Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

Archives for 08/31/2008 - 09/06/2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Obsession

posted by on September 6 at 10:30 PM

Being reasonable:

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has accused the Anglican church of allowing its “obsession” with homosexuality to come before real action on world poverty.

“God is weeping” to see such a focus on sexuality and the Church is “quite rightly” seen by many as irrelevant on the issue of poverty, he said.

It may be good to “accept that we agree to differ” on the gay issue, he said.

Being utterly mad:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sarah Palin’s church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.

“You’ll be encouraged by the power of God’s love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality,” according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed for about six years.

Palin’s conservative Christian views have energized that part of the GOP electorate, which was lukewarm to John McCain’s candidacy before he named her as his vice presidential choice. She is staunchly anti-abortion, opposing exceptions for rape and incest, and opposes gay marriage and spousal rights for gay couples.

Focus on the Family, a national Christian fundamentalist organization, is conducting the “Love Won Out” Conference in Anchorage, about 30 miles from Wasilla.

American Socialism

posted by on September 6 at 5:52 PM

To give more substance to what Barack said to Palin, “Come on! I mean, words mean something, you can’t just make stuff up”…
barack_obama_01.jpg…we can add this:

The government’s planned takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, expected to be announced as early as this weekend, came together hurriedly after advisers poring over the companies’ books for the Treasury Department concluded that Freddie’s accounting methods had overstated its capital cushion, according to regulatory officials briefed on the matter.
In short, making up stuff can only go so far. There is an end to it. That end is the truth, which, like the living body of the laborer (muscle, bones, flesh), postmodern economics has failed to melt into thin air.

Also, when Republicans speak about the evils of Big Government, keep your mind close to fact that the American government effectively grew by another (and astounding) $5.3 trillion at the end of Bush’s presidency. This Republican has brought America to the very gates of socialism. And it will enter that state of socialism, as it alone now holds the keys to a place emptied (African country after African country, South American country after South American country) by its main neoliberal instrument—Economic Structural Adjustment Program.

Saturday Election Stuff

posted by on September 6 at 12:44 PM

Two headlines from Time:

How Sarah Palin Mastered Politics


Obama to Palin: “You Can’t Just Make Stuff Up.”

I love that Obama has to point that out. Also: “Mastered politics?” She’s given one speech so far.

And then: Christian blogger The Forerunner prays for “John McCain’s salvation and speedy death” to bring on a President Palin. I think that the blogger might pull this post when he starts to get a lot of attention, so I copied the text of it and put it after the jump, for posterity.

Continue reading "Saturday Election Stuff" »

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on September 6 at 11:00 AM


Hot Grits and Magic Wheels

Magic Wheels is a black motorcycle club founded in 1974 in South Los Angeles by five young men who started riding motorcycles because gas was too expensive. The Seattle chapter, based in Georgetown, was founded in 1977. For one day only, it’s opening its clubhouse as a fundraiser for Hot Grits, a new rock musical about four black women who form a punk band. Hot Grits will play, along with some other bands. Wieners and grits will be served. Go. (Magic Wheels Clubhouse, 5901 Airport Way S, 3–7:30 pm, $10 at the door, 21+.)


The Benefit

posted by on September 6 at 10:15 AM

McCain, Obama Set Joint Sept. 11 Appearance:

The rancor of the presidential campaign will come to a pause on Thursday as Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama jointly visit Ground Zero, the former site of the World Trade Center, in New York City. It will be the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack.

“All of us came together on 9/11 - not as Democrats or Republicans – but as Americans,” the pair said in a statement, the first the two campaigns have ever issued together.

Because everything is political (down to a pair of shoes), we must ask the only question that matters: who benefits more from this performance? My guess: Obama.

Reading Today

posted by on September 6 at 10:00 AM


There are a whole bunch of readings today.

Sam Green, who is Washington state’s poet laureate (I know…we have a poet laureate? It’s news to me) will be reading at the Ballard Library. In other poetry news, Steven Nightingale will be reading his book of poems, Cinnamon Theologies, at Elliott Bay Book Company. If I had to choose, I’d pick Nightingale. One, because his last name is Nightingale. But two because it’s a book of sonnets and, frankly, you’ve got to admire someone who’s still sticking to sonnets. It shows a real bull-headedness.

At Third Place Books, Richard Fielding reads from Awakening Mindfulness, which frankly looks like a huge load of hooey to me. Also, if you’re looking for crazy reading to go to, Truthers are trumpeting a reading by Dr. Paul Zarembka from his new book The Hidden History of 9/11, at a church in Ballard. Why does it seem like every Truther has a PhD? And why do they have to trumpet their PhD to anyone who’ll listen? I generally don’t trust doctors any more than I trust lawyers. But, you know, if you need a laugh or two, you might want to head to Ballard tonight.

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

Friday, September 5, 2008

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on September 5 at 6:45 PM

Hello my darlings.

It’s Friday again. It’s supposed to be beautiful outside this weekend. The sun will shine. But if you feel like spending some special times indoors (and there are many good things to see), here’s what’s opening this week:


Over at Northwest Film Forum, it’s La France, a craaazy war story/fairy tale/jangly musical. I liked it: “Anyone who knows me knows that World War I is obviously my favorite war. The trenches, the tactical fuckups, the mud, the arbitrariness of the whole thing—it’s a sublimely affecting disaster. It’s also, as it turns out, the ideal context for a gloomy fairy tale. What villain’s home turf is scarier than the skeletal trees and sucking mud on the front? Um, Baba Yaga’s chicken hut? Fuckin’ Mordor? Please.”

Brendan Kiley positively adored I Served the King Of England: “A coarse, gallows-humor picaresque about a wise simpleton who gets battered by the forces of Czech history—provincial narrow-mindedness, then the Nazis, then the Communists, and finally, provincial narrow-mindedness again.”

And special guest eyeball contributor Forest Whitaker(!) lends some spiritual insights into his new movie The Ripple Effect: “What do you fear? Can there be joy without pain? Let me tell you a parable, my friend. When the brick maker ran out of bricks, he asked the heron, ‘Do we create our own realities? Are our realities created by us? Is the universe created from inside us?’ And the heron said ‘CAAAW!’ and—God, I wish people would stop casting me in this vapid, pseudospiritual crap.”

There are lots of worthy options (and some dumb ones) in Limited Runs:

Charles Mudede on Trans-Europe Express, part of the Film Forum’s Robbe-Grillet series:

Trans-Europe Express, directed by Alain Robbe-Grillet—a French novelist who was at the center of a literary movement, Nouveau Roman, that had its moment in the ‘50s and ‘60s—is a movie that is not conditioned by the stuff of cinema. It’s not even conditioned by the literary (or the mode of literature). What, then, is the substance—or value—of this fine movie, which was released in 1967 (near the end of Nouveau Roman moment) and stars the star of the Nouveau Roman moment, Robbe-Grillet? If one wants to see the value of Trans-Europe Express, one must look at it not as a work of art but as a historical record. In essence, Trans-Europe Express has the value of a document. What it represents to us, the lovers of Robbe-Grillet’s severe (almost Borgesian) novels, is the body of the famous author. We get to see Robbe-Grillet’s size (not fat or thin), his face (not handsome or ugly), his hair (not too long or short), his posture (not strict or lazy), and his voice (not manic or flat). As for the document’s story (or meta-story—it’s film about making a film), it does not matter one bit. What matters is, first, seeing Robbe-Grillet, and, second, seeing his almost criminal obsession with the female body. The author both hated and worshiped the fantastic form of a youthful woman.

Eli Sanders did not care for A Jihad for Love:

You have to admire someone who travels, at great personal peril, to twelve Muslims countries in order to make a documentary about the way those countries treat their homosexuals. But that doesn’t mean you have to like the resulting film. A Jihad for Love fails to engage in large part because it fails to tell us anything we don’t already know. It’s hard to be gay in the Muslim world; things are changing, but not quickly enough; etc. The documentary also wastes our time (and the filmmaker’s) by engaging in crazy-making debates with radical Muslim theologians—as if there were anything rational about their opposition to homosexuality. The radical theologian is not to be reasoned with, and the audience’s time is not to be wasted on such nonsense.

Also at NWFF, The Dead Science: Leviathan Blood, part of their “Villainaire Festival of Culture”; The Sprocket Society’s Secret Sunday Matinee, which is a SECRET; and another by Robbe-Grillet, The Immortal Woman. Central Cinema has Bull Durham (Costner!) and The Sensation of Sight (Strathairn!). The Egyptian midnight show is Camp, which is about camp (the summer kind). Grand Illusion has Destry Rides Again and Hollywood High. At SIFF Cinema it’s The Human Condition Part One: No Greater Love; and The Secret of Roan Inish for the children. The Fremont Outdoor movie is Fireball XL5. Environmentally conscious folks can see Kilowatt Ours courtesy of Wallingford Meaningful Movies; and daredevil types who like jumping off snowy cliffs can be delighted by Ready at the King Cat Theatre. Seattle Asian Art Museum is screening The Thief of Bagdad. Oh, and there’s Devil’s Island, an Icelandic film about abandoned postwar bunkers and the people who live in them, at the Nordic Heritage Museum. Did I miss anything? Probably.

As always, check our Movie Times page for complete listings.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on September 5 at 6:22 PM

Torture Flights: A plane found with kilos of cocaine last year, records say, “flew several times to Guantanamo, Cuba, presumably to transfer terrorism suspects.”

