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Archives for 06/08/2008 - 06/14/2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

News Flash: Being Homeless Still Really Sucks

posted by on June 14 at 4:54 PM

Posted by news intern Chris Kissel

Yesterday, I attended the “Capitol Hill Homeless Summit,” put on by Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets, a non-profit which helps homeless youth and young adults make the transition from homelessness into a stable living environment. The event featured a panel, which delivered the findings of a two-day “summit” on homelessness.

After talking to homeless members of the community and others who’ve experienced homelessness, PSKS reached a few conclusions, which they shared with the 40-or-so people in attendance:

-Mental health, hygeine issues, criminal records, credit history, and “cultural competency” can be frequent barriers to accessing services for the homeless.
-Once the homeless receive services, serious addictions, the “shock of moving indoors,” pets, and relationships with others can make it hard to achieve stability.
-Stealing out of necessity too often lands the homeless in jail.
-Police get to know certain homeless people, and “profile” them.
-Shelters and other facilities often exclude homeless from certain age groups.
-Capitol Hill needs more housing for those with mental health issues, legal campsites, more homeless feeds, and needs to consider having “safe injection sites.”
-Interestingly, all of the participants on the four-person panel pointed out that they would prefer being homeless on Capitol Hill than in any other neighborhood because of open-mindedness. “Because the neighborhood is accepting of people who are different, we feel comfortable making our home here,” said a panelist named Raven.

I’m glad these homeless men and women feel like part of a community, and that they’re accepted and supported on Capitol Hill. I was genuinely touched when they shared details from their own experiences of homelessness, and glad that I got to experience their perspectives. So I quietly approached organizer Elaine Simons to ask her what she proposes we actually do about all this, now that they’ve got a sense of what the problem is.

Simons told me that the purpose of this meeting was to “make time for the funding people to get to know each other” - she hoped to draw attention to what her organization is doing so thay can get support from others in the community. The next meeting will be the one that will be tasked to come up with any real solution to these problems.

Remember that War We Won in Afghanistan?

posted by on June 14 at 12:02 PM

The bombing occurred a day after Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told NATO defense ministers in Brussels that in May, for the first time, the monthly total of American and allied combat deaths in Afghanistan had exceeded the toll in Iraq.
Today’s NYT.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on June 14 at 11:00 AM


Emerald City Soul Club at Lo-Fi

Why do I love Emerald City Soul Club? Because ECSC is one night’s blissful reprieve from the same old musical palette and constant THUMP THUMP THUMP of other club nights. Every 45 that the DJs play sounds familiar, even the ones I’m sure I don’t know, and every song swings and spins and steps across a floor that’s been sprinkled with baby powder for your dressed-up dancing pleasure. It’s perfect. (Lo-Fi, 429 Eastlake Ave E, 254-2824. 9 pm, $7, 21+.) ERIC GRANDY


Georgetown Music Fest at Georgetown

The third annual Georgetown Music Fest is a shot of adrenaline stabbed into the heart of Seattle’s industrial district, and it’s bigger than ever, with 60 bands on four stages over two days. Friday night ends with a performance by Helmet (!), but Saturday’s all-day schedule brings the best bargain with sexy, blues-infused classic rock by Thee Emergency, quirky acoustic songs by PWRFL Power, and the Lashes’ first Seattle performance of ‘08. (Georgetown Music Fest, 6000 Airport Way S, www 11:30 am, $17 DOS/$26 for a weekend pass, all ages.) MEGAN SELING

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Crime and Punishment

    posted by on June 14 at 10:26 AM

    Washington residents can rest a little easier now that the 61 year-old co-owner of a garden-supply store in Kent has been sent to prison for three and a half years. Le My Nguyen was the “matriarch of marijuana growers” in our area, according to the Seattle Times, and she sold supplies to folks that grew marijuana. And marijuana, of course, is an illegal and very dangerous drug—why, the potency of pot is a 30 year-high, and that’s just one of the things that makes marijuana so very, very deadly.

    Wait, what’s that you say, NYT?

    Legal Drugs Kill Far More Than Illegal, Florida Says

    From “Scarface” to “Miami Vice,” Florida’s drug problem has been portrayed as the story of a single narcotic: cocaine. But for Floridians, prescription drugs are increasingly a far more lethal habit….

    Drugs with benzodiazepine, mainly depressants like Valium and Xanax, led to 743 deaths. Alcohol was the most commonly occurring drug, appearing in the bodies of 4,179 of the dead and judged the cause of death of 466 — fewer than cocaine (843) but more than methamphetamine (25) and marijuana (0).

    What He Said

    posted by on June 14 at 10:03 AM

    John Cole:

    MSNBC has been running nothing but a 5 hour (and presumably it will go until 11 pm or beyond) marathon of Russert remembrance. CNN has done their due diligence, and Fox news has spent at least the last half hour talking non-stop about him.

    But let’s get something straight—what I am watching right now on the cable news shows is indicative of the problem—no clearer demonstration of the fact that they consider themselves to be players and the insiders and, well, part of the village, is needed. This is precisely the problem. They have walked the corridors of power so long that they honestly think they are the story. It is creepy and sick and the reason politicians get away with all the crap they get away with these days.

    Tim Russert was a newsman. He was not the Pope. This is not the JFK assassination, or Reagan’s death, or the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. A newsman died. We know you miss him, but please shut up and get back to work.

    Via Sullivan.

    SIFF 2008: Two Days Left!

    posted by on June 14 at 10:00 AM

    Technically this is the closing night of the festival (meaning you get to “enjoy” the silly and blithely jingoistic (verging on racist) closing-night gala selection Bottle Shock [6:30 pm at the Cinerama]), but never fear—there’s another full day of programming tomorrow.

    In the early matinee slot, we recommend The Fairytale of Kathmandu (11 am at Pacific Place). If you’ve already seen that, you might try The Island of Lost Souls, because if you’re going to see a Danish kids’ adventure film on a Saturday morning, it might as well be at the Cinerama (noon).

    Next, head directly to the inspirational (and tremendously depressing) education doc Accelerating America (1:30 pm at SIFF Cinema). Already seen it? Try Days and Clouds (1:30 pm at Uptown) or Dan Ireland’s new movie, Jolene (2:30 pm at Cinerama). I haven’t seen it because I can’t bear to face a road trip movie called Jolene that doesn’t have Dolly Parton on the soundtrack.

    Next, skip Lakshmi and Me—but only because it plays again tomorrow morning—and head to the restored Cassavetes film Faces (4 pm at SIFF Cinema).


    Next, you should probably eat dinner and discuss (“What’s Yr Take on Cassavetes”: Best Le Tigre song ever?). There are OK movies in this slot, but nothing stunning, unless you have tickets to Alexander Nevsky (8 pm at Benaroya Hall).

    Finally, head back to SIFF Cinema for Emmanuel Jal: War Child (9 pm). It’s another world politics doc, but compared to the stunning Trouble the Water, which I saw last night (Trouble My Dreams is more like it), War Child is downright upbeat.

    Skip Donkey Punch (midnight at the Egyptian). Seriously? Who calls their movie Donkey Punch?

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on June 14 at 10:00 AM

    An installation view of Eric Thompson’s Cleaning Out the Dead (2008), 5-channel audio, custom fluorescents, reel-to-reel machine

    At Lawrimore Project. (Gallery site here.) *This show, featuring the UW’s DXArts grads, is only up for 10 days, through June 22. More information about the show here.

    The Morning News

    posted by on June 14 at 9:33 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Oil be back: Saudis plan to export more oil in order to combat high prices.

    Breaking the news: Tim Russert was “the preeminent political journalist of his generation.”

    Arrested development: Zimbabwean government detains opposition party members again.

    : Midwestern floods could take serious toll on economy.

    Jailbreak: Detained Taliban fighters escape from a jail in Kandahar.

    Cooperating: Bush kicks it with the Pope.

    Not cooperating: Iraqi leaders, U.S. government hit an impasse.

    Martians chronicled: Phoenix lander collects some serious particles.

    Hulk beware
    : Scientists scan boats in Puget Sound for gamma rays.

    Trashed: Homeless advocates say City’s decision to throw away personal belongings found during park sweeps is legally unsound.

    Fresh faces
    : College students whose parents never got degrees struggle to make it to the finish.

    Now, back to my homework:

    From “Imprisoned Narrative? Or Lies, Secrets, and Silence in New Mexico Women’s Autobiography,” by Genaro Padilla. Criticism in the Borderlands, Calderón, Héctor and José David Saldívar, eds. Duke University Press, 1991.

    What happens when the autobiographic impulse finds its self-constitutive means undermined by the very discursive practices that make autobiographic textualization possible? What happens when an individual finds herself in a situation where memory is encouraged to imprint itself upon the page, but only in a language and idiom of cultural otherness that mark its boundaries of permissible autobiographic utterance? Given the discursive domination to which the subordinate cultural self must make supplication if it wishes to survive in any form, the imprinted self is likely to be a representation that discloses intense cultural self-deceit, political fear, and masked and self-divided identity. The “I” is made alien to itself, existing as it does deeply embedded in a discursive world outside of its own making or control.

    Reading Today

    posted by on June 14 at 9:00 AM


    There is a ton of stuff going on all over the place today, including two thrillers, an open mic, a book about “zen gardening”, a book about space travel to Mars, and a book about crocheting with non-traditional fibers.

    First, and something that’s about to start at the Hugo House right now, is an all-day discussion of the works of the Bronte sisters (depicted above.) I might go just to see what the people look like; I’m thinking it will be a roomful of beautiful shy people, casting sideward glances at each other. There was an online registration for this one, but I bet you could sweet-talk your way in if you really wanted to.

    Up at Third Place, David Klinghoffer reads from How Would God Vote?: Why the Bible Commands You to Be a Conservative, a book that suggests you consider fictional characters before you waste your vote. I really want to know how Superman would vote, myself.

    And at the Seattle Public Library, David Shields reads from his latest book, which is about sex and death and birth and death and then more death. Charles liked the book a lot.

    Full readings calendar, including the readings I mentioned above, can be found over here.

    Eat It, Rudy

    posted by on June 14 at 8:26 AM

    Hillary Clinton isn’t the only former presidential hopeful with a big campaign debt. Check out this deeply satisfying story in today’s NYT…

    With the Republican Party in need of money for the November elections, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani has offered to appear at fund-raisers around the country for G.O.P. candidates. But there is a catch: He wants some cash out of the deal.

    Mr. Giuliani’s aides have told the National Republican Congressional Committee and Congressional candidates that if he makes an appearance, he wants the candidates to help him get rid of his presidential campaign debt.

    The unusual request underscores the financial predicament Mr. Giuliani finds himself in, after he ended his presidential bid this year with roughly $3.6 million in campaign debt. Traditionally, prominent party figures help lower-tier candidates by headlining fund…. Mr. Giuliani’s move has irritated some of his Republican colleagues, who say that the arrangement would put an additional strain on candidates who in many cases are struggling to raise money. Some say rather than making a generous gesture, the former mayor is seeking to tap local candidates’ donors.

    The NYT gives the knife a few good twists right at the end of the piece:

    Political analysts say that Mr. Giuliani’s once prolific fund-raising abilities have been hampered by several factors. Perhaps most significant is the fact that Mr. Giuliani neither holds a position in government nor is a candidate for public office. Both qualities are attractive to donors who are looking for access to government.

    Beyond that, the reputation of Mr. Giuliani was hurt by the sudden collapse of his presidential campaign, as well as by the allegations of corruption that hung over Bernard B. Kerik, a former police commissioner in the Giuliani administration.

    Giuliani, who is worth $30 million dollars, is particularly anxious to pay himself back the $500,000 he lent his own campaign. Clinton, as we’ve heard repeatedly over the last few weeks, desperately needs to raise funds to retire her debt and is likewise anxious pay herself and Bill back the millions they lent her campaign—and it’s somehow Obama’s responsibility to help her with that.

    But why should only donors who invest in campaigns—particularly big donors looking for “access to government”—lose out when a campaign ends, implodes, collapses, etc.? Clinton and Giuliani’s big donors lost every cent that they invested in Rudy and Hillary’s campaigns. Why shouldn’t Clinton and Giuliani too?

    Friday, June 13, 2008

    A Complex Trait by Random Chance? Ok.

    posted by on June 13 at 6:58 PM


    No one really argues about the validity of natural selection. Only the most hardened of young Earth creationists contest that organisms with more adaptive traits will preferentially survive and reproduce. The Intelligent Design crowd tends to wave this off as a trivial truth. Of course, they say, better traits are selected for. They instead claim you need a designer to provide these traits. How could something as complicated as a metabolic pathway simply arise from chance? Where’s the proof that such beneficial traits can simply arise, with no guiding hand?

    Zachary Blount, Christina Borland, and Richard Lensk, from Michigan State University, set out to test this tricky question in evolution.

    E. Coli, a gut bacteria commonly used in the lab, cannot eat citrate. While other organisms can, it takes a whole complicated set of interacting genes that E. Coli lack. Could E. Coli, by random chance, mutate such a family of genes? How long, how many and how many generations of bacteria would it take?

    In 1988, cultures of E. Coli were started in media with little sugar, but much citrate. Any bacteria that could eat citrate would have a huge selective advantage. After 31,500 generations, one colony finally gained the ability to eat citrate. Going back to the freezer, and looking at the earlier colonies frozen back, it became clear that the pieces started to come together in parts at around 20,000 generations.

    What an amazing finding! Just by being in a selective environment, that rewarded bacteria that could learn to do a complex new task, the part could form by a series mutations and eventually be selected for. Exactly as evolution would predict—an elegant demonstration of both halves of evolution, natural selection and the arising of complex traits by random mutation. It’s a stinging slap in the face of the Intelligent Design creationists, whose entire loudly touted faith-system is based on the impossibility of this event.

    Eat it, M. Night!

    OMG, Why Didn’t I Know About This Tuesday?!

    posted by on June 13 at 4:39 PM

    Apparently the new M. Night Shamalamayamamama movie The Happening is intelligent design propaganda. I totally skipped the Tuesday screening, because who cares about M. Night and it was going to have to be a web-only review, but I totally would not have been so derelict had I known anything whatsoever about the film’s content.

    According to le Gawker:

    M. Night Shyamalan’s critically-panned flick The Happening is Hollywood’s first blockbuster to promote the anti-evolutionary theory of intelligent design. Maybe you thought Ben Stein’s ill-fated documentary Expelled was the only movie to argue in favor of the neo-Christian idea that an “intelligent designer” created the universe. Think again. With its references to “unexplained acts of nature” and a science teacher main character who calls evolution “just a theory,” The Happening is basically a giant propaganda machine for intelligent design. Maybe science journalists are jizzing all over its allegedly realistic plants-attack-humans plot, but we talked to Shyamalan and we know the truth.

    Avowed Christian Shyamalan told us that The Happening is really about religious faith, and explained that he chose Mark Wahlberg to play science teacher Elliot Moore because of the actor’s intense belief in Jesus. Maybe he also chose vacant-eyed Zooey Deschanel to play his wife Alma because she looks like a little girl who needs a big strong monotheist in her life? No comment on that one from Shyamalan.

    We get tipped off to the fact that this allegedly science fictional movie is really an ID tent revival in the opening scenes where Elliot teaches his science students about evolution. He explains to them that honeybees are disappearing all over the country, and asks what some possible explanations might be. Students who say things like “climate change” and “evolution” are dismissed as being “partly right.” But then when a generally quiet student finally says, “It’s an act of nature that we can’t understand,” Elliot lights up and says that’s the best answer. That phrase “act of nature,” which sounds suspiciously like “act of God,” crops up in the movie again and again[….]

    It goes on (avec spoilers). The horror! I will see it this weekend and get back to y’all.

    I Win

    posted by on June 13 at 4:07 PM

    When I sent my last post to Amy Kate, I felt better than I had since this whole Slog debacle began. I’d said my piece and was ready to wash my hands of the whole issue. While I don’t think of myself as a quitter, it has always been my policy, when I find myself in a shitty situation, to get the fuck out. So that’s what I did, and I couldn’t have been happier. Maybe I am thin-skinned, but trading insults with strangers has never been my idea of a good time. I am fully aware that for a lot of commenters this is a game. That’s fine. It’s just not a game I’m interested in playing. Especially since I wasn’t getting paid for it.

    Until, that is, I got an e-mail from Amy Kate, telling me that none other than Tim Keck was disappointed that I was quitting, and that he would like to up the ante. One dollar for every comment on ‘Fuck This, I’m Out’ posted before 4 pm… if I was willing to write about how I spent the money. I agreed, and since then have been hitting refresh on the thread, watching the money roll in. I saw a lot of assholes being assholes, and nice people being nice. But what I was really glad to see was people discussing the state of the comments on Slog, which I hoped would happen.

    But I digress from the point of this post, which is this:


    I win, bitches!

    I’ll be back next week with how I spent the money. Enjoy your weekend!


    posted by on June 13 at 4:04 PM

    “They sunbathed together and shared meals of raw meat, dead mice, fruit and bread.”


    The Daily Mail


    posted by on June 13 at 4:01 PM

    Forty-sixth legislative district candidate Scott White is perhaps best known for claiming victory in the nomination battle for his district—hours after his opponent, Gerry Pollet, won the nomination in an initial ballot count, and based on an “extra” ballot found in the home of one of his supporters long after the official counts were over. Pollet, as I’ve written on Slog, was later declared the “official” nominee. That designation, however, doesn’t mean much, because neither candidate can use it on the election ballot—instead, both will run with “prefers Democrat” next to their names, under the new “top two” primary system that goes into effect this year.

    Things got even weirder this afternoon, when White—reportedly suffering from pneumonia and ordered to stay home for several weeks—became despondent and decided to withdraw from the race.


    However, once he’d submitted his withdrawal form (and spoken to his consultant), White reportedly had a change of heart, and has decided to stay in—a change he will have to make official by 4:30 today.

    White did not return calls for comment.

    Hulk Smash Puny Slog, Part 7

    posted by on June 13 at 3:33 PM

    Hulk Fact!

    The Ang Lee Hulk movie from five years back totally blew chunks
    . If you need a reminder, here you go:

    This Weekend at the Movies

    posted by on June 13 at 3:10 PM

    I have no news to share, but goodness gracious, have you seen this LOL cat?


    Opening this week!

    Paul Constant reviews The Incredible Hulk (“As in many superhero movies, the third act has problems—how do you keep your villain from becoming a caricature when he’s a giant evil monster whose sole motivation seems to be finding a really tough guy to fight?—but the movie is such great fuck-shit-up fun that it can successfully smash through any cliché in its way”).

    I discuss the stylistically crippled The Tracey Fragments, which is nonetheless a don’t-miss for Ellen Page fans. I think it’s a more interesting performance than her turn in Juno, in a way, since it shows her pushing back against clichéd writing—something you rarely see from so young a performer. I never saw Hard Candy, though.


    David Schmader compares The Promotion to Election (“From the subject matter and narrative voiceovers to the full-on homage shots, Steve Conrad’s film is colored and contextualized by Alexander Payne’s classic, but eventually finds its legs and grows into something of its own”).

    Charles Mudede praises War, Inc. and also talks to John “I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen” Cusack.

    Lindy West writes about Moby’s special celebrity visit to the Seattle True Independent Film Festival.

    Tucked away in Film Shorts this week are repeat screenings of Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait at Northwest Film Forum and The Dhamma Brothers at the Grand Illusion, plus the remaining STIFF movies.

    For complete movie times, use us.

    Seattle Police, SFD, ATF Investigating Arson At Former Women’s Clinic

    posted by on June 13 at 2:52 PM

    The Seattle Fire Department, Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating a small fire that was set earlier this week at an abandoned womens’s clinic in the Central District.

    The fire department was called to the former site of the Aradia Women’s Center—which closed in January 2007—on 13th and Spring at about 10:30pm Wednesday night after someone set a fire near the building’s exterior doors. According the SFD spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick, the fire “burned a little bit…of the door, but didn’t get in [to the building].”

    The fire only did $2,000 in damage, but SFD contacted Seattle Police, who brought in the ATF to assess the case.

    Fitzpatrick says there’s no indication whether the building was targeted because it housed as clinic, or whether the incident is related to a number of other recent arson fires set in South Seattle.

    No, Your a Fag

    posted by on June 13 at 2:51 PM

    Hm… I don’t recall seeing “you’re a fag,” or “your a fag,” in our famously vitriolic comment threads all that often. Apparently it’s a problem at other websites, and on other blogs. I guess it’s not a problem here because everyone at Slog presumed faggy until proven innocent.

    Via Queerty.

    This Week on Drugs

    posted by on June 13 at 2:50 PM

    Alchemy: In the Daily Mail.

    AF Harrier jump jets have blown up the world’s biggest drug haul in Afghanistan by dropping three 1,000lb bombs on a 237-ton stash of cannabis. Officials believe the area - near to the Taliban stronghold of Quetta in Pakistan - was turning dried cannabis leaves into heroin.

    Opium Brides: Poppy eradication linked to sex slavery.

    High Tides: Pot’s better than ever.

    Marijuana potency increased last year to the highest level in more than 30 years, posing greater health risks to people who may view the drug as harmless, according to a report released Thursday by the White House.

    “The increases in marijuana potency are of concern since they increase the likelihood of acute toxicity, including mental impairment,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which funded the University of Mississippi study. “Particularly worrisome is the possibility that the more potent THC might be more effective at triggering the changes in the brain that can lead to addiction,” Volkow said.

    Low Blows: How the media blew it.

    The operative word in Volkow’s statement is “might.” The claim that higher-potency marijuana means greater risk of addiction is entirely speculative, supported by precisely zero data. That, too, was pointed out by Earleywine, but in a comment buried at the very end of the story.

    [N]ot acknowledged anywhere, either by AP or most other news outlets, is the very large body of evidence suggesting that the whole “it’s not your father’s marijuana” scare story is phony.

    Wet Blanket: Pot crop stunted by rain.

    Clean Green: Pot activist jailed for suspected money laundering.

    San Diego: Tries to overturn state law.

    Bad Deal: Folks trying to get arrested to sell drugs in prison.

    Getting High After Work: Court says it’s groovy in Oregon.

    Wake Cup: Smell of coffee is all you need.

    Protein: Blocks booze cravings.

    Top 10 Celerity Stoners: Jack Black to Barack Obama.

    Remember Forward Seattle?

    posted by on June 13 at 2:42 PM

    The developer-backed group that planned to spend more than $100,000 promoting city council candidate Venus Velazquez—until her drunk-driving arrest derailed her campaign?

    Well, they’re back, and they’re gearing up for next year’s city elections.

    In an email last week, PAC founder Joe Quintana invited Forward Seattle members and supporters to meet up at the downtown offices of Gogerty Stark Marriott, “to discuss how we can ensure the election of candidates who are committed to keeping Seattle competitive. The goal of this meeting is to emerge with a short-list of candidates we might support and developing a game plan to ensure success.”

    Any candidate Forward Seattle decides to back will be able to draw on a strong base of developer support; already, a year and a half before the 2009 election, Forward Seattle has an impressive $78,000 in the bank, and can count on much more from the big developers and builder PACs that make up its donor base. At the moment, Forward Seattle’s top donors include the development company Touchstone Corporation ($10,000); South Lake Union developer Vulcan, Inc. ($10,000); downtown developer and landowner Clise Properties ($10,000); construction-industry PAC Builders United in Legislative Development ($10,000) public-affairs consultant Quintana ($5,500); Bellevue real estate developer Robert Wallace ($5,000); downtown developer and monorail bad guy Martin Selig ($5,000); the King and Snohomish County Master Builders Association ($5,000); and downtown developer William Justen ($5,000), mining company Glacier Northwest ($1,000); and many others.

    Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father

    posted by on June 13 at 2:29 PM

    A couple accused of tying their 13-year-old son to a tree for two nights to punish him for disobedience has been charged with murder in his death, authorities said Friday.

    Brice Brian McMillan, 41, of Macclesfield, told a deputy that the child was being disobedient and was forced to sleep outside Tuesday while tied to a tree, the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office said. The teenager was released Wednesday morning but again tied up that night for bad behavior, authorities said.

    The boy was left tied to the tree until the following afternoon when his stepmother found him unresponsive, Sheriff James Knight said in a statement.

    Eden’s On Fire

    posted by on June 13 at 2:17 PM

    Last week, I walked into Platform Gallery in Pioneer Square and apologized. As soon as I saw the current show (which closes after tomorrow), I knew it was one that I should write about—and one I wouldn’t have time to write about in-depth.

    But I do want to recommend it here in short. Please take these three images as testimony to the power and strangeness of the 13 included works by these three artists, all of which depict a beautiful world infected with panic.

    Joy Garnett’s Paris Riots (#3) (2005-2006), oil on board, 11 by 14 inches

    Michael Schall’s Volcano Fabrication Project (2007), graphite on paper, 40 1/2 by 62 inches

    Saul Becker’s Weed Explosion (2008), ink and gouache on paper, 41 by 59 1/2 inches

    More here.

    Notes From the Prayer Warrior

    posted by on June 13 at 1:40 PM


    Friday, 13 June 2008

    Dear Prayer Warriors,

    Today I will travel to Alabama to be inducted into the Calhoun County Hall of Fame. Please pray that God will be glorified during the ceremony. Please pray for safe travel and that I feel good physically on the trip.

    Thank you!
    Pastor Hutch

    Hulk Smash Puny Blog, Part 6 or 31 Flavors of Hulk

    posted by on June 13 at 1:32 PM

    Hulk Fact!

    The Hulk has come in a variety of different colors and flavors over the years:

    Classic green:


    Captain Universe blue:


    Spalding Gray:


    “Does this look Infected?” red:


    and girl:


    Hollywood Hero of our Times

    posted by on June 13 at 1:20 PM

    John Cusack has made a movie that relentlessly attacks all that constitutes the insane age of Bush.
    Because the insanity has no bottom:

    MESEBERG, Germany — President Bush on Wednesday raised the possibility of a military strike to thwart Tehran’s presumed nuclear weapons ambitions, speaking aggressively even as he admitted having been unwise to have done so previously about Iraq.
    The insanity of War, Inc, Cusack’s new anti-war film, has no bottom or boundry.

    This passage is from my interview with Cusack:

    In America, we treat war like the weather and weather like the war. A tsunami can happen and everyone’s outraged. We say: What can we do? We need to do something. Let’s band together to fight the weather. A war happens and they go, Well, that’s just the way it is. Wars come and they go. No, they don’t.

    This is what he has to say about McCain:

    Click for movie times.

    The End of Tokenism?

    posted by on June 13 at 1:03 PM

    The best thing about this year’s Tony nominees is the number of contending plays and musicals by/starring/about people who aren’t honkies: Passing Strange, In the Heights, Thurgood, a black version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a South Pacific starring actual Asian Americans, and so on.

    From a great article on this year’s Tony Awards in the Washington Post:

    This season, eight major Broadway shows prominently feature blacks, Latinos or Asians. There’s “South Pacific,” which — for the first time in this musical’s history on Broadway — stars Asian Americans in Asian roles. (Loretta Ables Sayre, who plays Bloody Mary, is nominated for a Tony.) That’s a far cry from 1991, when there was an uproar over casting English actor Jonathan Pryce as a Eurasian in “Miss Saigon.”

    Ten performers of color have been nominated for Tonys tonight, including Stew, the creator and star of “Passing Strange.” (Whoopi Goldberg, a Tony-winning producer in her own right, will be tonight’s host — marking the first time the Tonys ceremony has had a lone emcee of color.)
    This year might be the beginning of the end of the “token ethnic play” phenomenon, a well-intentioned but ultimately embarrassing theater custom I’ve written about over and over again:
    The TBP has been a regional theater custom for years. Trying to attract dollars from the rising black middle class is smart business and a little artistic affirmative action is perhaps wise, but watching a TBP, no matter how good or bad it is, always gives me the uncomfortable feeling that the mostly white audience and mostly black artists are mutually condescending to one another.

    Again from the Post:

    No one tracks the number of people of color working on Broadway, but many observers say that things have changed greatly from more than 20 years ago, when Actors’ Equity conducted a four-year survey of working actors and found that 90 percent of actors on Broadway were white.

    Things, obviously, are changing.

    Not only are there more black artists, but more black producers, who recognize the economic value—not just the social, artistic, and moral value—of getting away from producing a “black play” here and a “Latino play” there. This year will prove that producers and theaters should put up as much quality work by artists of color as they can. And audiences will reward them for it. Like James Baldwin said: “Black people ignored the theater because the theater has always ignored them.”

    Looks like the sun is setting on those days, thanks to years of courage and sweat by artists like George C. Wolfe, Suzan-Lori Parks, August Wilson, Lloyd Richards, and others.

    Again, from the WP article:

    “Every single day I wake up in the morning saying, ‘What are we doing here?’ ” says Stew, who co-wrote “Passing Strange” with musical partner Heidi Rodewald. “We never thought this would happen… . Not only did we not think we were going to Broadway, we didn’t want to go to Broadway.”

    Stew says he insisted on making art how he saw fit — which meant, he says, that he fought with the producers at every turn.

    “They can’t force us to do anything. Nobody has to sell out here… . Only artists who wimp out change their script. All a Broadway producer can do is close the show.

    “This is like an experiment every night. To see if this weird curio can exist in a mass audience. I really look at it as a science experiment. Every night.”

    It’s working, Stew. And sorry to sound Pollyanna about it, but your success should make everyone feel hopeful.

    R. Kelly

    posted by on June 13 at 1:03 PM


    R. Kelly has been acquitted of child pornography charges that he appeared on a videotape having sex with a girl as young as 13….

    The graphic, sordid video shows the female dancing and urinating on the floor in the man’s direction. The man then has sex with and urinates on her…. Over seven days presenting their case, prosecutors called 22 witnesses, including several childhood friends of the alleged victim and four of her relatives who identified her as the female on the video. Some said she had referred to Kelly as her “godfather.”

    I’m thinking a gay pop star that made a sex tape that showed him pissing on a 13 year-old boy wouldn’t get his ass acquitted at trial.

    Hulk Smash Puny Slog, Part 5

    posted by on June 13 at 12:52 PM

    Hulk Fact!

    Did you know that the Incredible Hulk has his own hilarious blog? True story.


    From Hulk’s Diary That Is On the Internet:


    Hulk kept hitting the buttons and saying “Please let Hulk have his ATM card back because Hulk wants to go buy a Playstation 3 and play that Ultimate Alliance game Hulk is in with everyone, even the Punisher” but the machine was all like BEEP BOOP NO NO NO.

    And Hulk tried to be nice and called the people at his bank and Hulk said “Hulk has money because Hulk just got a deposit and Hulk would like to get it!” and the bank’s answering machine said “Leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible” and Hulk was like “HULK JUST LEFT A MESSAGE WHY CAN’T YOU HEAR THAT?”

    And that’s why Hulk now owes Bank of America $43,000 for two ATMs in the Union Square area.

    The end.


    Hello Hulk got this email and Hulk is wondering if he should help because Hulk needs some money and if Hulk had some money maybe Hulk wouldn’t have to go look at the stupid jobs section of the New York Post and Daily Bugle. No, Hulk does not want to work construction, thank you for asking. Hulk does not like to say things to girls that walk by and Hulk can’t whistle very well.





    HE HAS AN ACCOUNT WITH THIS BANK WHICH HE USES TO FINANCE HIS BUSSINESS IN THIS CONTRY.This is my bank website in burkina faso. said amount was USD$1m.(one million united states dollars).




    Do you think Hulk should take advantage of this offer? Hulk thinks Hulk could make money and not have to live off the “stipend” that The Avengers still pay Hulk because they are afraid Hulk will come over and raid the refrigerator and make Jarvis cook a turkey for Hulk again.

    Hulk has never told you people how nice Jarvis is. Jarvis is very nice. He is the Avengers’ butler but he is not like “Jeeves” because he does not have a website called AskJarvis or anything like that but Hulk thinks he is better because Hulk doesn’t have to type on the computer to ask Jarvis things like “Why do rainbows make Hulk happy?” or “Can you please make some more Yorkshire pudding?”

    Unfortunately, the man behind the Hulk’s blog, Kevin Church, has stopped writing about ol’ jade jaw’s life, but there are still plenty of entries on the site worth reading. Go there now. Or Hulk will smash puny humans.

    Housing Authority Sent to the Doghouse

    posted by on June 13 at 12:48 PM

    On Tuesday, June 10, a federal court order fortified the rights of tenants whose federal housing vouchers are terminated by the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA). Under new rules, SHA hearing examiners must consider special circumstances such as disabilities; the examiners must have legal training (none was required before); and the examiners will be appointed in with input from tenants.

    “The Seattle Housing Authority was terminating tenants on the basis of very problematic and illegal reasons,” says Tenants Union organizer Emily Paddison. For example, she says, a tenant could lose a voucher for having too many people in his home even if he was disabled and required assistance from visitors. But under the old SHA rules, hearing examiners couldn’t acknowledge complicating circumstances—such as failure to respond to letters because tenants couldn’t read English, were victims of domestic violence, or were mentally ill—instead relying strictly on SHA and federal housing regulations.

    Although the SHA is accepting the new rules gracefully—SHA spokeswoman Virginia Felton said agencies officials “welcome these changes”—that seems a little disingenuous. After the case was filed in King County Superior Court, SHA moved it into federal court. Why, if SHA accepts the changes, did the agency push to move the case to a higher court? “We felt a lawsuit wasn’t the right way to go,” she says.

