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Archives for 04/20/2008 - 04/26/2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Remember When McCain Was Flying Coach?

posted by on April 26 at 6:26 PM

John McCain likes to make hay out of the fact that his campaign was pretty much broke for a spell last year. Here’s a representative exchange on Letterman:

LETTERMAN: You got into financial trouble, and all of that changed, turned around. What did you do—did you ever consider getting out?

MCCAIN: Well, I was riding on a well-known airline in group D, you know, that’s the one where you get to sit in the center seat between two heavyset Americans… I was carrying my own bags, which was good training, good experience.

As the New York TImes reports, McCain didn’t so much fly coach on a well-known airline as benefit from a cut rate on his wife’s cushy corporate jet:

The McCain campaign turned to using the jet last August, a time when it faced mounting debts and the possibility of financial collapse. It stopped doing so in March, those records indicate.

During the first half of 2007, a time when Mr. McCain’s campaign did not use his wife’s jet, it paid out over $1.04 million for travel on noncommercial planes, F.E.C. records indicate. Over the second half of the year, when that jet was used almost constantly for campaign-related purposes, his campaign’s total spending for noncommercial flying was about one-half that much, or $542,160, those records suggest.

Very thrifty of you, Senator.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 26 at 11:00 AM


The Stranger Gong Show at Chop Suey

Last spring brought the first-ever Stranger Gong Show, a mind-blowing night of rubber chickens, dancing girls, elastic nostrils, rabbit comics, and blissed-out crowds. What’ll this year bring? God only knows. Any and all interested performers can sign up the night of the show at Chop Suey (acts must run between 30 seconds and 4 minutes) to compete for a variety of goodies and $100 cash! All hosted by some jerk called me. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, Talent signup starts at 7 pm, show at 9 pm, free, 21+.)


Currently Hanging

posted by on April 26 at 10:00 AM

Andreas Zybach’s 0-6.5 PS (Tunnel) (2007), liquid pumps, gouache, tubes, steel feathers, plywood, raw silk, hardware; 22 by 7 feet

At Western Bridge, with an artist talk today at 1. (Gallery web site here; Stranger Suggests for the group show You Complete Me here.)

Reading Today

posted by on April 26 at 10:00 AM


There’s a ton of readings today, including an open mic and a seminar on how to write a novel. Lisa Kleypas is reading from Blue Eyed Devil, a “Texas-hot romance,” up at Third Place Books, and Michael Gruber reads from The Forgery of Venus, which is a mystery, at Elliott Bay Book Company.

Also at Elliott Bay, Rebecca Wolff, who blogs on Girls Gone Child (which is about raising children and not whatever you were thinking, you dirty, dirty monkey) will be talking about alternative parenting.

And in addition to those two readings at Elliott Bay, Kevin K. Kumashiro reads there today from his book The Seduction of Common Sense: How the Right Has Framed the Debate of America’s Schools. I normally don’t like to pick on people for their names—as my first grade classmates could tell you, Paul Constantly Constipated has no right to do that, after all—but if your first name and last name begin with the letter K, you really shouldn’t advertise that your middle initial is also K.

The book-related event of the day is a reading of Mr. Thoreau Tonight, a play about Henry David Thoreau by David Wagoner, the writer-in-residence at the Hugo House. I wrote about how wonderful Wagoner is in this week’s Constant Reader and there’s a recording of him talking about this play in his wise, oak-y voice here.

Also, don’t forget to check out the full readings calendar.

The Morning News

posted by on April 26 at 8:34 AM

Confirmed: Mugabe’s party lost.

Simulated: Bird-flu outbreak.

Acquitted: Officers who shot groom 50 times.

Not In My 534-Acre Back Yard: Magnolia neighbors protest homeless at Discovery Park.

The Bullshit that Really Matters: What candidates eat for lunch.

China and the Dalai Lama: Our people will talk your people.

Cognac and Condoms: Hoax letter encourages parents to take practical tack on prom night.

Crusade and Combatants: Atheist soldier threatened for “going against what the founding fathers, who were Christians, wanted for America!”

Back to Black Eyes? Winehouse released after assault.

Friend Request: Google and Yahoo taking another stab at social networking.

Hutchy: Takes his bullhorn to the day of silence.

Jamieson: Thinks Hutchy could use a day of silence.

Guillermo del Toro: Slated to direct The Hobbit. To celebrate, please enjoy this “good morning” scene from Pan’s Labyrinth:

Larry Rinder Appointed Director of the Berkeley Art Museum

posted by on April 26 at 12:34 AM

I can’t confirm it with anyone at the museum at this hour, but I have it on good authority: Maxwell L. Anderson (former Whitney director over Rinder and current Indianapolis Museum of Art head) let it drop a few minutes ago in a podcast I did with him while he was in Seattle for a public talk. He said the appointment was made official tonight.

Here’s Rinder’s Wiki page, on which I discovered something I did not know about the noted curator:

His first play, “The Wishing Well,” co-authored with Kevin Killian, premiered in 2006.

The podcast with Anderson is great, and will be up on The Stranger’s site soon—and thanks to Anderson for staying up so late to go through with it during a short visit. Oh: and thanks for the scoop.


Friday, April 25, 2008

“It was bad of me to call you a cunt, whether we were in the Albertsons or not.

posted by on April 25 at 4:45 PM

Autobahn is the best bit of theater Re-bar has hosted in a long time.


It’s a cycle of five short plays by Neil LaBute—whose misogyny is only eclipsed by his general misanthropy—all of which happen in cars. In one, a graduate student realizes his temporary townie girlfriend is going to become his stalker. In another, a jackass husband (Troy Fischnaller, a convincing jackass) begrudgingly apologizes to his silent, weeping wife:

“I was wrong. Is that what you want to hear? Is it? ’Kay. It was bad of me to call you a cunt, whether we were in the Albertsons or not.

In another, a pizza delivery guy (Shawn Law, the beardo above) tries to convince his sad-sack friend (Dusty Warren) to go fetch his video-game console from his ex-girlfriend’s house—never mind his kids:

“The kids, I mean, you can’t deal with that now, you can’t, that’s a matter for the courts and all, our legal system, but there’s nothing written or unwritten that says someone can take up ownership of your Nintendo 64 just because they want to.”

Fischnaller is the engine behind the production, which features good directors (Allison Narver, Peggy Gannon) and good actors (Trick Danneker, Shawn Belyea, Angela DiMarco). And they did the whole production for under $1,000, even with equity actors. (Fischnaller got a special dispensation from equity, whose rules tend to keep union and nonunion actors apart, to everyone’s detriment.)

Anyway: Re-bar is as good a place as any to watch a couple returning a foster child, a husband wringing a confession out of his wife, and the other stripped-down vignettes on human awfulness. The lights are dim and the booze is proximal.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on April 25 at 4:37 PM

South American Way: Argentine court decriminalizes drug possession.

American Way: World’s leading jailer.

Higher Educators: Teaching marijuana classes in Oakland.

Alcohol Regulators: Don’t like Weed pun on beer caps.

3000: Sentences commuted for cocaine convicts.

29: In Western Washington.

Boy Dies After Drinking Meth:

Lynnwood police may try to build a relatively unusual case of homicide by a controlled substance against a 29-year-old man who has been arrested in connection with the death of a Lynnwood teen.

According to court documents, the suspect is alleged to have punched Jamie D. Leavitt, 16, after the teen drank meth-laced water and then, while in a “drug-induced state,” repeatedly tried to hug the older man.

Junked: Bad weather kills Afghan poppies.

Skunked: Dutch police union chair calls to “legalise” soft drugs.

Confession: Of an American coca-leaf chewer.

The Pot Issue Has Two Sides? So reports the Kitsap Sun.

What the Kids Are Asking: About sex and drugs.

Fuzzy Math: LSD = Trees.

E-Bombs: For soldiers.

Pneumonia or Dementia? Options for the elderly.

Don’t Play that Song for Me: Starbucks backs off from music biz.

4/20 Is Over: Pry your lips from the bong.

Grateful Dead Sea Scrolls: Decoding the hippie lexicon.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on April 25 at 4:33 PM

News: Jane Campion may have lamented the lack of female directors at Cannes last year, but there’s a positive drought this year, with only Lucrecia Martel’s (The Holy Girl) La Mujer Sin Cabeza—uplifting title, that—screening in competition. One other film is co-directed by Daniela Thomas, working alongside a much better-known male director, Walter Salles. Making up for this dearth entirely are gorgeous starlets Alexandra Maria Lara and Natalie Portman on the jury. Naturally, The Third Wave, screening out of competition, is about the 2004 tsunami.

Opened Last Week:


My review of Expelled appears this week, rather than last, because the production company preferred to conduct advance screenings for church groups and Christian schools instead of asking for objective criticism. Generally, avoiding critics means the movie is reprehensibly bad, and I have to admit, even I was surprised by the film’s condescending, simplistic assertion (popular among creationists) that since Hitler used Darwin to justify evil acts, reading Darwin will incline you toward similar evils. You couldn’t get farther from the merits of the argument if you tried. Other critics have made that point with more vigor than I could (I just think it’s sad), so my review hones in on the interesting gap between what intelligent design proponents say in public forums or in courts of law and what they tell friendly audiences.

The most bizarre thing about the new intelligent-design propaganda film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed isn’t that former Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein is being paid to extol a pseudoscience whose hypotheses can’t be tested (everyone has a price), or that the film compares science with Nazism and Stalinism (though it does, repeatedly and remorselessly). What’s truly weird is that the filmmakers don’t seem to understand the tenets of intelligent design.

Proponents of intelligent design—which is essentially a legal strategy, developed in the wake of a Supreme Court decision rejecting the teaching of creationism in public schools—try to discern traces of an intelligent designer in the universe and in living things. Crucially, however, the “theory” remains agnostic as to the identity of that designer. This was an important component of the legal underpinning of the movement: If intelligent-design proponents ever hinted that the designer was God, the teaching of intelligent design in schools would, like the teaching of creationism, constitute an infringement on the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. At the same time, though, not naming the designer meant that intelligent-design proponents like Michael Behe had to allow the possibility that their designer is one of many gods, or even an intellectually superior alien. (This problem was memorably satirized by followers of the almighty Flying Spaghetti Monster.)

So when Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and atheist who is a prominent critic of intelligent design, concedes to Stein in Expelled that he is open to the idea that aliens may have seeded our planet with life, intelligent design has actually scored a point (even if Dawkins never argues that an alien visitation could be somehow inferred from the evidence, and even though the theory of natural selection isn’t particularly preoccupied with how life first began). But this modest victory means nothing to the movie’s target audience of evangelical Christians, so Stein takes the intellectually bankrupt way out and makes vicious fun of Dawkins for believing in aliens.

I linked to a document by a Discovery Institute shill up there, and he attempts to bolster his assertion that intelligent design doesn’t point to a creator God by citing Of Pandas and People, of all things. Thanks to a little trial in Dover, we all know that Of Pandas and People is a hastily rejiggered creationist textbook. See Chapter Ten of the NOVA episode Intelligent Design on Trial for hilarious proof.

Opening this week:

Andrew Wright reviews Jenna Jameson’s, uh, film debut? No. Theatrical film debut? No. Commercial theatrical film debut? Why is this so hard? Anyway, Zombie Strippers. Andrew: “Of the many damning sins it commits against acceptably skeezy exploitation filmmaking, perhaps the cardinal one is this: The two most attractive women in the cast never even take their tops off. That faint thumping noise you hear is Russ Meyer doing donuts in his grave.”

In (the print version of) On Screen this week, you’ll find reviews of The First Saturday in May (Jen Graves: “When brothers Brad and John Hennegan set out to follow six trainers and six horses on their journey toward the ultimate horse race in 2006, they had no idea that one of their animal stars would prove to be more of a draw than any of their human subjects. Now, the movie’s publicity materials boast about ‘never-before-seen footage of a young Barbaro,’ and he, truly, is the highlight of the film”), The Life Before Her Eyes (me: “The Life Before Her Eyes has its bright spots—Evan Rachel Wood is irritatingly great at the half-seductive, half-self-destructive thing—but every retouched color [the tomatoes in this movie are from another planet] and dramatic visual effect [blotches of blood keep morphing into other things] serves to pollute the movie’s already sloppy metaphysics with an unpleasant strain of hysteria”), and Deception (Bradley Steinbacher: “The idea of the driven and privileged turning to anonymous encounters for sexual fulfillment is interesting, but outside of some overwrought sex scenes, Deception clearly has other, far more standard, issues in mind—namely blackmail, kidnapping, and corporate theft. And it’s here, unfortunately, that the film slowly starts to fray”).

In web-only content this week:

Lindy West reviews Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (“The smart jokes are too stupid and the gross jokes are too gross and the diarrhea is too loud and the forced blowjobs at Gitmo are just lazy”). And Megan Seling gives a qualified thumbs up to Baby Mama.

Hidden away in Film Shorts this week are reviews of Planet B-Boy at the Varsity, Breathless and Divorce—Italian Style at Northwest Film Forum, and yet more screenings of Senator Obama Goes to Africa at Capitol Hill Arts Center. Also of note: the Seattle Polish Film Festival (including two programs of work [shorts tonight, The Story of the Fox tomorrow] by the early 20th-century animator Władysław Starewicz) at SIFF Cinema, Greg Araki’s The Living End at SIFF Cinema, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane and The Nanny at Grand Illusion, and much more. See our Movie Times page for all your movie-going needs.

And for dessert, Lindy West on local horror.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on April 25 at 4:28 PM


by shapefarm

Five Films to Rule Them All

posted by on April 25 at 4:14 PM

Despite three 3+ hours movies, Tolkien has yet to be wrung dry by Hollywood:

Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, who produced “Pan’s Labyrinth,” will direct two big-budget films based on J.R.R Tolkien’s book “The Hobbit,” the Hollywood studios involved said Thursday.

That tingling you’re feeling is your ass already going numb.

The New Twice Sold Tales is Really Nice

posted by on April 25 at 4:10 PM


It seems like every time Twice Sold Tales gets mentioned on Slog, the comments turn into a series of complaints about the cat smell. I just came back from a visit to the new location of Twice Sold Tales, at Harvard and Denny, and I’m telling you right now that the new location doesn’t smell like cat (yet.) There are still cats everywhere, of course (and, in case you were wondering, the hilarious brass plaque dedicating the contents of the cat box to the life and work of Christopher Frizzelle has survived the move to the new location, although it looks as though the cat box is now an entire room.)

And the new store is about two billion times better than the old store, especially since the old store halved itself a few years ago. I love bookstores that take up house-style spaces, and this Twice Sold Tales has that feel. It has nooks and hallways and rooms. It’s bright. The shelves are new. It’s possible to get lost, however momentarily, and feel like you’re in an endless labyrinth of books.

There are some drawbacks: They won’t stay open past 10 pm, because they’re in a residential building, and the location is, obviously, much less central. It’s still a work in progress. The shelves aren’t halfway filled yet, and it’s hard to tell where sections begin and end, but it’s possible to see where things are headed, and the prognosis is very good.

The other complaint that commenters have about Twice Sold Tales, rude customer service, is harder to gauge, of course. I’ve never had a problem with rudeness on my many visits, and the bookseller who helped me today eagerly dropped everything to look up a book. The old list of stupid customer questions that used to be up over the register (which I, as a bookseller, always found really funny, but other people have complained about) doesn’t seem to have survived the move.

But I wandered around this afternoon and it felt great. It’s going to be a wonderful place to spend time. I bought two books: D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, whose images have haunted me since I was a wee kid, and The Big Con by David W. Maurer (‘The inside story of the confidence men who live by the swindle and never give a sucker an even break. “One of the ablest, most thorough, most readable expositions of the Bad Life ever written…the last word in this amusing and sinister branch of skullduggery.”’ says the big blurb on the front cover.)

I recommend checking it out soon, especially if you’re allergic to cats—the new bookstore smell isn’t going to last forever.

So, What is Obama Adding to the Party Again?

posted by on April 25 at 3:47 PM

I’ve been Slogging a lot the last couple of days trying to shut down the whole “the prolonged primary is destroying the party” riff.

Look, the party was shattered in ‘68 (with a replay of those factional battles in ‘80 and ‘88) because of real ideological differences in the party.

But there is no fundamental ideological split in the Democratic Party this time, so stop worrying. The minute it’s Obama (or way less likely, Hillary) the Democrats will unite around their focused agenda: achieve universal health care, end the occupation of Iraq, combat global warming, reestablish the United States as a respected international leader, reverse the erosion of civil liberties at home, and make the economy work for the middle class instead of just the wealthiest.

I am worried about this, though. Obama doesn’t seem poised to take advantage of Hillary’s historic appeal to the lumpen proletariat.

Listen to this asinine quote from Obama top strategist, David Axlerod:

The white working class has gone to the Republican nominee for many elections, going back even to the Clinton years,” Axelrod said. “This is not new that Democratic candidates don’t rely solely on those votes.”

What? Never mind condescending to white working class voters. Now, the O campaign is willing to flush ‘em? Even after Hillary has reestablished this bloc as an energized part of the base?

And: Does that also mean Axelrod isn’t counting much on all those Red states Obama has won…you know, the ones that give him the numbers edge on Hillary, even though she’s winning big battleground states like Ohio, New Mexico, Florida, and Pennsylvania?

courtesy Huffington Post.

Sound Transit: Opening A(nother) Dialogue

posted by on April 25 at 2:55 PM

So Sound Transit decided yesterday to move forward with a plan… to start planning. Yesterday afternoon, the Sound Transit board voted to get public input on two different potential ballot measures—one that would increase sales taxes an average of $100 per household per year, and one that would raise them an average of $125.

I know the board wants to avoid an electoral debacle like last year’s failed roads and transit ballot measure, but I wish they’d just pick a plan. (Personally, I think the higher number makes more sense because it allows ST to serve more people, but the difference between a 0.4 percent sales tax increase and a 0.5 percent sales tax increase is pretty negligible—and certainly not enough to convince folks who would never have voted for transit in the first place.)

And seriously—hasn’t this already been surveyed, focus-grouped, and polled to death? Show me a person in this region who doesn’t have an opinion on light rail and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t vote anyway. Public input—fine. But no amount of temperature-taking is going to reach the citizens ST board member Julia Patterson referred to yesterday as “the average [people] living on the cul-de-sac” if they don’t take an interest. Sound Transit should say “fuck ‘em” and move forward this year, when Democratic voter turnout is going to break records.

As an aside: Times reporter Mike Lindblom (whom I like and respect a lot) had one line in his story that was a bit misleading. Lindblom quoted Seattle Mayor and ST board chair Greg Nickels as saying that all the tolls being proposed around the state “require that we create an alternative to driving, and paying an $8 toll.” According to my notes, what Nickels actually said was, “the governor and others have talked about tolling and congestion pricing as one strategy, and I applaud that, but I think it’s important that we take the steps first to provide an alternative to driving alone and paying an $8 toll… When we ask [drivers] to pay to cross 520 or other corridors or the whole system, I think we have to give them choices about how they travel and what they will pay.” Seen in context, Nickels’s comment was pro-transit and pro-tolls; Lindblom’s truncation makes it sound like Nickels considers tolls an unreasonably onerous burden.

How Low Can Hiphop Go?

posted by on April 25 at 2:37 PM

Go to Line Out and see the lowest of the lows.
50cent.jpg Yes, that’s a video game image of the gangsta rapper 50 Cent. Yes, he is in a place that looks a lot like Baghdad. Yes, he is shooting Arabs. Yes, it has to do with not getting paid for a concert. What more can I say?

Good Question

posted by on April 25 at 2:30 PM

Postman wants to know: What did Dwight Pelz, chair of the Washington State Democrats, mean by this quote in the New York Daily News?

“It’s time for us to end this,” added Dwight Pelz, Washington State party chairman and undecided superdelegate. “The candidates are tearing each other apart, and it’s not good for the party. I think we need to have a candidate.”

Is Pelz about to doff his neutrality and endorse? People, including me, want to know.

Lost Glasses

posted by on April 25 at 2:22 PM


A Stranger staffer stepped into the stall of a women’s rest room at Sea-Tac Airport and was confronted by this sad sight. If those were your glasses, would you have plucked them out of the toilet? Or would you have left them there for someone else to pee on?

Youth Pastor Watch

posted by on April 25 at 1:52 PM


Did Bethany church assign pedophile to kids program to ‘help’ him?

Five victims of a former youth minister in prison for molestation are suing the Nazarene Church, saying warning signs about his behavior were ignored.

“This is about what the church knew, what the church did about it and, more specifically, what the church didn’t do about it,” their attorney, Jason Stephens, said Wednesday….

Ryan Martin Wonderly, a former youth minister at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene, was sentenced in 2005 to 35 years in prison for molesting girls at the church. He left the church in February 2003.

Among the allegations in the lawsuit are that Wonderly’s roommates at Southern Nazarene University discovered he had been looking at child pornography on a computer, and the university allegedly recommended him for an internship as an elementary pastor at the Bethany church “as part of his program of getting ‘help.’”

Name Those Christians!

posted by on April 25 at 1:21 PM


In the comments to my earlier post about the National Day of Silence—protesting the bullying and harassment of gay and lesbian students, and protested by local bonehead Reverend Ken Hutcherson—an interesting discussion sprung up around the unfair lumping of all Christians with such psycho Christian bigots as Hutcherson.

My proposal: Decide on a distinguishing moniker for these evolved, enlightened Christians, to help draw the distinction between reasonable, sane people who appreciate the life and teachings of Jesus and alleged Christians who treat Jesus like a holy Gumby to be bent to support whatever bullshit bias needs supporting.

But whatever shall this name be?

Introducing The Man Behind John McCain’s 2008 Fight For Washington

posted by on April 25 at 1:00 PM

Shortly after becoming a mathematical lock for the GOP nomination, John McCain began plotting how a fairly unorthodox Republican candidate would win the presidency. His final plan rolled out the concept of a decentralized campaign structure: each region of the country having a different ‘regional campaign manager’ who would be better able to shape the McCain message for the different electoral circumstances his candidacy would face.

Well, the plan is finalized. Marc Ambinder introduces us to McCain’s new hire, John Peschong: regional manager for Washington State (and the entirety of the West Coast, including Alaska and Hawaii):

John McCain’s campaign has tapped John Peschong to serve as regional campaign manager for California, Republicans close to the campaign said.

Peschong has been a campaign adviser since 2007. He has a large amount of experience in California, having served as GOP executive director there in the 1990s and recently as Northwestern political director for the Republican National Committee in 2004. He was also executive director of Dan Quayle’s political action committee.

From a short biography for the Republican National Committee during the 2004 presidential race:

Previously served as Executive Director of Dan Quayle’s PAC, Campaign America, 1997-98. Executive Director of the California Republican Party, 1994-97. Other experience includes press secretary to a U.S. Senate candidate, partner in a PR firm, White House Office of Communications during the Reagan Administration, Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, RNC, Fund for America’s Future (a PAC). Peschong is a 1984 graduate of Loyola Marymount University.

Given that the campaign for Washington’s electoral votes may end up being an important battleground for 2008, we may be getting to know Peschong rather well.

Senator Obama: Are You Above The Common Pot Roast, Sir?

posted by on April 25 at 12:45 PM

As reported here, Obama has laid to rest any fears that he spends all of his time eating in pan-Asian fusion restaurants, sucking down foam of foie gras, laughing derisively at the common people eating out of dumpsters:

Obama, at a press conference in Indianapolis just now, was asked if he’s too much like “a GQ over who’s aloof.”

Part of his response:

“I was raised in a setting with my grandparents who grew up in small town Kansas, where the dinner table would have been familiar to a lot of people here in Indiana – a lot of pot roasts and potatoes and jello molds.”

My first thought is:

“A GQ over who’s aloof?”

What does that even mean?

My second thought: has it ever turned out well for a Democratic candidate who ends up trying to convince people that he’s ‘common’ enough to understand their way of life? Didn’t that lead to John Kerry marching into the forest to go shoot woodland creatures? Doesn’t that way lie the madness of the “which candidate would you want to have a beer with?” media narrative?

This only ends with you riding a tank, senator. Don’t let them do it to you.

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on April 25 at 12:35 PM

Okay, I’m done torturing you. Ronald Week is Over. Please, though, next time you’re about to sink your teeth into a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, think of the children…

On Stupid Fucking Credulous Hacks Mike Carter and Paul Shukovsky

posted by on April 25 at 12:31 PM

Some folks in the comments thread on Dom’s post yesterday about those stupid fucking credulous hacks at the Seattle Times and PI—Mike Carter and Paul Shukovsky—admonished me for being mean to those stupid fucking credulous hacks Carter and Shukovsky. If we want to have an impact on the way stupid fucking credulous hacks like Carter and Shukovsky report about the War on Drugs and grow-op busts—they currently report with their tongues lodged in the asses of whatever DEA spokesperson appears before them—we should be nice and respectful and polite. “You’ll catch more stupid fucking flies with stupid fucking honey blah blah blah.”

We’ve already tried being polite. The posts Dom and I wrote about this particular grow-op bust weren’t the very first posts we’ve written taking the dailies to task for their failure to live up to their own professed standards of objectivity, impartiality, and fairness when it comes to drug busts. (Shukovsky is capable of being objective, as Dom pointed out, but only when it comes to alleged pedophiles.)

Here’s a nice, respectful post I wrote last October about a grow-op bust story in the PI…

…forty one paragraphs about indoor grow-ops in King County, the violence associated with them, the emerging Southeast Asian connection, and the deleterious impact all of this is having on the quality of the food served in area Vietnamese restaurants. Seriously. But there isn’t a single graph in Levi Pulkkinen’s story—not one sentence, not a measly parenthetical, not a hint—about how marijuana prohibition is responsible for the lawlessness that Pulkkinen writes about/takes dictation from the police about….

It would be great if the PI was as anxious to inform its readers about the benefits of marijuana legalization—and the futility of the war on pot (anybody at the PI having any trouble scoring pot lately? didn’t think so)—as the paper is to breathlessly report every heroic detail of the local, state, and federal government’s destructive and ineffective war on a plant. How many times do we have to read the exact same story about pot? Grow op busted! Violence associated with illegal activity! So many tons seized! Blah blah blah. When will the daily papers stop helping to wage the drug war and start actually reporting on it?

And here’s a nice, respectful post I wrote about a grow-op bust story in the Seattle Times last July…

The story in today’s Seattle Times details—no, it glorifies—the work being done to root out grow operations in our area. The busts, the people going to jail, what we’ve learned, how we can fight this scourge. The effort has, of course, eaten up massive amounts of local and federal law enforcement time, landed a bunch of poor motherfuckers in jail, and cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. And no where in the piece does the Seattle Times mention, oh, the sheer ridiculous futility of all of this.

Where are the quotes from a pro-decriminalization organizations? Local pot smokers? The large and growing number of Americans who, despite decades of slanted and biased coverage like this, have concluded that the war on drugs is a waste of time, money, and lives? If I wanted to read White House Drug Policy Office press releases I could go to their fucking website. Do I really need to read them on yours?

And here’s another. And another. And another.

We’ve written about this crap again and again. And I know the reporters at the Seattle Times and PI have read the polite posts we’ve written about their unbelievably biased coverage—all those nice respectful posts—because I’ve typically received a mewling, defensive, not-for-publication email from the reporters after I put up one these posts. I guess I’ve finally lost my patience. I’m sick of being polite.

Again, no one is asking for screeds against the War on Drugs—that’s our job. We certainly don’t expect reporters at the PI and Seattle Times to flip from a pro-War-on-Drugs bias to an anti-War-on-Drugs bias. But when reporters at Seattle’s daily papers fail—utterly fail—to apply the same standards of objectivity and impartiality to drug stories that they make such a fuss about applying to all other stories, again, we’re going to call out the stupid fucking credulous hacks.

And here, courtesy of a Slog commenter, and for ease of reference, are a few of the questions that the PI and Seattle Times need to ask grow-ops are busted:

Do such raids work? Are they cost effective? Are they unnecessarily dangerous, either to the police or the suspects? Do they actually reduce the amount of pot on the streets? Do they make us any safer? Would simply legalizing it make us safer? Does filling our prisons with everyone involved in pot growing or smoking help or harm society in any measurable way?

Live from the Indianapolis Star

posted by on April 25 at 12:21 PM

This is cool and smart: The Indianapolis Star’s editorial board is livestreaming its interview with Obama today. Starts in a few minutes…

UPDATE: Click here to watch, sorry for the auto-play on the embed.

Via Ben Smith.

Does “Cult” Mean “Insanely Popular” in British?

posted by on April 25 at 12:11 PM

The Telegraph has a list of the 50 best cult books. What are some books on the list?

Slaughterhouse Five, The Bell Jar, The Catcher in the Rye, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Fountainhead, Dianetics, Dune and etc. and etc. and on and on.

Now, I’m not an expert on the British book scene, but I suspect that many of these books are just as well-known over there as they are over here. There are some actual weird culty-type books, such as The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart, which I only just heard about for the first time about a month ago, and A Rebours, by JK Huysmans, is certainly beautiful and terrible and under-read. My favorite bit of this piece, though, is this sentence, leading off the piece on Rousseau’s Confessions:

In the age of titles such as “No, Please, Daddy, Not There!”, the soul-searching autobiography looks about as cutting edge as a Findus Crispy Pancake.

I don’t know what a Findus Crispy Pancake is, but this is my new favorite catchphrase.

The Man

posted by on April 25 at 11:58 AM

Peep this. The UK Office of Government Commerce, which is all about the money, hired a fancy London branding agency to make them look like a million bucks. And what did the agency come up with? Something that looks like what money surely ain’t—classy…
Picture%2015.jpg…but in fact tells it like it is:
The man. Always the fucking man.

The National Day of Silence Is Upon Us

posted by on April 25 at 11:13 AM


Today brings the National Day of Silence, the annual protest against the bullying and harassment of gay and lesbian students.

This year’s Day of Silence—the 12th since the day’s grassroots debut in 1996—is particularly dramatic for a couple reasons.

1. Lawrence King, the 15-year-old boy in Oxnard, California, whose tragic death in February sent a chilling reminder that even in this day and age, where gays have attained an unprecedented degree of normalcy in American culture, some American kids still think it’s okay to fatally shoot an openly gay classmate in the their middle school’s computer lab.

2. Ken Hutcherson, the former linebacker, current pastor, perennial anti-gay warrior, and likely chronic traumatic brain injury candidate, who’s led a campaign against observance of the Day of Silence at Mount Si High School, where Hutcherson’s daughter is a student and where Hutcherson was booed at this year’s rally for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. After unsuccessfully lobbying for the cancellation of the Day of Silence—hated by Hutch for its foisting of alternative sexuality on students, who are so rigorously protected from his beloved Christianity, thanks to the separation of church and state—Hutch organized a counter-protest to the official day of protest, and a group of Snoqualmie Valley community members have organized a counter-protest to the counter-protest, hosting a press conference “to address misconceptions being perpetuated regarding the annual Day of Silence” beginning at 11:00 this morning. (Like, twelve minutes ago.)

Good luck to everyone involved, except for Ken Hutcherson, who remains a complete boob. (Confidential to Hutch: The discomfort your daughter experienced following the MLK Day debacle had nothing to do with “anti-Christian harassment” and everything to do with her dad making a headline-warranting ass out of himself. Come talk to me after a middle-school student is gunned down for wearing a “WWJD?” t-shirt.)