Most Caffeinated Cities: Chicago and Tampa.

Line Snackers: Conservative member of British parliament forced to eat Coffeemate to prove it wasn’t cocaine.

Linebackers: Is the NFL driving players to drink?

FDA: Reveals 20 drugs under investigation for dangerous side effects.

The Brilliance of Martin Sheen: Opposes rehab measure because it doesn’t use abstinence-only model. And we know how well that works.

Junk in the Trunk: Heroin-addicted elephant released after completing treatment program.

I Will (Not) Eventually Watch These Movies

posted by on September 5 at 5:54 PM

Slate has an interesting study of Netflix movies that people have not watched, and for how long. The most common movie is Hotel Rwanda, with Schindler’s List close behind. One woman conceived and delivered a child while not watching the Netflixed copy of Fracture in her home.

I totally understand this compulsion. It was really difficult to get me to go see Hotel Rwanda—I finally went because I had two friends who were leaving town and wanted to go to dinner and a movie and they picked the movie. I liked it a lot, but “movie about genocide” is never my first entertainment option. I don’t think I’ll ever see The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, even though I’m 100% positive that it’s a great film, because the idea of watching a paralyzed man blink to communicate for two hours is way too unpleasant.

Is Anyone Else Starting to Get Sick of….

posted by on September 5 at 5:26 PM

…emails from David Plouffe?

Just wondering.

Right and Wrong

posted by on September 5 at 4:12 PM

So far, Erica and Annie are in the right; Jen is in the wrong:

One of the most intriguing questions about the Alaska governor’s sudden arrival on the national scene has been what impact it’ll have on women voters — especially those who supported Clinton.

Palin made an overture to those voters in her first speech after being chosen by McCain.

Will the pitch work?

Evidence so far shows that Palin is not drawing a lot of support from voters outside the Republican base.

An ABC News poll released Friday found the selection of Palin makes people likelier to vote for McCain by just 6 percentage points — half the 12-point margin by which Sen. Joe Biden makes them more likely to support Obama.

I’m telling you, Republicans were just gassing themselves over Palin. As for the nation? Nothing more than good stand-up comedy.

This Week in The Stranger

posted by on September 5 at 4:09 PM


Cover art—with hand lettering!—by Ellen Forney.

How the Party Parties—A Report from the DNC by Eli Sanders
“Some parties were just strange, and made one wonder whether the combination of perpetual boozing and Denver’s high altitude was triggering some sort of psychic break. A friend of a friend reported: ‘It was right about the time that I was eating coconut-covered shrimp at the Denver Aquarium and watching a tiger lick up the words ‘DNC 2008’ written in whipped cream that I realized I had no idea what the convention was about.’ Why there was a tiger at the Denver Aquarium could not be answered by anyone I encountered.”

Rebecca Brown, David Shields, Tao Lin, Kathleen Wilson, Everett True, et al. on a Certain Album By a Certain Band Called Built to Spill
“I once thought if I tried I could be perfect. If I did what one should, was nice and good, worked very hard, one day I could become as pretty and perfect as you. But I was wrong.”

Bethany Jean Clement on Getting Friendly with the Main Course
“My grandmother raised Angus cattle east of the mountains, outside Sunnyside. We often went over on weekends. When we branded—heating the branding iron to red-hot over a fire in the corral, guiding the cattle through a labyrinth of fences with more yells than whipping, squeezing them tight one at a time in the metal-barred chute—my job was to clip off the fur on their sides in a square so my dad or brother could apply the iron. It smelled pretty bad, and the cow would bellow mightily, its eyes rolling back in its head. Then, released, it would forget instantly, walking away calm and docile.”

Jonah Spangenthal-Lee on How the SPD Is Training the Next Generation of Cops
“In many ways, it seems strange that such a program even exists—teenagers, practically by definition, aren’t supposed to want to hang out with cops. But every other week, between 15 and 20 young men and women—the current class is predominantly white and male, save for one ex-cheerleader—show up to hear officers talk about life on the beat, learn tactical maneuvers and shoot guns with SWAT teams, and even run security or direct traffic at events such as Seafair.”

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: One of the guys in Polvo answers Dave Segal’s questions; Charles Mudede makes a grocery-shopping list out of Žižek’s latest book; Jen Graves and Brendan Kiley attempt to make sense of STRIKETHROUGH; Dan Savage asks Sherman Alexie about Native American porn; Lindy West goes to a Mayor’s Office of Film + Music mixer; Last Days begins with the psychotic meth-heads who tried to get Obama; Sarah Palin pens her first of (let’s hope!) many columns for The Stranger; A. Birch Steen hates everything; plus all the usual news, columns, calendar listings, and movie times.

Mr. Pants, Geniuses and You

posted by on September 5 at 4:09 PM


This is just a reminder that next Saturday, the 13th, is the 2008 Stranger Genius Awards. This year it’s at the Moore Theatre, from 9 pm until the apocalypse, and it’s absolutely free.

There are many reasons to attend, not least of which would be to see the entire editorial staff of The Stranger drunkenly hand $5,000 and nifty awards to the newest batch of Geniuses. (In years past as a spectator, I took part in bets to determine which editor was on which controlled substance. This year, I will be participating in the awards ceremony, and if I were you, I’d put a lot of money down on paint-huffing.)

Our slate of Geniuses is amazing this year—I’m especially excited about Sherman Alexie, but then I’m biased that way. But playwright Paul Mullin and director Lynn Shelton have been doing fine work for a while now and it’s exciting to see them finally get some recognition. I’ve been a fan of Wynne Greenwood’s ever since I first saw Tracy and the Plastics, and Implied Violence has done a lot of great stuff this year, too.

But! But! The Geniuses are, paradoxically, not the only reason to attend the Genius Awards party. Dyme Def, who are fucking amazing, will be performing, along with Daedelus and the fantastic Emerald City Soul Club. Also: this guy: Pantsboy.jpg will be headlining the night. If you’ve never heard of James Pants, you should really read Kurt B. Reighley’s great profile of him from a few months back. This is the first time the Awards have been held in a venue with a whole lot of seats, so it should be a great way to get your first taste of Pants action.

You should go.

Seattle Design Commission Turns Old

posted by on September 5 at 4:04 PM

Last night, in the foyer of the Seattle Aquarium, with a wall of fish on one side and the viaduct on the other, the Seattle Design Commission—which reviews public buildings and open spaces—celebrated its 40th anniversary. A slide show shuffled through a hilarious retrospective of the commission’s greatest public works. The 1968-to-1977 segment started to the tune of Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady,” and up popped a picture of the Kingdome.


Ooh, foxy lady. Despite a few more duds, such as Medgar Evars Pool and Freeway Park, attendees insisted that time has been good to Seattle and its Design Commission. In more recent years, the commission has influenced a wave of new parks, libraries, and fire stations that are, indeed, downright foxy.


The Ballard Library, via.

“This crowd of architects and designers—everyone in here—has stunningly good eyewear,” said Sally Clark, chair of the city council’s land-use committee. She added: “Most folks have no idea what the design commission does.”
Current challenges for the commission include light-rail stations and the waterfront.

Cary Moon, head of the People’s Waterfront Coalition and the leading advocate for replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a surface/transit option, worked the room. Among the crowd was newly hired city planner Ray Gastil. Recently plucked from his post as head of the Manhattan planning department, Gastil transformed the vision for the New York waterfront.

However, the future of Seattle’s waterfront hinges—not on Seattle planners—but on decisions from city, county, and state transportation departments. But, says Moon, “If [the design commissioners] stood up with nonprofits and non-governmental organizations and said, ‘We won’t accept any less,’ they could set a high level for what gets done eventually on the waterfront.”

I Am Going on Vacation

posted by on September 5 at 4:00 PM

On this vacation, which lasts the entirety of next week, there is no phone, no internet, and no TV. Therefore, you, Slog, will be free of me!

I’ll be back to torment you with my “art critic ways” bright and early on Monday, September 15.

Eyman’s Latest

posted by on September 5 at 3:13 PM

Initiative 985 sponsor Tim Eyman sent out another broadside today, this one aimed at Transportation Choices Coalition (TCC) state policy director Bill LaBorde. (LaBorde, formerly the state director for Environment Washington, joined TCC a couple of weeks ago). In the email, Eyman accuses LaBorde of “abandoning ship” because he is no longer listed as the campaign manager and treasurer for the No on 985 campaign. (The initiative would open carpool lanes to all drivers for most of the day, bar tolls from being spent on transit, and redirect tens of millions from the state’s general fund, which primarily funds health care and education, toward building still more roads.) Eyman writes:

On August 6, over a month after we turned in 300,000+ voter signatures for I-985, Bill LaBorde [here Eyman included LaBorde’s cell phone number and personal email] filed his initial campaign report (called a C1PC) naming the opposition committee to I-985 to the state public disclosure commission. He called it No! on I-985 and he named himself Campaign Manager and Treasurer.

To date, there’s been no money reported being raised or spent — how do you beat something with nothing?

On August 21, a month and a half after we turned in 300,000+ voter signatures for I-985, a revised report (C1PC AMENDED) was filed and Bill LaBorde’s name is no where to be seen and his email address is no where to be found. A new campaign manager is named (Trevor Kaul…) and a new treasurer is named (Philip Lloyd…) and Bill LaBorde is not even listed as a Committee Officer.

The opposition campaign to I-985 is clearly in disarray.

