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Archives for 05/04/2008 - 05/10/2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Dear Smarty Pants

posted by on May 10 at 7:59 PM

Your chili is too sweet. It’s weird.



Edit: In the interests of fairness, everything else was great. My sandwich was delicious and chickeny and our waitress was totally awesome and attentive even though it was crazy busy. You’re not doing anything wrong, Smarty Pants. Just go easier on the sugar in your chili.

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father, Headline of the Day, There Is No Morality Without Religion, Etc

posted by on May 10 at 1:35 PM

Kids, mom lived with 90-year-old’s corpse for weeks in Wis.

Two children and their mother lived for about two months with the decaying body of a 90-year-old woman on the toilet of their home’s only bathroom, on the advice of a religious “superior” who claimed the corpse would come back to life, authorities said Friday.

The children—a 15-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy—cried hysterically Wednesday after a deputy who came to their Necedah home looking for Magdeline Alvina Middlesworth ordered them out because of the stench from her body….

When Deputy Leigh Neville-Neil arrived at the house, she encountered Lewis, also known as Sister Mary Bernadett, the complaint said. Lewis, 35, initially refused to allow the deputy to check on Middlesworth, telling her that Middlesworth was on vacation and saying she had to check with her “superior” first.

But she eventually let the deputy in. The house smelled of incense and burned wood, and had religious materials everywhere and hymns playing on the stereo, according to the complaint. When the deputy opened the last closed door, she smelled “decaying matter” and noticed something piled on what appeared to be a toilet. Lewis told her it was Middlesworth’s body, the complaint said.

Lewis told the deputy that Middlesworth had died about two months earlier, but that God told her Middlesworth would come to life if she prayed hard enough. She said she couldn’t say anything more until she spoke with her “superior”—Bushey, 57, also known as Bishop John Peter Bushey.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 10 at 11:00 AM


Roman Orgy at Seattle Art Museum

Seattle Art Museum says that its 35-hour marathon concluding the Louvre’s Roman art show will include gladiators, which sounds like a recipe for lameness that could reach Renaissance faire levels. It could be ironic-good. Or, if you’re in the market for regular-good, there’s the promise of simply being at the museum with Augustus and double-Elvis at 3:00 a.m.—and admission will be half off during the wee hours. (Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, 625-8900. Sat 10 am–Sun 9 pm, $20/$10 from 2–7 am.)



Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head at Vera Project

Tonight’s show is a welcome back after a six-month hiatus for Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, and in advance of their debut album, Glistening Pleasure, due this summer. The young band members are a little older, their moniker is a little more dated, and their frivolous electro-pop candies—imagine an innocuously juvenile LCD Soundsystem—are a little more glistening. Portland keytar wizard Copy opens, along with Port Townsend’s hugely promising teenage rock trio New Faces. (Vera Project, Seattle Center, 956-8372. 7:30 pm, $8/$9, all ages.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Re-introducing Himself

    posted by on May 10 at 10:45 AM

    “We are going to bring this election to a close right here in Oregon,” Barack Obama told a huge crowd on the quadrangle at the University of Oregon last night. It was an echo of something that one of his senior advisers told The Politico just a few days ago, and a signal that the party in Oregon on primary night, May 20, is going to be about a lot more than just another state in this long nomination process.



    The most interesting part of Obama’s speech, I thought, came toward the end. After a lot of lines that I’d heard before, Obama segued into a new re-introduction of himself (or a newish re-introduction; he first rolled out this new section of his stump speech after his win in North Carolina on Tuesday).

    Obama was candid about why he’s added these new lines:

    I do want to just end by telling you about myself because it appears that the Republicans are intent on making this campaign about me—whether I wear a flag pin, my bowling score, my eating habits, the offensive remarks of a former pastor—that’s what they want to make this campaign about.

    And so I want to just close by reminding you of why I do this, and a little bit about myself. I was born to a teenage mother. And my father left when I was two, so I was raised by a single mom and my grandparents. And they came from small towns in Kansas. They grew up during the Great Depression. And they didn’t have much of anything. And when World War II started my grandfather joined the army, and went to Europe and fought in Patton’s army, and my grandmother stayed back working on a bomber assembly line while she also looked after the new baby they had had…

    You can see where this is going. This is an American story, a white story (in that it only explores the white side of Obama’s family tree), the most America-centric re-telling of Obama’s family history that he’s done to this date.

    …And when my grandfather came back, his government, the United States government, said, ‘You know, it makes sense for us to invest in young men like this who fought for us. And make sure that not only are we allowing them to succeed but also that we’re creating a middle class that will lift up the whole country. And so he was able to get a college education on a GI Bill.

    And then that same government said, ‘You know what, it’d be smart if we could set up a loan program so that young families like theirs, they can buy a home, because that will be good for everybody, it’ll lift up the whole country.’ And so they bought their home with the help of a VHA loan. And then, when my mother got older, she was able to get a college scholarship even though they weren’t wealthy. And even though I was being raised by a single mom, and even though we sometimes had to be on food stamps to make ends meet, she was ultimately able to send my sister and me to the best schools in the world.

    Message: Obama is also the grateful product of well-meaning investments made by his country decades ago. He then told of his wife’s similar story, and then he said:

    Here’s the thing. When people ask me about my patriotism, when they ask me why I’m doing this, I try to explain to them, I’m doing it because that story’s not just my story, it’s your story. It’s the American story. It’s that idea that each generation successively is able to work a little bit harder, work a little bit better, to make life better for the next generation and the government is a partner in this process.

    The crowd was exploding with cheers by this point.

    That’s why I love this country. That’s why you love this country. Because if you really try you can make it in this country, and that’s the American dream that we are gonna preserve for the next generation. But I need your help doing it. And so, let me just end by saying this, Oregon: You can make that choice. But I’m gonna need you to vote for me, and if you do we will win this nomination, we will win this general election, and you and I together will change this country, and we will change the world. Thank you, everybody, God Bless you and God Bless America.

    Will this new telling of Obama’s story reach people like the Obama skeptics I met in rural Jackson County on Thursday? Or the guy I met on the plane down to Oregon? We’ll see.

    For now, I’m heading back up to Seattle to start (er, keep on) writing. For my full take on the Democratic end game in Oregon see next week’s Stranger. And for all the posts in this series click here.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on May 10 at 10:00 AM


    Today we have an open mic and a number of readings. Dinaw Mengestu, author of the The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, will be finishing his run as the Seattle Reads author. Check the Library’s listing of events on their website. He’s done like ninety events a day for the last three days, though, so he might not be as fresh as when he started out.

    Also, we have the Emerald City Comicon at the convention center. Many years ago now, when I was starting out at The Stranger, I wrote a piece about Comicon. It was too mean. I got many responses to the piece, and one of them said: “Why don’t you go back to jerking off over Suicide Girls” or something along those lines. I would just like to point out that, as entertainment at the Emerald City Comicon, the Suicide Girls will be in attendance. And so I say to the person who wrote me back then: I apologize for my meanness, sir, but now it is time for you to go jerk off over the Suicide Girls. And to the founders of the convention: this is not the way to get more women to take comics seriously, boys.

    Up at the University Village Barnes and Noble, Annie Griffiths Belt will discuss being a photographer for National Geographic and being a mother. She is a good person to discuss this, since she is both a photographer for National Geographic and a mother.

    At Elliott Bay Book Company, in the afternoon, Emily Transue, a local doctor who has read at virtually every bookstore in town, will be reading. In the later afternoon, Raj Patel, a man who has been “tear-gassed on four continents,” will be reading from Stuffed and Starved, which is kind of an anti-Michael Pollan book about the global food shortage from tiny, gorgeous publisher Melville House. This is the reading to attend, in my opinion.

    And then, also at Elliott Bay in the evening, Sarah Katherine Lewis will read from her book Sex and Bacon. I assigned that book to a Stranger writer to review, but the reviewer declined to review it, because the book was bad, but not bad in any sort of an interesting way. I read Indecent, Lewis’s previous book, and it was horrible, and not in an interesting way. So at least she’s consistent.

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

    The Morning News

    posted by on May 10 at 8:55 AM

    Posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Ride on: Commuters across the country flock to mass transit due to rising gas prices.

    Vote on: Zimbabwe gets ready for second round of presidential elections.

    Vote off: Oregon may be the Clinton campaign’s final resting place.

    Vote for: Obama kicks off serious voter registration drive.

    Vote later: Burma insists on referendum vote despite widespread devastation.

    Back in business: Controversial Blackwater back in Iraq.

    Highway wars: Anti-immigration group really wants to adopt a stretch of highway near Border Patrol checkpoint.

    Refund party
    : Motorists ticketed on holidays for parking without paying will get their money back.

    Long sentence: 19-year-old will serve life in prison for murdering taxi driver.

    Short sentence: Executive shot bison.

    Friday, May 9, 2008

    Rock Concert or Obama Rally?

    posted by on May 9 at 7:06 PM


    Answer, as if you couldn’t guess:


    More tomorrow, related posts here.

    Book Club of the Damned

    posted by on May 9 at 5:35 PM

    So some time ago, Brad threw a copy of this book:


    on my desk. He said that he and two other roommates tried…repeatedly…to read it, to no avail. He couldn’t express in words exactly what was so horrible about it, although his facial expression signified a very particular kind of distaste. It was like watching someone remember an atrocious shit smell. And then he bet me fifty dollars that I couldn’t read this book from cover to cover.

    And so, welcome to Book Club of the Damned. For the rest of May, I will read I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein (“The Brilliantly Shocking Story of the Ultimate Transplant!”) in three segments. Starting next Wednesday, I will post a weekly book club update, complete with discussion questions, here on Slog. If any brave souls would like to read along at home, they are more than welcome to, although I’m not splitting the fifty bucks. It should be a singular reading experience.

    Here’s what the Ace paperback edition’s back cover says about the book:

    “As startling and provocative as his famous STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, here is Heinlein’s awesome masterpiece about a man supremely talented, immensely old and obscenely wealthy who discovers that money can buy everything. Even a new life in the body of a beautiful young woman.”

    Streets Is Watching

    posted by on May 9 at 5:28 PM

    Joe Corsi says he’s sick of seeing crack deals and prostitution on his front steps and in the alleys around his apartment on 2nd Avenue and Bell. “You want to go out on your porch and you’ve got to look down on blowjobs in the alley [and] crack addicts smoking crack,” Corsi says. “This goes on 24 hours a day.” After repeatedly asking the city to help clean up his neighborhood, Corsi didn’t get the response he was looking for, so he came up with a plan.

    In April, Corsi, who has lived in and managed the Concept One apartment building for the last two years, told his tenants to start taking pictures and videotaping everything going on around their building. After filling 25 videotapes, they started posting the footage to Youtube. “Through pictures and video, I’m hoping to embarrass the city to get the job done much quicker.”

    While Belltown has always had its problems, the neighborhood has been getting extra attention from the police after a doctor was attacked and critically injured after leaving a club last weekend. Corsi says Belltown was quiet during the winter, but as the weather has warmed up, problems are popping up in the area again. “[It’s] difficult..when you live in downtown,” Corsi says. “We know the [extra] police presence is only going to last a short period of time.”

    Down the street from Corsi, Caroline Messier De Jiminez, owner of the Belltown restaurant Txori, is dealing with her own problems. Messier de Jiminez says her business lost $800 worth of alcohol when someone broke into the restaurant last November—before the place had even opened. Staff at Txori have also been given pepper spray because of problems near the dumpster in the alley behind their business. “We’ve had a couple of incidents with drug deals happening outside during daylight hours,” Messier de Jiminez says. “[Customers] say they’re not coming back with their kids.” Messier de Jiminez has been working with Corsi and other neighbors to try to get the city to pay more attention to their neighborhood, and she’s planning a “take back the alleys” event for mid-July.

    Corsi also plans to continue his crusade to force the city to crackdown on problems in Belltown. He wants a ban on the sale of all single beers in Belltown and stepped up enforcement against loitering. Corsi says he’ll also be installing security cameras on his block, and will be releasing footage and photos to the media. “This is just the beginning,” Corsi says. “I’m going to be relentless until this is cleaned up. This is just round one.”

    This Weekend at the Movies

    posted by on May 9 at 5:24 PM

    Fast version! I’m slammed with preparing our exhaustive SIFF guide for you guys, so I don’t have a ton of time. But here’s what’s going on in the film section this week:

    Andrew Wright reviews Speed Racer (“Freakishly perverse, this is an immense, Otter Pop–colored nostalgic thing that expends so much energy replicating every last widget and geegaw from its source that it forgets to be, you know, fun”).

    Bradley Steinbacher reviews Son of Rambow, finally arriving in theaters after serving as the opening night film of SIFF 2007 (“In Garth Jennings’s admirable Son of Rambow, two fatherless boys—the sheltered and devoutly religious Will and the bullying and all-but-abandoned Lee—bond while trying to remake First Blood for a BBC competition, encountering near-death experiences, religious interference, and très cool French exchange students along the way. For both boys, the Stallone flick offers an escape—Will finds a dream of a father; Lee sees a chance to impress the brother who ignores him—and while they shoot their little remake, Son of Rambow positively soars”).

    I review Shotgun Stories, also a SIFF 2007 alum (“The greatest virtue of Shotgun Stories, which was coproduced by David Gordon Green (All the Real Girls), is the sun-baked cinematography by Adam Stone. From bursting cotton bolls to wan fish farms, the images are beautiful and nearly worth the price of admission. At the same time, their meditative pace exerts a dangerous inertia on the rest of the film”).

    Charles Mudede reviews Redbelt (“The film as a whole is not satisfying. The society of the spectacle turns out to be too simple, too obvious, too easy a challenge for a man who draws all his moral strength from the age of the heroes”) and interviews Chiwetel Ejiofor.

    And Paul Constant assesses My Brother Is an Only Child (“exactly the kind of stereotypical foreign movie at which casual American filmgoers turn up their noses”).

    Bradley Steinbacher reviews What Happens in Vegas… (“Only after the end credits start to roll is there a moment of inspired lunacy—and it’s not nearly enough to make up for the drudgery that preceded it. In a word: ugh”).

    Lindy West writes about the challenge of going to the Valley 6 Drive-In with a platonic buddy.

    For all your movie times needs: use us. Hidden away in Limited Runs this week are such offerings as the first ever French and Francophone Film Festival at the UW (with fancy 35 mm prints care of the French gov’t) and Translations, Seattle’s annual Transgender Film Festival. The Varsity has French slasher film Frontier(s) and the French Bond spoof OSS 117—both totally worth checking out. At Grand Illusion, prisoners meditate in Dhamma Brothers and GI Joe Stop-Motion Film Festival. And SIFF Cinema keeps truckin’ out the classics in the United Artists series.

    Getting Around Southeast Seattle

    posted by on May 9 at 5:24 PM

    Here’s a little light reading for your weekend: The Southeast (Seattle) Transportation Study (SETS), just released by the Seattle Department of Transportation for public review. I haven’t had time to read the 200-plus-page document thoroughly, but jumping ahead to the parts of most personal interest to me, I see a lot that’s encouraging and a few places where’s there’s room for improvement.

    The city, it seems, has gotten the message that Rainier Ave. South is a death trap for bikers and pedestrians. With more than 600 collisions per year along a seven-and-a-half mile stretch of roadway, it’s one of the more dangerous streets in the city. (That’s despite the fact that it includes several supposedly pedestrian-friendly “urban villages”!) Fortunately, according to the report, traffic isn’t expected to get much heavier in the next 25 years.

    Some exciting things in the plan:

    • Lots of new pedestrian signals along Rainier, where pedestrians frequently dart into traffic rather than walk several blocks to a signaled intersection.

    • New sidewalks, improved pedestrian overpasses, and realigned streets that should slow traffic.

    • If the recommendations are put in place as written in the plan, Rainier south of Edmunds will be reduced from four lanes to three, giving more room to cyclists and slowing cars that frequently tear at up to 50 mph through the neighborhood.

    Now, the disappointments.

    • The plan doesn’t include proposals for any bike lanes or even sharrows on Rainier except south of Othello, at the north end of Rainier Beach—despite the fact that all the intersections with the highest rates bike and pedestrian/vehicle collisions are north of Othello (excluding the intersection of Othello and Rainier itself). The plan also recommends a “firm commitment to establishing “bike facilities” along Rainier south of Alaska Street, where Columbia City begins; but it proposes only “further study,” the same recommendation that’s in the city’s bike master plan. Given that the study repeatedly mentions the fact that “Many bicyclists use Rainier as it provides a nearly level grade and a direct route through the valley,” I would have liked to see something a little more ambitious than “further study needed.”

    • The plan does recommend some bike lanes leading up to Lake Washington Blvd., but no major new improvements on Lake Washington Blvd., a very heavily traveled bike corridor, itself. The city closes down Lake Washington Blvd. to cars from 9 to 6 six days during the summer, allowing bikers to ride free of threats from cars. Here’s a modest proposal: Why not close it to traffic year-round? If Lake Washington Blvd. were closed to cars (except, of course, emergency vehicles), it could serve more people, at less risk of accidents—and get the city out of having to build bike lanes on Rainier in the process.

    Re: Trust It

    posted by on May 9 at 5:17 PM


    Waiting for Obama

    posted by on May 9 at 4:40 PM

    Undergrad pastoral at the University of Oregon in Eugene, where Barack Obama will be holding a rally later on this evening.


    Here’s Joseph Links, 21, a sophomore studying journalism, relaxing in the grass on the university qaudrangle:


    I told him about my experiences talking to Hillary Clinton supporters in Jackson County yesterday—the concern about the flag pin, the pastor, the secret Muslim thing—and asked Links if he thought rural white voters would be a problem for Obama.

    “I think it might be hard for him to get the rural vote just because of education in certain areas,” Links said. “But that’s just part of campaigning.”

    Does Obama, as Clinton has suggested, have a problem with white voters?

    “No, because my dad’s white and he’s middle class and he’s voting for Obama.”


    Next to Links was Erika Unruh, 20, a sophomore studying education. She told me her Republican grandmother in Happy Valley, Oregon, is voting for Obama. “She thinks he has a fresh look,” Unruh said.

    Does Obama have a problem with white voters?

    “I really don’t think it’s going to be that much of an issue… I would like to think we’ve moved beyond that.”


    Next, Kelsey Schopp, 20, a sophomore in International Studies. I asked her about Clinton’s recent contention that she’s more viable, in part, because she does better than Obama among “hard working Americans, white Americans.”

    “I’ve heard that,” Schopp said. “But she definitely doesn’t have the young vote. Everyone I talk to our age is into Obama.”

    No Dignity in Death

    posted by on May 9 at 4:39 PM

    When dogtags meet dogs:

    The Pentagon is recommending changes in the handling of troops’ remains, after it was revealed that crematoriums contracted by the military are used for both human and animal cremations.

    In other corpse-disposal news:

    Now a new option is generating interest: dissolving bodies in lye and flushing the brownish, syrupy residue down the drain. The process is called alkaline hydrolysis and was developed in this country 16 years ago to get rid of animal carcasses. It uses lye, 300-degree heat and 60 pounds of pressure per square inch to destroy bodies in big stainless-steel cylinders that are similar to pressure cookers.


    Happy weekend, everybody.

    This Week on Drugs

    posted by on May 9 at 4:34 PM

    Germany: Binge drinking replaces pot smoking.

    Arkansas: Winning the War on Drugs one bullet at a time.

    Cross-Country Race: Disparities in rising national arrests.

    Circular Logic: Depression leads to pot smoking leads to depression.

    Pot Head: Teens use severed human head as bong.

    Growing Ganja: In the name of the Lord.

    Shooting Fish in a Barrel: Feds arrest 100 college students in frat-boy drug sting.

    Turning Lemons into Lemonade: Students transform bust coverage into Drug War scrutiny.

    Cigarettes: Damage is reversible.

    Tarred and Feathered: Smokers who bought cigarettes online owe $30,000 in unpaid taxes.

    Congress: Pissed at DEA for medical marijuana raids (.pdf).

    Getting Wheelchair Weed in California: Super easy.

    Trust It

    posted by on May 9 at 3:32 PM

    Ladies and gentleman, the Uno.


    The electric Uno is the brainchild of 18-year-old Canadian Ben Gulak who spent several years developing the bike, which is controlled entirely by body movements.

    The machine actually has two wheels, side-by-side, and uses gyroscopic technology to stay upright. It moves in the direction the rider leans - and the more you lean, the faster you go. Ben claims that the bike could help beat pollution and he was inspired to design it after visiting China and seeing all the smog there.

    He says: “The bike is fairly easy to ride, but takes a bit of getting used to because you have to learn to trust it.”

    Via Towleroad.

    Okay: This One’s Headline of the Day, I Swear

    posted by on May 9 at 3:24 PM

    The AP:

    Omaha man says this was his second self-tracheotomy

    White Relief

    posted by on May 9 at 2:12 PM

    From Scientific American:

    “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life,” Jesse Jackson once told an audience, “than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery—then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

    Jackson’s remark illustrates a basic fact of our social existence, one that even a committed black civil-rights leader cannot escape: ideas that we may not endorse—for example, that a black stranger might harm us but a white one probably would not—can nonetheless lodge themselves in our minds and, without our permission or awareness, color our perceptions, expectations and judgments.

    When it comes to a black male, the fear has some justification. A black male is more likely to be murdered or harmed by another black male.

    An August report by the Justice Department showed that in 2005, blacks represented 13% of the U.S. population but accounted for nearly half of its murder victims. Most of the black murder victims — 93% —were killed by other black people.
    Statistically, the chances of me getting shot by a white cop are extremely lower than getting shot by a black male.

    Re: Suspend Big Sexy

    posted by on May 9 at 1:45 PM

    Ask and you shall receive, Sam. From the Seattle Times:

    Seattle slugger Richie Sexson was suspended for six games and fined Friday by Major League Baseball after charging the mound and throwing his helmet at a Texas pitcher the previous night.

    Bob Watson, baseball’s vice president in charge of discipline, cited Sexson for “violent and aggressive actions.”

    Sexson asked the players’ association to appeal, and any suspension will be delayed until after a hearing.

    Seattle’s Felix Hernandez and Texas’ Gerald Laird and Sidney Ponson also were fined.

    This Weekend: Cry into Your Beer at Central Cinema

    posted by on May 9 at 1:24 PM


    Fact #1: I love the Central Cinema, the Central District cinema pub featuring second-run movies, stone-oven pizzas, and beer and wine, all brought to your table while you watch.

    Fact #2: I’ve been longing to re-watch Brokeback Mountain ever since Heath Ledger’s stupid, awful death.

    This weekend, my love for Central Cinema and longing for Brokeback Mountain overlap, with screenings Fri-Sun at 7 and 10 pm.

    Hurray, boo-hoo, burp.

    P.S. If Brokeback Mountain isn’t gay enough for you, Sunday afternoon brings a Mother’s Day brunch screening of Mommie Dearest.

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on May 9 at 1:19 PM


    An Allegheny County jury convicted a former youth minister at a Wilkinsburg church Thursday of raping two boys and assaulting a third.

    David Baird, 46, of West Deer was convicted of raping a 14-year-old boy and molesting a second boy. He also was convicted of raping a third boy over an eight-year period beginning when the child was 10.

    Baird faces a maximum penalty of more than 100 years in prison for the two dozen convictions.

    City Gives Initial Nod to Massive Dearborn Development

    posted by on May 9 at 12:40 PM

    The Department of Planning and Development has conditionally approved plans to demolish the Goodwill building on South Dearborn Street and rezone the area to allow a 10-acre mixed-use development. To seal the deal, a city hearing examiner must approve the proposal, and then the city council must rezone the multi-block site to allow buildings 85 feet tall. The hearing examiner will hold a public hearing on June 9th and is accepting comments till June 6th.


    The project, called Dearborn Street, would contain 565 residential units and 700,000 square feet of retail space. To give some context for the size, the PCC in Fremont is about 20,500 square feet. So this is like 34 PCCs worth of one-stop-shopping.


    There are two valid sides of the debate over this project. In the corner opposing it, neighbors hate the cookie-cutter style of development and worry that big-box retailers like Target would siphon shoppers away from the mom-and-pop shops a few blocks away on Jackson Street. There are also 2300 parking spaces, and if you’ve ever been stuck in traffic on Rainier around Dearborn Street, this won’t make things any easier.

    In the other corner, supporters say that the project would provide 200 low-income housing units and support lots of mom-and-pop stores. At the heart of the pro-side, adding a ton of new residents and businesses makes more sense in the middle of the city than just ten acres of parking lots and a second-hand warehouse. Goodwill would remain at the site in a new building.

    Thanks for the heads up, hugeasscity.

    Boobies Offensive to the Insane

    posted by on May 9 at 12:27 PM

    Ad Age reports that “The Resistance”—a self-identified “Christian group” whose web site is sort of a delightfully nutty road map to pretty much every conspiracy theory ever conceived (VeriChip, we’re told, is “the Pandora’s Box of the mark of the Beast”)—is launching a boycott of Starbucks because its new logo features “a naked woman on it with her legs spread like a prostitute.”


    Not to get all fact-y on the Resistance or anything, but actually, that logo’s of a mermaid with a split tail, not legs—which, as Annie Wagner points out, is an image from Hans Christian Anderson’s original Little Mermaid tale, in which the Little Mermaid drinks a potion and goes through indescribable pain (and loses her voice) in exchange for legs so she can pursue her Prince. In the end, the prince marries another woman (maybe he wasn’t into mutes?), and the Little Mermaid flings herself into the ocean. So the moral of the Starbucks logo, if anything, is: Stay chaste, keep those knees together, and wait for your prince to come.

    But, yeah. Boobies=Eek!

    What the Hell Should We Do With All This Liquor?

    posted by on May 9 at 12:15 PM

    Kelly O and I have a bit of an overstock problem on our hands.

    You see, some promotion company keeps insisting on giving us this weird malt liquor energy drink thing called Rize. Last time they came by the offices, they gave us six flats. It tastes awful. (Nick Scholl says: “Like Vietnam.”) Kelly and I puzzled for weeks. “Should we walk around Seattle asking people to pour it out for their homies?” That would be very heartfelt, but kind of boring. “Should we just give it to the bums and see what happens?” They’d probably kill themselves, as no human can drink more than three without having a heart attack from all the taurine.

    So we took three flats and did this:

    Which, of course, was incredibly inspired.

    But the delivery man came again, and we hadn’t even gotten through the last batch. And this time, he brought MORE:


    Which brings us to the subject of this post. What the hell should we do with all this liquor?

    Give us some ideas, people, because our faucets are on dry. Put ‘em in the comments, and we’ll pick the best ones and throw up a poll next week. Whatever you decide on—we will do it and we will film it for the next Drunk of the Week video.

    Nothing too gross, or violent, or sexual, or weird, but a little of all of that is cool. Mostly, just be hilarious—that’s what we’re looking for.

    On the Radio

    posted by on May 9 at 12:10 PM

    I’m now in Eugene waiting for Obama’s event here later today. While I wait, I’ll be phoning in to KUOW’s The Conversation to talk about the Democratic race.

    That’s 94.9 FM starting at 1 p.m.

    More posts and pictures from my time so far in Oregon can be clicked to here.


    And, if you want to read about appearances in and around Portland by Clinton and Obama this morning, head on over to our sister blog, Blogtown PDX.

    Huffington To Speak in Seattle

    posted by on May 9 at 12:05 PM

    Arianna Huffington fans, get out your calendars: The onetime Republican turned online media mogul will speak at this year’s (11th annual) Planned Parenthood Votes! Washington luncheon at the Bell Harbor conference center downtown. The event’s on May 20 at noon; tickets and more information available here.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on May 9 at 11:45 AM

    It’s Sunday fool. Don’t go forgetting…

    M is for the moan, and the miserable groan, from the pain that She felt when I was born

    O is for the oven with it’s burnin’ heat
    where She stood makin’ sure I had something to eat

    T is for the time that She stayed up at night
    and took my temperature when I wasn’t feelin’ right

    H is for the hard earned money She spent
    to keep clothes on my back and tryin’ to pay da’ rent

    E is every wrinkle I put on Her face
    and every worry that I caused when I stayed out late

    The last letter R is that She taught me Respect
    and for the room up in Heaven that I know She’ll get

    Do Gay Men Really Kiss Like That on Their Death Beds?

    posted by on May 9 at 11:37 AM

    On Grey’s Anatomy last night two soldiers—one of whom happens to have a life-threatening brain tumor—shared a kiss. Says JoeMyGod in a post titled Grey’s Anatomy Shows America How Gay Men Really Kiss

    Last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy featured a subplot that saw two handsome active duty military men engaging in a steamy and prolonged hospital bed kiss as the unloved Dr. Grey looked on with tearful envy.

    The ill soldier was awaiting brain tumor surgery and his boyfriend, who was about to be deployed overseas, had offered to go AWOL to help him recuperate, to the objections of his partner. Their kiss was interrupted by the ill soldier’s angry father, who ordered the boyfriend out of the room.

    Here’s the clip—the kiss comes at about the 1:30 mark.

    I don’t have any problem with boys kissing—particularly these boys—but is anyone ever in the mood for a “steamy and prolonged” kiss just before a brain tumor operation that you know you’re unlikely to survive? Those boys—and, man, they’re hot—look like they’re about to do each other right there in that bed, right in front of that doctor, with one of them right there in uniform. Andy at Towleroad says the clip “should get your heart racing a bit.”


    Maybe it’s because I didn’t sleep last night and I’m feeling a little over sensitive and perhaps my judgement is off… but when I watched that clip I this morning I thought, “That is how gay men kiss—when we’re fucking.” It hardly seemed like the kind of kiss a man would give his lover/boyfriend/partner/sergeant during a deadly serious medical crisis. It hardly seems like the kind of kiss you would give someone you love on what could very well be his deathbed. A kiss was called for—a tender kiss, a reassuring kiss, a meaningful, heartfelt, heartbreaking, this-could-be-goodbye kiss. But a passionate, steamy, prolonged, heart-racing kiss—and did I see tongue?—at a moment like this? A kiss that says, “Man, if that doctor wasn’t standing there I’d be fucking your ass right now”?

    I don’t think so.

    It’s great that Grey’s Anatomy took on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a cruel and stupid law (signed by Bill Clinton) that requires gay men and women in the military to remain closeted or risk discharge. Lawmakers pointed to stereotypes about gay men—that we’re predatory and out-of-control—to justify its passage. But it seems to me that the kiss we saw last night on Grey’s Anatomy traffics in and reinforces other stereotypes about gay men. Namely, that our relationships are merely about sexual passion and desire and lust. That we are somehow immature and our relationships are lack maturity and defined by lust. And that gay men can only think about—sex, sex, sex—even during a deadly-serious medical crisis.

    Roger Ballen and Dennis Oppenheim

    posted by on May 9 at 11:31 AM

    Speaker #1. Last night, South African-based photographer Roger Ballen spoke at the Henry Art Gallery and I missed it. I’m disappointed I did, because his photography makes me curious. It’s a small consolation this morning to note that he has an informative web site with dozens of images, interviews, and articles. Here are a few of his works:




    Speaker #2: Last week Seattle had a visit from Dennis Oppenheim that came and went quickly, and left in its wake the promise of large orange traffic cones that will go on display at the Olympic Sculpture Park on May 14. They were formerly in New York City. (Is there much more to say than that they are large orange traffic cones?) I did not catch Oppenheim’s talk, but I got an email the next day from a disgruntled listener:

    Mr. Oppenheim’s lecture was dumbed down horribly for the audience of about 30 people, most of whom I have seen in attendance at other more brilliant lectures around town, and who can be heard chatting eagerly with each other before said lectures about what country they were just visiting and what artwork they saw while they were there. Normally I would excuse an artist for giving a remedial lecture to a group of well informed adults simply because it was taking place in a public library. However in this situation it seemed that Mr. Oppenheim, being a local boy-wonder and all, knew many members of the audience before giving this lecture.

    What burns me the most about this lecture is how Mr. Oppenheim sounded almost apologetic for creating work that exists in “real time.” It seems that he was maybe going with the flow, doing what the cool kids were doing at the time and seeming to make fun of the fact that he had done it at all. I guess it’s time to take him out the history books. Unfortunately I think that the only reason he gets shortlisted for public art commissions is because he got the MOMA stamp of approval back in the day.

    Despite my negative lecture experience I still plan to go see the work at Gallery4Culture, and his earlier works like Annual Rings (1968), and Reading Position for Second Degree Burn (1970) were not ruined for me.

    Side note: I just ran into Mr. Oppenheim while he was standing out in front of the sculpture park. He was there taking a look at the potential sites for his traffic cones to sit. I asked him about the cones because he didn’t talk about them at all last night (I had thought that the lecture was meant to educate about the work that is being brought to Seattle). He doesn’t feel that this work is representative of his general oeuvre. Unfortunately he was whisked away by a dude in a Jaguar before I could ask him if he thought the work would play nice with the other works in the sculpture park. He had been in the middle of casually reminiscing about how the work had functioned in NYC in this time of paranoia that we live in. His summation was that they were not received well.

    The Death of Happy House

    posted by on May 9 at 11:29 AM

    It’s old news…
    …but it’s still a lovely work.

