:

Artists Matthew Day Jackson, Jen Liu, and David Maljkovic imagine alternative realities that could emerge from the sociopolitical strife and environmental degradation now accumulating on the global stage. The Violet Hour features video, sculpture, and two-dimensional works that address the physical and emotional weariness of our time in an attempt to overcome the cultural amnesia preventing us from learning the lessons of history.

A still from Jen Liu’s 2006 video The Brethren of the Stone: Comfortably Numb

In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on April 17 at 2:10 PM

Dumb Lyrics, Great Chorus: Hear the new Weezer singer “Pork and Beans.”

Two New Videos, Both Great: Dan Deacon’s “Okie Dokie” and Architecture in Helsinki’s “Like it Or Not.”

Support Local Record Stores: Saturday is National Record Store Day—see how local businesses will be celebrating.

Speaking of Independent Record Stores: Watch the trailer for the upcoming documentary that investigates why they’re disappearing all over America.

Amy Winehouse Update: She is working on new album, not writing the new James Bond song. And, if you judge by the most recent photos, she’s also not eating.

Tonight in Music: Why?, No Kids, Daniel Johnston, Braille, and more.

What Would SFJ Think?: Is this week’s music section too white?

Sparkle Motion: The Gossip performing “Eyes Open” live.

Alicia Keys: Not a conspiracy theorist after all.

Science, Again!: Science says the perfect length for a pop song is 2:42.

Today’s Music News: Denali reunite, Judas Priest prepare for new album, and Ryan Adams spouts off about hating country music?

“Do You Wanna Fuck?”: And other lyrics that look insignificant on paper but cause goosebumps when sung.

New Gnarls Barkley: It’s free! But it’s backwards… Read Paul Constant’s review here.

Slap Dat What?: Kevin Suggs talks about slappin’ dat… back delay.

Now, a cute polar bear! Just, you know, ‘cause.


Court Report

posted by on April 17 at 1:54 PM

The Sonics story is all over the basketball blogs. (Even my favorite Washington Wizards blog is on about Save Our Sonics.)

Today, True Hoop, theee basketball blog, has a roundup.

Yesterday, True Hoop linked local sports writin’ wonder Seth Kolloen’s take on the story.

The most interesting link, however, is to a straight-up legal blog, Above the Law, which pans Howard Schultz’s plan to sue Clay Bennett. Schultz is accusing Bennett of bad faith for saying he intended to keep the team here. As The Seattle Times recently reported with a trove of emails, Bennett was BSing about that.

Here’s Above the Law’s (above my head) take:

Although certain emails seem to indicate that the Sonics’ new ownership group may have been privately planning to move the team to Oklahoma City from the very beginning of negotiations, this behavior alone does not likely provide grounds for complete rescission of a sale-of-franchise contract for lack of a “good faith effort.” Not only is the issue of what constitutes “good faith” under this sort of clause vague, but, even more importantly, the doctrine of “substantial performance” states that performance is considered complete once the essential and material obligation is accomplished, and any shortfall from full performance thereafter is compensable only by monetary damages. The essential obligation of the new Sonics ownership group was simply to pay Schultz the full purchase price for the team, and the new ownership did that, paying a premium to boot. Under Washington state law, “if more than one promise is made [in a contract], each promise does not have to be substantially performed. Overall, substantial performance is sufficient.” Mortimer v. Dirks, 57 Wash. 402, 107 P. 184 (1910). In other words, breach of a secondary promise not vital to the core of the contract itself is insufficient to rescind the contract in full.

Although one way potentially around the doctrine of substantial performance may involve bringing a separate claim based on fraudulent inducement, a fraud claim under Washington law similarly is a nonstarter. Under Washington law, Schultz would have to show convincing evidence of “(1) a representation of existing fact, (2) that is material, (3) and false, (4) the speaker knows of its falsity, (5) intent to induce another to act, (6) ignorance of its falsity by the listener, (7) the latter’s reliance on the truth of the representation, (8) his right to rely on it, and (9) consequent damage.” Pedersen v. Bibioff, 64 Wash. App. 710, 723 n. 10 (1992). Even without knowing all of the facts, proving element nos. 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 each would likely present some difficulty for Schultz.

Meanwhile, The Seattle Times has a new story up: Bennett is now accusing Mayor Nickels of bad faith, saying he has proof that the city was dealing with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer all along in a plot to buy the Sonics back.

After We Ban Plastic Shopping Bags…

posted by on April 17 at 1:30 PM


…can we please ban the freaky-ass hairy plastic balls—made in China, from God only knows what—sitting on the floor at Walgreens?

Headline of the Day

posted by on April 17 at 1:29 PM

Church having trouble marketing poverty and celibacy to men

Thanks to Slog tipper Reggie.

Dino Rossi Is No Moderate

posted by on April 17 at 1:23 PM

Over on Crosscut, Skip Berger argues that Rossi may be moderate enough for many Washington State voters, because he’s “fronting positions that are perfectly reasonable, as evidenced by his transportation plan.” Yes, the plan is “roads heavy,” Berger says, but it also includes “proposals that add a green tinge to his agenda,” like converting the state vehicle fleet to hybrids and plug-ins by 2015, getting rid of the sales tax on hybrids and plug-ins, and fixing culverts that block salmon runs.

The problem—as I wrote a few days ago, and argued last night on KVI—is that the $767 million Rossi proposes spending on “green” tax breaks and culvert repairs isn’t enough to make up for the billions and billions of dollars he wants to spend expanding roads—including roads that Seattle, Puget Sound region, and Washington State voters have said they don’t want expanded. And he wants to do it by taking 40 percent of the revenue from sales taxes on car sales out of the state’s general fund—depriving Washington citizens of nursing-home care, health care, and education. (If you believe Rossi’s claim that he won’t raise taxes or cut programs supporting health care, education, or nursing homes, then here’s my question: What WILL he cut to pay for the loss of $10 billion from a budget already $2.4 billion in the red?)

Here’s how Rossi characterizes Gov. Christine Gregoire’s slightly more transit-friendly approach to transportation:

Christine Gregoire started talking about congestion relief, but unfortunately, she’s also said that she wants to force 50 percent of us out of our cars by 2050. Everybody thinks ‘Well, you’re not talking about me because I have important things to do.’ Well no, she’s actually talking about you.

Got that? Christine Gregoire is going to COME TO YOUR HOUSE AND TAKE YOUR CAR AWAY. Rossi added:

“We’re talking about two different visions. … One of trying to force people out of their car or of freedom for you to choose how you’d like to move about the region.”

But choices are good, right? Who doesn’t like choices? Well, Dino Rossi, for one. His plan would not only fund roads to the exclusion of all other forms of transportation, it would effectively kill Sound Transit (handing transit governance over to a new regional transportation authority which would also oversee roads) and eliminate funding for light rail to Bellevue. (So much for Rossi’s statement that “the state should not meddle in local transit decisions.”) Rossi would take $690 million out of Sound Transit’s Eastside funding and use it to build “transit-related infrastructure” on the Eastside. That’s HOV lanes on 405 and 520 to you and me—HOV lanes that could be used by the buses Rossi thinks are better than rail.

But at least they’re HOV lanes—that’s better than nothing, right?

Well, yeah—but here’s the problem. Rossi’s plan also calls for opening HOV lanes up to non-HOV drivers during “off-peak” hours—a period that, if his definition is anything like Tim Eyman’s , is completely inadequate. Eyman’s latest initiative, like Rossi’s plan, would open HOV lanes between 6 and 9 a.m. and between 3 and 6 p.m.— despite the fact that an audit of the state Department of Transportation by state auditor Brian Sonntag found that, in Sonntag’s words, “the phenomenon of an all-day rush hour is beginning to happen across the Puget Sound region.” So Rossi’s plan would undermine its own HOV lanes by opening those HOV lanes up to solo drivers at times when highways are already congested. By ensuring that buses (always the favorite transportation “solution” of those who never have to ride them) will be stuck in the same traffic as everybody else, Rossi’s plan is a plan for failure.

It’s Pledge Week…

posted by on April 17 at 1:05 PM

…over at HorsesAss. And Goldy’s crew—unlike some I media outlets I could name—isn’t sitting on a $1 million+ surplus they don’t want you to know about. In a pledging mood? Your money will go farther and do more good at HorsesAss.

Pledge now.

Church to Become Condos?

posted by on April 17 at 12:51 PM


13th and Olive

The Medhane Alem Evangelical Ethiopian Church, just a few blocks away from Cal Anderson Park, has been sold.


The sign in front of the church advertises the space as a great location to build condos and townhomes, and that’s just what might be coming to the neighborhood.

It’s unclear who purchased the 19,000 square foot property, which is valued at about $1.25 million by the King County Assessor’s Office. The real estate agent handling the sale would not divulge who purchased the property, but he did say papers were just signed yesterday.

According to Ed Park—who ran a counseling service out of Medhane Alem before the the the church relocated to a new space near Rainier Beach—the congregation had outgrown the space and the property was put up for sale. “I know they preferred for a church to buy from them,” Park says. “But [condos were] kind of their fall back if there wasn’t a church that would step up.”

Games: I Want to Give You VD

posted by on April 17 at 12:49 PM

There’s comfort in the Van Damme genre of video games—better known as the “beat ‘em up,” which kicked off in the ’80s with arcade brawlers Renegade and Double Dragon. You’re typically a dude with issues and a burning desire to walk from left to right. I call them Van Damme games because everything about them is stupid—the testosteronicious plots, the simple, button-mashy fights, the fact that enemies rarely attack two-at-a-time, and so on.

While straight-up fighting games have gotten smarter and crazier over the years, the button-mashy Van Damme titles still stomp along. Blame swords—all the big games in the genre now employ ‘em, God of War most famously of them all. Anybody can run around and punch underlings, but in that one, you’re a shirtless Greek god with a flaming sword-whip and a jones for ripping heads off of Minotaurs—right after you fuck busty maidens by pressing buttons to the rhythm, no less. Arrogant, horny, and violent? Van Damme lives! That game just saw a prequel come out on PSP, but since I don’t own one (I just borrow Michael Strahan’s), two other recent, decent games riddled with VD are after the jump.

Continue reading "Games: I Want to Give You VD" »

Low-Income Housing Is the Neighborhood’s Biggest Problem…

posted by on April 17 at 12:36 PM

…according to a poll at the High Point Blog.


But by “problem,” the poll’s author doesn’t mean there’s too little low-income housing in West Seattle’s mixed-income development. The problem, obviously, is the very presence of low-income housing.

As the High Point Blog sees it, the greatest stumbling block to the success of the new and improved High Point is its low-income housing….

…the maintenance (or lack thereof) by pov-housing residents to maintain the exteriors and window coverings of their dwellings…that is to say.. crazy furniture in the windows, torn curtains, kitschy statuary and signage in windows etc…. the constant feeling that we live in Tangier and not West Seattle.

Some pollyanna neighbors, as the poll results show, believe there are “no significant problems” with the large tract of land being redeveloped from government and low-income housing. (Erica wrote about the project over here.) But for the level-headed folks at HPB, there’s bad news: More low-income housing is on the way.

Tonight, five duplexes and two single-family houses proposed for High Point are up for an administrative review with the Department of Planning and Development. The 12 units could break ground by this summer and will sell at well below market rate.

“We serve a population at 25 percent to 50 percent of median income [for King County],” says Tom Gaylord of Habitat for Humanity of Seattle/South King County. “We use volunteer labor and home owners to construct the house. We use mortgages with no interest and no fees to get residents in for the cost of the house, which is low because labor cost is low.”

Volunteers and families hammering nails and painting walls. It does sound menacing.

“It’s great, you see little old ladies out there putting up honkin’ beams,” says Gaylord, oblivious to the havoc they will wreak on the manifest destined residents of High Point.

But Gaylord and HFH are determined to press on with their insidious scheme. “In spite of the plan end homelessness in King County in 10 years, so much more is needed,” he says. HFH has constructed about 125 housing units in the Seattle area, and plans 20-30 more per year, according to Gaylord. “We’d like to be doing more.” The gall.

UPDATE: Gaylord just sent me drawings of HFH’s proposed street scape, sans statuaries.


Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on April 17 at 12:31 PM

General Eugene Mirman on the the war in Iraq…

From one of my new favorite websites

Was Katrina Too Black?

posted by on April 17 at 12:21 PM

Oh my goodness, I meant to Slog this last Friday with This Weekend at the Movies, but I’m sort of glad I failed, because it really deserves a post of its own.

Eugene Hernandez of Indiewire writes,

Circulating among insiders involved with Sundance ‘08 grand jury prize winner, “Trouble The Water,” is an anectdote that the film remains without distribution amidst buyers essentially telling the filmmakers that the doc may be “too black.” “Why aren’t more white people in the film?,” an exec apparently asked back in Park City. I’ve heard similar versions of this story from a few different people connected to the movie.

It’s a documentary. About Hurricane Katrina. Why aren’t more white people in the film, indeed.

Oh, Fremont

posted by on April 17 at 12:06 PM

You don’t expect the sound guy working the volume knobs in a rock club to be the prissy type, but then again, this was Fremont.

Here’s the story:

ECB and I went to see a friend’s band play last night at the High Dive in Fremont, and having not had dinner yet, we were distraught to find that the kitchen was closed. The friendly waitress told us the kitchen next door—at ToST—might be open, and we could bring the food back over.

So, we dashed over. Unfortunately, we stumbled into what appeared to be a stern poetry reading or consciousness-raising class there, so we tiptoed away and luckily discovered a sandwich shop across the street, Postmark Gelato and Royal Grinders.

The enthusiastic and pleasant guy behind the counter gleefully whipped us up two sandwiches—a ham and turkey panini with sweet chili marinara sauce (ECB) and a turkey on rye with swiss cheese, mustard, tomatoes, and onions for me—and lovingly wrapped them up and sent us on our way. The shop’s been under new management for a few months. You should check it out. It’s just across the street from the Lenin statue.

Anyway, the waitress at the High Dive saved us our table, and we hustled back to eat our sandwiches, get some drinks, and hear the band (a nice Lucinda Williams-style act called Tiger Zane).

We did all that, split one more drink, and then someone I thought was the guy who had been sitting across from us swooped up our sandwich wrappers to throw them away, saying angrily the smell of onions was “really bothering” him. He also told us we were violating the health code by bringing in outside food.

He turned out not to be the guy at our table, but the sound man working the board a few feet away.

The smell of onions was getting to him? The health code? Dude, so delicate. You’re the sound guy. It’s a bar … with a loud rock band. (And your kitchen was closed.)

Just weird.

Night of the Living Swag

posted by on April 17 at 11:52 AM

Two weeks ago, in honor of its new “eco-awareness” campaign, a certain mega-department store mailed me—and presumably 100,000 other people—a tote bag for us to throw away.


(I’m sending mine to Joel Connelly, compliments of ECB.)

And yesterday, in honor of its new “eco-awareness” campaing, this certain mega-department store mailed me—and presumably 100,000 other people—a tiny tree.


Is That a Poem in Your Pocket…

posted by on April 17 at 11:49 AM

…oh, never mind.

It’s “Poem in Your Pocket Day” in New York City. New Yorkers are encouraged to carry a poem in their pocket and then share their pocketed poems with friends. Yes, really.

This, of course, is part of National Poetry Month, which is something that I’ve been trying desperately to ignore for…oh, about 17 days now. These theme months have all the same appeal as being forced to write five pages on “To Build a Fire” for fifth grade English class.

I’m mostly writing about PIYP Day, as it’s referred to on the website, to let you know that it’s entirely a coincidence that I write about a poet in this week’s Constant Reader. I’m not writing about poetry because it’s National Poetry Month, I’m writing about poetry because a motherfucking amazing poet is coming to town next Tuesday and you should know about it. If anything, I’m less likely to write about poetry during National Poetry Month because it feels cheap, and obligatory, and unimaginative.

But if you want to take part in Poem in Your Pocket Day, I’ll be gracious and provide, after the cut, a poem for you. It’s called “The Tay Bridge Disaster,” it’s by William Topaz McGonagall, and it was written in 1879. It’s widely believed to be the worst poem in the English language not written by a teenager. If you really want to appreciate its badness, I suggest that you read it aloud. Barring a reading of Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy” by George W. Bush, or some other unforseeable gorgeous disaster, I promise that this is the only post about National Poetry Month you’ll see from me on Slog.

Continue reading "Is That a Poem in Your Pocket..." »

What Was Really Wrong with the ABC Debate

posted by on April 17 at 11:40 AM

In the Morning News comments on last night’s ABC debate, commenter el makes the following worthwhile point:

I love this catch-all phrase “stick to the issues”, as if somewhere there were a list of the “issues” and the “non-issues”. Magically, I am back in high school and my english teacher is warning me about the “real world” as opposed to apparently fabricated world i was then inhabiting. It’s a bullshit distinction.

I agree, for the most part, and so I think it’s fine for journalists to ask Obama about his relationship with William Ayers (whose belligerent 9/11 quotes were published the morning of 9/11, when, recall it or not, we all talked about domestic terrorism quite differently) or to ask Clinton to explain why she felt the need to exaggerate the degree of danger she was in in Tuzla (after all, 58% of voters now say that she is isn’t honest or trustworthy).

But the most useful thing about a debate format is getting the two candidates into a room to compare and aggressively contrast their ideas. When the idea contained in a given “issue” is “Is this candidate honest?” or “Does that candidate keep shady company?”, you’re basically throwing away time (and this in one of the only debates that was broadcast on network television, so people without cable could watch it at home). The opposing candidate is not going to have a useful opinion on these subjects. There is no legitimate pro and con to be argued. The clearest demonstration of this fact is that Clinton voluntarily gave up speaking time at one point, and probably should have conceded her second opportunity to attack Obama on Jeremiah Wright, because it just made her sound ruthless and repetitive.

Basically, I don’t think the debate completely lacked issues, but it was noticeably deficient in debatable ideas.

That said, there were some opportunities late in the debate for the candidates to clarify the Democratic position on taxes, and they flubbed it. Obama needs to get a better answer on raising the Social Security payroll cap, which is one of the ways he’s shown he has a more progressive view of taxation.

My dream response to those tax questions would have been something like this: First, a joke about how everyone seems to see the ceiling of the middle class hovering just above their own income level. Then, stats. The median household income in 2006 was just $48,201. In affluent, expensive Manhattan, where Clinton has her offices, the median household income is just $47,030. The vast majority of people pay Social Security payroll taxes on their entire income. Everything they earn gets taxed. A lucky few individuals who personally—not as a household—earn more than $97,500 a year (that’s between 6 and 7% of the population) stop paying Social Security taxes on any income above that level. It really shouldn’t be controversial, but here it is: If you personally earn more than $97,500 a year, you’re upper middle class. You should shoulder the same burden for maintaining the social safety net as people who earn less than you do. (Here, Obama would probably say he’s open to a donut, where the additional income between $97,500 and $200,000 isn’t taxed, but then the tax kicks back in on income over $200,000. But I prefer eliminating the cap altogether.) Reforming the payroll tax wouldn’t be particularly burdensome, it would help deal with the coming generational strain on the Social Security system, and it would be fairer to the middle class, who right now are shouldering a disproportionate amount of responsibility for Social Security.

Typo Hunt Comes to the Northwest

posted by on April 17 at 11:40 AM

The Typo Eradication Advancement League (TEAL) is spending three months driving from California to Massachusetts on a mission to correct every misspelled, poorly punctuated, typo-ridden item of signage it encounters en route. Armed with marker pens, stickers, and Wite-Out, the members are cleaning up America’s apostrophes, syntax, and spelling.

They have a blog that chronicles their progress with before and after pictures of their handiwork.

Corrected in Portland:

Found in Portland:

This warms my copy-editor heart.
[Tacoma/Portland error corrected. Thank you, commenters.]

Bittergate Births a T-Shirt

posted by on April 17 at 11:32 AM


Found advertised on Drudge.

Another Take On McCain’s “Gas-Tax Holiday”

posted by on April 17 at 11:27 AM

By Grist guest writer Ryan Avent, who points out that the real failure of leadership isn’t the failure to keep gas prices low, but the failure to give people alternatives to buying gas:

The few lucky metropolitan areas with transit systems have enjoyed record ridership as drivers gladly substitute away from gasoline. Elsewhere, there are no such options. Families trim spending to buy gas. They become less mobile to conserve fuel. If they can afford it, they purchase a hybrid (even though that also requires trips to the local gas station). And every product that has gasoline somewhere in its production process grows more expensive.

We are, as a nation, incredibly vulnerable to increases in gasoline prices, because, as a nation, we have done so little to diversify our transportation network. We placed all our bets on roads, cars, and gas. Sadly, those were losing bets, and we did practically nothing to hedge.

Oil prices will fluctuate in the future, but the long-term trend is likely to be up, and up, and up. If we hope to minimize the pain of future fuel price hikes, now is the time to invest in automobile alternatives. We can do this by shifting funds from new highway construction to new transit construction. We can do this through congestion pricing. And we can do this by keeping and increasing our pitifully low gasoline tax. Better to suck it up and pay those few extra cents now in order to enjoy a range of options tomorrow.

Civic Fascination

posted by on April 17 at 11:15 AM


Over on Flickr, there’s a fascinating photostream called Seattle Municipal Archives, featuring tons of stuff from ye olde Seattle, from the logo above to a pro-Beatle screed written to the mayor in 1964 to photo montage of 1973’s Miss Seafair candidates and beyond.

(Seattlest loves this stuff too! Thanks to Slog tipper Jake.)

A Student Artist Makes Art From Her Self-Induced Abortions

posted by on April 17 at 11:03 AM

Have at it.

Currently Hanging

posted by on April 17 at 11:00 AM

Eli Hansen’s Skagit River Delta 1 (2008), C-print, 18 by 24 inches

At Howard House. (Gallery site here.)