Bill LaBorde has abandoned ship on his efforts to organize I-985’s opposition — he’s moved on, preferring to spend his time and effort trying to get voters to approve his higher priority: the $107 billion/$60,000-per-family Proposition 1 on the Puget Sound’s fall ballot.

But really, who can blame him?

Then he asks for money.

I spoke with LaBorde at a TCC forum on the viaduct downtown this afternoon, and he reassured me that he is definitely still involved with the No on 985 campaign, and laughed at Eyman’s faux naivete about how campaigns work. LaBorde said he merely set up the campaign (it’s a coalition, not “his” campaign), which has since hired a professional campaign manager and treasurer. (Campaigns are usually run by professional managers, not full-time employees of advocacy organizations.) LaBorde says he expects contributions to the campaign to start showing up on disclosure reports next month, and that the campaign is working now to “bring the business and labor communities on board.” LaBorde adds: “I’m pretty confident that we’re going to have more money than Eyman by the end of this campaign.” Currently, Eyman’s own campaign appears to be around $230,000 in the hole, as Eyman has not yet repaid a $150,000 loan and the campaign has spent about $80,000 more than it has received in contributions.

Olbermann Apologizes for Airing GOP 9/11 Pandering

posted by on September 5 at 2:32 PM

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, appearing visibly emotional, condemned the Republican Party last night for airing a video that included graphic footage of the 9/11 atttacks and their aftermath.

Olbermann said:

If, at this late date, any television network had, of its own accord, shown that much video tape and that much graphic video tape of 9/11—it, we, would be rightly eviscerated at all quarters, perhaps by the Republican Party itself, for exploiting the memories of the dead, and perhaps even for trying to evoke that pain again. If you reacted to that video tape the way I did, I apologize. It is a subject of great pain, for many of us still, and it was probably not appropriate to be shown.

The video, embedded below, implies that the 1979 hostage crisis in Iran, the Iraq War, the 2000 USS Cole attack, various attacks on US embassies overseas, and the 9/11 attacks were all linked by a common enemy—“those who… obey God’s command to kill Americans.” Over shots of the collapsing World Trade Center, firefighters rushing to pull bodies out of the rubble, and a solemn Rudy Giuliani arriving at the scene, a male narrator solemnly intones, “This enemy has been at war with us for decades. This, we now know. The jihadists are intent on attacking… freedom—the very soul of America.”

It is, almost literally, sickening.

Watch it:

And Olbermann’s reaction:

The hoots and hollers from the Republicans crowd after the video (standing ovation can be seen here) ends tell you all you need to know about what sort of person is supporting John McCain.

Are You Ready For Some Xbox?

posted by on September 5 at 1:59 PM

As the real NFL season kicks off this weekend, I have bad news for fans of the fake season (and I don’t mean fantasy, Jonah). Currently, if sports gamers want to simulate Julius Jones’ bumps into the line of scrimmage and gains of only two yards a carry, their options are as limited as the Seahawks’ pool of running backs.

Used to be, a new football season meant heated competition in the virtual pigskin category—two, maybe up to four, franchises vying for your buck. A few years ago, Electronic Arts changed that, snapping up exclusive rights to the NFL. It’s alllll Madden these days, unless you want to play the dated Blitz: The League series (tip: don’t) or consider the forthcoming Madden en Español an actual alternative (“¡El boom!”).

But with Brad gone and Jonah sick, somebody’s gotta pipe up about the NFL’s opening weekend around here. May as well do so with a nerdy Madden NFL ‘09 vs. Madden NFL ‘09 wrapup.

Madden NFL ‘09 (Wii): This is the keynote game in EA Sports’ new “All-Play” series. Translation: they want the Wii Sports crowd. Seems like there’s hope; fewer buttons, simpler plays, and party modes? I’ll bite.

Like other Wii Madden games, you use the motion-sensitive remote to hike the ball, throw the ball, throw up stiff-arms, tackle, and so on. It’s a fun twist at first, but this gets old fast, especially once you realize the “motion sensitivity” doesn’t exist. You can wave the thing up, down, sideways, or like you’re sawing something in half, and it’ll trigger the same move in a given instance. Kinda takes away from the feeling that you’re in the game, and worse, if you’re defending a pass, you can’t choose whether your waggle dives at the receiver or jumps to swat the ball. It picks for you.

What’s changed this year is a relative reduction in button presses. Assuming your wrist isn’t as decrepit as mine, this works out well, with one exception—on default controls, aiming at a receiver in a pass play is impossible. Do you hold the control stick in the direction of your fave receiver? Point the remote at the screen? Stick the remote up your ass? I could never figure it out; the game always chose for me. There’s an “advanced” control set that fixes this to save you an interception or seven, thank God.

What else? The game’s highly touted five-on-five mode tries to be like Tecmo Bowl, with only four plays per team and a lot of ridiculous deep-ball throws. My nostalgic juices were flowing, I’ll admit. But the mode instead plays like a super-simple Blitz (which is simple to begin with). I really wanted this to be a four-player winner, but my groups of friends tired of it quickly; we preferred the two-on-two mode which, for whatever reason, is deeply buried in the game’s menus.

You can create your own plays by pointing at the screen and drawing receiver routes. This would be an awesome thing, and would greatly improve five-on-five mode, except you can’t design plays outside of an actual game. How, then, do you surprise your buddy on the couch next to you? Fail.

The party games blow. There’s NFL trivia, which is robust but won’t win over any casual Wii Sports fans, and there are a ton of dud mini-games like “see who can punt the ball furthest!” A punt-fest where everyone has to wait to take turns? Meh.

But what about the basic, core play?

(jump for the Xbox 360 edition’s review)

Continue reading "Are You Ready For Some Xbox?" »

Sorry for the Technical Difficulties…

posted by on September 5 at 1:55 PM

We were having some issues with our blogging software, which is why a) We have been so quiet this afternoon, and b) Some posts appeared multiple times.

Things should be better now.

In other news! Put this on your calendar… Slog Happy, Thursday, September 11th! What a way to celebrate Patriot’s Day. We’ll meet at the War Room, were we’ve reserved the rooftop deck (and says it should be sunny and in the mid-70s).

Paul’s bringing more books, I’m bringing a pair of tickets to the VIP Genius Party, and hopefully you’re bringing your lovely selves.

See you there!

This Week on Line Out:

posted by on September 5 at 1:43 PM

Check out the week’s highlights—including hairy Israeli-rocker ass—on our music blog, Line Out. (Compiled by Julia Mullen Gordon.)

mono-moon.jpg Monotonix by Blush Photo

You voted for your favorite Bumbershoot photo.

Slipknot and the Game had a recount.

Trent Moorman interviewed the drummer from Battles.

And Eric Grandy had a Hold Steady revelation.

Meanwhile, at Bumbershoot:

Pwrfl Power solicited text messages from strangers.

Death Cab for Cutie underwhelmed and Superchunk over-awesomed.

Flatstock ruled.

Monotonix got shutdown.

Lee “Scratch” Perry outcrazied Scott Weiland. Barely.

And that’s only Sunday and Monday. You can read the rest here.

Perjury Charge Against Seattle Cop Dropped

posted by on September 5 at 1:41 PM

The Meade County State’s Attorney has dropped perjury charges against SPD detective Ron Smith for his involvement in the August 8th shooting of a Hell’s Angel at a biker rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.

The perjury charge apparently stemmed from confusion over whether the gun Smith used in the shooting was his personal firearm or a SPD service weapon.

Records from SPD initially indicated the gun was department issued, but further investigation revealed Smith had purchased the weapon from the department in 1996.

Smith still faces assault and weapons charges

Just One More Hit, Man, Give Me Just One More Hit..

posted by on September 5 at 12:00 PM


Elephant beats heroin habit with detox.

BEIJING (Reuters) - A once drug-addled elephant fed heroin-laced bananas by illegal traders will return home after emerging clean from a three-year detox programme on China’s tropical island province of Hainan.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on September 5 at 11:00 AM


Miss Coco Peru at Re-bar

Every drag fan remembers the moment they fell in love with Miss Coco Peru. For many, it was her show-stopping bathroom monologue in the hit flick Trick (“It BURRRRNS!”). For me, it was the moment she laid back for the first of a couple erotic abortions in the camp classic Girls Will Be Girls. Tonight and tomorrow, Coco makes her Seattle debut at Re-bar, with a greatest-hits show culled from her decade-plus of exem- plary dragging. (Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, www 8 pm, $25, 21+.)


Trash Publisher Saves the Day

posted by on September 5 at 11:00 AM

I wrote 2 days ago about Random House refusing to publish a novel about Muhammad’s wife Aishah due to threats from Muslims. The novel, called The Jewel of Medina, has been picked up by several publishers in Europe and it looks as though Jewel might have been picked up in America by Beaufort Books.

Beaufort Books, of course, published the icky If I Did It book by O.J. Simpson. They seem to be making a living off of publishing controversial books that nobody else will touch. In the case of Simpson’s book, that’s kind of creepy. In the case of Jewel, it’s commendable, but still obviously a money-grab. Jewel of Medina might be published as early as late October.

Reading Tonight

posted by on September 5 at 10:00 AM


Stay home tonight. Seriously, stay home.

Up at Third Place Books, Cricket McRae reads from her new book, Heaven Preserve Us, which is a mystery about canning and pickling. Apparently, someone dies of botulism and it may have been intentional. I’m sure there’s a Murder She Wrote marathon on tonight somewhere, and that’s probably more interesting than this book.