    The SHA administered about 8,200 federal housing vouchers last year, and 108 were terminated for rules violations, Felton says.

    The case originated with Tina Hendrix, who was informed by SHA in March 2007 that she would lose her Section 8 housing voucher for failing to report that her teenage daughter had moved. Eric Dunn, an attorney who litigated the case for the Northwest Justice Project, counters that Hendrix’s daughter suffered from a mental disability and had run away, temporarily.

    “We had been observing these hearings for year and had lawsuits before,” says Dunn. He believed that SHA “wouldn’t recognize [Hendrix’s] arguments.” So rather than go to the hearing examiner, Hendrix filed her case, claiming the SHA appeals system violated her right to due process under the 14th Amendment.

    Ultimately, this case illustrates the need for independent organizations to keep government-funded agencies in check. The Tenants Union, along with other groups representing low-income renters, has been haggling with SHA for the past couple of years to provide additional translation services, increase protection for domestic violence survivors, and increase Section 8 tenant representation on committees.

    “Our people are working very hard to serve clients,” says SHA’s Felton, “and we make mistakes, but we’re working with Tenants Union and we’re making progress there.”

    “Meet the Press” Host Tim Russert

    posted by on June 13 at 12:37 PM

    Dead of an apparent heart attack at 58.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on June 13 at 12:30 PM

    Happy Friday, June 13th!

    Hulk Smash Puny Slog, Part 4

    posted by on June 13 at 12:22 PM

    Hulk Fact!

    There was a Hulk doll released in the U.K. that was anatomically correct.


    ENGLAND— Shocked six-year-old Leah Lowland checked out a mystery bulge on her Incredible Hulk doll — and uncovered a giant green WILLY.

    Curious Leah noticed a lump after winning the monster, catchphrase “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry,” at a seaside fair.

    And when she peeled off the green comic-book character’s ripped purple shorts, she found the two-inch manhood beneath them.

    Horrified Leah immediately ran to mum Kim and reported the find. And last night Kim called for a ban on the saucy toy. She said: “A hulk with a bulk like this just shouldn’t be allowed.

    “Considering the doll is only 12-inches tall it’s amazing how big his willy is.

    “And it’s definitely not an extra piece of material left on by mistake.”

    The full report is here.

    Via I-mockery, which has a lovely gallery of hideous Hulk stuffed animals that must be seen to be believed.

    The Decline and Fall of the Exile

    posted by on June 13 at 12:15 PM

    Ryan already covered the shutdown of the Exile, the Moscow-based, American-written biweekly that Mark Ames, the Editor-in-Chief, described as “a low-tech suicide bomb designed to destroy our journalism careers and take down a few assholes with us.”

    I’ve always loved the Exile. In the aftermath of the 2004 election, the Stranger wrote Urban Archipelago issue. Too extreme? The Exile replied, Gas Middle America:

    The awful reality is that George W. Bush won by 4 million votes. No, the awful reality is that he got any votes at all — but he did… he won the popular vote. He won a mandate. He won — get it? Bush won! They voted for him, the stupid fucking suckers, after he gave them four years of the most shocking warp-speed national decline since Franz Josef abdicated. There is nothing normal or sane about what these Americans did. There is no way to spin that. It’s just nauseating, sphincter-twisting, horrifyingly stupid and evil. So the coastal elite — and we are an elite, thank god (what moron wouldn’t want to be part of the elite? “Hey, I’m not elite, I’m akshully jus’ a fuckin’ stupid piece of shit chump who gits used by the elite, ‘n by gum that’s how’s I likes it!”) — and the Democrats and everyone with a brain should stop flogging themselves or falsely localizing blame on a clique of evil Republican operatives who manipulated Middle America, and put the blame where the blame lies — on the 59,000,000 fucks who voted to destroy America. And don’t just blame those 59,000,000 fucks, but blame their families, their friends, their dogs and cats, their furniture, and everything they ever touched, smelled, peed on, or otherwise left DNA samples in. They all have to go. Every last one of ‘em. We don’t like the thought of all that collateral damage that nuking or gassing Middle America would bring, but…aw shit, who are we foolin’ here? We LOVE the thought of all that collateral damage, we DREAM about it! We’re sorry for the 30-40 percent who voted blue in the red states — just like we’re sorry about Dresden and Hamburg, and lose sleep over it every night. That is to say, if you stay there, you’re no longer innocent. Collateral damage in Fallujah is depressing— but collateral damage in Alabama, a giant welfare queen state sucking from the liberal pro-Kerry states’ tax dollars? A few Trident II’s oughtta turn ‘Bama into a Crimson Tide of Manhattan Chowder. M’m-m’m tasty!

    Let’s not whitewash what this election was about. It was about racism, bigotry and Fascism. In fact the South and Midwest, taken as a “nation,” are the last and only Fascist state left in the white world, an incompetent and vulgar Fascism, without brains and without uniforms. Many of them are openly proud of this fact. They voted for a doomed war, against progress, against modernity and against culture. They are driven by envy and cult superstition and hate. And they want to slaughter other people to make up for the fact that they cannot produce anything of value, that they are nothing but welfare queens and cheap labor whose only consolations is that they aren’t niggers, queers, spics, or…well, they don’t openly hate Jews so much anymore, but their newfound bizarre embrace of Israel and Jews is every bit as sick as their former anti-Semitism.

    When I started writing my science column about a year ago, the War Nerd column was a pretty big inspiration—hilarious, informative and insightful.

    So, if you’ve every wondered how a government goes about shutting down a paper, check out Mark Ames’ posts on Radar’s blog.

    At 11 a.m., four officials from the Federal Service for Mass Media, Telecommunications, and the Protection of Cultural Heritage arrived—the men in shabby Bolsheviki suits, and a squat middle-age woman with pudgy arms and hands that pinched the seams of her wrists. On the advice of a Russian attorney, we greeted them with a box of dark chocolates. It was solid advice, and probably did more to protect us than a hundred attorneys’ briefs could have…. The varied emotional responses to the meeting were interesting. The Westerners, who until last week supported our paper and kept it alive, immediately cut all ties with us, so they weren’t there. The younger Russians on our staff were relatively calm about it. But when our Soviet-era accountant opened the office door and saw the four squat figures in bad official Soviet outfits, she turned white and vanished, the door closing on its own. When our middle-age courier arrived, she too turned white, stopped, then put her head down and walked past us, crossing herself three hurried times in the Orthodox Christian fashion before locking herself in the design room. You have to understand, to anyone with a memory of the Soviet era, those bad suits that the officials wore are extremely menacing, like red stripes on a reptile.

    Great stuff. An excellent preview for the demise of the Stranger during Jenna Bush’s first term as supreme president of the homeland.

    Hulk Smash Puny Slog, Part 3

    posted by on June 13 at 12:00 PM

    Hulk Fact!

    One of the best Hulk comics ever is by James Kochalka, and it’s only four pages long!

    Here’s the first page:


    You can find the rest of the story here.

    Bonus Hulk Fact!

    Kochalka once pitched an idea of a super-hero group called The Hulk Squad. The Hulk Squad was a bunch of multi-colored clones of the Hulk. They would fight crime together. Or they’d fight each other. Or something. But, who cares! Multi-colored clones of the Hulk! My favorite, after the original green flavor, is the blue one.

    Query from a Reader

    posted by on June 13 at 11:55 AM

    Hi there,

    I was told that the Stranger ran an article recently about how empty storefronts on Broadway were being given temporarily to artists for gallery space….but I have been unable to find it on your website…

    Do you have any more information about that, or can recall the article’s title?

    Here tis.

    The Preferred News Source for Ball-Busting Fetishists Everywhere

    posted by on June 13 at 11:22 AM

    Apparently you can leave newspaper boxes in the middle of sidewalks in Oklahoma City—and a swift kick to the nads is the best reason to read this particular newspaper.

    And, I’m sorry, but the answer to “You ever wonder why they call this thing a ‘rack’?” is… because it’ll punch in the nuts? Wha? Huh?

    SIFF 2008: Three Days to Go!

    posted by on June 13 at 11:21 AM

    Cinerama starts playing SIFF movies today, the third-to-last day of the festival. Boy, are there going to be some annoyed people tonight. Some of the movies that sounded the best on paper are in fact awful, and some of the movies that sounded the worst are in fact fantastic. Here’s the scoop:

    Skip the first movie of the day, Unknown Woman (1 pm at Cinerama), unless you love the graphic depiction of misery.

    Next, pay someone to take your tickets to In Search of Kennedy (4 pm at the Egyptian), which is the worst movie that could possibly be made about John F. Kennedy’s popular legacy. The documentary has no facts, and lots and lots of feelings. Yuck. There are at least three other good options, including Salawati (4:30 pm at Pacific Place), American Son (4 pm at Uptown), and Some Assembly Required (4 pm at SIFF Cinema). Did anyone see the film-insidery Pierre Rissient (4 pm at the Harvard Exit) on Wednesday? That sounds interesting too.

    Accelerating America

    Next, we absolutely adore three competing options, all of whose filmmakers should be in attendance: the major motion picture The Wackness (6:30 pm at the Egyptian), which will open in Seattle in July; the exceptional education documentary Accelerating America (7 pm at the Harvard Exit); and the conversion-to-atheism one-woman-show Letting Go of God (6:30 pm at SIFF Cinema), with Julia Sweeney. This probably is not the night to try to see Alexander Nevsky (8 pm at Benaroya Hall), though admittedly, all our other recommendations are playing again this weekend.

    Finally, settle down at the second (and 21+) screening of Sunrise (9:30 pm at the Triple Door) accompanied by an original score by the Album Leaf.

    We don’t recommend tonight’s midnighter, Chrysalis (12 am at the Egyptian). Quel dommage—it’s a bit of a tribute to Eyes Without a Face. But you’ll be too tired for a midnight show tonight anyway.

    Little People: Threatened and Pissed-Off

    posted by on June 13 at 11:15 AM

    This week’s Last Days brought the following eyewitness

    FRIDAY, JUNE 6 “Dear Last Days,” writes Hot Tipper Bradford, placidly commencing the creepiest report of violent Metro-based bigotry since that psycho clocked that blind lady a couple weeks ago on the #18. “This afternoon I was waiting for the #8 Metro on Capitol Hill. Waiting with me was the homeless Native American transsexual I’ve seen around the neighborhood. I call her Two Spirits. She was engaged in her usual self-contained commotion when she spotted a midget and another gentleman waiting for the bus. ‘I hate midgets!’ she started yelling. ‘FUCKING MIDGET! I’LL SLIT YOUR FUCKING THROAT! I’M TRIBAL POLICE!’ The gentleman replied, ‘That’s fine, but it’d be great if you could make the bus come on time.’ Both man and midget entered the bus unscathed.” Dear Hot Tipper Bradford: Thank you for noticing and sharing. Also, I don’t mean to look a gift Hot Tip in the mouth, but “midget” isn’t really a word but a slur that’s gained currency due to pervasive use. Go with “little people,” which may sound odd and comparably insulting, but is the preferred term, no matter what Trapped in the Closet says.

    Yesterday brought the following email from Hot Tipper Erin:

    As a midget/dwarf/Little Person/whatever-you-want-to-call-me who lives (way too) close to Broadway, I was not at all surprised at this act of violent verbal assault placed upon my fellow LP at the #8 bus stop on friday, June 6th. I myself have been the subject of an array of insults being hurled at me out of car windows, impromptu camera phone photo-ops, and many other ridiculous, horrifying examples of ignorance and hatred for the larger portion of my adult life. (Though none has come so often as when I moved to Capitol Hill, which I have chronicled in my blog, thelowlifeseattle.)

    When you consider that this is no different than gay bashing, or calling a black person a nigger, I could only think that people like me have the same legal recourse as those being discriminated against for their ethnicity or sexual orientation. So out of curiosity, I called the Seattle Police Department and asked the on-duty police officer what actions I could take the next time something like this happened. Unfortunately, there’s not much. The most I could do was file a complaint (different and lesser than a report) in order to give the area’s unit a heads-up that there’s a crazy person out there verbally attacking innocent people on the street. If anything, the person may already have a warrants which could hasten any criminal proceedings and get them into the jail/nuthouse where they belong, but that’s it.

    I am sorry for the person who had to go through that and I hope that they’ll do something about it next time. That kind of behavior is completely unacceptable, no matter how crazy, homeless and ‘helpless’ the person doing it is. By shrugging it off, victims are only saying to people that’s it’s ‘ok’ and gives the opportunity for more.

    Thanks for the tip on the homeless Native American transvestite, I’ll have to watch out for that one…

    And thank you, Erin. Everyone else: Please refrain from threatening to slit each other’s throats, no matter what size you may be.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on June 13 at 11:00 AM


    ‘From Solferino to Guantanamo’ at City Hall Lobby Gallery

    For about 145 years, the world has had both the medium of photography and the service of the Red Cross. Now there’s a traveling exhibition that documents both, and it’s making a stop at Seattle City Hall. There are more than 80 images, taken during wartime, shot mainly by anonymous photographers, and with captions instead of titles. Together, they form a portrait of war since the dawn of photography. (City Hall Gallery, 600 Fourth Ave, 684-7171. Gallery open 7 am-6 pm, free. Reception on June 17 6 pm..) JEN GRAVES

    Hulk Smash Puny Slog, Part 2

    posted by on June 13 at 11:00 AM

    Hulk Fact!

    Did you know that one of the Hulk’s deadliest foes is named The Bi-Beast? It’s true!


    According to The Immortal Thor fansite, the Bi-Beast is a citizen of the “City of the Bird-People,” and that the very sad Bi-Beast doesn’t have any relatives, but

    the Bi-Beasts two heads, each possessing a separate intellect, address each other as “skull brother

    It’s unknown if the Bi-Beast will still have two heads when he gets out of college.


    posted by on June 13 at 10:54 AM

    Heartwarming story of the day:

    Katherine recalls coming out to her parents as they prepared for a picnic by the pool at their home in the Berkshires. It was July 3, 2007 at around 2:30 p.m., she says. […]

    Katherine had already come out to her friends, her sister Sarah and a maternal aunt with whom she is close, Lynn Prime. She says she waited for an opportunity to come out to both parents at the same time - a difficult task given their busy lives - so as not to make either of them feel that she was more comfortable with one parent over the other. So when the moment came, she just decided to go for it. Walking into the kitchen, she asked her parents to stop what they were doing and she asked her aunt Lynn to leave the room because she wanted to talk with her mother and father alone. Her parents turned to her and she said, “I’m a lesbian.”

    “And I’ll always remember the first thing my dad did was, [he] wrapped me in a bear hug and said, ’Well, we love you no matter what,’” Katherine recalls. Diane Patrick moved in for a group hug. After a moment, Katherine, in what she describes as typical teen behavior, asked her hovering parents to step off. “I said, ’Okay, okay,’” she laughs. “I was like … ’Okay, thanks.’”

    Diane Patrick received the news with a mixture of happiness and relief. She says that after Katherine had asked her aunt to leave the room because she needed to talk with her parents, she had no idea what her daughter was going to say. “I often think the worst when I get that kind of build-up. And so I was thinking, ’Oh my goodness, she failed something or she did something really bad’ - not that she has a habit of doing those things - but I worried.” When her daughter made the big reveal, Diane almost burst out laughing out of sheer relief.

    What makes this more than just a sweet coming-out story? The dad and mom are the governor and First Lady of Massachusetts.

    That’s Too Bad

    posted by on June 13 at 10:49 AM

    Did you know the word “bad” was originally homophobic?

    So surmises the Oxford English Dictionary (you need only a Seattle Public Library card to log in here):

    [ME. badde appears in end of 13th c., rare till end of 14th: see below. Regularly compared badder, baddest, from 14th to 18th c. (in De Foe 1721), though Shakespeare has only the modern substitutes worse, worst, taken over from evil, ill, after bad came to be = evil.

    Prof. Zupitza, with great probability, sees in bad-de (2 syll.) the ME. repr. of OE. bæddel ‘homo utriusque generis, hermaphrodita,’ doubtless like Gr. [pronounced something like androgynos, but I can’t figure out how to copy the Greek here—AKW], and the derivative bædling ‘effeminate fellow, womanish man, [Greek word, pronounced malakos—AKW],’ applied contemptuously; assuming a later adjectival use, as in yrming, wrecca, and loss of final l as in mycel, muche, lytel, lyte, wencel, wench(e. This perfectly suits the ME. form and sense, and accounts satisfactorily for the want of early written examples. And it is free from the many historical and phonetic difficulties of the derivation proposed by Sarrazin (Engl. Studien VI. 91, VIII. 66), who, comparing the etymology of madde, mad, earlier amad […], would refer badde to OE. [untranscribable Old English—AKW], ‘forced, oppressed,’ with a sense-development parallel to that of L. captvus, ‘taken by force, enslaved, captive,’ It. cattivo, F. chetif, ‘miserable, wretched, despicable, worthless.’ No other suggestion yet offered is of any importance; the Celtic words sometimes compared are out of the question.]

    I guess we shouldn’t expect the pejorative “gay” to go out of style any time soon.

    Via the Volokh Conspiracy.

    Fuck This, I’m Out

    posted by on June 13 at 10:48 AM

    I’ve had enough. When I agreed to my stint as a guest blogger here, it sounded like fun, as well as a good way to gain exposure for my own blog. Well, I was right on one count, at least.

    A couple days before I started writing here I commenced jotting down a list of potential topics: things I like, things I’m excited about, things I thought should be shared with a larger audience than the regular readers of Who Did What To Who. That list sits across the room from me, untouched for days. I no longer want to share these things here, though I know them to be perfectly serviceable topics. I am aware that what I have contributed here so far has been enjoyed by quite a few people, and I thank you for reading. But I have no desire to contribute here any longer. I am taking my ball and going home.

    I was warned beforehand that some of the commenters on Slog could be mean. That was an understatement. The word I would use is cruel. Luckily, I have a strong enough sense of self that I do not take the insults hurled at me to heart. In a way, I am glad that I was chosen to be the first guest Slogger. It could have been a far less stable person in my position, someone less able to separate the internet from real life. Or, God forbid, someone more prone to acts of violence towards themselves or others. That may sound melodramatic, but we do live in a world where bullying, both electronic and otherwise, has led fragile people to commit truly terrible acts.

    When I say that there are cruel commenters here, I do not want that to be taken as a blanket statement. There are also thoughtful, witty, and interesting things being said. But here the good is overshadowed by the bad. As is the case in most forums with little to no regulation, the worst voices are the loudest. And then, rather than being discouraged (or banned, as they should be), these people are rewarded with more attention: Freaky Friday Slogging privileges, etc.

    No matter what I post here, it will be ripped to shreds, whether by the grammar police (I dare you to find me something more boring than someone correcting another person’s grammar), the pearl-clutching grannies who take umbrage with my use of profanity, or those with a general distaste for what and how I write. That’s not what bothers me (I just find it intensely dull). What bothers me is that I woke up these last few mornings perfectly happy… until I remembered that I had to write something for Slog and the dread set in. I found myself unwilling to send in my best material, wishing instead to post it on my own blog where it remains mine, unsullied by comment threads that are at turns spiteful and boring. So, haters, rejoice. You have successfully defended your sad little fiefdom. Comte, I believe you called the date of my departure. Congratulations.

    Mr. Poe, Jubilation T. Cornball, I want to address the two of you directly, as much as I hate to give you the attention you so clearly feed on. You hate me? Fine. I literally could not care less how you feel about me. But I need to say this: How can you possibly think that it is acceptable adult behavior in any venue to tell a stranger you know next to nothing about that they should kill themselves? That doesn’t make you look smart, interesting, or witty. It only makes you look like small, awful, miserable people. And fuck you for putting me in a position where I had to tell my mother, who was so excited that I would be doing this, that she was not, under any circumstances, to read the comments because I did not want her to know that anyone was treating daughter that way. Fuck you both.

    So this is it for me. For anyone who cares to read, I’ll be back at Who Did What To Who*, where I can actually enjoy myself. Thank you, Amy Kate Horn and Dan Savage, for giving me this opportunity. It hasn’t been all bad, just bad enough that I don’t see any real reason to continue here. And for what it’s worth, please consider switching to a commenter registration system, or at least more regulation. I cannot imagine how many readers are silenced because your comments are overrun with vicious bullies, tearing apart anyone they don’t agree with.

    * For the record, I am perfectly aware that the phrase “who did what to who” is grammatically incorrect. It is a Southern turn of phrase (as in, “She came in here lookin’ like who did what to who”), and I like the sound of it.

    Re: Media Sexism, Ctd.

    posted by on June 13 at 10:45 AM

    So the news media doesn’t think the news media is sexist. What else is new? (Next week: Fox News declares Fox News fair and balanced!) Meanwhile, here’s the photo the New York Times used in its story acquitting the media, including the New York Times, of focusing on cackles and cleavage.


    Hulk Smash Puny Slog

    posted by on June 13 at 10:44 AM

    Hulk Fact!

    Did you know that the Hulk’s alter ego, Bruce Banner, was nearly raped in a YMCA shower in a 1980s comic book? It’s true:



    For more information, see Cracked.

    Did We Say That?

    posted by on June 13 at 10:21 AM

    Barack Obama has heard all the blog snark about his bike-riding gear, and seems a little hurt.

    He admitted to being wounded from some critiques of his bike-riding outfit, which included sneakers, jeans and a tucked-in polo shirt.

    “Now, obviously the rest of my apparel was apparently not up to snuff, because I got a hard time from all sorts of blogs,” he said, “Who said I looked like Urkel.

    Media Sexism, Cont.

    posted by on June 13 at 10:15 AM

    Today the debate over sexism in political coverage hits the front page of the New York Times, where the paper of record finds relatively little support in the elite media world for the idea that Hillary Clinton was a victim of overwhelming media misogyny.

    Angered by what they consider sexist news coverage of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, many women and erstwhile Clinton supporters are proposing boycotts of the cable networks, putting up videos on a “Media Hall of Shame,” starting a national conversation about sexism and pushing Mrs. Clinton’s rival, Senator Barack Obama, to address the matter.

    But many in the news media — with a few exceptions, including Katie Couric, the anchor of the “CBS Evening News” — see little need for reconsidering their coverage or changing their approach going forward. Rather, they say, as the Clinton campaign fell behind, it exploited a few glaring examples of sexist coverage to whip up a backlash and to try to create momentum for Mrs. Clinton.

    Phil Griffin, senior vice president of NBC News and the executive in charge of MSNBC, a particular target of criticism, said that although a few mistakes had been made, that they had been corrected quickly and that the network’s overall coverage was fair.

    “I get it, that in this 24-hour media world, you’ve got to be on your game and there’s very little room for mistakes,” Mr. Griffin said. “But the Clinton campaign saw an opportunity to use it for their advantage. They were trying to rally a certain demographic, and women were behind it.”

    I’ll leave it to others to choose sides in this—ready, set, comment!—but here’s something from the article that I found interesting on a slightly different level. The article notes that much of the criticized coverage was on cable television and in blogs, and then goes on to place those two forces in the context of their audiences:

    The cable networks do not reach as many viewers as the broadcast networks — 2.6 million per night for prime-time news programs on cable compared with 23 million for broadcast — but their coverage runs in a continuous loop, is amplified by the Internet and is seen by many people involved in politics.

    “Largely, the problem was on cable and in the blogosphere and on the Internet, and that’s a relatively small audience,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. “But while it was limited, it was limited to influential people.”

    It’s easy to forget, and humbling to remember, that the blogosphere-cable axis of political outrage does not have infinite reach, and is instead a self-contained and self-selected world of people who read blogs, watch cable, and actually care about what’s being said in those realms. (A world that, if studies of political junkies and blog obsessives can be believed, is largely male.)

    That said, as Jamieson of the Public Policy Center notes, the people in this axis of outrage do tend to either be important opinion leaders or, more often, people under the delusion that their opinions matter—which results, in either case, in a kind of cultural chatter that leaks far beyond the realm of blog addicts and cable junkies.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on June 13 at 10:12 AM


    There’s an open mic night and two other options for your reading pleasure this evening.

    At the Hugo House, Deborah Lawrence reads from Dee Dee Does Utopia. If I understand the premise correctly, Ms. Lawrence sent out a group e-mail to her friends to describe utopia. Then she created collages depicting the utopias that her friends described. Ms. Lawrence is local, which means that she has read or will be reading at just about every venue in the city.

    And up at Third Place Books, we have Karin Bauer, the editor of a book called Everybody Talks About the Weather…We Don’t. It’s a collection of writings by Ulrike Meinhof, a German journalist who became a terrorist. The book has a foreword by Nobel Literature Laureate Elfriede Jelinek and an afterward by Meinhof’s daughter, who tries to tear her mother down and de-accentuate the writing. Should be fun.

    Also, as Mr. Poe pointed out yesterday, Andre Dubus II reads at Town Hall Seattle on the 26th and you should buy your tickets beforehand, because it’ll probably at least come close to selling out. Tickets can be bought at Elliott Bay Book Company.

    Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, can be found over here.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on June 13 at 10:00 AM

    Gregory Blackstock’s Attitude Annie’s, San Diego County Fair (1993), photograph, 6 by 4 inches

    At Garde Rail Gallery. (Gallery site here.)

    *Blackstock was at the opening of this show last week (his first photography show?), and he was wearing his own designs on his back—in a shirt adapted from his art made by Comme des Garcons. As someone remarked to me later, “The shirt costs more than the art.” Still, it was a great look on him.

    The Morning News

    posted by on June 13 at 8:00 AM

    Up: Inflation in May, at the fastest pace in six months.

    At an Impasse: Talks with Iraq about America’s long-term presence in the country.

    Submerged: “The city that would never flood”—also known as Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

    Possibly Voting for Obama: Former secretary of state Colin Powell.

    Not Sexist: Media coverage of Hillary Clinton, according to media bigwigs.

    Just When You Think Fox News Can’t Get Any Crazier: They go and hire Mike Huckabee as a commentator.

    Court-Ordered Smut Viewing: Jurors in the R. Kelly child pornography trial take videotape evidence into deliberations.

    Dumped: Yahoo says see ya’ to Microsoft, partners with Google.

    Contributions: After killing a gambling compact in 2005, Governor Gregoire is now rolling in tribal casino dough.

    You Gotta Pay the President Somehow: Tuition at the University of Washington will be up by 7% next fall.

    Squabbles: A woman goes to George & Dragon Pub, is annoyed by cigarette smoke coming in from the deck. A bitter email exchange ensues.

    Finally…G.I. Joe Air Force!

    Required Viewing

    posted by on June 13 at 7:48 AM

    Keith Olbermann on John McCain’s recent comments on Iraq…

    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    Conservatives: Secretly Satanic? Confirmed!

    posted by on June 12 at 6:46 PM

    As Grant Cogswell pointed out in his feature piece last week, there once was a man called Anton LaVey, and Anton LaVey, whilst he lived, tried really, really hard to be The Evilest Man Who Ever Was. Mostly he was just bald and vaguely douche-bag-ish: Like a martini-sipping Fu-Manchu in a priest suit who looked like he had to crap a walrus. But still. He tried really, really hard.

    Indeed, Anton wanted to be evil, seriously evil, so he did the only evil thing an evil person in his evil position could do: He poured himself a stiff drink, sat down, and thought really really hard about, well, evil.

    He searched through humanity’s various sordid histories and religious myths, he delved into Darwin and dived into Disraeli, he porked a few hookers, had a few more drinks, grew a spooky goatee, and squeezed the putrid juices from the ugly guts of the very nastiest of human nature. And when he was done, he shaved his head, founded the Church of Satan, and wrote a few pro-sex, pseudo-fascist books that still give a dark and stupid sense of purpose to confused and alienated teenage assholes to this very day. He became the real and fer-true Apologist for the Devil—-the one true expert on all things truly wretched.

    His conclusions and the crux of his Satanic philosophy ran thusly: We humans are, in every sense, rotten, rude, paranoid, and less than fresh. People are wicked and untrustworthy animals. All so-called “virtues” and “good deeds” are self-delusive ego-kicks, hip, hip, hooray. That’s the whole thing in a devilicious nutshell. And as you might have guessed, Uncle Anton was something of a fascist turd, who drank a bit, probably cried a lot on Christmas, and went around saying cra-zazy crap all the time, like:

    “Man is a selfish creature. Everything in life is a a selfish act,”


    “There can be no more myth of “equality” for all—it only translates to “mediocrity” and supports the weak at the expense of the strong.”

    Anyway—-and trust me that this all does tie-in loosely in the end somehow I hope—-we now turn the “Colbert Report”. Yes, I said “Colbert Report”. Specifically, a recent interview with a man calling himself George Will. And as scripture or whatever tells us, “By their ‘Colbert Report’ appearance, ye shall know them.” Or something. (I’m a Unitarian this week, so I can hardly be sure of anything at this point.)

    Now, I’ve never fucking heard of this “George Will”, but my good friend Wikipedia told me that he’s a “Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative”, which in a sane world would be a firm contradiction in terms. He is a renowned conservative columnist and pundit apparently, also. Below, Steven Colbert calls him, “one of the ‘intellectual giants of conservatism’”—which is definitely a contradiction in terms. But what he really is, as you will see below, is the toupee-ed, shiny-shoe-ed Public Relations Manager of Satan—Old Skool, Anton LaVey-style, word, yo. As I’ve said before and shall surely say again, behold:

    That’s right. Straight from the horsey mouth of the “leading pundit of conservatism in the nation”: The difference between conservatives and liberals is that liberals are fools who believe in the goodness of human nature and the basic equality of all people. Like in the, uh, Declaration of Independence and junk. (And, if you’ll pardon the expression, “The Bible”.) They believe misguidedly that “something straight” can be made out of the “crooked timber” that is humanity. Man is clearly rotten and selfish by design. There can be no myth of equality…um….it only translates to “mediocrity”, and…uh…Satan? Is that you? It’s me, George Will.

    Now, we turn briefly again to Old Uncle Anton. In his collection of essays, “The Devil’s Notebook”, he expounds tiresomely upon the alleged historical necessity of The Villain as a catalyst to progress and human evolution, and he notes that:

    “If Hitler had not singled out the Jews…the Nation of Israel might never have been realized.”

    Hmm. Interesting theory: If you are trying hard to be a complete asswipe—-which Anton totally was—-and/or you have devoted your life to Satan—-which he totally did. And/or you are a right-wing Republican Christian, like John Hagee, the popular Evangelist and close friend and supporter of young John McCain apparently. As Dan noted the other day, John Hagee recently said this about the Holocaust, and, um, deja vu?:

    “How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.”

    So then. In other words, “If Hitler had not singled out the Jews…the Nation of Israel might never have been realized…and, well…again…uh…


    Indeed. And I wonder. Would it surprise the leading prophets and liars of American conservatism like Mr. Will and Reverend Hagee how very often and totally that they agree and have so very much in common with the founder of the Church of Satan—-a man who, for irony and, you heard me, rank profit—-did his damnedest to exemplify the most vile and wretched leanings of the human situation? A man whose greatest goal in life was to be a total social Darwinist bastard?

    I do not, however, wonder if it would have surprised Anton LaVey. No, sir. Because it really wouldn’t have. Anton LaVey totally had those evil bitch’s number. Numbers. Whatever.


    Hail Satan!*


    (*I am a Unitarian, dammit! Do you hear me?! Unitarian!)

    Is a Photo of a Baby with a Penis Growing out of Its Back “Safe for Work”?

    posted by on June 12 at 5:45 PM


    You have until 9:00 am tomorrow to discuss (safely).

    Full story of the amazing Chinese wangback here.

    Last Chance to See Stuck on the Mainland!

    posted by on June 12 at 4:51 PM

    The whack based-on-a-true-story horror/comedy freakshow Stuck has its last shows at the Varsity tonight. (It moves to the Admiral tomorrow.) See movie times for details.

    I really liked it.


    Winning the War on Wireless

    posted by on June 12 at 4:48 PM

    Posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    In my news article this week, I reported that all attempts at providing free municipal WiFi across the country had ended in miserable failure. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle this morning, I may have spoken too soon.

    The article says that the city is linking up residents with the help of Meraki, a small company that set up routers around the city in order to get its name out in the open.

    In Seattle, we’ve got Seattle Wireless, a movement whose participants, like Matt Towers, set up nodes in their neighborhoods out of the kindness of their hearts. The result is a mesh network spanning the city that’s got potential, but for the time being is full of holes and, for those who can pick up the signal on their laptops, provides service that’s unreliable at best.

    Matt Westervelt, one of the founders of Seattle Wireless, told me that the incentives for setting up a grassroots-based free WiFi network in Seattle amount to a feeling of “public good will” and a personal interest in doing the work. In San Francisco, project developers found a way to couple that with the entrepreneurial spirit, and now “144,000 residents will be surfing the Web for free by the end of the year at no cost to the city.”

    On top of that,

    The mayor’s office is working to ensure that SRO hotels and public housing projects are some of the first to receive the devices because residents there typically don’t have Internet access. Five public housing projects now have the technology, and 13 more are expected to have it by the end of the year, Newsom said.

    The work that folks like Westervelt and Towers are doing in the city is great, but they can’t do it on their own. In San Francisco, it looks like some initiative on the part of the city in fostering a healthy business relationship with a start-up company (read: not Earthlink) was the key to getting something substantial to happen.

