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Archives for 07/06/2008 - 07/12/2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Space Needle Captured: The Video

posted by on July 12 at 11:45 AM

Dear Sub Pop, Happy Birthday! I almost sh*t my pants climbing to the top of the Space Needle with you, but now I love you even more. Yours, Kelly O

More photos after the jump…

Continue reading "Space Needle Captured: The Video" »

Men on Mission

posted by on July 12 at 11:42 AM

Sexy, sexy Mormon boys…


Grumpy, grumpy Mormon elders

A Las Vegas man who devised a calendar that features shirtless Mormon missionaries is facing a disciplinary hearing and possible excommunication because of the project.

A lifetime member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Chad Hardy was summoned by letter to a Sunday meeting with a council of elders to discuss his “conduct unbecoming a member of the church.”

Thanks, PopTart!

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on July 12 at 11:00 AM


Zach Plague at Richard Hugo House

Plague is the author of a self-described “typo/graphic novel” titled boring boring boring boring boring boring boring, just released by Featherproof Books. Besides featuring some gorgeous design, boring7 starts out with one couple’s endangered anti-love affair and ends with art terrorism. Along the way, there are sex drugs, an “art patriarch” named The Platypus, and a punk named Punk. Also reading will be Kevin Sampsell of Future Tense Publishing and Jay Ponteri, editor of M Review, making this a huge-ass, small-press hootenanny. (Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, 322-7030. 7 pm, free.)



Sub Pop Turns 20 at Marymoor Park

This weekend’s 20th-anniversary blowout for mega-indie label Sub Pop includes a lot of great shows, but today’s lineup is arguably the best, with reunions from Scottish twee punks the Vaselines and Canadian indie hermits Eric’s Trip, as well as sets from rising Seattle stars Fleet Foxes, awesome Allentown ranters Pissed Jeans, New Zealand’s adorable Flight of the Conchords, and many more acts from the label’s stacked, storied roster. All in the legendary birthplace of ”grunge™”: Redmond, Washington. (Marymoor Park, 6046 W Lake Sammamish Pkwy NE, Redmond, Noon, $35, all ages.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Currently Hanging

    posted by on July 12 at 10:00 AM

    Mike Bray’s installation Remake (2008), based on The Shining, mixed media

    At Crawl Space Gallery, opening tonight from 6-9 pm. (Gallery site here; artist site here.)

    Reading Today

    posted by on July 12 at 10:00 AM


    A book by a “Seattle plant and tree expert,” a book with the overpunctuated title Day Hike! Olympic Peninsula: The Best Trails You Can Hike in a Day, an open mic, and several other readings today.

    Zach Plague is at the Hugo House reading from boring boring boring boring boring boring boring, which is billed as “a typo/graphic novel.” There’ll be a Stranger Suggests box for this one popping up soonish, so I won’t repeat myself here.

    At Elliott Bay Book Company, Rayo Casablanca reads from his debut novel, Six Sick Hipsters. It’s about someone who’s killing hipsters, and it’s a mystery.

    And at Seattle Mystery Bookshop, Yasmine Galenorn reads from her book Dragon Wytch: Sisters of the Moon, Book 4, which is actually a book about vampires, even though you’d think it was about dragons or wytches (sic).

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

    The Morning News

    posted by on July 12 at 9:03 AM

    De-nuked: Negotiators agree on terms of North Korean disarmament.

    Sanction this
    : Russia and China veto sanctions on Zimbabwe; Mugabe celebrates.

    Bank shot
    : Failure at IndyMac Bancorp Inc. blamed on U.S. Sen. Charles Shumer.

    Wonder twins: Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are going to be alright.

    Tony Snow: Dead at 53.

    All apologies: Pope Benedict XVI apologizes for sexual abuse by priests during visit to Australia.

    The obstacle: How Bill Clinton complicates Hillary’s likelihood of becoming Obama’s running mate.

    Heartache: Innovative heart surgeon Michael Debakey dead at 99.

    iPwned: Customers grumble over software problems as Apple launches new iPhone.

    Fire on the Eastside: Gregoire declares State of Emergency to battle wildfires in Eastern Washington.

    Selfish shellfishers
    : Taylor Shellfish illegally farmed public waters.

    Bad experience: The Hendrix family battles in court over how best to ruin Jimi Hendrix’s legacy.

    Friday, July 11, 2008

    “Oh My God!”

    posted by on July 11 at 8:07 PM

    Or… the advisability of leaning out a sliding glass door, holding onto a metal railing, and videotaping a thunderstorm. Ouch. Glad you’re alright, Slow Loris.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Fnarf.

    No Clean Campaign Pledge for This Guy

    posted by on July 11 at 5:30 PM

    Just one judicial candidate out of 15 running for state supreme court and appeals court positions —supreme court candidate C.F. (Frank) Vulliet—has refused to sign a pledge proposed by the Washington Committee for Ethical Judicial Campaigns to run a clean, fair campaign.

    The pledge, which states that the signer “will not take any action
    during the campaign which will harm the public faith in the integrity of the judicial system in Washington,” was prompted by a surprisingly ugly state supreme court race in 2006, when the Building Industry Alliance of Washington (the same guys who bought billboards for Dino Rossi accusing Gov. Christine Gregoire and “Seattle” of stealing the 2004 election) ran smear ads attacking judge Gerry Alexander as too old for the job, raising questions about his character, and criticizing him for speaking sympathetically of a fellow justice who was arrested for drunk driving.

    In a seven-page letter replete with references to the First Amendment and studded with legalese, Vulliet lays out his reasons for refusing to sign the pledge. “While the efforts of WCEJC may be well-intentioned, the pledge conflicts with both the right and duty to inform voters of vital matters affecting the courts, and their right to have as much information as available on which to make their choice. In the longer term, the restriction on discussing negative material conflicts with its purpose: to instill and maintain public confidence in those same courts,” the letter says.

    I’m not saying Vulliet’s going to run a dirty campaign—hell, I know next to nothing about the guy. But I sure hope the BIAW’s smear tactics aren’t what he’s referring to when he talks about “vital matters affecting the courts.”

    This Week on Drugs

    posted by on July 11 at 5:24 PM

    Seattle isn’t the only city with an anti-pot zealot named Carr (we have Tom Carr, the city attorney). Boston has its own anti-pot Carr, first name Howie. And he’s a dolt (our Carr is actually smart on non-pot issues). Here’s Boston-Carr’s op-ed in the Herald.

    Marijuana makes you stupid. It’s as simple as that.

    And now in Massachusetts, we are going to have a ballot question that asks the following: Do you really want to make it even easier than it already is to get stupid, and stay stupid?

    Yes, the Bong Brigade is on the march again. They want to put the high back into high school, the truckin’ back in truck stops, the joint back in all those joint legislative committees. Stand by to see stoners at the Stone Zoo, potheads in Marblehead. The grass is always greener in Greenfield, dude.

    This one’s, like, totally for Jerry Garcia!

    The ganja-guys then cite the alleged “collateral damage” of this CORI indignity: “inability to find employment, obtain housing and receive a college loan.”

    Please. The reason stoners can’t find employment is because they’re too wasted. They forgot to turn on the alarm clock. They went out for a smoke break and never returned. They missed the bus, man. They can’t “obtain housing” because they can’t get it together to ever leave mom’s rent-free basement….

    The fact is, once you make something legal, even if it’s just de facto, it’s easier to get. Pot does fry your brain.

    On cue for the marijuana-decriminalization initiative—which appears likely to pass—Howie Carr trots out every stale joke (dude!) and hackneyed stereotype (your brain’s an egg in a skillet!) to paint all pot smokers as a bunch of behind-the-times dolts. But the joke is on Carr. Most of the adults reading the Boston Herald have smoked pot (thousands of them still do), and they have jobs, and set their alarm clock, read the paper, and have every reason to disdain Carr’s simplistic, unscientific hackery. The proof is in the clicking. Pot-law reformers are using increasingly sophisticated media and messages to earn enormous followings online. Paul Armentano at Huffington Post, Scott Morgan at DRCNet, and Bruce Mirken at AlterNet deconstruct bad science and shred federal drug propaganda, with class and sophistication. They’ve been so effective that the White House has established its own shamelessly defensive blog, Pushing Back, in an attempt spar. But like Carr, all they’ve got are the half-baked arguments of yesteryear. So ironically, it’s the drug warriors who live up to stereotypes of yester-decade, while the time-warp hippies leave them in the dust.

    Roll Another One: Medical-marijuana patients in Washington say 24 ounces isn’t enough.

    Killer Weed? Guys busted growing dope in cemetery.

    Killer Cop? Chokes marijuana suspect.

    Seattle May Build Jail with Eastside Cities

    posted by on July 11 at 5:12 PM

    Earlier this week, the city announced that it is pursuing a joint venture with several Eastside cities to build a new jail for misdemeanor offenders.

    In 2012, cities in King County will have to provide their own space for misdemeanents—because of expected population increases in the jail system—currently housed in the county’s jails.

    Because of the impending deadline, in May, Seattle announced four potential locations in the city—in West Seattle, Haller Lake, and Interbay—to build a new, seven-acre jail. Neighbors flipped out about having a jail in their backyards, and city officials have been scrambling to find other options.

    According to the preliminary results from a feasibility study, the city may end up building a jail with cities like Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, and Shoreline, rather than go it alone. Current population projections estimate that the cities would need 640 beds over the next 20 years, and the city has not said where the joint venture jail might be located.

    While it’s possible the city will join in the construction of a regional facility, it is still holding meetings about the four previously announced in-city jail sites.

    Tomorrow’s meeting—on the Aurora Avenue site—will go from 9:00 a.m. to noon at North Seattle Community College.

    The city’s complete feasibility study should be released later this month.

    Yup, Still a Liberal!

    posted by on July 11 at 5:06 PM

    I’ve been watching all this hubbub about Obama “lurching” to the center with some amusement. Sure, I was bummed about some recent developments (FISA, notably, though I would’ve been more vexed had the vote been even vaguely close), but overall this is much ado about nothing.

    Remember, kids, according to Obama’s basketball-coach brother in law, Obama’s signature move is to “fake right and veer left.”

    The supposed issues:

    1) FISA. (Let’s get this one out of the way.) Yep, Obama voted for an expansion of the government’s spying powers, along with an immunity provision that he had once vowed to filibuster. Lame. That said, he voted to narrow the legislation on each of the three immunity-related amendments (Dodd’s to strike Title II [“Protections for Electronic Communication Service Providers”], Specter’s to “limit retroactive immunity for providing assistance to the United States to instances in which a Federal court determines the assistance was provided in connection with an intelligence activity that was constitutional,” and Bingaman’s to “stay pending cases against certain telecommunications companies and provide that such companies may not seek retroactive immunity until 90 days after the date the final report of the Inspectors General on the President’s Surveillance Program is submitted to Congress”), all of which failed decisively. On the telecom immunity portion of the bill, at least, Obama’s votes weren’t so much a flip-flop as a resigned capitulation. And the legislation itself passed 69-28, so let’s not pretend Obama’s vote would have made a difference either way.

    2) Campaign finance. You know, I don’t much care that Obama opted out. It’s really our responsibility as voters (and as taxpayers—only 7.3% checked the box for the public campaign financing system in 2006) to demand a public financing system that’s attractive to candidates. The campaign finance system is meant to be a carrot (you spend less than X, and we’ll help you do it), not a stick. We can’t operate the system if it’s based on virtue and shaming—the decision to opt in can and should be based on rational self-interest.

    3) Reproductive rights and abstinence education. I understand why people are freaking out about Obama’s recent comments (to an evangelical magazine) on this issue, but there’s just very little reason to worry. Obama is a cosponsor of a Senate bill with the key phrase “life or health of the mother,” which is understood to encompass mental health. And he’s taken plenty of shit throughout his career for supporting medically accurate sex education (with noncoercive information about the abstinence option) at all grade levels. The fact is, a president is not a legislator. A president does, however, appoint Supreme Court justices. And Obama should and will nominate people (like these contenders) who are litmus-ready on choice. McCain would do precisely the opposite.

    4) Child rapists and Heller. OK, I’m fiercely pro-gun control and anti-death penalty. Particularly in the case of child rape, you don’t want to disincentivize reporting of the crime—and parents don’t necessarily want to be responsible for sending a family friend or relative to the gallows, even if this person raped their kid. But we really need to take everything Obama says about recent Supreme Court decisions with a gigantic spoonful of salt. Duh, Obama doesn’t want to get people riled up by saying child rapists should get off easy, but again, this is really a question about what sort of thinkers he would nominate to the Supreme Court. And he would almost certainly nominate liberals who will vote exactly as the liberal justices voted on these two cases.

    5) Faith-based initiatives. Yes! This is exactly the sort of centrist move on a fringe issue that could help peel away some religious voters without causing any real harm. The Christian Science Monitor did a good job of explaining how Obama’s vision diverges from Bush’s.

    6) Hedging on the Iraq Timetable. Thank goodness. I always thought Obama had a sensible approach to withdrawal, and I strongly appreciate that he has retained close ties to Samantha (“Monster Remark”) Power and her intense drive to prevent genocide in Iraq. And this doesn’t really qualify as a flip-flop. Obama has always given strong signals that the pace of withdrawal would take account of circumstances on the ground (“as careful getting out as we were careless getting in”). He should not be sworn in with the public believing he is obligated to get all troops out by 2009, and he’s making smart moves to avoid that now.

    On all the serious issues in this campaign, Obama has not slipped an inch. He’s sticking with his tax proposals, he hasn’t futzed with his environmental platform, he’s still for repealing DOMA, he’s still for universal health care, he still mocks the notion of a gas tax holiday, he’s still for reproductive rights and equal pay for equal work. I like that he’s capable of generating “Obama Lurches to the Center” headlines by making minor tweaks on fringe issues and saying unexpected things about Supreme Court decisions. Obama is proving himself the ideal stealth liberal. The bloom has not faded.

    And let us daily remind ourselves, the enemy is John McCain.

    Bradley Steinbacher 1994-2008

    posted by on July 11 at 4:57 PM

    A great deal of heart and soul and a surprising amount of nerdiness will walk out of the Stranger’s offices in just a few minutes as Bradley Steinbacher is going on to do bigger and better things with his life. And I think it’s about time someone called bullshit.

    Seriously, Brad. What the fuck?

    Brad has always been the quiet, reasonable one in the office, and his departure will undoubtedly endanger many of our lives.

    Brad has prevented publisher Tim Keck from following through on his many threats to “fucking gut [us] assholes” for consistently failing to meet deadlines—which is often since we’re all a bunch of fucking potheads—and has always been there to pass out vitamin D and orange slices when someone has a bad trip at a staff meeting. More likely than not, by Tuesday, we’ll all have gone feral and eaten an intern.

    So, fuck you for leaving, Obi-Brad Kenobi. You [were] our only hope.


    photo by Chieni, via Flickr.

    I Also Enjoy Brad

    posted by on July 11 at 4:42 PM

    Fuck all this work nostalgia—golf memories!

    There’s the time Brad shanked the hell out of a little chip shot and the ball skipped across the pond and rolled up the bank and onto the green. Brad didn’t realize it had made it to the other side, though, because he had already dejectedly put his head down and started cursing the world. We laughed and hollered, and he thought we were all dicks for reveling in his misfortune.

    Or when my 6-iron popped into another dimension, and Brad laughed at me for about 20 minutes, possibly more. Bring it up to him now, he’ll laugh at me again.

    Mostly, though, I’ll remember looking across the fairway from the right rough (read: deep in the woods to the far right of the right rough) to Brad skulking through the left rough, our opposite-handedness and identical slice-y-ness keeping us on opposite sides of the golf course but in similar states of mind most of the day.


    “Growth Is Coming and With It Change.”

    posted by on July 11 at 4:40 PM

    For those who are still mad at Roger Valdez, former head of King County’s tobacco prevention program, for pushing for (and rigorously enforcing) Seattle’s indoor-smoking ban, here’s something to put on the plus side of the ledger: An op/ed he wrote in today’s P-I, which makes the case that everybody just needs to calm down about the pace of change in Seattle. And he has some smart suggestions for keeping the things and places that make neighborhoods work, without opposing development as such.

    Where will all the new people live? Where will they park? Are they going to be noisy? Are they going to make me late for work by slowing me down in traffic or in the latte line? Are we paving over all the great old places to accommodate condominiums? Are all the old crusty bars getting taken over by newcomers who don’t like smoke, noisy bands and want fancy beers?

    We love our permeable society but are conflicted by change, especially when it comes to our neighborhood in the form of housing construction. And people with Obama’s “Change” bumper sticker on their car are just as likely these days to have one that says “Free Ballard.”

    Response to the demolition of the Ballard Denny’s is a great example of this internal conflict.

    One commenter on the P-I’s blog summed it up this way: “People building the condos couldn’t care less about the fact that current Ballard residents don’t want more of them built …. It’d be nice if for once people could stop thinking with their wallets and do something that could make the community happy.”

    That is what many think in Greenwood, Belltown, Capitol Hill and all over Seattle’s neighborhoods. How do we provide services, housing, open space and bus service for all the new people without demolishing everything we love about Seattle? Are we turning Seattle into a soulless Everyplace with no character?

    Unless we ban new development and put up walls around our city (what would that do to our character?), the growth is coming and with it change. What can we do?

    We could expand the existing transfer of development rights program for landmark buildings beyond downtown into other neighborhoods. The program allows an owner of a historic property to sell her development rights to the city. If that owner’s property rights allow six stories of development, that capacity could then be sold by the city, later, to a different developer who wants to build higher somewhere else. In that way we can preserve low-rise historic buildings and their existing use while actually increasing the number of new housing units.

    We could use our land-use code to create incentives for developers to preserve existing uses, such as community arts and cultural venues, in exchange for increasing the number of units they can build. Incentive zoning, which trades such public benefits as community use for more housing units, is an example of a way to create needed housing while preserving elements important to a neighborhood’s character and community.

    Finally, we need to radically rethink zoning. Zoning exists to protect the health and safety of the public, not regulate developer profit. But it is our code, and we should experiment with it, creating rules that focus on project outcomes rather than just height. […] Too often our existing code forces developers to design and build conservatively and allows neighborhood involvement only in the form of protest and appeal.

    Dig it.

    Press Release of the Day

    posted by on July 11 at 4:37 PM

    From a press release for the upcoming production of Shrek: the Musical:

    Mayor Nickels Welcomes Everyone’s Favorite Large Green Ogre to the Emerald City.”

    So the mayor is welcoming himself to the city? But he’s not green…

    He just thinks he is.

    Brad Steinbacher Still Frightens Me

    posted by on July 11 at 4:35 PM

    Without Brad, I wouldn’t be writing. Mr. Steinbacher was my first editor, ever. I’m trained as a computer and biomedical engineer, not exactly professions known for their communication skills.

    He was responsible for introducing me to the very basics: What in the hell is a byline? What do I do with a semicolon, other than terminate a statement in C? Do I get paid? Are all writers temperamental? Should I contribute to slog? All of this was right when he was attempting to pull together the massive SIFF guide. I’m forever indebted.

    But yes. As a deeply shy person myself, Brad scares me. He always did and still does, despite his always being kind and welcoming to me. I’ve always felt like I’m sitting at the wrong table in middle school when in the room with him—a person as much as any who made the Stranger, a paper I truly and honestly respect.

    Brad, take this as the ultimate victory: At the conclusion of my General Exam (for my PhD), my committee members turned to me and said, “your writing for the Stranger is vastly better than your science writing.” Ouch.

    Thanks Brad.

    On Deck

    posted by on July 11 at 4:20 PM

    It’s cocktail o’clock! Some recommended places to drink outside from the Bar Exam archives:

    The Terrace Garden on the fifth floor of the downtown Red Lion (with weird free taco bar!)

    Loretta’s in South Park

    The War Room on Capitol Hill

    The Pink Door in the Market

    Eastlake Bar & Grill (sometimes with bikers)

    Six Seven at the Edgewater (may cause seasickness)

    Victory Lounge (with a nice view of balls)

    Sully’s (née Q) on upper Queen Anne

    King’s Hardware in Ballard

    The Red Door in Fremont

    Ivar’s Salmon House on Lake Union

    In memoriam: The Jade Pagoda


    The Door That Is Pink

    Me, working for you!

    Hulk Underperform!

    posted by on July 11 at 4:00 PM

    After four weekends, the Louis Leterrier-directed “The Incredible Hulk” has earned $125 million, the same as what “Hulk” had pulled in at the same time in its run. “Hulk” finished with $132 million, and its successor is unlikely to do much better.

    Maybe people just don’t like CGI Hulk.

    Via Kung Fu Rodeo.

    Because He’s Brad. He’s Brad. He’s Really, Really Brad.

    posted by on July 11 at 3:53 PM

    I’ve worked with Brad in the office for less than two months. So while I don’t know him very well, in this time we’ve been very close—our desks are separated by a thiiiiin wall. He’s always been polite enough to pretend like he didn’t see or hear the stupid things I write/say/do. And I do a lot of them. All the best, Mr. Stranger.

    I know you don’t want any more of these posts, but too freakin’ Brad.

    The Men. The Myths. The Mullets.

    posted by on July 11 at 3:52 PM

    This one goes out to Brad.

    The resemblance is eerie, ain’t it?

    I Suppose I Should Say Something Nice About Brad

    posted by on July 11 at 3:50 PM

    But I know Brad pretty well, seeing as we’ve shared an office for ten years or whatever now, and seeing as how, besides Terry, Brad is the probably the one man in Seattle that I’ve been naked behind the most. I know that Brad is hating these testimonials. He’s a modest man with much to be modest about. And we are going to miss him anyway.

    (Hey, Brad: I’m on the road, no wifi. Could you toss this up on Slog for me? Clean up spelling and grammar, find a pic to post with it, etc. Thanks.)

    Sent from my iPhone


    There you go, Savage. Your last final fuck you to me up on Slog, along with the pic. Unlike the daily threat of your aging, distended sack on the back of my neck all these years, I hope you enjoy it.

    As for the rest of you, I’m touched, really, but for the love of God let’s stop this. Aren’t there any pitbull maulings to report? Shouldn’t Charles be waxing incomprehensible about Star Wars or something? Quick, ECB! Put something up about Obama and abortion!

    Brad Was the First Sane Person I Met at the Paper

    posted by on July 11 at 3:33 PM

    After I quit my job to join this little rag five years ago, Josh and Dan invited me for a little post-work celebration on Friday afternoon. I was a little ragged, having just given told my boss that I was going to work for the competition that morning. Anyway, I showed up at Bill’s off Broadway half an hour after Josh had told me people would be there, and found one guy with brooding away at a table big enough for twelve. I think we said nine words between us. It was an awkward million years. I thought, “Well, I guess THIS guy didn’t want to hire me.”

    Two things I didn’t realize at the time: 1) Brad—like most writers, including me—is actually sort of shy. 2) Brad is a wonderful dose of sanity and calm—a gatekeeper to certain Stranger staffers’ more, um, dramatic impulses. I AM TALKING TO YOU, SAVAGE Case in point: That very same evening, before Savage had even said hello, the VERY FIRST THING HE DID was undo my bra (yes, through my shirt. It’s a skill he claims—CLAIMS—he learned doing drag.) Another time, as we were having an argument ABOUT THE DUKE RAPE CASE, Savage absentmindedly dropped trou (in fairness, to change into shorts for racquetball). On those and countless other occasions, Brad has been the guy who turns around and says, “Dude, what the fuck?”

    Who will say “Dude, what the fuck?” for me now, Mr. Steinbacher? WHO?!

    I Would Also Like to Say Something Nice About Brad

    posted by on July 11 at 3:25 PM

    Brad, I don’t care what anybody says - the fact that you’re leaving us to train for THIS - hey, I think it’s cool.


    I Too (or Three, or Four, or Five at This Point) Would Like to Say Something Nice About Brad

    posted by on July 11 at 3:05 PM

    Brad has suffered a lot at the hands of the homosexuals around this office. Knowing this, and knowing how gamely he’s taken all the waxing, Ben Gaying, and suggestions that he and I go to gay couple’s counseling together as a stunt (the joke of which neither he nor I ever quite understood), I’ve tried very hard not to add to the general gay-pression of this kind and lovely fella.

    So you can imagine my mortification when, some while back, I found myself making repeated drunk-dial calls to Brad, weekend after weekend, only to realize, and then inform him, that I’d meant to call “the gay Brad in my phone” instead of, you know, my Managing Editor.

    A typical conversation might begin sometime between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. on a Friday or Saturday:

    Me: Hey Brad…

    Brad: Hey Eli. It’s Steinbacher. I’m not the one you want, am I?

    Me: Oh shit. Not again. Sorry! See you in the office on Monday.

    It is a very special straight man who can let you know, all with a certain warmness and humor in his voice, that your doofus drunk-dialing has been noted, silently mocked, appreciated in a slapstick sort of way, and also unappreciated in a “Don’t haunt my nights with your gay drama too!” sort of way.

    The best thing, though, was that I always felt like he was rooting for me to hang up, drunk dial someone else, and quickly end up engaged in certain activities that are far more exciting than drunk-dialing.

    I eventually drunk-proofed my cell phone so that Brad and I stopped having our late night chats, but I’ve always kind of missed them. Maybe I’ll un-drunk-proof my phone now that I won’t be seeing him during the weekdays anymore.

    Re: No News Media Sites with Much Credibility Are Reporting It…

    posted by on July 11 at 3:01 PM

    For what it’s worth, the story of the Alabama Republican caught having sex with a man is also up on Wonkette and Pam’s House Blend.

    Fun fact about Alabama AG Troy King: In law, he argued that his school’s Gay/Lesbian Alliance should be outlawed; and as AG, he tried to make Alabama’s law banning dildos and vibrators even more draconian.

    No News Media Sites with Much Credibility Are Reporting It…

    posted by on July 11 at 3:00 PM

    …but according to (citing

    Alabama Attorney General Troy King, a conservative Republican Christian who has called homosexuality the ‘downfall of society,’ has been caught with his pants down—literally—in a gay sex scandal. King was reportedly nabbed having sex with a male assistant by his wife, Paige King, in the couple’s own bed.

    This could be a hoax. It’s been hours since this hit the web and none of the newspapers in Alabama have anything. Then again, King’s record, ethics-wise, isn’t spotless. And, you know, he’s a Republican.

    Also This Week in The Stranger

    posted by on July 11 at 3:00 PM


    Christopher Frizzelle on the sad disappearance of Nextbook:

    Nextbook’s goal to promote Jewish literature was built around books, not beliefs; never had an exclusionary vibe to it; and was always marketed to the mainstream. In contrast to small bookstore readings or Seattle Arts & Lectures’ giant hall, Nextbook’s readings and onstage interviews (more than a dozen a year) often happened in bars—the Rendezvous, Tractor Tavern, places like that.

    It’s a great look back at why Nextbook was so important, and a consideration of the big hole it’s going to leave in Seattle’s reading scene. You should read it.

    I Have Nothing Nice to Say About Brad

    posted by on July 11 at 2:44 PM

    Because he is a quitter, and quitters never win.

    Confidential to Brad

    posted by on July 11 at 2:25 PM

    For you, my friend, I will attend the international stunt man school in Mukilteo, Washington.


    And I will invite you to my graduation, when I will fall, screaming and on fire, from a 40-foot tower. Because I know it will give you joy.

    Brad Steinbacher Was the First Person to Ever Terrorize Me at The Stranger

    posted by on July 11 at 2:23 PM

    When I started as a Stranger intern years and years ago in 2000, there were two kinds of people: there were the nice, supportive people who tried to teach me the ways of the paper, understanding that I’m working for free so the least they could do was buy me lunch once in a while and make sure I learned something, and then there were those who just ignored me. I wasn’t their intern, I didn’t exist.

    Brad Steinbacher was the first person to break the mold. Taking a bratty big brother role, he’d prey on my naive insecurities and flip me shit about missing a deadline by one minute. When he was film editor, he was the man who started the tradition of sending me to all the shitty movies. He nicknamed me Scooby, one time he kicked a hole in my desk, one time he broke promo CD I intended on listening to (while in its case!) with his bare hands, and he also went through a phase of pulling the hood of my hooded sweatshirt over my head and shutting it in my desk drawer. I’d have to flail my arms about for a few seconds, before I could set myself free.

    The worst of it: I also used to have a little, cute, fuzzy lamb doll at my desk—some cheesy movie promo thing. Now, thanks to Mr. Steinbacher, it rests not on my computer monitor, but feet above my head, out of reach, on the dirty, dusty ledge above a vent in the office.

    RIP, Lamby.

    But with all the crap he’s put me through (lovingly, I’m sure), Brad was also one of the first people are The Stranger to be nice to me, sincerely, without following it up with the question “Do you have time to transcribe this tape for me?”

    So thank you, Bradley Steinbacher, for flipping me shit all these years which consequently brought me out of my shell and made me feel at home at The Stranger. We’ll miss you.

    I Would Also Like to Say Something Nice About Brad

    posted by on July 11 at 2:20 PM

    The first time I saw Brad, he was dressed like a lady. It was his 21st birthday, which he was celebrating as all former Catholic schoolboys in Seattle do: By allowing Dan Savage to put him in full drag then sign him up for a lip-synch competition at the dearly departed Brass Connection.

    Brad is a handsome man. But he is an ugly woman. He looked glamorous, with a gorgeous wig and a full Zora-executed professional glamour face. But he also kinda looked like one of the wives in the “home beauty parlor” scene in GoodFellas.