    Erwin Wurm’s “House attack” on the MUMOK says everything that needs to be said about that kind of house and the values it represents.

    All the Plays on “Go Speed Racer Go” That You Can Stomach

    posted by on May 9 at 11:23 AM


    Just a quick observation on blockbusters before Annie does Movie News this afternoon:

    Speed Racer is currently at 35 on Metacritic, which is lower even than What Happens in Vegas, which is at 37.

    I’m a total summer movie whore, though, so I’ll probably see Speed Racer. In fact, I’ll probably see it this weekend. And by ‘probably’ I mean ‘definitely.’

    And I finally saw Iron Man. Boy, that sure is an awfully…American…movie, ain’t it?

    Menacing Puppets and Curtains in Love

    posted by on May 9 at 11:08 AM

    I went to see Aurelia’s Oratorio the other night, with about eight other picky people, and we all liked it far more than we thought we would. (The pot probably helped.)

    The Oratorio (as she said in this slightly prickly Slog interrogation) is a string of short cirque vignettes about the world being upside-down and backwards.

    Our favorite bits: Curtains pawing each other, menacing (and suicidal) puppets, a coat that attacks its owner, a smoking baby, and the world’s simplest, stupidest, best joke involving a fan.

    It runs through this weekend. See it if you can.


    Wait—Where Am I? What Year Is This?

    posted by on May 9 at 11:02 AM

    And what IS the deal with riboflavin?!?!


    Slog Happy Recap

    posted by on May 9 at 11:01 AM

    Team Youth Pastor Watch (AKA Team Rain Man) and Team Ecce Homo’s Enormous Penis both rocked the trivia game last night, rising well above four other teams to tie for first place after an hour of hard quizzing. In the end, Youth Pastor Watch took the huge bag of prizes via a tie-breaker. Congratulations to the winners (Scary Tyler Moore, Wisepunk, Rain Main, Infrequent, and Enigma). And a sloppy Stranger thank you to everyone who showed up and played and drank and guzzled fried fish nuggets (and especially to Wisepunk for delivering the scrumptious triple coconut cream pie).

    I’m sure the commenters will fill you in on all the salacious details that I’m forgetting. Some photos are in our photo pool already.

    In the meanwhile, here are the questions, in case you missed the party or want to quiz your mother this weekend:

    ROUND 1: Arts and Assholes

    1) Kevin Hyder, Emmett Montgomery, Daniel Carroll, and Scott Moran, the comedians behind Chop Suey’s Laff Hole, are part of which comedy production group?

    2) Seattle Art Museum recently received a gift of “The Great Wave at Kanagawa,” from the series “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji,” by which Japanese artist?

    3) Architect Rem Koolhaas is planning to build a 44-story replica of the Death Star in which city?

    4) Auschglitz! is a blog devoted to what?

    5) Which radio station is an Enemy of Slog?

    6) What book convention did Paul Constant recently cover on Slog?

    7) What is the name of A Million Little Pieces author James Frey’s upcoming novel?

    8) Name two local productions that Nick Garrison has acted in.

    9) Andrew Wright said this about which film currently in theaters? “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.”

    10) What was the popular catchphrase of legendary Slog homophobe Daniel Freykis?

    ROUND 2: Local News

    1) Which Seattle City Council member just can’t stay out of trouble?

    2) Which local athlete was recently arrested on a domestic violence charge?

    3) Who was recently banned from the Fremont market?

    4) just filed suit against which state to block a law requiring online retailers to pay sales tax?

    5) How many cops does the city want to hire over the next five years?

    6) What’s our new soccer team called?

    BONUS POINT: What’s the name of the first player signed to the team?

    7) Which Stranger staffer recently caught a man masturbating outside their window?

    ROUND 3: Sex, Drugs, and Science

    1) The inventor of LSD died at age 102 last month. What was his name?

    2) Which nation has the most prisoners behind bars?

    3) David Schmader, in an ode to great prescription drug names, said if he ever has a son, he’ll name him what?
    Multiple choice:
    a. Mucinex
    b. Plavix
    c. Flomax
    d. Xanax
    e. Cialis

    4) One of the most-read Slog posts of all time involved a graphic cooking experiment carried out by Jonah and his deep fryer. What did Jonah make?

    5) Which of these so-called “clean” fuel sources is greenest, according to Jonathan Golob?
    a. nuclear
    b. hydroelectric
    c. wind
    d. biofuels
    e. wood

    6) Last month, 29 people Germany sought medical attention after smoking weed laced with what?

    7) Which CNN personality was arrested in Central Park CNN in April with drugs and a rope around his neck that was tied to his genitals?

    ROUND 4: National News

    1) Earlier this week, Belinda Carlisle—via her son—endorsed which presidential candidate?

    2) Which two counties in Indiana were way late in reporting primary results on Tuesday?

    3) Name one of the five states that just announced they’ll try to save money by letting prisoners out early.

    4) Which vodka producer recently caught shit from crazy redneck hicks over an ad showing the Southwestern US as part of Mexico?

    5) Which controversial church does Obama attend?

    6) Which hotel chain is testing new room amenities including waterproof mattresses?

    ROUND 5: We Also Publish a Damn Good Newspaper

    1) Who was the author of the I, Anonymous column in which a daughter bitched out her father for giving two of her girlfriends herpes?

    2) What did that six-year-old girl in Minneapolis sit on that sucked out her lower intestine?

    3) What mundane scenario did Last Days encounter on a Seattle street, describing the event as “the most depressing thing we’ve ever seen”?

    4) Stranger readers are familiar with the beloved “New Columns!” STUPID, STUPID BABY and STUPID, STUPID KITTEN. What was the subject of the third installment of the Stupid Stupid Trilogy?

    5) Name two of the comic strips that appear in the current issue of The Stranger.

    6) Who writes the weekly column “Bug in the Bassbin”?

    7) What is the popular nickname for the man who wraps his head and torso in silver duct tape and walks around the University District?

    Tie Breaker

    On what day, month, and year was Slog born?

    (Answers behind the jump.)

    Continue reading "Slog Happy Recap" »

    Savage Love Letter of the Day

    posted by on May 9 at 11:00 AM

    From today’s mail….

    I am a 39-year straight woman (divorced!) who has lived in Seattle for four years now. I have lived around the country and have never seen so many attractive, single yet scared people in this city!!! Dating seems like this silly game where the rules constantly change, fears of commitment and intimacy are set requirements, no one clearly expresses what they want and most of all, it’s hard to share your deepest fantasies without somehow being judged.

    I have had one long-term relationship, a few short-term relationships and some one-night stands since I have lived here. I also have a lot of great male friends and a few close female friends. That makes conversations about sex in general very interesting because I get to here a variety of opinions and I get some interesting viewpoints.

    The most common complaints I hear (and have sometimes experienced) are 1) Men don’t last long in bed (maybe 30 minutes if you’re lucky) and 2) Seattle women don’t know how to give great head. The latter is very funny to me because I don’t know if it’s because I am from the Northeast but I never have had one complaint and I have received major compliments. I don’t mean to sound like I’m bragging but I am an EXTREMELY oral-fixated person and I get tremendous pleasure out of doing that.

    A female friend of mine and I ended up comparing well, tasting notes and she also admitted she was great at giving head. We know that we have what it takes to please men because I guess we just have that open sexuality and we aren’t afraid to use it.

    I think what I am trying to figure out is do Seattle women not like giving head because it may take away some time from the actual fucking part? Is that why everyone is so sexually frustrated here?


    The Bronx Blowjob Queen


    The Oregon Trail

    posted by on May 9 at 11:00 AM

    For those just tuning in, I’ve been down in southern Oregon…


    …where yesterday I was prayed for and counseled about Obama’s secret Muslim-ness before hanging out with a bunch of Hillary Clinton’s hard-working white supporters at the Jackson County Fairgrounds.


    Then I listened and watched as Clinton addressed her rural Oregon supporters—and listened and watched some more as I was unexpectedly brought inside her Secret Service bubble.


    Now I’m on my way to Eugene, a college town in the middle of the state where Barack Obama will be appearing this evening. I’ll be back later on today with more posts from that stop.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on May 9 at 11:00 AM

    Local Hiphop

    Common Market at Vera Project

    Common Market’s new EP, Black Patch War, contains some of Sabzi’s richest productions. Each detail is lovingly made and expressed. (Listening to it puts me in mind of South London’s Burial, whose attention to detail is supernatural.) RA Scion, Common Market’s rapper, is much more reflective on this effort, his words and thoughts lost in a warm wash of music. Black Patch War stands to be one of the best works of art to come out of Seattle this year. (Vera Project, Seattle Center, 956-8372. 7:30 pm, $7/$8, all ages.)


    Shorter Nicole Brodeur

    posted by on May 9 at 10:57 AM

    You can have it all!


    Statue of Martin Luther King Jr. Looks Kind of Uppity

    posted by on May 9 at 10:49 AM

    This just in

    A powerful federal arts commission is urging that the sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr. proposed for a memorial on the Tidal Basin be reworked because it is too “confrontational”

    Alternatively, On Mother’s Day: Chuck Close

    posted by on May 9 at 10:47 AM

    Chuck Close’s Self-Portrait (2006), 103 by 79 inches, jacquard tapestry based on a daguerreotype

    In next week’s paper, I’ve got a piece coming out about Chuck Close, who right now has a show at Tacoma Art Museum with the poet (and his old friend) Bob Holman. But before that, this weekend, Close will be in town, at the Pantages Theater in Tacoma, giving an informal talk with Holman (Sunday at 2 pm), and the two of them together are said to be something like Laurel and Hardy, so get down there. (“It’s a dog and pony show, and I’m not sure whether I’m the dog or the pony,” Close told me.)

    Links here to video of Close’s interview with Charlie Rose in
    2007 and audio of Holman reading “Elizabeth Murray,” the praise poem he wrote for his wife.

    So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye

    posted by on May 9 at 10:44 AM


    Sen. Barack Obama moved into the lead today in the last category that Sen. Hillary Clinton had claimed to have an edge—support among the Democratic Party’s superdelegates.

    The Illinois Democrat grabbed the superdelegate lead thanks to a switch by New Jersey Rep. Donald Payne and an endorsement from previously uncommitted Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon.

    Those two votes gave Obama a 267-266 lead over Clinton. That is a huge shift since the days when Clinton boasted about a 60-plus vote lead among the party’s pros back on Super Tuesday.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on May 9 at 10:24 AM

    Saul Becker’s Vista (Study) (2006), 30 by 22 1/2 inches, ink and gouache on paper*

    At Platform Gallery. (Gallery web site here.)

    *Aislinn, this one’s for you. I have no idea whether you’ll like it, but at least you know I’m thinking of you this morning.

    Our Looming Housing Crisis

    posted by on May 9 at 10:19 AM

    Couldn’t sleep last night, so I sat up and read the new New Yorker. It’s the Innovators Issue and there’s a Malcolm Gladwell profile of area innovator Nathan Myhrvold. Myhrvold’s a Microsoft millionaire and, you know, all innovative and and shit. I’d never heard of Myhrvold or his innovations or his hundreds of millions before… and, in all honestly, I didn’t make through the piece. (I skipped ahead, I’m ashamed to say, to a dishy review of Barbara Walters new autobiography.) So I can’t tell you just what innovations Myhrvold is busily innovating away at. But I trust Gladwell: If he says Myhrvold’s an innovator, that’s good enough for me.

    But this detail, which comes early Gladwell’s piece, stayed with me…

    He started Microsoft’s research division, leaving, in 1999, with hundreds of millions. He is obsessed with aperiodic tile patterns. (Imagine a floor tiled in a pattern that never repeats.) When Myhrvold built his own house, on the shores of Lake Washington, outside Seattle—a vast, silvery hypermodernist structure described by his wife as the place in the sci-fi movie where the aliens live—he embedded some sixty aperiodic patterns in the walls, floors, and ceilings. His front garden is planted entirely with vegetation from the Mesozoic era.

    I was speaking with a friend this weekend about two couples who, like Myhrvold, worked in tech, got rich, retired, and built insanely elaborate mansions—excuse me, houses—in the area. Microsoft and Amazon and other tech companies, which are all located here for entirely arbitrary reasons (and could pick up and move tomorrow), created hundreds of millionaires and a quite few billionaires. My friend—who isn’t rich, but associates with richies—figures that two hundred or more these tech-money mansions—excuse me, “houses”—have been built over the last twenty years by tech millionaires with more money than taste.

    Hey, it’s their money, and they can spend it however they like. God only knows what kind of monstrosity I’d build—or have built—if I had Myhrvold’s money. Probably something like this on top of Beacon Hill.

    But here’s what I wonder: What is going to happen in twenty or thirty years when the tech booms millionaires start to die off? Who is going to buy all these sci-fi movie mansions with Mesozoic gardens? A lot of insanely elaborate, insanely expensive houses are going to come flooding onto the market all at once—places that cost tens of millions of dollars to build—and there’s no guarantee that our region will have the millionaires—billionaires—it’s going to take to buy up all these houses when they come up for sale in twenty or thirty years.

    So who’s going to buy up all these houses in two or three decades? Who’s going to live in them?

    In/Visible Is Up: Maxwell Anderson (Best Museum Director in America Today?)

    posted by on May 9 at 10:11 AM

    Maxwell Anderson (who, yes, is grandson of the playwright) was in Seattle a few weeks ago to discuss issues of international art repatriation at Seattle Art Museum—in conjunction with the Roman Art from the Louvre show that’s closing this weekend.

    We caught up with him at an absurdly late hour after his talk (11 pm PS, 2 am his time), but he was as eloquent as ever. The fact is, Anderson is one of the smartest and most up-to-date museum directors in the business, and in this podcast, he describes many of the philosophies that make him so good. One of the best things about him is that despite the crazy workload of a museum director these days, Anderson makes time not just for doing the job, but for thinking about how to do the job.

    Just listen.

    And check out the best museum web site in the country at the museum where he’s director in Indianapolis. Next year, the IMA will open its 100-acre art and nature park, which sounds something like what the Olympic Sculpture Park could have been but isn’t. Anderson says it won’t be about “trophy hunting and monument building.”

    Oh, and here he is doing one of his regular YouTube videos about the art at the museum. (Yes. Imagine a director making time to do that.)

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on May 9 at 9:47 AM


    One open mic and a whole lotta readings tonight, so let’s get into it.

    Today there are three disgustingly popular authors reading at Borders downtown at noon. Terry Brooks, who wrote the novelization of Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace, and who I’ve commented on before, will be appearing with Susan Wigg, who is a popular romance author, and John Saul who writes Dean Koontz knock-offs, which is sad on many levels.

    Up at Third Place, Ellie Matthews, who won the motherfucking Pillsbury Bake-Off, will be reading from her book, which is about climbing to the top of the competitive cooking chain. It also includes recipes. I recommend this reading. Seriously.

    At the University Book Store, Chelsea Handler, who is the author of Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, will be reading. Apparently, she’s a comedian, though you can’t tell from the title of her book.

    At Elliott Bay Book Company, Andrew Foster Altschul reads from Lady Lazarus, which is a novel about rock and roll. This is one of those books that everyone thinks I’d like and then I start reading it and I really don’t like it. But Altschul hangs with the McSweeney’s crowd and despite this severely uninteresting first novel, I think that he’s a decent writer, so maybe there’s something there for you.

    Also, from the 7th through the 10th, Dinaw Mengestu, author the The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, will be reading at various libraries throughout Seattle. Check the Library’s listing of events on their website. There will surely be a reading somewhere near you.

    Here is the full readings calendar.

    Kason Gabbard…

    posted by on May 9 at 9:44 AM

    is not Nolan Ryan.


    Wait: This Is Headline of the Day

    posted by on May 9 at 9:42 AM


    Great tits cope well with warming

    Good Morning!

    posted by on May 9 at 9:10 AM

    Hm… maybe it’s too early for this?


    It’s an ad for a “high performance lubricants” for sale a sex shop in Geneva, Switzerland, and—needless to say—it couldn’t happen here. And, yes, that’s a picture of Oscar Wilde on the wall. A literary reference classes the whole thing up, no? Via copyranter.

    With Clinton on the Ropes

    posted by on May 9 at 8:40 AM


    As last night’s Hillary Clinton event was finishing up here in southern Oregon, a familiar face walked by the press area—a friend from college who now travels with the Senator. He looked great for having been in three states in one day, and after a few minutes of catching up he told me to grab my stuff and come with him.

    We walked to the back of Olsrud Pavilion, normally the site of livestock sales and farm equipment expos but yesterday evening the site for one of Clinton’s rural Oregon stops as she campaigns toward the state’s May 20 primary.

    With the speech over the campaign’s event soundtrack had been turned back on, songs like “American Girl” and “Don’t Stop Believing.” My friend nodded at a Secret Service agent and then the two of us were walking under the risers that had formed Clinton’s backdrop; into a “green room” draped in blue cloth and filled with local law enforcement officers in their dress uniforms, probably waiting for a picture; and past a table holding a New York Post from November 5, 2000 with a note next to it saying “please just sign.” The paper announced Clinton’s victory in her Senate race and Gore’s defeat in the presidential race.

    Through a curtain, across a short stretch of concrete, and then, with my friend as my escort, I was suddenly inside the bubble of Secret Service protection that was surrounding Clinton as she worked the rope line. Because of the late hour Clinton had promised the crowd she would answer their questions one on one rather than doing a Q&A, and my friend wanted me to hear what people say to Clinton as she presses the flesh. This is something people don’t see enough, and don’t understand, he was telling me: the intensity of Clinton’s connection with her supporters, the absolute firmness of their conviction that she should go on.


    It was true. Inside the bubble with Clinton, all I heard were older women with misty eyes thanking her, older men telling her to press on with the campaign no matter what, younger men and women saying they couldn’t wait to have her as their president. Clinton would sign things—copies of her book, scraps of paper, campaign signs, a copy of an emailed letter to the editor complaining about Clinton’s treatment in the press—and then she would lean in to answer questions and I would lean in behind her, just a foot or so away, trying to hear the exchange above the cheers and the music.

    The first question I heard was from a young man asking about gay marriage (Clinton explained she supports civil unions). There was another question about violent video games, another about health care funding, and then it was mostly gift giving and people pleading with her to stay in the race. She received a sticker to put on her car that would identify her as part of the Holy Ghost Racing Team. She smiled. She was handed packages, letters, a necklace, a CD with a copy of a song an older woman had recorded for Bill. She laughed easily, shook hands warmly, signed everything in sight (except money, not allowed).

    “Can I shake hands with you?” a woman asked gently. “God bless you.”

    “Thank you for hanging in,” said a young man in a blue shirt. “I hope you win, I really do.”

    It’s hard to describe the blast of supportive emotion that was directed at Clinton wherever she turned. We were making our way around a cordoned-off circle that surrounded the stage she’d used for her speech, and she was soaking it up, no longer the self-consciously straight shooting and un-flashy presence she cultivates on stage as a contrast to Obama’s soaring oratory.


    Instead she was at ease, listening…




    …and signing everything in sight, “Hillary.”


    She didn’t seem in a hurry to leave. I wouldn’t have wanted to leave, either. It was all praise and support and good wishes in the bubble. It was lovely. It was another world.

    The Morning News

    posted by on May 9 at 8:30 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Aid seizure: UN stops aid to Burma after supplies seized by government.

    Neighborhood seizure
    : Shiite militias occupy west Beirut.

    Nomination seizure: Obama assumes nominee role; Clinton campaign chairman says the race will be over soon.

    Gas up: Oil hits $126 a barrel in expectation of a conflict with Venezuela.

    Cancelled appointment: U.S. pulls former commanding general of Guantanamo Bay from Islamabad amid Pakistani concerns.

    Something weird is going on in Japan: Marine acquitted of rape is last in a long line of suspected rapists.

    The SPS shuffle: Controversial Office of Equity and Race Relations dismantled.

    Shut down
    : Judge Pechman denies another Sonics motion, this time to expose sealed documents.

    Bad dreams: Buyers will wait two more years than they expected for new Dreamliners.

    Throwing Scones

    posted by on May 9 at 8:12 AM

    I’m frequently accused of taking marching orders from Andrew Sullivan—a friend and an absurdly frequent linkee here on Slog—when, in actual fact, Andrew and I disagree on a great many issues. Socialized medicine, for starters, and Paul Krugman and Al Gore and hate-crimes laws and, or course, Gay Eustace. (I did, of course, agree with Andrew about the, erm, war.)

    Well, you can add those little vanilla scones at Starbucks to the list of things we disagree about. Andrew says

    …totally awesome: moist, sweet, crusty, the best pastry Starbucks has come up with.

    I couldn’t disagree more. I like petite vanilla pastries just as much as the next effete urban elitist. And I’ve tried these “scones” from Starbucks—in South Carolina, in Chicago, and in Seattle (at the airport). And those petite vanilla scones utterly flavorless, the icing is chalky, and the edges are neither crispy nor crusty. They taste like lightly sweetened Play-Doh. They are wholly without merit.

    Good morning!

    posted by on May 9 at 7:52 AM

    Look at that one in the hat! Adorable! And look at that rapist one! He thinks he’s a person.

    Apparently this was on dlisted but I STOLE IT BECAUSE I AM A THIEF.

    Headline of the Day

    posted by on May 9 at 7:24 AM

    The AP:

    Evangelicals warn of politicizing faith

    We wouldn’t want to see that happen, now would we?

    Clinton in the Arena

    posted by on May 9 at 12:57 AM


    Almost an hour late, Clinton kicked off her evening rally inside the arena of the Jackson County Fairgrounds here in southern Oregon by apologizing. She’d been in South Dakota and West Virginia earlier in the day, she said, and only then had headed west.

    “I apologize that we were kind of flying against the wind,” she said. “But, you know, that’s the story of my life: fly against the wind, you’ll get there eventually.”

    The crowd, filled with many hundreds of supporters (if maybe not the claimed one thousand), ate it up. They all seemed to want Clinton to stay in the race no matter what.

    For the most part, though, her appearance was standard: A line about Clinton being more interested in solutions than speeches; details about her gas tax holiday proposal and her health care plan and her Iraq ideas; a (hopeless) challenge to Obama to debate her any time time and anywhere, perhaps even in Portland tomorrow morning when they’ll both be in the city.

    The only new bit, to my ears, was Clinton’s closing, in which she explained her reasons for continuing on:

    You know, people say to me all the time, ‘Boy, you’re a fighter.’ Well, yes, because you know there’s a lot in life that is worth fighting for and this country is worth fighting for.

    People say to me all the time, ‘Well, are you going to keep going?’ Well, yes, of course I’m going to keep going.

    [Huge applause.]

    I’m gonna keep going because you keep going.

    I look at that sign, ‘Single mothers for Hillary,’ I don’t know how single mothers do it. Every day, they keep going. When I meet somebody who’s lost their job, and they don’t know why, it’s just been pulled out from under them, they keep going. When I meet somebody who doesn’t have health insurance, and doesn’t know how they’re going to pay for their son’s operation, they keep going.

    When people get up every day and face the odds that so many face in life, and they keep going—of course. That’s what you do if you believe that the future can be better than the present. I believe that with all my heart.

    More Friday morning, including a lucky reunion with an old friend that ended in me being whisked inside Clinton’s Secret Service bubble to watch her sign autographs and field questions along the rope line.


    Suspend Big Sexy

    posted by on May 9 at 12:18 AM

    Not because he rushed the mound in tonight’s Mariners-Rangers game (which we lost 5-0 in absolutely pitiful fashion), but because he was such a chickenshit, he kicked the fight off by using his helmet as a weapon.

    To recap: The Rangers had been hit by errant pitches twice in the early going of the game. After the second M’s wild throw, one of the Rangers jawed a little with Johjima, then took his base. When the fourth inning began, I mentioned to my friend that this game was pretty interesting so far—the Rangers had been lighting up the scoreboard, and the tension was mounting to the point where “a fight’s gonna break out any second.” Sure enough, the next pitch to Mariners first baseman Richie Sexson was a little high, so he made a mad dash to the mound. Rangers’ pitcher Kason Gabbard held his ground and lowered his body to brace for impact. Maybe by leaning forward, Gabbard revealed a bullseye on his forehead? Not sure, but Sexson decided his best tactic was taking his helmet off and chucking it full-blast at the bracing pitcher, nailing him square in the back (coincidentally, Gabbard had just been on the disabled list for lower back spasms, yeesh).

    If Sexson had charged the mound wielding a bat, every news outlet in the nation would cream itself over the video. But from the look of it, nobody cares that he threw a helmet. News flash—a baseball helmet is heavy enough. Thick. Constructed to block and push back the force of a 100+ MPH fastball that might otherwise puree a batter’s brains. Whether you want to call Sexson’s decision cowardly or deliberately painful, it should be punished severely—particularly since replays proved that he was nowhere near getting hit by that pitch. Go ahead, watch it. What if that stupid helmet throw clocked the guy in the head and really did some damage over absolutely nothing? Being out for blood is fun and all, Sexson, but maybe you should worry more about your .209 batting average.

    Not that I didn’t get a kick out of seeing each bench and bullpen pour into the field—there’s something kind of magical about watching both teams’ bullpen staffs run the full length of a baseball outfield side-by-side, as if two warring bands of superheroes have to unite against a common enemy for one brief, beautiful, Saturday morning half-hour. The fight was also made better by my Nintendo DS, which I brought to, again, try out the Nintendo Fan Network. This is where its replay feature came in handy; about eight people gathered around post-fight to watch the errant pitch, initial mound rush, and bench-clearing fracas for a good five minutes. Another useful new feature—live traffic maps of the Seattle area that you can check before getting into the car. Seriously.

    I have to wonder if there was catnip or something in the air, because in the eighth inning, the guy sitting next to me tried to pick a fight of his own. He made some weird comment about All-Star Game voting ballots that had been handed out earlier, so I tried handing him one, thinking he needed it. He called me “a funny guy” and asked if I could also give him 42 cents to mail the thing off. When I turned away to ignore him and watch the game, he yelled, “What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue, Mr. Hilarious?

    What the hell do you say to something as stupid as that? Say nothing, and you come off like a wimp. Respond with a retort, and you come off like a total douchebag. I went with the meek route, but Paul Constant, you’re coming with me next game to offer manly guidance.

    Thursday, May 8, 2008

    Hanging With the Hard Working White Folk

    posted by on May 8 at 7:32 PM

    Inside the arena at the Jackson County Fairgrounds in southern Oregon, a not exactly full house one hour before Hillary Clinton is scheduled to arrive…


    …while outside the light fades on a warm day here in this overwhelmingly white (as in 93 percent white) corner of the state.




    Earlier I spent some time talking to Hillary supporters as they arrived, waited in line, and headed inside the arena. Here’s Philip Frisby, 84, a retired cement delivery person from Grants Pass, Oregon.


    “I think it’s just great that she’s staying in,” Frisby told me. He isn’t a big fan of Obama. He’s heard Obama won’t sing the national anthem, that he considers it a war song. “How good an American could he be if that’s his way of thinking?” Frisby asked. “His patriotism goes one way—that’s his way.”

    How did Frisby hear about Obama’s dislike of the national anthem? You guess it: By email.

    Now meet Margaret Roper, 74, a homemaker from Grants Pass.


    “I don’t think she should drop out,” Roper told me. “I think she should stay in until the last.”

    She’s also not a big Obama fan. “I don’t think he’s got the qualifications she does,” Roper said. “I think she’s a better person.”

    One reason: “I think you should be proud to be an American. I think he should defend our country in every way, shape, and form, and I would not have listened to the things his preacher said.”

    Can Hillary even win the nomination at this point?

    “It’s possible,” Roper said. “She’s a fighter.”


    Deanna Rogers, 43, arrived with McKyla Crowder, 14. Rogers could not explain how Hillary Clinton still has a viable path to the nomination. “She can give it a try,” said Rogers, who works as a real estate agent in Medford. “She can’t give up now. It’s not over until it’s over.”


    “I hope she will win,” said Balaman Poorkhomani, 52, of Ashland. “Because I like her husband. We had a great country when he was president.”

    And if she doesn’t win? Is the country ready to vote for a black man for president?

    “Of course.”


    Roger Caldwell has been to 11 states on the proceeds of his button and t-shirt sales, and he’s made a study of Hillary Clinton and her devoted followers, who he calls “Hillarians.”

    He thinks Clinton is staying in the race for two reasons: To gain leverage for bargaining for the VP slot and (in a rather generous take that I haven’t heard before) to keep the spotlight on the Democrats rather than allowing it to shift to McCain.

    He hadn’t heard of Clinton’s recent bragging about her prowess at drawing “hard-working, white Americans,” but, he said: “It’s true. That’s just a fact.”

    Consider North Carolina, Caldwell said. There, Obama won by 14 points and blacks (over 90 percent of whom voted for Obama) made up 34 percent of the electorate. “If you took the blacks out of it, she would have won by 14,” Caldwell said.

    So does Obama have a problem with white voters?

    “I don’t think he has any problem that any black man wouldn’t have among white voters. That’s just the world we live in.”

    Is Clinton exploiting this reality?

    “You can’t fault her for exploiting it. Anyone running opposed to Barack is going to exploit it. And Hillary has barely done it.”

    Is there a way for Clinton to make a graceful exit at this point?

    “If she wins in West Virginia and Kentucky she’s going out strong. It won’t be that she has a chance. It’ll be that she’s going out strong.”

    Want to see more posts in this series? Start here and scroll, scroll, scroll. Or here, where there’s a little less need for scrolling.

    Hey, Big Lender!

    posted by on May 8 at 6:15 PM

    This afternoon, about 40 people in business attire strode into the lobby of Washington Mutual Center carrying signs that read “Stop Foreclosure Now.” Representing the Association of Community Organizations for Reforms Now (ACORN) and individuals who had fallen behind on mortgage payments to WaMu, they had come to ask the bank—based in Seattle and one of the nation’s leading home mortgage lenders—to change its lending practices.

    WaMu had prepared for the invasion, with a fleet of PR staff and Senior Vice President Reza Aghamirzadeh on hand to respond.


    What do you mean this isn’t an excellent photo? That’s Aghamirzadeh on the left and Jones on the right.

    John Jones, president of Washington ACORN, addressed the room: “Our quality of life has been compromised greatly by the sub-prime loans… and Washington Mutual taking advantage of people in low-income communities,” he said. Because of practices such as ballooning mortgage payments, sub-prime rates, and agents who failed to disclose monthly payments, many borrowers have lost their homes. “A few years ago WaMu was a five on a scale of five. On sub-prime loans, WaMu is now a three—and going down,” Jones said.

    Jones demanded that, within two weeks, WaMu agree to a six-month moratorium on foreclosures of owner-occupied homes, convert delinquent loans to fixed-rate loans the owners can afford, and provide better support services for homeowners.

    A man in the crowd named Julio, one of the ACORN members affected by WaMu’s predatory lending practices, was never told the cost of his monthly payment rates—which, it turned out, he couldn’t afford. (There’s a great description of the mortgage lending mess—and why the economy is in the tubes—over here.)

    I never got Julio’s last name or the details of his circumstances because WaMu employed a strategic tactic to separate the protesters from the press. Aghamirzadeh offered personal mortgage consultations to those with grievances—upstairs. He would also be happy to answer questions from the press—in a different upstairs room upstairs—but we all had to go right then.

    In the room for the press, Aghamirzadeh was full of platitudes, and he made no commitments to change lending practices or bail out borrowers. Would the circus in the lobby change WaMu’s practices by the two-week ultimatum? “The protest today heightened the acuteness of the issue,” said Aghamirzadeh. “We will evaluate [Jones’] recommendations, call him, and set up a meeting.”

    Postponing Puberty

    posted by on May 8 at 5:57 PM

    There were two-hour tantrums. Tornadoes of tears and screaming that left the family exhausted. Any comment could set Armand off, and, once triggered, there was no controlling him….

    The family consulted mental health professionals…. Still, while the doctors were unable to find the right label, their son seemed to understand what was going on. Danielle says that during quiet moments, like the ride from school, her child would confess what was causing so much trouble.

    “A lot of times she’d come out and say, ‘I’m a girl.’ No, at first it was, ‘I want to be a girl,’ then it’s like ‘No. I am a girl.’ And she’d ask if me if I [thought] she was crazy and I’d say, ‘No, honey, you know, it’s OK.’ And in the front, you know, I’m driving going … ‘Oh my gosh, what is this?’” Danielle says.

    Robert and Danielle agreed. The first official day of Violet’s new life was Aug. 19, 2007. It was the first day of a family vacation. Armand—now Violet—was 10. And Robert says her emotional transformation that day was nothing short of astonishing.

    “It was the happiest kid I’d ever seen. Just lit up. Just … brilliant and funny and these things that we caught glimpses of that weren’t always there,” he says.

    The doctor explained that their son would, in all likelihood, grow up to be transgender — someone who lives as a member of the opposite sex.

    Robert and Danielle say that at this point the diagnosis was more of a relief than a shock. They decided almost immediately to stop trying to force their son to live as a boy. And then looked, with some anxiety, to the future. Armand was close to 11 years old.

    “We knew that puberty was around the corner and we needed to start looking into … what do we do,” Robert says. “How do we help this child, you know, develop in a way that is consistent with who she is.”

