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Archives for 06/29/2008 - 07/05/2008

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on July 5 at 11:00 AM


Big Business, Akimbo at El Corazón

It’s been a while since we’ve had Big Business to kick around—the bombastic stoner-rock duo fled Seattle’s pine-scented air for L.A.’s polluted pastures in 2006. Tonight, they return to blow your face off with new material and 33 percent more shredding! (Earlier this year BB, announced the addition of guitarist Toshi Kasai.) Speaking of blowing your face off, Akimbo is releasing a new record in September. No doubt they’ll showcase some of that epic material as this evening’s openers. With Coconut Coolouts. (El Corazón, 109 Eastlake Ave E, 381-3094. 9 pm, $10 adv/$12 DOS, all ages.)




Yeah, Pixar movies are usually good, but this one’s unimaginably great. From its little trash-compacting hero (never so cute as when he stands up on tippy-toes—er, jacks up on an expanding lattice—to search for a replacement binocular lens) to its Apple-inspired shiny white pod of a love interest (as bellicose and career-minded as any female character in film history), WALL•E is completely crushworthy. And its storyline, half Little Tramp and half Benito Cereno, is a venerable pastiche. (See movie times.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Currently Hanging

    posted by on July 5 at 10:00 AM

    Eric Elliott’s Photinia #3 (2008), oil on panel, 48 by 42 inches

    At James Harris Gallery. (Gallery site here.)

    Reading Today

    posted by on July 5 at 10:00 AM

    In the aftermath of yesterday’s freedom, there are only two readings today, and they both involve poetry.

    At Elliott Bay Book Company, Cat Ruiz reads from her book of poems, Stirring Up the Water.

    And at Gallery 1412 on Capitol Hill, Melanie Noel reads poetry as part of a series of summer performances called Parity 3. You can read more about Parity 3 and Gallery 1412 here.

    And because I ran the godawful Captain America theme song yesterday, here’s the godawful Hulk theme song today:

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

    The Morning News

    posted by on July 5 at 9:07 AM

    by news intern Roselle Kingsbury

    For Richer Or Poorer: Massive crowds protest the Group of Eight’s annual meeting, held in a “luxury hotel,” while French President Nicholas Sarkozy calls for the inclusion of countries like India and China.

    Incriminating Evidence: Two separate reports reveal how Mugabe maintained his presidency: a brutal military campaign and, effectively, stuffing the ballot box.

    Move Over, Alaska: Oil companies are exploring the waters off of Florida for oil, prompted by skyrocketing crude prices and President Bush’s push to allow new drilling.

    Get Yer Rod: Over 30,000 farmed salmon swim free after a net at Marine Harvest Canada hatchery in Vancouver, B.C., slipped July 1, losing the company around $450,000 of fish.

    Booted From Church… And State: London’s Deputy Mayor Ray Lewis resigned today after three separate allegations of “financial irregularities,” including one of embezzling around £25,000 from a former parishioner, earning him the Anglican Church’s censure and his placement on the “Lambeth List.”

    It’s McCain’s Party: President Bush seems to be sad, perhaps because one GOP member thinks that Bush “should stay home from the Republican convention, and everybody would be better off.”

    Euphemism For “Oops!”: Babbit Neuman Construction firm “mislocates” Edgewood’s city-hall building approximately 13 feet due to a surveying mistake.

    No, Really: Joey Chestnut wins $20,000 and the “Mustard Belt” after besting rival and six-time world champion, Takeru Kobayashi by two hot dogs at Nathan’s Famous annual Hot-Dog Eating Contest yesterday.

    Public Funding: Japanese metal band Electric Eel Shock earns $50,000 in 54 days through fan contributions on, says their motto is “Sex, drugs and e-mail.”

    Friday, July 4, 2008

    Light Fuse, Get Away

    posted by on July 4 at 7:12 PM

    The US Consumer Product Safety Commission wants you to have a safe Fourth of July, so they’ve put together this handy video showing what happens when you light off a M-1000 inside your three-wall cardboard house, why you should never look directly into an aerial display shell, and some other text advice which goes by far too quickly.

    Note the proper way to enjoy our nation’s birthday: Cook hot dogs, make small-talk, play ball with kids, watch pussy-ass little fireworks from safe distance, dunk in bucket.



    posted by on July 4 at 5:10 PM

    Thank you kindly for all the advice about Greeley, CO. In the end it didn’t smell, and I didn’t wear chaps, but the annual Fourth of July Parade this morning was cute:


    Thanks also for all the Denver advice. Perusing it now. Happy Fourth, Slog mob!

    Louise and Bucky

    posted by on July 4 at 5:02 PM

    This is random, obscure, minor, and probably only a few people will be able to do it, but I hope it’s worth it the single second it takes: Anyone who gets her hands on today’s New York Times should hold the second page of the arts section up to the light and look at the Louise Bourgeois ad. The Buckminster Fuller-inspired geodesic dome on the other side of the page is perfectly aligned so that it becomes a new body for Bourgeois.

    Words Fail

    posted by on July 4 at 4:49 PM

    Happy nation birthday, nation!

    Happy 4th

    posted by on July 4 at 12:30 PM

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on July 4 at 12:01 PM

    Sing it Sondra!

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on July 4 at 11:00 AM


    Naturalists at the Beach at Olympic Sculpture Park

    Norwegians, I am told (by the internet), “relish” moon snails. The Seattle Aquarium Beach Naturalists also relish moon snails. This second group is a crew of trained volunteers who spend summer afternoons hanging out on Puget Sound beaches teaching about moon snails, sea stars, barnacles, and the like. On our nation’s birthday, they will be at the pocket beach at the edge of the Olympic Sculpture Park. Hey! Moon snails! Something you can touch at the sculpture park! (Olympic Sculpture Park, 2901 Western Ave, 654-3100. 11:30 am–2:30 pm, free.)


    Reading Today

    posted by on July 4 at 10:00 AM

    Because it is the 4th of July, there are no readings today. All the authors, if you believe Fox News, are probably crouching in their spider-holes trying to figure out exactly how to finally overthrow America this year. Their plans probably involve disseminating anti-freedom information at those packed book readings us hippies are always going to.

    Enjoy your Constitution while it lasts, folks!

    Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, here, on our very un-American books page.

    The Morning News

    posted by on July 4 at 8:58 AM

    God Bless America: Jesse Helms is finally dead. The fucker was 86.

    Center Lines: Obama says he may “refine” position on Iraq, but still committed to withdrawal.

    Central Intelligence: Government workers snooping on celebrity passport files.

    Mercury Sizing: Planet’s diameter has retracted 1.5 miles due to cooling core.

    Two Dead: Helicopter hits power lines and “instantly created a blinding flash.”

    The Sanctity of Marriage: GOP Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, proposes to girlfriend of nine months.

    Hostage Takeover: After six years in captivity in Colombia, Ingrid Betancourt returns to France for hero’s welcome.

    Poland: Rejects US proposal to host 10 missile interceptors.

    Like a Short, Long Pit Bull: Mini dachshund gnaws off sleeping owner’s toe.

    Short Order: Judge sends wordy lawsuit—465 pages—back for a succinct rewrite.

    When the Levy Breaks: Pike Place Market levy will likely lack controversial provision to re-landscape Victor Steinbrueck Park.

    Red, White, Black and Blue: Denver mayor sore over performer singing “the black national anthem.”

    “He used race very effectively.”

    posted by on July 4 at 8:55 AM

    That’s NPR-speak for, “He was a racist piece of shit.”


    Jesse Helms was also a homophobic piece of shit who did everything he could to torment people with AIDS during the darkest hours of the AIDS epidemic—and now he’s dead.

    I realize that the death of a prominent piece of shit puts people on the radio and teevee in an awkward position. We’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead… and any honest accounting of this piece of shit’s career requires us to speak very ill of the dead indeed. So perhaps simply noting the piece of shit’s passing—briefly, and just the facts—would be the prudent thing to do. It would certainly be better than inviting a few people on the radio to discuss the piece of shit’s life and accomplishments at the precise moment when decorum requires us to put the nicest possible gloss on the piece of shit. To polish the turd, as it were.

    Waking up to a discussion of the highlights of Helm’s career and listening to the oh-so-polite NPR host and his oh-so-polite guests dance around the issue of race—never mind the gay or AIDS issues, which weren’t even mentioned (well, not in the section I caught; I literally woke up to this)—until the host delicately observed in admiring tones, “He used race very effectively,” and the guest chuckled and agreed, well, let’s just say that’s was a very unpleasant way to start the day.

    Here’s Helms calling for cuts in AIDS funding in 1995

    Sen. Jesse Helms says the government should spend less money on people with AIDS because they got sick as a result of “deliberate, disgusting, revolting conduct,” The New York Times reported Wednesday.

    Helms, who has often spoken of his disgust for homosexuals, spoke to the Times as the Senate considers whether to renew a federal program for the care and treatment of AIDS patients.

    “We’ve got to have some common sense about a disease transmitted by people deliberately engaging in unnatural acts,” Helms told the Times.

    Here’s Jesse Helms’ infamous “hands” ad:

    Jesse Helms was a bigoted piece of shit that left a mark—a skid mark, broad and deep—on U.S. Senate. And now the piece of shit is dead. And if you can’t say something accurate, NPR, it would be better to say nothing at all.

    UPDATE: Over at Americablog, Joe and John are equally annoyed by a similar don’t-speak-ill-of-the-dead report filed by the AP. They’ve tossed up these gems, among others, to correct the record…

    As an aide to the 1950 Senate campaign of North Carolina Republican candidate Willis Smith, Helms reportedly helped create attack ads against Smith’s opponent, including one which read: “White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races.” Another ad featured photographs Helms himself had doctored to illustrate the allegation that Graham’s wife had danced with a black man. (The News and Observer, 8/26/01; The New Republic, 6/19/95; The Observer, 5/5/96; Hard Right: The Rise of Jesse Helms, by Ernest B. Furgurson, Norton, 1986)

    The University of North Carolina was “the University of Negroes and Communists.” (Capital Times, 11/22/94) Black civil rights activists were “Communists and sex perverts.” (Copley News Service, 8/23/01)

    Of civil rights protests Helms wrote, “The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that’s thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men’s rights.” (WRAL-TV commentary, 1963) He also wrote, “Crime rates and irresponsibility among Negroes are a fact of life which must be faced.” (New York Times, 2/8/81)

    I’ve been searching for a particularly infamous clip of Helms on Larry King. But I can’t find it. Here’s the transcript, though…

    When he made an appearance on CNN’s Larry King Live in Sept. 1995, a caller praised him “for everything you’ve done to help keep down the niggers.”

    Helms looked in the camera and replied, “Well thank you, I think.”

    UPDATE 2: This one’s for Fnarf…

    And Rain in the comments thread writes…

    I went to the Daily Oklahoman website to see what they were saying about the Seattle basketball team moving to OKC, and this was on the front page. The animated ad trotted out from the right side and landed right on Jesse’s mug. All I did was take a screenshot and add the text in the gray box at the bottom.


    The Daily Oklahoman website is here, and I just went and a dancing chicken trotted out to invite me to a celebration of Helms’ death too. Hilarious. The Daily Oklahoman invites you to “sign the guestbook.” Click through the link and you’ll find exactly two remembrances: “To a great man who kept to his conservative ideals. You will be missed,” and, “REST IN PEACE JESSE HELMS.” You can submit your own remembrance but there’s also this note at the bottom of the page: “Entries are free and are posted after being reviewed for appropriate content.” I just submitted “Jesse Helms was a hateful piece of shit.” We’ll see if it goes up. In the meantime, though, why not go submit your own remembrance?

    Thursday, July 3, 2008

    Ban Kittens

    posted by on July 3 at 10:24 PM


    Via Gawker.

    Seattle Semi-Pro Wrestling Holds Protest Show, Doesn’t Wrestle

    posted by on July 3 at 5:41 PM

    After catching heat from the state for not being an officially licensed and sanctioned sport, the Seattle Semi-Pro Wrestling league held a protest show at King Cobra last night to let fans know about the uncertain future of SSP.


    Before the show, Nathaniel Pinzon—who wrestles under the name Deevious Silvertongue—told me wrestlers would be playing a “vicious game of tic tac toe” and arm wrestling, but there wouldn’t be any bouts. “We’re probably just going to fall right on our faces,” Pinzon said.

    As the lights in King Cobra finally went down around 10 p.m., the 100-120 people in the crowd were chanting, hooting and hurling plastic balls—passed out by SSP wrestlers before the show—around the room.

    Then, SSP MC “Evil Kimmel” appeared on stage and told the audience that there wouldn’t be any wrestling. The crowd, of course, went batshit crazy.

    After enduring several minutes of booing and abuse from the crowd, several SSP wrestlers engaged in a drinking contest.

    Then, a man in a giant banana suit got up on stage and I left.

    This morning, Pinzon called me to talk about the future of SSP.

    While Pinzon hasn’t heard anything from the Department of Licensing about the future of the show, SSP was approached by several lawyers after last night’s show who offered to take on their case. However, right now the group isn’t sure whether they want to go to court. “It’s up in the air right now,” Pinzon says. “We still don’t even know if it’s cheaper to save up for a ring or just get a lawyer and…let them sort out this mess.”

    If SSP continues, Pinzon says they will be cutting back on ongoing plot lines and focusing on fund raising to keep the 5-year-old league alive. According to Pinzon, SSP will have a karaoke fundraiser and are talking about putting on an SSP musical, but nothing is set in stone. “Our fan base really wants us to fight this,” Pinzon says. “I don’t know how realistic that is with the costs involved. It just depends on how much of that fan base wants to try and help out.”

    Photo by Apeta via Flickr

    For more on SSP, here’s Kelly O’s wonderful How Was It? video.

    “The video has been removed from the YouTube site…”

    posted by on July 3 at 5:18 PM

    …but you can watch the video over and over again in this news report about a teenager who “makes a baby fly,” which has not been removed from YouTube site. Enjoy:

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on July 3 at 4:52 PM


    priestcote.jpg A priest accused of abusing an altar boy in 2001 has been charged with child abuse after turning himself in to police Tuesday.

    The Rev. Aaron Joseph Cote, 56, who was an associate pastor in 2001 and 2002 at Mother Seton parish in Germantown, had been accused of sexual abuse by the former altar boy, Brandon Rains, who filed a lawsuit against him in 2005….

    According to Montgomery County police, Cote had been counseling the boy while serving part time as youth minister at Mother Seton.


    11_YouthMinister.jpg A 20-year-old woman who broke her neck while playing on a trampoline with a youth pastor is suing the pastor, claiming he should have known that his weight would have caused her to catapult into the air.

    Pastor Matt Lambrecht is named along with the Archdiocese of Portland, the trampoline manufacturer, Legacy Emmanuel Hospital & Health Care Center and several other defendants in the $33.5 million suit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court Tuesday….

    Freitag suffers from quadriplegia and will need a wheelchair for the rest of her life, the suit states.

    Blood Brother

    posted by on July 3 at 4:50 PM

    A text message from my friend Hester:

    Just passed a nerdy dude wearing a shirt that said “I’m a Keeper.” Is that something other than a gross device for catching my period?

    Thanks for the offer, guy!

    Clowns Sue Seattle Rep

    posted by on July 3 at 4:23 PM


    Yuri and Dmitri Kuklachev are a father-son team of Russian clowns and proprietors of a cat circus called Moscow Cats Theater. They began training cats in 1977, were one of the first Soviet-era performers to tour the United States, and are famous in 80 countries. They’ve won awards, been commemorated on stamps, and are beloved by children, grandmas, and cat fanciers everywhere.

    Last year, Yuri and Dmitri toured the United States and performed at the Seattle Rep.

    Except they didn’t.

    The Russian clowns who performed at the Rep last April were, apparently, impostors. (Copycats, if you will. And you will.) According to a lawsuit filed by the real Yuri and Dmitri Kuklachev, the impostors stole the real Russian clowns’ names, clothes, and hairstyles and toured the country as the Moscow Cats Theater.

    The Russian clowns are pissed. They’ve filed a suit in New York against the impostors, the impostors’ U.S. promoter (Mark Gelfman), and every theater where the impostors performed, including the Seattle Rep.

    “We don’t know anything about this,” the Rep’s communications director, Ilana Balint, said this afternoon. “We haven’t been served any papers.”

    “Well, they’re gonna get served papers today or Monday,” said the Russian clowns’ lawyer, Gary Tsirelman. “We’re just beginning a lengthy process.”

    The Russian clowns have filed the suit in Brooklyn and are suing for: “federal and common-law trademark infringement, false endorsement, unfair competition, false designation of origin, dilution of a famous trademark, and violations of anti-cybersquatting law, rights of publicity and privacy, fraud, conversion, prima facie tort and unjust enrichment.”

    (Tsirelman was referred to the Russian clowns by a colleague. “They needed a vulture in court,” Tsirelman said, “someone very vicious who does not take no for an answer. They said, ‘find us the biggest a-hole out there.’ And that was me.”)

    Some history: The Russian clowns have been doing their cat-circus act since 1977. Sometime in the 80s, an assistant stole the Russian clowns’ act, names, costumes, and hairstyle, and tried to tour the USSR. Soviet police eventually shut them down.

    Fast forward to December 2006: The real Russian clowns finished a real tour of the U.S. and returned to Russia, expecting to come back for another U.S. tour in 2007.

    From the complaint: “Within days of Yuri Kuklachev’s departure, his [U.S.] promoter, M. Gelfman… secretly filed a registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to register the famous Kuklachev’s ‘Moscow Cats Theater’ mark in his own name.” He also bought

    Then Gelfman (allegedly) trotted out the impostors, changed their names and dyed their hair, and sent them on the road.

    The Russian clowns are currently seeking $10 million in damages, but that might grow—Tsirelman says he’s still getting calls from across the country (and the world) from people who saw the ersatz Kuklachevs. “I hear their show was pretty bad,” Tsirelman. “A lot of disappointed grandkids.”

    So why are the Russian clowns suing individual theaters, like the Rep, when the theaters were duped like everybody else?

    “Trademark law does not require defendants to have knowledge or intent to deceive,” Tsirelman said.

    In short: Ignorance is no excuse.

    Gelfman and his defense lawyers have not returned requests for comment.

    Stay tuned.


    Super Over-the-Top

    posted by on July 3 at 4:13 PM


    In this week’s paper, I reviewed Hancock. It was pretty…blah.

    …the trailers, with Will Smith as a drunken misanthrope flying into buildings and tossing whales around with impunity, suggested the kind of brainless summer fun that Smith used to supply with films like Men in Black. Unfortunately, as with I Am Legend and I, Robot, Smith has developed the unfortunate tendency to make all his popcorn flicks as heavy as a brain-dead Hamlet. Everything now has to have gravity and weight, and a simple redemptive superhero comedy simply wouldn’t do for the erstwhile Mr. July.

    But then I read David Denby’s review of Hancock, and I had to wonder if we saw the same movie. He declares it the most enjoyable movie of the summer and drools over just about every aspect of the film. That’s fine. Critics disagree. But here’s the part where my jaw nearly hit my desk:

    But Theron isn’t running away from her good looks anymore. Wearing a simple sleeveless red shift, her blond hair hanging around her shoulders, she’s a knockout in “Hancock,” and she gives the sexiest performance of her career. The currents flowing between her and Smith are reminiscent of the heat generated by Gable and Harlow, say, or Bogart and Bacall.

    I had to rub my eyes and reread that part:

    reminiscent of the heat generated by Gable and Harlow, say, or Bogart and Bacall

    David Denby, are you on crack? I ask this not as someone who counts To Have and Have Not among my all-time favorite movies. I ask this as someone who’s seen Hancock and doesn’t understand how you could find that much gold in all this mediocre pudding. Are we going to have to fight, David Denby? I will totally fight you, and because justice is on my side, I will win.

    If you want to figure out which side you’re on in this fight, film times are here.

    How Not to Sell a Book

    posted by on July 3 at 3:40 PM

    Okay, I know that lots of authors are appearing in book trailers. But, really: if you can’t bring at least a QVC-type level of professionalism to the video, maybe you shouldn’t appear in your own book trailer.


    does not make me want to read this book, especially when she uses the phrase “self-savvy insights.”

    What to Wear to a Stampede?

    posted by on July 3 at 3:30 PM

    I’m on my way to Denver for a freelance assignment that involves the Greeley Stampede. (“The World’s Largest 4th of July Rodeo & Western Celebration!”)

    What to pack, what to pack…

    Also: Things to do in Denver when you’re not stampeding? Or being stampeded? I’ve already been told—several times—about the Brown Palace. What else?

    No Mo’ Money

    posted by on July 3 at 3:03 PM

    From Time/CNN:

    In a week when oil prices shot to $143 a barrel, the mood at the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid is surprisingly somber. Perhaps the oil company CEOs and OPEC ministers, gathered for the biggest conference in the industry’s calendar, are feeling besieged by the relentless drumbeat of public outrage. Perhaps they have been worn down by their ongoing efforts to blame each other for spiraling prices. Or maybe they just think it in poor taste to gloat about their record profits.

    Which do you think is the source of the somber mood: feeling besieged? worn down from blaming each other? or out of a sense of decency?

    While you think about that, have a look at this old (now dead) lady and her dog:
    The story:

    The late US real estate tycoon Leona Helmsley reportedly wanted her estimated $8bn fortune spent on dogs.

    She left instructions that her estate go towards dog welfare, according to the New York Times, and animal welfare groups are elated.

    The newspaper said that while her wishes were not part of her will courts do consider expressions of intent.

    Mrs Helmsley, who died last August aged 87, was dubbed the “Queen of Mean” during a trial in 1989 for tax evasion.

    One of the most common products of wealth is an iron misanthropy.

    Money is, of course, the substance of a wonderful article by Trisha Ready:

    We have reached the end of what author Philip Cushman in a 1990 article in American Psychologist called the “post World War II empty self” era. Cushman writes about the change in America from the Victorian era of saving money and restricting impulses (sexual and otherwise) to the consumer self who is “soothed, organized, and made cohesive” by being filled up with food, objects, and celebrities. Cushman blames psychology and advertising as tools of the financial power structure that created the consumer self by preying on humans’ abiding feelings of insecurity and doubt. Credit made us more interesting and glamorous and more competitive with one another even if the things we purchased never did deliver the promised redemption of saving us from our limitations.

    What’s fascinating about her article is it’s attempt to locate (or define) the new American thinking, feeling, and being—the American that is no longer saved from its limitations. An American with limits is something new (or renewed) in the world. This new thing might actually be the “flattening” effect of globalization. Not a flattening of access to new technologies and the competition of international companies and markets, but, instead, a flattening of citizenship. No citizenship in the near-future world will save an ordinary person from a life with limits.