    I don’t remember exactly what kind of dress Lady Brad was wearing, but I know it involved extensive waist-up shaving, perhaps taking weeks. What’s burned in my brain is the song: “Back in Baby’s Arms,” the jaunty Patsy Cline number which Brad mouthed gamely before executing a truly stunning finale, in which he was swept up into the arms of a 250-pound man wearing a diaper.

    He came in second in the night’s competition, but he won first place in my heart.

    I Too Would Like to Say Something Nice About Brad

    posted by on July 11 at 2:12 PM

    This one time, when I was drunk and ranting wildly at the Bus Stop on stultifying subjects no one else in the tiny bar cared a whit about but about which they were all getting quite the earful, Bradley Steinbacher kindly hoisted me out of my chair and removed me to the sidewalk outside. That was really nice of him. I don’t like to make a fool of myself in bars.



    posted by on July 11 at 2:10 PM

    Really, sir?

    Update, thanks to reverend dr dj riz, an infinitely more considerate and less passive-aggressive person than I:

    i met this guy at cal anderson park a few weeks ago while i was with a quadraplegic friend who uses a wheelchair that untilizes the same technology as this man’s segway. i also thought this man a lazy fool until he explained that he has a condition that makes it difficult and painful for him to walk. he also has very brittle bones that break easily ( remember that otherwise stupid m. nught shaymalan movie unbreakable ?)which is why he wears a helmet and kneepads. he engages in conversation fairly easily and if you had asked he might have explained his condition to you. the man doesn’t reserve your judgement or ridicule. so cut this shit out

    My sincere apologies to the brittle-boned everywhere. Segways for the regular-boned remain undeniably silly.

    Brad Bought Me a Bourbon

    posted by on July 11 at 2:00 PM

    Brad, as you may have heard, has been at the Stranger for 14 years, ending today. I’ve been here something more like 14 months. So I don’t have as many Brad memories as some of my colleagues, and thanks to the pot, a lot of the Brad memories I do have are hazy at best. But there is one time I can semi-coherently recall hanging out with Brad outside of work.

    Grand Archives were playing the Triple Door. I was going because that sort of thing is kind of my beat here (and because, hey, Grand Archives). Brad was going because he knows all those dudes form back in Jesuit school or whatever. So we combined forces to seek out somewhere to drink downtown before the show. After being rebuffed at a few overcrowded yuppie bars, we ended up down at the Alibi Room, drinking bourbon at the bar. We talked about the ladies. We talked about life. We were about go watch Grand Archives. You know, real guy stuff. And it was sweet. I get the feeling that, if I had come around a little earlier, or if Brad was sticking around a little longer, he might’ve imparted a lot of dudely wisdom upon me. Or at least more bourbon.

    Now it’s gonna be all ladies and fags around here. Thanks, Brad.

    Does This Mean That Lyndon Johnson is Also My New Bicycle?

    posted by on July 11 at 2:00 PM

    FiveThirtyEight has a fairly comprehensive link-happy list of all the Obama comparisons that have been made in the last few months. Obama has been compared to both Bushes, Bob Dole, John Kerry, Richard Nixon, and just about every politician ever to be involved in presidential politics except Taft.

    In other news, the Barack Obama is Your New Bicycle website has been transformed into an incredibly cheap-ass book.

    McCain’s Maverick Position on Birth Control

    posted by on July 11 at 1:57 PM

    First (and sorry, I know this is a couple of days old) check out what John McCain has to say about insurance companies that pay for wang-stiffeners but not for birth control:

    McCain (laughing nervously): I certainly do not want to discuss that issue.

    The LA Times’ Maeve Reston: But apparently you’ve voted against-

    McCain: I don’t know what I voted.

    Reston: Voted against coverage of birth control, forcing health insurance companies to cover birth control in the past. Is that still your position?

    McCain: I’ll look at my voting record on it, but I have, uh, (5 second pause) , I don’t recall the vote right now. But I’ll be glad to look at it and get back to you as to why, I don’t -

    Reston: I guess (McCain advisor Carly Fiorina’s) statement was that it was unfair that health insurance companies cover Viagra but not birth control. Do you have an opinion on that?

    McCain: (8 second pause) I don’t know enough about it to give you an informed answer because I don’t recall the vote, I’ve cast thousands of votes in the Senate. I will respond to - it’s a, it’s a-

    Reston: Delicate issue?

    McCain: It’s something that I had not thought much about.

    Yeah, why would a presidential candidate spend much time thinking about a silly little issue like equity between men’s and women’s health care? And anyway, McCain’s got the ladies’ vote sewn up—thanks to that women-only town hall meeting he and Cindy are holding about the challenges we girls face in business! I guess he’ll probably tell them the same thing he said before: They need more education and training, not fair pay.

    Gone with the Whiskey

    posted by on July 11 at 1:54 PM

    Brad is leaving the paper today. The future looks bleak. Who will I turn to when I need a jolt of inspiration?
    -7.jpg There was always one of these in your office. No more will this be the case. Kelly has a mountain of bionic beer; Megan has a bucket of sweets; and there once was a drawer that contained nuts, raisins, and other miniature things that mice like to masticate. But these foods and fluids have no effect on me. Where will I go for my jolt of inspiration?

    I Would Like to Say Something Nice About Brad

    posted by on July 11 at 1:53 PM

    Brad is a self-loather. He likes to say of himself, “You can’t kill what’s already dead.” He also likes to believe that as he has gotten older, he has lost his appeal. Perhaps it is impertinent to say so, but I would like to report that this is empirically untrue. Slowly, over the two-plus years I’ve worked here, I have discovered that every single person I’ve ever met who also knows Brad currently has or has at one point in recent history had some sort of crush on him. It’s almost weird. Nevertheless, it is a body of evidence impossible to argue with. (And quite harmless and innocent—with due respect, Brad is very taken.)

    The alpha and omega of my own personal crush is Brad’s performance on an episode of the ridiculous Stranger-staffed game show Whatcha Talkin’ ‘Bout, Sherman?!, which aired in the mid-90s on public access. Brad was sort of the Vanna White of that show. Except that in at least one episode, viewed by me in a recent VHS-fueled nostalgia trip, Brad was also the Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Marx brothers.

    The man can pratfall.

    I mean, really, really well. Everyone knows he is a funny man. But he also seems to be a gifted physical comedian. Underneath all those torn-up baggy jeans and worn-out plaid shirts is a body just waiting to fall. Perfectly. Hysterically.


    A List Burner Hasn’t Made

    posted by on July 11 at 1:30 PM

    Eastside Democrat Darcy Burner is already on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Red to Blue list, which means she’ll be getting an unspecified amount of financial and strategic support from D.C. Dems this year. (Last cycle the average Red to Blue candidate received about $400,000 from the DCCC.)

    But here’s a list I’m told Burner didn’t make: The list of 31 Congressional races, complied by the Associated Press, in which the DCCC has already reserved air time for commercials set to go up in September and October.

    Now, I’m also told that this list represents only an initial ad buy, so there may not be any meaning to glean from Burner being left out this time around. Or there may be.

    Either way, it’s worth keeping an eye on the outside ad money because the race in the 8th Congressional District, like a lot of other races around the country, has historically been heavily influenced by ad buys made in the last few months of the campaign. And every time you ask Democrats in the 8th why it didn’t work for them the last time around, you always hear the same thing: Not enough help from D.C.

    Will Burner and her allies be able to compete with the Republican commercials that are sure to air as the fall campaign draws to a close? Based on today’s list, that’s still unclear.

    The 36th Heats Up

    posted by on July 11 at 1:30 PM

    The 36th District Democrats issued no endorsement in the legislative race between Reuven Carlyle and John Burbank last night. After a vote for a dual endorsement went down in flames, a vote to give Burbank the sole endorsement fell just short of the required two-thirds majority. Earlier this year, state Democratic Party chair Dwight Pelz awarded Burbank the party’s official nomination, after the district itself declined to pick a nominee. Meanwhile, the Sierra Club and Washington Conservation voters both awarded their sole nominations to Carlyle.

    The Stranger Election Control Board (SECB) will be endorsing in the 36th and all the other races later this month. We met with Carlyle and Burbank a few days ago. The interview was pretty tense, but well in hand, for a good hour—until I asked Burbank about a rumor I’d heard that he was telling people in the district that Carlyle only put his four kids in public schools because he’s running for office. That set them both off like a shot. Burbank denied ever saying anything of the sort. Carlyle, agitated, cut him off: “Stop lying! I’ve heard this from four people. I’m asking you to have the courage and integrity to stop lying about this!” To prove his point, Carlyle then pulled out a signed statement from a voter who said Burbank had come to his door and said just that. “I’ve got the signatures from the voters saying that you’re going around and lying!” Carlyle boomed.

    Burbank pointed out that Carlyle’s claim that, if elected, he’ll be the only state rep with kids in Seattle public schools isn’t entirely accurate—Gerry Pollet, running in the 46th, is making the same claim. Then Burbank attempted a gotcha, calling Carlyle out for putting one of his kids in private school during kindergarten and first grade. (That would be two years out of what will be 52 years total, assuming Carlyle’s kids all go to kindergarten and graduate on time, for those following along). Carlyle responded: “I’m not saying Gerry’s not running. I’m saying you’re lying about my kids!

    Clearly, class is a huge point of tension between these two candidates. Earlier in the interview, Carlyle accused Burbank of “running on class warfare” by portraying Carlyle as a richie-rich yuppie with a fancy motorcycle and a big house on Queen Anne Hill. While all that is certainly true, Carlyle is also a former foster child who grew up with a single, working-class mom. More to the point, does any of this stuff matter? Personally, I think there are more important issues—like tax reform, the Democrats’ failure to flex their supermajority in the House, and the influence of the BIAW on the legislature—than whether our citizen legislators are well-off or merely middle-class.

    UPDATE: This post has been edited to reflect the fact that Carlyle was not the beneficiary of an inheritance. That assertion was based on inaccurate information from another source; Carlyle wrote me over the weekend to correct the error.

    Winning the War on Drugs

    posted by on July 11 at 1:22 PM

    In Toledo:

    A man who was shot by police in a drug raid Thursday night around 11 p.m. in the 200 block of Wasaon near Western faces charges of drug trafficking.

    Police Chief Mike Navarre says detectives from the vice unit and the SWAT team went to the duplex with a search warrant to look for drugs. The officers yelled “Police!” then went up to the second floor, finding the door open and a man inside holding a shotgun.

    An officer fired on the suspect, Perry Buck, hitting him in the wrist. Buck was taken to an ambulance; we are told his injuries are not serious. He and a woman were both taken into custody.

    Toledo police confiscated marijuana, a 20-gauge shotgun and shells and Vicodin from the residence.

    Navarre says this is proof of the danger officers face every day.

    “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … Tonight was just another example where the officers went in and looked down the barrel of a shot gun. We’re very fortunate that no officers were injured tonight,” Navarre said.

    Indeed, police got the pot and the painkillers and no cops were hurt. Another success.

    A Bat-Suckhole

    posted by on July 11 at 1:00 PM


    I’m pretty excited about The Dark Knight. Maybe not excited enough to take part in all the ‘viral’ shenanigans, but still pretty excited.

    I rented and watched Batman: Gotham Knight a couple days ago. Like The Animatrix that came out between the Matrix movies, B:GK is comprised of animated short films made by anime studios.

    Though they can be watched separately, the six short films are linked, both by story elements and by the fact that they are all incredibly boring. There was a very good Batman cartoon in the 1990s, and I dearly missed it while I was watching this terrible mess. If, like me, you’re so excited for the Batman movie that you’d consider renting this thing as a kind of placeholder, please don’t.


    This Week in The Stranger

    posted by on July 11 at 12:40 PM


    Cover art by Michael de Leon.*

    A. Birch Steen Comments on Brad Steinbacher’s Departure
    “Bradley Steinbacher, managing editor of this publication, has tendered his resignation. Unsurprisingly, it was immediately accepted. Word has it Steinbacher has found a more lucrative line of work and is getting out of journalism entirely—the best thing to happen to journalism in years.”

    Adrian Ryan Returns to His Hometown in Montana to Watch Barack Obama Watch an Independence Day Parade
    “Barack Obama is black. Science has confirmed this. Butte, Montana, on the other hand, is white. Lawn-art-and-RVs white. Extraordinarily white, absurdly white, 96 percent white! I was born and grew up in Butte, so I should know. Before age 14, I had never laid eyes on a bona fide black person who wasn’t a Cosby. Why did Barack Obama—in the mad heat of a presidential campaign—drag his entire family to celebrate America’s most American of holidays in a conservative backwoods with only three sad little electoral votes and almost no appreciable sway in the course of presidential doings?”

    Erica C. Barnett on a 9,000-Word, Three-Part Editorial in Crosscut Decrying Light Rail
    “The pieces prompted a rather overwrought bit of damage control by Sound Transit, which mistakenly issued, then withdrew, a response replete with phrases like ‘That’s naive,’ and ‘Hello?’ The agency issued a calmed-down version on July 2. Not that there isn’t plenty in MacDonald’s argument to criticize, starting with the utterly unsupported claim that people will love riding the bus if we just make them nicer. As the Seattle streetcar has demonstrated, what you’re riding matters—not just whether, as some have derisively claimed, the train or bus or streetcar is ‘cute,’ but whether you know where it’s going, whether you’re sure it’ll get there on time, and whether you’ll be surrounded by people for whom transit is a rolling homeless shelter. Rail offers certainty—and certainty means people use it as transit, not a convenient place to sleep or shoot up.”

    Paul Constant on Dash Shaw and His 720-Page Comic Book Bottomless Belly Button
    “Even to look at the thing, one can tell that it’s the sort of dense brick of a book that causes book critics to become insensate and throw around words like tour de force and magnum opus in a drunk-on-criticism daze. The feverishness will only get worse once the besotted literati fly through the thing. It’s enough to make a grown-up reviewer swoon.”

    Jen Graves on the Art of Doing What You’re Told
    “For the first few cranks, you absorb how the machine works. You watch the exposed gears turning beneath the little stage, puppeteering the papier-mâché figures. You take in the actions that repeat as you turn the crank: An Iraqi woman is raped, a hooded Iraqi prisoner is strung up by his arms, a college student is pushed down and Tasered. On one level, you know these are news events that you had nothing to do with. On another level, you’re the one standing there, turning the crank.”

    Bethany Jean Clement on Spring Hill, West Seattle’s First Destination Restaurant
    “Mr. Fuller and his staff move silently and smoothly around each other in choreographed harmony in the kitchen. Nary a word is spoken; pots do not clang. One man’s job is to stand still with his brow furrowed and his chin sunk to his chest, concentrating deeply on endless prep tasks. It’s professionalism incarnate, of the opposite sort from red-faced, plate-throwing TV chefs. The precision and intensity are presided over by shining ladles and tongs hanging in order of size, and it’s all reflected in a stripe of mirror along the opposite wall. Watching the lining-up of each stalk of asparagus on a plate makes a certain kind of person feel a little choked up.”

    Lindy West Tries to See a Movie about Beavers at the IMAX (Ends Up Seeing a Movie about Car Racing)
    “I didn’t want to see the stupid race-car movie. I wanted to see the movie about the beavers. I’d really been hyping up Beavers in my brain: thinking about beavers, talking about beavers, performing an original one-woman preenactment of Mr. Beaver and Mrs. Beaver talking to each other in British accents. ”Ello, Mrs. Beaver!’ ‘Good morning, ‘usband! Would you loik to chew on sticks and wood for breakfast?’ ‘Capital! Cheerio! Oi’ll do the ‘ishes!’ ‘Oi love living underwater with you as mammals, Mr. Beaver.’ Kersploosh!”

    ALSO DISCUSSED IN THIS ISSUE: How the Vaselines feel about reuniting for Sub Pop’s festival this weekend; Sub Pop’s reasons for having the festival in Redmond; No Age getting flipped off and called “faggot queer” by a passing car while giving an interview from their minivan; the last surviving (but perhaps not for long) street newsstand in Seattle; more details about the Russian clown impostors; the difference between flashing and exhibitionism; and (say it ain’t so!) the last installment of Sonics Death Watch.

    *A note about this cover. Brad Steinbacher has worked at The Stranger for 14 brutal years and done just about every job here at one time or another. He’s also written for almost every section. For years we’ve had this running idea that one week we’d all take the week off, Brad would write the whole paper, and we we’d call it The Steinbacher. That never came to pass, so for his last issue on staff we decided to finally change the name of the paper for a week. But we didn’t tell him. As managing editor, Brad sees all the pages right before they’re sent to the printer, but we wanted The Steinbacher to be a surprise, so our art department had to create a fake “final” cover for Brad’s approval. We also ended up changing another item of cover text in between creating the fake final cover for Brad and the actual final cover for the printer, and when Brad first looked at this week’s issue, he noticed that cover text had changed and wanted to know why. Meanwhile, he completely failed to notice that it said The Steinbacher in huge letters across the top.

    The Pentagon Versus the British Media

    posted by on July 11 at 12:27 PM

    BBC News and The Guardian confirm the U.S. air strike that killed 47 Afghan civilians that the Pentagon continues to deny.

    From The Guardian:

    A US air strike killed 47 civilians, including 39 women and children, as they were travelling to a wedding in Afghanistan, an official inquiry found today. The bride was among the dead.

    From the Pentagon, via VOA News:

    The Pentagon says no civilians were killed in an air strike Sunday in a remote area of eastern Afghanistan, which local officials say killed 27 people who were walking to a wedding. U.S. military officials in Kabul say they believe the air strike hit its intended target, a group of militants. Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman confirmed that view. “I can only tell you I talked to Afghanistan this morning, and they are very clear with that particular strike that they believe they struck the intended target and that there were not innocent civilians involved in that particular strike,” said Whitman.

    The reports of civilian casualties came from Afghan officials, who said they spoke to people in the remote area by telephone. The U.S. military says Taliban militants often pressure villagers into claiming civilian casualties after air strikes.

    Alrighty then.

    Lunch Date: Muhajababes

    posted by on July 11 at 12:10 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? Muhajababes by Allegra Stratton.

    Where’d you go? In the Bowl

    What’d you eat? Fake-beef yakisoba ($7.95).

    How was the food? It was really good. It’s super-spicy—they must’ve gotten quite a few complaints, because there are warnings posted everywhere about how spicy the food is—but it was a tasty, hot bowl of noodles. And I love the fake beef, which I believe is made from compressed mushroom stalks. I liked it better than Boom Noodle’s yakisoba.

    What does your date say about itself? “Meet the new Middle East—young, sexy and devout.” The Times Literary Supplement says it “will disabuse you of your preconceptions of the Middle East forever.”

    Is there a representative quote? Talking about Superstar, the Middle Eastern American Idol: “She explained that Musa liked to think, though he’d never say it, that Superstar is better than Jazeera. While al-Jazeera does get between 40 million and 50 million regular viewers, 15 million voted on the outcome of Superstar, ‘more Arabs than have ever cast ballots in a free election.’”

    Will you two end up in bed together? Yes. The book feels a little slight so far, as though it would maybe be better off as a series of magazine articles, but writing about the youth in the Middle East is important, and something I haven’t read much about. A giant baby boom happened in the Middle East 20 or 30 years ago, and all those people are ultimately going to have a lot to do with what the world will look like. The writing is all right, and the title is really atrocious, but I think that I’ll stick with it.

    Today in Davy Jones’s Foot Locker

    posted by on July 11 at 12:08 PM

    After weeks of boiling and drilling at the B.C. feet, trying to extract a little usable DNA, Mounties have discovered that two of the feet belonged to the same person.


    This lends (light) credence to the theory that the feet are coming from a similar source, like a boat, airplane, or ghoulish foot collection—oceanographers say the currents most likely to have washed the feet ashore either swept them up from the San Juans or down from southern Georgia Strait.


    The oldest shoe in the Mounties’ collection was made in 1999, and the most recent shoe was made in 2004.

    These are recent inductees to Davy Jones’s locker.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on July 11 at 12:01 PM

    To all those people who bought up all the tickets to the SP20 Comedy Show tonight - damn you! It’s sold out. Here’s Patton Oswalt. Oh Patton Oswalt.

    The Man Taking Pictures of Everyone Else’s Art is an Artist, Too

    posted by on July 11 at 12:00 PM

    Richard Nicol’s name is attached to every artwork you’ve ever seen in a photograph in Seattle—or at least to almost all of them. He takes pictures of art. He’s the guy people call when they want their painting, sculpture, or installation photographed.

    Finally, he’s having a show of his own.

    It’s a tiny little show in a back room with just a handful of works, but it’s all his. This is his first time showing at Davidson Contemporary. He approached Sam Davidson about six months ago with his drawings; before that, Davidson had no idea he even made drawings.

    At one point, Nicol was using gunpowder in his drawings, and there is one of those works in the show. But it’s a trio of grid drawings done in pastel and neon colored pencil that hooked me. They’re called Rational Drawings, and that name is also the title of the show. It brings to mind the late minimalist grid master Sol LeWitt’s dictum that “irrational thoughts should be followed absolutely and logically.”

    LeWitt’s point was about art’s necessity regardless of its uselessness. But Nicol pulls the abstract idea down into the current events. His grids take the shape of Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, each country appearing neatly on its own piece of white paper, as clear and concrete as if it were something truly understood, truly apparent and transparent to the viewer, the average American. Instead of baffling, mediated images of warfare, religious conflict, nuclear weapons, dictatorships, ethnic infighting, foreign garb, and unrecognizable language, Nicol fills the map with a gentle web of plaid, as if these countries offered nothing more than a pattern recognition game. The rationality of these tight grids, paradoxically, represents a total failure to understand.



    posted by on July 11 at 11:59 AM


    She’s just an inch or three away from FLDS hair, and has that extra-white inbred look, featuring the just-very-slightly wonky eye. Her suit enjoys that tedious off-center closure and has that crappy little pleated puff at the top of the sleeve, which is a small detail, but speaks volumes as to the hideousness of her taste. (I’ve looked in vain for a picture of her in the orange sweater/white skirt combo she wore a last week. That was an inappropriate look, I thought. The informality was good, but with her hair down and the big gold sunglasses, she was rather Housewives of Orange County.)

    May I suggest this dress, from the Chanel couture show?


    It’s like an expensive gift wrap for an adulterous (trollop/cunt) rich lady. It is also hideous and gray, so might suit her taste. It has deep folds in which to hide things like John’s creepy fake smiles, offensive attempts at humor, and her own criminal past. The cinched waist keeps it real, because real fancy heiresses don’t actually eat—except for occasional nibbles of the tasty sacramental flesh of the poor!

    Now to get those maddening thoughts of inherited wealth and ruling-class entitlement out of your head, here’s Betty Hutton! For Fnarf! Sing along for fun!

    Maverick Moment of the Day

    posted by on July 11 at 11:45 AM

    It’s old news that John McCain divorced his first wife, a former model named Carol Shepp, after he returned from the war in Vietnam to find her disfigured by a car accident.

    But some of the details of McCain’s divorce and quick re-marriage to beer heiress Cindy Hensley McCain don’t add up, according to today’s LA Times.

    In his 2002 memoir, “Worth the Fighting For,” McCain wrote that he had separated from Carol before he began dating Hensley.

    “I spent as much time with Cindy in Washington and Arizona as our jobs would allow,” McCain wrote. “I was separated from Carol, but our divorce would not become final until February of 1980.”

    An examination of court documents tells a different story. McCain did not sue his wife for divorce until Feb. 19, 1980, and he wrote in his court petition that he and his wife had “cohabited” until Jan. 7 of that year — or for the first nine months of his relationship with Hensley.

    Although McCain suggested in his autobiography that months passed between his divorce and remarriage, the divorce was granted April 2, 1980, and he wed Hensley in a private ceremony five weeks later. McCain obtained an Arizona marriage license on March 6, 1980, while still legally married to his first wife.

    More on the admitted “selfishness and immaturity” that led McCain to divorce his first wife in this manner, and the anger this inspired from the Reagans (among others), as the story continues.

    The Education of Amanda Continues

    posted by on July 11 at 11:19 AM

    Amanda is formally charged with murder:

    Prosecutors investigating the killing in Italy last year of the British student Meredith Kercher today laid formal charges of murder against her American flatmate, Amanda Knox, Knox’s Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, and Rudy Guede, a citizen of the Ivory Coast.

    A judge in the central Italian city of Perugia must now decide whether they should be put on trial. Because of the gravity of the charges, under Italian law the judge must now arrange a closed-doors preliminary hearing to review the evidence and decide if there is sufficient evidence for an indictment.

    This is Amanda months and months before the murder of her roommate, Meredith…

    If she is tried, found guilty, and sentenced, this might be her in some sad and sunless cell in the far future…

    Your Friday Zipcar Ad

    posted by on July 11 at 11:03 AM

    Seen on the side of the 9: “Your weekend possibilities just expanded beyond a three-block radius. Zipcar.”

    Because people without cars are clueless shut-ins who could never figure out how to get more than three blocks from their house without driving a car. And because transit—as mentioned previously—does not exist.

    The Battle Over Animated Fatness

    posted by on July 11 at 11:03 AM


    I saw Pixar’s WALL•E last week and everyone’s right: it’s wonderful. It’s also the rare “family film” that drips with contempt for its audience. In Wall•E’s world (small spoiler alert) the earth is an uninhabitable wasteland, leaving mankind—every single member of which is morbidly obese and strapped to a full-body iPod—to float around outer space in a huge, stupor-inducing spaceship.

    It’s a ballsy choice—for comparison, see Blade Runner, which presented a dystopia that quietly stroked audience’s egos. (The future may be ruled by some vague Asian conglomerate, but at least we’ll get to fuck Daryl Hannah-shaped robots!) But in Wall•E, the earth is a big dead trash dump, and humanity is so fat it can barely move of its own volition.

    For what it’s worth, the fatties in Wall•E are adorable (like babies) and hilarious (like platypuses). But people of size aren’t laughing.

    Here’s New York mag’s link-heavy overview of the brouhaha.

    And here’s a heartfelt letter written to Pixar from disappointed fan:

    Do you know what it feels like seeing a shipfull of fat people who exist to show how dissolute and horrible and wasteful people can be? I’ve had fat jokes directed at me. I’ve had people laugh at my pictures. Since childhood, I’ve even had family members poke fun at my body, where I’m supposed to “take a joke”.

    Pixar, this is one joke I don’t want to take. It is horrible when you see the only bodies shaped like you as things to laugh at, as living examples of as a culture, how shoddily we treat the earth. There’s no complexity, no understanding, just an easy punchline. Why is it instantly funny to see people fall and struggle and be hurt?

    Worst yet, I sat there watching trying to be hopeful because at least the fat couple touched hands and smiled at each other. Unlike Wall-e and Eve, they never got to dance.

    Read the whole eloquent letter here. (And go see Wall•E! At the Cinerama, if you can…)

    Winning the War on Drugs

    posted by on July 11 at 11:01 AM

    In the deepest, darkest woods of California.

    One armed man was shot and killed and two others escaped on foot into the brush during a raid this morning on a marijuana patch in the hills south of Saratoga, a Santa Clara County sheriff’s lieutenant said.

    The shooting happened when five deputies and 15 other officers confronted the men at the patch around 7:30 a.m., Lt. Ed Wise said.

    It was not immediately known if the men fired at officers or how many shots were fired, or by whom, Wise said.

    “The deputies started to enter a large marijuana garden and encountered three subjects armed with guns,” Wise said. “During the encounter, shots were fired. One subject was shot and fatally wounded and two others fled on foot.”

    To point out something obvious to everyone but agents who killed this guy, pot growers like these ones are armed so they can defend themselves from agents who shoot first and face a press that doesn’t ask questions later. That and the black market for pot creates 1920s style turf wars, which drives gangs to grow it in secluded woods instead of the fields of the Napa Valley, where the pot should be grown, next to the grape vines. Then we could have wine and pot tours…

    You Gonna Take That?

    posted by on July 11 at 11:00 AM

    Gawker, writing about that article on Chelsea Alvarez-Bell and mean commenters:

    We’re only mentioning it because the article notes that while yes, commenters are mean and out of control, at least ours are witty!

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on July 11 at 11:00 AM


    Roq La Rue Turns 10 at Roq La Rue

    Roq La Rue gallery opened in the summer of 1998. Since then it has made many sales, many Stranger covers, and many big claims for itself. It’s supposedly the Seattle outpost for a national “movement” named “pop surrealism” by the gallery’s powerhouse dealer, Kirsten Anderson. All these scare quotes are my response to the gallery’s boasts and throw-downs over the years about being an “art outsider.” Go judge for yourself. (Roq La Rue, 2312 Second Ave, 374-8977. 6–9 pm, free.)


    Warhol the Eternal

    posted by on July 11 at 11:00 AM

    If artists can be judged according to how long they live on in cultural memory, I’m putting my money on Warhol. He’s never going to disappear; he only spreads.

    My first interaction with dozens of his works at once was in a castle I stumbled upon in Lausanne, Switzerland. (The basement gallery was reserved for his drawings of shoes; the upstairs levels ranged from flowers to Marilyns to the far less seen Last Suppers. I was in undergraduate paradise.)

    In his latest iteration, in a group exhibition called Andy Warhol and Other Famous Faces (culled from the collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his family foundation), he’ll be appearing on the edge of a bluff in nowheresville, Washington.

    This (or its equivalent, which in Warhol’s case is perfectly acceptable)


    will appear here


    If you visit, don’t miss Maryhill’s stonehenge replica. Warhol would have loved it.