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 17 at 11:00 AM


Why?, Mount Eerie at Vera Project

In case you missed my 4,000 words on the subject in last week’s issue: I’m totally gay for Phil Elverum of Mount Eerie. Same goes for tonight’s headliner, Why?. Both bands write songs about existential worry and wonder, but while Mount Eerie find solace in the natural world, Why? get nauseated in the Whole Foods parking lot. Their dark, hiphop-inflected lyricism is airtight, telescoping from minute detail to overwhelming dread in the turn of a phrase, and the band’s rhythms and melodies are equally agile. (Vera Project, Seattle Center, 956-8372. 7:30 pm, $9/$8 with club card, all ages.)


Lee Siegel Is a Fount of Positive Energy

posted by on April 17 at 10:48 AM


Jeff Bercovici, over at Portfolio, was supposed to interview Lee Siegel about his book, Against the Machine, a book that Ari Melber reviewed for us a couple weeks back.

Before the interview could happen, though, and without warning, Bercovici got an e-mail from Siegel’s publicist:

Hi Jeff,

I’m afraid I need to cancel this interview. I didn’t realize that you had written negatively about Lee on your Portfolio blog.

Sorry for the inconvenience.


The ‘negative’ post is hardly a scathing diatribe; Bercovici noted that, in an appearance on The Daily Show to promote Against the Machine, Jon Stewart didn’t ask Siegel at all about how he created a sock puppet persona to defend himself against negative attacks. This is the entire reason that Siegel wrote the book in the first place, and would seem to be a worthy topic of conversation.

In our paper, Melber pretty deftly mocked Siegel’s inability to take criticism:

Lee Siegel wants to tell you why he doesn’t like the internet. But wait, you might protest, all this new-media talk is tiresome. Well, shut up: Lee Siegel is not interested in your opinion. This isn’t some dirty blog, where the author’s prose mingles with commenters’ “thuggish anonymity,” but serious work by a cultural critic lamenting the State of Online Discourse.

I know that this is a lot of space to be giving a couple of blog posts—on Portfolio, for Christ’s sake!—but I’m kind of fascinated with Siegel, because he’s so desperately hoping for the resurrection of the concrete wall that existed for so long between readers and writers, and it’s just never going to happen. What’s he going to do with himself? It’s kind of like watching an old newspaper fade into irrelevance, only it’s an arrogant human being instead, which makes it a lot more fun.

Something New to Worry About

posted by on April 17 at 10:37 AM

An eagle carrying off my kid—or just, you know, hurling my kid off a cliff. Sorry, DJ, no more hikes in the Cascades.

Via Towleroad.

Fully living one’s beliefs

posted by on April 17 at 10:37 AM

In addition to Dan’s post earlier about how many liberal Americans get to live their beliefs in a secular society, there’s a logic problem in the Pope’s statement that America’s

secular tradition often prevents Americans from living their beliefs fully, accepting divorce, abortion and cohabitation outside of marriage.

which bears further examination.

It comes down to the fundamental difference in values that divides liberals from various varieties of religious conservatives. These people will argue—as many of my students have argued with me—that all laws are impositions of values, and so imposing conservative values or imposing liberal values are the same thing, morally equivalent.

The problem with that idea, and the logic bomb in Benedict’s position, is that liberal laws still allow conservatives to live out their values, while conservatives would not allow liberals to live out theirs. That is, in an America where abortion, divorce, cohabitation and premarital sex are legal, if you truly believe due to your deeply held religious principles that these things are wrong, you are free to live out your religious principles by not having cohabitating premarital sex that leads to an abortion. Liberal values allow conservatives to do as they please, to live out their religious beliefs. Conservatives do not return the favor. That’s the fundamental divide.

I would also add that if Benedict means that Catholics are unable to resist the various temptations offered by our secular society, and that’s the problem: well, then, these Catholics do not hold their beliefs very firmly if they are so easily led astray. Orthodox Jews who keep Kosher and Mormons who abstain from booze and caffeine prove this every day as they manage to resist the alluring beauty of bacon, beer and Coca Cola.

“Exhibition Copy”

posted by on April 17 at 10:35 AM

The star show at the Guggenheim Museum in New York right now is a solo exhibition by explosion-happy Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang. The show’s big centerpiece, snaking all the way up inside the Frank Lloyd Wright spiral, is Seattle Art Museum’s Inopportune: Stage One.

Looks good, no?


But wait—the same piece is up at SAM right now. How’s that possible? Is the piece editioned?


This morning I ran across this little caption under an image of the installation on the Guggenheim’s web site: “Seattle Art Museum, Gift of Robert M. Arnold, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2006. Exhibition copy installed at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2008.”

Now hang on.

I’m imagining that the defense for doing this is that the work is conceptual. Essentially: that the art is an idea that can be executed over and over again, rather than an idea that rests in specific materials—in this case, the white Mercurys and Ford Tauruses—themselves. The museum’s text describing the piece says as much: “The concept of Inopportune: Stage One has been reconfigured…” (emphasis mine).

But if that’s the case, if there is no physical original, then why is this one called a “copy”? And why not make exhibition copies for every work in the show, rather than going to the trouble of gathering together originals? (See the curatorial model of Triple Candie—unauthorized retrospectives and copies all around!—for the truly radical take on this idea.)

More likely than any artistic motivation are career-based, logistical, and publicity justifications. The artist and the museum probably simply wanted the spectacular piece (first created at Mass MOCA) to get a New York audience. That’s fine, but let’s not confuse it with theoretical reasoning. Sol LeWitt, to my great dismay, is dead, and the practice of artists, galleries, and institutions using conceptualism as an all-purpose cover needs to die, too.

Sign of the Times

posted by on April 17 at 10:20 AM

Hundreds of illegal immigrants arrested during raids on poultry processing plants, the owner of a Mexican restaurant arrested for employing illegal immigrants, cops arrest illegal immigrants at traffic stop—gee, I wonder if headlines like these have anything to do with this sign that I recently spotted in Los Angeles:


On the brighter side of illegal immigration headlines, there’s this: arrests of illegals spurs backlash in Los Angeles.

The federal government’s crackdown on factories employing illegal immigrants is triggering a backlash among local officials including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who says the federal raids could damage his region’s economy.

Reading Tonight

posted by on April 17 at 10:13 AM


We have an open mic and a book of poetry by the Women’s Poetry Listserv and another night of really good readings tonight. You really ought to enjoy this week’s amazing breadth of interesting books, because I’ve seen what next week’s calendar looks like and we are currently in the middle of the feast before the famine.

Michael T. Klare reads at Elliott Bay Book Company with Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy . He’s followed by Daoud Hari, reading with co-author Megan M. McKenna. They’re reading from The Translator, which is Hari’s account of life in Darfur. If you’re feeling obsessively geopolitical tonight—a condition usually brought on by too much drinking of whiskey the evening before—you could go to both events, but if you have to choose one, I would definitely take the latter.

Michelle Bates is at the University Bookstore tonight with Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity, which is about people taking pictures with toy and homemade cameras. I don’t think that the author has any opinion on the “Save Polaroid, Save the World” people, but, dammit, maybe she ought to.

And lastly, but not leastly, David Hajdu is reading at Town Hall, from The Ten-Cent Plague, which is about the persecution of comic books in the ’40s and especially the ’50s. In this issue of The Stranger, Christopher Sabatini really likes this book. From the beginning of his review:

When the ’50s establishment tried to sod over impolite certainties like sex and death, those certainties inevitably resurfaced as strange and perverted foliage. Comic books are the most colorful example: In the years immediately following their invention, they became a maniacal showcase of murder, monsters, and impossible female proportions.

This should be a fun one; Hajdu is a likable speaker with a tremendous amount of research at his back.

The next week’s events, with some non-genocide and/or funnybook-related readings, can be found in the full readings calendar.

The Jaeger Schnitzel Has Left The Building

posted by on April 17 at 10:00 AM

In my column this week, I wrote about The Geneva Restaurant, a place I have been mildly obsessed with since I moved to Seattle but have never actually eaten at. And never will, as it has just closed. (The Fine Dining Etiquette Seminar I mentioned is now canceled.)

Geneva is gone and an Italian restaurant, Rustica, has taken its place. In place of Geneva’s old school European cuisine (bunderfleisch, emince of veal bernoise, pan-fried calf’s liver, jaeger schnitzel), Rustica will offer classic Italian fare (pastas and risottos, saltimboca). I called last night—Rustica is open for business.

RIP, Geneva. I hardly knew ye.

“Boozy Russian Man Fails to Notice Knife in Back”

posted by on April 17 at 9:54 AM

Ah, Russia:

The newspapers Komsomolskaya Pravda and Gazeta both reported the case of a factory electrician in the town of Vologda, north of Moscow, who was stabbed by the building’s security guard as they were having a drunken argument.

Passing out at the factory, the man, Yury Lyalin, 53, awoke the next morning and attempted to resume his work duties, but was sent home by his superiors due to his inebriated state. No one noticed the 15-centimetre (six-inch) blade stuck between his shoulders.

Lyalin took a meandering course home — at first missing his bus stop — had a bite to eat, decided to lie down for a while and was only alerted to the knife in his spine when his wife woke him hours later, the newspapers reported.

The knife “went into soft tissue and by pure luck did not touch any vital organs,” a doctor who treated Lyalin, Victor Belov, was quoted by Komsomolskaya Pravda as saying.

Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You….

posted by on April 17 at 9:43 AM


Happy Birthday, Dear Poooo-ooooope, Happy Birthday to You.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld Kentucky’s method of execution by lethal injection, rejecting the claim that officials there administered a common sequence of three drugs in a manner that posed an unconstitutional risk that a condemned inmate would suffer acute yet undetectable pain.

While the 7-to-2 ruling did not shut the door on challenges to the lethal injection protocols in other states, it set a standard that will not be easy to meet.

Yesterday, of course, was Pope Benedict’s birthday (he’s 197 years young), and while thousands of American Catholics were gathering on the White House lawn to sing “Happy Birthday” to Pope Benedict XVI (nee Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger), the majority-Catholic US Supreme Court was handing down a pro-death-penalty ruling. Only two justices—Ginsberg and Souter—dissented. Voting to green light executions featuring potentially “acute yet undetectable pain,” thanks to a three-drug regimen that vets no longer use on dogs, were all five Catholics on the Supreme Court: Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony M. Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. (Ginsberg is Jewish; Souter is a Episcopalian.)

Not to put too fine a point on it but, again, this pro-death ruling was handed down the same day that George W. Bush welcomed Pope Benedict to the White House with these words: “[Americans] need your message that all life is sacred.”.

The Catholic Church opposes the death penalty in almost every instance, lumping it in with abortion, stem-cell research, and euthanasia as moral outrages. Because, you know, all life is sacred. Here’s John Paul II—another pope received worshipfully, if unthinkingly, by the American media—on the death penalty in 1995:

Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offence incapable of doing harm—without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself—the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity are rare, if not practically non-existent.

As we’ve seen with the scores of DNA-evidence-based exonerations of men sitting on death row (all since ‘95), it’s a pretty big assumption—a massive assumption—that the state can ever “fully” determine a guilty party’s “identity and responsibility.” If JPII were issuing that statement about the death penalty today, it’s safe to say that he would insist that the death penalty can never be justified.

Oh, and the US Conference of Bishops had this to say about the death penalty way, way back in 1980:

“We believe that in the conditions of contemporary American society, the legitimate purposes of punishment do not justify the imposition of the death penalty…. Abolition of capital punishment is also a manifestation of our belief in the unique worth and dignity of each person from the moment of conception, a creature made in the image and likeness of God.”

Anyhoo, I only bring this up because over the last couple of election cycles we’ve been treated to debates about whether or not pro-choice Catholic politicians—Democratic politicians—should be denied Communion. And guess who weighed in on the issue back in July of 2004:

On the question of Communion for Catholic politicians, Cardinal Ratzinger outlined a process of pastoral guidance and correction for politicians who consistently promote legal abortion and euthanasia. That process could extend to a warning against taking Communion, and in the case of “obstinate persistence” by the politician, the minister “must refuse to distribute” Communion, he said.

Okay, Mr. Pope, what about those five Supreme Court justices? I realize that the death penalty wasn’t on your list in 2004, but Catholic bishops in the United States explicitly linked the death penalty and abortion 28 years ago. And you’re a big fan of that “seamless garment of life” metaphor, right? So this American Catholic is wondering, Mr. Pope, when and how you plan to deliver your all-life-is-sacred message Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Scalia, and Kennedy? Are the five practicing Catholics on the Supreme Court who voted to uphold the death penalty—a ruling they issued on your freakin’ birthday, during your visit to Washington D.C.—going get any of that “pastoral guidance and correction” stuff you recommended back in 2004? And if their support for the death penalty proves obstinately persistent, will you instruct priests to refuse to distribute Communion to these wayward members of your flock?

Or is that kind of correction reserved exclusively for liberal Catholics?

UPDATE: After the execution of Saddam Hussein—which the Catholic Church condemned—the Vatican had this to say about the death penalty:

Church officials offered several motives for opposing the execution.

First, there’s the principled argument that the right to life must always be upheld. This point was made in a Dec. 30 interview in Ansa, the Italian news agency, with Cardinal Renato Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

“Man cannot simply dispose of life, and therefore it should be defended from the moment of conception to natural death,” Martino said. “This position thus excludes abortion, experimentation on embryos, euthanasia and the death penalty, which are a negation of the transcendent dignity of the human person created in the image of God.”

Note that Martino listed capital punishment on a par with key life issues long understood to admit of no exceptions.

So it’s not just US bishops that linked abortion and the death penalty. The Vatican, under Benedict XVI, did so, and did so in no uncertain terms. So that means no more Communion for Scalia, right? Or Roberts? Or Kennedy, Alito, and Thomas, right? Right? Mr. Pope? Hello?

Video at SAM

posted by on April 17 at 9:25 AM

Cai Guo-Qiang’s Illusion, seen in its 2004 installation at Mass MOCA

You know that strange little area at Seattle Art Museum, the one off the main lobby and overlooking the Hammering Man entrance of the museum? The area where nobody goes?

It’s where the artwork seen above is installed. It’s Cai Guo-Qiang’s Illusion, a video of a car being immolated “in” Times Square, displayed in conjunction with the burned-out car itself. (You can see the video here.)

That work is coming down in May (the flying cars will still be up for a while; Darling couldn’t say how long), and, eventually, in its place, the entire area will be transformed into a zone for video art, according to SAM modern and contemporary curator Michael Darling. The room will no longer be a weirdly shaped open zone—a land that architecture forgot—but it will become gallerylike, with temporary walls and such. (One hopes the museum will also find a better way to direct people toward the area, which is continually overlooked now.)

The area doesn’t naturally lend itself to the idea of showing video. A big bank of windows across the southern lobby pour natural light into the space. But with a buildout, it could work. And it will be great to see the area activated.

The first exhibition? The video survey of 19 Northwest artiststhat Darling put together for Art Basel Miami Beach this December. As far as I can tell, it marks the first time any curator has put together a Northwest video survey, and even if we had to wait a few months, it’s terrific that it will show in its homeland. Stay tuned for dates; Darling said the buildout could take several months.

The Morning News

posted by on April 17 at 8:45 AM

ABC’s handling of the debate: Despicable, shameful, an unmitigated travesty, facile, an affront to intelligence, and full of banal, lapidary questions.

Also: Stephanopoulos coached by Sean Hannity?

Global rice shortage: The Australia connection.

Oil: At a record high.

Online video: Now with more tracking.

Olympic torch in New Dehli: Lonely.

Chinese crackdown: Continues.

Queen Anne: An attempt to make it less stuffy.

And the highlight (or lowlight) reel from last night, complete with boos at the end:

Believe It

posted by on April 17 at 8:30 AM

Dear Mr. Pope:

Pope Benedict XVI visited the White House on Wednesday—his 81st birthday—and praised America as a nation where strong religious belief can coexist with secular society. But he later warned that this secular tradition often prevents Americans from living their beliefs fully, accepting divorce, abortion and cohabitation outside of marriage.

Many of us believe—fully—in divorce, abortion, cohabitation, etc. Lots of us Catholics even believe in married priests, ordained women, and same-sex marriage.



Oh, For Fuck’s Sake

posted by on April 17 at 8:26 AM


This just in:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), the Democratic Party’s 2000 vice presidential nominee, is leaving open the possibility of giving a keynote address on behalf of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) at the Republican National Convention in September.

Okay, Joe Lieberman is hands down the biggest fucking douchebag ever. Ever. But we’ve know that for a long time. What I want to know is this: All those Democratic senators, elected officials, and party bigwigs that endorsed Lierberman over Ned Lamont in 2006—in the general election, after Lieberman lost the Democratic primary to Lamont—or offered only half-hearted/half-assed support to Lamont to appease Democratic activists and lefty bloggers? DO THEY FEEL FUCKING STUPID NOW?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I’m Still Voting for the No-Flag-Pin Guy

posted by on April 16 at 9:36 PM

Editor & Publisher nicely sums up tonight’s abysmal debate, calling it “perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years.” Agreed.

The headline says it all: ABC Decides Top Issues Facing Americans Are Verbal Gaffes, Flag Pins and ’60s Radicals.

On the bright side, apparently Charlie Gibson was booed on his way out of the auditorium.

For The Me That Has Everything…

posted by on April 16 at 9:10 PM

It was just recently my birthday, you know. One or two of you forgot. But no hard feelings. It’s never too late. Here’s what you can get me.

And If They’re Not Sold Yet…

posted by on April 16 at 9:08 PM

…Diagnostic and Recovery Toolset!

Please enjoy* this lovely once-internal Microsoft video, extolling the virtues of Windows Vista SP1.

Putting aside the issue of how much money this video must have cost to produce, who could possibly think this was a good idea? Even if it didn’t leak online—which it inevitably did—is this really supposed to motivate Windows sales reps to anything besides ritual suicide? How much Kool-Aid would one have to drink to think this was non-horrifying?

Note to giant corporations with no sense of humor: stop trying.

Lest we forget:

*video not actually enjoyable

Corrupt Conservatives

posted by on April 16 at 7:13 PM

The rot goes all the way to the bottom.

LiveBlogging the Democratic Debate

posted by on April 16 at 5:00 PM

Whatever, tape delay. Our commenters (thank you, commenters!) have found me two livestream sources, here and here.

You know the liveblogging drill by now. And, SPOILER ALERT, if you were planning to watch the delayed version, read no further.

Two Damn Fine Book Reviews

posted by on April 16 at 4:25 PM


This week’s Stranger is coming online right about now, but I wanted to take this opportunity to point out two really great pieces that ran in the books section last week.

The first is Erica C. Barnett’s A Little Bit Doomed, which is ostensibly about a book called Little Green Purse, but is more about the new, stupid face of environmentalism.

While picking at chalky slabs of salmon and overdressed salads, the women toss a volley of green-lifestyle questions at MacEachern. What kind of lipstick should I buy? Should I buy my daughter a new car? How do I know if the cosmetics industry is lying to me? MacEachern, a tiny, well-coiffed woman in a lime-green quilted jacket and sensible black pants, answers each question with a confident, beatific smile: one without phthalates or other toxic chemicals; no; when a manufacturer substantiates the claim with third-party verification.

It’s the best-written indictment of this sort of materialistic idiocy that I’ve ever read.

And! Megan Seling does a great job picking apart those stupid Porn For Women books that are all the rage in local bookstores:

Not only is their definition of a woman—the dishwashing spit-up rag who just wants to cuddle—still living in the past, but so is their definition of porn and those who enjoy it. Instead of changing the way we look at naughty pictures, it just takes them away completely, replacing them with what a new mom really wants to see: some young buck saying, “Damn! You look hot in those sweatpants!”

I really hated those books when I was a bookseller, but I could never justify my loathing with more than a spittle-dotted rage. Megan’s 300 words really nail exactly why these books are so horrible, and the last sentence of her review is one of my favorite book review closing lines ever. Go and check both these reviews out, please.

McCain’s Loopy Tax Proposal

posted by on April 16 at 4:12 PM

Here’s some “maverick” thinking for you: GOP presidential candidate John McCain wants to “spread [tax] relief across the American economy.” So will he be cutting the income tax? Providing a rebate on the sales tax, one of the most regressive taxes in existence?

Nope. From the AP:

PITTSBURGH - Republican Sen. John McCain on Tuesday called for a summer-long suspension of the federal gasoline tax and several tax cuts as the likely presidential nominee sought to stem the public’s pain from a troubled economy.

To help people weather the downturn immediately, McCain urged Congress to institute a “gas-tax holiday” by suspending the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day. By some estimates, the government would lose about $10 billion in revenue. He also renewed his call for the United States to stop adding to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and thus lessen to some extent the worldwide demand for oil.

Together, McCain said, his proposals would “bring a timely reduction in the price of gasoline. And because the cost of gas affects the price of food, packaging, and just about everything else, these immediate steps will help to spread relief across the American economy.”

Now, let’s take a closer look at that statement.

First, McCain says his proposal will reduce gas prices. The problem is, the federal gas tax isn’t why prices are so high (high enough that, for the first time in recent memory, people are starting to drive a little less); the reason gas prices are high is because the price of oil is $113 a barrel—a record level. The nationwide average price for a gallon of regular gas is $3.40 a gallon; cutting that price by 18 cents amounts to a five percent reduction. Put another way, the savings for a typical driver—one who drives about 12,000 miles a year—would be less than $28, or about half the price of a tank of gas. If that’s the tax cut that’s supposed to trickle down to ordinary Americans in the form of cheaper goods, food, and packaging, good luck even noticing it.

Not that McCain’s “trickle-down” thesis makes any sense in the first place. The “tax holiday” he’s talking about, after all, is only three months long. The economy is unlikely to respond to such a short-term reduction—especially if gas prices continue to increase. In fact, economists say that reducing prices actually stimulates consumption, triggering even higher prices. That “tax relief” isn’t going to be very comforting when you’re paying $4.00 a gallon.

Fortunately, that gas tax isn’t paying for anything important, right? Oh, just the Highway Trust Fund, which pays to fill potholes, fix crumbling roads and bridges, and patch up America’s failing highway infrastructure. Oh, yeah, and it’s running out of money already; currently, the trust fund faces a $2-$3 billion deficit. McCain says he’ll fill the gap by taking money out of the nation’s general fund. That’ll increase the deficit, but whatever—when you’re already $410 billion in the hole, what’s another $8 to $10 billion?