    YouTube, MeTube, EveryoneTube, Tube, Tube

    posted by on July 3 at 2:19 PM

    Good news!

    A federal judge in New York has ordered Google to turn over to Viacom a database linking users of YouTube, the Web’s largest video site by far, with every clip they have watched there.

    The order raised concerns among users and privacy advocates that the online video viewing habits of tens of millions of people could be exposed.

    For every video on YouTube, the judge required Google to turn over to Viacom the login name of every user who watched it, and the address of their computer, known as an I.P., or Internet protocol, address.

    Don’t worry, though!

    Google and Viacom said they had had discussions about ways to ensure the data is further protected to assure anonymity.

    Whew! That was close.

    Re: Qube Calls It Quits

    posted by on July 3 at 2:08 PM

    I walked by Qube downtown the other day and thought, “How long can that place possibly stay open?” No one I know ever went there—its complicated quadripartite dishes (“Qube Sets,” truly?), generic urban-contemporary look, and early-on chef turnover gave it an unmistakable whiff of doom. All the windows showing the tumbleweeds blowing around and idle staff didn’t help.

    Also recently shuttered: Market Street Grill in Ballard, Zagi’s Pizza also in Ballard, the Wellington in Columbia City, Mistral in Belltown (though the owner’s at work on a new place), Mixtura wherever it was on the Eastside.

    The confoundingly named Vi Bacchus Sake Bar Etc. on Capitol Hill was recently listed for sale on Craigslist, and a listing for an unnamed Belltown sushi bar has been spotted, too.

    More closures are inevitable—especially with the surplus of high-end places around—as the economy sags. It’d be cruel to speculate which restaurants will go first.


    posted by on July 3 at 2:00 PM

    According to The Huffington Post, our stimulus checks are going toward porn.

    I hope that not all of it is going to the porn industry. Surely some of those checks are going toward creative pursuits.

    We’re Somewhere Between 1 and 60!

    posted by on July 3 at 12:57 PM

    I just received the most awesomest press release ever:

    (Branford, CT) The Woodland Park Zoological Gardens in Seattle is one of sixty to be honored as one of “America’s Best Zoos 2008” by The Intrepid Traveler, a travel publisher located in Branford, CT.

    Of course, the press release doesn’t say what number the Woodland Park Zoo made on the list—maybe it’s un-numbered? As someone in the office helpfully pointed out: “That’s more than one zoo per state!” Some quick math confirms this observation, which means that we are not one of the ten states to experience the sheer giddiness of having two zoos worth mentioning on the 60-zoo-strong “America’s Best Zoos 2008” list.

    But the press release worked, since I went to the Intrepid Traveler website and found a book that will definitely go on my 60-book-strong “America’s Best Book Titles 2008” list: Here Be Yaks.


    They’ll be receiving a press release announcing their achievement in the next few days.

    This Just In

    posted by on July 3 at 12:47 PM

    It looks like Metro fares are going up again.

    With Metro Transit ridership and diesel fuel prices at record levels, King County Executive Ron Sims today announced he will preserve current service and continue delivering new service by proposing a 25-cent fare increase. Sims opted for the proposed increase rather than cut service to pay for fuel costs that have skyrocketed over 60 percent this year alone.

    If approved by the county council, one-zone peak transit fares would increase 25 cents beginning Oct. 1 to $2 for adults from the current $1.75 fare. One zone non-peak would increase to $1.75 from the current $1.50. Senior fares will remain at 50 cents and youth fares will stay at 75 cents. Increases are also proposed for Access fares, vanpools and FlexPasses.

    Sims said the proposal is intended to keep transit an affordable alternative for residents, and allow Metro to continue expanding service while paying record high fuel costs.

    In addition to fare increases, Metro is proposing additional steps to offset rising fuel costs. It’s asking the King County Council to reconsider its prohibition of wrapped advertising on Metro buses and is taking steps to develop a fuel-hedging program aimed at reducing fuel price volatility.

    I understand that Metro’s got to pay for rising fuel costs somehow, and of course I’d rather pay a quarter more than lose transit service in Seattle. But this is a systemic, long-term problem—one that’s not going to be solved by bringing back those godawful bus wraps (great idea—pay for bus service by making it even LESS pleasant to ride the bus), nor by raising fares a quarter here, a quarter there. Ultimately, Metro’s going to have to make some radical changes—ditching the diesel fleet, investing in new electric or hybrid buses, or getting rid of the insane 40/40/20 funding split (under which Seattle, which has the most transit riders, gets just 20 percent of new Metro funding, with the rest going to the suburbs) and reducing frequency on underutilized suburban routes. Raising fares repeatedly, as the county seems poised to do, takes its biggest toll on the working poor—the very group that’s most likely to depend on transit service.

    Crunching the Numbers

    posted by on July 3 at 12:42 PM

    Since June 1 we’ve had 1,118 posts on Slog. Of that number, 10 concerned pit bulls—or .89 percent. Please make a note of it, whiners.

    Qube Calls It Quits

    posted by on July 3 at 12:42 PM

    Downtown’s French/Asian fusion lounge Qube is conducting its last day of business today.

    Owners Fu-Shen Chang and Kerry Huang are sad to announce the closure of Qube. The last day of operation is today, July 3, 2008. Qube opened in December of 2006. “We’ve really enjoyed the challenge of having our own restaurant and seeing the pleasure people have had from tasting the seasonal menus,” says Fu-Shen. Qube brought something new to Seattle, a sophisticated, urban look and feel with matching modern food. Guests loved the Qube Sets and innovative a la carte plates. Qube was also known for its cocktails using infused alcohol, herbs and fruit. With the economic downturn, people have reduced their fine dining budget and Qube has felt the impact. Realtor Laura Miller, 206-726-3451, is handling the sale of the restaurant.

    RIP, Qube, and condolences, lovers of French/Asian fusion cuisine.

    Global Warming’s Most Vulnerable Victims

    posted by on July 3 at 12:29 PM

    You Know You’re In Trouble When…

    posted by on July 3 at 12:28 PM

    …the Church of Satan feels the need to distance itself from you.

    The criminal accusations upset leaders of the Church of Satan, founded in San Francisco in 1966. A church representative Wednesday distanced the group from the accused….

    The details involve dog cages, handcuffs, alleged sexual assaults, and Democratic party officials in Durham County, North Carolina. It’s a good read.


    posted by on July 3 at 12:24 PM

    The city repeatedly argued two points during last month’s Sonics trial that were completely upended by yesterday’s settlement.

    1. They argued that it’s impossible to place a monetary value on the Sonics. This supported their stance that the judge should issue a specific performance ruling—meaning the Sonics had to play, not pay. By accepting the settlement, the city actually did put a monetary value on them—$45 million.

    2. They argued—in response to the claim by lawyers for Sonics owner Clay Bennett that keeping a “lame duck team” in Seattle for two years would actually crumple local morale and simply lead to more financial losses for the city—that two years was a long time (look at the Boston Celtics—who were terrible just last year and won the NBA championship this year)! they argued in court—and would provide a window for the city (with the willing local ownership group in place) to come up with a new solution, probably the KeyArena solution that the NBA had already signed off on.

    Asked about this second point yesterday, the mayor’s office told me: “Bennett was never going to sell.”

    So, what was the point of the trial? (I’ve put in a records request to find out how much the city spent arguing all this stuff it apparently didn’t believe.)

    The only reason you make a deal that contradicts the central arguments you made in court is when the other side has the upper hand. The only time the other side has the upper hand is if the judge agrees with them.

    As for the convoluted $30 million incentive that I scratched my head over after yesterday’s press conference, it goes like this:

    If the legislature doesn’t approve a funding plan, the city doesn’t get the $30 million.

    The point of the funding plan is to lure a team to Seattle.

    If the city lures a team to Seattle, the city don’t get the $30 million.

    I’m still scratching my head. Isn’t this just a screwball way of saying: “No funding plan, no team”…. which is exactly what the city told the legislature last year?

    P.s. I saw a movie last night, and as fate would have it, I got mixed up about where it was showing. It was playing on Capitol Hill, but I thought it was playing at Seattle Center. So, the Gods of Mixed Up Movies conveniently sent me biking through desolate Seattle Center and right by KeyArena, with that red key glowing in the gloaming and nobody around, just a few hours after the city’s sad announcement.

    P.P.S. I’ll be on KUOW at 1pm talking about the Sonics settlement.

    To Love That Which Doesn’t Love You

    posted by on July 3 at 12:24 PM

    After the Earth came into being, it rained for thousands of years…

    …But that only gave the Earth half of its water. The rest came from space. Comets brought water to the Earth. It was a series of life-blows. That which we now fear, a deep impact, is also that which made living (fearing) beings possible.

    Obama Ahead in… Montana?!?

    posted by on July 3 at 12:20 PM

    That’s what a new Rasmussen poll says. And it’s well-timed, as far as the Obama camp is concerned, since Obama will be spending his Fourth of July in beautiful Butte (hometown of our very own Adrian Ryan).

    What’s going on in Montana?

    Obama’s relative success there is actually part of a larger trend of Mountain West states turning purple (and maybe even blue this year), something I wrote about for The Stranger back in 2006 when I profiled a rugged Montana Democrat named John Tester—who ended up unseating three-term Republican Senator Conrad Burns and is now the junior senator from the state.

    How did Tester do it? From my profile:

    Watch Tester in action and it’s not difficult to see why his persona plays better in Montana than that of, say, John Kerry—who, for all his hunting photo ops, was still an urbane liberal in a barn jacket. In Butte, after having crossed first Iron Street, and then Aluminum, Platinum, Gold, and Mercury Streets, I came upon Tester walking across Granite Street. He was wearing cowboy boots and a barely matching outfit: olive herringbone jacket, purple shirt, and dust-brown slacks. His impressive gut preceded him. His trademark blond flattop identified him. And his mangled left hand, from which he lost three fingers to a meat grinder in his youth, was waving back at supporters.

    Behind him walked two aides in Carhartt jackets and sturdy shoes, looking, to the citified eye, more like ranchers than political operatives. They all ducked into the Labor Temple, where a podium had been set in front of two television cameras and several rows of empty chairs. Montana is an empty state, the third emptiest in the country in fact, with only 6 people per square mile compared to Washington State’s 88 per square mile (and far behind New Jersey’s 1,134 per square mile). It’s also a state filled with people who don’t want to be watched too closely or told what to do; there were a number of union-member types at the Labor Temple event, but they chose to stand in back, behind the cameras, leaving vacant the chairs that had been provided for them.

    The theme of the press conference was tax policy, and Tester flipped around the typical Republican attack line about “tax-and-spend liberals,” calling Burns a “borrow-and-spend conservative” who’d been overfriendly with the likes of Jack Abramoff, signed off on wasteful appropriations, and helped run up the national debt. He also slammed Burns’s reported support for a national sales tax, saying that in a poor state like Montana such a tax would “put the kibosh” on many families being able to send their kids to college, never mind being able to take a minimal vacation.

    “It’s nice to go out fishin’ sometimes,” Tester noted.

    Will Obama wear a Carhartt to the Butte Fourth of July parade? Will the Chicago pol be able to talk fishing like Tester? Will he be as well-received as polls suggest? Stay tuned…

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on July 3 at 12:00 PM

    Would you feel more patriotic tomorrow, if he apologized today?

    3 Musketeers Busts Out of the Consolation-Prize Candy Ghetto

    posted by on July 3 at 11:36 AM


    It’s not like they taste like poop—or worse, carob—but 3 Musketeers has always been the candy bar you eat when there’s nothing else. With their blandly sweet, fluffy inside and cheap milk-chocolate outside, 3 Musketeers are essentially virgin Milky Ways, or neutered Snickers, and are the preferred candy of no one on earth. (Not even those with nut allergies and/or caramel paralysis.)

    However, last night I sampled the new 3 Musketeers Dark Chocolate Mint, and it is a candy worth loving. Thinner than the old-school Musketeer nougat log and split into two perfect-sized pieces, 3MDCM is a perfectly harmonious candy. Wrapped around the more slender form, the dark-chocolate enrobing achieves a bit more thickness than its milk-chocolate counterpart, and the dense mint-nougat center is like an Andes mint making love to a York Peppermint Patty. It’s perfect.

    Also, while we’re on the topic of candy, can anyone tell me the difference between the impossible-to-find (perhaps discontinued?) Mars Bar and the ubiquitous Almond Snickers?

    The “Pregnant Man”

    posted by on July 3 at 11:32 AM

    Has given birth to a baby girl. Meanwhile, in Indiana, one man is revoking a new father’s “man card.”

    “But other dogs bite too!”

    posted by on July 3 at 11:04 AM

    Note a particularly vicious pit-bull attack and the breed’s many apologists, enablers, accomplices, useful idiots, etc., run in circles insisting that pit bulls aren’t the only dogs that bite. (“ALL breeds of dogs attack,” a typically unhinged pit apologist wrote in a comment thread yesterday. “If I chose a breed…yes even a Poodle and sought ONLY Poodle attack info… I could start a little campagin just like yours. Thankfully, I’m not so full of hatred.”) Yes, other dogs do bite—but when a pit bull attacks it’s likelier to do much greater damage than a poodle. That’s the issue.

    Take, for example, the 90 year-old man attacked by two pit bulls on Staten Island earlier this week. Here’s the latest on his injuries:

    90-year-old loses 3 limbs after pit bull attack

    NEW YORK—A 90 year-old man had three of his limbs amputated following a brutal attack in his own yard by two neighbouring pit bulls on Tuesday, authorities said on Wednesday….

    Witnesses said the two dogs, named Popeye and Brutus, savagely mauled the man, tearing his limbs, before a neighbour, Mr Reginald Bell, grabbed a knife, scared the dogs off and called police. “They ate him,” Mr Bell later told reporters, adding: “They consumed this man.”

    When’s the last time you read about a poodle attack resulting in the loss of three limbs?

    The title for my original Slog post about this attack was “He Must Have Provoked Them Somehow” because when a pit-bull attacks some asshole usually steps forward to blame the victim. And here’s that asshole:

    Mr. Anthony Mahoney, feels the dogs, Brutus and Popeye, must have been provoked to attack like they did.

    “I knew the dogs. I didn’t know them long, I just met them recently, but from when I met them, they were nice and friendly,” said Mr Mahoney. “They didn’t try and harm anybody.”

    They were such good dogs! Until, uh, they were provoked into chewing that 90 year-old dudes arms and legs off.

    Like the man said

    The traditional approach to dangerous dog legislation is to allow “one free bite,” at which point the owner is warned. On second bite, the dog is killed. The traditional approach, however, patently does not apply in addressing the threats from pit bull terriers, Rottweilers, and wolf hybrids. In more than two-thirds of the cases I have logged, the life-threatening or fatal attack was apparently the first known dangerous behavior by the animal in question. Children and elderly people were almost always the victims…. Temperament is not the issue, nor is it even relevant. What is relevant is actuarial risk. If almost any other dog has a bad moment, someone may get bitten, but will not be maimed for life or killed.

    The Staten Island man remains in the hospital in critical condition.

    Currently Having a Birthday

    posted by on July 3 at 11:00 AM

    Me! Help!

    Gustave Courbet’s The Desperate Man (1844–45), oil on canvas, 17 34 by 21 5/8 inches

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on July 3 at 11:00 AM


    ‘My Winnipeg’ at SIFF Cinema at McCaw Hall

    A characteristically hyperventilated outing from Guy Maddin, My Winnipeg has the added virtue of being (almost) grounded in reality. It’s an ode to Maddin’s hometown in which civic history gets tangled up in Oedipal reveries, and the line between fact and fiction is perpetually buried in snow. But it feels more substantial than Maddin’s previous fictions: You now have some idea of what it’s like to grow up itchy and feverish in a buttoned-up Canadian town. (SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St, 7 and 8:45 pm, $10.)


    In/Visible Is Up: Oliver Herring: The Man Who Says Yes to Everything

    posted by on July 3 at 11:00 AM

    Oliver Herring is a Brooklyn-based artist who works relatively traditionally, in photography, sculpture, and video. But since 2002, he also has had something on the side: something called Task.

    Task is an event involving volunteers who come together in a public place for an entire day and give each other tasks to do for the whole time they’re there. While it’s happening a mini-society forms. All Herring does is choose the volunteers, start things off, and then observe. This happened in Seattle June 28; my on-the-scene reporting on the first part of it is here; a longer essay considering it is running in next week’s paper.

    In this interview, on the eve of the event in Seattle, Herring talks about why Task is actually not on the side of his studio work, but instead at the heart of it. He talks about the outbreak of Task “parties” around the country. He talks about his year of saying yes to everything.

    Listen in.

    And here are two images from Seattle’s Task (photographs by Duncan Scovil):

    These are the bleachers that lead down from the Fifth Avenue level to the auditorium. Remember 83-year-old Bob from my earlier writing? That’s him up and moving around while a young woman naps.


    Slog Tipper Has Priorities in Order

    posted by on July 3 at 10:30 AM

    Slog tipper Jubilation T. Cornball has been closely following news of the rescue of Ingrid Betancourt from FARC rebels—but not because he’s all that interested in Ingrid’s plight. Says Jubilation: “The son of rescued Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt—the dreamily named Lorenzo—is sure a hotty in the Kutcher vein.”


    That’s Lorenzo there on the right. You can watch video of Lorenzo here.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on July 3 at 10:00 AM


    There is an open mic tonight and one exceedingly ill-timed reading.

    At Elliott Bay Book Company, Bob Delaney reads from Covert, which is his memoir about infiltrating the mob. The thing is, nobody’s going to want to talk about infiltrating the mob because Bob Delaney is an NBA referee.

    I figure that, in this first post-Sonics-abduction day, all the questions after Mr. Delaney reads are probably going to be along the lines of “ThsssshhkplehSONICS! BlehthphttthhhhhGODDAMNOKIES!” Which is a shame, because going deep-cover in the mob is fucking awesome.

    Check out the full readings calendar, including the next week or so, here.

    Being The World

    posted by on July 3 at 9:46 AM

    Diamonds hint at ‘earliest life’:

    Tiny slivers of diamond forged on an infant Earth may contain the earliest traces of life, a study has shown.

    Analysis of the crystals showed they contain a form of carbon often associated with plants and bacteria.

    The rare gems were found inside zircon crystals, formed a few hundred million years after the Earth came into being.

    There is a point at which the Earth came into being? In this meaning (or use), “being” is something that can be alive or dead. “Being,” here, is just “being there,” being something. In this case, “being” is simply the state of appearing.

    Living, then, can be separated from being. Being can be both living and dead. Living can only be living, in the way nothing can only be nothing. Being is in the middle; its appearance is the opening of life and the closing of nothing. At the end of the day, what is easy is define is being, and what is hard to grasp is nothing and life.

    Scientists still do not have an agreement on what life is—some propose it’s something that can evolve; others, something that can communicate; others, something that can replicate. The Russian biochemist Oparin made the radical suggestion that there is no real difference between organic (the living) and the inorganic (the dead—the dead being not nothing, the dead being being, the opening of life). All the things that a living being can do are things that a dead being can do. Under certain conditions, the remains of the living remineralize, returns to the seemingly stable (or slow intensity) status of a rock, returns to what they actually always are but are too quick to realize it—our rock bottom, being qua being.

    There might be no strict line between the quick and the dead, the living and the slow, but we (the living) do feel there to be a difference between living and just being. This feeling is one-sided. A rock, like being qua being, knows no difference. Living is the difference.

    The Week in Naked Northwesterners

    posted by on July 3 at 9:37 AM


    In Portland, OR, the city’s drinking water was threatened by a pair of trespassing skinny-dippers. From

    Two people were caught Saturday around 3 a.m. skinny dipping in a reservoir that provides most of Portland’s drinking water…Officials said the accused skinny dippers were found in a part of the reservoir that had been offline. Had it been in use at the time, the Water Bureau would have been forced to shut off the reservoir and consider dumping millions of gallons of water.

    And in Seattle (in a story that’s already drawn significant Slog coverage; whoops, sorry), neighbors in Queen Anne neighborhood are feuding over nudity. From the Seattle Times:

    Police told two Queen Anne women to get their blinds fixed after the women reported seeing one of their neighbors looking at them through the window with binoculars. The neighbor, whose wife told officers she should have called police on the girls for “putting on a show” by walking around naked or in sexy lingerie, was told by officers responding to the call to put the binoculars away.

    Winning the War on Drugs

    posted by on July 3 at 9:35 AM

    Oh, my…

    Three people including two police constables were yesterday shot dead as the police stormed Kalerwe, a city suburb in Kawempe Division to arrest drug abusers.

    In the botched operation, police constables ended up turning their guns on each other and creating a bloody scene that lasted about two hours.

    Among the dead was a 10 year-old-boy identified as Willy Byamukama, killed by a police constable’s bullet.

    The constable then shot and killed two colleagues who had tried to apprehend him for killing the child—leaving some of the suspects they had come to arrest looking on in shock.

    According to an eyewitness, the gruesome incidents started at 3:30pm after the police raided the area to arrest an unidentified marijuana dealer.

    Read the whole story, including an attempt to lynch the police publicist, over here.

    So the Difference Between Hillary Clinton and the Post-Primary Version of Obama is What, Exactly?

    posted by on July 3 at 8:55 AM

    That’s what a number of our commenters have been asking, in rather pointed language, as I’ve been Slogging this week about Obama’s recent shift to the center/right. Here’s one example, from commenter Lola:

    hahahahahaha! I am getting QUITE a chuckle out of you ‘progressive’ ‘idealistic’ Hillary-haters who despised her for her compromises now using every possible excuse for Obama’s backflips. hahahahahahahaha!!!! You’re selling your ideals out even more quickly than I thought you would. Keep this up, and I can see many of you just not finding ‘time’ to vote in November.

    Hahahahaha - wait a fucking minute. THAT’s not funny.

    These commenters have a point. Remember how often during the primaries Obama said he was more viable than Clinton because he would provide a “clear contrast” with McCain and the Republicans? The implication was that Clinton’s strategy for victory was going to be to fuzz up and paper over her differences with Republicans in order to make herself palatable to centrists and independents who might have heard—from who knows where?—that she was a leftist, feminist, socialized-medicine-pushing terror.

    Well, now it’s Obama who is fuzzing up and papering over his differences with Republicans in order to appeal to centrists and independents who may have heard that he’s an unpatriotic, socialist, Muslim Manchurian candidate who was recently crowned Most Liberal Member of the Liberals Ever.