    Stupid, Stupid Robots!

    posted by on July 11 at 10:47 AM

    Via Sci-Fi Scanner.

    “And Where Were You on the Evening of July 4, Mr. Savage?”

    posted by on July 11 at 10:30 AM

    From the King County Department of Animal Care and Control:

    Reward offered for information on dog drowning in Cedar River. King County Animal Care and Control investigating.

    King County Animal Care and Control is seeking information for its investigation into the intentional drowning death of a dog in the Cedar River on July 4. The agency responded to a citizen report of a lifeless body of a Pit Bull in the river near the Landsburg Bridge in the 25200 block of Landsburg Rd SE in Ravensdale, WA.

    Animal Control Officers arriving at the scene within the hour of the call found the dog anchored down in the deep, fast moving water. The Animal Control Sergeant on duty asked the Sheriff’s Department to send their dive team to recover the body, but they reported they would not be able to respond until later in the evening due to the high number of priority service calls related to the Fourth of July holiday.

    Instead, later that afternoon, a fisherman pulled the dog’s body from the river and turned it over to King County Animal Care and Control (KCACC). Investigating officers discovered it was a black and white female Pit Bull with a homemade anchor tied around its neck with a rope.

    The Kent shelter veterinarian on duty performed a necropsy on July 5th which found that the animal may have been alive before being submersed in the river. The dog did not have any signs of penetrating or exit wounds or any injuries typically associated with dog fighting.

    “This is a horrific and tragic case,” said King County Animal Care and Control Communications Specialist Nancy McKenney. “We need more information from the community to help find those responsible for this needless death.”

    Anyone with information is asked to contact King County Animal Care and Control at 206-296-3958. In addition, The Humane Society of the United States has issued a $2,500 reward for anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. Intentionally killing an animal is a Class C Felony under the State of Washington.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on July 11 at 10:08 AM


    Two authors that I wrote about yesterday are reading again tonight, along with an open mic, a thriller, and several other events.

    At Elliott Bay Book Company, Johan Bruyneel reads from We Might as Well Win: On the Road to Success with the Mastermind Behind the Eight Tour de France Victories. Apparently, people refer to Bruyneel as “the Vince Lombardi of cycling,” which is a really funny image.

    After Bruyneel, David Wroblewski will read from his new novel, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, which is about a family raising a unique dog breed. It’s getting pretty decent reviews, but I have not read it yet.

    And at the Hugo House, it’s time to say goodbye to their current crop of writers-in-residence. Wendy Call, Todd Faulkner, David Wagoner and Cody Walker will be reading. I bet at least one of them will get misty, which will be entertaining in its own right. I expressed my love for Wagoner a few months back. A new crew, including Cienna Madrid, will begin writing, um, in residence at the Hugo House this fall.

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

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on July 11 at 10:00 AM

    Adam Satushek’s Pole (2008), archival inkjet print, 80 by 35 inches

    At Gallery4Culture. (Gallery site here.)

    Where Are the iPhones?

    posted by on July 11 at 9:58 AM

    The downtown and E Pike Street AT&T stores are sold out, now offering a presale for delivery 10 days from now. Anyone standing in a line where they’re still in stock?

    The Saga of Chelsea Alvarez-Bell Continues, This Time With Journalistic Brow-Furrowing

    posted by on July 11 at 9:05 AM

    From Slog to Gawker to a new think-piece about the cruelty of commenters:


    Last month a woman who worked for the Stranger, an alternative weekly in Seattle, quit in a huff. She had been writing for the paper’s blog, the Slog. The problem was the comments people were making on her posts. She couldn’t stand them anymore. “The word I would use is cruel,” she wrote in her sign-off.

    Actually, if cruel was all they were, she got off pretty easy…

    The horribleness of commenters isn’t really a mystery: Internet anonymity is disinhibiting, and people are basically mean anyway. Nor is it a mystery why the people who run websites put up with commenters: the economic model for Internet content is based on advertising, which means it’s based on traffic volume, and comments mean traffic. They’re part of the things that make online publishing work. enables comments on its blogs, including mine.) It’s just hard to tell whether they’re ruining the Web faster than they can save it.

    Commenters tend to respond with surprise—they’re shocked, shocked!—when people call them on being not nice. In their social universe, this kind of rhetorical slap-fighting is just how you do business, and anybody who feels otherwise is thin-skinned and humorless. As lame and self-serving as this excuse is, we can learn something from taking it at face value. Maybe commenters are just on one side of a cultural disconnect between two incompatible ideas of what the social conventions of the Internet should be. One is based on the standards of real-world, off-line politeness. The other is a kind of communal game in which whoever is cleverest and pushes the most buttons wins.

    This disconnect is probably just temporary. In another decade or two, one side or the other will have won out, and then we’ll all be on the same page, and we won’t have this kind of misunderstanding anymore. But I know which side I’m rooting for.

    Only a couple of decades? Then what’s all the fuss?! I mean, that’s only, like, 10,000 years in internet time…

    Attention iPhone Owners

    posted by on July 11 at 8:23 AM

    Don’t update your software just yet — unless you want to brick make your phone useless like, uh, I just did.

    The Morning News

    posted by on July 11 at 7:07 AM

    A Mental Recession: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—which together control half of the nation’s $12 trillion mortgage market—are in trouble. So much trouble, in fact, that the government is thinking about taking the giants over.

    Hot Water: Israeli police are accusing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of fraud.

    Let the Next Guy Do It: The Bush administration won’t be making an effort to regulate greenhouse gas emissions before Dubya leaves office.

    Law & Order: The International Criminal Court is going after Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

    Geekgasm: iPhone 3G hits store shelves today.

    Guess I’ll Have the Tuna Melt Instead: Before the Olympics, dog meat is being struck from menus in Beijing.

    Christ Almighty: 60-year-old Seattle man tending garden on a traffic circle is killed…over orange construction cones.

    Rossi’s Back-Scratchers: The state’s building industry is going after Gov. Gregoire.

    Throw the Book at Him: Robert Alan Soloway—also known as the “Spam King”—to be sentenced starting today.

    Things Change: The old Chubby & Tubby building on Rainier to be torn down, replaced by apartments.

    And finally: The drunk referee…

    You Up?

    posted by on July 11 at 2:26 AM

    It’s late. What are you doing at the computer?

    Obama Forgets (“Forgets”?) Something

    posted by on July 11 at 1:08 AM

    I am of the opinion that dude just spaced out, truly just forgot to say it, but if this were an alternate universe and Hillary were the nominee and she had done this to him… well, I have to admit, I think I would be of the opinion that she “forgot.”

    The Los Angeles Times:

    At a fundraiser Wednesday night in New York City, Barack Obama intended to ask his supporters to help pay off the campaign debt of his former rival Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    But there was a problem: He forgot.

    The Illinois senator delivered a fairly typical stump speech. Then he thanked the crowd and walked offstage.

    A minute later, he dashed back on. “Sen. Clinton still has some debt,” he said sheepishly, as the audience cracked up.

    Thursday, July 10, 2008

    Space Needle Captured!

    posted by on July 10 at 5:31 PM

    Two local yokels have put their flag on the top of the Space Needle! I think they also defaced the top of it! Painted it to look like a record album!


    photo by Steve Manning*

    Also, watch SLOG tomorrow for the video - the most terrifying How Was It? video interview I’ve ever done. That frickin’ Needle is a lot higher than it looks. Especially when you’re standing on tippy-tip-top of it.

    Dept. of NSFW Dumbassery

    posted by on July 10 at 5:00 PM

    A little something to play out your evening at (not safe for!) work: a web-based game where the player determines whether breasts are real or surgically-enhanced.

    I haven’t actually played this game, and I don’t endorse it. I’m linking to this for two horrifying bits of internet language: the page’s introduction line:

    Welcome at our tits, boobs, and breasts game

    and the closing lines:

    Now you can show the world your meat-expertise! Easy? Show it dude!

    Somebody put that second one on a t-shirt, stat!

    Competing Hot Mic Gaffes

    posted by on July 10 at 4:31 PM

    Jesse Jackson, you are not alone. TIME Magazine compiles a top ten list, including this oldie-but-goodie from Ronald Reagan that includes the memorable line, “We begin bombing in 5 minutes.”

    That Guy Who Climbed the New York Times Building Yesterday?

    posted by on July 10 at 4:00 PM

    He was an author who did it to promote a book. I know that we’re in the age of alternative book marketing, as defined by Bugliosi’s anti-Bush book that just hit the New York Times Bestseller list without any marketing from a major publisher, but this is a bit much.

    Also a bit much? The fact that the book being promoted by the human fly was “argues that Sept. 11 was part of a plot by al-Qaida to provoke the U.S. into invading Iraq, according to a book summary at”

    It’s a whole new strain of Truthers, and, if possible, it makes even less sense than the original. ( I hope they call themselves the Truthiers.) Somehow bin Laden planned the whole thing to happen exactly as it did? Genius!

    Animals with Cameras

    posted by on July 10 at 3:33 PM

    This is going around as a forward,

    and it reminded me of this.

    The Embezzler Goes Down

    posted by on July 10 at 3:23 PM

    Seattle Times reports that the woman who kicked the Bellevue Arts Museum when it was down—by stealing $300,000 from it not long after it struggled back onto its feet in 2005 after having been shut down and left for dead—is going to prison.

    Janet Ellinger was CFO of the museum (you might want to update your LinkedIn, Janet; or maybe not) when she stole the money. Today she was sentenced to 22 months.

    Asked where the money went, her lawyer told the judge it went to pay for her son’s tuition, for home improvements, and, oh, that Ellinger “spent some of the money on herself.”

    Whither the Squiggly?

    posted by on July 10 at 3:00 PM

    Adfreak informs us that Wal-Mart has changed their logo:


    The important thing that is lost here is the hyphen, which was represented as a star. This is actually a change in company culture.

    When I lived in Colorado Springs, I worked many, many shitty jobs. I worked at a Wendy’s for three hours, I was a landscaper, a mall Easter Bunny, a K-Mart shoe salesman and more. But worst of all, I worked to set up a Super Wal-Mart at the very end of my time in the Springs. I was desperate for cash. There were no customers, since the store had yet to open, which was a major plus.

    The downside was that we had storewide meetings every single morning. Every single day, the store manager, whose name was Gary Peacock, would blast the song “Takin’ Care of Business” on repeat and I and all of my other blue-vested compatriots would assemble around the makeshift stage, clapping in time with the music. At the end of every meeting, where we would hear about the progress of the store—mostly our job was assembling and stocking all the shelves, which, in a Super Wal-Mart, is a hell of a job—we would do the Wal-Mart Cheer. This is apparently the Wal-Mart way; other former Wal-Mart employees have told me that they’ve done the cheer, as well.

    Peacock would shout, “Gimme a W!” and all the adults, dressed in their blue smocks, would hold their hands above their heads to make a giant W with their bodies. Then, he would shout “Gimme an A!” and we’d put our hands together to form an A and so on and so forth. It would end with a cheer, of course, and our morale would be suitably boosted for another day of shelf-stocking.

    But the most demoralizing part of the whole thing was the hyphen. When we got to the space between the L and the M, Peacock would shout: “Gimme a squiggly!” and everybody would have to do the twist and lower ourselves to the floor before twisting back upright, while making a “Whooooooooooooop!” noise that got lower as we went down and higher as we stood back up. Never mind that it was a hyphen and not at all squiggly, a fact which drove me insane every single day. The worst part was that some of the employees fucking loved doing the squiggly. It was probably the high point of their days. They would laugh every time.

    So what are the Peacocks of the world going to shout now, between the L and the M? Is there still going to be a squiggly? Are they going to acknowledge that it’s an asterisk at the end? Or are they going to shout “Give me a Kurt Vonnegut asshole!” instead? And what will happen then, dear Lord, what, exactly, will happen then?

    Bush Vs Brezhnev

    posted by on July 10 at 2:55 PM


    Leonid Brezhnev, leader of the Soviet Union from about 1964 to 1982, is widely regarded as one of the worst leaders of the modern era. His bungling has served as an inspiration for other aspirant incompetents, a sort of absolute zero for national leadership of a dominant nation.

    The miraculous years under W, however, bring risk to this title! Both men were/are preening, self-lauding fools, and would care deeply who holds the legacy. A pressing question awaits us!
    Who wins the title of absolute zero for leadership, George W Bush or Leonid Brezhnev?

    A handy comparison table:

    Personal Accomplishments before rising to power: Destroyed the Texas Rangers. Ran several oil businesses into oblivion. Fails to commit suicide due to rigorous unthinking about everything. Studied metallurgy. Successfully retreated from Germans. Survived purges through rigorous unthinking adherence to Stalinist ideals.
    Wartime Service Faked Air National Guard records. Drank heavily. Drafted into Red Army during the Great Patriotic War. Served only in a political capacity.
    Wartime Record as National Leader: Invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. Lost. Invaded Afghanistan. Lost.
    Response to economic troubles: Tax cuts for the wealthy. Cuts in research funding. Promoted increased consolidation of industry. Gutted regulation. Massive deficit spending on the military, leading to the collapse of the currency. Ignored the fundamental economic problems underlying the decline. Promoted increased consolidation of industry. Massive deficit spending on the military, leading to the collapse of the currency. Ignored the fundamental economic problems underlying the decline.
    Drug addictions: Alcohol. Probably cocaine. Nembutal (a narcotic)
    Cult of Personality: Prone to giving out medals to himself and close political allies. Prone to giving out medals to himself and close political allies.
    Overall Legacy: Lazy, short-minded, self-centered and dishonest leadership imperils the entire teetering substructure of the gluttonous American society. Inept, short-minded, dishonest and self-centered leadership directly lead to the downfall of the Soviet Union and collapse of communism worldwide.

    I say, winner Bush! USA! USA!

    What’s More Terrifying than Iran Testing Three Missiles?

    posted by on July 10 at 2:36 PM

    Iran testing four missiles. At least, that’s the logic we can glean from Iran’s state media. Images that hit the wire a couple days ago depicted four rockets blazing toward the heavens, and the photo ran on the front page of the The Los Angeles Times, The Financial Times, The Chicago Tribune and a bunch of news sites.


    But, um, when the AP ran the photo, lo and behold, there were only three missiles.


    The doctored photo (up top) is dissected over at The Lede.

    Personally, Iran firing any missiles at all is terrifying. Not that the first thing we should do is bomb Tehran or anything, but this ordeal makes me nervous. At least now I am 25 percent less nervous about Iran than I was a minute ago (but much more concerned about our gullible mainstream press that will unquestioningly publish photos from Iran’s state media).

    Obama Lays Into Phil Gramm and John McCain

    posted by on July 10 at 2:28 PM


    Via TPM.

    Speaking of Flow Charts

    posted by on July 10 at 2:00 PM

    This geek flow chart shows the hierarchy of geekdom. Here’s a tiny sliver of the center of the chart:


    Of course, lots of bloggers are responding to this with a “can’t we all just get along?” kind of thing, as though these sorts of caste systems don’t naturally occur. Some of these slots are much-deserved: furries, quite frankly, are more geeky than superhero nerds. And comic book nerds are much less geeky than comic book nerds who only read X-Men spinoffs. I contend that an element of shame is a healthy thing in a subculture like this.

    And to prove almost the exact opposite of what I said above, I believe that this post marks the inauguration of Slog’s new “Nerd” category, which I have been told was created pretty much exclusively for Jonah and I. I’m honestly a little ashamed about that.

    Au Revoir à Moi

    posted by on July 10 at 1:37 PM

    Slog friends and foes, I’m leaving The Stranger at the end of this month, so tonight’s will be my last Slog Happy. (There’s no drama behind the scenes; I’m just hungry for a new challenge.) Come down and tell me how much you’ll miss me, why don’t you? They’re reserving space on the deck for us.


    The Mental Recession Continues

    posted by on July 10 at 1:35 PM

    Could this get any better for Obama? Former Sen. Phil Gramm, one of McCain’s top economic advisers and a co-chairman of the McCain campaign, is refusing to retract his statements about America being a “nation of whiners“—whiners who, according to Gramm, are only facing a “mental recession.”

    “I’m not going to retract any of it. Every word I said was true,” Gramm said.

    Obama is having great fun with this, McCain is trying valiantly to distance himself, and Democratic ad-makers are no doubt putting a big red star on this exchange so they can remember to use it—along with McCain’s famous line, “Economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should”—in their fall commercials.

    Goodbye, Butthole Buffet

    posted by on July 10 at 1:03 PM

    First Eric Grandy bodies all-ages music in Seattle, now Lake City Deja Vu Lunch Buffet has gone the way of the dodo thanks to nosy, nosy Stranger reporters! You meddling kids! Lindy West what hath you wrought!

    There was a whole group of fools planning on going there tomorrow specifically to indulge in the buffet(Friday was BBQ day apparently). They made a flyer for it and everything:pervinadish.jpg

    But according to a Vu employee, the Stranger article has brought this venerable club’s proud tradition to a bumping, grinding halt.

    “It’s…ah, not good publicity”, I was told by the nice fella on the phone.

    Now the fools are sad, sad, sad.

    “I thought this was America, people!”
    - Jay-Z

    As Long as They Don’t Call it “iTomes”

    posted by on July 10 at 1:00 PM

    David Rothman, who is always very excited about e-books, brings news that the iTunes store might be incorporating e-books into the music and movies. This comes on the heels of multiple news stories reporting that the new 3G iPhone will have an e-reader function. Rothman says that this is “one more reason why publishers would be foolish to be Kindle-centric,” which is absolutely true. Of course, they shouldn’t be iTunes -centric, either.

    If all this actually happens, it’s one step closer to what I think will be the real future of the e-book. It’s not going to replace anything, it’s just another distribution system for publishers, and could very well result in more people reading more books.

    Our National Embarrassment

    posted by on July 10 at 12:36 PM

    G8 summit edition:

    The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: ‘Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.’ He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.

    Mr Bush, whose second and final term as President ends at the end of the year, then left the meeting at the Windsor Hotel in Hokkaido where the leaders of the world’s richest nations had been discussing new targets to cut carbon emissions.

    Via Wonkette.

    Here’s How You Do It

    posted by on July 10 at 11:58 AM

    Washington State Senator Patty Murray’s statement on FISA:

    I am committed to giving our intelligence professionals the legitimate tools they need to make America more secure, while at the same time protecting the constitutional liberties of all Americans.

    For that reason, I oppose granting blanket retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that may have illegally allowed the government to spy on innocent Americans’ phone calls, email, and Internet activity. Granting immunity would not make America safer, but would only serve to prevent Americans from asserting their constitutional rights and legitimize the president’s warrantless wiretapping program.

    I voted for three amendments that would have improved this bill by increasing accountability and protecting the liberties of Americans. Unfortunately, each of these amendments failed. At that time, it became clear that I could not support the surveillance bill in its current form.

    I remain committed to ensuring that the government is able to collect vital intelligence information in order to protect America, while respecting the civil liberties we so strongly fight to defend.

    See, Obama? Not that hard. Your colleagues didn’t pander on FISA; why did you?

    First Sue the Publishers, Next Sue the Church

    posted by on July 10 at 11:48 AM

    A man is suing two Bible publishers for printing what he claims to be a bad translation of the original text, which has resulted in institutional homophobia. The suit claims $70,000,000 in damages.

    This is from a wonderful blogger’s summary of the case:

    What is at issue is the meaning of the words μαλακοι and αρσενοκοιται The usual view is that they refer to men who engage in homosexual acts. μαλακοι are those taken to play the “feminine” role, αρσενοκοιται those taken to play the “masculine” role. That these refer to homosexuals of some sort is clear from the Latin translation, produced in the 5th century, which uses molles “soft ones” for μαλακοι and masculorum concubitores “those who sleep with men” for αρσενοκοιται.

    As I understand Fowler’s complaints, he is not arguing that the New Testament, when translated correctly, discriminates against him as a gay man. Rather, he thinks that the publishers were negligent in publishing Bibles containing what in his view is an erroneous translation, one that, he thinks, falsely condemns homsexuality.

    Of course, the right wing blogs, which I’m not going to link to, are having a field day with this, along the lines of : “Liberals are suing Jesus! Next, they’ll sue all of us for praying in the comfort of our own homes!” But, really, this is a pretty fascinating lawsuit about the nuances of translation, which is just the kind of nerdery that makes me tingle.

    Via Maud.

    Outside Magazine: Nickels Makes Seattle Worth Living In

    posted by on July 10 at 11:46 AM

    Seth Kolleon reports that this month’s Outside Magazine included Seattle on its list of the 20 Best Places to Live in America, a designation we won in part because we elected Greg Nickels:

    Want a green planet? Elect Seattle’s mayor, Greg Nickels…Nickels has been at the forefront of fighting global warming…Not surprisingly, Nickels is just as devoted to his constituents, doing everything from installing hundreds of bike racks around the city to backing a $75 million renovation of Pike Place Market.

    Constituents? Do you feel Nickels has been devoted to you?

    More to the point, why do the media keep falling for Nickels’s spin in spite of overwhelming evidence that his (great in concept) Climate Protection Agreement isn’t working?

    Sound Transit Update

    posted by on July 10 at 11:37 AM

    As I reported in this week’s In the Hall, the latest iteration of Sound Transit’s light-rail plan—tailored to appease Snohomish and Pierce County board members who felt the previous plan didn’t do enough for their counties—is a 15-year plan that would extend light rail to Lynnwood, Federal Way and Bellevue—farther north and south than the previous 12-year, $6 billion plan.

    Yesterday, Sound Transit sent me a more detailed version of the proposal. It would:

    • Cost $10.4 billion in 2007 dollars.

    • Get light rail to Northgate by 2020, with expansion to Lynnwood by 2023.

    • Extend light rail through Bellevue to the Overlake Transit Center in Redmond by 2021.

    • Extend light rail south to Highline Community College by 2020, with an extension to South 272nd Street (the border of Federal Way) by 2023.

    • Expand express bus service.

    • Expand Sounder commuter rail to 8-car trains and more trips between Lakewood and Seattle.

    Twelve members of the 18-member Sound Transit board will have to vote for the plan in order for it to pass. Currently, the likely “No” votes include King County Executive Ron Sims and Everett City Council member Paul Roberts. Those who are reportedly on the fence include King County Council chair Julia Patterson, Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg, and Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, for whom the most significant changes in the new package were made. Sound Transit staff will present the new plan at the July 17 meeting of the agency’s finance committee, and the full board will vote July 24.

    Meanwhile, even before the board signs off on the proposal, light rail opponents on the Eastside have already launched a preemptive strike. The Eastside Transportation Association, funded in part by Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman, is running radio ads saying Sound Transit’s money should be spent on buses and roads.

    Two-Timing Rushdie

    posted by on July 10 at 11:18 AM

    The Booker of Bookers tournament, an attempt to decide on the best Booker Prize winner of the 40 years of the prize’s history, has settled on Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. Midnight’s Children won the 25th anniversary Booker of Bookers award, too, which means that it is clearly the best book ever. Or the best book of the last 40 years. Or the best of the 40 books that were chosen as winners of the Booker over the last 40 years. Or something. Right?

    Al Qaeda in Yenemsvelt

    posted by on July 10 at 11:16 AM

    Yenemsvelt is Yiddish for nowheresville.

    The Right needs Al Qaeda to be an ominous threat to justify Bush’s combat-heavy foreign policy. The Left needs Al Qaeda to be an ominous threat to proclaim that Bush has failed.

    They’re both wrong. Despite the scary Afghanistan 2000/Western Pakistan 2008 analogy, Al Qeada is on the run, sequestered in the hinterlands of Pakistan while the rest of that country just voted for the secular Pakistan People’s Party to take the majority position in parliament.

    Al Qaeda’s set up in nowheresville is a metaphor. Remember: The Viet Cong had massive urban support (hello Tet offfensive), while Al Qaeda throws tantrums—suicide bombings—from the hinterlands.

    I’m trying to say this: Let’s stop fetishizing Al Qaeda to the point where it’s sucking up billions of dollars and pushing us—the Left—to launch an attack on Pakistan. We need to think more about containment (and Al Qaeda’s making that choice easier for us by sequestering themselves in southern Somalia and Western Pakistan) while we delegitimize them with political and financial support for the democratic alternatives in Pakistan and Afghanistan—places that are already weary of and intimidated by Taliban-style operations.

    I’m stealing all of this. There’s a great mind-shifting essay in Newsweek which belittles Bush’s eight years of hot war thinking as the problem (although does give him credit for derailing Al Qaeda through the more conventional counterterrorism-style maneuvers) and should serve to ward the Left away from its now-fashionable chest-beating anti-Qaeda belligerence.

    From the lead:

    It is by now overwhelmingly clear that Al Qaeda and its philosophy are not the worldwide leviathan that they were once portrayed to be. Both have been losing support over the last seven years. The terrorist organization’s ability to plan large-scale operations has crumbled, their funding streams are smaller and more closely tracked. Of course, small groups of people can still cause great havoc, but is this movement an “existential threat” to the United States or the Western world? No, because it is fundamentally weak. Al Qaeda and its ilk comprise a few thousand jihadists, with no country as a base, almost no territory and limited funds. Most crucially, they lack an ideology that has mass appeal. They are fighting not just America but the vast majority of the Muslim world. In fact, they are fighting modernity itself.

    In fact, the article is worth quoting at length. I’ve done so below the jump.

    Continue reading "Al Qaeda in Yenemsvelt" »

    Don’t Be Skeered, It’s Just a Beard

    posted by on July 10 at 11:14 AM

    The Whisker Club of Bremerton is no amateur growing contest. These guys are serious.

    That’s Pronounced ‘Coke

    posted by on July 10 at 11:07 AM

    The New York State Theater—part of Lincoln Center—will now be known as the Koch Theater, after New York’s richest citizen, who just threw $100 million down the old theater-hole.

    Koch is also a major donor to the Republican party, and ran for vice president on the Libertarian ticket in 1980.

    Whose Bubbles?

    posted by on July 10 at 11:03 AM

    Last week, the Prado declared that a painting that had long been attributed to Goya is not a Goya at all. There was no new smoking gun, really; the museum made its decision based on style (and based on a pair of initials, long overlooked, that match those of an assistant of Goya’s). Colossus is simply not good enough to be a Goya, the Prado’s Goya expert says.

    Seattle Art Museum has had a few cases of shifting attributions in the last couple of years. The most prominent was on its Tiepolo ceiling painting; common wisdom had held that a small sketch for the painting was done by the elder Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista, but that the painting itself, made circa 1757, was actually completed by his son, Giovanni Domenico. The thinking was that certain areas of the painting were, essentially, not good enough to be attributable to Giovanni Battista—too flat in passages, particularly. By doing more research—visiting the original site and elaborately conserving the painting (see video here)—a SAM curator and SAM’s conservator, in consultation with other experts, concluded that the large painting was done by the father, not the son. When SAM opened its expanded building last year, the name on the label had changed, from Giovanni Domenico to Giovanni Battista.

    Another name on another label had changed, too, but far more quietly—because one obscure name was exchanged for another. The painting in question now hangs in SAM’s European gallery, and is labeled this way:


    Michaelina Woutiers
    Flemish, ca. 1620-after 1682
    Boys Blowing Bubbles, 1640s
    Oil on canvas
    35 5/8 x 47 3/4 in.
    Seattle Art Museum, Gift of Mr. Floyd Naramore

    But for years, the painting of the boys was attributed to Jacob van Oost, a 17th-century painter from Bruges. Van Oost has become a bit of a cipher. There is only one signed painting by van Oost, said SAM curator Chiyo Ishikawa (here), but there are many attributed to him. “There hasn’t been a monographic exhibition of all the paintings attributed to him, but if there were, you would be very confused,” Ishikawa said. “The one documented work we know by him looks nothing like our painting. We also had another painting attributed to him [of dogs and a hunt] that looks nothing like this painting. (We deaccessioned that one in 1996 because [it was in bad condition]).”

    Ishikawa and others long suspected that Boys Blowing Bubbles was not a van Oost. But whose was it?

    In 2002, a scholar of Flemish painting named Katlijne Van der Stighelen happened to be in Seattle, and she came across the painting at SAM. She already had an idea whose she thought it was: Michaelina Woutiers, a female court painter in Vienna—an anomaly. But it wasn’t until Van der Stighelen published a paper in 2005 after a symposium on Flemish patronage between 1550 and 1700 that another 17th-century Flemish scholar, Peter Sutton, suggested to Ishikawa that this painting might be by this unusual female painter. Van der Stighelen concurs.

    At this point, the attribution is still the best possible guess rather than an ironclad fact. Like the Goya decision, it’s based on stylistic similarities to four known court paintings by Woutiers, which are held at the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum. Unfortunately, the museum’s web site doesn’t include any images by Woutiers, but Ishikawa says there’s one in particular, a portrait of Bacchus, that includes a little boy on the right hand side of the picture that looks a lot like the boy on the right in the SAM painting. “I felt confident enough based on comparative photographs and these two opinions to go ahead and make the change,” Ishikawa said. “The Jacob van Oost [attribution] was always problematic, and this person does seem to be a distinct artistic personality. But really, to be completely satisfied, you’d want to get the paintings together.”

    In the late 1960s and early 1970s, with the advent of the Rembrandt Research Project—which in the early stages relied heavily on scientific technology in a search for the “true” Rembrandts—science was held out to be the key to solving attribution mysteries once and for all. But traditional connoisseurship turns out to have as great a role as science. Science may be able to tell you how old something is, or precisely what it’s made of, but consider that Rembrandt, just to take one example, ran a large studio of artists he hired to create paintings that look just like Rembrandts, and you start to glimpse the complications.