    Violet is now taking hormone blockers—which prevent the onset of puberty and the development of masculine secondary sex characteristics, which can traumatize a transgender child. Part two of Alix Spiegel’s important, moving series on transgender children is here.

    Wherein I Tell You Exactly When You Can Stop Reading Knute Berger’s Latest Post

    posted by on May 8 at 5:48 PM

    Right here:

    A few early French restaurants in Pioneer Square in the 1970s

    Dude. It’s 2008. It’s time to let go.

    Of course, if you do read on, you’ll be treated to some real gems of twisted logic and insincere credulity. Such as:

    our most ardent urban advocates have become uptight and nativist, from new liquor crackdowns to calls for secession.

    Nickels’s “call for secession,” as Berger surely realizes, was a joke. And Berger’s one to talk about “nativism.”

    Moving on:

    Once, you may have looked for an authentic bistro that served Evian with your meal. Now, sipping foreign water out of a plastic bottle is tantamount to firing a slug into Gaia’s gut. And don’t tell anyone you like foie gras.

    “Firing a slug into Gaia’s gut”? Way to make with the dated references, dude. What are you, Maureen Dowd?

    What has Berger’s tie-dyed boxers in a twist is a press conference Mayor Greg Nickels held encouraging Seattle residents to drink tap water. This, Berger is convinced, is a sign of Seattle’s the final descent toward the dreaded Nanny State™, and he’s not having any of it.

    It’s a Berger special: Toss out some received wisdom, throw in a few unsupported assertions, add a dash of irrelevant data, and stir.

    So importing and drinking bottled water is bad, but exporting Boeing aircraft and war machines is OK? Which do you think has a bigger impact on greenhouse gases? Which uses more oil? Which contributes more to destroying the planet?

    And what about Starbucks, for god’s sake? How much carbon is burned and how much greenhouse gas emitted getting those beans here? Unless I missed it, there are no coffee plantations in Wallingford.

    Oh, snap! I also think people starving to death in developing countries because of Americans’ meat consumption is bad, therefore I will drink infinity bottles of water with impunity!

    And indeed—for god’s sake—what about Starbucks? Well, according to a 2007 article in Forbes (the first thing that pops up when you Google “Starbucks carbon footprint,” btw—but maybe Berger’s still using Lycos) in 2003, the company emitted 295,000 tons of emissions, not including the 81,000 tons it emits shipping beans around the world. So yes, Starbucks has a climate impact. But the difference between coffee and bottled water is that there’s a (more or less) carbon-free alternative to bottled water. Unless you’re going to give up coffee, your beans are probably going to be shipped from somewhere. Or is Berger advocating a ban on coffee? Man, what a scold that guy is.

    Then he really starts to stretch:

    Third, the taste and quality of local water is often impacted by the pipes it travels through. Maybe it’s just me, living in older homes and apartments, but even when filtered, my tap water doesn’t taste as good as most bottled waters. Few can afford to replace their plumbing.

    See? Nickels wants to TAX POOR OLD-BUILDING-DWELLERS by forcing them to REPLACE THEIR PLUMBING. It’s a plot, I tell you! Also, it’s impossible for Berger to use ANY of the alternatives:

    I tried special ordering mineral water in glass bottles for awhile but could only get it by the case. Have you ever tried lugging a case of glass-bottled water home from the market? I suspect plastic may be better than hauling the bottles home by car.
    I suspect that too! Fortunately, I have at my desk this thing called the Internet, which is full of handy facts and figures to confirm or disprove unsupported assertions! Here’s what it told me:
    The total amount of water used to produce and deliver one bottle of imported water is 6.74kg.. And the amount of GHGs released amount to 250g, or 0.25kg, or 0.00025 tons.

    That’s a lot of carbon per bottle! Except that, whoops, driving is actually MUCH worse. Burning just one gallon of gas in a midsized car (let’s assume Berger drives a Subaru, shall we?) puts 20 pounds of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Even if Berger’s only driving a couple of miles, his carbon impact is going to be greater than the impact of the bottle, especially given that cars emit the most CO2 when they’re started up. (His hypothetical drive to the grocery store would mean he has to start his Subaru up twice.)

    OK, but even if he were to somehow manage without water in plastic bottles at home, what would he do when he’s out on the street? Drink from a public water fountain, perhaps? No way, Berger says. Not because of concerns about hygiene but because, apparently, public water fountains no longer exist:

    You can buy Evian in gas stations and quickie marts now, but where have all the public drinking fountains gone? And how many are maintained in good enough condition that you’d actually want to use them? Downtown Seattle used to have Bubblers on many corners, but no longer.

    Translation: Everything was better in Berger’s halcyon 1970s, when nobody lived here and the Nanny Staters™ hadn’t run amok all over Seattle, prying away shoppers’ plastic bags and yanking the 40s from their hands. (Also, I love that Evian is Berger’s idea of fancy).


    Where HAVE all the public drinking fountains gone? And what’s the deal with riboflavin?!?

    Now, then. See if you can spot the inaccuracies in this next paragraph:

    The city has tried to control what types of alcohol can be sold where, it’s cracked down on loud music, smoking, it wants to start charging you for using the “wrong” type of grocery bags, it wants to eliminate fast food from the city, it has employees inspecting your garbage to see if you’re obeying recycling laws, and our elected leaders are just chomping at the bit to start tracking where you drive and when so they can charge you by the mile. Big Nanny is watching.

    Give up? Here they are!

    1) The “city” hasn’t “cracked down on… smoking.” You can thank the voters of Washington State for that. The smoking ban won overwhelmingly; and it worked.

    2) The “wrong” type of bags? I don’t think he’s quoting anything except his own imagination. What’s actually going on: The city may start charging 20 cents for disposable paper and plastic bags in an effort to get people to switch to reusable bags. Incidentally, the last I checked, the reusable bags at my PCC were going for 73 cents.

    3) The city’s banning fast food? That’s news to me. I am aware that the county has banned trans fats in restaurants throughout the county, and that they’re requiring nutritional information on meals in chain restaurants. But a citywide ban on fast food? Scary sounding, but not bloody likely.

    4) Employees inspecting your garbage? That’s a stretch. Trash collectors who already work for the city will look into garbage cans and won’t carry the trash away if they’re full of recyclable stuff. Which is, by the way, pretty much what they’ve always done—you won’t get your yard waste picked up if it’s full of candy wrappers, and you won’t get your recycling picked up if it’s full of computer monitors. Setting standards for what goes where isn’t being a “scold”; in fact, it’s exactly the system we’re used to.

    5) Finally, drivers can calm down: Seattle leaders aren’t trying to charge you for every mile you drive. What’s actually happening is that King County is looking into pay-as-you-drive insurance—a fairer form of insurance coverage that charges you only for the amount you use your car (unlike conventional insurance plans, which charge infrequent drivers just as much as road hogs.) And they’re implementing a few HOT lanes, which give solo drivers the ability to pay to drive on high-occupancy lanes. All of these innovations work by using an EZ-Tag style transponder—the same kind of transponder long in use in cities across America. Believe me, Knute—Greg Nickels doesn’t care where you’re driving.

    In conclusion, Berger writes:

    As a mossback, I am not opposed to nativist sympathies — I often share and applaud them. But one of the local traditions I treasure is tolerance, and the idea that there’s more than one way of behaving and looking at the world. That used to be the essence of a vital city, until Singapore, I guess.

    To me, one of the few mitigating factors in Seattle’s march toward Manhattanization is the hope that the resulting mess will at least be broadminded, perhaps even creatively fertile. But instead Seattle seems to be on the forefront of a new kind of urbanism that demands we adopt its least appealing qualities (crowding, high cost) and eschew its virtues (broadmindedness, variety). Instead, we’ve got a dense city full of scolds and micromanagers.

    Do Berger and I live in the same city? It sure doesn’t seem that way. True, I’ve only lived here seven years (not enough time for that moss to grow on my back), but I’ve never felt “crowded.” (Perhaps Berger needs a bigger place?) And the only times I’ve ever felt “scolded” were when people gave me dirty looks for jaywalking (usually in the rain). And that kind of scolding is actually a vestige of the bygone Seattle mossbacks like Berger want to recapture.

    In Search of Those Hard Working White People

    posted by on May 8 at 4:40 PM

    Hello from Medford, Oregon, way down south near the border with California, where the view from the Holiday Inn Express is as follows:


    I’m here to attend a Hillary Clinton town hall meeting this evening at the Jackson County Fairgrounds—a place where, a friend familiar with rural Oregon tells me, I am sure to find many of those “hard-working, white Americans” that Clinton is staying in the race to represent.

    Check back later to see how I do and what the white people tell me, but for now I bring you the hard working white man who I sat next to on the plane from Seattle:


    That’s David Kirby, 44, the pastor at United Family Fellowship in Klamath Falls, Oregon, just a short drive from Medford. He’s not a Democrat so, unfortunately, I don’t think he falls into the class of hard working white people that Clinton is courting. However, he did have some interesting things to say about Obama.

    Kirby is one of those fascinating people who both know that Obama spent 20 years at a certain Chicago church and firmly believe that Obama is a secret Muslim.

    “All the evidence points to that he is,” Kirby told me. “I don’t trust him.”

    The evidence Kirby has received comes in the form of emails from “watch dog groups” that he listens to, as well as chatter among his friends. He’s heard it all—Obama not saying the pledge of allegiance, Obama’s pastor engaging in hate speech, Obama being a Muslim—and he believes it all.

    Granted, he also thinks Hillary Clinton is “crooked as a snake” and he wishes Mike Huckabee had won the Republican contest, but Kirby is nevertheless quite worried about a potential Obama presidency: “Having a Muslim for a president—if he’s true to his faith he’s going to be pushing the Muslim faith.”

    I asked Kirby why he thinks Obama went to church for 20 years if he’s in fact Muslim.

    “I have no idea,” he replied. “A lot of people have political reasons behind everything they do.”

    And why would Obama lie about his alleged Muslim faith?

    “If people of your faith had attacked New York City, and that is still fresh in Americans’ minds, wouldn’t you lie about it?”

    What would it take to convince him that Obama is a Christian?

    “If I heard him say Jesus Christ is Lord it would cause me to listen to him.”

    I told Kirby that Obama has, in fact, said he believes in Jesus. Repeatedly.

    “Oh, really,” he replied. “I didn’t know that. I hadn’t heard that.”

    Kirby gets most of his news from email and the Internet, he told me, and then he instructed me that even if Obama does believe in Jesus, “believing in Jesus and believing that He is Lord are two different things.”

    Kirby is from Albertville, Alabama, and he said he used to be filled with prejudice but that Jesus has filled his heart with love. “I don’t even know you, man, but I love you,” he told me.

    If he only knew.

    After I finish asking him questions about the presidential race he starts asking me about my religion. He finds out I’m Jewish. He wants to know if I believe in God. The snack cart interrupts.

    I figure it’s dangerous to go down this road, so I decline to mention that airplanes are actually one of the few places where God and I have words.

    He asks if I believe in the Book of Revelations. I tell him no, and, gosh, I’m really tired, should probably take a nap.

    After the plane lands he tells me he’s going to pray for me as he’s getting into bed tonight. He also tells me that he hopes this image—him talking to God about me in bed—is with me while I’m in bed tonight.

    Speaking of Book Promotion…

    posted by on May 8 at 4:10 PM

    Many authors have felt this way, but this is the first modern age author to admit it: Sci-fi writer Thomas Disch has announced on his LiveJournal that he is God. He is taking questions.


    Dear God,

    What is your favorite species in the whole universe and why?

    Your friend,


    Disch’s response:

    The Xloti of Aldebaran 4. They’d be your favorite too, if they weren’t invible to the human eye.

    Hopefully, this is just to promote Disch’s new book, The Word of God, but if he gets enough of a positive response, I suspect that he might just stick with it. I guess that Norman Mailer’s death has left a vacuum in authors who believe they’re deities.


    posted by on May 8 at 3:53 PM


    Boy, I am sick of looking at this ad. Sorry. See you at 6 pm with bells and thinking caps on.

    Vessel: Forging Forth

    posted by on May 8 at 3:33 PM

    Despite the loss of Seattle’s first- or second-best bartender (depending on whom you ask), Vessel’s forging forth. A good-humored press release says that “Vessel’s owner, Clark Niemeyer, is fully enjoying the irony of having his establishment named one of Esquire Magazine’s ‘Best Bars in America,’ while only three weeks ago his business partner in charge of finance, Coleman Johnson, quit unexpectedly, leaving an accounting mess to untangle.”

    More after the break.

    Continue reading "Vessel: Forging Forth" »

    Women in Politics: Same as It Ever Was

    posted by on May 8 at 3:23 PM

    Violet Socks at Reclusive Leftist—probably the most ardent Clinton supporter on the Internet after Robin Morgan—has a post up today explaining why she won’t vote for Obama even if he’s the nominee. And while I don’t agree with her conclusions—as I wrote this week, I think it’s time for Democrats to unite around a nominee and get to work building the case against McCain—her reasons for sticking it out with Clinton struck a chord.

    Imagine this scenario:

    The shoe is on the other foot, and Obama, not Hillary, is the punching bag of the media — a media that is blatantly and unapologetically racist. And I do mean blatant. Jokes every night on the cable news shows about Obama’s hair and his fondness for fried chicken. Pundits laughing about what a problem uppity Negroes are.

    Across the country, racists openly ridicule Obama and his candidacy. In mainstream stores there are gag gifts playing on racist themes: maybe a (water)Melon Baller with Obama’s head on the handle, maybe a Barack Obama Shoeshine Set — you get the picture. 501c groups invoke the most grotesque racist slurs with their advertising; T-shirts say “Quit Running for President and Shine My Shoes!” Anybody who protests is branded a fool and a spoilsport.

    Online, Hillary’s supporters constantly refer to Obama and his supporters as n—–s and c— -s and all the other epithets I refuse to type out. Blogger Boyz blog about those stupid lazy Negroes who are still wallowing in memories of the Civil Rights era, too dumb to get with the program and vote for Hillary.

    And the lies: Obama is constantly lied about, belittled, demeaned. His record is distorted, his character impugned. Every day the pundits and the Blogger Boyz urge him to drop out of the race, to remember his place, to give up his seat to the white woman. All in the interest of “party unity.”

    And nary a word of reproach from Hillary herself. No denunciation at all of the relentless racism. In fact, she actually cracks a few racist remarks herself, albeit subtle ones. She jokes and nods with the media about “letting” Obama run as long as he wants to. And when she makes speeches about American values, she talks a lot about women’s rights but never mentions civil rights. She’s strikingly silent on the subject. Even when she delivers a major address on the importance of rooting out bigotry, she neglects to mention racism at all.

    And the Democratic Party goes along with all this, pushing Hillary as the nominee, ignoring the anger of African-American voters, smugly assuming that they’ll “come back to the fold” by November. After all, say the pundits and the Blogger Boyz, where else are they going to go? The Republicans are even worse.

    I’ve said it before—but because some Slog readers seem to still think I believe any attack on Clinton is a sexist attack, I’ll say it again: The misogyny from the media, from supposedly liberal blogger doodz , commenters on this blog, and just about everywhere during this campaign has been despicable. This kind of shit ought to be behind us: Hillary Clinton is a bitch. A big ol’ bitchy bitch. And a cunt. A “big fucking whore.” Fortunately, you can “call a woman anything.” She’s “Nurse Ratched.” She’ll castrate you if she gets a chance. She would like that. She’s a “She-Devil.” She’s a madam, and her daughter’s a whore. She’s frigid, and she can’t give head. She’s a “She-Devil.” A lesbian. A nag. When things get tough, she cries like a big dumb GIRL. In fact, she’s just that — a “little girl.” In FACT, she wants to “cry her way to the White House.” To be, ahem, “Crybaby-in-Chief.” That proves that she’s not tough enough. But she’s also not feminine enough. She’s “screechy.” She’s an “aging, resentful female.” She’s “Sister Frigidaire.” She really ought to quit running for President and stick to housework. She basically spent her entire times as First Lady going to tea parties. She’s a monster whojust won’t die. In fact, she really should just die. You can buy a urinal target with her face on it to express what you really think of her. OMG she’s got claws! She’s crazy. In fact, she’s a lunatic. She’s petty and vindictive and entitled. She’s a washed-up old hag. She’s “everybody’s first wifestanding outside probate court.” She’s a “scolding mother.” She’s shrillshrillshrill. She can’t take it when people are mean to her. She’s a “hellish housewife.” She’s Tanya Harding. She CAN’T be President, what with the mood swings and the menses.Any woman who votes for her is voting with her vagina, not her brain. Women only like Hillary because she’s a fellow Vagina-American. And because they vote with their feelings. Frankly, anyone who still thinks we need “feminine role models” should get over it and move on, already. Oh, and men who supporters are castratos in the eunuch chorus. You shouldn’t make her President because she wants it too much. She’s totally just banking on support from ugly old feminists. And she looooves to “play the victim.” She cackles! And cackles. And cackles. It’s like she’s a witch or something! She’s definitely“witchy.” And now you can buy her cackle as your ring tone. Her voice, too, is “grating”—like “fingernails on a blackboard” to “some men.” She’s hiding behind her gender. She isn’t a “convincing mom” because she’s too strident. She never did anything on her own. Her husband keeps her on a leash. She hates men. Her campaign is a “catfight.” She makes people want to kill themselves, is like a “domineering mother,” and is cold. And OMG she has boobies! All of which are reasons to hate her. (And boy, could I go on.)

    Oh, and if you even mention any of this, you’re either silly or a bad person.

    So yeah, while I’m ready to get on the Obama welcome wagon, I’m also angry. And I’m not ready to “get over” the blatant, ugly misogyny that so many Democrats—Democrats!—have displayed throughout this campaign, thank you very fucking much. (Of course, Republican shitbags did plenty of dishing, too, but the sexist statements by Democrats and otherwise liberal columnists have been the most disappointing). You can’t be intellectually honest if you give lip service to “equality” in one breath and guffaw at how “caustic” and “shrill” Clinton is in the next.

    I’m fiercely disappointed in many of my fellow Americans. I’ve long hoped that the daughters of the generation that follows mine would grow up thinking that even they could be President someday. If I ever have a daughter someday, I’ll tell her that, just as my parents did. But after seeing what happened to Hillary, I doubt they’ll have reason to believe it.

    Headline of the Day

    posted by on May 8 at 3:09 PM

    3 Accused of Using Corpse Head to Smoke Pot

    Rick Larsen Endorses Barack Obama

    posted by on May 8 at 2:56 PM

    From the PI:

    Barack Obama picked up another superdelegate from Washington state Thursday when Rep. Rick Larsen announced his support for the Democratic presidential candidate.

    “I believe that Sen. Obama is frankly the best candidate,” Larsen said. “This week Sen. Obama has proven he is tough and resilient.”

    Frankly, Rick, you’re a little late. Your constituents came to that conclusion—Obama is the best candidate—months and months ago. But welcome to the club.

    Tim? George? Wolf?

    posted by on May 8 at 2:32 PM

    I wonder if we’ll seeing any of this on Meet the Press or This Week or the Situation Room

    Probably not—not unless someone spots Barack Obama sitting out there in the pews.

    The reason McCain’s crazy-ass pastors—plural—aren’t an issue, of course, is that Republicans are supposed to have crazy-ass pastors. We’re used to Republican candidates and their crazy-ass pastors. (To say nothing of their ass-crazy pastors.) A Democrat with a crazy-ass pastor is something new.

    Skatepark Meeting Tonight

    posted by on May 8 at 1:37 PM

    Tonight, skatepark designers Newline and VDZ are holding the second design meeting for the Seask8 rebuild at Seattle Center. The meeting will be held in the Shaw Room from 6:30-8, where Newline and VDZ will present conceptual designs for the park.

    One thing the new park apparently won’t include is a skate bowl, which has created a bit of a shitstorm over on VDZ’s SeaSk8 message board.

    If you want to see a bowl—which won’t be possible because of construction issues—or any other features, show up to tonight’s meeting and give VDZ a respectful earful.

    In other skating news, the Woodland Park Skatepark will officially open Saturday, June 7th.

    Seattle Vs. Dubai

    posted by on May 8 at 1:24 PM

    Last year, Seattle-based Mithun Architects designed the Center for Urban Agriculture, tailor made for a site on 9th Avenue and Olive Way downtown. “We wanted to demonstrate that a project of this type is feasible in a downtown setting,” says Mithun’s Bonnie Duncan. Behold, a vertical farm for the city.



    Fantastic, is it not?

    Each residential unit is retrofitted from a combination of two or three recycled shipping containers to create studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments. The CUA employs a “shelf system” within its superstructure to speed construction time through off-site assembly and crane erection techniques.

    The CUA reintroduces 1.35 acres of native habitat, farmland and community gathering space to its urban environment. Birds, insects and native plants would inhabit the 22,000 square feet of planters and upper terraces. The use of native plants increases the variety of insects that support the food chain. For example, maple trees support 18 species of insects while native oaks support 1,800 species of insects. The goal is to increase biodiversity in the city that will begin to support broader species of birds. A 19,000 sq. ft. chicken farm operates on the CUA’s lower terrace.

    Other than the fact that it relates poorly to the street (which could be easily remedied), here’s the problem: Nobody has stepped up to the plate to build the thing. “Every once in a while there are murmurings; we just have to find a developer who is up for it,” says Duncan. “I could get a call from the Sheik of Dubai to say that he needs a 100-story high-rise farm—that could be where it happens first.”

    Seattle, don’t let Dubai show you up again.

    The New World of Desire

    posted by on May 8 at 1:14 PM

    Tamil actress Namitha Kapoor is one way to picture the globalization of desire:

    Global Namitha loves:

    White and Black colors. White roses are her favorite flowers. She swims and plays Badminton in her leisure. Interestingly she used to coach swimming for kids. Namitha reads the novels of Sidney Sheldon and prefers reading Comics. Coming to films, Namitha likes Nandita Das, Tabu, Paresh Rawal. She likes Animals and Birds aswell.

    Abundance is the global ideal:
    namitha2bf0.jpg The abundance of globalization is what replaces the abundance of Americanization. Only from the current decline of American power does globalization emerge from what has been called globalization but was in fact Americanization.

    The Age of Nonpolarity What Will Follow U.S. Dominance By Richard N. Haass

    From Foreign Affairs , May/June 2008
    Summary: The United States’ unipolar moment is over. International relations in the twenty-first century will be defined by nonpolarity. Power will be diffuse rather than concentrated, and the decline as that of nonstate actors increases…

    Viral Non-Porn

    posted by on May 8 at 1:00 PM


    Here is the MySpace page for Cassie Wright, the porn-star main character of Snuff, Chuck Palahniuk’s new novel. Palahniuk will be reading at Town Hall on May 20th. On the MySpace page, there’s a video trailer for a fake movie, called The Wizard of Ass, starring the fake porn star. It’s also a trailer for the book. I’m not going to embed the video here, because, well, gross.

    Also on the MySpace page is a list of fictional movies that the fictional Cassie Wright has starred in, with titles that have already been used in actual porn movies like On Golden Blonde and The Da Vinci Load. There’s also a message from Chuck Palahniuk himself:

    Hey all,

    Just Top Friended you. Let’s get this page some hits. Cassie deserves it.

    It’s authors like Palahniuk that make me proud to have devoted my life to literature. That is all.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on May 8 at 12:59 PM

    Someone just sent me a text message that said today was National Outdoor Intercourse Day… Can it be true?

    Now That Clinton vs. Obama Has Been Decided…

    posted by on May 8 at 12:28 PM


    we can turn our attention to the celebrity deathmatch being waged between former View host Star Jones and View creator and star Barbara Walters.

    Round One: While appearing on Tuesday’s Oprah Winfrey Show to promote her new, adultery-admitting memoir, Barbara Walters reveals that Star Jones required her View co-hosts to play dumb about her obvious-to-anyone-with-eyes gastric-bypass surgery. “We had to lie on the set everyday because she said it was portion control and Pilates,” Barbara told Oprah. “Well, we knew it wasn’t portion control and Pilates.”

    Round Two: The day after the Oprah broadcast, Star blasts Babs to US magazine: “It is a sad day when an icon like Barbara Walters, in the sunset of her life, is reduced to publicly branding herself as an adulterer, humiliating an innocent family with accounts of her illicit affair and speaking negatively against me all for the sake of selling a book. It speaks to her true character.”

    Round Three: Contacted by US for a statement, a rep for Barbara Walters said, “I will not dignify this with a comment. Barbara’s written words say it all.”

    As for choosing a winner and a loser: Star’s zinger about Barbara’s impending death was indeed impressive, but still, it came from the yap of Star Jones, so—WINNER: Barbara Walters! (And who knew she was a checkerboard chick?)

    (Image from

    Science Gets Skunked

    posted by on May 8 at 12:25 PM

    The UK has a new policy to send send stoners to the slammer.

    Cannabis will be raised to a class B drug with a maximum five year jail term for users, the government said on Wednesday, rejecting a recommendation from its own drugs advisers to leave the classification unchanged.

    Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the decision had been made because of concern, particularly amongst the public, about the “alarming” use of skunk, a stronger strain of the narcotic which now dominates the market.

    “I want it to be clearly understood that this powerful form of cannabis is an illegal and harmful drug,” Smith told parliament, vowing the change would be backed by crackdowns on cannabis farms.

    “There is a compelling case for us to act now, rather than risk the future health of young people.”

    Her announcement followed the publication of a report by the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) which said there was insufficient evidence to regrade cannabis to the more serious class B.

    The UK had downgraded pot to a Class-C offense in 2004, reducing the penalty for smoking pot to a stern warning from the coppers. However, officers could still arrest repeat offenders and people smoking in public or around kids. But the reason bigwigs justified changing the policy to jail pot smokers for five damn years, according to the Home Secretary, was purportedly a shift in public opinion: Respondents to a survey said they believed today’s pot—which they call skunk—is more potent and more dangerous. And they are right about one thing, according to the research of the ACMD, it is more potent. Almost twice as potent. But cracking down on drugs is the reason it’s stronger. In the days of prohibition, hard liquor was all the rage—because a bottle of grain alcohol was easier to conceal than a keg of beer—and a growing a few plants of high-quality skunk is easier to conceal than a field of sativa.

    But if the weathervane of public policy is public opinion, where does the British public stand on penalties for this super-bud? The poll found that “44% wished cannabis to remain Class C… and 19% wished it to be legalized.” Only 19 percent of the public wanted to increase the penalties.

    The other justification is that more people are using this allegedly more-harmful pot. But according that pesky report: “…some cannabis smokers seek the maximum effects while others inhale only a sufficient quantity of THC to obtain a particular degree of intoxication.” (It bears mentioning that Marinol, the prescription pharmaceutical, is 100 percent THC.) The report (.pdf) continues, “Despite the high prevalence of cannabis use, particularly among young people… use appears to have declined by around 20% to 25% over the past five years in all age groups. Similar findings have been reported from a national survey of English secondary schools.” Yeah, that decline occurred in the years pot penalties decreased. So even if pot use is a problem, and pot is more potent, the number of people using it has gone down. Based on all this research, what were those recommendations again from Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs—based on concrete science? “Cannabis should remain a Class C drug.”

    Because science indicates cracking down on pot—in the UK, or in the US—doesn’t reduce marijuana use. But why base drug policies on science?

    Man-Off 2008

    posted by on May 8 at 12:24 PM

    Paul Constant wrote an excellent feature this week, on what makes a man masculine. It really got me thinking—who is the bigger man? Paul, or me, Kelly O? To figure it out, we held The Stranger’s First Annual Man-Off yesterday. Competitions included car engine repair, carpentry, push-ups, opening jars of spaghetti sauce, Oberto brand beef jerky, womanizing, and, of course, BEER. We’re still not sure who won. Maybe you should help us decide.

    Who’s the bigger man?

    SIFF Official Guide Out Now

    posted by on May 8 at 11:45 AM

    The complete SIFF schedule and guide (including search functions) are live now at

    The Edge of Heaven

    SIFF members can buy tickets now (I recommend Fatih Akin’s The Edge of Heaven, pictured above); normal people have to wait till Sunday.

    The hard copy version of the cheery publicist-penned guide is in today’s Seattle Times. Our no-bullshit guide, packed with real reviews, will go live on our website by Wednesday, May 21, and the hard copy will be in that week’s edition of the paper.

    Good to know: Broadway Performance Hall is not going to be a venue this year, which means it isn’t a box office either. You can buy tickets in person (required if you’re getting student or senior discount ticket packages) at Pacific Place, SIFF Cinema, or SIFF HQ in South Lake Union (400 Ninth Avenue N).

    The Walk of Shame

    posted by on May 8 at 11:39 AM

    Photos by Brayden Olson

    posted by on May 8 at 11:22 AM

    Photographer Brayden Olson, who posts the Monday morning Character Study Slog column, has a show opening this Saturday in Ballard. You’ll also find free beer there.

    Obama to Declare Victory…

    posted by on May 8 at 11:20 AM

    …on May 20, according to The Politico.


    posted by on May 8 at 11:11 AM

    This Dove ad featuring “real women”…


    Was Photoshopped.

    All Your Base Out Of Are Belong To Us

    posted by on May 8 at 11:01 AM

    I love waking up to grammar corrections. I just got an e-mail this morning referring to this article, and particularly this sentence from the article:

    It’ll be sad when Amazon isn’t based out of the looming Pacific Medical Center building anymore.

    Here is the e-mail in full, minus the link to the story:

    Perhaps I’m being petty, but how can Amazon be “based out of the looming Pacific Medical Center” when it is located IN that building?

    I have no idea where or how the phrase “based out of” originated, but in this usage it is clearly an oxymoron. Indeed, I have never seen or heard a case in which this overused phrase was not.

    I’m sure you meant that Amazon is based IN the looming Pacific Medical Center. Why did you not write that? The phrase you used is an affectation. Please do not use it again.

    Thank you.


    I took the question to our copy desk, and they said that it means “to serve as a base,” and that the phrase appears frequently in the New York Times and “If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.” I agree. I just informed dr and am eagerly waiting a response. I’m thinking it’ll be a crisp “Good day, sir.”

    Questions: Does this mysterious dr have a Google alert on “based out of?” Does s/he think of him/herself as a kind of grammar vigilante, swooping in to right wrongs? Does this Batman of usage ever sleep?

    A New Argument for Seattle’s Anti-Mass-Transit Activists

    posted by on May 8 at 10:58 AM


    The Sad Mystery of Lynn Lara (And Her Damn Marilyn Monroe Doll)

    posted by on May 8 at 10:51 AM

    Precisely one year ago, I bought the most miraculous sharkskin jacket. Flawless, really. I adored it like nothing else. I bought it specifically to wear whilst meeting Sir Anthony Hopkins (I just call him “Tony”) during his big SIFF to-do last summer, and I bought it from a very big-boned blond woman called Lynn Lara. She was well over six-feet tall, and in high-heels, she was almost monstrous. She dressed exactly like a drag queen. She walked with a limp. She was impossible to miss.

    Lynn Lara had recently transplanted herself from LA or San Diego (her stories ran together and conflicted a lot), and she owned and ran a new-ish little vintage clothing shop on the North-ish end of Broadway where the old Film Stop used to be. She called it, uh, “Glitter” or “Glitz” or something like that. She sold hats and vintage ties and drag-queen shoes, and, somewhere toward the back, she had set up a massive shrine devoted to the worship of glamoure—the crowning jewel of which was a life-size wax effigy of Marilyn Monroe. It was completely terrifying.

    And of course this store and everything associated with it were utterly doomed.

    My fabulous sharkskin jacket perished tragically in a horrible accident involving cooking oil, furious attempts at blotting, and a futile emergency trip to the dry cleaners that left me shattered and in tears. And Lynn Lara? Well. Lynn Lara labored under the bizarre notion that the infamous fags of Capitol Hill would come gushing in by the bucket-load to gander and gawk at her creepy wax Marilyn—-and, presumably, linger long enough over the vintage ties and drag heels to keep her business afloat. But, no.

    Late last fall Lynn Lara disappeared, the doors of her store were locked against her with every little thing still inside—including that damn creepy wax Marilyn—and this rather rude sign was taped to the door:


    Week after week, month after month, I walked past the dark and lifeless storefront, and I wondered: What happened to poor Lynn Lara? She who came, and tried, and didn’t? Did she flee in the night? Was she run out of town on a big, fat rail? It’s a fair question in this strange part of the world where a woman alone can end up floating in the Green River…or worse, temping at Microsoft. (Perish the thought.) And what about her prize possession—-that damn Marilyn doll?

    Then, just last week, the building’s landlord finally began clearing all of Lynn Lara’s stuff out for good—beginning with the big Marilyn Monroe. Now there’s nothing left of Lynn Lara at all; not a scrap of anything to prove she even existed, or ever sold me a miraculous sharkskin jacket that I loved beyond reason.

    Oh, Lynn Lara. What happened to you, really? Where have you and wax Marilyn and your fabulous jackets gone?

    I wonder.

    Child is Father to the Man

    posted by on May 8 at 10:27 AM


    ManBabies is the website devoted to photos of fathers and infants with the heads swapped.

    Sometimes moms are involved. It’s real weird.

    (Thanks for the heads-up, World of Wonder.)