    King County Files Hate Crime Charges Against Man Who Assaulted Blind Woman on Bus

    posted by on June 12 at 4:27 PM

    The King County Prosecutor’s office has filed malicious harassment charges against a man who attacked a blind woman on a Metro bus. Last month, David Schmader wrote about the incident in Last Days and on Slog:

    SUNDAY, MAY 18 The week ends with an extraordinary tale of “religion gone bad and valiant community spirit” from that inexhaustible forum for freakery known as King County Metro, reported by heroic Hot Tipper Oscar. “I was riding the 18 headed downtown, when out of the corner of my eye I saw some movement. When I turned to look, I saw a man repeatedly hitting a blind woman seated at the front of the bus. An older gentleman seated next to the woman jumped up and tried to intervene, but a quick punch to the head knocked him back down into his seat. Once I realized that what I was seeing was real, I rushed the assailant and grabbed him by the arms while he yelled at me to ‘keep out of this. You got no idea what’s really happening here’ and the woman cowered and covered her head. He kept screaming about ‘being filled with the power of God’ and threatening to kill me for stopping him from doing God’s work. Three other passengers helped me hold him while another rider called 911. Another passenger was assisting the assaulted woman, who’d been hit so hard she was bleeding. The police arrived and apprehended the attacker, then took all of our names. While one young lady was telling her story, I heard her say that when the assailant got on the bus he saw the blind woman and said, ‘God says all sick people must die,’ then started hitting her. [Confidential to the psychotic assailant: Blind people aren’t sick, and all people must die. Back to Oscar:] The assaulted woman was checked by paramedics and declared physically okay, except for scratches and bruising, then got a ride home from a fire marshal. Thanks to all my fellow Metro riders who pitched in and stood up for someone unable to defend herself.”

    According to court records, Nguy Lamont Hughs, 34, got on the bus, turned to the blind woman and said “the sick must die.” Records say Hughs “savagely beat” the woman, punching her 6-8 times.

    A man sitting next to the woman stood up and said, “You don’t hit a blind woman,” to which Hughs responded, “God told me to kill her, don’t get in my way or I’ll have to punish you.”

    The man then started punching Hughs, and other passengers helped restrain him until police arrived. The entire incident was captured on video.

    Court records indicate Hughs has been arrested four times since July 2007—for theft, criminal trespass, property destruction and assault—but has not been charged.

    Hughs is undergoing psychiatric evaluation at Western State Hospital.

    I’m So All Over This

    posted by on June 12 at 4:18 PM

    According to the Huffington Post, Bill O’Reilly has a memoir coming out this fall. It’s title is A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity. I will totally review the fuck out of this book.


    Coming Soon to the National Press Club

    posted by on June 12 at 4:17 PM

    A guy who claims to have blown Barack Obama in the back of his limo after watching Obama do crack. In 1999.

    The guy who’s making this claim failed a polygraph intended to test the claim’s authenticity. He also has been wanted on theft and forgery charges. And yet the National Press Club in D.C. is apparently planning to host him on June 18.

    FireDogLake has a petition demanding the event be halted.

    Who’s Ashamed To Be a Republican?

    posted by on June 12 at 3:52 PM

    Dino Rossi.

    Hey Sex and the City Fans

    posted by on June 12 at 3:00 PM

    Specifically, hey you thousands of people who have seen the Sex and the City movie and then have bugged booksellers: The book that Carrie reads in the movie doesn’t exist.

    Rarely have I wanted to use the atrocious word “sheeple” so badly.

    Microsoft, I Think It’s Time We Had a Talk.

    posted by on June 12 at 2:39 PM

    As none of you may remember, my Xbox 360 up and died a few months ago.


    I shipped off my console and, after a few long weeks, got another big white box in the mail. Of course, my new xbox was terminally ill and it wasn’t long before it started grinding, freezing and doing other generally unpleasant things.

    Again, I called Microsoft and requested another replacement. MS told me they’d try to send me a console with an HDMI connection and instructed me to send back the console AND the hefty power brick. Done and done.

    Two weeks later—that’s today—my new console arrives…with no motherfucking power brick. I call customer support and they tell me it’s going to take a week to get me another power supply. A fucking week. Awesome. They say they’re going to try to ship one sooner than that, but I’m not holding my breath. Grand Theft Auto isn’t going to play itself.

    Microsoft, we need to talk.

    I just don’t think things are working out between us anymore. We’ve grown apart. We’re too different. You’re a giant company who likes to break my heart every few months, and I’m a busy, casual gamer who’s sick of being hurt by you.

    Your sleek, sexy console can be a heck of a lot of fun sometimes, but it’s just not what I’m looking for. It’s loud and it regularly passes out right as we’re about to get busy.

    Right now, 100% of the Stranger’s editorial staff has broken Xboxes. Brad—whose machine went to shit last week—has purchased a PS3 and says it’s been very good to him. I’m seriously thinking about making the move.


    I think it’s over between us, Microsoft.

    Sorry about the herpes.


    Addendum: Please Do Not Vote For Cynthia McKinney

    posted by on June 12 at 2:15 PM

    Not to harp on this, but my suggestion a couple of days ago that you should take your protest vote against wrongheaded patriarchy aficionado Barack Obama and cast it for Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney… that was satire. I don’t really feel comfortable advocating for anyone to cast their vote any particular way, but I especially don’t feel comfortable at the idea that someone would cast it for a congresswoman who sponsored a bill to get to the bottom of The Conspiracy Against Tupac Shakur.

    Why even bother mentioning this? Well, here are the co-chairs of the University of Iowa Students for Hillary, proving once again that Slog jokes are no match for the depressing realities of other people:

    Nikki and I have decided that now is a good time to get this overwith. Barring a DREAM TICKET scenario or a scenario in which HILLARY WINS THE NOMINATION, which we see as unlikely at this time, we endorse John McCain for President.

    This was a VERY tough decision, those of you that know me know I am extremely passionate about our party. I feel that it has moved away from me. We will not campaign for John McCain, but we will vote for him, and urge others to do the same.

    For those of you who just can’t stomach McCain, we suggest you look into Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party candidate. She is an African American woman from Georgia and is a former member of the House.

    This is but three paragraphs of a Unabomber-chic manifesto of supposed wrongs against Senator Clinton, often emphasizing important POINTS with CAPS TO MAKE SURE you can read them. For what it’s worth, the head of the University of Iowa Democrats has since denounced and rejected the two authors of the press release.

    All’s Well That Ends Totally Fucked Up

    posted by on June 12 at 2:12 PM

    My review of Seattle Shakespeare Co.’s All’s Well That Ends Well didn’t fit into the print edition this week, but it’s online now.

    I ask you: Has there ever been a more disingenuous marketing campaign in Seattle theater history? (Or a more ill-fitting dress?)


    Romantic comedy? Really? “Love’s healing begins in our own hearts”? Really? Way to make me positive the director hasn’t a clue what the play is even about. It reminds me of people who read the stalkerish Sonnet 116 (“Love is not love / Which alters when it alteration finds, / Or bends with the remover to remove”—shudder!) at their weddings, just because the word “marriage” appears in it. But the production is worth seeing in spite of itself:

    … [Y]ou’ll forget all of this soon enough, because the cast is strong, the comedy is undisguised, and the self-hatred and terror at the play’s center busts right through its cheerful packaging. Sarah Hartlett is perhaps an unlikely choice to play Helena, the lovesick fool who throws herself at a lover (Connor Toms, just okay) with full knowledge of his contempt. She’s a bit too old for such mooning, and her huge, goofy smile—much prized in children’s theater productions—disposes us to suspect Helena’s more tender moments. At the same time, though, Hartlett’s reckless energy powers through the fairy story–inspired illogic, making Helena’s bed-trick schemes seem like loads of fun, even when they’re not quite plausible.

    Times and info at our theater search.

    It’s Going to be a Maaaaadhouse!

    posted by on June 12 at 2:11 PM

    The University Book Store has just announced that they’re going to host Scott McClellan at Town Hall on Monday the 23rd at7:30 pm. McClellan will read from and sign What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.

    Tickets are $5 at Brown Paper Tickets. Further information can be found by calling the U Book Store at 634-3400.

    Pinball and Clowns

    posted by on June 12 at 2:05 PM


    See you at 6. Don’t forget quarters.
    UPDATE: Shorty’s is cash-only.

    Keith Olbermann: Claims of Sexism “Nonsense”

    posted by on June 12 at 2:04 PM

    Katie Couric calls the media on its sexist coverage of Hillary Clinton’s campaign—and Keith Olbermann (again) dubs Couric the “worst person in the world” for pointing out that sexism exists.

    Attention Capitol Hill Parker

    posted by on June 12 at 2:00 PM


    It’s now Day 3 of The Aural Seige of The Stranger Offices (and surrounding environs) thanks to your trigger happy car alarm.

    We didn’t leave these notes, but we do concur with the sentiment—minus the threat of damage, of course.



    Also: Why are we not surprised at the mess you’ve made of your interior vehicular life?


    Please, make it stop.

    Are You Ready For Some Pinball?

    posted by on June 12 at 1:44 PM

    To get everyone in the mood for tonight’s Slog Happy at pinball bar Shorty’s, here’s video of other people playing pinball last week at the NW Pinball Show. And Steve Wiebe.

    Thanks to Kelly O for filming and posting this.


    First Time Outside the House? The P-I Has You Covered.

    posted by on June 12 at 1:37 PM

    Following up on Tuesday’s fascinating tutorial on how to ride the bus (bad news, kids—”the bus doesn’t take credit cards”! And it’s “not going to be exactly like a car”!) the P-I’s Big Blog tells people taking their first tentative steps into those “foreign”-seeming farmers’ markets how to deal with, among other things, “sensory overload,” planning meals, and learning to—no shit—“tell an onion from a radish.”

    For reference, Onion:




    Next week on the Big Blog: Walking— For Dummies!

    Winning the War on Drugs

    posted by on June 12 at 1:28 PM

    In the name of marijuana possession.

    A drug bust at a Kansas City home on Wednesday ended with a dog being shot to death. Officers said they found marijuana in the home at 58th Street and Highland Avenue. Police said a dog approached an officer and was acting violent, so the officer shot it.

    In the name of unsubstantiated rumors.

    Police say a Fort Lauderdale-area officer helping conduct a drug raid shot and killed a man who confronted him. Pembroke Pines police did not release the dead man’s identity. He was described as in his 40s. A police special response team went to the house after neighbors complained about drug activity there.

    Cynthia McKinney In Town Tonight to Talk About Police Misconduct

    posted by on June 12 at 1:20 PM

    The Seattle NAACP is holding a meeting on police accountability tonight at the Rainier Beach Community Center and former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney will be in attendance to talk about cops and—maybe—9/11 conspiracies and her run for president as the Green Party candidate.


    The meeting starts at 7pm.

    Maybe It Is Our Fault After All

    posted by on June 12 at 1:19 PM

    Will someone please ask Rev. Hagee if God sent the storm that killed those four boy scouts—and flooded huge parts of the state of Iowa—to stop gay pride events that had been scheduled to take place this weekend in Iowa’s capitol?

    After Katrina, of course, Hagee pointed out that a scheduled gay event…

    …never happened. The rally never happened.

    And he believes that God sent Katrina specifically stop that gay rally from happening. So what if God wound up drowning all those little old ladies in New Orleans’ 9th Ward—no biggie. Hagee’s God is, as ever, an angry, jealous God… and a lousy shot. The same God that drowned all those little old ladies—and left New Orleans gay bar district untouched—wouldn’t think twice about whipping up some storms to stop Des Moines’ gay pride parade, even it meant offing a few innocent Boy Scouts on the other side of the state.

    The Internet Is Eating Our Brains

    posted by on June 12 at 1:15 PM

    My friend sent me this link, asking, “Is it ironic that I just skimmed this?”

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on June 12 at 1:00 PM


    anthonymuzzarelli.jpg The mother of a 13-year-old boy claims her son suffers from permanent emotional injuries after having been sexually abused by his youth pastor, according to a lawsuit filed June 4 in Madison County Circuit Court.

    Jane Doe claims Anthony Muzzarelli was a youth pastor at Mt. Zion General Baptist Church in Granite City and worked directly with her son. The child had been invited him to Muzzarelli’s home as part of the ministry, the lawsuit claims. Doe claims her son was sleeping at Muzzarelli’s home on Feb. 25, 2006, and was awakened when Muzzarelli allegedly started to fondle him….

    Doe claims Mt. Zion knew or should have known facts which would have caused suspicions of abuse, including various inappropriate encounters on church grounds and at Muzzarelli’s home. Doe claims some encounters were witnessed by various administrators of the church.


    brianlane.jpg The preschool teacher accused last week of fondling a 4-year-old student during nap time is back behind bars facing a more serious charge. Brian Michael Lane is now charged with capital sexual battery, accused of raping a 10-year-old boy several times between January and March….

    In addition to being a preschool teacher, Lane has been a member of Bayonet Point Christian Church on State Road 52 for years and for the past two he has been a music pastor. Joey Durmire, church pastor, said Tuesday that Lane led the choir during every Sunday service. He worked with children, Durmire said, but the church has a policy that no child can be left alone with a single adult.

    “Honestly, we’re shocked and our hearts are saddened,” he said. “We’re just as duped as anyone else.”


    Northeast Houston Baptist Church announced June 11 the immediate termination of the director of youth ministry for what the church is calling “inappropriate conduct with a minor.”

    Pastor Nathan Lino made the announcement at the church’s Wednesday night service…. The youth minister has been employed with the church for 30 months and is one of five ministers at the church.

    “This morning, while at an annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis at 7 a.m. Eastern time, I received a phone call from the parent of the minor,” Lino said. “I was sent over 50 hand-written pages of correspondence between Wesley Orton and the minor. The board of trustees reviewed the documentation prior to my decision to terminate.”

    Does Your Father Actually Read?

    posted by on June 12 at 1:00 PM

    Everyone in my family gets books from me for their birthdays and Christmas. It used to be because I had a pretty big discount as a bookseller, and I also, as a bookseller, made very little money. But now I figure that they are sometimes the only books that members of my family read in the course of a year, even if they’re just trying to be polite.

    My Dad’s always the toughest when it comes to books. He won’t read fiction (“Why would I want to read something that’s made up?”) and so I usually send him a picture book about baseball. This year, for Father’s Day, I went to Bailey/Coy and shipped a copy of Obama’s memoir, Dreams of my Father, to my dad. I did this because a few years ago he got cable and started watching Fox News and I’m, quite frankly, sick of hearing him talk about politics. I’ll tell him that if he wants to talk politics with me, he’ll have to read this book first. Plus, I figure my mom—who jumped on the Obama train a while back—will read it.

    I don’t usually do this, but it sounds too neat to pass up—if you’re still looking for something for a gift for Father’s Day, Powell’s has a new subscription club. Every six weeks, they ship subscribers a couple new hardcover novels (primarily from independent presses) that the staff recommends. Also, they throw DVDs and CDs and/or chocolate in there, too, to keep things interesting.

    Closer to home, Elliott Bay Book Company has something called Maiden Voyage, where subscribers get a different first-edition novel by a first-time novelist in the mail, six times a year.

    If you’re lucky enough to have dad who reads fiction, maybe you should think about signing him up for one of these. If you have a dad who vomits Bill O’Reilly all over you, maybe you should think about Dreams of my Father.

    The Capitol Hill Lice Epidemic That Wasn’t

    posted by on June 12 at 12:45 PM


    This just in from Slog tipper Linda:

    Don’t know if any of you in the Stranger office noticed this, but as of last night, there were a few posters on poles on Pine Street (specifically near the Bellevue intersection near Bauhaus) with impressive looking “official” warnings from the Seattle Public Health Department about a “Code Orange” LICE EPIDEMIC in Seattle!!! I saw these as I walked down the Hill after SIFF, and they are still there this morning (I work a couple blocks from there). My coworkers and I found this notice alarming enough that I went to the city and county websites looking for official notices about this scratchy epidemic. Were club kids giving each other lice? SIFF-ers sitting too close to each other in darkened theaters for three weeks? Finding no info, I wrote to the county website, and got this prompt response.
    Dear Linda,

    Thanks for your inquiry. We are not aware of a lice epidemic in Seattle, nor has Public Health - Seattle & King County put up any flyers about a “Code Orange” lice epidemic. In fact we don’t have a color coded alert system at all for communicable diseases!


    Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, MD MPH
    Medical Epidemiologist, Public Health Seattle King County

    Even though it turns out to be not true, you have to admit it is a unique thing to see posted on Capitol Hill. I wonder who put them up?

    Dear Linda: Thank you for noticing and investigating and sharing. As for your question about who’s responsible, my only guess is someone hilarious.

    The Seattle Times Editorial Board: Pointless

    posted by on June 12 at 12:39 PM

    The heartless suburbanites on the Times’ editorial board argue today that Tent City—a roving homeless encampment that’s currently in Bellevue—is both “tiresome” and “pointless.”

    This is not New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. That was a public emergency, and there is no public emergency here.

    There are always people with private emergencies, and we help them with shelter beds.

    We don’t need to use tents — and nobody thought of it until some political activists at SHARE/WHEEL devised Tent City eight years ago.

    Are you fucking kidding me? If homelessness isn’t a public emergency, I don’t know what is. And if “we” had enough shelter beds to help those people whose emergencies the Times deems merely “private,” we wouldn’t need things like Tent City in the first place.

    Fortunately, the Times defeats its own argument in the very next paragraph.

    The point of it is politics. It is to have homelessness in the face of well-housed people to make them feel guilty.

    I would edit that last sentence: The point of Tent City is to have homelessness in the face of well-housed people to remind them that not everyone is as lucky as they are, and that society has an obligation to help its least fortunate members.

    And, in that regard, it’s working.

    UPDATE: Well, duh. Now it makes sense: the Times’ editorial page editor, Jim Vesely, lives on Mercer Islandwhere Tent City is scheduled to move in August.

    Obama Polling Well With Klansmen

    posted by on June 12 at 12:34 PM

    The Hatewatch blog has a piece up about the latest group of Obama converts: white supremacists.

    With the nomination of Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate clinched, large sections of the white supremacist movement are adopting a surprising attitude: Electing America’s first black president would be a very good thing.

    It’s not that the assortment of neo-Nazis, Klansmen, anti-Semites and others who make up this country’s radical right have suddenly discovered that a man should be judged based on the content of his character, not his skin. On the contrary. A growing number of white supremacists, and even some of those who pass for intellectual leaders of their movement, think that a black man in the Oval Office would shock white America, possibly drive millions to their cause, and perhaps even set off a race war that, they hope, would ultimately end in Aryan victory.

    “He will make things so bad for white people that hopefully they will finally realize how stupid they were for admiring these jigaboos all these years,” “Darthvader” wrote on the neo-Nazi Vanguard News Network web forum.

    For the full article, which includes quotes from David Duke and more redneck,Charles Manson-esque ramblings, click here.

    Potent Pot is Good

    posted by on June 12 at 12:18 PM

    The stronger the pot, the less of it you have to smoke and/or eat to obtain the desired effect. So despite the White House’s efforts to raise the alarm about marijuana potency hitting a 30-year high, this is actually great news. And props to the Associated Press for quoting someone that was willing to point that out.

    Demographers Say the Darndest Things

    posted by on June 12 at 12:07 PM

    I just got off the phone with Peter Francese, founder of American Demographics Magazine, former columnist for the Wall Street Journal, now the demograhphic trends analyst for Ogilvy and Mather, New York.

    I was interviewing him for a story about death and he went off on a tear, an awesome Sister Peter Francese Explains It All for You moment that went like this:

    You do know that 105 baby boys are born for every 100 girls, right? And at conception, there are 110 boys for every 100 girls. There have to be more guys because guys are weaker, and also dumber. Death rates for teenagers way higher for boys than girls.

    After age 30, there are always more women than men. By the age of 80-plus, there are twice as many women as men. In order for the preservation of the species, men are needed for about 20 minutes, maybe a little longer if they can bring food. They’re genetically bred for speed and short lives. Women are bred to live longer lives and to care for small children.

    Natural selection selected stronger, more aggressive men and women with longer lives. And here we are, a million years later, and guys still want to go out and run around, but they get stuck in offices. Their blood pressure goes up and they get angry and they go postal. Or something. But the point is, excessive violence by men trying to be acculturated by a society that didn’t exist when these traits were evolving—well, you can see the problems.

    And what do parents with hyperactive young boys do? They stuff them with Ritalin. They drug them so they’ll sit still and behave. The last time I read a number, Ritalin prescriptions were at least 3 to 1, boys to girls. But I don’t like to look at the numbers because it makes me too sad. It appalls me that parents would feed their kids pharmaceuticals. People managed rambunctious kids for centuries—just take them out to do stuff.

    He went on, but my notes sort of dissolve at that point.

    This Week in The Stranger

    posted by on June 12 at 12:00 PM


    Charles Mudede on Obama and Hiphop
    “The fact is, hiphop, at a mainstream level, did not see Obama coming, and this might be a sign of its age or its loss of relevance. From 50 Cent to RZA, support famously went to Hillary Clinton’s run at the office. Hiphop missed the future.”

    Michaelangelo Matos on a Biography of Sonic Youth
    “No one listens to Sonic Youth to learn about the personal lives of its members. The New York quartet are an ideas band—you listen to wallow in their famously retuned guitars, which nearly three decades ago altered rock’s sonic palette as decisively as Hendrix had, and which are now a comfort staple to rock fans that can do without Hinder, thank you very much.”

    Jen Graves on Joe Park and the Art of Portraiture
    “Few artists do formal portraiture-for-hire these days. It’s an antiquated practice, something most artists—and sitters—consider the bailiwick of the Sears studio or some fusty boardroom. Park isn’t particularly public about his portrait practice. He sees it as somewhat separate from his ‘regular’ paintings.”

    Bethany Jean Clement Endures a Screening Party for Sex and the City
    “The party stampeded to the Big Picture, where everyone was administered an additional cosmopolitan (at the Pampas, made with fresh lime; here, tasting like melted strawberry Jell-O). Inside the theater, popcorn was distributed to unaccountable excitement. An attendee briefly adopted emcee duties, standing in front and shrieking, ‘SEX AND THE CITY!’ to universal delight. The movie began. It still has not ended.”

    Erica C. Barnett on the Real Budget Crisis
    “Under county executive Ron Sims’s proposed cuts, county funding for health and human services would be reduced, over the next three years, to zero—eliminating tens of millions of dollars for services like domestic violence support, drug and alcohol treatment, and public clinics.”

    ALSO DISCUSSED IN THIS ISSUE: Bar brawl over El Chupacabra; Islands’ sophomore album; the frozen turkey Michael Mann sent to Moby; the Georgetown Music Fest; Neil Hamburger’s career; the end of Electric Avenue; why actresses playing sex workers should try sex work; and much more.

    Arabs, Blacks, and Whites

    posted by on June 12 at 11:52 AM


    From the BBC:

    Referring to him as “our Kenyan brother”, Col Gaddafi also said Mr Obama might suffer from an inferiority complex because of his African origins.

    The issue of race could make Mr Obama’s behaviour “more white than white people”, Col Gaddafi suggested, rather than acting in solidarity with African and Arab nations.

    Gaddafi made this comment in response to Obama’s recent show of support for Isreal’s position on Jerusalem. Imagine that: An Arab leader accusing the son of a black African of suffering from an “inferiority complex” with whites? The fucking gall! Which black Africans are so obsessed with white Americans that they go about bombing their buildings? I want all Arab leaders to think about this: When Kenya was bombed by Arab men who were so obsessed with killing even a few white people that did so at the high price of killing over 200 black Africans, not one single Arab nation was quick to offer help to Kenya. Who was first at the scene of the murders with aid? Israel. So, fuck you Gaddafi.


    posted by on June 12 at 11:43 AM

    Since Fox News has decreed that it’s OK to refer to Michelle Obama as the Democratic nominee’s “baby mama”—after all, Michelle Malkin writes, Mrs. Obama called Barack her “baby daddy” on the stump—I assume we can expect to see them use this headline in the near future?


    After all, that’s what John McCain called his wife Cindy during his ‘92 Senate campaign. Fair’s fair, right?

    Slog Polling Obama’s VP Pick, Round Two

    posted by on June 12 at 11:40 AM

    The Slog mob has spoken.

    Now, for the promised run-off vote. I’ve collected every candidate who earned 10-percent or more of the Slog vote in the last round, which leaves us with six choices—Clark, Clinton, Edwards, Richardson, Sebelius, and Webb.

    I have to say that personally, I find several of the Slog mob’s favorites to be highly unrealistic as actual Obama VP picks. But more on that later. And hey, maybe the collected wisdom of the Slog knows something that I don’t.

    For now, remember: The winner of this vote is Obama’s Slog-mandated VP pick so choose wisely.

    Who should be Obama’s VP?

    The Biggest Drug Bust in History

    posted by on June 12 at 11:35 AM

    They’ve finally done it.

    RAF Harrier jets have been called in to destroy the largest drugs seizure in history after Afghan police discovered hashish worth at least £200 million.

    General David McKiernan, the new Nato commander in Afghanistan, said the police had “made a huge step forward” in “curbing the tide of illegal drug trade in this country.”

    Gen McKiernan added: “With this single find, they have seriously crippled the Taliban’s ability to purchase weapons that threaten the safety and security of the Afghan people and the region.”

    Yup, they’ve wiped hash off the market. Just like the biggest cocaine bust stopped coke trafficking. Just like the biggest heroin bust stopped heroin imports. And now, this big hash bust has crippled the Taliban’s revenue stream… uh, except for $3 billion from that other drug crop.

    But opium represents Afghanistan’s biggest drug problem. Last year, Afghans grew 9,000 tons of raw opium, enough to be refined into 880 tons of heroin, or 93 per cent of the world’s supply.

    SIFF 2008: Day 22 Non-Recommendation

    posted by on June 12 at 11:32 AM

    Annie made me watch a biofuel documentary called Fields of Fuel—AKA, according to my boyfriend, “that film with that annoying guy”—for SIFF. Let me reiterate here just how much I don’t recommend that you see it. My brief review:

    A vanity project by biofuel proselytizer Josh Tickell that fetishizes alternative fuels such as ethanol and soy-based biodiesel while ignoring the many downsides of America’s car-oriented culture. Relying heavily on interviews with Tickell himself (plus cameos by celebrities such as Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson), Fields of Fuel is little more than biodiesel propaganda. Tickell, wide-eyed, asserts repeatedly that biodiesel “could save the world.” But his case is flimsy, and his film—which features numerous long, loving shots of Tickell strolling below the Washington Monument, rolling into fast-food drive-through windows and demanding “all your used frying oil” to general confusion, and delivering supplies to Katrina victims on a biodiesel-powered boat—is more annoying than enlightening. (Tickell scheduled to attend.)

    What I didn’t get to say in the capsule: Tickell is a professional public speaker—the type who has “a talk” that he delivers over and over again for money—and his film is basically just a long-form version of that (smarmily self-aggrandizing) speech. Tickell’s conclusion is basically that, wow, we don’t need oil and war is bad (a conclusion he reached, in part, by “discovering” biofuels during a stint slumming it as a farmer in Europe). Oddly, Fields of Fuel (which also completely ignores the food-vs.-fuel controversy) has garnered some pretty positive reviews at Sundance and elsewhere. Don’t listen to them. Avoid this one.

    Gambling on Abstinence Education

    posted by on June 12 at 11:30 AM

    From ABC News:

    An organization that promotes sexual abstinence for teens received a federal grant of over a million dollars, twice what it had requested, despite the skepticism Department of Justice staffers had about the group and the fact that it refused to participate in a congressionally mandated study.

    So why did the Best Friends Foundation receive the grant from the Justice Department’s juvenile justice office even though dozens of competing organizations were rated higher by the office’s own reviewers? Current and former staffers say it was because of Best Friends’ powerful president and founder, Elayne Bennett.

    Not only is Bennett the wife of Bill Bennett, a former Reagan and Bush administration official and conservative political commentator, but she is also personally close to the chief administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), J. Robert Flores.

    Where to start?

    President of Our Dreams

    posted by on June 12 at 11:20 AM


    Author Sheila Heti has been compiling people’s dreams of Hillary Clinton, people’s dreams of Barack Obama, and people’s dreams of John McCain. And also dreams that feature two or more of them at the same time.

    Now, she’s had a dream analyst write a 52-page paper analyzing the 333 dreams, and it’s available here.

    Via The Elegant Variation.


    posted by on June 12 at 11:19 AM

    Remember Alex Kozinski, the Reagan-appointed, conservative Ninth Circuit judge who acknowledged maintaining a publicly accessible web site featuring “sexually explicit images”?

    Now the details about that “sexually explicit” material are coming out, and, well, just wow:

    Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, acknowledged in an interview with The Times that he had posted the materials, which included a photo of naked women on all fours painted to look like cows and a video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal. Some of the material was inappropriate, he conceded, although he defended other sexually explicit content as “funny.”
    That “funny” material also included:
    * images of masturbation, public sex and contortionist sex; * a slide show striptease featuring a transsexual; * a folder that contained a series of photos of women’s crotches as seen through snug fitting clothing or underwear; * themes of defecation and urination.

    Kozinski, of course, “said he must have accidentally uploaded those images to his server while intending to upload something else.” Whoops!

    And it gets better: According to someone who says he was the source of the information, the Wall Street Journal and other papers knew about the story but decided not to publish it.

    Kaimi Wenger, blogging at Concurring Opinions, points out that while watching porn at work might be no big deal under certain circumstances (hell, it’s mandatory here at the Stranger), Kozinski was actually hosting a web site with these images. More important, he was a judge charged with ruling on things like obscenity, rape, and sexual harassment. Someone in that position, Wenger writes, needs to be “beyond reproach.” At this point, he writes,

    I have to suspect that former litigants in cases that were before Judge Kozinski are asking themselves, “was my case impacted by the judge’s porn habits?”

    Wouldn’t you be? Let’s say you had a sex harassment case, obscenity case, privacy case, rape case — hell, all sorts of potentially related topics — before the judge. Wouldn’t you be wondering how the judge’s personal habits affected the outcome — and whether you could re-open that can of worms?

    Or for that matter, if your female client lost her case: Is it because the judge hates women? Is it because he’s a misogynist who thinks women are like cows?

    I’m not saying that those ideas are accurate. In fact, I strongly suspect that they’re not. Multiple people who I respect quite a bit have very high opinions of the judge, and I don’t believe that would be true if he were neglecting his duty in any significant way.

    But those questions or concerns don’t have to be accurate to be damaging, do they? Even the perception that the judge might think women are cows — that potentially undermines the integrity of the whole system, doesn’t it?

    Which brings us to the broader point. Judge Kozinski’s actions affect the reputation of the judiciary, on which rest foundations of the state, like public respect for the rule of law. To the extent that this public disclosure undermines public confidence in the judiciary or the rule of law, it’s a very bad thing. There’s a reason for the outrage that’s expressed when the public hears about judges’ bad behavior. As Stephen Gillers told the LAT, “The phrase ‘sober as a judge’ resonates with the American public.”

    Which is why Judge Kozinski’s decidedly unsober actions are so troubling.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on June 12 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Scopitone a Go Go’

    In the age of YouTube, it boggles the mind to think that people used to shove change into a jukebox and stand around watching a 16 mm precursor to the music video. But Scopitones—which, when they launched in the U.S., were stocked exclusively with obscure French performers—were a smash in the ’60s, their garish Technicolor aesthetics achieving cultural immortality in Susan Sontag’s “Notes on ‘Camp.’” The fascinating, eccentric archivist Dennis Nyback will introduce selections from his personal collection. (Grand Illusion, 1403 NE 50th St, 523-3925. 7 and 9 pm, $5–$8.) ANNIE WAGNER

    Don’t Call it a Comeback

    posted by on June 12 at 11:00 AM

    Apparently, the Rowling-penned (and handwritten!) Harry Potter prequel is available for you to read online. Potter-lovers, you can’t say I never gave you anything.

    Marine Corps Disciplines Puppy Throwing Soldiers

    posted by on June 12 at 10:52 AM

    Remember this video?

    I guess it was real after all.

    Two US Marines have been disciplined for their role in an Internet video that showed a puppy being thrown off a cliff by a soldier in Iraq, the military said in a statement Thursday.

    A press release from the US Marines Corps base in Hawaii said Lance Corporal David Motari [of Monroe, Washington], who was seen in the video hurling the puppy into a rocky ravine, faced expulsion for the incident.

    Motari, part of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment at Kaneohe Bay, is “being processed for separation,” the statement said. He also faced unspecified “non-judicial” punishment.

    The government did not state whether Motari would be ejected from the Marines via catapult.

    SIFF 2008: Day 22 Recomendations

    posted by on June 12 at 10:50 AM

    Your choices are fairly simple today. See the magnificent The Secret of the Grain (3:30 pm at the Egyptian) in that sweet spot between lunch and dinner. You should be out by 6 pm, when you can either get an early look at Frozen River (7 pm at Pacific Place)—which is probably more suited to this June, weather-wise, than the middle of August, when it’s scheduled to open theatrically in Seattle—or take a break to eat (Marrakesh has couscous, though it’s obviously not Tunisian).

    Fairytale of Kathmandu

    Next, head to Seattle Center for the fascinating doc Fairytale of Kathmandu (9:30 pm at SIFF Cinema). Unless you plan to see that Saturday morning, in which case the shot-in-Seattle Visioneers (9:30 pm at the Egyptain) or the low-fi sci-fi epic Apollo 54 (9:30 pm at the Harvard Exit) are acceptable substitutes.

    Also, Alexander Nevsky accompanied by the Seattle Symphony starts tonight (7:30 pm at Benaroya Hall)—but there are several performances through the weekend. See the Seattle Symphony box office for details.