Of course, as you may recall, we’re heading into a recession. Cutting federal spending during a recession is no way to stimulate the economy. According to the US Transportation Department, every $1 billion of federal highway investment supports 34,779 jobs.

Then again, McCain is the same guy who said he would “leave it for others to speculate on the technical definition of a recession.”

(Incidentally, if this “gas-tax holiday” sounds familiar… well, it is.)

Azariah Southworth

posted by on April 16 at 3:57 PM

Azariah Southworth is the host of a popular Christian TV show called The Remix. The show, a Christian music program, originates in Nashville and is seen in upwards of 128 million homes. Southworth, who is also the show’s producer, has helped launch, er, “major” Christian music acts “such as Jars of Clay, Avalon, Superchick, Building 429 and Rachael Lampa.”

Azariah Southworth just came out of the closet. Good for him, bad for his show.

“I know I will be cut off from many within the Christian community, and if so, then they didn’t get the point of the life of Christ. I believe by me living my life honestly and authentically now, I am able to be a better person and a better Christian. We all know there are so many other gay people in the Christian industry; they’re just all scared. I was scared, but now I’m no longer afraid,” notes Southworth.

No longer afraid—but likely to be unemployed soon.

“Screw ‘Em”

posted by on April 16 at 3:36 PM

Hillary Clinton, in 1995, on Southern working class whites—according to the same source that brought us the last class-war bombshell, Huffington Post.

The Risks of Having Gay Friends

posted by on April 16 at 3:33 PM

We’re fun to hang out with and everything… but, according to the Scientologists, you don’t want us riding shotgun.


posted by on April 16 at 3:10 PM

A Seattle film crew arrested in Nigeria has been released to American Embassy personnel, a spokeswoman for the film project said Wednesday afternoon. The film crew was seized Saturday while gathering footage for the documentary “Sweet Crude,” which examines the oil industry’s impact on Nigeria’s economy and environment.

Meet John McCain: Patriarchal Campaign Figure and Craps Fanatic

posted by on April 16 at 3:05 PM

For those wanting a peek into the inner workings of the McCain bid for the presidency, Jason Zengerle of The New Republic picks the totally unnerving analogy of a campaign dealing with its own unresolved ‘daddy issues’:

Indeed, it’s precisely the passion McCain’s advisers feel for him that causes them to fight with one another. Less a politician captaining a team of rivals than a patriarch presiding over a brood of squabbling children vying for Daddy’s affection, McCain has built a political family that has served him well enough to carry him to the threshold of the White House. But now, as that family tries to carry McCain over that threshold, the animosities within McCainland continue to persist. And, as much as ever, they have the potential to violently erupt.

And as long as we’re exploring the wild twists and turns that make up the psychology of McCain and his campaign, here’s an unrelated moment from a casino craps table, courtesy of Connie Bruck’s fantastic piece on McCain for The New Yorker:

McCain is an avid gambler. Wes Gullett, a close friend who worked for McCain for years, told me that they used to play craps in Las Vegas in fourteen-hour stints, standing at the tables from 10 a.m. to midnight. “Craps is addictive,” McCain remarked, and he headed for the fifteen-dollar-minimum-bet tables. At the most obvious level, the game is incredibly simple—players rotate turns throwing the dice, and you either win or lose depending on what number comes up. But McCain’s betting formula makes it much more complicated. “Uh-oh!” he cried, as a player accidentally threw the dice off the table. “This is a very, very superstitious game,” he said. When his turn came to throw the dice, he picked them up and blew on them first. He had placed chips on the number 5, so (envisioning a combination of 2 and 3) he called, “Michael Jordan! Michael Jordan!”

No matter what happens in November, we are in for a seriously interesting four years.

Chicago Subway Revolt

posted by on April 16 at 3:02 PM

Despite what you may have read on Slog—despite what I’ve frequently written on Slog—it’s not all sunshine and buttercups in Chicago’s subways and on its elevated trains.

Frustrated passengers, stuck in a Blue line subway tunnel for about two hours, decided to take matters into their own hands by leaving the train and forcing authorities to evacuate thousands of passengers—and leading to a big mess under the streets of Chicago….

Commuters like Matt Wormley were heading home Tuesday night after the morning’s breakdown. Wormley was among the thousands riding four trains when officials say a circuit blew and caused the first train to stall.

“It was chaos; it was a mess. People were getting sick. They were angry,” Wormley said. “They said to wait for a couple of minutes and it ended up being two hours before they did anything,” he added.

When the folks trapped on that Blue Line train—the line that goes to Chicago’s O’Hare airport—decided to get off the train and walk to the next station, CTA officials were forced to shut the power off along a significant chunk of the subway system. Chicago’s subways are powered by an electrified third rail and touching the third rail isn’t just fatal in metaphor.

Here’s my favorite part of the story:

“The train in front of us had stalled and that was the extent of it, then the power went out, no air, people were passing out, throwing up,” said CTA rider Jay Miller. “Just happy to be out of there.”

CTA personnel then attempted to re-board passengers onto the train, but failed to do so, Huberman said.

Hm. I can’t imagine why CTA passengers would refuse to “re-board” a stalled, airless, dark subway car that stank of vomit. The nerve of some people.

Thanks to Slog tipper Terry.

Grumpy Old Congressmen

posted by on April 16 at 3:01 PM

Rep. Jack Murtha of Pennsylvania—Clinton supporter and unrequited congressional earmark afficianado—notes that both he and John McCain are very old, and that neither of them should be president.

Says the 75-year old, via Politico:

“I’ve served with seven presidents,” Murtha said this morning by way of introducing Hillary at a union conference in Washington. “When they come in, they all make mistakes. They all get older.”

Getting to the point, Murtha said: “This one guy running is about as old as me,” he said, drawing laughter and applause. “Let me tell you something, it’s no old man’s job.”

McCain responds, in an interview with CNN:

“Speak for yourself, Jack.”

McCain’s press office also added their two cents:

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said Murtha’s jabs were “nonsense attacks.” He noted the candidate’s invitation to reporters gathered Monday at the AP confab to come out and see for themselves his energy level on the trail.

My new priority in life has become getting someone to send me out on the campaign trail with McCain, where I will continually challenging him to push-up competitions to prove his “energy level.”

Not that I’m discounting the idea that McCain would win, which is totally possible.

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

posted by on April 16 at 2:58 PM

Get Excited: Charles Mudede highlights some local hiphop to get stoked about.

Racist? Or Just Hoping to Be in the News Again?: Oasis frontman says no to hiphop.

Officially Out of the Terrible Twos: 20/Twenty celebrates three years of business with cake and music.

Pavement: Awesome? Meh? Join the debate here.

More on the Roots: And what their current game plan has to do with the suburbs.

Tonight in Music: Donte celebrates turning 30 with Truckasauras and Sleepy Eyes of Death, Kanye plays the KeyArena, and hardcore happens in Tacoma.

Speedos and Superchunk: Les Savy Fav style.

Today’s Music News: Debbie Gibson files restraining order, Travis Barker settles lawsuit, and Book of Black Earth signs to Prosthetic. Also, Springsteen endorses Obama.

It’s in Your Bargain Bin: TJ Gorton scores Linda Hopkins’s It’s in your Blood for $1.99.

Balletomane: Big Boi’s ballet.

For Reals This Time: Morrisey promises to perform in Tel Aviv.

Poll: Four drummers, one song. Who’s your favorite?

Gossip!: Are the Halo Benders playing the Capitol Hill Block Party?


By kjten22.

Make That 8 p.m.

posted by on April 16 at 2:46 PM

I said earlier that tonight’s Democratic debate (and my live-Slogging of it) would begin at 5 p.m. PST. But commenters and my intern inform me that the debate, which begins at 8 p.m. EST, will not be aired in real time here on the West Coast. Instead it will be taped and shown here at 8 p.m. PST on ABC.

In further annoyance—can this really be true?—the debate won’t be live-streamed online. So there’s no way around this tape delay, I guess.

Honestly, I would much rather live-blog this debate beginning at 5 p.m. PST, so if I can find a way around the delay I’ll be here then. Otherwise, see you at 8 PST.

Tonight’s Design Meetings

posted by on April 16 at 2:20 PM

Aging in Interbay

I didn’t even know Seattle had a Bertona Street until yesterday. It sounds Italian. Like the menu at this assisted living facility could be all cannelloni and grappa.


“You know, you could be surprised, I’ll bet there’s some grappa there,” says Marika Rausa, director of Senior Housing for the Stratford Group. The development and property-management company has proposed a four-story, 116 apartment building with 33 parking spaces for elders who need help with dressing, cooking, and drinking.

A few old houses are currently on the site, says, Rausa. “We’re really hoping to start digging in early spring of next year.”


Ankrom Moisan Architects

There’s an early design guidance meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. in room 1 of the Queen Anne Community Center, 1901 1st Avenue West. Ciao!

Speaking in South Lake Union

Two parcels of land in South Lake Union owned by Weiss/Jenkins, LLC are lily pads compared to Vulcan’s massive algae bloom of development. But unlike Vulcan’s developments, information about this project is no state secret. Brad Hinthorne of Ruffcorn Mott Hinthorne Stine says the building is the second half of a campus, joining the adjacent Republican Building. It’s a stand-up design…


The intersection of Yale Avenue North and Republican Street. Ruffcorn Mott Hinthorne Stine

The proposed five-story building will don a two-toned brick and masonry façade, fitting neatly with its neighbor. It would contain 70,000 square feet of office space and 3,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor. Parking for 139 vehicles would be above and below grade. The existing structure, an “abandoned” print shop, says Hinthorne, will be expunged.

At an previous meeting with the review board, “One issue was building a sky bridge to connect to the existing building,” says Hinthorne. “They quickly said, ‘No.’” Good for them. Tonight’s meeting, a recommendation, begins at 6:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room at Miller Community Center, 330 19th Avenue East.

Quality on Queen Anne

The latest proposal for a building on Queen Anne Avenue North makes the case for Seattle’s design-review process. In an earlier iteration, the design was clunky, the components seemed incongruent, and, in front, potentially valuable sidewalk space went underused.


The most recent proposal from DDG architects, while seeming only subtly different at first, is substantially better design.


DDG Architects

The upper portions are lighter and modern, the windows in the brickwork are more traditional and provide variation of scale, the awnings are more natural, the proportions fit better, and the sidewalk court looks downright welcoming. Like, people could just sit down (pop-up).

“Joe [Geivett of Emerald Bay Equity, the developer] is a good listener, and he spent a lot of time with local community groups to hear what they’re looking for,” says Greg MacDonald of DDG Architects. “Without going with a rote regurgitation of what’s on the Hill previously, they were looking to dovetail traditional elements.”

One downside, three converted houses on the site will be demolished—the former Pete’s Pizza and Queen Anne Dentistry. Nonetheless, it’s a net gain. The new building will stand four-stories, containing about 15,000 square feet of retail and 40,000 square feet of administrative and medical offices. Parking for approximately 120 vehicles will be located below grade.

Tonight’s meeting will be the fourth. So a round of applause for Seattle’s committed neighbors, all-volunteer design review boards, DDG, and Mr. Geivett. The meeting is at 8:00 p.m. in room 1 of the Queen Anne Community Center, 1901 1st Avenue West.

Slog Quote of the Day

posted by on April 16 at 2:18 PM

If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.” - Kingsley Amis

Via Mom, who reads The Writer’s Almanac (all the way through!) every day and sometimes forwards it. Cute.

I Want the Rest of the World To Know What Didn’t Happen in Olympia

posted by on April 16 at 1:53 PM

There was an article in yesterday’s NYT about gun control legislation at the state level.

State lawmakers across the country are ramping up efforts to pass new restrictions on guns, following nearly a decade in which state legislative efforts have been dominated by gun advocates.

Much of the proposed legislation —some 38 states are considering gun-related bills — focuses on cutting off gun access to convicted criminals and the mentally ill and on improving methods to trace guns used in crimes.

many legislatures are trying to close loopholes that have allowed those with a history of mental illness to obtain guns.

More than a dozen states have signed or are debating bills that would compel states to upload mental health records to the National Instant Check System. West Virginia’s governor recently signed into a law a measure requiring his state to upload disqualifying records to the system.

The article comes with a handy map that shows which state legislatures “are considering” (present tense) this sort of legislation.


As you can see, Washington State is highlighted as a state that is currently considering legislation that would close a loophole allowing those with a history of mental illness to obtain guns.

Correction time. Despite having a Democratic governor and stunning Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature, Washington State’s bill to close the loophole that allows those who have been involuntarily committed because of mental illness to get guns—co-sponsored by Reps. Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Capitol Hill) and Roger Goodman (D-45, Kirkland)—was murdered by House leadership. The bill made it out of two committees, but Speaker Chopp sent it back to the rules committee, where it died.

So, for those across the land who were reading the NYT yesterday and nodded knowingly when you saw that blue blue Washington state was queued up for gun control, please be aware that we’re not “considering” a thing. That legislation died on February 19, 2008.

Similar bills passed in Arkansas and West Virginia.

That is my word.

Seattle Woman Sues Hair Club for Men

posted by on April 16 at 1:49 PM

A Seattle woman is suing the Hair Club For Men after, court records say, a 2006 hair transplant left her with burns, scars and further hair loss.

Records say that on February 1, 2006, the woman paid the Seattle Hair Club for Men $2,817 for to apply a “hair matrix” to her head. Hours after the transplant, the woman claims “her scalp began burning and she developed oozing sores.”

The woman called the Hair Club the next day but was told to come back on February 7th. Six days later, the woman returned to the Hair Club where, records say, it took employees two and a half hours to “get the matrix off her scalp.”

Following the procedure, employees gave the woman a bottle of TRAX, a citrus solvent, and told her to use it to “remove and left over pieces of the matrix.” The court filing states the TRAX warning label specifically stated it should not be applied to irritated skin.

Court documents say after the matrix was removed, the woman was left with blisters all over her head. She sought medical attention the day after the removal procedure, and her doctor found there were still pieces of the matrix that were “too painful to remove.”

Records say It took over sixteen weeks for the woman’s burns to heal, and she actually ended up with less hair than she started with. Records say there areas on her head where hair still has not grown back.

The Hair Club For Men reportedly offered to reimburse the woman $2,817, but she declined. She is seeking unspecified damages for her injuries.


The Kids’ Book on Plastic Surgery

posted by on April 16 at 1:13 PM

Newsweek reports on a new book, called “My Beautiful Mommy,” that reassures kids whose moms are about to have tummy tucks, nose jobs, and breast implants that their mommy will soon be “prettier” than ever before.

The book, aimed at kids age four to seven, features a girl whose mother gets a post-pregnancy tummy tuck, breast implants, and a nose job. (What the nose job has to do with the pregnancy is anybody’s guess; the mom assures her daughter that her new nose “won’t look different, dear—just prettier!”)


Before her surgery the mom explains that she is getting a smaller tummy: “You see, as I got older, my body stretched and I couldn’t fit into my clothes anymore. Dr. Michael is going to help fix that and make me feel better.” Mom comes home looking like a slightly bruised Barbie doll with demure bandages on her nose and around her waist.

The text doesn’t mention the breast augmentation, but the illustrations intentionally show Mom’s breasts to be fuller and higher. “I tried to skirt that issue in the text itself,” says Salzhauer. “The tummy lends itself to an easy explanation to the children: extra skin and can’t fit into your clothes. The breasts might be a stretch for a six-year-old.”

Don’t worry, dear—Mommy’s ugly now, but she can be fixed. And someday, you can too!

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on April 16 at 1:12 PM

Levi Weaver at the Greenhouse, 4/14


From thombert

Today in Guns

posted by on April 16 at 12:45 PM

In Florida:

Employers and business owners can no longer bar workers and shoppers from bringing guns onto their property and leaving the weapons locked inside their vehicles under a bill signed into law today by Gov. Charlie Crist.

The new law allows employees and visitors who have concealed weapons licenses to leave their weapons locked in or to vehicles. But concealed weapons license records are not available for public inspection so businesses would have no way of verifying if employees actually have the licenses.

The bill—surprise, surprise—was pushed by the NRA, which claimed “business rights do not trump the right to bear arms.” This prompted libertarian Atlantic Monthly blogger Megan McArdle to respond:

I’m second to none in my love of the Second Amendment, but that’s for the government, not private owners. My freedom of speech does not extend to telling my boss he’s a flaming jerk… I’m not sure why my right to bear arms should include the right to bear them on someone else’s land.

Meanwhile, a group of mayors is asking Congress for gun show legislation:

In their testimony, the mayors - Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, Thomas M. Menino of Boston, John Peyton of Jacksonville, Fla., and Dixon [of Baltimore] - outlined several steps that might help stem the flow of weapons to people least likely to use them sensibly.

They said gun dealers should not be allowed to sell weapons at gun shows without first doing criminal background checks on prospective purchasers, and should also perform such checks on any of their employees who handle guns in the course of business.

A primary aim of the mayors is to stop “straw purchases,” in which a person buys a gun for someone else.

In addition, they said, people whose names are on a terrorist watch list and are therefore not allowed to board airliners should also be listed in a database of those not allowed to buy guns.

And speaking of gun shows, you won’t be seeing this ad on MSNBC because it’s been deemed too controversial:

And finally, one year ago today 32 people were gunned down at Virginia Tech.


Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on April 16 at 12:45 PM

Oh Warren, you so crazy…

From YouTube manamica

Tomorrow Night: Rare Gay Cinema at NW Film Forum

posted by on April 16 at 12:40 PM

Tomorrow night at the Northwest Film Forum, Three Dollar Bill Cinema continues its “I Love the Nightlife” series with Some of My Best Friends Are…, Mervyn Nelson’s little-seen, barely-regarded, still-unreleased-on-DVD-or-video film of 1971, tracking a dramatic Christmas Eve in a Greenwich Village gay bar.

Here’s the trailer, which eschews actual film footage for a public service announcement about how seeing this film might break your brain.

As the preview puts it, “For those who can stand the truth…it is a provocative adult entertainment.”

As Vincent Canby’s New York Times review of October 28, 1971 puts it, “At one point or another in the film, Mr. Nelson manages to discover and exploit every stereotype of homosexual literature…When most of the characters in a movie are as full of dopey sentiments, as well as of self-hatred and of self-exploitation, as the movie that contains them, it’s almost impossible to differentiate between an intentional second-rateness and serious moviemaking of no great quality.”

I can’t wait! In fact, I’ll be introducing the movie at tomorrow night’s 7pm screening. Fans of gay history, camp film, and Rue McClanahan (who plays an aging fag-hag—she was already “aging” in 1971?) shouldn’t miss it.

Asked and Answered

posted by on April 16 at 12:30 PM

Yesterday I wondered on Slog whether Democratic challenger Darcy Burner, who reported raising $500K this quarter, was going to out-raise Republican Congressman Dave Reichert for the fourth straight quarter.

The answer: Yes, by about $170,000.

That’s not a good sign for Reichert, especially considering that First Lady Laura Bush was here in Washington during the first quarter to fund-raise for him. Over all, Burner now has $921,615 in the bank compared to Reichert’s $698,035.

“The Man Was Being Strange and Making Explosives”

posted by on April 16 at 12:01 PM

A registered sex offender literally blew the roof off a house on Monday, killing himself and nearly killing a pack of Pierce County cops.

The story, from the P-I:

The couple who own the house called police about 11 p.m. Monday, saying the man was being strange and making explosives, Pierce County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Ed Troyer said. The couple told detectives that they met their roommate through a Craiglist ad.

When police entered the house, the man grabbed some bottles and bolted from the kitchen. He blasted heavy metal music from upstairs as deputies realized that a duffle bag he left contained explosive devices.

Deputies evacuated, called for backup and were waiting on a bomb squad and a negotiator when the house exploded.

“Our deputies on the next house plot were covered in beauty bark,” Troyer said. “Blinds from the top floor were blown 75 to 100 feet.”

The Times identifies the blown-up man as 25-year-old Zane Dittman:

He also reportedly had convictions for possessing stolen property, riot with a deadly weapon and unlawful imprisonment.

Four years ago a man with that name was sentenced in Spokane for abducting his girlfriend’s 10-year-old son.

It’s a sad, sad world.

Pit Bull Owner Mauled by Pit Bull

posted by on April 16 at 11:55 AM

It’s a nice change of pace, I guess—it’s certainly better than pit bulls mauling innocent passersby, other people’s children, the children of pit bull owners, other people’s pets, horses in stables, small crowds, six year-old girls out riding their bikes, or little old ladies in their gardens. But still you gotta feel bad for the woman that was mauled—all she was trying to do was break up a fight. Between her two pit bulls:

A young woman is in the hospital after being severely bitten while trying to break up a pitbull fight. The attack occurred in the 3300 block of Northwest Blvd. where two pitbulls who are kept at the home started fighting.

A 28-year-old woman who was identified as Elizabeth is the owner of the dogs. She stepped in to try and break up the fight when she was attacked by one of the animals.

Animal control say she was bit severely, from her shoulder down to her wrist, and was taken to the hospital…. Spokanimal officials say the animal that attacked its owner was extremely aggressive when they arrived to take it away, noting that they had to use a Choke Pole to get it out of the house. According to a friend, Elizabeth has owned the dog for over a year and has never had a problem like this with the animal before.

She’s never had a problem with that dog—until it tried to kill her. Nice dogs, those pit bulls.

And, uh, Spokanimal officials?

Thanks to Slog tipper Nathan.

Are We Sure We Want Legal Marriage?

posted by on April 16 at 11:47 AM

Because those legal marriages seem to end in tears quite pretty frequently…

The Elite & I…A Puke-Filled Adventure in Gayness!

posted by on April 16 at 11:25 AM

Oh, The Elite. We’ve been through so much together. Sort of.

When I moved to Seattle, circa 1492, there were two Elites…The Elite proper, at Broadway and Roy St. next to the Jade Pagoda, and The Elite II, which used to sit on Olive way, in that block with the B & O Espresso and that unfathomable We Buy 501s! store. The Elite II closed the second I moved here, and I never set one gay toe in it. The Elite proper made me puke my guts up like a suffering sorority girl—-or cured my flu, depending on how you look at it. But that was before I actually lived here.