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 25 at 11:00 AM


‘You Complete Me’ at Western Bridge

Western Bridge’s group show from now through the summer is made up of “major installations and small cool gestures,” according to director Eric Fredericksen. It sounds like an adventure course, with installations including space-eating balloons by Martin Creed, a hanging periscope by Eli Hansen and Oscar Tuazon, a bounce house by Mungo Thomson, a large tunnel by Andreas Zybach, and Jeppe Hein’s little hole in the wall with air blowing through it. All that’s missing is us. (Western Bridge, 3412 Fourth Ave S, 838-7444. Noon–6 pm, free.)


Mystery at Abydos

posted by on April 25 at 10:22 AM

The most perplexing thing I saw in Egypt was in Osiris’s Temple at Abydos—hieroglyphs near the ceiling that depict modern modes of transportation: what looks like a helicopter, a submarine, and an airplane. Our Egyptologist scholar/guide told us these were carved from sandstone several thousand years ago, but that no one knows what they mean, nor have similar symbols been discovered anywhere else on ancient Egyptian artifacts. Some experts dismiss them as the result of new carvings over old carvings—the old hieroglyphs combined with new hieroglyphs laid over the top, plus erosion, inadvertently formed what appears to be symbols of modern technology. I’m a hard-nosed skeptic in all matters supernatural, but this explanation is difficult to swallow.

Early Payday from Uncle Sam

posted by on April 25 at 10:21 AM

You might have a little extra scratch next week:

The federal government, eager to boost the flagging economy, will start distributing special stimulus payments Monday - four days earlier than expected.

“Beginning Monday, the effects of the stimulus will begin to reach households,” President Bush said Friday. “This money is going to help Americans offset the high prices we’re seeing at the gas pump and at the grocery store.”

The department announced the early arrival of the payments Thursday after saying last month that it would begin sending out the money on May 2.

As of next week, 800,000 tax filers daily will begin to have their checks directly deposited Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. No checks will be distributed Thursday, and 5 million payments will be made Friday.

Those who used direct deposit when they filed their taxes this year will receive their payment first. Paper checks will be sent out May 9. As for how much you’ll get…

The program calls for rebates of up to $600 for single filers making less than $75,000. Couples making less than $150,000 would receive rebates of up to $1,200. In addition, parents would receive $300 rebates per child. Filers who do not owe income taxes but have at least $3,000 in income would get a $300 payment.

I think I’ll spend mine on a Wii—if I can fucking find one—and then send the rest to the Obama campaign.

Reading Tonight

posted by on April 25 at 10:18 AM


There’s an open mic and a young adult reading and an author of six books of haiku and then some other readings, coming in the air tonight. (Oh, lord!)

Misha Glenny wrote a book called McMafia, about organized crime around the world. He actually talked with quite a few real, non-imprisoned organized criminals for the book. It looks fascinating and, despite all the mafioso books that came out when The Sopranos got really popular, this looks like a genuine look at a little-seen culture. He’s at Town Hall.

Emily Transue, a local doctor who at is at least one Slog commenter’s physician of choice, reads at Third Place Books from her book Patient by Patient. If my doctor wrote a book, I’d be terrified that she wrote about me. Maybe some angry man with a rash that looks like Richard Nixon will show up tonight to publicly fight it out with Dr. Transue. (I know, I know—doctors have to change details when they write about patients, which means that the man’s rash would probably be reported to look like William Howard Taft in the book, but these flights of fancy are what keep me going to readings.)

Also, at the Hugo House, there’ll be a staged production of a play called Mr. Thoreau Tonight, by David Wagoner, who is the writer in residence at the Hugo House. This week’s Constant Reader is all about Wagoner and the play, and here’s a link to an audio interview I did with Wagoner, too. He’s pretty great.

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

How Money Is Made in the Age of Bush

posted by on April 25 at 9:54 AM

A ship contracted by the US Navy has fired warning shots in the direction of two small Iranian boats, according to US military officials.

The incident took place in the Gulf, in international waters dozens of miles from the Iranian coast, the US said.

The vessel - the Westward Venture - was working for the US Military Sealift Command under a 65-day charter, an official told the BBC.

The Iranaian boats withdrew soon after the warning shots were fired.

US officials say the Westward Venture used the correct measures prior to firing the shots: it sounded its horn, and gave the Iranian boats a verbal warning, before firing flares, 50-caliber machine guns and M-16s in the direction of the boats.

Shortly after the incident, a routine inquiry was made of the Westward Venture by Iranian authorities, according to US officials.

The Iranian government has denied that any of its vessels were involved in the incident.

Oil prices rose more than $3 to $119.50 a barrel in response to the incident, just short of the record $119.90 reached earlier this week.

Jem Is My Name

posted by on April 25 at 9:10 AM

Thanks, Slog tipper David. I needed that.

Currently Hanging

posted by on April 25 at 9:00 AM

Stacey Farrar’s All My Bad Ideas (2008), graphite on paper, 24 by 30 inches

At Vermillion Gallery. (Gallery web site here.)

Skateboarder Dies in U-District

posted by on April 25 at 9:00 AM


A skateboarder was hit by a bus late last night/early this morning in the U-District and killed. A reader who witnessed the scene took the picture above and writes…

At around 1:20am this morning, a UW student was struck and killed by a Metro bus while riding his skateboard through the intersection at 45th and University Way. A witness at the scene told me that the man, a white male in his 20’s, skated through a red light and was struck by the bus. He died at the scene.

UPDATE: As folks are pointing out in comments, the skateboarder hit the bus, not the other way around. Would’ve gotten this up sooner but I stepped away from my desk for a bit.

Another Slog reader that witnessed the aftermath writes something turgid… after the jump.

Continue reading "Skateboarder Dies in U-District" »

Life Imitates Art

posted by on April 25 at 8:45 AM

It’s almost like they thought they were on the show

A woman who suffered life-threatening stab wounds to her chest and neck Wednesday allegedly was attacked by another woman who had been upset that she was too loud while watching “America’s Next Top Model.” …. The alleged attacker, an acquaintance of the victim, told the other woman to stop talking loudly. A police spokesman did not specify how they knew each other.

When the “Top Model” fan refused, police say the other woman then opened the apartment door and told her to get out, according to a police report. Police said the argument then turned physical, with one woman having a clump of her hair pulled out.

The attacker then pulled a paring knife from a nearby apple and began stabbing the 42-year-old, according to a police report.

The Morning News

posted by on April 25 at 8:03 AM

No Fruit for You!: Some crop yields will be 30 percent lower than usual thanks to crazy weather.

If the Democrats Can’t Win This Year, They Never Will: Food crisis prompts run on rice at Wal-Mart and Costco.

Of Course He Opposes Equal Pay: John McCain says the gals just need “more training and education.”

Colossal Mistake: 63 percent of Americans think the US “made a mistake” sending troops to Iraq.

Big Surprise: Most US women have “disordered” eating habits.

Shocker of the Week: EPA scientists report political interference in scientific decisions.

Um, That’s Not the Direction We Want to be Headed: Carbon dioxide, methane levels rose sharply last year.

Crazier and Crazier: The latest twist in the Sonics lawsuit saga.

Dick Shrinkers: Police in Congo arrest suspected sorcerers for “stealing” penises or rendering them impotent.

Dirty Old Man: Bill O’Reilly shocked—shocked!—at bra-revealing Miley Cyrus pics.

Falling Down on the Job?: DSHS sued for failing to prevent parents’ starvation of child.

Finally, Congestion Relief?: Yeah, but it might mean near-universal tolls.

For Josh: Wiz dominate Cavs, 108-72.

I Waited Through the Writers’ Strike for This?

posted by on April 25 at 12:07 AM


Someone posted on Slog a coupl’a weeks ago about being a closet Lost fan, but I don’t see any reason to mask it, though that’s only because I made the mistake of getting my hopes up for the show’s return this evening. My thoughts on tonight’s episode are below in invisible text. Highlight it to read it. This is done to protect the four of you who TiVo’ed it or whatever—yer welcome.

The opening bullshit exchange between Jack and Kate didn’t seem like a crowning achievement for the WGA’s winter stalemate. Her response to a stomachache: “You should eat some crackers” ?? “I thought your gut was sick” ?? Boy. And the episode-ending showdown between Bad Guy A and Bad Guy B was some Young & Restless shit if I’ve ever seen it.

But Lost campiness is to be expected from time to time, lest you not notice tonight’s scene where Sawyer ran through a full 30 seconds of semi-automatic gunfire without a scratch. What I don’t expect from Lost are breakdowns in character. The thing that gets me through the show’s random plot twists are how the full personalities collide and survive together—that’s what made the show matter in the first place, not a glowing hatch or an ancient, beeping computer. But if tonight’s pace keeps up, I may be done before the season finale. (I assume the whole show’s going to end with aliens beaming down and raping the cast, anyway, so it’s not like I’m hanging around to find out the final secrets.) Sawyer goes 180 on his “I’m survivin’” selfishness, complete with a gun-drawn showdown to “protect” a fellow castaway, and calm/calculating Sayid decides at a low point in his life to take a supervillain’s word at face value. When a show has to bend its characters for the sake of the story, rather than the other way around, you’re begging for an 11 a.m. timeslot.

I figure the only reason I even posted about this is because the show is pretty much the only plot-driven thing I’ve kept up with on network television in a long time (thank goodness HBO’s stellar John Adams has filled the gap for worthwhile television in the meantime, by the way). And having bitched and moaned, of course I’ll still watch Lost next week like a sucker—because Lord knows there’s nothing to ignite the TV possibilities like Jack’s appendi-fuckin-citis.

Or maybe he’s just pregnant with Claire’s second baby?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Always Bet on Black

posted by on April 24 at 6:27 PM


OCALA, Fla. — A federal judge on Thursday sentenced the actor Wesley Snipes to three years in prison for willfully failing to file tax returns.

Mr. Snipes, who was convicted in February, received one year for each count, to be served consecutively, and an additional year of probation. The sentence was handed down by Judge William Terrell Hodges of Federal District Court.

Mr. Snipes, who apologized for his actions before the sentence was announced, showed no immediate reaction to the verdict.

Early reports indicate a strike force of washed-up 1980s action stars—made up of Dolph Lundgren, Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, and Carl Weathers—is already planning to bust Snipes out of the clink.

Today in Everything Ever

posted by on April 24 at 6:00 PM







Wait for it…


All Right. It’s Now Officially OK to Be Against Seating Michigan’s Delegates

posted by on April 24 at 5:42 PM

Barack Obama wasn’t on the ballot in Michigan; Hillary Clinton was. If you were a Michigan voter and you pulled the lever for “uncommitted,” it’s probably because you’d thought about it and decided you were definitely totally absolutely against Hillary Clinton. You might not have even known whom you were for, but you definitely knew whom you were against.

Now Michigan’s congressional district conventions have selected delegates to the national convention—and it sounds like half of those who successfully ran as “uncommitted” are actually planning to vote for Clinton. That is, if they’re seated at the convention.

Talk about an undemocratic process. DNC, DON’T SEAT MICHIGAN. Its delegates aren’t even pretending to honor the will of the voters.

Via TPM.

Cute Widdle Pit Bull Puppies

posted by on April 24 at 4:44 PM


A 43-year-old man in Florida was found dead with the right side of his face eaten off and his ears chewed away, according to a Pasco County sheriff’s representative.

Paramedics responding to a home on Tuner Loop in Spring Hill called deputies after finding Daniel Dangelis’ body in a room at the home.

There were three pit-bull puppies near Dangelis’ body licking their faces, reported WTSP-TV in Tampa.

It goes without saying, of course, that no other breed of dog would ever, ever do such a thing.

Things Are Tough All Over

posted by on April 24 at 4:38 PM

Originally posted yesterday. Moved it up because the fundraiser/cocktails thing for laid off Seattle Times employees is tonight. Look for me there—I’ll be on the patio doing bong hits with Mike Carter.

The Seattle Times is having to lay off a bunch of folks—a lot of newspapers out there are facing hard times. We’ve had our beefs with the Seattle Times, of course, just as they’ve had their beefs with us. The mutual beefery will no doubt continue. But no one at the Stranger is delighted to see so many writers and editors lose their jobs. That’s why I’m passing along this email from Seattle Times writer and blogger David Postman (with his blessing) about a fundraiser he’s hosting to help out newly laid-off Seattle Times employees…

We’re losing some great people, particularly among the young crowd. I’m trying to raise some money for the newspaper guild’s fund that helps laid off workers…. I figure it’s a worthy cause for both Times haters and supporters because it goes to the people who write the paper, and not the big names we all know. There are two former Times Olympia interns among the laid off workers, and a few people who put in 15 years each or so in the suburban bureaus. But because they are in a bureau and not downtown they have no seniority.

So we’re having a little fundraiser [tonight] night at Paddy Coyne’s near the Times. Any and all Stranger folks will be warmly welcomed.

The fundraiser is tonight from 6 to 9 PM at Paddy Coyne’s Pub (1190 Thomas Street, Seattle, WA 98109). It’s $20 at the door. Appetizers will provided.

Full text of the invite after the jump.

Continue reading "Things Are Tough All Over" »

Seattle Police Officers’ Guild Agrees On a Contract

posted by on April 24 at 4:25 PM

The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG) just sent out a press release announcing that their tentative approval of a new labor contract. The Guild and the City have been squabbling since December 2006 over a new contract, most recently over calls for reform of Seattle’s police accountability system.

SPOG’s new contract—which was unanimously approved by the board—offers Seattle Police a 25.6 percent pay increase over four years. Starting salaries will also increase an additional 8 percent, making SPD officers the highest paid cops in the state.

From the Mayor’s office:

Under the proposed contract, a 12-year officer’s current salary will
increase from $72,072 to $90,516. That officer will receive $6,807 in
retroactive pay, as of April 2008. Entry-level police officer pay would
increase by 35.9 percent compounded over the life of the contract, from
$47,340 to $64,312.

To attract new officers, the city will also begin paying a $5,000 hiring bonus, give new recruits $2,500 worth of new equipment and provide up to $14,000 in moving expenses for officers transferring to SPD.

The contract appears to be a victory for officers, as well as police accountability watchdogs as the Guild has agreed to accept all 29 recommendations put forth by Mayor Greg Nickels’ police accountability panel. The reccomendations will (hopefully) increase the transparency of Seattle’s police accountability system and expand the powers of the department’s internal investigation unit, the Office of Professional Accountability.

The contract appears to be a win-win for the city and the cops, so it seems like approval by the council and the rank and file shouldn’t be a problem. However, one officer just told me he’s “voting no on principle.”

I think he was joking.

Mike Carter and Paul Shukovsky: Seattle’s Drug-Addled News Reporters

posted by on April 24 at 4:14 PM

The announcement came from the DEA. Yesterday at 1 p.m., a press conference downtown would detail a string of pot raids and arrests around Seattle. So I, familiar with the unscrutinizing coverage the daily papers reserve for drug busts, wrote this post to challenge reporters in the mainstream media. Could they ask the sorts of questions about pot busts that they would ask about any other policy issue—why is the government doing this and is the strategy effective? Basically, cover the different sides of the issue.

The Times and the PI sent respectively Mike Carter and Paul Shukovsky. Two smart guys – and solid reporters on other subjects – and they wrote the same old rah-rah stories (almost identical articles) that glorify drug busts. They go like this: feds have announced arrests, they’re cracking down on drugs, about a dozen people were busted, those suspects are likely going to jail. Curtain.

Where’s the rest—like how much the raids cost, if the defendants (or organizations who speak for them) have anything to say about it, if armed raids were the best tactic, and if this will reduce availability of pot? I called Carter and Shukovsky to find out.

Carter: “I think we can let it go that Dan Savage thinks I’m a fucking credulous hack. In fact, we’re going to.” Hangs up.

Shukovsky: “If the Slog is going to award me the super hack of the day, I want a plaque or something. I’m not going to comment to you.”

First things first. Can we get Mr. Shukovsky a “super hack of the day” plaque?

Next, guys, it’s not that Dan thinks you’re fucking credulous hacks. It’s that everyone now knows you’re fucking credulous hacks—on the issue of pot. My polite phone call was your chance to explain that there’s some logic behind omitting the parts of a story that would be included in any piece of objective journalism about these busts—what the Times and PI purports to report—but you refused to talk.

It’s not like you have to take a position to legalize marijuana. Here’s an example of covering two sides of controversial enforcement stories, while remaining objective. For these examples we’ll use stories written by… you.

Carter on a pedophilia case.

[about the enforcement] Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Rogoff described one of the letters written by Weldon Marc Gilbert as a “template for the misguided, skewed thinking of a typical grooming child molester,” intended to deflect guilt and manipulate the boy into not cooperating with authorities….

[question the enforcement] The recovery of the first letter outraged Gilbert’s defense attorneys because it was reportedly found by a guard in a stack of legal documents. The defense has filed a motion seeking to dismiss the federal charges against Gilbert, alleging the government is guilty of “outrageous conduct” that deprived Gilbert of his constitutional right to legal counsel. That motion has been sealed by a federal judge.

Shukovsky on a whaling case:

Prosecutors charged the whalers with violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act, a misdemeanor that carries up to a year in jail. If found guilty of also violating tribal laws, they could face time in a reservation jail [about the enforcement]….

Johnson, 55, said he was thinking of the next generation of Makah whalers when he launched the hunt for the gray whale [questions about the enforcement]. “The five of us did this to protect the kids,” he said. “If nobody exercises their treaty right — we don’t have one.”

The Makahs signed the Treaty of Neah Bay in 1855, giving up vast tracts of forest lands laced with streams teeming with salmon. The only treaty recognizing a tribe’s right to hunt whales, it’s an acknowledgement that Makah culture and spirituality — not to mention traditional cuisine — are thoroughly infused with whales and whaling.

Good reporting on those issues, gentlemen. See, you didn’t have to advocate for any position to cover those stories fairly. And when it comes to pot, you don’t have to be the DEA’s tools.

On Clementina Street

posted by on April 24 at 3:18 PM

“Lawless [that is, insane] landlords” in San Francisco terrorize tenants to get them out. (Good thing Seattle doesn’t have rent control.)

Won’t Someone Think of the Trees???????

posted by on April 24 at 3:08 PM


Air in Philosophy

posted by on April 24 at 2:59 PM

What is evident is this: Philosophy prepares the way for things to come. Philosophy sometimes calls this preparation a clearing. A clearing made for a temple is one way of reading the historical relationship between Greek thought in the classical period and early Christianity (or Christianities). In this clearing the soul makes its appearance. The soul as it is understood in the West, and elaborated by Christianity, was invented (or established) by Plato’s Socrates. We must understand that before Socrates and his period the soul is another type of substance. The soul, in fact, is not even a soul. It has something to do with the air. Before the arrival of the personal soul, air is a god that humans live on. And when a human dies, he/she expires—stops breathing god. This type of soul has no personality and is called the psyche (not to be confused with our current use of that word), a simple substance that leaves the body through the open mouth. Air returns to air; god returns to god. It is Socrates who transforms the psyche into a soul, an individual, a thing that must be conditioned and morally improved. With Socrates, the soul becomes immortal. In The Republic, the soul journeys to the world of souls. Here it can be punished or rewarded. Here the virtuous and the “masters of wickedness” are sorted out. This is the soul that Christianity adopts and refines. Philosophy prepared this soul, but it also began dismantling it in the 15th century when it initiated a clearing for science. By the 16th century, Spinoza’s immanent God extinguished the Christian soul and prepared a place for the hard appearance of science. We are still at this stage of things. Philosophy has yet to make a clearing for what is next to come.

Memo to Joni Balter: Calm Down.

posted by on April 24 at 2:47 PM

Today’s column from the Seattle Times’ Chicken Little editorialist Joni Balter has it all. The phrase “nanny state”? Check. Overwrought references to “social engineering”? Check. Mockery of organic food and gardening as “enviro-dogma”? You betcha.

Take it away, Joni:

[Seattle City Council president Richard ] Conlin’s latest proposal is a wide-ranging resolution that aims to strengthen “Seattle’s food system sustainability and security.” The measure promotes healthy eating, militant vegetable growing, greenhouse-gas-reduction opportunities related to food. It aims to address obesity and food waste and improve everyday access to farmers markets.

If that sounds like a nanny state in a bib overall, it’s much more. It’s 12 pages of enviro-dogma that might, finally, take the green-city bit overboard … into the compost bin.

Shorter Balter: If we stop eating fast food and buying all our groceries exclusively at Wal-Mart, the terrorists have won!!! (I’ll leave it to readers to figure out what the hell “militant vegetable growing” means.)

Since becoming council president a few months ago, he has become Conlin Unplugged, pushing Seattle to the forefront of sustainable living. Sometimes it seems he is trying to out-Berkeley Berkeley.

The proud architect of the city’s pygmy-goat policy — he pushed to permit miniature goats as licensed pets — seems more focused on Green Acres than Green Lake.

Conlin is a social engineer who clearly sees himself as the overseer, left unchecked, of Seattle as one giant kibbutz. Pesticide-free, of course.

Well, for God’s sake, Joni, spray some pesticide on me STAT!

Keep in mind that the proposal that’s got Balter all hot and bothered is, in her own words, a “measure [that] promotes healthy eating… vegetable growing, [and] greenhouse-gas-reduction opportunities related to food. It aims to address obesity and food waste and improve everyday access to farmers markets.” A kibbutz, in contrast, is this. See the difference?

But boy, is Balter good at framing:

Conlin has pushed a plan to recycle kitchen waste, whether customers want to or not. Starting next year, many Seattleites will be issued another container for garbage, to pull food waste out of the waste stream.

Let’s try phrasing that another way: Conlin has pushed a plan giving customers the option of recycling kitchen waste, instead of just throwing it out. Starting next year, Seattleites who want to recycle food waste can get another container to pull food waste out of the waste stream.

But Balter isn’t done yet. She hasn’t mentioned the poor! Oh, here they are:

About a year ago, San Francisco outlawed plastic bags at large grocery stores. Conlin and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels go further. Conlin is a proponent of the plan to charge 20 cents per paper and plastic bag in grocery, drug and convenience stores to reduce landfill space and cut greenhouse-gas emissions.

One gets the impression no price tag is too high if Conlin and his pals can feel they are saving the Earth with every breath they take and every move they make.

Middle- and lower-income residents have limits. Most will follow along, grab a canvas bag and do the right thing. But where does it end? Bit by bit, baby step by baby step, we are pricing the middle class out of the city — sometimes in an effort to turn our city into one giant commune.

Um, Joni? A tax on plastic bags does not “go much further” than banning them outright. The reason: Unlike a ban, charging a nominal fee gives consumers a choice. If you want to bring your own bag, it’s free. Or, if you prefer to use a disposable bag, you pay 20 cents. Nobody’s putting a gun to your head, nor is anyone taking any options away.

Also: “No price tag is too high”? How disingenuous can you be? It’s a 20-CENT FUCKING FEE that is COMPLETELY OPTIONAL. Conlin isn’t forcing anything on anyone (and for the record, the fee has strong support from the rest of the city council)—and even if he somehow could force the plastic-bag fee down an unwilling city’s collective throat, it’s still 20 FUCKING CENTS. If a middle-class person uses so many optional plastic bags that they can no longer afford to live in Seattle, that’s their own stupid fault.

But not to fear—Joni’s a reasonable anti-environmentalist. Hey, she even shops at the PCC from time to time!

I am all for farmers markets and food grown close to home. I sometimes shop at the Puget Consumers Co-op in my neighborhood, which procures some vegetables a few miles from where my mother-in-law lives in Sequim. I favor reasonable behavior changes — steps like conserving water and energy to be green and help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

But, damn it, she’s tired of these enviro-commies marching us all off to their eco-rehabilitation camps!

But give me — no, give our residents — a break. This is not a commune. This is a big urban city.

Hey, you know what’s great about “big urban cities”? They’re the kind of places where environmental policies—recycling, bans on environmentally harmful (and unnecessary) things like plastic bags, city-run composting programs, policies that promote local food—first take hold. If it weren’t for environmental efforts that initially took hold in big, urban cities, we’d all still be driving massive gas guzzlers, throwing our newspapers in the trash, and eating pesticide-drenched produce and antibiotic-injected meat. So I’m all for big urban cities setting an example for everybody else. In a sense, it’s our job.

I understand that right-wing editorialists like Balter trade in “they’re trying to take away our FREEEEEEDOMS !” outrage. But using a bully pulpit like the editorial page of the Seattle Times to argue against even the mildest environmental improvements (read the resolution if you don’t believe me, but it calls for things like “strengthen city support for the local food economy” and “identify additional locations and infrastructure for community gardens) isn’t just disingenuous. It’s irresponsible.

Afternoon Outrage Opportunity

posted by on April 24 at 2:35 PM

Barack Obama will break his boycott of Fox News on Sunday.

And, via Ben Smith, Newsday explains why it’s so hard to believe that Hillary Clinton had no idea her husband was pardoning Weathermen.

“Corn Smut” and Other Delights

posted by on April 24 at 2:12 PM


This week’s paper brings Food Fight: Morning Glory, devoted to breakfast, brunch, and everything in between. One of the many delights is Angela Garbes’ tour of Seattle’s Mexi-breakfast options, which introduced me to the existence of huitlacoche, aka “corn smut” (pictured above), descibed by Garbes as “a fungus that infects corncobs and replaces normal kernels with tumors that resemble mushrooms. These ‘mushrooms’ [are] musky, sweet, dark, and firm.”

Elsewhere you’ll find the venerable Bethany Jean Clement on Seattle’s new wave of schmancy brunch, the sensible Chris McCann on the city’s greatest greasy spoons, and the worship-worthy Lindy West cramming herself full of bacon. (Plus Jonah Spangenthal-Lee on dim sum, Marti Jonjak on Bloody Marys, and Ari Spool on Seattle’s best breakfast sandwiches.)

Explore the whole thing here, and add your own opinions about Seattle’s bruncheries in our reader review-powered Restaurant Guide.

Dept. of Cute

posted by on April 24 at 2:08 PM

Forgive me, but: ARMLOAD OF BABY LIONS.

Deaf Can Dance!

posted by on April 24 at 1:59 PM

Dancing with the Stars. Has there ever been anything more horrible, more misguided, more completely soul-crushingly, skin-crawlingly painful to behold? Don’t be ridiculous. Even I’m not gay enough to appreciate that crap—-watching C and D-listers prance and twirl like coked up ponies in glittery hooker costumes…ugh. It’s like Lawrence Welk with a mental disorder.

Tragically for everyone, I accidentally caught about twenty seconds of it by TOTAL chance earlier this week, and this is what I saw:

Yes, that’s Marlee Matlin shaking her little tail feathers up there, and yes, it is the same “profoundly deaf” Marlee Matlin from Children of a Lesser God and What the Bleep Do We Know (ugh) and The ‘L’ Word, et al. Indeed.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that making a deaf woman mambo is a small lateral step from putting a blind man on a greased-up pole and watching him crash to the ground. Live. On national TV. And you are oh so very right. It’s like a piano recital for children with no fingers. Like a butt-kicking contest for people with no butts. But…just look at that deaf chick go!

Now I really have nothing to compare Marlee’s mambo to, for, as I think I said, I’d rather eat a candied turd taco than sit through this garbage. I’ve never watched an episode before. But from my unschooled point of view, that woman danced like no deaf woman should be allowed. It was amazing, really. It was pretty much spot-on. (And, let’s face it, it was a damn sight more tolerable to watch than What the Bleep do We Know). It was certainly better than I could have done, and I’m blessed with a wicked sense of rhythm and two functioning ears. I simply couldn’t help but swoon a bit.

But, um, she was voted off. First week. Bam. Just like that.

A tragedy.

Oh, and it was sickening to watch. Everyone hugged her, and simpered, and gave nauseating speeches about how “inspiring” she was, and I couldn’t help thinking of a phrase David Schmader coined many years ago, “clapping extra loud for the retarded kid.” It seems just so wrong that she was so precipitously kicked off. Cruel, even. The bastards.

Poor, poor Marlee. She’s no retarded kid. She’s the Big Deaf Queen of the Mambo.

Dancing with the Stars. What a bunch of crap.

M is for Free

posted by on April 24 at 1:56 PM


New York magazine’s Vulture Blog has an excerpt of comic book artist Jon J Muth’s adaptation of the Fritz Lang movie, M. I’ve read the whole book, and it’s pretty great. I’m generally against adaptations of movies, and Muth’s art almost always seems to feel stuck in the 1980’s to me like a Nagel print, but the book works in a really unexpected way. You should hop on over and see if it works for you, too.

I’m Buying a Boat…

posted by on April 24 at 1:48 PM

…and calling it the M.F. Truth.


Ford? Profitable!

posted by on April 24 at 1:45 PM


Ford Motor Co. once again surprised Wall Street, posting an unexpected profit and its sixth consecutive quarter of year-over-year improvement despite serious problems in the U.S. automobile market…

Ford reported net income of $100 million, or 5 cents per share, for the first three months of 2008. This compares with a net loss of $282 million, or 15 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2007.

Excluding special items, Ford made $525 million after taxes, or 20 cents per share. That was significantly better than the 16-cents-per-share loss Wall Street was expecting, according to a survey of 13 analysts by the Thomson Financial Network.

My family’s history in the United States is deeply intertwined with the rise and fall of middle-class manufacturing in the midwest. My great-grandfather assembled Model Ts at the original Rouge River plant, the original moving assembly line, the birthplace of the manufactured world. He took part in the battle of the overpass, fighting to create the first unions of manufacturing employees, to create a blue collar middle class for the first time in human history. My grandfather spent part of his life on the Packard assembly lines; my father paid his way though school assembling Thunderbirds at the (now shuttered) Ford Wixom assembly plant. Even I—far away from the rest of my family who are still clustered around Detroit—haven’t entirely escaped; as a UW graduate student, I dutifully pay dues to the UAW. That’s four generations of us with the United Auto Workers. (When I told my dad I was to be a union brother, he exclaimed “can’t one of us stop paying these assholes dues?”)

Until about the mid-fifties and the start of the long decline, the Detroit economy was the envy of the world—the real start of post-war American-style affluence. It’s fashionable now to think of a well compensated working class—of a society where a line worker and an office worker could be next door neighbors, sharing the same lifestyle—as an archaic joke. We should remember that Detroit was the post-war model for countries to rebuild around, with unified blue and white collar workers intertwined into a productive partnership. European and Asian nations alike made it government policy to duplicate the home of the arsenal of freedom, through protectionism, currency manipulations and direct subsidies to industry.

Hence the decline of Detroit. Saddled with poorly negotiated—in some cases intentionally to boost the economies of strategic allies—trade deals, an utterly insane health care system, foreign government subsidized competitors and blatant currency manipulations all leading to gross overcapacity in global manufacturing, Detroit only had one way to go. Terrible business decisions certainly sped this process, but such a decline was inevitable thanks to global policy decisions.

With abundant iron ore, fresh water, water- and land-based transportation networks and an incredibly skilled workforce for starters, one of the world’s centers of manufacturing should be Detroit. Keep that in mind the next time you wish to condescend to a (likely former) Midwestern lineworker—assuming they’re just too dim witted and parochial to understand the glories of international trade.

So good for Ford—even if they plan to lay off yet more US plant workers.