    In Seattle, with the museum’s relatively limited resources and great distance from the European collections, there have been plenty of question marks. In 2004, Ishikawa said, because of new scholarship, SAM changed the attribution on a 14th-century saint portrait by Allegretto Nuzi to Puccio di Simone. Sometimes, an attribution is little more solid than a bubble in thin air.

    “Unfortunate Trash-Talk”

    posted by on July 10 at 11:02 AM

    Jesse Jackson keeps trying to make it right:


    posted by on July 10 at 11:00 AM

    Slog tipper and superstar commenter PopTart writes:

    Did you see the glossary on Gawker yesterday? When do we get one for Slog?

    I’ll get right on that, PopTart, as soon as I complete my flowchart of Slog commenter relationships and feuds. Here’s a flow chart to keep everybody busy in the meantime.

    Goodbye Richie Sexson

    posted by on July 10 at 10:54 AM

    From the Seattle Times:

    The Mariners released first baseman Richie Sexson today. The move was announced by Lee Pelekoudas, the team’s vice president and general manager.

    “We felt that at this time it was in the best interest of the ballclub, and in Richie’s best interest, to make this move” Pelekoudas said.

    Quiz Time! What’s More Offensive?

    posted by on July 10 at 10:51 AM


    There’s no denying it: the battle for the 2008 presidency is gonna get U-G-L-Y. Last month, right-wing blow-up doll Michelle Malkin defended describing Michelle Obama as “Obama’s Baby Mama” because, hey, Michelle Obama had once called Barack her “Baby’s Daddy”! This brought an equally breathtaking retort from Stranger news editor Erica C. Barnett, who took to Slog to suggest it was fair play to refer to Cindy McCain as a “trollop-like cunt” because, hey, McCain had once done so himself! (On the 1992 campaign trail. Exact words: “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.”) This week brought both this and this.

    Clearly, we’re in for a four-and-half-month hurricane of bitterness and boundary-pushing tastelessness—and we better get used to it. To help acclimate readers to the new political climate, here’s a handy quiz, wherein readers must answer but one question:

    What’s more offensive?

    West Seattle Barista Storms Project Runway!

    posted by on July 10 at 10:29 AM


    Slog tipstress Stephanie alerted me to the breaking news and ongoing coverage at WestSeattleBlog:

    We mentioned this earlier in the middle of a multi-topic post—and clearly we erred in not making it banner news: Blayne the barista, who’s worked at Hotwire Coffee for 2 1/2 years, made it to the popular cable-TV reality show Project Runway and is taping now for the season that starts next month.

    It is not a lie to declare this super-exciting.

    (Thanks to WSB and Hotwire boss/shooter of the above photograph Lora Lewis.)

    John McCain Will Declare Victory on the Deficit

    posted by on July 10 at 10:20 AM

    Please peruse this clause from John McCain’s plan to balance the federal budget by 2013, and see if you can spot the part that doesn’t seem to make any sense:

    The McCain administration would reserve all savings from victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations in the fight against Islamic extremists for reducing the deficit. Since all their costs were financed with deficit spending, all their savings must go to deficit reduction.

    Forget that, as Slate reports, it’s assured that the logistics of a gradual withdrawal from Iraq will actually cost us more money in the short term, certainly with an effect that will be felt up to McCain’s 2013 deadline.


    John McCain’s plan to get us out of our budget spiral is hinged on the idea that he’s going to kick so much ass in Iraq and Afghanistan that he’ll be able to use it as a platform from which to slash the federal budget. It would be like him announcing that his plan for social services involved “whooping its ass!”, or that he’d solve the conflict in Palestine with “his bare hands and his will to win!” He’s instituted his insane tough-guy rhetoric as an actual arm of government policy.

    But it gets way, way worse: His plan “Jobs For America” (.pdf warning!) is actually just a huge, numberless, gaping position paper filled with “fight’n!” slogans. He calls for “strong” economic growth as part of his strategy, but doesn’t put a numerical percentage on how “strong” it would have to be to zero out the budget. His plan to “Eliminate Wasteful Spending” calls for “leadership, courage, and choices,” yet fails to mention a single specific program that he’d curtail or disband. Some of the only specifics in the entire plan come from his stillborn energy policy, the Lexington Project, which spawned the off-shore drilling craze and the $300 million dollar jackpot for building the better car battery.

    It’s not even policy. It’s economics-as-middle-school-pep-rally.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on July 10 at 10:14 AM


    We have a two mystery authors tonight (one who writes about a “skeleton detective” and one who titles a book Rock and Roll Never Forgets: A JP Kincaid Mystery and apparently thinks that that’s a good idea.) and many other readings.

    At Queen Anne Books, local author Garth Stein, who wrote The Art of Racing in the Rain, which is the novel from the point of view of a dog, reads. It’s also the big Starbucks book of choice at the moment. And this reading will feature free cookies. There will also be cookies for dogs, but dogs aren’t allowed at the reading.

    Up at Third Place Books, Guyanne Booth, whose first name is Guyanne, will be reading from Robber’s Roost, which is about a family that moves in with a bunch of robbers. And then wacky hijinx and important life lessons, no doubt, will ensue.

    Elliott Bay Book Company has a couple of authors, Lin and Leif Enger, reading from their respective books. Leif wrote a book called Peace Like a River a few years ago that critics hated but independent booksellers seemed to love. I hated the hell out of that book—it felt like super-generic literary fiction to me—and at the time I was both a critic and an independent bookseller. I haven’t read his new book, but if you’ll permit me to judge it by its cover, I think it looks like more of the same. I have not even looked at Lin’s book. The one thing you can guarantee about this reading is that it will be twice as long as other book readings.

    At the Richard Hugo House, Susanna Lang will read from Even Now, a collection of poems. Here is a link to one of Ms. Lang’s narrative poems, called “Pussywillow.” I actually really like the poem (except for the last line), but that’s still enough to make this the reading of the night.

    The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on July 10 at 10:00 AM

    Vancouver artist Scott Bowering’s The Shape of Oblivion (2007), 65 pounds pulverized Tylenol 3s (approximately 16 pounds codeine), 12 by 18 by 18 inches

    At SOIL. (Gallery site here.)

    Re: 2008 McCain Moment of the Day

    posted by on July 10 at 9:59 AM

    Got that? This faltering economy stuff is all in your head. Please continue to consume and spend as usual.
    I actually agree with McCain’s assessment of things, and, to a good degree, so would Marx. If the first book of Capital is about anything, it’s this: capitalism is less an economic system and more a belief system. The end of capitalism is then the end of a certain spell, a disenchantment. This disenchantment, however, is not like the one that’s pictured in the movie The Matrix, a fall from the illusions of happiness to the miseries of reality. Nor is it the absolute elucidation that Marx longed for his whole life long. It’s more instead a re-enchantment, another kind of dreaming and believing. We accept that the nature of humans is first of all symbolic, and so the solutions to their problems must first be found in the human system of symbols. The superstructure—not the base—is our foundation.

    Another Historic Landmark

    posted by on July 10 at 9:41 AM

    I’m out of town on Friday—so can someone please run down to the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation meeting tomorrow and nominate Art Skolnik’s aging, sagging, increasingly decrepit ballsack for placement on the National Register of Historic Places? Like the 55 year-old Alaskan Way Viaduct, Art’s 64 year-old ballsack was considered “unique and very clever” when it debuted. But Art’s ballsack is sinking an eight of an inch per year and I’m concerned for the safety of anyone that might be under Art’s ballsack should it collapse.

    As there’s “no prudent and feasible alternative” for replacing Art’s ballsack, I’m hoping a successful drive to have Art’s ballsack placed on the National Register of Historic Places will prompt the city and state to fund a retrofit.

    Maverick Moment of the Day

    posted by on July 10 at 9:35 AM

    Recession? Pshaw!

    So says Phil Gramm, former U.S. Senator and current co-chairman of the McCain campaign:

    “You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession,” he said… “We have sort of become a nation of whiners… You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline… We’ve never been more dominant; we’ve never had more natural advantages than we have today.”

    Got that? This faltering economy stuff is all in your head. Please continue to consume and spend as usual.

    Dino Rossi: Let the Sunshine In!

    posted by on July 10 at 9:03 AM

    Or, you know, not.

    Via HA.

    The Sacred Sanctity of the Super Sacred Institution of Sanctified Heterosexual Marriage

    posted by on July 10 at 8:38 AM

    It would be easier to take conservatives seeking to “protect” marriage seriously if they proposed some sort of penalty for heterosexuals that make a hash of marriage over and over and over again. Perhaps a four-strikes-and-you’re-out law?

    Miss Fuck You

    posted by on July 10 at 8:05 AM

    After Miss Nevada comes Miss Washington:

    TMZ reports:

    Miss Washington 2007 might wanna take the crown off before flipping off the camera, getting her Beer Pong on and making suggestive oral sex gang signs…

    …Elyse Umemoto, who was the second runner-up in this year’s Miss America pageant, ran on a platform promoting diversity and women’s empowerment. The Evergreen State must be so proud.

    Miss Washington Executive Field Director Mike Miller tells TMZ the organization is “embarrassed,” and issued this lengthy statement.

    Our world has completed its fall. Nothing at all is safe, nothing is sacred.

    The Morning News

    posted by on July 10 at 6:41 AM

    Rise of the Insurgents: Foreign fighters are rushing to Pakistan’s tribal areas, according to American military and intelligence officials.

    Drums of War: After Iran tests missiles for the second day in a row, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warns America will defend its allies.

    New Weapons For Old Enemies: Shiite militiamen are now using rocket-propelled bombs against U.S. military outposts.

    9% Approval Rating: Senate votes 69-28 to expand government surveillance powers, offer legal immunity to snooping telecoms. Both Cantwell and Murray voted nay. Obama voted yea.

    Threatened Nuts: Obama supporter Jesse Jackson opens mouth, inserts foot.

    A Bit of Good News: New Orleans is America’s fastest growing city, though the population is still half of what it was before Katrina.

    Apologies: The American Medical Association will issue a formal apology to African-American doctors for past discrimination.

    Dubious Honors: The Bush administration thinks an effort to name a San Francisco sewage plant after Our Dear Leader “doesn’t dignify a response.”

    Foreclosures: Up nearly 70% from last June in Washington State.

    Tanked: The Pentagon announced yesterday it would rebid the Air Force tanker contract. After a Defense Department meeting, Rep. Norm Dicks believes the fix is in against Boeing.

    Derailed: The Eastside Transportation Association is already taking to the airwaves with negative light rail ads. Erica C. Barnett goes into why the anti-rail arguments are bullshit here.

    Money Game: Just as in 2004, Gov. Chris Gregoire has released her tax returns, while challenger Dino Rossi has refused.

    A Bump Up: The Seattle School Board voted unanimously to give chief Maria Goodloe-Johnson a 10% raise and a cost-of-living adjustment.

    It Will Certainly Be Historic When It Falls Down: Local man wants the Viaduct declared a historic landmark.

    Dept. of Self-Flagellation: With this surprise, my little victory lap has officially peaked. So instead, let’s wrap up today’s morning news with this important cautionary tale:

    At What Point…

    posted by on July 10 at 3:55 AM

    …do you say, “Fuck it, I’m not going to lay here wide awake anymore,” and get up and go for a bike ride or go buy some crack or go blow your brains out or something? The freakin’ sun is coming up. Fuck it, I’m going to read the NYT and then write a very special sleep-deprived episode of “Savage Love.” Victrola opens at 5:30, right?

    Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    What Jesse Jackson Said

    posted by on July 9 at 6:15 PM

    Or, rather, what he whispered.

    Here’s the video, and here’s my rough transcription:

    See, Barack been, um, talking down to black people on this faith based… I want to cut his nuts off. Barack, he’s talking down to black people.

    It may be the crudest language you’ve ever heard on a television news program (or more likely not), but it’s definitely the nicest thing Jackson’s done for Obama all year.

    Obama now gets to accept a groveling apology from Jackson; he gets Bill O’Reilly telling his (white) conservative audience about how Obama’s upsetting a guy they probably already dislike; and the whole affair gets everyone in the media talking (again) about how Obama’s willing to say tough things about faith and personal responsibility even if they end up pissing off members of his traditional base.

    Rev. Jackson, you just became this year’s Sister Souljah.

    The Fourth Amendment, Revised.

    posted by on July 9 at 5:14 PM

    The original, death-pact, version:

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    Today’s revised, promoting security of the fatherland homeland, version:

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized, unless the President unilaterally decides otherwise.”

    You know why I don’t feel safer. At least I will not feel guilt for not serving in an Obama-led NSA. And I feel better for sticking with Qwest’s shitty DSL; Qwest told the NSA to shove it, when presented with warrantless wiretaps.

    I keep waiting to see where the commas taken from the second amendment will land.

    I Hate Myself…

    posted by on July 9 at 5:00 PM

    …for linking to this bank’s website. I know that I’m just a tool—and I emphasize the word “tool,” here—in their viral marketing campaign, but I think that these commercials are funny as hell.

    If you don’t want to link through, they star famous awesome man Carl Weathers


    riding around on a bicycle loaded down with flowers. He hits on women and dispenses wisdom, but everything, ultimately, is about change, because it’s just another goddamned advertisement for another goddamned bank.

    But it’s a goddamned funny goddamned ad for a goddamned bank.

    Overheard in the Office

    posted by on July 9 at 4:51 PM

    ELI SANDERS: “I just want to know what he actually said. What sentence ends with ‘cut his nuts out’?

    Police Watchdog Returns to Policing

    posted by on July 9 at 4:46 PM

    Brad Moericke, one of the three outgoing members of the current Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB), has taken a job as the Deputy Police Chief of the Sumner Police Department. Before joining the board, Moericke spent nearly 10 years as a patrol officer and sergeant in the Sumner Police Department.

    Last month, the city told current OPARB members Peter Holmes, Sheley Secrest and Moericke that it would not offer them legal protection, should their report—which addresses a controversial 2007 SPD investigation—draw legal action from the police guild. Because the board members could be sued, the report is in legal limbo. An incomplete and redacted version of the report leaked last week, but the board’s full report—detailing changes OPARB believes are necessary in the department—has yet to see the light of day.

    According to Secrest, Moericke is still a member of OPARB until the new board takes over on September 1st, and could take part in any further alterations to the report, in order to get it released. However, Secrest says the board won’t release a “watered down” version of the report.


    posted by on July 9 at 4:28 PM


    My favorite thing for the past 10 minutes.

    Here Today, Gone Today

    posted by on July 9 at 4:22 PM

    The New York Times reports on the fact that Violet Blue has been completely removed from the Boing Boing archives, as though she never existed. Of course, I had never heard of Violet Blue until this whole mess happened, so it’s not like I can personally get huffy over it. But this is something that’s only going to get more and more important as media moves online, and there’s no accountability.

    When I correct my own posts, if there’s a factual change, I’ll note it in an update, but sometimes things like grammar and spelling will get fixed with no credit or notation. But does anyone even really care about this sort of thing? Is this an old-media concern awkwardly slapped onto a new-media paradigm?

    Hyperbole, Thy Name is Westneat

    posted by on July 9 at 4:15 PM

    So according to Danny Westneat of the Seattle Times, charging a fee for disposable grocery bags—and (horrors!) actually using some city employee time to make sure the fee gets charged—is aspiring to emulate South Africa or China. No, seriously: Because the mayor and city council want a small fee to motivate Seattle residents to do something they haven’t been doing voluntarily (bringing their own bags to the store), Westneat thinks we’re heading down the road to communism.

    In China you can lose your business license if you’re caught doling out plastic bags. In South Africa, you can be jailed for up to 10 years.

    Still, those two are hardly models to aspire to.

    Westneat suggests that Seattle “reduce its bag usage without inspectors” or a fee by “having stores do this voluntarily.”

    The trouble with that plan is, stores have had the ability to voluntarily reduce waste forever. And despite city encouragement, they haven’t done it. “Having” someone do something “voluntarily” is oxymoronic. And it doesn’t work. What does work? Bans on throwaway bags like those proposed or passed in places like San Francisco, Malibu, Santa Monica, L.A. and Portland work. Compared to the total bans other cities are passing right here in the democratic USA, a completely voluntary 20-cent fee is a very small price to pay.

    The SPU workers who’ll check stores for compliance with the bag fee are not “bag police,” any more than the workers who peek into your recycling, garbage and yard waste before they cart them away are recycling, garbage, or yard waste police. Bag-fee opponents may indeed grumble about having to remember to bring their own; it’s hard at first. But they shouldn’t get their boxers in a bunch over the news that the city may actually enforce a law it passes.

    What Did Jesse Jackson Say About Obama?

    posted by on July 9 at 3:55 PM

    So Rev. Jesse Jackson has been caught on tape saying something highly disparaging about Barack Obama, FOX news is promising to play the tape in its entirety tonight on the O’Reilly Factor, Jackson is pre-apologizing, and Drudge is saying Jackson’s quote involves the phrase “cut his n**s out.”

    Anyone want to take a guess at what the full Jackson involves?

    UPDATE: Whatever it is, it’s so bad that Jesse Jackson, Jr. is now publicly slamming his own father. Here’s the statement:

    I’m deeply outraged and disappointed in Reverend Jackson’s reckless statements about Senator Barack Obama. His divisive and demeaning comments about the presumptive Democratic nominee — and I believe the next president of the United States — contradict his inspiring and courageous career… Instead of tearing others down, Barack Obama wants to build the country up and bring people together so that we can move forward, together — as one nation. The remarks like those uttered on Fox by Reverend Jackson do not advance the campaign’s cause of building a more perfect Union.

    Janwillem van de Wetering

    posted by on July 9 at 3:51 PM

    GalleyCat brings news that Dutch mystery author Janwillem van de Wetering has died. Van de Wetering is the author of the Amsterdam Cops series, of which there were fourteen installments. Soho Press was just about to reissue his books. A lot of my mystery-reading friends—people with really good taste—have recommended him to me. I haven’t read any of his books yet, but I have a couple at home waiting for me.

    This Just In…

    posted by on July 9 at 3:41 PM

    New DNA tests have definitively cleared the parents of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey of her unsolved murder almost 12 years ago, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

    In a statement seeking to silence suspicions surrounding relatives of the slain 6-year-old, prosecutors said new testing techniques on male DNA found on JonBenet’s clothes did not match any family members.

    A Recent Conversation

    posted by on July 9 at 3:02 PM

    These images are connected to a conversation I had yesterday with someone in this city. Nothing more is to be said than that.


    Dark & Dead

    posted by on July 9 at 2:51 PM


    When good hair means death:

    CHICAGO (STNG) - A man is accusing a multi-national cosmetic company of selling a potentially lethal coloring product that he says took the life of his mother.

    Aaron Morris claims in a lawsuit Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court against The L’Oréal Group that toxic chemicals in the hair-coloring product SoftSheen Dark & Lovely caused his mother to suffer from shortness of breath and ultimately killed her in July of 2006.

    The L’Oréal Group, which owns the SoftSheen Carson line of products, is accused in the suit of failing to put a warning label on the hair colorings’ alleged potential to become lethal.

    On July 10, 2006, Cornelia Morris applied the SoftSheen Dark & Lovely in “Natural Black,” and while waiting for the hair-dye to kick-in she began having difficulty breathing. Her son called an ambulance and she died after arriving at Jackson Park Hospital.

    An autopsy by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s determined Cornelia Morris died from an allergic reaction to the hair dye.

    FISA Fury

    posted by on July 9 at 2:05 PM

    Barack Obama today voted in favor of a FISA bill that grants immunity for telecom companies that participated in Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program:

    WASHINGTON — More than two and a half years after the disclosure of President’s Bush’s domestic eavesdropping program set off a furious national debate, the Senate gave final approval on Wednesday afternoon to broadening the government’s spy powers and providing legal immunity for the phone companies that took part in the wiretapping program.

    The plan, approved by a vote of 69 to 28, marked one of Mr. Bush’s most hard-won legislative victories in a Democratic-led Congress where he has had little success of late. Both houses, controlled by Democrats, approved what amounted to the biggest restructuring of federal surveillance law in 30 years, giving the government more latitude to eavesdrop on targets abroad and at home who are suspected of links to terrorism.

    The issue put Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in a particularly precarious spot. After long opposing the idea of immunity for the phone companies in the wiretapping operation, he voted for the plan on Wednesday. His reversal last month angered many of his most ardent supporters, who organized an unsuccessful drive to get him to reverse his position once again. And it came to symbolize what civil liberties advocates saw as “capitulation” by Democratic leaders to political pressure from the White House in an election year.

    Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who was Mr. Obama’s rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted against the bill.

    Smart move on Clinton’s part, and one we’re sure to hear more about from her supporters. As for Obama, Glenn Greenwald, who’s been at the fore of the netroots fury over this issue, says:

    Obama’s vote in favor of cloture, in particular, cemented the complete betrayal of the commitment he made back in October when seeking the Democratic nomination. Back then, Obama’s spokesman — in response to demands for a clear statement of Obama’s views on the spying controversy after he had previously given a vague and noncommittal statement — issued this emphatic vow:
    To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.


    posted by on July 9 at 2:02 PM

    I was just perusing the Discovery Institute’s main blog to see their response to potential veep Bobby Jindal signing the newest stealth creationist legislation in Louisiana. Lots of crowing, of course. I particularly enjoyed the mention of Discovery Institute fellow John G. West’s article on National Review Online, as it gives me opportunity to mention today’s Discovery Institute slapdown on NRO’s The Corner, care of John Derbyshire.

    But here’s what really set my blood boiling. Check out this pathetic attempt to harness Thomas Jefferson as an intelligent design proponent:

    Next time someone tells you intelligent design is “based on religion,” you might point him to American Founder Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence. As I explain in a special July 4th edition of ID the Future, Jefferson not only believed in intelligent design, he insisted it was based on the plain evidence of nature, not religion.

    Ironically, the critics of intelligent design often think they are defending the principles of Jefferson. The National Council for the Social Studies, for example, claims that intelligent design is religion and then cites Jefferson’s famous Letter to the Danbury Baptists calling for a “wall of separation” between church and state. The clear implication is that Thomas Jefferson would agree with them that intelligent design is religion. A writer for Irregular Times goes even further, insisting that “the case of Thomas Jefferson makes it quite clear that there was not a consensus of support among the authors of the Constitution to allow for the mixing of religion and government to support theological doctrines such as intelligent design.”

    In reality, Jefferson did not believe that intelligent design was a religious doctrine. In a letter to John Adams on April 11, 1823, he declared:

    I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in its parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of its composition.
    (emphasis added)

    By insisting that his defense of intelligent design was made “without appeal to revelation,” Jefferson clearly was arguing that the idea had a basis other than religion. What was that basis? He went on to explain:

    The movements of the heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their course by the balance of centrifugal and centripetal forces, the structure of our earth itself, with its distribution of lands, waters and atmosphere, animal and vegetable bodies, examined in all their minutest particles, insects mere atoms of life, yet as perfectly organised as man or mammoth, the mineral substances, their generation and uses, it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is, in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion, their preserver and regulator while permitted to exist in their present forms, and their regenerator into new and other forms.

    In sum, Jefferson believed that empirical data from nature itself proved intelligent design by showing the natural world’s intricate organization from the level of plants and insects all the way up to the revolution of the planets.

    Wow. As a graduate of the University of Virginia (so frequently referred to as Thomas Jefferson’s University that the radio station call letters are WTJU), I am well acquainted with the deployment of quotations from Mr. Jefferson to support nearly any point of view. However, this goes too far. Jefferson died in 1826, 33 years before Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species. Intelligent design borrows heavily from dusty old natural theologian William Paley, but it is in essence a repudiation of Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Jefferson was not a critic of evolution because he had no knowledge of evolution.

    In fact, he thought extinction did not exist and that there were likely still mastodons roaming the Pacific Northwest. But he shouldn’t be blamed for not knowing or discovering a scientific theory on his own. After all, he also said this, as he petitioned Congress for the repeal of a duty on imported books:

    That the value of science to a republican people; the security it gives to liberty, by enlightening the minds of its citizens; the protection it affords against foreign power; the virtues it inculcates; the just emulation of the distinction it confers on nations foremost in it; in short, its identification with power, morals, order, and happiness, (which merits to it premiums of encouragement rather than repressive taxes,) are topics, which your petitioners do not permit themselves to urge on the wisdom of Congress, before whose minds these considerations are always present, and bearing with their just weight.

    Bob Herbert’s Latest Column

    posted by on July 9 at 2:00 PM

    In the NYT yesterday, in the Seattle Times and Seattle PI today.

    Food, Warm Clothes, Booze, and Guns

    posted by on July 9 at 2:00 PM

    Have you seen this yet?

    It’s a really nice video Seattle Art Museum made with Eli Hansen and Oscar Tuazon about the “between here and there” installation they made at the museum and in Kodiak, Alaska, titled Kodiak. (Information here.)

    In my review of the Elar blitz this spring, I didn’t get to spend much time specifically talking about Kodiak, but it’s an interesting work for many reasons, one of which being its disruption of a Platonic outlook. In Kodiak, you are allowed neither the purity of the idea, nor the corruption of an object based on the idea. You get what’s in between: leftovers and fragments, suggestions and parts, each one moving toward objecthood or idea-hood but never arriving.

    Unless, of course, you decide to visit their Kodiak outpost for yourself. Anyone who does, email me. I want to hear about it.

    An American Hero

    posted by on July 9 at 1:46 PM


    From North Carolina’s News & Observer:

    L.F. Eason III gave up the only job he’d ever had rather than lower a flag to honor former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms. Eason, a 29-year veteran of the state Department of Agriculture, instructed his staff at a small Raleigh lab not to fly the U.S. or North Carolina flags at half-staff Monday, as called for in a directive to all state agencies by Gov. Mike Easley. When a superior ordered the lab to follow the directive, Eason decided to retire rather than pay tribute to Helms.

    Put that man’s face on stamps and money, pronto.

    (Thank you for the heads-up, Gawker.)

    Adopt a Foster Child…

    posted by on July 9 at 1:18 PM

    …save a life.

    Foster child denied shot at new liver

    A Central Florida foster child needs a life-saving liver, but doctors have taken him off a transplant list because they fear he cannot recover from surgery without a stable home.

    A disabled foster child whose liver is failing has been removed from a Central Florida hospital’s organ-transplant waiting list because hospital administrators fear the state’s shaky child-welfare system cannot ensure he has a permanent home in which to recover.

    Shands Hospital in Gainesville removed the boy, 15, from a waiting list for organ recipients after administrators determined the boy’s unstable living conditions make him a poor candidate for a transplant, said Nick Cox, the Department of Children & Families regional administrator in the Tampa Bay area, where the boy lives.

    Via John Aravosis, who asks…

    So where are all those friends of Terri Schiavo? Haven’t heard a peep from them on this.

    So this 15 year-old boy—failed first by his crack-addled mother, then by a foster-care system that warehouses children—is going to be allowed to die. Unless some straight parents step up and adopt this special-needs child soon. And, yes, it has to be straight parents, as Florida bans adoptions by same-sex couples. Which means, of course, that children in Florida who wind up in the foster-care system are likelier to stay there—and die there, it seems—than children in other states.

    The Long, Long Wait for Better Town Houses

    posted by on July 9 at 1:14 PM

    Mayor Greg Nickels stood in front of a bunch of town houses on Capitol Hill yesterday afternoon to propose cures for Seattle’s ugly town houses. Among his ideas: the city would review designs for new townhouses. Developers say that would be an expensive hassle.

    Miklos Kohary, who built 160 town homes in the city last year, said the mayor’s “insane” proposal would add $30,000 to $40,000 to each home. He now spends that much on loan payments, he said, waiting for building permits to clear with the city, which takes seven to 10 months.

    “We were doing what was the objective of the mayor: affordable housing,” Kohary said. “My average buyer ranged from 22, 23 to 35. These were all young people who didn’t want to have a big garden and a house. “[City officials] either want housing or they don’t. If they want housing, this is insane.”

    Nickels said, “We don’t think it will be a significant cost driver.”

    Nickels boldly went against the grain and stood up to the developers who build flimsy crap, who many neighborhood activists say he’s in the pocket. So rah rah for the mayor, right? Not so fast. In fact, really slow.

    The first problem is that his big idea for administrative design reviews is an old, impractical one. Design review will take a long-ass time for each project, and still fail to address directly the biggest problems with town house design: banning four-pack housing and wide central auto courts with no pedestrian function. Those changes will be made, hopefully, after it gets to the city council, which will have to enact any zoning changes. Which will happen, eventually…

    This multi-family rezoning package is the result of years of study by the Department of Planning and Development, which answers to Nickels. DPD handed the proposal to Nickels late last year, and it’s been waiting on his desk, as folks at city hall put it, since then. Meanwhile, Councilmember Sally Clark, head of the land-use committee, is waiting for the legislation to go through a SEPA review (an environmental impact review), which will take until September, before she can touch it. But by then the council will be working on the budget, and probably won’t get around town houses till 2009—and that process will entail more public comment, debate, revision, blah, blah, blah. If Clark makes any gutsy changes to the town house rules—changes that would actually improve them rather than just tweak the designs we have—the SEPA process could begin all over again.

    Nickels could have expedited this entire process, and truly taken developers of the worst projects to task, by moving on the legislation promptly. Instead, those developers have another year to keep building the shitty townhouses.