    But, there still remains one huge point of contrast between Obama and Clinton and that is their initial stances on the war in Iraq.

    You can argue that this is all in the past, and that the two of them have basically identical ideas about what should be done in Iraq going forward, but I don’t think it’s possible to overstate how important it was, and is, to a huge portion of the Democratic base that their candidate not be tangled up in a long history of support for a war that Democrats, and a majority of all Americans, now think was a grave mistake.

    Then there are also the less tangible differences—the sense that Obama is new and exciting while the Clintons are old (politically speaking) and representative of an old politics; the boomer vs. post-boomer dynamic; and Obama’s formidable communication skills vs. Clinton’s not-quite-so-formidable communication skills.

    But the big thing is still the war, and my guess is that, based on the primary results, if you asked Democrats now whether they’d rather have Iraq-war-opposing Obama as he’s presenting himself today or Iraq-war-supporting Clinton as she was presenting herself back during the primaries, a majority would still pick Obama.

    It’s still the war, people.

    The Morning News

    posted by on July 3 at 8:10 AM

    Hump Month: Sixth consecutive month of job losses, but unemployment rate holds steady.

    Another Day: Another oil record, at $145 a barrel. Crude oil supplies have dropped but gasoline supplies have grown—suggesting less driving.

    First Time for Everything: Justice Department admits failing to brief Supreme Court about 2006 law in child rape case.

    Four More Years: McCain brings former Bush campaign staffer to the fold—the second campaign shuffle in a year.

    Eight More Years: Rush Limbaugh lands $400 million deal to keep show until 2016.

    Reset: City synchronizes traffic signals for faster downtown trips.

    Retired: Where all the flower-power professors have gone.

    Not Required: Fireworks are not an emergency, cops say don’t call 911.

    Of Course: Rain in forecast for the Fourth.

    Drug War: Four decapitated bodies found on Mexico street.

    That Bank Robber Shot By Cops: Had a pellet gun.

    We Stole Oklahoma’s Thunder: Blasted by Seattle thunder storm.

    Don’t Hate the Player: Hate the game.

    This Week in The Stranger

    posted by on July 3 at 8:00 AM


    Trisha Ready on the Housing Crisis, the Crumbling Economy, and an Unseasonably Anxious Summer
    “Everybody has a theory about the future of the economy, or a theory about why the American infrastructure is crumbling. It’s easiest to pin the failing economy on the blundering George W. Bush, who has become our misery mascot. Or on SUVs that suck the oil fields dry, or arrogant meat eaters who kill by proxy politely in their kitchens. One of my friends blames the fall of the American empire on a tax structure that favors the wealthy and deconstructs the middle class. Barack Obama blames the Iraq war. Then there’s blaming corporate greed, which is like pinning responsibility on a nameless star in a hardly visible solar system; big money moves in abstract glyphs around us. Corporations change shape and eat each other so quietly. Daily stock-market numbers read like charts of tides.”

    Dominic Holden on What the Economy Is Doing to Planned-For Skyscrapers
    “On First Hill, a massive sign obscured by layers of graffiti ballyhoos the Boylston, featuring 43 luxury condominiums with slab-granite countertops, workout facilities, and valet parking. But the website on the sign no longer exists. On Ninth Avenue and Pine Street, a lot sits vacant. Records for the site show that since May of last year, the site’s developer hasn’t pursued a permit for a 37-story tower. Near Green Lake, promises made in 2004 to redevelop the Vitamilk dairy into hundreds of residential units have produced only an excavated maw. Seattle’s building boom has busted, despite cranes on the skyline for developments that broke ground before the economy took a dive last summer. Some projects, specifically three- and four-story apartment buildings, seem to be keeping pace, but the more ambitious towers are on hold—perhaps indefinitely.”

    Brendan Kiley Profiles Fringe-Director-Gone-Establishment Sheila Daniels
    “Sheila Daniels makes audiences listen. When Bart Sher, the decorated artistic director of Intiman, hired her as his associate director last fall, he was effectively hiring his opposite. Sher favors thunder, bombast, Sturm und Drang. Daniels, who toiled in the Seattle fringe scene for 15 years, builds intensity with quietness, favors substance over flash. She doesn’t push her actors to assault the audience; she makes us lean forward, go to them.”

    Paul Constant on Scott McClellan
    “In fact, McClellan is the worst kind of amoral snake-oil salesman, twisting with the shifting winds of public perception. If Bush’s approval rating was above 50 percent, McClellan would still slither onto talk shows to praise the wisdom of the president’s plan in the Middle East. He’s the kind of idiot who actually says the word ‘irregardless’ without any sense of irony.”

    Jen Graves on Portland Art Museum’s New Prize—and Its Bid to Become the Art Capital of the Northwest
    “In order to give birth to the CNAA, PAM killed its longstanding Oregon Biennial: not a popular move, but a smart one. The museum had to sell out Oregon in order to make Portland the art capital of the Northwest.”

    Eli Sanders on Barack Obama’s Liberal Abandonment
    “In the last few weeks, Obama has upset huge swaths of the liberal base in rapid-fire fashion. When the U.S. Supreme Court banned executing child rapists, Obama announced that he disagreed with the court’s decision—reminding everyone that he supports the death penalty, and making clear that he wants it to be handed out to people who rape children even though it has traditionally been reserved only for murderers.”

    ALSO DISCUSSED IN THIS ISSUE: BOAT’s practice space; Ratatat’s vintage instruments; what Lake Union tastes like; Steven Seagal; tzatziki; Sherman Alexie’s problem with boat racing, the symphony, and Lost; Lindy West’s favorite patriotic YouTube videos; and so much more.

    Brevity Is the Soul of Basketball

    posted by on July 3 at 12:02 AM


    A thirteen-word response to the news.

    Wednesday, July 2, 2008

    Rumors of Carr’s Demise Exaggerated, Carr Says

    posted by on July 2 at 11:03 PM

    City Attorney Tom Carr categorically denies rumors that he does not plan to run for reelection in 2009. “Who would want this job?” Carr joked this evening, just hours after participating in a grim press conference announcing that the Sonics would leave Seattle. Carr—who many in the music and nightlife community, in particular, would like to see replaced by someone less keen on busting bars and clubs—has not reported any campaign contributions since 2006.

    Sonics Settlement…

    posted by on July 2 at 5:37 PM

    Bennett is paying $45 million now and is leaving now.

    That covers outstanding rent and outstanding debt. The Sonics still owe $20 million in back revenues. To comply with the revenue-sharing agreement in the original lease, the Sonics would have had to pay a total of more than $50 million.

    And now, exactly like last session in Olympia, the city is going back to the legislature to ask for $75 million in County taxing authority to renovate KeyArena to try and attract a team…. Ok.

    Asked how this—going to the legislature to ask for more money—is any different than last year, Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis pointed to an aspect of the settlement that the city kept hyping at today’s press conference: They’ve got the NBA on record in the settlement saying a renovated KeyArena would be up to specs for the NBA.

    Whoop dee doo. NBA President David Stern is already on record saying just that. One of the big arguments the city made in court last week was that the NBA had signed off on a Key Renovation in ‘06 when the city tried to get a $200 million deal for Howard Schultz’s Sonics. Stern came to Olympia at that time and testified that a renovated Key met NBA standards.

    The city is also making a convoluted argument to spin its settlement: Part of the deal is that Bennett is on the hook for another $30 million if Seattle doesn’t get a team by 2013. This supposedly invests the NBA board of voting owners (1 vote out of 30) in playing ball with Seattle. (The settlement says, yawn, that the NBA will keep Seattle in the loop about teams coming up for sale and any expansion possibilities. Dude, I can get that on the web.)

    The $30 million also, supposedly, invests the legislature because the $30 million disappears if the legislature doesn’t approve a funding plan next session. But the $30 million also disappears if we don’t get a team by 2013… (indeed, at the press conference, Mayor Nickels kept stressing that he hoped we didn’t get the $30 million because that’ll mean we would have gotten a team.) Huh?

    Let me explain that again: If the legislature approves a funding plan in next year’s session, the city gets $30 million. If we get a team (the point of giving the city the funding plan approved by the legislature) the city loses the $30 million. And let me repeat again: Huh?

    Bottom line: Bennett is giving the city $45 million and taking the team to Oklahoma City.

    Oh, the city does get to keep the name.

    Hope You Like Those Cranes on the Skyline

    posted by on July 2 at 5:23 PM

    I’ve got an article in this week’s issue about how the building bust will impact some of the glamorous projects in town. Lots of buildings—mostly tall fancy towers—are on hold or on the chopping block till the economy turns around. Meanwhile, the downtown skyline is filled with cranes for projects already under construction. So at least those glamorous towers are on schedule, right?

    About 500 union fire-sprinkler installers have gone on strike, affecting work on several of the largest construction projects in the Seattle area.

    [P]icket lines had gone up at about 25 sites in the Puget Sound area, including Olive 8 and 818 Stewart in downtown Seattle and the Bravern, Bellevue Towers and City Center Plaza in downtown Bellevue. Other union construction workers appeared to be honoring the picket lines for the most part…

    David Thyer, president of R.C. Hedreen, Olive 8’s developer, said only about 20 nonunion construction workers were working on the high-rise hotel/condo project today. Normally more than 300 people would be on the job, he said.

    And if you thought it was dangerous living without fire sprinklers, consider the risk of living with cranes.

    How Ya Like Him Now?

    posted by on July 2 at 4:27 PM


    Here’s the Stranger column that I’ve been Slogging about (x2) today.

    Judge Pechman Says Lawsuit Settled

    posted by on July 2 at 4:10 PM

    Here’s her brief ruling.


    A Tale of Two Online Politics Sites

    posted by on July 2 at 4:00 PM

    Two years ago, the well-known Washington Post political writers John Harris and Jim VandeHei told their bosses that the Post should launch a separate, politics-only web site where political obsessives could click and congregate free from the clutter of car chases, lottery jackpot winner profiles, and so on.

    The powers that be turned them down, and Harris and VandeHei went on to quit the Post and help launch The Politico, which now does exactly what they were suggesting—and in the process, has become an essential daily web destination for anyone interested in reading or writing about politics.

    Now, two years later, the Post, chafing at the success of Politico and other politics-only web destinations, is thinking about launching a politics-only web site of its own, and doing it quite quickly, before the conventions begin in August.

    One problem: They want to call the site PostPolitics, which naturally would require owning the domain name

    And which forward-thinking media outlet bought up right around the time that politics-only sites were starting to be launched? The Politico.

    You can see where this story is going.

    According to the Washington City Paper, the Post recently paid $20,000 to The Politico, the guys who are currently eating the Post’s online lunch, just to become an admitted “late entrant” into the online politics-only field.

    OFBP Marches for Mom, Town A-Twitter!

    posted by on July 2 at 3:56 PM

    Barack Obama? The Fourth of July? A delicious combination, bursting with patriotic flavor! And if you, like me, have been wondering exactly how the hell OFBP (“Our First Black President”) plans to celebrate the holiday, wonder the hell no more! Barack Obama plans to spend his Fourth marching for my own dear old mom and dad! Check it out (from yesterday’s Montana Standard):

    Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, will participate in Butte’s Fourth of July parade Friday, officials have confirmed.

    Yes, they are talking about Butte (Pronounced: Bee-yoot), Montana, that weird little city that I barely admit to being from. Listen:

    Mollie Kirk, Butte Celebrations organizer, told The Montana Standard she is expecting a call from the Secret Service about parade logistics.

    “He’ll be up front, marching with the Democratic Party,” Kirk said Monday. Gov. Brian Schweitzer will possibly accompany Obama, who will either walk or ride in the parade.

    Butte is, if I may quote myself (and I may), “a small, mean, dusty old mining town.” My mother, my father, one sister, and my nieces all still live there. Generations of my family are buried there. (My high school job? You guessed it: The Montana fucking Standard.)

    Butte has an itsy-bitsy population of about 22,000 (mostly very old) people and a sordid history twice as colorful as a rutting baboon’s butt sack (I won’t get into it). The tragic part is that all the good stuff happened decades ago, long before anyone who is alive now was even born, and Butte has stewed in dusty malaise and small town bluster for a century. The biggest thing to happen there in the last eighty years was a big hole, and the second biggest was a big hole, also.

    Weirdly enough, Barack and Hillary both did visit Butte last April, driven blindly by the mad heat of their campaigns—and lady, THAT was earthshaking news. EARTHSHAKING! But this? Barack Obama leading Butte’s Fourth of July Parade? It is going to destroy these people. DESTROY THEM! Especially if he, you know, becomes president.

    Well, when he becomes president, I mean. When, dammit!

    The best part of it all, for many reasons, is that I grew up in Butte, and I don’t think I even laid eyes on a real black person until I was circa 14 years old. That wasn’t, well, from television. The irony is crushing.

    But, you know. Yay, progress!

    I’ll be sure to have exclusive photos from the event, courtesy of mom.


    This Is Your Kid on Mass Transit

    posted by on July 2 at 3:49 PM

    Have you seen this “opinion blog” with but one delightful entry over at the NYT?

    This illustrated entry is about the author’s sons, who are (were? they now live in Berlin) obsessed with the New York subway system. A portion:


    A chaperone on one of Arthur’s school trips told me something he
    overheard when all the kids were neatly lined up in rows of two. The
    girl holding Arthur’s hand asked him, “Have you heard of Peter Pan?”
    “No,” he replied, “have you heard of Metro North?”


    John McCain: Kicking Commie Ass

    posted by on July 2 at 2:38 PM

    John McCain denied a Republican colleague’s claim that he roughed up an associate of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on a diplomatic mission in 1987, saying the allegation was “simply not true.”

    Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., told a Mississippi newspaper that he saw McCain, during a trip to Nicaragua led by former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., grab an Ortega associate by his shirt collar and lift him out of his chair.

    McCain may be denying it, but he’s gotta be loving it. Roughing up actual commies down in Central America? It’s probably total bullshit, but the mental image certainly won’t hurt the tough-guy character McCain is trying to develop.

    As the first commenter on the Wall Street Journal report wrote:

    maybe some other ner-do-wells deserve a thrashing too. I’ve got no problem with his slapping one of those thugs upside the head. Wish i could have done it myself. Go John!!
    Comment by Sandanista Shot Put - July 2, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Senator Cochran (a five-term Republican from Mississippi) has been a McCain antagonist, but now endorses him—and who better to deploy a bit of crypto-flattery for McCain to deny than a former enemy?

    Nifty bit of double-backflip campaigning there, Senators.

    Settlement Expected in Sonics Case. We Still Got the Storm.

    posted by on July 2 at 2:35 PM

    Nuclear off-the-record—or as the NYT likes to say these days, “according to a source in the government that wanted to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak”—someone put it to me this way: “How ‘bout those Mariners and Sounders and SeaHawks, aren’t they great?”

    To which I said: “So we’re still a world class city, even without the Sonics?”

    Answer: “Thank you for understanding.”

    There you have it. Sounds like a settlement is coming this afternoon.

    Thank God We Live in a Two-Newspaper Town

    posted by on July 2 at 2:26 PM

    Because if I didn’t have both the Times and P-I, I wouldn’t have seen this credulous AP story about Tim Eyman’s “congestion relief” initiative TWICE.

    The AP reports that Eyman’s initiative “aims to smooth traffic jams and head off open-ended tolls on state road projects” by sending “portions of the money flowing from vehicle sales taxes, certain tolls, red-light cameras and other state transportation projects into a ‘Reduce Traffic Congestion Account.’”

    What the AP report doesn’t tell you is that Eyman’s initiative would take approximately $127 million a year out of the state’s already-tapped-out general fund. That means $127 million less every year for health care and education, which together make up 80 percent of the state’s general-fund expenditures.

    The story, which appears to have just one source (Eyman) manages to pack in three references to the initiative’s miraculous ability to “ease traffic jams,” but fails to mention several other salient facts about Eyman’s proposal:

    • It would open up carpool lanes to all traffic except weekdays between 6 and 9 a.m. and 3 and 6 p.m. Because “rush hours” now last most of the day, that will mean more traffic congestion (and less carpooling). It will also make transit, which relies on HOV lanes, much less reliable than it already is.

    • Far from “heading off open-ended tolls,” it would restrict the use of tolls to building roads. In fact, the explicit purposes of Eyman’s “Reduce Traffic Congestion Account” is “expanding road capacity and general purpose use.”

    • It also contains new restrictions on the use of money from red-light cameras, siphoning those funds into Eyman’s road-building account as well.

    • And it bans tolls on I-90—a virtual guarantee that tolls on 520 won’t work, and that traffic will back up on the “free” cross-lake bridge.

    The Oklahoman Says City & Sonics in Settlement Talks

    posted by on July 2 at 2:03 PM

    Here’s their story.

    I’ve got a call in to the city to see what’s up.

    Vote Early, Vote Often

    posted by on July 2 at 1:58 PM

    The P-I (via Seattlest) is inviting readers to vote on whether Miss Universe contestants in their bikinis are “hot” or “not.”

    What’s next? Page 3 girls?


    posted by on July 2 at 1:53 PM

    David Fincher’s long list of upcoming kick-ass film projects continues to grow.

    Fincher—director of Fight Club, Zodiac and George Michael videos—is now attached to a CG animated adaptation of Dark Horse Comics’ The Goon series.


    Nerds, rejoice.

    For those of you who don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, go here. (Warning: annoying flash Myspace link.)

    Lunch Date: The Grin of the Dark

    posted by on July 2 at 1:46 PM


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

    Who’s your date today? The Grin of the Dark, by Ramsey Campbell.

    Where’d you go? Boom Noodle.

    What’d you eat?
    The tofu yakisoba ($8.95). Also, a side of steamed rice with curry sauce. ($2.50)

    How was the food? You know, it was all right. I mean, it was a decent plate of yakisoba. There were some good mushrooms in there, and surprising little hits of ginger. And the tofu was fried perfectly—pillowy on the outside and not over-fried on the outside. It wasn’t worth nine dollars, though. I’d recommend it for a dinner menu, but a cheaper lunch menu with smaller portions would be preferable. I do not, by any means, recommend the curry. It has the consistency and appearance and some of the flavor of gravy from a can.


    What does your date say about itself? It’s a horror novel from the British Stephen King about an out-of-work film critic who’s researching a long-lost silent comedy star named Tubby Thackeray. Apparently, he starts seeing evil clowns everywhere as he digs up The Secret of Tubby. “Easily Campbell’s finest book in years. The man really knows how to scare, not via empty shock value but by inducing a far deeper, all-encompassing sense of psychological dread. By the end of the book, the protagonist’s sanity is in tatters, and yours very well may be, too!” says The Fright Site.

    The British cover, to the right, is much, much better than the American cover.

    Is there a representative quote? “He’s in a toyshop. Perhaps his black bow tie and bulging dinner jacket signify that he has left a party or a drunken meal. With his head that’s too small for his oval torso and long legs, he looks shaped for comedy before he makes a move. His disconcertingly round eyees are wide with innocence.”

    Will you two end up in bed together? Nope. I gave the goddamned thing fifty pages and I still don’t care about the main character, his situation, or the mystery. The writing is subpar, too. Summer is a great time for genre fiction, but I can’t spend any more time on this book. People who are interested in the premise of a film critic exploring a long-lost bit of film history that leads to a giant conspiracy and weird thrills should read Theodore Roszak’s Flicker instead.

    Thought No More

    posted by on July 2 at 1:30 PM

    A list…
    richard-wright.jpg…of major projects (thought experiments) I abandoned.

    1) Developing a global (universal) literary theory based on the science of narratology—Propp, Todorov, and Genette. (1994 to 2001)
    2) The literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin as a whole. (1996 to 1999)
    3) The Russian language. (1993 to 1995)
    4) Extentialism as a theme in the black American novel—from Richard Wright to Charles Wright. (1991 to 1993)
    5)Redology, or the study of the classical Chinese novel The Dream of the Red Room—Hung Lou Meng (紅樓夢). (1994 to 1997)
    6) The theme of European modernity in Southern African short fiction—Bessie Head, Charles Mungoshi, and Charles Marechera. (1999 to 2002)

    Eureka Yesterday: Motherfucking Cocksucker Edition

    posted by on July 2 at 1:26 PM


    In the grand tradition of my early-spring post about the terrificness of The Wire and my forthcoming post about the cuteness of puppies (no, really; stay tuned), today I shall profess my newfound, insanely overdue, and completely predictable adoration of Deadwood.

    Since the entire world already knows about the awesomeness of HBO’s potty-mouthed American frontier drama, I won’t go on and on about it. Suffice it to say that I’m in the latter half of season one and deeply in love, mostly with the scriptwriters, though the dark n’ stormy Timothy Olyphant is certainly easy on the eyes. Sometimes it seems like the dude playing the reverend and the dude playing Calamity Jane are about to die from overacting, but other than that small concern, it’s a totally intoxicating dream.


    Controversial Seattle Police Officer Files Civil Suit for 2006 Melee

    posted by on July 2 at 1:26 PM

    Seattle Police Officer Zsolt Dornay has filed a personal injury lawsuit against four men who kicked and punched him during a 2006 melee in Post Alley.

    On June 24th, 2006, Dornay—who was off-duty and out of uniform—got into a fight after he tried to ride his motorcycle through a crowd in Post Alley.

    A 24-year-old woman standing in the middle of the alley would not move for Dornay, even after he reportedly identified himself as a police officer.

    Dornay moved forward on his motorcycle, with the woman on his windshield. The bike fell and Dornay pushed the woman into a garage door. He was then allegedly attacked by the men named in the suit.

    Dornay was knocked to the ground, where he fired six shots, striking a 52-year-old criminal defense attorney—who is not named in the suit—twice in the stomach.

    After the incident, the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild took out ads in several local papers hoping to find witnesses to the attack. But two months later, King County Prosecutors decided not to press charges because of questions about whether the force used against Dornay by bystanders aiding the 24-year-old woman was justified.

    Now, two years later, Dornay has filed suit against the men who allegedly attacked him, seeking unspecified damages for his injuries, emotional distress and lost wages.

    Dornay, a 14-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department, has previously been in the news for a 1995 road rage incident where Dornay chased a man to Woodinville, put a gun to the man’s head a pushed his face into the parking lot.

    Earlier this year, the Seattle PI also reported that Dornay has also been responsible for issuing a considerable amount of obstruction charges over the years.

    Dornay is being represented by the Stafford Frey Cooper law firm, which frequently represents the Seattle Police Department and the city in civil suits.