    Mysterious Ways

    posted by on June 12 at 10:45 AM

    If a tornado—or an earthquake or a wildfire or a meteor—were to strike San Francisco’s city hall during a gay wedding next week, respected leaders of the religious right would rush to their cable broadcast studios to insist that the tornado—or the earthquake, wildfire, meteor, whatever—that leveled San Francisco’s city hall was divine judgment, God’s righteous wrath. Like the Rev. Hagee said of Hurricane Katrina

    So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing…. I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the day of judgment. And I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.

    So how does the religious right explain the tornado that struck a Boy Scout camp in Iowa yesterday, killing four and injuring scores more? (The Scouts are famously anti-gay, anti-atheists, and pro-God.) Again, we turn to Rev. Hagee. While all natural phenomena represent God’s “permissible will”…

    You cannot say that everything on the Earth that happens is sin…. But it is wrong to say that every natural disaster is the result of sin. It is a result of God’s permissive will, but no man on Earth knows the mind of God.

    It’s wrong to say that every natural disaster is the result of sin, you see, because sometimes natural disasters happen to us, not just to them, and when they happen to us, well, the Lord moves in mysterious ways, no man can possibly know the mind of God, maybe Jesus needed a few more angels in heaven, blah blah blah. But when a natural disaster hits San Francisco—or New Orleans before a big gay party—then we can read the mind of God like it was a large-print edition of Highlights For Children.

    Kingdom Come and Gone

    posted by on June 12 at 10:39 AM

    So Nepal—tiny little Nepal, way up there in the Himalayas—is no longer a monarchy.

    The deposed Nepalese king, Gyanendra, today waved farewell to the salmon-pink Narayanhity royal palace in Kathamandu, vowing never to flee the country and denying persistent rumours that he had a hand in the 2001 royal massacre that saw him claim the throne.

    In a speech to the nation followed by his first ever press conference, Gyanendra said he accepted the decision of the country’s newly elected assembly, which is dominated by former Maoist guerillas, to end his reign.

    The king will move to one of his former summer palaces on a forested hill on the outskirts of the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu.

    Thus ends Nepal’s 239 year-old Hindu monarchy (the last Hindu monarchy in the world), which is to be replaced by a boring old republic. This development saddens me because… well, because I’m a monarchist.

    It’s not the romance of it all; it’s not the palaces, the intrigue, the big, lavish weddings, the bigger, lavisher divorce settlements, or the occasional palace massacre. And it’s certainly not the tyranny or the one-man rule that appeals to me; I’m not in favor of Stuart-style absolute monarchies, but of those dull, gray constitutional monarchies. Think Queen Beatrix and King Harald, not Henry VIII or King Abdulla or the Sultan of Brunei.

    Here’s why I’m partial to constitutional monarchies: Because here in the United States, our head of state is our elected president, and consequently all the head-of-state glitz and glamour can and is harnessed to the benefit of a particular political party. Air Force One, state dinners, the Lincoln Bedroom—currently the property of the GOP. And, more disastrously for our Democracy, the president enjoys (and our current president has brilliantly exploited) the deference due a head of state. Insult Gordon Brown to his face—which is done on a weekly basis, during “Question Time,” which we ought to pass a constitutional amendment that obligates our president to submit to the same treatment here—and you’ve only insulted the PM, and perhaps Labour, but not, you know, the nation. Insult George W. Bush—in person, to his face, not on Leno or Letterman—and you’ve insulted the nation. Remember this incident?

    So I’m bummed to see Nepal jettison its monarchy, instead of transforming itself into a nice, dull constitutional monarchy while it had King Gyanendra on the ropes.

    And reading about Nepal today reminded me of this brilliant essay in the most recent issue of Harper’s…

    On the other side of the Atlantic, meanwhile, the Brits have become, in large part, what we were once supposed to be. Consider, for starters, the unavoidable (if largely symbolic) fact that our president lives ensconced in a palace, while 10 Downing Street is a row house. From there, consider the regal arrogance of the president and the president’s men: their refusal to justify or explain policy, or abide by the Constitution, or respond to the concerns of Congress. Next, consider the spectacle presented by the president’s “meetings with the people,” when he deigns to have them. Consider the extent to which he is scripted, buffered, coddled; the extent to which his audiences are screened to assure that they consist of cheerleaders whose “questions” are nothing more than praise couched in the shape of a question, or who don’t even bother with the interrogative form and, like one woman at a Bush “rally,” walk up to the microphone and say things like “my heroes have always been cowboys,” then sit down to thunderous applause.

    More? Recall an average press conference: the president striding to the podium, his slightly irritated, patronizing manner. Recall the press corps’ sycophantic chuckling at every half-assed quip, its willingness to accept the most insulting answers, its downright Prufrockian (“and how should we presume”) inability to challenge an obvious untruth.

    Read the whole thing here.

    I Don’t Care How Many Times You’ve Already Seen This Video

    posted by on June 12 at 10:35 AM

    You should enjoy it again.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on June 12 at 10:16 AM


    There are so many readings tonight, including a couple open mics, a book about a day in the life of a hospital, a book of poetry, a book about populism, and a book about one of the “least understood rivers in the world.”

    And also Salman Rushdie is reading at two places today. He’s at Elliott Bay Book Company at noon for a free reading and signing, and then he’s at Town Hall this evening. His new novel, The Enchantress of Florence, is getting great reviews in some places, and terrible reviews in other places. Generally, the reviewers that I trust have loved it. I happened across USA Today’s review of the book:

    The best thing about Salman Rushdie’s tiresome and confusing new novel The Enchantress of Florence is its lovely gold and orange cover.

    At the bookstore, admire the cover, then move on.

    Such wit, from USA Today, no less! Dorothy Parker, is that you? Why are you writing under the pen name Dierdre Donahue? Also, in the comments section to the above review, a commenter named U.S. Patriot has this to say about Rushdie:

    Non of books ever cast any spells. His books were the ravings of a mind on LSD.

    That settles that. Moving on, at the University Book Store, Lou Rowan reads from My Last Days. It’s a book about Superman, kind of in the style of the great novel Super Folks, by Robert Mayer, only a little vaguer.

    And at the Richard Hugo House, their writer in residence, Wendy Call, is leaving, and they’re throwing a reading/party to celebrate her two years in office. Cienna Madrid starts as writer in residence there this fall. Call has done—and will continue to do—some important work on globalization, and I haven’t had the time to write about her yet, but she deserves your attention, and possibly the honor of your attendance this evening.

    The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is updated and ready for you.


    posted by on June 12 at 10:00 AM


    Currently Hanging

    posted by on June 12 at 10:00 AM

    Jack J. Raynard’s Women’s Restroom, The, photograph (digital print), 8 by 12 inches

    At Suite 100 Gallery. (Gallery site here.)

    Another Knock-Down, Drag-Out Fight on Capitol Hill?

    posted by on June 12 at 9:50 AM

    It’s easy to support infill density—like when a developer steps up with plans for a great building on an empty lot. But what if the developer wants to demolish a well-utilized building for an uncertain project?

    Last week, Tara Hoch stepped outside her office in the Mercer Professional Building on 19th Avenue East to discover a small yellow land-use-action sign. A proposal filed with the city outlines plans to demolish the building—which currently contains 15 businesses—and replace it with a four-story, mixed-use development that would contain 52 condominiums and ground-level retail.

    “They’re destroying a beautiful building in excellent repair with no apparent structural problems whatsoever,” says Hoch, a massage practitioner.


    The building also houses Monsoon restaurant. Says co-owner and chef Eric Banh: “It’s a business decisions for them, and it’s too bad we happen to be in the way.” But it’s not a done deal.

    Murray Franklyn, the devlopment firm, hasn’t yet purchased the property. For now, applying for the permit is only part of a feasibility study, according to Ron Boslcola, a company partner. “If we can get the permit,” he says, “then we have a sale agreement.”

    Although it would be unusual for a modern, three-story building to face the wrecking ball, this isn’t Murray Franklyn’s first proposal to demolish buildings currently put to popular use. The same developer recently tore down several neighborhood hang-outs on a beloved block of East Pine Street for a six-story building. But that project is being appealed, and the block is now a parking lot.

    Wade Metz, who procures land for Murray Franklyn, says he doesn’t expect any hitches for this permit. (He thinks the existing structure is “small” and “not a very nice building.” And there’s a parking lot on the site.) However, Metz says, even if the land sale closes, Murray Franklyn will wait to begin construction until “we perceive there is a market.” He says, “The condo market is non-existent at moment… Our business is way off.”

    So how long until the market picks up and Murray Frankyn can break ground? “The soonest possible would be next summer, but no guarantee,” Metz says.

    If finances are so tight that Murray Franklyn can’t build on 19th Avenue for a year or more, the city should hold off on issuing a permit until Murray Franklyn shows it can afford to build on Pine Street. We don’t need to demolish buildings just to make more parking lots.

    “I would like to stay near central Seattle,” says Hoch, “but I look around and I don’t think I can afford it.” So, in an effort to dissuade the developers, she started gathering petition signatures on Monday from folks who “object to the senseless demolition of perfectly sound building” and “wish to reject the four-story condominium.” She plans to deliver the petitions at an early-design-guidance meeting next Wednesday, June 18.

    And Speaking of Michelle Malkin…

    posted by on June 12 at 9:32 AM

    …she doesn’t much care for this video from

    Re: The Latest From Fox

    posted by on June 12 at 9:23 AM

    As much as it pains me to say this, Michelle Malkin does have a point.

    Don’t Do the Crime if You Won’t Do the Time

    posted by on June 12 at 9:11 AM

    Hey, bub, beat a 21 year-old gay man to death in South Carolina and you’ll go to jail—for three long years.

    Well, actually, you’ll be eligible for parole in just two and a half years—but, hey, you will have to take an anger management class, and those things are freakin’ tedious.

    The Latest From FOX

    posted by on June 12 at 9:10 AM


    Via Salon.

    O They Will Know We Are Christians…

    posted by on June 12 at 8:30 AM

    …by our… holy shit, where do you start?

    Pastor Herman Lewis, 50, whose double life unraveled last year when he was arrested after a fracas at a Spokane diner, was convicted today on attempted rape and assault charges…. Lewis, then pastor of Morning Star Baptist Church, went on a rampage on April 30, 2007, after he offered a cook at a local Shari’s restaurant $50 to sleep with him. When she declined, he reportedly grabbed the woman and tried to drag her out of the restaurant. An elderly customer tried to intervene and punched Lewis. Lewis then punched him in the face.

    Lewis then went across the street to a McDonald’s, later telling police he had been looking for another woman with whom to have sex. He walked out of the restaurant alone and was confronted by a police officer. After a struggle, Lewis fled the scene, leading police on a 10-block chase in a 2007 Corvette before he was stopped by spike strips at Indiana and Division.

    It’s the detail about the car that really makes this one sing.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Cynthia.

    UPDATE: This earlier story about Rev. Lewis includes a detail about his arrest that was missing from the report above…

    A Spokane pastor was Tasered after allegedly assaulting several people at a restaurant, ramming a patrol car at another and then leading officers on a chase in a silver Corvette.

    And per your requests in comments, some pictures of the not-so-good reverend…


    The Morning News

    posted by on June 12 at 7:41 AM

    Terror Suspects have the right to challenge their detention in U.S. civil court, rules the Supreme Court.

    Four Boy Scouts were killed when a tornado landed on their camp in Iowa. 48 more were injured.

    Robert Mugabe is really fucking evil:

    The men who pulled up in three white pickup trucks were looking for Patson Chipiro, head of the Zimbabwean opposition party in Mhondoro district. His wife, Dadirai, told them he was in Harare but would be back later in the day, and the men departed.

    An hour later they were back. They grabbed Mrs Chipiro and chopped off one of her hands and both her feet. Then they threw her into her hut, locked the door and threw a petrol bomb through the window.

    Women Voters are being heavily courted by both McCain and Obama.

    Southern Israel bombarded by mortar shells and rockets this morning.

    John McCain is having trouble getting all the republican troops behind him.

    Seattle vs. Sonics has already cost the city $1 million in legal bills.

    Landlords may soon face stiff penalties for tenants committing crimes on their property.

    Washington State ranks among the best in birth weights.

    Bellevue Teachers are heading into the summer threatening to strike next year.

    Finally…Jimmy Jet!

    It’s I-5 Corridor Week

    posted by on June 12 at 7:29 AM

    I’m about to leave for an all-day Vancouver art binge, including this. Then, Saturday, it’s this.

    I shall report back.

    When Candy Design Goes Wrong

    posted by on June 12 at 6:17 AM


    via Joey deVilla.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    Katie Couric on the Media’s Sexism

    posted by on June 11 at 6:07 PM

    A brief but pointed recapitulation of the argument that Hillary Clinton suffered more from sexism than Obama did from racism:

    Via The Caucus.

    SPOG Detective Challenges BIAW Rep for Mayor of Crazytown

    posted by on June 11 at 6:02 PM

    So you thought the Building Industry Alliance of Washington—whose representatives have compared environmentalists to Hitler, attributed global-warming and growth-management laws to “radical environmentalists”; and referred to Gov. Chrstine Gregoire as a “heartless, power-hungry she-wolf who would eat her own young to get ahead”—was the wackiest right-wing game in town? Well, get ready: The Seattle Police Officers Guild is giving the BIAW a run for its money. Introducing the editor of SPOG’s newsletter, Detective Ron Smith:

    Each time I hear the Mayor come up with a new “green idea to save the planet I laugh it off as part of the talking points of the environmental extremist movement. A movement that is hysterical to me, as just about 40-years ago we had so-called experts saying: “Because of increased dust, cloud cover and water vapor “…the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born,” Newsweek magazine, January 26, 1970”… Anyway, the reason I bring this up is the Mayor doesn’t want you to buy bottled water, and wants to ban its sale in city buildings. While I am sure it makes him feel greener than Kermit to hate bottled water and love Cedar River tap water, I wonder what the Mayor wants people to drink when “the big one” levels parts of Seattle and the people are left to provide for themselves. … Plus, if bottled water were banned in the city, what would his buddy Obama have to give those fainting women in the crowd when he comes back to town? A pre-positioned glass of Cedar River tap water of course!”

    Global-warming denial, mockery of “radical” ideas like drinking tap water, dated, off-point jokes (“greener than Kermit,” HAR!) and irrelevant arguments—all in one badly typo-ridden package! But at least he doesn’t call anyone a Nazi.

    Anybody but Webb

    posted by on June 11 at 5:46 PM

    A lot of folks, including many Slog readers, have been talking up Jim Webb as Obama’s best choice for VP. Their arguments: He’s butch. He’s Southern. He two Purple Hearts. He’ll appeal to good old boys. He makes up for Obama’s lack of military experience. But some bloggers (and Obama fans) have some pretty serious reservations about the senator from Virginia—and not just because Webb as VP would mean losing a Democratic seat in the Senate.

    Writing for Matthew Yglesias’ blog, Kathy G. argues that Webb “has a long history of holding some pretty wingnutty opinions and making some fairly outrageous and offensive statements.” For example, Webb has called liberals in Hollywood “a fifth column waging war on American traditions,” referred to affirmative action as “state-sponsored racism,” and argued in a 2004 op-ed (which also railed against the “liberal media”) that John Kerry “deserved condemnation” for opposing the Vietnam War. (He has even endorsed the revisionist position that that war could have been won if not for treachery from liberal elites in the media and government).

    But the real reason to oppose Webb, Kathy argues, is that he’ll alienate the very female Clinton supporters Obama needs to rally around his candidacy.

    In 1979, in an infamous article in The Washingtonian magazine called “Women Can’t Fight,” Webb argued that women were biologically unsuited to combat and didn’t belong in the military academies. He said that the mere presence of women was “poisoning” the environment for male cadets. He also
    declared that no senior female in a leadership position at the academy won her rank by merit, thereby impugning the accomplishments of every female midshipman and throwing fuel on the smoldering resentments of a vocal minority of disgruntled midshipmen.

    Webb’s writings on women did a hell of a lot of damage. [They] gave invaluable ammunition to the enemies of women’s presence in the military and helped stall and perhaps even roll back women’s progress there. Kathleen Murray, a 1984 academy graduate who went on to become a commander in the Navy, said of Webb’s screed: “This article was brandished repeatedly. [Men] quoted and used it as an excuse to mistreat us.” Her observation is confirmed by this post, which contains devastating testimony by women in the military about the effect Webb’s writings had. For instance, here is what Commander Jennifer Brooks, USN(retired) had to say:

    I was 19 years old and in my second year at the Academy when the Webb article came out. I was devastated to be told by a war hero that the Academy should be shut down rather than accept me, and that my very presence was responsible for the degradation of the military. As a best selling author, James Webb knew the power of words, and to describe the Naval Academy as ‘a horny woman’s dream’ was inexcusable. My mother read that.

    I joined the Navy to serve my country. It was unbelievably demoralizing to be painted as a pampered slut who was taking up classroom space and pre-destined to endanger the lives of the brave young men around her.

    You may say, well, that was way back in the 80s and late 70s. He’s changed since then, right? But that is not exactly clear. At a 1991 convention of naval aviators called Tailhook, 83 women were reported to have been sexually harassed or assaulted by military personnel. From the beginning, Webb’s concern for the victims was merely perfunctory. But he gave many speeches and wrote many articles vociferously defending the accused. In a 1992 article in the New York Times, he called the investigation of Tailhook a “witch hunt” [and a “feminist plot”—ECB]. In a 1997 article he wrote for the conservative Weekly Standard, he was highly critical of what he termed “ever-expanding sexual mixing” in the military and he referred to feminist efforts to improve the status of women in the military as merely “salving the egos of a group of never-satisfied social engineers.” [In that same article, Webb also attributed an increase in rapes and “wife-beating” to “the realignment of sexual roles”—ECB]


    To be fair, Webb, who is pro-choice, has kinda sorta apologized for his past writings and statements on women in the military. He termed the infamous Washingtonian article an “overreach.” Um, that’s putting it mildly.

    Above all, though, I am very troubled by the idea that a man who has held such sexist views, and has done so much to damage the cause of gender equality in the military, would be one heartbeat away from the presidency. I do not think Webb is at all trustworthy on women’s issues, and women’s issues are very important to me and to millions of others besides. I think it’s essential that any Democratic president or vice president have a good record on women’s, civil rights, and labor issues. It’s not just that women, African-Americans, and unions are the core constituencies of the Democratic party. It’s that advancing the causes of racial, gender, and economic equality are the among the most important moral and political issues of our time. These are core values to me and millions of other Democrats, and elevating a man who has been so awful on one of them to the second most powerful position in the party is completely unacceptable.

    Stepping away from all that high-minded rhetoric, I’ll add that, in practical terms, selecting Webb would be a slap in the face to the Hillary Clinton supporters. I’m not saying that Obama has to pick Hillary as veep (and indeed, I think that would be a bad idea). I’m not even saying that he needs to pick a woman. […] But for Obama to choose — out of all the well-qualified candidates out there — the one person who has a really awful record on gender issues would be like rubbing salt in the wound. It would be seen as a big “screw you” to Hillary’s supporters and to feminists in general.

    Melissa at Shakesville has more on Webb’s “kinda sorta apology,” from his appearance on Meet the Press just two years ago.

    Tim Russert: When you say [crosstalk] the Naval Academy is a horny woman’s dream, you regret that?

    Webb: Well, I do regret that.

    This is the look on Webb’s face as he says how he “regrets” saying a placement at the Naval Academy is a horny woman’s dream:


    Yeah, he regrets that like I regret voting for Al Gore.

    Kathy and Melissa aren’t the only lefty bloggers with serious reservations about Webb. Back in February, Ezra Klein wrote: that Webb’s “credibility” on military issues might actually make Obama look weak in contrast.

    The qualities that make a good Senator — and particularly a good gadfly Senator — are not the same as those that make a good VP. A good VP should augment the nominee’s strengths, rather than bringing on a whole separate source of light, particularly one whose strengths expose weaknesses in the top candidate (putting Webb beneath Obama, for instance, would suggest that Obama worries about his credibility on national security, just as putting the warm, populist Edwards below Kerry created an unflattering contrast with Kerry’s aristocratic bearing). A VP candidate shouldn’t take a critical vote out of the Senate, particularly not when there’s a razor-thin majority. A VP candidate should, if possible, help pull in a critical state, but Webb’s slim victory in Virginia certainly doesn’t suggest he’d be better placed to do that than, say, the wildly popular Mark Warner.

    Finally, just yesterday, David Mark at Politico pointed out that Webb has shown a strong affinity for the cause of the Confederacy, arguing that “most Americans” have simply “misunderstood” the Southern rebels’ “gallantry” during the Civil War.

    Webb, a descendant of Confederate officers, also voiced sympathy for the notion of state sovereignty as it was understood in the early 1860s, and seemed to suggest that states were justified in trying to secede.

    “Most Southern soldiers viewed the driving issue to be sovereignty rather than slavery,” he said. “Love of the Union was palpably stronger in the South than in the North before the war — just as overt patriotism is today — but it was tempered by a strong belief that state sovereignty existed prior to the Constitution and that it had never been surrendered.”

    Oh, and did I mention that Webb’s (truly awful-sounding) fiction portrays women as promiscuous and servile, and minorities as lazy and dishonest?

    In “Fields of Fire” (1978) Webb includes a rape scene: “Dan dared to crush her to him and she acquiesced and he marveled at it, could not understand it. But he felt a sense of total power from the knowledge that she despised him and what he stood for, and yet was unable to restrain her nether parts from seeking him.”

    Later in that book, a character says of a Vietnamese girl with shrapnel in her gut, “Three years and she’d be like all the rest of ‘em. If she’s lucky she’ll live through this and stay in Da Nang when she gets out of the hospital. Then maybe in a year or two she’ll make a good whore.”

    The N-word also appears in some of Webb’s books.

    From “Fields of Fire” - “Niggers … Out in the bush, they need you, they’re all right. Get ‘em back in the rear and they turn to shit.”

    In “A Country Such as This,” (1983) the word is used again, and a character says of African Americans: “I think everybody should own at least one.”

    Later in that book, Webb describes Filipino road workers and Vietnamese guards as “monkey-faced.”

    Who knows what else will emerge about Webb if Obama picks him as his running mate? I don’t know, but I’d rather not find out.

    Wasn’t the Smoking Ban Going to Destroy Bars?

    posted by on June 11 at 4:41 PM

    Remember all those of nicotine-laced tears shed in anticipation of the certain closure of hundreds of bars and taverns across our state after voters approved a state-wide smoking ban in November of 2005? Well, guess what: Business at bars and taverns was way, way up last year, according to the Washington State Department of Revenue.


    Bars and taverns, which feared being hard hit by the ban on smoking in public places, generated 20.3 percent more gross income in 2007, compared to a meager 0.3 percent gain in 2006, the first full year after the smoking ban took effect in December 2005. Their average growth rate actually was stronger in the two years after I-901 than in the years preceding the ballot initiative.

    Most people don’t smoke and most people—including most smokers—don’t want their hair and clothes to reek after a night out. So who could have predicted that making bars and taverns more appealing to more people would result in more patrons coming through the doors? Uh, this guy did in Eli Sander’s feature, “Last Gasp,” that appeared in the Stranger more than a year before we voted on the smoking ban:

    When I ask Stanton A. Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco who has studied the economic impact of smoking bans in California and elsewhere, to tell me what he makes of the argument that smoking bans hurt business at bars and restaurants, he says, “There’s a technical term for that: Bullshit.”

    In New York City, which enacted its ban in March 2003, receipts at restaurants and bars are up by 8.7 percent one year later, and employment at those businesses is up by 10,600 jobs, according to a study conducted by the city. In Victoria, where opponents of the 1999 ban claimed a devastating $6 million loss to bars and restaurants, a study commissioned by the Vancouver Island Health Authority found that this loss did not, in fact, take place. In El Paso, which enacted its ban in 2002, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found no negative economic impact.

    “This is something that has been studied over and over and over again,” Glantz says, his voice rising with exasperation at the fact that people are still calling to ask him whether the economic harm argument is true. “There have been more than 100 places studied. And it has simply never materialized.”

    Thanks, Dennis, That Was Fun

    posted by on June 11 at 4:15 PM

    The House has voted to send articles of impeachment against President Bush to a committee that is not likely to hold hearings before the end of his term….

    Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who ran for president earlier this year, insists that his resolution deserves more consideration.

    UW Cuts Emergency Response Team

    posted by on June 11 at 3:27 PM

    The University of Washington has disbanded its two-year-old Campus Emergency Response Team (CERT) because of a lack of funding.

    CERT—a 306 member, all-volunteer emergency team made up of staff and students, trained in CPR and crowd control—was created two years ago using school and federal money, to coordinate a campus-wide emergency response in the event of an earthquake, major storm or terrorist attack.

    According to UW Spokesman Norm Arkans, CERT, the loss of federal funding—along with CERT’s director—led to the termination of the program. “The grant expired and we don’t have the resources to pick up the funding,” Arkans says. “It’s a great thing to have if you’ve got the funding for it. It has people out who can be of assistance on the ground when you have emergencies.”

    The UW does have “backup” emergency management plans, but much of that appears to rely on former CERT volunteers. Charles Kennedy, UW’s Associate Vice President for Facility Services—which managed CERT—says the school still plans to call on former CERT volunteers in the event of an emergency, in the hopes they’ll respond. “The people who are trained…have not totally removed them from the [campus] alert system,” Kennedy says.

    UW administrators will spend the next year evaluating the CERT program to decide whether to fund the $100,000 program in the future. Right now, the school is focusing on developing a plan for restoring operations on campus and paying bills and staff after a “catastrophic event.”

    Arkans and Kennedy do not believe the loss of the program will put students in danger, as CERT has only been activated once, in the wake of a shooting on campus last year.

    Avenue Q

    posted by on June 11 at 3:16 PM

    According to a doorman at the Paramount, about 50 delicate souls stormed out of last night’s opening of Avenue Q.

    “They were grumbling about it being ‘inappropriate,’” the doorman said. “But I don’t have any sympathy for idiots who buy tickets and don’t even know what they’re going to see.”

    Avenue Q is a grown-up parody of Sesame Street—by some former employees of Sesame Street—that opened in a 150-seat theater Off Broadway and, in 2003, became a magnet for Tony and Drama Desk Awards.

    The puppets sing about disappointment and ennui, getting drunk and one-night stands—grown-up stuff, but nothing outrageous.

    One character (based on Bert) is a closeted gay Republican who sings about his “girlfriend” in Canada. After the song’s final line (“I can’t wait to eat her pussy again”), a couple behind me rocketed out of their seats and angrily flew up the aisle.

    I’m just sorry Avenue Q didn’t make it out here sooner—it’s a funny, successful parody of kids’ shows, with learn-and-grow lessons for adults. As they sing in the final number: “Life may be scary, but it’s only temporary.”

    Now please enjoy the opening number, “It Sucks To Be Me”:

    More information on tickets and show times here.

    A Movement in the City

    posted by on June 11 at 2:57 PM

    It’s nice to see black flâneurie sprouting in Seattle.
    As I have written before, whites tend to be coded as flâneurs, city strollers, those who have the time and freedom to move about and absorb city scenes. Blacks, on the other hand, are coded as loiterers, those who hang out on a street corner or in front of a convenience store watching the city go by. Even if the urban practice of loitering has hardened into a custom, a cultural fact, much of it crumbles when more and more of the city opens up, when one is free to move about, when one can go and see this and that scene.

    The Polish Cure for Homosexuality

    posted by on June 11 at 2:47 PM

    Hanging out with priests, of course.

    Gays and lesbians in deeply Catholic Poland are being nudged towards church-steered programmes designed to help them fight their homosexuality. In the southeastern city of Lublin, a hub of Roman Catholic teaching, a nondescript white building houses Odwaga, or Courage, an organisation which offers “therapy” for homosexuals—to the consternation of gay rights groups who find it an aberration.

    Behind its walls, men are taught to kick a football around, women take cookery lessons and, above all, participants spend time praying with priests.

    Curing homosexuality by hanging out with Catholic priests—it’s a form of aversion therapy, right?

    Partisan Dinner Guests: A Culinary Catastrophe

    posted by on June 11 at 2:45 PM

    From the growing Dept. of Election Arguments That End in Fisticuffs comes a story from Publishers Weekly with the headline: Bloodshed at Connecticut Book Party.

    The authors of Dinner Party Disasters: True Stories of Culinary Catastrophe, which Abrams published last month, saw their book’s thesis live in action at a recent dinner party, when fists flew over the presidential election just as guests were finishing their entrées.

    Twenty-two movers and shakers of Litchfield, Conn., gathered last weekend at the home of a local couple for a dinner party to honor the book’s author, Annaliese Soros (first wife of financier George Soros), and her contributor, Abigail Stokes. Dinner Party Disasters promises to guide readers “through the faux pas that other hostesses have made so that you don’t make the same mistakes.” It contains instructions for putting together the “perfect mix of guests, food, décor, entertainment, and preparation, ensuring your next gathering will be a rousing success.” It is unclear whether or not the party’s hosts had read the book prior to the event.

    As entrées were being enjoyed, a McCain supporter and an Obama supporter, having exhausted their verbal arguments, lunged at each other with fists flying. Eventually the kitchen staff came to the rescue and separated the two men, but not before some blood was shed and the well-heeled guests were shaken up. After a cooling down period, the rambunctious guests returned to the table (with revised seat assignments) and ate dessert.

    Baby-Kissing in the 21st Century

    posted by on June 11 at 2:34 PM

    Politics finally adopts the Netflix model. Be sure to read the FAQs.

    Via Shaken & Stirred.

    Stuff White People Like

    posted by on June 11 at 1:46 PM

    The “Meet a Black Guy” booth at the Corvallis, Oregon farmers’ market:


    … this week, a table just outside the bazaar offered something more bizarre — “Meet a Black Guy.”

    Those who participated in the free service could chat with 21-year-old Corvallis resident Jeff Oliver, and get pictures taken with him.

    The booth was inspired by a similar project in Aspen, Colorado, courtesy of Improv Everywhere, the flash-mob/street-theater pranksters.

    Prepare to be mildly horrified/amazed:

    Mom, c’mere! There’s a black guy down here!

    (Thanks, Metafilter.)

    Babar the Elephant?

    posted by on June 11 at 1:39 PM


    Make that Bob Barr, the GOP elephant. Over at the Huffington Post, the former Republican congressman has announced he’s had a change of heart.

    I’ll admit it, just five years ago I was “Public Enemy Number 1” in the eyes of the Libertarian Party. In my 2002 congressional race for Georgia’s Seventh District, the Libertarian Party ran scathing attack ads against my stand on Medical Marijuana.

    Today, I can reflect on my efforts and see no progress in stopping the widespread use of drugs. I’ll even argue that America’s drug problem is larger today than it was when Richard Nixon first coined the phrase, “War on Drugs,” in 1972.

    America’s drug problem is only compounded by the vast amounts of money directed at this ongoing battle. In 2005, more than $12 billion was spent on federal drug enforcement efforts while another $30 billion was spent to incarcerate non-violent drug offenders.

    Well, isn’t that nice of Barr? Now that he can’t do shit, he’s denounced the lock-‘em-up prescript for dealing with drug problems. But in his tenure, Barr backed the most offensive piece of drug legislation in this country’s history: The Barr Amendment. That prevented Washington, D.C. from counting votes for a measure, supported by a majority of voters, that would have allowed access to medical marijuana for the sick and dying. Barr, in essence, was willing to suspend democracy to make sure sick people could be arrested.

    His about-face is nothing more than a Naderesque attempt to wedge back into political relevance under the cloak of a third party. And his opposition to the drug war seems a lot like the strategy from Ron Paul, who conveniently co-opted the progressive drug-policy reform platform to earn liberal supporters, knowing full well that a) he’ll never be elected, and b) if he were, he’d never really try to decriminalize pot from the Oval Office.

    Americans don’t need political pandering on this issue. We need effective alternatives and leaders who can actually implement them—needle exchanges, medical marijuana distribution programs run by the state, accurate drug information for kids, free on-demand walk-in meth treatment—not hackneyed condemnations of the drug war’s bloated budget.

    The tight-pocketed conservatives Barr is attempting to pander to may not want to pay for prisons, but they don’t want to pay for treatment, either. While reforming drug policy would save the country money, so would adopting policies based on racial justice, better health care, and compassion. Barr’s record shows that on social issues, he has been an elephant at heart, even if he is running as a Libertarian. But, as the joke goes: What do you call the Libertarian health care plan? Don’t get sick.

    But I am sick. Sick of White House press secretaries who foisted lies on the country and then tried to exonerate themselves by writing a tell-all book. Sick of generals who capitulated until they retired—then signed a deal with HarperCollins. Sick of Barr and his politics of convenience. Scott McClellan, Ricardo Sanchez, and Barr should have changed their positions when it actually mattered, not when it was politically convenient—and irrelevant.

    Sub Pop to Donate $10,000 for Skatepark

    posted by on June 11 at 1:33 PM

    Sub Pop Records is donating $10,000 to the Seattle Parks Department to help pay for early design of a new skatepark on Beacon Hill in Jefferson Park.

    Every quarter, Sub Pop selects one employee to pick a cause to donate to. This quarter, Sub Pop accountant Angelina Saez decided to give the money to the Parks Department to help build a skatepark in South Seattle.