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on May 8 at 10:17 AM


    A ton of readings on a whole bunch of topics tonight, including a mystery book signing at noon and an open mic.

    Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart read from Fixing Failed States, which seems to theorize a way to fix failed states, at Town Hall.

    Up at Third Place Books, Charlie Ayers reads from his memoir, Food 2.0 : Secrets From the Chef Who Fed Google. Apparently, it’s a cookbook that suggests how to eat yourself into smartness.

    At the University Book Store, book blogger Mark Sarvas reads from his debut novel, Harry, Revised. It’s a pretty good debut, with lots of good writing, but it’s a little too consciously literary. I look forward to his future work, and the Q & A for this reading should be a fun, name-dropping discussion about books, too.

    At Parkplace Books out in Kirkland, we have Morgan Howell, reading from a fantasy trilogy. There may be elves in attendance.

    And at Elliott Bay Book Company, Siri Hustvedt reads from her new novel, The Sorrows of an American. It’s always awkward to say this sort of thing, and many people will find it obnoxious and unnecessary, but Siri Hustvedt is married to Paul Auster. I find this sort of thing relevant not because of weird claims of nepotism, but rather because it means that Ms. Hustvedt’s book has an excellent first reader. She’s a very good writer in and of herself, and, having begun this book, I can say it’s probably one of her best.

    Also, from the 7th through the 10th, Dinaw Mengestu, author the The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, will be reading at various libraries throughout Seattle. Check the Library’s listing of events on their website. There will surely be a reading somewhere near you.

    There’s more going on in the full readings calendar.

    Meanwhile in Sweden

    posted by on May 8 at 10:06 AM

    This story via Jezebel:

    A team of Helsingborg, Sweden, high school students has won a national award for its invention—men’s underwear with pockets for condom storage.

    The three young men—who founded the company Sooner Than Already There—were given the national Young Enterprise award at a Tuesday ceremony in Stockholm, The Local reported Wednesday.

    The students said they have sold 350 pairs of the underwear, which they designed to help combat unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

    Needless to say, American high school students wouldn’t win an award for this sort of invention (which, Jezebel points out, isn’t all that original). Because here in America, of course, teenagers don’t have sex, don’t use condoms, and their use of undergarments can neither be confirmed nor denied lest we accidentally overexcite America’s youth pastors.

    It’s National Coconut Cream Pie Day

    posted by on May 8 at 10:02 AM

    For real. (National Apple Pie Day is coming up: May 13). My favorite version is the Triple Coconut Cream Pie at Etta’s on Western near the market. The recipe (I’ve not attempted it since a slice is so easy to procure) is available in Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen cookbook (an all-around great resource for locals; the crab-cake recipe is a foolproof). But back to the pie… the Dahlia Bakery (Fourth and Virginia) makes the masterpiece and sells it in four sizes: a nine-inch pie (serves 6-8, $32), four-inch baby pie (serves 2-4, $15), by the slice ($4.40), and a bite-sized mini pie ($2).

    Anyone who works near there and is coming to Slog Happy tonight should bring me a slice! I will repay you and buy you a drink for your trouble.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on May 8 at 10:00 AM

    Tony Weathers’s Guns N’ Butter (2008), brass rods, butter, wall installation

    At Crawl Space. (Gallery web site here.)

    Clinton/Thurmond 2012

    posted by on May 8 at 9:58 AM

    Eli asks

    So, again, what is Clinton up to here?

    Isn’t it obvious? 2012.

    If attracting “hard working, white Americans” is the Democrats’ first priority, perhaps we should nominate Trent Lott? Or run zombie Strom Thurmond against zombie Ronald Reagan?

    For Your Consideration

    posted by on May 8 at 9:49 AM

    Two people—just two—talking on cell phones get hit by trains… and both our daily papers spot one of those disturbing trends that daily papers can’t resist pointing out:

    It’s dangerous to talk on a cellphone when you’re anywhere near railroad tracks.

    That sounds obvious, but railroad officials say it bears repeating after a man was struck and killed by a train Wednesday while talking on a cellphone, the second such accident in the region in the past 2-½ weeks.

    A man talking on a cell phone while walking Wednesday on railroad tracks was hit by a train and killed. He was the second person in the area to be killed by a train while talking on a cell phone in the past two weeks.

    Presented for your consideration, daily paper editors: Youth Pastor Watch.

    Re: Clinton and Her “White Americans”

    posted by on May 8 at 9:45 AM

    Let’s reflect for a few more blog moments on the rather amazing statement that Hillary Clinton made yesterday explaining her justification for remaining in the race for the Democratic nomination.

    Sorry for re-posting the statement in full, but it deserves a second look:

    “I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on,” she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article “that found how Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.”

    “There’s a pattern emerging here,” she said.

    Remember: Hillary Clinton cannot win the Democratic nomination through the votes of ordinary Americans. She has lost that fight. She is behind in delegates won through votes and caucuses, she is behind in the popular vote, she is way behind in the number of states won. She cannot, in any realistic scenario, overtake Obama in any of those categories. She can’t even overtake him if the delegates from Florida and Michigan are counted in the way that she wants—and even her own campaign has admitted this.

    So what is Clinton doing here?

    Maybe she’s talking to the undecided superdelegates who she hopes will reverse the will of Democratic voters, but that seems unlikely. These undecided superdelegates already understand the point she’s making, and have heard it from her many times before. (The argument being that Obama will be hobbled in the general election by his difficulty attracting down-scale, uneducated white voters, a group that Clinton has pandered and dog whistled to, and as a result has done rather well with.)

    But like I said, Clinton has been making that argument to the superdelegates for a long time, and it’s one thing to make it in private meetings and quite another to make it on media conference calls and in the pages of USA Today.

    So why is she doing this? Especially when, as Clinton must know, Obama improved his take of white women voters (one of Clinton’s core constituencies) during the primary in Indiana. Especially when, as Clinton must also know, Democrats don’t win general elections with a majority of the white vote. Bill Clinton only received 43 percent of the white vote in 1996, and received even less (39 percent) in 1992. All Gore’s popular vote victory in 2000 didn’t include a majority of white voters, and neither did Jimmy Carter’s more successful run for the White House. Democrats don’t need to win over every last uneducated white voter in America in order to have a successful coalition.

    Clinton must know this, and she must also know that black voters—who she is further alienating with statements like this—are hugely important to the Democratic coalition. If anything, she’s making her non-viable campaign even more absurdly non-viable by so transparently trying to activate the latent racism and inchoate fears of “the other” among white voters in West Virginia, Kentucky, and elsewhere. If she wins West Virginia by scaring up more white votes in this way, she only hardens the resentment against her in places like, oh, say, Gary, Indiana—where the black vote was instrumental in, as far as the reality-based community is concerned, ending her campaign.

    So, again, what is Clinton up to here?

    At this point, with the number of rational explanations for her behavior dwindling, one is left with this: She’s playing a kind ruthless politics, either for revenge or in order to create a short-run bargaining chip, that involves tearing Obama down long past the point of positive long-run returns for her. Maybe in Clinton-land that’s seen as being good for Hillary Clinton. But I don’t see how it’s good for the Democratic party.

    “That’s not what people gave their money for.”

    posted by on May 8 at 9:42 AM

    Josh Marshal at TPM:

    …one of the possibilities in the offing if Hillary Clinton quickly ends her presidential campaign is that the Obama campaign will not only retire the $10 to $15 million in unpaid campaign related expenses the Clinton campaign owes but will also help the Clinton campaign pay back to the Clintons personally the $11.4 million they have loaned to the campaign during the last three months.

    Helping to retire an opponent’s campaign is not unprecedented and can sometimes be justified in the interests of party unity…. But using more than $10 million raised in large part by small individual donations to pay back the Clintons who appear to be worth many tens of millions of dollars simply seems wrong.

    This isn’t meant to sound ungracious. I don’t begrudge the Clintons their very substantial wealth. And even for really, really rich people, $11 million isn’t nothing. But that is simply too much money raised from small givers to give to people who loaned it with full knowledge of the odds and have more than enough money to really know what to do with.

    Frankly, I’m surprised that it’s even being suggested. It would be a mistake for the Clintons to ask (and just because people are chattering about it, don’t assume they have or will), a mistake for Obama to offer and one that would risk a severe backlash.

    That’s not what people gave their money for.

    What He Said

    posted by on May 8 at 9:32 AM

    First, go listen to or read Alix Spiegel’s absolutely heartbreaking piece at NPR about transgender children. Then go read the comments thread on my Slog post about Speigel’s piece yesterday. In that thread you’ll find this brilliant, level-headed comment, by Slog superstah Fnarf….

    Look, people. The boy isn’t asking to go in and have his willie chopped off. He wants to play with dolls. He wants to identify as a girl for a while. That doesn’t mean that he going to be transgendered when he grows up. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. Why don’t you deal with that when it comes up—or maybe let HIM deal with it? Then?

    Nobody has to make a final, permanent, irrevocable decision when they’re six.

    In the meantime, though, torturing him by taking away his toys and, most importantly, implanting in his mind the idea that WHO HE IS IS WRONG, is a really, really bad idea.

    Nobody cares if you’re squicked out by gender reassignment surgery. Nobody cares. This isn’t ABOUT gender reassignment surgery. It’s about a little boy who is being turned against himself.

    And, really, even if you think the surgery is “as bad as plastic surgery”, the correct response is—as always—”then don’t have it.” Adults who think it’s right for them have the right to have it EVEN IF THEY’RE WRONG. Even if they’re “making a terrible mistake.” It’s none of your damn business. And, you know, there is a large number of people for whom it absolutely WAS the right decision, and if they squick you out, it’s your damn loss, not theirs. I don’t have a problem with it, and I embrace my transgendered friends every bit as much as my gay and straight ones.

    But that’s nothing to do with this tragic little boy. Maybe it will be someday. You don’t know, I don’t know, Dr. Mengele there doesn’t know, HE doesn’t know. He’s a little kid. Let him play with his toys.


    posted by on May 8 at 9:24 AM

    There’s a stunning four-paragraph riff in yesterday’s lead New York Times editorial that shatters the GOP line on “activist” judges.

    And more importantly, it catalogues the willful lapses, about faces, and hypocritical standards that fell from Republican nominee-in-wating John McCain’s mouth during his speech at Wake Forest University Tuesday where he (surprise) pandered to the right wing.

    In the speech, billed as a definitive statement on his judicial philosophy, McCain cited Bush SC appointees John Roberts and Samuel Alito as models of the kind of “strict-interpretation” judges—i.e., abortion isn’t a right—that he would name to the Court. (Never mind that the right wing likes it when judges turn into activists on behalf of dissident Christian pharmacists.)

    Here’s the fortissimo four paragraphs from the NYT:

    Since President Bush chose Justices Roberts and Alito, the Court has ordered Seattle and Louisville to scrap voluntary school integration, protected employers who illegally mistreat their workers, and constrained women’s right to choose and voters’ right to vote.

    Mr. McCain did not mention, of course, how the Roberts-led Court blithely overruled Congress by nullifying a key part of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. He did wax nostalgic about what “the basic right of property” has meant “since the founding of America.” (He did not mention that in 1789 many women could not own property and African-Americans were property, but he did criticize the idea that values evolve over time.)

    There was a moment when we were briefly cheered. Mr. McCain declared that “all the powers of the American presidency must serve the Constitution and thereby protect the people and their liberties.” We hoped that would be the start of a serious critique of how President Bush has violated cherished civil liberties: endorsing torture, ordering unlawful domestic spying and depriving detainees of the most basic right of habeas corpus.

    Mr. McCain himself has eloquently criticized Mr. Bush’s policies on some of these issues, but he did not raise any of them on Tuesday.

    Footnote: While the Seattle example definitely highlights a flagrant instance of right-wing activism (one of my first stories in Seattle nearly 10 years ago was about the conservative activists who were pushing the case), I do have mixed feelings about how the left, from afar, cavalierly uses the Seattle case to push its point of view.

    But man, 3 Cheers for the no-nonsense takedown of Sen. McCain.

    Stupid Lazy Fucks

    posted by on May 8 at 9:19 AM

    Who needs this product? Really—who?


    Making pancakes from a mix—which are inexpensive and come cheap bags that presumably biodegrade—is so freakin’ easy that I can do it. In fact, I do do it, at least once a week—me! A guy who can’t, according to the boyfriend, boil water correctly. (He says I don’t put the teapot on the right burner and that I fail to set the flame at the right height. The water boils just the same, though.) Pancake mix is cheap, and all you gotta do is add a little freaking water, which comes right out of the tap. It takes about three minutes to make pancakes. There’s no excuse for this product—really, none whatsoever.

    And we all know who this product is aimed at: the relative handful of folks out there that appreciate consumer products in very bad taste (spray-cheese fans, ironic servers of lil’ smokies), like Slog tipper Brian. But the primarily market for spray pancakes is stressed-out, over-scheduled parents who are encouraged to believe that they’re way too busy to actually make breakfast for their kids. Some parents, of course, are too busy to make breakfast—parents with long commutes, parents that have to leave the house before their kids get up. But for most parents time-saving “shortcuts” like spray pancakes or—ugh—Lunchables are a dodge. They’re not too busy to add water to pancake mix and stir or make a sandwich and put it in a sack. Some parents like to tell themselves they’re too busy—and food marketers profit by encouraging them to think so—when what they really are is far too lazy.

    A Flower Blooms…

    posted by on May 8 at 8:47 AM

    …in my old neighborhood in Chicago.

    Down every street, alley and gangway, the jewel of Rogers Park can be seen. Is it the violet?

    No, it’s not.

    Why is Clinton Still Running? “White Americans.”

    posted by on May 8 at 8:35 AM

    In her own words, via USA Today:

    “I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on,” she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article “that found how Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.”

    “There’s a pattern emerging here,” she said.

    Is Clinton really staying in the race to become the candidate of that portion of white, Democratic America that won’t vote for the black guy?

    This isn’t a slip. It’s a new Clinton theme. Here’s the audio.


    The Morning News

    posted by on May 8 at 8:32 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Slow recovery
    : Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar, cleans up after devastating cyclone. UN aid supplies arriving slowly.

    Time’s up
    : Clinton’s campaign officials say she’ll be out by June 15.

    New day: Obama campaign says it will shift its focus to McCain.

    Police truck: Officials say case of police brutality in Philadelphia had nothing to do with race.

    Crackdown imminent: Polygamists fear for their way of life in Arizona.

    Yep, still crazy
    : Pastor Hagee still blames Katrina on the gays.

    Ethics problem: Richard McIver charged with giving a no-bid contract to his friend and former attorney.

    School rules
    : Seattle Public Schools hammer out strategic plan.

    Bail-out: City Council approves home loans plan for those facing foreclosure.

    Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    “He really struggles with the color pink. He’s like an addict.”

    posted by on May 7 at 6:00 PM

    You must go listen to (or read) this absolutely heartbreaking piece by Alix Spiegel at NPR. It’s about two little boys who identify as girls—two transgendered children. One child’s family, under the care of a psychologist in Oakland, California, is allowing their child to live as a girl. The other child’s family, under the “care” of a psychologist in Toronto, is torturing their child to death—there’s really no other word for it.

    By the time Bradley started therapy he was almost 6 years old, and Carol had a house full of Barbie dolls and Polly Pockets. She now had to remove them [at the urging of Bradley’s doctor]. To cushion the blow, she didn’t take the toys away all at once; she told Bradley that he could choose one or two toys a day.

    “In the beginning, he didn’t really care, because he’d picked stuff he didn’t play with,” Carol says. “But then it really got down to the last few.”

    As his pile of toys dwindled, Carol realized Bradley was hoarding. She would find female action figures stashed between couch pillows. Rainbow unicorns were hidden in the back of Bradley’s closet. Bradley seemed at a loss, she said. They gave him male toys, but he chose not to play at all.

    This little boy—no shit—has become sullen and withdrawn and doesn’t trust his parents.

    Carol says [the therapy] was particularly hard at the beginning. “He was much more emotional. … He could be very clingy. He didn’t want to go to school anymore,” she says. “Just the smallest thing could, you know, send him into a major crying fit. And … he seemed to feel really heavy and really emotional.”

    Bradley has been in therapy now for eight months, and Carol says still, on the rare occasions when she cannot avoid having him exposed to girl toys, like when they visit family, it doesn’t go well.

    “It’s really hard for him. He’ll disappear and close a door, and we’ll find him playing with dolls and Polly Pockets and … the stuff that he’s drawn to,” she says.

    In particular, there is one typically girl thing — now banned — that her son absolutely cannot resist.

    “He really struggles with the color pink. He really struggles with the color pink.”

    The other little boy is happier.

    Ehrensaft did eventually encourage Joel and Pam to allow Jonah to live as a little girl. By the time he was 5, Jonah had made it very clear to his parents that he wanted to wear girl clothes full time — that he wanted to be known as a girl. He wanted them to call him their daughter. And though Ehrensaft does not always encourage children who express gender flexibility to “transition” to living as a member of the opposite sex, in the case of Jonah, she thought it was appropriate.

    Last year, when he started kindergarten, Jonah went as a girl. He wore dresses, was addressed as “she” by his classmates and teacher. He even changed his name, from Jonah to Jona, without the “h.” It was a complete transformation.

    Joel and Pam were initially anxious, but Joel says their worry soon faded.

    “They have these little conferences, and, you know, we were asking, like, ‘How’s Jonah doing? Does [he] have problems with other kids?’ and the teacher was like, ‘God, I gotta tell you, you know, Jonah is one of the most popular kids. Kids love [him], they want to play with [him], [he’s] fun, and it’s because [he’s] so comfortable with [himself] that [he] makes other people comfortable,” Joel recalls.

    It was shortly after that that Joel and Pam started referring to their son Jonah as “she.”

    The piece is utterly, absolutely heartbreaking. And it’s here. Go listen to it.

    Rossi Goes From Pandering to Blundering

    posted by on May 7 at 5:53 PM

    The Washington State Democrats have crunched the numbers, and found that—surprise!—Dino Rossi’s transportation “choices” plan isn’t just a lowballed, car-centric, environmentally irresponsible mess—it also screws Eastern Washington, the very place where Rossi’s support was highest in 2004. As reported in today’s Tri-City Herald, Rossi’s plan would devote just $2.3 billion — or 15 percent— to eight projects in the eastern half of Washington (most of that to just one project in Spokane). Rossi’s plan, in other words, would divert money from eastern Washington to pay for road projects on this side of the mountains—where voters rejected a roads-heavy transportation plan just last November.

    Hello? Straight People?

    posted by on May 7 at 5:39 PM


    They really are coming for your birth control pills—seriously.

    June 7 marks the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Griswold v. Connecticut. This was the first of many decisions that led to the culture of death we live in today. On that day in 1965, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the Griswold v. Connecticut case, it set a legal precedent for claiming that the Constitution grants women the right to privacy in matters of sexual practice. This meant that Connecticut and the rest of the United States could not stop a married woman from obtaining birth control pills.

    Yes, the country went to shit when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that women had a right to privacy “in matters of sexual practice.” Every sensible person knows, of course, that sexually-active women cede all their rights to privacy, sexual or otherwise. Those aren’t her reproductive organs; that’s a SRO hotel for a fetus.

    La la la. The religious right is seeking to redefine birth control as abortion, and they want to end your right to access both or either. Time to fight back.

    PSA from ECB

    posted by on May 7 at 5:20 PM

    As I’ve written before, Mayor Greg Nickels is opposed to renewing the city’s $270 million Pro Parks Levy, set to expire this year, because he thinks it will siphon support away from his own $80 million Pike Place Market levy proposal. Richard Conlin and others on the council support renewal, arguing that parks shouldn’t be sacrificed for improvements at the Market, and noting that polls show strong support for both measures.

    Next week, the council-appointed Parks and Green Spaces Levy Citizen’s Advisory Committee will hold a series of public meetings to discuss the pros and cons of putting the parks levy on the November ballot. Not that you’d know it to look at the Parks Department’s event calendar (which does manage to mention more than a dozen different “work parties” in May); the Parks Department’s main web site (currently highlighting the “vast and exciting array of classes and programs” that Parks runs); or on Nickels’ web site (which devotes a lavish amount of space to the Pike Place Market levy). In fact, the only place you’ll find any reference at to the levy advisory group on the city’s web site is on the council’s home page, which gives top booking to the meetings. The parks department, which answers to Nickels, has also reportedly failed to send out any notice of the meetings to their extensive list of volunteers.

    So, consider this a public service announcement: Here are the meetings Nickels doesn’t want you to know about. I encourage everyone who’s interested in the future of parks in Seattle (whether you support renewing the levy or not) to attend.

    Monday May 12, 2008 - 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.
    Bertha Knight Landes Room
    Seattle City Hall
    600 Fourth Avenue - 1st Floor
    Seattle, WA 98104
    *Enter building from 5th Avenue

    Wednesday May 14, 2008 - 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.
    Northgate Community Center - Multi-Purpose Room
    10510 5th Avenue NE
    Seattle, WA 98125

    Thursday May 15, 2008 - 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.
    Rainier Community Center - Multi-Purpose Room
    4600 38th Avenue South
    Seattle, WA 98118

    Re: Ethics and Elections Commission Charges Council Member McIver with Ethics Violation

    posted by on May 7 at 4:40 PM

    If the name of the friend to which City Council member Richard McIver awarded a no-bid city contract sounded familiar, there’s a reason: It was in the news last year. Joann Francis, it turns out, was also McIver’s attorney when he was charged with domestic violence by his wife, Marlaina Kiner-McIver. So she wasn’t just a friend who hosted McIver in the Virgin Islands condo she shares with her husband-she’s also been in McIver’s direct employ.

    The Seahawk Squawk Box

    posted by on May 7 at 4:09 PM

    September is a long ways off, but the Seahawks are going to have to start moving quick to figure out who the hell is going to be in our receiving corps this year.

    The Hawks have a lot of x-factors on the offense next season. The brittle Deion Branch is on medical leave for at least the first month of the season, if not longer, and Bobby Engram, the Seahawks ONLY reliable receiver is holding out for more money. And then there’s this breakdown of our receivers from the PI:

    Courtney Taylor did not practice, so the show of available hands was down to Nate Burleson, Jordan Kent, Ben Obomanu, Logan Payne and just-signed Joel Filani. Remove Burleson from the group and the remaining foursome has combined for a total of 12 NFL receptions. All by Obomanu. All last season.

    It might be the worst idea ever, but I think the Hawks should just say “fuck it” and go with a young and untested group of receivers. Sure, Burleson has all the catching ability of an amputee and just about everyone else on the receiver depth chart hasn’t, y’know, done much other than warm the bench, but what else or we gonna do? Sure, we can—and should—give Engram more money, but I say we make Seneca Wallace a receiver. He’s too small to ever be an effective quarterback, but he’s fast as hell. And, if he can throw the ball, he’s got to be able to catch it, right?

    Finally, there’s also a big question mark in our backfield next season. Julius Jones was never very impressive in Dallas, but click here for a good breakdown of why Jones MIGHT work out.


    Media Bias Watch

    posted by on May 7 at 4:07 PM


    Austrian Josef Fritzl, who imprisoned his daughter for 24 years and fathered her seven children, said he was no “monster” and he could have killed her and her children had he wanted to, according to his lawyer.

    “I am not a monster,” Austrian daily Oesterreich quoted Fritzl as saying in comments relayed by his lawyer Rudolf Mayer. Fritzl also criticized media coverage of his case as “totally one-sided.”

    Erica C. Barnett on the End of the Clinton Campaign

    posted by on May 7 at 4:06 PM


    It’s time for Hillary to concede. I’m the biggest—sometimes, it feels like, the only—Hillary supporter at this paper. I don’t agree that she’s guilty of “dividing the party,” or that this protracted Democratic nomination battle turned the country against the Democrats. My desire for her to concede is both political and personal. First, there’s now no scenario in which Hillary can overtake Barack Obama and win the nomination. And second, I don’t want to see her embarrass herself and diminish her legacy as a First Lady and a senator.

    The rest of the piece, written last night and published in the issue of The Stranger that hits streets today, is here.

    And Now a Word From Mike Gravel

    posted by on May 7 at 3:52 PM

    Who’s still running, by the way, but apparently not winning over Obama Girl…

    (Via Ezra Klein)

    By June 15

    posted by on May 7 at 3:43 PM

    That’s when Clinton will end her campaign, according to Lawrence O’Donnell of the Huffington Post:

    A senior campaign official and Clinton confidante has told me that there will be a Democratic nominee by June 15. He could not bring himself to say the words “Hillary will drop out by June 15,” but that is clearly what he meant. I kept saying, “So, Hillary will drop out by June 15,” and he kept saying, “We will have a nominee by June 15.” He stressed what a reasonable person Hillary is.

    We’ll see…

    Ethics and Elections Commission Charges Councilmember McIver with Ethics Violation

    posted by on May 7 at 3:04 PM

    The city’s Ethics and Elections Commission has charged Councilmember Richard McIver with a ethics violation, for allegedly giving a no-bid auditing contract to a friend, which was apparently a conflict of interest.

    From their release:

    Council member McIver…participated in the award of a contract to Griffin, Hill & Associates (“GHA”), a consulting firm with which his friend, Joann Francis, was affiliated.

    For approximately ten years, council member McIver has traveled to the Virgin Islands annually for approximately two weeks, leaving toward the end of December and returning early in January. In the Virgin Islands, Councilmember McIver has been a guest of Joann and Roy Francis at a condominium the Francises own.

    Shortly after returning to Seattle from the Virgin Islands [in 2007], council member McIver executed a $37,000 contract with GHA. The contract was not competitively bid. Subsequently, in May 2007, council member McIver executed an amendment to the contract, increasing its value to $42,000. council member McIver also approved GHA’s invoices.


    Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission Director Wayne Barnett McIver could be fined up to $15,000 for the violations. “Councilmember McIver…shouldn’t have been the one awarding the contract,” Barnett says.

    UPDATE 2:

    McIver has released a statement:

    These charges are frivolous and totally without merit. The Council’s standard and existing contracting procedures were followed to the letter in this case and the contract was authorized by the Council President.

    The sole allegation against me is that in my capacity as Chairman of the Finance Committee of the City Council and with the approval of three other members, the City entered into a contract with a company where a social acquaintance of mine is a minority partner. If that were prohibited conduct, few, if any, local companies could do business with the City.

    I declined to pay a settlement penalty presented by the Ethics & Elections Commission Executive Director, and intend to vigorously challenge these baseless charges.

    Death Does Good Business

    posted by on May 7 at 3:03 PM

    Action figures of Heath Ledger’s Joker are selling like hot cakes

    Heath Ledger may be gone, but commerce lives forever. The New York Post says toy stores across town are selling out of a plastic version of the Joker from The Dark Knight so quickly, they can’t keep shelves stocked.

    The $9.99 action figure has been ending up on eBay at a substantial markup, including at least one seat of the Joker and Batman going for $55. “There are none left in the warehouse, either,” a Toys R Us employee told the paper. “You will be waiting a while if you want one.”

    Tonight’s Design Meetings

    posted by on May 7 at 2:55 PM

    Queen of the Hill

    The last time a developer proposed a block-long building at the site of the Metropolitan Market on top of Queen Anne, neighbors lost their shit. They didn’t like the size and they didn’t want to lose their neighborhood grocer. QFC later scrapped the proposal. But now, there’s a new plan for the site.

    “This is better than the QFC proposal,” says Craig Hanway, chair of land use review committee for Queen Anne Community Council. “This new development is a similar scale but the developer is proposing a smaller grocery store, and they are working actively with Metropolitan Market to maintain them as a tenant.”

    In addition to housing a grocery store and a few small retail spaces, the proposed four-story building would contain about 105 apartments above, and parking below grade. But it’s still a massive block-long development.


    Tiscareno Associates

    About 100 people attended an open house on Monday. “Some people had concerns about traffic, some had concerns about noise associated with truck traffic,” says Jeff Smith of the developer, Emerald Bay Equity. “We’re doing our part to mitigate noise.” A meeting tonight for early design guidance—the first for this project—will begin at 6:30 p.m. in room 1 of the Queen Anne Community Center, 1901 1st Avenue West.

    Bottom of the Hill

    At the other end of the community-involvement spectrum, a proposed apartment building at the southwest foot of Queen Anne is getting no love. A report after the last meeting said: “There were no public comments received; no one from the general public attended the meeting.” Aww.

    However, the design board members did attend: “Improving the quality of the streetscape is of utmost importance,” they wrote in a report. “The Board felt that that architectural statement could be simpler.” Here’s the design criticized by the board.


    And here’s the “new-and-improved” design they’ll be reviewing tonight.


    Nicholson Kovalchick Architects

    I think I liked the previous version more. But anyway, the site is currently used as a parking lot with 26 spaces. The new building, if built, will stand six stories, contain 40 apartments, and 20 parking spaces. That’s half a space per unit—the undignified horror. The public meeting—which will be more fun than rolling in the ocean surf with otter pups—is at 8:00 p.m. in room 1 of the Queen Anne Community Center, 1901 1st Avenue West.

    Between the Hills

    Two back-to-back meetings tonight will review portions of a bio-tech campus envisioned by the Blume Company, one of the largest players redeveloping South Lake Union after Vulcan. To the south, a four-story, four-building complex filling the entire block at Yale Avenue North and Mercer Street (map); to the north, along a winding tree-lined avenue called a woonerf, two more buildings (map). Behold.



    NBBJ Architects

    The glitzy new buildings—characteristic of the glass and concrete buildings coming to define SLU—will replace several light-industrial and storage warehouses.

    “We don’t have any signed leases and we are still in the planning stages,” says Blume’s Tara Raymond. “If we had a medical or biotech company come along that would be fine, or if one of Amazon’s partners came along, we would be thrilled.“ But will such a tenant be looking for spendy new digs in this mopey economy? “Actually, its interesting because the need [for office space] is there, unlike the residential decline,” says Raymond. “I actually think that things are getting better. Knock on wood, of course.”

    The meeting for the larger southern portion begins at 6:30 p.m.; the second meeting begins at 8:00 pm.—both in the library at TOPS School, 2500 Franklin Avenue East.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on May 7 at 2:40 PM


    from dieselhorst

    Un-Endorsing Hillary Clinton

    posted by on May 7 at 1:55 PM

    The Washington Blade—an influential-for-a-gay-newspaper gay newspaper—yanked its endorsement of Hillary Clinton today, calling on Clinton to “adopt a gracious and conciliatory tone, end her campaign and endorse Sen. Barack Obama.” In today’s Stranger, Clinton partisan Erica C. Barnett calls on Hillary to step aside.

    The New York Times came damn close to pulling its endorsement of Hillary Clinton after the Pennsylvania primary—but will the Times, like the Blade and Barnett, make it official?

    Boeing Is Going To Solve the Gridlock Problem

    posted by on May 7 at 1:47 PM

    Using magical flying cars! (No need to worry about accidents—they’re run by computers.)

    Wanna Play? Give Up Your Data.

    posted by on May 7 at 1:45 PM


    Following the lead of Internet cookies and TiVo, gaming systems are poised to be the next great American data farmers. I hadn’t thought about this until last night when my Wii glowed blue, which happens whenever Nintendo sends a message through its WiiConnect service. Last night, the company debuted the Nintendo Channel, a free, promotional video service with one particularly cool bonus. If you have a Nintendo DS, you can use the Nintendo channel to try free demo games on your DS by downloading from the Wii.

    But there’s a catch: the demo option is grayed out until you accept a Nintendo data request. They want to continuously keep tabs on your hours played per game, hours spent using other Wii services, and more. Even though Nintendo states that this data isn’t tied to your name or machine, that it’s “anonymous,” it’s still damn weird—“tell us everything, or you can’t play. Neener neener.” I already regret clicking “yes” to try it out and have since turned it off. I don’t want to contribute to someone’s data pool, not even for a DS demo trinket.

    This move isn’t unprecedented; the other Redmond gaming behemoth has done the same thing with its Xbox Live service for years. In fact, by making Xbox Live free in a “silver” tier, Microsoft has ensured that all online 360 users can deliver data such as “times you sign-in to and sign-off from the Service; games that you have played on the Service; content you purchase on the Service; and game score statistics.” Sony’s Playstation Network agreement lists the same sort of up-for-grabs data: “network configurations, your network devices, peripherals, USB devices, plug-ins and monitors… information about how you use PSN and your PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system unit, including, for example, downloads, game activity (including game title name and length of play), forum postings, game profile, [and] rankings.” You’re also still on the hook if you play offline and then connect to the Internet later (though Microsoft is the only company that explains through its service agreement how to avoid giving this info up).

    These practices aren’t entirely really evil. If you’re playing games online, you’re passing through these companies’ gates, and it only makes sense that they have policies in place to say that they’ll see who’s doing what. Also, Xbox Live users know damn well that their friends can see things like game history and “now playing” info (as can strangers if privacy settings aren’t enabled). But while MySpace and Facebook have gotten negative mainstream attention for gathering personal data, television-centric services like TiVo and game systems have gotten a relative pass from the mainstream. And that’s because these services deal primarily with anonymous info, so the media can’t craft any tales of identity theft or public embarrassment.