    Quincy Jones Saves Ernestine Anderson from Homelessness

    posted by on July 2 at 1:17 PM

    From the IHT:

    SEATTLE: Jazz vocalist Ernestine Anderson’s U.S. home has been saved from foreclosure — for now. Thanks, in part, to music legend Quincy Jones and contemporary jazz artist Diane Schuur.

    More than $43,000 poured in — including donations from Jones and Schuur — after news stories about the Seattle jazz legend’s financial woes, said Carmen Gayton, a friend of Anderson’s family.

    And now please enjoy Ms. Anderson singing a cover of that Buffalo Springfield song, “about the youth rebellion in Los Angeles.”

    Some of You Have Wanted to Do This for a While Now

    posted by on July 2 at 1:00 PM

    Christopher Hitchens had himself waterboarded for the August issue of Vanity Fair. There is video of Christopher Hitchens getting waterboarded here. I know a few people who will bookmark this page and go back to it whenever they read a Hitchens essay from now on.

    Speaking of torture, the soundtrack for the waterboarding video is really, really bad.

    It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This…

    posted by on July 2 at 12:53 PM

    Ike is in a crazy space suit, the Ikettes are looking good, and Tina cranks it up all the way:

    The whole show is available on DVD.

    Letter of the Week

    posted by on July 2 at 12:35 PM

    Readers undoubtedly recall the saga first reported by Last Days Hot Tipper Oscar, in which a prophesy-spouting freak brutally attacked a blind woman on a Metro bus, instigating a rescue effort by Oscar and his fellow riders and resulting in criminal charges against the attacker. This week brought a lovely new chapter to the ongoing saga, via a typewritten, snail-mailed letter from one Jeanne Towne:

    Dear Stranger,

    I was the blind woman assaulted aboard a Metro bus on Sunday morning, May 18. I want to add my thanks to the people who intervened on my behalf and looked after me when it was over. At first, I didn’t even realize someone had deliberately struck me. After three blows I finally wised up enough to duck, but he managed to hit me a few more times anyway.

    Although I was dazed and amazed that someone would do such a thing when I was simply minding my own business and noticing how happy folks sounded on their way to do whatever, and although I did have to miss work due to a mild head injury, people were wonderful. It’s one heck of a way to make friends, but WOW! what friends in need! It makes up for the laxness I felt prevailed in 2001—when I’d been stalked for fourteen and a half months with supposedly hardly anyone noticing. (It took a year for me to convince anyone that i had a real problem. Disbelief was the first reaction, I think, because most folks I know are too nice to consider doing such a thing as throwing rocks at a blind woman or putting obstacles such as dumpsters in her path. It took someone actually seeing him doing hard to spur the police on.

    The reaction of the other passengers on the bus this May has restored my faith in the decency of Seattleites and in the power of teamwork. God bless them all—especially those who also sustained injuries. All I can offer you is a song if we ever meet in Pike Place Market.

    In case you’re interested in an update, the guy from the bus—a man in his thirties named Nguy Hughes—has no record of doing such a thing in the past. However, he was evaluated and considered not stable enough to stand trial. He’s now being held at Western State until September, when he’ll be checked again.

    Should he escape or be acquitted by any fluke, I’ve been assured he’s banned for life from riding Metro. He’ll be arrested if he tries. The security cam onboard the bus caught an excellent video of the incident, which has been turned over to SPD for evidence. I’ve received concerned apologies from the King County Sheriff’s Dept. (responsible for Metro security) and from Metro, along with an annual pass.

    Thanks again.

    And thank you, Ms. Towne.

    Boys to the Yard

    posted by on July 2 at 12:28 PM

    Dodge ball at Cal Anderson Park.


    It’s old hat to hipsters, who have been doing this here for a few years. (They apparently invented dodge ball.) But it looks more fun than sweltering in your house on a summer night, and it’s not just a bunch of feckless unwashed hipsters, either.

    Rose, who was watching from the fake grass last night at about 11 p.m., says a crowd of about 40 or 50 meet in the tennis court every Tuesday and Friday night in summer (they play kickball in fall). The rules are pretty simple: If you’re tagged by the other side’s team, you’re out; shots to the head don’t count, when you grab a ball from the middle you have to touch the fence before throwing it, and if you catch a ball, the thrower is out. Rose says she used to play last year, when there were more girls.

    Sounds a Little Bit Like My Column This Week, Part 2

    posted by on July 2 at 12:20 PM

    Again, only a little bit.

    But over at DailyKos, Kos himself—reacting to Obama’s moves to the right from an end of the political spectrum opposite that of the Wall Street Journal—has announced that he’s pulling back his maxed-out donation to Obama.

    First of all, obviously Obama is a great candidate who is running a great 50-state race. That much cannot be denied. But he’s had a rough couple of weeks.

    First, he reversed course and capitulated on FISA, not just turning back on the Constitution, but on the whole concept of “leadership”. Personally, I like to see presidents who 1) lead, and 2) uphold their promises to protect the Constitution.

    Then, he took his not-so-veiled swipe at MoveOn in his “patriotism” speech.

    Finally, he reinforced right-wing and media talking points that Wes Clark had somehow impugned McCain’s military service when, in reality, Clark had done no such thing….

    Now I know there’s a contingent around here that thinks Obama can do no wrong, and he must never be criticized, and if you do, well fuck you! I respect the sentiment, but will respectfully disagree. We’re allowed to do that here. But fair notice — I will never pull a Rush Limbaugh and carry water for anyone. Not for the Democratic Congress, and not for our future Democratic president. When anyone does something I don’t care for, I will say so. I’ve never pulled my punches before, so why start now?

    Obama will be fine without my contribution, and he may even still get it before this thing is said and done, but it would be at a time when he has done something positive. That’s called rewarding good behavior. And if that opportunity fails to arise because Obama goes on a Sister Souljah’ing rampage, then no worries. Chances are good that the DNC would get the money instead. But at this time, I simply have no desire to reward bad behavior. Some of you don’t care about his behavior, or don’t think it’s bad behavior, or whatever. I didn’t ask any of you to follow suit, and don’t care whether you do or not. I didn’t pull him from the Orange to Blue list. I’m not going to start praising Nader or Barr. I’ll still vote for him. Yadda, yadda, yadda. At the end of the day, I’m pretty irrelevant in the whole affair. Obama is going to raise a ton of dough and win this thing whether I send him money or not.

    I tend to think Kos is right: The loss of his donation won’t matter much to Obama. But it does highlight a tension you’re sure to hear more about—the netroots vs. Obama (and each other over Obama).

    Does This Really Sound That Unreasonable?

    posted by on July 2 at 12:13 PM

    From the Starbucks Union site:

    The IWW Starbucks Workers Union is deeply troubled that management’s numerous missteps are resulting in more serious hardships for baristas, bussers, and shift supervisors.

    To ensure transparency, Starbucks should immediately disclose the locations it intends to close and outline its severance plan. Starbucks and its CEO Howard Schultz must minimize the number of layoffs, assure adequate notice to affected families, and offer severance pay which is fair. Employees and their families deserve to be able to safeguard their futures.

    If Starbucks is serious about distinguishing itself from competitors like McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, Schultz should stop prohibiting full-time status for retail hourly employees and improve a health care plan which insures a lower percentage of workers than Wal-Mart’s. And the company should stop wasting millions of dollars on its union-busting lawyers and PR professionals at Akin Gump and Edelman.

    I spent over a decade working retail, and many of those jobs involved a certain amount of time discussing unionization. The truth of it was that these sorts of low-paying jobs generally don’t create enough money for a union to survive. But still, if I worked for Starbucks, I’d be really happy to see the IWW pushing for a just a little bit of dignity. In the crush of all these layoff announcements, Starbucks hasn’t really supplied any of that dignity for its baristas.

    For Sale At “Anti-Abortion, Pro-Date-Rape” T-Shirts

    posted by on July 2 at 12:13 PM

    And it can be yours for a mere $15.00:


    The seller is a company called, which also stocks a large number of political T-shirts, band shirts, and “humorous” shirts like this one:


    Amazon’s seller policy prohibits the sale of items that are “illegal, inappropriate or offensive,” which “includes any good or service that violates local, state, or federal laws or regulations or that would be generally offensive to others.”

    I think the “anti-abortion, pro-date-rape” T-shirt almost certainly qualifies—and so do the many customers who reviewed it.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on July 2 at 12:00 PM

    Because it’s Wednesday…

    Remind Me Again…

    posted by on July 2 at 11:46 AM

    Why Zipcar’s new ad campaign isn’t anti-transit?

    Because I gotta say, this ad (the text reads, “Within mere feet of here sits a getaway car with your name on it”) sure looks like it’s saying “transit sucks” to me.


    Hey Mr. Fancy Science Guy

    posted by on July 2 at 11:17 AM

    How tha hell’m I s’posed ta watch all muh fave cop shows when all the, uh, ind-yum is gone?

    Armin Reller, a materials chemist at the University of Augsburg in Germany, estimates that in 10 years the world will run out of indium, used for making liquid-crystal displays for flat-screen televisions and computer monitors. He also predicts that the world will run out of zinc by 2037, and hafnium, an increasingly important part of computer chips, by 2017.

    Other articles about rapidly consumed rare elements have been gathered in a convenient scare-blog at Slashdot, and the guy doesn’t slouch on copper stories either. The supply may be somewhat greater than these articles let on—Golob?—but if these timeframes are anywhere near legit, lots of alternative power sources listed in these articles (fuel cells, solar panels, even nuclear) may soon need their own alternatives.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on July 2 at 11:00 AM


    Monet vs. Monnoyer at Seattle Art Museum

    The impressionists are overrated and need some comeuppance; they’re getting it at a new exhibit at SAM. Inspiring Impressionism pairs impressionist paintings with older paintings (Sisley vs. Goya, Renoir vs. Greuze), and the impressionists often lose. Take Monet’s Still Life with Flowers and Fruit versus the 17th-century French baroque painter Monnoyer’s Vase of Flowers on a Marble Table. Monnoyer gives us a feathery white lily too long in the vase: brown, sagging, slimy. Monet gives us overlit dahlias: dumb pom-poms. (Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, 654-3100. 10 am–5 pm, $20.) JEN GRAVES

    Impressionist Fact of the Day

    posted by on July 2 at 11:00 AM

    While the impressionists, as as group, were of varying political persuasions, an artist of an earlier generation made his republican politics the final act of his very public life: Gustave Courbet.

    During the “week of blood” in 1871, when the French army fought and crushed the self-appointed Paris Commune, Courbet, a leading communard, waged war on a statue.

    Courbet was made Director of Museums, but his new appointment did nothing to dampen his republican convictions. On 16 April he was formally inducted into the Commune of Paris, and plotting to bring down the Column of the Vendome, a plan Renoir found incomprehensible: “he could think of nothing but the Vendome Column. The happiness of humanity depended on its being pulled down.”*

    It was pulled down, but the symbolism was rendered meaningless: the communards’ fight was lost. Courbet was jailed. He was also fined part of the cost of rebuilding the column, which stands in Paris today. But he died shortly before the first payment came due.

    Courbet’s self-portrait in jail:


    *From Sue Roe’s The Private Lives of the Impressionists, which I’m reading on the occasion of the exhibition at SAM

    Clear Your Reading Schedules Now

    posted by on July 2 at 11:00 AM

    Sleep, my bloggy little angel, sleep and dream. When you awaken, you shall be rich!

    Slunch, which is quoting from Publisher’s Lunch, says that former Gawker editor and recent New York Times Magazine cover story whiner Emily Gould has sold her memoir, titled And the Heart Says…”Whatever”, to Free Press. Estimates for the book deal range from $250,000 to 1 meeellion dollars.

    The press release says that ATHS…”W” will be:

    “an honest, searching and wry set of recollections that together weave a picture of what it’s like to be a young person in New York City in the early 2000s”

    Can’t wait to review this one!

    Maul of America

    posted by on July 2 at 10:57 AM

    Another day, another one of these.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on July 2 at 10:10 AM


    There’s a poetry slam tonight and several other events, one of which is important.

    Zoe Ferrarris reads at Third Place Books tonight, from her new mystery, Finding Nouf. I want to say the words “Zoe Ferrarris” all day long. And maybe I will. The book is set in contemporary Saudi Arabia, and it involves culture clashes, Muslim conservatism…and murder.

    At the Chapel Performance Space in Wallingford, Deborah Meadows, who wrote a poetry collection called Goodbye Tissues, and Mickey O’Connor, who wrote Not Even Merely End, will be reading poetry. It is unclear whether their poetry will have a slam (or, indeed, a slammin’) element to it.

    Norman Fischer, a zen teacher, reads at Elliott Bay Book Company from his book Sailing Home: Using the Wisdom of Homer’s Odyssey to Navigate Life’s Perils and Pitfalls. Everything about that title makes me want to vomit, and not from sea sickness. It seems as though, in the last few years, literary criticism has been replaced by these awful books about what the classics can do for (or say about) you. Correct answer: who cares? They’ll be around a lot longer than you anyway.

    And at Town Hall, Mahvish Khan reads from My Guantanamo Diary: The Detainees and the Stories They Told Me. Khan was a translator at Guantanamo. Everybody needs to know what’s going on in there, and not just in that comical prison rape kind of way. This is obviously the reading of the night.

    The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is on our Books page.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on July 2 at 10:00 AM

    Have I mentioned I’m looking for an intern?

    Karen Ganz’s Web (2008), oil on hinged canvases, 84 by 72 inches

    At Howard House. (Gallery site here.)

    Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day, Part 2

    posted by on July 2 at 9:58 AM

    Christine Clarridge, Seattle Times staff reporter, who wrote this morning’s piece on two women who called police after seeing their neighbor spying on them through the window with binoculars and a flashlight.

    The story twice quotes the wife of the peeping Tom claiming the women were always “putting on a show,” but does not quote the women or their perspective . And the story repeatedly refers to the two women as “girls,” as in: The neighbor’s “wife told officers she should have called police on the girls for “putting on a show” by walking around naked or in sexy lingerie.” True? Not true? Who knows —Clarridge doesn’t bother to ascertain.

    And for fuck’s sake: This is 2008. “Girls”?

    Sounds a Little Bit Like My Column This Week

    posted by on July 2 at 9:30 AM

    But only a little bit.

    The Wall Street Journal, in an editorial that the McCain camp is hyping this morning, ticks off a laundry list of recent Obama moves toward the center/right: backing FISA, attacking, backing (and seeking to expand) Bush’s Office of Faith Based Initiatives, and agreeing with the right-leaning justices on the U.S. Supreme Court in their recent gun rights ruling and their recent dissent over banning the death penalty for child rapists.

    My column, which will be online later today and printed in the coming issue of Stranger, asks whether Obama will face any political costs on the left for these and other moves. The Journal, being the Journal, spins the laundry list into an opportunity for some political jujistu, suggesting it’s actually Obama, and not McCain, who is “running for President Bush’s third term”:

    We’re beginning to understand why Barack Obama keeps protesting so vigorously against the prospect of “George Bush’s third term.” Maybe he’s worried that someone will notice that he’s the candidate who’s running for it.

    Most Presidential candidates adapt their message after they win their party nomination, but Mr. Obama isn’t merely “running to the center.” He’s fleeing from many of his primary positions so markedly and so rapidly that he’s embracing a sizable chunk of President Bush’s policy. Who would have thought that a Democrat would rehabilitate the much-maligned Bush agenda?

    Now, here’s the thing: I’m not sure it’s a negative for the Journal’s audience, and conservatives and independents in general, to hear that Obama is embracing some parts of the Bush era (which they voted for) while rejecting other parts, most notably the Iraq war (which they probably also supported but, as polls suggest, have probably since come to regret).

    This election, like every election, is a game of being perceived in the right way by the right audiences, and so far I think Obama’s winning the game. He’s taking heat on the left for his moves to the center, sure, but even so there’s no way the left is ever going to buy the argument that Obama is the second (or third) coming of Bush. And if some on the right hear that Obama is backing some Bush policies (FISA, Faith Based initiatives), policies that they always thought sounded reasonable—well, that’s a win for Obama, too.

    The Journal and the McCain camp don’t see it this way—they probably think they’re setting Obama up for questions about his political integrity and general honesty—but I actually think they may be doing Obama a huge favor, building up his “independent” and “open-minded” cred for their audience on the center/right.

    Decision in Sonics Case Due Today at 4pm

    posted by on July 2 at 9:30 AM

    Yesterday afternoon, I slogged that if Judge Marsha Pechman rules against the city— that is, if she rules the Sonics can break their lease and bolt to OK City because of the city’s Machiavellian subterfuge—Sonics fans should blame captain sneaky, Deputy Mayor Tim Cies.

    I’d like to add: If she rules the Sonics have to stay, three cheers to City Attorney Tom Carr who filed this suit against the NBA’s bloated business model last year. Here’s hoping (fantasy) he lands on the cover of Sports Illustrated and USA Today and the NYT and on Good Morning America in a laudatory story about Seattle, the city that set the precedent against David Stern’s blackmail.

    I do hope Judge Pechman realizes the Sonics still owe the city about $15 million—not in future rent or in outstanding bond payments—but in back money the city was supposed to get in the revenue sharing deal. With an average price of $40, that’s worth about 385,000 tickets. It’d take about two seasons to hand out that many tickets.

    Pechman should not only rule that the Sonics have to honor the lease and play two more seasons at KeyArena, but she should make them fulfill the lease’s revenue sharing mandate by making them give the public $15 million worth in free tickets. The public would finally get what it wanted when it agreed to fork over $74 million dollars in 1994 for KeyArena: the chance to go to a basketball game.

    Ruling today at 4pm. My previous Sonics trial slogging here:

    Blame Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis

    There’s No Out Clause in the Lease for the NBA’s Bloated Business Model

    Closing Arguments

    Ceis Not Allowed to Testify

    Porn for Lawyers

    Ceis’s Testimony Could be Crucial to City’s Case

    Team Bennett Reveals City’s “Machiavellian” Plot

    Sherman Alexie’s Press Conference

    Sonic Nick Collison Likes Pizza

    Bennett’s Lawyers Taunt City’s Expert Witness

    Bennett Grilled on “I’m a Man Possessed” Emails

    City Will Question Bennett Today

    Whoa! The City Strikes Back

    Mayor Nickels Flubs it on the Stand

    My Suggested Remedy: Free Sonics Tickets

    Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day

    posted by on July 2 at 8:29 AM

    Kate Riley.

    The Morning News

    posted by on July 2 at 8:24 AM

    Marriage of Obama and Gays: Obama opposes gay-marriage ban in California, one of three states with same-sex marriage bans on the fall ballot.

    Marriage of Church and State: Obama supports funding churches for social work, but says money can only go to secular programs.

    Marriage of Media and State: Like Robert Mak, lots of former reporters become government mouthpieces.

    Does this Count as Violating the Ceasefire? Palestinian kills three and wounds 40 on Jerusalem rampage, in a bulldozer.

    The Candidate’s Positions: Google Maps tracks election travels.

    Supreme Rule: Court decision on child rape penalty based on faulty information. Federal representatives didn’t brief court on 2006 law.

    Emergency Rule: Protests banned in Mongolia after five killed in riots over alleged election fraud.

    Microsoft Is Searching for Relevance: Buys Powerset in attempt to improve search by focusing on the “the intent and meaning behind the words.”

    Americans Are World’s Leading Drug Users: But “The Netherlands, with a less criminally punitive approach to cannabis use than the U.S., has experienced lower levels of use, particularly among younger adults.”

    Still Not Enough: Recommendations for medical marijuana supply may be insufficient for for sick folks, but still too much for cops.

    Made in Communist China: US borrows interrogation techniques for Guantánamo.

    Work Out: Unemployment to persist into 2009—mortgage, housing, and auto industries to remain in the toilet.

    Word Out: Panel asks city council for more transparent discipline for police.

    “Criticism of police actions is not an inexcusable affront to the dignity of its officers, an illegitimate form of interference … or part of some left-wing conspiracy to assist the criminal elements in our society,” [Eric Schnapper] wrote. “Criticism of police actions is just like criticism of any other public officials, a routine and healthy part of the democratic process.”

    Brace Yourselves: Fetus Baby barely survives in Kennewick after being cut out of dead mother’s womb.

    Doublespeak Measure: Eyman initiative to create a “Reduce Traffic Congestion Account” to open car-pool lanes and facilitate driving will likely qualify for fall ballot.

    “Putting on a Show”: Cops tell women on Queen Anne to fix blinds to thwart peeping Tom (and Tammy).

    Nominate Your Least Favorite Starbucks

    posted by on July 2 at 8:07 AM


    Starbucks has announced that it will close 600 stores in the United States. Any stores you want to nominate for closure?

    I’d like to nominate the Starbucks store at the top of the escalators in Terminal B at O’Hare International Airport. It gets direct sunlight all day long, you swelter as you wait in line, and making tea is a challenge for the baristas I’ve encountered at O’Hare. I can’t imagine that they do better with those infinitely more complicated coffee orders.

    Anyway, close that one, Starbucks. No one will miss it.

    Savage Love Letter of the Day

    posted by on July 2 at 7:43 AM

    I have a simple question regarding the now legal same sex marriage in California: Does it grant citizenship to foreigners who marry US citizens?

    I ask because you recently claimed to have read the 140 page supreme court decision twice so I figure you’re as much an expert as anyone—at least more than anyone I know. I’m a gay U.S. American living in France. I’m able to have French citizenship under local laws, but can my boyfriend get American citizenship if we take a trip to California next time we’re visiting my family in Washington State?

    My natural instinct is to say no, but it’s a pressing issue for us and it’s definitely worth finding out. If my country won’t grant him citizenship but his will, I have no choice but to leave America for a country that treats us both fairly. How can we call ourselves a free country if US citizens like myself get better treatment elsewhere?

    American Emigrating for Equal Rights

    Sorry, AEFER.

    When California’s Supreme Court struck down a ban on gay marriage in May, becoming the second state after Massachusetts to allow same-sex nuptials, Boyadjian said she was inundated with congratulatory calls from friends believing the couple’s problems were solved.

    But the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services confirms that nothing changes with the California court’s ruling… Binational couples could make matters worse if they wed since getting married signals intent to stay in the United States.

    “We cannot get married in California without jeopardizing Margot’s future visa applications,” said Boyadjian.

    Tuesday, July 1, 2008

    The Unveiling

    posted by on July 1 at 9:37 PM

    Last night…


    And tonight…


    What does it mean?

    How Much Pot Can You Grow?

    posted by on July 1 at 6:27 PM

    That’s the question folks have been asking since 1998, when Washington voters passed a medical-marijuana initiative. Here’s the problem: The law only says patients with a doctor’s authorization can have a “60-day supply.” But some cops claim they don’t know which patients are growing in compliance with the law and which ones are abusing it. So in places like Kent, police have arrested parents and taken away their children even though they had the right paperwork.