    While the $10,000 won’t immediately spark construction of a new skatepark—which usually cost around $700,000 to build—but the Parks Department says the money will be come in handy when the city expands Jefferson Park over a soon-to-be-covered reservoir.


    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on June 11 at 1:27 PM


    posted by sjohnston

    Oh, Canada.

    posted by on June 11 at 1:11 PM

    This NYT article about the limits to free speech pretty much everywhere except the U.S. is fascinating. Love this quote:

    Jason Gratl, a lawyer for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, which has intervened in the case, was measured in his criticism of the law forbidding hate speech.

    “Canadians do not have a cast-iron stomach for offensive speech,” Mr. Gratl said in a telephone interview. “We don’t subscribe to a marketplace of ideas. Americans as a whole are more tough-minded and more prepared for verbal combat.”

    It seems to me that American kids learn the “freedom of speech” excuse very, very early. It’s easy to assert a right that’s given in such plain language. Canada’s “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication” just doesn’t roll trippingly off the tongue.

    “Poetry is Archaic,” Say Poets

    posted by on June 11 at 1:11 PM

    Well, that headline is a little misleading. Three female British poets have refused the title of Poet Laureate. One refused it because it’s archaic, one likes her quiet life, and then I love this quote, by Fleur Adcock:

    “It’s terribly hard work for very little pay,” she said. “The poet laureate is fine as an institution, as long as I don’t have to do it.”

    The job pays five thousand pounds a year and 630 bottles of Spanish sherry. Poet Laureate used to be a lifetime position in the U.K., until Ted Hughes died, whereupon it was lessened to a ten-year stretch, which still seems like an awful long time to be laureating.

    Via Bookninja.

    On the Fly

    posted by on June 11 at 12:44 PM

    SIFF’s annual Fly Filmmaking Challenge—in which filmmakers are given 1 hour to choose a location, 7 days to hack out a script, 4 days to prep, 3 days to shoot, and 5 days to edit a short film—has always been one of the festival’s most, um, creative offerings. And today, at 4:30 at the Egyptian, is your last chance to see it at this year’s fest.

    The participants for 2008 were:

    Megan Griffiths, writer-director of 2002’s First Aid for Choking.

    Rob Cunningham, short filmmaker and winner of The Stranger’s first—and only (why the hell haven’t we done this again?)—short short film contest, “Peep.”

    The duo of Joe Shapiro and Andy McCone. The former is the editor of Rob Devor’s Zoo,, the latter director of a “poetic black and white eccentric silent film” (according to press notes) called Rent’s Due.

    And rounding out the event is a documentary by Cheryl Slean (past SIFF premiere Diggers), which chronicles (kinda) the making of this year’s films.

    Of the four films shown, Rob Cunningham’s grimy black & white End Zone, about a robot schooling Death in chess (and other games), was definitely the sharpest. Slean’s doc Creativity in Context, which kicks off the presentation, is funny, and captures the chaos of cooking up a short film on such a tight deadline. And Shapiro’s and McCone’s sorta sci-fi Shut Eye features some inspired office drone choreography, as well as the freakishly talented Basil Harris. The weakest of the bunch, Griffith’s Moving—about put-off dreams and life on the sidelines—isn’t quite able to wrangle its ambitions in such a tight format. But star Lynn Shelton (director of this year’s My Effortless Brilliance) has eyes that are hypnotic, and she absolutely nails the challenge of an emotional one-sided phone conversation.

    The event is worth checking out—especially since it’s one of the shortest offerings at the festival this year.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on June 11 at 12:35 PM

    You can take the reporter out of the city, but you can’t always take the city out of the reporter…

    O They Will Know We Are Christians…

    posted by on June 11 at 12:24 PM

    …by the courteous way our prison chaplains “yield” to pedestrians, oncoming traffic, and cock.

    Joseph A. Loux Jr., 63, of Hannacroix, and Eugene F. Barnaby, 34, of Thurman were each charged with public lewdness, a misdemeanor, after trooper Edward Stannard witnessed them having sexual contact with one another at a rest area located off the southbound lanes between exits 23 and 24.

    Loux told police he was pastor of Congregational Christian Church of Ravena and a chaplain in the prison system….

    Both Loux and Barnaby admitted to police they were having sex, according to court records, apparently after having randomly met there. But each portrayed the other as the aggressor, according to statements they gave Stannard and State Police Investigator D.J. Mosher.

    Loux did not say why he was in northern Warren County.

    “I admitted to the trooper I was part of a sexual act at the rest area,” Loux was quoted as saying. “I am sorry that I yielded to this.”

    SIFF 2008: Day 21 Recommendations

    posted by on June 11 at 12:22 PM

    This afternoon, we unreservedly recommend Momma’s Man (4:30 pm at Uptown), but if you saw that yesterday, you should probably opt for the first-person Hurricane Katrina doc Trouble the Water (4:30 pm at the Harvard Exit), where I’ll be, since I failed to make it to the press screening yesterday. Manohla Dargis called it “one of the best American documentaries in recent memory.”

    Trouble the Water

    Next up is a drama Charles Mudede loved about race relations in Singapore: It’s called Salawati (7 pm at Pacific Place), and the director is scheduled to attend. Or you could chat up Variety film critic Todd McCarthy, who’ll be in attendance at his debut documentary, Pierre Rissient: Man of Cinema (6:45 pm at SIFF Cinema), about Cannes Film Festival’s ultimate publicist.

    Last, we recommend American Son (9:30 pm at Pacific Place), a drama about being deployed to Iraq. Or if you want to follow up on the Katrina theme, you might think about The Order of Myths (9:30 pm at the Harvard Exit), a documentary about racial segregation in a Mardi Gras celebration in Mobile, Alabama.

    Democracy and Domestic Animals

    posted by on June 11 at 12:18 PM

    Meeting by accident this seemingly mundane image a moment ago…
    …directed my thoughts to a passage that appears in the late pages of Plato’s Republic:

    You would never believe — unless you had seen it for yourself—how much more liberty the domestic animals have in a democracy. The dog comes to resemble its mistress, as the proverb has it, and the same is true of horses and donkeys as well. They are in the habit of walking about the streets with a grand freedom, and bump into people they meet if they don’t get out of their way. Everything is full of this spirit of liberty.

    Drown Your Sorrows Tomorrow

    posted by on June 11 at 12:14 PM


    Investor Class or Lottery Class?

    posted by on June 11 at 12:06 PM

    David Brooks has an interesting column today in which he talks about “the deterioration of financial mores” in America and breaks our culture down into two groups:

    On the one hand, there is what the report calls the investor class. It has tax-deferred savings plans, as well as an army of financial advisers. On the other hand, there is the lottery class, people with little access to 401(k)’s or financial planning but plenty of access to payday lenders, credit cards and lottery agents.

    Which makes me wonder, as part of my continuing wonder about who all you Slog people are: Which group are you in?

    I mean, I read A. Birch Steen religiously, so I know that he firmly believes that anyone who reads what The Stranger produces is either a welfare queen, a mooching couch surfer, or an incompetent crook of some sort. But perhaps he doesn’t really know our online audience? Or perhaps he knows you better than you know yourselves? (As I’m sure he would contend.)

    In any case, enlighten me.

    Are you in the investor class or the lottery class?

    Up In Smoke

    posted by on June 11 at 12:05 PM

    Over on Amazon’s Omnivoracious blog, Stranger contributor Tom Nissley snapped a photo of a woman he nominates for Reader of the Year. I wonder what she’d say if she was forced to choose between her cigarette and her book.

    I’ve seen some other hardcore readers who might be up for the title, though. I wrote about one in Constant Reader a while back: She was a young lady who was so engrossed in a copy of The Idiot that she didn’t even notice a fistfight that broke out literally right in front of her. This wasn’t “Oh, God, I’m going to ignore these crazy people” reading; she was making passionate love to Dostoevsky’s words with her eyes. And I saw a man reading a business management book while driving on I-5 a few weeks ago (memo to aforementioned man: fucking stop it!) Not to mention people who read while they walk on the sidewalk, who are my personal heroes when they’re not running directly into me.

    On Art Criticism Criticism

    posted by on June 11 at 12:00 PM

    This message, titled “Art Criticism Criticism,” arrived in my inbox last week from someone named Christopher Shelton:

    Regarding your coverage of the Cornish BFA show, anyone who had been to the show on more than one occasion might be struck by how far your opinions deviated from the unspoken consensus of visitors. Jen Graves praised Katie Miller and Charles Mudede praised Rachel Cavallo. Katie Miller’s art was so safe it attracted only fleeting attention from visitors. She will have a fine career designing ads for Rolling Stone and liner art for bands named after monosyllabic plural nouns (Strokes, Hives, etc). Rachel Cavallo’s ideas seemed like obvious pandering to fashionable political thinking. Her art might genuinely reflect feelings, but it could also be an opportunistically crafted “clever idea,” like Ron Popeil Design. Overall the most blatantly political stuff in both shows was by the least skilled or laziest artists. MEANWHILE, the people who sold a lot of art and drew a lot of visitor affection were people that put real effort into their work and people with genuine human feeling communicated by their art.

    In other news, Seattle Weekly was busy sucking in their usual way, ripping on your art criticism section while copping your racy cover style. So you’re better than awful. Still, your art section, just like the fine art establishment itself, is a useless dinosaur with nothing real to offer the human race.

    Better than awful is something, right?

    Seriously, I appreciate this email. It’s obviously from somebody who actually cares about art, and who expects me to do the same—which I do.

    A few things: First, I love hearing about audience response. As a critic, I often feel like people don’t talk honestly around me, and I, too, get tired of the sound of my own loud voice. So, Mr. Christopher Shelton, that’s two thank-yous to you.

    Now I have some explanations and some questions. First, where did you get the idea that I praised Katie Miller’s work at the Cornish show? Because I Currently Hung her? I give lots of art that treatment, and hers happened to be particularly legible online (an ostensible criterion of the Currently Hanging selectees). Plus, I put together a slide show featuring several artists from the show, including Claude Andrew, Sierra Stinson, and James Brittain. Showing their works constitutes neither a yay or a nay.

    But I didn’t review that show, anyway: Charles Mudede did.

    Maybe you thought Rachael Cavallo’s designs for refugee housing were panderingly political. Why? Was the design bad? Or are you of the opinion that being political at all is necessarily disingenuous and aesthetically ineffectual—out of place at an art school? (As a side line, check this story from the New York Times mag this weekend.)

    Basically, Mr. Shelton, I just don’t think you went far enough in your art criticism criticism.

    Which artists did you—and this faceless (and buying) majority—like, and why?

    Should reviewers be reviewing student shows in the first place?

    Come on now, Mr. Shelton. You started this, now let’s hear more.

    For anybody jumping in late, here’s a link to this year’s Cornish BFA show web site, including plenty of images.

    The Death of The eXile

    posted by on June 11 at 11:58 AM

    The eXile—the much hated/beloved Moscow biweekly that launched the career of Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi and continued to publish the works of Russian dissident author Eduard Limonov well after it had become dangerous to do so—has reached its fatal end with the censorship authorities in the new Medvedev government.

    From the English language daily The Moscow Times:

    Mark Ames, editor and founder of The eXile, was scheduled to meet Thursday with inspectors from the Federal Service for Mass Media, Telecommunications and the Protection of Cultural Heritage, he said by telephone Wednesday…

    Ames said he did not know which articles were of interest to the inspectors, but he suggested that one possibility were columns by Eduard Limonov, founder of the banned National Bolshevik Party and a vehement Kremlin foe.

    He conceded that many other eXile editions could have riled the authorities.

    The eXile, which publishes Gonzo-style journalism on topics such as drugs, prostitution and Moscow nightlife side-by-side with political analysis, has often pushed the limits of decency — not to mention libel law.

    The speculation was later confirmed by Mark Ames himself in Radar—wherein he notes the special joys of running a collapsed business venture co-owned by a member of the notoriously unkind world of Russian organized crime.

    It’s not to say that The eXile was always an insightful or even a particularly well written paper; when Taibbi departed for life back in America, Ames often covered for a shortage of ideas with the laundry list of things he’d inject into himself to better enjoy listening to Husker Du, or his successful transactions with Moscow’s prostitutes. But quality dips aside, The eXile was an important document chronicling the descent of Russia from Yeltsin’s wild, lawless kleptocracy to Putin’s new police state. They called ‘bullshit!’ loudly and earnestly on America’s aimless privatization plan for the post-Soviet Russian state, and when the going got rough, they settled a dispute with New York Times Moscow bureau chief Michael Wines by hitting him in the face with a horse semen pie.

    They were occasionally demeaning and stupid, but they were never dull—and that has to count for something in the grand scheme of media. The paper is holding a fundraiser to help get their website infrastructure hosted somewhere off of Russian soil, and probably to keep Ames from being murdered by his business partners.

    Is It Too Late…

    posted by on June 11 at 11:19 AM

    …to abort this baby?

    Thank you, Slog tipper Nancy.

    Intrade: Obama Wins

    posted by on June 11 at 11:05 AM

    (From via slashdot)

    Intrade, an online futures trading website, allows you to make investments based on whether or not you believe a given event is likely to happen. Will the average price of gasoline be over $4.00 on June 30th? Will Israel and/or the US bomb Iran by the 30th of September? Will McCain or Obama win any given state in the 2008 election?

    If you choose properly, the investment pays $100. Choose wrong, and you get nothing. You can buy a contract (or sell an existing contract) at some price between $0 and $100. The more people certain that a given even will occur, the closer this price will be to $100. The less certain, the closer to $0. So, you can think of the price of the contract as the rough likelihood of an event occurring in all the investors minds—a sort of opinion poll.

    Because, presumably, each investor is integrating a lot of information when deciding to buy a contract or not, we can think of this price as a sort of average of independent averages. If we convince ourselves of this, we can apply the central limit theorem and assume all sorts of nice things about the error of this contract price. Even if the individual investors are each biased, the overall error price should be normally distributed, if the central limit theorem holds. In English? There are reasons to believe that the contract price is a pretty decent reflection of (future) reality.

    What is doing is looking at the contract prices for each State’s race between Obama and McCain in November, calling the states based on the current contract prices and adding up the electoral votes. If you do it right now, Obama wins.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on June 11 at 11:00 AM


    Dosh at Nectar

    Martin Dosh is a multi-instrumentalist for esteemed Bay Area label anticon. On records like his latest, Wolves and Wishes, Dosh combines basement-muffled drum breaks, tinkling xylophone, soft Fender Rhodes piano, occasional vocal collaborators, and subtle studio effects to create songs that range from smart, jazzy hiphop instrumentals to twee electronica to headlong percussive workouts. On stage, Dosh surrounds himself with drums, keys, and xylophone to re-create his studio sound with the help of some trusty looping pedals. With overwhelming emo marching band Anathallo and locals Wesafari. (Nectar, 412 N 36th St, 632-2020. 9 pm, $10, 21+.)


    Copying Art, Part 2

    posted by on June 11 at 11:00 AM

    Last week I posted here about about a piece I wrote for Newsweek on why museums sometimes exhibit copies of artworks rather than originals.

    I added an anecdote about the Getty’s copies of Allan Kaprow’s activity books in that Slog post, and here’s another anecdote I ran into while doing the reporting.

    It turns out that Carl Andre copied one of his own works to cancel out the original because he felt the original was being so mistreated.

    Andre “completely disowned” his original, declaring it “a corpse.”

    “And to force the point, he had the sculpture remade, displaying it in his own counter-exhibition, in an ugly, disused warehouse space in downtown New York. So for one month in the spring of 1976, intrepid enthusiasts of contemporary sculpture had the chance to visit two identical versions of 29th Copper Cardinal, both made from identical copper plates, and both passing as Carl Andre sculptures.

    This story was related by Alistair Rider, an art historian working on a book about Andre, at the Tate’s fascinating conference last year on sculptural replication.

    I emailed Rider to ask for elaboration, and here’s what he wrote back:

    1. CA is invited to install 12th Copper Corner at the Whitney museum for inclusion in ‘200 Years of American Sculpture.’ He goes into the museum with the Whitney staff and selects a corner for his work. The piece is photographed for the catalogue (200 Years of American Sculpture, ed. by Tom Armstrong, Whitney Museum of American Art, 1976). The work is an unsold piece, but he and his gallery are hopeful that the Whitney will buy.

    2. In March, just before the show’s opening, Andre pops into the museum to check up on the piece. He discovers it has been moved to another corner, which in his view is not so appropriate. There is a window in one of the walls and a fire escape with a neon sign that casts a reflection on the surface. At the earlier location, the walls had been blank.

    3. Andre asks for 12th Copper Corner to be moved back to the original location. The gallery designers Venturi & Rausch refuse, and so Andre withdraws the piece from the show.

    4. The Whitney is now in a fix. They feel Andre is too important an artist not to be represented, so they include a replacement work, which in this instance they do own—29th Copper Cardinal. They install this, and Andre comes to have a look at it.

    5. Andre dislikes the presentation: to counteract the uneven floor in the gallery, the curators have installed it on a rubber mat, which in his mind destroys the effect of the piece entirely. (Nowadays it’s common practice to install his larger pieces on mats—but that’s another matter.)

    6. Andre asks them to withdraw this piece as well. The Whitney refuse and argue that he has no moral rights over the piece, because they own the piece.

    7. Andre is furious and offers to buy back the work for £26,000. Initially it had cost £23,000. But the Whitney never responded to his request.

    8. So Andre remakes 29th Copper Cardinal and installs it alongside 12th Copper Corner in a warehouse Rosemarie Castoro has procured for him on West Broadway.

    And that’s how one 29th Copper Cardinal came to be two.

    Here’s an installation shot of 12th Copper Corner at the Whitney along with Andre’s (wonderfully histrionic) postcard response to the situation.



    Breaking: Wife Has Sex With Husband

    posted by on June 11 at 11:00 AM

    Susie Bright brings news of a new book deal:

    Devoted wife, Charla Muller, wanted to give her husband an unforgettable present for his 40th Birthday. This is what she came up with: sex, every single night, for 365 days.

    And she wrote a book about it. Muller is reportedly Christian, has children, and describes her sex life thusly: “My cheese was every so slowly slipping off my cracker.”

    Her book, 365 Nights, comes out later this month. I’m trying to figure out if I actually want to read it or not.

    (Thanks to Slog tipper Bethany.)

    Darcy Burner Knows the Way to My Heart

    posted by on June 11 at 10:29 AM

    Yesterday, on the 45th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, 8th District congressional challenger Darcy Burner called for the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which is cosponsored by six members of Washington State’s Congressional delegation—though not Republican Rep. Dave Reichert, whom Burner is challenging. The bill would increase damages for unequal pay under the Equal Pay Act, prohibit retaliation by employers when employees share salary information with each other, and close a loophole that allows employers to say they pay women less for reasons “other than sex” that are actually sex-related, like the fact that a man made more in his previous job.

    Currently, women working full-time and year-round earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men—a number that’s significantly lower for black and Hispanic women. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, if women earned the same amount as men who work the same number of hours, have the same education, age, and union status and live in the same region of the country, their family income would rise by about $4,000 a year and their poverty rate would be cut in half. Even controlling for ALL factors that influence earnings—including marital status, race, number and age of children, and total amount of time (hours, tenure, and total years of work) spent in the workforce, women still earn only 80 percent of men’s income.

    Hillary Clinton, incidentally, is one of two primary sponsors of the Paycheck Fairness Act—which, as I noted here, is one of the reasons I supported her for the Democratic nomination. Obama has not been as outspoken about equal pay as his former [duh, this initially said “former opponent,” but I forgot to take out the “former”; Obama and Clinton are still Senate colleagues] Senate colleague, although he, too, signed on to the legislation; his opponent John McCain, in contrast, has said that women need “more training and education,” not legal protections, if they want to make as much as men.


    posted by on June 11 at 10:28 AM

    Suddenly, now that it really feels like summer, these ads for malt-liquor margaritas are everywhere.


    Pre-made margaritas are always dubious, like the ones that come in tubs at the liquor store that you’re supposed to freeze. Totes nasty. But, because these Mike’s twist-cap faux cocktails are malt beverages that don’t actually contain any tequila—the flavor of a margarita—they seem even more frightening.

    But take my complaint with a grain of salt—and a lime—because they could be great. I haven’t actually drunk (ha!) one. Has anyone? Are they revolting or delicious?

    Not Important

    posted by on June 11 at 10:23 AM

    Like the man said

    McCain wants to stay in Iraq until no more Americans are getting killed, no matter how long it takes and how many Americans get killed achieving that goal—that is, the goal of not getting any more Americans killed. And once that goal is achieved, we’ll stay.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on June 11 at 10:11 AM


    There’s a lot going on tonight, including a reading by two poets, a reading by a woman who writes romances for what used to be called ‘soccer moms,’ a book about Mount Everest, a book about aging brains, a book about which way God would want you to vote (and because it’s written by a liberal, God wants you to vote liberally), and a $45 wine reception for Salman Rushdie, who will be reading for free tomorrow.

    Also: Julie Salamon reads at Third Place Books from Hospital: Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity, Plus Red Tape, Bad Behavior, Money, God and Diversity on Steroids. It’s about one day in the life of a hospital, and it looks really interesting.

    And: George Lakoff, who wrote Don’t Think of an Elephant, reads from his new book, which is titled The Political Mind: Why You Can’t Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain. I like Lakoff okay; a customer at a bookstore once described him to me as basically a Noam Chomsky that more people can understand. But there’s a place for that, too.

    In addition: At the U Village Barnes & Noble, we have a reading for In Justice: Inside the Scandal That Rocked the Bush Administration, which is about the wrongful firing of U.S. attorneys, by one of the attorneys in question.

    But: Richard Bausch, who is a great writer, reads from his new novel, Peace, at Elliott Bay book Company. If you haven’t read Bausch’s short stories, you really should. I haven’t read the new one, but I’m looking forward to it.

    Full readings calendar, including tomorrow’s Rushdie readings, can be found on our Books page.

    Seattle Firefighters Endorsements

    posted by on June 11 at 10:04 AM

    The Seattle Firefighters Union has issued its (usually quite coveted) endorsements in four local and state races. They are:

    36th Legislative District: Reuven Carlyle

    46th Legislative District: Scott White

    King County Superior Court: Bruce Heller

    Washington State Attorney General: Rob McKenna (most recently in the news for denying public records to convicted felons).

    Because this year’s primary will be a “top-two” primary (the top two candidates move forward to the general election even if, for example, both are Democrats), primary endorsements won’t have much (if any) impact on which candidates make it onto the general election ballot; their main purpose will be to help build momentum for candidates going into November.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on June 11 at 10:00 AM

    Eric Elliott’s Artist’s Studio: View from Easel (2008), oil on canvas, 36 by 36 inches

    At SOIL. (Gallery web site here.)

    So Conflicted, So Conflicted…

    posted by on June 11 at 9:53 AM

    Republicans are pushing voter ID laws to address the non-existent plague of vote fraud that isn’t currently tormenting our democracy. These laws are opposed by good liberals everywhere. But the folks most impacted, it seems, by voter ID laws—the folks most likely to find themselves barred at the polls—seem to be elderly voters. Ninety-seven-year-old Arizonans, ancient nuns in Indiana

    As a good-ish liberal, I’m opposed to voter ID laws. But as a gay and an Obama supporter, I’m cognizant of the fact that these older voters are likelier to oppose same-sex marriage and, well, there isn’t a nice way to put this so I’ll just say it: they’re likely to be out of their fucking minds.

    Robert Miller, 72, who lives in a government subsidized room in Bedford, said the Constitution should be amended so it will “not let any colored people run for the White House.” He seemed unsure about his voting record in recent elections, but vividly recalled voting for Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.

    Dixie Pebley of Johnstown, 71, explained her distaste for Obama, saying, “black doesn’t bother me, but Muslim does.” When reminded that Obama is a Christian, she conceded the point, but added: “He was born Muslim and raised Muslim, that’s enough for me. He just scares me to death.”

    So… voter ID laws, baaaaad. But something that prevents older voters from going to the polls and voting against scary gay marriages and scary black dudes running for president, maybe not so bad?

    Re: What He Said

    posted by on June 11 at 9:35 AM

    Also what I said, three years ago:

    We gay people can lobby politicians and dialogue with homophobes all we want, and we should, but perhaps the most important thing gay Americans can do right now is hold our ground and wait for the considerable number of anti-gay older Americans to die off. When they do, public opinion on gay rights issues is likely to flip.

    And, to be fair, it’s something a lot of people have been saying for a long time.

    This is indeed, as Morford concludes, one of the strangest aspects of this homo moment—the realization, for anyone who’s paying attention, that the gay rights movement will get a big boost when a certain demographic leaves this earth.

    As a General Rule…

    posted by on June 11 at 9:31 AM

    …any opinion piece in the Seattle Times that begins with the phrase, “As a third-generation Washingtonian…” is not worth reading.

    What He Said

    posted by on June 11 at 9:25 AM

    Mark Morford at the San Francisco Chronicle….

    It’s because younger people today—those under, say, 45 or so—have been far more exposed to the gay “lifestyle” and to more fluid notions of gender and sexuality, to the idea of homosexuality as a common, nonthreatening, everyday, what’s-the-big-deal shrug, and therefore, as a demographic, they/we understand that allowing gay people to wed doesn’t actually mean our shaky notions of God and family and society will collapse like a priest’s willpower at a Boy Scout jamboree.

    This, I think, was perhaps the most fascinating tidbit of insight to emerge from the most recent poll of Californians where, for the first time in state history, a majority of those polled said they support the idea of gay marriage and/or oppose a new and vile push for a state constitutional amendment to ban it outright. And that majority consists, by and large, of the young.

    It’s an intriguing—if slightly morbid—thing to note, because on the flip side, the poll also found that most people over age 65 don’t like the idea of gay marriage one little bit because, well, they usually can’t exactly explain why, though it’s not difficult to guess: It’s what they were taught, what was implied, it’s what their own parents passed on to them, as did their church, their culture, society as it was during their upbringing, and it was largely a narrow and repressed and sexually unaware period that finally, mercifully seems to be gasping its last.

    And hence the obvious conclusion: It’s only because the “Greatest Generation” is finally dying off that something like gay marriage can be realized as less of a silly threat. Or, more bluntly: As die the old, so dies the ugly intolerance so many of them carried like a sad, hereditary disease.

    Slog Poll: Obama’s VP Pick

    posted by on June 11 at 9:20 AM

    [This post went up yesterday afternoon, but I’m moving it up to this morning to see if votes from our a.m. readers change the outcome at all. Then, at some point soon, we’ll do some run-off voting.]

    There’s a lot of chatter today about a list of 20 people who Obama might pick as his VP. I’ve cobbled together a list of 20 from several different sources and present it now for your voting pleasure. The result is definitive and binding, as always.

    Who should be Obama’s VP?

    Are You Voting Republican?

    posted by on June 11 at 9:14 AM

    These folks are…

    More at

    Thanks to Slog tipper Marco.

    I’m Not Crazy

    posted by on June 11 at 8:53 AM

    When I complained earlier in the week about the cold and the rain, lifers, old-timer and natives lectured this recent transplant—I’ve only been in Seattle for 17 years, after all—about how I needed to wake up and smell my location, that Seattle is always like this in June, blah blah blah. Well, it looks like I’m not crazy…


    It’s colder here than in Siberia! Or, um, one cherry-picked city in Siberia, at least. We are, however, enduring the coldest June on record—but our records only go back about a hundred years, of course, so there could have been a colder June 105 years ago for all we know. But it’s freaking cold, gray, and wet, and I’ve had it. At least in Aspen—where it’s still snowing—they’ve opened the mountain to skiing and snowboarding this weekend. I wish the Pass—which has also been getting snow—would reopen for some freaky-ass June snowboarding.

    Steve Kurtz Cleared of All Charges

    posted by on June 11 at 8:44 AM

    From the press release sent out this morning by Kurtz’s supporters (background here):

    Buffalo, NY—Dr. Steven Kurtz, a Professor of Visual Studies at SUNY at Buffalo and cofounder of the award-winning art and theater group Critical Art Ensemble, has been cleared of all charges of mail and wire fraud. On April 21, Federal Judge Richard J. Arcara dismissed the government’s entire indictment against Dr. Kurtz as “insufficient on its face.” This means that even if the actions alleged in the indictment (which the judge must accept as “fact”) were true, they would not constitute a crime. The US Department of Justice had thirty days from the date of the ruling to appeal. No action has been taken in this time period, thus stopping any appeal of the dismissal. According to Margaret McFarland, a spokeswoman for US Attorney Terrance P. Flynn, the DoJ will not appeal Arcara’s ruling and will not seek any new charges against Kurtz.

    …Finally vindicated after four years of struggle, Kurtz, asked for a statement, responded stoically: “I don’t have a statement, but I do have questions. As an innocent man, where do I go to get back the four years the Department of Justice stole from me? As a taxpayer, where do I go to get back the millions of dollars the FBI and Justice Department wasted persecuting me? And as a citizen, what must I do to have a Justice Department free of partisan corruption so profound it has turned on those it is sworn to protect?”

    …(CAE coordinator Lucia) Sommer added that the next step for the defense will be to get back all of the materials taken by the FBI during its 2004 raid on the Kurtz home, including several completed art projects, as well as Dr. Kurtz’s lab equipment, computers, books, manuscripts, notes, research materials, and personal belongings. The four confiscated art projects are the subject of an exhibition entitled SEIZED on view at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo, NY, through July 18.

    In/Visible Is Up: Stefano Catalani: Inside a Once-Infamous Museum

    posted by on June 11 at 8:27 AM

    The Bellevue Arts Museum hasn’t exactly had an easy time of it, what with the shutting down, the “signature” (read: impossible) architecture, and the embezzling.

    Okay, but what does its contemporary curator, Stefano Catalani—who has produced more exhibition catalogs in the last few years than any other local curator—have to say about working at BAM?

    Here he is. (And here’s a site that says he is actually an Italian prince. He does have a princely mustache…)

    The Morning News

    posted by on June 11 at 8:04 AM

    Allies & Enemies I: Pakistan claims American airstrikes killed 11 of its paramilitary soldiers. America responds that the soldiers were from the Pakistan Frontier Corps. and probably working with Afghan insurgents.

    Allies & Enemies II: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has joined President Bush in wanting new sanctions against Iran. In response, Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Bush a lame duck:

    “America wanted to harm us in the past 30 years, especially under Bush,” [Ahmadinejad] said. “It went to Afghanistan and Iraq and announced that Iran was the third place, that it was their main target.”

    Meanwhile, In Iraq: As the U.N. mandate authorizing an American presence nears its end

    High-level negotiations over the future role of the U.S. military in Iraq have turned into an increasingly acrimonious public debate, with Iraqi politicians denouncing what they say are U.S. demands to maintain nearly 60 bases in their country indefinitely.

    The Vetted: Barack Obama’s choice of former Fannie Mae chief James A. Johnson to spearhead vetting of potential running mates turns out to be a gift to the McCain campaign.

    Abu Dhabi Chrysler Building: An oil-rich Arab fund is set to buy an American landmark.

    A Zero Approval Rating Will Do That: Vice President Dick Cheney is being kept at a distance from the McCain campaign.

    $250 Per Barrel?: The head of Gazprom, one of the world’s largest energy company, says yes.

    The New Virgins: Hymenoplasty on the rise among Muslim women in Europe.

    Good News: Despite rumors, Paul Newman doesn’t have cancer.

    Cold Mountain: One stranded climber dead, two found alive on Mount Rainier this morning.

    Cold City: Seattle has gone two weeks without a 70 degree day. Fairbanks, Alaska, meanwhile, hit 70 six times in the past 10 days.

    The Money Game: Christine Gregoire raised $785,000 in May, while opponent Dino Rossi raised $701,000.

    Ballad for the Balladeer: Longtime Pike Place Market busker Jim Hinde died Monday, at the age of 56.

    Total Flamer: An arsonist is on the loose in South Seattle.

    Shooters, Shot: Local oyster industry “in a state of panic” over the bacterium Vibrio tubiashii.

    Finally: The Gung Ho Commando Outfit!

    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    The Silver Lining

    posted by on June 10 at 6:35 PM

    Hillary lost, and Hillary supporters are bummed. That’s understandable. But look on the bright side, Hillary supporters: Your candidate’s loss is going to prevent these two from cashing in.

    Happy 10th Anniversary, EU Central Bank

    posted by on June 10 at 6:32 PM

    Happy tenth birthday, European Central Bank! My, how you’ve grown. Why? Because it’s hard to be a little bit pregnant. The EU represents the only true free trade agreement between nations today.

    Grab any responsible economist, and they’ll admit to you that free trade requires radical changes between countries. Ahem, in short, to get the theoretical benefits of free trade, nations must:

    1. Drop any tariffs, quotas or other special taxes on imported goods and services.
    2. Drop any market-distorting practices, like selective subsidies, taxes, regulations or other policies that favor domestic or foreign products or services.
    3. Provide free access to accurate information about the markets involved.
    4. Allow money and other forms of capitol to flow unrestricted between countries, without currency manipulation or restrictions.
    5. Labor must also be able to travel freely within the free-trade region.

    By this definition—the definition economists use when discussing free trade, and assume is true when predicting the benefits of free trade—neither the WTO nor NAFTA represent anything approaching free trade. The EU and the European Central Bank fulfill all of these requirements, and thus represent the most aggressively radical application of free trade since the ratification of the US Constitution.