    Maybe Embalming Fluid Burns?

    posted by on July 9 at 1:04 PM

    First things first: You can now be charged with attempted sexual assault in Wisconsin even if your intended victim is dead. In 2006 three young men tried to dig up a body after seeing a picture of the deceased woman—a twenty-year old looker who died in a motorcycle accident—in a local paper. A lower court ruled that the men could not be charged with attempted sexual assault because the law didn’t mention necrophilia. But the Wisconsin State Supreme Court disagreed with the lower courts, and reinstated attempted sexual assault charges against the three boys.


    Oh, the heartland.

    Slog tipper Brie noticed an odd detail in the report:

    The men went to the cemetery with shovels, a crowbar, a tarpaulin, and a box of condoms, which the men had purchased that evening on their way to the cemetery.

    Why condoms, Brie asks? Considering how few young men seem to think they need to use condoms with living, breathing, ovulating women, it seems odd that these young men would think to purchase a box of condoms on the way to a cemetery. Perhaps these boys know something about embalming fluid that we don’t—maybe it burns?—or maybe they were worried about catching the mother of all cooties. Details will, presumably, come out during the trial, so we’ll be staying tuned to WISC-TV for complete coverage.

    KUOW: The Conversation

    posted by on July 9 at 1:02 PM

    Hey, Sloggers. I’ll be on KUOW’s The Conversation with Ross Reynolds at 1:50 p.m. We’ll be talking about the MSM’s credulous reporting of drug busts and the highlights of the last week on drugs. If there’s druggish news you think we should ramble about, toss it in comments.

    Ever Wanted to See a Shitload of Photos Taken in China Between 1908 and 1932?

    posted by on July 9 at 1:01 PM

    Well, this is your lucky link.





    posted by on July 9 at 1:00 PM

    Seattle artist Shawn Patrick Landis, who uses inflatables to tense effect and who just took down an entire storm-tossed, suspended bedroom that was on display at Grey Gallery & Lounge, has also brought his blow-up works to the desert—right up against Michael Heizer’s classic work of earth art, Double Negative (1969-70).

    I wish I’d known he was doing it; I’d have tried to talk my way into tagging along. (I’ll try to get an interview with him about the project when he gets back to town next month. Playing tag with other media=embarrassing.) The intervention landed Landis on the cover of this summer’s Sculpture magazine. Here’s the online excerpt; for the full story, the magazine is on sale at the Queen Anne Easy Street Records.

    This reminds me: John Grade, another artist with roots in earthwork-style interventions (podcast here), has a solo show opening August 26 at Bellevue Arts Museum.

    John Grade, carrying his work Collector on his back

    It’s Hard Out Here For a Bookseller

    posted by on July 9 at 12:58 PM

    Used Books Blog put up a post about Borders reorganizing their corporate plan. The post became an apparently much-needed place for Borders employees to collect and gripe about the changes the corporation made and how they affect them:

    From the front lines, those “strategic alternatives” included getting rid of managers and supervisors, eliminating the employee gift card of $25/mo. for full time employees, eliminating time and a half for all employees working holidays and the thing that is guaranteed to save their rosy butts — charging employees 35 cents for tea and coffee that had been previously free.

    Corporations are always so classy when they’re desperately trying not to go bankrupt.


    posted by on July 9 at 12:33 PM


    The Seattle Times is putting together a list—hell, an interactive map—of the 600 stores that Starbucks intends to close. But Starbucks hasn’t announced which 600 stores the company intends to close, so the list is being compiled with the aid of “baristas, customers and others [who know where] the closures will happen.”

    Readers with the inside dope are invited to click through to this form, where the Seattle Times asks, “Do you know of a Starbucks store that’s closing? Let us know.” Based on the interactive map, it’s clear that the Seattle Times is just taking random peoples’ word on store closings. (“Country Club Hills, IL: A Starbucks in Country Club Hills will close this month, according to a reader of The Seattle Times,” “Burlington, WA: ‘Sad, sad day when our little oasis in the community is shelved for shareholders profit statements,’ said one Seattle Times reader.”) So, hey, there’s nothing to stop you from going here and reporting stores you wish to see closed.

    Jake One Pwns Nickels

    posted by on July 9 at 12:26 PM

    As Mayor Nickels speechified about ugly townhomes, Seattle hiphop’s #1 hitmaker Jake One was in one of them- center top window to be exact. Can’t see what he’s holding up? It’s one of these:

    (photo ganked from the P-I, duh)
    (h/t to DJ Nphared for the tip)

    The Opposite of Lively

    posted by on July 9 at 12:19 PM

    Google just created a Second Life-like application called Lively. The burdensome tagline is: “Create an avatar and chat with your friends in rooms you design.” Just like Second Life, you pick an avatar like this one:


    and build a room like, for example, this “Goth Room”:


    And then you can, um, IM your friends, who also look like pigs or chickens or whatever. It does, at least, seem to be free at present.

    Stephen’s Lighthouse also points out another small step for online avatars:

    “Sometime earlier today an avatar was successfully teleported from a SecondLife Virtual World preview Grid onto an OpenSim world developed by IBM, marking the first incident of virtual space travel by a virtual life form.”

    I really, really hope this doesn’t turn into web 3.0.

    Who Reads Books Anymore?

    posted by on July 9 at 12:15 PM

    There’s a great piece today in the San Francisco Chronicle—I know! weird, right?—about reading books. Look, you’re already asleep. You’re already scrolling past this.

    Mark Morford writes:

    See, I love books. Admire and appreciate and adore. Was a lit major at Berkeley, still love to read, still like to consider myself a big consumer of books and deep thinker about bookish issues and ideas.

    And yet, if I’m painfully honest, I have to admit it: I barely read books anymore. Not nearly the way I used to, anyway. Not for a long, long time. And chances are, if you’re at all drawn to the new media vortex, neither do you.

    He’s right, of course—the internet’s pulling all of us away from books. Except maybe Paul Constant, who somehow posts more than anyone on Slog (except possibly Savage and ECB) and, at the same time, reads three books per weekend.

    Nadal vs. Federer

    posted by on July 9 at 12:02 PM

    Another day, another excuse to post a picture of Rafael Nadal. Sloggers seem divided over who’s hotter: Nadal or Federer? Time for a poll! That’s Federer on the left, Nadal and his sweaty Spanish-speaking armpit on the right.


    Who Would You Rather Do?

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on July 9 at 12:00 PM

    White people CAN dance!

    Remember “This Is Not a Swingset”?

    posted by on July 9 at 12:00 PM

    That was PDL’s last, perfectly bewildering intervention into the sometimes quizzical land of the Olympic Sculpture Park. Now, this coming Saturday, July 12, the artists (podcast here) are about to strike again, not at OSP but with a secret something at Kerry Park:

    Saturday, July 12th - PDL at Kerry Park. 8:00 am to 8:00 pm

    PDL will be setting up an installation at Kerry Park, on the top of Queen Anne, very early Saturday morning. It will be up all day long. It is one day only and we promise not to disappoint. We will roll into the Hideout about 9:00 [pm] to celebrate this daring, experimental work. Climb up the hill and take a peek. Wish we could tell you more but it’s one big surprise, you will just have to see for yourself.

    For another OSP special: Curator Michael Darling’s perspective on Dennis Oppenheim’s big orange cones is here, in a new video.

    Hanging With the Rockefellers

    posted by on July 9 at 11:57 AM

    Call me a geek, but I kinda love reading the pool reports from the John McCain and Barack Obama fundraisers.

    In case you haven’t been paying attention to campaign minutia, here’s the background: Both candidates, in the interest of competitive transparency, recently decided to allow pooled press along on their high-dollar money-gathering adventures. There are strict rules, summarized in a recent pool report as: “We can stare at and listen to the participants but no touching or talking.” Still, even with those rules in place, the glimpse we now get of how the high-rollers roll is usually a fun read.

    Take the recent report from the Rockefeller chateau:

    Our night began at The Rocks, Jay Rockefeller’s chateau away from chateau deep in the hills of Rock Creek Park. To reach the site of this particular Obama fundraiser, you wind along the edges of Rock Creek Park and then turn up a steep, long, hey mistah Rockefeller, howabout $3000 to shovel your driveway sort of entryway.

    There are oaks and Chestnut trees and then there’s the house, with four Ionic columns and a slate roof and 17 windows across the front and the Rockefellers apparently suffer no critical shortage of guest bedrooms. It is a useful reminder that before the Gates and Bloomberg and Warren B., there was old man John D. Rockefeller, who bequeathed successive generations of descendants a truly astonishing boodle of money.

    But I digress. The fundraiser was standard issue, if it’s Tuesday night aren’t we dropping $28,500 per to dine with Barack? Your faithful scribes sat outside in an air-conditioned van whilst drinks were sipped. Then a staffer led us to an ante-room, where we noticed “The Reclining Bather” by Pablo Picasso. Just a thought, but I’d place a mid-two figures wager it was not a print.

    And on it goes, with tantalizing talk of Mustard-Cognac sauce, Harvard law school buddies, and chocolate Corinthian glaces. Just in case you were wondering how the other half—or, really, the half of one percent that owns it all—lives.

    “Obama Loves America Like OJ Loved Nicole”

    posted by on July 9 at 11:00 AM

    Whoa… classy.

    Via Atrios.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on July 9 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Alloy of Love’ at Frye Art Museum

    Dario Robleto’s exhibit at the Frye is one of those shows you read as much as see. On display is a simple button-down shirt next to a pile of buttons that—the posted description informs us—were made from melted Billie Holiday records, gathered under the title Sometimes Billie Is All That Holds Me Together. The whole show’s a death-and-pop-culture-obsessed mindblower, and you’d be a fool to miss it. (Yes, even you.) (Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave, 622-9250. 10 am–5 pm, free. Through Sept 1.)


    Impressionist Fact of the Day

    posted by on July 9 at 11:00 AM

    Monet [was] transfixed by the rapidly changing appearance of his wife’s face, ‘watching her tragic forehead, almost mechanically observing the colours which death was imposing on her rigid face. Blue, yellow, grey, what do I know? I had come to this,’ he told friends. ‘How natural, to want to reproduce the last image of her, who was leaving us for ever. But even before the idea came to me to record her beloved features, something in me automatically responded to the shocks of colour. I just seemed to be compelled in an unconscious activity, the one I engage in every day, like an animal turning in its mill.’

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

    Impression: Sunrise (1873).

    What Were Great Walls 2 Through 4?

    posted by on July 9 at 11:00 AM

    The Boston Globe’s website has a really cool blog called The Big Picture, wherein they run a series of beautiful, gigantic photographs of current events. It’s actually the first time in a good long while that I’ve had to wait for photos to upload on a website, and it’s sad how impatient I get now that I’ve been spoiled by DSL.

    Anyway, today they have photos of Chinese Anti-Terrorism excercises to prepare for the Olympics. They call the whole thing Great Wall 5, which is a terrific name for an anti-terrorism drill.

    Here’s a chunk of one photo:


    For gun-wielding cops on Segways, flamethrowers, and giant anime creatures looming in the background, I suggest you check out the Big Picture blog.

    Maverick Moment of the Day

    posted by on July 9 at 10:30 AM

    John McCain is beloved among the press because of his fabled willingness to field questions from all comers—often in rolling round-table discussions on his “Straight Talk Express.”

    Knowing this, a writer for Mother Jones has a question:

    Why then does it seem that the McCain campaign has been screening questioners during the conference calls featuring campaign aides and top-level surrogates it mounts for reporters?

    Here’s how it’s working:

    When a reporter calls in for a conference call, he or she is asked by an operator to provide his or her name and media outlet. Then when it comes time for questions, there is a long pause—long enough for someone in the campaign to select whom should be called on. This has caused several journalists who have participated in these calls to wonder: is the McCain campaign screening reporters, and, if so, on what basis? A reporter for a progressive media outlet says that he has tried at least half a dozen times to ask a question on a McCain conference call and has had never been selected.

    The same has happened to me. No matter how quickly I press *1, I’m never afforded the opportunity to pose a question. During a June 27 McCain campaign call with former Republican Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift (who was deriding Obama for holding a unity rally with Hillary Clinton at Unity, New Hampshire), I raised my hand, electronically. Two reporters were called on—one from AOL News, the other from the Tampa Tribune—and then the McCain aide hosting the call said, “Seems we are out of questions,” and ended the call. My hand was still up.

    Press *1 if you think that’s the model of openness. (And yes, to answer a fair and obvious question: The way the McCain campaign is operating these calls is more restrictive than the model used by the Obama and Clinton campaigns this year.)

    Another Foot Washes Up

    posted by on July 9 at 10:17 AM

    This time in Sweden.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on July 9 at 10:11 AM


    A teenage poetry reading followed by an open mic, a poetry slam, and a guide to “flora gawking” tonight, along with a few other readings.

    Up at Third Place Books, Asara Lovejoy reads from The One Command, which is about creating wealth “with six steps to theta, the brainwave that opens unlimited potential and financial good.” Something tells me there’s gonna be a whole lot of brain use at this reading.

    At the Seattle Public Library, Stephen L. Carter reads from his new mystery thriller, Palace Council. I was excited about this book—Nixon’s a character—but then I read this Entertainment Weekly review of the book, which begins like this:

    Stephen L. Carter’s new novel, Palace Council, comes billed as a political thriller, but the most compelling mystery here has nothing to do with its botched suspense plot. How is it that the writer of The Emperor of Ocean Park and New England White — bona fide page-turners set among the black upper class — has published a third novel that reads like a first draft? Why would this Yale Law professor and celebrated public intellectual construct a sub-Dan Brown cryptography thriller that panders to yahoo paranoia about New World Order high jinks?

    And now I don’t want to read it anymore. (And before anyone gets huffy, I have to say that Entertainment Weekly does good reviews of thrillers and other pop-lit books. I don’t trust their judgment on literary fiction, but in this case, the comparison to Dan Brown alone is enough to make me skip Palace Council. I’ve read enough Da Vinci Code ripoffs in the last few years, thankyewverymuch.)

    And at Elliott Bay Book Company, in the best-looking reading of the night, Steve Kozlowski reads from The Last Polar Bear, which is a book about polar bears and how we’re fucking slaughtering them. The first thing we have to do is keep them away from treadmills:

    The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here.

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on July 9 at 10:10 AM

    Uh… after running YPW all these years, I can’t help but wonder if this was a good idea.

    “I’ve always wanted to take my dad to my senior prom ever since I was a little girl,” Ashley Nicely said. “I really look up to him. He sets a great example, and there’s no one I’d rather take than him.”

    And she admitted that she had options. She said she turned down a handful of guys from school so she could fulfill her childhood wish.

    Troy Nicely, a youth pastor, said he was surprised but honored to take his daughter [to prom].

    Seattle, Meet Your New Police Watchdogs

    posted by on July 9 at 10:00 AM

    City Council Member Tim Burgess is finally rolling out his new Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB). OPARB—which reviews and reports on investigations by the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), which investigates claims of misconduct against the Seattle Police Department—has expanded from three to seven members, and has been asked to perform more community outreach and provide more input on officer accountability.

    In the last year, OPARB’s been incredibly controversial. In June 2007, the board accused Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske of interfering in an investigation of two officers under investigation for beating and planting drugs on a wheelchair-bound man in January 2007. In January 2007, the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild filed an unfair labor practice claim against the city, removing OPARB’s ability to review unredacted police files. In March, outgoing OPARB member Sheley Secrest left the board in protest after Council Member Burgess told her she’d have to reinterview for her job.

    While it’s unfortunate that none of the current OPARB members will continue on the board—OPARB chair Peter Holmes has completed both of his terms and Brad Moericke is resigning to focus on his work as an attorney—the new board appears to be an interesting mix of law enforcement vets, legal watchdogs and community activists.

    Here’s the list:

    Continue reading "Seattle, Meet Your New Police Watchdogs" »

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on July 9 at 10:00 AM

    Rachel Maxi’s White Pick Up (2008), oil on board, 18 by 24 inches

    At Some Space Gallery. (Gallery site here.)

    “Never Have I Felt More Welcome in a Jungle”

    posted by on July 9 at 8:55 AM

    So says Auschglitz!, the world’s foremost blog devoted to high school show choirs, about Ellsville, Mississippi’s South Jones Company Showchoir, whose “jungle medley” prowls from G’nR to Kool and the Gang and back again. It is 100 percent inappropriate. (However, I do like it when a show choir reminds me that I’m going to die.) Enjoy!

    Tomorrow We’ll Drink and Gossip

    posted by on July 9 at 8:45 AM


    The Morning News

    posted by on July 9 at 7:02 AM

    Iran: The Revolutionary Guard reportedly test-fired nine missiles today, including one that could reach Israel. In response:

    The Republican candidate, John McCain, said the tests ‘’demonstrate the need for effective missile defense now and in future, and this includes missile defense in Europe as is planned with the Czech Republic and Poland,” according to Reuters. His Democrat challenger, Barack Obama, said on NBC’s ‘’Today” show that the tests showed a need for stronger restraints and incentives to head off ‘’rising tensions that could lead into real problems,” The Associated Press said.

    Speaking of Missile Defense: Russia isn’t happy about a new deal between the U.S. and the Czech Republic.

    Turkey: Gunmen open fire on Turkish guards outside the United States Consulate in Istanbul.

    Space: The United States’ superiority off planet Earth is slipping away.

    Politics: Obama supporters aren’t in a big rush to help Clinton with her campaign debt.

    God & Country: Army Spc. Jeremy Hall, an atheist, is suing the Department of Defense claiming “his rights to religious freedom under the First Amendment were violated” and the “United States military has become a Christian organization.”

    The Body vs. Stuart Smalley: Former Gov. Jesse Ventura is may be running for Senate against incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman and Democratic nominee Al Franken.

    Falling Grads: The University of Washington is concerned about the number of students who have fallen from dorm windows.

    Bipartisanship: State Democrats and Republicans are still against the “top-two” primary.

    Fashion Crimes: A Tukwila woman received emergency surgery after she was stabbed with her own stiletto heel.

    Amanda Knox: UW student celebrated her 21st birthday in jail, was refused cake, may face trial today.

    Please Plan Accordingly: The 520 bridge will be closed this weekend from 11 pm Friday to 5 am Monday.

    Dept. of Self-Flagellation: In a testament to my crack research skills, my review of the horror film A Tale of Two Sisters contained just one tiny error. From our 2005 Regrets issue:

    In the January 6 issue of The Stranger, film critic Bradley Steinbacher called A Tale of Two Sisters “Japanese.” It is in fact Korean. We regret his probable racism, his lack of research skills, and the fact that Annie Wagner’s little brother, Gabe, was the first to tell Mr. Steinbacher what was what.

    Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    Liveslogging the Disposable Bag Hearing

    posted by on July 8 at 9:09 PM

    I’ll be live-Slogging the public-comment meeting on the proposed 20-cent fee for disposable plastic and paper bags (and proposed ban on Styrofoam food containers). Read along with me as enraged citizens yell at the council about their God-given right to free plastic bags, and environmentalists dressed up in silly costumes wave their hands and sing songs out in favor of the measure.

    So far, the testimony has all been in favor of the fee and ban. First up: Shoreline City Council member Janet Way, who was accompanied by someone dressed up in an uncomfortable-looking costume made of plastic bags—the “Bag Monster.” The council member and her monster were followed by the (also pro-fee) Raging Grannies, about a dozen senior citizens in funny hats who waved canvas bags in the air while singing a version of “This Land is Your Land” repurposed as a pro-recycling anthem. (Sample lyrics: “This can is your can/ this can is my can/ we use it once and we’ll use it again/ it might come back as a bicycle handlebar/ this can was made for you and me”).

    The grocery industry is speaking now. Jim Fenton, a representative for the QFC grocery chain, and Joe Gilliam, a spokesman for the Northwest Grocery Association, argued that a bag tax represents an undue burden on low-income people, and would consume too much time at the checkstand. A one-time transaction fee at checkout, Fenton argued, would “avoid delay at our checkstands so that our customers have time to get home to their families.” Gilliam added, “We’re concerned about our customers who can’t afford [the fee], who are low income. There’s no one at our checkstand who should be singled out because of their income. … our concern for the fixed and low-income folks who can’t afford the per-bag tax.” The first “concern” is absurd (if they’re that worried about slow lines, why not get rid of cigarette sales and ID checks?), and the second is just disingenuous, particularly the second. As I’ve said before, anyone who can afford groceries—in other words, just about everyone—can afford to buy a 73-cent reusable bag.

    Ooh, two disingenuous claims I haven’t heard before. First, Mark Johnson, the vice president of government affairs for the Washington Retail Association, argued that his organizations had “health concerns” about “bags that are not being cleaned or washed and are being used over and over again.” Because no one knows that you’re supposed to wash produce (or put it in the plastic produce bags that won’t be subject to the tax) before you shove it in your mouth.

    On to disingenuous objection Two, also from Johnson: Canvas bags will encourage shoplifting! Let those raging grannies have a canvas shopping bag, and the next thing you know, away walks your whole inventory.

    Steve Williamson, organizer for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21, made many of these same arguments a few minutes ago, adding that “inconvenient” reusable bags would cause workers physical harm. Encouraging reusable bags, Williamson said, would “be a burden on our members” because of the “additional work hefting overfilled and heavy bags.” But aren’t the UFCW’s members the ones who’d be filling up the bags?

    Several moms just testified. One (sorry, didn’t get her name), her four-year-old at her side, told the council, “It is so so easy to get a bag. They give them away at a lot of places. I haven’t paid for one of mine. People are lazy— I’m an American, I’m lazy … but I am committed to change. I’ve never been all that political but my children have made me so. Our kids are going to be left wit the mess we created.” Another said that “as the mother of three-year-old, I believe we are not likely to change our behavior without a slight amount of punitiveness. If this is what it takes to get us off our butts and do something proactive I think we ought to do it.”

    Cherie Myers, director of government affairs for Safeway, just made the case all the other grocery retailers (with the notable exception of Madison Market and PCC, whose representatives have both argued ) have made: That asking poor people to pay for bags (or remember to bring their own) is an onerous financial burden. She also argued that charging for bags would lead people to ration bags—in other words, to (horrors!) use less.

    Several speakers in a row have argued for a voluntary approach—encouraging people to bring their own bags and recycle plastic bags (which, as another speaker pointed out, is total greenwashing) instead of requiring them. The problem is, the city already encourages reuse and recycling, and has for years. People don’t change unless they’re given an incentive to do so. The fact that this issue has kicked up such a shitstorm shows that 20 cents a bag may be a sufficient incentive to make them bring their own damn bags to the store.

    Here’s an argument I haven’t heard before: Food banks, apparently, get their bags through donations, and many of them are disposable grocery bags. Kelsey Beck, of the hunger-relief organization Food Lifeline, said that “while we’re excited that the city is giving out bags” to low-income people and seniors [as well as one free bag for every Seattle citizen], the group worries that “with the reduction of bags from the bag fee, there will probably be [fewer] bags for food banks.” Perhaps, in addition to giving away multiple free bags to low-income citizens, the city should provide bags to food banks—or food banks should encourage citizens to donate reusable bags, instead of just disposable ones.

    A spokeswoman from Washington Conservation voters also addressed concerns about low-income people, noting that people with lower incomes suffer disproportionately from the impacts of pollution—and added that the city’s free-bag program “ensures that the fee is used as a disincentive, not a regressive burden.”

    A commenter just asked me why we can’t just recycle plastic bags. To start with, fewer than one percent of all plastic bags used in the United States are recycled. Why? In part, because bags can only be recycled if they’re made purely of one kind of plastic and have never been contaminated by coming into contact with any foreign materials (one reason even most of the plastic bags you chuck into the recycling bin end up in landfills). In addition, and perhaps more importantly, the vast majority of plastic bag “recycling” is really just downcycling—because it’s more expensive to recycle plastic bags than to just make new plastic bags, the bags are almost always turned into other plastic products that themselves can’t be recycled.

    The Plastic Monster is speaking now. Who’d have guessed that plastic monsters talk like Trekkies?

    Unrelated point: I’m actually impressed that Richard McIver—a lame-duck city council member whose final term ends next year—has stuck around for the duration of this extremely looooong hearing. Given that McIver generally prefers to talk than listen (not a slam—like his policies or loathe them, the man has a talent for the unexpected, perceptive offhand remark), and given that his political aspirations at this point are presumably nonexistent, his stamina at tonight’s hearing is surprising.

    Regarding the complaints coming up now at the hearing and in the comments that charging 20 cents for plastic bags makes it impossible for people to dispose of their garbage in any way other, as one woman put it, than “taking my garbage in my hands”—let me introduce Slog readers to biodegradable, compostable plastic bags, of which there are many, many options.

    And with that, I’m out. Thanks for reading (even those commenters who whinged that this was “boring” while avidly hanging on every word) and see you in the morning.

    Obama and Reproductive Rights

    posted by on July 8 at 7:08 PM

    Apropos of yesterday’s posts about Obama’s stated support of a ban on abortions after 22 weeks (and his stated opposition to a “mental distress” exemption to such a ban), here are some reactions from the excellent reproductive rights blog RHReality Check.

    First up: A woman who actually had a late-term abortion has this to say about why women actually get such abortions (hint: It isn’t, to use Obama’s words, because she was “just feeling blue”):

    I sat in my obstetrician’s office and listened without fully understanding as the doctor repeated the medical term “anencephaly” over and over in reference to the child I carried.

    More than a month later I sat in a university hospital with obstetrician number five as he patiently and painstakingly presented ultrasound scans from “normal” pregnancies and then scans from my own pregnancy. Each of the multiple anomalies present — omphalocele, spina bifida, anencephaly and others — were explained and, for the first time I fully understood why the child I already deeply loved and wanted would never survive outside of my womb.

    Several days after that appointment my husband and I, in consultation with the doctor, made the decision that we would not attempt to carry to term and would terminate.

    Because there were only potential and no immediate threats to my physical health, there are many who would stand in judgment of our family’s decision. To be honest, there are many who have and still do. One thing that has stood out, however, is the fact that other families who have faced similar choices — even those who made the opposite decision — have never wagged an accusatory finger in our direction. There’s something about the process of deciding between Option A and your child’s death, Option B and your child’s death or Option C and your child’s death that tends to put things in perspective. A perspective, it seems, of which Senator Obama has absolutely no understanding.

    Continue reading "Obama and Reproductive Rights" »

    They Forgot About the “Thinking” Part

    posted by on July 8 at 7:00 PM

    In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a bit of a blow-up over two editors at the Gawker-owned feminist web site, Moe Tcakik and Tracie Egan, who appeared, representing Jezebel, an event called “Thinking and Drinking” last week. The host of the show, Lizz Winstead, says she asked them to do the onstage interview because “their work on Jezebel has made them role models for young women everywhere.” She wanted to talk to them about Hillary and sexism, women’s magazines and whether they “feel any obligation to write about responsibility and safety when they write graphically about their sex lives.” But things quickly went off the rails, as you’ll see when you watch the video.


    On safe-sex choices:

    Moe: Withdrawal has always worked for me.

    Tracie: One hundred percent.

    On rape:

    Tracie: People are always saying it’s not safe to go home with strange men, blah, blah blah, like Mr. Goodbar whatever.

    Moe: What’s gonna happen??

    Lizz: You could get raped.

    Moe: That’s happening too, but you live through that, you know?

    Lizz: Sometimes you don’t.

    Moe: That’s true, if they have weapons.

    Tracie: I’m not going to bring someone home and be like, not tonight.

    Lizz… But that’s just not how rape works! If you bring a guy home and you want to fuck him and he’s like guess what, I’m a psycho, and when I look in your face I want to kill you…

    Tracie: I live in Williamsburg, there aren’t very, um, assertive men there.

    Moe: The thing about the rapists of our generation, is that they’re not very assertive men, but they all use drugs, they all have some sort of drug they use on you, so it’s good to feel, and I don’t know if this has happened to me or if I just drink too much but there are times when… It’s really hard to prosecute them (rapists), so you should try to avoid them at all costs. But you know, I don’t know, it’s a very strange line.

    Tracie: I moved to New York when I was 18 and you think you would encounter more rapists in this big city , but, I don’t know, I haven’t. I always, I don’t know if I attract, like, dudes that want to be dominated or something?

    Moe: I attract rapists.

    Tracie: I once paid someone to rape me once.

    Lizz: Well, first of all, you cannot pay someone to rape you. You are a willing accomplice. You have said, rape me now, it’s not rape. ..

    Tracie: I think even though I’m a feminist I just have this issue where I naturally dominate everybody and so I had this like fantasy where I like wanted to be dominated so I paid someone—well, I didn’t pay someone, I had a magazine pay for it—

    Lizz: That is two steps removed from rape.

    On date rape:

    Moe: I’ve totally been like victimized, and I think that I kind of must broadcast something. But the point is that, like, I think you were saying what do you regret in terms of sexual experiences and I guess I regret like being date raped.

    But, you know, it seems like in terms of kind of bad sexual experiences that you’ve had the worst ones always seem to be in countries where sex is not accepted. I mean, that is the good thing about New York, it’s like, I’ve never has any problems with anyone here

    I guess third guy, I ever had sex with, date raped me, and I got very mad at him, but I wasn’t gonna fucking like turn him in to the police and fucking go through shit.

    Lizz: Why not, you see that’s the problem, why not, I am just curious?

    Moe: Because it was a load of trouble and I had better things to do, like drinking more.