Outer Critics Circle in Outer Fucking Space

posted by on April 24 at 1:16 PM

From Playbill:

Nominees for the 58th annual Outer Critics Circle Awards were announced April 21 at the Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan. The new Mel Brooks musical Young Frankenstein earned 10 nominations, the most of any show of the season.

Which is insane. Because Young Frankenstein, by any measure, sucked. It was rotten when it premiered here and stayed rotten when it went east.

Good News, Bad News

posted by on April 24 at 1:14 PM

First, a little good news—maybe—from Britain

Woman jailed for gay couple abuse

A mother has been jailed and her daughter given a community order after being found guilty of harassing a gay couple in Kent. Karen Reeves, 44, was sentenced to 150 days in prison and Christie Myles, 22, was given a 24-month supervision order…. They called the men names and Reeves drove her car at one of them.

I say “maybe” because I don’t think people should be locked up for calling other people names. Ahem. But if this all rose to the level of malicious harassment, and it sounds like it did (particular being threatened with a car), then I say lock the crazy lady up.

Now, the bad news—and it’s very, very bad news for any effeminate little boy unlucky enough to be growing up in Bahrain. The Persian Gulf Kingdom is cracking down on homosexuality—sigh—and persecuting grownup homos apparently isn’t good enough. So…

The committee is also demanding that the Education Ministry carefully monitor students and punishes those veering towards homosexuality. MPs urged the ministry to raise awareness amongst students, possibly through lectures given by visiting health specialists, psychiatrists, or sociologists.

When I was growing up gay kids—the ones that couldn’t pass—were punished for “veering towards homosexuality” by being picked last for sports teams, called names, and bashed. I expect that Bahrain’s Education Ministry has something much, much worse in mind for any unfortunate gay kid in Bahrain who can’t pass for straight.

A Visual

posted by on April 24 at 1:12 PM

This is the latter-day Bird in Space I was telling you about yesterday, the one that just came into Seattle Art Museum’s collection.

Photo by Rafael Goldchain

And here’s the original “that’s-not-a-bird-in-space!” Bird in Space.



posted by on April 24 at 1:00 PM

I just saw the new installation of the Frye’s permanent collection by San Antonio-based artist Dario Robleto (working closely with smart-as-hell Frye curator Robin Held), and it blew me away. It blends paintings from the museum’s collection, which look more alive than ever, with new pieces by Robleto made in response to the collection. It is intense.

I have to go and write about something else right now (remember the print edition of the paper?), but more to come on this, including an upcoming podcast with Robleto. The show opens Saturday.


Clinton On Track to Raise $10 Million in 24 Hours

posted by on April 24 at 12:56 PM

But, you know, it’s not like any of those 60,000 people—50,000 of them new donors—are really Democrats.

I mean, clearly, she’s already destroyed the party.

Dear Seattlest, Are You Fucking Kidding Me?

posted by on April 24 at 12:46 PM

Dan on Seattlest threw up a post yesterday, giving a big sloppy blowjob to the Rancho Bravo taco truck—AKA Rancho Barfo—on 2nd and 45th in Wallingford.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the truck’s health code issues on Slog, which sparked a debate about the quality of their food and why I hate independent businesses so much.

Well, dear readers, I can tell you that their food is—despite Dan’s claims—not very good. And it certainly doesn’t deserve praise like this:

Wallingford, by the way, is in no way deserving of this taco truck. If the neighborhood was that blond preppy jerk from the 80’s with the popped collar, daddy’s connections and mad tennis/golf/karate skills, then Rancho Bravo would be its Elizabeth Shue. It just doesn’t fit. Someday some geeky neighborhood with a big heart is going to come along with its cast of dedicated misfit friends and steal it away. Until then it’s in the Winchell’s parking lot near Dicks.

In the interests of fairness—although this is Slog, and we’re not necessarily known for that—after I wrote about Rancho Bravo, the owner emailed me. Here’s the letter with a bit of editing for length/clarity.

Hey Jonah, I’m the owner of Rancho Bravo Tacos. It’s a bit late but I just read the piece you posted on March 31st. I tried to post a comment on the page you posted but it looks like comments are closed now. I just wanted to let you know that I agree that our quality had been declining. This mostly stemmed from not utilizing our limited space efficiently, this was causing a lot of storage problems which included blocking access to the hand sink, although there has always been access to the main three compartment sink. This was also the main issue with the health department. It was a great wake-up call and we have revamped EVERYTHING inside and out. You can definitely taste the difference now that we’ve got everything in order.


Freddy, I’m sure you’ve done your best to improve the health conditions at your place, but I can’t imagine fixing your sink has done much to improve the quality of the food.

The Al Pastor that Seattlest raves about has, on several occasions, been dry and overcooked or strangely mealy. The last burrito I ordered had cold things inside which should have been hot, and hot things that should have been cold. I don’t think I’ll be back.

I don’t mean to pick on Rancho Bravo, and I know it isn’t the only truck in town with issues—there’s at least one truck I can think of that’s been displaying an expired food license for about 6 months now—but c’mon. If you venture outside of Wallingford, there are like 8 zillion better taco trucks out there.


By some strange coincidence, the Seattlest post preceding the Rancho Bravo write-up sings the praises of Cafe Stellina. I’ve never been there, but I know some folks at our paper had less than favorable things to say about it.


Yes, commenters. I am a stupid fucker, and I don’t know what good food tastes like. Carry on.

Dino Rossi Lies to Dave Ross on the Air.

posted by on April 24 at 12:35 PM

Last week, when Dino Rossi released his transportation plan, I wrote this:

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?

Evidently, KIRO talk jock Dave Ross didn’t understand Rossi’s math either.

Rossi went on Ross’s show this past Monday, and Ross asked him point blank: “Basically what you have said is … that your method of building the 8-lane bridge is cheaper than their method of building the six-lane bridge. Is that what you’re telling me? … Is there a simple way you can make people understand why the cost estimates you released for an 8-lane bridge appear to be less than the cost estimates for the 6-lane?”

Rossi went through a series of somersaults before eventually saying he never estimated the cost of an 8-lane bridge.

Ross: You do not know what the 8-lane bridge would cost?

Rossi: No. We don’t have those numbers.

Ross let him off off the hook by saying, “Well, that’s clearer…”

But it’s also not true. Rossi did give a cost estimate for an 8-lane bridge. It’s on page 6 of his transportation plan:


Indeed, his plan estimates that an 8-lane bridge will cost $3.3 billion. This is less than Gregoire’s six-line option, which is between $4.4 and $5.3 billion.


I’ve left a message with Rossi’s campaign spokeswoman Jill Strait to get an explanation.

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on April 24 at 12:30 PM

Three Short Items About Skateboarding

posted by on April 24 at 12:27 PM

1) There are two Seask8 skatepark design meetings coming up next month:

Thursday, May 8, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Shaw Room in the Northwest Rooms, Seattle Center, Seattle, WA

Thursday, June 5, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Shaw Room in the Northwest Rooms, Seattle Center, Seattle, WA

So add those to your calendars. There’s also a lively discussion on the designer’s message board
about the features skaters are looking for. Get in there if you’ve got any ideas.

2) The Woodland Park Skatepark is almost finished and the city will hold a grand opening for the park in mid-May. A final date hasn’t been set yet, but it’s likely to be the 14th or the 21.

3) Kids, “skitching” is a bad idea.

In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on April 24 at 12:22 PM

In Stores This Week: The new Flight of the Conchords record on Sub Pop.

No Depression News: The magazine will publish their last issue next month, but announce the birth of their semiannual bookzine.

Flute Salad?: All is explained here.

America is Fucked Up: Or maybe being a mainstream rock writer is what’s the problem?

Still Going…: Eric Grandy goes on about the greatness of Hot Chip.

Even Better Than the Imaginary Dance Off Between Britney and Justin!: The robotic dancing competition from 1983.

Hot Chip in Portland: Sounds a lot like Hot Chip in Seattle.

Belgium, Obviously: We’ve already seen the winner, but Griet Verlinde keeps on with the with the (p)reviewing of Eurovision.

What Do Miranda July, Charles Mudede, Chris Weeg, Stephen Elliot, Grant Cogswell, Sherman Alexie, Brendan Kiley, Laura Albert/JT Leroy (and a bunch of other great writers) All Have in Common?: They’ve all made out to Portishead.

Loopy: Talking the ins and outs of the looper with Dan Paulus.

Tonight in Music: Simian Mobile Disco, Brotherhood of the Drum, Club Pop with BARR.

A Man and His Dress: A conversation about the Beautiful Clarks.

Ode to the Hairbraider: The new R. Kelly video.

Also, Weezer’s publicist confirms this new art works is “not a joke.”


No, You Can’t Grab My Tits

posted by on April 24 at 12:15 PM

A lot has been written about the “Open-Source Boob Project”—wherein female participants at a software/sci-fi convention were invited to wear either a green button (signifying “hey, mouth-breathing sci-fi nerd who has never been within 40 feet of a real woman—feel free to grab my tits”) or a red one (signifying “sorry, boys, I have autonomy over my body and am not going to give it up by letting random dudes grope me”)—so instead of responding myself, here’s a brief roundup of blog posts about it.

From Feministing:

So apparently at a software convention called ConFusion, a bunch of guys were standing around and talking about how awesome the world would be if they could just reach out and grab any woman’s boobs. And a woman near them piped up that they could touch her breasts, and they all proceeded to grope her. Then, according to a post by some dude who calls himself the Ferrett, pictured above [and here], they asked other women:
It was exciting, of course. I won’t deny it was sexual. But it was a miraculous sexuality that didn’t feel dirty, but clean.

Emboldened, we started asking other people. And lo, in the rarified atmosphere of the con, few were offended and many agreed. And they also felt that strange charge. We went around the con, asking those who we thought might be amenable - you didn’t just ask anyone, but rather the ones who’d dressed to impress - and generally, people responded. They understood how this worked instinctively, and it worked.

Did you catch that? “The ones who’d dressed to impress”? Almost as if they were “asking for it”? That because they were wearing a tight shirt, their breasts were practically public property, anyway?

By the end of the evening, women were coming up to us. “My breasts,” they asked shyly, having heard about the project. “Are they… are they good enough to be touched?” And lo, we showed them how beautiful their bodies were without turning it into something tawdry.”

Because what could be more intoxicating than the approval of a room full of tech dudes?

We talked about this. It was an Open-Source Project, making breasts available to select folks. (Like any good project, you need access control, because there are loutish men and women who just Don’t Get It.) And we wanted a signal to let people know that they were okay with being asked politely, so we turned it into a project: The Open-Source Boob Project.

For those of you not technologically inclined, “open-source” software means the code is available for anyone to use. All-access. Everyone has a right to it. Just like women’s bodies! (Get it? They’re so clever!)

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there…

Apparently Ferrett and friends were so blown away by their ability to demand access to women’s bodies that they decided to make buttons to distribute at an upcoming software and science fiction convention:

At Penguicon, we had buttons to give away. There were two small buttons, one for each camp: A green button that said, “YES, you may” and a red button that said “NO, you may not.” And anyone who had those buttons on, whether you knew them or not, was someone you could approach and ask: “Excuse me, but may I touch your breasts?”

And if you weren’t a total lout - the women retained their right to say no, of course - they would push their chests out, and you would be allowed into the sanctity of it. That exchange of happiness where one person are told with gropes and touches that they are desirable and the other is someone who’s allowed to desire.

Understandably, this puke-worthy “project” was instantly denounced by many, many others in the open-source software and science fiction community. The Ferrett issued a sputtering “clarification” that was just as bad as the original post. (It included the defense that because women were among the gropers, it couldn’t be that sexist, right? Nevermind the fact that only women were the gropees.)

From Jezebel:

When people first started imploring us to weigh in on the Open Source Boob Project we had this scary image of a website featuring a picture of a pair of fake tits that registered computer programmers could modify and reshape and manipulate with nanotechnology or whatever else until the resultant pair of tits reflected the internet’s consensus of the ideal pair of boobs. (The consensus would, of course, change and grow over time, reflecting an anthropological study in the ever-changing depiction of breasts in the media, anime and videogames; that’s how the project would get academic funding.) Anyway: why did I give the geeks so much credit? The Open Source Boob Project was actually just a consensual gropeathon that went down at PenguiCon, which is, naturally, a science fiction convention, though its genesis happened at ConFusion, another science fiction convention, when one geek, probably inspired by a booth babe, said to another geek:
I wish this was the kind of world where say, ‘Wow, I’d like to touch your breasts,’ and people would understand that it’s not a way of reducing you to a set of nipples and ignoring the rest of you, but rather a way of saying that I may not yet know your mind, but your body is beautiful.

At which point — another “friend” spoke up. (Who is this friend? And will the blogosphere hear from her? One can only hope.

We were standing in the hallway of ConFusion, about nine of us, and we all nodded. Then another friend spoke up.

“You can touch my boobs,” she said to all of us in the hallway. “It’s no big deal.”

Now, you have to understand the way she said that, because it’s the key to the whole project. The spirit of everything was formed within those nine words - and if she’d said them shyly, as though having her breasts touched by people was something to be endured or afraid of, the Open-Source Boob Project would have died aborning. But she didn’t. Her words were loud and clearly audible to anyone who walked by, an offer made to friends and acquaintances alike. […]

We all reached out in the hallway, hands and fingers extended, to get a handful. And lo, we touched her breasts - taking turns to put our hands on the creamy tops exposed through the sheer top she wore, cupping our palms to touch the clothed swell underneath, exploring thoroughly but briefly lest we cross the line from ‘touching” to “unwanted heavy petting.” They were awesome breasts, worthy of being touched.

At which point the whole crew decided that an awesome tradition had been born, and next time, they would just print up buttons saying “Yes, you may!” or alternately “No, you may not.”

From Misia, on LiveJournal

Like other Open Source projects, the Open Source Swift Kick to the Balls Project (OSSKBP) relies on a wide pool of volunteers working together for the common good.

The Project has very simple parameters and it basically works like this:

Men who are open to being given a swift kick in the balls need do nothing. Women will simply assume that any man not clearly indicating his position vis-a-vis being kicked in the balls with an approved OSSKBP badge or pin is open to being kicked in the balls, as any progressive, free-thinking, feminist man ought to be, by any woman who wishes to do so.

However, we also recognize and affirm that not all men will be so willing to serve. Therefore the OSSKBP provides two other options.

1. Men who would like to be asked for permission before a woman administers one or more swift kicks to their balls shall wear the offical OSSKBP “Ask First Pin” at all times. This is a black lapel pin with a lavender question mark on it.

Because of the serious and comprehensive respect with which women’s desires vis-a-vis having their bodies touched by others are uniformly greeted in our culture, women will sometimes abide by any given Ask First Pin wearer’s stated preference about getting a kick in the balls at the time that he is asked. At other times, however, women may make their own decisions as to whether or not to give him a quick kick in the nuts regardless of the male’s expressed preference. Fair’s fair.

2. Men who do not wish to be kicked in the balls at all must wear a large visible official “No Kicks, Thanks” badge at all times, including when swimming, showering, and sleeping. They may also wish to avoid areas where large numbers of women are present, particularly at night. Some men may also wish to invest in assertiveness training, sympathetic female bodyguards, body armor, or sessions with a personal self-defense trainer to increase their ability to resist undesired kicks. As these methods have long been considered completely adequate for women who wish to avoid sexual predation we feel that they are all that is necessary here.

From Machineplay (via Hoyden About Town):

I’m tired of the assertion that this is opt-in, because it’s NOT. Not fundamentally. Everyone is participating because everyone there has a body. I can’t opt out of my boobs. I can’t opt out of people making a value judgment about me when they see I’m not wearing a button, even if I never knew about it when I got there. Having your breasts touched is optional — WHAT A NOVEL IDEA. Being ranked as ‘unwilling to play along’ is not optional. I wear a red button every day, basically, and not only am I not PROUD of it, I’m really fucking tired of having to put it on and living in a world full of the colour-blind. […]

Why would you even need to make a button for “Don’t ask me if you can grab my breasts.”? It shows a silent acknowledgment that the default is not the woman having the right not to be addressed as simply a bearer of a pair of tits. If you want to go around wearing a button that says, “Ask me if you can grab my breasts!” that’s one thing. But to even dream up a RED LETTER for ‘non-participating’ women is completely ludicrous.

From coffeeandink:

Women spend THEIR ENTIRE LIVES IN SEXUALIZED SPACES. All of us. Ugly, pretty, fat, thin. Women are by default assumed to be sexual objects for the enjoyment of the men we encounter, and our pleasure has nothing to do with it. All spaces. Streets, houses, bedrooms. Either we are pretty/dressed provocatively/flirt, in which case we’re asking for it, or we are plain/dressed in concealing clothes/don’t flirt, in which case we’re repressed prudes unable to enjoy sex because of damaged psyches.

What you’re suggesting, repeatedly, is taking a public space whose boundaries are often and already transgressed to sexualize us when we want to be whole persons including but not limited to bodies and saying that these already-permeable boundaries are too solid. What you’re suggesting is that instead of the default being “No, you may not touch my body”, you want to turn cons — large public spaces — into spaces where women have to repeatedly and loudly say no in order to be heard. And you keep insisting on equating “No, you may not touch me” and “No, you may not act like my body exists for the sole purpose of your enjoyment or edification” with “You are bad and wrong for having sexual desires.” You’re not bad and wrong for having sexual desires. You’re bad and wrong for arguing that your sexual desires are the most important criteria under consideration.

And from Punkassblog:

Obviously, the solution to our sexually repressed, sexually confused culture where women are objectified and reduced to a collection of body parts is to instigate a con-wide gropefest. Being geeks, the guys in charge of this project decided that the gropefest needed to be perfected and streamlined, so by Penguicon, they had two sets of buttons that could be issued to women, advertising the availability status of their ta-tas.

I can only assume from reading the post that an empowered, post-patriarchal utopia ensued.

Oh, it didn’t? I wonder why. Springheel_jack has an excellent smackdown:

The ferrett wonders why a man’s asking, out of the blue, if he can feel up a woman’s boobs shouldn’t be understood as “a way of saying that I may not yet know your mind, but your body is beautiful.” But this is simply to ask why he shouldn’t be able to continue to treat women as they have always been treated. Body first, sexual delectation to men first, as object first, “mind” - i.e. as a human subject - very firmly second. It’s simply to intensify the condition of patriarchal gender relations that already existed - or, to put it more simply, it’s a frustrated man’s fantasy of putting women back in their place.

And here we have the usual libertarian solution to everything - in the name of a false individuality, itself the product of an illegitimate reification and universalization of the social conditions of propertied white men - we have a retreat into the worst of the dark days of gender relations before feminism, offered as a so-called “advance” into a “more honest” and “freer” world. This is pernicious masculine ideology at its most pure and most insufferable. In the name of “empowering” women, we have…more of the same poison that women have been trying to free themselves of for all this time.

Look, I have a nice set of boobs. Really nice, according to some. Ever since I got them, I’ve been fending off assholes who think they have the right to grab them, whether I want it or not. I don’t need a button to advertise whether my boobs are touchable or not—if they are, gentlemen, you’ll know about it.

Pots & Kettles: An Email Exchange

posted by on April 24 at 12:05 PM

On Apr 24, 2008, at 10:30 AM, Dan Savage wrote:

so, mike… ever smoked pot?

On Apr 24, 2008, at 10:47 AM, Mike Carter wrote:

I think we should keep SOME mystery in our relationship, don’t you


On On Apr 24, 2008, at 10:49 AM, Dan Savage wrote:

…a non-denial denial?

On Apr 24, 2008, at 10:51 AM, Mike Carter wrote:

That’s the mystery, isn’t it?

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on April 24 at 11:56 AM


by Timwillis

Speaking of Dying Hotels

posted by on April 24 at 11:36 AM

I stayed at an almost-deserted Egyptian hotel at Abu Simbel on Lake Nasser last week that seemed to be forever hungover from some heyday 20 years gone. The dilapidated nightclub bore a giant “welcome to 2006” painted on the rusting roof. The rooms were mosquito infested and mouse turds hid under the bed.
Nefertari Hotel pool, then:
and now:
More on my trip to Egypt when I recover from the nasty bugs that hitched a ride home in my guts.

David O. Russell Is Cuckoo

posted by on April 24 at 11:25 AM

James Caan has quit the new David O. Russell movie, Nailed, over a dustup with the director. He couldn’t even make it through the first day of a two-day shoot with the famously volatile Russell.

This isn’t the first time Russell has had a hard time dealing with actors. There is the notorious video of him fighting on the set of I Heart Huckabees with Lily Tomlin, where he has a complete freak-out and calls her a cunt and a bitch. Lily Tomlin! Seriously!?

In a recent New Yorker profile of George Clooney, the actor discusses working with Russell:

Clooney’s memories of “Three Kings” include Russell shouting, “Why don’t you worry about your fucked-up acting!” Although Russell has been quoted calling Clooney “a super-political, extremely manipulative guy,” his comment today is: “I feel lucky we got to make a really good film together.”

After the way he acted toward Lily, I’m off his movies for good.


The Dead Hotels

posted by on April 24 at 11:08 AM

BLDGBLOG has a lovely, lovely post on photographs of five-star hotels abandoned on “Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.”
2424046564_98b11c8a9a_o.jpg A sample from the end of the post:

The hotels now look more like “architectonic sculptures” in the desert, the photographers claim, or derelict abstractions, as if some aging and half-crazed billionaire had constructed an eccentric sculpture park for himself amongst the dunes.

…The billionaire goes for long walks at night alone amongst the ruins, sweeping dust from recent sandstorms off windowsills and open doorways.
At night, when the stars come out, different constellations are framed by unglazed windows, as if justifying these concrete forms from above with the poetic force of celestial geometry.

The writing owes everything to Borges, and my post owes everything to Andrew Sullivan.

Taxpayer Field

posted by on April 24 at 11:07 AM

That’s what we should call it.


Hillary Clinton’s Hypothetical Road to Victory

posted by on April 24 at 11:05 AM

Jon Stewart: “So what it comes down to is, you would win the nomination if Democrats were Republicans. That sounds like one tremendous if-you to the process.”

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 24 at 11:00 AM


‘The Challenge Nature Provides’ at Lawrimore Project

In the last year, Susan Robb has filled a park with a solar-powered field of enormous, black, rippling worms made of garbage bags (Toobs) and devised a plan to provide Alaskan polar bears with a raft made of oil barrels (which won’t melt as the globe warms). Now, the first Stranger Genius Award winner in visual art has a gallery show of new photography and installations—including a campfire powered by the shit of her dealer, Scott Lawrimore. (Lawrimore Project, 831 Airport Way S, 501-1231. 10 am­–5:30 pm, free.)


I Love Poetry! (That Looks Infected…)

posted by on April 24 at 11:00 AM

I know there are a lot of posts with big photos today, but while I was doing, um, research for my earlier post (which consisted of the tedious work of typing Edna St. Vincent Millay into Google’s image search) I happened upon this picture of a tattoo, and I had to share. It has a Millay poem incorporated into it.


(The poem reads “Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave/Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind/Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave/I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.”)

Permission Slips

posted by on April 24 at 10:39 AM

Bush is like Midas guy—only everything he touches turns to shit.

A letter that President Bush personally delivered to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon four years ago has emerged as a significant obstacle to the president’s efforts to forge a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians during his last year in office.

Ehud Olmert, the current Israeli prime minister, said this week that Bush’s letter gave the Jewish state permission to expand the West Bank settlements that it hopes to retain in a final peace deal, even though Bush’s peace plan officially calls for a freeze of Israeli settlements across Palestinian territories on the West Bank.

Life (and Death) in the Internet Age

posted by on April 24 at 10:23 AM

Yesterday I slogged about the Tennessee woman facing charges of reckless endangerment after her husband was found dead from bondage gone wrong.

In the comments to the post, Ziptag wrote:

Dear The Stranger and Stranger Readers,

I have lost a friend in “hilarious” sexual circumstances. Please, remove the names or other identifying information reagrding the people involved in this incident. It can be very painful for friends and family to see their loved ones mocked and, worse, named. I have been involved in an ongoing effort to expunge my friend’s name from the internet to protect her child, and I urge you to consider the feelings of those who have lost someone they love.

I feel Ziptag’s pain, but there’s no denying he/she is fighting a losing battle. The names I dropped in my original post weren’t breaking Stranger news—they were drawn from the already-existing-and-rapidly-multiplying national news reports, which have since been picked up by countless blogs, and expunging the names from cyberspace is now a virtual impossibility.

The moral: If you happen to be a sensitive friend/relative of someone who dies in a salacious way, never Google them again.

The supplementary moral: For kinksters, the internet is a double-edged sword. Sure, it can help you find harmonious playmates, but if something goes terribly wrong, it’ll splatter your name all over tarnation forever.

Freaky twist: Another comment to the instigating post directs readers to the surviving wife’s MySpace page, where I learned that her current mood is frowny-face. The times we live in…

Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day—It’s a Draw!

posted by on April 24 at 10:14 AM

Paul Shukovsky.

We’ve Heard This Song Before

posted by on April 24 at 10:05 AM

Someone wake me when the Bush administration is over:

Experts say sex abstinence program doesn’t work

Programs teaching U.S. schoolchildren to abstain from sex have not cut teen pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases or delayed the age at which sex begins, health groups told Congress on Wednesday.

The Bush administration, however, voiced continuing support for such programs during a hearing before a House of Representatives panel even as many Democrats called for cutting off federal money for so-called abstinence-only instruction.

“This is starting to get monotonous,” says Slog tipper Karla. I couldn’t agree more. And you know what else is getting monotonous? Watching the Democrats that control congress throw money at failed abstinence-only education programs because they’re afraid of being characterized as, you know, soft on teen sex.

The Republicans, of course, are hard on teen sex. Rock fucking hard.

Reading Tonight

posted by on April 24 at 10:05 AM


Two open mics tonight, and two readings in the University District tonight.

First, Gary Marcus is at the University Book Store with a book called Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind . It’s basically about how we can go nuts at a moment’s notice…or maybe we already have gone nuts! How would you know if you went nuts if you actually went nuts? Did I just blow your mind? Actually, the book does look interesting, and it offers ways to work around your mind’s various, built-in inconsistencies.

And second, also at the University Book Store, there’s an event called Dead Poet’s Society, in which anyone can bring a poem by their favorite (not necessarily deceased) poet and read it aloud. Hopefully, the assemblage of poetry-lovers can answer the age-old question:

Who’s hotter?


Emily Dickinson? Or…


Edna St. Vincent Millay

(Despite the fact that Dickinson looks like she really knows how to get her freak on, I’m going to go with Millay, if just because she’s from my home state of Maine.)

Don’t forget to check out the full readings calendar, if you’d like to see more readings information.


posted by on April 24 at 10:02 AM

I’m working on getting all the programs in the Seattle Polish Film Festival (wrapping up this weekend) into our Movie Times calendar, and I stumbled upon this seriously amazing film from 1912. The Cameraman’s Revenge, a stop-motion film about a highly anthropomorphized beetle couple, Mr. and Mrs. Beetle, is part of a program highlighting the work of the early 20th-century filmmaker Władysław Starewicz. If you’ve ever wanted to see beetles wear hats, ride on bicycles, wave their antennae, and cheat on each other…

… this is your lucky week.

The Cameraman’s Revenge plays this Friday at SIFF Cinema. Tickets and more info at

Currently Hanging

posted by on April 24 at 10:00 AM

Susan Robb’s Digester (2008), 55-gallon drums, various parts, Scott Lawrimore’s shit

At Lawrimore Project. (Opening tonight, 6-10 pm; gallery web site here.)

China Today

posted by on April 24 at 9:59 AM

China in the 20th century:

China in the 21st century:

Both images are about self-empowerment. The first image, self-power is increased by the absolute affirmation of the Little Red Book; in the second image, self-power is increased by learning English. The more English you learn, the stronger you are as a person, and the stronger you are as a person, then the stronger China is as a state in the world system. The New Yorker has a short article on this second, new wave of self-empowerment. I offer four striking passages:


Li Yang is China’s Elvis of English, perhaps the world’s only language teacher known to bring students to tears of excitement. He has built an empire out of his country’s deepening devotion to a language it once derided as the tongue of barbarians and capitalists. His philosophy, captured by one of his many slogans, is flamboyantly patriotic: “Conquer English to Make China Stronger!”


Li, who is thirty-eight, has made his name on an E.S.L. technique that one Chinese newspaper called English as a Shouted Language. Shouting, Li argues, is the way to unleash your “international muscles.” Shouting is the foreign-language secret that just might change your life.


The most serious charge—one that in recent months has threatened to undo everything Li has built—holds that the frenzied crowds, and his exhortations, tap a malignant strain of populism that China has not permitted since the Cultural Revolution.

“I have seen this kind of agitation,” Wang Shuo, one of China’s most influential novelists, wrote in an essay on Li. “It’s a kind of old witchcraft: Summon a big crowd of people, get them excited with words, and create a sense of power strong enough to topple mountains and overturn the seas.”

Wang went on, “I believe that Li Yang loves the country. But act this way and your patriotism, I fear, will become the same shit as racism.”


[Li] sat down on a couch and began explaining to me a list of new projects, including a retail plan that would create, in his words, the Starbucks of English education.

Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day

posted by on April 24 at 9:39 AM

Mike Carter.

UPDATE: Some felt my original headline—”Credulous Hack of the Day”—was a little mean. So I changed it. Dominic, of course, saw this coming.

How Great?

posted by on April 24 at 9:25 AM


That’s The Great Wave at Kanagawa (ca. 1831-33), from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, by the great Japanese master of the ukiyo-e print, Katsushika Hokusai. That particular one I took from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s web site. It’s in the museum’s collection.

The Great Wave is just about as famous an image as the Mona Lisa. It is an incredible composition. Its supposed subject—Mount Fuji—stands placidly, eternally, in the background, but is captured in a split second, framed by a treacherous wave that threatens three fishing boats. The contrast between the foreground and the background could not be more stark. There’s no mystery about why this print has become an icon; it’s a masterpiece.

Unlike the Mona Lisa, though, it is a print. There’s not just one of it. But how many are there? Is it still a big deal to have one of them? That depends which one you have. And Seattle Art Museum has just this winter received a promised gift of a Great Wave from local collectors Mary and Allan Kollar.

I called SAM Asian art curator Yukiko Shirahara to ask her about the SAM Great Wave.

“Many people have this question,” she said. “Ukiyo-e print is public art of the time. They’d print 200 at a time, and we don’t know how many times the 200 were printed. Once they’d make a woodblock, they’d use it until it was worn out.”

That means that many, many museums around the world have Great Waves. They vary in quality so much that Japanese museums entirely devoted to ukiyo-e prints base exhibitions around demonstrating the differences between the early and the late. Early prints have clear, unbroken lines, and sensitive, bright colors, Shirahara says, before the woodblock was too worn down.

Determining which is which is an art, not a science, and Shirahara says she still needs to “check many points.” But she says she believes the one coming into SAM’s collection is early (like, she says, the Met’s), from when Hokusai was still alive and overseeing the prints.

“In the Kollar’s collection, those are earlier, which means the print reflect’s the artist’s intention more clearly,” she said. “Ukiyo-e is teamwork. Hokusai never cut the wood. He make the drawing and designate the color.”

With this gift, Shirahara says, SAM will have all three of Hokusai’s most beloved prints of Mount Fuji, The Great Wave, Thunderstorm Under the Summit, and the one known as Red Fuji. Here are the other two:



See the rest of Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views here.