    But now, according to an email that arrived in my inbox about an hour ago, the state Department of Health has issued draft guidelines that are easy for patients to follow and for cops to understand. (The guidelines are required under a controversial bill passed by the legislature on the 2007.) A 60-day supply under the guidelines would be 18 immature plants, 6 mature plants, and 24 ounces of ready-to-use pot.

    The Dept of Health had recommended more, but withdrew the recommendation after Gov. Gregoire balked. Here’s a visual of the current recommendation:

    18 little ones like these:


    Six of these:


    And 24 of these:


    Before it’s set in stoned, the Dept. of Health is providing a public-comment period, and a hearing next month in Tumwater, of all places.


    posted by on July 1 at 5:39 PM

    Apologies to Degas, apologies to Whistler, apologies to Wyeth (this one deserved it), apologies to Rembrandt, and, well, the whole crew.

    No More Terror

    posted by on July 1 at 5:31 PM

    What? First North Korea, now Nelson Mandela:

    Former South African President Nelson Mandela is to be removed from U.S. terrorism watch lists under a bill President Bush signed Tuesday.

    Mandela and other members of the African National Congress have been on the list because of their fight against South Africa’s apartheid regime, which gave way to majority rule in 1994.

    Apartheid was the nation’s system of legalized racial segregation that was enforced by the National Party government between 1948 and 1994.

    The bill gives the State Department and the Homeland Security Department the authority to waive restrictions against ANC members.

    Good heavens, it’s only a matter of time before Bin Laden himself is removed from this shrinking list of terrorists.

    re: There Better Not Be Any Tobacco in That Joint, Kid…

    posted by on July 1 at 5:15 PM


    Adapted from Toward a Global View of Alcohol, Tobacco, Cannabis, and Cocaine Use: Findings from the WHO World Mental Health Surveys in PLoS Medicine.

    More graphs and analysis at the Dear Science blog.

    GOP: Groovy Old Progressives?

    posted by on July 1 at 4:37 PM

    That may be what some Washington State voters think, according to the latest Elway poll, which found that fully 25 percent of registered voters had no idea what the letters “GOP” stood for. What’s worse: Seven percent actually thought “GOP” referred to the Democratic Party.

    Under the new rules governing the “top-two primary,” candidates pick a “party preference”—an opportunity Republicans like gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi have been using to sow confusion. Like several other prominent Republicans, Rossi identified his party preference as “GOP Party,” which is how it will appear on the ballot. It’s a little scary to think Rossi could score some Democratic votes—by exploiting voter ignorance.

    Fun House

    posted by on July 1 at 4:24 PM

    badhousePicture%202.jpg Why show you this house in Leytron, Switzerland? Because you need a good laugh. Not sure if that was the designer’s intention, but the result (the ultimate matter) of the effort/concept/vision is funny.

    He Must Have Provoked Those Dogs Somehow

    posted by on July 1 at 4:13 PM


    I mean, pit bulls don’t just run around attacking people. Maybe this this 90 year-old’s walker had a squeaky wheel or something—because you know how those squeaky wheels annoy pit bulls.

    A 90-year-old man at his home in Staten Island was attacked on Tuesday morning by two pit bulls that belonged to his neighbor, the police said.

    The man, who was later identified as Henry S. Piotrowski, was bitten by the dogs on his arms and his legs and taken by emergency medical workers to Richmond University Medical Center, in the West Brighton neighborhood, where the police said he was in critical condition…. The dogs—named Brutus and Popeye—were taken by Animal Care & Control of New York City to its shelter at 2336 Linden Boulevard, in Brooklyn, and were put down by injection, said Richard P. Gentles, a spokesman for the agency.

    The owner of the dogs is now in police custody, where he probably should’ve been all along. His dogs are now where they should’ve been all along too.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Jon.

    Deadline for Death with Dignity

    posted by on July 1 at 4:09 PM

    Sweating like pigs, signature gatherers for the Death With Dignity initiative were swarming at the Gay Pride Parade on Sunday. The measure would allow alert yet terminally ill patients to self administer life-ending medication. But one volunteer I spoke to said she was having a hard time getting signatures—everyone at Pride had already signed it.

    Tomorrow afternoon, according to campaign spokeswoman Anne Martens, supporters of Initiative 1000 will submit the last of about 300,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office and rally on the Capitol steps in Olympia. To qualify for the November ballot, the campaign needs to turn in 225,000 valid signatures.

    The question, as always, is whether petition signers at Gay Pride represent the kind of momentum the measure will need to win the rest of the state in November. The last time a right-to-die law was on Washington’s ballot, in 1991, it lost by an 8-point spread. But 2008 is a better year to run the measure. Presidential races draw a younger, more progressive electorate, and studies have shown that a similar measure passed in Oregon 10 years ago hasn’t been abused.

    But the measure is also facing a counter-campaign. No On Assisted Suicide, as the name suggests, is trying to frame this as a sanctity-of-life issue, arguing that the measure lacks safeguards for doctor accountability, that HMOs could pressure people to die instead of recover, and that it doesn’t require psychological evaluations to determine that the terminally ill aren’t just depressed. (Um, it’s absurd to think that someone severely debilitated with a terminal illness would have be chipper to prove they are ready to die.) Campaign spokeswoman Carrie Herring says, “It’s not a moral issue, it’s a public policy issue.”

    Sure it’s not a moral issue. Although Herring’s camp has raised only $87,000 compared to the “yes” camp’s $1.1 million, the “no” campaign has the unofficial backing of the Catholic Church. The Washington State Catholic Conference hasn’t replied to requests for comment, but they do make their case online. And it’s as “moral” as a debate can get: “This initiative is contrary to Catholic teaching that life is sacred and that God alone is the true sovereign over life.”

    The conflict between her Catholic faith and politics was no big deal for Gov. Gregoire in 2004, when she was the attorney general. But now, she’s not taking a win for granted and is taking a stance against I-1000 as she makes a more cautious run against Dino Rossi, who is likely to oppose the measure.

    “The opposition is bent on spreading misinformation,” says Martens. “They know that the only way for them to be convincing is to mislead voters.” Indeed, the anti-assisted-suicide campaign cites “research” (without providing a source) that the physicians in the Netherlands off 1000 patients per year without any request from the patients. Meanwhile, the “yes” crowd cites a report from the Oregon Department of Human recourses that shows the law was used by the terminally ill, not the vulnerable. Says Marten: “The parade of horribles that our opponents claim will happen simply hasn’t happened.”

    Questions and Answers

    posted by on July 1 at 3:47 PM

    Why did a high-profile, cutting-edge commercial gallery host a student show last month?

    Because Scott Lawrimore does what he wants to do at Lawrimore Project: it’s his gallery, he’s become interested in the University of Washington’s DXArts program, and he wanted to host its undergrads as an experiment.

    Was it a good idea?

    Hell, no. For one—setting aside questions of when dealers should be allowed to pounce on young artists—why should these artists get what other student artists would kill for?

    Well, but what if these artists earned it? What if they were better than other artists?

    They weren’t. The DXArts BFA show at Lawrimore Project was the weakest BFA show I have ever seen. It didn’t even hold a candle to the DXArts BFA show I stumbled across at ConWorks in 2006. Some of the pieces were so awful, so clueless, so limited, I felt uncomfortable being there at all. It was the art version of a high-school science fair—a problem heightened by the prestigious venue. It was a classic backfire.


    There was one exception: Eric Thompson’s Cleaning Out the Dead, a superlatively white room with its own finely calibrated, invasive atmosphere.

    But wasn’t it smart for the DXArts program to get its students such good exposure?

    Does this sound like good exposure?

    Re: I Hope They Don’t Fuck This One Up

    posted by on July 1 at 3:44 PM

    Word is the long-rumored Arrested Development movie is officially in the works.


    Book Woman Who Gets Into Lots of Consensual Sexual Relationships

    posted by on July 1 at 3:31 PM

    I suppose it had to happen sometime. Stephanie Cleveland takes issue with the “Slut” in “Bookslut.” Her essay is way, way too long. Here’s the beginning of her point:

    It wasn’t until I was back in New York that I checked out Bookslut online, and got my first introduction to the magazine via the August issue. One of the first things I noticed was, despite its claim to be a magazine for “people” who love reading, and despite a few male editors flippantly (offensively?) proclaiming themselves “sluts” on the masthead, Bookslut features images of women in various states of undress, but no naked men.

    The Bookslut logo is a cartoon of a female nude, lying horizontally, in the great tradition of reclining female nudes painted by male artists throughout history. Bookslut is hunched eagerly over her book, and the focal point of the cartoon is her ass. She has long wavy hair, perched atop her head in a ponytail. Her body looks thin and young, traditionally attractive. You can see the edge of her right breast jutting over the side of her rib cage perkily. On the Bookslut site, readers can buy pictures of this logo and different pinup style cartoons of women, on T-shirts, tote-bags, and other merchandise.

    Jessa Crispin, the head Bookslut, responds:

    …My riled up inner feminist gets mightily pissed off at the assertion that I am harming women by running Bookslut…

    I don’t even know what to say here, except that I hope the Anti-Ninja Defamation League goes after Bookninja next. Seriously, I’m not a huge fan of using sexual imagery to sell a love of books—I’m not the fond of the title of Nancy Pearl’s wonderful book about books, Book Lust, for example. But I think declaring that a litblog is perpetuating violence against women is a bit much.

    One thing I hope we can all agree on is that Bookslut needs to change its logo, which has been the same hunk of ugly for a very long time:


    Re: Wesley Clark is the New Geraldine Ferraro

    posted by on July 1 at 3:25 PM

    Slog commenter elenchos asks:

    Eli, do you have a shred of evidence to support this conspiracy theory?

    If you mean, do Barack Obama and David Axelrod and Wesley Clark call me up each morning for an honest heart-to-heart, then I’ll admit: the answer is no. With this kind of politics, it’s hard to do anything but guess at actual motivations.

    But I note, with a bit of apprehension because of the fun I’m sure you’re about to have with it, that the McCain camp now thinks it’s a conspiracy, too.

    Ready, set, call me a McCain-bot!

    (But read this comment first, which gets close, with its 87-percent remark, to what I think about the likelihood of genuinely spontaneous political outbursts.)

    Impressionist Fact of the Day

    posted by on July 1 at 2:46 PM

    Thanks, Mom:

    Berthe [Morisot] had already made a sale or two through a dealer. But Cornélie [Berthe’s mother] was sceptical. Degas was hugely complimentary, but a few compliments from fellow artists seemed to have gone to Berthe’s head. ‘Are they really sincere?’ Cornélie asked Edma [Berthe’s sister]. ‘Puvis [de Chavannes, another painter and a suitor of Berthe’s] has told her that her work has such subtlety and distinction that it makes others miserable… Frankly, is it as good as all that?’ Furthermore, how was any of this supposed to help her marriage prospects? ‘Whenever she works she has an anxious, unhappy, almost fierce look… This existence of hers is like the ordeal of a convict in chains, and I should like to enjoy greater peace of mind in my old age.’

    *From Sue Roe’s The Private Lives of the Impressionists, which I’m reading in honor of the exhibition at SAM

    Berthe Morisot’s La lecture (Reading) (1869-70), a portrait of her mother and sister Edma.

    “Dina Martina Rides a Bike!”

    posted by on July 1 at 2:45 PM

    So raves Slog tipper Nicholas, who writes:

    A friend captured Dina Martina riding a bike in P-Town! How funny would it be to see her on a bicycle?!

    Find out the answer here. (And God bless you, Nicholas.)

    I Hope They Don’t Fuck This One Up

    posted by on July 1 at 2:15 PM


    Out in Hollywood, they’re about to start work on a Martha Gellhorn biopic. Gillian Anderson (of the incredibly dumb-sounding X-Files: I Want To Believe movie coming out this summer) will produce and star.

    If you don’t know who Martha Gellhorn is, you should be ashamed of yourself. She’s probably best known as one of Hemingway’s ex-wives, but she was an amazing journalist and travel essayist. She lived a crazy life, traveling everywhere and meeting seemingly everyone.

    There’s one problem on the horizon for this movie already. They licensed the rights to Gellhorn: A Twentieth-Century Life, a recent biography of Gellhorn by Caroline Moorehead. It’s actually nowhere near as good a book as Gellhorn’s memoir Travels With Myself and Another, which everyone should read. The structure and the tone of Travels is so much better than Gellhorn, and ultimately more filmable. But still, anything that’s likely to get her books out to a bigger audience is good news.

    Blame Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis

    posted by on July 1 at 2:03 PM

    Mayor Greg Nickels’s administration thrives on cutesy political subterfuges orchestrated by Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis. It’s how they roll.

    When tomorrow’s big Sonics decision comes down—arguably an administration-defining moment for Team Nickels—U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman may find that Ceis’s penchant for political chicanery rolled the city right out of bounds.

    The main argument that Sonics CEO Clay Bennett’s lawyers made in their case to move the Super Sonics to Oklahoma City was this: The city’s lawsuit to make Bennett keep the team in Seattle was a smaller ploy in a bigger strategy to force the Sonics to sell the team back to a local ownership group led by real estate broker and civic busybody Matt Griffin and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

    According to this theory, schemers in Griffin and Ballmer’s corner, including former Sonic and Sonics CEO Wally Walker and former Senator Slade Gorton, believed that—faced with the prospect of playing in money-losing KeyArena for two more seasons—Bennett would sell.

    The problem, as Bennett’s lawyers pointed out repeatedly (with stacks of evidence like a Power Point presentation called “The Poisoned Well” that Gorton presented at Walker’s house on October 7, 2007) was this: Walker was the city’s Sonics consultant and Gorton was the city’s lead counsel dealing with the Sonics’s lease case. The city was the Sonics’s landlord. Undermining your own tenant is a no-no, and could sully the city’s case.

    In closing arguments last week, Bennett’s lead attorney, Brad Keller, implicated the city in the plot by focusing on Ceis:

    One thing that hasn’t been exercised that I would like to point out is what happened two days after that October 7th meeting. You will find it in Exhibit 601. It is not on my chart here, but it is Mr. Walker’s calendar. Two days later, Mr. Walker’s calendar reflects a meeting at K&L Gates and Ellis attended by himself, attorneys from the firm and Mr. Ceis. It says it right here in his calendar. So one thing you will have to decide is what is the likelihood that two days later after the finalization of the whole poison well power point presentation, after having spent two days before going through it with Mr. Ballmer, whether they weren’t doing the exact same thing two days later with the City’s Deputy Mayor sitting there in the office of K&L Gates with Mr. Gorton…

    You have Mr. Ceis two days after the October 7 meeting with Walker, with Mr. Gorton and the other people from K&L Gates, right after the poisoned well is finalized.

    Later that afternoon, I (and I think the second question is from Art Thiel from the PI) zoomed in on this Ceis tidbit during the city’s press conference:

    Q: It seemed to me like [Sonics lawyer Brad] Keller dropped a new bit of evidence in his closing, which found Deputy Mayor Ceis at a meeting at K&L Gates, two days after the “Poisoned Well’” meeting. So what were you there for? What strategy were you talking about there?

    Ceis: That is not a new piece of evidence. That was in my deposition that is part of the court record, and it was clear that on October 9 we were meeting to discuss the preparation of the presentation to the NBA of a renovated KeyArena plan. That’s the whole purpose of that discussion that day.

    Q: Nothing about this poisoned well plan? No discussion of this idea that, “We drag ‘em in to court and make it painful enough, we can make ‘em sell.’?”

    Ceis: Again, in my deposition, which is part of the record for the court, I had no knowledge at any time up until my deposition of the existence of that Power Point.

    Read Ceis’s deposition yourself. Ceis says he didn’t know about the Griffin group until November 2007. But when asked whether or not he knew about a potential new buyer in the fall of ‘07, Ceis says: “There were theoretical discussions about what-ifs.”

    He never gets pinned down. I guess we’ll see tomorrow what the judge thinks about Ceis’s “theoretical discussions.”

    During his closing argument, Keller asked her to think about just that:

    The right side of his brain is working for the Griffin group’s lawyers, the left side is working for the city’s lawyers. We are supposed to think the left side of the brain isn’t talking to the right, and vice versa.

    You are being asked to accept that the city’s attorney wasn’t telling his client what he was cooking up when the two had the exact same objective, to keep the team here, and forcing the sale would have accomplished that objective for both. That is contrary to logic. That is contrary to common sense.

    I, Anonymous: Gay Pride Edition

    posted by on July 1 at 1:53 PM

    Just in to I, Anonymous:

    Didn’t your overbearing mother and emotionally distant father teach you to clean up after yourself? The aftermath of the Pride Parade made it look like it was a retarded McDonald’s employee parade. There were slurpee cups, burger wrappers, and gay-ass streamers everywhere. I thought fairies were supposed to be clean? It’s wrong to stereotype homos, and you have definitely proven that, you dirty fags!

    (Someone had to say it, and I’m glad it was someone as eloquent as Anonymous.)


    posted by on July 1 at 1:43 PM

    Starbucks has announced it will be closing 600 stores in the U.S.

    On a (somewhat) related note: I find those new McDonald’s coffee ads (“Thank God we don’t have to pretend to like jazz anymore because McDonald’s serves lattés!”) incredibly annoying.

    (Though they aren’t quite as annoying as those Tulalip Casino ads. “Fun fun fun in the number one place for fun!” Really? That’s the best you could come up with?)


    posted by on July 1 at 1:08 PM

    Commenter Dalton posted a link to this yesterday.

    In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out: Win Tickets to the Capitol Hill Block Party!

    posted by on July 1 at 1:00 PM


    Want to go to the Capitol Hill Block Party? Of course you do! Go to Line Out right now and enter to win two weekend passes to the festival. Good luck!

    Here’s what else you’ll find over there:

    Barack and Braxton: One’s a presidential candidate, one’s a jazz legend.

    Tonight in Music: Vince Mira, Grand Hallway and Husbands Love Your Wives.

    “Certain Pleasure are Better Rembered than Revisited”: Wall Street Journal critic Terry Teachout has a point.

    Today’s Music News: Steven Tyler admits addiction, Alicia Keys talks retirement, and Arctic Monkeys record new record.

    New Local Band, Ladies on a Fence: “This is what happens when people who watch too much Kids in the Hall start their own band.”

    Sell Outs: The extremes some bands take to push their product.

    Iceland Has All the Fun: Björk and Sigur Rós play the Náttúra concert in Reykjavik.

    All this and so much more at

    There Better Not Be Any Tobacco in That Joint, Kid…

    posted by on July 1 at 12:14 PM

    Dutch pot cafés are freaking out over the Dutch smoking ban. They argue, and rightfully so, that not enough customers want to smoke pure-pot joints because they’re just too goddamned strong.

    The owners claim the law, which will allow customers to light up potent tobacco-free pure cannabis joints but ban milder spliffs in which tobacco is mixed with cannabis, threatens to put hundreds of them out of business.
    “It’s absurd. In other countries they look to see whether you have marijuana in your cigarette, here they’ll look to see if you’ve got cigarette in your marijuana.”

    The Netherlands: Where conservatives support gay marriage and you can smoke pot—but not tobacco—in bars.

    And hamburgers eat people.

    Via the Guardian.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on July 1 at 12:00 PM

    Is César Polvilho the new Pretty Ricky? Are refrigerators sexier than ottomans? Can one of you boys tell me what’s going on here?

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on July 1 at 11:47 AM

    Have I mentioned I’m looking for an intern?

    An installation view of Kodiak (2008) by Eli Hansen and Oscar Tuazon, various materials

    At Seattle Art Museum. (Museum site here.)

    Obama Opposes California Marriage Ban

    posted by on July 1 at 11:42 AM

    Quietly so far—and only, as far as anyone can tell, in one letter to a California gay rights group.

    Holy Crap

    posted by on July 1 at 11:39 AM

    Fuck pit bulls—ban people.

    A pregnant woman was stabbed several times in the chest and her nearly full-term baby was cut from her womb, according to Kennewick police.

    A second woman has been arrested. The baby has been hospitalized in critical condition.

    A Clarification

    posted by on July 1 at 11:29 AM

    An Irish politician is in hot water for making offensive comments about the gays. Today she slammed her critics—and offered this helpful clarification:

    Stormont Health committee chair Iris Robinson last night accused her political rivals of twisting her comments on homosexuality and denied she believed it was a mental disorder.…

    Mrs. Robinson said: “People have attempted to suggest that I indicated that homosexuality was a mental health issue. Nothing could be further from the truth. What I did say was homosexuality, like all sin, is an abomination.

    Thank you for clearing that up, Mrs. Robinson.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on July 1 at 11:00 AM


    True Colors Tour at WaMu Theater

    Cyndi Lauper’s big gay music fest lands in Seattle with a lineup so great, it quashes all reservations. Topping tonight’s bill: queers-for-life the B-52s (whose new album is 50 times better than it has a right to be) and, be still my heart, the West Indies–born/United Kingdom–bred legend Joan Armatrading, whose lavish love songs have inspired more lesbian sex than booze and The L Word combined. (And don’t underestimate Cyndi Lauper; she always delivers.) (WaMu Theater, 1000 Occidental Ave S, www.ticketmaster .com. 6:30 pm, $56–$126, all ages.) DAVID SCHMADER

    Canadian Pride

    posted by on July 1 at 10:59 AM

    Fun Fact: Did you know that those wacky Canadians celebrate the 4th of July…on the 1st of July? It’s true!


    Enjoy your barbecue, you crazy socialists to the north.

    A Question, An Answer

    posted by on July 1 at 10:56 AM


    WHOA! What is happening up on Capitol Hill???

    We’re watching from the Convention Center building, and we’ve seen AT LEAST 17 SPD cars headed up the hill…

    Any news up there?

    Is everyone alright up there?



    That steady stream of squad cars was related to a West Seattle bank robbery, which happened in the 2300 block of California Ave. earlier this morning.

    Minutes ago, police spotted the robbery suspects near 1st and Spring and, according to SPD Spokeswoman Renee Witt, are now taking them in to custody.

    Nothing to see here.

    Apparently, the police chase wasn’t as wrapped up as SPD implied.

    It appears one alleged bank robber—wearing a dress, wig and surgical mask—ended up in a standoff with police on 1st and Spring.

    According to a witness at the scene, shots were fired and police now have the suspect on the ground.

    The chase apparently began on Broadway.

    More info as it becomes available.

    Wesley Clark is the New Geraldine Ferraro

    posted by on July 1 at 10:50 AM

    Let’s see, where have we seen this strategy before?