    Completeness matters. By having a unified regulatory structure, one EU member nation cannot artificially outcompete another by dropping environmental, labor or safety protections. By sharing the same information gathering structures, no EU nation can falsify economic growth, or hide flaws, more than any other. By sharing a currency, governments cannot manipulate exchange rates, and thus entire balances of trade. Most radically, as a EU citizen, if you cannot find work in your home country, you are free to move to another. If you are the best at a give job, and it just happens to be across a national border in the EU, you can still take the job. No visa. No immigration. Just hop on a train and go. It isn’t perfect, the differing healthcare systems between European countries cause some grief, but it’s pretty damn impressive.

    Compare this to NAFTA. Canada, the US and Mexico have radically different regulatory bodies and standards. All three have distinct currencies, subject to manipulation and speculation. The whole republican primary was grief about “illegal” transfer of labor from one part of this free trade zone to another. Likewise, our trade agreements with China all but encourage currency manipulation and advantage-taking of differences in regulation.

    When a trade agreement fulfills the five requirements above, you end up selecting for the most efficient, the most effective and the most successful corporations and individuals. You tend to draw people to regions of economic success and away from those of failure. The economies of the participating nations become better and doing what they do, with the same or less input resources. A good.

    When you aggressively pursue only some of the five, you end up selecting for those best at manipulating the remaining. Fail to unify regulations? You select for corporations the best at corrupting the local laws and enforcement to their advantage. Fail to unify currencies? You select for those best at manipulating the currency trading to their advantage. Fail to drop migration restrictions on people and you select for the companies that are the most willing to flaunt the immigration laws. The outcome is far from efficient, and the meritorious are unlikely to succeed. The ruthless win.

    Many of the trade deals we’ve agreed to over the past few decades are anything but free trade. They have much more in common with the crafted and manipulated trade deals of the 19th Century European empires, designed to draw wealth to the already wealthy, to hold down the power of labor and environmentalists, to consolidate power and destroy free markets. The jackals who wrote these trade deals to their advantage, and the disadvantage of the vast majority worldwide, have much to fear from real free trade.

    In a delightful way, the very existence of the EU as a real free trade agreement provides a dose of reality, a living and breathing example of how our own situation could be better.

    Seattle Weekly’s Owner Having Trouble Paying Legal Bills

    posted by on June 10 at 6:20 PM

    Village Voice Media, the newspaper chain that owns the Seattle Weekly, is reportedly having trouble coming up with the $15.6 million won by the San Francisco Bay Guardian in its predatory pricing lawsuit against SF Weekly, which is owned by VVM. The Guardian accused VVM of undercutting its ad rates in an effort to put the paper out of business.

    According to the Bay Guardian, SF Weekly’s attorney, Rod Kerr, has asked for a stay of judgment until 10 days after the judge in the case rules on the newspaper chain’s post-trial motions, or as late as July 28.

    Kerr argued that turmoil in the financial markets and the need for VVM to get approval from its lenders is making it difficult to secure the bond. “Without the post trial decisions, they’re not willing to release the collateral,” he said in court. “I think it’s a very reasonable request under the circumstances.”

    Kerr said he believed there was a likelihood that the judgment amount would be substantially lowered during post-trial rulings, something that the company has also represented to its lenders.

    The judge took the Bay Guardian’s side, agreeing to grant the stay only until June 18.

    It’s unclear how, or whether, VVM’s financial difficulties will impact the 17 papers, including Seattle Weekly, that are part of the nationwide alt-weekly chain.

    You Know What, Clay Bennett?

    posted by on June 10 at 6:05 PM

    After today’s NBA game-fixing allegations, and the NBA’s Scott McClellan-esque rebuttals, I think I finally understand your Oklahoma City motives. Doesn’t matter whether or not today’s allegations are true (and from the sound of it, former ref Tim Donaghy isn’t saying anything too outlandish). The reputation for NBA iffiness is beginning to stick, and league commish David Stern is going for low blows on Donaghy to fight the charges. As if the whole affair isn’t WWE enough? Stern might as well get in the middle of the wrestling ring and deliver those low blows via 10-minute Vince McMahon monologue.

    Bennett, at this point, you’re looking like a smart businessman. You’re taking the initiative and moving your basketball team to a city that’s too attention-starved to care about integrity in sports. Tip of the hat.

    Free From Ethical Obligations, Spitzer Moves to Screw Homeowners

    posted by on June 10 at 5:59 PM

    Fresh off a career-ending prostitution scandal, New York State’s biggest hypocrite (who, lest you’ve forgotten, shut down prostitution rings while simultaneously spending thousands of dollars on those same prostitution rings) has decided to make money the old-fashioned way: By picking at the dessicated bones of former homeowners who’ve lost their houses to foreclosure. According to the New York Sun, Spitzer is currently “shopping around a plan to start a vulture fund that would scoop up distressed real estate assets around the country, revamp them, and flip the properties for a profit.

    Distressed real estate funds—better, and more colorfully, known as “vulture funds“—consist of pools of foreclosed houses sold for pennies on the dollar. They can be extremely lucrative, promising typical returns of more than 20 percent. According to the Sun, the former New York governor “is said to be envisioning projects valued between $100 million and $500 million.”

    On the bright side: At least he didn’t become the Democratic nominee for President!

    Burn After Viewing

    posted by on June 10 at 5:00 PM


    Zatz Not Funny has a review of Flexplay, the new disposable DVD that’s getting some play thanks to airline travel, and it may be moving into the rental market, too.

    The theory is that once you open the DVD from its airtight package, it starts decomposing and in 60 hours, it will be rendered unwatchable. There’s a video here. Apparently, the DVD is recyclable (the video even claims that not having to do a return trip to a video store is good for the environment). You know how you see something and you automatically recoil and you’re sure it’s a bad idea? I’ve got that right now.

    Congratulations, Ainu!

    posted by on June 10 at 4:43 PM

    You are now (as of last Friday) officially considered an indigenous people of Japan! Rejoice—maybe it’ll make those memories of decades of racism fade away a little bit.


    It’s always kind of comforting to see that persecution of indigenous peoples is not an exclusively European trait…

    After initial contact with the immigrants, large settlements of the Japanese newcomers gradually spread into Ainu territory. As the Japanese moved north and took control over Ainu lands, the Ainu often gave up without resistance, with some occasional wars in 1457, 1669, and 1789, where the Ainu were defeated. Notable Ainu revolts include Shakushain’s Revolt and the Menashi-Kunashir Battle. Japanese policies became increasingly aimed at assimilating the Ainu in the Meiji period starting in 1868, outlawing their language, forcing them to use Japanese names, redistributing their land to Japanese farmers and restricting them to farming on government-provided plots and as labor in the Japanese fishing industry.

    Also interesting:

    Ainu men generally have dense hair development.

    Joe Lieberman…

    posted by on June 10 at 4:34 PM

    …is a piece of shit.

    Now that Joe Lieberman has emerged as John McCain’s lead attack dog against Barack Obama—even going so far as to suggest that Obama’s judgment could pose a danger to our safety—there’s some very interesting behind-the-scenes back-story to the Lieberman-Obama relationship that you should know about.

    Specifically, a top official on Joe Lieberman’s 2006 Senate reelection campaign tells me that Lieberman’s staff practically begged Barack Obama to come in and endorse him at a critical moment—requests that Obama agreed to, helping Lieberman minimize the damage from challenger Ned Lamont’s recent entry into the contest.

    And Obama only has himself to blame.

    Laff Hole Moves to Re-bar

    posted by on June 10 at 4:32 PM

    Remember back in April when Laff Hole (the weekly stand-up comedy night by the People’s Republic of Komedy), announced they were hopping nightclubs, leaving Chop Suey for Capitol Hill Arts Center?

    And I wrote wrote this on Slog?

    …moving back to CHAC, which has been a revolving door for theaters and arts organizations, doesn’t seem like the best idea—not least because PROK and CHAC already lived together once, a couple of years ago. It didn’t work out.

    And, as wise people say, there are no second acts in love.

    PROK should move to Re-bar, home of Dina Martina and Brown Derby and Greek Active and two decades of marrying drinking, theater, and comedy. The Republic and Re-bar belong together.

    Well slap my face and call me yenta: PROK just announced they’re leaving CHAC and moving to Re-bar.

    Don’t Fuck With My Profits!

    posted by on June 10 at 4:32 PM

    Big oil ain’t sharing nothing:

    NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Exxon Mobil fired back Tuesday at a proposed windfall profit tax, after the oil giant was mentioned by name in Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s call to counteract skyrocketing energy costs by hiking levies on producers.

    Spokesman Tony Cudmore said in an e-mail to MarketWatch that U.S. energy companies already pay record taxes, adding that the way to keep energy costs down rests with increased supplies, which require additional investment, not higher taxes.
    “Proposals to increase taxes on the industry would discourage the sustained investments needed to safeguard U.S. energy security and are not in the interests of American consumers,” Exxon Mobil said.
    The darkest place in the spokesman’s email is found in the expression “energy security.” That’s the source of the leading evils of our day.

    Eyman’s Paid Signature Gatherers Using Deceptive Tactics

    posted by on June 10 at 4:28 PM

    I know, shocking, right?

    But still, this—via Slog tipper Jakob—is pretty far beyond the pale:

    Eyman had paid signature gatherers at my campus today (WWU). They were African-American men decked out in Obama pins.

    They approached me and ask me if I was a registered voter. I said yes, and that I was already volunteering on behalf of Obama. That’s when they busted out with the whole I-985 thing. How deceitful, shameful and unethical of them to try to use Obama’s name to get interest for Eyman’s stupid initiative.

    What would that stupid initiative do? Well, among other things, it would open up HOV lanes to non-HOV traffic for most of the day, including parts of the morning and evening rush hours; require toll revenues to be spent on roads, instead of transit; create a new road-expansion account; and ban tolls on SR-99, a recipe for massive congestion once the state starts tolling SR-520, the other bridge across Lake Washington. This isn’t a measure you ought to sign just to “give it a shot at the polls”; it’s a proposal all thinking people (that is, all people who support mass transit and/or don’t want to make congestion worse) ought to do everything they can to keep off the ballot.

    Honestly, Rebecca, It Just Seems a Little Late In the Game for That, You Know?

    posted by on June 10 at 4:21 PM

    Writes Slog tipper Rebecca…

    Slog, you are falling behind. It’s been 24 hours since Kucinich read 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush, and you haven’t posted about it. C’mon, where’s the outrage that the Democratic party leadership still thinks that following up on impeachment would somehow hurt them? What happened to ITMFA?

    Pigs in boots, indeed.

    Rebecca drew our attention to this post at Kos, which gives a full accounting of Dennis Kucinich’s efforts to impeach George W. Bush six months before the end of his second, admittedly disastrous, term. Still, if Bush is trying to gin up a war with Iran before his term expires, or negotiate a treaty with the Iraqi government that compels the next president to build 58 military bases in Iraq, maybe we do still need to impeach the motherfucker already…

    Pig ‘n Boots!

    posted by on June 10 at 4:07 PM

    Lil’ Pig is afraid of the mud, so they put boots on her!


    (Thank you, Matt Hickey.)

    You Say Tomato, I Say Gardenburger

    posted by on June 10 at 4:00 PM

    Gardenburgers nationwide have been surreptitiously removed from shelves and menus. Why? Nobody seems to know. The answer, according to this one vegetarian thread, could involve lost keys, electrical failures, construction, and sawdust. But a response from Gardenburger was exceedingly unhelpful:

    Kellogg® has removed a limited number of Gardenburger® products from distribution while we upgrade the manufacturing facility. The product is not being recalled and is safe for consumption. We hope to have Gardenburger® products available again at retailers by mid-June.

    Consumer confidence is not in this way built.

    Forgive Me

    posted by on June 10 at 3:58 PM

    A McCainiacs on the floor…

    The 11th Most Terrifying Guide to Sex

    posted by on June 10 at 3:49 PM

    Hey, Cracked, this just arrived in my mailbox—and I actually don’t think it’s the 11th most terrifying guide to sex. I think it belongs somewhere in the top three. I certainly think it’s scarier than your #1 pick, A Hand in the Bush: The Fine Art of Vaginal Fisting, and way, way scarier than your #2 pick, Intimate Invasions: The Erotic Ins & Outs of Enema Play. I give you… The Toybag Guide to Ageplay.


    Here’s the back cover. A selection from the first chapter, “What Is Age Play?”

    I get asked all the time what Age Play is. It can mean a thousand different things to a thousand different sexual adventurers or curious roleplaying enthusiasts, but there are key threads that run through it.

    Age play is any interaction or roleplay between consenting adults (or enjoyed solo by an adult) involving the concept of age as a dynamic… Age play incorporates a sensual or sexual element, buy many “age players,” “kidz,” babiez,” or “littles” enjoy “pure” age play that is just about the role and not about any hanky panky.

    Age play is not pedophilia, child porn, or individuals interested in playing with actual biological children. Age Players may use the props of “bio kids,” but we are into the props and trappings, not the kids themselves in any way.

    I think it’s unfair and discriminatory that “kidz” and babiez” get alternate spellings, but “littles” do not. Also, if “Age Players” is going to be capped, I think “Bio Kids” should be as well. Just out of simple, you know, respect.

    “Our gal still maybe ‘Madame Presdient’”

    posted by on June 10 at 3:08 PM

    Over on this hideous formerly pro-Hillary/now pro-McCain website, the comments are abuzz with intelligent political discourse.

    Or not.

    One new anti-Obama poster asks the domain master, whose name appears to be Ed:

    Ed. Love the site and its links. I was just wondering how secure it is. If one was to donate, is there a way your site can be hacked and info gotten by the Obama camp? Thanks Mary

    Ed replies:

    Mary, this site is ran threw the homestead servers. They are the most secure in the world. Obama people have tried and fail to hack this web site. Also as to the money part, The most secure way in the world to send money is threw paypal. I am not stupid like the obama people think, I have secured that will let them look but cannot touch. Ed

    Another lady wrote in with a potential scandal:

    Hi Ed, I will email about t-shirts and more designs later, but now here is a big newsflash. According to this article, OBAMA IS NOT EVEN A CITIZEN!!!!!! Read it for yourself - click on the above link and get ready for a shock. Please read this. Hawaii would need to have been a state 5 years before he was born if one parent was not an American citizen. It was only a state 2 years before he was born!

    And Ed replies:

    OMG - this is true. I think we need to hire a lawyer and challenge Obama. According to the law, he is not able to run for the president of the USA. Folks, we need Attorney now. I will call a meeting tonight and get this going. Our gal still maybe “Madame Presdient” - Ed

    I’ve been on this site for fifteen minutes now and I can’t look away. It’s like watching two neutered puppies trying to hump each other. Can I just take this opportunity to tell all you commenters out there in Slogland…yes, even you…that you are among the most literate and beautiful human beings on the face of the planet?

    Two more Hillz-happy comments after the jump, including a total doozy, and then what may be the ideal bad internet comment:

    Continue reading ""Our gal still maybe 'Madame Presdient'"" »

    The 3% Solution

    posted by on June 10 at 3:00 PM


    Last week, David Sedaris said that his essays were 97% true and 3% embellishment. This week, Barnes and Noble shelves Sedaris’ newest book under fiction.

    This is ridiculous.

    I think there are lots of allegedly non-fiction books—biographies and journalism and historical narratives—that are at least 3% made up, either accidentally or on purpose. This supposedly razor-thin line of fact and fiction, and the repeated attempts of bookstores and libraries to keep the one from tampering with the other, is out of control. Is Oprah going to yell at David Sedaris now?* Are booksellers and librarians trying to protect the reader from fraud? Is there anyone who seriously worries about this kind of thing?

    Continue reading "The 3% Solution" »

    You Can Smoke 25 Feet from the Door—Even if You’re Inside

    posted by on June 10 at 2:23 PM

    Check this out: An Olympia bar owner, Frank Schnarrs, wound up in court for allowing a “private” smoking area inside his bar. He’d contended that since patrons paid a dollar to get into a second-floor room where servers claimed to be volunteers, it wasn’t a workplace under state law—but a private club—thus exempting it from the indoor smoking ban. Well, the judge called that a “smokescreen,” but that’s not the end of the story.

    Thurston County Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks left the door open for Schnarrs to comply if Schnarrs were able to build an indoor designated smoking area using health criteria on par with outdoor smoking rooms created by other bars.

    Under the law, a designated smoking area must be at least 25 feet from any doors, windows or ventilation units that would allow secondhand smoke to pollute nonsmoking areas. Schnarrs’ attorney, Shawn Newman, said Hicks’ ruling recognizes the ambiguity of the state law and so leaves the door open for Schnarrs to come up with a solution.

    Darrell Cochran, Thurston County senior environmental health specialist, testified that a hallway to Schnarrs’ second floor was at least 25 feet from the first floor. However, Cochran said he had not measured any of the second-floor windows or air intake and exhaust units.

    I’m waiting for a call back from the Attorney General’s office, which is trying to find out whether Schnarrs has found a loophole in the smoking ban. If he has, opening the smoking den will still be like trying to thread a camel though a needle’s eye—he’ll have to prove the area is a private club and not a workplace. If he succeeds, though, you can bet other bar owners will follow, and then the legislature will cinch the loophole.

    The Corson Building, at Last

    posted by on June 10 at 2:11 PM

    The Corson Building—the new Georgetown restaurant/microfarm/oasis from Sitka & Spruce’s Matthew Dillon—will start taking reservations by phone this Friday (here’s the number). It was supposed to open last November; as it nearly universally goes with restaurant build-outs, it was all much more complicated and time-consuming than expected. (I should’ve known better than to get so specifically all wound up in print last September.) The first official event was a June 7 dinner with Anthony Bourdain (tickets were auctioned online to the final tune of $600 a plate; more info/photos by a rich man here). At the very well-attended open house last night, Jerry Traunfeld (formerly of the Herbfarm) said his north Broadway restaurant, Poppy, is on schedule to open after Labor Day. He was standing next to Dillon. “Don’t rub it in,” someone said. Dillon and his business partner, Wylie Bush, both were quietly jubilant.


    Wylie Bush and Matt Dillon

    Food for the party was provided by the Hallava Falafel truck parked out front; Arctic gusts of wind (though, shockingly, no rain) were provided by June. (Perhaps with an assist from climate change—though growing up here, I experienced summers like this about every four or five years; they were known afterwards as “the last time we didn’t have a summer.” People were pretty philosophical about it—it’s good for reading and listening to music—and exposure to such weather provides an inoculation of low-level, ongoing depression that is very helpful in modern life. But I digress.) A pug ran around in a rhinestone (or diamond?) collar; a toddler was entranced with the small planes flying very close overhead and with the stairs that lead to the balcony. The new raised beds in the yard are full of herbs and lettuces and veg that (of course) are doing better than most, despite the recent, endless total eclipse of the sun. The plum trees look good, as do the chickens. (The latter were initially raised by John Sutton of art trio SuttonBeresCuller; a while back, one of the birds was reportedly almost killed by the dog belonging to erstwhile Stranger writer Matthew Richter. Rescued from the very jaws of the great beyond, the near-death chicken remains in Sutton’s South Park coop, where it does not flap its wings like the others, but is eating and otherwise doing fine.) Also, there are doves; a friend of a friend was getting rid of them, and Dillon felt he ought to give them a home. (Will tiny hard-boiled dove eggs appear on top of salads made from the freshest possible greens? Maybe.)

    Out front, the fountain of Venus has been repaired (though half of her concrete conch shell, held aloft and spouting water, is still missing). A big barbeque around the side looks very promising. Inside, the plaster has been repaired, but not overly so, with some brick still showing through cracks; the fireplace with its lion ornamentation is working. It’s rustic and nearly nauseatingly charming—the light through the rows of glassware in the windowed pantry, the fox-and-pheasant-and-boar bathroom wallpaper, the heavy door to the meat curing room. The kitchen, added onto the back, is big and airy and has a pleasing view of people playing soccer in the field across the train tracks. The kitchen is maybe a little bit bigger than the front of the house—a chef’s golden ratio, same as at the (much smaller overall) Sitka & Spruce.

    Dillon will be spending much of his time at the Corson (who could blame him, he said). Sitka will mostly be left in the capable hands of sous-chef Cormac Mahoney, who was looking very dapper in a suit and tie at the Corson housewarming. Sitka’s default motto, on a small chalkboard at the bar, is “Food worth standing up for.” The Corson—which will have canning parties and cookouts and events (possibly yours—talk to Dillon), as well as the 30-seat, a-few-nights-a-week restaurant—promises to be worth the wait.

    “Boy, your databases must not have told you that I live in Seattle.”

    posted by on June 10 at 1:51 PM

    From: “NBA All-Access”
    Sent: Monday, June 9, 2008 4:50pm
    Subject: Josh, Your New All-Access Benefits Are Available

    Your June All-Access Member Update
    Josh, your All-Access benefits are now available. Read below for more information.

    To: NBA All-Access
    Date: Monday, June 9, 2008 5:11pm
    Subject: RE: Josh, Your New All-Access Benefits Are Available

    I’m from Seattle. You’ve lost this market. Don’t email me anymore.


    From: All Access
    Date: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 1:27pm
    Subject: Reply to your message to NBA All-Access

    Hi Josh,

    Thank you for contacting us. Per your request, we have cancelled your All-Access account. You should stop receiving emails from us within 10 business days.

    Should you want to reactivate your account in the future, visit the All-Access member center at You will be asked for the email address and password associated with the previously cancelled account. If you’ve forgotten your old information, you can create a brand-new account.

    Thank you,
    The All-Access Team

    This was inspired by my brilliant friend Tom, who recently wrote this masterpiece (seriously, read it):

    For your pleasure, my response to some NBA spam I received this evening. No one else will read it, so I figure you might as well.

    Subject: RE: A special message from the NBA

    Dear Mr. Stern:

    Boy, your databases must not have told you that I live in Seattle. Now that you’ve played your blackmail game and taken your official Spalding basketball away and run (to Oklahoma City?!?), I can’t imagine why on earth I’d want to sign up for your All-Access pass.

    In case you need reminding, here’s your current business model: billionaires own teams full of multimillionaires, who play their games in front of the millionaires and corporate representatives who can afford inflated ticket prices and absurd luxury box licenses. And if this model is not subsidized by everyday local taxpayers (renovating a perfectly lovely arena after only 10 years because there aren’t enough luxury boxes?!?) then you take a team that a lot of people have made the mistake of investing emotional energy in, and plop it down in some dustbowl town that doesn’t know any better and is desperate enough for some big-league action that they’ll fork over civic money.

    I love the game of basketball—boy do I—but that business model is FLAWED, and I’m proud of my city for standing up to it. Congratulations on abandoning one of the wealthiest and fastest-growing cities in the country, and good luck convincing a big-ticket free agent to agree to play in Oklahoma. Oh, wait, you want them all in Boston and Los Angeles anyway—well done!

    All the best

    Like SIFF in Your Apartment

    posted by on June 10 at 1:29 PM


    I reviewed Heavy Metal in Baghdad for our SIFF Guide. It was a really fine documentary—I gave it a Don’t Miss—from the folks at Vice Magazine about an Iraqi heavy metal band. I learned more about Iraq from this documentary than in a dozen reports from legitimate news sources, and it’s also a refreshing new take in the kids-really-just-wanna-make-a-band-and-RAWK genre of film.

    Today, Heavy Metal in Baghdad is available on DVD, which means that it’s available on Netflix or at your local independent video store. I recommend it.

    Remember When It Was Warm Enough in Seattle…

    posted by on June 10 at 1:19 PM


    …that you could forget to wear pants?

    Photo sent by heroic Hot Tipper Nara, who snapped the pic in late May and submitted it with the following:

    At around noon on Friday May 30th, I was walking down north Broadway with my husband and a friend, when we noticed a couple walking ahead of us. Both were tall women, and one was wearing a long skirt, boots and a sweater. Her girlfriend, however, didn’t seem to feel the need to cover her netherparts. We couldn’t tell if she was wearing a t-shirt-dress that was unfortunately short, or if she was sporting her thong (and accompanying buttcheeks) on purpose. Whichever it was, her girlfriend didn’t seem to mind, as they were kissing periodically.

    It’s great to be back on Broadway - we moved to New York recently and it just isn’t the same.

    Thank you, Nara, and thank you, real-life Dina Martina.

    Beaten Into Celebrity

    posted by on June 10 at 1:01 PM

    The cast for the reality show Celebrity Rehab:

    * Rodney King (Police brutality victim)
    * Jeff Conoway (Apparently, season one didn’t work.)
    * Sean Stewart (Rod Stewart’s son)
    * Amber Smith (model/actress)
    * Nikki McKibbon (American Idol)
    * Steven Adler (Guns n Roses)
    * Tawny Kitaen (Actress)

    This has to be one of the few times that the words “police brutality victim” cause genuine laughter.

    The 10 Most Terrifying Guides to Sex

    posted by on June 10 at 12:52 PM—which bills itself as “America’s only humor and video site” and, yes, will be hearing from Seattle’s Only Newspaper’s lawyers—lists the 10 Most Terrifying Guides to Sex. I’m ashamed to admit that I have five of the ten titles on a shelf here at the office.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on June 10 at 12:45 PM

    “Blacks, Pakis, Gooks, and Nips… Gooks and Nips!”

    Amy Winehouse is such a never-ending disaster, it almost seems fake.

    But Big Cities Are Scary!

    posted by on June 10 at 12:25 PM

    The Seattle Times ed board on May 28 calling for draconian new security measures shooting at Seattle Center after a shooting at Folklife…

    Still, we have to face certain facts. Seattle is changing, and in some ways, not necessarily for the better. Streets are a bit meaner these days.

    The Seattle Times today

    Following a trend across much of the nation, violent crime in Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma saw a significant drop in 2007, according to statistics released Monday by the FBI.

    Nationwide, violent crime appears to have declined in 2007 for the first time in three years, with major cities showing the most significant drops, according to the preliminary FBI report. Violent crime decreased nationally by 1.4 percent from 2006, according to the statistics.

    In Seattle, police investigated 24 homicides and 90 rapes in 2007, compared with 30 homicides and 129 rapes in 2006.

    “Last year was the lowest in either 39 or 40 years,” Seattle police Chief Gil Kerlikowske said about crime rates.

    Dap Attack

    posted by on June 10 at 12:20 PM

    Now everyone’s doing it, even if FOX is trying to suggest it’s a terrorist act. There’s the Dianne Feinstein-Kay Bailey Hutchison fist bump:


    There’s this video of the Obama-Easley bump-plus-thumbs-up, and this photograph of same:


    And finally, Media Matters, in an attempt to save daps from the terrorist watch list, catalogues famous daps throughout recent history and finds this:


    Art Lovers: Go to Portland This Weekend

    posted by on June 10 at 12:13 PM

    Jeffry Mitchell, The Sphinx (2008)

    The Portland Art Museum has decided to step up its role in shaping the Northwest landscape by abandoning its old tradition, the limited Oregon Biennial, and creating a new tradition: the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards.

    The exhibition opens Saturday, and a panel discussion with the artists will be held at the museum at 2 pm Sunday.

    The idea was the brainchild of Jennifer Gately, who arrived at PAM as the museum’s Northwest art curator 2 1/2 years ago. The fruits of her labor go on display Saturday, in a major exhibition that displays new and preexisting work by each of five selected artists: Dan Attoe, Cat Clifford, Whiting Tennis, Jeffry Mitchell, and Marie Watt. They were vetted in a long process. It started with 250 nominations from curators, critics, academics, artists, gallery owners, and collectors. Those were whittled to 28 by Gately and curator James Rondeau of the Art Institute of Chicago, and then to the final 5 by Gately.

    On Saturday night, the museum will announce the single winner—from among these five—of the $10,000 Arlene Schnitzer Prize, selected by the PAM curatorial team (including Gately and chief curator Bruce Guenther, among others).

    Next week, I’ll be posting news about the prize, the exhibition, and a podcast with all five artists and Gately, but this morning I caught up with Gately for a phone Q&A. Check it out on the jump.

    Continue reading "Art Lovers: Go to Portland This Weekend" »

    Salute Your Short

    posted by on June 10 at 12:00 PM

    You could call this a conflict of interest, since comedian Hari Kondabolu is a friend of mine, but whatever. His comedic short film, Manoj, is playing at STIFF tonight (6:15 pm, Jewel Box Theater, $8). I recommend it, unconflictedly.

    I can’t vouch for any of the other shorts in tonight’s program, but Manoj—a mockumentary about an Indian comedian and America’s clumsy affection for stereotypes— is funny and smart and painful. (Read Charles’s profile of director Zia Mohajerjasbi here.)

    In other Hari Kondabolu news, he’ll be appearing on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” on Friday, July 18th at 10 pm. If you like Hari Kondabolu, which you should, save the date.

    The Bookshelf Speaks Volumes

    posted by on June 10 at 12:00 PM

    Over at the Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg has an interview with McCain on the Middle East. Parts of it are completely terrifying when you consider they’re coming from someone who wants to be president:

    JG: What do you think motivates Iran?

    JM: Hatred. I don’t try to divine people’s motives. I look at their actions and what they say.

    Also, the part where he comes out solidly against genocide, but only if it’s a fight that we can win, is pretty illuminating.

    But since I’m the book guy, here’s what caught my attention:

    JG: A final question: Senator Obama talked about how his life was influenced by Jewish writers, Philip Roth, Leon Uris. How about you?

    JM: There’s Elie Wiesel, and Victor Frankl. I think about Frankl all the time. “Man’s Search for Meaning” is one of the most profound things I’ve ever read in my life. And maybe on a little lighter note, “War and Remembrance” and “Winds of War” are my two absolute favorite books. I can tell you that one of my life’s ambitions is to meet Herman Wouk. “War and Remembrance” for me, it’s the whole thing.

    Then there’s Joe Lieberman, who lives a life of his religion, and who does it in the most humble way.

    JG: Not a big Philip Roth fan?

    JM: No, I’m not. Leon Uris I enjoyed.

    First of all, and not just from this interview: I get the sense that McCain is seriously considering Lieberman for vice president. Second of all: Leon Uris over Phillip Roth? Talk about an old man’s taste for books…

    What They Said

    posted by on June 10 at 11:44 AM

    Washington Post editorial

    Anyone who has used public transportation in Western Europe, Australia or Japan is struck by the fact that U.S. transit is decades behind the state of the art. China, too, is investing heavily in building public transportation infrastructure. The fact that the vast bulk of transit ridership in the United States is concentrated in the 50 top metropolitan areas, which together account for almost two-thirds of economic activity in the United States, underscores the critical link between public transportation and American competitiveness. If America continues to neglect transit, it will stunt its own economic prospects.

    And for the record: Proposals for BRT, or “bus rapid transit,” being floated around here aren’t really for BRT at all—not unless “B” stands for “bullshit” when Ron Sims uses the acronym. Real BRT requires dedicating traffic lanes to buses only, and that would require taking closing those traffic lanes to drivers. Considering that HOV lanes are hotly controversial around here, closing hundreds of miles of traffic lanes to cars to create real BRT is a political non-starter in King County.

    Bringing BRT to our area won’t mean rapid transit or less congestion. It will mean more buses packed on the same streets that are already clogged with cars.

    McCain Makes a Funny

    posted by on June 10 at 11:37 AM

    Another in an unintentional series:

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on June 10 at 11:31 AM


    Episcopal Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr.’s church trial on the ground that he long ago concealed his brother’s sexual abuse of a teenage girl ended its first day with the victim recounting how she had hoped Bennison would report the abuse to her parents and put an end to it.

    “I wanted out,” the woman, now 50, told the special Court for the Trial of a Bishop yesterday in Center City. “I wanted someone to help me.”

    But Bennison, who was then rector of her parish in Upland, Calif., remained silent, she said, adding that there was “no doubt in my mind he knew” that his brother, John Bennison, the church’s youth minister, was having sex with her.

    She described how twice, when she was 15, Charles Bennison had walked in on them and found them disheveled and breathless, with John Bennison visibly aroused on one occasion.


    Ex-youth minister sentenced stpierre.jpg Apologizing for his actions in a case where he was accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl, Nathan St. Pierre told a judge on Monday that he stood before the court “broken and contrite.”

    On Monday, Vanderburgh Circuit Court Judge Carl Heldt sentenced St. Pierre, 26, to seven years in the Indiana Department of Correction, to be followed by 10 years as a registered sex offender…. He was accused of having a sexual relationship with a girl who was a member of Washington Avenue Baptist Church, where he worked as a youth choir director.


    Had the case gone to trial, it would have involved the word of a former youth minister against a 15-year-old girl he counseled who claimed he molested her. JeremyGable.jpg In the end, Jeremy Patrick Gable, 31, reached a plea deal with prosecutors that kept him out of prison and allowed his accuser to avoid the ordeal of testifying at trial. Gable was originally charged with sexual battery in the April 2006 incident, but pleaded no contest to a charge of child abuse instead and was sentenced by Circuit Judge Gary Sweet to five years of probation. “I’m still claiming my innocence,” Gable said, adding the plea was in his best interest. He could have faced up to five years in prison on the charge.

    Gable, who worked at First Baptist Church of Port St. Lucie and counseled the girl at her mother’s request, was accused of inappropriately touching the girl while they were painting his office at the church on Northeast Solida Drive. The girl claimed he also propositioned her for oral sex.

    The NEA Dials Its Time Machine Forward, a Nation Rejoices

    posted by on June 10 at 11:13 AM

    Back in May, I got all mad on Slog about Shakespeare and the NEA:

    Shakespeare gets enough attention and reward in America, what with the NEA shoving piles of its theater money to Shakespeare-in-the-heartland projects because they’re too afraid of Congress to fund much else—like, say, even American classics like Tennessee fucking Williams.