The Invasion Has Been Called Off

posted by on April 24 at 9:19 AM

Earlier this week, residents in Phoenix, AZ reported mysterious lights hovering in the sky. Was it aliens? And if so, were they the harmless aliens of Close Encounters, or the blast-happy E.T.s of Independence Day?


As it turns out, it was just a local idiot:

A Phoenix man says he caused the red light display that mystified thousands of people as it floated across the north Phoenix sky Monday night.

The man, who did not want to be identified, said he used fishing line to attach road flares to helium-filled balloons, then lit the flares and launched them a minute apart from his back yard. He said he believed turbulence created by a passing jet caused the balloons to move around.

Lino Mailo said he saw his next-door neighbor launch the balloons.

“I saw the guy releasing the balloons with the flares on them,” Mailo said. “There is no doubt that they came from here.”

He added, “I don’t think it’s a cool prank because it can panic people.”

The Morning News

posted by on April 24 at 8:36 AM

Don’t Blame Us: FBI says they warned DOJ and Pentagon about detainee torture.

L33t: US spies being trained with video games.

Raw Deal:
US gets desperate with OPEC guns for oil deal.

No Surprise:
GOP kills pay discrimination bill. Guess how John McCain voted?

Long Shot: UW students want guns on campus.

Fighting Gridlock: Study says tolls could fix traffic.

Passenger 57 Goes to Jail: Wesley Snipes to be sentenced for tax evasion but, as the man says, always bet on black!

And now, more Supersonic videos to make you sad:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dep’t of Tiny Victories

posted by on April 23 at 11:50 PM

Major news outlets are now calling PA a nine point spread, one digit less than the double-digit victory being trumpeted this morning—and one point closer to my (divulged only to coworkers) prediction of eight.

Meanwhile, the delegate numbers are crazy confusing. Has anybody found any news outlet reporting the district-by-district and statewide pledged delgate breakdown? Just curious.

Go Me!

posted by on April 23 at 4:42 PM

PMID #18425849

I also have a new column up in this week’s paper, explaining the financial crisis through junk food.

Many modern financial investments—whose number and amount of money invested within increased dramatically after the depression-era financial controls were dismantled in the 1990s—are more like processed foods than produce. Investors just figured this out. And they’ve started to get nervous about where their cash has gone.

Take the mortgage-backed securities at the center of this crisis—in which thousands of mortgages were blended together, sliced into pieces, and then sold to millions of investors. Compared to the traditional mortgage lent out by a single bank to a single investor, these are the pizza-flavored low-fat Pringles to a baked potato.

I’ll Never Get to Do this Again

posted by on April 23 at 4:39 PM

So, I’d like to boast about this week’s fat news section.

In the news lead slot, Jonah Spangenthal-Lee reports on a legal battle between a Rev. and his former congregant that may turn his Central District church into condos.


Turn the page and Erica C. Barnett busts City Hall (the building itself) for not living up to its eco design.

Eli Sanders enlists your help to interpret yesterday’s results from Pennsylvania.

And increasingly excellent news intern Chris Kissel files a story on Rev. Ken Hutcherson’s latest temper tantrum.

It’s also a loaded edition of In Other News: City Council Member Tim Burgess loses his temper during the citizen comment period; the City budget is falling apart; Seattle doesn’t have enough trees; and a Seagull shoves around his ex-girlfriend.

And Erica, who filed two stories plus a column last week, has a second piece in this week’s edition, writing a heads-up column on the latest round of City Council hopefuls.

I don’t know about the City Council hopefuls, but watch out man, girl reporter Erica C. Barnett is obviously going places.

The Most Important Issue

posted by on April 23 at 4:30 PM

Have you caught the “Audacity of Government” This American Life yet? You should.

Stories of the Bush Administration, its unique style of asserting presidential authority, and its quest to redefine the limits of presidential power.

To my mind, the single most important issue for the 2008 election is the massive increase in both the power and incompetence of the executive branch—under the heinous ideology of the Unitary Executive. The massive power grab by the Bush administration—stealing authority from both the States and the co-branches of government—goes a long way to explain the decline of so many institutions in the United States. Most of the executive branch drones, given this massive authority, have little competence beyond winning College Republican elections.

Hence my desire to have an angry and voracious HRC thrust into a leadership role in the Senate, nipping at the heels of anyone and anything in the executive branch. I was thinking of all this while listening to the election returns last night. I miss the old, wonky HRC—vastly preferable to this pandering, fear spouting politician now winning elections.

Among the fear being spouted against Obama is the central role young voters have played in his successes. “Young voters don’t vote in general elections,” HRC supporters point out, “why not stick with Hillary, whose base are more reliable at the polls?”

True, most young people can’t be trusted to vote. But this thinking misses a key advantage of having an administration led by someone—like Obama—who can really inspire young people, particularly highly educated young people: You get better bureaucrats.

Young college graduates—smart chemists, biologists, physicists, historians, political scientists, linguistic experts—are vastly more likely to consider a career in the government—the EPA, the FDA, the DOE, the State Department, the CIA, the NSA—when inspired by a charismatic and smart leader. Hence the vastly increased competence of young Democratic presidential administrations, like Bill Clinton’s or potentially Barack Obama’s.

So, I hold my (increasingly distant) dream situation alive. An invigorated and aggressive Senate overflowing with excellent policy encoded into legislation, lead for decades by the experienced wonkiness of Hillary Clinton. A competent executive branch, chocked full the best and brightest young minds, led by a charismatic and eloquent president Obama, capable of clearly explaining and executing the brilliant policy flowing from the legislature.


What Do You Mean, You Haven’t Seen Chop Shop?

posted by on April 23 at 3:43 PM

This awesome, incredible movie is getting exactly four more screenings: 7 and 9 pm, tonight and tomorrow at Northwest Film Forum.

Chop Shop

Chop Shop

This exquisite verité film (from Ramin Bahrani, the director of the equally fine but totally demoralizing Man Push Cart) is about Alejandro, a 12-year-old mixed race street kid who dreams of owning a taco truck. Ale’s will to live and work seems superhuman—until he catches his beautiful older sister giving truckers blowjobs for $40 a pop. You can almost see Ale’s worldview start to crumple. Chop Shop is flawlessly shot, and you won’t soon forget the primary location, a muddy stretch of industrial Queens near Shea Stadium. Best of all, though, are the characters, most of which are played by non-professionals. There is no precedent for the natural intensity of this film in the history of American independent cinema. It will make you treasure life. (Annie Wagner)

I also highly recommend interviews with the director, an Iranian-American who was born in North Carolina and graduated from Columbia before moving to Iran for three years to learn to make movies. Greencine has an excellent, influence-heavy one, IFC’s is a bit more political, and The Fader goes deeper into the location. Bahrani wants your kids to see the movie too—just be prepared to answer questions about what Isamar was doing in that man’s truck.

By the way, NWFF is holding an online auction for filmmakers and musicians right now—filmmaking advice from two-time Academy Award nominee James Longley is stalled out at $125! Bidding closes tomorrow at 6 pm.

A.R.B.Y. M.C.T.A.R.D.

posted by on April 23 at 3:31 PM


Mnemonic [is]

Arby McTard

Never Underestimate Paul Verhoeven

posted by on April 23 at 3:18 PM


In Showgirls: Portrait of a Film, Paul Verhoeven identified his horrifically hilarious 1995 stripper drama as “a Christian morality tale.”

Now Verhoeven’s going to Christianity’s source, writing a biography of Jesus that will be published in the Netherlands in September.

According to the Associated Press, the book will be published in the U.S. in 2009. The title alone is worthy of a prize, and perhaps a pie in the face: Jesus of Nazareth: A Realistic Portrait.

If the book’s portrait of Jesus is half as accurate as Showgirls portrayal of women, I’ll be in heaven.

This Saturday: The Stranger Gong Show

posted by on April 23 at 3:06 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 Saturday 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!

As for judges: 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!

Be there or die trying.

Today’s Seattle Times Opinion Pages

posted by on April 23 at 3:05 PM

Okay, today’s opinion pages in the Seattle Times are better than yesterday’s. Of the four pieces on Tuesday’s Seattle Times opinion pages, three had already run in the New York Times—one was three days old (four if you count when the column went live on the web).

Today’s opinion pages are a bit better—no, I take that back. They’re worse. There’s only one syndicated column—a day-old piece by Froma Harrop (“Raising the political bar in Minnesota”), which was originally published in the Providence Journal yesterday—and three original pieces. One is by Times editorial columnist Lynne K. Varner (“Getting testy over WASL leaves students still at risk”), in which Varner sets up a straw man and bravely slaps him down. (Uh, Lynne? It’s possible to be for high standards and against standardized tests like the WASL.) As for the other two pieces, well, they ought to be paid advertisements.

Our first oughta-be-a-paid-advertisement is by anti-tax crusader Tim Eyman (“Washington state’s taxpayers have reached the tipping point”). Tim’s very original observation? Why, Washington state taxpayers are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore and—no way!—Tim is running an initiative campaign right now that’s really gonna show those douchebags in Olympia and blah blah blah and here’s my website. Shouldn’t Eyman report this piece as an in-kind contribution?

And today’s final piece is by Kathleen Connors (“Korean free-trade pact important for Washington”). She’s the president of the “Seattle-based Washington Council on International Trade.” Connors’s piece is about Korean free-trade pact and guess what?!? She’s for it! No way! WAY!!! The president of the Washington Council on International Trade is for a free-trade pact—click this link and prepare to have your minds blown, mothafuckers!

Well, at least I think Connors is for the Korean free-trade pact—I mean, that’s the impression I get from the first two paragraphs, which is as far as I could make it into Connors’s piece. I challenge anyone to read Connors’s entire press release—excuse, opinion piece, “special to The Times”—without nodding off. If I may tweak a phrase: Connors is Ambien in print.

So there’s less syndicated stuff on today’s Seattle Times opinion pages. But, sheesh, I’ll take days-old Kristol/Dowd/Brooks/Herbert/Kristof over this crap.

Can the Local Media Ask the Basic Questions About Pot Busts?

posted by on April 23 at 2:58 PM

I just skipped a press conference because I had to run home before going to my other job. The DEA and local police are vaunting their recent raids of marijuana grow houses. If the coverage is anything like previous pot-enforcement coverage, this will be a crack-down, clean-sweep victory for police prevailing over the scourge of drugs.

As I write this, reporters are racing to summarize the story, with the answers to the questions they asked: What happened? When did it happen? Who was involved? Where did it all go down?

But did reporters for Seattle’s mainstream news outlets ask the next questions? The fifth and sixth tenets of basic reporting—those “why” and “how” questions.

Why are they arresting the pot growers? How did they arrest them?

The simplistic answer to the first one, of course, is that pot is illegal. But reporters wouldn’t accept such a trivial explanation when the question is “Why does mayor Nickels want to tax plastic bags?” Because they’re bad for the environment so we should change the law. That’s not enough. The reporters are investigators, and they look at the efficacy of each proposal, pot or bags, critically. The bag issue had two side, we were told.

“It is an undue burden,” said Mike Buchman, a spokesman for Solid Ground, a nonprofit that serves families dealing with hunger and homelessness. While he applauds the mayor’s environmental policy, “there are a lot of hungry people in our community, and every dime that can go to nutritional food is important,” he said.


“If the mayor really wants to get on the stick, he should go after plastic bottles. Or plastic wrapping of food products. Or how about a tax or a ban on petroleum-based plastic, period?”

So does arresting pot growers change the availability or abuse-rates of pot? Is there a better way? We’ve come to expect the different sides of an issue.

And the next question: How were people arrested? Were the raids conducted with guns drawn in private residences? Considering the dearth of evidence that drug enforcement changes drug-use rates – what this war on drugs is supposedly all about and a worthwhile endeavor – are the raids, which risks lives of cops and suspects, really appropriate?

The war on drugs deserves at least a fraction the scrutiny our reporters give plastic bags. So, reporters, can you ask all the questions and give us the answers?

Hummers: Illegal on City Streets

posted by on April 23 at 2:25 PM

Slog tipper Daniel wrote us yesterday to tell us that Seattle’s Municipal Code prohibits parking vehicles that are more than 80 inches wide on city streets overnight. (Here’s the relevant text, if you’re interested). Since Hummers are bigger than that (81 and a half inches, according to the specs on Hummer’s web site), Daniel figured it must be illegal to park them overnight here, too.

I checked in with the Seattle Department of Transportation, and it turns out Daniel’s right. Although SDOT spokesman Rick Sheridan says “the intent of this code is more for commercial vehicles like an 18-wheeler rather than an automobile,” it would apply to the largest SUVs as well. The ordinance isn’t regularly enforced, perhaps because so few people know about it. For the record, the number to call to report parking violations is 625-5011.


Photo via FUH2.

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

posted by on April 23 at 2:23 PM

A Seattle man has been charged with second-degree murder, accused of repeatedly stabbing his wife with a 13-inch barbecue fork in front of their two young children….

Debra Lynn Bonilla, 38, suffered at least a dozen stab wounds, including one to her heart, in the attack at her Beacon Hill home. Despite the efforts of the staff at Harborview Medical Center, she died several hours after the attack. She had five children, three from a previous marriage.

Juan Carlos Bonilla was ordered held in the King County Jail on $1 million bail. He will be arraigned May 6…. In 2001, when the couple lived in Alaska, Bonilla allegedly beat his then-pregnant wife so badly, he broke her nose. He also allegedly threatened to stab her to death.

In/Visible Is Up: Margot Quan Knight

posted by on April 23 at 2:19 PM

This month at James Harris Gallery is Margot Quan Knight’s coming-out party in Seattle.

She is, basically, a disillusioned photographer. A wonderfully disillusioned photographer. She’s become disillusioned from her fantasy (our collective fantasy?) that photographs describe, if not reality, then still a version of truth. Until recently, she made composed images of unreal events that revealed themselves to be fictions indicative of real sensations and experiences, often ones that defy time, like this one (that’s her):

Drop, 2006

But then she was hit by a car. And she started graduate school (MFA at Bard; she finishes this summer). And the result of those things intersecting with Berenice Abbott (and other readings in photographic history), a strobe-light dance she saw at Pacific Northwest Ballet, and the thought of her mother getting older resulted in a break—out of which came an entirely different body of work, all based on reflective surfaces.

Artists at the beginning of their careers—and sometimes, artists at any stage—may be doing great things, but they don’t always really know what they’re doing. That can be perfectly fine, or a disaster. In Quan Knight’s case, her eloquence is not necessary to understand her work, but it’s a very nice surprise. Listening to her will be well worth your time.

Click here for the podcast.

And because these works are all reflective, I’m posting a video (by Quan Knight) that depicts the works the way you would experience them, rather than the blank, more formal stills on the gallery’s web site.

For All of You Who Heard the Rumor that 14/48 Is Leaving Capitol Hill Arts Center…

posted by on April 23 at 2:14 PM

… it’s not. Not yet, anyway. After a long(ish) conversation with Shawn Belyea yesterday, here’s a brief update on the state of things with 14/48 and CHAC.

• The future of the CHAC building is uncertain (as it always has been), and 14/48 is talking to some other theaters—notably, ACT—to lay the groundwork for a possible future move.

• CHAC proprietor Matthew Kwatinetz is deciding whether to renew his lease and is considering buying the building.

• CHAC might convert its Showroom (the main, first-floor room that doubles as a theater and a nightclub) into rentable office space. That would ameliorate two of CHAC’s major, perennial problems: noise complaints from neighboring condo-dwellers, and precarious finances. (It would also, of course, take CHAC another step away from being an “arts center.”) Belyea said CHAC has considered the office-space conversion two or three times before.

• But, for the near future, People’s Republic of Komedy will occupy the Showroom.

• And while we’re on the subject of PRoK, here are posters for their new shows in Hollywood (Hub Bub) and New York (Sweet Haven).



In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on April 23 at 1:48 PM

Mariah Carey’s Not So Impressive After All: Twenty years ago today, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, ended its 741 week streak on the Billboard chart.

Yelle and Hot Chip: Eric Grandy reviews both shows.

Hooray for Starch!: Does anyone remember that early-’90s band called Rice?

Settle it With a Dance Off: Will Burial’s boot Kid Loco from the “best mix” spot in the DJ-Kicks series?

Tonight in Music: David Dondero, the Color Bars, and Experimental Dental School.

At Least He Still Has the Mustache: Giorgio Moroder loses his baddassness.

Today’s Music News: Mars Volta works on new albums, NIN gives away a song, and Paul Davis dies at 60.

Speaking of Dying: Al Wilson has died at the age of 68.

Guess Who?: Do the readers of the National Enquirer even know who Beth Ditto is?

Disco for Your Days: TJ Gorton’s weekly recommendations.

Pink Skull: They’re owning Trent Moorman’s ears and brain.

The Sword: Jeff Kirby reviews last night’s packed show at Neumo’s.

And finally, this guitar cost less than an Xbox 360


SAM’s New Acquisitions

posted by on April 23 at 1:47 PM

Starting today, Seattle Art Museum will announce its acquisitions on a quarterly basis, meaning you’ll get a regular sense of what’s coming into the collection. Here are a few images, with info and background on the jump.

Paul Manship

Joseph Goldberg

Adrian Paci

Continue reading "SAM's New Acquisitions" »

Reading Last Night: Thomas Lynch

posted by on April 23 at 1:44 PM

Thomas Lynch, who I love, read at St. James Cathedral last night. Well, that’s not strictly true. He read in a cafeteria-like room in a building next to St. James Cathedral, which was a bit of a disappointment.

But Thomas Lynch was not a disappointment: He was just as Irish and lapsed-Catholic and funny and profound as one would expect. After greeting the crowd of sixty or seventy people—”It’s always nice to be outnumbered at these sorts of things,” he said—he read poems about sin-eaters (people who used to eat bread that symbolized the sins of the dead so that their spirits can get into heaven.) Lynch also read about a cow getting its head stuck in a fence, and the same poem ends with a beatific look on a woman’s face as she artificially inseminates the cow while staring at the rafters of a barn.

There was the kind of religious talk that I can get behind: The befuddled, mystified kind. Lynch read an essay, I believe from Bodies In Motion and At Rest, about a teenage girl who died in a freak accident. She was in the back seat of a van going down a highway at exactly the point when some bored teenagers threw a gravestone off the side of a bridge. The stone struck her in the chest and killed her. Lynch’s accusations and considerations of God from this event were sad and true but never maudlin.

The reading itself was marred by horrible sound. Bad sound equipment is almost a tradition at author readings, of course: there’s always an echo or a hum. But about ten minutes into the reading, this high-pitched whine erupted from the speakers. It wasn’t feedback, exactly, it was more of the kind of noise your ear makes inside itself after a particularly loud concert. After a few minutes, it kind of nauseated me, going down my nervous system from my head to my stomach. Lynch didn’t acknowledge the noise—maybe he couldn’t hear it from the podium—but someone from the church tried and failed to fix it. The piercing noise continued for the rest of the reading, which made the experience a lot less enjoyable.

After graciously thanking the crowd for listening to him babble—“It’s like seeing a shrink and not getting a bill afterwards”—he said—Lynch closed with a lovely story about whether it’s better to die from gonorrhea or diarrhea. After the reading, the church served coffee, tea, and cookies, which was very nice, and I approached someone who put on the reading. I introduced myself as the Books Editor for The Stranger. “You guys have a books section?” he asked in disbelief. I laughed a little bit, partly because it was funny and partly because I was so relieved that the sound system wasn’t icepicking my ear canal anymore.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on April 23 at 1:34 PM

The Fun Forest…


by jaycoxfilm

Thomas Friedman: Dense Metaphors Deflect Pies

posted by on April 23 at 1:05 PM

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman—a man whose surreal use of the English language can hold some of the same psychedelic properties as overdosing on codeine cough syrup—narrowly avoided having an Earth Day pie thrown in his face during a talk on renewable energy and green technology at Brown University.

From the Providence Journal’s harrowing account:

Friedman ducked, and was left with only minor streams of the sugary green goo on his black pants and turtleneck.

He stood in bewilderment and mild disgust as the young man and woman bolted from the stage and out the side door, throwing a handful of fliers into the air to relay the message they apparently were not going to deliver personally.

“Thomas Friedman deserves a pie in the face…,” the flier said, “because of his sickeningly cheery applaud for free market capitalism’s conquest of the planet, for telling the world that the free market and techno fixes can save us from climate change. From carbon trading to biofuels, these distractions are dangerous in and of themselves, while encouraging inaction with respect to the true problems at hand…”

After five minutes, Friedman returned to the stage undeterred, with only faint traces of the green cream on his clothing.

While the pie-thrower’s manifesto may having lacked any discernible sense of humor, it still led to the the publication of the sentence, “Friedman returned to the stage undeterred, with only faint traces of the green cream on his clothing,” which is totally fantastic.

My personal favorite analysis of Friedman is still pie-throwing connoisseur Matt Taibbi’s piece about Friedman’s book The World is Flat, written for the New York Press. The piece is calle ‘Flathead,’ and it ends thusly:

Four hundred and 73 pages of this, folks. Is there no God?

Should the Hawks Go After Shockey?

posted by on April 23 at 12:58 PM

The rumor mill is churning about the Seahawks potentially looking to trade a late draft pick for the New York Giants’ Pro Bowl Tight End Jeremy Shockey.


The ‘Hawks have already issued a denial, but they did the same thing when rumors about about cutting Shaun Alexander surfaced last February.

It’s been a few years since the Seahawks had a reliable TE, but Shockey’s also kind of a jackass.

That being said, he’s apparently willing to do crazy shit like this:

So, for three ‘Hawks fans who read Slog: should we try and pick up Shockey, or draft a tight end this weekend?

A Book About Books, Recommended by a Book Editor

posted by on April 23 at 12:58 PM

Not every book that I read gets reviewed in The Stranger. There’s only a limited amount of space in the print edition, and so I have to try to hit the widest possible audience of readers possible. It’s for this reason that I didn’t review the new paperback from McSweeney’s, The McSweeney’s Joke Book of Book Jokes.

I’m a little gun-shy when it comes to reviewing books about books, because books about books only appeal to a very small portion of the population: People who work in publishing, librarians, booksellers, and other serious book fetishists. I feel that books about books get excessive review attention because, well, they’re written for the people who publish book review publications.

That said, I really enjoyed The McSweeney’s Joke Book of Book Jokes. It’s basically just a compilation of book-related stories from the McSweeney’s website. There are some great pieces here, including “Winnie-The-Pooh is my Coworker” by John Moe:

“He showed up three hours late today and gave this long story about being chased by bees. Then he brought out another honey pot (his cubicle is covered with empty ones), ate the honey with his hands for a while, and passed out on his desk…The little bitch Tami from marketing came by to rub his tummy. Unbelievable.”

and “Thirteen Writing Prompts,” by Dan Wiencek:

“7. Write a story that begins with a man throwing handfuls of $100 bills from a speeding car, and ends with a young girl urinating into a tin bucket.”

True, there are a few too many James Joyce jokes, and true, you can find most of these pieces for free on McSweeney’s website, but if you do that, you don’t get to see the book’s amazing cover:


Oslo Opera

posted by on April 23 at 12:52 PM

The lead story on concerns this new building in Norway.
3oslo_opera.jpg The work was designed by Snøhetta and opened on April 12th. The images of the interior are far more striking than those of the exterior. Judging from the images of the inside, will not this work displace its purpose? Its purpose being made secondary to itself as a work. Few operas have in them the power to match or overcome such a staggering wealth of colors and materials.

North Carolina Republicans: Obama is Black, Scary

posted by on April 23 at 12:34 PM

Ladies and gentlemen, let the official Republican campaign to define Barack Obama as an America-hating black radical begin!

The ad was produced by the North Carolina Republican Party, which needs your donations (now!) to keep the ad up and running. Fearing the repercussions of being associated with the content of the ad, John McCain and the Republican National Committee are less than pleased with the decision of their North Carolina brethren:

Dear Chairman Daves,

From the beginning of this election, I have been committed to running a respectful campaign based upon an honest debate about the great issues confronting America today. I expect all state parties to do so as well. The television advertisement you are planning to air degrades our civics and distracts us from the very real differences we have with the Democrats. In the strongest terms, I implore you to not run this advertisement.

This ad does not live up to the very high standards we should hold ourselves to in this campaign. We need to run a campaign that is worthy of the people we seek to serve. There is no doubt that we will draw sharp contrasts with the Democrats on fundamental issues critical to the future course of our country. But we need not engage in political tactics that only seek to divide the American people.

Once again, it is imperative that you withdraw this offensive advertisement.

John McCain

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on April 23 at 12:10 PM

A Quick Survey of Current Representation

posted by on April 23 at 11:54 AM

This spring in Seattle, while this artist

Mandy Greer

presents her version of this

Jacopo Tintoretto

this artist

Josiah McElheny

presents his version of this

Big Bang theory

and this artist

Jeffrey Simmons

presents his version of this

Galactic objects

and this artist

Kader Attia

presents his version of this

“Beach” in Algiers

A Flying Fuck

posted by on April 23 at 11:44 AM


Boeing’s Net Jumps 38% on Strength Of Commercial-Plane Business

Boeing Co. posted a 38% rise in first-quarter net income, driven by strong growth in the company’s commercial-airplanes business. The biggest U.S. aerospace company also recorded lower expenses in the quarter.

The weak U.S. economy – even the gloomy business climate for U.S. airlines — hasn’t affected Boeing’s business so far, said Jim McNerney, chairman and chief executive, during a conference call with analysts. Only 11% of new aircraft orders are from U.S. customers and Mr. McNerney believes that U.S. airlines still will need to find a way to replace older fleets of jets with new aircraft in the next.

Still, the fuckers left Seattle. I will never get over that.

“Operation Green Reaper”

posted by on April 23 at 11:30 AM

When dealing with society’s most volatile criminal element, armed raids on private residences are absolutely necessary. Um, like to arrest these folks:

Police and federal agents have been raiding indoor marijuana growing operations at houses in the Seattle area.

The U.S. attorney’s office says 14 people and two companies have been indicted.

Federal agents and police called a 1 p.m. Wednesday news conference at the federal building in Seattle to discuss the raids and the investigation they call “Operation Green Reaper.”

The very practice of no-knock drug raids has come under fire lately on Slog, as I’ve written about here and here, but also in Georgia where police are on the defense for killing a 92-year old woman in her home in a drug raid based on a faulty warrant. How many of these sorts of raids have gone awry? Check out this map of paramilitary raids from the Cato institute.


But apparently the local feds and the “police” (I assume that’s the SPD) think it’s all worth it in the name of stopping pot. Of course, the busts make no difference in the pot market. The raids and this afternoon’s press conference are all for show.

Thanks to Slog tipper Sparky.

She’s Not Destroying the Party. She’s Expanding It.

posted by on April 23 at 11:29 AM

This prolonged election is helping, not hurting, the Democratic Party.

Not in recent memory has a Democratic candidate been so firmly associated with the working class. And I don’t mean in a calculated, pre-fab way like John Edwards.

There isn’t another example of a Democratic candidate who, in vote after vote, has established an appeal to the all-important Silent-Majority-Reagan Democrat-Values Voter bloc that left the building sometime during LBJ’s presidency.

And more important than HRC’s actual affinity with the Wal-Mart bloc (which, she’s had since her 2000 campaign victory, as I noted when I started hyping her candidacy a year and a half ago), is this: The media—in this long campaign cycle—has glommed onto Hillary’s hard-hat appeal and is defining her as the working-class candidate again and again.

Why is this media trope important? Because it offers a serious rejoinder to those who argue that while Hillary wins these votes against Obama in a Democratic primary, she’s not going to win them against McCain.

Wrong. The more the media keeps talking about Hillary as the lunch-pail candidate (and the more McCain is ignored during the primary season), the more this important bloc actually begins thinking and voting Democratic. It’s the old “everybody’s doing it” advertising ploy, and she’s getting free advertising.

For the first time in a generation—thanks to the media coverage during this prolonged campaign that’s linking the working class vote with a Democratic Party candidate—the Democrats are poised to represent Jane and Joe Six Pack.

But what if Obama gets the nomination (which still seems like a given)? Well, first of all, even without Hillary on the ticket, there’ll be an established connection between a Democratic candidate and working-class voters, an association that hasn’t been authentic in a generation or two. This will give the party and Obama an opening they previously didn’t have. (How is this campaign destroying the Democrats, again?)

Indeed, thanks to this prolonged campaign, the media spotlight will have shown off one Democrat who can rally the lumpen proletariat vote and another Democrat who turns out tens of thousands of excited voters to stadiums. This is a win-win for the Democratic Party’s image going into the general election.

Meanwhile, it’s still 2008: The GOP incumbent is the most unpopular president in 70 years (literally). We’re in an unpopular war. And we’re teetering on some kind of economic catastrophe. Even without a massive shift toward Democrats by the white working class, Democrats are well positioned.

Additionally, Obama brings his own unparalleled strengths to the ticket that have also long eluded Democrats (although not as badly as the Reagan-Democrat thing.) He attracts independents and young voters. And while these aren’t new demographics for Democrats, Obama attracts them in bigger numbers and turns them out more consistently than previous Democratic candidates.

More important, though, Obama is charismatic. He creates a Beatlemania fervor among voters that has snowballed during this long campaign. This celebrity status could easily carry him into office in November.

Personally, I think the working-class bloc is the more important grab for the Democratic Party, but Beatlemania is good for a party too.

p.s. And obvioulsy, Pennsylvania is racist.

Today in Kinky Matrimony

posted by on April 23 at 11:23 AM


ABC News reports on the 25-year-old woman in Tennessee facing a reckless homicide charge after her husband died from bondage gone wrong.

Authorities in Maury County responded to an emergency call Saturday afternoon about a dead man inside a Columbia trailer. There, they discovered the body of 29-year-old James Bargy in panty hose with his arms and legs bound, a gag ball stuffed in his mouth—which had been covered in duct tape—and his head wrapped. The only opening for air were slits for his nostrils, according to Maury County Sheriff’s Office detectives. An autopsy found that Bargy died of asphyxiation. Authorities say [Rebecca Bargy] left her husband in the bonded state for more than 20 hours before she returned to their trailer to find him dead.

Meanwhile, lots of news organizations are reporting Star Jones’ filing for divorce, but we’ll give the link to Defamer for their award-worthy headline, No Reason Yet Given for Star Jones’ Divorce from Gay Husband.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 23 at 11:00 AM


GHOST at BLVD Gallery

I once caused a ruckus on Slog by typing the phrase “pro-graffiti.” Sweet Jesus, you’d think I’d said I was “pro-rape.” Artists like GHOST are why I’m pro. GHOST was one of the originals, in late 1970s, pre-Giuliani New York, painting all those trains belonging to the NYC subway. And while the days of sneaking into train yards are gone forever (replaced by legal big-money pieces, commissioned by legit big-money corporate sponsors), GHOST remains one talented sonofabitch. (BLVD Gallery, 2316 Second Ave, 448-8767. 1–6 pm, through May 3.)



posted by on April 23 at 10:57 AM


I found this painting in an alley on Capitol Hill at least two years ago. It was in the trash, along with some household items, behind an apartment building. Someone was moving, I guessed, and decided that this painting and a few other items weren’t going to make it to the new apartment. The painting looked awfully sad leaning against the dumpster, out there in the rain, waiting for the garbage truck. I stopped, picked it up, looked at the back, and learned that the painting had a name…


…that it took five years to create…

1990-Fucking-1 to 1990-fucking-5

…and that the artist or subject’s name was…


And I thought, hey, why not surprise Vanessa by rescuing her painting, taking it to the office, and putting it on the cover of the Stranger? So I carried to work, took it up to production, and presented “Nourishment” to the Stranger’s Art Director. “Nourishment” has been sitting up in production ever since, next to the Art Director’s desk, patiently waiting its turn for a cover. Now and then I would ask the Art Director when “Nourishment” was slated to appear on the cover, and Corianton or Aaron would say, “Oh, yes. We’ll get that on the cover sometime soon, Dan, sometime soon.”