And then at Elliott Bay Book Company, Cal Kinnear, who works at something called Washington Lawyers for the Arts, reads from his new book of poetry. Here is what Elliott Bay’s website says about the book:

A Walk in Bardo, named for the Tibetan Buddhist liminal space between lives, refers to journeys both inward and outward, obsessions, dreams and with ‘the communal fantasies of the commons’ psyche.

What the fuck?

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

And Now Please Enjoy

posted by on September 5 at 9:56 AM

“Amazing Body Art from the 2008 World Bodypainting Festival in Daegu, South Korea.”

(Thank you Scott!)

“Because John Bush—uh, Because John McCain Is Very Much His Own Man”

posted by on September 5 at 9:56 AM

Tom Ridge said it, Towleroad linked it, I love it.

The Hunger

posted by on September 5 at 9:51 AM

300x250ok-1.jpg I cannot get over or around this image; it stops and startles me. What is it? Capital in paradise? The last man imagined (or imaged) as the last rabbit? What in the world?

Heart “F—-ed” Over by McCain Campaign

posted by on September 5 at 9:46 AM

The McCain campaign has used Heart’s classic song “Barracuda” without permission—twice—and Nancy Wilson’s having none of it.

Thursday afternoon, Heart e-mailed out a statement regarding vice-presidential candidate Sarah “Barracuda” Palin’s use of their similarly monikered song at the Republican National Convention: “The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission,” it read. “We have asked the Republican campaign publicly not to use our music….”

But after McCain finished his speech accepting the GOP’s presidential nomination tonight, Palin joined him on stage, and the song was used again: Heart’s “Barracuda” played as balloons fell…. Heart’s Nancy Wilson felt compelled to personally respond…. “I feel completely f—-ed over.” She and sister Ann Wilson then e-mailed the following exclusive statement:

Sarah Palin’s views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women. We ask that our song ‘Barracuda’ no longer be used to promote her image. The song ‘Barracuda’ was written in the late 70s as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women. (The ‘barracuda’ represented the business.) While Heart did not and would not authorize the use of their song at the RNC, there’s irony in Republican strategists’ choice to make use of it there.”

I used to see Ann Wilson at the QFC on 15th. She owned (still owns?) a house in Interlaken. Although Heart rules the world, I never wanted to bother her, so in line at the checkout stand right behind her once, I hummed “Barracuda” very softly as a tiny tribute. It is a difficult song to hum. She appeared not to notice.

The Cuts at the Frye

posted by on September 5 at 9:41 AM

On Wednesday night I posted a quick note about the Frye Art Museum’s elimination of the education programs of Yoko Ott. Now I have the full story.

Facing a potential deficit of $266,000 on a $4 million annual operating budget, the Frye announced to Ott and to the rest of the museum staff on Wednesday that Ott’s position, manager of youth and community outreach, would have to be cut (and Ott’s programs shut down) in order to balance the budget.

The decision was not a reflection of Ott’s performance on the job, said museum director Midge Bowman.

“We sweated over this,” Bowman said. “What is lost is Yoko’s spirit.”

Ott, who joined the museum in 2006, is one of three managers in the education department, which is overseen by education director Jill Rullkoetter (formerly of Seattle Art Museum). The other two managers handle programs for adults and for younger children; Ott was in charge of teens and community partnerships.

But Bowman is right: what the museum has given up is far more than a demographic. Ott is known through the city—and beyond—for her innovative, thoughtful ideas. What the other managers in the Frye’s education department do is important; it’s also highly conventional (organize K-12 school tours and oversee lectures and studio classes for adults, for instance). That’s the stuff of every education department in every museum in the country.

Ott was trying to go further.

Her SHFT teen studio program provided an introduction to the ideas behind contemporary art. In response to every exhibition in the galleries, Ott would invite an active, working artist in the city to develop a class that would engage teens in the same issues as those in the exhibition, and then their work would result in an exhibition on the publicly viewed walls of the education wing at the Frye.

Artist Gretchen Bennett, for instance, taught a sampling and storytelling class in conjunction with Dario Robleto’s exhibition Alloy of Love; in preparation for the upcoming Napoleon on the Nile and Empire exhibitions, artist Susie Lee taught a geocaching class that revolved around exploring the city on assignments from artists (Steve Roden of L.A., James Coupe of Seattle, and Charles Labelle of New York all contributed assignments for the students), and using the city itself as an art medium. This fall, Stranger Genius Award winner Wynne Greenwood was scheduled to teach a video class called “Video and the Self-Governed Self.” But that has been canceled.

Ott’s other main program was Friday at the Frye, which on the surface was simply an opening night for the exhibitions. But actually, it was an interdisciplinary event curated by Ott in conjunction with—again—artists from around the city. Through that program, Ott brought artists and organizations into the Frye for collaborations, including Book-It Repertory Theatre, Richard Hugo House, Slide Rule (independent animators), Kristen Rask (DIY crafter), food critic and restaurateur Donna Moodie, KEXP, On the Boards, Zoe Scofield and Juniper Shuey (a team of dance and visual artists), Arts Corp, 11th Hour Productions (slam poets). She was working on an upcoming collaboration with Stranger Genius winners Seattle School.

Her projects were technologically savvy, tracked on YouTube and networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. Her newest idea, which was to be implemented this fall, was to turn the museum into an interactive gaming site during the exhibition Empire.

What Ott did was not the bread-and-butter of the museum’s education department—it was what made the museum’s education department interesting and unique.

“She’s one of my two favorite arts educators in this country,” said San Antonio-based artist Robleto. “Education departments at museums really are the frontline of arts education in this country, and what she was doing was amazing.”

In particular, he praised the way Ott’s programs connected teens with professional artists, and rewarded them with the life-changing experience of showing work in a public, art venue as opposed to a school hallway.

“I got a lot out of those classes,” said Tacha Stolz. “I’m not kidding. I really, really learned a lot. It was the gateway for how I feel about the arts. It made me want to go to First Thursday [Artwalk] or want to go and see other exhibitions at other museums.”

That wasn’t all, though.

“Those classes changed my course of direction,” Stolz said. “They inspired me to do what I’m doing today.”

Stolz just finished her first week at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She says she never would have gone into art if all she’d known was the high-school art classes she took at the International Community School in Kirkland and Lake Washington High School in Seattle.

“For me, art is really about conceptualizing and thinking and creating art from your own thought and concept and being able to use whatever means to create,” Stolz said. “In high school art, you draw a grid, you look at a picture, and you draw what you see. That’s not how you learn how to draw. You have to really learn to see and then learn how to create, and it’s all about process. I felt like at the Frye, you go through this class, but then they tell you you can make whatever you want out of whatever medium, and they give you the tools you need to do that with. If you want to do something with tagging, they’ll go into depth about tagging. Talking with Dario Robleto about his artwork was a really good experience. It’s really, really meaningful to have those experiences.”

In her first week, Stolz already feels ahead of her fellow students: “Since I’ve been here going to these slide shows at school of artists our teachers are looking at, like, those slides come up and I know where that’s coming from: I’ve seen those exhibits, whereas most students don’t get to see that and they only know a couple pieces by the masters but they would never be able to recognize different periods, because everything is always so focused on iconic art rather than just art.”

Ott, who also curates Seattle University’s gallery at the Lee Center on Capitol Hill, spent six years curating critically acclaimed and popular shows at Bumbershoot before going to the Frye. Bumbershoot, also in a belt-tightening move, did not replace Ott’s position after she left.

“I kind of feel like I’m reliving a little bit of that heartbreak,” Ott said in a phone interview Thursday. “I guess I need to do some soul-searching. I’m going, huh, how much do I believe in the nonprofit arts sector? Is it time for a career change?”

To develop SHFT at the Frye, Ott studied models for teen programs at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh.

“I wanted to look at what programs don’t exist for teens, and then build that program, putting at the heart of it not just the professional working artist like Susie and Gretchen and Susan [Robb, another Stranger Genius who taught a sound art class] and Dario, but actually creating a platform for teens and believing that these are the future artists, and that we really wanted to support and mentor critical thinking and introduce a conceptual framework to them,” Ott said. “In my mind, it was like, you [the Frye] have embraced being risky for so long, couldn’t you have believed a little longer?”

Ott’s program didn’t bring in the same numbers as the school-tours program, especially because the brand-new program was slow to fill up at first. But it could easily be argued that its impact on those students it did affect was great, and that those students couldn’t have received that kind of instruction anywhere else.

The Frye’s financial woes come from the economic downturn, which has meant fewer rentals on the Seattle warehouses the museum owns. Income from the warehouses makes up more than half of the museum’s budget, because the museum, unlike most, is not a not-for-profit corporation—it is a private foundation.

If the economy continues to adversely affect the rental market, the Frye may need to establish a fundraising program for the first time in its history. The Frye may need to ask for donations, like other museums.

“Stay tuned for that,” director Bowman said. “When we were slightly smaller, we could live on [this structure], but we’ve got a bigger vision now, and we can’t support it as our current funding structure is.”

That bigger vision is reliant on programs like Ott’s. If the museum is truly devoted to smart art education that places the museum among the best in the country, then it will move swiftly on fundraising—and take as its first project raising the money to reinstate Ott’s programs as a part of the core mission of what has become a museum identified with intelligent innovation.

Business as usual is not what we have come to expect from the Frye.