    Which is bogus.

    It’s not like the NEA has to shove cash directly into Karen Finley’s crotch to earn its name as America’s arts foundation, but can it dial the time machine forward at least 400 years, to the early 20th century?

    Slog’s wish is the NEA’s command.

    Yesterday, America’s arts foundation announced it would start giving money to help develop new plays.

    The NEA New Play Development Program has $90,000 each available for two scripts; they must be already written and attached to theater companies planning to stage their world premieres by the end of 2010.

    And there’s $20,000 each for five shows that are at a more germinal stage, where a writer and theater company need money to work on an idea, without a full commitment yet to a production.

    Those $20,000 grants are especially gutsy. Since they don’t require a full commitment to a production, they carry a high risk of the you’re-wasting-our-tax-money-on-lazy-artists criticism. Someone at the NEA must be feeling ornery.

    This isn’t just good news for theater nerds, it’s good news for America—the NEA used to be one of the most cowed institutions in Washington, helpless and terrified of the Republican machine.

    Maybe this is a portent, another sign that the tide really is turning against the bullies and vandals of the W-era Republican Party.

    Hardship Case: At Least One Straight Marriage Banned in Italy

    posted by on June 10 at 11:04 AM

    So it would appear that Italian men now have to provide proof of erection-obtaining-abilities to a Catholic priest in order to get married in the Church.

    An Italian bishop has refused to allow a church wedding for a paraplegic man who was rendered impotent by a crippling automobile accident.

    A spokesman for Bishop Lorenzo Chiarinelli of Viterbo explained that although the bride was aware of her fiancé’s condition, their union could not be celebrated as a Christian marriage because impotence is grounds for annulment.

    The Catholic priesthood: Nice work if you can get it, huh?

    Thanks to Slog tipper Griet.

    Annals of Indigestion

    posted by on June 10 at 11:03 AM

    I think I ate a tainted tomato last weekend and spent most of yesterday sweating, shaking, and watching unspeakable things heaving themselves up from the depths of my body. Back when people were all worked up about bird flu, Annie Wagner said she wanted to die of a pandemic, to “die a historic death.” I never understood what she meant until yesterday.

    Yesterday was a long, hazy, solitary misery until someone told me I wasn’t alone—that there were others, that our suffering was making headlines, that we were kneeling in bathrooms separately but together, in solidarity, as part of the long, sweaty fever-dream of History.

    I didn’t just get food poisoning—I was part of a movement.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on June 10 at 11:00 AM


    ‘The Secret of the Grain’ at Egyptian

    Almost certainly the best movie in SIFF 2008, Abdellatif Kechiche’s follow-up to Games of Love & Chance burrows into a tight-knit Tunisian immigrant community in a small port town in the south of France. From 61-year-old Slimane, thrown against his will into a twilight career change, to his sort-of stepdaughter Rym, who’s gorgeous and assertive enough to charm elderly musicians and inebriated bureaucrats alike, the characters are fantastic. Kechiche is one of SIFF’s “Emerging Masters,” but at this point? He’s done emerging. He’s a goddamn butterfly. (Egyptian Theatre, 801 E Pine St, 6 pm, $11.)


    Fuck You, Pompeii Me

    posted by on June 10 at 10:56 AM

    So, what do you exfoliate with? Apricot pits? Sea salt? That’s cool.

    Oh, me? I exfoliate with volcanic fucking ash.
    Thank you, M.A.C. Cosmetics, for providing me with (please read the following in Cookie Monster voice) theee most brutal exfoliating product of all tiiiiime (end Cookie Monster voice). And when I say brutal, I mean that only in the death metal sense of the word. This stuff is surprisingly gentle on the skin, especially when you consider its origins in the fiery molten depths of the Earth. Also, I heard it was made by Orcs.

    SIFF 2008: Day 20 Recommendations

    posted by on June 10 at 10:43 AM

    OK, who scheduled The Secret of the Grain (6 pm at the Egyptian) opposite In the Land of the Headhunters (7 pm at the Moore)? So tough! It’s making me resort to strategy.

    If you’re available in the middle of the afternoon on Thursday—and don’t want to see the terrible movies Theater of War or Fields of Fuel, or the perfectly decent movie Postcards from Leningrad—then you should see The Secret of the Grain on Thursday. But remember, it’s a don’t, don’t, don’t miss! If you’re not available Thursday, I say start at the Egyptian today for Abdellatif Kechiche’s Games of Love & Chance (3:30 pm, has distribution and has played in Seattle before) and stay for his new masterpiece, The Secret of the Grain (which has distribution, but won’t open for a while and probably won’t remain in Seattle very long, 6 pm at the Egyptian).

    The Secret of the Grain

    If you’ve already seen Games of Love & Chance and can wait till Thursday for Grain, I recommend starting with the sloooow and indifferently photographed and mildly pretentious (but only if you can read the French at the end!) Combalimon (4:30 pm at the Harvard Exit). It’s about an old farmer from the Cantal, without wife (well, there was a wife, from the Camaroon, but she left him) or children, who must decide what to do with his farm after he retires. It’s pretty great, if you like movies about cows.

    Next, head to the Moore for an extraordinary screening of the 1914 feature In the Land of the Headhunters (7 pm at the Moore), by Seattle photographer and ethnographer Edward S. Curtis. The film, which premiered simultaneously at the Moore and a NYC theater, used an all-Native cast from British Columbia’s Kwakiutl tribe (now known as the Kwakwaka’wakw). This screening will be accompanied by descendents of the original cast. For more, see the project’s webpage and David Jeffers at SIFFblog.

    Whichever route you start out on, enjoy a nice bedtime story with the cannibalism documentary Stranded: I’ve Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains (9:30 pm at SIFF Cinema).

    For complete guide, recommendations, and discussion, see

    Now Everybody Hates George W. Bush

    posted by on June 10 at 10:42 AM

    Even, it seems, his batshitcrazy evangelical “base.” Reuters:

    U.S. President George W. Bush got polite applause Tuesday for his brief, pre-taped video address to the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest evangelical denomination, which is holding its annual meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana.

    That stood in marked contrast to the standing ovations he received last year from the same group when he did a live broadcast link to its meeting in San Antonio.

    And they don’t much like John McCain either:

    They are also cool towards presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain. Several interviewed by Reuters saw him as the lesser of two liberals in the November White House matchup with his Democratic rival Barack Obama.

    Madonna Divorcing?

    posted by on June 10 at 10:28 AM

    Is this the first report? Or am I just the last to know? Via Towleroad.

    What Do We Want? Fighter Jets!

    posted by on June 10 at 10:28 AM

    Tomorrow night (Wednesday) from 5:30 to 7:30 at Capitol Hill Arts Center (1621 12th Ave) is your chance to stop the madness.

    It’s the second public meeting about the large installations by Brooklyn artist Mike Ross and Seattle artist Ellen Forney that will go inside the Capitol Hill Sound Transit station.

    The first public meeting resulted in a steaming pile of idiocy, of small-mindedness and xenophobia (including catcalls to Ross of “You’re not even from here!”). I wrote about it a few weeks ago:

    Brooklyn artist Mike Ross is proposing to entomb, in the underground Capitol Hill Sound Transit station, two vivisected fighter planes that are painted pink and hung nose-to-nose to look like they’re kissing. Last month, after a public meeting in which Ross presented his idea to a firestorm of criticism, the 43rd District Democrats condemned it. The Democrats passed a resolution calling for “more culturally sensitive themes for public art… instead of warplanes.”

    If purchasing said planes means sending money to the Defense Department to fund more war, then Ross might want to reconsider his methods. But a wholesale ban on the “theme” of warplanes in deference to a neighborhood’s projected vision of itself? Why? So that if a war, god forbid, is ever fought on pristine Capitol Hill soil, at least we can say we never saw it coming because we’re just so, you know, different and interesting and peace loving?

    Tomorrow is your chance to drown out the dum-dums.


    Here’s the deal: Ross’s project has plenty of promise. (It makes me think of a sort of ’00s public-art version of Claes Oldenburg’s lipstick tank.) He’s working in the most impossible medium (public art), in a completely impossible space (an underground cavern choked with architectural cross-beams), and yet he still has managed to come up with something that has poetic potential.

    Much will depend on the details—it’s never possible to judge a sculpture before it’s built—but Ross’s idea has legs, and that’s saying a lot in the usually deadly-awful category of public art. His piece, working in tandem with Forney’s playful murals, could even actually succeed down there.

    But not if it’s not built. It is possible that Ross’s proposal could be killed by a few dimwits.

    I’m not the only one driven crazy by this possibility. Ellen Forney is, too.

    Forney’s proposal has been completely overlooked because of the fighter-jet controversy, and yet she’s spending her time not hawking her own deserving work but throwing her weight behind Ross.

    Here’s what she wrote in an email titled “knee-jerk jerks”:

    Personally, I like it. Mike’s piece has a lot of interesting interpretations (transformation, gender, aggression and non-aggression, fragility and strength), plus I think it looks pretty cool. I hope my neighbors can relax and think beyond a knee-jerk reaction to fighter jets. (Please!!) FYI, there’s some well-regarded precedent for deconstructed war machinery in Seattle—Magnuson Park has those half-buried nuclear submarines that are arranged to suggest orcas, Seattle artist Charlie Krafft has his Delft machine guns and hand grenades. I also think Mike did a great job with the limitations of the space—it’s so full of crossbeams and metal mesh that it’d be a monster project for anyone to design art in that space.

    I’ll be painting big murals in the entries, which I designed to relate to Mike’s piece in the main station. I’m totally excited about it, for a bazillion reasons. And as I told David Schmader and Jen Graves, they have my “signature feel-good flair,” playful and welcoming, which I hope will add another interesting dynamic to the art in the station overall.

    So, look: Get out there. If you don’t, you deserve this.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on June 10 at 10:09 AM


    Only four readings tonight.

    Up at Third Place in Lake Forest Park, Jana Kohl reads from A Rare Breed of Love: The True Story of Baby and the Mission She Inspired to Help Dogs Everywhere. It’s about puppy mills, and it features a three-legged dog, which is always about the saddest, sweetest thing on the face of the planet. I especially have a soft spot for three-legged dogs named Tripod.

    At the Seattle Public Library, Robert Thurman reads from Why the Dalai Lama Matters. I’m not a big fan of magazine articles titled “Why X Matters,” and a book with that title—especially one about somebody who hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people obviously care about—is way down low on my list of things to read. However, if you’re a weird fame tracker, Bob Thurman is the father of Uma. I doubt that Uma will be there, but you’d at least be one step closer to fame than you were yesterday.

    At Elliott Bay Book Company, Jen Sookfong Lee reads from The End of East, about a family of Chinese immigrants getting used to Vancouver. That’s all I got on this one.

    And up at the University Book Store, Nisi Shawl is reading from her new book, Filter House. Nisi is a local author who writes science fiction and also reviews books for The Seattle Times. She has turned me on to lots of books, and she’s a smart, pleasant, and lovely lady. Unless you’re fundamentally drawn to puppies or Uma Thurman, this should be the reading to attend tonight.

    Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is somewhere out there.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on June 10 at 10:00 AM

    A still from Tim Roda’s Untitled (#1172) (2007), 8mm film, 3 minutes

    At Greg Kucera Gallery. (Gallery web site here.)

    Jubilation T. Cornball Takes The Bus

    posted by on June 10 at 9:59 AM

    The front page of today’s PI is devoted to tips for novice Metro bus rider. Frequent Slog commenter Jubilation T. Cornball recently rode the bus for the first time—after seven years in Seattle—and wrote up his first Metro experience. You can thrill to Cornball’s adventures after the jump…

    Continue reading "Jubilation T. Cornball Takes The Bus" »

    What Straight People Can Learn About Marriage From Gay People

    posted by on June 10 at 9:27 AM

    First off, it doesn’t have to be that way—”it” being argument style, division of household labor, etc.

    A growing body of evidence shows that same-sex couples have a great deal to teach everyone else about marriage and relationships. Most studies show surprisingly few differences between committed gay couples and committed straight couples, but the differences that do emerge have shed light on the kinds of conflicts that can endanger heterosexual relationships.

    The findings offer hope that some of the most vexing problems are not necessarily entrenched in deep-rooted biological differences between men and women. And that, in turn, offers hope that the problems can be solved….

    Notably, same-sex relationships, whether between men or women, were far more egalitarian than heterosexual ones. In heterosexual couples, women did far more of the housework; men were more likely to have the financial responsibility; and men were more likely to initiate sex, while women were more likely to refuse it or to start a conversation about problems in the relationship. With same-sex couples, of course, none of these dichotomies were possible, and the partners tended to share the burdens far more equally.

    While the gay and lesbian couples had about the same rate of conflict as the heterosexual ones, they appeared to have more relationship satisfaction, suggesting that the inequality of opposite-sex relationships can take a toll.

    And from an earlier write-up of the same studies…

    The findings also showed that same-sex couples, regardless of civil union status, were more satisfied with their relationships compared to married heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples reported more positive feelings toward their partners and less conflict than heterosexual married couples, said the authors.

    Now the fundies don’t like these reports—basically any “research” study that doesn’t prove that gay men and lesbians aren’t busily eating each other’s feces when we’re not recruiting children is, to their minds, fatally biased. And fundies are deeply invested in the notion that there are “deep-rooted biological differences between men and women.” So studies that show that same-sex relationships function well, and that people in them are relatively content, and that folks in opposite-sex relationships can learn a thing or two from us, well, those studies are sure to be unwelcome over at Focus on the Family.

    But there’s something I’d like to see these researchers address, and it’s an issue that’s sure to drive both fundies and some in the gay rights movements up the wall: monogamy.

    Male same-sex couples in long-term relationships report higher levels of satisfaction, are better at resolving conflict, have less destructive argument styles, share house work more equitably, etc. We’re also a hell of lot less likely to be strictly monogamous. Many gay male couples have negotiated “agreements” about outside sexual contact (scope, frequency, safety, etc). Reading these reports I can’t help but wonder what impact, if any, the lesser emphasis gay men place on monogamy has on relationships. Does talking about and defusing one of the chief sources of marital strife—attraction to others; the desire, acknowledged or not, for a sexual variety over the life of a multi-decade partnership—contribute to higher rates of relationship satisfaction? Do gay male couples report less conflict than straight couples because fewer gay couples are conflict—or denial—about outside sexual contacts?

    Tomato Terror

    posted by on June 10 at 9:15 AM

    Brad’s already noted this in the morning news. I just want to add:


    The Morning News

    posted by on June 10 at 7:16 AM

    Chow: A 17-state salmonella outbreak is causing tomatoes to be pulled nationwide; protesters are filling the streets of Seoul to demonstrate against the country importing American beef; a cow in Montana tested positive for brucellosis; and this year’s global harvests… well, check out this bleak lede from the New York Times:

    In a year when global harvests need to be excellent to ease the threat of pervasive food shortages, evidence is mounting that they will be average at best. Some farmers are starting to fear disaster.

    Sanctioned: President Bush and European Union leaders are threatening new economic sanctions against Iran.

    Economic Spin: Obama is a “typical democrat,” says John McCain; a vote for McCain is a “full-throated endorsement of George Bush’s policies,” says Barack Obama.

    Aftershock: Some 5 million people are homeless after last month’s earthquake in China.

    The Price of Losing: Now that Hillary Clinton has suspended her campaign, the “largest presidential campaign debt in history” needs to be paid off.

    Busted Keggers: 124 arrested in last weekend’s annual underage “party patrol” by local police.

    Police State: Despite their tendency to do jack shit, cameras have been approved for three more Seattle parks. Meanwhile, Mayor Nickels is eager to waste tax dollars on a concealed-weapons ban.

    Mr. 600: Congratulations to Ken Griffey Jr. for joining a pretty exclusive club.


    Blustery: Some 18,000 are without power after yesterday’s storm gusts.

    Finally: Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots!

    Monday, June 9, 2008

    Becky Sharpest

    posted by on June 9 at 5:10 PM

    Yesterday I saw the restored 1935 Becky Sharp, the first three-strip Technicolor movie ever, for the first time. The flashy lemon yellows hurt my eyes a little, but I kept comparing it—favorably—to the the 2004 version. Back then (wow, I’ve been at The Stranger a while), I had all kinds of complaints about Mira Nair’s reading of the Thackeray novel:

    The problem with Reese Witherspoon as Becky is linked to the way this film tries to reinvent her character. Thackeray’s secret sympathy for his conniving protagonist—who is so bad she even hates children—always seeps through the cynical narration. Becky Sharp is great because, no matter how much we admire her pluck from the safe distance of the 21st century, she was a terrible bitch.

    Mira Nair does not agree. Becky Sharp “was not allowed to be Becky Sharp,” she contended. “Women basically were told to stand in the corner and be quiet. It’s just that she was not happy with the cards that society had given her, and she wanted to make her own way.” This generous view of one of English literature’s most notorious antiheroines—that Becky, a pure product of the oppressive class and gender codes of the 19th century, was somehow trapped in the wrong era—mutes the very exceptional qualities that modern readers delight in.

    Moreover, this Becky Sharp doesn’t scheme and claw her way up to society’s most precipitous heights. She’s Reese Witherspoon, and we know she belongs there already. Instead, she rises like cream to the top of a pitcher—effortlessly, and without any particular evidence of talent. Witherspoon’s Becky does not dissemble; she could never appear to suitors as, in Thackeray’s words, “the picture of youth, unprotected innocence, and humble virgin simplicity.” Like Tracy Flick or Elle Woods (her equally ambition-soaked characters in Election and Legally Blonde, respectively), she winks, she smirks, and her every thought is written on her face. Nair explained, “You can see all that clickety-clack in her mind, everything going on. All I need is that face, that Reese-thinking face. It’s fantastic.” But it’s also a completely modern notion of femininity, and in this role, it doesn’t make any sense.

    Well, the 1935 Becky Sharp, as unleashed upon the world by one Miriam Hopkins (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Richest Girl in the World), has an equally modern notion of femininity—and there is much clickety-clack in evidence—but hers is femininity in the depths of the Great Depression.


    It’s femininity at its most ravenous, its most spiteful, its most unapologetic. And although this Becky Sharp is definitely a bitch, the audience isn’t expected to hate her for it. The audience, the studio assumes, is also poor and insufficiently loved and cleverer than they’re given credit for. Becky does what she has to do. And she isn’t really even punished for her greed at the end.

    I recently watched the first American Girl doll movie, Kit Kittredge, which is set in 1934 and purports to educate its young audience about the hardships families faced in the Great Depression and the values that got them through it. It’s not a bad movie, for what it is. But I can’t help wondering whether Becky Sharp gives a more accurate description of people’s real desires, of the tactics they truly admired at the time. (After all, 1934 was the year Bonnie and Clyde were killed and instantly mythologized.) Becky Sharp is the perfect antiheroine for bleak economic times. And she’s fashionable, too. Rawr.

    Look! Up In the Sky!

    posted by on June 9 at 4:57 PM


    Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

    posted by on June 9 at 4:51 PM

    The Food and Drug Administration is expanding its warning to consumers nationwide that a salmonellosis outbreak has been linked to consumption of certain raw red plum, red Roma, and red round tomatoes, and products containing these raw, red tomatoes.

    FDA recommends that consumers not eat raw red Roma, raw red plum, raw red round tomatoes, or products that contain these types of raw red tomatoes unless the tomatoes are from the sources listed below. If unsure of where tomatoes are grown or harvested, consumers are encouraged to contact the store where the tomato purchase was made. Consumers should continue to eat cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, or tomatoes grown at home.

    You will learn to fear ketchup!

    What’s the Matter With Pennsylvania?

    posted by on June 9 at 4:50 PM


    In the April 22 primary, Susick voted for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who carried Pennsylvania by 10 percentage points. Perhaps more troubling for Obama, one in four Clinton’s backers told exit pollsters they would vote for McCain if Obama were the nominee; an additional 17 percent said they would not vote at all.

    Obama has time and money to court these voters. Polls indicate some can be swayed. But the first-term senator is wading into unknown waters. Political scientists have reams of data about past elections, but there has been no test of how many voters make their ultimate decision based on race.

    The answer may determine the presidency. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Florida, with large numbers of white, working-class voters, could prove problematic for a black man even in a year that otherwise looks grim for GOP candidates.

    Is there some way to make a distinction between your run-of-the-mill white, working-class voters and these dumb fucks we keep reading about in stories about white, working-class voters? My large extended family is comprised almost entirely of white, working-class voters, and with the exception of one wayward cousin (out of hundreds) and one uncle (out of dozens), all the white, working-class voters I’m related to are voting for Obama in November.

    So perhaps reporters that quote Clinton supporters like these…

    Robert Miller, 72, who lives in a government subsidized room in Bedford, said the Constitution should be amended so it will “not let any colored people run for the White House.” He seemed unsure about his voting record in recent elections, but vividly recalled voting for Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.

    Dixie Pebley of Johnstown, 71, explained her distaste for Obama, saying, “black doesn’t bother me, but Muslim does.” When reminded that Obama is a Christian, she conceded the point, but added: “He was born Muslim and raised Muslim, that’s enough for me. He just scares me to death.”

    …should qualify “white, working-class voters” with something like “moronic,” or “clueless,” or “unbelievably racist,” in the same way that we’re supposed to qualify “Christian” with “conservative,” or “fundamentalist,” or “theocrats in the Taliban tradition” when we’re complaining about the religious right.

    Press Release Subject Line of the Day

    posted by on June 9 at 4:43 PM

    MEDIA ALERT: Actor Anthony Edwards to Encourage Disabled Runners

    Well, all right then. Good to know.

    “4-year-old out of surgery after shooting self at Sam’s Club”

    posted by on June 9 at 4:18 PM

    Grandma’s got a gun, via WIS News 10:

    COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Authorities say a four-year-old girl from Salley is recovering after she grabbed a gun out of her grandmother’s purse and shot herself in the Harbison Blvd. Sam’s Club Monday.

    The child underwent emergency surgery Monday afternoon at Palmetto Health Richland Memorial Hospital.

    Lewis says no major organs were hit by the bullet, and the child is out of surgery and in the recovery room right now. The hospital says she’s in stable condition.

    Investigators tell WIS News 10’s Stewart Moore they believe the child was sitting in her grandmother’s shopping cart when she pulled a small-caliber handgun out of her grandmother’s shopping cart and accidentally shot herself in the chest.

    The entire incident was captured on surveillance cameras near the store’s pharmacy.

    (Thanks for the horrific story, Alissa!)

    For the Love of Lazarus

    posted by on June 9 at 3:46 PM

    Foss Village is where people go to die. But the non-profit nursing home, in operation since the 1920s, is ready to start a new life. Foss has plans to demolish its aging one- and two-story buildings and sprawling parking lot in Bitter Lake, and replace them with a modern nine-building campus and underground parking that fills almost a full block.



    Mithun Architects

    Talking with Foss CEO David Crouch about what will happen to the residents during construction was sort of depressing. “We will do a downsizing over time,” he says. “In nursing homes, people are pretty much at the end of their lives anyway.” He says that Foss will relocate those patients not lost to “attrition” to other facilities.

    But from there, our conversation became uplifting. In a gravely cadence, Foss said the trend among elder care is toward “bringing services to where people live, and that’s what we’re trying to build here.” The new campus will support 179 apartments and 60 assisted living units. (It’s a block from this development.) He said, “Eventually I think you’re going to see nursing homes clean up their act and provide a nicer environment for folks.”

    Although Foss has filed applications to build the site, the project hinges on receiving funding from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. Crouch says he’ll know whether construction can begin within 18 months. A design review meeting will be held tonight at 6:30 p.m. Ballard High School, 1418 Northwest 65th Street.

    McCain’s Strategy

    posted by on June 9 at 3:35 PM

    I know the McCain camp is trying to look all new media now that it’s going up against the tech-friendly Obama masses, but is it really wise to put your general election strategy up on YouTube? Even if some of it is no doubt a headfake?

    In any case, here follows 14 minutes of McCain election plans, with some interesting nods toward the Pacific Northwest:

    A Humble Suggestion For Your Post-Hillary Protest Vote

    posted by on June 9 at 3:05 PM

    [But first, a brief note: Remember when I was leaving the SLOG? Forever? Well, I’m back. Minus the ‘-unpaid intern’ modifier. Thank you to the powers that be, and as Chairman Mao so aptly put it, “Let a thousand flowers bloom.”]

    While this weekend may have officially ended Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency, for some the battle still rages. The time invested was too long, the emotional toll was too high, the hours of hard drugs and internet message-board rage too pure: nothing can make them cast a ballot for a woman-hating fanatic like Barack Obama.

    Women are expected to only care about abortion - not their self respect.

    The cries for “Unity” are heard in abundance, in full shout, from those that sowed the seeds of division. However, the seeds of division have borne a bumper crop this year.

    Democrats like Obama/Dean/Brazille/Pelosi think they can wave the red flag of ‘Supreme Court’ or ‘Abortion’ and women will come running to the aid of the Democratic? Party and forget the misogyny Obama/Dean/Brazille/Pelosi never spoke against while Hillary and her supporters were belittled and denigrated.

    But, why McCain as a protest candidate? If, as many are claiming, the misogyny of the Obama campaign was driving them to vote Republican… wouldn’t it be kind of a hypocritical back flip to vote for a hardened opponent of women’s reproductive rights? A guy who left his previous wife in the midst of crippling medical problems, and who allegedly handed out the following impromptu fashion advice to his present wife during his first run for the Senate in 1992:

    “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.”

    Who knows, maybe her makeup was really badly put on that day. Or maybe Senator McCain was just having a really bad day. But honestly, isn’t it a little discomforting to know that your protest vote is going to a guy who doesn’t seem to respect women all that much? Or, at all?

    Which brings me to a kind of suggestion for a Grand Compromise: why not vote third party? Specifically, why not vote for Cynthia McKinney? You’ve already made the decision that you want to put John McCain in the White House, but why not do so carrying the metaphorical trash bag of righteous indignation that voting for the Green Party candidate grants you?


    Cynthia McKinney isn’t some humorless leftist like Ralph Nader or Dennis Kucinich, were you know that what they’re saying is probably the right answer, but the hopelessness of the political reality makes it come across as a certain shade of obtuse and sad.

    McKinney punches people who get in her way.

    McKinney believes firmly that when you cut away the conspiracy, you’ll find Dick Cheney at the bottom of 9/11.

    McKinney believes that Al Gore has a deep-seated hatred for the black race.

    Does she have the rhetorical flair of a Ron Paul Revolution? Of course she doesn’t, but you can’t expect every political outsider to develop a well-funded cult around them with a flair for Depression-era political theater. What Cynthia McKinney offers is crazy. Crazy in bulk. Crazy in oil tanker-like excess.

    The kind of crazy you can believe in. The kind of crazy that justifies a protest vote against Barack Obama.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on June 9 at 2:52 PM


    posted by thinklab

    Clay Bennett Has Already Lost. He Just Doesn’t Know It Yet.

    posted by on June 9 at 2:49 PM

    I guess that letter from our attorney worked after all:

    U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman issued a handful of rulings in favor of Clay Bennett’s lawyers on Monday, one week before the opening of the city of Seattle’s trial with the Sonics.

    Of six pretrial motions filed by the two sides, the city succeeded only in allowing author Sherman Alexie to be included on its extensive list of potential witnesses.

    The Sonics Death Watch cannot be stopped!

    Re: Cafe Juanita and Maneki Win James Beard Awards

    posted by on June 9 at 2:46 PM

    Cafe Juanita’s Holly Smith might seem like a dark horse among the other, more-fashionable-of-late regional James Beard Award nominees—Maria Hines of Tilth, Ethan Stowell of the Union/Tavolata/How to Cook a Wolf trifecta, Jason Wilson of Crush, and Scott Dolich of Portland’s Park Kitchen—but she’s been nominated the last four years in a row and fully deserves it. Cafe Juanita’s a gem; open since 2000, it’s in a mid-century house in the woods on the Eastside, with a menu emphasizing Northern Italian cuisine (and, of course, organics/localness/sustaina-et-cetera).


    Holly Smith and sous chef Earl Hook in 2003.

    Smith also just started a gelato operation—the excitement!—which will be at the Fremont farmers market starting this Sunday with flavors like burnt sugar, pine nut brittle with marsala currents, and Lillet Blanc sorbet (hel-LO!).

    Tom Douglas correctly predicted last week that he didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the Outstanding Restaurateur award: Mario Batali and business partner Joe Bastianich got it. Canlis lost in the Outstanding Service arena to Napa’s Terra.

    Something you might not know about Maneki (an America’s Classics Award-winner): “it has been around through both world wars, Japanese internment, and has even seen one of its former dishwashers become the Prime Minister of Japan” (so sayeth the James Beard people).

    Ashes to Ashes, Chips to Chips

    posted by on June 9 at 2:00 PM


    Adfreak informs us that the man who invented the Pringles can had a portion of his ashes buried in a Pringles can. Way to take pride in your work, I guess.

    (Related: The Pringles website is totally flash-happy.)

    Cafe Juanita and Maneki Win James Beard Awards

    posted by on June 9 at 1:32 PM

    Yesterday brought the annual James Beard Foundation Awards, and two Northwest institutions received top honors.

    Winning Best Northwest Chef: Holly Smith, the woman behind Kirkland’s beloved Cafe Juanita.

    And winning an “America’s Classic” award: the International District’s even-more-beloved, 103-year-old sushi restaurant Maneki.

    Here’s a nice Maneki-related tidbit from last night’s NYC award ceremony, courtesy of the Seattle Times:

    [A]fter a charming video presentation in which Seattle’s 103-year-old Japanese restaurant Maneki was honored as one of “America’s Classics,” owner Jean Nakayama went onstage and gave props to her staff. They included longtime employee and septuagenarian “Mom” Fusae Yokoyama, who smiled from behind Maneki’s bar on the wide screen poised center-stage in New York City, where chef Bobby Flay and “Sex and the City” actress Kim Cattrall played host.

    Congrats to Holly Smith and everyone at Maneki.


    posted by on June 9 at 1:29 PM

    Dear Greg Nickels,

    If you want to do something about gun violence in the city, how about working to close the gun-show loophole, instead of passing yet another pointless, unenforceable (are you going to frisk everyone who goes to city parks, or just set up metal detectors at the gates?), probably unconstitutional ban on licensed concealed weapons in public parks?


    A citizen who doesn’t think ending gun violence means selling out civil liberties

    Could’ve Been Worse

    posted by on June 9 at 1:25 PM

    Slog tipper Jenny Durkan writes me to say that at least Obama’s bike clothes didn’t look like this:


    SPD, King County Jail Settle Another Brutality Case

    posted by on June 9 at 1:22 PM

    It’s time to reset the ol’ Days Without a Settlement clock: The Seattle Police Department has settled another brutality suit for $5,000, this time from a 2006 incident in which a Woodinville man claimed he was roughed up by police. Brad Nebinger, 22, also settled a related suit with the King County Jail last March.

    In March 2006, Seattle Police arrested Nebinger—who was 20 at the time—at a downtown Seattle bar for harassment. Police claim the Nebinger resisted arrest, while Nebinger claims officers roughed him up before he was taken to the King County Jail.

    At the jail, Nebinger got into a verbal altercation with a jail guard—whom Nebinger called a “faggot”—and was punched in the face by the guard, leaving him bloodied.

    Soon after the incident, King County fired the jail guard and last March, paid Nebinger $20,000 to settle his claim. Last week, the city offered Nebinger $5,000 to settle his claim against SPD.

    While Nebinger received a relatively small sum from SPD—several attorneys who handle suits against the department refer to small settlements like Nebinger’s as a “nuisance payoffs”—these smaller payouts are building up.

    The city has spent more than $400,000 settling misconduct cases since January 2007, and that number will go up to nearly $700,000 if the city doesn’t get a new trial in the Romelle Bradford case. On top of that, the city has paid more than $6,000,000 in legal fees to Stafford Frey Cooper, the law firm that handles SPD’s misconduct cases.

    In the end, the city will end up paying an additional $5,000 in legal fees on top of the $5,000 it cost to settle with Nebinger. Maybe it’s time for the city to ask Stafford Frey Cooper about getting a two-for-one deal.

    I Can’t Take It Anymore

    posted by on June 9 at 12:57 PM


    I know, I know: We’re all supposed to pretend that all this rain and these fifty degree temperatures in fucking June don’t bother us a bit. But this shit is getting to me.

    Homeless Advocates Camp Out at City Hall

    posted by on June 9 at 12:55 PM

    Posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Yesterday evening, advocates for the homeless camped out for a third time in the shadow of Seattle’s $75 million City Hall building to protest the removal of homeless encampments across the city.


    When I got down there yesterday, I immediately struck up a conversation with Robert Hansen, who has been a vendor for Real Change, which organized the event, for 14 years. We talked about the condominium conversions and ever-increasing rents in Seattle that offer few affordable opportunities for low-income and homeless residents.

    Hansen said he wants Mayor Greg Nickels to realize that the Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness isn’t working, and laments the treatment of the homeless during the recent sweeps, which he sees as inhumane. “They even take their pictures of their wives, and their babies,” Hansen said. He added that he wanted to see more money put into shelters and affordable drug-treatment centers.

    Hansen and I spoke to each other among the 15-or-so tents that had already been set up for the night, the walls of the City Hall building looming in the background. Campers were taking a few hours to chat with each other, so I thought I’d take the time to get to know some of the others who’d gathered for the evening.