    But anonymous data can be valuable stuff—usage patterns can shape a company’s production and marketing plans, and other companies desperate to know a target demographic just might pay top dollar for trends that pop up in that sea of faceless 18-35 year old gamers. Does each game console company do a decent job confirming or denying this angle? Nintendo’s service states that it will “use this information to recommend games to you and develop new games and services.” By using the word ‘services,’ Nintendo leaves the data door wide open. Microsoft’s online agreement doesn’t specify what they do with a wide range of usage data, other than the fact that if it happens, it’ll happen “without notice or compensation to you of any kind.” Sony uses a “for example” to talk about how non-personal information is fair game for “studies” with an “outside firm”—and they make sure that other vague uses get the green light from their phrasing. Sony is also the only one to go so far as to say your personally identifiable info is up for grabs if a “lawsuit, investigation or other action” comes up. Yikes.

    There’s no lid-blowing discovery here; none of the three big gaming companies are exactly hiding this info (though user agreements are as close as corporations get to hiding anything) [Edit: I also feel the need to be clear that, yeah, these people aren’t hawking your e-mail address or installing malware on your PS3.] But if gaming is growing up, then so should consumers’ understandings that their aimless play is worth something to somebody. That blue light coming out of the Wii isn’t exactly staring you down HAL-style, and Mountain Dew may never see that it’s you, HotGruffyGamer420, who’s playing hours of Upskirt Anime Adventure 360, but they’ll know that Mr. 18-35 Target Demographic is.

    Breaking: Cthulhu Gets Picked Up for Distribution

    posted by on May 7 at 1:45 PM

    This just in from Cthulhu director Dan Gildark:

    We were picked up by Regent Releasing for worldwide distribution which includes a theatrical platform release in Seattle and Portland (as of now I don’t know the dates) it also includes pay-per-view on the Here! channel. This is the same company that just released Shelter; the biggest film they have done is Gods and Monsters. They focus on horror and gay and lesbian film.

    Congrats to Dan and Grant!

    Also, I kinda called it:

    It wasn’t long ago that a horror film with gay content would have had no hope of landing a major U.S. distributor, but in today’s niche-driven industry, the sexuality of Cthulhu’s main character may well prove a savvy marketing move. On the one hand, gay and lesbian film festivals have cultivated an audience that’s been proven hungry for movies with gay themes, regardless of hype or production values. More and more mainstream films are testing the sexuality barrier (both Cogswell and Gildark pointed to the upcoming Brokeback Mountain, an upcoming Ang Lee Western that explores a sexual relationship between cowboys played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, as a potential crossover hit); and specialty theatrical distributors like Strand Releasing have a long history of successfully marketing art-house films with gay and lesbian content. On the other hand, fans of horror films are equally voracious for new examples of the genre, making the prospect of home video and DVD sales particularly tantalizing. The possibility of uniting the two markets isn’t lost on other filmmakers: Hellbent, which is marketing itself as “the first ever gay slasher film!” is currently receiving a rolling national release, and opens in Seattle this Friday. Cthulhu may be chasing the zeitgeist.

    Today, Robot Learns to Cut Your Ham…

    posted by on May 7 at 1:29 PM

    …tomorrow, robot longs to cut your throat.

    Researchers have created a robot is can learn by doing…

    Via Engadget.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Reggie.

    City Seeks to Raid Council’s Tenant Relocation Fund

    posted by on May 7 at 1:22 PM

    The city’s Human Services Department (HSD) is attempting to raid a $350,000 fund set aside by the City Council to assist displaced tenants. HSD has requested $203,000 of the fund to offset budget gaps created by losses in federal funding.

    The displaced-tenants fund has been in limbo since March, when Mayor Greg Nickels froze the fund without notifying the council in an attempt to shore up HSD’s budget. After protest from council members and housing activists, the mayor released $50,000 to nonprofit Solid Ground to do outreach and get money to tenants displaced by condo conversions.

    HSD has requested the funds because Solid Ground has yet to actually get any of the money from the three-month-old program to tenants. While that’s true, tenants have been left in the lurch because of a throughly fucked-up city process.

    Indeed, the tenant assistance program has been a massive failure and the $50,000 has sat untouched, but not because no one needed assistance. Solid Ground hasn’t been able to distribute money to tenants because, they say, they’re just not equipped to do that level of outreach. Generally, the city’s Department of Planning and Development handles tenant relocation outreach, but council member Tom Rasmussen pushed for HSD manage the fund. (In the meantime, DPD has started distributing flyers about the program).

    While the program has completely gone off the rails at this point, several large buildings are undergoing conversion in the next few months and if Solid Ground were to be hit with 30-40 requests for assistance, it could easily wipe out the nonprofit’s $50,000 reserve.

    The state legislature put some tenant protections and benefits on the books last session, but Seattle has to pass a local version of the legislation by August for tenants to receive those benefits. The city will have to decide how much landlords will have to pay displaced tenants—which could be as much as three times a tenant’s rent—and the council will undoubtedly have to face off with the Rental Housing Association over the details.

    Hey, Big Spender

    posted by on May 7 at 1:19 PM


    The right-wing noise machines makes sure we all hear about it when a Democrat—those supposed friends of the working class—accidentally stiffs a waitress in Iowa or New Hampshire. So it’s nice to hear that Barack Obama left a 900% tip on a bartender in North Carolina this week.

    Of course, every tip Obama leaves from here on out will be measured against this very large tip, and we’re going to hear about any tip the Democratic candidate leaves that doesn’t match or beat the size of this tip.

    Awkward Moments in South Lake Union Planning

    posted by on May 7 at 1:17 PM

    A meeting of the South Lake Union Friends and Neighbors group (SLUFAN), a community group loyal to the mayor’s and Vulcan’s development agenda, last night was supposed to accomplish, among other things, two goals: to hold an “urban form discussion” about its rezoning proposals for neighborhood growth, and to choose between two candidates tied for a board seat in a neighborhood-wide election. Easier said than done.

    PART ONE—A room in the South Lake Union Armory building was stuffed with people who had read an article about SLUFAN considering recommendations to allow 400-foot-tall buildings in the neighborhood. The topic was allotted 50 minutes on the agenda; a gigantic portfolio that contained diagrams of the proposals leaned in the corner. But after a quick announcement that two future meetings would be held to discuss the plans, the board President, Dawn Oliver, noting the large turnout, simply asked if anyone had any comments. “What’s this I read about 400-foot buildings?” asked a man in the audience. The board members began to debate—was this or was this not the appropriate time to present the plans? Jim Holmes of the city’s Department of Planning and Development inched toward the diagrams—which he’d obviously brought to show the group. Each time a board member voiced support for showing the proposals, Holmes reached to open the portfolio, but then, as another member would oppose the presentation, Holmes would retract his hand. The board exchanged furtive glances; the crowd looked expectant. Vulcan’s Phil Fujii, one the SLUFAN’s board members, finally took a stand in favor of showing the drawings. And out they came.

    Three rezoning proposals are on the table (all still in flux) for the roughly 66 blocks of the South Lake Union neighborhood.

    1. This would be the highest-density scheme, containing about 25 blocks where commercial buildings could reach up to 240 feet and residential buildings up to 400 feet. The remaining blocks would allow mostly 125- to 300-foot-tall buildings (a few blocks would be unchanged). In effect, downtown would stretch from the northern border of the International District to the southern shores of Lake Union. I know, right.

    2. This would be the lowest-density upzone, with heights peaking out around 160 feet (catching up with the recent zoning accommodations for the planned Amazon complex), but many of the blocks would maintain the existing height limits between 65 and 85 feet.

    3. The final proposal is a compromise between the height limits of number one and number three.

    The notion that 400-foot towers could blanket a traditionally low-density area—predictably—raised hackles in the audience. “Just because you have that height limit to the south [of Denny Way] is not justification to do that to the north,” said a white-haired woman. She complained the buildings would block views: “It is going to depreciate the value of that property [with a blocked view].”

    A tense moment after the jump.

    Continue reading "Awkward Moments in South Lake Union Planning" »

    Is Nowhere Safe?

    posted by on May 7 at 1:00 PM

    Man pops hood and discovers a 60-pound pit bull—an angry one—lodged in his engine.

    The Revenge

    posted by on May 7 at 12:59 PM

    Because I’m in Portland, and because it’s the morning, and because my stomach is empty, I visit the Whole Foods near the largest used and new bookstore in the world. At this time of the day (a Sunday), breakfast is presented in the Prepared Foods Department. This section of the market happens to be empty; the trays of food are under bright lights; steam rises to the glass of the sneeze guard. After packing a small to-go box with warm scrambled eggs and sausages, I proceed to a row of checkout counters. All are empty save one. It’s manned by a young chap whose right arm is complete and left arm incomplete—it ends where once a forearm sprang. I hand the chap my box, he weighs it and informs me of the price. I dig in my pockets, find a note, look up, and see the most disturbing thing: balanced on the fleshy stump of a backarm is my to-go box.

    Says the amputee: “It’s so warm, it feels so good. I don’t want to take it off. Can I keep it there?”

    He finally sees that I’m in a state of shock. My scrambled eggs and sausages are warming his stump.

    I hand him the money; he hands me the box.

    My revenge for his revenge: I ate and enjoyed the eggs, the sausages, and the ghost of his forearm.

    Lit Fight: Mother’s Day Edition

    posted by on May 7 at 12:47 PM

    In one corner: Michel Houellebecq, author of nihilistic and prurient French novels.


    In the other corner: His mother, Lucie Ceccaldi.


    He said:

    In his international bestseller Les Particules élémentaires - translated as Atomised - he created one of modern French literature’s vilest mothers, a selfish, sex-obsessed hippy called “Ceccaldi” who leaves her young son in an attic in his own excrement then dumps him so she can enjoy free-love life in a bizarre cult. Elsewhere, he described the “fundamental psychic flaw” his mother caused in him. He hasn’t spoken to her for 17 years. He once told an interviewer she was dead.

    She said:

    She calls her son an “evil, stupid little bastard” adding that “this individual, who alas came from my womb, is a liar, an imposter, a parasite and above all - above all - a petit arriviste ready to do absolutely anything for money and fame.”

    She also said:

    “[His] book is pure pornography, it’s repugnant, it’s crap… ” In her own book, she speculates that he writes about sex because he doesn’t get enough. “What’s this moronic literature?! Houellebecq is someone who’s never done anything, who’s never really desired anything, who never wanted to look at others. And that arrogance of taking yourself as superior … Stupid little bastard. Yes, Houellebecq’s a stupid little bastard, whether he’s my son or not.”

    And one more, for good measure:

    “If he is unfortunate enough to use my name in something again, I’ll cane him round the face, that’ll knock his teeth out, that’s for sure. And [his publishers] won’t stop me.”

    Happy mother’s day, everyone.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on May 7 at 12:15 PM

    “Let’s drop McCain and Obama, naked, in the forest with only some hunting knives…”

    Dead Enders

    posted by on May 7 at 12:10 PM

    Walking through Belltown just now I saw two campaign yard signs—both stuck into planters sitting on balconies. One was for Ron Paul, the other was for Hillary Clinton. Too bad, so sad.

    I’m having lunch now at Macrina (s’good) and reading through the “Savage Love” mail. A meal and the “Savage Love” inbox… always a dicey combo. Hopefully there aren’t any please-identify-this-mysterious-sore-on-my-genitals-for-me digital photos in the mail today. That could put me right off this delicious chow.

    Homesteading for Ron Paul

    posted by on May 7 at 11:35 AM

    As regular readers of the The Stranger’s print edition might be aware, I’ve found myself in a mild housing problem, which has left me in the market for a new home. And while many considerations have been brought into play while searching for said new home—distance to ethereal Vietnamese dinner option Ballet being paramount among them—there’s always been a certain nagging thought:

    “No matter where I decide to settle, my landlords will almost certainly not have the covenant of freedom espoused by Ron Paul guiding their every decision.”

    And really, if I’m to be a true American, can I really settle for the petty tyranny of a landlord anyway? What if they come for my guns in the middle of the night? What if they won’t accept my Ron Paul gold dollars as payment for my rent? These are the things that keep me up nights.

    With this in mind, my discovery today that Paul supporters have apparently bought a small chunk of West Texas with the intention of turning it into a gated Community of Freedom (dubbed ‘Paulville’!) pretty much settled my looming housing crisis:

    The West Texas Community was selected for it’s warm climate and great solar and wind generation capabilities, along with low cost of establishment. Close to the small agricultural community of Dell City, Texas in Hudspeth county.

    Hudspeth county has no building codes, this is important to people who want to experiment with alternative building technologies such as straw bale, rammed earth, papercrete an other non traditional building styles for these off grid homes.

    Many investors of this property are seeking off grid technologies such as solar and wind power, realizing true freedom is when you have no obligations to pay and or rely on the grid for services like electricity. However most investors are very technology orientated and will have needed convenience items such as cell phones and internet connections.

    I don’t even know what ‘rammed earth’ means, but I’m all over it. Any idea what the media market is like in Dell City, Texas?

    You Know Who Destroyed Themselves During the Primary? The GOP

    posted by on May 7 at 11:05 AM

    It’s not Rev. Wright or the gas tax or NAFTA or “clinging” that’s going to stand out from this season’s primary.

    The lingering and decisive issue from this year’s primaries? All the hot anti-immigrant rhetoric that came from the GOP side.

    Despite McCain’s record on immigration (for amnesty/against border fence), the amped-up GOP primary forced him to pander. He voted against two pro-immigrant rights bills last summer … Obama voted Yea, and he should highlight these underreported votes to expand “chain migration” (spouses, relatives) rights.

    More important, the rhetoric poisoned the GOP’s standing with Latino voters. (Huckabee promised to deport 12 million people within his first 120 days in office.)

    Latino voting—the fastest growing voting bloc in the U.S.—is expected to jump 50 percent over 2000 levels in 2008. (That’s 4.5 million to over 9 million.) This should have been good news for the GOP—Bush famously won over Latino voters, upping the GOP take to an astonishing 40 percent in 2004 (up from 21 percent in 1996.)

    But thanks to the crazed GOP primary, the trend is going to reverse on them.

    Obama should seize the opportunity: Obama/Richardson, man.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on May 7 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Dara alla Luce’ at Bellevue Arts Museum

    Mandy Greer takes craft as far as it can go—and then much, much further. At Bumbershoot in 2006, she filled a room (and caused a backed-up line of viewers) with a pile of obsessively sewn and crocheted entrails. Now Bellevue Arts Museum is displaying her largest and most intricate installation to date, a new work based on Greer’s interpretation of Jacopo Tintoretto’s painting The Origin of the Milky Way. “It’s about broken me,” the artist wrote in an e-mail. (Bellevue Arts Museum, 510 Bellevue Way NE, 425-519-0770. 10 am–5:30 pm, $7.)


    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on May 7 at 10:50 AM


    Testimony began yesterday for a former youth minister charged with sexually assaulting three boys under his tutelage. [Rev. David Baird] faces more than 20 charges….

    Mr. Baird was youth minister at Covenant Church of Pittsburgh in Wilkinsburg in 1999 when an East Hills boy, the first to file a complaint, was recruited to participate in programs. The boy was 9 or 10 years old when the alleged assaults began, according to his testimony at a hearing in June…. The third alleged victim told investigators that he was on juvenile probation in 2002, and had been ordered to perform community service in Wilkinsburg with Mr. Baird as his supervisor.

    Instead of working on the assigned project, the boy said in a sworn affidavit, Mr. Baird drove him to Friendship Park in Penn Hills. The boy said he was “shocked, afraid and offended” as Mr. Baird molested him. The youth said the assault ended only after he began to cry out in pain.


    A former Surprise charter school teacher who was charged in a pair of child pornography investigations over the past two months had more charges brought against him this week.

    Surprise police detectives on Wednesday charged Victor Scott McPeak Jr. with four counts of aggravated assault after four former students alleged that he molested them…. McPeak Jr., the son of a retired minister, attended a private Christian college in Joplin, Mo., and served stints as a church leader in Gering, Neb., and Douglas, Wyo.

    Keith Couch, an elder at the Nebraska church, said McPeak Jr. would sometimes help out as a youth minister at the Central Church of Christ.


    A former Spring Valley youth pastor at Valley Christian Center was sentenced last week to 120 days in jail after pleading guilty Feb. 25 to two counts of criminal sexual conduct. Derrick DeBoef…. was charged Feb. 2, 2007, with 32 felonies, all of them criminal sexual conduct, for allegedly engaging in sexual penetration and sexual contact with the girl, who was 17 at the time.

    At that time, she was meeting with him to receive religious or spiritual counseling.


    Priest calls for new strategies to keep young adults in church

    Every diocese needs a comprehensive pastoral plan specifically aimed at young adults to reverse the hemorrhage of Catholics in their 20s and early 30s leaving the Catholic Church, a national pioneer in young adult ministry said.

    Hm… a strategy… how about stop raping kids maybe?


    posted by on May 7 at 10:37 AM


    Last night, I went down to Elliott Bay Book Company to buy Mother’s Day gifts to mail to my mom and to attend the Aleksandar Hemon reading (he was very charming, by the way, in an aloof, Eastern European way and, while he’s not the best reader of his own work, he did bring a Power Point presentation of the gorgeous photos in his most recent, very good book The Lazarus Project).

    When I got there, customers and employees alike were abuzz with a recent happening: it seems that a furious customer had just shouted at an employee about the books lead that I wrote about’s lack of contributions to local arts organizations.

    Now, I do quote an Elliott Bay employee’s blog—a blog not sponsored by Elliott Bay Book Company—in my article, but Elliott Bay had nothing to do with the story beyond that. The employee tried to tell the customer this, but the man was inconsolable. He said that, due to their involvement in that hack-work passing as journalism, he was never going to shop at Elliott Bay Book Company ever again. And then he threw his frequent buyer’s card at the employee and stormed out.

    To which I have to say: You, anonymous angry consumer guy, are a total jackass. Way to protest my pointing out that a locally based global retailer doesn’t support local arts by boycotting a local retailer. You’re really making a case.

    Will the Hunchback Curse Strike Again?

    posted by on May 7 at 10:21 AM


    As local theatrical masochists will remember forever, in 1998, Seattle was blessed with a locally produced world-premiere rock musical based on Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

    Not since HAIR has a stage musical come along with the power to capture the imagination of an audience and leave them cheering like HUNCHBACK, an entirely new, blazingly original work by C.Rainey Lewis.

    That’s a quote from the still-active Hunchback website, and it is factual. Hunchback captured the imagination of everyone who’s ever wondered, “What’s the worst thing that could happen if a New-Agey blues rocker with a lot of money and a weird Hunchback fixation decided to take it to the stage?”, and left its small but lucky audiences cheering a world that would allow such a monstrosity to come to fruition.

    I’m proud to say I saw Hunchback, and it was so extravagantly bad I shall never forget it. On one hand you had the producers’ hubris, which drove them to book a world-premiere rock musical based on Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, written and directed by a fledgling theatrical talent with an iffy track record, into the humongous King Cat Theater for eight shows a week for four weeks, resulting in largely empty houses and cancelled shows. On the other, you had the vast limitations of the material and the delusions of its creator. “HUNCHBACK’s twenty songs include numerous ‘instant classics,’ and several which are candidates to become radio hits,” hypes the website, which also does a good job of characterizing the individual compositions:

    “(Oh Let Me Be) Your Obsession”: A new twist on the seduction song, “Obsession” succeeds in combining innocence and lust in a homage to male power and sexuality combined with a fervent prayer for peace and harmony between the Universal Male and Female Principle. “Oh, let me be your obsession. Your love’s in need of expression”. Musically, the song lilts, swells, and sparkles in a brilliant and infectious melding of Western classical and Mideastern exotic, made all the more entertaining by the Gypsy girls’ dancing.

    What’s more, a number of Seattle’s best-and-brightest—actors, dancers, musicians, designers—were dragged onto the sinking ship of Hunchback, lured by four simple words on the audition notice: “All positions are paid.” Among the brave Hunchback veterans: Derek Horton, Meghan Arnette, Jonathan Hochberg, Bhama Roget, Diana Cardiff, Hassan Christopher, Holly Eckert, and many more, each of whom deserves a fucking medal.

    Why I’m bringing all this up now: A decade after Seattle’s Hunchback, another rocker is creating another new rock musical based on The Hunchback of Notre Dame. To learn the identity of this rocker and more about his soon-to-be-opening show, please see Line Out.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on May 7 at 10:17 AM


    A poetry slam, a book about mothering, and other readings that are almost 100% guaranteed to have nothing to do with primary season going on tonight.

    At Third Place Books, Elizabeth George is reading from Careless in Red. George is the mystery series writer who killed one of her main characters in the last book in this series. It caused a huge uproar among her readers—I guess one of the unwritten rules of writing a mystery series is that you’re not allowed to kill any of the main characters or change anything important, because readers don’t like actual change in their mysteries—and, even though I’ve never read any of her books, it made me fall in love with Elizabeth George.

    At the University Book Store, William J. Bernstein reads from A Splendid Exchange, which is about the history of trade. For some reason, this fascinates me. I’m about the farthest thing from an economist that there is, but I’m probably going to wind up reading this book. I can’t explain why. It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with the cover, which is super-bland.

    At the Good Shepherd Center on Capitol Hill, Bethany Wright and Roberta Olson, the authors of many books of poetry and such, will read as part of Subtext’s reading series. Subtext does good work supporting non-commercial writing, and we should all pay attention to them, even if we don’t appreciate all the writers they bring on: the scene would be a lot poorer if there was no Subtext reading series.

    And to bookend the Reading Tonight post with mysteries, Dominic Stansberry reads from The Ancient Rain, which is a mystery that has something to do with the Beats. This is sure to be exciting, because nobody’s ever published a book about the Beats before. If you were going to this reading, please consider going to Elizabeth George instead.

    Also, from the 7th through the 10th, Dinaw Mengestu, author the The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, will be reading at various libraries throughout Seattle. Check the Library’s listing of events on their website. There will surely be a reading somewhere near you.

    For your non-Mengestu readings needs, consult the full readings calendar.

    A Queer Way to Support the Troops

    posted by on May 7 at 10:05 AM

    A congressman has introduced legislation that would ban the sale of Playboy, Hustler, Penthouse and other “men’s magazines” on U.S. military bases. Needless to say, a Republican is pushing this anti-troop measure.

    U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., has introduced legislation that would close a loophole in the current law that allows the sale of some sexually explicit material on military bases by lowering the threshold required to deem material “sexually explicit.”

    A Department of Defense committee that reviews materials sold on bases ruled last year that magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse are not pornographic. But Broun’s Military Honor and Decency Act includes language that could make those magazines eligible for the ban…. Some soldiers say magazines that could be banned are particularly important downrange.

    Brown deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 and 2005 and is preparing to go to Iraq with the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade this summer. When he was in Afghanistan he was one of the first to pick up a new copy of Maxim or FHM when it came out, he said.

    “It would suck if they ban it,” he said. “It’s bad enough we are down there to begin with. Taking that away would be like a knife in the chest. I’m not saying I’m depending on Maxim to keep me alive over there, but it helps.”

    Slog Happy Tomorrow

    posted by on May 7 at 10:02 AM


    Trivia teams should be formed and wittily monikered by 6:30 sharp—five to a team, no limit on the number of teams. Teams will be competing for glory and one gigantic bag of wow, including a stack of DVDs (Head Trauma, Boy Next Door…), a pile of CDs (Dark Meat, No Age…), passes to NW Film Forum, Babeland goodies, an armload of brand-new books (Willy Vlautin’s Northline, a full-color coffee-table collection of Playboy cartoons), a Kevin Federline wall clock, and much more!

    Clinton as VP?

    posted by on May 7 at 10:00 AM

    With the Democratic nomination fight over (or all over but the Clinton conceding), there’s lots of chatter about whether it would be best for Obama, and the Democratic party, if Clinton were given the VP spot.

    Recurring questions on this theme: Does Clinton even want it? Would she hurt more than help? Really, Bill Clinton as second spouse, really? What about Claire McCaskill, Jim Webb, and others?

    But the big question is whether Obama should do it. So…

    Should Obama pick Clinton as his VP?

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on May 7 at 10:00 AM

    Katina Huston’s Mechanical Repeat (2008), ink on mylar, 36 by 36 inches*

    At Davidson Contemporary. (Gallery web site here.)

    *Hint: See the pedals?

    Gas Prices

    posted by on May 7 at 9:59 AM

    With gas near $4 a gallon, people are buying smaller cars, selling—or attempting to sell—their gas guzzlers, moving back into cities, and, in the aftermath of the bursting of the housing bubble, driving up the price of houses along established mass transit lines (rail transit lines).

    So… what do you think is going to go down when gas hits $7.50 a gallon?

    Cathy Allen: Oregon Is Elitist!

    posted by on May 7 at 9:42 AM

    Oh my. I know Clinton surrogates have gone so far as to dismiss entire states (like, say, Washington) as “boutique” states, but immediately ahead of a primary? Cathy Allen, a political consultant who’s been one of HRC’s most prominent mouthpieces here in Seattle, just let loose with this:

    There is an elitism about Oregon that makes me nervous about Hillary’s prospects,” Allen said Tuesday night.

    Wow. I hope rural Oregon is listening.

    Sports News

    posted by on May 7 at 9:08 AM

    There’s an interesting story up at CNN right now about professional Spanish tennis players refusing to take part in any Spanish Tennis Federation events until the organization fires its “dictatorial” president, Pedro Munoz. Not interested in tennis? Well, you might want to check out Rafael Nadal’s arms anyway.

    It’s Over, Hillary

    posted by on May 7 at 8:55 AM

    Me, on the all-powerful Slog yesterday evening:

    It’s over. Either she just doesn’t know it yet, or she just doesn’t care.

    Tim Russert, later in the evening:

    We now know who the Democratic nominee’s going to be, and no one’s going to dispute it.

    Bob Franken, a couple of hours later:

    Let’s put it right on the table: It’s over. It’s over.

    George Stephanopoulos this morning:

    This nomination fight is over.

    Bob Shrum, this morning:

    The campaign may go on but the contest is now over: Obama is the Democratic nominee for president. Now the decision for her is how she wants to end this.

    Undoing London

    posted by on May 7 at 8:48 AM

    Livingstone is gone. Boris the bore is in. Let the banning begin!
    tube460-1.jpg Number one: No more booze on the tubes.

    Born with the ban is one big problem:

    Labour’s London assembly transport spokeswoman, Val Shawcross, said: “There is a broad consensus of support for a public-transport alcohol ban but it will be extremely difficult to enforce.

    “If the mayor is expecting tube and bus staff to confiscate people’s drinks then they are effectively being forced into a policing role for which they are not trained.

    “We need to get any ban right and not compromise the safety of staff and passengers. It does not bode well that the new mayor has jumped ahead with this pledge without first talking to those who are being asked to police it.”

    How Do You Stop an Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment?

    posted by on May 7 at 8:42 AM

    By asking straight people to sacrifice something to protect the sacred sanctity of the institution of marriage.

    Earlier this week the state legislature in Pennsylvania was preparing to place an anti-gay marriage amendment to the Pennsylvania state constitution before voters in that state. Then a state senator, Vincent Fumo (D-Philadelphia), introduced an amendment-to-the-amendment that wound up sinking PA’s proposed anti-gay marriage amendment.

    His amendment would “outlaw the dissolution of most marriages in Pennsylvania,” he said in a news release. That would mean there would be few legal ways for the divorce of a married couple, a man and a woman.

    Mr. Fumo, who leaves the Senate on Nov. 30, said the stated goal of Senate Bill 1250 is to “protect the sanctity of the marital institution” by defining a legal marriage as only between one man and one woman.

    The next logical step, according to Mr. Fumo, is to also outlaw divorces

    The state senate in Pennsylvania is controlled by Republicans, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette reports that Fumo’s amendment didn’t have a chance. But Fumo’s amendment would have to be debated, and PA’s family values crusaders didn’t want to engage in a debate about divorce—currently a purely heterosexual institution in PA—and how straight divorce undermines the totally sacred sanctity of the institution of marriage. It’s way easier for sanctimonious lawmakers to point their ring fingers at same-sex marriage, which is currently illegal in PA (if not unconstitutional), and blame people that have done no harm to the sacred sanctity of the institution of marriage for all the damage done by heterosexuals.

    You know, folks behind anti-gay marriage amendments like to accuse gay people of seeking to “redefine marriage.” But, as I wrote in The Commitment, it’s actually straight people that have redefined marriage (mostly in good ways—women are no longer property, for instance). But here’s another straight redefinition of marriage to add to the list: An institution that most straight people weren’t interested in defending until one day they realized they might have to share it.

    Memo to the Superdelegates: It’s Over

    posted by on May 7 at 8:41 AM

    The Obama campaign has sent out a tough memo this morning telling superdelegates that Obama has played by the Democratic rules (unlike Clinton, who can only win by changing the rules and moving the goalposts) and the math is the math. With out saying so overtly, the memo clearly says: It’s over. Obama will win the nomination. This pretense of an unsettled fight is ridiculous. Get on board.

    They’re talking to you, Jim McDermott and Rick Larsen, our undecided Congressmen from Washington State.

    Here’s the memo. Obama will be in D.C. tonight and tomorrow to make the case to the superdelegates himself.

    TO: Superdelegates

    FROM: David Plouffe, Campaign Manager

    RE: An Update on the Race for Delegates

    DA: May 7, 2008

    There are only six contests remaining in the Democratic primary calendar and only 217 pledged delegates left to be awarded. Only 7 percent of the pledged delegates remain on the table. There are 260 remaining undeclared superdelegates, for a total of 477 delegates left to be awarded.

    With North Carolina and Indiana complete, Barack Obama only needs 172 total delegates to capture the Democratic nomination. This is only 36 percent of the total remaining delegates.

    Conversely, Senator Clinton needs 326 delegates to reach the Democratic nomination, which represents a startling 68 percent of the remaining delegates.

    With the Clinton path to the nomination getting even narrower, we expect new and wildly creative scenarios to emerge in the coming days. While those scenarios may be entertaining, they are not legitimate and will not be considered legitimate by this campaign or its millions of supporters, volunteers, and donors.

    Continue reading "Memo to the Superdelegates: It's Over" »

    The Morning News

    posted by on May 7 at 8:40 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    The American mystery deepens: Obama stabilizes lead, Clinton vows to carry on.

    Aid arrives
    : Secretive generals allow aid planes to land in Burma.

    More of the same: Medvedev sworn in as Russian president.

    Woooooooo! Part 2: Six San Diego State University frats suspended after drug bust.

    Nut cases
    : NYPD impersonators threatened to squeeze the testicles of East Coast drug traffickers with pliers.

    Spending spree
    : Port commissioners who vowed a change in spending habits.

    New jail: Seattle names four sites in the city.

    Street beat: Widening Spokane Street viaduct, (possibly) rebuilding the Mercer Street corridor.

    Pest control: Gregoire appoints scientist with ties to pesticide company to environmental panel.

    She’s Still Out There

    posted by on May 7 at 7:31 AM

    So much for speculation that Hillary Clinton would end her campaign today. She’s stumping in West Virginia—oh, and she had to lend her campaign $6.4 million last month. And a Clinton campaign official tells the Washington Post that they “lost this thing in February.” But no one, it seems, has told Clinton.

    Tuesday, May 6, 2008

    It’s the Delegate Count, Stupid

    posted by on May 6 at 11:02 PM

    Remember when I warned y’all about watching the delegate count? Yeah, I’ll brag a little. It takes incredible foresight to, um, pay attention to the rules of the Democratic nomination process.

    Here are the preliminary gains, according to the AP:

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Barack Obama grabbed the early lead in the competition for delegates in Tuesday’s primaries.

    Obama won at least 69 delegates in the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, according to an analysis of election returns by The Associated Press. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won at least 63 delegates, with 55 still to be awarded.

    An Indiana estimate slightly earlier in the evening, from Matt Seyfang, via Ben Smith:

    Matt Seyfang, a former campaign delegate counter who tracks this stuff for us, e-mails over his estimated margins: Clinton +2 in Indiana, Obama +17, net +15 for Obama.

    Seyfang writes:

    Lake is still out, but I’m assuming the 1st goes 4-2 for Obama based on surrounding counties that Clinton won. He won’t break the 70 percent he needs for a 5-1 margin. The statewide assumes a 2-point margin for Clinton, still a big question mark with Lake out.

    What’s interesting if these numbers hold is that this assures that Obama will win a majority of the 3,253 pledged delegates [excluding Florida and Michigan]. He’s now at 1,494. Under this set of numbers, he picks up 101 for a total of 1,595. A majority is 1,627, so he’s 33 short. If you assume he makes threshold in each of the remaining 24 districts for one delegate and then picks up at least one PLEO and one at-large in each of the 6 remaining contests, he’s at 1,631. The battle for the majority of pledged delegates is over.

    Here’s Indiana by congressional district/county overlap and then by county winner—if I were more tech savvy I could get you an overlay, but no dice.