The Vet that Heckled McCain During His Acceptance Speech?

posted by on September 5 at 9:29 AM

He was a radical righty and not, as he was no doubt described on FIX News, a radical lefty

Well I’ve been a Ron Paul supporter since the beginning of this campaign. Since before this campaign started, actually, I’ve been a fan of Paul. So I’ve got a lot of friends in the Ron Paul crowd. And he’s got a lot of delegates in there. More than the Republican Party is willing to admit. And the fact that I got into there is proof of that. One of Paul’s alternate delegates got me a guest pass.

He plans to vote for Bob Barr in November.

Currently Sitting

posted by on September 5 at 9:13 AM


This has to be the nicest replica of Michelangelo’s Moses that I’ve ever seen in a parking lot.

I Am a Bad, Bad Man

posted by on September 5 at 9:10 AM

In this morning’s mail…

Mr. Savage,

As a Canadian woman with no horse in the race, I am quite excited to watch either a black man or a woman enter your White House. I was also a fan of your writing.

I say “was,” as I was very saddened to read on the CNN website that you called Ms. Palin “the clown car of [a] vice presidential nominee. You never know what’s going to pop out of Palin next.” I am not entirely sure where you find the humor in this? Are you referring to her many children? Are you denigrating her comments? It is fine to disagree, but with the vitriol that you exhibited? I thought you were above that, but am disappointed to find that you are not.

I cannot support someone’s writings who would attempt to marginalize someone else after fighting against being marginalized himself. Yes, I realize that Ms. Palin is a Republican and the viewpoints that it entails, but that doesn’t exclude her from basic respect, just as I would be upset if someone were to attempt to marginalize Mr. Obama. As a gay man who has fought against prejudice I find it odd that you would be quick to give it to another.

You had an opportunity to speak provocatively and enlighten and instead you went for cheap shots and flippery.

Kim Roy

If this is how you react to a crack about a totally reprehensible politician like Palin, Kim, I’m pleased to lose you as a reader.

But the clown car comment was not a reference to Palin’s many children. It was a reference to the cascade of embarrassing revelations—some appalling, some scandalous—that ensued after McCain announced her as his VP pick. Troopergate, the Alaska Independence Party, the pregnant kid, her lies about opposing the bridge to nowhere, etc.

And someone that would write discrimination against gays and lesbians into the U.S. constitution, someone that would’ve prevented me from adopting my son, someone that believes that young women should have to bear children of their rapists, well, that someone deserves a lot of things. My respect, however, ain’t one of ‘em.

Pat Buchanan, Feminist

posted by on September 5 at 9:05 AM

This is some amazing talking head video—Pat Buchanan vs. Chris Matthews, both screaming their heads off over whether “gal” is the right term for “Sister Sarah” (Palin) and whether Buchanan’s newfound feminism is really just political opportunism.

Tirades begin at about :55, with Matthews screaming at Buchanan, “Since when did you become Dr. Phil?” and they continue with Buchanan firing back, “What’s your problem with strong women, buddy? … The MS in MSNBC should not stand for misogyny!

Via Ben Smith.

For Jubilation T.

posted by on September 5 at 9:00 AM

Jubilation T., you asked what I thought of the painting I posted in the last Currently Hanging. I hadn’t yet seen it in person, so I didn’t comment except on the painting’s back story.

I went to see the painting yesterday in person, and I just want to report back that it is some powerful stuff. That “spill” that covers the guy’s head and runs upward is encaustic, and the unpainted canvas is left raw.

But it was the hands that got me: they’re made of thick paint piled on top of the canvas, and then actually burned.

I’ve always loved the way that the thickness of Miller’s paintings imply an excess of information that stands in place of any knowledge Miller has of his subjects, since they’re always taken from found photographs. The artist can only guess about his subjects’ characters, their situations, what they might make of him if they knew he was doing this, or how they might behave in a formal portrait sitting that actually gave the artist permission. Miller puts himself in a position that’s the reverse of the all-knowing “cone of vision” effect you get in Renaissance perspective, or even the locked-in knowledge that comes straight from the artist’s soul in much of modernism. Miller doesn’t know these people, but he’s determined to paint them, and what you see in each piece is the evidence of him figuring out how.

The Morning News

posted by on September 5 at 8:06 AM

He’s a Fighter Not a Lover: McCain casts boilerplate policies as “change.”

It’s the Economy: Unemployment hits 5-year high after 84,000 jobs are cut. Stocks dive.

It’s the Housing Market: Foreclosures and late payments hit record.

It’s the Weather: Eastern Seaboard braces for storms Ike and Hanna.

Twitter: King County executive Ron Sims uses Twitter to announce budget shortfall rising to $90 million.

Widower: Bhutto’s former husband poised to become Pakistan’s president.

Tribal Warfare: Dwindling Duwamish tribe sues to regain federal recognition, rights to fish in Duwamish River and Elliott Bay (you sure you want to fish there?). Muckleshoot tribe files in federal court to deny recognition.

Drug Warfare: Student sues Seattle Central for allegedly coercing her into signing confession about possessing marijuana a block and a half from the school.

Bags of Hot Air: Man who loved ACT II microwave popcorn claims artificial butter flavor gave him lung disease. “I just loved popcorn, and I would eat four to six bags a day,” he tells the Seattle P-I, “especially the ones with lots of butter that taste like you’re going to the theater.”

Bursting Bubbles: Comparing the words used most at conventions.

Fight, Fight, Fight: Your way though John McCain’s speech.

Enclosure (in a Letter to the Editor) of the Day

posted by on September 5 at 12:35 AM

Uh, has this already been all over the web? I haven’t seen it, a Google image search isn’t giving me any matches to it, and the letter-to-the-editor writer (the email they sent is in a thread that mentions and, though I can’t find it on either site) hasn’t gotten back to me. It’s gotta be fake, right?


Did anyone else just put on Hall & Oates’ “Sara Smile”?

The Letter to the Editor of the Day…

posted by on September 5 at 12:10 AM

…is over on Line Out. (Good morning!)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Postman Leaving the Seattle Times

posted by on September 4 at 10:30 PM

This is sad news to end the night on—at least for us and the local journalism world. David Postman, Chief Political Reporter for the Seattle Times, is leaving after 14 years at the paper.

I’ll have more to say on this tomorrow. It’s a big loss. But in the meantime, if you want one small measure of how central Postman is to the political discussion in this state, go to our homepage and type his name into our little search box. You’ll see that he gave us a lot to chew on. (And you’ll also see that he’s one of those rare and special Timesmen who has his own Stranger author archive.)

Obama Responds

posted by on September 4 at 10:15 PM

During our RNC liveblog earlier, when John McCain said this…

I fight to restore the pride and principles of our party. We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us. We lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption.

I said this…

And here is McCain’s big weakness. When he talks about how the Republicans have lost their way, he has to use “we.” He can never fully escape his party and its current legacy. He can only criticize it and try to distance himself from it.

A little while ago, in response to McCain’s speech, the Obama campaign sent me this statement:

Tonight, John McCain said that his party was elected to change Washington, but that they let Washington change them. He’s right. He admonished the ‘old, do-nothing crowd’ in Washington, but ignored the fact that he’s been part of that crowd for twenty-six years, opposing solutions on health care, energy, and education. He talked about bipartisanship, but didn’t mention that he’s been a Bush partisan 90% of the time, that he’s run a Karl Rove campaign, and that he wants to continue this President’s disastrous economic and foreign policies for another four years. With John McCain, it’s more of the same.

That’s not the change Americans need. Barack Obama has taken on the special interests and the lobbyists in Illinois and in Washington, and he’s won. As President, he’ll cut taxes for 95% of all working families, provide affordable health care to every American, end the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas, and eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East in ten years.

Who Is It?

posted by on September 4 at 9:54 PM

CNN’s website:
I wonder who this sex columnist is?

Whitey Has Left the Building

posted by on September 4 at 9:25 PM

Weirdly, suddenly, the population of the floor just changed—for the first time in four days, black folks and brown folks outnumber the white folks.

They’re cleaning up the mess:


Glass Enclosure

posted by on September 4 at 9:11 PM

It’s a matter of time. Obama did not get this far for nothing:

YORK, Pa. — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Thursday that Republicans at their national convention are attacking him to avoid talking about the sagging economy and housing problems that voters care about.

“You’re hearing an awfully lot about me — most of which is not true — but you’re not hearing a lot about you,” Obama said. “You haven’t heard a word about how we’re going to deal with any aspect of the economy that is affecting you and your pocketbook day-to-day. Haven’t heard a word about it. I’m not exaggerating. Literally, two nights, they have not said a word about it.”

The Illinois senator told voters that the GOP convention speakers are spending all their time talking about politics, not about issues that matter to voters. He criticized the Republicans for not addressing the economic distress or housing foreclosures that have grown during the Bush administration.

Speaking with reporters later, Obama dismissed the idea that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP’s vice presidential candidate, had been criticized unfairly because of her gender.

“The notion that many questions about her work in Alaska is somehow not relevant to her potentially being vice president of the United States doesn’t make too much sense to me,” Obama said.

“I assume she wants to be treated the same way guys are treated, which means their records are under scrutiny. I’ve been through this for 19 months. She’s been through this for, what, four days so far?”

Reactions from the Floor

posted by on September 4 at 9:05 PM


The guy next to me during the speech (who wasn’t a delegate, just a guy): “It was… good. Shorter would’ve been better.”