    On how to not get yourself raped:

    Tracie: I have to honestly say that like, I know that it happens to girls who are smart, who know what they’re doing, and blah blah blah, but like, I’ve never ever been in that situation and I’ve had lots and lots and lots of sex with a lot of people in my life. Maybe it’s about education or something.

    Lizz: Maybe you’re lucky.

    Tracie: I think it has to do with the fact that I am like, smart. Don’t hiss! When I see myself in a situation that’s not cool—I get wasted and stuff but like when I see myself in a situation I’m out. I’ve never hung around with frat guys. I took self-defense classes.

    Moe: Yeah but it’s like that Holocaust poem, you know…

    Tracie: I’m just saying I’ve never been in that situation.

    Moe: I always felt very like, safe around this guy even after he date raped me.

    Lizz: You’re digging yourself a huge hole, darlin’. You were not safe with him, he raped you!

    Moe: All I’m saying is that he didn’t seem like a guy who was like a date rapist.

    Lizz: You can’t identify where latent rage and anger and all that is. It doesn’t have a look, it doesn’t have a style, it doesn’t have any of that.

    Moe: But it’s also, like, ridiculous to be like, you can never know, you have to be on guard at all times, it’s like, the war on terror.

    On being role models:

    Tracie: Anybody that would emulate someone else is not with it completely.

    Lizz: Hello? We have a, like, 75 bazillion dollar television budget that is based on emulation! What are you talking about? Your whole blog is based on people emulating you. Regardless of whether you think they should! That’s like when football players say I am not a role model. You’re a de facto role model.

    Tracie: That’s like undermining their intelligence to make their own decisions.

    Now, it’s not like I’ve never said dumb shit when I’m drunk. But you know what? I’ve also never gone onstage, wasted, representing the Stranger, and made a complete ass of myself in front of a bunch of people who paid to see me speak. If I was their employer—hell, if I was their friend— I’d be sad as hell to watch these two smart, funny ladies make themselves look and sound like complete fucking assholes. If you’re gonna be a public person, you’ve got to take responsibility for your public actions. And tossing up a whiny post about how bad your hangover is ain’t gonna cut it.

    Let Freedom Reign

    posted by on July 8 at 5:37 PM


    I shy away from posting items to Slog about the war since, you know, I was one of those clueless liberal hawks who thought it might be a good idea to invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity. (For the record: I was never in favor of converting them to Christianity. And, hey, we’re coming up on the three-year anniversary of my call for us to get the hell out—wow, times flies when you’re feeling mortified and complicit.) So when I see a news item about Iraq and think, “Hey, that might be Slog worthy,” I hang back, hoping that one of my colleagues—the ones without blood all over their hands, keyboards, laptops, etc.—will post the Iraq news while I provide wall-to-wall coverage of the pit bull, youth pastor, and sex toys beats.

    But none of my less conflicted coworkers seem all that interested in posting items about Iraq. What’s up with that? Anyway, this news item seems relevant and Slog-worthy, and I waited all day to see it go up on Slog, and so far it hasn’t… so I guess I’ll have to post it.

    Iraq’s national security adviser said Tuesday his country will not accept any security deal with the United States unless it contains specific dates for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces.

    The comments by Mouwaffak al-Rubaie were the strongest yet by an Iraqi official about the deal now under negotiation with U.S. officials. They came a day after Iraq’s prime minister first said publicly that he expects the pending troop deal with the United States to have some type of timetable for withdrawal.

    This is big news, of course, because George W. Bush has been running around describing any timetable for withdrawal as tantamount to treason. He’s also currently trying to ram a deal down the throats of the Iraqis that would allow us to build 50 or more permanent military bases in their “sovereign” country, a deal that would allow US troops to stay in Iraq for ever and ever and ever, just like John McCain wants. But McCain, way back in 2004, said we’d have to pull out of Iraq if the sovereign Iraqi government we installed asked us to get out. Americablog has the transcript:

    Question: “What would or should we do if, in the post-June 30th period, a so-called sovereign Iraqi government asks us to leave, even if we are unhappy about the security situation there?”

    McCain: “Well, if that scenario evolves than I think it’s obvious that we would have to leave because—if it was an elected government of Iraq, and we’ve been asked to leave other places in the world. If it were an extremist government then I think we would have other challenges, but I don’t see how we could stay when our whole emphasis and policy has been based on turning the Iraqi government over to the Iraqi people.”

    And now the elected Iraqi government wants a timetable for withdrawal. They’re gearing up to ask us to get out. And an overwhelming majority of the American public now regards the war as a mistake and wants to get out. But McCain, like Bush, has rejected any and all timetables and thinks we should stay in Iraq for 10,000 years. Unless, of course, the Iraqis ask us to leave—a request that McCain believes that we would obviously have to honor, seeing as Iraq has an elected government accountable to the Iraqi people.

    So… there’s been a lot of shouting in the media lately about Obama’s supposedly evolving position on the war. Perhaps the shouters can now turn their attentions to McCain’s increasingly problematic stance on the war. Because if you’ve already agreed to leave if asked but you’ve also rejected a timetable for withdrawal, um, what’s left? What’s McCain got? “Okay, okay, we’ll withdraw—but not on your damn timetable, Iraq. We’ll leave but it’s gonna be a surprise. When you least expect it—pffft!—we’ll be gone!”

    Art, Cats, Mice, and Sex in Space

    posted by on July 8 at 4:55 PM

    It’s all here (and then here).

    I Love This Guy

    posted by on July 8 at 4:33 PM

    God is not enough

    “Change That Works for Him”

    posted by on July 8 at 3:59 PM

    The new RNC attack on Obama’s Iraq war statements:

    I’ll Wait Until the Trilogy is Done

    posted by on July 8 at 3:45 PM

    io9 reports on the new, free downloadable version of the world’s longest novel, Marienbad, My Love, by Mark Leach. It’s 12.6 million words long. The press release has all kinds of interesting information about the book’s record-breakingness, including:

    * the world’s longest word. Also called “the holy Jah,” the 4.4-million-letter noun is a coinage of words from the world’s faiths. It means “god within.”

    * the world’s longest sentence (3 million words).

    * the world’s longest book title (6,700 words).

    The website also has the Top Ten reasons to read Marienbad, My Love:

    1. A giant orbiting UFO 2. Nazi/alien collaborations 3. Alien abductions 4. Human/alien hybrids 5. Mind control 6. Religious insects from outer space 7. A mad scientist 8. An evil CEO 9. A time-traveling, green-skinned monster of the unconscious 10. The end of the world

    You know, I’ve been trying to find another book to revive Book Club of the Damned here on Slog, but I think I’d rather choose a book that I can successfully read in my lifetime. Still and all, it’s totally free! Go! Download! Enjoy! And don’t say I never gave you anything.

    Naked Lunch

    posted by on July 8 at 3:41 PM

    Burger King wants you to know that it selects only the finest, freshest vegetables to accompany its previously frozen meats. To illustrate its scrutinizing process, an ad campaign depicts anthropomorphized vegetables, representing the best and worst of humanity. One shows a red-light district, featuring a randy tomato and busty corn. Another ad, printed on tray liners at an airport, shows two upstanding peppers waltzing past a baggage-claim checkpoint, while a rubber-gloved security pickle prepares to cavity-search a nervous onion.



    Reads the bottom of the ad: “At Burger King we’re extremely serious about controlling the quality of our ingredients. That’s why we examine everything. Thoroughly.”

    Even an onion’s butt. May we forever associate Burger King onions with anal cavity searches.

    From Ads of the World, via Idea Sandbox. Tip from Kim.

    Sonny Landham Will Save Kentucky

    posted by on July 8 at 3:40 PM

    The moronic fad by which the husks of pseudo-celebrities present themselves as political candidates has almost no novelty left to it. And yet it still fascinates: The overt positioning that turned Schwarzenegger into a governor and Al Franken into a serious Senate candidate, the kind of tidal-wave-of-stupid that saw a publicity-starved creature like Gary Coleman declare himself a candidate for Governor of California.

    All of which puts me in something of a bind, because the greatest B-actor of his generation is currently seeking a Senate seat from Kentucky, and I don’t know if I can oppose him. His name is Sonny Landham, and you may remember him as ‘Billy’ from the movie The Predator.


    I don’t know if I can stress enough that The Predator is one of the greatest films ever made, and that Landham’s character was one of the most perfect images to ever be projected onto a screen. ‘Billy’ was some kind of hyper-stereotype of a Native-American, whose keen tracking instincts let him detect the murderous, invisible alien, on the wind. And then he challenged the Predator to a knife fight, and died horribly somewhere off camera. It was the role he was probably born to play.

    I think I saw the movie for the fist time when I was about seven—thanks Dad!—and it’s still one of the defining, dumb moments in my life.

    Landham is running as a Libertarian in a race that is pitting arch-conservative Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell against long-shot former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lunsford. Landham has yet to file the necessary signatures to get his name on the ballot, but the Libertarian Party of Kentucky is bullish on his chances.

    The Landham platform is totally inconsequential (especially given that he appears not to have a campaign website), but it has something to do with getting us out of Iraq and a pledge to “Say what you mean, and mean what you say.” I think I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that the last time he said what he meant and did what he said, he went to prison for making threatening phone calls to his ex-wife.

    Today’s Plan B Showdown in Federal Court

    posted by on July 8 at 3:38 PM

    You’re not supposed to make predictions about how judges will rule based on what they say in the courtroom. But after the hearing in front of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in downtown Seattle this morning, where a lawyer for the Northwest Women’s Law Center argued that the court should lift an injunction against state Board of Pharmacy rules mandating that pharmacies must fill prescriptions for Plan B), I’m going to go out on a limb here: The injunction will be lifted and tailored to apply only to the complainants, Storman’s Pharmacy in Olympia and two pharmacists, Rhonda Mesler and Margo Thelen.

    One member of the three-judge panel, Judge Randy Smith, was particularly animated in pressing both sides to explain why the court shouldn’t just limit the injunction to Storman’s. “Our own circuit says the injunction must be tailored to the abuse alleged,” he boomed, pointing out there was no evidence that people across the state were “up in arms” about the pharmacy board rule and the only people before the court were these three plaintiffs.

    Storman’s attorney, Kristen Waggoner, objected to the idea of limiting the injunction to covering just her clients (even though, as the Judge Smith pointed out, that’s initially what they asked the District Court to do) because, she argued, religious rights would get trampled statewide as the case made its way through the courts.

    The lawyers for NWLC objected to the idea that any sort of injunction, even a tailored one, should stand. They argued that the lower court, the U.S. District Court in Western Washington, had incorrectly based its injunction ruling on a U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court ruled that a law had been unconstitutionally written to specifically target and discriminate against a religion (Santeria and animal sacrifice in this instance!).

    NWLC and the state argued that the pharmacy board rules were written neutrally and did not mention any religion, so they did not target any religion. They argued the correct case for the court to cite would have been Smith—a peyote case!—where the Supreme Court held that outlawing peyote, even if it discriminated against Native American rituals, was a-okay, legally, because the law prohibited the use of illegal drugs for everyone, not just Native Americans.

    The judges did ding the women’s advocates, though, one one point, noting that the rules in today’s case weren’t neutral across the board. For example, Judge Richard Clifton pointed out that the rules had exemptions for economic reasons (pharmacies could opt out if supplying a drug did not pencil out). The attorney for Storman’s piled on, pointing out that there was also a “mental” exemption—say, if a pharmacy felt it didn’t have the expertise to fill a certain drug prescription.

    Indeed, Judge Clifton said the rule was “picking and choosing” who was worthy of exemptions.

    Afterward, NWLC director Lisa Stone said all the exemptions—others include fake prescriptions and contraindication of meds— were based on public health issues. Her point: The exemptions aren’t gerrymandered to target any one religion, they’re designed to protect public health.

    Storman’s counsel also got into trouble. During the only moment in the hearing when the larger (giant, really) questions about separation of church and state and First Amendment rights at the center of this case came into play, the judges trashed Waggoner for conflating religious objections with moral and conscientious and political objections, explaining that there was no First Amendment protection for “moral” beliefs. They called her brief “sloppy.”

    “Could you strike down an entire statute based on someone’s political objections to the FDA?” Judge Smith asked.


    posted by on July 8 at 3:00 PM

    Is Ivar’s on Lake Union actually serving a cocktail that contains Lake Union water, as stated in a recent press release? The answer is no, the drink is dreadful anyway, and the happy-hour food, which all used to be $2.50 and worth it, has gone up in price and is not (see debate here).

    However, the bar at Ivar’s on Lake Union has a sparkly water view and a big lakeside deck, and it is called the Whalemaker Lounge. The Whalemaker Lounge does contain whalemakers: two preserved Orca phalli, which Ivar is said to have acquired from the Hells Angels of Alaska. Here is one (man shown for scale):


    You can boat right up to the deck (some guy standing beneath a whalemaker: “I kayaked here! It’s really scary and I suck at it”).

    The people at Ivar’s also emailed about new daily $4 drink specials. Today: the mysterious Captain’s Choice (straight rum, gulped between verses of a sea chantey?). Tomorrow: “The ‘Tidy Bowl’…with its murky-yet-tasty mix of Absolut Citron, Absolut Raspberry, Lemonade and Blue Curacao and the piece de resistance: a floating Tootsie Roll garnish!” Like the Lake Union Water cocktail, this is best left in the realm of the imagination (and jettisoned quickly from there). However, beer and wine are $3.25 at happy hour, which includes the deck and begins in a half-hour.

    Impressionist Fact of the Day

    posted by on July 8 at 2:23 PM

    Evidently, the frothy-brushed Renoir was the nicest impressionist: the one most continually concerned for the welfare of his fellow human beings.

    Renoir, as he dashed through the streets, would sometimes stop to wipe a nose or hand out milk or a biscuit. Infants left alone in their cradles made him anxious; he worried about what would happen if there was a fire, or if a cat sat on a baby’s face as it slept. He was especially moved by the plight of the infants who, because of lack of care and food, often died in their first few months or had to be taken to the orphanage.

    He decided to create a ‘pouponnat’ (tiny tots’ centre) to care for them… he set about organizing it himself, giving a benefit fancy dress ball at the Moulin. …The show sold out, and was a spectacular success. The band was brilliant, the applause brought the house down; the dancing went on all night. But the proceeds were hardly enough to do very much for the enfants trouvés… The event did collect enough to pay for the medical care of one poor girl suffering from phlebitis after a miscarriage, and there was a whip-round for baby clothes and blankets for the newborn poor.

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

    Acts like that almost make up for paintings like this.
    Woman with a Cat (circa 1875)

    With Apologies to Harper’s

    posted by on July 8 at 2:13 PM

    I’m sure you are familliar with the term “butterface” used to refer to a woman with a great body but an unattractive face. For example, “Wow, she’s hot, but her face!

    There doesn’t seem to be an equivolent term for men. Seeing as you have helped the world coin the words Santorum and Pegging, I thought that you and the readers could help come up with a word for a guy with a smoking body but an ugly face, as the need for it comes up from time to time, and the term “double bagger” doesn’t quite cut it.

    Needs Other Term For Otherwise Ugly Nicebuilt Dudes

    I’m going to toss this out in “Savage Love” this week. But any ideas in the meantime, Sloggers?

    Food Fight

    posted by on July 8 at 1:55 PM

    Eric Banh, owner of the Monsoon and Baguette Box restaurants on Capitol Hill and in Fremont, was arrested for assault on June 27th after he got into a scrap with a former employee.

    According to a police report, Banh and the former employee ran in to each other outside of Monsoon and got into an argument. The report says Banh was hostile towards the employee because he believed he had, while working for Banh, plugged up his restaurant’s drains with plastic bags.

    Banh and the employee exchanged words and threats before, according to the report, Banh “turned and did a side kick to [the former employee],” striking him in the torso. The former employee claims Banh told him “you know martial arts. Defend yourself.”
    The police report also states that Banh matches the description of a suspect in two other assaults.

    Banh was arrested for the assault, but it appears the city has not filed charges for the incident.

    Banh could not be reached for comment.


    Hat tip to CHS.

    Headline of the Week

    posted by on July 8 at 1:54 PM

    From the SGN:

    Black, Gay and bulimic: Chad Goller-Sojourner relates to everyone

    Black and gay both get capped, SGN, but not bulimic? Got something against People of Eating Disorders?

    Help Me, West Seattle Blog, You’re My Only Hope!

    posted by on July 8 at 1:45 PM


    Why is Alki’s Statue of Liberteeny surrounded by a chain-link fence?

    Police Brutality

    posted by on July 8 at 1:35 PM

    A Tucson police officer failed to stand very still and remain completely calm when attacked by a “110-pound mastiff-pit bull mix.” The terrified dog understandably bites the officer, who then pulls a gun and shoots the poor doggy dead.

    I Am So Glad I Live in the Age of Sacha Baron Cohen

    posted by on July 8 at 1:33 PM


    The Smoking Gun offers a thrilling behind-the-scenes glimpse at how Sacha Baron Cohen goes about getting such amazing shit on film.

    Lured by $1 beer and the prospect of “hot chicks” and “hardcore fights,” thousands of Arkansans were duped last month into appearing as extras in comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest staged mayhem. Cohen and his confederates organized cage fighting programs on consecutive days in Texarkana and Fort Smith. Both cards ended with two male grapplers (one was identified as “Straight Dave” and wore camouflage) tearing each other’s clothes off and, while in underwear, kissing down their opponent’s chest. This man-on-man action triggered Fort Smith fans to throw chairs and beer at the ring, according to one cop present at the city’s Convention Center.

    The promotion of the faux matches was a work of art unto itself:

    The June 5 Texarkana promotion was adverstised as “Red, White, and Blood.” The June 6 matches in Fort Smith were dubbed “Blue Collar Brawlin’” as seen in this poster. Ads on Craigslist—like this one—noted that attendees had to be over 21 and suggested that fans arrive early “for $1 BEERS!” Cohen & Co. underwrote the cost of beer, which usually sells for $4 at the Fort Smith facility. “Blue Collar Brawlin’” drew about 1500 fans, who were greeted by signs stating that the event was being filmed. Attendees were also not allowed in with cameras or cell phones and some were asked to sign releases.

    Thank you, Smoking Gun. (And thank you, Sacha Baron Cohen.)

    I Love This Shit

    posted by on July 8 at 12:32 PM

    Improv Everywhere turns an NY subway train into a hall of mirrors.

    Thank you, Towleroad.

    Attention: Obama Says You Haven’t Been Listening if You Think He’s Moving to the Center

    posted by on July 8 at 12:15 PM

    And I think he’s talking to me and you and everyone Slog knows. Via The Caucus:

    POWDER SPRINGS, Ga. — Barack Obama had heard quite enough of the complaints that he is pirouetting, leaping, lurching even, toward the political center.

    He is at heart, he told a crowd in suburban Atlanta, a pretty progressive guy who just happens to pack along a complicated world view.

    “Look, let me talk about the broader issue, this whole notion that I am shifting to the center,” he said. “The people who say this apparently haven’t been listening to me.”

    He defended his recent statements on gun control and federal funds for religious groups, and broadly summarized his philosophy this way:

    “I believe in a whole lot of things that make me progressive and put me squarely in the Democratic camp,” he said. But, he noted, he does not believe that the active hand of government is a replacement, say, for parental responsibility in education.

    “I believe in personal responsibility, I also believe in faith,” he said. “That’s not something new; I’ve been talking about that for years. So the notion that this is me trying to look” – he waves his hands around his head – “centrist is not true.”

    Noted. Not necessarily agreed with, Senator, but noted.

    Required Viewing

    posted by on July 8 at 12:10 PM

    A dangerous radical extremist with a dangerous radical message gets tossed out of a McCain town hall meeting….

    You gotta love how terrified McCain is of… well, I don’t want to be a spoiler. So let’s say it’s hilarious that McCain is terrified—perhaps justifiably so—of the association that woman was trying to make in the minds of voters showing up for a McCain rally. Not independent voters, not Democratic voters. Her message was a clear and present danger to Republicans.

    That’s how fucked they are.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on July 8 at 12:01 PM

    “Who would not rather be a rising ape than a falling angel?”

    posted by on July 8 at 12:00 PM

    I haven’t read anything by Terry Pratchett, the fantasy humorist, in quite some time, though I read all of his books when I was a teenager. I hadn’t thought of Pratchett in a good long while, either, until about six months ago, when he announced that he was suffering from a rare, early-onset form of Alzheimer’s.

    The Internet—or at least the geek-and-lit blogs portion of it—is abuzz about this piece that Pratchett, an avowed atheist, wrote for the Daily Mail. It’s about whether he is more prone to believe in God, now that the end is in sight. I think that it’s a classy, generous essay, and well worth reading.

    I am Legoland

    posted by on July 8 at 11:59 AM

    For those who know the famous sequence in I am Cuba:

    The liberation of Legoland from capitalist exploitation!

    Another version of that sequence is in Boogie Nights;

    The pool (or being under water) is an excellent metaphor for capitalism: total pleasure, immersion, suffocation.

    The Miracle of Birth

    posted by on July 8 at 11:56 AM

    She denied she had given birth even as she was caught holding a white garbage bag with a crying newborn in it, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said today….

    Authorities say a man arrived home about 6:15 a.m. and found a blood trail that led from the living room to the kitchen. He heard a baby cry and asked Morant if she had given birth to a baby, the Sheriff’s Office said. She denied it.

    As Morant stood in the doorway holding a garbage bag, the woman living in the home asked her again about giving birth. Morant responded that the baby was in the bag, and the woman took the closed bag from Morant and found the baby inside, authorities said.

    The woman called police.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Matt.

    Kronenbourg in the Sun

    posted by on July 8 at 11:48 AM


    The forecast appears to be in our favor.


    posted by on July 8 at 11:42 AM

    If only our city council had the guts to act like duly elected representatives operating under a republican form of government.

    Or something.

    Our duly elected representatives clearly want to build a few more streetcar lines to compliment the under-patronized, go-nowhere, sawed-off-runt of a streetcar line currently ferrying a half a dozen or more commuters per week up Paul Allen’s ass—excuse me, through South Lake Union. Streetcar lines out to Ballard and up to Capitol Hill and over to the U-District might actually attract riders because, you see, they would actually go places where large numbers of people live, work, dine out, etc. So you wanna build more streetcar lines, guys? Take a motherfucking vote. And if the votes are there, then fund more streetcar lines and build the damn things. Or not. Whatever you do, though, please don’t subject us to a two- or three-year-long “process” that involves endless public hearings and that merely serve to empower every batshit “stakeholder” in the city.

    “I can’t conceive that you are even thinking about this on First Avenue,” said a woman speaking at a public meeting at City Hall last Wednesday. She manages several buildings along the proposed Central Line, which stretches from Seattle Center to King Street Station, mainly along First Avenue.

    We went through this with the Monorail—remember hearing from property owners up and down Second Avenue who couldn’t conceive of a monorail line running past their properties? And remember hearing how the Monorail was going to spoil the quiet tranquility of the Memorial Garden under Benaroya Hall? (That would be the same Memorial Garden whose “quiet tranquility” somehow isn’t spoiled by a Starbucks or a bustling entrance to the bus tunnel.) And remember hearing how a monorail line from Ballard to West Seattle through the downtown core wasn’t the best possible place to put the line for a long overdue start on a city-wide mass transit system?

    The Monorail—despite winning three public votes (or was it four?)—was ultimately talked to death. By the time the Monorail hit what would have been a typical-for-a-major-project financial crisis (Sound Transit, anyone?) that an agency with some backing from the powers-that-be could weather (Sound Transit, anyone?), the yack-yack-yack process had delayed and dragged out the Monorail project for so long that voters had lost confidence in it—they lost confidence in themselves, in their own judgement—and the bleeding project was axed.

    Now, of course, as we yack-yack-yack about tearing down the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and yack-yack-yack about capacity and moving the same number of people, not the same number of cars, through the downtown core, we could really use a mass-transit line that ran from West Seattle to Ballard through the downtown core. But nevermind. The Monorail is dead. Elevated transit is dead. Long live fixed-rail, street-grade, likely-to-get-stuck-in-traffic mass transit. But let’s not talk it to death this time, huh? Let’s build it—more light rail lines serving the region and more streetcar lines serving the city’s neighborhoods.

    And let’s be honest about something as we push to build the kind of mass transit infrastructure—light rail, streetcars, buses that feed into those rail lines—that will lower our carbon emissions, make it possible for more people to live in the city without owning cars, allow developers to build dense housing without parking requirements, etc. It’s an issue raised by another empowered ranter/stakeholder at last Wednesday’s meeting:

    “Do streetcars do anything more than buses?” asked a man at the same meeting. “It seems like a transportation plan driven by cuteness.”

    Buses are always and everywhere the mass transit solution most favored by people that don’t ride mass transit. Buses are slow and unpleasant and… let’s be honest, shall we? Buses are unlovely. They’re unlovely to ride and they’re unlovely to look at.

    When it comes to constructing something as large and unavoidable as a mass-transit system, “cuteness” should count for something. Why shouldn’t we take aesthetics into account? Why not invest more money in a transit system that provides, as an incentive to riders, a lovelier riding experience? Wouldn’t people that don’t ride mass transit themselves still prefer to see swift, sleek, comparatively quiet streetcars gliding past their offices and homes than loud, lumbering, noisy, exhaust-spewing buses?

    Cities invest in “cuteness” all the time. We spend money maintaining parks—we don’t just leave some acres aside here and there, let the weeds grow, and call it “open space.” We blew up the Kingdome because it was ugly and replaced it with the much cuter—and way, way more expensive—Safeco Field. We tore down our ugly city hall and replaced it with that far lovelier terrarium. We tore down our ugly but perfectly functional old main library and replaced it with a much lovelier homeless shelter.

    You can play baseball games more cheaply in an empty lot. You can lend books more cheaply from the back of a van. But we’ve got a cute baseball stadium and a cute downtown library because aesthetics matter. Cuteness matters—even to something as utilitarian as a mass-transit system.

    The Origins of Capitalism

    posted by on July 8 at 11:38 AM


    In this lecture, “Democracy, Economics, and Military,” the Mexican philosopher Manuel De Landa suggests that the real source of modern capitalism is not in the 19th century industrialization of England but in the 16th century development of the Dutch army. Military discipline rather than industrial discipline is the root of modern capitalism.

    However, in David Harvey’s third segment of his course “Reading Marx’s Capital,” it is suggested that indulgences sold by the Papacy made the Vatican the first capitalist institution in the world. In medieval times, an amount of gold could buy you a place in the mother of all theme parks, Heaven. Capitalism, then, is nothing but the historical labor or struggle of bringing down to Earth a kingdom that was once cloud land.

    Conclusion: One is more likely to find the rudiments of capitalism in the idea of heaven and in military maneuvers than in the market or agora.

    Winning the War on Drugs

    posted by on July 8 at 11:05 AM

    In Upstate New York:

    When the Troy Police Department executed a search warrant at a home at 396 First St. last week, they thought they were targeting a drug house. But now that is being questioned as it appears they raided the wrong location.

    There is now a coat of fresh paint on the door along with a new doorknob and lock. But you can still see a dent in an aluminum window frame and a rip and a window shade.

    The damage was caused when all hell broke loose on July 3. The Troy Police Emergency Response Unit shot the door lock off, broke the front window and tossed in a flash grenade. The woman living on the first floor was taken into custody, but she was soon released.

    Um, this reporter must have missed the memo that he’s supposed to credulously report whatever bullshit law enforcement says about drug busts.

    (I moved the video that was here after the jump because it was funking up the Slog for Firefox users.)

    Continue reading "Winning the War on Drugs" »

    Dept. of Squaresville

    posted by on July 8 at 11:04 AM

    Randy Newman and Roger “King of the Road” Miller are my favorites for Great American Songwriter. Randy for his savage humor, Roger for his goofy wit.


    Some favorite Roger Miller stories. From Wikipedia:

    When he was seventeen, he stole a guitar, but turned himself in and chose to join the Army rather than go to jail. He later quipped, “My education was Korea, Clash of ‘52.” Upon leaving the Army, he went to Nashville to work on his music career.

    From the Roger Miller box set:

    Roger Miller: I was raised in Erick, Oklahoma.
    Interviewer: What’s that near?
    Roger Miller: It’s close to extinction.


    L.A. Cop: Can I see your license?

    Roger Miller: Can I shoot your gun?

    Paul Constant just made me a very, very happy man by loaning me his Roger Miller box set, which includes “Reincarnation,” a song I heard once in high school and was never able to find again.

    I should’ve just used YouTube:

    We’ll pass over the slide show—obviously made by one family member for another—in silence. But the song!

    This month, Taproot Theater is producing Big River, Roger Miller’s musical adaptation of Huck Finn. It’s the first Taproot show I’ve been excited about in a dog’s age.

    Whose Bubbles?

    posted by on July 8 at 11:03 AM

    Last week, the Prado declared that a painting that had long been attributed to Goya is not a Goya at all. There was no new smoking gun, really; the museum made its decision based on style (and based on a pair of initials, long overlooked, that match those of an assistant of Goya’s). Colossus is simply not good enough to be a Goya, the Prado’s Goya expert says.

    Seattle Art Museum has had a few cases of shifting attributions in the last couple of years. The most prominent was on its Tiepolo ceiling painting; common wisdom had held that a small sketch for the painting was done by the elder Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista, but that the painting itself, made circa 1757, was actually completed by his son, Giovanni Domenico. The thinking was that certain areas of the painting were, essentially, not good enough to be attributable to Giovanni Battista—too flat in passages, particularly. By doing more research—visiting the original site and elaborately conserving the painting (see video here)—a SAM curator and SAM’s conservator, in consultation with other experts, concluded that the large painting was done by the father, not the son. When SAM opened its expanded building last year, the name on the label had changed, from Giovanni Domenico to Giovanni Battista.