Well, yesterday I found Vanessa’s painting in a hallway, banished from the production area, clearly destined once again for a dumpster. And I rescued “Nourishment” again, placed it next to the Art Director’s desk again, and asked to see it on the cover again.

You’ll get your Stranger cover soon, Vanessa, soon.

What Type of Person…

posted by on April 23 at 10:33 AM

Last week, during dinner at an excellent little restaurant in Manhattan, the Blue Ribbon on Sullivan Street, I was introduced to a man who soon after accepting an invitation to take a seat at the table, told me and two other friends (one of whom he was acquainted with) that he had recently fucked a woman who had briefly dated John F. Kennedy, Jr. Clearly he wanted this piece of information to make the men at the table think of him in the way he thought of himself—as a person of some importance.
JFK.jpg I then realized that this type of person, a fucker of starfuckers, doesn’t exist in midsized cities like Seattle but has his/her ideal environment in the big and sprawling centers of the world. But what do we call a person who fucks starfuckers? As far as I can tell, there is no name for this type of character.

Reading Tonight

posted by on April 23 at 10:20 AM


We’ve got one of your so-called poetry slams and a bunch of other things going on today in the world of readings.

First, Saadia Pekkenan is reading at the University Book Store from her book Japan’s Aggressive Legalism: Law and Foreign Trade Politics Beyond the WTO. Two or three times a month, the University Book Store has a reading so specialized and wonky and intelligent-sounding that it makes me want to say “Der” and drool on myself. This is one of those readings.

The E.M.P.’s science fiction museum has Lois McMaster Bujold, reading from The Sharing Knife: Passage, which is the third book set in “an alternate, magic-using future world, where a great catastrophe has reverted North America to a 1800’s technology.” I have never read Lois McMaster Bujold, but the sharp edges of her very name intimidate me to no end.

Michael Meade is reading at Langston Hughes at 7 pm, from The World Behind The World. I can’t tell from Elliott Bay’s writeup exactly what this book is about:

This is, from our perspective, the most resonant application of looking at the world we’re in now through a mythically-informed viewpoint that we know of.

Yeahbuhwha? At Elliott Bay Book Company proper, Susan Jacoby is reading from her new book, The Age of American Unreason. It looks like another of those marvelous “Why everyone but my reader is a mediocre idiot” books, but Jacoby is a good writer, so there could be something worthwhile here.

And at Town Hall, Charles Halpern is reading from Making Waves and Riding the Currents: Activism and the Practice of Wisdom. Halpern started the nation’s first public interest law firm and public interest law school, and so this should be a good one for people interested in non-profits and charitable works.

And, as ever, we have the full readings calendar, including the next week or so, for your perusal.

Murdoch Media

posted by on April 23 at 10:11 AM

From the New York Times:

Rupert Murdoch is moving to tighten his already-imposing grip on American news media, striking a tentative deal to buy his third New York-based paper, Newsday, and getting his first chance to appoint the top editor of The Wall Street Journal, after the resignation of the editor on Tuesday.

His $580 million bid for Newsday and his urgency in remaking The Journal worry his competitors and cause angst in many newsrooms, including his own. And both moves are vintage Rupert Murdoch, a man who operates his sprawling News Corporation like an old-style media mogul, making big bets on old and new media — bankrolling the new Fox Business Network, aggressively pursuing a deal for Yahoo, and buying Dow Jones & Company, publisher of The Journal, for far more than analysts thought it was worth. And that was just in the last year.

His first love, however, remains newspapers. The purchase of Newsday from the Tribune Company would put Mr. Murdoch in control of 3 of the nation’s 10 largest-circulation papers (the others being The Journal and The New York Post). Owning Newsday, which is based on Long Island, would also open an eastern front in the long-running battle for New York tabloid supremacy and, by combining some operations, could allow News Corporation to end decades of heavy losses by The Post.

The Murdoch-inspired Bond villain (played by Jonathan Pryce) in Tomorrow Never Dies always seemed way too cartoonish. Now I’m wondering if Rupert Murdoch has a secret stealth boat stashed somewhere.


Spam or Threat? A New Game.

posted by on April 23 at 10:04 AM

Date: April 22, 2008 6:58:34 PM PDT
Subject: she has already gone to hospital!…

Hello, brendan.

Listen to me carefully, i don’t know what your name is, but i’ll find you and i’ll cripple you, because this is you who tempted her!!!

She has already gone to hospital, you’re next.


‘The Safe’ is Safe (For Now)

posted by on April 23 at 9:54 AM

From the Seattle Times:

Liberty Mutual Group said Wednesday it has agreed to acquire publicly traded Safeco Corp. and take it private in an all-cash, $6.2 billion deal to create the nation’s fifth-largest property and casualty insurer.

Boston-based Liberty Mutual and Seattle-based Safeco said the boards of both companies approved the deal, which is subject to approval by Safeco shareholders as well as regulators.

Liberty Mutual, which is owned by its policyholders, offered $68.25 per share for Safeco, a 51 percent premium to Safeco’s Tuesday closing price of $45.23 per share.

This news prompted a friend to ask whether the Mariners will one day be playing at Liberty Mutual Field. The immediate answer appear to be no:

Monfried said Safeco would retain its 85-year-old brand name and continue selling policies through its national network of agents and brokers.

(Note: I tweaked the post after reading this post at Seattlest.)

Of Razor Clams, East Winds, and a Truculent Tattoo

posted by on April 23 at 9:45 AM

Last weekend, I went to a small town on the Washington coast to dig razor clams.


What that means is this: sleeping on the floor of a one-room cottage with three friends while hail and snow and wind beat on the thin old walls. (We had a fire and a couple bottles of wine to keep out the cold.) Then getting up at 5:30 in the morning, in the dark, to squeak down to the beach in our new galoshes, try to ignore the hail, and look for little holes in the sand—the razor clam’s ventilation shaft.

When you find one, you dig furiously, shove your arm into the cold, wet mud, and feel around for a rubbery neck or a smooth, sharp shell digging down and away from you. It’s messy. And fun.

Anthony Bordain once described digging for geoducks being like “fisting Shamu.” This was like that.

Crowds of people staggered up and down the beach, some with PVC clam guns, some with small shovels. One methed-out local ran around the surf in cutoff jeans and bare feet. Sweet old couples lugged around mesh bags full of clams. A small clutch of Japanese tourists wandered around with laminated fishing permits hanging by lanyards from their necks.

The clamming wasn’t so good—hardly anybody but the crustiest locals caught their 15-clam limit. “It’s the east wind,” said one old bald guy with a giant black beard. (It looked dyed.) “I don’t know why, but fishing and clamming are always bad in an east wind.”

One lady said she was clamming at Kalaloch the morning Mount St. Helens blew. Nobody could get any clams and nobody could figure out why. Then they heard about the volcano. She figured the clams felt the shocks and hunkered down.

Anyway—our cottage had a weird collection of magazines, including a recent copy of Iceland Review (vol. 45, no. 1), with this photo of a Dutch drug dealer who is doing six years in an Icelandic prison:


The quote is from Jacques Mesrine, a French bank robber and murderer who, in 1979, became France’s public enemy number one.

It says: God protect me from my friends. I’ll take care of my enemies.

Maybe it was the firelight or maybe it was the wine. But I thought it was the loveliest tattoo I’d ever seen.

America’s Prison Problem

posted by on April 23 at 9:20 AM

On page one of the NYT this morning…

The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.

Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes—from writing bad checks to using drugs—that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations.

…and from page 13:

An 18-year-old straight-A student accused of planning to bomb his high school was charged Tuesday with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a possible life sentence.

Product Displacement

posted by on April 23 at 9:10 AM

How did three guys in A&F wind up behind Obama during his speech last night?


Via Towleroad.

NYT to Superdelegates: End This Thing

posted by on April 23 at 9:00 AM

Today’s NYT:

On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11. A Clinton television ad—torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook—evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” the narrator intoned….

After seven years of George W. Bush’s failed with-us-or-against-us presidency, all American voters deserve to hear a nuanced debate—right now and through the general campaign—about how each candidate will combat terrorism, protect civil liberties, address the housing crisis and end the war in Iraq.

It is getting to be time for the superdelegates to do what the Democrats had in mind when they created superdelegates: settle a bloody race that cannot be won at the ballot box. Mrs. Clinton once had a big lead among the party elders, but has been steadily losing it, in large part because of her negative campaign. If she is ever to have a hope of persuading these most loyal of Democrats to come back to her side, let alone win over the larger body of voters, she has to call off the dogs.

The NYT, of course, endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. Sounds like they’re starting to regret that endorsement.

Anyone Got a Link to this Video?

posted by on April 23 at 9:00 AM

A Florida teenager faces a charge of elder abuse alleging he made his senile grandmother wear a black mask and hold a handgun for a video he made.

Police in Lake Worth, Fla., say the 85-year-old woman is seen and heard on the video threatening to shoot “all the pigs.” … The teen’s mother says it’s all just a misunderstanding.

Currently Hanging

posted by on April 23 at 9:00 AM

Jennifer Harrison’s Three White Houses, oil on canvas, 18 by 24 inches

At Garde Rail Gallery. (Gallery site here.)

Wynne Greenwood at OtB

posted by on April 23 at 9:00 AM

On the Boards just announced its 2008-09 season, and I noticed Wynne Greenwood is on the roster. Greenwood used to be Tracy in the “band” Tracy + the Plastics—or, truth was, Greenwood was all three band members. Tracy appeared live and the other two (Nikki and Cola) appeared on video (played by Greenwood). They were great.

That performance was March 31, 2007, in Olympia. Since then, the band broke up. (Greenwood took herself out to dinner to celebrate, and uncannily, the restaurant seated her at a table for four.) Greenwood lives in Seattle now, and this winter, she had a solo show at Susanne Vielmetter Gallery in LA, for which she made this video (note the instrumental karaoke), shot inside the installation.

Here’s what the announcement says she’s doing at On the Boards a year from now:

WYNNE GREENWOOD | Sister Taking Nap Wed – Sun | April 15 - 19, 2009 World Premiere Best known for her schizophrenic portrayals of 3 band members in Tracy + the Plastics, Wynne Greenwood embarks on a new creative phase fusing sculpture, installation and music into an intimate performance environment. Sister Taking Nap is a one-act about human evolution where objects such as an animal cage, a suitcase and a TV double as small stages for posing the question: What must we give up in order to survive? Greenwood’s art and performance works have been shown at Reena Spaulings Fine Arts (NYC), The Kitchen (NYC), Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), PICA (Portland), Walker Art Center and the Whitney Biennial (NYC).

It’s on my calendar.


posted by on April 23 at 8:47 AM

Slog reader Price makes a good point about the FLDS saga—DNA tests to determine whose kids are whose are underway—in Eldorado, Texas. These polygamists have been all over cable news and the front pages of American newspapers for weeks now. Says Price…


Where’s the outrage from the “marriage should be between one man and one woman” crowd about this nonsense in Eldorado? You’d think they would be up in arms about this. Aren’t these people DESTROYING all marraige for normal straight couples

When I was in South Carolina before that state’s primary for Real Time with Bill Maher, I asked a religious conservative—a supporter of Mike Huckabee—who was the bigger sinner: a gay man married to one man or a polygamist married to a hundred women. He didn’t even hesitate: the gay man. You hear very little from the one-man-and-one-woman shriekers for the same reason you heard so little from them during the decades straight people spent redefining marriage for themselves. After straight people redefined marriage to a point that it no longer made any logical sense to exclude same-sex couples from the institution’s rights and responsibilities, suddenly marriage had to be defended from the gays. Activists that want to “save marriage” have never been motivated by what they’re for (one man and one woman) but what they’re against (gay sex, love, desire, etc.).

Youth Pastor Watch

posted by on April 23 at 8:25 AM


The Boardman man charged with raping a young boy three times between June 2002 and June 2004 and filing false tax returns has pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor offenses in the rape case.

Darryl L. Adams, 44, of Glenwood Avenue, pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and two counts of assault Monday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. His victim was 14 when the offenses began….

Dawn Krueger, an assistant county prosecutor, said Adams used his status as a youth pastor in the boy’s church to take advantage of the teenager.

Knockemstiff is a Real Place

posted by on April 23 at 8:00 AM


This week, I review a debut collection of linked short stories called Knockemstiff by an author named Donald Ray Pollock. It’s a pretty great book, but not for the weak of stomach:

For quite some time, Harry Crews wrote nasty novels—The Gospel Singer, A Feast of Snakes—about Florida and the South. The amoral bodybuilders that tended to be protagonists of his stories did drugs, fornicated, and committed heinous acts of violence like it was their biological imperative. The characters in Knockemstiff could be their Ohioan kissing cousins.

The review was in the print edition of the paper, but there’s also a web-only interview that I did with Pollock about coming from the real Knockemstiff, Ohio, and becoming a writer at the age of 50. He also gives some really useful advice for aspiring writers:

I was 45 when I started writing, or trying to write. I wasn’t really writing; I was trying to figure out what the fuck you’d do when you write. Hemingway was a big influence mainly because when I started I would take a story I really liked, someone else’s, and at that time I was using a typewriter and I would type the story out. I’d usually try and choose a fairly short story. You get so much closer to writing, you can read the story, but you get so much closer to the writing of it when you type out someone else’s words. Plus it trains you to be able to stay in the chair and type, which is the main thing. I mean, you got to stay in the chair. So it was kinda good training for that, typing out Hemingway, John Cheever, Richard Yates.

I also ask him about the frequent appearances of bologna and luncheon meat in his stories. I was a little nervous about meeting him after I read his stories, but he turned out to be a nice, interesting guy, and the interview turned out pretty well despite my involvement. It could be worth your time.

The Morning News

posted by on April 23 at 7:42 AM

It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over: Clinton wins Pennsylvania, Wired has the breakdown.

If a Comptroller Says It, It Must Be True: The war may not cost $170 billion after all. Don’t spend the leftover change all in once place, America.

300,000: The Darfur death toll.

Check Your Fire: 90% of the guns used by Mexican drug cartels come from US gun shops and gun shows.

Waterworld: Greenland is melting. Only Kevin Costner can save us.

Information Control: FCC says Comcast was indeed fucking with your intarnetz.

Coffee Burn: Howard Schultz keeps the pressure on Clay Bennett.

Smashed in Sheboygan: Want to get rid of drunk driving? Let’s ditch Wisconsin.

And now, another great moment in Supersonics history:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Clinton Wins Pennsylvania

posted by on April 22 at 8:15 PM

Earlier: The polls are closed in Pennsylvania and, The Page says, the race is currently too close to call.

If it remains this close all night, then a lot more people will be sending Hillary Clinton breakup letters. But there’s no reason to think it’s going to remain this close. The earliest returns are almost always way off.

UPDATE: Get comfy:

Suburban Montgomery County won’t have its results until at least 10 p.m. [EST], we just learned from election officials. This is crucial because Montgomery is the third biggest county in the state, and results will be meaningless without Montgomery, which is perceived as tilting toward Mr. Obama.

5:30 p.m. CNN has the exit polls. Clinton won the white vote in every age bracket except for the 18 - 29 year old bracket, which she split evenly with Obama. Voters with more education continued to support Obama at higher levels than less educated voters. Gun owners strongly favored Clinton. Urban voters strongly favored Obama.

Voters who said the economy was their most important issue (55 percent) picked Clinton, voters who said Iraq was their most important issue (28 percent) picked Obama, and voters who said health care was their most important issue (14 percent) picked Clinton.

The black vote is sky-high for Obama and easier to see in the negative: Only four percent of black men voted for Clinton, and only 11 percent of black women voted for her. A majority of white men and women voted for Clinton, but the margins are not nearly as lopsided as with the black vote.

5:50 p.m. Maybe not that long a night after all. MSNBC says that Clinton has won PA. The question, of course, is: By how much?

6:05 p.m. The early spin from the Clinton camp, via Ben Smith:

Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee at the Park Hyatt in Philadelphia tells reporters:

“There’s beginning to be a subtle shift of psychology of a lot of the uncommitted supers,” Elleithee said. “[They] are beginning to wonder why Obama has been unable to win these thing despite all the advantages he has,” Elleithee said.

“There’s a lot of questions that are beginning to surface about him,” he said, while superdelegates are learning that “every time she’s got her back up against the wall, she delivers.”

6:30 p.m. So what’s that margin of victory? Right now, with only 16 percent of precincts reporting, it’s 6 percent.

6:47 p.m. NPR puts Clinton’s victory margin at 8 percent with about 35 percent of precincts reporting. That’s right in the “gray area,” the radio network says, in terms of Clinton claiming a decisive, meaningful victory.

7:07 p.m. Clinton to speak soon in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, with 45 percent of the precincts reporting she’s still at 8 percent.

7:13 p.m. Clinton, about to speak, enters to Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down”…

The crowd goes wild, chanting “Yes she will” as Clinton thanks Pennsylvania and casts herself as the champion of common folk and pocketbook issues. She speaks of gas prices, the economy, and the mortgage crisis—and of waitresses, police officers, and small business owners.

And then she makes a very plain appeal for money. Clinton was heavily outspent by Obama in Pennsylvania and the talking heads are saying she doesn’t have much money left to compete with him in upcoming states.

“We can only keep winning if we can keep competing with an opponent who outspends us so massively,” Clinton says, and then asks people to go to her web site and donate immediately.

Nevertheless, “the tide is turning,” she says.

“Some people counted me out and said to drop out, but the American people don’t quit and they deserve a president who doesn’t quit either… I might stumble and I might get knocked down but as long as you’ll stand with me I’ll get right back up.”

7:45 p.m. Now Obama’s up, with John Mellencamp in the audience and the song “Small Town” playing as he comes on stage…

Obama begins by congratulating Clinton and thanking his supporters. He then says of Pennsylvania:

“There were a lot of folks who didn’t think we could make this a race when it started. Who thought we were going to be blown out… Six weeks later, we closed the gap. We rallied people of every age, and race, and background to the cause. And whether they were inspired for the first time, or the first time in a long time, we registered a record number of voters. And those are the voters that will lead our party to victory in November.”

And then he pivots into a stump speech tailored to Indiana, which votes on May 6. He’s moving on.

8:15 p.m. With about 90 percent of the precincts reporting, Clinton has risen to a 10-point lead. That’s the margin that “conventional wisdom” had been saying she needed for a convincing win—convincing meaning that the chattering classes will now be convinced to give her the benefit of the doubt at least until North Carolina and Indiana vote.

8:30 p.m. That’s all for me folks. I’m off to a previously scheduled, non-political engagement. But keep it churning in the comments. I’m sure there will be more to say—if not about the results, then about the way they’re being spun—before the night is over.

The Subhead Says It All

posted by on April 22 at 7:22 PM


She won—but it’s not going to help. Hillary won’t be able to catch up with Obama. But she can stay in the race, divide the party, and fatally weaken the Democrats eventual nominee. Right now she’s Joseph Lieberman in a skirt.

She can’t win this thing. “It’s impossible for Obama to lose his lead,” says Chuck Todd of NBC News (via Americablog), she’ll need to take 69% to 70% of all the delegates in all the remaining states.

“Crazy numbers,” “impossible,” “the pledged delegate count is over”—when are the adults in the Democratic Party going to step in and end this thing?

UPDATE: Someone out there agrees with Josh….

The long-drawn-out fight for the Democratic presidential nomination is likely to benefit the party in the November general election because its campaigns are gathering massive amounts of data on voters, party strategists said.

Information gathered by supporters of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama during door-to-door canvassing has been passed on to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which plans to use it in the November election against the Republican presidential nominee, John McCain.

The data, which can be as simple as a correct phone number and address for a likely Democratic voter, will help the party mobilise its turnout operation and raise money for the costly general election fight, according to party strategists.

Today’s Seattle Times Opinion Pages

posted by on April 22 at 5:41 PM

Before the Slog lurkers at the Seattle Times jump down my virtual throat, let me say this: I like daily newspapers, I read daily newspapers, I occasionally write for daily newspapers, and I want to see daily newspapers survive. This criticism is offered constructively. Okay…

A lot of folks in Seattle subscribe to the New York Times—those little blue NYT bags are all over town every morning. The NYT, like a lot of papers, is having financial difficulties just now. But it’s the best daily paper in the country, truly our national newspaper. And for most daily paper readers—newsgeeks like me—the opinion pages are practically the whole point. They’re the reward for dutifully slogging through the national, international, and local stories. They’re what you look forward to, linger over, and savor. They should be engaging, challenging, entertaining and thought-provoking.

But the only thought that came to mind when I got to the opinion pages of today’s Seattle Times was… why bother? There are four opinion pieces in today’s Seattle Times and three of them were already published in the New York Times. The Bob Herbert column in today’s Seattle Times is three days old; the Nicholas Kristof column is two days old; the William Kristol column is a day old. (All three columns appeared on the NYT website the day before they appeared in print, so for those reading online the columns are actually four, three, and two days old, respectively.)

Anyone that subscribes to the NYT has very little incentive to check out the opinion pages of the Seattle Times. And without the incentive of lively, original, and local opinion pages, subscribers to the NYT are less likely to slog through the Seattle Times’ national, international, and local coverage. Let Postman write for the opinion pages. And why not give Goldy a column while you’re having your May-kover. And Sharkansky.

Give us something—anything—but day-old William Kristol.

We’re All Gonna Die!

posted by on April 22 at 5:09 PM

I love news about earthquakes, but man, this McClatchy wire story is getting stupid headlines.

The Tacoma News Tribune blares, “Chances of destructive earthquake rise slightly.” Actually, geologists have discovered a couple of new faults in our area—and that has led the U.S. Geological Survey to revise their estimates of the likelihood of a major earthquake in the state. The chances of an earthquake are exactly the same as they were this morning. It’s just that we’re now slightly better aware of them.

For Earth Day, Please Don’t Buy a Bamboo Shirt

posted by on April 22 at 4:59 PM

Hey, it’s Earth Day! As usual, that means it’s a day for you, individual American, to take a few small steps to “save the planet” while political and corporate America do absolutely nothing to fix the society-wide structural problems that are actually destroying the environment in the first place.* (See also: Al Gore’s “We” campaign, the P-I’s list of “52 tips for living green”—clean your coffee maker with vinegar! don’t dump your toxic electronics in the trash!—and any number of green-lifestyle web sites).

For example, check out Michael Pollan’s piece in the New York Times’ “Green Issue” last Sunday (which, by the way, is chock full of exactly the sort of “little things you can do” that make people feel better but don’t really have much impact, such as making a slow-cooker out of hay, buying organic bamboo clothing, and stopping junk mail.) In it, he attempts to answer the inevitable (and reasonable) question about such individual efforts: “Why bother?”

Let’s say I do bother, big time. I turn my life upside-down, start biking to work, plant a big garden, turn down the thermostat so low I need the Jimmy Carter signature cardigan, forsake the clothes dryer for a laundry line across the yard, trade in the station wagon for a hybrid, get off the beef, go completely local. I could theoretically do all that, but what would be the point when I know full well that halfway around the world there lives my evil twin, some carbon-footprint doppelgänger in Shanghai or Chongqing who has just bought his first car (Chinese car ownership is where ours was back in 1918), is eager to swallow every bite of meat I forswear and who’s positively itching to replace every last pound of CO2 I’m struggling no longer to emit.

While Pollan acknowledges, several pages in, that “some … grand scheme may be necessary” to prevent environmental catastrophe, he adds that until someone else comes up with that scheme we can all occupy ourselves by setting an example for other individuals. We can do that, Pollan argues… by planting a garden.

Rip out your lawn, if you have one, and if you don’t — if you live in a high-rise, or have a yard shrouded in shade — look into getting a plot in a community garden. Measured against the Problem We Face, planting a garden sounds pretty benign, I know, but in fact it’s one of the most powerful things an individual can do — to reduce your carbon footprint, sure, but more important, to reduce your sense of dependence and dividedness: to change the cheap-energy mind. […]

This is the most-local food you can possibly eat (not to mention the freshest, tastiest and most nutritious), with a carbon footprint so faint that even the New Zealand lamb council dares not challenge it. And while we’re counting carbon, consider too your compost pile, which shrinks the heap of garbage your household needs trucked away even as it feeds your vegetables and sequesters carbon in your soil. What else? Well, you will probably notice that you’re getting a pretty good workout there in your garden, burning calories without having to get into the car to drive to the gym … Also, by engaging both body and mind, time spent in the garden is time (and energy) subtracted from electronic forms of entertainment.

All of which, I can assure you, is true—I myself have spent much of the last several weekends destroying the lawn and planting a garden, and not only is it gratifying, tough, enjoyable work, it does indeed keep me from, say, dinking around on the Internet or sitting inside watching a movie. But a frugal, healthy, rewarding hobby does not an environmental revolution make. If it’s true that, as NASA climate expert Jim Hanson has said, we only have about eight more years to start cutting (not slowing the growth of—cutting) the amount of carbon we’re emitting, planting a garden—“bothering,” in Pollan’s term—may give us better food and something to do on the weekend, but it won’t do a damn thing to ensure that we don’t destroy our climate and our planet.

To be clear: I don’t think Pollan is wrong when he suggests that people plant gardens. Gardens are good, especially at a time when food prices are soaring. But they aren’t the answer to the question “How can we save the planet?” (Or even, for that matter, to Pollan’s own question, “Why bother?”) As an environmental leader at this moment in American history, it would be nice to hear Pollan suggest more radical changes—new regulatory policies; incentives and disincentives to push land use in a more sustainable direction; a massive education campaign aimed at schoolchildren who will inherit the climate we create—instead of blithely suggesting that planting a garden will raise other people’s consciousness enough to make a quantifiable difference.

*Footnote 1: I am not saying that a “thousand little things” can’t make some difference; just that individual efforts won’t, on their own, stop us from burning up the planet. If you don’t believe me, check out the debate going on over at Seattlest over the Global Footprint Network’s new carbon footprint calculator, which makes it basically impossible to have a “carbon footprint” of less than two “planets.” Put another way, even if we make all the individual changes we can, we’re still using resources at a level it would take two planets to support. Seattlest concludes that this is a “downer,” but I think it’s a message: Real change will have to come from the top down as well as the ground up. As a (very small piece of) evidence of that, the Times didn’t even print its “green” issue on recycled paper. Bet you that, until some percentage of post-consumer material is required by law, they won’t.

*Footnote 2: Elsewhere in the magazine, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner (the Freakanomics pair) argue that fixed rates, cheap gas, and free roads hide the “negative externalities” of driving—all the costs of driving that the driver doesn’t actually pay. These include congestion, emissions, and traffic accidents, among others. Added up, Levitt and Dubner estimate, those externalities total more than $300 billion every year—about ten cents a mile. Instead of lobbying for individual drivers to drive less, Levitt and Dubner make the case for top-down change: higher gas taxes, tolls and other forms of congestion pricing, and pay-as-you-drive insurance. Those are the kind of solutions that change behavior. Planting a garden, in comparison, is just a pleasant, harmless hobby.

Channel Crossing - Sylvia Plath

posted by on April 22 at 4:42 PM

On storm-struck deck, wind sirens caterwaul; With each tilt, shock and shudder, our blunt ship Cleaves forward into fury; dark as anger, Waves wallop, assaulting the stubborn hull. Flayed by spray, we take the challenge up, Grip the rail, squint ahead, and wonder how much longer

Such force can last; but beyond, the neutral view
Shows, rank on rank, the hungry seas advancing.
Below, rocked havoc-sick, voyagers lie
Retching in bright orange basins; a refugee
Sprawls, hunched in black, among baggage, wincing
Under the strict mask of his agony.

Far from the sweet stench of that perilous air
In which our comrades are betrayed, we freeze
And marvel at the smashing nonchalance
Of nature : what better way to test taut fiber
Than against this onslaught, these casual blasts of ice
That wrestle with us like angels; the mere chance

Of making harbor through this racketing flux
Taunts us to valor. Blue sailors sang that our journey
Would be full of sun, white gulls, and water drenched
With radiance, peacock-colored; instead, bleak rocks
Jutted early to mark our going, while sky
Curded over with clouds and chalk cliffs blanched

In sullen light of the inauspicious day.
Now, free, by hazard’s quirk, from the common ill
Knocking our brothers down, we strike a stance
Most mock-heroic, to cloak our waking awe
At this rare rumpus which no man can control :
Meek and proud both fall; stark violence

Lays all walls waste; private estates are torn,
Ransacked in the public eye. We forsake
Our lone luck now, compelled by bond, by blood,
To keep some unsaid pact; perhaps concern
Is helpless here, quite extra, yet we must make
The gesture, bend and hold the prone man’s head.

And so we sail toward cities, streets and homes
Of other men, where statues celebrate
Brave acts played out in peace, in war; all dangers
End : green shores appear; we assume our names,
Our luggage, as docks halt our brief epic; no debt
Survives arrival; we walk the plank with strangers.

She’s Destroying the Party! She’s Destroying the Party!

posted by on April 22 at 4:35 PM

I said it this morning—but this morning is a long time ago in Slog time—so I’ll say it again…or actaully, I’ll let the facts speak for themselves. From the updated NYT:

For the first time in six weeks, the Democratic presidential nominating contest returned to the ballot box as voters across Pennsylvania turned out in record numbers on Tuesday to cast their judgment on Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

Officials said the turnout was shaping up to at least double the 26 percent recorded in the 2004 primary, and perhaps approach that of a general election, even though there is no presidential contest on the Republican side. “It’s a crazy day,” said Stacy Sterner, chief clerk in Lehigh County, who noted that one polling place had 100 people waiting to vote when it opened at 7 a.m. Eastern time. “If I didn’t know better,” she said, “I would think it was November.”

Okay, so how is she destroying the Party again?

More From the Early Exits

posted by on April 22 at 4:20 PM

Via The Page:

Gun owners — Clinton 58, Obama 42

African Americans — Obama 92, Clinton 8

Made unfair attacks — Clinton 67, Obama 49.

54% of voters think Obama will be the nominee, 43% think Clinton.

Nickels. Nickels. Ceis.

posted by on April 22 at 4:06 PM

From today’s PI:

Mayor Greg Nickels wants to install a dozen video cameras in four city parks before summer hits and has asked the City Council to free up $850,000 to pay for them.

But Nickels partially circumvented the council’s 2007 freeze of that funding months ago — and quietly bought and emplaced a handful of the security cameras.

And then, the quote, from the Nickels? ….

Nope, Tim Ceis.

“We had two public places where we had some immediate public safety issues which we thought could be resolved with the installation of cameras,” Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis said.

And it’s Ceis issuing statements throughout.

Where is Mayor Nickels?
Why does he never speak?

And prepared statements don’t count.

p.s. Ditto Howard Wolfson/Hillary Clinton.