I was visiting Seattle from wherever it was I was foolish enough to be living that was not Seattle, staying with a friend who was at work at the time, and I was suffering from a vague malaise, some sort of low-grade flu that seemed to lack the wherewithal to shit or get off the pot. It wouldn’t get any worse, it wouldn’t’ get any better—-it just hung there like an old coat. It had been weeks.

I was wandering aimlessly on Broadway, which is what fags did in those days, and I stumbled upon The Elite (a misnomer if ever there one was). It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon. It was June. It was unseasonably hot and humid. The place was packed with chain-smoking alcoholics. I had no intention of going in the damn place, I was merely walking by, but let’s be quite frank: the smoky-crusty-alcoholic miasma of the wretched place rushed through the open door on waves of June-ish heat and punched me in the face like a fish head’s dirty diaper, and…well. That was enough for my flu. Two weeks of nausea came rushing up in a lunch-colored tsunami that painted the wall and sidewalk. I just kept walking. What else could I do? But, Loretta, I felt a hundred times better. I was so grateful. And totally disgusted.

The only time I actually went into the old Elite was the evening I met David Schmader. It was the perfect in-between point between our respective homes, and he convinced me to meet him there. It wasn’t quite so horrible as I imagined, The Elite, (and David was delightful, of course) but the place was horrible enough that I never went back. But its presence there, at the end of Broadway, was always very comforting. It was The Oldest Gay Bar on Capitol Hill, and it marked the boundaries of Gayland. It let you know exactly where you were. And I was sorry to see it go.

Like the Jade Pagoda, The Elite was forced from its home on Broadway for very stupid reasons last year-ish. Rumors said that The Elite would relocate, just pack up all that gay and plop it down somewhere else. There was even a location picked out—where the expensive antique store used to be at 1510 East Olive Way. But that space sat empty…month after month after month. It seemed as if The Elite was gone forever. So I lost interest and stopped watching that empty space for signs of life.

But in December, while I wasn’t watching, The Elite rose from its ashes. I finally got around to visiting last Saturday night. And oh, my heavens! How delightful! How charming! How new! Fresh and bright and clean—-with nary an ounce of its former smoky-crusty-alcoholic-miasma-ness. Big comfy couches and squooshey chairs, quirky and eccentric mismatched décor (check out the deco Egyptians above the door), the perkiest bartender I’ve ever seen (I didn’t get his name, he wouldn’t hold still) and a much smartened-up crowd… in its new incarnation, The Elite is immeasurably improved.

The sign over the door says, “Enter as strangers, leave as friends”, and I’m not going to argue. And indeed, I will go back. The only thing about The Elite that could make me puke now is way too much liquor—just the way God intended.



(Thanks to Bill W. for the pictures!)

I Think I Know the 12th Cylon

posted by on April 16 at 11:20 AM

I know this speculation isn’t technically a spoiler, since I don’t really know. Still, I’m putting my incredibly nerdy speculation below the fold, lest I enrage some BSG fans out there.

Continue reading "I Think I Know the 12th Cylon" »

Currently Hanging

posted by on April 16 at 11:00 AM

Diana Falchuk’s Behind Time Even Sweeter (2008), screen-printed wallpaper, confectioner sugar icing, acrylic media, gouache, and spackle, 6.5 feet by 13 feet

At McLeod Residence, which was recently the subject of Bethany Jean Clement’s lovely writing. (Gallery site here.)

Planet of the City

posted by on April 16 at 10:56 AM

Last Friday, at the end of a talk at the EMP’s Pop Music Conference, I look up and see something special.
The street, the smoke, the rise into the twilight, the flying to the corporate pyramids, the meeting with the CEO, the long table, the golden sunset, the owl with fire in its eyes, the sharp steps, the black dress—her lips, her hips, her hair—the interview with a replicant.

Author to Reader: “I am think you skimmed the book”

posted by on April 16 at 10:31 AM

Galleycat has a link to a story about a romance author who hunted down a reviewer named “Reba” on Amazon who gave her book three stars. She sent an e-mail to Reba telling her she didn’t read the book correctly. (Sic)s throughout:

I think perhaps, as Anne posted, that you are a bit too much in love with Challon, and thus resistant to Damian. It does me credit that I can create a character who conjures such loyalty from you.

I am think you skimmed the book, sitting in an auto place, worry about big bad men sniggering, and didn’t bother to see why the characters did things, just took surface reactions. You are keying into Aithinne’s POV, which at many times is not accurate to what was really happening.

As for accusing Athinne of asking Dirk into her room - he is MALE. Male do silly thinks when they are upset and jealous. This is so TM - Typically male. Men do silly things at times of high emotions. Damian is human, not perfect.

More of the letter is here. Reba has removed her review, but other readers are discovering that this romance author has a history of intimidating her reviewers.

This is How They Do It In Germany

posted by on April 16 at 10:15 AM

And you thought this was scandalous:


Ladies and gentlemen, the Chancellor of Germany:


(And lest you think the Germans are THAT much less prude than us uptight Americans, fear not: The media is flipping out at the discovery that a female politician has boobies there, too.)

Reading Tonight

posted by on April 16 at 10:14 AM


The week of amazing readings continues with a poetry slam, a book about building up your finances if you’re young, and three great events, which I will tell you all about right now.

At the University Bookstore, Jonathan Raban, a writer who Christopher has profiled, and who has written about Barack Obama and many other subjects for us, will be speaking at a tribute to poet William Dunlop. Dunlop passed away a year ago, and he was a much-loved teacher as well. It should be a sweet, sad, and funny event.

At The Shoebox on Capitol Hill, Ryan Boudinot, a very funny and talented local short story author, will be reading. His last book was The Littlest Hitler, but perhaps he will read from something new.

And down at Elliott Bay Book Company, Nathan Englander will read from his new-in-paperback-novel, The Ministry of Special Cases. I haven’t read this one, but I loved his short story collection from quite a ways back, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, which is the book that appeared to have water stains on the cover. As a bookseller, I used to love watching customers with coffee cups hovering over the books, and then looking down to see the cover of For the Relief of Unbearable Urges. They would of course think that they spilled their beverage and stained the book. Sometimes, they’d try to rub the stain off the cover, but for the most part they’d slink away, thinking that they were getting away unnoticed.

More information about all these readings and the next week or so is in the full readings calendar.

I Cling to

posted by on April 16 at 10:04 AM

A few assists-per-game, Martian Face Jenny’s awesome blog, antipathy to always getting the snotty guy and not the pretty girls at Rudy’s, anti-Timothy Egan (or David Shields) sentiment, anti-Apple Store University Village sentiment as a way to explain my frustrations.

Big City Voters Cling to

posted by on April 16 at 10:04 AM

choice, gay marriage, antipathy toward corporate schlock, anti-war sentiment, anti-Bush sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Hell Hath No Fury Like the Seattle Symphony’s Pacific Northwest Community Orchestra Scorned

posted by on April 16 at 9:56 AM

Sent this morning to I, Anonymous.

To the vast majority of those who attended the April 15 morning session of the Seeds of Compassion conference: When the hundreds of us who had been sitting in front of you for two hours, silently holding our instruments and choir books, began to perform Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” for you, why did you immediately turn your backs on us and head for the exits? Why did you talk loudly throughout our performance, some of you just a few feet from us, including special guests and crew? Why did you ignore us and all of our efforts as if we weren’t even there, as if we were some recording piped into an elevator? Seconds after the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu made their final remarks about suffering and compassion, why did you choose to make us suffer your rudeness? Please ask yourselves this, and think about it.

Rub Out Cancer

posted by on April 16 at 9:54 AM

From the BBC:

Men could reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer through regular masturbation, researchers suggest. They say cancer-causing chemicals could build up in the prostate if men do not ejaculate regularly.

And they say sexual intercourse may not have the same protective effect because of the possibility of contracting a sexually transmitted infection, which could increase men’s cancer risk.

Have at it, boys.

Zogby’s Sick of Being a Pollster. He Wants to Be a Pundit.

posted by on April 16 at 9:52 AM

Or so it would seem from this kooky analysis:

Obama pulled into a statistical tie with McCain at 45 percent after trailing him by 6 points last month. Clinton trails McCain by 5 points, 46 percent to 41 percent, gaining slightly from an 8-point deficit last month.

“Obama still does better than Clinton against McCain, but it’s a very close race either way,” pollster John Zogby said. “Obama and Clinton hurt each other the longer their race drags on, and McCain is getting a free pass.”

Uh, good job reading the data you collected, dude. Clinton and Obama both improved with respect to McCain, and you think that’s a sign that a prolonged primary is hurting them?

Off topic: Did Steve Scher just address Archbishop Desmond Tutu as “Arch”? I believe he did.

Re: Who’s Of the People Now?

posted by on April 16 at 9:51 AM

Bruce Springsteen endorses Obama; 100 small-town PA mayors endorse Clinton.

Letter of the Day

posted by on April 16 at 9:48 AM

From self-described “Slog lurker” Lonnie:

This cartoon is currently making the rounds on Chinese student mailing lists…


Now, I’m not on the Chinese side of the Tibet issue, but I’ve read enough to know that comparisons with Nazi Germany are completely unfounded.

My girlfriend, who is Chinese, showed this to me and said, “It’s from SEATTLE!”, thereby eroding months of propaganda effort on my part to convince her that Seattle is a bastion of reasonable people. Thanks Horsey!

Horsey—breaking up international affairs since 1951.

Mission Accomplished

posted by on April 16 at 9:00 AM

How many billions have we spent training the Iraqi army—you remember the Iraqi army, right? They were going to stand up so that we could stand down? That army? It is standing up now—so that it can run away. From this morning’s NYT:

A company of Iraqi soldiers abandoned their positions on Tuesday night in Sadr City, defying American soldiers who implored them to hold the line against Shiite militias. The retreat left a crucial stretch of road on the front lines undefended for hours and led to a tense series of exchanges between American soldiers and about 50 Iraqi troops who were fleeing.

Capt. Logan Veath, a company commander in the 25th Infantry Division, pleaded with the Iraqi major who was leading his troops away from the Sadr City fight, urging him to return to the front. “If you turn around and go back up the street those soldiers will follow you,” Captain Veath said. “If you tuck tail and cowardly run away they will follow up that way, too.”

Captain Veath’s pleas failed, and senior American and Iraqi commanders mounted an urgent effort to regain the lost ground.

A photograph of the Iraqi soldiers in full retreat is here—and, hey, would the next college student that has a chance to ask John McCain a question ask Mr. Ten Thousand Years about this story instead of asking McCain to have a shot with him?

The Morning News

posted by on April 16 at 8:35 AM

Tonight: After a bit of a break, there’s another Democratic debate this evening—live (and live-Slogged) at 5 p.m. Pacific on ABC.

Who’s of the people now?: The Boss endorses Obama.

Clinton’s negatives: At an all-time high among Democrats.

Clinton’s negative Pennsylvania ad: One of the featured voters is registered in New Jersey.

Lethal injection: Fine with the Supreme Court.

Washington’s jobless rate: Jumping.

Boos: At the Wamu shareholders’ meeting.

And Michelle Obama gets sweet-talked by Colbert:

D.C. Madam Found Guilty, David Vitter Still at Large

posted by on April 16 at 8:21 AM

Deborah Jeane Palfrey was found guilty by a jury yesterday of running a prostitution service that, as they say, “catered to the Washington elite.” Palfrey broke some idiotic laws and she’s going to sentenced on July 24th and will likely do time. Palfrey’s many clients—a list that included members of the Washington elite like U.S. Sen. David “Diapers” Vitter, a GOP family-values crusader from Louisiana—also broke some idiotic laws but they haven’t been charged with anything, won’t be found guilty of anything, and won’t do time. Vitter won’t even be forced to resign.

Palfrey’s defense lawyers maintained that she wasn’t aware that her employees were engaging in acts of prostitution—sure, Deborah, sure—and pointed to contracts signed by her employees that stated they would be fired if they engaged in any illegal acts. But prosecutors argued that Palfrey had to know that her employees were engaged in illegal acts—illegal acts could be inferred, assumed, taken for granted. Here’s the prosecutor being quoted by CNN:

“When a man agrees to pay $250 for 90 minutes with a woman, what do most men expect in that time?” prosecutor Daniel Butler asked during closing arguments Monday. “In that context, it’s pretty clear. Most men want sex.”

Yes, Mr. Butler, most men want sex. So it’s pretty clear, in the context of a $250-for-90-minutes escort service, that sex is going on. But it’s also clear that Palfrey wasn’t the only person that coulda, woulda, shoulda known that, in that context, it was clear that sex would be going on. It’s pretty clear that Vitter and others knowingly broke the law too—Vitter has admitted to breaking the law—and yet these men haven’t been charged with anything. I don’t think prostitution should be illegal, of course. But if we’re going to throw the book at Palfrey because she had to know just what her clients were buying, then we’re obligated to throw the book at her clients, men who knew damn well what they were buying.

Oh, and this CNN sidebar points out, there are other escort services up and running in Washington D.C., and prosecutors show no signs of shutting the them down or throwing their owners and operators in jail. So this prosecution of Palfrey wasn’t the opening of a front line in a war on prostitution. It is the politically-motivated prosecution of one woman.

All Dogs Go to Heaven

posted by on April 16 at 7:40 AM

Pit bulls, their defenders insist, aren’t the only breed that bites, maims, and kills—and they’re right! Courtesy of Slog tipper Michigan Matt, Slog brings you a fairer, more balanced story of canine mayhem

The owner of two pit bulls who attacked a horse in a western Livingston County barn was ordered to serve 30 days in jail Tuesday. David McGalliard, 44, of Handy Township, earlier pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges of allowing animals to stray and three counts of having unlicensed dogs….

Police said two of McGalliard’s pit bulls attacked and mauled a Polish Arabian mare in her stall on Judd Road in January. A Livingston County Sheriff’s deputy arrived and shot the dogs. The horse [had] to be euthanized….

Handy Township is just north of Iosco Township, a rural Livingston County community where a pack of purebred and mixed-breed American bulldogs attacked and killed two residents last September. Diane Cockrell, the owner of those dogs, is awaiting trial on two felony counts of possessing dangerous animals causing death.

Today in Legal Technicalities

posted by on April 16 at 7:31 AM

A Yemeni court ordered the marriage of an eight-year-old girl terminated on Tuesday because she had not reached puberty.

The court also ordered the child’s family to pay about $250 in compensation to the 30-year-old ex-husband.

Or Maybe It Was… Murder

posted by on April 16 at 7:25 AM

Someone killed this Capitol Hill blogger’s tree—perhaps a tree-hating condo owner that wanted to improve his view, or an area pervert that wanted a better view of the blogger brushing his teeth in his underwear in the morning. Whoever did it, that person sucks. Full story here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Gay Marriage

posted by on April 15 at 4:55 PM

California’s Supreme Court is sitting on a gay marriage decision, and the buzz is that the court will rule in favor of same-sex marriage—excuse me, marriage equality. Driving the rumors of a pro-gay-marriage ruling are Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comments at the Log Cabin Republican convention last weekend. Schwarzenegger, who has twice vetoed gay marriage bills passed by the California legislature, didn’t just say he would oppose a state anti-gay marriage amendment being floated by the Family Research Council. Arnold went out of his way to slam the proposed amendment. Says Ryan Davis at Huffington Post:

Obviously aware of what’s coming, Gov. Schwarzenegger came out swinging against the FRC’s proposed amendment. “I will always be there to fight against that,” he said to huge applause this weekend at a Log Cabin Republican Convention in San Diego. He went so far as to call the initiative a “waste of time” and acknowledge that the people of California are, “much further along on that issue.” The latest Field Poll shows only 51% of Californians oppose full gay marriage, an 11 point drop since 2000. There seems little doubt that California is moving toward full gay marriage equality.”

Via Queerty and Towleroad.

Hate Crime Charges Filed In Attack At Central District Preschool

posted by on April 15 at 4:48 PM


18th and Columbia

King County Prosecutors have filed malicious harassment charges against a 25-year-old man who allegedly attacked a teacher at the Kidus Montessori School last week.

According to court documents, David Haas attempted to gain entry to the Lake Washington Girls Middle School on April 10th, but was not allowed inside. In response, he told staff he would “kill all the black people.”

According to court documents, Haas, who is white, then walked about 10 blocks north—onto the playground of the Kidus School—carrying a large metal pole and a brick, and told a teacher supervising a group of 1-3-year-olds that he was “an abomination to the planet. Curse to Africa. Curse to your kind.” Records do not indicate the race of the teacher.

Haas left the playground but as he walked away, he threw the brick at another teacher—Burt Hall—who had been following behind Haas in his car. The brick hit Hall in the arm, bounced and shattered his windshield.

Police were called and Haas was taken in to custody and is being held on $30,000 bail.

Court documents say Haas has prior convictions for felony harassment, DV and assault.

Oh, Christ

posted by on April 15 at 4:22 PM

With just two starts under his belt, Mariners #1 starter Erik Bedard has joined J.J. Putz on the 15-day disabled list.

Ugh. April isn’t turning out pretty for the M’s.

Lunch Date: In Hoboken

posted by on April 15 at 3:30 PM


(A few times a week, I take a new book with me to lunch and give it a half an hour or so to grab my attention. Lunch Date is my judgment on that speed-dating experience.)

Who’s your date today? In Hoboken, a paperback original novel by Christian Bauman.

Where’d you go? Pizza Brava, up in the U District, on the Ave.

What’d you eat?
A regular piece of cheese pizza ($2, tax included) and a thick slice of meat pizza ($2, tax included).

How was the food? You know, after this morning’s pizza talk, I really wanted a piece of pizza. And Pizza Brava has a lot of the necessities of a New York-style pizza place: grouchy-looking old people behind the counter, a big ugly wall mural of Seattle with a pizza rising instead of the sun over it, and pizza so flat I could practically use it as a bookmark.

The thing is, though I spent a lot of time in New York City, I’m not really crazy about New York-style pizza; I’m more impressed by spicy pizza, or pizza with something special going on in the dough. The cheese slice was good, and the two dollar price tag moves it up to ‘great,’ but I think I could go the rest of my life without ever eating here again and feel okay about it. If you’re one of those “OMG THE ONLY GOOD PIZZA COMES FROM NEW YORK AND YOU WEST COAST HIPPIES WOULDN’T KNOW GOOD PIZZA IF IT FELL INTO YOUR PANTS” types, you should definitely check it out.

The thick-crust pizza was entirely skippable. There was too much of the bland dough.

What does your date say about itself?
In Hoboken is about two lifelong friends trying to make it in the music business. But more than that, it’s about Hoboken, New Jersey, the ‘mile-square city’ and birthplace of Frank Sinatra. Robert Stone says that “Bauman writes with precision, in prose that reverberates…strong, compelling work.”

Is there a representative quote?
“Originally, guitars were strung with gut, which led directly to modern nylon-string guitars. Nylon strings are no good for nobody. In his humblest of opinions, Thatcher held out that anything you could play on a guitar sounded better on anything other than nylon strings. Nolon strings sounded like dull rubber in a strong wind.”

Will you two end up in bed together? Oh, God, yes. Novels about musicians are usually a turn-off for me, but Bauman is an incredible writer, and his writing about Hoboken makes me want to buy a plane ticket out to Jersey as soon as humanly possible—not because it seems like a beautiful place, or even an interesting place, but he’s so artfully passionate about Hoboken that it’s kind of hard to not catch some of that enthusiasm. This is one of those books—like Lethem when he’s cooking, say, or Chabon at his most vibrant, when every line snaps and propels you forward. It’s the best book I’ve taken to lunch yet.

Michelle Obama on Colbert Tonight

posted by on April 15 at 3:15 PM

Or, as Comedy Central is teasing it here:


Via Ben Smith.

Important Government Business Afoot

posted by on April 15 at 3:05 PM

Yes, the economy is in the toilet, and yes, there’s that whole Iraq War business, but before we get to all that we need to do something really, really important:

A freshman Georgia Republican wanted to stress the importance of divine oversight of the US as he saw it portrayed in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Leading the pledge on the House floor Monday, Rep. Paul Broun lectured others in the chamber about the “correct way” of saying the pledge.

“There should not be a comma between ‘one nation’ and ‘under God,’” Broun told his colleagues before beginning his rendition of a pause-free pledge.

The Political Story of the Year

posted by on April 15 at 2:25 PM

You read it here first: John McCain’s wife is a plagiarist.

Cindy McCain has allegedly been lifting recipes from the Food Network site, including those of Giada De Laurentiis:
The recipes have apparently been pulled, but you can see them, at least for now, in Google Cache: Farfalle Pasta with Turkey Sausage, Peas, and Mushrooms, Rosemary Chicken Breasts and Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon, Passion Fruit Mousse, Mixed Fruit Tart, Crab Scampi and Whole Wheat Spaghetti, Ahi Tuna with Napa Cabbage Slaw.

On the bright side, McCain fans can breathe a sigh of relief: No girly meals for this war hero!


Pope on the Separation Between Church and State: Thumbs Up!

posted by on April 15 at 1:53 PM

Having recently read this long book review in the New Yorker, I was interested to learn Pope Benedict XVI (the head of a small theocracy) is apparently all about secular government, at least when it midwifes a fervently religious population:

Asked if the United States could serve as a religious model Europe and other areas of the world, the pope replied, ”Certainly Europe can’t simply copy the United States. We have our own history. We all have to learn from each other.”

But he said the United States was interesting because it “started with positive idea of secularism.”

“This new people was made of communities that had escaped official state purges and wanted a lay state, a secular state that opened the possibility for all confessions and all form of religious exercise,” he added. “Therefore it was a state that was intentionally secular. It was the exact opposite of state religion, but it was secular out of love for religion and for an authenticity that can only be lived freely.”

We Aren’t the Only Ones Fed Up with No-Knock Raids

posted by on April 15 at 1:49 PM

I was ranting about them last week and Dan de-glorified them this morning. Now the Georgia Supreme Court is on the case.