Josh McGrail of Ft. Meyers, Florida on McCain’s tepid style: “Fantastic. A lot of people would say that Obama’s got a great speaking style and a deep voice and John McCain has a more subdued approach. That’s who he is.”

Todd Porter of North Dakota on McCain’s swipes at the Republicans: “It was… very good. He wasn’t swiping at Bush. But there has been failure in the Republican party and failure in Washington.” Really? He wasn’t swiping at Bush? “No.”

Beverly Willard of Nevada on McCain’s swipes at the Republicans: “It was a home run!” Why was McCain criticizing his own party in his acceptance speech? “The leadership hasn’t been listening to the base. There’s been too much spending and we need to get back to basics. They were just trying to get themselves re-elected. Self-serving.”

Wendell Walker of Lynchburg, Virginia on McCain’s attempt to co-opt Obama’s change-and-hope rhetoric: “There may have seemed some similarities to Obama’s speech, but this is politics. We here understand that. The American people are not going to sit around their kitchen tables and talk about speeches. They’re going to talk about issues.”

The balloons on McCain’s age: “Pops! Pops! Pops!”

Everybody, of course, is careful to be supportive of McCain’s speech—too careful. They sound like they’re reading from teleprompters, too.

The protester interruptions, the flubs, the length (nearly 4,000 words to Palin’s 3,000—though it felt 100,000 words longer), and the attacks on the Republican party, which nobody initially clapped for or knew exactly how to react to—this was his speech to nowhere.

And now the hall is almost empty. Nobody’s copping to any good parties. They’re all talking about going back to their hotels to sleep.

Back to Life

posted by on September 4 at 8:48 PM

Back to reality

(CNN) — Aides to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin improperly obtained her former brother-in-law’s state police personnel files and cited information from those records to raise complaints about the officer, the head of Alaska’s state police union said Thursday.

“It’s apparent to us that the governor or someone on her staff had direct access to his personnel file, as well as his workers’ comp file, and those are protected,” said John Cyr, executive director of the Alaska Public Safety Employees Association.

Expect more of this from Palin.

Brendan Kiley, Eli Sanders, and Christopher Frizzelle Liveslog John McCain’s Speech

posted by on September 4 at 6:44 PM

Ladies and Gentlemen, Henry Kissinger

posted by on September 4 at 6:43 PM


(Cindy McCain just said: “… if the federal government will just get itself under control!” Somebody just got crossed off the Bush family’s Christmas fruitcake list.)

We’ll be live-Slogging McCain’s speech in just a few minutes. Everybody pour a drink and get ready…

Danger Zone

posted by on September 4 at 6:11 PM


Inside the hall, delegates are going bananas over themselves and that old Top Gun song: “highway to the dangerzone, gonna take you right into the danger zone.” (A vote for McCain is a vote for danger!)

Outside, riot police are surrounding a group of (peaceful) protesters and refusing to let them march to the Xcel Center. The protest group is surrounded—I wasn’t able to get inside the perimeter. Maybe that’s for the best:

City Pages reporters are blogging from behind the police lines:

6:46 p.m. We just got our asses beat by the cops. We’re both fine. What happened was: the police at 12th and Cedar wanted to eject a small group of protesters, they surrounded the group and threatened tear gas. Andy Mannix and I were standing outside the circle, between the protesters and police, trying to take pictures and report. The police said we needed to leave, we showed them our press credentials. I said I was a reporter and that it was a public street. An officer struck me and knocked me backwards over a curb. I tried to get up, and three or four officers shoved me to the ground. Andy was maced. I got up, told them I was a member of the media, I asked them where to go. One of them struck me with his club. Eventually they jostled and threw me out of the circle.

(Thanks to commenter Phil M for the link.)


Another report from the streets:

At about 8:30pm a young woman, maybe 20, stood with her arms raised in front of police in riot gear on University Avenue in St. Paul. After the pepper bombs went off she was standing there by herself and she kept saying, “I’m for peace, I’m for peace.” Then the 30-50 cops approached her while her hands were still up and then at least 5 of the cops maced her with super soakers so heavily that she fell to the ground screaming. This was a young woman, unarmed. All they had to do was handcuff her. The only warning she got was, “get off the street of you’ll be arrested.” They never said she’d get maced. It was one of the most horrible things I’ve ever seen.

Pain at the Pump

posted by on September 4 at 5:46 PM

As widely reported yesterday, a woman at a Capitol Hill gas station narrowly survived the worst pun of the recession. “Pain at the pump,” the veritable walker with tennis balls of newspaper headlines about high gas prices, became a horrifying reality when someone driving an SUV hit a gas pump that subsequently burst into flames, severely burning the woman’s legs.

Today The Stranger learned that the victim was 39-year-old Martha Manning, co-owner of Seattle’s only lesbian bar, the Wildrose.

At about 4 p.m., Manning was at the 76 gas station at the north end of Broadway getting a receipt from the gas pump’s pay terminal. “I heard a really big bang,” says Adam Nemeth, a chef who was working across the street at Bella Pizza & Pasta. He believes the driver “was avoiding an accident, and he sped up instead of stopping and ran into the pump,” he says. “I looked up and saw a Volkswagen SUV… planted into the pump” on the other side of Manning. Within moments, “The whole thing was engulfed in flames,” he says. Both cars and the pump were charred.

After running out of the smoke, Manning rescued her five-pound Chihuahua from inside the white vehicle and then tried to extinguish her burning pants. “Her leg was smoldering,” says Nemeth.

“When they called me at work I was like, ‘What?’” says Shelley Bothers, who has co-owned the Wildrose with Manning for seven years. “What do you mean a gas pump exploded?” Manning is currently at Harboview being treated for second- and third-degree burns below her knees, Brothers says. “I was there last night and she was doing pretty good. About all she can do now is wait to heal.”

Manning may be released from the hospital next week, Brothers says, and the bar may hold some sort of fundraiser to help pay her medical bills.

Where the Local Campaign Money’s Going

posted by on September 4 at 5:43 PM

All isn’t as quiet as you might imagine on the local campaign front; in fact, money is starting to pour into local campaigns for elections as far off as 2009. Here’s a quick summary of who’s getting cash (and who isn’t) and where they’re getting it from.

First, let’s look at who isn’t raising money (yet): City council member Nick Licata, who’s up for reelection next November. Licata is widely rumored to be among at least three council members who will step down next year (Jan Drago and Richard McIver have already confirmed as much). The fact that Licata hasn’t raised any money (he does have $29,000 on hand) doesn’t necessarily mean he’s made up his mind to leave the council (this same time in 2004, one year before last time he was reelected, Licata had even less money, around $21,000, on hand); but it could be an indication that he doesn’t plan to run for mayor against Greg Nickels, despite rumors to the contrary.

On to the 2008 campaigns: The Divest From War Campaign, behind this year’s anti-war (and, arguably, anti-Israel) Initiative 97 (the initiative would bar the city of Seattle from investing in companies involved with the war in Iraq, and also would require the city to divest from companies that do business in occupied parts of Israel) has raised just over $10,500, $1,100 of it from the Palestinian Solidarity Committee. The opposition campaign, No on I-97, has not yet filed its August reports, but at the end of July had raised around $6,000.

Citizens for Pike Place Market, which is backing a proposed $73 million levy for improvements to the downtown market, had raised more than $280,000, with the vast majority of that ($166,970) coming from the Pike Place Market Foundation; other major contributors include Bruce Nordstrom ($25,000), the Safeco Corporation ($10,000), and developer William Justen ($10,000).

Stop the Bag Tax, which opposes the council-adopted 20-cent fee on disposable plastic and paper grocery bags, and Neighbors for Seattle Parks, which is backing a renewal of Seattle’s Pro Parks Levy (which Mayor Greg Nickels opposes), have not yet reported any contributions to speak of.

Meanwhile, the candidates for state legislature in the 36th district, Reuven Carlyle and John Burbank, have raised $206,000 and $157,000, respectively; the candidates for state legislature from the 46th district, Scott White and Gerry Pollet, have raised $93,000 and $47,000, respectively; and the candidates for state Senate from the 11th district, Margarita Prentice and Juan Martinez, have raised $241,000 and $48,000, respectively.

It Was Only a Matter of Time

posted by on September 4 at 5:05 PM

Thank you, Slog tipper Dave.

Five Colleges in Six Years

posted by on September 4 at 4:59 PM

The Sarah Palin story:

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) _ Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin attended five colleges in six years before graduating from the University of Idaho in 1987.

Federal privacy laws prohibit the schools from disclosing her grades, and none of the schools contacted by The Associated Press could say why she transferred. There was no indication any of them were contacted as part of the background investigation of Palin by presidential candidate John McCain’s campaign.

Homosexuality: Legitimate, Alternative Deathstyle

posted by on September 4 at 4:00 PM


Via Boing Boing, this is a homophobic comic book from the 1980s by a hate monger named Dick Hafer (which, it must be noted, sounds suspiciously close to “dick huffer.”) It’s worth reading the whole nauseating thing, if just for the ultimate joy of knowing that Dick Hafer is dead.

One Heartbeat Away…

posted by on September 4 at 3:57 PM

From going absolutely bat-shit crazy if I hear or read another person refer to a vice president as “one heartbeat away” from the presidency. We get it, if the president’s heart stops—like if he actually fucking dies—the VP becomes president. But can we please stop using this hackneyed linguistic turd?

Police Blocking Student Protestors

posted by on September 4 at 3:56 PM

About 500 people (estimates the Star Tribune) have assembled at the capital building and planned to march downtown, just like protesters have been doing pretty much every day this week.