PA Exit Polls

posted by on April 22 at 4:01 PM

Drudge has plastered some exit poll data—unsourced—across the top of his website: “Clinton 52, Obama 48.” If those are the numbers they’re bad for Clinton. But are those the numbers? Says TPM

As you may have noticed Drudge has up what he says are 5 PM exit poll numbers showing Clinton 52%, Obama 48%. I suspect they are ‘accurate’ as far as early, un-weighted exits can be. But let me point out that my recollection is that pretty much all the early and unweighted exits we’ve seen this cycle have turned out to be wrong. And often very wrong. So this has to be taken with a real grain of salt. And that’s assuming they’re not made up entirely.

TPM goes on to link to results showing Obama at 52 and Clinton at 47, then links to Brendan Loy, who reminds us that “early exits have not only routinely been wrong but they’ve routinely been wrong in Obama’s favor.”

Should be a long night.

Seahawks Cut Shaun Alexander

posted by on April 22 at 4:00 PM

Two seasons after being the NFL’s MVP, Shaun Alexander is looking for work. The Seattle Seahawks released the franchise’s all-time leading rusher on Tuesday, reports NFL Network’s Adam Schefter.

Alexander has had two injury-filled and ineffective seasons since signing his [eight-year deal in 2006], including last season in which he ran for just 716 yards in 13 games. That was his lowest total since he replaced Ricky Watters as Seattle’s lead back in 2001.


Hopefully Alexander hits the bricks better than he hit the hole last season.

Tomorrow’s News from PA, Today

posted by on April 22 at 3:45 PM

Unfortunately, tonight’s results from the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania won’t be in by The Stranger’s print deadline. Our way around this problem? A printed Mad Lib in the upcoming issue that will allow you to have the political analysis and insight that you’ve come to rely on—provided you fill in a few blanks.

But it occurs to me now that this Mad Lib works for both the pre-primary present and the post-primary future. So as we all await the results from Pennsylvania, expected after 5 p.m. PST, have a go at predicting the news and what it will mean. Just copy the below, paste it into a comment box, and replace the bracketed parts of speech with words of your own. Then hit post and show the world how prescient (or hilarious) you are.

[Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama] won the Pennsylvania Democratic primary on April 22 in an [adjective] victory that [verb, past tense] expectations and showed that the fight for the party’s nomination is likely to [adjectives, nouns, verbs, some of each, whatever it takes].

Speaking at a rally in Philadelphia after the results were in, Hillary Clinton told supporters that she was [adjective] by the outcome [and/but] would never [verb] from her [adjective, then noun] to [verb] this country.

“The [adjective] people of Pennsylvania have sent a message,” Clinton said. “They want me to [verb], and I intend to do just that.”

Barack Obama, who was expected to lose and spent primary night at a campaign rally in southern Indiana, told the crowd that he was [adjective] by the turnout in Pennsylvania and that the results showed his campaign had [verb past tense] the [noun] and [verb past tense] the [plural noun].

“We knew from the beginning that this was going to be [adjective],” Obama said. “Tonight we showed that the [adjective] people of Pennsylvania want [noun], even though [adjectives, nouns, verbs, some of each, whatever it takes]. I hope Senator Clinton will [verb] and I look forward to [verb] the [noun] with her.”

Exit polls showed that rural voters had [verb] Clinton in droves, and that a majority were [adjective] by Obama’s controversial remarks, made at a San Francisco fundraiser, that suggested rural people were [adjective] about guns and religion because they were “bitter” about getting [adjective] by the economic [noun] of the past few years.

Turnout among younger voters was [adjective], helping [Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama] considerably, while turnout among African-American voters was [adjective]. Blue-collar voters were [adjective] about Clinton, while older white voters were [adjective] about Obama.

[Noun], a home-economics teacher in Scranton, said after voting at [noun] that she had made her decision based largely on [adjectives, nouns, verbs, some of each, whatever it takes].

“I just think that [Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama] doesn’t care enough about [noun],” she said. “As a [adjective] American I just can’t support someone who would [verb] the [noun] at a time when so many [plural noun] are [verb, then adjective].”

In Philadelphia, which is far more [adjective], Obama [verb, past tense] among [adjective] voters.

“We need [Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama],” said [noun], a taxicab driver who was voting in his [number] election. “I am so [adjective] about [noun] that I just can’t [verb] anymore.”

Pennsylvania governor Edward G. Rendell, who had been a strong supporter of Clinton during the campaign in his state, said he would now [verb] for [noun] as much as possible.

“It’s been made very clear to me,” Rendell told reporters. “People want [Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama] and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure [Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama] becomes the next president of the United States.”

This One’s For You

posted by on April 22 at 3:40 PM


This week’s books lead is a great story by Charles Mudede about the fact that most, if not all, writers write for one person. The writer that Charles uses to explore this idea? Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Robert Jamieson.

I can’t read this passage of Charles’s story without laughing out loud, which is really rare for me:

Jamieson’s reader is a reasonable man. When he reads, “I’d say that’s a wise allocation of limited police resources,” he thinks to himself: “Yes, I have to agree with you, Jamieson. This is a wise allocation of police resources.”

Does Jamieson have an ideal reader? And if so, should we be terrified of him? Some of the answers are here.

“Write any stupid comments you want… if you want to die.”

posted by on April 22 at 3:28 PM

Well, it looks like George W. Bush won’t be doing photo-ops with adorable African American kids for a while—wait, what am I saying? He only did those when he was running for president. Still, this gonna-kill-the-president video is a just a little intense—and a little illegal. And the kid is reading… right?

But go ahead and write a stupid comment, like the kid said, if you want to die. That’s always been our comments policy.

Thanks to Slog tipper Scary Tyler Moore.

Design Reviews: A First on First, a Second on Second, and the Great Technicolor North

posted by on April 22 at 3:15 PM

First Things First

The only thing missing from the northeast corner of 1st Avenue and Stewart Street is, well, everything.


It’s been a parking lot as long as I can remember. To see that corner used the way a downtown corner should be used, you’ve got to flip the calendar back 80 years, when it looked like this.


Touchstone Corporation plans to fill out the site’s zoning envelope, which limits buildings to 125’. The proposed development would stand 11 stories, contain 75 apartments and 100 hotel units, operating as a sister hotel with the Inn at the Market.

“We’re going to have a tall wall of buildings behind us,” says Paul Schlachter of Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen. The zone is a strip between the 65’ height limits around the Pike Place Market and the 400’ allowances on 2nd Avenue, where three buildings are slated for construction.


Images via Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen

“We have an opportunity to celebrate the corner and make a landmark as you ascend 1st,” says Schlachter. He envisions a restaurant on the top floor, satisfying Seattle’s pining for a restaurant with a view of the skyline and Sound, a la Cloud Room. He plans to include a courtyard connecting 1st Avenue to the alley, the location of the hotel’s main entrance.

Tonight’s meeting marks the first step of the design process with the city. Why build now, I asked Schlachter, considering the forecast of a stormy economy? “The timing just seems right. This piece of property is one of the most prime pieces in Seattle. Nothing has been done with it. It’s a mystery to us why this signature location hasn’t been used before.”

Cheer them on at 5:30 pm in the boards & commissions Room L280 at City Hall, 600 4th Avenue. After-hours access info is here.

Second Try

Environmental Works goes back to the design-review board tonight with a revised proposal for Bakhita Gardens on 2nd Avenue. It’s low-income housing for women and it rocks my casbah. You can read more and see the design’s previous iteration here.


Environmental Works

“[The design review board] liked the building for the most part but had a couple design suggestions,” says Brian Lloyd of Beacon Development Group, which is developing the project for the Archdiocesan Housing Authority. He says the board members asked to change the shape of the windows (less narrow), integrate the brick and the rest of the façade (no color-band between), and unify the roofline (remove the jagged lines). “I was a little frustrated… because you go into the meeting and don’t know what the concerns or objections are going to be,” says the affable Lloyd. “Upon further reflection, there are some good ides that are going to make a better looking building.”

The design board’s second recommendation meeting will be tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Seattle City Hall. More info here.

The Great Technicolor North

This looks like a promising development. High density. Underused area. Please, almighty Lord in the heavens, may it not be these colors.


A couple hundred feet from the Seattle-Shoreline border on 15th Avenue NE (here’s a map), Jackson Square, LLC proposes what it calls Jackson Square Multifamily. The six stories would contain 65 units and 88 parking spots.

Does “multifamily” in the name mean the units could contain two or three bedrooms for families—a welcome relief from the one-bedroom apartments for singles and couples that dominate the market? Kelly Shyne of the Justen Company, the architect, said it’s too early in the process for her to know how many bedrooms would be in the units. That’s really weird. Last night’s meeting was the second recommendation from the design board – the third meeting in all – a year and a half after the first payment to begin the design process with the city. Calls to Jackson Square’s Jim Abbot haven’t been returned.

Another life-changing experience after the jump.

Continue reading "Design Reviews: A First on First, a Second on Second, and the Great Technicolor North" »

First They Came for the Smokers…

posted by on April 22 at 2:57 PM

…and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a smoker blah blah blah.

Actually, the Stranger did speak up: We urged a “no” vote on Washington state’s smoking ban because of its unenforceable (and largely unenforced) 25ft rule. We did, however, endorse the concept of a smoking ban. It was a perfect Stranger position on a controversial issue: We managed to piss off everybody. Anti-smoking crusaders were furious that we urged a “no” vote and smokers were furious that we endorsed the concept. Yahtzee!

Well, anyway, just as some outraged nicotine addicts predicted in our comments threads… now they’re coming for the drinkers.

The campaigns to combat the effects of “passive smoking” are widely credited for Europe’s growing number of smoking bans. Now alcohol is in the sights of the public health lobbyists, and they have invented the concept of “passive drinking” as their killer argument.

I have seen a leaked draft report for the European Commission, which is due to be published some time in June. It makes claims about the high environmental or social toll of alcohol, the “harm done by someone else’s drinking.” The report is likely to inform proposals for a European Union alcohol strategy later this year.


Via Sullivan.

La Especial Norte, #1

posted by on April 22 at 2:52 PM

This morning the painter Matthew Offenbacher handed out two folded 8 1/2 by 14 sheets of brownish paper printed on both sides and with the title “LA ESPECIAL NORTE 1” across the top.

And that marked the arrival of a brand new Seattle artist “newsletter”—a thing like a zine, but not the kind put out by snotty teenagers. This is a publication made by artists. Career artists. Artists like Joe Park, Gretchen Bennett, Eli Hansen, and Offenbacher himself. And still, I worried it would be tragic.

The thing is great.

There’s an essay about shit in Seattle art (hence the brownish paper color?) by Offenbacher, and it’s better than most of what passes for essay writing in art magazines, drawing together works from Eric Elliott’s paintings to Susan Robb’s transformation of her dealer’s shit into art in a show opening this Thursday. (Offenbacher declares Stranger Genius winner Alex Schweder “our old master of [the] genre.”) What else? Porn by Hansen, Bennett’s personal, narrative “philosophy of street art,” Park’s interview with old-time Seattle curator Chris Bruce, and a reprint of Robert Smithson’s 1972 essay “Cultural Confinement,” which seems to suggest that Seattle artists are bristling below their polite surfaces.

As for images, there aren’t pictures of art in La Especial Norte, there are drawings of art. Which is better. (There’s a detailed scribble of Jenny Heishman’s Mud Thing, for instance—seen for real here—and a sketch of a 2005 staged wedding between artist Steven Miller and a pile of dirt. Bonus: I had no idea Steven Miller “married” a pile of dirt!)

I have no idea where you can get a copy. But the masthead-like thing on the back page says to contact for more information. It also says La Especial Northern will come out two or three times a year. I’m ready for the next one now.

Detail of Jenny Heishman’s Mud Thing, courtesy Howard House

Surrender, Dorothy

posted by on April 22 at 2:36 PM


Right now the New York Times has a terrific little widget at the top of its website that really drives home just how thoroughly and completely irrational Hillary Clinton is being by staying in this race. She’s lost—yes, even if she wins in Pennsylvania tonight, which everyone expects her to do. But as the NYT makes clear, it’s already over.

Things Are Tough All Over

posted by on April 22 at 2:23 PM

It seems that Al-Qaeda is also having trouble meetings its recruitment goals—how else to interpret the latest video communique from Ayman al-Zawahiri?

Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri criticised Muslims for failing to support Islamist insurgencies in Iraq and elsewhere in a new audiotape posted Tuesday on the Internet…. “I call upon the Muslim nation to fear Allah’s question (at judgement day) about its failure to support its brothers of the Mujahedeen (holy Warriors), and (urge it) not to withhold men and money, which is the mainstay of a war,” he said.

He also used the two-and-a-half hour message to urge Muslims to join militant groups…. “I urge all Muslims to hurry to the battlefields of Jihad (holy war), especially in Iraq,” Zawahiri said in the message, the second in a two-part series to answer about 100 questions put to him via online militant forums.

Perhaps Al-Qaeda should look to what the US Army and Marine Corps are doing to meet their recruitment goals…

Strained by the demands of a long war, the Army and the Marine Corps recruited significantly more felons into their ranks in 2007 than in 2006, including people convicted of armed robbery, arson and burglary, according to data released Monday by a House committee….

The 2006 and 2007 Pentagon data released Monday show for the first time the number of dispensations issued for specific felonies. The number of Army waivers for aggravated assaults with a dangerous weapon rose to 43 from 33. Waivers for burglaries increased to 106 from 36. Waivers for possession of narcotics, excluding marijuana, rose to 130 from 71 and for larceny to 56 from 26.

In the Marine Corps, waivers for burglary convictions rose to 142 from 90, while those for aggravated assault increased to 44 from 35.

The Army also listed a handful of felony waivers granted for kidnapping, making terroristic threats, rape or sexual abuse, and indecent acts or liberties with a child.

By the Way…

posted by on April 22 at 2:05 PM

My cat crept back in my bedroom window at 4 am after 13 days on his own, all skin and bones and smelling of eau-d’-underside-of-car, but very cuddly and psyched about the radiators. Thanks to everybody who sent me tips and good wishes. You guys are sweet—at least when the life of a kitty cat is at stake.

Found on First Hill

posted by on April 22 at 1:43 PM


Okay now, bug, tell us how you really feel about cabs

The Eternal Question

posted by on April 22 at 1:35 PM

Is one supposed to tip for take out? I’m not talking about take out food that’s delivered to your door, which obviously calls for a tip to a the delivery person. I’m talking about going to a restaurant that has table service and, instead of sitting at a table, picking up an order that you’ve called in or placed in person.

Maybe I’m awful for even asking, but this situation—picking up food in a box, being presented with an opportunity to tip, and not being sure whether or how much to tip—has been bugging me for years.

I will abide by the ruling of the Sloggy masses. Thank you.

Help Wanted UPDATE: No More Help Wanted!

posted by on April 22 at 1:27 PM


So I need a Books Intern. Technically, it’s an unpaid position, although you do get free books and most interns wind up writing pieces for the paper and those pieces are, of course, paid. Two past books interns have wound up as Party Crashers for The Stranger—go figure—and five former interns do regular work for me. I started as a books intern. Are you excited yet?

It’s ten to fifteen hours a week, and the primary duty involves compiling the readings calendar, along with other things like requesting books from publishers and etc. Organizational skills are a plus, but I’d be a hypocrite if I said they were a must. There is no coffee-fetching or other demeaning tasks involved.

Being a reader is a necessity, although favorite genres and topics are entirely unimportant. This is a good job for a bookseller or a student.

Send a query letter and writing samples to:

UPDATE: Whoa! Whoa! I’ve gotten five really good applicants—I’m going to have a hard time choosing between them. Thanks for the interest, but I’ve got all that I need. If it breaks your heart that the position is full, well, I’ll need another intern in three or four months. In related news, I’m heartened that so many smart, book-happy people read Slog.

(Image comes from the website for the movie The Intern, which I have never seen. This is not an endorsement.)

Backyard Primary

posted by on April 22 at 12:51 PM

Seems the 43rd District Obama people are sending buses to PDX to register Democratic voters on Saturday ahead of the closed primary. (If you want to ride down on a yellow school bus—the fancy double-decker is sold out—here’s the info. The deadline to RSVP is tomorrow at 5 pm.)


So far, I can’t find anything like it on the Clinton campaign site. What’s up, Clintonistas? You too busy to register voters?

“Ex-Husband’s Hot Tub Must GO!”

posted by on April 22 at 12:32 PM

From Slog tipper Stephen, a Craigslist delight:

I’m tired of looking at it. I never want to set foot in it again, so it’s got to go. We have taken this hot tub with us, every time we moved (I think mostly for “entertainment” for his “girlfriends”). It has always worked once it was set up. It can hold 4 to 6 people and I believe it is made by Clearwater.

With this last move, it never really got set up correctly, because the idiot EX put it in a location where, First you had to walk a ways across gravel to get to it (f***ing dumb). Second, he didn’t put a solid base under it so one side sank and it sits at an angle and of course the side where it sucks water in to cycle through is on the UP side… The damn thing has been sitting for 5 years…. He didn’t take it with him because he had to move into Mommy’s and I don’t think his girlfriends would be too keen on going to Mommy’s to you know….

SO….. If no one comes soon to get this Hot Tub abandoned by my cheating SOB Ex-husband, I’m going to take a sawzall to it, chop it into little tiny pieces and take it to the dump! SHIT! I’m almost hoping no one does come get it, It would make me feel better to chop up something that he loved!

If you want it, come get it. You must be able to take it way without any help from me.

Because the only thing better than a free old hot tub is a free old hot tub filled with spite.

Spinning Basketball on the Campaign Trail

posted by on April 22 at 12:27 PM

From an Obama Campaign Primary Day memo (Courtesy DailyKos), Obama spins some more basketball smarts into the campaign:

Behind in delegates and sporting a 14-30 primary record (not good enough even to make the playoffs in the NBA Eastern Conference), the Clinton campaign needs a blowout victory in Pennsylvania to get any closer to winning the nomination. Even President Clinton said that only a “big, big victory” will give her the boost she needs.

(For those that don’t get subtlety here, not only is Hillary’s record limp, but the Eastern Conference is dismal.)

Funny. You have to love the Big O’s game.

However, Team Obama is ignoring some of the nuances too. If we’re talking NBA analogies, Team Clinton has beaten powerhouses Boston, LA, and San Antonio, while Obama’s boasting about offing doormats such as Miami, Minnesota, Seattle (sorry), Chicago, Milwaukee, New York, and Memphis.

But ultimately, Team Obama’s got it right: Hillary needs a blow out today.

Straight Talk Express

posted by on April 22 at 12:21 PM

Wow, one of McCain’s top fund-raisers sure is forthright:

[Donald] Diamond is close to most of Arizona’s Congressional delegation and is candid about his expectations as a fund-raiser. “I want my money back, for Christ’s sake. Do you know how many cocktail parties I have to go to?”

In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on April 22 at 12:14 PM

Hail to the Thief Indeed: Radiohead has a lot of thanking to do…

Doo Doo Butter: Dave Chappelle (deservedly) spoofs R. Kelly.

Gotta Go Gotta Go Gotta Go Right Now: Trent Moorman investigates your options when you’ve gotta pee while on the road.

I Like the World and All, but I’m So Sick of Everything Being Green: Even musicians are getting in on the green action.

Sadly, Eric Grandy is Right: The new Weezer album will sound like a polished turd.

And the Cover Art Doesn’t Help: The new Weezer album will look like this.

The Young Influentials: The upcoming No Age record sounds like a lot of things.

Tonight in Music: Read about and listen to songs by the Sword, Sasha and John Digweed, Hot Chip, Yelle, and the Death Set.

Today’s Music News: Bright Eyes is back (kind of?), NIN make cryptic announcement, Pennywise cause a riot, and more!

June Pointer: Charles Mudede remembers a passed Pointer Sister.

ESC Semi Final: Geta, Complice & O Julissi.

Low and Lil Wayne: Together on the YouTube search charts.

25 Worst Rappers: Sure, the list is made by Yahoo Music, but they have a good point about the Chicago Bears.

Whatever, Stevie Nicks”: The best 45-seconds of the entire season of Rock of Love.

Oooh, Burn!: 50 Cent says “I don’t like Alicia Keys no more.”

Charles Mudede’s Natalie Obsession Continues: Here, here, and here.

You’ve Been Waiting Your Whole Life to Hear This: Scarlett Johansson sings Tom Waits.

Videos: Springsteen and Rage’s Tom Morello play “Ghost of Tom Joad”, a 10-year old covers Van Halen in Kiss face paint, and Aqueduct play a medley for Record Store Day.

And then there’s this photo… which is creepy and fascinating:


By Blush Photo.

A Tale of Two Magazine Covers

posted by on April 22 at 12:04 PM

Exhibit A: This week’s New Republic, which features an extremely unflattering photo of Hillary Clinton and all but calls her hysterical—attributing her decision to stay in the race to “voices in her head” and calling her entire campaign a “psychodrama.”


Exhibit B: An oldie but goodie from New York Magazine, which I happened to spot on a table at the gym last night. It features Bill Clinton dolled up as a First Lady in pearls, a red sleeveless dress, and an unflattering Jackie O wig. Because being the husband of the president is basically the same thing as being a girl—an ugly, awkward, sexually ambiguous girl.


There are legitimate reasons to oppose Hillary Clinton—the war, her husband, the fact that you think Obama will usher in a new period of nonpartisan hope and unity—but the argument that she’s just another hysterical lady, or that a female president would emasculate her husband, ain’t among them. And, as Jill at Feministe (an Obama supporter) points out, this is the kind of thing that really tears the party apart—misogynistic, pointless crap that ignores who the real enemy is. (Hint: He isn’t a Democrat.)

In Praise of Interns

posted by on April 22 at 12:00 PM

1. Nancy Stoaks, my previous intern and a scholar of Niki de Saint Phalle’s shooting paintings, has been invited this week to speak at the Tate Liverpool’s Niki exhibition. Not only that, but I am pretty sure Stoaks is sharing a billing with Griselda Pollock. Not bad. Stoaks also is the new director of James Harris Gallery. (Congrats!)

2. This morning, I got this email from artist/former intern/general maven of life Elysha Rose Diaz:

i’m in paris at centre pompidou. i just cried my way thru the most beautiful exhibit of louise bourgeois. and now i’m completely overwhelmed in the main section of the museum.

3. My current intern, artist Lauren Klenow, has a show up now of drawings, sculptures, and assemblage at Cafe Racer in the University District. Later, I’ll add a link to the show—the reason I can’t now is that she was too humble to enter her own show in the calendar listings she puts together every week so she’s doing one now at my request.

UPDATE: Here’s the link!

4. Another former intern, Carly Dykes, is now, in addition to being a regular and levelheaded Slog commenter, working in development for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art—which means she’s helping to keep LACMA alive.

5. Craig Brownson, yet another former intern and general personage, in addition to being a Stranger freelancer, has to his credit these immortal words: “Untitled (Gene Simmons Inspires Me) … is a sculpture of the iconic, giant tongue resting on some old weathered foam, a kind of homemade stage fit for that awesomely vile thing” and “A woman sprawls across an armchair, a toddler hanging upside down on her lap. Both seem bored as hell.”

Today is a day of love, and I love you, interns.

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on April 22 at 12:00 PM

From YouTube ProVIPPER

Van Darkholme &

posted by on April 22 at 11:57 AM


The last time gay porntrepreneur Van Darkholme—of the BondoGods video series and the recent book Male Bondage—made an appearance on a website other than his own, Bill Donohue’s Catholic League was using Van to terrify the suits at Miller Beer.

Well, this week—the SF-based online BDSM porn empire (here’s a great write-up of in The New York Times Magazine)—announced that they’ve hired Van to create a gay BDSM porn site for them. currently runs 13 sites—WiredPussy, Device Bondage, Hogtied, etc.—and all of them are straight. (And yes, in my opinion, TS Seduction is a straight site.) Did I mention that is based in SF? Home to, you know, lots of gay men? Some of them very, very kinky?

They were aware of the oversight. Says…

Having been searching for someone to help them break into the gay market for over a year, is thrilled to have finally found Van. His unique background and impressive body of work made him the perfect choice to develop’s next new website.

Van—who’s been a guest expert in “Savage Love”—discusses his new gig at BehindKink,’s blog.

Congrats, Van!

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on April 22 at 11:51 AM


From sea kay

Currently Hanging

posted by on April 22 at 11:28 AM

Ghost’s Untitled Blue, acrylic on canvas, 28 by 22 inches

At BLVD Gallery. (Gallery site here.)

Good News

posted by on April 22 at 11:21 AM

The latest from the awful case against artist Steve Kurtz, in this press release from Kurtz’s supporters sent out yesterday:


Buffalo, NY—A process that has taken nearly four years may be coming to an end. On Monday, April 21, Federal Judge Richard J. Arcara ruled to dismiss the indictment against University at Buffalo Professor of Visual Studies Dr. Steven Kurtz.

In June 2004, Professor Kurtz was charged with two counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud stemming from an exchange of $256 worth of harmless bacteria with Dr. Robert Ferrell, Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Dr. Kurtz planned to use the bacteria in an educational art exhibit about biotechnology with his award-winning art and theater collective, Critical Art Ensemble.

Professor Kurtz’ lawyer, Paul Cambria, said that his client was “pleased and relieved that this ordeal may be coming to an end.”

The prosecution has the right to appeal this dismissal. How the prosecution will proceed is unknown at this time. If an appeal were undertaken the case would move to the New York Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City.

Lucia Sommer, Coordinator of the CAE Defense Fund, which raises funds for Kurtz’ legal defense, said, “We are all grateful that after reviewing this case, Judge Arcara took appropriate action.” She added that “this decision is further testament to our original statements that Dr. Kurtz is completely innocent and never should have been charged in the first place.”

Obama on the Daily Show

posted by on April 22 at 11:10 AM

In which the candidate tries to put to rest fears that he’s going to enslave the white race:

The Videos I Would Tack Onto the End of ‘the Morning News,’ If I Ever Wrote ‘the Morning News’

posted by on April 22 at 11:05 AM

More here.

A Side, B Side Sculpture

posted by on April 22 at 11:00 AM

I’m just getting back from this morning’s Art Klatch at Cafe Presse, which was an introduction to San Antonio artist Dario Robleto. Robleto has a traveling show that’s coming to the Frye next month, but what’s cool is that he also created a new exhibition that will only be in Seattle, called Heaven Is Being a Memory to Others, based on the histories of Frye founders Charles and Emma—especially Emma. That show opens Saturday.

My first experience with Robleto’s work was earlier this year, when I saw the traveling group show Soundwaves: The Art of Sampling at the MCASD La Jolla. One piece in particular stuck with me. Seen here (click on Dario Robleto and then on the image of “Living With …”—sorry! I couldn’t grab an image), it’s a jar with humble little objects inside it, and it has two titles—one for the sculpture’s “A side,” and one for its “B side.” Here’s the double wall label (which Robleto refers to as liner notes):

Living with Death as Something Intimate and Natural, 2005/2006, oak tree twig carved from dissolved audio tape recording of the heartbeat of an unborn child and the last heartbeats of a loved one, dried flowers picked on foreign battlefields sent home by foot soldiers from various wars, thread and fabric from military uniforms from various wars, veteran’s old mason jar, mourning handkerchief, mourning dress fabric and thread, pigments, water extendable resin, willow, glass b/w The Artillery of Heaven, 2006, casts of excavated fired bullets and spent shell casings from various wars made with ground fulgurites (glass produced by lightning strikes when heat from blast melts surrounding sand), battlefield sand and soil from various wars, rust

It’s two sculptures but also a doubled single sculpture; its materials are combined, like the possessions of a couple in a household, but they have separate meanings. Since I saw it, I’ve been trying to think of what to compare it to, and the best I can come up with is sculptures or artworks that have double meanings, which isn’t quite the same thing. My mind runs all over the place when I think about it. I think I’m in love with the idea.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 22 at 11:00 AM

Dance Party

Hot Chip, Free Blood at Showbox at the Market

Yes, it’s sold out, but The Stranger suggests you do what it takes to get into this show—hit up a scalper, walk in the front door backward, pretend you’re the dude from Free Blood, whatever. Hot Chip’s latest, Made in the Dark, isn’t their strongest, but it’s spiked with some of the best songs in their deep party repertoire. Their live shows are out of control, adding live percussive shake to their nasty thump. And don’t miss !!! exes Free Blood, who were an unexpected highlight at this year’s SXSW. (Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave, 628-3151. 8 pm, $15 adv/$18 DOS, all ages.)



Art Klatch at Cafe Presse

Maybe you shouldn’t go, because it’s going to get crowded back there in the back room at Cafe Presse. But if you can get up this early, you deserve a chance to have coffee with visiting artist Dario Robleto, who is taking over the galleries at the Frye Art Museum this spring. It’s also your chance to see how the weekly klatch (hosted by gallerist Scott Lawrimore) works, and whether these art people are as pretentious as you think they are. (Cafe Presse, 1117 12th Ave, 709-7674. 7–10 am, free.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • The WNBA: Where Pimp-Slaps with a Backhand Happen

    posted by on April 22 at 10:54 AM

    Lots of sports-talk this week has revolved around the NBA’s Dirk Nowitzki choosing not to bite when an opponent tried to pick a fight on Sunday afternoon’s opening round of the playoffs. Seems like a no-brainer—fights mean penalties, and beyond that, the NBA’s had enough of a thuggish reputation in recent years. Unsurprisingly, a bunch of NBA yokels disagree…but surely, one of those wouldn’t be a WNBA coach like Michael Cooper, right?

    If you look closely, you can see the guy straining not to upgrade his phrase to “slap a ho.” The WNBA’s regular season kicks off on May 17.

    Commodifying Earth Day

    posted by on April 22 at 10:54 AM

    It’s Earth Day. Who wants processed chicken soup?


    From the label:

    By letting you add the water at home, we can make the cans smaller, which saves a lot of metal, and lighter, which saves fuel when bringing it to your local store shelf.

    Please, for one day, try to forget Campbell’s plastic packaging of its non-condensed soup.


    The green-label can is available exclusively at the earth liberation bunker known as WalMart. If you want to know why I was there, it was because I was purchasing a pair of sexist, anorexic, drunken, corporate, made-in-China pajamas.

    Butt Out

    posted by on April 22 at 10:50 AM

    Uh… man. This item in the Cabela’s catalogue has been givng me nightmares since a neighbor “shared” it with me last year…


    The Butt Out Tool is “the fastest, easiest way to disconnect the anal alimentary canal from deer or similar-sized game.” (Emphasis added.) I suppose it’s never too early to buy gifts for the serial killers on your Christmas list. Give ‘em a Butt Out Tool and they’ll “never go back to using a knife for this particular chore.”

    Horrifying. But, hey, at least they’re not calling it the Deer-E-Ere anymore.

    Hello, I Must Be Going, Part Two: In Which We Speculate About Why David Esbjornson Is Leaving the Rep So Soon

    posted by on April 22 at 10:40 AM

    One of the first things David Esbjornson did when he became artistic director of the Seattle Rep was decline to give an interview with The Stranger.


    “He is still in the process of learning about Seattle,” a Rep publicist said by way of polite refusal back in late 2005.

    It appears Esbjornson never fully succeeded in decoding the city. Last week, the Rep announced that he would leave in 2009, as soon as his first contract expires. (Four years is a relatively short tenure for an artistic director in Seattle: Bart Sher took the helm at Intiman in 2000. And Daniel Sullivan was AD at the Rep for 18 years.)