    Another name on another label had changed, too, but far more quietly—because one obscure name was exchanged for another. The painting in question now hangs in SAM’s European gallery, and is labeled this way:


    Michaelina Woutiers
    Flemish, ca. 1620-after 1682
    Boys Blowing Bubbles, 1640s
    Oil on canvas
    35 5/8 x 47 3/4 in.
    Seattle Art Museum, Gift of Mr. Floyd Naramore

    But for years, the painting of the boys was attributed to Jacob van Oost, a 17th-century painter from Bruges. Van Oost has become a bit of a cipher. There is only one signed painting by van Oost, said SAM curator Chiyo Ishikawa (here), but there are many attributed to him. “There hasn’t been a monographic exhibition of all the paintings attributed to him, but if there were, you would be very confused,” Ishikawa said. “The one documented work we know by him looks nothing like our painting. We also had another painting attributed to him [of dogs and a hunt] that looks nothing like this painting. (We deaccessioned that one in 1996 because [it was in bad condition]).”

    Ishikawa and others long suspected that Boys Blowing Bubbles was not a van Oost. But whose was it?

    In 2002, a scholar of Flemish painting named Katlijne Van der Stighelen happened to be in Seattle, and she came across the painting at SAM. She already had an idea whose she thought it was: Michaelina Woutiers, a female court painter in Vienna—an anomaly. But it wasn’t until Van der Stighelen published a paper in 2005 after a symposium on Flemish patronage between 1550 and 1700 that another 17th-century Flemish scholar, Peter Sutton, suggested to Ishikawa that this painting might be by this unusual female painter. Van der Stighelen concurs.

    At this point, the attribution is still the best possible guess rather than an ironclad fact. Like the Goya decision, it’s based on stylistic similarities to four known court paintings by Woutiers, which are held at the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum. Unfortunately, the museum’s web site doesn’t include any images by Woutiers, but Ishikawa says there’s one in particular, a portrait of Bacchus, that includes a little boy on the right hand side of the picture that looks a lot like the boy on the right in the SAM painting. “I felt confident enough based on comparative photographs and these two opinions to go ahead and make the change,” Ishikawa said. “The Jacob van Oost [attribution] was always problematic, and this person does seem to be a distinct artistic personality. But really, to be completely satisfied, you’d want to get the paintings together.”

    In the late 1960s and early 1970s, with the advent of the Rembrandt Research Project—which in the early stages relied heavily on scientific technology in a search for the “true” Rembrandts—science was held out to be the key to solving attribution mysteries once and for all. But traditional connoisseurship turns out to have as great a role as science. Science may be able to tell you how old something is, or precisely what it’s made of, but consider that Rembrandt, just to take one example, ran a large studio of artists he hired to create paintings that look just like Rembrandts, and you start to glimpse the complications.

    In Seattle, with the museum’s relatively limited resources and great distance from the European collections, there have been plenty of question marks. In 2004, Ishikawa said, because of new scholarship, SAM changed the attribution on a 14th-century saint portrait by Allegretto Nuzi to Puccio di Simone. Sometimes, an attribution is little more solid than a bubble in thin air.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on July 8 at 11:00 AM


    Kode9 at Chop Suey

    Kode9 is a London-based Scotsman, philosophy professor, dubstep/grime producer, and owner of Hyperdub, one of the most innovative record labels in the world. From this label we get the hero of our time, Burial (or Saint Burial), and the madman of our time, the Spaceape—both were discovered by Kode9, the father of hauntology, a kind of thinking and feeling that emerged after the optimism of the ’90s crashed against the wall of Bush’s ’00s. Kode9’s beats soundtrack a world that is dead but haunted by the living. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 9 pm, $12, 21+.)


    Science Is Awesome!

    posted by on July 8 at 11:00 AM

    Octopuses given Rubik’s Cubes for some reason or another.


    Shouldn’t it be “octopi”, though? And are they going to give them eight waterproof typewriters next? Frankly, I’d trust an octopus to write Hamlet before a monkey. A monkey might be able to pull off Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, but I think that octopi really understand tragedy in a way that monkeys don’t.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on July 8 at 10:27 AM

    Deborah Butterfield’s Untitled (3337) (2008), (unique) bronze with patina finish, 89 1/2 by 130 by 32 1/2 inches

    At Greg Kucera Gallery. (Gallery site here.)

    Another Excuse to Post a Photo of Rafael Nadal

    posted by on July 8 at 10:24 AM


    More analysis on the gay marriage/sports championships connection from Hugo Schwyzer

    Since we’re talking about the possibility that Rafael Nadal’s dramatic Wimbledon triumph yesterday is linked to the Spanish legalization of gay marriage, let me continue the theme started last week, this time with a tennis angle:

    Spain legalized gay marriage in June 2005. Rafael Nadal’s first French Open title? June 2005.

    January 30, 2003: Belgium legalizes gay marriage. May 2003: Justine Henin wins the French Open, her first Grand Slam victory, the first ever for a Belgian player of either sex. It was the first grand slam played after Belgium legalized gay marriage. Henin goes on to win a series of titles, and is soon joined by fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters as a grand slam champion.

    The evidence continues to pile up, folks!

    There’s still time to legalize gay marriage before the Olympics, folks. I expect the Chinese will do it—they’re seeking every possible advantage. And we should keep an eye on Olympians from California, which of course just legalized gay marriage.

    UPDATE: Bad news, homos. The evidence of absence (of a girlfriend) isn’t proof of the absence of evidence (of a girlfriend).

    Booty Call of the Gods

    posted by on July 8 at 10:18 AM

    Here’s Alan Cumming’s big entrance in the Scottish production of The Bacchae that opened recently in NYC.


    He plays the God of misrule, Dionysus. His hair is like “bunches of black grapes,” to borrow the words of another decadent.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on July 8 at 10:04 AM


    Three readings tonight.

    At the Elliott Bay Book Company, Kaya McLaren reads from her reissued novel, Church of the Dog. Here is what Publisher’s Weekly says about the book:

    …The result is an ersatz inspirational novel that mistakes the characters’ tendencies to natter on about God and ethics and spout goofy New Age-isms for plot or character development.

    And here is what Emerging Crone has to say about it:

    It is impossible to encounter this book and not have your heart expanded.

    Sounds like we have an old-fashioned “critics are just so full of hate that they can’t appreciate a beautiful, inspirational book for what it is” battle going on. To figure out what side of the fight you fall on, you might want to go to this reading. I’m not going, because Emerging Crone’s website has already given me hives from all its New Agey foo-foo.

    Up at Third Place Books, Garth Stein reads from The Art of Racing in the Rain. Stein is local, and his book is prominently displayed in just about every Starbucks in the nation. It’s told from the point of view of a dog. I haven’t read it.

    Lastly, and bestly, Cory Doctorow is back in town at the University Book Store. He was here a month or so ago for his young adult novel Little Brother, but I think that this will be a reading of new work. This is clearly the reading of the night.

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

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on July 8 at 10:00 AM

    A view of Timea Tihanyi’s installation Outside In, Inside Out: Seeing Ghosts (Will you come to visit me tomorrow again?) (2008), handmade abaca paper, reused bed sheets, lights

    At Pratt Fine Arts Center Gallery at the Tashiro-Kaplan Building. (Gallery site here.)

    Spotted Outside America Apparel on Broadway

    posted by on July 8 at 9:48 AM



    Who Loves America?

    posted by on July 8 at 9:15 AM

    John McCain loves America. More than that other guy. Who was at Woodstock. Or something:

    This is not the first time McCain has taken on “Summer of Love” hippies, though the last time he was doing it Hillary Clinton was the intended target. (And isn’t it a little bit easier to imagine Clinton as part of the “Summer of Love” than Obama, who was about six years old at the time?)

    In any case, the end of this minute-long commercial is worth focusing in on. McCain, borrowing a page from Clinton, tacitly admits that Obama is a great orator but argues that words are not enough. Remember the “just words” refrain from the Clinton camp? It’s back, in slightly altered form, from the McCain camp:

    Beautiful words cannot make your lives better. But a man who has always put his country and his people before self, before politics, can. Don’t hope for a better life, vote for one. McCain.

    It didn’t work for Clinton to attack Obama’s eloquence and hopefulness, and I’m not sure it will work for McCain, either.

    But, if it does end up working, it will be because McCain is offering an additional element in his argument against words and hope—an element that Clinton didn’t add, and one that could make the attack more potent this time around.

    The landing pad for people following the Clinton argument was her experience: Obama’s got nice words, sure, and yeah, he talks about hope, but words and a lot of hope talk are not enough. I’ve got the experience to actually bring about change.

    The landing pad for people following the McCain argument is that McCain is simply a better man than Obama, a more American man, a man who exemplifies “a better life.” McCain’s saying: Obama’s got nice words, sure, and yeah, he talks about hope, but I’m a better American and a better American makes for a better America.

    We’ll see how this plays. (And we’ll also see whether any undecideds are even paying attention in the middle of summer.) But it does at least seem true that for McCain’s target audience, “more American” is probably a better sell than Clinton’s “more experienced.”

    Obama Rama!

    posted by on July 8 at 8:23 AM

    My Fourth of July? Delightful, thanks! I spent it with the Obamas. Yes, the Obamas. In, um, Butte, Montana. Yes, um, Butte. I know. Peculiar. There should be a little something about it in the paper tomorrow (or so I’ve heard it rumored).

    Barack came, he saw, he picnicked, he speechified, he ate a hotdog, and here is what he looked like doing it.

    Watching the parade:



    That’s Michelle siting next to him, of course, and their daughters Malia and Natasha (adorable!). You can also see his sister, Maya, her hot Chinese husband Konrad, and their very bored little girl, whose name I just cannot pronounce.

    Here he is speechifying at the picnic (check out the size of that crowd!):


    The national press was there too, and I spent a lot of time chatting with this lovely young woman…


    …who, I was too brain-dead at the time to realize, was/is Gwen Ifill from PBS (of course!) and, Mary, let me tell you: It’s a God damn good thing I didn’t recognize her, because I would have yelled at her for soft-balling George Bush during the 2004 Presidential Debate. It made me furious! I’ve held that grudge for four long years. There is no way I would have been able to restrain myself.

    I’ve been pissed at you for four years, Gwen Ifill! Do you hear me?


    And now you know.

    The Morning News

    posted by on July 8 at 7:07 AM

    Time to Leave: Iraq’s national security adviser says his country won’t accept a security deal from the U.S. unless it contains a plan for withdrawal.

    The G-8 Pledge: U.S., Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada, and Russia agree to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050. Meanwhile, with a global food crises on the agenda, G-8 leaders enjoyed a six-course lunch and an eight-course dinner.

    Shady Loans: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke wants new lending rules in order to “restrict exotic mortgages and high-cost loans for people with weak credit.”

    Big Business: Microsoft wants to overthrow Yahoo’s board of directors.

    Gel Guns and Sonic Rays: Police in Denver and Minneapolis St. Paul are gearing up for protesters.

    Reformers vs. Traditionalists: The Church of England voted yesterday to allow women bishops.

    All-Time Low: Just 9% give Congress a positive rating, according to Rasmussen Reports.

    Drums of War: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is reportedly training for an attack from Israel, the U.S., or both.

    Critical-Area Laws: The Court of Appeals has ruled that King County’s rural-land restrictions are too strict. As you’d expect, environmentalists ain’t happy.

    At a 52-Week Low: Starbucks shares, which fell Monday by 3.9%.

    Today in Stupid: Text messages lead to murder charges for a Gold Bar man and his girlfriend.

    Local Crime: Police say daytime burglaries in the Central Area are an “alarming trend.”

    Dept. of Self-Flagellation: 1,000(!) terrible words. Ang Lee’s Hulk. Shame for life.

    Monday, July 7, 2008

    “Why the G.O.P. must die”

    posted by on July 7 at 9:54 PM

    Ok, Anthony, I’ll bite.

    The July 2008 Harper’s (“Lamar, where’s my Harpers?”) has one of the more honest—and therefore both terrifying and fascinating—discussions on the state of governance and politics in the US today.

    The entire article is premised on reality: Decades of Republican and conservative rule have left the country—and by extension much of the world—in abject disaster. No energy policy. Endless imperial war. Economic, social, environmental and cultural decline.

    Some choice passages:

    SCHALLER: What’s interesting to me about the way Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama present themselves to Democrats is that Obama talks about building a governing majority, and Hillary Clinton talks about how you need a knife fighter—somebody who knows how things work, who can win bureaucratic politics. She starts from the premise that we are stuck forever in this kind of 49–49 America. He starts from the premise that Democrats can get to 54 percent or 55 percent, in which case they don’t need to be knife fighters

    BAKER: That could just be a matter of self-fulfilling prophecy. The very essence of this duopoly is that neither side has much of an interest in breaking it. Karl Rove sought a “permanent Republican majority,” but only just that. He was perfectly happy to govern with a 50.1 percent majority.

    MITCHELL: That suggests that there will be no change in the general drift of things, which is good news for people who like the ways things are drifting but bad news for people who want change. Is there a way to break the deadlock?

    BAKER: Well, as the economists say, positive change requires creative destruction. Just beating the Republicans will be a huge help in the short term. It is necessary. But real change in the long term is going to require some kind of knock-out blow.

    This exchange is one of the most insightful in the entire piece:

    MCCONNELL: The problem is that Democrats have become a party in which liberal social attitudes are required in leadership positions while support for liberal economic policies is entirely optional.

    BAKER: In fact, Democrats seem to have come to the point where they run on economic issues and win on economic issues, and then after coming into office they tell the electorate, “Well, you were being awfully childish about this—of course you aren’t going to get those things.”

    MCCONNELL: Yes, and reversing that order of priority might drive a wedge into the G.O.P. The Republicans have come so close to failure that Democrats could achieve a sort of counter-alignment simply by becoming more diverse on cultural issues. They still march in lockstep over abortion, for instance, and if the party were more welcoming to working-class voters who are pro-life or culturally conservative, such voters might be more inclined to vote their economic interests, which are almost certainly Democratic.

    And before we beat up on the Democrats too much:

    PHILLIPS: A major Republican weakness that doesn’t get noticed is their inability, despite all their macho muscle-flexing, to bring foreign wars to a successful finish. Our whole involvement in the Middle East, from the 1970s through the 2020s or however long it goes on, is going to do for the United States what two world wars did for Britain. It is a disaster. But it never gets examined this way.

    And finally despair:

    MITCHELL: All right. Say the Democrats blow it for the third time in a row. I imagine many voters see them as at least being a check on Republicans. And if Democrats fail even in that limited role, it seems like they won’t really have much justification left for existing. Would Republicans be able to force them into some kind of realignment?

    BAKER: Republicans won’t have much to work with. They have been engaged in the headlong pursuit of disaster in so many areas—foreign policy, trade, the environment, the economy, etc.—that the entire bloated framework of modern American life is at risk. Really their only shot is to lose the White House and then blame Democrats for every single one of their own errors.

    PHILLIPS: Certainly if Democrats take office without having prepared the way for making hard legislative choices, it is likely they are not going to be terribly successful. And if they’re not terribly successful, Republicans will have a chance to get out from under Bush, who is just deadweight at this point. If Republicans have two years of Democratic ineptness to run against in the 2010 midterms, they’ll have a shot.

    And finally some mixed hope:

    SCHALLER: It may take a crisis for a realignment to occur—environmental collapse, economic collapse, imperial overextension, whatever.

    MITCHELL: And yet this war, one of the most epically colossal failures in our history, doesn’t seem to be doing the trick.

    MCCONNELL: I’m a little surprised that there are so few visible signs of social unrest or protest anywhere, peaceful or non-peaceful.

    PHILLIPS: Generally speaking, there has been an unwillingness among the former world economic powers to understand what was happening, so they basically pretended that all was well. The political history of those economic powers as they peaked and declined was that they couldn’t mobilize a new coalition to implement serious reforms.

    MITCHELL: Tom mentioned the amazing number of small contributions going to Democrats. That may be throwing good money after bad, but it certainly is an expression of desire for change.

    You should read the entire exchange—the single best summation of now I’ve read and none too kind to the G.O.P.

    John McCain is a Bad Man, Too

    posted by on July 7 at 9:00 PM

    You know, I understand that it’s distressing to watch Obama slide to the center on FISA, abortion, non-traditional baseball glove colors, and other issues. It’s distressing to me too, and I appreciate all the posts on Slog that are taking him to task for these shifts. I think it’s right and proper for us (The Stranger, liberals, progressives, whatever) to call him out. His promise appeared great (probably also completely unrealistic), and he’s not quite living up to it lately.

    But seriously, can someone start posting companion pieces to each of these posts about how much worse the alternative is? I’m afraid we’re losing sight of the overall goal here. We’re down to a two-person race now, for better or worse, and Obama is not even approaching being the greater evil. He’s not in the same universe.

    So who’s up for it? Steinbacher? You got nothing to do now, right? I would do it, but a) I’m too busy (porn), b) I’m a tech guy with no business posting about politics in the first place, and c) I don’t wanna.

    I want to see some hot, frothy, anti-McCain action up in the Slog!

    Taking a Stand Against Pink

    posted by on July 7 at 6:25 PM

    Maybe not the best day for Parents Magazine to be declaring Barack Obama a feminist father?

    Via Ben Smith:

    Barack Obama’s feminist radar is apparently on high alert. At a photo shoot with Parents magazine in Butte, Montana this past weekend, the presumptive Democratic nominee nixed one of the props his staff had supplied for a playful picture of his daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7.

    The turn-off? Cotton-candy colored baseball gloves.

    “Pink mitts?” he asked incredulously as he tossed them back to one of his aides. “We’re not going to have pink baseball mitts, I’m sorry.”

    I’m sure it will be duplicated in the comments, but here’s the ECB reaction: “Great, selling us down the river on abortion but defending us against pink baseball mitts…”

    Crowd Beats Man Outside of Chop Suey Nightclub

    posted by on July 7 at 5:15 PM

    Early Sunday morning, witnesses say, a crowd of about a dozen people beat a 25-year-old man outside the Chop Suey night club on Capitol Hill after the man was ejected from the club for allegedly harassing a woman.

    Angelo—who witnessed the event and did not give his last name—and several of his friends were walking near Chop Suey around 1:30 Sunday morning, when he says a large crowd attacked the man.

    “All of the people in front of Chop Suey started cheering [on the attackers],” Angelo says. “And at least a dozen other people ran over and joined in beating the man.”

    Angelo claims he saw someone grab a folding chair from Chop Suey and use it to beat the man. Angelo also says no one did anything to help the man, who was left bloodied in the intersection of 14th and Pike.

    This afternoon, another witness to the attack sent an email to Chop Suey, accusing the club’s security staff of ignoring the incident.

    Chop Suey sent out this reply:

    Said incident involved a male patron who was sexually harassing a female patron so he was ejected from the club.

    A fight broke out shortly after so we called 911. With the amount of people involved in this incident, security were asked to wait for police to come. Before police showed up, the crowd dissipated a bit but some people helped the assaulted man out of the street. He spoke to both the police and paramedics, who eventually took him away.

    I also contacted Roy Atizado, Chop Suey’s manager, to talk about the incident. “All I know is that this one gentleman was grabbing this girl’s butt,” Atizado says. “She complained to us, we kicked him out and several minutes later, a fight ensued.”

    Atizado says his staff didn’t do anything to stop the fight because too many people were involved. “We’ve been told by police officers that if it’s not manageable to … call police immediately and ask for instructions until police get there,” he says. Atizado also denies that a chair from Chop Suey was used as a weapon in the melee. “I guarantee that did not happen,” he says.

    I’ve got a call in to SPD to find out what they say about the fight.

    UPDATE: This just in from Atizado:

    The chair you mentioned was from the hot dog stand and not from inside Chop Suey. There is no affiliation with us to them.

    Slog Happy in the Market

    posted by on July 7 at 3:40 PM

    We’ll be at the charming Maximilien on Thursday. Note the new, earlier time. See you there!


    Obama “Clarifies” Abortion Stance

    posted by on July 7 at 3:24 PM

    Wow. Not much better:

    In clarifying his remarks [as noted below, Obama told a reporter for a Christian magazine that he supports a ban on abortions after 22 weeks except when the physical health of the woman is threatened, and does not support a “mental distress” exception], Obama said this afternoon that he has “consistently” said health exceptions are required for laws banning or seriously restricting abortion. But he then goes on to try to carve out exceptions to the exceptions, and he ends up suggesting, again, he would support more limits on abortion than the law currently allows.

    Speaking to reporters on his campaign plane, Obama said mental health exceptions—which are a real battleground issue in the abortion debate—can be “rigorously” limited to only those women with “serious clinical mental health diseases.” He said mental health exceptions are not intended permit abortions when a woman simply “doesn’t feel good.”

    “It is not just a matter of feeling blue,” Obama said.

    As noted here, the law governing late-term abortions, which has been upheld by the US Supreme Court, includes an exception for women who would suffer emotional or psychological harm if they were required to bring a pregnancy to term. Only Justices Scalia and Thomas opposed the exemption. Obama’s “serious clinical mental health diseases” criterion goes much further than the Supreme Court, which ruled that “[M]edical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors—physical, emotional , psychological, familial, and the woman’s age—relevant to the well- being of the patient.” That allowance is intended to account not just for serious clinical diseases but for cases such as: A girl who was raped by a relative and couldn’t get to an abortion clinic or didn’t know she was pregnant; a woman whose fetus can’t possibly survive; or a girl who may commit suicide if forced to bring a child to term.

    Obama could have clarified his position on abortion in a way that satisfied abortion-rights defenders. (One ardent Obama supporter outlines what she wishes he’d said here). Instead, he “clarified” by tying himself in rhetorical knots, implying that some women seek abortions because they’re “just feeling blue” in the process. I do a lot of things when I’m feeling blue—drinking, crying, and calling my mom come to mind—but I don’t think I’d hoof it to one of the two clinics in the country that still provide (extremely rare) late-term abortions just because I’m having a bad day.

    Incidentally, Obama’s belief that a woman “has a right to choose with her doctor, her pastor and her family” also goes well beyond existing case law, as noted here.)

    A Quarter Less Insight

    posted by on July 7 at 3:22 PM

    From the book editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

    Dear Colleagues,

    For three years, it’s been my joy to help unleash your opinions upon the world, or at least the corner of it in northeast Ohio. Thank you for making the books pages one of the smartest, most diverse, liveliest and unpredictable sections of The Plain Dealer.

    Starting this Sunday, July 6, that joy is reduced by 25 percent. The pages are being cut to one and one-half. Nobody following the news biz can pretend to be surprised, but all of us can be sad, just the same.

    The most important part of this email, however, is to stress that a reduction of 25 percent still allows us a passing grade, especially if we spend the real estate we do have more wisely.

    The Plain Dealer has a really good books page. In fact, I think it’s probably the best part of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The letter ends with a request that people e-mail the Plain Dealer with requests to keep their book section at the size it is presently. Regardless of the glee that some people are taking in the print media’s demise, it’s sad that editors have to beg for letter-writing campaigns to convince people that their sections are important and relevant.

    One Last Cappucino with a Park View

    posted by on July 7 at 3:21 PM


    This Sunday, July 13, is the last day Vivace will occupy the lovely brick building on Denny Way where it’s been since 1992; the espresso roaster is being displaced by progress in the form of the Capitol Hill light rail station. Vivace’s new location, at the north end of Broadway in the Brix building, is scheduled to open Labor Day Weekend.

    Yes We Can…

    posted by on July 7 at 3:19 PM

    …get Barack Obama a better campaign plane.

    Bowling Alone

    posted by on July 7 at 2:53 PM


    I took this picture—these two pictures, actually, slapped together into one image—after we arrived at Imperial Lanes off Rainier on Saturday afternoon. That’s our car there in the otherwise empty parking lot. It was the day after the July 4th holiday, kinda chilly and overcast outside, and we left the house worried that Imperial Lanes might be packed—seeing, again, as it was Saturday afternoon, overcast, chilly, etc. But we had the place—inside and out—pretty much all to ourselves.

    You know, Seattle, it’s not enough to mourn the passing of our allegedly beloved bowling alleys. We actually have to patronize the few we’ve got left if we want them to survive.

    I bowled a 165. Not great, but not bad for me.

    Salon of Shame + Theater Off Jackson: A Slog Love Story

    posted by on July 7 at 2:45 PM

    Two months ago, we announced that the Capitol Hill Arts Center was moving from 12th Ave, perhaps against its will, perhaps never to open again.

    That Slog post was the first time some CHAC tenants—including the well-loved Salon of Shame—heard about their prospective homelessness. (Good old CHAC, always looking out for its pals and associates.)

    Comment #27 on the original post, by SoS leader Ariel Meadow Stallings:

    Fuck. Anyone know of a nice 120-person theater with a bar? Sounds like the Salon of Shame will soon be homeless, and going back to the Jewelbox ain’t gonna work…

    I’m going to go quietly freak out now.

    Posted by Ariel | May 12, 2008 6:26 PM

    Comment #32 on the original post, by Theater Off Jackson board member Amanda Slepski:

    Ariel @ 27, if you are indeed in need of space, Theatre Off Jackson seats 140 and we have a bar.

    Posted by Amanda | May 12, 2008 10:04 PM

    After this online introduction, SoS and ToJ met, wooed, and fell in sweet, sweet love. Tomorrow is their big coming-out party: 7 pm, Theater Off Jackson, $8.

    (May I suggest you have dinner at Green Leaf beforehand to celebrate?)

    Slog: Bringing people together—when it’s not tearing them apart—since 2005.™

    Re: Kiss Your Scrabulous Goodbye

    posted by on July 7 at 2:45 PM

    Apparently I’m going to be beta testing this Hasbro-approved new Scrabble version. I’ll let you know if this goes through—I’ve already emailed back but haven’t heard anything.

    Hi Annie-

    I’m currently working with Hasbro, Inc. and Electronic Arts Inc. on their new SCRABBLE ® game for Facebook.

    I found your site while searching for people interested in playing Scrabble on Facebook and want to invite you to be part of an exclusive closed BETA test of the new SCRABBLE® game for Facebook.

    If you accept the invitation, I hope you’ll share your experience with your site’s readers. And, of course, we’d also love for you to share your thoughts on the game with us directly.

    If you’re interested in becoming one of the first to play EA’s new SCRABBLE game for Facebook, simply reply and I’ll send you quick directions for joining the BETA test.

    Thanks so much for your time-

    I am an ardent Scrabulous fan, so if they fuck up any functionality, I promise to throw a fit.

    Kiss Your Scrabulous Goodbye

    posted by on July 7 at 2:00 PM

    I took part in a “Whatever happened to that lawsuit against Scrabulous?” discussion last week.

    Here’s the answer: Scrabble is ready to unveil their Facebook application. I’m willing to bet that people won’t go to the Scrabble application of their own volition, so Scrabble’s going to have to force the game by putting Scrabulous out of business. Especially since the Scrabble version of Scrabulous sucks ass.

    Obama: Prohibit Late-Term Abortions, Focus on Abstinence Education

    posted by on July 7 at 1:40 PM

    Perhaps not the best way to court lefties already shocked by your embrace of telecom immunity, your vow to expand Bush’s faith-based programs, and your backtracking on Iraq withdrawal?


    I have repeatedly said that I think it’s entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother. Now, I don’t think that “mental distress” qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term. Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions.

    Never mind the fact that there isn’t exactly an epidemic of silly, fickle women suddenly declaring “whoops, tee-hee, mental distress” late in pregnancy so they can get dangerous, costly abortions (which are, by the way, exceedingly rare)—the more alarming point is that Obama appears to be saying that mental health issues, when they occur in pregnant women and new mothers, aren’t really “health” issues at all.


    I think we know that abortions rise when unwanted pregnancies rise. So, if we are continuing what has been a promising trend in the reduction of teen pregnancies, through education and abstinence education giving good information to teenagers. That is important—emphasizing the sacredness of sexual behavior to our children. I think that’s something that we can encourage. I think encouraging adoptions in a significant way. I think the proper role of government. So there are ways that we can make a difference, and those are going to be things I focus on when I am president.

    Because those abstinence education programs have done such a great job at “giving good information to teenagers” so far.

    Does Obama really believe this stuff? Is this more pandering to assuage Middle America’s fear that he’s a godless scary heathen Muslim communist? Or does he just need to get a few women on his communications team?

    Via Jezebel.

    Webb’s Off the Wist

    posted by on July 7 at 1:35 PM

    Virginia Senator Jim Webb has removed himself from the running for Obama’s Vice President.

    “A year and a half ago, the people of Virginia honored me with election to the U.S. Senate. I entered elective politics because of my commitment to strengthen America’s national security posture, to promote economic fairness, and to increase government accountability. I have worked hard to deliver upon that commitment, and I am convinced that my efforts and talents toward those ends are best served in the Senate.”

    This is good news, I think. Webb might be a good Democrat for Virginia, but he had a lot of national campaign problems that would’ve been apparent all through September and October. Along similar lines, everybody make sure to keep your fingers crossed for the McCain/Crist ticket.

    Incidentally, I really, really hate the word “veepstakes.”

    What He Said

    posted by on July 7 at 1:34 PM

    “Build rail now,” says Goldy.