    Food Not Bombs was there handing out free food (when I talked to one volunteer, he told me the group had been kicked out of Occidental Park yet again earlier that day). Sprawled in front of the FNB tent were Johnny Legrand-Beall, 21, president of the Student Coalition for Peace and Justice at Shoreline Community College, and Rick Harlan, 60, president of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. Both said they came to show their support of the sweeps protest.


    “Every little bit of change counts,” said Legrand-Beall slowly, guitar in hand. “We just gotta get people’s voices heard.” Harlan, who was homeless for a while in the ’70s, said he’s upset that homeless men and women who are dependent on drugs don’t have an affordable place to go.

    Finally, I met Veronyka Tristan and Neres Johnson, a homeless couple standing outside the gathering. Tristan, who said she had recently become pregnant, told me that she and Johnson have been homeless for months. “You try to sleep at a park and the police wake you up; you try to sleep under a bridge, and people throw water on your stuff,” she said. Tonight, the couple would be camping out. After that, they said they’d be sleeping “wherever the Lord lets us sleep.”


    Tristan and Johnson, like nearly everyone I talked to yesterday, had a few choice words for city politicians. “If the mayor were here, I’d tell him to grow some balls,” said Tristan. “I’d kick his ass,” Johnson added.

    Real Change Executive Director Tim Harris put it a little less bluntly. “I’d ask him, ‘What are you afraid of?” he said.

    Harris said that the main goal of the camp out was the “keep the pressure on, to let them know that opposition to this is not going to go away,” adding that independent oversight is needed during the sweeps and that advocates are waiting for a concrete answer from the city regarding how the displaced homeless are treated and where they will go.

    Harris added that there would be a memorial service later for homeless men and women who have died living outdoors in Seattle, and that about 20 people would block the street in a civil disobedience demonstration in the morning.

    A Brief Roundup of the Clinton Coverage

    posted by on June 9 at 12:50 PM

    I’m too exhausted right now to say much about Clinton’s awe-inspiring concession speech (which I finally watched last night) and Obama’s presumptive nomination, so here’s a roundup of what others—feminists, Obama supporters, Clinton backers, and others—are saying about what Hillary meant and means.


    Clinton’s campaign ripped open a hole in our culture and forced us to look inside. And what we found was a simmering cauldron of crude, sophomoric sexism and ugly misogyny that a lot of us knew existed but didn’t realize was still so socially acceptable that it could be broadcast on national television and garner nary a complaint from anybody but a few internet scolds like me. It was eye-opening, to say the least.
     Dahlia Lithwick:
    Most of us are hoping that today’s outrage and recriminations will begin to fade in the months to come; that our great-aunts’ threats to cast a ballot for John McCain—the man who voted against equal pay for women—will prove mere threats. But even if we can all manage to realign ourselves as likeminded feminists by November, it would be a mistake for us to skate past the Recent Ugliness without making an effort to address it. Having spent five months pounding on one another like men, it’s perhaps worth now attempting to bridge the feminist divide like women. That would mean listening instead of shouting and recognizing the common interests that outweigh our differences.

    Rebecca Traister:

    As each primary approached — from New Hampshire to Super Tuesday to Ohio to Pennsylvania — I was sure that Clinton was toast. But Tuesday after Tuesday, there came the vertiginous thrill of watching the pundits collapse into paroxysms of frustration at this goddamn woman who would not quit and, even worse, kept winning in unexpected places and by unexpected margins, even when they said it was impossible, even when they were hollering for her to get out of the race. I think memories of Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann going apoplectic will make me smile for years to come. Male pundits from Jonathan Alter to Howard Fineman to Carl Bernstein to Matthews and Olbermann were licking their lips, salivating for the moment at which she would lay prostrate and beg their forgiveness for her sins of ambition — and she never gave it to them! I wasn’t alone in my giddiness. After one particularly wild election night, perhaps it was Ohio, I got an e-mail from a cousin, a Clinton skeptic who had come to appreciate the senator’s dazzling ability to piss off jerks. “I hope she never stops running,” the e-mail read. “Even after he’s elected.” I knew what she meant. It had nothing to do with Obama. It was about the sheer fun of watching a woman refuse to concede to anyone’s expectations.

    Clinton was such a hard-ass that she turned her butchest male critics into the hysterical harpies they accused her of being. What fun, during that final debate, to hear Obama grouse (justifiably) about the ludicrous questions he was facing, while next to him, the broad who had, in an earlier debate, been asked about the fact that nobody liked her cheerily removed the shiv from her thigh and used it as a toothpick. Sure, many people moved quickly from the thrill of having two historic candidates to the hair-pulling headache about how much damage their contest was doing to the party, but get over it! When was the last time we had so much fun in an election year?

    Erica Jong:

    Sexism is hard to see because most of it is so petty we don’t want to mention it. Nutcracker thighs? A novelty like that seems beneath contempt. But it isn’t one small offense that does women in — it’s the steady accretion of many offenses. It’s death by a thousand cuts.

    Even mentioning the problem seems ungracious. As women, we’re supposed to specialize in graciousness. And there isn’t a gracious way to talk about sexism. Perhaps there is no way to talk about sexism at all — which is the way sexists want it.

    I will work my tail off for President Obama. We need a Democratic in the White House more than ever. But I can’t help feeling that we’ve buried a topic that needs unearthing. Please, Mr. Obama, turn your attention to sexism and tell us how you plan to address it. Then we can all be gracious with a good conscience.


    More reactions to Hillary’s concession after the jump.

    Continue reading "A Brief Roundup of the Clinton Coverage" »

    Dungeons & Pinball

    posted by on June 9 at 12:39 PM

    Let’s compare examples of fandom in downtown Seattle from Saturday. If you walked by the Paramount in the afternoon, you would have passed a line of maybe 25 people—mostly teen girls with too much makeup—staking their claim on the front row for that night’s Panic at the Disco concert. If you’d happened upon Neumo’s at 9 a.m., you would’ve seen a line over 70 deep. So what band was getting more people riled up so early in the morning? A band of warriors and thieves.

    The Dungeons and Dragons Fourth Edition launch party saw about 500 visitors on Saturday, according to reps from game makers Wizards of the Coast. From the look of it, they didn’t expect nearly that many; the round tables on Neumo’s floor were crammed full of DMs and players, and the wait to join a game ran up to an hour. What’s interesting is how little the event fueled a reason to show up. No huge giveaways, unless you count a shit-ton of free Doritos baggies (which I guess work like gold or mana for D&D addicts). And D&D4E technically launched the day before (according to Wizards, has sold their entire allocation of the release’s first editions). So why the crowd? There’s something to be said about the game’s makers hanging out and running fans old and new through zillions of rule changes. There’s also something to be said for nerd sanctuary.

    I’m not a D&D guy, and I regret not making more time to hang out at Neumo’s on Saturday to learn the new system, so I can’t exactly pass judgment. Still, I talked to a few people who expressed a unified D&D4E sentiment—it’s fun, it’s faster, it’s more streamlined… but “it’s not D&D.” One person compared it to World of Warcraft, another to Final Fantasy Tactics—funny that D&D, whose every bit and detail was mimicked in the original video game RPGs, is now accused of turning the tables. I’m hoping to get some time with the system in coming weeks and talk about it; at the very least, I created a character on Saturday: an ice-breathing dragon-man. The dude needs to freeze a dwarf or something.

    The main reason I didn’t stick around wasn’t the same as Paul’s geekphobia (since when is D&D too nerdy for a book addict, anyway?). It was the utter opposite: I had to feed my arcade jones and attend the Northwest Pinball and Gameroom Show. These two events weren’t really that different, celebrating archaic forms of gaming that are nowhere near the Xboxen and Wiis of the world, yet still draw crowds of hundreds that wait in lines to play. Highlights from the show were a Guns ‘N Roses table (complete with half-naked groupies drawn on the table) and a bizarre thing called Hyperball, in which you shoot pinballs out of turrets to spell words… but it looks like it’s from Blade Runner, so it doesn’t feel educational. I’d babble more about awesome tables—and even an Asteroids cabinet that entranced me somehow—but I may as well shut up and wait for Kelly O’s video of the day to go online in the next week or so.

    Also in attendance was Steve Wiebe, the Redmond native from the documentary King of Kong, who did an hour-long Q&A session. Though he seemed bewildered that so many people were interested in his quest for the Donkey Kong world record (and no, he’s currently #2), he was pretty gracious and humble about the attention. I don’t think there’s an unlikeable bone in that guy’s body. What was weird was that his wife (featured in the flick as well) sat at the very front corner of the room on a table, almost as if she were on display. I couldn’t help but glance at her emotionless face as her husband answered endless gaming questions—particularly his affirmative answer when asked if Billy Mitchell, the crazy pro gamer he has competed against, was one of the best things to ever happen to him. From the look on her face, it’s almost as if she had to freeze her every muscle so she wouldn’t shake her head in response, grab a mallet, and obliterate the marriage-decimating Donkey Kong cabinet that stood to Wiebe’s left.

    Question from a Reader

    posted by on June 9 at 12:26 PM

    I’m not sure who else to pose this question to and The Stranger usually has all the answers, right? This spring there was a bus ad campaign (maybe billboards, too… I forget) that started off as blank white ads with a few Pepto-pink splatters on it. Over the course of maybe two or three stages, the ads were covered with more pink splatters, but never any text. Now it’s been maybe a month since I last saw one and I haven’t seen the completion to the campaign. Did I miss it? Does any of the Stranger staff know what I’m talking about? It seemed a lame ad campaigner, and even lamer that I want to know what it was for…

    Da Butt: With a ‘Z’

    posted by on June 9 at 12:19 PM

    I have watched Liza Minnelli’s 1972 performance of “I Gotcha” (from Liza with a ‘Z’, choreographed by Bob Fosse) more times than I care to enumerate, but on a recent viewing I noticed a few things I hadn’t seen before. Almost two minutes into the clip, I found myself asking, “Wait, did Liza just do the Tootsie Roll?” The answer is yes. Then she does The Matrix, Da Butt, and the most spastic Crank Dat Soulja Boy one could hope to see. I know Fosse gets plenty of big ups already, but damn, y’all. Check it out:

    Tootsie Roll (1:53/ 2:47)
    The Matrix (2:34)
    Crank Dat (3:12)
    Walk It Out (Pretty much the whole time)
    Rack Daddy (1:54, backup dancers)
    Da Butt (3:27 - I love this dance because while it is highly sexual, Da Butt manages to be completely unsexy.)

    The First Mrs. John McCain

    posted by on June 9 at 12:10 PM

    The Daily Mail—a British tabloid—takes a long, hard look at John McCain’s first marriage. It isn’t pretty.

    McCain likes to illustrate his moral fibre by referring to his five years as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam. And to demonstrate his commitment to family values, the 71-year-old former US Navy pilot pays warm tribute to his beautiful blonde wife, Cindy, with whom he has four children.

    But there is another Mrs McCain who casts a ghostly shadow over the Senator’s presidential campaign. She is seldom seen and rarely written about, despite being mother to McCain’s three eldest children….

    [When] McCain returned to America in 1973 to a fanfare of publicity and a handshake from Richard Nixon, he discovered his wife had been disfigured in a terrible car crash three years earlier. Her car had skidded on icy roads into a telegraph pole on Christmas Eve, 1969. Her pelvis and one arm were shattered by the impact and she suffered massive internal injuries.

    When Carol was discharged from hospital after six months of life-saving surgery, the prognosis was bleak. In order to save her legs, surgeons had been forced to cut away huge sections of shattered bone, taking with it her tall, willowy figure. She was confined to a wheelchair and was forced to use a catheter.

    Through sheer hard work, Carol learned to walk again. But when John McCain came home from Vietnam, she had gained a lot of weight and bore little resemblance to her old self.

    Today, she stands at just 5ft4in and still walks awkwardly, with a pronounced limp. Her body is held together by screws and metal plates and, at 70, her face is worn by wrinkles that speak of decades of silent suffering.

    Carol insists she remains on good terms with her ex-husband, who agreed as part of their divorce settlement to pay her medical costs for life. ‘I have no bitterness,’ she says. ‘My accident is well recorded. I had 23 operations, I am five inches shorter than I used to be and I was in hospital for six months. It was just awful, but it wasn’t the reason for my divorce.

    ‘My marriage ended because John McCain didn’t want to be 40, he wanted to be 25. You know that happens…it just does.’

    Some of McCain’s acquaintances are less forgiving, however. They portray the politician as a self-centred womaniser who effectively abandoned his crippled wife to ‘play the field’. They accuse him of finally settling on Cindy, a former rodeo beauty queen, for financial reasons.

    Read the rest here. Via Americablog.

    Geek, Interrupted

    posted by on June 9 at 12:03 PM

    So I wrote about Dungeons & Dragons in last week’s Constant Reader because the 4th Edition was coming out. I also said on Saturday that I would go to Worldwide D&D Day at Neumo’s and report back on how it was.

    This is how it was: Wizards of the Coast rented out Neumo’s from 9 to 5 on Saturday so that anybody could come and play Dungeons & Dragons. I walked into Neumo’s, got a wristband, walked into the main room, and saw that Neumo’s was packed with hundreds of people at tables playing Dungeons & Dragons. There were men and women. There was a giant Beholder statue. There were bags of Doritos. Because of the Doritos smell, I had a flashback to those six or seven times I played Dungeons & Dragons as a teenager.

    I immediately left Neumo’s and didn’t return.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on June 9 at 12:01 PM

    Who likes multi-tasking? Super-weirdo John Kilduff has a public access show in Los Angeles called Let’s Paint TV. Episodes include: Let’s Paint, Exercise, and Make Blended Drinks, Let’s Paint, Exercise, and Play Pinball, Let’s Paint, Exercise, Play the Ukulele, and Make a BLT. He does this all walking on a treadmill, painting, and simultaneously taking super abusive, calls from the public.

    The Agony of the Late Adopter

    posted by on June 9 at 11:59 AM

    I just got an iPhone. And now it’s obsolete. Or something.

    The First Casualty

    posted by on June 9 at 11:50 AM

    The Mariners have have fired hitting coach Jeff Pentland. Lee Elia—Mariners hitting coach under Lou Piniella—is the replacement. Here’s hoping he can help get the team’s average up from .248.

    Sexually Transmitted Infections and the City

    posted by on June 9 at 11:49 AM

    One in four adults in New York City, according to a new study, are infected with the virus that causes genital herpes. (More than one herpes virus can cause sores on your genitals, which makes this genital-herpes-virus stuff confusing, but that’s for another post.) The headline seems alarming until you read the story, which points out that nearly one in five adults outside New York City are infected with the virus that causes herpes. So the rate in NYC is significantly higher, and that’s worrisome, but it’s not like folks in NYC are that much likelier to have herpes than folks in, say, Seattle.

    And most people who have the virus that causes genital herpes have no symptoms—a fact that helps to create a gulf between the panic we’re supposed to feel based on headlines about herpes infection rates and the relative complacency induced by how little harm the virus does to most people that are infected by it.

    In other STI news, the World Health Organization has “admitted,” according to a report in the Independent, that an HIV/AIDS pandemic among heterosexuals outside of Africa “has disappeared.”

    ‘If You Have to Sell Impressionism, Haven’t You Already Lost?’

    posted by on June 9 at 11:36 AM

    That’s what my partner said to me last night as I gasped when I opened up my New York Times to find a 30-page, glossy, full-color insert from Seattle Art Museum advertising its upcoming “Inspiring Impressionism” show.

    The insert must have cost a staggering amount of money, and for what? To advertise what is already going to be a popular show? To express sentiments like this one?: “They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. On the diamond anniversary of SAM’s arrival on the Seattle scene, we’re here to tell you that SAM wants to be Seattle’s best friend.” (This is not the first time SAM’s marketing team has proved its, uh, skills: Remember the slogan “I AM SAM,” quick on the heels of the Sean Penn movie?)

    And in the bottomless pit of these 30 pages, which boast about everything from a Nordstrom fashion show to the talents of SAM’s cafe pastry chef, there was no room to list, describe, or recommend the “Black Art” exhibition?


    The Art of Emergency Urbanism

    posted by on June 9 at 11:27 AM

    My introduction to the importance of emergency design (architecture for those have been displaced by war or a natural disaster) was Rachael Cavallo’s installation at Cornish College of the Arts’s Art & Design BFA Show 2008. Its concern was developing “a flexible, cheap, and modern architecture for refugees who follow the path and laws of Islam.”

    Proof of how timely Cavallo’s work is can be found in an article published yesterday in NYT Magazine. Here are three important passages:

    Until recently, camp design focused less on shelter and more on food, water, security and medical care, in part because people can live without a roof longer than they can live without a meal and in part because shelter tends to fall into a gray area between aid, which is immediate, and development, which is longer term and therefore financed differently. There are hundreds of humanitarian organizations now operating throughout the world, but only a handful are devoted to dwelling, and they have sprung up in the last few years. The most recent edition of the U.N.’s “Handbook for Emergencies,” the vade mecum of relief planning, is 569 pages long. It includes everything from specifications about communications equipment to vehicle log sheets to minimum nutrition standards, but only 19 pages of it is devoted to shelter.


    Still, the structure of camps is imperfect. For one thing, the fundamental unit — four to six people under one tarp — assumes that the nuclear family is the basic unit of settlement worldwide, as it is in the Western countries from which most aid workers come. But in many communities, people live among their extended families, their tribes or their clans. And the grid arrangement, too, replicates European notions of the rational city; it works quite well on the island of Manhattan, but it may not serve those cultures that originally organized themselves along more fluid lines. By the same token, Western notions of democratic space — each unit of housing equivalent to the next — may fit our own notions of fairness but prove disruptive to communities that are structured around an implicit or explicit ranking in honor, say, of town elders.

    And, finally, the passage that speaks in the language of Mike Davis:

    Refugee crises are usually seen as a stark example of the more general problem of disaster relief, which is similarly urgent though in crucial ways different. (Hurricanes, earthquakes and the like are usually over quickly, the affected population remains near home and rebuilding can begin almost immediately.) But it may be more useful to see them in the context of the enormous new tide of urban migration, a trend that has created at least 26 cities worldwide with a population greater than 10 million.

    This has created an ongoing housing emergency: megaslums, shantytowns, favelas, squatter’s colonies. There are 80,000 people living on top of a garbage dump in Manila; a population of indeterminate size — perhaps as many as a million — who sleep every night in the cemeteries of Cairo; homeless encampments in San Francisco, Atlanta and Houston; guest workers camped beside the towers of the Persian Gulf; migrant workers in the San Fernando Valley. They are all displaced people.

    The future of refugees cannot be separated from the future of slums on our planet.

    The “Billion” Dollars of Art

    posted by on June 9 at 11:02 AM

    In writing about the departure of Seattle Art Museum director Mimi Gates last week, I had cause once again to refer to the famed billion-dollar gift of art to SAM that was announced last March.

    I added a caveat to it (“the museum announced what it called a billion dollars’ worth of gifts of art from private collectors”), but that wasn’t enough. I’m going to stop using the number altogether.

    Here’s why: In an unrelated interview, Seattle-based American collector Barney Ebsworth let slip to me one day that he was the one who came up with the billion-dollar figure for the public announcement.

    Not to minimize the gifts, which are substantial, but I seriously doubt the figure we all threw out at the time of the announcement (which came from Christie’s auction house) has much factual value. It’s probably time we all stopped using it.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on June 9 at 11:00 AM


    Russian Circles at Neumo’s

    Chicago’s Russian Circles have always experimented with music’s darker side. On Enter, the trio crafted metal-tinged, moody instrumentals, but managed to break the spell for few a moments of subtle beauty. On their new record, Station, the band have abandoned all hope. There’s very little clearing in these threatening skies—everything is more aggressive, more sinister. The fearless will be up front, praising the band with a slow, heavy headbang. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $10, all ages.)


    Dept. of Unintended Consequences

    posted by on June 9 at 10:54 AM

    If voters in California approve an anti-gay-marriage amendment to that state’s constitution this November, they may wind up banning straight marriage in California. From Sunday’s Washington Post:

    Should voters approve the measure, Cruz said, offering another potential outcome, it could inadvertently affect traditional marriages. That’s because the amendment would undo only part of the court’s decision—allowing gay couples to marry—but not the rest, which says that same-sex couples cannot be recognized differently than opposite-sex couples, he said.

    “If you’ve got those two rules—that you can’t let them marry, but you can’t give different options to gay and straight couples—then one possible outcome, if the amendment were to pass, is that no one could get married in California,” Cruz said.

    This is hilarious—and it’s an issue that supporters of gay marriage in California should campaign on. Don’t call it the “ban on gay marriage,” just call it the “marriage ban,” since it could wind up banning all marriages in California. Here’s some copy for a pro-gay-marriage campaign’s yard signs: “Protect Traditional Marriage—Vote ‘NO’ on the Marriage Ban!”

    Upcoming: Al Gore and Gay Cowboys Sing, Atheists Strike Back

    posted by on June 9 at 10:48 AM

    The Vulture brings news that there will be a Brokeback Mountain opera. Also, there will be an Inconvenient Truth opera.

    But the upcoming entertainment news that I’m most excited about on The Vulture is the upcoming Bill Maher documentary Religulous. I’m not a huge Maher fan—libertarians tend to bug the ever-loving shit out of me—but I fully expect to love this movie.

    I’ll withhold judgment on the operas until (or if) they actually happen.

    This Just In…

    posted by on June 9 at 10:46 AM

    Marijuana grow op busted in Longview, Washington, once and for all ending the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of marijuana in Washington state.

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on June 9 at 10:36 AM

    This post marks Jeremy White’s first appearance in YPW, but I suspect that it won’t be be his last. This just in from the great state of California:

    The business is only one week old, but already it’s drawing protests in Vacaville. In fact, those against the new Secrets Boutique lingerie shop are videotaping customers going in and out of the store, then plan to put that tape up on the Internet.

    Holding a sign saying “Smile, You’re on YouTube,” protestors have a small camera set up and have been gathering in front of the store on East Monte Vista Avenue since it opened on the frontage road of Interstate 80 just west of the Nut Tree.

    The point of controversy isn’t the lingerie or body oils sold inside, but an adults-only room in the back of the store. The room is filled with sex toys and pornographic DVDs.

    “We believe this is not the right place for a store with a high volume of pornography and other explicit adult materials to be sold,” said Jeremy White, a local youth pastor leading the protest. “I don’t see a lot of merit in the proliferation of pornography.”

    Fundamentalist Christians who rail against premarital sex, pornography, and homosexuality are, as we’ve seen time and again, frequently guilty of externalizing their own internal conflicts. From Swaggart to Haggard, conservative Christian ministers will attempt to control their own sinful desires—for porn, hookers, straight sex, gay sex, drugs, etc.—by “saving” others from these temptations. When Jimmy Swaggart railed against porn and hookers and exposed other televangelists as adulterers, Swaggart was really telling us something about himself. When mega-church pastor Ted Haggard railed against homosexuality (remember when Ted looked into the camera and said, “I know what you did last night”?), Haggard was really trying to tell us something about himself.

    So when I read a story like this, I can’t help but wonder what Jeremy White, youth pastor and anti-porn crusader, is trying to tell us about himself.

    It’s In the P-I… And the Times

    posted by on June 9 at 10:33 AM

    Thank God we have two daily newspapers covering the local stories that matter!

    From the Times:

    Homeless advocates protest at Seattle City Hall

    About 20 homeless advocates have blocked a downtown Seattle intersection near City Hall to protest sweeps that have removed transient camps.

    The protesters planned to be arrested Monday following an overnight camp-out at the City Hall Plaza.

    The demonstration was organized by the group Real Change. It says the city needs to add shelters for the homeless before cracks down on camps.

    The city removes transient camps from greenbelts and underpasses to prevent health and safety problems. Residents are given advance warning and offered social services.

    From the P-I:
    Homeless advocates protest at Seattle City Hall

    About 20 homeless advocates blocked a downtown Seattle intersection near City Hall to protest sweeps that have removed transient camps. […]

    The protesters planned to be arrested Monday following an overnight camp-out at the City Hall Plaza. None resisted being taken into custody.

    The demonstration was organized by the group Real Change. It says the city needs to add shelters for the homeless before cracks down on camps.

    The city removes transient camps from greenbelts and underpasses to prevent health and safety problems. Residents are given advance warning and offered social services.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on June 9 at 10:10 AM


    We have a mystery, a novel about a woman becoming a barista, an open mic night, and a couple other events going on tonight.

    Up at Third Place Books, Megan Chance reads from The Spiritualist, which is about death at a séance. I haven’t read it, and so I can’t endorse it. I did read a book a few years ago on the same subject, called Inamorata, which was pretty good. So, you know, if this sounds like something you’re interested in, go and listen to the reading to check it out and if it doesn’t work for you, pick up Inamorata. Reading problems solved!

    At Elliott Bay Book Company, Dalia Sofer celebrates the paperback release of The Septembers of Shiraz. This is another one that I didn’t read, because it struck me as one of those Kite Runner-y books, intended to show book club members that people in Iran are just like us, you know, weighed down with conflicted feelings and melodramatic situations and whatnot. But then I met people who read the book and liked it and hated The Kite Runner. So now I don’t know what to think.

    Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone, is at Town Hall, reading from Panic in Level 4. There are stories about men with two noses, and stories about finding the Ebola Patient Zero. If you want to up your paranoia levels, be sure to attend.

    Lastly, and bestly, at Seattle Public Library, Russell Banks reads from his new nonfiction collection, Dreaming Up in America. I feel as though Russell Banks never gets the respect that he deserves. The man wrote The Sweet Hereafter, which is one of the best books written last century, and a book that I read right after September 11th. It kept me from going apeshit. True, he wrote some bad, early books, but I will follow him forever just for that one book. And you should, too.

    Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is up for your edification.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on June 9 at 10:00 AM

    Shawn Patrick Landis’s Suspension of Belief (2008); air, vinyl and non-particular furnishings; 8 by 15 by 11 feet

    At Grey Gallery & Lounge. (Gallery web site here.)

    SIFF 2008: Day 19 Recommendations

    posted by on June 9 at 9:56 AM

    Shocking! There’s only a week left in the festival.

    Assuming you didn’t see it yesterday, the matinee slot is all about Baghead (4:30 pm at the Egyptian). If you already saw that or are willing to wait for it to come out in theaters, you might try the well-acted Encarnacíon (6:30 pm at Pacific Place)—but avoid the cheery Disney tribute Walt and El Grupo (4:30 pm at the Uptown) like the plague.

    Only free after work, like us normal people? Head to Queen Anne for Momma’s Man (7:15 pm at the Uptown), a family drama directed by the son of experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs, with dear old dad in a leading role.


    There’s a repeat screening of the excellent Tulia, Texas (7 pm at the Harvard Exit)—which will also be airing on PBS in the upcoming season of Independent Lens.

    We’ve only reviewed two films in the late slot, and can’t recommend either whole-heartedly, but neither are they terrible: Sukiyaki Western Django (9:45 pm at Uptown), by Takashi Miike, and Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame (9:15 pm at SIFF Cinema), by Hana, the other daughter of Iran’s beloved Mohsen Malkmalbaf. I’m sort of intrigued by Combalimon (9:15 pm at the Harvard Exit), a doc about an old French farmer.

    Who Wears Jeans and a Polo on a Bicycle?

    posted by on June 9 at 9:45 AM

    Why that would be the new Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, biking in Chicago over the weekend:


    Via everywhere, including Wonkette, which sees this as “grim evidence that Barack really is half whitey.”

    Mike Allen points out, in Obama’s defense, that the current president has been known to wear socks and Crocs. True enough.

    Myself, I can’t get over that rear fender—that’s not the “dirt off your shoulders” Obama we once knew! FENDER UPDATE: Some commenters and Slog tippers believe it’s not a fender, but rather a hitch for pulling one of his daughters’ bikes. In which case: Awww.

    Ms. Pacman Awaits You

    posted by on June 9 at 9:21 AM


    The Saviour of Rural Folk

    posted by on June 9 at 7:59 AM


    Anthony Clark, a farm worker from Tchula, says he prays every night for lower gasoline prices. He recently decided not to fix his broken 1992 Chevrolet Astro van because he could not afford the fuel.

    The Morning News

    posted by on June 9 at 7:32 AM

    Pump Pain: $4/gallon is now the national average.

    God Might Be With Him: Despite McCain’s pandering, evangelicals aren’t quick to offer support.

    Nerdgasm: Apple is expected to announce iPhone 2.0 today.

    Bush Bashing: Europeans have one last chance to protest Our Dear Leader. Meanwhile, just two out of 109 historians polled think Bush will be thought of as a success in the future.

    Retail Rampage: Seven dead, dozens of others wounded after a man “tired of the world” went on a stabbing spree in a crowded Tokyo shopping district.

    A Little Safer: The F.B.I. reports violent crimes fell by 1.4 percent in 2007.

    Shall We Play a Game?: New military supercomputer can make 1.026 quadrillion calculations per second:

    To put the performance of the machine in perspective, Thomas P. D’Agostino, the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, said that if all six billion people on earth used hand calculators and performed calculations 24 hours a day and seven days a week, it would take them 46 years to do what the Roadrunner can in one day.

    Home Court Advantage: Celtics shoot three times as many free throws, beat the Lakers by six.

    Costly Clusterfuck: Taxpayer tab for the wrongful arrest of Seattle community activist Romelle Bradford is already more than $675,000 and climbing.

    Vanishing Seattle: Aurora Avenue North may be headed for a major makeover.

    Seattle vs. Sonics: Just one week until the city’s hail mary against the new Sonics ownership arrives in court. The Seattle Times is all over the story.

    Pitching Tents: Seattle homeless set up camp outside of City Hall to protest recent sweeps of park encampments.


    Sunday, June 8, 2008

    SIFF 2008: Day 18 Recommendations

    posted by on June 8 at 11:10 AM

    I’m a little late this morning—got a bit distracted by Meet the Press. But I would’ve said Mancora (11 am at the Harvard Exit).

    Next, Tulia, Texas (1:30 pm at the Harvard Exit) is our first Don’t Miss-designated film of the day. The mass arrest of black people in a small Texas town that this documentary describes is the basis for a new Lionsgate film starring Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton that’s planned for a release later in 2008.

    The archival event of the day is the screening of a restored print of a Vanity Fair adaptation entitled Becky Sharp (4 pm at SIFF Cinema), directed by Rouben Mamoulian in the midst of the Great Depression. It was the first film ever to be made with three-strip Technicolor technology.


    In the early evening slot, get an early look at the new mumblecore horror-comedy Baghead (6:30 pm at the Egyptian). Directors Jay and Mark Duplass are scheduled to attend; read about the reverse-rollout distribution strategy that’s horrifying the New York Times here.

    And finally this evening, check out the one-shot Brazilian marvel Still Orangutans (9 pm at Pacific Place).

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on June 8 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Still Orangutans’ at Pacific Place

    Still Orangutans is the Brazilian Slacker. In one 81-minute shot, the camera wanders around a hot city, following weird people: A little kid threatens a cashier’s life (funnier than it sounds), a lesbian fights with a drunk Santa, two wasters drink perfume and pass out, a crazed writer harries an old man on the sidewalk, and so on. The movie suffers from a soft midsection, but begins with the sad beauty of a dead woman on a subway and ends with an eloping couple and a hand grenade. (Pacific Place, 600 Pine St, 9 pm, $11.)


    Currently Hanging

    posted by on June 8 at 10:00 AM

    Various installations by Anna Skibska, glass (photo by Donna Keyser)

    At Bellevue Arts Museum. (Museum web site here.)

    Reading Today

    posted by on June 8 at 10:00 AM


    Two readings today, which is pretty good for a Sunday.

    At Elliott Bay Book Company, we have Myrna Capp and Kristin Capp. They will be reading from Keeping the Embers Alive. It’s a book of photographs and interviews and all sorts of things like that about the musicians of Zimbabwe.

    Later this afternoon, up at Third Place Books, there’ll be a party in celebration of Spindrift. Spindrift is the Shoreline Community College Art and Literary Journal. There will be an open mic in addition to the celebration. celebrates a new issue’s release with an open mic. There will be refreshments, too.

    Here is a poem from Spindrift’s website:

    Wedding Dress
    by Jerimiah Rice

    Rogue demons haunt the dress you wore
    On a wedding night
    Painfully clear in your memory
    The day “I do” became the ultimate pitch
    And lips with a kiss, transparent
    Slipped clean through
    All the jagged smiles like ripped canvas now
    Hushed, blotted out by a soft spring rain
    That dress, staring through button eyes,
    Beady and wretched
    Trying with infinite might to force a tear,
    But tears wash away on days like this
    And sad memories are nothing more than a
    Tattered cloth with faded colors
    Forgotten by time and replaced

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

    The Morning News

    posted by on June 8 at 9:15 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Conversion: Obama aims to make red states vote like blue states.

    It’s hard to say goodbye
    : But Hillary rocks it.

    Assurance: Iraq tells Iran they won’t let U.S. use Iraqi territory to launch an attack.

    Tokyo terror: Man kills seven, injures 10 in knife attack.

    Crooked medicine: Harvard professors failed to report money made from drug company consulting fees.

    : Long Island woman infested with bird mites.

    Backpedaling on biofuel: King County Metro Transit to stop buying renewal fuel.

    Gunning for gun control: Nickels wants a second look at gun laws.

    Green education
    : UW mulls over “environmental college” proposal.

    Gross, Part 2: Boy paralyzed by tick saliva.