    True to form, Esbjornson has declined to say where or why he is going. I asked board president Marty Taucher whether Esbjornson was leaving because of problems with budgets, programming, staff, or community relations. “All of those,” he replied.

    Among Esbjornson’s achievements: being the first to maximize the Rep’s available space, programming full seasons in the secondary Leo K Theater; and being quick to identify young local talent.

    He entrusted the Rep’s production of My Name Is Rachel Corrie (a one-woman play so controversial, it was scheduled in, then kicked out of, New York) to excellent local artists: director Braden Abraham, actor Marya Sea Kaminski, and designer Jennifer Zeyl.


    The bet paid off with a successful show (my review here) and an extended run. It’s hard to imagine another major artistic director who’d hand over the car keys so willingly—and have the judgment to know which artists to hand them to.

    But Esbjornon’s season programming reflected his background as a freelancer; it didn’t cohere, but instead lurched from bold gambles like Rachel Corrie and Ariel Dorfman’s Purgatorio to vapid pap like Tuesdays With Morrie (which I hate, hate, hate on here) and Back Home Again: A John Denver Holiday Concert.


    During Esbjornson’s reign, the Rep has tried to be all things to all people.

    Taucher said Esbjornson has “pushed us to be more ambitious,” but that newer and sometimes undercooked productions, like The Breach, “have not achieved a lot of resonance in this market.” (According to numbers from the Rep, subscription sales are expected to decline six percent by the end of this season.)

    Those mixed results must be frustrating for a guy who had such a successful career as a freelancer. Esbjornson directed the first production of Angels in America (in 1991, at the Eureka Theatre Company in San Francisco) and was a favorite director of Arthur Miller, Edward Albee, and Dorfman.

    Maybe he wanted some of what Bart Sher was having across the street at Intiman: a stable base from which to fly off to work at Lincoln Center and the Met Opera, and to get, you know, Tony nominations.

    Which must have been doubly frustrating.

    But every exit is an entrance someplace else. Next year, Orphans, starring Al Pacino, will open on Broadway.

    Its director: David Esbjornson.

    Histrionic Democrats of the World, Pipe Down

    posted by on April 22 at 10:10 AM

    Democratic hack bloggers have pushed two story lines since Iowa.

    And they completely contradict one another. And we’ll see them again today.

    1) Hooray Democrats!!! Record turnout!!! We’re fired up and unstoppable!!!

    2) Hillary Clinton needs to get out of the race. She’s destroying the Democratic Party.

    Indeed, these contradictory narratives took hold after the record turn out in Iowa and then—at the same time—when lefty bloggers (and, frankly, the MSM) first started “asking” if HRC was going to drop out … and then projecting that she was giving “concession” speeches … and then, flat-out frustrated, finally screeching that she was “destroying the party.”

    Get a hold of yourselves, people. She’s not destroying the party. Yes, some of today’s big turnout in PA is rumored to be GOP meddlers, but once again, Democrats will turn out in record numbers.

    Hardly destroyed, the Democratic Party is obviously fired up and engaged. (Polling that occasionally shows McCain ahead of Obama or Clinton is not compelling evidence. Here, for example, is a composite tracking poll of O vs. McCain. It’s up and down with Obama currently ahead—and with the momentum. And here’s Clinton vs. McCain, basically in a dead heat and Clinton with the momentum.

    And look at the money race. Obama raised $41 million in March and has $51 million on hand. (Clinton raised $20 million in March and has $31 million on hand.) McCain? $12 million raised, $11 million on hand.

    If Hillary doesn’t win by more than 7 or 8% today, I personally think she should drop out because at that point she’ll have no case to make. But my word, to everyone who’s wasted our time with screeds about how Hillary’s destroying the party, STFU.

    Based on polling, money, and turn out, it’s simply not true.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on April 22 at 10:04 AM


    Four readings tonight, including at least one good one.

    First, and most importantly, we have Thomas Lynch at St. James Cathedral. I wrote about Lynch in this week’s Constant Reader. He’s a skilled poet, a brilliant essayist, and, by all accounts, a very good funeral director:

    Lynch has written three poetry collections full of ornate beauty. He writes the kind of poems that would be the perfect balm for the reader who fell off the poetry wagon back in 10th grade while feverishly trying to memorize “O Captain! My Captain!” for a graded test. From Lynch’s “A Note on the Rapture to His True Love”: “From a sunlit room/I watch my neighbor’s sugar maple turn/to shades of gold. It’s late September. Soon…/Soon as I’m able I intend to turn/To gold myself.” It’s just the kind of stately image that you’d expect from an undertaker.

    But then, later in the same poem, after the death imagery, comes the lust: “Anyway, I’d like to get my hands on/you. I’d like to kiss your eyelids and make love/as if it were our last time, or the first,/or else the one and only form of love/divisible by which I yet remain myself.”

    At Elliott Bay Book Company, local author Nancy Horan will be reading from the paperback release of her book Loving Frank, which is a novel about Frank Lloyd Wright, and his love affair, which was no doubt full of sweeping and futuristic lines, and didn’t age well.

    Marya Hornbacher is at Town Hall. She wrote Wasted, about her struggle with both anorexia and bulimia. Now she’s got a book called Madness, about her struggle with bipolar disorder. Perhaps next she’ll write a nice book about knitting, or a bad dog who taught her many lessons about life.

    And James Howard Kunstler is at the University Bookstore with a book called World Made By Hand, which is a science fiction-type look at the world after all that environmental stuff that Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio and so on and so forth keep saying is going to happen finally happens. Maybe someone should ask the author his opinion on plastic bags.

    Don’t forget that the full readings calendar, including the next week or so, here.

    Polls Open in PA

    posted by on April 22 at 10:00 AM

    The polls are open for the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania today. Predictions? Rumors? Innuendo? Lists of demands? Late-breaking, world-changing news that will alter the course of the campaign? Have at it.

    (Polls close at 5 p.m. PST.)

    Euro Up, Bush Down

    posted by on April 22 at 9:55 AM

    The Euro hits historic highs, Bush hits historic lows.

    Floppy Dicks

    posted by on April 22 at 9:51 AM

    From HorsesAss

    Speaking before a crowd of about a hundred Democrats at a fundraiser yesterday, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (WA-06) reportedly said that if Hillary Clinton wins “big” in today’s Pennsylvania primary, he believes the nominating contest will go all the way to the convention, but… if she does not win big—and given the current polling he has no expectation that she will—there would be no way the math could work for her, and he’d flip his endorsement to Barack Obama in order to help end the contest sooner rather than later.

    Maria? Patty? Ron?

    Bill Clinton’s Latest

    posted by on April 22 at 9:50 AM

    Listen to him say Obama “played the race card” on him here:

    And check Bill out trying to deny what he was recorded saying here:

    NBC/NJ: “Sir, what did you mean yesterday when you said that the Obama campaign was playing the race card on you?”

    CLINTON: “When did I say that, and to whom did I say that?”

    NBC/NJ: “On WHYY radio yesterday”

    CLINTON: “No, no, no. That’s not what I said.

    Via The Page.

    Synchronized Sinking

    posted by on April 22 at 9:42 AM

    Gay men may have “messy forms” and generally suck at synchronized swimming, Graves, but at least gay men can float.

    Medics rushed three members of the Seattle Synchronized Swim Team to area hospitals Monday evening after they passed out in the St. Edward State Park swimming pool during a drill, team officials said.

    The swimmers, ages 11, 12 and 13, had been in the Kenmore pool about 15 minutes when they began having difficulty, head coach Julie Abel said.

    “One of them was hanging on a rope and a coach saw her slip underwater,” team president Craig Penner said. “The coach jumped in and pulled her out, then looked back and saw two other girls on the bottom of the pool.”

    No Longer Will I Be the Only Grown Man at Safeco with a DS

    posted by on April 22 at 9:41 AM


    Stupidest thing the Mariners did last year? Some might answer not snapping up a real-deal manager like Joe Torre during the offseason, but the real answer is something a little more menial—charging fans eight bucks to bring a DS to the game.

    Nintendo’s ballclub (and source of a zillion video games starring Ken Griffey Jr) introduced a seemingly cool feature to Safeco Field last year, proving that the team’s demands for millions from taxpayers years ago were sound and prudent. In 2007, you could bring a Nintendo DS to the park and, through its Wi-Fi capabilities, use it to do all kinds of baseball-related things: Watch a muted TV broadcast of the game to catch instant replays not shown on the jumbotron, avoid lines by ordering beer and food to be delivered to your seat, and look up every matter of statistic about this game and any other MLB game that day. Trouble was, the money-grubbers wanted eight five bucks for the service per game—or you could buy an overpriced season pass and watch the savings melt away!

    I tried this out one game last year, and you know what I got? Food/drink prices that were at least $2 more across the already inflated board; a splotchy, hard-to-view video of the game that was already right before my eyes; and stats about the Kansas City Royals. Oh, and glares from the mom one row up, five seats over, who stated with her eyes that she didn’t appreciate me trolling for 12-year-olds on Pictochat. Not worth eight five bucks.

    Anyway, as of today, the service has been upgraded to free. I’m not getting my hopes up about the “new features” that are being vaguely promised—maybe you can touch the screen and start the wave or something?—but at the price of $0, I’ll admit that there’s some fun in forcing a poor concession stand girl to stomp to the top of section 344 and deliver chicken fingers to fatties, and when I used the thing last year, I did get a decent instant-replay shot of a guy getting beaned in the stomach. So to my chubby, violent, fully-grown DS-owning comrades, I say this—descend upon Safeco in droves, stare at your tiny screens mid-game, and be satisfied!

    (Apologies for the price error from last season. Even with the correction, the rip-off is still accurate.)

    Memoirs of a Slut

    posted by on April 22 at 9:28 AM

    Kerry Cohen has written two—two—whole memoirs about what a promiscuous, out-of-control cock-hound she used to be: Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity and Easy. I haven’t read either of them, and neither have the ladies at Jezebel, who say they prefer “learning by doing.”

    Like the ladies at Jezebel, I know a slut when I see one—and this Cohen woman? She’s no slut. Cohen is 37 and says she has slept with “forty-odd men,” according to an interview she did with women’s mag Marie Claire (“Confessions of a Sex Addict”). I don’t have the time, energy, or anti-nausea meds to wade through Cohen’s personal website, but presuming she became sexually active when most of us do—around age 16—her forty-odd sex partners works out to fewer than two dudes a year.

    Um… that’s not promiscuity, Kerry, that’s serial monogamy. Please make a note of it.

    More at Jezebel.

    Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

    posted by on April 22 at 9:04 AM

    Royce Lee Love, 24, of Vallejo was found dead of a gunshot wound inside a home on the 700 block of Virginia Street at about 2:55 p.m. Sunday, said Vallejo police Detective Joe McCarthy.

    Vallejo police interviewed a number of witnesses and arrested Love’s girlfriend, Jamie Elkins, 20, of Vallejo on suspicion of murder, McCarthy said.

    The couple have been involved in at least one previous domestic-violence incident, and last year, Solano County sued Love for failing to pay child support for their son, now 15 months old, court records show.

    Required Viewing

    posted by on April 22 at 9:01 AM

    TPM on the case of Cumberland County GOP Commissioner Bruce Barclay. Barclay was accused of rape by a male escort but he was ultimately cleared—thanks to his habit of secretly recording his gay sex romps with male escorts.

    Police found hundreds of hours of tape—hundreds of hours. And I suppose some poor cop had to review those tapes to find that one that proved that the sex Barclay had with that particular escort was consensual. Forget about playing baseball with straight guys and beating pillows with tennis rackets—wanna turn gay people straight? Make us watch the Barclay tapes.

    Richard Quest Thought Process Flow Chart

    posted by on April 22 at 8:40 AM

    We know what was wrapped around Quest’s junk (a rope, also tied to his neck) what was in Quest’s boot (a dildo), and what was in Quest’s pocket (meth). But what was going through Richard Quest’s mind when he got busted in Central Park last week? 23/6—”some of the news, most of the time”—has the flow chart.

    Lawsuit of the Day

    posted by on April 22 at 8:30 AM


    A jury in New York ruled that a hospital did nothing wrong when it administered a rectal exam over the objections of the man whose rectum they ultimately examined.

    Marrone said Persaud, 38, was injured while working at a construction site in midtown Manhattan on May 20, 2003. Persaud received eight stitches for a cut over his eyebrow at the hospital, but denied emergency room staffers’ request to examine his rectum, the lawyer said. He said doctors told Persaud the exam could help determine whether the accident caused spinal damage.

    When Persaud resisted, staffers held him down while he begged, “Please don’t do that,” Marrone said. Persaud hit a doctor while flailing around, so the staffers gave him a powerful sedative and performed the rectal exam, he said.

    Hospital witnesses testified at trial that the exam was never completed, but Marrone said that when Persaud woke up he was handcuffed to a bed and had an oxygen tube down his throat and lubricant in his rectum.

    It seems a little silly not to submit to a rectal exam if emergency medical staff think you need one. And I think I know where this guy is coming/panicking from: Every day at “Savage Love” I get letters from straight guys convinced that there’s some sort of “hetero-systems-override switch” in their butts. Flip that switch accidentally—with a finger or a sex toy—and wham! You’re a homo! And I’m not down with smacking doctors. But… uh… don’t adults have the right to refuse any and all medical treatment? Even potentially life saving treatments?

    Via JoeMyGod.

    Woman Killed in Downtown Apartment Building

    posted by on April 22 at 8:22 AM


    Seattle Police are investigating the murder of a 49-year-old woman, who was found dead in her apartment at the Frye Hotel last night.

    A neighbor of the victim went to visit the 49-year-old woman and found her front door open. When the neighbor entered the woman’s apartment, she found her body. Neighbors say they had not seen the 49-year-old woman since Saturday.

    Police were called to the Frye Hotel—which was converted to low-income housing in 1998—where police took a 48-year-old man in to custody. SPD has not released information on the man’s relationship to the victim.

    The Morning News

    posted by on April 22 at 7:42 AM

    GI Joe Stole My TV: The Army, Marines allowing more convicts to enlist than ever!

    Radical, Dude: Radical Islamic think tank to, um, figure out what to do about totally radical Islam.

    Paul-Bearer: As Ron Paul fades, his supporters have begun suckling at McCain’s teat.

    From the Man Who Brought You Canadian Bacon (The Movie, Not the Delicious Pizza Topping): Micheal Moore endorses Obama, continues downward spiral.

    We Will Control The Horizontal. We Will Control The Vertical: Rupert Murdoch, Bulgarians, Spies and the satellite TV wars.

    If a Cyborg Says It, It Must Be True: Stephen Hawking says there’s totally life out there.

    Candid Camera: City wants to install more cameras to watch you do it keep you safe in parks.

    So That’s Why Babies Are So Stupid: Baby bottles cause brain damage.

    Personal Foul: Seahawks’ Bernard arrested for assault.

    And now: fuck you, David Stern!

    Let Freedom Reign

    posted by on April 22 at 7:25 AM

    Theocracy is on the march in Afghanistan:

    In the latest battle of the long-simmering war between cultural conservatives and liberals, the minister for information and culture ordered television networks to stop broadcasting five soap operas on Tuesday, saying they were not in keeping with “Afghan religion and culture.”

    The minister, Abdul Karim Khurram, said last week that he had made the decision in consultation with the Council of Clerics, made up of the country’s most influential religious leaders….

    President Karzai has signaled that he sides with the conservatives in the controversy over the serials. Although he said that he would ensure the freedom of the media while he was in power, he has said several times that programs that go against Afghan culture should not be allowed.

    Priest Attacked During Religious Services!

    posted by on April 22 at 7:17 AM

    By intolerant representatives of the secular left? No, Joel. By other priests.

    Dozens of Greek and Armenian priests and worshippers exchanged blows at one of Christianity’s holiest shrines on Orthodox Palm Sunday, and used palm fronds to pummel police who tried to break up the brawl.

    The fight came amid growing rivalry over religious rights at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built over the site in Jerusalem where tradition says Jesus was buried and resurrected.

    It erupted when Armenian clergy kicked out a Greek priest from their midst, pushed him to the ground and kicked him, according to witnesses.

    When a church is attacked, or a mosque burned down, or someone somewhere is discriminated against on the basis of his or her religious beliefs, it never seems to be those intolerant secular lefties, does it? It’s always other religious people, people whose imaginary friend disapprove mightily of other peoples’ imaginary friends.

    The secular left, once again, isn’t intolerant and isn’t the problem.

    Monday, April 21, 2008

    Um, Sen. Clinton?

    posted by on April 21 at 9:31 PM

    Please tell me there’s some context I’m missing here. I wouldn’t put it past ABC to artfully select the most aggro portion of your quote to get people to watch Good Morning America tomorrow, but then again, you’ve been pretty consistently aggro on Iran.

    “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran,” Clinton said [in an interview set to air on GMA]. “In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.”

    So far, news organizations seem to be picking up on the “totally obliterate them” part. It is scary language. But what about the whole IF I’m the president, THEN we’ll attack Iran part? That’s a fucked up conditional statement right there.

    UPDATE, Tuesday morning: Clearly, Clinton meant to say IF Iran uses nuclear weapons against Israel, AND I’m the president, THEN we’ll attack Iran. That’s fine. In the future, I vow not to read politics blogs after watching horrible romantic comedies like Made of Honor, and Hillary Clinton should really vow not to attempt to compete with Mahmoud Ahmadenijad in the apocalyptic imagery Olympics.

    Re: Sen./Mrs.—the NYT and some other copycats use Mrs. I changed it to Sen.

    Weather Underground Shmeather Underground

    posted by on April 21 at 8:30 PM

    Not that I’m ragging on the Weather Underground, but let’s up the stakes a little, shall we (I mean who the hell knows what/where/when the Weather Underground even is) …

    Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence, but it was Bill Clinton who pardoned this Baby Boom Generation casualty/controversy:


    Weather Underground

    posted by on April 21 at 6:55 PM

    Hillary Clinton reamed Barack Obama at the last Democratic debate for being friendly with a former member of the Weather Underground—hey, let’s elect a post-boomer just so we can stop debating the fucking ’60s—and, well, guess what? Her husband pardoned former members of the Weather Underground. From Mother Jones:

    I asked Wolfson whether Senator Clinton supported the pardon Bill Clinton issued in 2001 to two Weather Underground radicals: Linda Evans, who was sentenced to prison for participating in a series of bombings in the 1980s, and Susan Rosenberg, who was charged with being part of a bank robbery that left a guard and two police officers dead. Whether or not the Ayers matter was a non-issue, if Hillary Clinton’s aides were going to bash Obama for having once had a connection to a former radical who had never been arrested, it seemed fair to wonder if she had opposed her husband’s pardons of two radicals who had served time for their crimes.

    Wolfson did not answer the question. Instead, he noted that the pardoned Weather Underground radicals had never held a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. I pointed out that was not the issue—and again asked if Senator Clinton supported or opposed those two pardons.

    The Clinton campaign has yet to answer the question.

    Via Sullivan.

    Re: Ultimate Fighting Jesus

    posted by on April 21 at 6:32 PM

    Someone needs to introduce Mark Driscoll to Shad Smith, an ultimate fighter and ex-con recently profiled in The New York Times Magazine. Smith is just the sort of man’s man that Driscoll, seeking to build his non-chickified, non-queer church, would like to bring to Christ. Hell, Smith sounds like a man after Driscoll’s own heart, what with his callused hands and big biceps.

    FOR MOST OF M.M.A.’S early years, Shad Smith was oblivious to the sport—he was in prison. In 1995, he was arrested for carjacking and began a four-year sentence, the first and longest of several stints in prison. But just days after he got out, Danny Caldwell, the brother of a childhood friend, told him he had arranged a fight for Smith. Caldwell, an M.M.A. enthusiast, was a co-founder of Tapout, a clothing company that sponsors fighters. “I’m like, Whatever, I’m still partying, partying like a rock star,” Smith said. “Three weeks later, they show up at my house.”


    We drove back to Smith’s modest-but-roomy single-story home, which he shares with his boyfriend. Recently, his parents, one of his brothers and a niece moved in—despite Smith’s adolescent fears, his family seems now to fully accept his sexual orientation. We walked into the green-carpeted den, decorated festively with a Christmas tree and other holiday knickknacks. Smith’s father, in pajama bottoms and shirtless, was sitting in an armchair in front of the television, watching football.

    Smith’s boyfriend, Jesse Empey, also joined us. Younger than Smith, Empey has an angular face and dark features and looks a little like Keanu Reeves. He’s a makeup artist and used to live in New York, and he met Smith through a mutual friend.

    The tape was already in the video player — Smith had called ahead and asked his mother to cue it to one of his street fights. On the video, Smith appears in a backyard, shirtless and in black pants, wearing boxing hand wraps. His opponent is a trained boxer, a much larger man. It plays out like Smith’s Felony Fights match. Smith’s opponent keeps his distance, throwing punches, while Smith tries to take the fight to the ground. After a few botched charges, Smith tackles his opponent, and when he establishes a full mount, his opponent’s father quickly intervenes and stops the fight before Smith’s punches can do further damage.

    “But keep watching,” Smith told me. The camera is fixed on Smith as he unwinds the wrapping from his right hand. The camera zooms in, and there’s a long patch of white running along one of his fingers. “That’s where my bone came out,” Smith said, smiling. “It hurt like hell, but I kept fighting.”

    You can read the whole profile here.

    Council Amends Development Standards, Despite “Disingenuous” Objections

    posted by on April 21 at 6:17 PM

    So remember how the council was getting ready to raise the threshold for environmental review in the city’s urban centers?


    Allow me to refresh your memory: For the past several months, the council’s Planning, Land Use, and Neighborhoods Committee (PLUNC) has been discussing legislation that would exempt a few smaller developments each year from review under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The rationale for this was that since the city set the original thresholds for environmental review, the council has passed numerous laws that do a better (and stricter) job of environmental review than SEPA. SEPA is, in effect, redundant with or weaker than a lot of existing laws. Plus, the council felt that the real issues most neighborhood activists had with new development—namely, that many new buildings are ugly and don’t fit in with their neighborhoods—would better be addressed through design review (which actually looks at aesthetics and neighborhood “fit”) than through environmental review (which doesn’t.)

    But anti-growth zealots never let the facts get in the way of a good two minutes of public testimony, and so, true to form, there was Chris Leman, the Seattle Neighborhood Council chair and a ubiquitous presence in council chambers. Glaring balefully at the council, Leman accused council members of telling neighborhoods that have “accepted” growth or light-rail stations that “you’re going to change the rules on them. You didn’t warn them about this. You still haven’t warned them! … Most of them don’t even know that they live in these boundaries where they’re going to have second-class citizenship.” Council members, Leman continued, “just cannot pass this today—especially during Earth Week… This is a terrible setback to citizen rights and the environment.”

    Lest you think these are merely the ravings of a lone growth opponent, check out the Seattle Times’ story about the vote, which picks up Leman’s thread that the change will “encourage development” by “easing environmental reviews.” (Editorial decrying the changes in 3… 2…) “The changes would require fewer projects to pass environmental review,” the Times story continues. Sure — about 2 dozen fewer projects a year, and only in the city’s six designated urban centers (the densest areas of the city). The projects would still be subject to design review—a process that actually gets at what anti-density activists like Leman are concerned about. In fact, the council will look at expanding the number of projects that are subject to design review later this year— a fact that can’t have slipped beneath the radar of Leman or the city hall reporter for the Seattle Times, especially since council members mentioned it several times during their discussion.

    Council members also had harsh words for Leman.

    “There was the case made that this is Earth Week,” said PLUNC chair Sally Clark. “Looking at the urban centers and trying to do smart development in the urban centers and recognizing that Seattle [has done] a good job of modernizing and bringing its code to a sophisticated level is consistent with growth management. If I felt that this was truly decreasing a neighborhood’s ability to affect development in their community, or if it was truly stripping back environmental review, there is no way I’d be supporting it.”

    Tim Burgess—who recently called Leman’s arguments against legislation requiring lobbyists to register with the city “ludicrous“—followed up on Clark’s comments, saying that Leman and his ilk were trying to sway the council and their fellow citizens with “disinformation and disingenuous comments” about the proposal. Burgess pointed out that the council has been discussing the changes since September 2007, and has had half a dozen public meetings about the proposal since that initial meeting. “There has been very adequate public discussion of this matter going back into last year,” Burgess said. “These changes are reasonable, they do not take away the environmental protections and environmental reviews that some have suggested [they do], and to suggest that is disingenuous.”

    Despite the fact that it was indeed Earth Week, the legislation passed.

    Ultimate Fighting Jesus

    posted by on April 21 at 6:16 PM

    It those Roman bastards tried to crucify Jesus today he’d tear off all their arms and beat the Jews to death with the wet ends—well, at least He would in Mark Driscoll’s fantasies.

    The message of Church for Men and GodMen is resonating with ministers of all stripes. Following Murrow’s advice, Don Wilson, pastor of Christ’s Church of the Valley in Peoria, Arizona, has geared his entire ministry toward reaching young men. And while his ministry is not to men in particular, Mark Driscoll, pastor of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church, nevertheless desires greater testosterone in contemporary Christianity. In Driscoll’s opinion, the church has produced “a bunch of nice, soft, tender, chickified church boys. … Sixty percent of Christians are chicks,” he explains, “and the forty percent that are dudes are still sort of chicks.”

    The aspect of church that men find least appealing is its conception of Jesus. Driscoll put this bluntly in his sermon “Death by Love” at the 2006 Resurgence theology conference (available at According to Driscoll, “real men” avoid the church because it projects a “Richard Simmons, hippie, queer Christ” that “is no one to live for [and] is no one to die for.” Driscoll explains, “Jesus was not a long-haired … effeminate-looking dude”; rather, he had “callused hands and big biceps.” This is the sort of Christ men are drawn to—what Driscoll calls “Ultimate Fighting Jesus.”

    Man, could someone from Mars Hill please explain to me again how this Mark Driscoll asswipe is so totally not anti-gay? Driscoll, by my reading, really seems to hate women and have a problem with effeminate men—including that pansy-ass savior of his. (Once again: misogyny = homophobia = misogyny.) I mean, Jesus just let those Roman soldiers nail him to that cross—what, He couldn’t go Bruce Willis on their asses first? Just to make a point about how he’s so totally not, you know, Richard Simmons? Jesus could still have died for our sins and shit, but there was nothing to stop Him from taking out a few of those Roman soldiers out with him, right? Can I get an amen?


    Now I don’t want to get drawn into a complex theology debate with an educated man’s man like Rev. Mark “My Wife Got Fat so I Sucked Off This Male Escort” Driscoll, but… uh… doesn’t Jesus love the little children? All the little children of the world? And wouldn’t that include children who are, you know, sissies?

    Or did Christ only die for the sins of preening, insecure douchebags like Driscoll?

    Dan Savage Saved My Life

    posted by on April 21 at 6:14 PM

    Today Savage came by and dumped a giant tower of books on my desk. We get a lot of books in the mail here at The Stranger, and sometimes they’re just addressed to just “Editor,” instead of “Books Editor” or to me personally, and those mislabeled books will frequently wind up in a box waiting weeks—sometimes months—for Dan to redirect them to me.

    In the pile that Dan dropped off today was this book:


    This is, of course, the book whose reading ended in a shooting a couple weeks ago in Tukwila. Inside was an invitation to the fatal reading. Which means that Dan’s disorganization could well have saved my life. Thanks, Dan. Maybe one day I’ll take a bullet for you.

    Hick Humm

    posted by on April 21 at 4:46 PM


    A sign is causing heated arguments outside of a church in Jonesville.

    Pastor Roger Byrd of Jonesville Church of God put the sign up which reads “Obama Osama humm are they brothers?”

    Pastor Byrd says the sign is not meant to be racial or political but rather to make people think.

    Man Shoots Self in Road Rage

    posted by on April 21 at 4:35 PM

    From the L.A. Times:

    Police say a man accidentally shot himself in the stomach after waving his gun in anger at a fellow motorist in Tempe, Ariz… after Lopez shot himself he tried to evade police by driving away but crashed his car and was arrested as he fled on foot.

    As long as the army’s recruiting criminals, maybe it should pick up that guy. At least he’s tough.

    Or this lady, who is my new hero (watch for the sneak airbag attack):

    Beautiful Space

    posted by on April 21 at 3:15 PM

    Because space is useless…
    …it is the ideal place for beautiful people. The beauty above is Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, Malaysia’s first spaceman. The one below is Ko San, a South Korean spaceman.

    Because Yi So-Yeon is so plain…
    …she has no business being in space. She must stay on earth, bare feet on the ground, hardened hands busy doing practical things.

    Useless spaceships and the stars are for exquisite beings like Jeon Do-yeon.

    On Making Scientific Decisions

    posted by on April 21 at 2:55 PM

    Ready? Prepared to have your mind blown?

    (cartoon via xkcd)

    Ideas are tested by experiment. That’s all there is to science. This is the only bar an idea must be taller than to take the ride of science as a legitimate hypothesis.

    An untestable, unknowable, incomprehensible supernatural force is required for the existence of living things—the central idea behind Intelligent Design, creation science, creationism, or whatever you want to call it—is inherently unscientific. If the idea is untestable, it cannot be scientific and has no place in a science curriculum—save it for the philosophy courses, or evenings after eating too many enhanced baked goods.

    This latest assault by the anti-science, pro-creationist crowd—to whine that their ideas aren’t given a fair shake in the scientific community due to some overarching conspiracy—is a three year old having a temper-tantrum upon being told he is too short to go on a roller coaster. This idea of a supernatural being, at its very core, refuses to be tested. It might be true, it might be false, but it’s certainly never going to be scientific.

    Continue reading "On Making Scientific Decisions" »

    Re: And You Thought Mr. Right Was Hunted to Extinction

    posted by on April 21 at 2:41 PM

    Kermit seeks Piggy.


    Some time ago, I found an original full head rubber Miss Piggy mask, circa 1977, complete with a full head of long blond hair. I am looking for a tall, sexy BBW, preferably over 300 pounds, to wear this mask to bed. She should also be open to playing with plastic wrap and liquid latex. Blonde is best, I suppose, but not necessary. Who knows – for the right woman I might just get a green rubber suit and a Kermit mask.

    The Final (Yeah, Right) Countdown

    posted by on April 21 at 2:35 PM

    It’s been more than a month since the last Democratic primary. Remember March 11 in Mississippi? I’d bet a lot of our readers would like to go back to that moment in time—back before the reviled ABC debate, before “bitter”-gate, before the Rev. Wright tapes and the Crown Royal shot and the gutter balls and the Jay Z mimicking. But the nominating calendar waits for no one, so on we go…

    To Pennsylvania, where, in less than 24 hours, we’ll know which candidate has won, by how much, and who’s doing what about it.

    The conventional wisdom is that Hillary Clinton needs to win by more that 10 points in order to have any reasonable justification for continuing her campaign. But it’s not clear that this conventional wisdom matters to anyone but the conventional-wisdom-makers. Clinton has already stated repeatedly that her plan is to take it “all the way to the convention.” Obama? He’s not expected to win, and is telling people that he simply hopes to do better than expected.

    While we wait, here’s the latest, for your afternoon clicking pleasure:

    Clinton’s new ad: It features Osama bin Laden, prompting Obama criticism that she’s using a Bush-like “politics of fear.”