    One candidate’s surrogate makes an indelicate remark about another candidate on a subject that’s super touchy to a large group of Americans. Said surrogate is chastised by his superior. Offended candidate takes the high road by getting only mildly miffed in public, but his surrogates get into high dudgeon.

    Then, instead of apologizing, the surrogate who did the original offending says: “Wait a minute, those offending remarks were taken out of context and misconstrued!” And then uses the opportunity to make a similar criticism in a slightly more subtle way, while also claiming not to be backing down, thus keeping the debate alive.

    Sound like anyone you know? Sounds to me like the strategy Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton used when Ferraro made those remarks about how Barack Obama would never be where he is if he wasn’t black, and definitely wouldn’t be where he is if he was a woman.

    Here’s the strategy: You have a point to make. Say, that Barack Obama is coasting on the novelty of his blackness. Or, say, that John McCain’s wartime service is not, per se, an automatic qualification to be president. It’s delicate because making this point has the potential to piss off every black person in the country, in the Obama case, or every veteran in the country, in the McCain case. But the upside to winning these arguments is huge. Let’s take just the McCain case because it’s current: If you win, you kick a huge part of McCain’s rationale for being president out from beneath him.

    So your surrogate makes the point, takes the heat, restates the point, takes more heat, restates again, takes maybe a little less heat because now people understand what’s being said, and eventually it becomes an acceptable argument.

    At least that’s the idea. It didn’t work for Ferraro because both her point, and the way she went about making and restating it, were outlandish. But so far it seems to be working for Wesley Clark. He’s not backing down, and the debate about whether McCain’s service is an automatic qualification for being president is now in its second day.

    So just to be clear: Wesley Clark isn’t trying to Swift Boat John McCain. That’s so 2004. He’s trying to Ferraro John McCain. And so far he’s proving to be more skilled at it than Ferraro ever was.

    Darcy Burner’s House Burns Down

    posted by on July 1 at 10:49 AM

    The blaze apparently engulfed her home in Ames Lake this morning, and the candidate and her family all escaped unharmed.

    Dept. of Unsubstantiated Rumors

    posted by on July 1 at 10:47 AM

    WHOA! What is happening up on Capitol Hill???

    We’re watching from the Convention Center building, and we’ve seen AT LEAST 17 SPD cars headed up the hill… Any news up there? Is everyone alright up there?


    “The stick is working overtime.”

    posted by on July 1 at 10:43 AM

    A depressing/terrifying interview with the New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh from CNN:

    You can read the article they’re talking about here.


    posted by on July 1 at 10:41 AM

    Darcy Burner’s house burned to the ground this morning. No one was hurt—but, man, this is a bummer.

    Re: Conservatives Are Concerned About Equal Pay

    posted by on July 1 at 10:16 AM

    It’s hardly surprising that Obama’s Senate staff includes fewer women than men. So does his campaign staff. As I wrote a few months back, only Hillary Clinton’s campaign included a significant number of women. At the time, of Obama’s 12 top campaign staffers, just three were women. Clinton’s campaign, in contrast, hired women to fill eight of 14 senior staff positions. This is the kind of imbalance that tends to be invisible to men (much as racial imbalances tend to be invisible to white people in workplaces where white folks predominate) but very much visible to women.

    For what it’s worth, Obama’s staff is very racially diverse.

    Of Obama’s top 15 Senate staffers, six are black, two are Asian-American, five are white, one is Hispanic and one is Indian-American. Only five, however, are women, and only one of the five staffers who make more than $100,000 is female.

    And while it’s a bummer that the anti-equal-pay Republicans are exploiting this imbalance, the fact remains that Obama is the one who hired an imbalanced staff in the first place (and chose to pay his female staffers less.) It’s clear that Obama is aware of the need for racial balance; however, it’d be nice to see him walk his talk on gender balance as well.

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on July 1 at 10:13 AM


    A divided Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of a former Colleyville church Friday, saying church members who were involved in a traumatic exorcism that ultimately injured a young woman are protected by the First Amendment.

    Schubert’s account of what happened over several days at the Pleasant Glade church in June 1996 is harrowing.

    Schubert and her brother were involved with church activities while their parents were out of town. On Friday evening, during preparations for a youth group garage sale, the atmosphere became “spiritually charged” when another youth said he saw a demon.

    Under direction of the youth minister, the youth frantically anointed everything in the church with holy oil until, at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, the minister told the exhausted youth that they had finally been successful.

    At the Sunday evening worship services, Schubert collapsed. Church members “laid hands” on her and forcibly held her arms crossed over her chest, despite her demands to be set free.

    She reportedly cried, yelled, kicked, sweated and hallucinated while also making guttural noises. She was released after she calmed down and replied with requests to say the name Jesus.


    Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention have condemned sexual predators and are urging churches to flush out molesters using federal background checks. But a simple search on the convention’s Web site shows they have yet to purge their own house of predators.

    Listed on the site is Steven Haney, the former pastor of Walnut Grove Baptist Church, now Gracepoint Baptist. Haney is accused of having a long-term sexual affair with a teenage boy in his Cordova congregation…. Haney’s case is still pending, along with that of Tim Byars, who also turns up on the site.

    A former youth minister at Springhill Baptist Church in Dyersburg, he was charged with raping a 14-year-old girl during a field trip nearly two years ago. Byars is also charged in another case for sexual battery in Davidson County….

    Brown says keeping predators and alleged predators on the convention’s Web site gives the impression these are safe ministers. “We’ve got to do more to protect our children,” he said.


    Questionnaire: State Representative District 3 candidate Brad Scott bradscott.jpg • Full name: Brad Scott

    • Place of birth: East Ridge Hospital, Chattanooga, Tenn.

    * Age: 23

    • How can voters contact you? (423) 779-2459, Email:

    • Do you have a Web site?

    • Do you have a philosophy or words to live by? Philippians 4:13- ”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”

    • Hobbies: Church; spending time with family; spending time in the outdoors fishing, hunting, and running

    • Current/ past professional / business experience: paraprofessional at Ringgold Primary for 3 years; Fellowship Baptist Church assistant youth director at for 3 years; currently Fairview Baptist Church youth minister; currently a Substitute Teacher in Catoosa County Schools.

    And a headline from Florida:

    Teens flock to PCB to renew faith

    Wanted: Visual Art Intern

    posted by on July 1 at 10:09 AM

    Here’s the ad. I’m moving fast on this one. Get to me right away!

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on July 1 at 10:07 AM


    Four books on various topics going on tonight in the Seattle metro area.

    Over at First Baptist Church on Harvard, two theologians named Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker read from Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire. It looks to be lovingly critical of Christianity’s fetishistic obsession with crucifixion. This looks pretty interesting. More information can be found here.

    And at Elliot Bay Book Company, Darin Strauss reads from More Than It Hurts You. Strauss wrote a novel called Chang and Eng, about the famous siamese twins. Regardless of its fascinating subject matter, it was pretty dull. I haven’t read Strauss since.

    Up at Third Place Books, Jonathan Harrington reads from The Climate Diet, which is all about how you can “Cut Carbon, Cut Costs, and Save the Planet” just like this guy:

    At the University Book Store, we leave the planet Earth behind entirely with Mary Rosenblum, who has written a book called Horizons, which is a science fiction novel about how human life would develop in zero gravity, which was covered to hilarious effect in Wall-E.

    Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is on our Books page.

    “The Most Stupidest Thing” Stephen Baldwin’s Ever Heard Of

    posted by on July 1 at 9:43 AM

    The Huffington Post has a story up right now titled “Stephen Baldwin on Fox News: If Obama Wins, I’ll Leave the Country.” Huffpo neglected to mention the fact that Baldwin’s fingers were crossed as he made his oath.

    Stephen Baldwin is famously born-again Christian, and he’s also a conservative. This video is appalling in several ways, but it’s also tremendously, unintentionally entertaining. I knew it before, but I never had proof: Stephen Baldwin is an idiot. My favorite part is about a half-minute before the end, where he affirmed that people saying that McCain would be another four years of Bush is “the most stupidest thing I ever heard of.” This is probably the most entertaining thing that Baldwin will appear in all year:

    Conservatives Are Concerned About Equal Pay

    posted by on July 1 at 9:19 AM

    If it means they can try to create another wedge between Barack Obama and female voters. WARNING: This story comes from a conservative news web site that may or may not be engaging in fuzzy math, and at the very least has a political incentive to push something like this:

    While Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has vowed to make pay equity for women a top priority if elected president, an analysis of his Senate staff shows that women are outnumbered and out-paid by men.

    Yes He Did

    posted by on July 1 at 8:55 AM

    Another day, another Barack Obama move to the center/right: He’s now in favor of Bush’s church-and-state-blurring Faith Based Initiatives—and even wants to expand the program.

    CHICAGO (AP) - Reaching out to evangelical voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is announcing plans that would expand President Bush’s program steering federal social service dollars to religious groups and - in a move sure to cause controversy - support their ability to hire and fire based on faith.

    Although, via Ben Smith, the Obama campaign is trying to combat what it knows are deep concerns among liberals about this program and its impact on traditional notions of church and state separation. The Obama campaign says:

    The partnership will not endanger the separation of church and state—but will harness the energy of these critical groups

    The new partnership will not endanger the separation of church and state, so long as a few basic principles are followed. First, if an organization gets a federal grant, it will not be permitted to use that grant money to proselytize to the people it serves, and the group will forbidden to discriminate against them on the basis of their religion. And groups will be required to comply with federal anti-discrimination laws in their hiring practices—including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

    Second, federal dollars that go directly to churches, temples, and mosques will only be allowed to go toward secular programs. And Obama will ensure that taxpayer dollars only go to those programs that actually work.

    UDPATE: The Obama campaign sends out a supportive statement—from John DiIulio, who once directed the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives for Bush:

    Senator Barack Obama has offered a principled, prudent, and problem-solving vision for the future of community-serving partnerships involving religious nonprofit organizations. He has focused admirably on those groups that supply vital social services to people and communities in need. His plan reminds me of much that was best in both then Vice President Al Gore’s and then Texas Governor George W. Bush’s respective first speeches on the subject in 1999. Especially in urban America, all the empirical evidence continues to show that local faith-based organizations can make a measurable civic difference. His constitutionally sound and administratively feasible ideas about community-serving partnerships hold special promise for truly disadvantaged children, youth, and families. Many good community-serving initiatives can be built, expanded, or sustained on the common ground that Senator Obama has staked out for us here.

    More War

    posted by on July 1 at 8:35 AM

    The former US Ambassador to UN, John Bolton, is confident that:

    …Israel will stage a raid against Iran’s nuclear facilities if Democratic nominee Senator Barack Obama wins the upcoming presidential elections.

    Bolton said the IAF would likely strike in the interim term between election day (November 4th) and the inauguration (January 20th 2009) – while George W. Bush is still in office…

    It ain’t over until it’s over.

    The Morning News

    posted by on July 1 at 8:15 AM

    Local Boy Makes Bad: Renton defense contractor sued in federal court for allegedly torturing prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

    Affordable Housing: City council approves plan for the least fortunate among us who can only afford $1,115 a month.

    Conlin: City council president introduces bill to limit the size of houses, appease reactionary anti-development set who may support him in bid for mayor.

    Police: More patrols at Victor Steinbrueck Park after stabbing.

    Mugabe: Remains defiant at African summit about stealing election, while joined by his circular-logic henchman who dismisses suggestions for a power-sharing government by explaining, “Zimbabwe is Zimbabwe.”

    First Time for Everything: Ceasefire deal breached in Gaza—Israelis fire shots, Palestinians launch rockets.

    One Nation Under God: Obama courts evangelical swing voters to cross the aisle.

    Enemy Lines: Wesley Clark says, “I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.” McCain responds, “I am proud of my record of service, and I have plenty of friends and leaders who will attest to that.”

    Bumper to Bumper Crop: Bad weather reduces biofuels, could effects gas prices some day.

    Ready for Their Close-Up: Screen actors union contract expires, A-listers start using the “S” word.

    Monday, June 30, 2008

    More Grist for the Maul

    posted by on June 30 at 9:15 PM

    Adding more fuel to the Pit Bull Debate ‘08—continuing today with a delightful tale of a scalping—I present to you data from the latest and greatest paper on the subject: Canine and human factors related to dog bite injuries. Courtesy of your own Elenchos!

    Breed is absolutely a factor, as are dogs remaining sexually intact. Like the earlier study I covered on this topic, certain breeds of dogs, particularly if not spayed or neutered are vastly more likely to bite to the point of harming a person than others. Specifically?

    Terriers, the broad family that includes pit bulls, tops the list in this case-control study.

    Breed mattering is another way of saying genes matter. If you artificially select dogs to be violent, they’ll be violent. Combine breeding for violent temper with breeding for strong jaw muscles and large size and you have an unwelcome combination. It’s also worth noting that breeding for a dog the size and shape of a terrier does not require breeding for bad and uncontrollable temper.

    To insist on having a badly tempered, strongly muscled large dog as a pet is like insisting on the right to drive a backhoe to work each day. Yes, if you as the owner act perfectly, most likely nobody will get hurt; there just isn’t much room for error.

    Yes, pit bulls can be sweet, kind, gentle dogs. Can be. The breed has been mis-selected so long, it’s understandable for a stranger to assume your pit bull is capable of injurious violence; the data backs up his or her suspicions.

    If we’re banning anything, I’d like to see a ban on selection for violent tempers in dogs—regardless of breed. And I recognize it’s about as likely to succeed as a pit bull ban.

    The Opportunity of a Lifetime

    posted by on June 30 at 6:55 PM

    The Stranger’s award-taking Web Development Department (that would be me) is hiring. Want a job here? Are you good? See the descriptions after the jump.

    If you do decide to apply for this position, or forward it to a friend or relation, some advice for you or them:

    1. DO NOT send me a portfolio site that’s entirely in Flash. I don’t like Flash, I don’t want Flash, no Flash.
    2. DO NOT brag about having created a web form that generates an email when submitted.
    3. DO NOT start your cover letter like this:

    Dear Recruiters, please accept my:

    Letter of Interest.

    4. DO NOT explain that you’ve written a script to send your resume to every job posting that meets certain criteria as if this is a good thing. You are a spammer.
    5. DO maybe mention the Stranger and make sure I can tell that you’ve actually heard of the paper—maybe even read it! I don’t care if you’re convinced you’re a great fit for “our organization.”

    Thems the rules. There may be others.

    Continue reading "The Opportunity of a Lifetime" »

    Bike Sharing (Maybe) Coming to SLU

    posted by on June 30 at 4:48 PM

    King County is sponsoring a symposium to discuss whether to launch a pilot bike-sharing program in South Lake Union on Thursday, July 10, at Group Health (320 Westlake) from 2 to 5 p.m.

    As I’ve written before, bike-sharing programs are taking off all over the world—including in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The way it typically works is that you sign up for the program by paying a nominal subscription fee. Then you use a special swipe card to check out a bike, which is typically free for the first half-hour or hour and a couple of bucks an hour after that. When you’re done, you return the bikes to any bike-sharing kiosk in the city. The bikes are designed to be difficult to take apart or steal; and in fact, cities that have tried bike-sharing have found that thefts are rare.

    One of the challenges with getting bike-sharing up and running is that you need a lot of scale to make it work—a couple of bike stands in South Lake Union isn’t much use to a commuter from Ballard to Capitol Hill, or someone who wants to run an errand to Pike Place Market but doesn’t want to schlep back with groceries on the handlebars. Still, the fact that the county is even talking about bike sharing (and will, hopefully, continue to do so despite the coming budget shortfall) could be a sign that Seattle’s finally be starting to get it.

    The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Mauling

    posted by on June 30 at 4:44 PM

    I finally understand where all those upset pit bull owners who complain to me about my “breedism” are coming from. Pit bulls are not the problem. Irresponsible parents who don’t have the sense to adequately maintain their children’s wagons are to blame.

    The toddler who was brutally attacked by a pit bull is doing better…. The dog attacked Blevins, her mother, another woman and her toddler son last Wednesday. The four were taking a walk near 40th and Vinton when the dog went into a rage. It bit down on Charlotte’s head, tearing off a large part of her scalp. Charlotte’s mom and the other woman with her fought to pry the dog loose and get it away from their kids.

    “He knew what he was doing,” says Wendy Blevins, Charlotte’s mom. “He knew what he was doing, he went directly for the kids.”

    However, the dogs owner tells Action 3 News her pit bull only attacked because it was spooked by the sound of the wheels on the wagon that was carrying the children.

    But now I hope authorities will take appropriate action and have that wagon put down before it squeaks again. No dog should have to suffer like that.

    Not What the Coders Intended?

    posted by on June 30 at 4:40 PM

    When people marvel at the Obama campaign, they often talk about how he’s built a parallel MySpace, MyBarackObama, which allows members of the Obama-supporting community to form networks within the larger Obama online network—fundraising networks, canvassing networks, rapid response networks.

    Here’s a network the creators of probably didn’t count on: A group of Obama supporters who are now urging him, via his own web site, to vote no on the controversial FISA bill. (Click here to catch yourself up on FISA-related outrage.)

    Over at The Nation, Ari Melber points out that this group is now one of the biggest on Obama’s site:

    Since launching last week, the protest group, “Senator Obama Please Vote NO on Telecom Immunity – Get FISA Right,” swelled to one of the ten largest campaign groups…

    One Democratic Internet consultant predicted that Obama’s reaction could reveal his commitment to meaningful engagement with supporters. “How Obama responds will tell us a great deal about both his willingness to listen to input from his supporters and what influence the MyBarackObama community has on the campaign itself,” said the operative, who wished to remain anonymous while working on another campaign. “In the meantime, this is a huge opportunity for Obama’s supporters to organize around an issue, not just the candidate, and take action beyond using their credit card.”

    I don’t think anyone should be holding his or her breath waiting for Obama to reverse himself on FISA, but the ingenuity of the anti-FISA types might serve as a model for other groups—say, gays, death penalty opponents, and Muslims, to name a few from a growing list—who have come up with reasons to have beef with Obama in recent days.

    Which raises the question: If, sometime in the next five months, some group of upset liberals urging an Obama policy change on one issue or another becomes the largest collective voice on, will the candidate be forced to change his stance? Could a man who owes so much to his webby supporters afford not to?

    Books Are Totally Awesome

    posted by on June 30 at 4:38 PM

    This online book dealer bought about a hundred books from a widow. After he brought the books home, he opened them up to find that quite a few of the books had been hollowed out and filled with pornographic Polaroids of the deceased husband with a bunch of different women.

    Most of the commenters are asking…actually, demanding…that he upload the pics to Flickr.

    Via Kottke.

    Being Gay Is a Choice

    posted by on June 30 at 3:52 PM

    Well, for club nights.


    It looks like last week’s just-this-once, just-for-pride big gay installment of STUDIO, the weekly disco night at Havana, was such a success that the boys behind STUDIO have decided to make the switch permanently.

    Mario Will Never Look Cool

    posted by on June 30 at 3:50 PM

    I walked through the University of Washington campus on Saturday—past sunbathing co-eds, shirtless Frisbee boys, and a wedding procession—to get to Kane Hall. It was dark upon entry; some sunlight, but otherwise, the rods and cones had to swap. A few guys smacked packs of cigarettes against their palms as I climbed some stairs. A whiteboard ahead listed rules for a tournament. And when I finally reached the Walker-Ames room, I noticed a slight breeze coming from a door to the outside world. But it wasn’t enough to keep the current winner of a King of Fighters ‘98 match cool. He turned when I approached, almost whipping me with the sweat streaking his already-thinning head of chin-length hair, and asked if I want next.

    This is not the way people are supposed to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon. But my Street Fighter hankering had grown like crazy since I’d raved about the good ol’ days of corner arcades, so I couldn’t help but accept an invite to check out the Pacific Northwest Majors gaming tourney. Dozens of people with the same fighting-game jones as me? Social gaming? Awesome.

    Er, sorta. There were bursts of my favorite arcade days, when a particularly good match drew a crowd to cheer on the fighters. But most of the time, everybody—mostly UW students, though out-of-towners from as far as Portland registered—was face-deep in a TV set, staring silently, hammering away at customized, arcade-quality controllers. I was only there for an hour or so, so maybe the social element exploded once I left, but there was little in the way of even a “good game” statement when I got my ass handed to me a number of times. Of course, this was an extreme slice of the gaming pie, a bunch of guys (all male, shocker) who troll Internet forums to talk strategies for E. Honda or M. Bison this many years after 1992.

    My favorite of these hardcore players was a dude with a thick, curly mohawk, like Tunde Adebimpe from TV On The Radio, tearing people apart in Marvel Vs Capcom 2. He’d have his trio of fighters team up over and over, creating a seizure-worthy overload of lasers and explosions, to destroy his every foe. He got up a little later to jabber on the Bluetooth headset on his ear, and that’s when I saw his outfit—marijuana leaf proudly sewn into his jeans, and a long, drooping tee on which Super Mario was dressed to look ghetto-fab. Hate to break it to you, Marvel Vs. Capcom champ, but Mario will never look cool.


    Admittedly, the only thing consistent with my nostalgia was the smell: nothing reeks like an arcade. In spite of that slight breeze, the air was stagnant, heavy with the odors of nicotine and Sun Chips. But mocking gaming addicts is easy, and in all honesty, the event was still pretty worthwhile. I’m all for open, public gaming exhibitions—even on nice days—and I’m surprised someone at UW hasn’t taken the initiative to get a monthly shindig going. Free play, a few competitions, some kiosks open with easier games for outsiders to get into… if this exists, someone please tip me.

    This Sounds Good/Bad

    posted by on June 30 at 3:36 PM

    Paid Content says that MagHound will launch in September. Maghound is an open subscription service, where you get three, four, or more magazines a month, but you’re not locked into a particular magazine subscription: you can change the titles you receive any time you want. This sounds like a smart idea to me, and probably long overdue, but the catch comes in the desciption of the pricing:

    …three titles for $3.95 per month; five titles for $7.95; seven titles for $9.95, and $1 per title for eight titles or more. Then titles that have a non-discounted traditional sub rate of around $19 or more per year are considered “premium” titles and will have an extra $2 fee per month..which means the likes of Economist, The Atlantic, New Yorker and and others would cost more…

    Just about every magazine I’d want falls into that latter category, which would probably make the whole thing prohibitively expensive for me. But I can still think of dozens of people who’ll sign up for this on the day it launches.