    I know conventional wisdom still suggests that now is the wrong time for Sound Transit to come back with a ballot measure, just one year after the defeat of Prop 1, but the conventional wise men are missing the point: 2008 isn’t 2007. The era of cheap gas is over, and Americans—even Seattle-Americans (and yes, I know, Seattle is different from every other city in the world)—are beginning to change their behavior in response. Voters get that, even if our politicians and editorialists don’t.

    Goldy points to an economist quoted in today’s Seattle Times who says that the “new calculus of higher gas prices may have permanently reshaped urban housing markets,” and that people will be looking to buy homes in places that allow them to drive as little as possible. That is, dense, walking communities, and in areas served by rapid transit.

    So… again… suburban voters? Want to protect your property values? Get behind efforts to build regional mass transit.

    More at HA.

    A Note from the Road

    posted by on July 7 at 12:52 PM


    “Best drive thru in Washington,” says the boyfriend—and he should know, as he spends a lot of time driving thru Washington to see his mom back in Spokane.

    Welcome Our New Friends

    posted by on July 7 at 12:47 PM

    The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary has unveiled their new edition, which features 100 new words. I know this is just a stupid publicity stunt, but I always fall for it. Some new additions to the official Merriam-Webster lexicon include:

    Pescatarian, fanboy, edamame, mondegreen, infinity pool, dirty bomb, subprime, wing nut, mental health day, and air quotes.

    I wish that infinity pool didn’t mean what the Merriam-Webster folks say it means:

    an outdoor pool with one lower edge that allows water to gush over making it look like it flows into the horizon.

    I wish that the above definition applied to the word mondegreen. To me, an infinity pool sounds like a beautiful trap, or a catch-22, or something along those lines.

    Right Paul

    posted by on July 7 at 12:24 PM

    I watched Hancock this weekend and found Paul Constant’s assessment to be on the side that is right

    ..[T]he 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.

    And David Denby’s to be on the side of that is wrong…

    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.

    Between Theron and Smith nothing like chemistry exists. Those two are cold to each other. Sagan tell us near the opening of his book Cosmos that some stars in space are so close they exchange star stuff. The same can not be said about Theron and Smith. They are two stars separated by cold and indifferent space. Not even a single racial spark is generated by the positive and negative codes (the cultural and historical binary) of their flesh. The interracial situation in the kids’ movie Holes had more sex in it than what is found (and soon to be forgotten) in Hancock.

    Disposable Bag Fee Public Hearing

    posted by on July 7 at 12:12 PM

    Express your outrage/approval/indifference toward Seattle’s proposed ban on Styrofoam food containers and 20-cent fee on disposable grocery bags at City Hall (600 4th Ave.) tomorrow, Tuesday, July 8, in council chambers at 7:00 p.m.

    To recap, the legislation would:

    Ban Styrofoam food packaging in grocery stores and restaurants;

    Impose a 20-cent fee on disposable shopping bags at grocery, drug, and convenience stores;

    Give retailers a portion of the fee to defray administrative costs; and

    Provide free shopping bags for seniors and low-income people.

    As far as I can tell, there’s no downside. The proposal isn’t compulsory—if you don’t want to pay 20 cents for a disposable bag, all you have to do is bring your own. And if you can’t afford a 75-cent reusable bag, that’s no problem either— the city will give you a bag (or bags) for free.

    As for the upside: Seattle residents use around 360 million disposable bags a year. Most of those are plastic. Nationally, we shovel about 100 billion plastic bags into landfills every year , the equivalent of 12 million barrels of oil. Most of the remaining bags end up as debris in places like the North Pacific Gyre, a whirling mass of garbage the size of Texas; just one percent are recycled. According to Planet Ark, an international environmental group, plastic bags kill around 100,000 whales, seals, turtles and other marine animals every year.

    Yes, there are other, arguably more pressing, environmental problems—sprawl, SUVs, our oil-dependent economy, to name a few. But I have exactly zero sympathy for people who claim that a fee for disposable bags is onerous, or that it constitutes social engineering, or that it somehow hurts the poor. Our society has been engineered to allow us to ignore the consequences of our actions, and we’re just now starting to undo some of that damage. Put another way: Wasting stuff is not a human right.

    This Just In…

    posted by on July 7 at 12:02 PM

    Children, as I frequently warn my childless friends, do not bring you closer together. They are a wedge you drive into your relationship…

    The cliché refers to newborn children as “bundles of joy,” but recent research indicates that bundles of anxiety, or even bundles of depression, might be more accurate.

    Sociologists are discovering that children may not make parents happier and that childless adults, contrary to popular stereotypes, may often be more contented than people with kids.

    Barbie? Is That You?

    posted by on July 7 at 12:00 PM

    Photoshop Disasters has a link to an lingerie seller’s page. It seems weird to announce that the page is NSFW, although it kind of is.

    Basically, the product is a (hugely-uncomfortable-looking) beaded reverse thong, but because Amazon is family-friendly, dontchaknow, they’ve airbrushed the crotch out of the picture. Close-up photo of the nothingness between the model’s legs is here. I’m sure there’s a fetish for this.

    Mile High Obama

    posted by on July 7 at 11:57 AM

    This feels like old news to me because I was reading rumors about it in Denver over the weekend, but now it’s official: Barack Obama is moving his nomination acceptance speech out of the Pepsi Center, Denver’s convention center, and into the much larger open-air space at Invesco Field (formerly Mile High Stadium).

    It’s good populist symbolism: The Pepsi Center would have been open only to about 20,000 credentialed members of the party and the media, while Invesco Field can seat around 75,000 and can therefore be opened to the public.

    But, as TheNextRight gleefully points out, Invesco Field doesn’t have a roof:

    That means there is a chance that it might rain on Obama’s acceptance speech.

    The Denver Post actually looked at the odds of this over the weekend. I wish I could find the article now, but I can’t so I’ll tell you from memory that there are all kinds of crazy weather happenings that have occurred in the past in late August in Denver. But the most common weather pattern—sorry, NextRight—is warm(ish) and dry(ish).

    Last Week on Drugs

    posted by on July 7 at 11:56 AM

    She Jumped! Police informant leaps from bridge.

    A handcuffed prisoner in a summer dress jumped from the Sleepy Hollow Bridge instead of following through on an arranged drug deal for Columbia River Drug Task Force agents Tuesday night.

    Sandra I. Duffy, 43, jumped about 20 feet to the water, which is about 48 degrees. She was handcuffed, with a coat draped over her hands to hide the restraints.

    She Lived! But was recaptured.

    “It turns out, that story that she was going to meet a seller was fabricated,” Moore said. “The whole time she’d been utilizing her cell phone, which was given back to her to arrange the meet, and texting folks to help her escape.”

    We’re Number One: Americans are the leading drug users, and the tough laws here? We smoke them for breakfast. The study found that the highest Americans weren’t poor—they were single young adult men with high incomes. The lengthy report is here. The article in easy-to-swallow pill form here.

    Magic Mushrooms: Johns Hopkins study finds that mushrooms trips provide psychological benefits to users for fourteen months.

    The Volley Begins: McCain visits Colombia to demonstrate his competency in matters of foreign policy—by lauding the success, of all possible things, of drug interdiction programs.

    Corrections for the Record: New York Times rebuffs the Republican poppycock about Colombia and drug interdiction, writing….

    This enthusiasm rests on a very selective reading of the data. Another look suggests that despite the billions of dollars the United States has spent battling the cartels, it has hardly made a dent in the cocaine trade.

    Well That Hit a Nerve: The White House responds to the NYT in the ONDCP blog, Pushing Back.

    Today’s New York Times has published an editorial that willfully cherry picks data in order to conform to their tired, 1970’s editorial viewpoint that we’re “losing the war on drugs.”

    Despite our numerous efforts to provide the Times with the facts, their editorial staff has chosen to ignore irrefutable data regarding the progress that has been made in making our nation’s drug problem smaller.

    Irrefutable Data: Mexican drug homicides continue to set records this week.

    Pic of the Week: Photo is below, the Lumberjack Song is over here.


    Hope for The Stranger Offices: The Drug Czar’s guide for creating a drug-free workplace.

    Cancer Drug: Not as awesome as docs thought.

    Dept o’ Flying Pigs: California initiative would legalize dope by November.

    The DEA Turns 35: A series of unfortunate events.

    Mamma Mia! Drug testing pregnant women produces false positives.

    Anti-Meth Crusader: Wasn’t really a cop, but now he’s really an inmate.

    Slog Happy This Thursday!

    posted by on July 7 at 11:47 AM

    Put it on your calendar: Slog happy hour Thursday, July 10, 6 pm. Extra special sun-drenched location to be announced later today.

    Rafael Nadal and This Morning’s NYT

    posted by on July 7 at 11:26 AM


    Man, I wish Rafael Nadal won Wimbledon every goddamn day. Wouldn’t it be nice to see his picture spread across the top of the NYT every morning?

    Yesterday Sloggers were discussing Nadal’s victory—and debating his sex appeal—here. And I’d like to point out that Nadal’s triumph is yet more evidence, per Hugo Schwyzer, that legalizing gay marriage is good for sports teams. Nadal’s not a team, of course, but less than three year’s after Spain legalized same-sex marriage Rafael Nadal becomes the first Spaniard to win Wimbledon since 1966. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

    If we’re serious about taking Olympic gold in Beijing, well, America ought to legalize same-sex marriage ASAP.

    UPDATE: Oh, and did Nike get it’s money’s worth or what? The picture I took of the NYT is a little fuzzy, but there are Nike swooshes on Nadal’s socks, armbands, and headband, and they’re all as clear as day on the cover of the NYT this morning. Now I’m off to buy some shoes—but first, one more picture of Nadal…


    And a little video here.

    Reality TV Is Not Here to Make Friends

    posted by on July 7 at 11:10 AM

    Reality TV is here to win.

    Via FourFour.

    Today in Put Bulls

    posted by on July 7 at 11:04 AM

    Apparently I have become the unelected leader of the anti-pit-bull movement in Seattle—all due to a few Slog posts. This email came in over the weekend…

    I don’t know if you are interested in this but thought you should hear about this as I did a quick google search and your name came up as someone who may take interest from this story.

    I just witnessed a pit bull (2 of them) attack tonight. I was photographing a family portrait at Discovery Park when these two pit bulls, unleashed came bounding by us. Then we started hearing hysterical screaming. When we looked back, we saw (what we thought at the time) a woman being attacked by the two pit bulls. It turned out it was her dog being attacked and she was trying to fend off these brutal dogs. Fortunately for her and her dog, two of the men I was with from the family portrait, ran over to help stop the attack. I thank God we just happened to be there as I fear it could have been a lot worse as she was all alone in the field by herself.

    The dogs went on to attack another dog. In the meantime I had called 911 and they did arrive within about 10 minutes. I am not sure what happened after that.

    And numerous pit bull fanciers—apologists, collaborators useful idiots, etc.—are sending me a link to a story in today’s Washington Post. A few have suggested that I don’t have the courage to post it to Slog. La la la, here it is. Dogs seized from pro-footballer Michael Vick’s dog fighting operation have been rehabilitated, which proves that pit bulls are lovely, wonderful animals—see, even pits that have been brutalized can be rehabilitated!

    More than a year after being confiscated from Vick’s property, Leo, a tan, muscular pit bull, dons a colorful clown collar and visits cancer patients as a certified therapy dog in California. Hector, who bears deep scars on his chest and legs, recently was adopted and is about to start training for national flying disc competitions in Minnesota. Teddles takes orders from a 2-year-old. Gracie is a couch potato in Richmond who lives with cats and sleeps with four other dogs.

    I trust the Washington Post will update us if any of Vick’s pits snap—if one of these dogs should be provoked by a squeaky wheel, say, or encounter a small child who fails to remain absolutely calm and stand there stock still when charged by a snarling pit bull. But defenders of pit bulls contacting me this AM aren’t reading the fine print…

    Of the 49 pit bulls animal behavior experts evaluated in the fall, only one was deemed too vicious to warrant saving and was euthanized. (Another was euthanized because it was sick and in pain.)

    Of the 47 surviving dogs, 25 were placed directly in foster homes, and a handful have been or are being adopted. Twenty-two were deemed potentially aggressive toward other dogs and were sent to an animal sanctuary in Utah.

    Yes, the majority of Vick’s dogs have been deemed salvageable—sort of. Only a “handful” are being “adopted,” but that handful of dogs is more than vets and humane society professionals expected to save. But nearly half of Vick’s dogs were deemed unsalvageable and, again, the “salvageable” dogs rest have not lived out their lives. I don’t know about the parents of the two-year that adopted one of Vick’s pits, but I wouldn’t welcome a potentially violent dog into my home that had been chained, beaten, hanged, etc. Placing your child at risk of a injury or death to disprove a “stereotype” about a certain breed of dog seems the opposite of responsible parenting to me.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on July 7 at 11:00 AM


    Matmos at Triple Door

    Avant-electronic duo Matmos creates high-concept albums from digitally buggered audio samples (in 2001, they made a record based around sounds from cosmetic surgeries). Their latest, Supreme Balloon, was composed entirely without microphones, using only the direct input from an imposing assortment of vintage modular synthesizers. Live, Matmos might process sounds from such sources as a contact mic attached to a balloon, melting ice, or hair clippers as they shave a fan’s hair into a Mohawk. Genius. With SF noise makers Wobbly. (The Triple Door, 216 Union St, 838-4333. 8 pm, $20, all ages.)


    Washed Up Comedians Drink Coffee, Go to City Hall Just Like the Rest of Us

    posted by on July 7 at 10:54 AM

    From my inbox:

    Bobcat Goldthwait is at city hall ?!

    for real. he was just buying coffee at the coffee cart.

    if you know who he is…he was a somewhat famous comedian before you were born.

    Thomas M. Disch

    posted by on July 7 at 10:34 AM

    Dead, apparently by suicide, on the 4th of July.

    I was going to do a phone interview with him later this month for his newest book, The Word of God. It’s not so much a novel as a collection of short stories, with commentary by Disch, who, in the book, claimed to be God. I was looking forward to talking with him.

    Disch wrote a lot of essays and poetry. On the Internet, he’s probably best known as a science-fiction author who wrote books like Camp Concentration. Philip K. Dick also, famously, tried to turn Disch in to the FBI for being un-American, but Disch remained a lifelong fan and early advocate of Dick’s work.

    This is a real shame.

    I, Anonymous: Summer Lovin’ Edition

    posted by on July 7 at 10:31 AM


    This just in to I, Anonymous:

    How do you know you dig someone? You just know. It’s a feeling. Actually it’s like 28 feelings. I mean, you know when you are connected in seven of 28 ways with a chick you’ll end up fucking for three months, because those seven things were all parts of her body. And when you dig a chick for 14 of 28 reasons, you hang out for like six months because those same seven things mentioned previously are so fucking good that you give them double credit. And then there is the chick with 21 of 28 things and you last about a year, cuz it takes about a year for you to raise your hands in the air and say ‘Did you really just fucking say what you just fucking said?’, and she says you don’t understand her and someone moves out the next day. But when you get 28 out of 28, you fucking know it. And you know what you do? You just say to the other person, ‘There is no way in which I don’t love the fuck out of you’. It’s that simple.

    The GOP’s Newest Attack Ad

    posted by on July 7 at 10:23 AM

    “Your attitude towards women and porn.”

    posted by on July 7 at 10:19 AM

    This week’s “Savage Love” included a brief aside about pornography…

    As for what constitutes infidelity, well, that is and always will remain a highly subjective matter, WAVP. Every couple gets to decide for themselves just what constitutes infidelity within their own relationship. One couple may draw that line at pornography—well, it’s usually the batshitcrazy half that draws the line at pornography and the sane half concedes the point under duress and “consumes porn” in secret—while the couple next door draws the line at quadruple penetration.

    That crack generated a lot of outraged email from women who 1. don’t like porn and 2. don’t appreciate being described as “batshitcrazy” and 3. accused me of being sexist blah blah blah.

    But I was careful not to use gendered terms or pronouns in that aside because, you see, I do get mail from gay men and straight women with batshitcazy boyfriends/husbands who object to their porn collections/consumption. But, yes, most of my mail with object-to-porn themes involves a woman doing the batshitcrazy objecting and a straight man doing the consumption-in-secret. And so far all of the mail I’ve received objecting to this week’s batshitcrazy observation has been from women, and most of it went like this: “Porn is bad, mmmkay?”

    So when I opened the email with the subject line I used to title this post, well, let’s just say I didn’t expect to read a stirring defense of, well, the text of the email is after the jump. Don’t make the mistake of reading it while attempting to eat a chocolate croissant.

    And remember, kids, one man’s pornography is another man’s appetite suppressant.

    Continue reading ""Your attitude towards women and porn."" »

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on July 7 at 10:16 AM


    Two open mics and three other readings tonight.

    At the Elliott Bay Book Company, Tom Farrey reads from Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children. I can’t really justify attending this reading: every day, I thank my parents for raising a mediocre child.

    Up at Third Place Books, Janice Taylor reads from All is Forgiven, Move On. This seems to be a weight-loss book that will lead readers on “a journey to Sveltesville.” It looks, um, pretty…wacky.

    And at the I.D. Library, Sasha Su-Ling Welland reads from A Thousand Miles of Dreams, which is “an evocative and intimate biography of two Chinese sisters who took very different paths in their quest to be independent women.” Like Cagney & Lacey!

    The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on July 7 at 10:00 AM

    Cris Bruch’s Sartre Comes to Bountiful (2008), vinyl, fluorescent lights, 78 by 42 by 8 inches

    At Lawrimore Project. (Gallery site here.)

    Joseph William Francis at Westlake Center

    posted by on July 7 at 10:00 AM


    How long have you been painting?
    Since about 2004, but I’ve been drawing all my life. I like to use graphite, acrylic, charcoals—I do it all. I’ve been here in Seattle about three months, and I’ve been doing this technique for about seven months.

    Where are you from?
    I’m from Pennsylvania, Philly. I painted there, I painted in New York, Miami, Dallas. All over.

    How long do you think you will be in Seattle?
    The rest of my life; I am setting up shop right here.

    I have never seen anything like this—where can we see more?
    If you go to MySpace and type in “eccentric edge,” it will pop right up.

    Jesus H.

    posted by on July 7 at 9:59 AM

    Please, please, people. Don’t ride fixies in the city. I just called 911 for a guy who was at the bottom of a hill trying to slow down for a light. He flew over his handlebars and did a face plant (wearing a helmet, which is great, but also glasses, which shattered and embedded near his eye) and completely tore up his cheek. I hope his eye is OK. He’s on his way to the hospital.

    I’m kind of freaked out. Fixies are for tracks, not streets, all right?

    Re: Obama’s Smartest Staff Pick Ever

    posted by on July 7 at 9:35 AM

    Last month I suggested that Chris Hughes, one of the founders of Facebook and current “online organizing guru” for the Obama campaign, was Barack Obama’s smartest staff pick ever.

    This morning the New York Times profiles the 24-year-old Harvard grad, who built and, in doing so, created the platform for Obama’s massive social-networking advantage.

    What’s McCain doing to catch up? Working very hard:

    His social network, called McCainSpace and part of, is “virtually impossible to use and appears largely abandoned,” said Adam Ostrow, the editor of Mashable, a blog about social networking.

    By all accounts, Mr. McCain is not the BlackBerry-wielding politician that Mr. Obama is. But he has given credit to what he calls Mr. Obama’s “excellent use of the Internet,” saying at a news conference last month that “we are working very hard at that as well.”

    If I might suggest a first step for the McCain camp, it would be getting their candidate to learn how to use a computer.

    Happy Rafting! (Ignore the Corpse)

    posted by on July 7 at 8:31 AM


    From the Associated Press:

    Police say white water rafters going through the tricky Blossom Bar rapids on southern Oregon’s Rogue River may see the body of a California woman who drowned there last week but cannot be recovered.

    The waters remain too rough for safe removal of the victim. Rafters are complaining about the ever-present corpse. Full story here.

    Upsetting update/background from Slog tipper Ryan:

    My cousin, a rafting guide on the Rogue River for eight years, told me about this story three days ago. His company Arta wasn’t responsible for the accident, but knows the company involved. What was left out:

    Helicopters aren’t the only way to get to the body. Powerboats that commonly go down the rogue for tours are able to get to the body and one such boat tried to remove the body. It was too tangled to remove without risking ripping the corpse in half.

    Oregon BLM [Bureau of Land Management] had agreed that dam levels could be altered for a half-day time period so that river levels could be lowered to get the woman out. The sheriff’s department refused to ask for the levels to be lowered and the BLM cannot lower levels without a proper request. It would potentially take 4 hours for one person with bolt cutters and a saw to get her out if the levels were lowered.

    The woman was a mother of three. The other rafter had her kneecap torn off by the accident. She was medevaced out within hours. The dead woman is visible from the water and her hand is above water line. Tour groups walk around this rapid now.

    Basically, the sheriff’s office is lying. Expect something to be done as its in the news now. The woman drowned 6 days ago. This is a really disturbing case, especially considering how callous the sheriff’s department has been in handling it.

    Eep. Stay tuned.

    Update from Slog commenter Truthteller: The woman’s body has been recovered.

    The Morning News

    posted by on July 7 at 6:43 AM

    The Forgotten War: 40 dead and at least 140 injured after a suicide bombing at the Indian Embassy in Kabul.

    Under the Knife: Senate Republicans are feeling heat from the American Medical Association over a 10.6% cut in Medicare.

    Black Gold, Texas Tea: American pension funds are benefiting from record oil prices. Meanwhile, high gas prices (average price in Washington $4.35/gallon, according to AAA) are sending some suburbanites back to the city.

    Exit Strategies: Despite the Bush administration’s refusal to set a timetable for withdrawal, the Iraqi government may soon demand one.

    It Doesn’t Take One to Know One: President Bush thinks Russia’s new president Dimitri A. Medvedev is a “smart guy.”

    Come For the Politics, Stay For the Spectacle: Barack Obama will give his convention speech at the 75,000 seat INVESCO Field at Mile High (also known as the place where the Denver Broncos play).

    Battles With Nature: As wildfires make their annual visit to California, tropical storm Bertha has officially graduated to hurricane status in the Atlantic.

    One DMV Under God: Christians in South Carolina will soon be able to promote their Godly ways via a state-issued license plate.

    Trolley Folly: As ideas for expanding the system are kicked around, city officials can’t quite figure out how people feel about the S.L.U.T.

    Our “Green” Government: While environmentalists fight runoff pollution in court, state and local governments are on the side of developers.

    Sporting News: Nadal defeated Federer; Mariners catcher Jamie Burke took the mound in a 15-inning loss to the Tigers; 41-year-old swimmer Dara Torres set a new American record in the 50-meter freestyle; and Alex Rodriguez is getting divorced.

    Finally: After 14 years, this is my final week at The Stranger. In honor of the occasion, I’ll be looking back at some of my bad writing, bad judgments, and outright fuck-ups over the years.

    Installment #1 is a doozy from our “Month of Sundays” package, described in our annual Regrets issue:

    In the June 14 issue of The Stranger, in the feature package “A Month of Sundays,” managing editor Bradley Steinbacher wrote that Seattle’s O’Dea High School is a Jesuit institution. It is not. Compounding the error, Mr. Steinbacher is himself a graduate of O’Dea High School, leaving many—including his parents—to wonder whether he actually learned anything during grades 10 to 12. Mr. Steinbacher regrets the error.

    Man, that one left a mark.

    Sunday, July 6, 2008

    Apropos of Sunday Afternoon

    posted by on July 6 at 4:35 PM

    Sure is something when you’re listening to all the loudest, saddest songs your iPod knows, and you end up on a certain song you sometimes sing around the office to be funny but never actually lie back and listen to—a loud, sad song that’s about things much more horrible than whatever it is you’re going through, that had an incantatory and commercially viable four-word chorus, and that was marketed to the TV-watching public of 1994 with a video involving dirty children, people painted gold, a cross, machine guns, cement buildings covered in political graffiti, and blood-red trees on a soundstage—and you open your eyes to see a man and a woman and a dog who weren’t here in this park before, and the dog is running after a frisbee and the clouds have just parted and the man is standing with his arms outstretched to the sun.

    Rafael Nadal

    posted by on July 6 at 3:49 PM

    From Slog on May 9, 2006:

    Straight Ladies and Gay Gentlemen, I give you—again—hottest man in professional sports today: Rafael Nadal.


    He’s Spanish, he plays tennis, and he’s kicking ass.

    Today, of course, Nadal really kicked ass, winning the men’s single title at Wimbledon.

    With his 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-7 (8-10), 9-7 victory in what must surely rank as one of the most dramatic and compelling finals of all time, Nadal became the first man since Borg to win both Wimbledon and the French Open in the same year, a landmark that has stood since 1980. Yet that barely tells the story of an extraordinary, rain-interrupted match that saw Federer, the defending champion, relinquish his grip on the Challenge Cup only after a titanic struggle that stretched over four hours and 48 minutes.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on July 6 at 11:00 AM


    ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ at Intiman Theatre

    We wouldn’t normally suggest, sight unseen, a production by out-of-town actors we don’t know—but Streetcar is a durable work of genius and Sheila Daniels is one of our favorite directors. A fringe-theater star for nearly a decade (and recently hired as Intiman’s associate director), Daniels has a tender, almost maternal approach to directing that coaxes deep, multifaceted performances out of her actors. “This play is Shakespeare,” Daniels told me in an interview last week. “Shakespeare with New Orleans accents and 100 props.” We have great expectations. (Intiman Theatre, 201 Mercer St, 269-1900. 7:30 pm, $10–$48. Through Aug 2.)


    Reading Today

    posted by on July 6 at 10:00 AM

    Only one event today, and it’s an open mic at Little Red Studio. I once attended a party at Little Red Studio, and it was awesome.

    In other literary news:

    Here’s an interview between Tim Russert and Hunter S. Thompson. Note that it’s posted by 9/11 Truth people, who seem to believe that Thompson was killed because he was onto the truth about 9/11. Also note the comment on the video on YouTube by redpaul79 that reads:

    both dead now—coincidence???????

    Chew on that, Sunday.

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

    The Morning News

    posted by on July 6 at 8:54 AM

    by news intern Roselle Kingsbury

    War Spoils: The United States escorts 550 metric tons of “yellowcake” uranium from Iraq to its buyer, uranium producer Cameco Corp., in Montreal, Canada, completing a secretive year-long effort by the US to clean up a nuclear storage facility in Tuwaitha, Iraq.

    Variety Pack: Food, fuel, elections, and nuclear capability expected to be the main issues at the Group of Eight Summit meeting opening tomorrow in Hokkaido, Japan.

    Had It Coming: A wax likeness of Hitler lost its head yesterday after a visitor attacked the figurine at the opening of Madame Tussauds in Berlin.

    ¡Peligroso — Caliente!: More than 4,000 firemen from all over the country continue to battle widespread fires in Northern California, and weathermen say Monday’s predicted heat, lightning, and high winds won’t help.

    Scientists Suspect Salsa: Cilantro and, jalapeño and serrano peppers earn Center for Disease Control and Prevention scrutiny after scientists narrow salmonella sources to “food items that are commonly consumed with tomatoes[,]” including produce imported from Mexico.

    Bleedin’ Er Dry: The Washington State Senate Ways and Means Committee projected a $2.7 billion hole in the state budget last week, calling into question the feasibility of high-price initiatives projected to come up on the November ballot like Tim Eyman’s Initiative 985, expected to require $290 million in the next two-and-a-half years.

    Un-ironic Moustaches: All types of facial hair gathered in Kitsap County yesterday to compete in the North American Beard and Moustache Championship, which benefited the Washington Veterans Home, the county’s only homeless shelter.

    Deja Vu All Over Again: Residents of a recently constructed, expensive apartment building in New York City’s Harlem district complain of noise from nearby Marcus Garvey Park’s drum circle, which has played there since 1969.

    Age Of Consent: Joe Francis of Girls Gone Wild can breathe a sigh of relief — at least for now — Ashley Dupre has dropped charges against Francis of exploiting image and name on the Internet, explaining that she said she was 18 at the time of taping.

    Games Catchup

    posted by on July 6 at 12:57 AM

    Have you played Space Invaders Extreme yet? Possibly not, since summer’s a good time for nerd detox. Months past Grand Theft Auto 4, months before the Christmas rush of big games, months during which the sun stays out until 10 p.m. But this new Space Invaders is something else. Something worth returning to the dark corridors in which you can actually see a Nintendo DS screen.

    The old Space Invaders was a slow one, and various remakes have stuck pretty close to the formula; aliens descend slooowly, and you attack them by shooting behind shields. This one, a 30th anniversary edition, takes away the shields and the slow. Now, it’s a snappy shooting game that does a great job letting people play as they please. Memorize waves of enemies and make the most of the game’s new combo system, which has you kill critters of the same color or shape for bonuses. Or, mindlessly shoot everything with a perfect difficulty curve that’ll keep casual, bus-DS folks as entertained as the hardcore crowd. The art direction reeks of Lumines in all of the right ways—pictures and sounds match up in psych-disco fashion, and every time you shoot something, the sound fits into the music’s rhythm. And in the online mode, you and an opponent tear through your own single-player games, and the better you do, the more you muck up your foe’s game (and vice versa).

    For way too much blather about other recent games (Boom Blox, LOL, Ninja Gaiden II, Diablo II, and more), let’s play catch-up after the jump. But really, Space Invaders Extreme, in spite of the stupid title, is where it’s at.

    Continue reading "Games Catchup" »