    Counties tally votes, but congressional districts dole out the delegates. So Obama’s strong showing in Lake (northwest corner) gets diluted by the whiter, richer Porter county next door, as well as >90%-white counties just to the south. I actually think Seyfang overestimated the turnout in Gary—it doesn’t look like Obama is going to make the 58.3% threshold to pull out a 4-2 win in the 1st. Saint Joseph and Elkhart Counties, which also went for Obama, are divided down the middle between the 2nd and 3rd congressional districts—delegate ties look likely there too. Indianapolis’s Marion County has a congressional district practically to itself, so Obama has probably pulled out a 4-2 split there. And so it goes.

    The low-hanging fruit, as I wrote earlier, was in the 6th. They have an uneven number of delegates, who whoever gets more votes grabs an easy delegate—no 58.3% threshold here. But Clinton seems to have coasted through the 6th. Ball State University didn’t come through.

    These CQ projections are looking fairly strong, from what I can tell: They guessed the CD delegates at 24 for Clinton, 23 for Obama. The at-large delegates awarded according to the statewide margin should split 8-8, because Clinton is under 53.1% overall. She’ll pick up a PLEO, because there’s an uneven number of them. Which would give Clinton a two-delegate net gain in Indiana, just as Seyfang predicted, but through a slightly different route.

    Two delegates? North Carolina will dwarf that shit.


    posted by on May 6 at 10:23 PM

    Union County’s vote totals are in: Clinton takes Union County with 803 votes to Obama’s 383 votes.

    Thank you and goodnight.

    Lake County is Not Enough; Clinton Wins Indiana

    posted by on May 6 at 10:09 PM

    CNN now has 99 percent of the results from the much-delayed count in Lake County (home of Gary et al). Obama won the county, but not, it seems, by a high enough margin to take the state of Indiana.

    The network calls the race in Indiana for Clinton, 51 to 49.

    (And I don’t think I ever posted the final North Carolina spread. Obama won that state by 14 points, 56 to 42.)

    As We Wait for the Final Numbers…

    posted by on May 6 at 10:02 PM

    I recommend this NYT editorial on John McCain:

    While Democrats voted in North Carolina, which Mr. Obama won, and in Indiana, which was too close to call at press time, Mr. McCain spoke about his judicial philosophy. He is determined to move a far too conservative and far too activist Supreme Court and federal judiciary even further and more actively to the right.

    Mr. McCain predictably criticized liberal judges, vowed strict adherence to the founders’ views and promised to appoint more judges in the mold of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. That is just what the country does not need.

    Since President Bush chose Justices Roberts and Alito, the court has ordered Seattle and Louisville to scrap voluntary school integration, protected employers who illegally mistreat their workers and constrained women’s right to choose and citizens’ right to vote.

    Mr. McCain did not mention, of course, how the Roberts-led court blithely overruled Congress by nullifying an important part of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. He did wax nostalgic about what “the basic right of property” has meant “since the founding of America.” (He did not mention that in 1789, many women could not own property and African-Americans were property, but he did criticize the idea that values evolve over time.)

    I am very close to a 3L law student, and I have been distressed as to the slow migration of his ideas about the judiciary over the last couple of years. The Constitution is neither living nor dead—it’s a text, like any other. Call me a doctrinaire English major, but I know that even words and phrases change meaning over time. We cannot divine the founder’s true intentions through their writings, and it’s useless to try.

    I’ve had a very hard time understanding why the court’s most hardcore Catholics have cleaved to dunderheaded, precedent-defying originalism. Weren’t they taught from the cradle that both scripture and tradition have their place? Literal interpretation of anything, from the Bible to the Constitution, is folly. “We the People” now signifies something wholly different from the meaning it had for the founders, and we’re all better off for it.

    Union County, Indiana

    posted by on May 6 at 9:59 PM

    Uh… we’re all losing our shit here about the mayor of Gary, Indiana, and all those late returns from Lake County and Democratic machines and blah blah blah. And meanwhile there are still NO RESULTS in from Union County, Indiana. It’s the last little dot of white on the NYT map.


    What the fuck is going on? There are 7,226 people living in Union County. Did no one in Union County vote? Can no one in Union County count?

    Either Way, it’s the Machine

    posted by on May 6 at 9:24 PM

    As for Gary’s late reporting, Kos nails it:

    The question is whether this was legit. The way the vote is being released makes this stink to high hell.

    If this was legit, that’s some serious machine action at work. If it’s not legit, that’s some serious machine action at work.

    I doubt very much that the vote was not legit, but Machines get out the vote one way or the other.

    Tea Leaves

    posted by on May 6 at 9:12 PM

    Clinton is canceling her morning show appearances. (Via Ben Smith.)

    And Drudge is calling the race—not NC or IA, but the whole nomination fight—for Obama. (Via Sullivan.)

    And Tim Russert says: “We now know who the Democratic nominee is going to be, and no one is going to dispute it.”

    And make that all public Clinton appearances canceled. (Via TPM)

    Where’s the Party? (In the Event That There Needs to Be a Party)

    posted by on May 6 at 9:00 PM

    Stranger illustrator and big-time Obama fan Kathryn Rathke just called to ask where people are going to be drinking in the event that Obama pulls out a victory in Indiana.

    Because, if he does pull this out, it’s over. And all you Obama fans will want to have been there when it happened.

    So where is there? Where should she jump in her car and drive to, just in case?

    Here Comes Gary

    posted by on May 6 at 8:50 PM

    CNN now has some results from Lake County and they show Obama with a huge lead. However, the network says that these results (28 percent of the county vote) are all from the major city of Gary, and that the rural less urban parts of the county are still to come.

    Mayor of Gary, Indiana Predicts Possible Obama Upset

    posted by on May 6 at 8:45 PM

    Via The Washington Post:

    As the fate of a nailbiter Indiana primary — and possibly the course of the Democratic race — hung on his city, Gary Mayor Rudy Clay said just now that it might take a while yet to finish counting the vote in Lake County, which includes Gary, and said tonight his city had turned out so overwhelmingly for Barack Obama that it might just be enough to close the gap with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    Let me tell you, when all the votes are counted, when Gary comes in, I think you’re looking at something for the world to see,” Clay, an Obama supporter, said in a telephone interview from Obama’s Gary headquarters. “I don’t know what the numbers are yet, but Gary has absolutely produced in large numbers for Obama here.”

    Thank You Erica….

    posted by on May 6 at 8:27 PM

    …. slog was a far more interesting place to read about 2008 thanks to you. The bravery to make your case to an actively hostile audience is commendable.


    What He Said

    posted by on May 6 at 8:26 PM

    Honestly? I was hoping Clinton would concede tonight—which she didn’t do, of course—and then I read this on Kos…

    If Clinton were to drop out this week, we’d face an uncomfortable situation in West Virginia, with Clinton likely crushing Obama. That would look terrible for the presumptive nominee. Better than that would be to garner enough superdelegate commitments this week, so that Oregon can push Obama past 2,024. That way, it isn’t the supers who clinch it for Obama, but actual voters.

    So even if Clinton winds up losing Indiana—fingers crossed—her staying in the race may be the best thing for Obama, for the Democrats, and for the country.

    Clinton: I Won’t Back Down

    posted by on May 6 at 8:25 PM

    The visuals, and some of the body language, smacked of a concession speech: Hillary, Bill, and Chelsea all on the stage. Clinton thanking her family, her supporters, every last person she could think of, all with a tone far less than triumphant. Chelsea looking decidedly non-euphoric, Bill looking grim.

    But the actual language was the opposite of the body language—and well divorced from the reality of what’s been happening tonight. With results still not in from Lake County, and the race in Indiana still too close to call, Clinton declared victory and suggested she had a mandate to fight on until the last primary in June.

    While she was talking, her campaign emailed a memo to reporters that began with this Obama quote from April: “You know, Sen. Clinton is more favored in Pennsylvania and I’m right now a little more favored in North Carolina, so Indiana right now may end up being the tiebreaker. So we want to work very hard in Indiana.”

    Dropping the “may” from “may end up being the tiebreaker,” Clinton told her audience in Indiana that Obama had claimed that their state would be a tie-breaker and that the tie had been broken—in her favor.

    “Tonight we’ve come from behind, we’ve broken the tie, and thanks to you it’s full speed on to the White House,” she said.

    Continuing her populist posturing, she said her “victory” (still not validated by the major networks) was, “for everyone who holds your breath at the gas pump… and for everyone who is working day and night.”

    Then she made another appeal for online donations so that she can fight on—”on to West Virginia, Oregon, Kentucky and the other states.” And she promised to keep fighting to get the (rule-breaking) votes in Florida and Michigan to count.

    She plans to work her heart out, she said, and she exited to Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down.”

    On cable television, however, the tone of the pundits was near funereal. There is now no realistic mathematical formula for Clinton to win the nomination. Even if she does win Indiana tonight, it will be by a very tiny margin, hardly the type of victory she needs in order to argue to the superdelegates that Obama is a fatally flawed candidate who has been mortally wounded by the Wright controversy.

    It’s over. Either she just doesn’t know it yet, or she just doesn’t care.

    Where’s Gary? Waiting till the time is ripe…

    posted by on May 6 at 8:00 PM

    By the by, my slog moniker “Chicago Fan” refers to politics as well as sports, and when I got done teaching tonight and logged on to see that the results from Lake County Indiana, an Obama stronghold, hadn’t come in yet, it was deja vu all over again.

    Back in the bad old days of ballot-box stuffing and vote stealing, it was common practice for political bosses to withhold results from precincts or larger areas that they knew would go overwhelmingly their way. They wanted to know exactly how much over they needed to whelm. Hence, in the 1960 Presidential election, Kennedy won Illinois by a mere 10,000 votes, and Cook County reported very late in the process, after Mayor Richard J. Daley and the Democratic bosses could see how many votes they would need. The legends of stealing the election are not wholly accurate, and it wasn’t just Kennedy they were concerned about: they were actually more interested in preventing Ben Adamowski, a Dem turned Republican, from winning the Cook County State’s Attorney race, since that would give the R’s power to investigate Democrats.

    Now, I’m not accusing the good folks of Lake County Indiana with anything; but one benefit of your stronghold reporting last is that your opponent might do something dumb, like declare victory, and then lose a few hours later. “Dewey Defeats Truman” anyone?

    I Can’t Believe Hillary Is Pretending Like She Won Indiana, with 0% of Precints Reporting in Lake County, Which Is Right on the Border of Illinois and Is Home of the City of Gary, Indiana

    posted by on May 6 at 7:56 PM

    Democratic Primary Results: Obama Wins North Carolina, Clinton Wins Leads Narrowly in Indiana

    posted by on May 6 at 7:43 PM

    3:50 p.m. The exits are coming, the exits are coming…

    The Page: 48% in Indiana and in North Carolina say Rev. Wright was “very” or “somewhat” important to their vote.


    The exit poll estimated blacks made up about a third of voters in the North Carolina Democratic primary, about one in seven in Indiana. More than half of voters in both states were women, which is typical for Democratic primaries. About one in seven voters in Indiana and slightly fewer in North Carolina were under age 30; about a quarter in North Carolina and somewhat fewer in Indiana were over age 65.

    ABC: Most voters made up their minds early in both states.

    Drudge: Hillary’s double dream dashed.

    4 p.m. Polls in Indiana are now closed. Race is too close to call. (North Carolina polls close in half an hour.)

    4:25 p.m. In Indiana: Clinton 58, Obama 42 (with 12 percent of precincts reporting).

    4:30 p.m. The polls close in North Carolina and MSNBC and other networks immediately call the state for Obama.

    4:55 p.m. Everyone is wondering what Obama’s win in North Carolina looks like in terms of demographics—and, likewise, what the demographic breakdown was in Indiana.

    Here’s CNN’s very readable exit poll results for both states: North Carolina here and Indiana here.

    The exit polling shows that in North Carolina, the importance voters attributed to “the situation with Rev. Wright” correlated very strongly to their preference of candidate. Clinton voters thought it was important, Obama voters did not.

    Obama won North Carolina voters at all levels of education and income (puncturing, at least in this context, the notion that he only appeals to elites). He also won in every age group but the over 65. But the racial split endures: Obama won over 90 percent of black Democrats; Clinton won over 60 percent of white Democrats.

    In Indiana the results look quite different. Clinton won among less educated voters, perhaps a validation of her increased populism and common folk language. She also won in every income bracket except the under $15K and the $75K - $100K.

    While Obama won both rural and urban voters in North Carolina, in Indiana the divide is stark: urban voters for Obama, rural and suburban voters for Clinton. The racial divide remains the same, though: 60 percent of white voters for Clinton; over 90 percent of black voter for Obama. And age? In Indiana, it splits at around age 40: under 40s go to Obama, over 40s go to Clinton (as opposed to North Carolina where the split was at age 65).

    5:20 CBS calls Indiana for Clinton. NYT has Clinton up 55 to 45, but some likely pro-Obama counties in the northwest corner of the state haven’t reported yet.

    5:40 Questions on my mind: How big will Clinton’s margin be in Indiana? Will Obama’s margin in North Carolina be bigger? Will Clinton address the delegate math when she speaks tonight? Will she continue her quixotic quest to get Florida and Michigan to count? What data will the Obama campaign use to try to argue that Obama is improving his standing among working class white voters? When will Donna Brazille actually leap through the satellite feed and punch Paul Begala, as she appears to very much want to do?

    5:55 p.m. Axelrod speaking to reporters in North Carolina: “This was not a game changer, folks, in any way, shape or form.”

    6:08 p.m. Obama is about to speak to supporters in North Carolina. He enters to Bruce Springsteen. Behind him, for the benefit of the cameras, are a large number of white women (a demographic he actually lost big time in North Carolina).

    Obama appears to be conceding Indiana (even though CNN now says the gap between him and Clinton there has closed to just four points). But he says his win in North Carolina, “a big state,” shows that tonight was no “game-changer,” as Clinton predicted it might be. “The only game that needs changing is the one in Washington, D.C.,” he says.

    He looks tired. He points out that he’s now “less than 200 delegates away” from the nomination. And he promises that not matter what the pundits (and exit polls) say, the Democratic party “will be united in November.”

    Then he segues into a stump speech focused mostly on McCain and his theme of change.

    6:30 p.m. A discussion of the Limbaugh effect in Indiana—and a rough calculation that perhaps seven percent of Clinton’s Indiana voters “have no intention of supporting her in the fall.”

    6:35 p.m. I take it back. A lot of the second half of Obama’s speech was new, in an important way: He went to great lengths to wrap himself in the American flag (talking about his father being buried in a coffin draped with the flag, for example), and he admitted he hasn’t always been a perfect messenger (a nod to the “bitter” flap and the Wright controversy) but said he loves this country too much to give up on his hope for changing it—and on the sense of unique American possibility that he and his family embody.

    6:50 p.m. I’ve noted this above, but just so no one misses it: Hillary Clinton’s lead is shrinking by the minute in Indiana. Right now it’s less than three percent (just 36,000 votes) with several important counties (including, most importantly, the county holding Gary, Indiana) still to come.

    7:25 p.m. MSNBC says that the results in Lake County, the likely pro-Obama county in Indiana that everyone’s waiting for, may not be in until midnight. However, Clinton is reportedly going to speak in two minutes.

    7:35 p.m. Clinton is about to speak.

    The visuals, and some of the body language, smack of a concession speech: Hillary, Bill, and Chelsea all on the stage. Clinton thanking her family, her supporters, every last person she could think of, all with a tone far less than triumphant. Chelsea looking decidedly non-euphoric, Bill looking grim.

    But the actual language is the opposite of the body language—and well divorced from the reality of what’s been happening tonight. With results still not in from Lake County, and the race in Indiana still too close to call, Clinton declares victory and suggests she has a mandate to fight on until the last primary in June.

    While she’s talking, her campaign emails a memo to reporters that begins with this Obama quote from April: “You know, Sen. Clinton is more favored in Pennsylvania and I’m right now a little more favored in North Carolina, so Indiana right now may end up being the tiebreaker. So we want to work very hard in Indiana.”

    Dropping the “may” from “may end up being the tiebreaker,” Clinton tells her audience in Indiana that Obama had claimed that their state would be a tie-breaker and that the tie has been broken—in her favor.

    “Tonight we’ve come from behind, we’ve broken the tie, and thanks to you it’s full speed on to the White House,” she says.

    Continuing her populist posturing, she says her “victory” (still not validated by the major networks) was, “for everyone who holds your breath at the gas pump… and for everyone who is working day and night.”

    Then she makes another appeal for online donations so that she can fight on—”on to West Virginia, Oregon, Kentucky and the other states.” And she promises to keep fighting to get the (rule-breaking) votes in Florida and Michigan to count.

    She plans to work her heart out, she says, and she exits to Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down.”

    On cable television, however, the tone of the pundits is near funereal. There is now no realistic mathematical formula for Clinton to win the nomination. Even if she does win Indiana tonight, it will be by a very tiny margin, hardly the type of victory she needs in order to argue to the superdelegates that Obama is a fatally flawed candidate who has been mortally wounded by the Wright controversy.

    It’s over. Either she just doesn’t know it yet, or she just doesn’t care.

    WTF Lake and Union Counties?

    posted by on May 6 at 7:39 PM

    The two white spots on this NYT map of Indiana—Lake and Union counties—are currently reporting 0% of results.


    WTF Lake and Union counties? Particularly you, Lake County, home of Gary, Indiana, presumably an Obama stronghold. Other Indiana counties are reporting 80, 90, and 100% of their results. What’s the matter with you?

    BREAKING: Erica C. Barnett Concedes, Says Hillary Should Drop Out

    posted by on May 6 at 6:50 PM

    Text message from a “super depressed” Erica C. Barnett, who wants you to know that despite it all, she thinks the drawn out campaign has been “GOOD” for the Democratic party. Writing about Clinton, Barnett says via text:

    All right, fine, I give up: It’s time for her to concede.

    Still No Results From Gary

    posted by on May 6 at 6:47 PM

    And now Obama and Clinton are separated by less than 4 points. I don’t see how Clinton survives this, frankly. It’s time for her to go.

    UPDATE: At 7 PM, Clinton’s lead in Indiana is down to 3.6%, and still—still—no results in from Gary. Obama might wind up winning Indiana.

    Clinton’s Lead in Indiana…

    posted by on May 6 at 6:15 PM

    …seems to be shrinking fast. It’s fallen to less than 6 points. And right now no results are in from Gary, Indiana, which everyone expects to come in strong for Obama.

    And Annie Wagner was just telling me that Obama could wind up taking more delegates in Indiana even if he loses the popular vote.

    Also, thanks to this Frank Rich column, it occurred to me to check out how people are voting in tonight’s two GOP primaries. And, once again, a lot of Republicans headed out to the polls to express their unhappiness with their presumptive nominee. In Indiana and North Carolina upwards of 20% of Republicans that turned out to vote—tens of thousands of voters in both states—went to the polls to vote against John McCain. Even though he’s already the nominee. That can’t be good.

    “Oh, don’t bring up this Reverend Wright crap again!”

    posted by on May 6 at 5:38 PM

    Two four-year-olds arguing about Clinton and Obama.

    Sent to us by Slog tipper Matt Hickey, who writes:

    This sums it all up nicely, I think. I dare anyone to not think this is cute as fuck.

    Re: Car and Driver

    posted by on May 6 at 3:54 PM


    In the face of this gas price tragedy, Americas are doing what they do best:

    “Someone’s making a lot of money and it’s really, really wrong,” added Twyman, who founded the Prayer at the Pump movement last week to seek help from a higher power to bring down fuel prices, because the powers in Washington haven’t.

    The half-dozen activists — Twyman, a former Miss Washington DC, the owner of a small construction company and two volunteers at a local soup kitchen — joined hands, bowed their heads and intoned a heartfelt prayer.

    I thought it was a joke, but it looks like it’s true.

    “Lord, the prices at this pump have gone up since last week. We know that you are able, that you have all the power in the world,” he prayed, before former beauty queen Rashida Jolley led the group in a modified version of the spiritual, “We Shall Overcome”.

    “We’ll have lower gas prices, we’ll have lower gas prices…” they sang.

    The Jane Chord

    posted by on May 6 at 3:13 PM

    Over on his blog, Terry Teachout (theater critic for the Wall Street Journal) reminded me about the Jane Chord:

    The Jane Chord, to which Bill Buckley introduced us years ago, is a concept originally promulgated by Hugh Kenner. The idea is that if you make a two-word sentence out of the first and last words of a book, it will tell you something revealing about the book in question. Or not: the Jane Chord of Pride and Prejudice is It/them. But every once in a while you run across a Jane Chord so resonant that it makes the room shiver—the chord for Death Comes for the Archbishop is One/built—and even when a famous book yields up nonsense, it’s still a good game to play.

    Miranda July noticed her own Jane Chord for No One Belongs Here More than You here.

    Some Jane Chords in books on shelves and desks around the office:

    On God by Norman Mailer: Scientists experience.

    Atonement by Ian McEwan: The sleep.

    Passage to Juneau by Jonathan Raban: He sea.

    Please Feed Me: A Punk Vegan Cookbook: We delicious.

    Gifts of the Body by Rebecca Brown: I mourned.

    United States: Essays 1952–1992 by Gore Vidal: I sanity.

    Brothels of Nevada [a photo book]: Visits imperative.

    And Democracy in America by Tocqueville: Among misery.

    Design Reviews: Knocked Down Downtown

    posted by on May 6 at 3:04 PM

    Third Avenue and Cedar Street

    The end is near for the one-story, wooden building owned by the Musicians Union of Seattle since 1948 on the southeast corner of Third and Cedar. Harbor Properties plans to demolish and replace it with a 17-story, 185-unit apartment building with 3,000 square feet of retail at street level. According to the city’s recent notice, parking would be provided for 86 vehicles—egads, that’s less that one car per unit! How will the city function? Ahem. Here’s the design:



    Hewitt Architects

    The Musicians Union will be displaced during construction, which they expect to commence this fall, but plans to return after construction is completed. The meeting is at 7:00 p.m. in room 1600 of the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Avenue.

    Eighth Avenue and Stewart Street

    The intersection will be unrecognizable in a few years. The old Greyhound Bus station will be replaced by this, up the block to the east is this, and to the north will be this. And on the corner, Schnitzer West will demolish the 5-story Watermark Credit Union building and replace it with a 14-story office building with 10,000 square feet of ground-level retail.


    The downtown design-review board will hold a guidance meeting for the project—no images yet—at 5:30 p.m. in room 1600 of the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Avenue. This is a very different (that is, smaller) project that originally proposed for the site in 2006.


    posted by on May 6 at 2:55 PM

    It’s the word of the week.

    If you didn’t make it to the end of Tao Lin’s essay “What I Can Tell You About Seattle Based on the People I’ve Met Who Are from There (I Live in Brooklyn)”—which, according to Slog commenters, was either the worst thing The Stranger has ever published (“It’s seriously the worst cover piece I’ve read in the Stranger”) or one of the best (“I’m glad the stranger saw fit to print it; it gives me hope for the state of literature”)—you might not know what “choad” means. Or you might think it means what Annie Wagner thought it meant: “I’ve always heard it meant the nowhere land between your anus and your vagina, and also for guys.” Or you might think it means what Wiktionary thinks it means (which is pretty close to Tao Lin’s definition, although not quite it). Tao Lin’s definition is at the very end of his piece, in the section titled “People in Seattle Have Choads.”

    It’s not Merriam-Webster, but here’s a young lady giving the Lin-approved definition of choad:

    And here’s a choad-related letter we got this afternoon:

    To the Editor:

    In regards to the comment that people in Seattle have choads I can only assume that Mr. Lin meant a) that men in Seattle have choads as I, as a woman, do not have a choad or any other kind of penis and b) that he had not taken a good look at the genitalia of a representative portion of the male Seattle population. I have not noticed a excess of choads, or any kind of choads on Seattle men. I have noticed that sex with men in Seattle lasts forever, like they might be wishing they were on a Marco Polo team but were trying really hard to be good at sex since they were in the uniform. I also assumed Mr. Lin was a woman; how odd.


    City Announces Four Potential Jail Sites

    posted by on May 6 at 2:45 PM

    Earlier this afternoon, the city announced it has whittled a list of 35 potential jail sites down to just four. The four potential sites are located in Haller Lake, Interbay, Highland Park—just southwest of Georgetown—and in West Seattle, near the reservoir.

    Due to overflow problems at the King County Jail (KCJ), the city must build a new jail by 2012 to hold people for DUIs, domestic violence and other charges which require mandatory incarceration.

    The city has determined it will be safer and more cost-effective to build a one story jail—as opposed to KCJ, which is about 10 floors—and they’re also looking for a seven-acre space outside of residential zones, near a major arterial. The city plans to begin the design phase for the jail sometime in 2009.

    Of the four sites, Haller Lake seems an especially likely candidate. The Seattle Police Department’s North Precinct has been sinking over the last few years, and there’s been talk at the city about relocating the precinct. There’s also been talk of splitting the north precinct into two sites in the next five or ten years.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean the Haller Lake site is a sure thing, but it sure would be a way for the city to kill two birds with one stone.

    Car and Driver

    posted by on May 6 at 1:59 PM

    Sales of new pickup trucks and SUVs aren’t just slowing—folks are desperately trying to unload the SUVs and pickup trucks they already own.

    After paying $75 to fill his black Dodge Ram pickup truck for the third time in a week, Douglas Chrystall couldn’t take it anymore.

    Feeling pinched at the pump, and guilty as well, Chrystall, a 39-year-old father from Wellesley, is putting ads online to sell the truck, and the family’s other gas-guzzler, a Jeep Grand Cherokee. He knows it will be tough to unload them because he is one of a growing number of consumers downsizing to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars….

    “The SUV craze was a bubble and now it is bursting,” said George Hoffer, an economics professor at Virginia Commonwealth University whose research focuses on the automotive industry. “It’s an irrational vehicle. It’ll never come back.”

    Unbecoming Behavior

    posted by on May 6 at 1:51 PM

    Dozens of San Diego State University students were arrested after a sweeping drug investigation found that some fraternity members openly dealt drugs and one even sent a mass text message advertising cocaine, authorities said Tuesday.

    Two kilograms of cocaine were seized, along with 350 Ecstasy pills, marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, hash oil, methamphetamine, illicit prescription drugs, several guns and at least $60,000 in cash, authorities said…. Those arrested included a student who was about to receive a criminal justice degree and another who was to receive a master’s degree in homeland security….

    Shawn Collinsworth, executive director of the national office of Phi Kappa Psi, said he was told by two of the SDSU fraternity chapter’s leaders that four of its members were arrested. He added the fraternity is cooperating with the investigation.

    “It isn’t behavior becoming of Phi Kappa Psi,” Collinsworth said.

    Poor bastards. Full story here.

    Slog Happy Thursday

    posted by on May 6 at 1:44 PM

    Everyone is welcome, especially you silent majority—no familiar handle required.


    Marriage is Good for Kids! But, You Know, Not Your Kids

    posted by on May 6 at 1:32 PM

    So says Jeff Kemp, Seattle’s kinder, gentler anti-gay bigot.

    Kemp heads up Families Northwest, a Redmond-based “pro-family” group, and he’s got an op-ed in today’s Seattle Times. (It’s across from some days-old Dowd and Friedman.) Kemp’s piece oozes concern, tosses out some alarming numbers (“With a trillion-dollar cost nationally, everyone is paying the price for fractured families”), throws around some dubious stats (“…similar marriage preparation and mentoring programs have helped to reduce divorce and teen pregnancy by 29 percent”), and promotes marriage intervention models very like ones developed by Families Northwest. It’s just another paid advertisement masquerading as an opinion piece in the Seattle Times.

    Kemp’s piece end with this uplifting thought:

    The goal to reduce divorce and unwed childbearing rates is not insurmountable. Marriage continues to be the most pro-child institution we have, and knowing now that divorce is hazardous to your wealth, a healthy marriage is truly priceless.

    If marriage is pro-child and unwed parents are a bad thing, then Families Northwest should want my child’s parents to marry. If Families Northwest doesn’t want my child’s parents to marry, then Kemp’s group isn’t really pro-child. Kemp and Families Northwest are for some children’s families and against others. And while Kemp may be able to get through an op-ed piece without fuming about The Gays by name, he’s just as bigoted as Redmond-based Rev. Ken Hutcherson.

    Subject Line of the Day

    posted by on May 6 at 1:27 PM

    “Chipotle Launches Naturally Raised Chicken”

    In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

    posted by on May 6 at 12:44 PM

    My Bloody Valentine Reunion!: Doesn’t come to Seattle…

    Cloud Cult Adds Second Show: So all you slackers that missed out the first time around have another chance to see the band.

    See Sound Lounge Got Robbed: Everything was taken—flat screen TVs, turntables, amps.

    My Great Grandma Would be Proud: I return to my Swedish roots and listen to ABBA.

    Some Favorites from the Flickr Pool: Pretty pictures taken by you.

    I’d Rather Get Old: Thurston Moore stays young by drinking his own piss?

    Your Favorite Scientologist Will Release a New Record Very Soon: Beck hops on the “stealthy” release trend a promises new album within a month.

    Tonight in Music: Does it Offend You, Yeah?, the B-52s, and Prize Country.

    New For CD Release Tuesday: Russian Circles and No Age.

    Pitchfork Continues to Love Fleet Foxes: They interview the band, film exclusive performance by a river.

    Today’s Music News: 50 gets his necklace back, Avril loses her voice, A Place to Bury Strangers are too loud, and Jack White is a hero.

    I Bet It Was a Fun Show to Clean Up After: Eric Grandy reviews the confusing confetti-fest that was Dark Meat at the Comet.

    Santogold: Are you tired of hearing she’s the next M.I.A. too?

    Stay Sharp: Trent Moorman on Scratchmaster Joe at Lo-Fi.

    Suicide Squeeze Continues to Be Cool: The local label releases new Russian Circles album and signs These Arms Are Snakes in the same week.

    Who Hasn’t Freaked Out in a Grocery Store?: What’s your favorite song about the emotional tradition?

    There’s more! Just visit Line Out and see.

    DM-WEB-3004.jpgDark Meat photo by Kelly O

    Rev. Grampa Simpson

    posted by on May 6 at 12:38 PM


    Via Sullivan.

    Who Hates Economists?

    posted by on May 6 at 12:35 PM

    Not Bill Clinton. Or, at least, not the ‘92 version of Bill Clinton. But maybe this is just another one of those things that Hillary “not going to put my lot in with economists” Clinton would respond to by saying: “I don’t think any married couple I know agrees on everything…

    Via Ben Smith

    Notes From the Prayer Warrior

    posted by on May 6 at 12:20 PM


    Tuesday, 06 May 2008

    At Sunday services for the next two weeks, I will be preaching from Romans 1:18-32 on whether homosexuality is still a sin.

    Please pray that many who are struggling with this issue will come and that lives will be changed!

    Pastor Hutch

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on May 6 at 12:15 PM

    Nu-uh… lily-white Seattle didn’t really have a lowrider culture back in the ’80s, did it?!

    For more, see YouTube Nasty-Nes.

    Random Speculation About Random House

    posted by on May 6 at 12:09 PM

    According to the New York Times, Peter W. Olson, the chief executive of giant publisher Random House, and a man who looks like the main character in a 1980’s John Updike novel


    —will resign. Or will be forced to resign by a penny-pinching boss, because profits at Random House (one of the three biggest publishers in the US) fell 5.6 percent last year. At least Olson was a heavy reader, and so he was likely to read a lot of the product he was responsible for. I shudder to think what’ll happen if Bertelsmann, the German company that now owns Random House, puts an accountant in charge. Get ready for the book version of Ouch My Balls!

    If Not South Lake Union, Then Where?

    posted by on May 6 at 12:03 PM

    [A] South Lake Union group is considering new proposals that would… seek zoning changes to allow 300- or 400-foot buildings in response to business interest in the growing area.

    That has some residents, business owners and concerned citizens crying foul. They fear that if the new heights are ultimately approved, views from every neighborhood around Lake Union would be blocked, beloved parks and P-patches would lose sunlight to shade, and any vision for a walkable, “livable” South Lake Union would be destroyed.

    “Any way you look at this, 400-foot height limits is very scary,” said [Diane] Masson, regional marketing director for Mirabella, a continuing retirement community run by Pacific Retirement Services.

    “I favor a few, tall narrow towers. … It’s not true that 400-tall buildings will block views,” said [Queen Anne Community Council member John] Coney, who favors concentrating jobs, buildings and residential density in South Lake Union. “The principle behind urban centers is … that you provide people the opportunity to live near where they work.”

    “Building 400 feet and out to the lot line could create a concrete jungle and blot out the sun,” [Masson] said.

    Concerns about darkened sidewalks and unwalkable cities are understandable—nobody wants a dark, desolate city—but they’re unfounded.

    Under this proposed zoning change, the rules that would apply to SLU would undoubtedly reflect the zoning regulations that apply the parts of Seattle where 400-foot construction is already permitted. Towers are restricted to around 11,000 square feet per floor, preserving view corridors and letting in light. The rest of the building that abuts the curb would be mostly limited to six-to-eight stories; that’s the same height as most buildings in Paris, where streets are walkable and bright. (Filling out lot lines with mixed-use buildings creates walkable, livable cities—not dark, unwalkable cities.) Even in the business district of downtown Seattle, where the towers are 500-900 feet tall, streets are still walkable and bright. Perhaps not bright enough for a vegetable garden, but it is downtown, and, really, SLU is destined to be part of downtown, too.