Georgia’s top court is considering a case brought by two murder suspects who argue they shouldn’t face the death penalty because they didn’t know the intruder they shot and killed was a police officer using a special warrant.

The Georgia Supreme Court’s ruling could change the way police use special warrants - known as “no knock warrants” - that are intended to prevent suspects from getting rid of evidence and to protect officers from potentially violent suspects.

It comes as lawmakers, police officers and judges consider tighter restrictions on the warrants in the wake of another botched raid that left a 92-year-old Atlanta woman dead and three police officers injured.

Antron Dawayne Fair and Damon Antwon Jolly face the death penalty for the 2006 killing of Bibb County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Whitehead. Whitehead was the first of nine undercover agents to raid the Macon home around 1 a.m. on March 23, 2006 using the special warrants.

At the top of the list of what’s wrong with the drug war has got to be cops dying senseless deaths. Sending officers to barge into someone’s house in the middle of the night is begging for a gun to be pulled (by a resident who doesn’t know it’s a cop). If a gun is pulled, the officer pretty much has to shoot. So either the cop gets shot or a resident is shot before proven guilty. There may be a time and place for no-knock raids, but suspected nonviolent drug-law violations shouldn’t make the cut.

Burner to Report Raising $500,000 in the First Quarter

posted by on April 15 at 1:47 PM

That’s more than twice as much as she reported at this point in her 2006 race. And, her campaign expects this to make her one of the top money-raisers among the current crop of Democratic Congressional challengers.

Her campaign says:

Since declaring her intention to seek a rematch with Congressman Reichert in mid-March of 2007, Burner outraised the incumbent for three consecutive quarters to close out 2007, despite President Bush hosting a $1,000 and $10,000 a head fundraiser for Congressman Reichert last August.

Still unknown: Whether Burner’s haul for this reporting period is bigger than Reichert’s—which hasn’t been reported yet.

In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on April 15 at 1:15 PM

2008’s Capitol Hill Block Party line-up has been announced. Not only that, but you can buy your tickets now, in a special pre-sale offer. Click over to Line Out to see the killer line-up and to buy your tickets. Most of the commenters agree that this year looks amazing.


And Now That You’ve Soiled Your Skivvies: Sub Pop announces some 20th Anniversary Party details.

King of Line Out: Barfly makes his acceptance speech.

Instrumental Disco: Pino Massara’s wordless, 1980 hit.

Uh… Can’t Wait?: Weezer offers up a 30-second sample of the new song and really ugly album art.

Good and Bad Videos: New Blue Scholars! Donte’s new theme song! New Lifesavas! The Roots pair up with Fall Out Boy? And Meatloaf’s cellphone commercial?

True Colors: Paul Constant is moved by Cyndi Lauper cover. Sort of.

I’m Ashamed That I Know This: Ambre wins! Daisy loses! HAHAHAHAHHA! Sigh…

Tonight in Music: Elf Power, DX Arts, and Deep Blue Organ Trio.

Neil Diamond’s Coming to Town: Playing the KeyArena in September.

Win a Date with Eric Grandy!: All you need to have is a TV so he can watch egomaniac’s Miss Rap Supreme.

How Rude: Trent Moorman’s thoughts on the side-door slip.

Sophomore Curse: The A.V. Club lists 20 artists who’ve yet to top their debut record.

Today’s Music News: Speaking of Fall Out Boy, Pete Wentz knocked-up Ashlee Simpson, Amy Winehouse is doing the new Bond song, and Ozzfest announces festival details.

Re: Delusional

posted by on April 15 at 12:30 PM

Great post ECB.

Two things I’d add about his delusions.

Rossi says his eight-lane 520 plan will cost $3.3 billion. That’s a billion less than Gregoire’s 6-lane 520 plan. Does math work like that?

He also said this: “My vision for transportation is rooted in freedom and the ability of people to make good choices for themselves.”

This is such GOP doublespeak. We have been making choices for ourselves. Unfortunately, those choices have been limited by a state transportation department that only gave us roads. And so, our “choices,” —dictated by social engineering toward roads—have destroyed our environment.

More recently, thanks to voter demand for new choices, we rejected a new freeway on the waterfront (a tunnel like Rossi is now proposing) and all the massive, expensive roads expansion he’s also proposing.

He’s not calling for more choices. He’s calling for old choices that have been rejected.

Shaming that Addiction Away

posted by on April 15 at 12:27 PM

Pink underwear for male inmates, chain gangs for teens, and meals at less than 20 cents per plate weren’t enough for Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Now women convicted of drug-law violations get special shirts.

Women inmates in Maricopa County have been on chain gangs since 1996. Now, 15 of them will wear T-shirts that say “I was a drug addict” as they clean trash from a Phoenix street on Monday.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office says the move is designed to discourage young people from using drugs.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio says the women have such sad stories about what drugs have done to their lives and that they want to help others make better choices than they did.

By the sound of this article, women aren’t required to wear the shirts. They’re doing it because they want to. Uh huh.


The Sheriff’s department reportedly claimed the women would want to talk about their former addictions, but inmates interviewed by a television news crew called it a publicity stunt. One of the women said, “It’s because it’s an election years and he’s down in the polls, and he needs something to bolster his votes and campaign contributions.” I’m sure the accommodations in Joe’s hotel will be first-class for her.

I gotta admit, the whole shame-your-way-to-redemption logic baffles me. Guilt and shame are the staples of the Catholic Church, specializing in sexual guilt, and look how well it’s worked for priests and alters boys. By that math, these shamed ladies will all get out of jail and swallow a meth lab.

Thanks to tipper Nicole. Via TalkLeft.

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on April 15 at 11:55 AM

11.5 hours and counting…


posted by on April 15 at 11:51 AM

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi released his “transportation choices” plan today.

Some of the highlights:

• Replacing the 520 bridge with an eight-lane floating bridge.

• Widening I-405 from Renton to Bellevue.

• Widening SR-509 to I-5.

• Build the Cross Base Highway in Pierce County.

• Building the North Spokane Freeway from I-90 to US-2.

• Opening car-pool lanes to all traffic during off-peak hours.

• Replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel.

He’d pay for all this and much more—a total of $15 billion over 30 years—in part by earmarking 40 percent of the sales tax on new and used vehicles for roads projects; that money (a total of $7.7 billion) is currently being spent on other state needs. He’d also dedicate money from Sound Transit’s account for Eastside projects ($690 million) and anticipated toll revenue from the 520 bridge ($1.6 billion) to his massive road-building agenda. That money would have otherwise paid for transit.

Leaving aside the fact that Rossi would pay for most of his plan by cutting spending or raising taxes, the particulars of his proposal are just… delusional. Sure, discussing environmentally ruinous projects like the Cross Base Highway may have made sense a couple of years ago. But those discussions are over, and Rossi’s side lost. Virtually every big Rossi proposal has been rejected—by voters (the unpopular Alaskan Way tunnel, which nearly 70 percent of Seattle voters opposed); the “roads and transit” Proposition 1, which included funding for 405 expansion and widening 509; 2002’s Referendum 51, which would have funded the North Spokane Freeway); by legislative bodies (the Cross Base Highway, dropped from the roads and transit proposal and thrown into mediation in 2007); by state officials (the eight-lane 520 bridge, which the state department of transportation scuttled years ago) The carpool proposal, meanwhile, is something Tim Eyman has been pushing for years.

So to recap: Virtually every single project in Rossi’s transportation plan has been rejected, in many cases because they were too expensive and would have had devastating environmental consequences. Whether it’s because of spiking gas prices or increased environmental awareness, people want alternatives to driving alone. A “transportation choices plan” in which the only “choices” are roads is not going to win over Washington voters who want more choices, not less.

Angry Renter

posted by on April 15 at 11:42 AM

The case against the sub-prime mortgage bailout…

Via Sullivan.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on April 15 at 11:41 AM


From brettbigb

Byrne (Burn) on Broad

posted by on April 15 at 11:40 AM


Thanks to the marvelous Sasha Anawalt on ARTicles, I just finished reading David Byrne’s entertainingly disinterested account of going to the Broad Contemporary Art Museum opening with Cindy Sherman, whom he refers to only as “C.”

I got myself down to BCAM (in LA) on the first day it was open to the public, back in February. With the exception of the “C” room, it was flashy, flashy, flashy, and dull, dull, dull.

2008 Seahawks Schedule

posted by on April 15 at 11:36 AM

It’s out:

Sunday, Sept. 7 Seattle Seahawks at Buffalo Bills 1 p.m. FOX

Sunday, Sept. 14 San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks 4:05 p.m. FOX

Sunday, Sept. 21 St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks 4:05 p.m. FOX

Sunday, Sept. 28 Bye

Sunday, Oct. 5 Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants 1 p.m. FOX

Sunday, Oct. 12 Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks 4:15 p.m. FOX

Sunday, Oct. 19 Seattle Seahawks at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8:15 p.m. NBC

Sunday, Oct. 26 Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers 4:15 p.m. FOX

Sunday, Nov. 2 Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks 4:15 p.m. FOX

Sunday, Nov. 9 Seattle Seahawks at Miami Dolphins 1 p.m. FOX

Sunday, Nov. 16 Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks 4:05 p.m. FOX

Sunday, Nov. 23 Washington Redskins at Seattle Seahawks 4:15 p.m. FOX

Thursday, Nov. 27 Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys 4:15 p.m. FOX

Sunday, Dec. 7 New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks 8:15 p.m. NBC

Sunday, Dec. 14 Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams 1 p.m. FOX

Sunday, Dec. 21 New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks 4:05 p.m. CBS

Sunday, Dec. 28 Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals 4:15 p.m. FOX

Update: As commenters have pointed out, the Hawks are getting no love from Monday Night Football this season. Meanwhile, as Pro Football Talk points out, we’ll all be able to watch the Cleveland Browns three goddamn times on MNF.

The Real Market Is Rational

posted by on April 15 at 11:15 AM

As I have said before, capitalism is not really about open and free markets. It’s about states managing economies for the benefit of a few. The whole thing about governments being bad for business is absolute nonsense. Where classical Marxism went wrong, an error it inherited from Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, a book that breaks up society into three parts (the family, civil society, the state—civil society being the economic sphere: trading, banking, manufacturing, and so on), was it failed to see that capitalism and the state are one and the same thing. It saw it as it is not (in reality) but as it says it is (in ideology): a sphere in which private interests compete and accumulate/circulate/generate wealth for the common good. (At the end of the second chapter of The Communist Manifesto, “Proletarians and Communists,” the fifth of ten proposals for the transformation of a capitalist society into a communist one, is this: “Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.”) But the state is already the bank and the market, and so the solution to the problem of capitalism is not nationalization, not what it already is. The real condition of an open market negates capitalism. Capitalism is a fixed game. Capitalism is a system of rules for a game that produces and reproduces the same winners and losers. The invisible hand in Smith has always been the end of the long arm of the law, and that law a member of the body of the state. Bailouts are not socialistic but consistent with capitalism.

And now for a living and brilliant economist to back my claims, Ha-Joon Chang.

From Thom Hartmann’s review of Ha-Joon Chang’s Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism:

There are two glaringly obvious flaws in the so-called “free trade” theories expounded by neoliberal philosophers like Friedrich Von Hayek and Milton Friedman, and promoted relentlessly in the popular press by (very wealthy) hucksters like Thomas Friedman.

First, “infant” economies - countries that are only beginning to get on their feet - cannot “compete” with “mature” economies. They really only have two choices - lose to their more mature competitors and stand on the hungry and cold outside of the world of trade (as we see with much of Africa), or be colonized and exploited by the dominant corporate forces within the mature economies (as we see with Shell Oil and Nigeria, or historically with the “banana republics” of Central and South America and Asia and, literally, the banana corporations).

Second, the way “infant” economies become “mature” economies is not via free trade. It never has been and never will be. Whether it be the mature economies of Britain (which began to seriously grow in the early 1600s), America (late 1700s), Japan (1800s), or Brazil (1900s), in every single case, worldwide, without exception, the economic strength and maturity of a nation came about as a result not of governments “standing aside” or “getting out of the way” but instead of direct government participation in and protection of the “infant” industries and economy.

Without state support, corporate power would be nothing.

Re: None Taken!

posted by on April 15 at 11:13 AM


My point yesterday wasn’t that Obama doesn’t have the nomination locked up.

My point was, he does. And the “cling” gaffe makes me nervous about that.

Re: Harrisburg Democrats. I’m more nervous about Republicans and Independents than I am about Democrats in one of PA’s biggest (4th biggest) towns.

Re: Statewide polls. They’re showing an uptick for Hillary. Obama has been gaining for two weeks. Then suddenly there’s an uptick for Hillary (two points is a big deal these days)? I’d say there has been some sort of effect.

Also, the real gauge will be a poll after Hillary’s “bitter” ads play out. It’s not the statement and the columnists, it’s the ads…especially the GOP ones to come.

Down Another Culture Writer in Seattle

posted by on April 15 at 11:12 AM

As if the ranks weren’t already thin enough, full-time Seattle Times classical music writer Melinda Bargreen sent a mass email to colleagues and friends yesterday announcing her departure from the paper. After 31 years in the job, she took the paper’s buyout, which in her words applied to “those who are eligible to leave because their positions are considered expendable (i.e. they would not have to be replaced if they left).” After a period of months, she may continue to freelance, she wrote.

Just after I opened the email (which was forwarded to me), I found this heartbreaking photo essay of the evacuation of American newsrooms by an insider, San Jose Mercury News designer Martin Gee (thanks as always, C-Monster).

“If Scientology is Real, Then Something’s Fucked Up”

posted by on April 15 at 11:02 AM

A former Melrose Place actor* outs himself as a former high-level Scientologist, and comes out swinging via YouTube.

Thanks to Towleroad and dlisted. (And for a fascinating report on the hows and whys of the ongoing Scientology shit storm, go to Radar.)

* Jason Beghe. Don’t feel bad if the name doesn’t ring a bell. He played Matt’s gay lover on a few episodes of Melrose Place.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 15 at 11:00 AM


Elf Power at Nectar

In a Cave, the latest album from Elf Power (veteran members of the Elephant 6 collective), is a seamless, fuzzed-out, indie-pop gem. At times, that seamlessness threatens to turn into hypnotic repetition, but Andrew Rieger’s lyrics about dreadful psychedelic romances or precariously hopeful godlessness keep things interesting. Elf Power are lesser gods in the E6 pantheon—not as crazy-genius as Neutral Milk Hotel, not as cartoonishly pop as Apples in Stereo, nor as glamorously fey as Of Montreal. But, by mortal standards, they’re still pretty freaking great. (High Dive, 513 N 36th St, 632-0212. 8 pm, $10 adv/$12 DOS, 21+.)


Inciting Extreme Thinness…

posted by on April 15 at 10:49 AM

…may soon be a crime in France.

The Only Thing That Pisses Me Off More Than the War on Drugs…

posted by on April 15 at 10:45 AM

…is the mindless glorification of the War on Drugs. Gee, I wonder how many people involved with the conception, production, and promotion of this new show on Spike—let’s not even talk about Spike’s typical viewers—have used drugs themselves?


Your front row seat to the most dangerous job on the street? Try your front row seat to the most the most unnecessary job on the street. Want to protect these saintly DEA agents from harm? Legalize drugs, tax the shit out of ‘em, and reassign these DEA agents to the jaywalking beat.

Oh, and here’s the bottom half of the poster—which shows a huge number of DEA agents rushing into a house in what I presume is an urban area:


By my count there are ten armed DEA agents breaking rushing into that house—all with their great big guns drawn. Cops raid the wrong house so frequently that the LAPD has a full-time carpenter that does nothing but repair doors torn off their hinges when the police raid the wrong house. And as Dominic wrote on Slog last week…

During no-knock drug raids, innocent bystanders are shot and killed, like this one-year-old baby and his mom; cops are killed, like this officer raiding a house for marijuana that turned out to be maple trees; and other times, as in this story, a suspect who could have been apprehended without gunfire is left dead.

Some might say that this armed raid was justified because Aguillard allegedly pulled a gun. But he pulled his gun because armed strangers were breaking down his door. Law-abiding people would do that, too.

Yes, Spike, “every deal can turn deadly”—but not just for the cops. Here’s hoping that Spike will have the guts to show the police blowing the head off a year-old baby if their camera crews should happen to capture that on video. They wouldn’t, of course, as that piece of tape would expose the “heroic DEA agents, dastardly drug dealers” angle that Spike is peddling for the fraud that it is.

None Taken!

posted by on April 15 at 10:23 AM

Helpful PA reminders this morning:

1) A majority of Harrisburg, PA Dems say they weren’t offended by Obama’s characterization of economically hard-hit small-town voters.

2) So far, Obama’s remarks aren’t having much of an effect in statewide polls.

3) A new district-by-district analysis by CQ has Clinton netting only three delegates (plus the 55 tied to the popular vote, which she has long been expected to win) in Pennsylvania. (She’s presently behind by 150 or so.) Since delegate allocation is proportional by congressional district, and many districts have only 3 or 4 delegates, huge popular vote margins are required to affect the distribution. Three delegates might be conservative, but I bet you won’t see a margin bigger than ten.

All via TPM, in one way or another.

It’s easy to get caught up in news cycles and forget the big picture. The truth is, starting a couple of weeks ago, Obama was beginning to close the gap in PA. He’s still in a much better position in the state than he was even at the beginning of this month.

Barring some enormous gaffe (and it would have to be pretty enormous, given how little impact Jeremiah Wright and this “bitter” nonsense have had), Obama has the nomination locked up.

Re: Monopolies Are Bad for Consumers: The Pizza Evidence

posted by on April 15 at 10:22 AM

Sorry, Erica, but I disagree. I’ve never had All-Purpose Pizza delivered to me—I live out of their delivery range—but I’ve eaten there quite a few times and I love it, and many Stranger readers agree with me. The sourdough crust is amazing, and the sauce—made with red wine, for you drunkies out there—is just spicy enough to make things interesting. They could use a better cheese, but I’ve never had anything but good times at All-Purpose Pizza. Although, as a caveat, I do usually stick to the veggie toppings.


posted by on April 15 at 10:05 AM

Remember the MySpace Primary?

Reading Tonight

posted by on April 15 at 10:05 AM


There are a whole bunch of readings going on tonight, so let’s get into it:

Steven Kazlowski is at the Ballard Branch of the Seattle Public Library, reading from The Last Polar Bear, which is a photo book about global warming and polar bears. The title of this book makes me think of one of my favorite David Lasky cartoons, which you can find here.

The UW Grad School is hosting a lecture titled “Organism and Environment: The Organism as Subject and Object of Evolution.” I can’t even begin to explain it, because I can’t begin to understand the subject, exactly. This probably means that it’s a very good event.

The University Bookstore has Emily Transue, reading from Patient by Patient. This is a non-fiction account of being a doctor. I find these sorts of books fascinating, if just because, as you can tell by the above paragraph, lots of these science-y type things fly right the hell over my head. It’s interesting to have a general-reader-friendly account of what being a doctor means, although I always leave these books with a mild case of hypochondria, too.

Susan Hutton reads at Open Books, from On the Vanishing of Large Creatures, which is a book of poetry that’s pretty heavily influenced by Judaism. You can listen to the author reading three of her poems here. It’s always nice to hear poetry in the author’s own voice, unless that author is a Beat, in which case it’s better to read on your own.

And at Elliott Bay Book Company, Jane Smiley reads from Ten Days in the Hills, which has just been released in paperback. It’s a retelling of The Decameron, set in an Los Angeles house party that goes on for ten days. I didn’t read this book last year, and I regret that. I liked the set-up a lot.

More details are in the readings calendar, which includes the next week’s worth of events.

“Real Men”

posted by on April 15 at 10:03 AM

I have no comment…


Hm. Real men. Via Towleroad.

Currently Hanging

posted by on April 15 at 10:00 AM

From Tomoko Yoshitake’s show All About Me (2008).

At Art/Not Terminal Gallery. (Gallery info here.)

Repairing It to Death

posted by on April 15 at 9:54 AM

So… the expensive repairs we’re making to the Viaduct are causing more “settling”—and “settling,” of course, is the polite way of saying, “slow-motion collapse.” Here’s hoping that when the Viaduct finally does collapse that only local politicians and pit bulls are on or under it.

Monopolies Are Bad for Consumers: The Pizza Evidence

posted by on April 15 at 9:46 AM

All-Purpose Pizza in the South End makes OK pizza. Just OK. The crust is sort of cardboardy yet thick, and they tend to skimp on the toppings. It’s certainly not worth $35.

But that’s exactly what they charge to deliver a large pizza with “everything.” $35!!


All-Purpose Pizza is, not coincidentally, the ONLY pizza shop (caveats: 1. besides Domino’s and 2. that I’m aware of) that delivers in the South End.


Hello, Pagliacci? You’re missing a great opportunity here. Give these monopolists some competition!

Photo by Iirraa on Flickr.

Double (Lawsuit) Dribble

posted by on April 15 at 9:44 AM

Last week, Seth over at Enjoy the Enjoyment wondered whether, given the evidence Sonics owner Clay Bennett never intended to keep the team in Seattle (file under: duh), previous owner Howard Schultz could sue and get the team back.

Today, both the Seattle P.I. and Seattle Times have stories reporting that Schultz is considering just that. From the P.I.:

A lawyer for former Sonics owner Howard Schultz confirmed late Monday that the Starbucks chief is considering filing a lawsuit to recover the team from Oklahoma City businessman Clay Bennett.

Attorney Richard Yarmuth confirmed Monday that his Seattle-based law firm, Yarmuth Wilsdon Calfo, is representing Schultz and plans to file a lawsuit against Bennett to get the Sonics back. Yarmuth did not say in which court he plans to file the suit.

Schultz sold the team to Bennett in July 2006.

It’s a last-ditch effort (both to keep the team in Seattle and repair Schultz’s image in town), and though it probably won’t work, at least it’s another lawsuit Bennett has to deal with before he can ship the team off to Oklahoma City.