This time, the riot squad won’t let them:

Protesters were told they were marching illegally and that more police were about to arrive.

Police described the situation as “fluid.”

Mmm… police fluid.

Do It for the Seniors

posted by on September 4 at 3:52 PM

Results from last year’s national drug-use survey, released today by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, have an unexpected twist.

As a caveat, the results are self-reported and thus a little skewed (This is a call from the federal government—have you been using drugs? Well, golly, no…), but it’s the best measure we have of who is smoking what. As in previous years, the White House is pouncing on the opportunity to show that current anti-drug programs are a smashing success—cheers for prisons and weird ads on TV. As Drug Czar John Walters famously said, “When we push back against the drug problem, it gets smaller.” So on his blog, Pushing Back, he posts nifty diagrams that show drug-use rates dropped over the last five years.

Unimpressed, the Marijuana Policy Project hits back with another graph, showing that the number of new adolescent users hasn’t changed over the same time period. So if we’re “doing it for the children,” we’re not “doing it” very well. But nobody’s talking about another part of the report. What about the parents? And what about the parent’s parents? They’re “doing it.” Graphic 2.7 shows drug use has nearly doubled among pentegenarians.


Among adults aged 50 to 59, the rate of current illicit drug use showed an irregular increasing trend between 2002 and 2007… These patterns and trends may partially reflect the aging into these age groups of the baby boom cohort, whose lifetime rates of illicit drug use are higher than those of older cohorts.

Very irregular indeed. Baby boomers are growing up and getting stoned. But why are they still getting high? I’d bet older women are getting stoned—and getting their husbands stoned—because pot makes sex better. And at 50, they’re not “doing it” for the children.

“Jesus was a Community Organizer, and Pontias Pilate was a Governor.”

posted by on September 4 at 3:18 PM

Quote of the day. From a commentor on an Alaksan-politics blog to Andrew Sullivan and the world.

Get it on a bumper sticker—it’ll be a little dose of antacid to her evangelical cred.

Mudflats goes on:

The stunner of the speech for me? “I said thanks, but no thanks to that Bridge to Nowhere”. Frankly, I was surprised she said it the first time, shocked she said it the second time, but again? Almost incomprehensible…

This is easy to fact check. Really easy. Palin decided she didn’t want the bridge when she learned that Alaska would have to pay too much for it. If Stevens and Young had been able to pull it off, we’d be motoring to Gravina Island right now.

Michigan Independent Voters Responses to Palin

posted by on September 4 at 3:08 PM

The Detroit Free Press hosted a panel of voters to view Palin’s speech last night.

This is what the independent voters had to say:

“I was completely underwhelmed. She was a Republican novelty act with a sophomoric script. It was not even a speech I would expect for a someone running for the local PTA, much less for vice president.”

— George Lentz, 66, Southfield independent

“Who is Sarah Palin? I’m sorry but I still don’t know anymore about this young lady tonight than I did last night … The way it looks to me, she’s the Republican vice presidential nominee for one reason: because Hillary wasn’t selected.”

— Mike Kosh, 38, West Bloomfield independent

“Sarah Palin is a self-described ‘pitbull with lipstick.’ She spent little time helping Americans learn who she is. She is a cool, poised speaker, but her speech contained few statements about policy or the party platform. … I am not convinced that Palin’s experience as a mayor or governor in Alaska meet the qualifications to be vice president much less one stroke or heart attack away from being commander in chief.”

— Ilene Beninson, 52, Berkley independent

“Nothing worked for me. I found her barrage of snide remarksand distortions to be a major turn off. She is not a class act. The most important point she made is that she will be an effective attack dog.”

— Jan Wheelock, 58, Royal Oak independent

“Sarah got as much applause as Hillary did, and had a friendly, appealing appearance.
Her delivery style reminded me of a high school valedictorian who also might have been a cheerleader. I thought she would appear more professional, more stateswomanly. She’s no match for Joe Biden.”

— Joellen Gilchrist, 64, Beverly Hills independent

Michigan is an absolutely critical swing State for 2008.

I Want to Read This Children’s Book

posted by on September 4 at 3:00 PM


(Via Ramble on Rose.)

Wisdom of the Orient

posted by on September 4 at 2:53 PM

Well, um, thank you, fortune cookie…


But I don’t know if I’m ready for that level of commitment. I was just trying to have lunch.

Daily Show on GOP Hypocrisy

posted by on September 4 at 2:29 PM

A nice roundup:

The Difference

posted by on September 4 at 2:21 PM


“Tell us about the ‘golden turd.’”

posted by on September 4 at 2:15 PM

Just spent a tense half an hour with the Secret Service after they found my notebook, which I’d stupidly left in the bathroom in the Xcel Center.

After realizing the notebook was gone, I retraced my steps and found two guys with suits and earpieces were standing near the bathroom, perusing it.

“Thanks for finding my notebook,” I said.

Some people are coming up here to ask you some questions,” they said.

Three more people with suits and earpieces showed up and read every page—notes from protests, speeches, interviews, and some art events back in Seattle—and asked lots of questions in eerily flat voices:

“Tell me about the ‘golden turd.” (That was from Smoke Farm.) “What’s this address 627 Smith?” (A community center, raided a few days ago.) “What’s all this about pepper spray?” (Well, officer… )

And so on. They eventually let me go, declined to take a photograph with me, and cracked a smile: “Write nice things about us. We were pleasant, right?”

They were.

“Uppity, yeah.”

posted by on September 4 at 2:07 PM

This just in

Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland used the racially-tinged term “uppity” to describe Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama Thursday. Westmoreland was discussing vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s speech with reporters outside the House chamber and was asked to compare her with Michelle Obama. “Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they’re a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they’re uppity,” Westmoreland said. Asked to clarify that he used the word “uppity,” Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”

Everything Old Is New Again*

posted by on September 4 at 2:00 PM


From Poynter Online:

Bill Shapiro writes to Romenesko: I’m the former managing editor of LIFE (the newspaper supplement version). After The Speech last night, I couldn’t help recall our third cover featuring McCain and…. Take a peek. I think you’ll find it very fun and rather prescient. When we shot this photo for the third cover of LIFE (the newspaper supplement version) back in September of 2004, we never dreamed we’d actually see it play out….or even anything this close.

Read the whole thing here.

* Except for John McCain. He’s just old, and will remain so until he’s dead. I look forward to President Palin’s nation-unifying eulogy.

What Gloria Steinem Said

posted by on September 4 at 1:43 PM

In today’s LA Times.

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton’s candidacy stood for — and that Barack Obama’s still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, “Somebody stole my shoes, so I’ll amputate my legs.”


I don’t doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National Rifle Assn., she doesn’t just support killing animals from helicopters, she does it herself. She doesn’t just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuels but puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn’t just echo McCain’s pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade, she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it also protects the right to have a child.

Read the whole Palin-thumping piece over here.

What Made Milwaukee Famous Made a Loser Out of Me

posted by on September 4 at 1:30 PM

Some folks in Milwaukee went for a world record number of people on a beer bong. They succeeded, with 144 people simultaneously taking hits from a single beer bong. The previous record was 100 people at once. That record was also held by Milwaukee.

Update on the Race in the 36th

posted by on September 4 at 1:28 PM

As of yesterday, Reuven Carlyle—one of two Democratic candidates for state representative from Seattle’s 36th District—was beating his opponent, John Burbank, by a margin of 4.4 percent—a lead of more than 1,200 votes. On primary election night last month, Burbank was leading Carlyle by 250 votes. The two candidates will both move forward to November’s general election under Washington State’s “top-two” primary system.

Palin: Underwhelming

posted by on September 4 at 1:21 PM


Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin better have thanked the baby Jesus this morning for low expectations. Prior to her speech (written, BTW, by former George W. Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully) Palin was widely criticized as an unknown quantity—a barely tested, unvetted, small-town mayor and PTA mom with no foreign policy credentials, a history of corruption, and zero prior presence on the national stage. Given that setup, if Palin had merely managed to appear composed, human, and literate last night while reading her prepared remarks to an adoring crowd, the media would have declared her speech a triumph. Hell, if she’d driven onstage in an F350 pickup, dragging a bloody caribou and waving an Alaskan secession flag, they would have probably declared it a draw.

Fortunately for Palin, she went above and beyond the media’s laughably low expectations. Many, including many at this paper, found her charismatic, tough, and ball-busting—like, in her own words, “a pit bull in lipstick.” She blasted the “elites,” the “pollsters and pundits” who said she wasn’t qualified—and then, in a mean-spirited, snarling pit bull of a speech, completely ignored the substance of their accusations. Instead, Palin focused almost exclusively on Barack Obama, sneering contemptuously that his work as a community organizer involved no “actual responsibilities” (would she say the same thing about, say, MLK?), mocking him for wanting to “read [al Qaeda terrorists] their rights,” and identifying him, by association, with “San Francisco” values.

Did it work? In context, sure. Palin’s speech was directed at the Republican base—where “base” is defined as “hard-right, xenophobic white people who want to control what women and gays do with their bodies but are scared Big Guvmint’s gonna take their guns away and give ‘em to the terrorists.”