    But even where the zoning allows it, not every block supports a skyscraper—some squat old buildings remain and developers choose not to fill out the zoning envelope for economic reasons at other sites. The market creates a mix of different heights.

    And I’ve tried, but I cannot muster sympathy for the “I’m losing my sacred view” crowd. Views of skyscrapers are awesome. In fact, that’s what you should see when you look out the window in the middle of the fucking city. If you want to see the water or mountains, Seattle will always have plenty of those views—just not from the middle of downtown. Suck it up.

    Here’s where I totally agree with the anti-density folks: 400-foot buildings shouldn’t be built right up to the shore of Lake Union. 85-foot zoning in the block-and-a-half back from the water’s edge (like what’s already being built around West Lake Union), provides density while leaving bright spaces and pedestrian-friendly boulevards. That’s an easy compromise.

    In the next 32 years, 1.7 million people are expected to move to the Puget Sound region. Those people have to go somewhere. Sprawl is bad land use. Neighbors in single-family housing neighborhoods would have kittens if development one-third this density were proposed near their homes. If not South Lake Union, then where?

    The Moral of the Story

    posted by on May 6 at 12:02 PM

    From the Washington Post:

    Rebecca Hosking’s [was] on a speck of sugar-white beach in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. “All you could smell was death,” Hosking recalled, sitting snugly in a 600-year-old pub in her rainy home town, which has been transformed by her epiphany two years ago on Midway Atoll.

    The beach on Midway, 1,300 miles northwest of Honolulu, was covered with thousands of dead albatrosses rotting in the tropical sun. In their split-open bellies, the BBC wildlife film producer said, she saw the plastic that had killed them: cigarette lighters, pens, toys, pill bottles, knives and forks, golf balls and toothbrushes.

    The waves were a thick stew of dead birds that had eaten bright-colored plastic pollution they thought was food….

    Hosking returned to her home town, a village of 1,600 people on the Devon coast in southwestern England, disturbed and restless. She finished her film about ocean pollution and often spent her days in a wet suit snorkeling in the cool British sea.

    What she saw disgusted her: plastic bags, thousands of them, from grocery stores and restaurants and every other kind of business, covering the bay floor like leaves on an autumn lawn. Hosking, who had never been a campaigner or an environmental activist, knew she couldn’t fix Midway. But suddenly she felt compelled to do something for Modbury.

    In April 2007, several months after returning from the Pacific, she called a meeting at a local art gallery. She invited all 43 local merchants, most of whom she’d known since she was a baby. She tempted them with wine and food, and 37 showed up.

    She showed them her film, poured out a handful of Hawaiian sand full of bright-colored bits of plastic pollution, and described the filthy bay floor three miles from their shops. Then she hit them with her plan: Modbury should ban plastic bags….

    So last May 1, Modbury became Europe’s first plastic-bag-free town.

    Overnight, carrying plastic bags became as socially acceptable as swearing in church. The florist tied bouquets, the baker wrapped bread and the grocery stores sold everything from olives to ice cream in bags and other small containers, all made of cornstarch or paper…. The bags cost about 10 cents each—compared with less than a penny for plastic—a cost that merchants pass along to customers, who have rarely complained.

    Via Slog tipper Will.

    No Apology Necessary

    posted by on May 6 at 11:56 AM

    The Austrian National Rugby Team strips and sings—”Singing in the Rain”—on a street corner in Vilnuis after a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Lithuanians.

    The Austrian Rugby Union has issued an official apology.

    Even though the persons involved were not drunk and no dangerous or harmful actions occurred, this behaviour is totally unacceptable and thus the ÖRV strictly distances itself from it.

    The ÖRV apologizes to all persons who felt disturbed, offended or emotionally hurt by this behaviour. This was certainly not the intention of the players involved. The ÖRV will forward an official apology to the Lithuanian Rugby Union and after investigating all the details the ÖRV will decide about internal sanctions.

    Hm… internal sanctions…

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on May 6 at 11:38 AM


    from The Headless Horseman

    They Be

    posted by on May 6 at 11:37 AM

    Officially not terrorists…

    They were software consultants in town for a weeklong business conference — not terrorists planning an attack to cripple the country’s largest ferry system.

    Last summer, the FBI launched an international search for two men after crew members and riders on a Washington State Ferry reported their unusual behavior — namely that they were taking pictures below deck, in areas that don’t hold much interest for most tourists.

    A ferry captain snapped their photo, which was passed along to the FBI.

    Turns out the men, both citizens of a European Union nation, were captivated by the car-carrying capacity of local ferries.

    “Where these gentlemen live, they don’t have vehicle ferries. They were fascinated that a ferry could hold that many cars and wanted to show folks back home,” FBI Special Agent Robbie Burroughs said Monday.

    The ferry captain (a fucking hick) should be punished for taking that photo.

    Another news story about tourists:

    Police in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro are to investigate claims that tourists visiting some of the city’s shanty towns are being offered a chance to meet armed drug dealers.

    The police say they want to establish if the lives of tourists are being put at risk, but the company involved has defended its policy.

    For many years guided tours of favelas or shanty towns have been an option for people visiting Rio de Janeiro.

    Distinctive green coloured open four-by-four vehicles can often be seen stopping at hotels to pick up tourists who want to see the other side of life in the city.


    posted by on May 6 at 11:36 AM

    From the Department of Sounds Gross but Is Actually Delicious: Well’s Banana Bread Ale, available at Pike St. Beer and Wine (518 E Pike St) and elsewhere. It’s a medium-bodied, pleasantly drinkable English ale, sweet but not overwhelmingly fruity, with a banana scent and a malty finish.
    I can’t do better than the brewer’s description:

    This dark-golden coloured ale hugs the palate with great intensity. Its malty aroma is complemented by the gentle nose of banana. Its flavour unfolds with a sensual sparkle and a smart crispness, which balances its aroma perfectly. Tropically fruity; its ripe banana flavour, emphasised by a hint of bitterness, comes from the addition of real fair trade bananas and finishes with an emphatic, steely dryness.

    Serve it (at room temp) with french toast for Mother’s Day brunch.

    Christian or Scientologist?

    posted by on May 6 at 11:36 AM


    The Gas Tax Primary

    posted by on May 6 at 11:35 AM

    I hope the exit polls today are asking voters in North Carolina and Indiana what they thought of the debate over Clinton’s proposed gas tax holiday, because I think that was one of the more fascinating—and telling—political fights of the past week.

    The Clinton proposal has been derided by journalists, economists, and even an Indiana woman making just $25,000 a year.

    And yet the Clinton campaign continues to flog it, using the issue as an opportunity to cast Clinton as a champion of common folk, a fighter who will punch pointy-headed economists (and reality) in the nose if that’s what it takes to save Americans a few pennies at the pump.

    David Brooks does of a nice job of filleting Clinton’s populist pretensions today, but more interestingly he gets at the deeper philosophical and dispositional divide between Clinton and Obama that the gas tax posturing has exposed:

    Stephanopoulos asked her to name a single economist who thinks a [gas] tax-holiday plan would work, and the daughter of Wellesley and Yale took the chance to shove the geeks into their lockers: “I’m not going to put my lot in with economists.”

    When Stephanopoulos pointed out that Paul Krugman, a Times columnist, has raised doubts about the plan, Clinton lumped Krugman in with the Bush administration and said she wasn’t going to listen to the people responsible for the last seven years.

    This wasn’t just shameless spin, it was shamelessness with a purpose. Clinton signaled that she wasn’t going to concede even an inch to the vast elitist conspiracy. She wasn’t going to feel guilty about ignoring the evidence. She was going to stomp on it, flay it and leave it a twisted mass of jelly quivering on the ground. She was going to perform the primordial duty of an alpha dog leader — helping one’s own.

    Why? More Brooks…

    The implicit Clinton argument is that politics is an inherently nasty business. Human nature, as she said Sunday, means that progress comes only through conquest. You’d better elect a leader who can intimidate. You’d better elect someone who has given herself permission to be brutal.

    Obama’s campaign grows out of the longstanding reform tradition. His implicit argument is that politics doesn’t have to be this way. Dishonesty and brutality aren’t inevitable; they’re what gets in the way. Obama’s friend and supporter Cass Sunstein described the Obama ideal in The New Republic: “Obama believes that real change usually requires consensus, learning and accommodation.”

    That’s regarded as naïve drivel in parts of Camp Clinton.

    Campaign issues come and go, but this is a thread running through the race. One believes in the raw assertion of power, the other the power of communication.

    On the gas tax, then, Clinton’s calculation seems to be that if ridiculous, nonsensical pandering is what it takes to gain power, so be it, the desired end justifies the embarrassing means. And maybe the means aren’t so embarrassing after all—maybe on some level they help convince voters that Clinton is so tough she’ll destroy the truth if she has to.

    Two questions remain: Will the pandered-to actually bite? And will Clinton actually end up closer to the power spot she’s pandering toward, or just that much less credible than she was a week ago?

    News Flash: David Mamet Won’t—Or Can’t—Shut the Fuck Up

    posted by on May 6 at 11:20 AM

    Please enjoy this in-the-trenches report from someone who suffered through Mamet reading his verse adaptation of Faust at the 92nd Street Y:

    Mamet commented mildly as literally half of a very full auditorium made for the exits. He was bombing, and he did seem to enjoy it, as if he was involved in seeing what would happen if he persisted. If his play-in-verse lacked drama, at least he could enjoy the drama of human nature. When all the brave ones had left, the Kauffman audience looked like a tooth had been extracted

    Between this and the rambling, I-just-rediscovered-civics-and-now-I’m-a-conservative essay he wrote for the Village Voice a few months ago, I’m starting to worry the about the old man. He’s always had a little bit of the crazy-eyes:


    Got Nine Minutes?

    posted by on May 6 at 11:15 AM

    Via Slog tipper Joe in DE.

    On Pandering

    posted by on May 6 at 11:07 AM

    OK, I think Clinton’s proposed gas-tax holiday is pointless (and misguided—shockingly, working-class voters aren’t buying the Yale-educated lawyer’s “I don’t listen to elites” rap) political pandering. But lest you think Clinton’s the only candidate who, to use Obama’s phrase, “panders” to working-class voters with “classic Washington gimmicks,” check out what Obama himself had to say when he voted for a similar “gimmick” in the Illinois state senate—not once, but on three separate occasions:

    Obama told constituents that gasoline prices would drop: “Gas retailers must post on each pump a statement that indicates that the state tax has been suspended and that this temporary elimination of the tax should be reflected in the price per gallon of gas.”

    During one state Senate floor debate, Obama joked that he wanted signs on gas pumps in his district to say, “Senator Obama reduced your gasoline prices.”

    Maybe, as some have argued, Obama’s gas-tax holiday reduced gas prices in Illinois. (Personally, I don’t think lowering gas prices temporarily is a good thing, so both candidates get demerits from me on this front). Maybe it didn’t. But let’s be clear: neither of the two Democratic presidential candidates is a stranger to political pandering. Hillary does it. And so does Obama.

    Here’s another example: In a campaign mailer timed for Kentucky’s May 20 primary, a plaid-shirt-clad Obama declares his allegiance to “clean Kentucky coal.” Currently, though, there are no “clean coal” plants in Kentucky, which is to say that there is no such thing as “clean Kentucky coal.” There is, however, plenty of dirty Kentucky coal, as Grist reports:

    Obama may believe in clean Kentucky coal, but many residents of the state are more familiar with the dirty kind. According to activists on the ground, strip-mining “is turning Eastern Kentucky into a despicable latrine.” Hundreds of mountains have been leveled, leaving poverty and unemployment in their wake. The number of jobs created in Kentucky by coal has dropped by 60 percent in the last 15 years.

    As Kentucky resident Erik Reese reported in Grist, studies in the state have found that children there suffer from “an alarmingly high rate of nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and shortness of breath — symptoms of something called blue baby syndrome — that can all be traced back to sedimentation and dissolved minerals that have drained from mine sites into nearby streams. Long-term effects may include liver, kidney, and spleen failure, bone damage, and cancers of the digestive tract.”

    There’s a difficult conversation to be had with voters in coal states like Kentucky about the fate of coal and the steps political leaders can take to help coal communities through the coming transition. For the moment, at least, Obama seems unwilling to have that conversation.


    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on May 6 at 11:00 AM


    Aleksandar Hemon at Elliott Bay Book Company

    All three of Aleksandar Hemon’s books of fiction are smeared with violence, squalor, Sarajevo, and America. The Lazarus Project, Hemon’s newest novel, is about two Eastern European men, separated by nearly a century but brought together by a collection of odd, beautiful photographs. Hemon writes life into even incidental characters. In one diner scene, he gives us hope and STDs, served over eggs: A businessman has a gait “suggesting a sore groin” and two prostitutes “savor… the sunny, pimpless morning.” (Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S Main St, 624-6600. 8 pm, free.)


    Cross Purposes

    posted by on May 6 at 10:35 AM

    The Fremont Market assured us yesterday that we won’t be seeing Scientology “vendors” at their European-style flea market/rummage sale/antiques fair again—nor will we be seeing Jews for Jesus vendors or Mormon vendors or Jehovah’s Witness vendors. The Scientologists slipped into the market “under the pretense of being ordinary ‘booksellers,’” wrote Fremont Market’s Jon Hegeman in an email. “Ministries, religious organizations and professional outreach ‘services’ are not what we usually do. Their volunteer ‘ministry’ won’t be here again.”

    Good to know.

    And here’s something else I’d like to know: When did the Scientologists make off with the cross? You know, the cross—symbol of Christianity for two thousand years now. And how did they do it without a peep of protest from Pat Robertson or Pope Benedict or Bill Donohue or Rev. Wright or John Hagee or Concerned Women for America or Tim Burgess?

    I first noticed Scientology’s appropriation of the cross when Tom Cruise accepted some big Scientology award for being a totally awesome Scientologist…


    When I saw that cross I shrugged and gave the Scientologists the benefit of the doubt. I mean, maybe that little spiked burst in the middle of the cross meant that it was supposed to be a star, not a cross, which would be appropriately sciencefictiony. Still, it looked a lot like a baroque Christian cross to me. But on Sunday at the Fremont Market I noticed that the yellow Scientology tent had crosses all over it—and the star-like spikes had been replaced by soft, round squiggles.


    So… the spikes are gone… replaced by squiggles… squiggles that seem to resemble… gee, does any one else think those squiggles on that cross suggest perhaps a human form? Isn’t that a head? And aren’t those two arms and two legs? And a pair of epaulettes and a couple of armpit goiters?

    When did the Scientologist’s cross become a crucifix?

    Come now, Scientologists, out with it: What are you up to? For famously litigious religious sectarians/cultists/book vendors, you don’t seem shy about copyright violations when it comes to the sacred symbols/logos of other religions—violations in spirit, I realize, not in fact. Is your use of the cross intended to fool people? “Oh look, Marge, a cross. Must be a real religion after all. Say, let’s get a good, Christian personality test.” Or was your crack team of imagineers pooped after making up a whole bunch of new horseshit to get your religion off the ground—which you had to do in order to compete with older, more established religions that made up their horseshit centuries ago—and so, in a state of complete creative exhaustion, you opted to swipe some other religions sacred symbol instead of doing the hard work of coming up with your own?

    And, hey, are any actual Christians bothered by this? Has anyone checked with the pope about this? Wright? Hagee? CWfA? Tim Burgess?

    Idiocracy Redux

    posted by on May 6 at 10:34 AM

    Harper Collins has posted a desription of Anathem, which is local sci-fi author Neal Stephenson’s next (and first post-Baroque Cycle) book:

    Since childhood, Raz has lived behind the walls of a 3,400–year—old monastery, a sanctuary for scientists, philosophers, and mathematicians. There, he and his cohorts are sealed off from the illiterate, irrational, and unpredictable “saecular” world, an endless landscape of casinos and megastores that is plagued by recurring cycles of booms and busts, dark ages and renaissances, world wars and climate change. Until the day that a higher power, driven by fear, decides it is only these cloistered scholars who have the abilities to avert an impending catastrope (sic). And, one by one, Raz and his friends, mentors, and teachers are sent forth without warning into the unknown.

    I generally trust Stephenson to at least write very, very good pulp. But this sounds a little too reliant on the Red State/Blue State thing, which is, as we all know, so 2004. Hopefully he’ll pull through, though, because he’s one of Seattle’s best mainstream authors publishing work today.

    Mothers and Daughters

    posted by on May 6 at 10:33 AM

    I have no love for Alice Walker. The best thing to come out of her vapid career is a movie based on her most famous book.
    34216276.jpg The director of Jaws can place his interpretation of Walker’s novel in the list of his five most important works. His film is yet another piece of evidence for those who correctly argue that a good movie is more likely to come from a weak novel than a strong one. Walker owes her entire value as an artist to this movie.

    Upon reading this article yesterday morning, my dislike of Alice Walker’s work was displaced by my deep dislike of her daughter’s personality. Her name is Rebecca Walker, she is 38, she has written a memoir, Baby Love, that says feeble-minded things like:

    My mother did a lot of leaving to go to her writing retreat, which was over 100 miles away — so she’d go there and leave me a little bit of money, leave me in the care of a neighbour…


    When I was pregnant at 14, I think it was because I was so lonely that I was reaching out through my sexuality. My mother’s a crusader for daughters around the world, but couldn’t see that her own daughter was having a difficult time. It was me having to psycho-emotionally tiptoe around her, rather than her taking care of me.

    Utter garbage! Pure drivel! Total crap!

    Rebecca is of the type that thrives on one form of power—the power of ressentiment. Her strength is drawn not from herself but from the one she despises. And the more the strength of the one she despises increases, the more her own power increases. If the one she despises is weak, she too is weak. How I hate this sort of swamp creature. The way it slithers and hisses, and thinks that this slithering and hissing is the stuff of greatness.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on May 6 at 10:16 AM


    There are a ton of readings tonight, including what could be an intriguing double-feature.

    At Third Place Books, William Dietrich reads from The Rosetta Key. It feels as though, this month, William Dietrich is always reading The Rosetta Key somewhere.

    The University Book Store is hosting two readings: Ch’oe Yun, who the bookstore calls “one of Korea’s most important fiction writers,” will be appearing with Bruce Fulton, her translator. And Christopher Sanford will be reading from his book The Adventurous Traveler’s Guide to Health, which will hopefully be useful for those who like to travel with their genitals.

    Also in the U District, at Kane Hall, Maresi Nerad and Mimi Heggelund read from Toward a Global PhD? This is a book about the impact of globalization on grad school. The three of you out there who find that last sentence interesting should totally go.

    Finally, at Elliott Bay Book Company at 6 pm, Marc Acito reads from his new book, Attack of the Theater People. It’s a novel about theater kids. Acito will be doing what he calls “a book singing,” where he (and I believe other people) will sing bits from popular musicals. If you want to, you could double-feature this reading with the Elliott Bay 8 pm reading, which is Aleksandar Hemon, the author of the terrific The Question of Bruno, who is in town with his new novel The Lazarus Project. Obviously, if I had to pick one, I would pick Hemon, because he’s a great writer, but the combination of the two readings—theater kids and songs from musicals combined with gruff, gorgeous writing about thuggish eastern European immigrants—would be the equivalent of literary whiplash.

    Don’t forget to check out the full readings calendar for upcoming events.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on May 6 at 10:00 AM

    A photograph from Andrew Miksys’s Roma series

    At Nelson Hancock Gallery in Brooklyn.


    posted by on May 6 at 9:45 AM

    He’s got more donors, more delegates, more states, more total votes—and now he’s got his own musical.

    What Would Jesus Do?

    posted by on May 6 at 9:35 AM


    From Your Clicks to the Pundits’ Lips

    posted by on May 6 at 9:35 AM

    The polls are now open in North Carolina and Indiana. First results will start coming in after 4 p.m. PST, and I’ll be here to parse them with you, but until then a Slog poll:

    What will the phrase of the evening be?

    The phrase of the evening will be…

    Talking About Streetcars

    posted by on May 6 at 9:08 AM

    The Seattle Times reports that some folks are talking about streetcars.

    The four proposed lines would run between Queen Anne and the Central Area, between Ballard and Fremont, between South Lake Union and the University District, and between Capitol Hill and First Hill.

    Mayor Greg Nickels and the City Council have not yet committed funding to build new lines. The South Lake Union streetcar opened in December after a year and a half of construction. Property owners along the route are paying half of the $52 million cost.

    City officials estimate about 1,000 trips per day on the line.

    From what I’ve read about the SLUT here and elsewhere, that 1000-trips-per-day figure seems pretty wildly inflated. And if we build streetcar lines into Seattle’s close-in neighborhoods, will there be just one track, with one streetcar going back and forth along the length of it? Or will there be, a la Portland’s streetcar, two lines of track, laid out on different streets, going in opposite directions, so that multiple cars can travel along the lines all day in long in both directions?

    Diet Coke and Mentos and the Blue Danube

    posted by on May 6 at 8:50 AM

    Here’s a beautiful video—it’s absolutely mesmerizing—of Mentos being dropped into bottles of Diet Coke. Another video, yes, but arresting. I’ve watched it three times and now I’m wondering…

    Just what the fuck is in Diet Coke, or Mentos, or both, that causes this phenomenon? All the Diet-Coke-and-Mentos videos out there are cute and everything, but wouldn’t the evidence on these videos indicate that there’s something in Mentos or Diet Coke that renders those products unfit for human consumption? And has anyone ever tried—for science’s sake—getting a test subject to chug Diet Coke and then down a handful of Mentos? And what happens then? Does the subject spout great arcs of brownish Diet Coke/Mentos foam? Or does the subect just… explode?

    Damn. Too bad we don’t have a public intern at the moment.

    The Morning News

    posted by on May 6 at 7:51 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Primary mania: NC, Indiana hit the polls (one last time?) for Clinton and Obama.

    There is no God
    : Burmese cyclone claims at least 22,000, with 41,000 still missing.

    There is no God, Part 2: Yankees fan accused of running over and killing Red Sox fan with her car.

    Bank shot
    : Largest Swiss bank cuts 5,500 jobs.

    Oh, just hangin’ out
    : More than 60 undocumented immigrants found in a truck on I-8.

    Black math
    : Suicides may outnumber combat deaths for Iraq and Afghanistan war vets.

    Gas tax holiday
    : Would cost the state $126 million and 4,300 highway jobs.

    Sea lion murderers: Used cages to trap sea lions, then shot ‘em with a high-powered rifle.

    Google google-fied: Google to occupy ex-Navy depot in Kirkland.

    Monday, May 5, 2008

    Before the City Council Okays Nickels Putting Cameras Everywhere

    posted by on May 5 at 6:17 PM

    They might want to read this.

    Massive investment in CCTV cameras to prevent crime in the UK has failed to have a significant impact, despite billions of pounds spent on the new technology, a senior police officer piloting a new database has warned. Only 3% of street robberies in London were solved using CCTV images, despite the fact that Britain has more security cameras than any other country in Europe.

    And why aren’t those CCTV cameras preventing crime? Well, again, just 3% of street crimes are solved by CCTV, and Brits inclined toward street criminality are aware of just how ineffectual the cameras are. “There’s no fear of CCTV,” the Guardian quotes a police inspector as saying. “Why don’t people fear it? [They think] the cameras are not working.” And they think that, of course, because they’re not.

    Here’s Erica C. Barnett on the surveillance cameras Nickels has already installed. The UK’s ineffectual, not-feared CCTV system is constantly monitored. It’s hard to imagine that Seattle’s spycams will be anymore effective, seeing they aren’t monitored at all. (The police, reports ECB, “would view the footage only when citizens report a crime.”)

    Sounds like money wasted. Hire some more cops instead, please.

    There Goes Your (Nonexistent) Chance

    posted by on May 5 at 5:59 PM


    Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds are engaged. I’m sure that Mr. Reynolds’ washboard abs must’ve sealed the deal. But still: first Josh Hartnett and now Ryan Reynolds? Is Johansson afraid of dating talented men?

    The 100 Years War

    posted by on May 5 at 5:40 PM

    It’s now enveloping Clinton:

    Three years ago, during an appearance on CBS, Sen. Hillary Clinton stated that she agreed with the overarching premise of John McCain’s Iraq policy: that America’s commitment to the war shouldn’t be based on time frames but rather on the level of troop casualties. She even cited, as McCain now regularly does, that the United States would be well suited to follow a model for troop presence based on South Korea, Japan, or Germany.

    “Senator McCain made the point earlier today, which I agree with, and that is, it’s not so much a question of time when it comes to American military presence for the average American; I include myself in this. But it is a question of casualties,” said Clinton. “We don’t want to see our young men and women dying and suffering these grievous injuries that so many of them have. We’ve been in South Korea for 50-plus years. We’ve been in Europe for 50-plus. We’re still in Okinawa with respect to protection there coming out of World War II.”

    Now, I think there’s a lot of wiggle room for Clinton in this. She talks about U.S. casualties as her major motivator, and hence her spokespeople can now reply:

    As both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama have noted, the situation in Iraq has dramatically deteriorated since 2005 and now we are in the midst of sectarian violence. While she has always supported a limited number of residual forces to protect our embassy and go after terrorists, unlike Senator McCain, Senator Clinton will start bringing our troops home when she is President and end the war.

    But there’s also a lot of room for people like John Aravosis to go off on Clinton for betraying liberal talking points.

    Once again, Hillary’s attempt to pretend she’s a Republican has shot us in the ass.

    Federal Court: Pharmacists Can Refuse to Dispense Emergency Contraception

    posted by on May 5 at 5:20 PM

    Remind me again: Why do “pro-lifers” say they’re against abortion when everything they do seems geared at forcing more women to become pregnant?

    (Side note 1: Although Gregoire has at times been less than vocal on the Plan B issue, her Republican opponent, Dino Rossi, supports allowing pharmacists to refuse to dispense prescriptions they disapprove of.)

    (Side note 2: “Pro-life” nutsos have announced a national day of action against birth control, cleverly titled “Protest the Pill Day: The Pill Kills Babies.” Yes, by all means, let’s oppose birth control, ban medically accurate sex education, eliminate access to emergency contraception, ban abortion, and then shame girls and damn them to hell when they get pregnant anyway. That’ll show ‘em. Sluts.)

    Can’t Wait Until Thursday

    posted by on May 5 at 4:50 PM

    Slog trivia, with celebrity judges and a hefty prize trove, is going to be actual, non-ironic fun, I’m almost certain. Also: fried fish and a very special DJ. Don’t miss it.


    In Search of…

    posted by on May 5 at 4:29 PM

    A “Promotional Talent and Marketing Agency specializing in ‘midgets’ and ‘dwarf’ talent” won’t tell me which Seattle bars will have six sombrero-wearing, tequila-dispensing such persons on premises tonight. It’s Cinco de Mayo—everyone knows that en espanol, that means “little people” (which I believe is the preferred nomenclature, though I’m not an expert as, say, someone at a talent agency specializing in such might be). Little people in traditional Mexican headdress. Si.

    This Promotional Liquor Branding Event involves teams of little people “bar-hopping” in multiple cities tonight “for a 4 (four) hour ‘shift’ meeting & greeting, mix and mingling, handing out liquor premiums & souvenirs, taking photos with customers and patrons,” according to an April 18 job posting on Craigslist titled “Midget” “Dwarf” Talent Needed:

    You are “TALENT” to us and we will pay you as such….

    The dwarfs will work as the client’s “character” as a dwarf in a sombrero and poncho provided by our client promoting Mexican liquor while bar hopping with a group of team captains from the client’s liquor company….

    Our client will provide ALL costumes.

    I emailed the company and inquired: Have you found your 6 Seattle Brand Ambassadors? What bars will be involved? What time will the Event begin? Might I tag along and write about it? Steven, an unspecified employee of the “Promotional Talent and Marketing Agency” (apparently called “shortfaces,” according to Steven’s email), replied: “In the interest of my client, I am going to need to pass on this opportunity.”

    I don’t understand why Steven/shortfaces would pass. Surely the Bud girls never say ‘no.’


    (Photo via “Chillywillyrace fan” on Creative Commons.)

    Tiki Bob’s in Pioneer Square seems like the most likely venue for encountering such a Promotional Liquor Branding Event and its personnel. Or maybe Cowgirls Inc. Definitely Pioneer Square.


    Belinda Carlisle Has a Son

    posted by on May 5 at 4:18 PM

    And he’s an adult—fully grown!—and he rolled out of bed this morning just before noon to make a very important announcement on behalf of his mother. If you’ve been wondering who Belinda Carlisle is supporting for president, well, your long wait is over…

    This should clinch Indiana for Obama—or Clinton. No. Wait a minute, who did he say his mother was endorsing? It sounded like he said Barack O’Clinton. Wha? Huh?

    Via Towleroad.

    Speaking of Unimaginable Stupidity

    posted by on May 5 at 3:47 PM

    Ralph Nader is coming to town.

    Who: Ralph Nader, Independent for President

    What: Campaign Rally in Seattle

    When: Weds. May 14, 2008, 7 pm,

    Where: Seattle, University of Washington, Kane Hall, Room 120

    Ralph Nader, Independent candidate for President, will host campaign rally in Seattle Weds. May 14, 2008 at 7 pm. General admission to the rally will be a $10 contribution/$5 student/low-income.

    The Ferry in the Age of Bush

    posted by on May 5 at 3:40 PM

    I know what you did last summer:

    Fremont Market: The Bat Shit Crazy Category Is Open

    posted by on May 5 at 3:36 PM

    It was a nice day yesterday so we headed down to the Fremont Market. We got some cool vintage postcards, a set of Heath salt-and-pepper shakers (a steal at $9!), a pair end tables that had been crudely spray-painted black (they’re for a dark room), and into an argument about some lamps. We’re gay like that.

    Anyway, we were strolling along with the kid and eventually came to this vendor…


    That, of course, is one of those ubiquitous, yellow Scientology tents.

    Now according to the to their website, the Fremont Market is…

    …a thriving and diverse diverse European-style, world flea market that goes all year ‘round every Sunday. The market hosts anywhere up to 150 vendors who continue to delight the crowds and treasure hunters week after week with everything you can imagine and some things you can’t—antiques, collectibles, bygones, retro, vintage and original clothing, estate sale treasures….

    Hm. Here’s something I can’t imagine….

    And, to be fair, I also have a hard time imagining this.

    Anyway, back to the Fremont Market’s website: According to the posted vendor info, the Fremont Market welcomes “artisan crafts, flea market antiques, bygones, collectibles, world imports, garage sale goodies as well as entrepreneurial products.” There’s no mention of proselytizing religious nuts or personality tests. The vendor info also includes this notice:

    The Asian import category is full and will require case by case membership eligibility. All services, (including healing arts and massage) are limited as well.

    Hm. If vendors fall into categories—categories that can be closed (Asian imports) or limited (healing services)—can we infer from the presence of the Scientologists that the Fremont Market has a religious organization/crazy-ass cult vendor category? And if Scientologists are allowed to peddle their peculiar brand of religious inanity at the Fremont Market, then one presumes that the Southern Baptists and Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jews for Jesus are allowed to as well.

    And if there is a religious organization/crazy-ass cult vendor category, does that category, like Asian imports, have a limited number of slots available? Exactly how many religious organizations would have to show up at the Fremont Market to proselytize shoppers and other vendors before before the market’s organizers close this category? And if more religious groups do start showing up to proselytize, will they be grouped—for ease of skipping—down with the bong merchants at the west end of the market?

    I’ve sent emails off to the organizers of the Fremont Market. I’ll let you know what I hear back from ‘em.

    UPDATE: An official response from the Fremont Market…

    We’ve had a few comments besides yours—we had even someone come up and ask if okay to mount a demonstration! The Scientologists snuck in… under the pretense of being ordinary “booksellers”… (casual vendors, not members).

    We deferred to heading them off at the desk quietly [in the future] rather than creating a scene on the street after they were set up. But you’re right: Ministries, religious organizations and professional outreach “services” are not what we usually do. Their volunteer “ministry” won’t be here again. We don’t have a religious catagory persay, its been an unspoken policy that we’re usually successful with dealing with at the inquiry stage over the phone, email or the registration desk.

    Jon Hegeman

    Pie Laughing

    posted by on May 5 at 2:49 PM

    Tonight, Pagliacci Pizza on Broadway, will host the first of its monthly comedy nights, with host Emmett Montgomery.

    Tonight’s comedian: Kevin Hyder of the People’s Republic of Komedy:

    Free admission. Beer, wine, pizza.

    That is all.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on May 5 at 2:48 PM

    Cardboard Tube Fighting League!


    by Espressobuzz

    Design Reviews: Rebuilding Frellingford

    posted by on May 5 at 2:40 PM

    Two projects between Fremont and Wallingford scheduled for design reviews today would bring lots of residents and business to the area, but residents are concerned they could also bring more traffic problems.

    Stone Way Village

    The corner of North 40th Street and Stone Way North for years has been home to a despairing pit, but several months ago Prescott Homes announced plans to build a five-story, mixed use development containing 155 units.

    Alicia Van Buskirk organizes a committee of neighbors that has met with the Department of Planning and Development several times over the past few years to discuss plans (originally QFC planed to build on the site but then dropped its proposal). “This is already a very traffic intensive neighborhood—they just need to make sure the traffic doesn’t make it any more dangerous,” says Van Buskirk. “They are going to put 150 homes in a half block… It seems like new projects should be able to keep impacts on their site—that means providing enough parking for residents and customers.”