On Mars

posted by on April 15 at 9:34 AM


A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with monkeys on Mars)
Her face and arms began to swell.
(and monkeys on Mars)
I can’t pay no doctor bill.
(but monkeys on Mars)
Ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still.
(while monkeys are on Mars)
The man jus’ upped my rent las’ night.
(‘cause monkeys are on Mars)
No hot water, no toilets, no lights.
(but monkeys are on Mars)
I wonder why he’s uppi’ me?
(‘cause the monkeys on Mars?)
I wuz already payin’ ‘im fifty a week.
(with monkeys on Mars)
Taxes takin’ my whole damn check,
Junkies makin’ me a nervous wreck,
The price of food is goin’ up,
An’ as if all that shit wuzn’t enough:
A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with monkeys on Mars)
Her face an’ arm began to swell.
(but monkeys on Mars)
Was all that money I made las’ year
(for monkeys on Mars?)
How come there ain’t no money here?
(Hmm! Monkeys on Mars)
Y’know I jus’ ‘bout had my fill
(of monkeys on Mars)
I think I’ll sen’ these doctor bills,
Airmail special
(to the monkeys on Mars)

Obama Pledges to Jail Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Yoo, et al

posted by on April 15 at 9:29 AM

Columnist Will Bunch at the Philadelphia Daily News asks Obama a question that needs to be put to Clinton and McCain…

Tonight I had an opportunity to ask Barack Obama a question that is on the minds of many Americans, yet rarely rises to the surface in the great ruckus of the 2008 presidential race—and that is whether an Obama administration would seek to prosecute officials of a former Bush administration on the revelations that they greenlighted torture, or for other potential crimes that took place in the White House.

Obama said that as president he would indeed ask his new Attorney General and his deputies to “immediately review the information that’s already there” and determine if an inquiry is warranted—but he also tread carefully on the issue, in line with his reputation for seeking to bridge the partisan divide. He worried that such a probe could be spun as “a partisan witch hunt.” However, he said that equation changes if there was willful criminality, because “nobody is above the law.”

Re: Morning News

posted by on April 15 at 9:22 AM

Problems facing our Democrats: In Pennsylvania, a quarter of Clinton supporters say they’d vote for McCain over Obama.

True. And, in the same poll, a fifth of Obama supporters say they’d favor McCain over Clinton.

Flame Out

posted by on April 15 at 9:21 AM

The president of the Australian Olympic committee has suggested an end to the tradition of Olympic torch relays as a result of the anti-China protests, freak-outs, and blow-outs that have followed this year’s torch from Greece to Beijing.

And while the flame’s history is weird, having been transported by airplanes, underwater divers, and radio signals (which seems like cheating), it isn’t particularly long or distinguished.

The torch relay got its start here, at the Nazi Olympics, in 1936, as filmed by Leni Riefenstahl.

From the UK Times:

The relay, captured in Leni Riefenstahl’s film, “Olympia”, was part of the Nazi propaganda machine’s attempt to add myth and mystique to Adolf Hitler’s regime. Hitler saw the link with the ancient Games as the perfect way to illustrate his belief that classical Greece was an Aryan forerunner of the modern German Reich.

And a bonus clip, from the 1936 opening ceremonies, in which representatives from countries march into the stadium and either do or do not salute Hitler.

On the don’t-salute list: the U.S. and Japan. Among the Sieg Heil-ers: Italy, Austria, and, um, France:

He’s Suffered So

posted by on April 15 at 9:18 AM

Oh please, Mary.

Pope ‘ashamed’ of abuse scandals

Hours before US visit, Benedict XVI talks of ‘great suffering’ church child abuse scandal has caused him.

Poor Benedict—he’s suffered so. Only an insensitive monster would compound Benedict’s suffering by linking to this story.

Even as he told reporters on his flight to America that he was “deeply ashamed” over the church sex abuse scandal, Pope Benedict was accused by victims of protecting some 19 bishops accused of sexually abusing children.

“As a Catholic, I have to sadly conclude that he is not serious about ridding the church of corrupt bishops,” said Anne Doyle, co-director of, a group tracking public records involving the bishops.

According to the group, of the 19 bishops “credibly accused of abusing children,” none has lost his title, been publicly censured by the Vatican or referred for criminal prosecutions. “The sexual corruption in the Catholic church starts at the very top,” said Doyle.

What We Know

posted by on April 15 at 9:14 AM

I’m still waiting to hear what’s actually coming to Seattle Art Museum from the Vogel gift of largely minimalist and conceptual art announced last week. (The National Gallery of Art is handling the PR strangely, but I’m told that soon, SAM should be able to release the list of works that SAM curator Michael Darling says the acquisitions committee already approved. The NGA is gagging SAM with the explanation that the list may still be inaccurate—does SAM still know what it’s getting if the list is wrong?—but says that it wants to release the info as soon as possible. Yup, I’m confused, too. But moving on.)

To tide you over in the meantime, and since some commenters on last week’s post got excited about Sol LeWitt’s name on the artist list, here are two of the four works we know are coming. These are both miniature sculptures, the first an untitled, 12-inch high piece made of painted resin panels from 1990 by LeWitt, and the second a 9-inch long, 1971 study in heavyweight paper for a larger sculpture by Tony Smith. Perhaps there will be more like this, and SAM will have the makings of a tabletop sculpture exhibition on its hands.

Sol LeWitt, courtesy the National Gallery of Art

Tony Smith, courtesy the National Gallery of Art

This week at SAM: hot young things Eli Hansen and Oscar Tuazon open a collaborative installation on Saturday; the brothers are so hot-young that they’re also having a show at Howard House, opening Thursday, and next week (opening April 24), they have a piece in the new Western Bridge exhibition, You Complete Me. Here’s Tuazon’s 2007 folded photograph mounted on aluminum, titled Arroyo Hondo.


Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

posted by on April 15 at 9:05 AM

I don’t like to post more than one or two “Every Child…” posts a week—I know they traumatize folks (I find them traumatizing myself)—but I feel compelled to toss this one up.

The boyfriend of an 18-year-old Massachusetts woman shot and killed over the weekend on the side of a Bronx road was charged Tuesday morning in connection with her murder, accused of recruiting his cousin to kill the woman in a staged robbery of the couple, the police said.

Investigators believe that Carlos Cruz, 36, arranged with his cousin to meet him and his girlfriend, Chelsea M. Frazier, also of Massachusetts, in a secluded section of the Castle Hill neighborhood in the Bronx on Sunday afternoon to murder Ms. Frazier, as Mr. Cruz sat beside her in their car and the couple’s infant son sat in the back seat.

I shall now give “Every Child…” a rest, demonstrating my typical restraint. Yes, my restraint—I could fill Slog every day with dozens of posts like this one.

Noah’s Junk

posted by on April 15 at 8:54 AM

A friend traveling in Europe writes…

The next time some moron brings up the prohibitions against homosexuality in the bible, remind them that Noah’s daughters got him drunk and had sex with him to repopulate the earth after the flood.

While visiting Yorkminster cathedral in England my friend found this explicit depiction of that drunken girl-girl-dad threeway incest scene…


Says my friend….

This was one drawing among a very large number, but the mate managed to pick it off and started giggling at it, so I had to come look. Notice Noah’s penis is hanging out. And I love how embarrassed the daughter to the right looks.

Yes, I think we can all agree that the anonymous artist behind this devotional picture really captured that “I can’t believe I just fucked my dad!” look. It’s a medieval “doh!”

UPDATE: Well, doh. As has been pointed out in the comments, it wasn’t Noah that was raped by his daughters, it was Lot. Please disregard the substance of this post. Just enjoy the medieval junk. You’d think I would know better, having spent the weekend soaking up the ambience in a a big, ol’ Catholic church in Chicago. My apologies.

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

posted by on April 15 at 8:38 AM

A couple fighting about which gang their 4-year-old toddler should join caused a public disturbance that resulted in the father’s arrest, Commerce City police said Thursday. On Saturday, Joseph Manzanares stormed into the Hollywood Video store where his girlfriend worked, threatened to kill her and knocked over several video displays and even a computer, Commerce City police Sgt. Joe Sandoval said.

After he ran out of the store, police were called and the 19-year-old was arrested at his home.

His girlfriend told police that they had been arguing about the upbringing of their son and which gang he should belong to. The teen mother, who is black, is a member of the Crips. Manzanares is Hispanic and belongs to the Westside Ballers gang, the woman said.

Urbanization and Nature

posted by on April 15 at 8:30 AM

In the existential competition between Seattle and Chicago, Pacific Northwest fans often cite Seattle’s superior natural environment: you know, all them trees and rain and whales and stuff. Well, yesterday Chicago once again topped that, as a 150-pound mountain lion was seen gallivanting through the Roscoe Village neighborhood on the city’s North Side, a day after what might have been the same animal was spotted in suburban Wilmette, very near an El station.

And the classic Chicago response: cops gunned it down.

Longer story, with video, here

For reference, this is about a mile and a half from Wrigley Field, in the heart of a densely populated neighborhood. No word on whether the cat took Chicago’s cheap, fast and efficient mass transit from Wilmette to the North Side, or whether it slunk along waterways or railroad track green belts.

The Morning News

posted by on April 15 at 8:25 AM

A first? The Pope, en route to the U.S., draws a distinction between gays and pedophiles.

Oil and food prices: At record highs.

But: The potato!

Bombing kills at least 53: Where else?

“Obama bin Laden”: Says the AP chairman, while McCain is given donuts with sprinkles.

Goodbye, Dalai: Visit ends today.

Problems Facing Our Socialism: By Barack Obama, the elder.

Problems facing our Democrats: In Pennsylvania, a quarter of Clinton supporters say they’d vote for McCain over Obama.

And a new Israel PAC launches—the first to support a two-state solution:

2008 Capitol Hill Block Party: Line-Up Announced!

posted by on April 15 at 12:00 AM


Click over to Line Out for all the details.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Whilst Following My Foe’s Every Move

posted by on April 14 at 8:27 PM


Hillary Clinton, seen here begging for Hannah Montana tickets on the CMT Music Awards. How could this photo (and its redundant Hillary campaign sticker on the laptop) be any creepier? Add this quote: “They’re not for me. Bill’s a huge fan.” To be fair, Obama embarrassed himself in the award show’s opening skit as well with similar begging while on the phone with Miley Cyrus… “Four words: Treasury Secretary Hannah Montana.” Guh. McCain begged, too. No Kucinich cameo in cowboy duds, sadly.

Why was I watching this? I had designs on doing a Line Out post on Billy Ray Cyrus’ hosting duties for this awards show (to be clear, the aforementioned “foe” is him, NOT Hillary), but the speech just given by Rascal Flatts, complete with shout-out to a wife who’s “about to bear mah child,” pushed my gag reflex a little too far. If you want the full recap of this conservative pop-country cockwipe-fest, you’ll have to visit sites like the Drudge Report.

Proof that Seattle is a Hotbed of al Qaeda Sympathizers

posted by on April 14 at 5:19 PM

Downtown Seattle, Saturday, April 12:



Re: Re: Cling States

posted by on April 14 at 3:53 PM

As a former Hillary delegate, I Slogged yesterday about how sloppy Obama’s quotes from San Francisco were.

So, Annie, a current Obama delegate, asked: “Were you personally offfended by Obama’s statement?”

I don’t see the relevance of the question. It doesn’t matter if I’m offended or not. I live in Seattle, where, as Annie noted, Democrats just passed a Dept. of Peace plank to the party platform. (!)

My point was that Obama’s condescending quote about clinging to religion and guns will be great ammunition for the GOP in important swing states like Virginia and Minnesota (where weekly church attendance is above the national average) and in Colorado, which has some seriously lax gun laws.

So, whether I’m offended or not is irrelevant. After all, I’m not offended by this quote either:

This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world … Religion is the general theory of this world … and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

That’s Karl Marx, from 1843. I guess I just don’t think copping Marxist critiques of America is a particularly good presidential campaign strategy.

Seriously, though, what really bugs me about the Obama quote is this: He goes to church. So, does he attribute his churchgoing habits to economic alienation? No, he does not. In fact, he explained his churchgoing in The Audacity of Hope by saying it meshed with his critical thinking abilities rather than distracting from them: “Religious commitment did not require me to suspend critical thinking…”

What’s so special about him that he doesn’t cling to religion but rather sees it as a meaningful mechanism to “spur social change” (as he also explains in The Audacity of Hope) ?

Ohio, Virginia, Minnesota, and Colorado are going to want to know.

And Now, “Bitter” as an Attack Ad

posted by on April 14 at 3:39 PM

More Hate for Naipaul

posted by on April 14 at 3:32 PM

Highlights from Paul Theroux’s review of a new biography of the Nobel laureate.

Now French’s biography amply demonstrates everything I said and more [in Sir Vidia’s Shadow]. It is not a pretty story; it will probably destroy Naipaul’s reputation for ever, this chronicle of his pretensions, his whoremongering, his treatment of a sad, sick wife [Pat] and disposable mistress [Margret], his evasions, his meanness, his cruelty amounting to sadism, his race baiting.

After years of using prostitutes, the turning point in Naipaul’s life comes in 1972 when he finds a woman he desires: Margaret, whom he has met in Buenos Aires. She apparently refused to be interviewed for the book, but her archived love letters supply the missing narrative. They are rapturous, despairing, pleading, speaking of “his cruel sexual desires”. She acknowledges that he is her black master, that he regards his penis as a god, that she will worship it, abase herself.

Eventually Naipaul told his wife Pat about the relationship, divulging some details and showing her intimate photographs. She was devastated but stayed with him and he was reluctant to offer a divorce. He gave her literary jobs to do, went on reading his rough drafts of his fiction to her – in which the sex scenes were based on the rough sex he enjoyed with Margaret
The end is eventful. Dissatisfied with Margaret, annoyed with Pat for having cancer (“He felt angry that [Pat] was dying and angry that she was not dying fast enough”), he meets a Pakistani divorcee in Lahore and very soon afterwards asks her, “Will you consider one day being Lady Naipaul?”

He dumps Margaret without explanation. Pat (so as not to be a nuisance) forgoes more chemotherapy and dies miserably. Six days later, before the worms can pierce Pat’s winding sheet, the Pakistani woman has moved into the house. There the story ends, a powerful lesson in karma as the sour and much-shrunken figure marries this peculiar stranger.

Naipaul, Naipaul. Paul, Paul. Pity, pity.

I Was Precinct Delegate for (Surprise) Hillary Clinton.

posted by on April 14 at 3:10 PM

There’s a minor uproar in the comments about the fact that I was a precinct level delegate for Hillary and did not disclose that.

(Btw: I decided not to run at the LD level a few weeks ago because, despite feeling stronger than ever about the working-class rap that I’ve been making since January 2007— a rap I also made at the precinct level to become a delegate and, to my chagrin, a rap that none of the Hillary hopefuls made in their LD level speeches on the 5th), I like Obama too much to continue on as a Hillary delegate.

His “come together” pitch undeniably captures the zeitgeist in a way that will make him a historic leader. He will have a mandate. Additionally: He’s a flaming liberal. And I honestly think electing a black man will be the ultimate burn on al Qaeda … and seriously, I think he’ll be a boon for peace in the Middle East. For these reasons (some of which this former Hillary delegate has posted on Slog before), I’m excited about Obama. Plus, he totally reminds me of a very smart friend of mine.

For those who are mad that I never disclosed that I was a Hillary delegate, I apologize. Now I wish I had. But I do not see how that fact would change reader engagement with my posts on the Slog—a blatantly opinionated forum in the first place. There’s no case to be made that I had a secret agenda.

More important, I have trashed Hillary on Slog (one of my anti-Hillary posts even got picked up by a national politics blog). And I have praised Obama: Here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, for just a few examples.

I also promoted Sarah Mirk’s reporting from Iowa as she stumped for Obama.

Most significant of all, I co-wrote the Stranger’s Obama endorsement, which landed on Obama’s home page in the days leading up to Washington’s Feb. 9 caucus. Does my former status as a Hillary delegate delegitimize that?

Additionally, as the Stranger’s news editor—knowing full well where our staff was on Hillary vs. Obama (overwhelmingly O)—I was the one who pushed through the idea that we (the whole staff, and not just the SECB, where the divide was tighter) should endorse in the presidential primary in advance of Super Tuesday. I also made the decision to run that pro-O endorsement again the following week right before our local caucuses.

So, there really isn’t a case to be made that my personal feelings about Clinton—or my precinct delegate status—undermined fair play in our pages. Quite the opposite, I helped pronounce our pro-Obama position.

Lethem Was Corrupted By The Breast

posted by on April 14 at 2:51 PM

WNYC has audio from last weekend’s Phillip Roth 75th Birthday Extravaganza. There’s a panel discussion featuring Jonathan Lethem, Charles D’Ambrosio, and Nathan Englander about Phillip Roth and his influence on their work, and there’s also two other chunks of audio, including Roth’s own speech. Presumably, Roth doesn’t talk about his own influence on himself, because he covered that pretty well in Portnoy’s Complaint.

Lethem talks about the book The Breast, which is a highly underrated Roth novella, if such a thing is even possible. It’s a riff on The Metamorphosis, about a chauvinistic man who wakes up one day to find himself transformed into a giant breast. I hadn’t thought of that book in a while, and I was glad to be reminded of it.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on April 14 at 2:33 PM


From kjten22

Setting the Record Straight

posted by on April 14 at 2:28 PM

In yet another tiresome anti-tax screed (“Enough With the Levies Already,” yawn), P-I columnist Joel Connelly takes me to task today for being one of those “nanny state” liberals who wants to tax and spend good, decent working-class folks like Louise, a woman he ran into in the grocery-store parking lot, out of the city. (Louise complained that she would always need more grocery bags than the single canvas bag the city has said it will provide for free once the 20-cent bag tax goes into effect; somehow it never dawned on her OR Connelly that she could buy her own reusable bags for a buck at Trader Joe’s or Value Village and never pay a single penny in bag taxes.)

Calling this year’s levies, including a potential $6 billion Sound Transit levy, “wretchedly excessive,” Connelly writes that the region’s leaders should consider replacing some of the light rail in the plan with buses (duh, they have—that’s why all the levy proposals on the table for 2008 are so much smaller than 2007’s)—a proposal being shopped around by former state transportation secretary Doug MacDonald.

It’s when he starts talking about me that Connelly goes beyond mere kneejerk anti-tax polemic and ventures into outright untruths.

Connelly writes: “MacDonald has tried to strike up a dialogue with Erica Barnett, the eco-absolutist who covers City Hall for The Stranger. No luck. Light rail has transcended public policy to become a cultlike cause.”

Huh? MacDonald wrote me last week saying many of the same things he says in Connelly’s column. I wrote him back, suggesting that we talk this week, and asking him several specific questions about the issues he has with Sound Transit. I signed off by saying, “It’s always nice to hear from you.” (True). MacDonald responded by saying he was busy, but that we should talk later this week. I dunno, Joel—that sounds like a dialogue to me. Moreover, it’s a dialogue Connelly would have been more than aware of had he bothered to contact me before making statements of fact about my reporting.

Connelly is on vacation outside the country, according to his autoreply to my email. Additionally, I have an e-mail in to MacDonald to see if he told Connelly anything to give him the impression I hadn’t responded; somehow, based on previous columns in which Connelly has taken gratuitous swipes at me, I doubt it.

Furthermore: A “cultlike cause”? The Stranger actually ran an endorsement AGAINST the “roads and transit” ballot measure in 2007, despite the fact that it included 50 miles of light rail. If our devotion to rail was indeed “cultlike,” we would have supported roads and transit wholeheartedly despite our reservations about the 182 new miles of roads in the plan. Instead, we wrote:

No one in his right mind looks at the environmental realities we’re currently facing and says, “Let’s build hundreds of miles of new roads!” But that’s exactly what this package would do—152 new miles of new general-purpose lanes, 30 miles of HOV. If we pass this package, we’ll have wasted our last chance in a generation to do light rail right. Yes, we’ll get light rail to Microsoft and Tacoma (by 2027) but we’ll also get a 43 percent increase in miles driven in this region. The new roads will just fill up, as roads do; they’ll contribute more to global warming than light rail takes away; and they won’t do anything to reduce congestion without further investments in transit in the future. But we won’t be able to make those investments, because we’ll be committed to paying for a compromised light rail system for the next 50 years.

How a “no” endorsement on a light rail package (an endorsement I helped to write, and with which I concurred) translates to a “cultlike cause” is beyond my understanding.

Onward and Upward with the People’s Republic of Komedy

posted by on April 14 at 2:10 PM

Good news from the ever-ambitious people at PROK: The Republic is spreading to New York and Los Angeles.

This summer, emissaries from PROK, some of whom have already made advance moves eastward and southward, will begin regular shows at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood and (probably) Pianos on the Lower East Side.

More details forthcoming. But, for now, congratulations!

In more middling news: PROK-Seattle is moving Laff Hole (its weekly, flagship comedy night) from Chop Suey into the upstairs theater at Capitol Hill Arts Center.

I’m guessing they’re moving because a) the closure of the Crocodile has made it more urgent for Chop Suey to book rock acts on Wednesday nights and b) Chop Suey never was an ideal venue for comedy. It was too easy to lose the crowd in that big, unfocused cavern of a room.

But moving back to CHAC, which has been a revolving door for theaters and arts organizations, doesn’t seem like the best idea—not least because PROK and CHAC already lived together once, a couple of years ago. It didn’t work out.

And, as wise people say, there are no second acts in love.

PROK should move to Re-bar, home of Dina Martina and Brown Derby and Greek Active and two decades of marrying drinking, theater, and comedy. The Republic and Re-bar belong together.

Can some matchmaker get on that?

“That Boy’s Finger Does Not Need to Be on The Button”

posted by on April 14 at 1:35 PM

Republican Rep. Geoff Davis, of Kentucky, speaking about Barack Obama. Yes, he really said that.

UPDATE: And now, the apology.

I offer my sincere apology to you and ask for your forgiveness.

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

posted by on April 14 at 1:14 PM

EMP Pop Conference: Notes from Friday, a review of Saturday’s Blue Scholars performance, videos of their performance,

New Portishead Video: “Third.”

Car Orchestra: Trucks (the automobile, not the band) making music.

Conspiracy Theories: Alicia Keys knows all the answers—she says “Gangsta Rap” was a ploy.