    Drudge: Claims Clinton’s internal polling puts her up by 11, which the Clinton campaign strongly disputes.

    Smackdown: Clinton and Obama are both set to appear on WWE Raw tonight.

    The next debate: Not happening, and maybe that’s a good thing.

    Bowers: What needs to be done to end it now.

    Kos and Aravosis: Clinton can’t win for winning.

    Polls galore: Get em here.

    Primary night parties? Not for Obama. He’ll be in Indiana. Meanwhile, Clinton will be in Philidelphia.

    Next up: Guam on May 3.

    Seahawk Arrested on Domestic Violence Charge

    posted by on April 21 at 2:25 PM

    Originally posted at 11:49 AM

    Seattle Seahawk defensive tackle “Rocky” Bernard was booked into the King County Jail early this morning for a domestic violence related assault. Bernard—whose full name is Robert Eugene Bernard Jr.—was, according to sources, celebrating his birthday at the Ibiza nightclub on 2nd and Yesler.

    The Seattle Seahawks have not yet responded to requests for comment.


    UPDATE: According to the police report, Bernard got into an altercation with an ex-girlfriend—who is also the mother of his child—while at the club. The report say Bernard punched the 21-year old woman in the forehead, which sent her backwards into a glass divider.

    The report says the woman ran out of the club with a friend, and into the friend’s car. While the woman was inside the car, Bernard stood against the vehicle, pounding on the windows.

    The woman drove to a “safe location” and called 911. Officers called Ibiza to locate Bernard, who was later arrested at the club.

    No charges have been filed, but the City Attorney’s office says the case should be forwarded to them tomorrow morning.

    The Students Speak

    posted by on April 21 at 2:18 PM

    Courtesy of Postman:

    A crew of journalism students is filing from Pennsylvania in the run up to tomorrow’s primary vote.

    Good writing and reporting … and ouch, a pretty bleak post on Hillary’s courthsip of the youth vote.

    At 8:37 p.m., which was approximately twenty minutes before Hillary Clinton took the stage, there were 1, 717 people total in attendance. There was no line outside. Not even half of the bleachers were filled inside the gymnasium of the Rec Hall.

    And You Thought Mr. Right Was Hunted to Extinction

    posted by on April 21 at 2:08 PM

    He says he has a “squeeze fetish,” but more than anything he seems to have an internet humiliation fetish.

    Thank you, Slog tipper Matt Fuckin’ Hickey. (And FYI: Both video and audio are SFW, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to make you want to die.)

    “Large assortment of house balls, shoes, bowling pins…”

    posted by on April 21 at 2:04 PM

    Do you need a dozen swirly-patterned bowling balls, a rotating refrigerated pie display case, or a feeling of profound emptiness that takes you by surprise and doesn’t let you go for a long time? The auction of the contents of Sunset Bowl in Ballard is tomorrow morning, and the heartbreak is free.


    (This time last year I went to the last night at Leilani Lanes in Greenwood, where the woman who bowled the ceremonial last ball turned and said, “Now I can cry,” walked into the arms of the closest human, and started weeping. The last ball was a spare. The closest human was me. The auction, too, was destroying, with big boxes of house shoes sitting on the polished lanes as if all the bowlers had been exterminated in order of foot size. I had every intention of going to the last night at the Sunset a week ago Sunday to pay my respects, but then I just went to bed instead.)

    Two Unrelated Book Items of Interest

    posted by on April 21 at 1:58 PM

    Over here, Colson Whitehead profiles original gangster and Love and Consequences memoirist Margaret B. Jones, who was revealed to be a non-ethnic fiction writer named Margaret Seltzer:

    But here I am, following her lead and diving under a table. Clutching my Mr. Pibb, I look into the street and see the slowing car, the window rolling down. Even a pampered upper-middle-class journalist like me knows what that means: Drive-by.

    The seconds pass. I gaze into Margaret B. Jones’s flinty Cherokee eyes, and I’m calmed by what I see there. They’re eyes that say, “I’ll take care of you.” After what seems like an eternity, the gray Volvo rounds the corner and is gone.

    “Reflex,” she says as we resume our lunch on the patio of Paco’s Chick ’n Waffle in Compton. “You never really get out of the game. When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way. There ain’t no getting out, homey. I saw that guy behind the wheel and thought, He looks like a Shark, I better duck.”

    And over here, there’s news that three authors—Arthur Phillips, Curtis Sittenfeld, and Jane Smiley—are writing branded fiction that features a Lexus in some major way for Lexus Magazine. Phillips, after his debut novel Prague, proved to be a pretty big hack anyway, and Sittenfeld, after her heavily biographical debut novel Prep, was probably going to disappear, but I wish that there was some way for me to retroactively remove the recommends star that I put on Jane Smiley’s reading last week.

    Re: The Post Dan Did About Collapsing Housing Prices in the Far Flung DC Suburbs!

    posted by on April 21 at 1:48 PM

    Dear everyone who made fun of the Stranger’s hit on Prop 1—in short, sometimes the wrong light rail lines create sprawl rather than density—and dear everyone who made fun of me in particular for using DC’s far-flung suburbs as my case study:

    The NPR report about the failing suburbs that Dan posted zoomed in those very same DC burbs.

    Preserving the Open Spaces and Vintage Character of… Parking Lots?

    posted by on April 21 at 1:45 PM

    Get a load of this debate around a proposed development in Madrona. Slog reader and urban village sensei David Sucher wrote about the hysteria on Saturday, so did hugeasscity. I wrote about the project back on the 2nd of April, praising the design.


    The next day, the Central District News reported neighborhood discontent over the invasive species: “I sure wouldn’t want a 3-story wall to suddenly pop up and block all the light into my house.”

    Then The Madrona News—a community council newsletter—got its pages in a bunch:

    As many of you know, the parking lot at 1126 34 Ave, across from St. Clouds, may soon become a large multi-use commercial building…. Many of us in Madrona fear that this development will negatively impact the open spaces and vintage character of Madrona and set a precedent for future structures on 34th Avenue.

    Ah, the open space and character of Madrona, where asphalt is the proverbial loom of the community’s fabric. Ahem. Let us observe the open space and vintage character currently on the site.


    Continues the Madrona News’ case (this .pdf is via hugeasscity), “The proposed structure would be enormous compared to its neighbors…” Right, there’s nothing of this size anywhere in Madrona. Except, well, perhaps this building—across the street.


    This three-story building is larger—running from corner to corner (between 34th and 33rd Aves). It contains Verite coffee, always busy, and an adorable little store at street level, and apartments up top. When I was a kid, that site supported only a few single-story apartments. How many people used that space then. A handful. But how many of them now regularly patronize the businesses there or live in the apartments now? Tons of ‘em. Likewise, how many neighbors use the private parking lot at the site of the proposed building? Few, if any. But I’ll bet they’ll be hanging out in the restaurant that goes into that space.

    Jeez, persnickety neighbors, that block is an arterial zoned for mid-rise, mixed-use development—because 34th and Union is the neighborhood center. That parking lot’s destiny was to become a multi-story, multi-use development. The proposal could have sucked. But, instead, it’s beautiful, using natural materials and an environmentally sustainable design. Count your blessings.

    Speaking of topics I wrote about on Slog that later became big issues, last Monday I wrote about the incentive to build around the light rail station on MLK and Othello. Lo and behold, that was also the topic of a full-page cover story in the Sunday Times/PI.

    The US Army: Now with more sex offenders, child abusers, and crazy people.

    posted by on April 21 at 1:45 PM

    Some bad news, via the Guardian.

    The US army doubled its use of “moral waivers” for enlisted soldiers last year to cope with the stress of the Iraq war, allowing convicted sex offenders, people convicted of making terrorist threats and child abusers into the military, according to new records released today.

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

    posted by on April 21 at 1:45 PM

    Tonight in Music: The Raconteurs, New Bloods, Excepter.

    Today’s Music News: Fergie sings Sex in the City song, Catpower breaks down, Velvet Revolver goes online to find a new singer, a Jay Reatard show gets destroyed, and so much more. (See the Jay Reatard video here.)

    Seriously?: Girls offer to do keg stands through Craigslist ad.

    Videos: Japanther at the Punkin House, and mid-90s R&B lives again through indie rock.

    Eye Candy: Griet Verlinde on Eurovision Semi Finals 1-3.

    The War on Emo: It still rages on.

    RIP Otis: Remembering Otis Redding via his stellar Monterey Pop Festival performance.

    RIP Tupac: Remember Tupac Shakur via… the games aisle in a drug store?

    New Mates of State: It makes Jeff Kirby want to go back to bed.

    Yay Record Store Day!: And free CDs and free buttons and free live music and delicious cupcakes.

    How Aboot That: Canadian hiphop.

    And Finally: Charles Mudede devotes his day to Natalie Merchant here and here.


    Obama: “100 Years” McCain Would Be Better than Bush

    posted by on April 21 at 1:42 PM

    “You have a real choice in this election. Either Democrat would be better than John McCain,” Obama said to cheers from a rowdy crowd in central Pennsylvania. Then he said: “And all three of us would be better than George Bush.”

    Um, dudeΩ: Really?

    (Relevant quotes from above: 1) McCain (in response to a question about how many years the US should stay in Iraq): “Make it a hundred. … We’ve been in South Korea … we’ve been in Japan for 60 years. We’ve been in South Korea 50 years or so. That would be fine with me.” 2) Republican Sen. Bob Smith: “[McCain’s] temper would place this country at risk in international affairs, and the world perhaps in danger. In my mind it should disqualify him.” 3) McCain again: “I do not support Roe v. Wade. I think it should be overturned.”

    The Most Trusted Name in Kink

    posted by on April 21 at 1:39 PM

    If you’re going to ruin your broadcasting career, you might as we go out in spectacular fashion:

    CNN personality Richard Quest was busted in Central Park early yesterday with some drugs in his pocket, a rope around his neck that was tied to his genitals, and a sex toy in his boot, law-enforcement sources said.

    Quest, 46, was arrested at around 3:40 a.m. after a cop spotted him and another man inside the park near 64th Street, a police source said.

    (Thanks to Slog-tipper Julie.)

    How Theater Failed America

    posted by on April 21 at 12:49 PM

    Mike Daisey has opened his new show, How Theater Failed America at Joe’s Pub in New York.

    See the (mixed) NYT review here:

    He may not have much to say, but he says it with enough mastery to restore that sense of wonder to the theater.”

    See Daisey’s reactions to the reactions to his piece (and reactions to a galvanizing essay he published in The Stranger) at


    posted by on April 21 at 12:42 PM

    I had no idea bullfighting had such a doping problem:

    Bulls will face tighter controls for steroids and other drugs at bullfights held next month as part of Madrid’s San Isidro festival, daily Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported Monday, citing organisers.

    Any bull that behaves in a suspect way in the ring during the festival, which will begin on May 11 and last for over a month, will undergo anti-doping testing after the bullfight, the newspaper said.

    Bulls were tested at the festival before, but this time around testing will be quicker and more systematic since it will be carried out for the first time at a laboratory in Madrid, it said.

    If an animal is found to have taken a banned substance, the rancher who supplied the bull can face a fine of up to 60,000 euros (95,000 dollars).


    Cover Album

    posted by on April 21 at 12:02 PM


    Nathaniel Rich, who’s reading at Elliott Bay Book Company tonight, has written a debut novel about a novelist named Constance Eakins called The Mayor’s Tongue. Since just about every major publisher release has its own website nowadays, there is a Nathaniel It’s a cleverly-designed website, but the best part about it is the cover gallery of Constance Eakins books. Supposedly, the fictional Eakins had a great loathing for all of his book covers, which sounds a lot like Nabokov’s hatred of all but—I believe—one of his book covers.

    There’s also a Flickr pool where people can contribute their own Constance Eakins book jacket covers. I like the above cover, if just because of the weirdness of the ladies’ legs sticking up in silhouette, but there are some other real joys, too.

    I have a ton of paperbacks from the 70’s that look like this:


    And this one could be a Gore Vidal paperback from the 70’s or 80’s. It’s a great walk down book design memory lane.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on April 21 at 12:01 PM

    From YouTube rtve

    The Commie Menace

    posted by on April 21 at 11:49 AM

    California may finally be getting over the Cold War:

    Sen. Alan Lowenthal thinks it’s about time that California removes some of the last vestiges of the Cold War from its laws.

    The Long Beach Democrat has introduced a bill that would scrap statutes allowing teachers and other public employees to be fired for being members of the Communist Party.

    The measure, scheduled to be considered Wednesday by the Senate Education Committee, also would drop a requirement that representatives of organizations seeking to use school facilities sign a form stating they do not have communist affiliations.

    Lowenthal said the measure would drop old laws that were adopted at the height of the Red Scare following World War II and that have been found unconstitutional by the courts.

    “Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the threat between us and communism just isn’t there…,” he said in an interview. “They are not a danger to our liberty, and the courts have uniformly said that.”

    Sounds reasonable enough. Anybody object?

    But some conservative groups and bloggers have sharply criticized the measure, contending it would lead to the indoctrination of students.

    “Less than 20 years after the fall of the communist Soviet Union, California lawmakers are eager to once again begin advancing a political ideology responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people,” Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Family Impact, said in a statement.

    Instead of promoting communism in our schools, lawmakers should be focused on actually teaching students to read, write and think for themselves.”

    Commies: still able to brainwash after all these years.

    (Via Orcinus.)

    Commenter-Generated Audio Art

    posted by on April 21 at 11:47 AM

    Earlier this morning, Dan posted a report of some blood-curdling, dingo-ate-my-baby screaming that disturbed the sleep of a citizen last night near Denny and Olive Way.

    In the comments to the post, JC wrote:

    There’s someone who lives in the Bonneville, across from Half Price Books, who screams out her window at all hours of the day. I made a recording of it once and posted it to YouTube.

    JC wasn’t kidding.

    As JC writes, “We call her the Dolphin Lady.” Does anyone know anything else about this beguiling screamstress?

    Done and Done

    posted by on April 21 at 11:37 AM

    Yinka Shonibare’s prognosis for the art world, from an Artworld Salon report of a recent Artforum panel about art and money: “We will move from the fetishization of material to the fetishization of the idea.”

    There has to be a fetish!

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on April 21 at 11:00 AM

    Jennifer Diamanti’s Expression 2, ink on paper, 13 by 10 inches

    At Shift Studio. (Gallery site here.)

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on April 21 at 11:00 AM

    Dub Poetry

    Linton Kwesi Johnson at Triple Door

    Between 1978 and 1985, the sociologist, atheist, and reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson released four albums that demanded the transformation of postindustrial Britain: the end of “sus” laws, the improvement of immigrant rights, and, most importantly, the freedom to party. What British racism blocked was black joy and black happiness. LKJ, a very serious soul—he only wrote one love song during his peak period—recognized the importance of coupling radical politics with popular music and getting down to a good groove. (Triple Door, 216 Union St, 838-4333. 7:30 pm, $20 adv/$25 DOS, all ages.)


    LGBT Center Death Rattle

    posted by on April 21 at 10:43 AM

    Seattle’s LGBT Center announced on Friday that it won’t be holding a third-annual, money-losing, insanely-divisive Queerfest in Volunteer Park the day before the Gay Pride parade this June. Instead Queerfest “will be held at smaller venues around the city,” according to an article in Friday’s SGN.

    Obsessive observers of gay community infighting will recall that the LGBT Center launched Queerfest two years ago after the organizers of Seattle Pride moved Seattle’s annual Gay Pride parade downtown. The SGN and gay bar owners on Capitol Hill opposed the move and various self-appointed spokesdouches for the gay community insisted that the parade belonged on Capitol Hill, that the move was a betrayal of the gay community, that gays and lesbians would boycott the downtown parade, etc. And the geniuses in charge of LGBT Center at the time decided to launch a competing event because, they claimed, it was what “the community” wanted. But “the community,” it turned out, rather liked the idea of a parade through the center of the city. Tens of thousands turned out for a downtown parade that was a huge hit, if a financially mismanaged one.

    The first Queerfest, in contrast, was a poorly-attended money-loser. And so was the second annual Queerfest. And the third one will be too, in whatever form it takes, if the LGBT Center is foolish enough to go ahead with it.

    Anyway, I wanted to bring up the controversy over moving the parade off Capitol Hill—which is the only reason Queerfest existed in first place—because of this:

    [Ivan Wright, newly elected co-president], explained the Center’s new plans for this year’s event. “What we’re trying to put together now is a Queerfest event throughout the month of June, which will be held & certainly at Neighbours—they’re one of the sponsors of the event—and beyond that I’m not sure. We’re still very early into this in terms of bringing it together, but we’re hoping to get several venues around Capitol Hill and beyond.”

    Capitol Hill and beyond? Beyond Capitol Hill? As in, “off Capitol Hill”? Excuse me for bringing this up, but the whole point of Queerfest—and the divisions it created, and the money it lost, and the community center is caused to implode—was to keep Seattle’s gay pride events on Capitol Hill where the shriekers insisted they belonged.

    Hey, SGN! The LGBT Center is moving Queerfest—bits and pieces of it—off the hill! Where are the charges of betrayal and heresy? Where are the furious letters from the gay community’s outraged spokesdouches? What? No quotes from angry bar owners? No calls for the board of the LGBT Center to resign? What gives?

    Romance Authors Gone Bad

    posted by on April 21 at 10:41 AM


    I remember back when I was in high school and my friends and I were trying to figure out what we wanted to do—all of us wanted to be writers, of course—one of the things we considered doing was to write romance novels under a pen name. After all, we reasoned, how goddamned hard can it be to write romance novels?

    Apparently, it’s a lot harder than it seems. Last week, I linked to a story about a romance author who couldn’t handle a three-star review in Amazon and so started intimidating and stalking her fan. This week, publisher Signet announced that they’re firing romance author Cassie Edwards, author of Savage Moon, Running Fox, and Savage Longings. This is probably because she appeared to have lifted huge passages from very old novels and historical texts and plunked them into the middle of her books. Maybe soon, Danielle Steel will threaten Nora Roberts with a broken bottle, and we can have congressional hearings about the sad state of romance fiction in America today.


    posted by on April 21 at 10:37 AM

    Modern Art Notes this morning called the Pulitzer Foundation’s Flavin web catalogue awesome, and he is so right. Go. Here. You’ll find not only installation images from every floor of the exhibition and writings about the show, but also time-lapse and regular-time videos from inside the museum as well as a previously unreleased 20-minute interview with Flavin from 1973.

    I’m grateful for and a little surprised at how well Flavin works online. A few of the videos are terribly gorgeous. Here’s one view:


    If You Can’t Stand the Heat…

    posted by on April 21 at 10:19 AM

    The newest Clinton ad in Pennsylvania, where voters (finally!) go to the polls tomorrow…

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on April 21 at 10:13 AM


    Two open mics and three readings and a few divorces going on tonight.

    First, and for some reason not on our readings calendar, but listed here, is Nathaniel Rich, reading at Elliott Bay Book Company. Rich is the editor of The Paris Review, and he’s in town with The Mayor’s Tongue, a debut novel about two men, one old and one young.

    At the University Bookstore, Theo Pauline Nestor reads from How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed, which is a book about how she overcame a horrible divorce from a man with a secret gambling addiction. I would personally have more respect for How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed if it were a country song.

    And at the Intiman, Edward Hirsch, the poet who wrote How to Read a Poem, is reading. According to Wikipedia, Hirsch recently divorced his wife of twenty-five years. Perhaps he’ll sing a country song about it.

    The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is awaiting your perusal.

    The Propaganda Arm of the Intelligent Design Movement…

    posted by on April 21 at 10:06 AM

    … is off to a brilliant start with Expelled, an agitdoc proposing that a vast conspiracy has risen out of the academy to shut down free thought and inquiry. The evidence for this supposed conspiracy is completely anecdotal (here, an underperforming assistant professor being denied tenure, there, an unpaid research assistant being moved to another office at the Smithsonian), but that hasn’t stopped the movie from doing a rollicking business at the box office.

    The Discovery Institute has been covering the movie obsessively on its blogs: Ten of the last ten posts on its Evolution News & Views blog are dedicated to the movie (sample headlines: “Discovery Salutes Expelled; “Is There a Connection Between Hitler and Darwin?”; and, my favorite, “Opponents of Academic Freedom Using Outlandish Rhetoric). Officially, however, the Seattle think tank denies any connection to the documentary. This official position is belabored during the movie itself, in a scene where host Ben Stein wanders the streets of downtown Seattle struggling to locate the organization’s headquarters. There are reasons to doubt this official story (in an unguarded interview with the Christian film site Past the Popcorn, Stein explains he learned about arguments for intelligent design from one of the film’s producers, Walt Ruloff, and someone named “Steven Meyer”—presumably a transcription error for Stephen C. Meyer, vice-president of the Discovery Institute and cofounder of the intelligent design movement).

    But even if you charitably assume that the Discovery Institute was not directly involved with the production, an alarming percentage of the people who helped make the film have Northwest connections. The production company is located in Vancouver, B.C.. Producer Walt Ruloff lives outside of Vancouver and made his millions selling a software company to Microsoft. Almost all of the intelligent design proponents interviewed in the film are affiliated with the Discovery Institute, including Meyer, senior fellows David Berlinski, William Dembski, and Jonathan Wells, and fellow Paul Nelson. Meanwhile, several of the academics who claim to have been discriminated against for their ideas about intelligent design have a Seattle connection. Guillermo Gonzalez, an astronomer who was denied tenure at Iowa State University, received his PhD from and did postdoctoral work at the University of Washington. He is now a Discovery Institute Senior Fellow. Robert J. Marks II, an engineer at Baylor University (which declined to host his intelligent design website), taught at the UW for 25 years and served as the faculty advisor for the UW’s chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ for 15 years.

    So when the Discovery Institute tries to brag about box office performance in my hometown, it annoys me:

    Across the country this weekend, people did a rare thing and turned out in droves for a documentary. In Ames, Iowa the line to get into Expelled stretched around the block Friday night. In Seattle theaters were crammed with students—on a Saturday afternoon, no less.

    In the spirit of anecdotal sharing, I’d like to point out that Pacific Place at the 3:10 pm Saturday screening was hardly “crammed with students.” There were about 20 people in attendance, most of them sweet, delusional older couples. A couple of teenagers pranced in about halfway through, but I suspect they, like me, had not bought a ticket to this particular show. (Don’t worry, Pacific Place—I did buy a ticket to 10,000 B.C. and several items from the concessions stand.)

    My review of Expelled will be in this week’s issue of The Stranger. For now, please enjoy the National Center for Science Education’s anti-Expelled website,

    City Comforts

    posted by on April 21 at 10:04 AM

    House prices are falling everywhere, right? Wrong. Houses in far-flung suburbs and exurbs—soulless shitholes that aren’t served by mass transit, don’t have walkable urban cores, are bad for bike commuters, and may be the slums of the very-near-future—are headed off the cliff. But houses and apartments in cities—certain cities—are holding their value or rising in value. From NPR:

    At a recent auction of foreclosed homes north of Washington, in the Maryland suburbs, there weren’t many takers. All of the addresses are far from downtown, and average commute times are among the highest in the nation.

    It’s a different story for properties that are closer to the city’s center—in areas of Montgomery County that are on the edge of Washington.

    “When I have a listing in this neighborhood, there are often 40 to 60 people coming through the open houses,” said Pam Ryan-Brye, an agent with Long and Foster Real Estate.

    Inside the city, median home prices are actually up 3.5 percent from a year ago.

    Here’s my favorite part of the story:

    Stiff recently matched home resale values against commute times and found that in most of these major metropolitan areas, the trend is the same. The longer the commute, the steeper the drop in prices.

    Stiff says home buyers’ attitudes have changed. The old rule was, “Drive ‘til you qualify”—meaning they should go out from the city until they could get what they wanted at a price they could afford. Stiff says buyers are now asking different questions: “What is the cost of gasoline? What is the cost of my time?”

    With more Americans asking themselves those questions—questions Europeans have been asking themselves for a century—houses and apartments in areas “close in or near public transit,” according to the study cited by NPR, are holding their value or increasing in value.

    Bobby’s Boy in the Art Business

    posted by on April 21 at 9:46 AM

    “Fairs are the new retail.”

    See The Kennedy live and talking about Art Chicago (last year) at the City Club of Chicago here, thanks to HindSight.

    Marshall Reid on Broadway

    posted by on April 21 at 9:45 AM


    What is the deal with your shirt?
    It is a photo from the SF zine Titty City. Manik Skateboards did a collaboration with the zine a few months back. All the shirts have funny shots like this one here.

    When you put that shirt on did you realize your resemblance to it is almost scary?
    It is pure coincidence that I look like a boob!

    Best response to the shirt?
    Today some kid at the skatepark said, “Wow that’s cool, a shirt with your picture on it!”

    What are you listening to?
    My boy Red Head Steve.

    Can we see some more of these lovely images anywhere?
    Oh yeah! They have a website you should definitely check out:

    God Damn the Editors of The Onion

    posted by on April 21 at 9:36 AM

    I can’t read uplifting, human-interest stories about people battling cancer like this one in today’s Seattle Times…

    Tenacious teen with brain cancer determined to achieve Olympic goals

    …without this classic Onion headline popping into my head:

    Loved Ones Recall Local Man’s Cowardly Battle With Cancer

    The Pope’s Going Away Present

    posted by on April 21 at 9:20 AM

    The Vatican official that said this…

    “People say these children adopted by same sex couples are very happy. Maybe, when they are one or two years old. But when they are able to think for themselves, when they grow up, what a tragedy when they have to say ‘my parents are two men, or two women’. Their personality, their stability is put at risk.”

    died of a heart attack this weekend. Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo also described gay adoption as “morally violent” act. López wasn’t just charged with spreading lies about gay parents on behalf of the Vatican. He was also the Catholic Church’s point man on spreading lies about the effectiveness of condoms: In 2003 López claimed that HIV can pass right through latex and that condoms didn’t offer any protection against AIDS. His demonstrably untrue statements about condoms drew a condemnation from the World Health Organization. His demonstrably untrue statements about gay parents, however, did not—because, hey, when it comes to committing “moral violence” against children, the world defers to the expertise of the Catholic Church.

    Via Towleroad.

    If You’re Not Reading Line Out…

    posted by on April 21 at 9:11 AM

    …you’re missing out on Griet Verlinde’s completely comprehensive, completely hysterical coverage of Eurovision. What the hell is Eurovision? Griet’s first post explains it all for you. And yesterday’s post not only included this little bit of recent European history…

    Montenegro split back in 2006. When a boyband from Montenegro won the national preselection (over a “qualitatively better” Serbian song) rumours of tactical nationalistic voting arose. Serbia & Montenegro then withdrew from the contest, only to split a month later. Not-Eurovision-Queens would claim that the withdrawal was one of the effects of the growing Serbian and Montenegrin nationalism, but they’re wrong. Obviously.

    …but this unforgettable performance:

    You can follow Griet’s Eurovision coverage here.

    Are You Better Off Now Than You Were Eight Years Ago?

    posted by on April 21 at 8:48 AM

    Heckavajob, Bushie.

    Many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.

    Dept. of Unsubstantiated Rumors

    posted by on April 21 at 8:17 AM

    A readers asks….

    I live at Denny @ Olive Way with a stunning view of that yellow Starbucks. So I was awoken around 12:00 last night to a woman screaming loud enough that I could hear it clearly over my blaring KUOW. It was a blood curdling dingo-ate-my-baby/ Jamie Lee kind of screaming. Really awful. So it went on for like 10-15 minutes SOLID. I looked out my window and couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Any news about this circulating today?

    The Morning News

    posted by on April 21 at 8:08 AM

    Logjam: Bush Administration seeks to halt release of White House visitor logs.

    Record Breaking: Oil hits $117.40 a barrel.

    Mass Murder: Food prices are on the rise, people will die. Blame biofuels.

    Soylent Green: All the cool kids are having enviro-friendly funerals.

    For the Ladies: Senate to consider equal pay bill.

    Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Move Out of Your Mom’s Basement: Vacancies are down, rent is up. Good luck finding a place.

    Death By Pom-Pom: The hidden dangers of cheerleading!!!!

    I’m My Own Grampa: 400 FLDS kids to get DNA tests this week.

    And now: Great Moments In Supersonic History!!!!

    Sunday, April 20, 2008

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on April 20 at 11:00 AM

    Weldon Butler’s Silver Train (2007), mixed media, 60 by 60 inches

    At Kirkland Arts Center. (Gallery site here.)

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on April 20 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Chop Shop’ at Northwest Film Forum

    Filmmaker Ramin Bahrani’s last feature, Man Push Cart, was beautiful but overwhelmingly bleak (the tragic overfeeding of a kitten was involved). But with Chop Shop, Bahrani hits the sweet spot at the intersection of relentless oppression and indomitable human will. Alejandro is a NYC street kid who lands a job at a black-market mechanic in Queens—but his pretty older sister, Isamar, and carefree buddy Carlos don’t share his obsessive work ethic. Chop Shop is the best American indie so far this year. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 267-5380. 3, 5, 7, and 9 pm, $5–$8.50.)


    Reading Today

    posted by on April 20 at 10:00 AM


    There are two readings today. Cody Walker is reading at the Seattle Public Library. Walker is a “poet populist,” which is something that the city is doing to promote poetry. Poet populists are supposed to walk around and talk about poetry and, you know, share it with the people. Like those poetry on the bus signs, only human.

    Up at the Comics Dungeon at 45th in Wallingford at 3pm, there will be a staged reading of some stories from The Virgin Project, which is a comic book anthology of true stories about how people lost their virginities. It’s a fun book. All the proceeds from the sales at this event will go to agencies that help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, because this is National Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is obviously the best reading of the day, and also the weekend.

    If comic books aren’t your thing—and I have to wonder about you if that’s true—I recommend that you visit this website and download The Club of Queer Trades, by G.K. Chesterton. Here’s an excerpt:

    “Who on earth are you?” he gasped, trembling violently.

    “I am Major Brown,” said that individual, who was always cool in the hour of action.

    The old man gaped helplessly like some monstrous fish. At last he stammered wildly, “Come down—come down here!”

    “At your service,” said the Major, and alighted at a bound on the grass beside him, without disarranging his silk hat.

    The old man turned his broad back and set off at a sort of waddling run towards the house, followed with swift steps by the Major. His guide led him through the back passages of a gloomy, but gorgeously appointed house, until they reached the door of the front room. Then the old man turned with a face of apoplectic terror dimly showing in the twilight.

    “For heaven’s sake,” he said, “don’t mention jackals.”

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

    The Morning News

    posted by on April 20 at 9:00 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Misinformation machine: Inside the Pentagon’s influence on “analysts.”

    Pope at Ground Zero: Benedict XVI prays at WTC site, defends immigrant families.

    Bickerfest 2008: Democratic presidential candidates argue about nothing.

    In other elections: Opposition in Zimbabwe claims mass arrests by Zimbabwean government.

    In Iraq: Iraqi troops take back Basra, Moqtada al-Sadr threatens renewed violence.

    In Hollywood: Chinese-Americans protest CNN commentator.

    The weekend from hell: Gang violence erupts in Chicago, claiming six lives.

    Rail life: Development around Rainier Valley light-rail station threatens to change neighborhood.

    Hood forum: Neighbors disapprove of Nickels’ idea to consolidate neighborhood planning.

    Run for your life: U.S. financial woes trickle into Washington State.