    After an early design-guidance meeting in February, a report from the Department of Planning and Development quoted neighborhood comments: “190 parking spaces are not enough for 160 proposed units. (This was mentioned by several speakers).”

    Another issue regarded the scale of the project, which stretches a full block from 39th to 40th. Michael Derr, Director of Development for Prescott, said after the meeting, “We’re trying to make a design that is not monolithic… and design in a way that villages tend to grow, breaking it up into two distinct sections.”

    But that wasn’t enough for the design board: “The four Board members unanimously urged the architect to reduce the overall massing of the project… [the design] should resemble a village of four to five structures rather than the three shown in the design review packet,” said a recently released report. So tonight’s proposal attempts to satisfy the board’s request. Here is the preferred scheme:



    Baylis Architects

    “I’m worried that it’s just going to be one solid box,” says Van Buskirk, who hadn’t seen the designs. “They said they wanted to make it look like different buildings, but I think it’s just going to be one bulky piece with a few indentations.” The design meeting is tonight at 8:00 p.m. in room 209 of the University Heights Community Center, 5031 University Way NE.

    Union View


    TSA Architects

    The second development is kitty corner, at North 39th Street and Stone Way. The proposal is for a four-story residential building, containing 62 apartments and 3,500 square feet of retail on the ground floor. Parking spaces for 78 vehicles would be inside, however, after some of those spaces are used for commercial vehicles, that would “leave only one parking space per residential unit, and that’s not enough,” says Van Buskirk.

    “We’ve had a traffic study done, and we’re looking to accommodate the parking required within the project,” says Kent Smutny of TSA Architects. “As far as those [vehicle] trips, we’re looking at reducing those best we can—getting credit for bus service, that type of thing—that’s where’s we are right now.” The design meeting is tonight at 6:30 p.m. in room 209 of the University Heights Community Center, 5031 University Way NE.

    The Building

    posted by on May 5 at 2:22 PM

    A wonderful image of the Central Library…
    library_02-1.jpg…from the bottom of this site.
    It truly is the city’s best building.

    The Cinema of Isolation

    posted by on May 5 at 1:57 PM

    There is no cinema in this form of isolation:

    This form of isolation, however, is the ideal climate for cinema:

    Filipino soldiers paid extra for being lonely on the frontline in the disputed Spratlys

    PAG-ASA ISLAND, In the South China Sea: This sun-splashed island is so remote that soldiers are paid a “loneliness fee” for deployment here, and the few residents are encouraged with free meals to live in a nascent village without a single car, store or Internet access.

    When a Philippine air force C130 cargo plane flew in Friday with a fresh supply of rice, beds, chessboards and a flat-screen TV, a few women hitched a ride and quickly sought out their husbands among the troops for a little personal time.

    The battle for ownership of the potentially oil-rich Spratly Islands has settled into an uneasy stand-off since the last fighting, involving China and Vietnam, that killed more than 70 Vietnamese sailors in 1988. The other claimants are Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan.

    But for dozens of Filipino troops and villagers on steamy Pag-asa, the biggest of seven islands and two reefs occupied by the Philippines in a swath of the South China Sea, it has been a constant struggle against isolation, broiling sun and fierce storms.

    The water, the sun, the giant trees, the heat, the machine gun, the waiting and waiting—we are in the realm of Beau Travail.

    Do You Like the Superheroes? DO YOU LIKE THE SUPERHEROES?

    posted by on May 5 at 1:55 PM


    You better like the superheroes. After Iron Man’s $100 million dollar opening weekend, Marvel Comics has already greenlit Iron Man 2 for an April 30, 2010 release date. And then, a couple months after that, on July 4, 2010, they’re releasing a Thor movie. Marvel Comics’ Thor, if you’re unaware, is an immortal Scandanavian who talks in an imbecilic faux-Shakespeare dialect. He is also the god of thunder.

    And then, on May 6, 2011, there will be a Captain America movie. (You know who Captain America is, right?) And then, two months after that, all the characters from the Iron Man, Captain America, Thor (and possibly Hulk ) movies will be teaming up in an Avengers movie.

    Despite inspiring millions of touch-free comics fan orgasms this morning, this news story makes me feel nauseous. I’d like to go on a limb and say that most of these movies will not be any good—Thor is ridiculous, and I don’t know if they can sell a Captain America movie, even in President McCain’s post-post-ironic, mega-Patriotic, uber-fucked America. Regardless of quality, all these movies combined will make as much money as a large South American nation’s GDP.

    Vessel Loses Top-Rated Bartender

    posted by on May 5 at 1:08 PM

    Bartender Jamie Boudreau has parted ways with posh downtown bar Vessel. Vessel’s doom was falsely rumored early last week; Boudreau’s employ by the bar ended May 1. Vessel’s been in the news before, in June 2007, for alleged failure to pay bills. The Boudreau/Vessel split sounds as if it may not have been completely amicable: On his blog, Boudreau specifically denies rumors that he is consulting for Vessel and says a private party gig was his “first payday of quite some time.”

    According to Boudreau’s blog, he will muddle for food—and he’d love for someone to help fund his own bar. He’s been written up bountifully in the local and national press (Time, Details, Esquire) for his cocktail genius. When Vessel opened in autumn of 2006, he lectured me about how vodka is unfit for consumption, at least by people with any taste. He’s the kind of guy you feel lucky to be lectured by:

    Bar manager Jamie Boudreau, imported from Vancouver’s vaunted Lumiere and given his full druthers here, achieves curiosities and wonders, exploiting the rich history of alcohol and his own clearly fixated imagination. He is a man of strong opinions when it comes to liquor: Vodka does not now and never will appear on his cocktail menu, as it is “for amateurs,” lacks complexity, and lies beneath consideration. He imparts this extreme prejudice with mesmerizing charm; he wears arm garters. Each drink on his menu bears a date, a place of origin, and a composer as available; you may get knocked on your ass here, but it’s knocked on your ass by art.

    Boudreau moved here specifically for Vessel; Seattle will be lucky if he sticks around. After all, he’s either Seattle’s best or second-best bartender.

    UPDATE: Rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, Vessel remains open for business.

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

    posted by on May 5 at 12:35 PM

    The Ubergaying of Eurovision: Iceland, Sweden, and Turkey.

    Last Night: Jeff Kirby reviews Tim and Eric and Trent Moorman reviews the opening party for Ship It at Ouch My Eye Gallery.

    Favorite Lyrics: Why? and Hot Chip get “Lyric of the Day” from Grandy (and Carl Wilson’s 33 1/3 book on Celine Dion gets book of the day).

    Kanye West Freaks Out: Again. This time over an Entertainment Weekly review.

    Today’s Music News: Tom Waits goes on Tour, NIN gives record away, GTA4 is the future of music buying?, and Spiritualized announce release date.

    50 Gets Robbed: A diamond-encrusted necklace is swiped from his neck while he performs in Angola.

    Eurovision: Shady ladies, nomads in the night, and you’re in my ass.

    Stevie Wonder and NIN Announce Seattle Dates: Tickets go on sale later this week.

    Tonight in Music: Female rappers! Crappy metal bands! And Elbow!

    Wizards and Witches: Terry Miller gives you a disco treat for Cinco De Mayo.

    Recommended Listening for Today: The Blow’s Paper Television.

    Gay Marriage: Mariah and Nick Cannon tie the knot, still don’t fool anyone.

    Great Gospel: TJ Gorton on one of his favorites, Larry Levan’s “Stand on the World.”

    shipitpostcard.jpgPhoto by Christopher Nelson.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on May 5 at 12:15 PM

    Oh today, it’s the 5th of May!

    Go Dance! From YouTube Nacionalrecords.

    Drinks on the Veranda at Culinary Communion

    posted by on May 5 at 11:37 AM

    Culinary Communion has found two ways around the recent Washington State Liquor Control Board crackdown on serving wine during classes at the Beacon Hill culinary school. According to an email from Culinary Communion, “private classes”—that is, classes paid for by an individual or group that are not on the regular Culinary Communion schedule—are able to legally drink their chardonnay by way of obtaining a banquet permit. Secondly:

    …because C.C. House is a mixed-use building, with residential upstairs, common areas are not considered (by the city, according to the architectural plans and the lease) part of Culinary Communion’s property. “Common areas” include our beautiful front patio, which is shared by all portions of the building, including Gabriel and Heidi’s upstairs apartment. So, two plus two equals friends having wine on the patio this summer, and since you’re all our friends, that works out, doesn’t it? (BYOB, but better than nothing!) Look for new patio furniture ASAP!

    Meanwhile, Culinary Communion is applying for a beer/wine specialty shop liquor license, as well as “making changes which will allow us to be fully licensed as a regular restaurant” (which involves specific commercial-grade kitchen equipment and meeting various other restaurant license requirements). These are the only two legal options currently available to cooking schools that wish to serve wine in Washington state; Culinary Communion’s also working to create a new category of liquor license for culinary and wine educators.

    Bizarrely, state law not only prohibits drinking alcohol during culinary courses, it requires written approval to cook with alcohol during such courses—because nothing’s a greater threat to society than young urban professionals deglazing pans with red wine or making bread pudding with whiskey sauce at a cooking class (except doing so with a glass of wine in their hand).

    Nothing further’s been heard from Gypsy, the highly publicized “underground” (and unlicensed) restaurant that Gabriel Claycamp, Culinary Communion co-founder/chef, has been admittedly involved in. Gyspy sent out an email in the wake of the Culinary Communion/Liquor Control Board contretemps saying they were going “deeper underground.” Some in the local food/restaurant community opine that Gypsy was only nominally underground anyway, what with having a website and garnering local and national media coverage, and that it was surprising Gypsy/Claycamp had gone several years without a hand-slap or more serious legal trouble.

    From Gypsy’s (still live) website: “Imagine a world without rules, a room without walls, creativity without impediment: Gypsy.” Here’s Claycamp in the Gypsy “Rogue’s Gallery.”

    “Thank You Pedestrians of Boren & Pike”

    posted by on May 5 at 11:18 AM

    Posted early Saturday morning in the Stranger’s online Classifieds:

    I was hit by a bus yesterday on Boren & Pike. My car was totaled and was filling with smoke. I was confused and disoriented. I could see people coming from all directions to help me. Someone opened my door and asked me my name, someone else opened other doors to let the smoke out, they made sure ambulance and police were on their way. They helped me out to the sidewalk and took care of me. A really sweet guy named Robert let me use his phone. The weird thing is I couldn’t see any of their faces. I don’t know what they look like. They waited with me until I was loaded into the ambulance. As I was being put on the stretcher, I got a glimpse of my car in the middle of the intersection. Windshield smashed, front basically gone, glass everywhere, car fluids streaming down the street. I am so in love with all of you right now. I was alone in my car, but not alone in the world. Thank you thank you thank you.

    Thanks to all who helped out, and a speedy recovery to the anonymous poster (who illustrated the post with this photo.)

    Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

    posted by on May 5 at 11:15 AM

    Three children were taken into protective custody after their parents passed out drunk in a hotel reception [area] during a holiday in the Algarve.

    The children, aged one, two and six, were taken to a children’s home on Friday…. The police were called shortly after the couple returned to the Aparthotel Mourabel in Vilamoura at around 10pm. A barman at the hotel, who did not want to be named, said: “The husband collapsed in the hotel reception while his wife staggered into the bar with her children and fell into a chair.”

    The hotel manager said: “She was struggling with the pushchair, swaying from side to side. The six-year-old boy was pushing the other buggy with the two-year-old in it….

    “We tried to wake her, we tried to put some water on her face and head to wake her but she was very, very bad. She started to be sick every minute.” … Dr Luis Villas-Boas, director of the home in Faro where the children were taken, said: “It’s normal for a couple for one to drink while the other doesn’t. The problem here is that they were both passed out. It was extreme neglect and abandonment.”

    I Know What’s Going to Happen Tomorrow and it is This

    posted by on May 5 at 11:15 AM

    A Slog poll of public opinion and certitude:

    I know what’s going to happen tomorrow and it is this:

    Sea Lions Executed

    posted by on May 5 at 11:01 AM

    It looks like we’ve got another serial killer on the loose.

    The deaths of six sea lions are under investigation after the bodies of the federally protected animals were found in closed traps on the Columbia River and appeared to have been shot. The carcasses of four California sea lions and two Steller’s sea lions were found Sunday about noon.

    The discovery came one day after three elephant seals were found shot to death at a breeding ground in Central California.

    All three species are federally protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. But Steller’s sea lions also are protected under the Endangered Species Act, authorities said.

    The sea lions, of course, are eating up all our endangered and protected salmon. So… maybe they had it coming?

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on May 5 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Flight of the Red Balloon’

    In this movie, Taiwanese director Hsiao-hsien Hou gives thanks and praise to Albert Lamorisse’s The Red Balloon, which was made in 1956 and concerns a boy, a balloon, and the rooftops of Paris. In Hou’s Flight of the Red Balloon, the boy, balloon, and the rooftops are associated with a young Chinese filmmaker (Fang Song), a mother (Juliette Binoche), and a cluttered apartment. The result is a film that gets to the truth of a balloon—its beauty and vulnerability. Each scene in the movie is in danger of going “pop!” (See movie times for details.)


    Transpo News Roundup

    posted by on May 5 at 10:56 AM

    I know, you can’t wait to start reading, right?

    There’s been a ton of stuff happening in the transportation policy world lately—and not just proposals (ranging from merely pointless and idiotic to outright insane) to temporarily reduce the gas tax.

    First up: Bikes! The Worldwatch Institute reports that public bike-sharing programs are taking off all over the world, including here in the United States, where one bike-sharing program is already underway in Washington, D.C. Most bike-sharing programs offer bikes free for the first half-hour or so, then charge a nominal fee for longer use.

    To those who say bike-sharing is impossible in Seattle—too many hills, too much water, “unique topography”, blah, blah, blah.—consider this: The next city in line to start a bike-sharing program is San Francisco—hilly, foggy, water-surrounded San Francisco. If San Francisco can make it happen, surely we have no excuse.

    But what about the hills? Well, the bikes will probably end up at the bottom of them—and the bike-sharing company will do what bike-sharing companies do all over the world: Send a truck down a few times a day to haul them back up. Compared to the impact of all the cars bike-sharing takes off the road, a small fleet of trucks is a small price to pay.

    And speaking of hills: Slog tipper Stinkbug sent us this link to photos of a bicycle lift in Trondheim, Norway, essentially a guided train track that pulls cyclists uphill. Since I don’t think there are many hills in Seattle that are actually too steep to ride, I can’t wholeheartedly endorse this idea; but if it gets more people out of their SUVs and onto bikes, I guess it’s worth considering.


    Photo by Pug Freak, licensed under Creative Commons

    Meanwhile, the New York Times has some encouraging news about car sales: US car buyers are buying smaller, greener cars, thanks in large part to rising gas prices. During April, one in five vehicles sold in the US was a compact or subcompact car—up from just one in eight a decade ago. Sales of traditional SUVs, meanwhile, have plummeted. In the words of AutoNation CEO Michael Jackson, quoted in the Times article, “the era of the truck-based large SUVs is over.” Intriguingly, the Times article notes that when gas prices are high, “many drivers simply drive less to save money.” Human behavior, in other words, is adaptable, and people have a choice about how much they drive. That punches a big hole in the the belief that the amount we have to drive is fixed—the kind of arguments I hear all the time from people who live in the suburbs or insist that anything that adds to the cost of driving disproportionately hurts the poor. The idea that we don’t have to drive as much as we do is becoming conventional wisdom—as the Sightline Institute’s Clark Williams-Derry recently pointed out.

    Still, not everybody gets it. Unfortunately (as the examples of McCain and Clinton suggest), the people who actually make energy policy still have a lot of catching up to do. Just last week, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM), along with 18 Republican cosponsors, introduced legislation that would increase US production of oil and natural gas and fund the development of oil shale and coal-to-liquid technology. The bill would authorize drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and on the Outer Continental Shelf, and mandate the production of 6 billion gallons of coal-based fuel in the next 15 years.

    Finally, in only indirectly transportation-related news, go read Eric de Place’s compelling defense of townhouses, also at Sightline. De Place argues that “socialistic” permitting requirements and off-street parking mandates are driving up the cost of housing and helping to create townhouse developments that sit at a remove from the street, isolating their residents from the surrounding neighborhood.

    Nearly every townhouse in the city is required by law to provide offstreet parking. Since cars don’t fly, the practical effect of the minimum parking regulations is that each and every townhouse has a garage on the bottom floor. And these garages are often the prime culprit in walling off the townhouses from the street, and of sending the residents upstairs. They also severely crimp design possibilities, making the units tend toward uniform. Somewhat ironically, because the garages are small and the driveways are tight, the residents who have cars often end up parking on the street anyway. All this puts city planners in a lose-lose situation.

    One obvious solution would be to strip out the parking requirements, which would revolutionize the design possibilities. But so far, the city’s modest attempts to remove minimum parking mandates in a few urban areas have been greeted with howls of protest from angry mobs wielding pitchforks and torches. (Socialist-style parking requirements are apparently something akin to a constitutional guarantee in Seattle.)

    Oh, and if you’re pissed about high gas prices, keep this in mind: Even with gas at $3.45 a gallon, the US has the 45th cheapest gas in the world, according to a recent survey of 155 countries. In Europe, by comparison, prices top out at well over $8 a gallon.

    I Saw U on the Route 15 With a Copy of Chocolate Flava

    posted by on May 5 at 10:55 AM


    The Library’s blog has a list of books that have been recently spotted on local bus routes. I’ve been thinking for a while now that someone should start a communal Google Map for routes, times, and books spotted.

    I think this is a great idea. Besides reading on the bus, my favorite bus pastime is seeing what everyone else is reading. There’s this one lady I see occasionally who, I swear, has been reading the same book, a Christian book about solving the mystery of God, for years.

    It’s a fairly good mix of books that the U Book Store has spotted: Some Jane Austen, the good (if a little slow) Dominique Fabre novel that came out from Archipeligo Books a couple months ago, and, bless whoever this was, a collection of erotica edited by the mononomenclatured erotica author Zane. But, to the person who’s reading A Brief History of Time: Really. Everyone else stopped pretending they read that book like twelve years ago. You can give up on trying to impress people now.

    (UPDATED: Like a bonehead, I confused the Library’s blog for the University Book Store’s blog. The list is at the Library’s blog. I had both blogs open at the same time. Sorry to both fine literary institutions.)

    Missing from Pike/Pine Saturday Night

    posted by on May 5 at 10:51 AM

    UPDATE: Several people have told me that Scott already turned up alive and well, though I haven’t been able to confirm that for certain. Scott and friends of Scott, you have a load of posters to pull down if that’s the case. Don’t continue to worry us for nothing.


    So Typical

    posted by on May 5 at 10:39 AM

    It doesn’t matter how deadly serious the story—say, a government capitulating to religious bigots and perpetuating an injustice against thousands of its citizens—if the story is about the gays and workplace protections or marriage rights or our families, you can count on the straight media to illustrate the story with a photo of shirtless men or drag queens or both cavorting at pride parade.

    Take this story from the Associated Foreign Press. The Australian Capitol Territory—think their District of Columbia—made some noise about legalizing same-sex marriage. The Australian Prime Minister intervened, pledging to block the legislation lest gay unions “too closely resemble marriage.” Oh, the horror. Australia’s religious bigots are, of course, celebrating. “We can’t allow marriage to become a political trophy for two percent of the population,” says the spokespieceofshit for the Australian Christian Lobby. (Once we’re 20% of the population, of course, the Australian Christian Lobby won’t object to gays taking the Marriage Cup.)

    And how does the AFP illustrate this story about marriage rights and discrimination and religious intolerance? Why, with a picture of shirtless men dancing at the annual Mardi Gras Parade in Sydney.


    Sydney isn’t even in the Australian Capitol Territory! This is so typical of the straight media. Illustrate a serious story about gay rights with a picture of gay people partying—because all gay people are silly queens dancing around shirtless or running around in bad drag. The subtext is this: Gay issues are just as silly as gay people are. Sheesh. Thank God we have the gay media for balance. No self-respecting gay publication would illustrate a story about something as deadly serious as same-sex marriage and religious intolerance with a stock photo of a revelers at a pride parade.



    posted by on May 5 at 10:27 AM


    The giant bugs have finally come for us, and they’re devouring the Seattle Times weather cam first.

    (Thanks to Slog tippers Brian and Joe.)

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on May 5 at 10:12 AM


    Two open mics and three readings tonight.

    Way up at Third Place Books, there’s a book called How to Raise Your Parents. It’s for teenagers. It’s kind of a field-guidey-type book (Example: A chapter that identifies certain types of parents, with examples like “The Hippie” or “The Schoolmarm” or “The Yuppie.”) It looks like the kind of book that will prepare children for a life of reading The Worst Case Scenario Handbook series.

    At Town Hall, Daniel Brook reads from The Trap: Selling Out to Stay Afloat in Winner-Take-All-America. Here is the first line of the Publishers Weekly review of the book:

    Twenty-something journalist Brook sees the best minds of his generation scrivening away as corporate lawyers and accountants, and he’s furious about it.

    They gain a point for “scrivening,” which makes me think of Bartleby, which automatically gets you a point, but they lose it for using the hyphenate “twenty-something” and they burrow into the negatives for evoking “Howl.” Poorly played, PW.

    And, saving the best for last, at Elliott Bay Book Company, Portland author Willy Vlautin (who performs in the band Richmond Fontaine) reads from Northline, his second novel. It comes with a CD. Here’s a link to the title track, which is really very nice. It’s about a woman fleeing a boyfriend. She winds up as a waitress in Reno, as all of us do from time to time.

    Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is on our Books page.

    Here We Go Again

    posted by on May 5 at 10:05 AM

    Tomorrow Democrats in Indiana and North Carolina will go to the polls to help settle this never-ending fight between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

    For those keeping track, it’s now been five months since the Iowa caucuses, all of the latest delegate counts have Obama ahead of Clinton by about 130 delegates, and yet lots of people (including Obama and Clinton) are saying they think this fight will last all the way until the last primaries on June 3—or even until the Democratic National Convention in late August (psychosomatic ebola be damned).

    Steel yourselves, people.

    The polls have Clinton up in Indiana and Obama up in North Carolina. If they split the night, with one win each, then this definitely goes forward to West Virginia on May 13, Oregon and Kentucky on May 20, and beyond.

    Clinton will take a win in Indiana as vindication of her decision to stay in the race (and stay ruthless) even when many question whether it’s mathematically possible for her to win the nomination. In this split-win scenario, expect to hear about another Clinton comeback or a continued sense of “momentum” that is building on her win in Pennsylvania and further highlighting Obama’s problems with working class white voters.

    If Clinton manages to win North Carolina, too—well, expect to hear all of the above and then some. That would be a disastrous scenario for Obama and suggest that the Wright controversy has really hurt him (though one recent poll suggests it hasn’t).

    On the other hand, if Obama wins both states Clinton will have a lot of explaining to do. Why is she still in the race? Why did she push the gas tax break so hard? Is Obama’s math really that wrong? Why isn’t the rural hitman, as much fun as he is to photograph and write about, helping?

    But, as suggested above, the likely scenario seems to be a Clinton win in Indiana and an Obama win in North Carolina.

    What will that mean? Let the pre-spin begin…

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on May 5 at 10:00 AM

    Napoleon Sarony and Benjamin Richardson’s The Actor Henry E. Dixey (circa 1884), albumen print

    At Henry Art Gallery. (Museum web site here.)

    Fathers and Sons

    posted by on May 5 at 9:50 AM

    It will happen…

    Dmitri Nabokov, the son of the greatest novelist in the English language, Vladimir Nabokov, will publish the novel his father did not want the world to read, The Original of Laura.

    In an NYT interview, Dmitri defends his betrayal with this reasoning:

    It’s been three decades since your father’s death. Why did it take you so long to decide the fate of “Laura”, and how did you come to your final decision? How difficult has it been?

    In the words of one blogger, 30 years is tantamount to eternity in the given context, which would absolve me from any disobedience of my father’s wishes. More seriously, it did not take me 30 years to come to a decision with regard to burning the manuscript. I had never imagined myself as a “literary arsonist.” I also recalled, parenthetically, that when my father was asked, not very long before his death, what three books he considered indispensable, he named them in climactic order, concluding with “The Original of Laura” — could he have ever seriously contemplated its destruction?

    Dmitri Nabokov is soon to reach the age of his father’s death, 78.

    Dan on the 358 Metro Bus on Aurora

    posted by on May 5 at 9:45 AM

    Sometimes you meet someone who restores your faith in humanity. Most would think he is completely insane, but I think he is just too smart for his own good.
    I saw you messing with that camera. I shot a picture of Marilyn Monroe’s car there at the casino on 165th. Point and shoot—a Pentax point and shoot—and I get some of the damn best pictures you ever did want to see. They got one of mine in a gallery with this $10 camera from the flea market.
    What gallery?
    Kirsten gallery. I didn’t want to make any money, it wasn’t about that.
    First you need to become a master of light. Study lighting. All right? Because it’s all light. You have to be an artist of light. What the hell do you think that camera is all about?
    Right. A box that captures light.
    Be enlightened: If you are enlightened, you are creative.
    It’s a bummer; it’s a no-brainer as far as I am concerned. For the art… best way to go. Eighty-one years on the planet, gone the hard way.
    Shit, I’ve been over there…. in all kinds of environments, and every kind of atmosphere.
    Over in…?
    War and all its violence.
    I’ve been around Mystics, people that meditate all the time. They are the best people. Think of super-positive stuff—I empty my mind and go to that secret place. That’s what I’ve learned. Let go, let God. Turn off all that emotions and bullshit that goes through your mind. You meditate?
    I skateboard.
    Good Idea. That’s a good idea! Don’t follow me; do your own thing, alright? That’s what I say. That’s the way I play. When you do things for the fun of it, sometimes things turn out better. Right?
    You got to fix your mind on a little better than perfect. That’s what my mom told me. Work perfect. Then if you come under that, you will still be perfect. Go for the highest; go for the best. Set your goals high. If you don’t to well, you’ll still do okay. Keep healthy—health’s number one.
    I’m going in now to bet on the Kentucky Derby.

    It Seems Like Old Strippers Competing for the Love of Bret Michaels on Television is Unprecedented in its Insanity

    posted by on May 5 at 9:29 AM


    …but when I was a youngster, America gave mimes a prime-time variety show.

    Citizens of a certain age certainly remember Shields & Yarnell, the married mimes who enchanted the nation for a number of months in the mid-late ’70s. As Wikipedia attests, “Their specialty was taking on the personae of robots, with many individual, deliberate motions (as opposed to normal smooth motion) stereotypical of robots, enhanced by their ability to refrain from blinking their eyes for long stretches of time.”

    This is true. If Shields and Yarnell weren’t being robots, they were being old-timey toys, or marionettes—basically, whatever allowed them to devote long stretches of time to marching around with expressive elbows and spooky looks on their faces.

    For a nation battered into cynicism by Vietnam and Watergate, then tenderized by the smooth matrimonial soul of Captain & Tennille, Shields & Yarnell were an irresistible mystery. They were also, for the young and impressionable, vaguely terrifying.

    P.S. Shields and Yarnell divorced in 1986, but continue to reunite periodically to perform as a duo.

    Good News for Pot Smokers

    posted by on May 5 at 9:19 AM

    Remember that report released by researchers in New Zealand who claimed smoking a joint a day was just as cancerous as smoking a daily pack of cigarettes? A scientist at the UCLA, Dr. Donald Tashkin, who conducted a more comprehensive study in the U.S., says the New Zealand study is bogus. From Counterpunch:

    Tashkin said the New Zealanders employed “statistical sleight of hand.” He deemed it “completely implausible that smokers of only 365 joints of marijuana have a risk for developing lung cancer similar to that of smokers of 7,000 tobacco cigarettes… Their small sample size led to vastly inflated estimates…”

    “For tobacco they found what you’d expect: a higher risk for lung cancer and a clear dose-response relationship. A 24-fold increase in the people who smoked the most… What about marijuana? If they smoked a small or moderate amount there was no increased risk, in fact slightly less than one. But if they were in the upper third of the group, then their risk was six-fold… A rather surprising finding, and one has to be cautious about interpreting the results because of the very small number of cases (14) and controls (4).”

    Tashkin and colleagues at UCLA conducted a major study [600 lung-cancer patients and 1,040 controls] in which they measured lung function of various cohorts over eight years and found that tobacco-only smokers had an accelerated rate of decline, but marijuana smokers -even if they smoked tobacco as well- experienced the same rate of decline as non-smokers. “The more tobacco smoked, the greater the rate of decline,” said Tashkin. “In contrast, no matter how much marijuana was smoked, the rate of decline was similar to normal.” Tashkin concluded that his and other studies “do not support the concept that regular smoking of marijuana leads to COPD [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease].”

    Of course, smoking anything is bad for your lungs. If you’re going to get high, use a vaporizer, bake brownies, or buy the best pot you can afford and smoke less of it.

    The Morning News

    posted by on May 5 at 8:33 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Death toll rising: Estimated number of dead from Burmese cyclone jumps to 4,000.

    Dolla dolla bill, y’all: Two die in Somali riot over U.S. currency.

    Whatevz: Poll shows most Americans are unfazed by Obama’s pastor.

    Take a half-day: To save money, states let inmates get out early.

    Take that: Clinton considers forcing a decision to seat Florida and Michigan delegates.

    Today in crazy Austrian child-lovers: Crazy Austrian child-lover kept daughter locked up, leashed for 24 years.

    : Stocks in free fall after end to Microsoft offer.

    No shame: Bush administration isn’t done squeezing all the money it can out of Iraq.

    Slow news day: Veterans golf for free in Lakewood.

    Oh, yeah: NC and Indiana primaries tomorrow.


    Sunday, May 4, 2008

    Apropos of Nothing

    posted by on May 4 at 9:42 PM

    What a FUCKING GORGEOUS day, right?

    Sorry there’s been almost nothing on Slog today, kids. It probably had something to do with how FUCKING GORGEOUS it was. Highlights: riding one’s bike down steep, sylvan Interlaken Drive; then across the University Bridge (up in the air, Titanic-like); then (as the bridge slowly lowered) seeing Michael Seiwerath and his daughter on a two-person bike (with orange flag!); then that award-winning ride along Lake Union past Gasworks and past Fremont and past that part just past the Fremont Bridge (“Wait, am I in Europe?”), then a stop at Dutch Bike Co. Seattle in Ballard; then a weird salad and many soda refills at Baja Fresh; then riding along Westlake, in the shade of Queen Anne Hill, and passing the staggering sight of two half-crunched cars on top of each other and attentive, practically weeping police vehicles stretching in both directions; and, of course, a breeze and sunshine the whole way. One was going to write something long and reflective on Slog about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and Meet the Press and The O’Reilly Factor, but then one thought to oneself: I can do that tomorrow.

    Because, man, what a FUCKING GORGEOUS day.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on May 4 at 11:00 AM


    Dark Meat at Comet

    How the fuck are Dark Meat even going to fit in the Comet? This future-freak-folk-psych-punk collective rolls 13 to 23 people deep on tour, including a full horn section, face painters, confetti throwers, and probably whoever else felt like hopping on the bus the day they took off from their commune in Athens, Georgia. The Comet, meanwhile, is roughly the size of a large bong chamber—or at least that’s how it will feel (and smell) come Sunday. (Comet, 922 E Pike St, 322-9272. 9 pm, $7, 21+.)


    Currently Hanging

    posted by on May 4 at 10:00 AM

    A detail from Timea Tihanyi’s Touching in the Bright Space (After Andreas Vesalius, De Humani Corporis Fabrica, Plate 49 Book 4), 2008, sewn and cut felt, thread, mylar; 82 by 28 by 2 inches

    At the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago. (Here’s a review of the Seattle-based artist’s last show, at Gallery4Culture.)

    Reading Today

    posted by on May 4 at 10:00 AM

    One book-related event going on today: At Elliott Bay Book Company, there will be a gathering to celebrate the life of Curbstone Press co-founder Alexander “Sandy” Taylor, who passed away in December. Authors and publishers and friends will be in attendance.

    And now, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett at the Pitch ‘n Putt:

    The Morning News

    posted by on May 4 at 9:10 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Weather woes: Cyclone in Burma claims at least 351.

    No deal: Yahoo rejects final Microsoft bid.

    No thanks
    : Grieving Iraqis insulted by America’s compensation offers.

    Gas pains: Obama and Clinton argue economics.

    Hell’s Belles: Eight Belles dies at Derby after claiming second. America becomes wary of Hillary Clinton’s advice.

    Pastor wars: At least Rev. Wright isn’t a bigoted lunatic.

    The wire: Bad electrical work still killing American troops.

    History repeating: Man who killed his girlfriend in Federal Way yesterday morning had previously been served with an anti-harassment order.

    Unexcused absence: Japanese-American internees receive UW degrees 66 years late.

    Weed walk: Over 100 marched downtown yesterday in support of looser marijuana laws.