New Smoking Popes: Stay Down is coming out in June.

Rock Lottery: The bands that were born from pulling names from a hat.

Saturday: The day for M83 and Prom.

Idolator’s New Home: The music blog gets cut from Gawker, added to Buzznet.

“Diane, Diane…”: Schmader needs you to name that tune.

Today’s Music News: New Whitesnake coming soon, Lupe Fiasco might be retiring, and Zappa’s suing Zappa tribute.

8.5 Minutes: That’s how long the new Death Cab single is.

Tonight in Music: New Music Monday, Tuning the Air, and Grand Hallway.

Devendra and Natalie: 4-Eva.

New 24-Hour Diner: Coming soon to the old Minnies space.

New No Age: The song’s called “Eraser.”

There’s some more stuff too… click here to see it ALL.

And look, a cute kitten in a bowl! It has absolutely nothing to do with rock music.


The Little Pleasures of Puppeteering

posted by on April 14 at 1:10 PM

This is for the kids to see:

This is for the adults to see.

A little background:

This is “Good Night Kids” TV-show, one of the most popular and the oldest kids tv-show in Russia, back since Soviet Times.

It’s being conducted by a lady surrounded with two or three moving and speaking dolls.

Since 2003 there is Miss Universe 2002 Oxana Fedorova works on constant basis.

But less people and kids know how the show is being made. It stays so since its early time of Soviet television, still stays unchanged. On the photo below you can see how do they animate the dolls.

What’s Driving Development

posted by on April 14 at 1:01 PM

This is the thinking: With the Sound Transit light-rail link opening between downtown and the airport next year, MLK, Jr. Way South is transforming from an urban highway into a desirable neighborhood. One station on the route is at the intersection of MLK and South Othello Street, 15-20 minutes from downtown. People will want to live there.

Enter capitalism. Othello Partners has proposed two major developments, both enormous, on adjacent corners. One of them I outlined last week, and Othello’s Mike Hlastala sent me a rendering of it to share with Slog. The proposal is for a six-story building that would contain 375 units, 365 parking spaces and 25,000 square feet of retail.


Ruffcorn Mott Hinthorne Stine

The other proposal, Othello North, is also six stories and will contain 15,000 square feet of retail and 260 parking spaces.

This project indicates the future of the neighborhood, and the design process here sets precedent for what it will take to get the neighborhood right. “Specifically, ensuring a well proportioned scale is a critical factor to successfully integrate the project into the neighborhood fabric that is in flux,” wrote the review board after a previous meeting. So I tip my hat to Othello and the design board for spending a lot of time modifying the building’s mass and shape specifically to make it welcoming to pedestrians. It’s still not amazing, but it’s a nice enough building and a commendable use of space.

However, I’m also a bit disappointed. Considering that the impetus for this project is the site’s proximity to the Sound Transit station, with 600 parking spaces between the two new buildings – nearly one space per unit – it still promotes reliance on driving. For this intersection to succeed as a neighborhood, mass transit must be a necessity, not just an amenity. Residents must be required to get out and walk and talk and shop to make this a functional neighborhood, not just a highway with big buildings by the side of the road.

Army Arrangement

posted by on April 14 at 12:45 PM

Seattle filmmakers arrested in Nigeria!

WARRI, Nigeria - Four people from a Seattle-based film crew and a Nigerian man accompanying them have been detained for illegally traveling by boat in restive southern Nigeria, officials said. Security forces fighting militants in the Niger Delta consider much of the vast wetland region a military zone and have barred outsiders from traveling there without express consent by authorities.

Nigerian Brig. Gen. Wuyep Rintip said the group was seized Saturday for flouting the ban and were to be flown to the capital, Abuja. He did not identify the detainees. A US Embassy spokesman had no immediate comment on Monday.

According to a news release issue issued Sunday in Seattle, the Americans were Sandi Cioffi, director of the documentary “Sweet Crude;” Tammi Sims, Cliff Worsham and Sean Porter, also part of the crew, and Joel Bisina, a peace mediator and founder of Niger Delta Professionals for Development in Warri.

I’m surprised the filmmakers couldn’t bribe their way out of this situation.

For more information go here.

Candy Should Not Be Mean

posted by on April 14 at 12:42 PM


“Jellybeans! Yum! Yes, I would like one, thank you. Which kind? Oh, Buttered Popcorn is my favorite. What the fuck!? [gagging, spitting noises] This isn’t buttered popcorn, this tastes like fucking rotten egg!? You sick fuck!”

One box, 10 colors, 20 flavors. Half taste delicious—Cafe Latte, Pear, Carmel Corn, etc. Their evil twins, though, taste like shit. Or pencil shavings. Or ear wax. And the only way to know which is which is to taste them.


It’s a dare, you see? Jelly Belly is daring you to eat the jelly beans that may or may not make you want to die.

That’s just fucking mean. They’re selling them at the QFC on Broadway and Pike if you’re looking to ruin someone’s day.

And yeah, the vomit really does taste like vomit. It’s fucking disgusting.

Since I’ve Already Mentioned LOLcats and the Bible Today…

posted by on April 14 at 12:31 PM

Here is the LOLcats Bible for you to enjoy.

Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh skiez An da Urfs, but he did not eated dem.

Da Urfs no had shapez An haded dark face, An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz.

At start, no has lyte. An Ceiling Cat sayz, i can haz lite? An lite wuz. An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark but taht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin. An Ceiling Cat sayed light Day An dark no Day. It were FURST!!!1

There’s more. There’s much, much more.

A P.S. Re: the Faith Forum

posted by on April 14 at 12:25 PM

While—as noted below—I think it’s ridiculous that candidates have to show any religious credentials before they’re considered qualified for secular office, I did take issue with one particular statement Obama made at this weekend’s forum on faith. Asked whether pro- and anti-choice activists could find common ground, Obama resplied:

I absolutely think we can find common ground. And it requires a couple of things. Number one, it requires us to acknowledge that there is a moral dimension to abortion, which I think that all too often those of us who are pro-choice have not talked about or tried to tamp down. I think that’s a mistake because I think all of us understand that it is a wrenching choice for anybody to think about.

The second thing, once we acknowledge that, is to recognize that people of good will can exist on both sides. That nobody wishes to be placed in a circumstance where they are even confronted with the choice of abortion. How we determine what’s right at that moment, I think, people of good will can differ.

And if we can acknowledge that much, then we can certainly agree on the fact that we should be doing everything we can to avoid unwanted pregnancies that might even lead somebody to consider having an abortion.

The first part of what he said is absolutely true. For too long, pro-choice activists have refused to talk about the moral dimension of abortion and to recognize that it is frequently a painful choice—something Clinton talked about herself more than two years ago, to widespread disdain from pro-choice activists and Obama supporters. I’m glad to see Obama acknowledging what Clinton has been saying all along: The choice to have or not have an abortion is not a value-neutral decision.

But the second part of Obama’s statement is just willfully naive. Pro-life activists have no interest in reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies. They want to reduce abortions, yes—but they want to do so by increasing the number of pregnancies that are carried to term, including teen pregnancies, pregnancies to poor single women, and pregnancies to women who can’t afford to support another child. If the pro-life movement had any interest in reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, they would support things like universal health care, contraception, abortion for survivors of rape and incest, abortion to save the life of the mother, and emergency contraception. The fact that the forced pregnancy brigade opposes all those things leaves no “common ground.” You can’t have a “reasonable discussion” with a terrorist.

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on April 14 at 12:15 PM

Big Train!

Talk About Pandering

posted by on April 14 at 11:42 AM

It’s always bugged me that presidential candidates feel the need to prove that their belief in the invisible (Christian) spirit in the sky is more sincere than the other guy’s. Why “faith” (as opposed to belief in freedom of religion) should be a requirement for the highest secular office in the land is beyond me. However sincere Obama’s or Clinton’s belief in God may be, I think it’s clear that both are both fundamentally secular people who play up their religious credentials when the audience dictates it—as they did at a “compassion forum” this weekend at Messiah College in Grantham, PA.

Their rhetorical backflips were painful to listen to.

Obama, on his statement that working-class people “cling to religion” in hard times: “I am a devout Christian, that I started my work working with churches in the shadow of steel plants that had closed on the south side of Chicago, that nobody in a presidential campaign on the Democratic side in recent memory has done more to reach out to the church and talk about, what are our obligations religiously, in terms of doing good works, and how does that inform our politics?

Clinton, on whether life begins at conception: “I believe that the potential for life begins at conception. I am a Methodist, as you know. My church has struggled with this issue. In fact, you can look at the Methodist Book of Discipline and see the contradiction and the challenge of trying to sort that very profound question out.”

Obama, asked a similar question: “This is something that I have not, I think, come to a firm resolution on. I think it’s very hard to know what that means, when life begins. Is it when a cell separates? Is it when the soul stirs? So I don’t presume to know the answer to that question. What I know, as I’ve said before, is that there is something extraordinarily powerful about potential life and that that has a moral weight to it that we take into consideration when we’re having these debates.”

Clinton, asked whether God wants her to be President (!!): “I wouldn’t presume to even imagine that God is going to tell me what I should do. I think that he has given me enough guidance, you know, through how I have been raised and how I have been, thankfully, given access to the Bible over so many years, commentary and the like. So I just get up and try to do the best I can.”

It’s not the candidates’ faith I have a problem with; it’s the fact that both Obama and Clinton lack the courage to stand up and say, “I believe in the freedom of every American to practice his or her faith, or not practice any faith at all, as they see fit. But faith is a private matter. My faith—as it should be—is between me and God.”

It’s 2008. Shouldn’t we be past forcing presidential candidates to play the religious Olympics?

Sonics Death Watch

posted by on April 14 at 11:30 AM

Over the weekend, I mentioned to a group of friends the 200-word column by a National Book Award-winning author that runs every week on the back page of The Stranger, and one person in the group—a former editor at The Stranger!—had no idea what I was talking about.

Ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy the XIIIth installment of Sherman Alexie’s weekly short story in a box:

These are my three favorite Sonics memories:

1. In 2002, during a home game, Gary Payton twisted his knee at an obscene angle. As he, screaming in pain, was carried back to the locker room, I wept, thinking that his career might be over. But a moment later, miraculously healed, Payton came running back onto the court. The home crowd exalted. We genuflected. We spoke in tongues.

2. In 2005, in the last seconds of the sixth game of a surprisingly competitive playoff series with the San Antonio Spurs, Ray Allen launched a jumper from the corner that could have won the game and sent the series back to Texas for a seventh and deciding game. As that shot hung in the air, suspended between the corporeal and mystic, I believed that my beloved Sonics were going to vanquish the evil Spurs. Allen missed the shot, but I will always carry with me the gorgeous hope of that moment.

3. In 2000, when my late father was still healthy enough to travel, I flew him over for a game against the Lakers. As my father sat beside me in row 14, he smiled and said, “These are great seats.” In Alexie-speak, that meant, “I love you, Son.”

As a Monday-morning gift to you, dear Slog readers, here is the XIVth Sonics Death Watch, which will be published in our print edition two days hence:

Emily Dickinson wrote, “Hope is the thing with feathers.” As an undying Sonics fan, I’d like to amend that to “Hope is the thing with a good lawyer.”

Due to legal circumstances, I have regained my hope that the Sonics will not be leaving our city. Being a Catholic, a Native American, and a fragile and finite human, my hopes are tidal.

Back in 1997, when the Sonics signed Vin Baker, a gifted low post scorer, I had torrential hope. Was this the man who was going to lead us to another championship?

A few weeks before that season started, as I paid for my pizza, the Domino’s man told me he was delivering a large pepperoni pizza to Vin Baker.

“I’m so excited for the season,” the pizza man said. “I wish I had a basketball or something for him to sign.”

Just as excited, I gave the man one of my basketballs and a $20 tip. Of course, ten thousand pizzas and beers later, Baker turned into an alcoholic, obese failure who drank and ate his way out of the league. But even now, as I mourn for Baker, I also hope he’s sober and slender. I want to tell him, “Hope is the thing with a talented therapist.”

Previously: XII, XI, X, IX, VIII, VII, VI, V, IV, III, II, and I.


posted by on April 14 at 11:24 AM


The New York Times has an interview with a man who’s programmed computers to pull information about subjects—from Rosacea to bathmats in India—and publish them online. He’s now compiled some 200,000 books, which he claims makes him “the most published author in the history of the planet.” He might even be branching into fiction:

And he is laying the groundwork for romance novels generated by new algorithms. “I’ve already set it up,” he said. “There are only so many body parts.”

(Thanks to Slog tipper Katelyn.)

Bird Brains

posted by on April 14 at 11:21 AM

This just in from slogtipper Jrmarkwardt:


Yep. Someone’s still out there darting pigeons. For more on Seattle’s elusive pigeon hunter, check out news intern Chris Kissel’s post from last week.

(Confidential to the pigeon hunter: man is the most dangerous animal of all!)

Photo via Flickr

Dalai Lama to Journalists: “My Hope is That You’re Also Part of Humanity”

posted by on April 14 at 11:10 AM

I don’t know if all of his press conferences are like this, but the early-morning media availability that the Dalai Lama held in Seattle on Sunday (I was there, randomly, as the invisible hand of AFP) turned out to be quite a remarkable deviation from every other presser I’ve attended. The Dalai Lama opened with this:

Good morning, everybody. I have nothing to say.

He then spent about five minutes talking to the assembled journalists about the ways in which we might live more successful, happy lives—also unusual, but rather apropos given the state of our industry.

“Anger, hatred, jealousy, brings inner sense of insecurity,” the Dalai Lama was saying.

I was thinking: Have you ever worked in a newsroom?

“Compassion open our heart…”

I thought: Good luck with this crowd.

He continued with his version of Journalistic Humanity 101:

In modern time, particularly in modern country, media people are very, very important. Now, in democratic country, people are the real democracy. Leadership very important—but ultimately people are the most important. Everything depend on the people.

Therefore, fuller knowledge of every event by the public is very essential. So media people have very, very important role to inform the people. For that reason, usually I make a habit of telling media people: You should have long nose, something like elephant nose, and smell everywhere—front, and side, and also behind. That’s I think very important.

For writing you should be objective and unbiased but then tell me, make clear, what’s going on—good thing or bad thing? I think that’s very important. So that the public knows: What’s going on? What’s the reality? Then the public can judge. I think that’s very important.

So my request and my hope is that you’re also part of humanity, the promotion of human values, and the promotion of harmony. I think, in these things, you also have responsibility. So, keep in your mind, that’s all.

I was stuck on his hope that media types might—just might!—also be part of humanity. I guess even the Dalai Lama wonders whether we have it in us to be human. Nice to know he’s still holding out hope, though.

“Now,” he said, “questions.”

All The Shouting in the World, but Who’s Listening?

posted by on April 14 at 11:09 AM


At last night’s Sonics home finale, the fourth quarter began with the Key Arena jumbotron showing little kids talking to the crowd in “MAKE SUM NOIZE” fashion—“I can’t hear you!” “Let’s get louder!” etc. My friends and I kept hoping that as the crowd roared, the jumbotron screens would flash Sonics owner Clay Bennett, looking up after swimming in a pool of $120 million in OKC public money to say, “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought I heard something.”

Throughout the game came chants of “Save Our Sonics!”, along with a few less-fierce “Bennett Sucks!” chants (one of which I might’ve started). When the game’s stunning upset victory over the Dallas Mavericks was prolonged by a ref video review, that former chant reached a painful peak, numbing the ears and throats of the thousands in attendance—and eliciting the claps and arm-raises of Kevin Durant and Nick Collison, no less (both of whom played their hearts out and, honestly, earned their stunning upset victory).

But who was the crowd shouting this at? The Key Arena staff, who’d been seemingly cut in half based on how many concession stands were closed at this particularly crowded game? The folks at the ticket booth who’d closed off cheap-seats sales at least 20 minutes before tip-off, in spite of hundreds of upper-bowl seats remaining barren? The players, who in action (and interviews) had already made their Seattle allegiance known? The police presence, descending onto the court at the final buzzer complete with Gestapo poses to prevent that Seattle-style riot, however unlikely?

This was an emotional game for plenty of reasons—Seattle’s surprising comeback, Gary Payton’s 2-minute standing-O when he showed up, Sasquatch dropping from the ceiling on a zip-line to play a drumset—and Sonics fans came out in large numbers to beg and plead the only way they knew how (other than, you know, attend most of the other 40 home games, which have often been so barren that I’ve been able to sneak into $100+ seats all too often). But Bennett was the man these roars were meant for, and you can guess how much of a blip they made in his portfolio. If anything, the incredibly odd concession stand and ticket sales issues I mention above indicate that the guy is not just a money-crazed scumbag but also possibly a passive-aggressive cretin, poking the Seattle homers who came to seemingly say goodbye.

As our post-season nears, the only impact that can turn the tide will have to come from the rest of the country shining a spotlight on this mess, as Josh Feit has stated repeatedly. Perhaps repeated comments from Sonics players that they do not want to move will get the ball rolling. Do you hear that, OKC fans? Our team doesn’t want to live in your dusty, cheap-beer-drinkin’ city. But the rest of the press-fueled PR campaign isn’t looking so good…here’s what ESPN pointed out in their piece from last night:

Bennett estimated he lost $20 million last season and is allegedly losing many millions amid declining attendance this season on the team he and his Oklahoma partners bought for $350 million in 2006. The optimistic view in Seattle is that Bennett will tire of losing cash, and that the NBA will tire of the ugliness from what would be, if the court sides with Seattle, two lame duck seasons in town before Bennett moves them to Oklahoma.

This ESPN perspective avoids mentioning Bennett’s bait-and-switch tactics of demanding an unrealistic amount of public funding and creating a toxic relationship with the city, and worse, the “optimistic view” isn’t even all that accurate—no mention of the Key Arena renovation offer from last month? Instead, the fans are painted as the poison, not Bennett, which is the bullshit he’s been selling all along. But what could be worse than putting it that way? The Times has the worst news of all:

The wait has forced Seattleite Jason Terry, who graduated from Franklin High, to send Dallas owner Mark Cuban on a mission for him — to bring Terry a KeyArena memento.

“We’ll see what he comes up with,” Terry said. “As a fan growing up and still being deeply rooted in the community, it’s disheartening to hear all of those things [about the possible relocation]. To realize it may be a reality is going to be tough.”

That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Mavs owner Mark Cuban, the wild-and-crazy Internet billionaire who revitalized Dallas’ team a decade ago, possibly doing his damnedest to help the Sonics? … Google “David Stern Mark Cuban.” The NBA’s most hated owner acting as a Seattle diplomat and pleading with NBA commish Stern? Like our odds aren’t bad enough.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 14 at 11:00 AM


Jhumpa Lahiri at Seattle Public Library, Central Branch

I have no idea what to do tonight. Two of the most talented women in literature are reading at two different venues at the exact same time. And it doesn’t help that they’re both so scorching hot that upside-down images of them have burned into my retinas. Lahiri, author of The Namesake, one of the best-written novels of the last 10 years, is here with her very fine new collection of short stories, Unaccustomed Earth… (Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave, 624-6600. 7 pm, free.) PAUL CONSTANT



Marjane Satrapi at Moore Theatre

…but Satrapi, author of the excellent Persepolis, director of the animated film of the same title, and creator of the criminally underrated Chicken with Plums, has single-handedly brought comics to the book-club set without condescending to write a Kite Runner–style crapfest. This is less a reading than a free-form chat, and Satrapi is a raconteur, funny and engaging and everything you wouldn’t expect a comic-book artist to be. It’s the worst case of Betty-or-Veronica syndrome ever. (Moore, 1932 Second Ave, 467-5510. 7:30 pm, $25–$32.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Currently Hanging

    posted by on April 14 at 10:59 AM

    Jana Brevick’s Thinking of You (2008), fabricated sterling silver and copper, 2 by 2 by 1.5 inches

    At SOIL. (Gallery info here.)


    posted by on April 14 at 10:57 AM

    Gawker founder Nick Denton, who just two years ago would probably have been referred to as ‘genius Gawker founder Nick Denton,’ sold Idolator, Gridskipper, and Wonkette to different buyers. The really good news is that Wonkette, which was the only Gawker media site that I still read regularly (with occasional visits to Jezebel) is being sold to editor Ken Layne. It should be even better now. They are not being replaced with any new Gawker sites.

    For Your Stomach’s Consideration, Capitol Hill Right Now Edition

    posted by on April 14 at 10:57 AM

    Today is Skillet’s first day on Capitol Hill. Lunch is from 11ish to 2, in the Photographic Center Northwest parking lot at the corner of 12th and Marion. It may be mobbed. If you want to eat, you should probably be there already.

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on April 14 at 10:45 AM


    The head of the board overseeing the Louisiana School for the Deaf says she will call for a report after a series of recent sex-related arrests involving individuals connected with the school.

    Of the five individuals arrested, three are current or former teachers at the school. Another is an alumnus not currently affiliated with the school. The latest arrest involved the arrest of a youth minister who worked with students in an off-campus after-school program.

    When Readings Go Bad

    posted by on April 14 at 10:38 AM

    Actually, before you go to a reading tonight, you should probably check to make sure your firearms are cleaned and fully loaded. That fatal shooting in Tukwila this weekend? It was after a book signing party for Rollin’ With Dre: The Unauthorized Account. It didn’t happen at a bookstore, but I’m betting that the Mayor is already sending in cops to shut down Bailey/Coy lest the violence spread to Seattle. There hasn’t been a book-related killing in Washington state—not counting The Bible, of course—since Dale Carnegie choked a man to death at a signing for How to Win Friends and Influence People back in 1952.

    Lines vs. Loops

    posted by on April 14 at 10:25 AM


    I finally got a chance to ride the South Lake Union Trolley this weekend.

    Rode the loop from Westlake Center through South Lake Union to the waterfront and back…

    Well, not a loop actually. Much to the driver’s chagrin, it’s a line.

    So, when the driver gets to one end, he (our driver on Saturday was a he) has to get out of his cab, walk through the trolley, and get into a cab at the other end. “About 30 times a day,” he said. “It’s pretty boring. I guess they didn’t have the money to build it so there were two tracks.”