    Calling All Snitches

    posted by on June 30 at 3:30 PM

    I just got this email from artist Bob Rini:

    Back in May you wrote about the Sound Transit project to beautify boarded-up city buildings (May 12, 2008) and you mentioned our cartoon group—the Friends of the Nib—decorating the Broadway Jack in the Box. The artwork was finally put up, in the form of vinyl banners encircling the building, each artist contributing a 6x6’ panel.

    This weekend, after barely two weeks up, the piece was vandalized. Someone took a razor and cut out one of the 6x6’ panels—my drawing of a jazz trio—and stole it. Just took the damned thing.

    There is an obvious risk to making public art. A lively discussion is in play on the LiveJournal blog, with some people asserting we were stupid to leave our work outside in the first place. That’s the law of the jungle. Maybe people didn’t know it was “art,” they say.

    Meanwhile, the missing vinyl panel of my artwork is hanging in some garage or dorm or in a dumpster somewhere. The work was supposed to be up for several months, and now no one will see it. I’d like to find the missing art, but that’s probably impossible.

    It’s a longshot, but keep an eye out for this.


    Don’t make Ellen Forney go out there nights with a shotgun.

    Not Our Problem

    posted by on June 30 at 3:28 PM

    Tonight HBO is showing Ganja Queen, a documentary about an Australian who lands in Bali, only to be arrested for smuggling four kilos of marijuana in her luggage. But Schapelle Corby claims, convincingly, that she didn’t do it. Here’s the trailer:

    It begins: “Have you ever traveled outside the U.S.? … Then this could happen to you.” Oh, the unfairness. The tragedy. The corruption of the justice system… Over there.

    No one would be prosecuted without evidence and convicted to a life sentence at the hands of a corrupt justice system here in America, right? Except, of course, for this horrible thing that happened in Tulia, Texas, where 40 black people were rounded up based on the word of one paid informant. But I guess no one would make a documentary about it… Or, in fact, they would.

    The difference is that the film about Tulia is relegated to the indie film circuit, while the film about Bali has a prime-time spot on a major cable TV station. Why isn’t HBO showing the other gripping documentary about people wrongly accused of drug crimes? You know, the one that shows this isn’t the product of some fundamentally corrupt foreign nation but the product of a fundamentally corrupt drug policy?

    Gregoire’s Lead Increases

    posted by on June 30 at 2:23 PM

    Gov. Christine Gregoire is leading Republican challenger Dino Rossi 47 to 39 percent in the latest Elway poll, released today. Darryl at Horse’s Ass has done an analysis of Gregoire’s lead and found that she has “something approaching a 96.9% chance of beating Rossi (if the election were held now).” Predictably, the vast majority of Democrats (81 percent) planned to vote for Gregoire; 78 percent of Republicans planned to vote for Rossi. Perhaps less predictably, 35 percent of voters under 35 did not know whom they planned to vote for.

    For Jen Graves

    posted by on June 30 at 2:16 PM

    Something I found in the wilderness of cyberspace.
    tacoma.jpg Tacoma, Tacoma.

    Rainbow Reclamation League

    posted by on June 30 at 2:09 PM

    Seen at the Pride Parade in San Francisco a few years back: a group of people in regular street clothes marching under a banner that read “THE RAINBOW IS FOR EVERYONE.”

    Work, Supermodel

    posted by on June 30 at 2:06 PM

    While perusing the photographs from the recent Paris men’s fashion shows, I was pleased to see one of our own Capitol Hillbillies attractively hauling thousands of dollars of menswear down the runway. That would be Lars. Here he is for Junya Watanabe last week.
    The outfit looks a little too Li’l Abner for me, but I’d wear the pants and the hat.

    The New Bob Barr: Libertarian Super-fraud

    posted by on June 30 at 1:45 PM

    What happened to Bob Barr?

    It almost seems impossible to square this man with the one who is best remembered in his heyday—face flushed, mustache quivering, banging wildly at the table demanding seemingly nothing less than the public castration of Bill Clinton during his 1998 impeachment hearings. Representative Barr was a mean, remorseless piece of reactionary conservative machinery: if there was a piece of legislation that could be used to stomp on gay rights or put someone in jail for just a few years longer, Barr could be depended on to make the case with withering levels of moral indignation.

    So who is this man who seems to be delighting in the fact—in the liberal womb of The New York Times, no less—that he could conceivably tear off vitally important chunks of John McCain’s constituency in states like Georgia and Alaska, throwing huge portions of the country to Barack Obama?


    The New Bob Barr was born in 2003, when his previously safe congressional district in the Atlanta suburbs was redrawn and mashed into a neighboring congressional district of an equally popular Republican congressman. Forced to run against one another, Barr was trounced. Cut adrift from his party, an odd transformation began: Barr became a prominent critic of the Patriot Act (which he had voted for), and began polishing his credentials among civil liberties advocates, working occasionally as a lobbyist for the ACLU.

    Cut to the present: The New Bob Barr, having only announced his intention to run for the nomination ten days before the convention, overcomes perennial Libertarian ‘It Girl’ Mary Ruwart and seizes the reigns of the Libertarian Party’s run for the presidency in 2008.

    Taking the stage at the convention, Barr is now standing in direct opposition to almost the entirety of his career in Congress. He helped write the Defense of Marriage Act, and then was forced to apologize for it. He voted for the War in Iraq, and has since apologized for that as well. His stance on the prohibition of medical marijuana has changed so much that he’s actually campaigning against policy that bears his own name—the Barr Amendment, which effectively blocked the legalization of medical marijuana in the District of Columbia.

    At this point, Barr has so thoroughly contorted himself to fit the demands of his new constituency that only brief glimmers of the old Barr can even be seen. Even his glasses have been updated, changed from the old wire frames of his culture warrior days to a hipper, post-partisan black rimmed look. You can almost picture him on his Blackberry, trying to get Andrew Sullivan to return his messages.

    So where does The New Bob Barr go from here? While embracing the enthusiasm of the Ron Paul campaign, Barr doesn’t seem to be making many converts. His campaign is running on a meager $300,000, and he hasn’t won the backing of Paul himself. (Paul’s campaign staff appears to be unenthusiastic about Barr’s attempts to muscle in on their turf.)

    If Barr is looking for a seat at the table when it comes to the national dialog, it seems to be on the terms that have very Nader-esque qualities. And Barack Obama’s campaign couldn’t be happier:

    The Obama campaign has played up the Barr campaign’s potential impact, citing it as a potential plus during a briefing with reporters on Wednesday.

    “If Barr were to get 2 percent in most states, our belief is he’ll get 4 percent here,” said David Plouffe, Mr. Obama’s campaign manager, speaking of Georgia. “Most of it coming out of McCain’s hide.”

    Reach Out and Touch Someone

    posted by on June 30 at 1:28 PM

    Really—touch her breasts, roll her back and forth in her bed, throw the silk sheets off her body. All with your cell new phone and our special Stalker Rate Package.

    Via JoeMyGod.

    Thank You, FLDS Dress!

    posted by on June 30 at 1:18 PM


    Have you been craving that Mormon Fundamentalist Polygamist look for yourself and/or your pet? Then you simply must check out, where all the fashions that marched across our TV screens during the recent FLDS flare-up in Texas are available for sale to any and all.

    As Slog tipper Tom wrote, “The Teen Princess Dress is every pedophile’s dream!”

    Personally, I think the site works best as an adolescent rebellion deterrent: “If you’re not home by 11:30, young lady, your entire back-to-school wardrobe comes from here!”

    Quote of the Day

    posted by on June 30 at 1:08 PM

    From the Seattle Times:

    “A midnight [bike] race along a salmon stream is probably a pretty bad idea when the salmon are there.”

    Not because the salmon are a threat—no, it’s the bears feeding on salmon that charge, tackle, and maul the occasional contestant.

    Police Accountability Changes Headed to Council

    posted by on June 30 at 1:08 PM

    Later today, Council Member Tim Burgess will introduce a set of sweeping changes to Seattle’s police accountability system, redefining roles and redistributing work among the city’s three-tiered police accountability system. The proposed changes are intended to bring the city’s police oversight process in line with recommendations made in the last year by the City Council and Mayor Greg Nickels’ police accountability panels, as well as the new police contract.

    The proposed bill amends previous legislation requiring the police chief to provide an explanation when disagreeing with OPA recommendations on officer discipline (to meet privacy standards detailed in the new police contract), extends the number of terms the director and auditor of the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA)—the Seattle Police Department’s internal investigation unit—can serve, and expands the number of board members and term limits for the council’s Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB). The legislation also shifts some responsibilities around between OPARB, the OPA and its auditor, who will take over some of the review board’s reporting and statistical analysis duties.

    OPARB’s mission is also redefined in the bill, which would task the review board with performing community outreach and advising the city on police conduct outside of the complaint process. The legislation also reaffirms that OPARB is still not allowed to view unredacted police files—due to an unfair labor practice complaint filed by the police guild, something the city may appeal—and is specifically prohibited from commenting on officer discipline.

    Finally, Burgess’s proposal would allow OPA’s director and auditor to serve three three-year terms—instead of the current 2 terms—while OPARB would expand to seven members, who could serve four two-year terms, rather than the two three-year terms currently allowed.

    Burgess’s public safety committee will vote on the proposed changes tomorrow afternoon.

    Ain’t I a Stinker?

    posted by on June 30 at 1:00 PM

    Don’t get me wrong: just this weekend, I was discussing the timeless joy of Loony Tunes cartoons. The one where Bugs Bunny takes on the opera singer is second in my heart only to the one where he goes bullfighting. Or maybe “What’s Opera, Doc?” is my favorite of all time.

    But Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate of the United States, has a story in the Wall Street Journal about how inspired he has been by those early Warner Brothers cartoons:

    Bugs would do the impossible by jumping out of the frame and landing on the drawing board of the cartoonist who was at work creating him. This freedom to transcend the laws of basic physics, to hop around in time and space, and to skip from one dimension to another has long been a crucial aspect of imaginative poetry.

    I really don’t like Billy Collins at all. He’s the kind of whimsical poet—packed with thoughts that are, you know, deep, but not too deep, things that could all be prefaced by “Didja ever notice?”—who’s murdering poetry by trying to make it accessible. He’s the ‘hip’ substitute teacher who tries to convince the students that World War I was really all about sex.

    But whatever. The worst part of Collins’ article is that it has little poems for each of the Looney Tunes characters. From “Elmer”:

    Later he will have his nap,/the enormous pink head/rolling on the pillow/dreaming again of the wabbit,/the private carrot patch.

    I just wish that Billy Collins would stop trying to save poetry. It’s embarrassing to watch.

    Worn Out: Gay Pride

    posted by on June 30 at 12:25 PM

    I wish we could do a Worn Out issue during Gay Pride… DAMN!


    More photos after the jump.
    There’s also TONS of excellent Pride 08 photos in the Stranger’s Flickr pool.

    Continue reading "Worn Out: Gay Pride" »

    All My Sons Moving and Storage

    posted by on June 30 at 12:16 PM

    This weekend, I made one colossal mistake and had one brilliant, faith-in-humanity-restoring stroke of luck.

    The mistake: Hiring All My Sons Moving and Storage to move my stuff (and my piano) to Columbia City. The stroke of luck, I’ll tell you about in a minute.

    Here’s the short version: The guys from All My Sons Moving and Storage showed up late—not just a little late, but two and a half hours past the end of the four-hour window the company gave me for the move. So, there went my Friday night, but whatever. The guys were pretty fast, and they managed to get most of my stuff into the new place within the two hours I’d agreed to pay for when I booked the time with the company.

    MOST of my stuff.

    While we settled up with one of the guys and paid for the two hours noted on the contract ($290, because of the piano), the two other guys went outside—to bring in my piano, I assumed. But minutes went by, and no piano. Finally, I asked: “Where’s my piano?” The guy responded: “Oh, that’s going to be another $150.” No way, I said—we signed a contract, we paid what we owed, and there was no reason we should pay another $150 even if we had it, which we didn’t. He said no money, no piano.

    We tried to reason with him. “Look, we’re not going to let you extort us. Just bring in the piano, drive away, and we can all go on with our lives. He replied, “Well, we’ve gotta take off, so we’ll just have to take your piano with us.”

    So we called the police.

    A few minutes went by in standoff. Then the guy inside the house bolted, ran to the truck, hopped in, and sped away. We followed him, running, outside.

    There, on the sidewalk, was my piano. All 1,000 pounds of it.

    Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. Just as I was starting to seriously lose my shit—because there’s no fucking way the two of us were moving this piano into the carport, much less up the stairs—three guys came stumbling up the street. “What’s with the piano?” one of them asked. So we told them the whole story. “Well, we’ve had a few beers, but we can try to help you move it,” one said gamely. And they did. And now my piano is safely inside—no thanks to All My Sons Moving Company, but many thanks to the three wonderful neighbors who stumbled up our hill to save the day.

    The Mitt Romney Bubble

    posted by on June 30 at 12:12 PM


    Some folks get very excited when they hear Mitt Romney’s name. But I don’t think John McCain is seriously considering Mitt Romney as his running mate—despite Mitt’s name appearing at the supposed top of McCain’s alleged short list of potential VPs. Back when Romney was running for the top spot, I distinctly recall reading dozens of stories about the huge number of evangelical Christians wouldn’t and couldn’t vote for a Mormon. Remember this quote: “A vote for Romney is a vote for Satan”?

    McCain has enough trouble with evangelical voters—particularly with Obama making inroads—without putting a Mormon on the ticket and reviving a divisive, distracting debate about whether or not Mormons are actually Christians. No, I think the McCain camp is floating Romney’s name as a distraction while they woo a running mate that will please the religious right and take some of those historic winds out Obama’s sails: Alan Keyes.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on June 30 at 12:00 PM

    They’re tryin’ to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no…

    Meanwhile, In Canada

    posted by on June 30 at 11:55 AM

    A scene from this weekend’s Gay Pride Parade in Toronto:


    Obama Slams Clark for Slamming McCain

    posted by on June 30 at 11:40 AM

    Here are the offending comments:

    In particular, Wesley Clark said yesterday:

    I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.

    Barack Obama said today:

    For those like John McCain who have endured physical torment in service to our country — no further proof of such sacrifice is necessary… And let me also add that no one should ever devalue that service, especially for the sake of a political campaign, and that goes for supporters on both sides.

    So were Clark’s comments all part of a planned “Swiftboating” of McCain? Who knows. But the result, even if it might have felt momentarily good to the eye-for-an-eye wing of the Democratic party, has been to up McCain’s victimhood quotient—always a powerful thing in politics (see Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for recent examples).

    Because in politics, as in many other realms, victimhood doesn’t have to be real. It only has to be perceived.

    It’s hard to equate Clark’s opinion about McCain’s service with the completely untrue things that have been said (and whispered) about Barack Obama’s background, but the McCain camp is going to try, subtly, to do just that. As Jonathan Martin says:

    In a contest where Obama is already trying to frame himself as victim, it makes political sense for McCain’s campaign to make (stretch?) the case that the Democrat isn’t the only one being smeared.

    Under the Rainbow

    posted by on June 30 at 11:34 AM

    The Spouse and I were walking home up Broadway on Saturday afternoon, when an attractive young man asked us if we had a minute for gay rights.

    Actually, I’ve had decades.

    I’ve never been a big Pride booster. Living for the last quarter century on and about Capitol Hill, and being completely open about my gayness since I was 17, I always regard Pride as a celebration geared toward the people who dwell outside the gay community, who need one day a year to be away from jobs where they can’t be out, and neighbors who might not take kindly to having fags-or-dykes-next door. Colorful though I am, I’ve never been a Rainbow Gay, and, although I want my civil rights as much as the next person, I’ve never been in a big hurry to assimilate. The rainbow flag, introduced in 1978—that last delirious year of the Gay Movement before the decimation began—has always seemed too shiny-happy. I prefer the pink triangle as a reminder of things homosexualist. I’m optimistic like that.

    Anyway, this year, feeling a more hopeful about the future (Thanks California! Stay true, Obama!) and wanting do our part to swell the ranks of the gay, Spouse and I fortified ourselves with some of the Uncle Riz’s birthday brownies, and rolled down the hill to see if we could find something for us—a couple of mid-40s art fags—in Sunday’s Pride festivities that didn’t involve the financial support of a liquor vendor.

    We arrived at Fourth and Stewart to an onslaught of rainbow… and a crowd deep enough to make it difficult to see the signs identifying the various contingents. There were a lot of young people marching. Especially young women with Burning Man hair. This was heartening, as it has been my experience that young women actually Get Things Done. (See also: The cool music bookings for Pride weekend at the Wildrose.)

    Soon we were delighted to behold giant trucks representing the various city utility workers. There was City Light and Puget Sound Energy. (All the Department of Transportation folks sat on their asses in the back of a rather shabby looking vehicle. Your highways at work! Well played, DOT!) Then there was a gigantic white truck (ooh, shiny!) that appeared to be a giant vacuum, complete with enormous hose. And then a merry thought: To have control of that vehicle for the day! Sucking up rainbow beads and Pride roses, those damn Macy’s bandannas, panting purse dogs and their n-n-n-nervous meth queens! (Not a radical housecleaning, mind you. Just some tidying up).

    After 20 minutes, the parade seemed potentially endless, so we continued down Fourth until we reached the revue stand… which was apparently sponsored by this newspaper. I noted Savage and that cute little Dominic Holden on the panel, but between my sunglasses and the brownie buzz, everyone else was a blur. Was that Jen Graves? Sylvia O’Stayformore (hard to miss) was commenting, colorfully, but we couldn’t hear from across the street. We ran into one or two people we know, patting ourselves on the back when we hit the half-dozen mark. For the most part, this was a sea of happy strangers.

    We moseyed on down to Seattle Center and arrived about 12:30 p.m. Well, someone had to get there early. Loud, thumping music, people already dancing in their underpants around the fountain. The weather was of course spectacular, and the stage set for all and sundry to marinate together into a big rainbow gumbo.

    There were, of course, the vendors, peddling Equality, elephant ears, and a big display of tiny underpants for all your dancing-around-the-fountain needs. (Dancing in my scanties has been limited to one unhappy evening in a cheap Chicago disco circa 1979, and an underwear party at Tugs on Belmont back in ‘92; Savage may remember the details I’ve blocked out.) Eh. Nobody seemed especially crazy, or angry, or demented. I witnessed no protesters of any kind. The requisite leather Daddy or two, deflated cheeks in chaps. A lot of whiteys smiling around the Gays for Obama tent. I looked in vain for a Gays for McCain tent or anything at all contrary to the conventional. Whither the lone, angry evangelist? Alas, I came up short.

    Overall, everyone seemed thrilled to be participating. And I’m thrilled they were thrilled, but I’m too contrary for going with the mob. So much cheery togetherness wears on me. As hordes of people started arriving from the parade, we moved against the flow to make our exit.

    Lest my personal crankiness take over too much, let me say I’m glad that Pride has moved downtown. It all seemed like a fantastic fit: the parade, the festival, the reported 400,000 attendees. Everyone seemed happy, hopeful, and looking toward the future. This is what we need. I feel optimistic for the first time since the damn rainbow flag was introduced. With the possibility of a black man in the White House, full marriage rights probably just a matter of time, and my personal health so robust my doctor took me offone of my HIV meds, I can’t help but feel good. We finished our Gay Pride Sunday with the family on the porch, making ice cream.


    Pride rose photo by It’s Mark Mitchell.

    Why Bother?

    posted by on June 30 at 11:31 AM

    I got an e-mail on Friday from Mr. Poe. He attended the Andre Dubus III reading on Thursday, and came away thoroughly disappointed. It was a really funny e-mail, all about how the point of the reading seemed to be about pronouncing Dubus correctly. He kindly let me quote from it here, bolded for truth.

    I don’t know how you continually attend these things. They don’t exactly exist for people who don’t know of or haven’t already read/started to read the novel, and they don’t add much of anything to the material. In fact, I’m starting to realize I’d rather not see my preferred authors in person. I’d rather know nothing about them.

    He goes on to say that the only relevant part of readings are usually the questions.

    But nobody ever asks any good questions, and when they do, they’re either:

    1) Generic: You’ve heard the question before at every reading, and regardless of the answer, you’ve heard that too. It isn’t a dumb question…it’s a done question.

    2) Inconsiderate: Not everybody in the audience has finished the book. Your spoiler was fucking obnoxious and now everybody hates you. Now we all acknowledge that we can’t discuss critical points in the story, so we start asking about proper pronunciation of last names and twelve more minutes of #1.

    I can’t really argue with you on these points, Mr. Poe, but I don’t think that all readings are awful. I make it a point to not go to readings by authors I completely adore, because it’s never worked out well in the past. There are a few authors whose work I can’t read anymore because they turned out to be such douches.

    But the kind of reading that I’m happy to attend are usually the up-and-comers, who I’m a little unsure about. Generally, if it’s their first or second novel, they’ll be pretty fresh and fast while reading from their work, and the questions are usually a little better. At least, the questions tend to be more along the lines of “Who are you?” and not “How did you get so astoundingly popular?

    In the last three months, off the top of my head, I’ve attended really good readings by Ed Lin, Aleksandar Hemon, Marjane Satrapi, and Margot Kahn. They were all grateful and gracious to the audience, full of anecdotes, and excellent readers of their own work.

    I think that readings can be amazing ways to learn about books and authors that you’re interested in. All I can really offer by way of advice to avoid the stinkers—and hoo boy are there a lot of stinkers—is this: I try to only star the readings that I think will be interesting in the readings calendar, and then I try to point out the most interesting ones every day on Slog. Occasionally, I’ll be wrong, and please let me know if I am. I’ll apologize and I’ll try to learn from my mistakes. But I’ve been to too many good readings to completely turn my back on all of them.

    Goldy on the Seattle Times on the Washington Democrats on Dino Rossi

    posted by on June 30 at 11:18 AM

    Required reading

    The solemn defenders of public civility at the Seattle Times editorial board spank the WA Dems today, arguing that “Ethnic slurs have no place in political advertising in our state.”

    I don’t really disagree, and had the Dems called Dino Rossi a wop or a dago or a greaseball or a guinea or a spaghetti nigger, well, that would have been offensive, and clearly out of bounds. But they didn’t. They merely soundtracked a web video with the theme song to The Sopranos—a critically acclaimed TV show—because the tune was catchy, energetic and a well-paced fit to the accompanying footage… and I can only assume, because they wanted to highlight the fact that the political thugs at the BIAW are about as close as we come to mobsters in this state, at least in attitude, short of the actual Colacurcio crime family and their consiglieri (and proud Italian Club of Seattle member) Albert Rosellini.

    Oops! Did I cross a line there by suggesting that former Gov. Rosellini has known mob connections? Does that constitute an ethnic slur, despite the supporting evidence, simply because Rosellini is Italian? (Apparently yes, judging from the way our local media gingerly dances around Rosellini’s connections to the Colacurcios and their mob activities out of fear of offending Italian-Americans… or, perhaps, getting whacked.)

    Indeed, the very same day the Dems released their video, Rossi gave a stump speech in which he directly compared Gov. Gregoire’s policies to that of Tony Soprano, by name, and yet the Times didn’t find that slur “sleazy” because, I guess, Gregoire is of Irish descent. So by the Times’ standards, it is acceptable public discourse to groundlessly accuse Rossi of being a whiskey swilling drunk, but not Gregoire, whereas mob related epithets are okay when launched at our Irish-American governor, but not Rossi…

    Read the rest here.

    Today in the Slow Death of Newspapers

    posted by on June 30 at 11:15 AM

    Recall Martin Gee, the San Jose Mercury News designer Jen posted about last April.

    Gee keeps a great—if depressing—flickr account called “reduction in force,” with haunting photo essays of desolate newsrooms emptied out by layoffs and buyouts.


    They look like archaeological sites—the detritus of human life left behind when the humans have been wiped out.


    Gee has become one of the ghosts from his own photographs.

    He just got laid off.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on June 30 at 11:00 AM


    ‘The Mark of Zorro’ at Paramount Theatre

    I’m still waiting for Silent Movie Mondays to tackle my favorite new discovery, Cecil B. DeMille’s The Godless Girl, but in the meantime I’ll gladly settle for this classic swashbuckler. If you’ve never been, you’re not going to believe your ears. The genius entertainer Dennis James accompanies the film on the Paramount’s tricked-out Wurlitzer organ and the crowd hisses at the bad guys—you’ll never think about “silent” films the same way again. (Paramount, 911 Pine St, 292-2787. 7 pm, $12 at the door.) ANNIE WAGNER

    Wesley Clark Slams John McCain’s War Record

    posted by on June 30 at 10:51 AM

    Looks like we can cross Wesley Clark off the list of Obama’s potential VPs—because, you see, questioning the service of a war hero is only kosher when the war hero is a Democrat.

    Zipcar Wants You Off That Bus

    posted by on June 30 at 10:48 AM

    Riding the 7 from Columbia City to Capitol Hill this Sunday, I spotted this ad for Zipcar, the Cambridge-based carsharing company that bought up hometown institution Flexcar earlier this year.


    The ad shows a truck, taken from the “on the ground, about to get run over” perspective that’s commonly used to sell SUVs. It reads: “Go ahead: ask the bus driver if she’ll take you antiquing.”

    The message here is fundamentally anti-transit: You’re on the bus. Doesn’t that suck? If you rented one of our trucks (or Minis, or BMWs, or SUVs), you’d have the freedom to do whatever you want. Unlike on the bus. Which sucks.

    Once again, the contrast with Flexcar couldn’t be more obvious. Flexcar’s last ad campaign sold the carsharing service as a supplement to Metro, not a superior way of getting around: “Flexcar and Metro: Combining the convenience of transit and car-sharing to provide a cost-effective alternative to private car ownership.” The idea was that you didn’t have to have a car to get around, because you could take the bus to work and run errands and check out a Flexcar for trips that required more flexibility. Zipcar, in contrast, advertises it service as a replacement for transit. Just another reason—in addition to the fact that Zipcar charges a premium for enviro-friendly hybrids, fines users if they don’t fill up the tank, provides no incentive for keeping the cars clean, charges you $3.50 to talk to a human being, has an insurance deductible of $500, and just costs more overall—that I’m using Zipcar less and less, and taking transit more and more.

    Alan Jacobs on Second Avenue and Pike Street

    posted by on June 30 at 10:30 AM


    So, Alan, I know Leroy owns this fine establishment, but how long have you worked here?
    Twenty years. The store has been here for 21 years—we used to be located where the Walgreens is now, up on Third.

    I’m assuming you’ve seen some wild stuff go down, being on Pike Street for that long.
    Yeah, you do see a lot of stuff here because of the location, like all the crack dealers and drugs. I’ve also seen stores though that come and try to sell the same clothing we carry, but they don’t last more than a few months.

    What is up with all the gold records on the wall?
    Those are friends from the KFOX days back in the ’80s. A guy, Doleman, had them in his shop and we had to do some trades to get these. They had a song out at the time called “Mack the Knife” which was the name of our old store back then.

    Do recording artists stop by when they’re in town?
    Oh yeah—we had George Benson not too long ago, as well as Fleetwood Mac—they bought a lot from us. The drummer from Pearl Jam has stopped in, too.

    Is most of the apparel you carry from the West Coast?
    A few things are from California, but mainly everything is from New York.

    What’s your favorite shoe brand?
    I would have to go with the Hugo Vitelli shoes. We carry a lot of these, and these are the newest ones right here.

    Those are nice, really nice! Next time I need to pick up some pimp shoes, I know who to call.

    * * *

    Here’s the latest Leroy’s commercial starring Alan. Hey Leroy, please let me in on the next commercial! Two thumbs way up!

    Speaking of Homosexuals and Sports

    posted by on June 30 at 10:26 AM

    Legalize gay marriage for the win:

    [L]egalizing gay marriage is good for sports teams. Spain did it a few years back, and wham, they win the Euro for the first time since 1964. Canada did it just before the 2006 Winter Olympics, and bingo, they had their best-ever medal haul. South Africa legalized gay marriage in 2006, and won the Rugby World Cup the following year. Massachusetts gave same-sex couples the right to wed a few years ago—and ask Red Sox and Celtic fans about how nicely things have gone for their teams since. For all those folks who insist that God’s punishment for gay marriage will be obvious, so far the evidence is, um, lacking. The evidence for the opposite is growing.

    If California upholds gay marriage at the ballot box in November, I predict championships for USC football, UCLA basketball, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Anaheim Angels — all within short order.

    Via Sullivan.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on June 30 at 10:23 AM


    Two events going on tonight, in what is probably a tremendous readings-related hangover from the first big summer weekend in the Northwest. First up is the Mellow Mondays open mic at Bai Pai Thai, up in Ravenna. I haven’t been, myself, but I hear that it’s a pretty laid-back open mic, as far as they go.

    And at Elliott Bay Book Company, Carol Cassella reads from Oxygen, which is a medical thriller about a Seattle “anesthesiologist at the height of her profession.” Her process suddenly goes wrong and a patient dies, and she must figure out what went wrong. Reading the summary of the novel on Cassella’s website, I think that I’ve already figured out what happened. But I kind of like the cover, so there’s that.

    Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, can be found on our website.

    “Homosexual Eases Into 100 Final at Olympic Trials”

    posted by on June 30 at 10:16 AM

    It seems the Christian news site OneNewsNow automatically changes the word “gay” into “homosexual” for its stories. So when sprinter Tyson Gay set a wind-aided record this weekend…well, something funny happened.

    (Via Deadspin.)

    Look What My Kid Got at Wall•E

    posted by on June 30 at 10:12 AM

    I took my son to see Wall•E this weekend.

    The latest from Pixar, a hit with critics and audiences, is set a eight or nine centuries in the future. Wall•E paints a picture of a planet destroyed by a thoughtless humanity in the thrall of a consumer culture that eventually overwhelms the earth with… junk. Garbage, refuse, crap—everywhere. Humans are forced to abandon the planet and blast off into space, where humanity survives on spaceships that look and function like cruise ships or, um, Disney resorts. There’s not much to do out there in space but sit on lounge chairs (floating space lounge chairs), and eat, eat, eat. Meanwhile on earth huge garbage ziggurats tower over abandoned skyscrapers, container ships full of crap sit on dried up ocean beds, and dust-and-garbage storms blow scour the surface of the earth.

    Depressing—all that garbage, all that thoughtless over-consumption, all that environmental devastation. But look what we got on the way into the theater…


    That’s a watch. A cheap plastic watch. According to the instruction card that comes with it, my son’s Wall•E watch was made in China, it’s not water resistant, and it’s batteries are not replaceable. So basically it’s a disposable watch brought to us by a movie about the dire consequences of thoughtless over-consumption, a watch that is just one of many—tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands—that will be coming soon to landfills near you.

    UPDATE: In Wall•E the world appears to be governed by a huge corporation called Buy ‘N Large, which at first encourages over-consumption and then, when the environmental consequences become clear, tries to find ways for humanity to consume its way out of the environmental crisis that over-consumption caused in the first place. Eventually the planet has to be abandoned—via Buy ‘N Large space ships. Slog tipper Pop Tart draws our attention to a Buy ‘N Large website, where you can… buy movie merchandise…

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on June 30 at 10:00 AM

    Jessica Jackson Hutchins’s French Bread Pizza Coffin on a Fence (2005), glazed ceramic with collage, 7 by 7 1/2 by 3 inches

    I have no idea where this piece by this Portland artist is Currently Hanging (Sitting). I found it here and just felt like sharing.

    Keeping it Classy Since 1976

    posted by on June 30 at 9:59 AM

    Last week’s Seattle Weekly had a story about the brutal, potentially fatal gang rape of a 16-year-old Bellevue girl by four teenage boys she met through MySpace. All four boys were convicted after investigators uncovered MySpace messages bragging that they had “run a train on her” in one of the teenagers’ cars.

    So what image did the Weekly use to illustrate this sensitive, sad, potentially tragic story (the boys threatened to kill the victim if she contacted police)?

    Four computer mice piled up in a “train” on top of a fifth. The headline: “MySpace Train to Juvie.”

    Visual puns about gang rape: Always in good taste!

    The Legend of Skully the Impaled Pigeon

    posted by on June 30 at 9:55 AM


    “I have named him Skully,” writes Slog tipper JC. “For the past year or so I have witnessed his slow decomposition on the gondola spikes at my morning bus stop at 5th and Jackson. It amazes me that there is still enough tissue to bind his frail skeleton together and I suspect that is only a matter of time before his little pigeon head falls off onto a waiting Metro commuter below.”

    Overheard Last Night at The Cuff

    posted by on June 30 at 9:50 AM

    Gay No. 1: Why weren’t there more floats at the parade this year?

    Gay No. 2: It’s the recession. The first thing to go are the gay floats.

    Re: All Those Obama Marchers at Pride

    posted by on June 30 at 9:45 AM

    The Obama marchers represented one of the biggest contingents—if not the biggest contingent—in the parade, as Savage captured here:


    And yet… Obama doesn’t support gay marriage. What gives? I and some of our commenters had a few things to say about this on Saturday, but if you’re stingy with your clicks, here’s the relevant portion:

    If getting the universe to bend in a pro-gay direction in the long-term means being thrown under a Democratic presidential candidate’s bus in the short-term… Well, the pro-Obama marchers at tomorrow’s parade will essentially be offering to strike this bargain: Bring it on, throw us under, roll back and forth across us, whatever it takes to win. Because long-term, we recognize that a Democrat in the White House will be better for gay rights than a Republican.

    And after the last eight years, what savvy gay rights proponent can argue with that logic?


    Dead TV

    posted by on June 30 at 8:34 AM

    It’s not a new story, but in case you missed it:

    THE remains of a woman have been found sitting in front of her TV - 42 years after she was reported missing.

    Hedviga Golik, who was born in 1924, had apparently made herself a cup of tea before sitting in her favourite armchair in front of her black and white television.

    Croatian police said she was last seen by neighbours in 1966, when she would have been 42 years old.

    Her neighbours thought she had moved out of her flat in the capital, Zagreb.

    But she was found by police and bailiffs who had broken in to help the authorities establish who owned the flat.

    A police spokesman said: “So far, we have no idea how it is possible that someone officially reported missing so long ago was not found before in the same apartment she used to live in.

    “When officers went there, they said it was like stepping into a place frozen in time.

    “The cup she had been drinking tea from was still on a table next to the chair she had been sitting in and the house was full of things no one had seen for decades. Nothing had been disturbed for decades, even though there were more than a few cobwebs in there.”

    The wronged woman in that Dickens fiction, Great Expectations, has been surpassed.

    The Morning News

    posted by on June 30 at 8:08 AM

    Gay Pride: 400,000 people at the parade? No way.

    Gay Shame: Tailwind negates Tyson Gay’s 100-meter-dash world record.

    Gas Prices: Slamming the brothel industry hard.

    Nice Jugs: Americans mocked by clumsy milk containers.

    Hot Bottles: Schmancy water served by sommeliers.

    Big Barrels: Tensions over Iran drive crude oil to $143.

    Historic Hall: Former home of the On the Boards, current home of the Sons of Haiti—up for sale, could become condos.

    Fat Chance: China conducts “stability” patrols to prevent Olympics protests.

    Blame the Folk Dancing: Four shot near waterfront.

    Brassier Brassiere: Female general goes for fourth star.

    Bummer of the Week: Two medivac helicopters collide in Arizona, killing six.

    Bulldozer: Mayor’s cure for poverty in Victor Steinbrueck Park.

    Term of the Day: From Playboy’s Book of Forbidden Words, edited by Robert A. Wilson. Copyright 1972.

    FURBURGER: The female genitalia; usually used in reference to cunnilingus: “He’s smiling like he just ate the furburger.” This is a form of hamburger, of course, and it parodies such restaurantese as oliveburger, cheeseburger, pizzaburger. See EAT

    Come From Heaven

    posted by on June 30 at 6:04 AM

    Where are you now, Ruslana Korshunova?
    ruslanakorshunovazi5.jpg In minus time-space or plus soul-time?

    …[T]he 20-year-old supermodel whose face graced the cover of Vogue, committed suicide on Saturday when she fell from her ninth floor apartment in New York’s financial district, according to the medical examiner’s office.

    Sunday, June 29, 2008

    Doorbelling with Sound Transit: Celebrity Edition

    posted by on June 29 at 11:44 PM

    While the rest of you were downtown at the Pride Parade, I was out in Magnolia tagging along with Will Kelley-Kamp, blogger at Horse’s Ass and state Rep. Geoff Simpson’s former campaign manager, going door to door to pass out fliers for Sound Transit’s proposed 2008 ballot measure. The package would increase bus service, allow more than 20 new miles of light rail, add Bus Rapid Transit service to the 520 bridge and triple Seattle-Tacoma commuter rail service.

    Will briefed me on the key transit issues before our number 24 bus pulled into the comfortable hilltop dwellings of upper Magnolia.


    The two of us were paired up by Rob Johnson, regional policy director at Transportation Choices Coalition, and according to Will, we were one of at least 25 groups doorbelling over the weekend all around the Sound Transit area.

    The cool part was that each of the groups were assigned to the neighborhood of an elected official, and Will and I scored the neighborhood of Larry Phillips, a King County Councilmember and Sound Transit Executive Committee member, who also happens to be considering a run for Ron Sims’s gig as County Exec. According to Will, Phillips is big into light rail, so he gets props from us Sound Transiters. Sims, according to Will, is a “light-rail hating monster.” Sims has had a good run, Will says, but his time has passed.

    So Will and I began our journey through the sea of Range Rovers, seeking the opinions of Larry Phillips’ neighbors and stopping at the houses of those registered Democrats that bother to vote once in awhile. Most of the people we visited were surprisingly receptive.

    One of the first neighbors we visited brought up a common theme—with regard to area-wide rail service, he said, we just need to buckle down and build it, like San Francisco did with the flawed BART system back in ‘72. We told him we were going to go on to Larry Phillips’ house later. “Larry’s kinda… yeah,” he said.

    When we told the neighbors we were trying to get a package on the ballot, some of them expressed confusion at the amount of measures they were being asked to consider for 2008 (ours, of course, is the most important). Others were worried most about the Earthquake-damaged Magnolia Bridge. Claire Creim, poodle at her feet, told us she’s gotten frustrated with seeing little progress on any projects in the Magnolia area. “I don’t mind paying taxes if I get something for my money,” she said. Creim moved to Seattle from Tennessee 20 years ago and insisted that the roads and transit system there is more progressive.

    Finally, after hours of working in the blazing hot sun, we arrived at Larry Phillips’ house. In case you were wondering, this is what a County Councilmember’s house looks like:


    When we got there, Phillips and his family had recently returned from the Pride Parade (“It was great!”) and were having a barbecue, but they came out for a minute to shoot the breeze. Phillips has already voiced his support for the ballot measure, so we didn’t really have too much convincing to do. He’s pro-light rail. He’s pro-Gay Pride Parades. We approved.

    Phillips didn’t say much else about the Sound Transit package except that he was still trying to convince a couple of ST board members to go along with the 2008 plan. He told us, while looking at his teenage son, that “effective leadership” is the key to getting things done in the area. We didn’t disagree.

    Things Will Be Great When You’re Downtown

    posted by on June 29 at 6:32 PM


    I’m not as down on today’s parade as Christopher seems to be. It was quicker and tighter this year (fewer looooong gaps between contingents), and the energy was great despite the heat. Yes, it would’ve been nice to see more floats and bigger floats—this is the second year in a row that we’ve offered cash prizes to give people some incentive to pull bigger, better floats together—but we weren’t wanting for potential winners at the end of the parade. (We even had to debate who to give the awards to, so there were more than three possibilities—but there was no “Bear, Bath, and Beyond” this year, no twenty-foot-tall pink poodle.) I rather liked this traditional—and patriotic!—float design…


    More of that, please. And a lot of work went into the Julia’s/La Faux float—oh, and check out the boy lifting his leg at the top right.


    Much more of that, please.

    But here’s what we’d really like to see if we keep the awards going: Some entries pulled together groups of friends—not goo-goo community organizations, not AIDS alliances, not the Committe to Reelect Christine Gregoire. If some creative types got together and created a big, funny, interesting float just for the hell of it—just for pleasure, not to promote their missions or raise awareness or scrounge up votes—they could walk away with the $2,000 first prize.

    And here’s something we never, ever want to see in the parade again:


    That is a rolling billboard for a condominium—because, uh, gay people, you see, sometimes live in condos, so… uh… here’s our rolling condo billboard in the Pride Parade! No one in our group was rude enough to boo, but we decided that next year and we’re bringing paint guns and we’re going to shoot up any rolling billboards that come down the street.

    Oh, and I realize this is heresy and shit, but I’d like to see less of… Dykes on Bikes. You rock, ladies (and gents), your bikes roar, but remember that old show business adage: Always leave ‘em wanting more.


    Folks were partying in the fountain at Seattle Center immediately after the parade—hell, they’re probably still partying at the fountain now. Hey, remember how people used to argue that “the community” didn’t want the parade downtown or the rally at Seattle Center? I’m glad that’s all over.


    Oh, the parade may be over but our memories will last forever—as will these pride beads, all of which will spend eternity in area landfills.


    Letter to the Editor of the Day: Georgetown Edition

    posted by on June 29 at 4:56 PM

    Dear Editor,

    Living outside of town I get behind on progress in the city. This weekend while in Georgetown I was standing in front of the gaping hole that was the historic Rainier Brewery. A rendering of the building that will replace it is stapled to a sign board. With almost unbelievable temerity, and wrenching commercialism, the developers have named it “The Original Rainier Brewery.” The new building is utterly vapid. It has not one ounce of the original Rainier Brewery’s honesty or drama. Where we used to enjoy the irreplaceable, massive, old facade we will now be greeted by an example of the developer’s art.

    A friend explained to me that the money to save the facade would be better spent on the new building. A passerby made admiring comments about the advertisement. I stood in shock, and remembered an earlier generation of preservationists, names now forgotten, who first recognized the Brewery’s historic status, and prevented its destruction decades ago. “What’s next?”, I thought, but I couldn’t think of another building of equal scale and merit that might face a similar end.

    Hans Nelsen

    The Gays Have Legs

    posted by on June 29 at 4:47 PM

    Gays! Not going anywhere. Now more of them than ever. More gay-identified children than ever—whole school busses of them! And drag queens continue to endure, plum-colored plumage and all.

    But the FLOATS this year?! Uhhh…. Anyone? Anyone make a float? What it was like being a judge: Hmm, well, that uh sorta looks kinda float…ish

    Considering the money handed out, that was pathetic.

    Gay Day

    posted by on June 29 at 4:41 PM


    Today’s Pride Parade was fantastically well attended despite the hot hot heat. The Seattle Times is estimating 400,000 attended. For those of us in the parade, it was a grueling trek down Fourth Avenue, which was lined with masses of smiling people. The heat off the pavement was intense and the street was littered with globs of melting chocolate. Attendees bearing squirt guns helped us fend off heatstroke.


    Photos above by Evil Robot 6 via The Stranger’s Flickr Pool

    Right now PrideFest at Seattle Center is still full of happy homos, drunk drag queens, and liberal lookie-loos (sorry, too much beer brings out the alliteration). I kept hearing that the Cuff will be where it’s at this evening.


    Pick up the paper Wednesday to find out who won the cash prizes for best floats.


    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on June 29 at 11:00 AM


    Gay Pride

    After a couple years of divide and fail, Seattle is cramming its butt- load of gay pride into one supergay day. Things begin at 11:00 a.m. with the Pride Parade: two and a half hours of Dykes on Bikes, shirtless bartenders on flatbed trucks, and award-winning floats. That afternoon brings Seattle PrideFest, four and a half hours of live music, DJs, beer gardens, and wandering gay herds at Seattle Center. Last year, both events were incredibly fun. Here’s hoping for a repeat. (Parade starts at 11 am at Fourth Ave and Union St and proceeds down Fourth Ave to Denny Way. PrideFest runs from 1:30–6 pm at Seattle Center. Both events are free.) DAVID SCHMADER


    Reading Today

    posted by on June 29 at 10:00 AM


    An open mic at the Little Red Studio and two other great-looking events going on today.

    At Town Hall, there is a new edition of Short Stories Live, which is an event where actors read short stories to the audience. This is a special Roaring Twenties edition, and it should be pretty awesome. I don’t know who the actors are, but the stories are by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, and P.G. Wodehouse. A Wodehouse story read aloud by a capable person should be wildly entertaining, and a Fitzgerald story is always great, but, Dorothy Parker is of course something special. Anyone who knows that my column is named Constant Reader should understand that she’s a hero of mine. So this is highly recommended.

    At Elliott Bay Book Company, Erick Lyle, who used to be known in zine circles as “Iggy Scam,” reads from his new book On the Lower Frequencies: A Secret History of the City. I regret not reading this one for review, because it looks really neat. It’s about fighting gentrification, and it’s a collection of essays, memoir, and a manual for creative resistance. Local legend Chris Estey suggests this reading, and so do I.

    Lyle is at 2 and Short Stories Live is at 4. You can probably do both.

    The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is over here.