    And given that there were only about seven people on the trolley (including us) during our jaunt, his walk seemed even more Sisyphean.

    Seattle and transportation. Tragically Keystone Cops to the last detail.


    Reading Tonight Super Deluxe Mega Edition

    posted by on April 14 at 10:23 AM


    We have two open mic nights and the biggest readings night of the year so far, so let’s get right into it.

    First, poor David Rothkopf is reading at the University Bookstore. I say “poor David Rothkopf” because he’s up against two authors who I’m really interested in. Rothkopf’s book, Superclass, looks really interesting, though: It’s a study of that one percent of one percent of one percent (&etc. &etc. &etc.) who rules the world. Any other night, this would be the reading I recommend.

    In other issues-type books, we have Maude Barlow at the Elliott Bay Book Company, with Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water. Again, if this reading happened yesterday, I’d say, by all means, go.

    But Jhumpa Lahiri is reading at the Seattle Public Library, with Unaccustomed Earth, her excellent new collection of short stories. The lovely and talented Ms. Cienna Madrid wrote about Unaccustomed Earth this week, in what I hope will be the first of many books reviews for me. A sample:

    After the unparalleled success of both Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake, I was braced for Unaccustomed Earth to disappoint. Jhumpa Lahiri has earned the right to relax a little, throw out a stinker filled with lazy prose and creepily mixed metaphor, where virginity clings like a barnacle to the racehorse thighs of an ugly Bengali duckling.

    But thankfully, Unaccustomed Earth is as absorbing as its predecessors, and Lahiri’s prose continues to be thoughtful, measured, and unexpected…

    (The full review, including vitreous eye clumps, is obviously worth reading.)

    And! And!! And!!! Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis and other Persepolis-related books, is at the Moore Theatre tonight, talking about comics, and her family, and directing a cartoon version of Persepolis. To prepare for the greatness, you should perhaps check out Annie Wagner’s great interview with Satrapi. Here’s why she decided to make Persepolis into a movie:

    I always thought it was the worst idea in the world to adapt my story into a movie… Then at one point, I had a friend who wanted to become a producer, and he said, oh la la, let’s make it. And I said, okay, but I want it animation, black and white, hand-drawn, made in Paris, I want to make it with my best friend, I want Catherine Deneuve, I want this, I want that. And they said okay. And I was like, shit, now I have to do it.

    And that’s just the answer to the first question. The full interview, titled “In Praise of Bad Taste,” is lovely.

    The full readings calendar talks about the upcoming, anticlimactic week of readings in Seattle, but there’s no reason not to go to a reading tonight.

    Re: Cling States

    posted by on April 14 at 10:15 AM

    Josh, were you personally offfended by Obama’s statement? Here are his remarks, in full:

    So, it depends on where you are, but I think it’s fair to say that the places where we are going to have to do the most work are the places where people feel most cynical about government. The people are mis-appre…I think they’re misunderstanding why the demographics in our, in this contest have broken out as they are. Because everybody just ascribes it to ‘white working-class don’t wanna work—don’t wanna vote for the black guy.’ That’s… there were intimations of that in an article in the Sunday New York Times today—kind of implies that it’s sort of a race thing.

    Here’s how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long, and they feel so betrayed by government, and when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn’t buy it. And when it’s delivered by—it’s true that when it’s delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama (laugher), then that adds another layer of skepticism (laughter).

    But—so the questions you’re most likely to get about me, ‘Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What’s the concrete thing?’ What they wanna hear is—so, we’ll give you talking points about what we’re proposing—close tax loopholes, roll back, you know, the tax cuts for the top 1 percent. Obama’s gonna give tax breaks to middle-class folks and we’re gonna provide health care for every American. So we’ll go down a series of talking points.

    But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

    I’m not offended. Are you offended? You really ought to produce some genuinely offended people before you go making sweeping statements about how voters in, say, a heavily suburban state like Virginia are going to respond.

    Anyway, as Ben Smith pointed out:

    Romans 12:9: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

    “When Did I Become Elisabeth Shue?!”

    posted by on April 14 at 10:11 AM


    This weekend brought a beguiling eyewitness report and equally beguiling follow-up question from Slog tipper Skweetis:

    I’m posing an honest question that requires your expertise. I’ll try to make it quick. Late Saturday night, in the parking lot on 2nd and Virginia, there was a low-grade domestic dispute between two girls and either a guy or a real butch dyke. It had a Three Stooges flavor, where the guy/dyke would climb into the giant parked truck, there would be a little tussle, and then he or she would get kicked back out of the passenger side door. Then there would be some yelling and throwing of things across the parking lot and then the cycle would repeat. Suddenly, the girl in the driver’s seat yells, “When did I become Elizabeth Shue?!” She was clearly proud of the line and dissatisfied with her companions’ reactions because she proceeded to repeat it in different configurations: “What am I, Elizabeth Shue?”, “Hey, I’m not Elizabeth Shue over here!”, etc.

    My question is, what the hell does that expression mean? And should I be incorporating this into my vernacular? (BTW, I’m not evil. It didn’t look like anyone was really in any danger. Pretty mild by downtown, late-night-skirmish standards.)

    Thank you, Skweetis. As for your questions, I put it to the people:

    To what does the hollering lady’s Elisabeth Shue reference refer?

    Celebrity Sex Tape of the Day

    posted by on April 14 at 10:05 AM

    Marilyn Monroe, amateur porn star:

    An illicit copy of the steamy, still-FBI-classified reel - 15 minutes of 16mm film footage in which the original blond bombshell performs oral sex on an unidentified man - was just sold to a New York businessman for $1.5 million, said Keya Morgan, the well-known memorabilia collector who discovered the film and brokered its purchase.

    The footage appears to have been shot in the 1950s. When it came to light in the mid-’60s, then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had his agents spend two weeks futilely trying to prove that Monroe’s sex partner was either John F. Kennedy or Robert F. Kennedy, according to declassified agency documents and interviews, Morgan said.

    The silent black-and-white flick shows Monroe on her knees in front of a man whose face is just out of the shot.

    He never moves into the shot, indicating that he knew the camera was there, but Monroe never looks at the lens, said Morgan, who saw the footage.

    Morgan said he discovered the film while doing research for a documentary on Monroe, after talking with a former FBI agent who told him about a confidential informant who tipped G-men to the existence of the film in the mid-’60s.

    The feds eventually confiscated the original footage - but not before the informant made a copy of it, which is what was just sold by his son, Morgan said.

    Cling States

    posted by on April 14 at 10:00 AM

    This hit on Obama’s “Religion is the opiate of the people” quote was originally posted yesterday. Spazzy comments thread. So, into the Monday mix.

    Barack Obama may have spoiled Howard Dean’s dream of winning back the Reagan Democrats (see: here, here, here, here and here for the snowballing reaction to his “Snob-ama” comments about how working class people “cling” to guns and religion and anti-immigrant and anti-trade sentiment because they’re bitter about economic issues.)

    Sloppy, dude. Is that why Obama joined the Trinity United Church of Christ? Nope. He joined, he says in the Audacity of Hope, because, “religious commitment did not require me to suspend critical thinking…” I guess he’s a lot smarter than most of the bitter voters in Pennsylvania. (He is actually, but… sloppy, dude.)

    This is not going to help him in all those Red states he won. But we knew he wasn’t going to win those Red states anyway…right?

    We were counting on those swing states he won: Colorado, Virginia, and Minnesota. No guns and religion in those places. Sigh. (For what it’s worth: Clinton’s swing state victories are Ohio, Florida, and New Mexico—worth more electoral college votes than Obama’s batch.)

    Given Colorado and Virginia and Minnesota’s clinginess with guns and/or religion, Obama might have just botched our swing state theory.

    I’ve been saying all along, Hillary’s strength is one that has typically eluded the Democratic nominee (Kerry, Gore, Dukakis): Her appeal to the working class.

    And then, after Ohio, I wrote:

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

    Well, thanks to Obama, Ohio is no longer a swing state. It’s now a cling state.

    Scientific American on Expelled

    posted by on April 14 at 9:54 AM

    It looks like the intelligent design propaganda film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed will be opening at the Uptown and Pacific Place this weekend, and we haven’t been invited to a screening. (So much for open debate.) For now, please enjoy Scientific American’s feature package on the film.

    And if you do go to see the film in the theater? For the love of god, please buy a ticket to another movie and sneak in. No need to give the producers of this film any more money than they’re already going to get from church groups and other organized suckers.

    Captain Stewart

    posted by on April 14 at 9:50 AM


    How long do you plan on being the captain of this fine ship?

    As long as my voice holds up. I have been doing this three seasons.

    How did you get into Duck driving?

    In the 1990s I was a fisherman in Alaska and I worked on commercial fishing boats. To drive the Duck, you need to have a Coast Guard approved captain’s license and a Washington State commercial driver’s license.

    Are there ever any ladies on the Duck who want to have a private tour with just the captain sometime?

    Well you know it’s a family tour and we meet people from all over the world, and that is the biggest perk. And seeing people have fun, it’s great. I am showing my city, but sometimes occasions arise.

    Do these things ever crash or have leaks in them?

    No, no. We have mechanics. The captains visually inspect the Ducks. So we have never had any problems.

    Really? Never?


    I’ve heard about some pretty wild stuff involving alcohol on the Duck. Can we get a party Duck going on?

    Well, when you rent private tours you get the whole Duck and it’s up to the captain.

    If you could take the Duck on a road trip, where would you go?

    Florida, Hawaii maybe. Somewhere really warm.

    If you could modify the Duck, what would you do? Tinted windows, maybe?

    I would put in extra heavy-duty Duck-approved heaters! Oh no, the time! Well it’s about time for me to go get my Duck on the road!

    Thanks and adios.

    Today in Press Releases: They Are Women, Hear Them Roar

    posted by on April 14 at 9:26 AM


    Press release #1: a message from Seattle’s own Dina Martina:

    Dear Peeps, If you know anyone in London (England, not Texas), please alert them to Dina Martina’s impending presence and subsequent aftermath in their area. Thank you!

    Given the current European antipathy toward all things American, I predict the America-incriminating monstrosity of Dina Martina (fat, deluded, clueless, and in love with herself) will be met by large and appreciative audiences in London. All hail the new economy, where America’s most valuable export is mind-bendingly brilliant drag-based performance art.

    Meanwhile, press release #2 concerns empowered divorcees and came in an email bearing the irresistible subject line, Special invitation to see leading lady Bernadette Peters bring a fictional blog to life.

    First Wives World is inviting the creative, corporate and financial community to a special reading of “Hot Flashes,” its fictional blog which redefines the approximately 30 million women who suddenly find themselves leaving one life and entering another. Conceived and created by Mimi Schmir, a TV writer for Party of Five, Felicity and most recently Grey’s Anatomy, “Hot Flashes” features Esme, the main character, who freely discusses highly sensitive and censored topics. The Internet property is being primed for a TV series. Be apart of this exciting new development in digital convergence. Meet Paul Lambert and Jonas Neilson, the lead producers of First Wives Club, the upcoming Broadway Show, who had the vision to extend the First Wives brand from a book and a movie, to a Broadway Show, to an Internet site and now to a television series. Bernadette is joined by Amy Brenneman, Jessica Hecht and Daphne Rubin-Vega. This is a powerful night for women everywhere.

    I have nothing to say about this impending project—which is being developed in NYC—except that I will always admire Bernadette Peters for her trumpet-playing in The Jerk.

    (Dina photo by David Belisle.)

    Log Cabin Republican: Fuck Gays Who Live in Other States!

    posted by on April 14 at 9:10 AM

    Normally I don’t like picking on lonely guest columnists in the P-I, but this is just too rich.

    I’m used to Log Cabin Republicans saying economic policy matters more to them than social issues—or, say, that they’re strong supporters of the second amendment, or are terrified terrorists are going to blow us all to bits. That’s cool. One form of self-interest (lower taxes, rights for gun owners, paranoia) is outweighing another (the right to personal lives that are formally respected and not criminalized by society).

    But this is just too much. According to Haidn E. Foster,

    McCain is not a defender of gay rights. While he called efforts to institute a nationwide ban on gay marriage “antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans,” his objection was to the reach, not content, of the amendment. McCain knows what it means to be a Republican and will not impose national legislation on issues that ought to be left to the states. Yet he does support state bans of gay marriage and civil unions, backing measures to that effect in California and his home state of Arizona.

    For Washingtonians, though, McCain is a viable contender. This state has shown its broadmindedness through passage of the new civil union bill, and it is unlikely McCain’s influence would or could push through legislation in Washington that would further hamper gay rights. Consequently McCain would be a wholly rational choice for president, if only for those living in Washington and, ironically, other similarly liberal states.

    Now self-interest can twine with self-interest in a symphony of “Oh, so you live in that unenlightened shithole? OK, fuck you!” Washington’s Democratic state legislature and Democractic governor passed a domestic partnership bill, and that means you, secure in your own rights, have the luxury of voting for a Republican president? That is the most selfish rationalization I’ve heard all year.

    Pit Bulls Should be Boiled Alive Like Lobsters and Fed to Their Idiot Owners

    posted by on April 14 at 9:00 AM

    I know that headline—pit bulls should be boiled alive like lobsters and fed to their idiot owners—pisses off all the responsible pit bull owners among Slog’s readership. But perhaps even pit bull owners would be willing to make an exception this time?

    A teenager was taken to a hospital Thursday evening after a pit bull ran from a Beacon Hill house and attacked him, according to a police report.

    The boy told police he got off a Metro bus at 5:20 p.m. and was walking home when the dog ran out of a house in the 3200 block of South Portland Street and attacked him in the street. The dog bit him on the right forearm, right calf, stomach and left hand, causing numerous puncture wounds, according to the report, which was released this weekend.

    Police investigated after the boy was treated at Swedish Medical Center. An officer contacted the pit bull’s owner, who told police the dog ran out of the house when the victim walked by and attacked him, according to the report. The woman told police the 1-year-old dog is usually chained, but had been inside the house with an open door.

    The woman “did not apologize for the dog’s actions,” the officer wrote is the report.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Andrew.

    It’s Very. Dramatic.

    posted by on April 14 at 8:10 AM

    You’ve no doubt seen this already because the Internet is a race and you won. But I hadn’t see this until a friend decided I needed cheering up and introduced me to Brenda Dickson last week. This one got me through the weekend…

    More video of Brenda Dickson—video you’ve already seen, of course, because the Internet is a race and you won—here.

    The Morning News

    posted by on April 14 at 7:00 AM

    Elitist, out of touch, and, frankly, patronizing: Hillary Clinton on Barack Obama.

    And she never looked less tired: Says Alessandra Stanley.

    Maybe it was: This.


    But: That support from abortion foes might be working for Obama.

    Meanwhile: These two try to channel Hillary Clinton’s inner thoughts.

    Moving on: Carter will, in fact, meet with Hamas.

    Zimbabwe: High court to rule on whether two-week-old election results should be made public.

    Housing woes: Going global.

    All Lama all the time: Still.

    Oh, and: Exactly when Hillary Clinton last went to church or fired a gun is not relevant.

    Yeah? Tell that to this guy:

    Sunday, April 13, 2008

    KC Convention: Embarrassing!

    posted by on April 13 at 8:06 PM

    Just in from the King County Convention, where once again we, the King County Democrats, demanded that a Department of Peace be established at the cabinet level. If you were at the convention, and don’t remember passing such a stupid thing—that’s because you should NEVER pass groups of resolutions at quarter till adjournment that have not been provided in print to the assembled body. It’s sort of what happend with the PATRIOT Act, you know? Bad precedent, even if the platform doesn’t mean much.

    Here’s what we all believe, apparently:


    WHEREAS, House Bill 808, to create a United States Department of Peace and Nonviolence, was introduced in the United State House of Representatives on Feb 5, 2007, and since then has won the sponsorship of at least 68 members of the House; and

    WHEREAS, HB 808 provides for establishment of a cabinet-level department headed by a Secretary of Peace and Nonviolence, who will advise the President on issues both domestic and international in scope, giving peace a place, voice and budget at the highest levels of government; and

    WHEREAS, current levels of violence are very costly to society in the United States, with 1,886,667 confirmed cases of children wounded and 2,917 children killed by abuse and neglect from March 2003 to April 2005, and an average of 15 young people (ages 10 to 24) killed daily by gang violence in 2004; and

    WHEREAS, HB 808 will benefit this state and other states by (1) supporting existing programs and developing new programs to address and reduce the number and frequency of incidents of domestic violence, child and spousal abuse, school violence, gang violence, gun violence and hate crimes, (2) developing and distributing peace and nonviolence curricula to the states and their schools, and (3) encouraging and supporting development of conflict resolution and violence-prevention initiatives from within the community; and

    WHEREAS, the proposed Department of Peace and Nonviolence will promote international peace and reduce military costs by (1) providing for exchanges between the United States and other nations to support domestic and international peace-based initiatives, (2) sponsoring conflict prevention and dispute resolution initiatives to address the root sources of conflict in troubled regions, and (3) providing training for personnel to administer post-conflict aid, demobilization and reconstruction in war-torn societies; and

    WHEREAS, many local governmental agencies, including 28 cities, have passed resolutions in support of the legislation to establish a Department of Peace and Nonviolence, as have many national and international organizations including, but not limited to, Amnesty International, Center for Nonviolent Communication, Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, Physicians for Social Responsibility, September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pax Christi USA, School Mediation Center, Veterans for Peace, and Youth for Environmental Sanity;

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT we urge our Washington State Congressional Delegation to sponsor the Department of Peace and Nonviolence legislation in the United States Senate and to co-sponsor of such legislation (HB 808) in the House of Representatives; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT we urge our Washington State Legislature to pass a resolution in support of legislation to establish a United States Department of Peace and Nonviolence, giving peace a place, voice and budget at the highest levels of government.

    My version would have been more like, WHEREAS presidential appointments are ideological in nature and would never guarante a pro-“peace” individual in the cabinet, BE IT RESOLVED that we should not reduplicate the functions and drain funding from the Departments of State and Health & Human Services and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Dennis Kucinich is an idiot. But never mind.

    Yay Department of Peace!

    Other lowlights: Gov. Christine Gregoire telling jokes about Republican puppies and talking about her dog, convention co-chair Sen. Margarita “Payday” Prentice getting a lot of free publicity, King County Exec Ron Sims teasing the (vastly pro-O) delegates with an anecdote about family members who support Obama, and 7th CD Rep. Jim McDermott getting cheered for his every mumble while we watch stars like Jay Inslee (who gave a great speech) and Adam Smith (who gave a strong speech) pop up in other districts.

    One sweet resolution, which I did not write but fully support, encourages the Washington State Democratic Central Committee create a task force and hold hearings to consider reforms to the presidential caucus process. Unlike many Sloggers and commenters, I like caucuses (and it seems like the top-2 primary system might confuse a potential primary even further). But I strongly support absentee balloting, with the understanding that there must be enough willing delegates to take that candidate’s support to the next level. Maine does it, why can’t we?

    To close, the only photograph I took at the convention. In the background, a giant polar bear supplied by the Backbone Campaign, and in front of that, my mom, who gave up her voting rights as an Obama delegate to provide ASL interpretation to a deaf delegate for Hillary. (Sorry, it’s cellphone.)


    Hillary’s Next

    posted by on April 13 at 5:29 PM

    Out walks the naive “colored gentleman.”
    In walks the “uppity nigger.”

    Seattle’s Religion

    posted by on April 13 at 1:38 PM

    Tibet is the new Vatican.
    According to the PI:

    [Yesterday, the] Dalai Lama delivered a 28-minute speech that was preceded and followed by standing ovations from the announced crowd of 50,817 [at Qwest Field].

    If Pope Benedict XVI were in town, the event would not have been so peaceful, so cheerful. The Pope is to the Dalai Lama what Bush is to Obama. Dalai Lama is Seattle’s Pope; Obama is its president. We live in Obama/Lama land.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on April 13 at 11:00 AM



    I believe in beauty. Beauty has real power and nourishes the imagination the same way the sun nourishes a flower. The sun in Caramel is Nadine Labaki, the film’s director and lead actor. Labaki plays Layale, one of five women whose lives intersect in a beauty salon in the Christian section of Beirut. The women want love, sex, and satisfaction from a society that will not give it to them. Much, much more than the other women, Labaki’s desire radiates from the screen, onto the faces of those looking up at her. (See Movie Times.)


    Reading Today

    posted by on April 13 at 10:00 AM


    Only two events going on today. At Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle Public Schools’ Nova Alternative School students read some of their work. And up in the U District, Ann Bannon is reading from her 1950’s lesbian pulp classic The Beebo Brinker Chronicles, which I wrote about in this week’s Constant Reader, in conjunction with a performance by Seattle Women’s Chorus. Bannon is a delight and a joy, and her novels are a pretty amazing thing to read; they have a pulp sensibility, but they talk about lesbianism in a surprisingly open way, considering the time and context. She’s a regular treasure, and one of the few ladies still standing from that time, when literature was dirty and quick and exciting in a way that we can’t fully understand nowadays. It’s definitely worth a look.

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

    Also, if you haven’t already, you should check out the nifty, brand-new books page, which has a ton more reviews and a mini-blog revue of the last week’s books-themed Slog posts, over here.

    The Morning News

    posted by on April 13 at 9:00 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    On the sly: Covert Iraqi arms deal.

    Also on the sly: Kenya formulates new government in secret talks.

    Commie talk: Maoists in Nepal maintain strong lead in elections.

    Stupid talk: National security advisor calls skipping Olympics a “cop-out.”

    Fired: 1,300 mutineers dismissed from Iraqi Army.

    Hell week
    : Bloodiest week so far this year for American troops in Iraq.

    Currency: World worried about slipping dollar.

    Hating on the rurals: Obama defends remarks about “small town values.”

    Best candidate ever: Clinton loves guns and whiskey.

    Department of Unintended Consequences: State trooper who sported KKK costume says he was copying Dave Chappelle.

    Big wallets: Sonics owners spent a pretty penny on Oklahoma arena vote.

    Oops: Snowmobiler tumbles into Mount St. Helens.