As for the rest of America, well, if you set aside those aforementioned low expectations, I’m not sure which new supporters Palin was hoping to win over to McCain’s cause. Almost every single sentence included at least one tired, generic, circa-1995 Republican catch phrase— to name just a few: “media elite,” “profile in courage,” “small-town values,” “massive tax burden,” and “permanent political establishment.” (Like, say, her running mate—a 26-year veteran of Congress?) If Obama’s popularity has demonstrated anything, it’s that people are ready for a new plan—and with it, a new rhetoric. Calling Obama a do-nothing, tax-and-spend liberal isn’t just wrong; it isn’t interesting.

And speaking of rhetoric: It’s highly ironic that Palin dwelled on Obama’s use of rhetoric (“when the cloud of rhetoric has passed, when the roar of the crowd fades away, when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot…What does he actually seek to accomplish after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet?”) in a speech almost completely devoid of substance. I’m not just talking about the fact that she didn’t talk about policy (and lied, as the AP and others have documented, when she did address it). I’m talking about the fact that, unlike Obama, she failed utterly to respond to the widespread, well-documented criticisms of her as a candidate. Palin’s pitch for herself as vice president was a combination of smears and biography—as if knowing your small-town constituents and having a baby with Down Syndrome (or, for that matter, being a prisoner of war) qualified a person to occupy the White House!

The strength of Obama’s speech at the Democratic Convention last week wasn’t just that he “turned back the waters,” whatever that means; it was that he acknowledged his opponents’ attacks and systematically dismantled them. Palin may get away with ignoring her opponents’ criticisms when she’s in front of an adoring audience; but those criticisms aren’t going to go away just because she adopts a folksy tone and mocks Obama’s comparatively extensive experience. And attacking him on his strengths—community organizing, charisma, and ability to bring people together—isn’t going to play among undecided and Republican voters who are thinking of voting for Obama for exactly those qualities. Again, this was the RNC, not a debate—and in the debates she won’t be facing Obama, but Joe Biden, a vice-presidential candidate whose Congressional experience can’t be dismissed with a cute rhetorical flourish about “actual responsibilities” or “small-town values.”

But the biggest reason I think Palin’s (and McCain’s) fearmongering, don’t-let-the-terrorists-win rhetoric won’t work is personified in McCain’s opponent. Cheesy as I’ve often found all the hope and change stuff to be, the clear truth is that it resonates with a huge segment of the American population, and not just the longtime Democrats who vote in every national election. About 21 million people watched the Republican convention in its first full day—4.3 million fewer people than watched the first day of the Democratic convention, and 600,000 fewer than watched Day 2 of the 2004 convention, which featured the much-less-dramatic renomination of George W. Bush. Those numbers are anecdotal, of course, but I’m hardly going into uncharted waters when I say they speak to a larger trend in American politics. People don’t want to be told to be afraid of what they don’t know, afraid of a new party in the White House, afraid of change in the economy and the health care system and Iraq. People want to let go of those fears. By playing up the theme of fear—the same fear they’ve embraced for decades, the fear that if you don’t grab yours, some immigrant/black guy/uppity woman/PC liberal elitist will—the Republicans are missing the fact that people are actually sick of the politics of resentment, backlash, and recrimination.

Finally, about those Hillary voters. As Annie predicted, they aren’t being fooled by the theme “any pair of boobs will do” (a phrase that originated, I believe, on Shakesville). Palin is on wrong side of a majority of America’s female population on nearly every issue that could be categorized a “women’s issue”: Abortion rights, abstinence-only education, gun control, fair pay, education, and much more. Women aren’t stupid. Most of us who supported Hillary did so because she was the first progressive, smart, charismatic, Democratic female candidate for president we’d had. Now that she’s no longer in the running, the vast, overwhelming majority of us—including Clinton herself—are supporting Obama—a fact that shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been paying even a little attention for the last eight years.

Sometimes a Sex Column Is Just a Sex Column…

posted by on September 4 at 1:18 PM

…and sometimes it’s a cry for help.

The View From the Gallup Tracking Poll

posted by on September 4 at 1:00 PM

The first two nights of the Republican convention haven’t had any impact on Obama’s lead.


But, the poll doesn’t reflect the post-Palin-speech world…

Worse Than “Veepstakes”

posted by on September 4 at 1:00 PM

I just bumped into a phrase that I never, ever want to hear ever again:

Kindle Webinar.”


The Love Affair Is Over, Right?

posted by on September 4 at 12:11 PM

No more donuts with sprinkles, right?

One of the things that the press loved about John McCain was that—unlike the ravers and paranoids that compromise the Republican base—McCain seemed to like reporters, he respected them, the role they play in our democracy, he let them ride on his bus (!), and McCain didn’t engage in a lot of biased-librul-media rhetoric. It was exciting, no doubt, for the media elite to contemplate a presidential race that included a GOP nominee who wouldn’t indulge in a lot of gratuitous media bashing. (Just, you know, the usual gay bashing.)

But now that he’s the nominee, McCain is adopting all sorts of new positions—on drilling, on the environment, on taxes, on abortion—to appease the haters that are the GOP base. (Be careful there, old man, or you’re going to injure yourself with those contortions.) And, after last night’s Palin speech, we can add knee-jerk media bashing to the list….

“I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment,” Ms. Palin said in her remarks, which took aim at the news media as the crowd began lustily booing the press. “And I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone. But here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion; I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country.”

So… Sarah Palin is going to Washington to serve the people of this country and not, you know, reporters and commentators. They’re not the people of this country. They’re… well, what exactly are they? (Maybe they’re dangerous secessionists who hate America?) Perhaps a reporter or a commentator could ask Sarah Palin what exactly they are if and when the GOP’s VP nominee gets around to holding a press conference.

Bring proof of citizenship, media elite.

Win Tickets to Miss Coco Peru!

posted by on September 4 at 12:10 PM


This weekend, Re-bar hosts the one and only Miss Coco Peru, the internationally beloved drag diva who’ll perform her greatest-hits show both Friday and Saturday nights.

Even better, The Stranger is giving away a pair of tickets, to whoever can solve the Miss Coco Peru-flavored brain twister below. Ready? Good.

In the camp classic Girls Will Be Girls, Coco confesses to her friend Evie that while in college, she became “with child” and underwent “a procedure.” To comfort Coco, Evie tells her that she’s “had more kids pulled out of her than _________!”

If you can fill in the blank, email your answer to The first respondent with the right answer wins two tickets to Saturday night’s Coco show.

Good luck, and may God have mercy on your soul.

UPDATE: The tickets have been won! Thank you all for playing!

As for the “correct answer,” it’s “I’ve had more kids pulled out of me than a burning orphanage!

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on September 4 at 12:01 PM

Sarah Palin and God, God, and more God…

Lipstick on a Pi…tbull

posted by on September 4 at 12:00 PM

One of the best new blogs on the national stage is Mudflats, an Alaskan blog that’s very anti-Palin. (Impalin has a better title but isn’t doing the work it needs to do.) Today, Mudflats examines the problem with Palin’s joke about being a pitbull with lipstick or what the fuck ever. Turns out that three weeks ago, Alaskan newspapers were all abuzz with this bit of current events:

Child Taken Off Life Support After Pit Bull Attack.

This was the big news story in Alaska for several days that week. A child and her babysitter were viciously attacked by the family pet pit bull. The owner surrendered the dog, waited for the girls father to return from his deployment in Iraq, and watched as his six-year-old daughter was taken off life support after she went into an irreversably vegetative state.

I don’t know how other Alaska residents felt about the pit bull joke, and obviously her audience loved it, but most of us here in “small town America” probably didn’t find it particularly funny.

For the Romantic Dorks

posted by on September 4 at 11:48 AM

Graffiti in St. Paul:


The Philosopher

posted by on September 4 at 11:12 AM

Because Žižek
zizek.jpg…is coming town, a quote from one of his many books:

What Saddam is not is a fundamentalist obsessed with the “Great Satan,” ready to blow the world apart just to strike at him. The ultimate proof of this secular nature of the Ba’ath regime is the ironic fact that, in the Iraqi elections of October 2002, in which Saddam Hussein got a 100% endorsement and thus overdid the best Stalinist results of 99,95%, the campaign song played again and again on all the state media was none other than Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”

Welcome To the Palindrome

posted by on September 4 at 11:00 AM

As you probably already know, last night Sarah Palin gave the most embarrassing, blatantly pandering speech since Nixon blathered on about Checkers and Republican cloth coats. Personally, I think it was a Hail Mary speech from a Hail Mary candidate (and I don’t know much about sports, but I do know that you can’t Hail Mary all the fucking time because you will lose badly if you try.)

But forget all that for one moment. Did you know that, just as she was launching herself all up into America’s face, Sarah Palin wrote a column for this week’s issue of The Stranger? It’s true! Take a look:

Click to enlarge

The Stranger. Providing equal time for Bible-thumping haters of community organizers for 18 years now.

Weigh in on Palin!

posted by on September 4 at 10:40 AM

Here’s what you predicted yesterday. Now, with Gov. Sarah Palin’s historic address to the RNC completed, a new Slog poll…

What did you think of Palin’s Speech?

Seriously, Seattle Times?

posted by on September 4 at 10:35 AM

I’ll have more to say about Palin’s speech in a bit (predictably fawning media; preemptively subjecting herself to the same sexist stereotypes Hillary was attacked for; and, hello, context? This is the RNC, not a political debate between two parties)… but, in the meantime: OMFG Seattle Times, “Feisty”? Really? (They’ve changed the headline in the online version, but today’s front page is below.)


It almost makes Danny Westneat’s unhinged Valentine to Palin in the local section (“electric”! “masterful”! “the right choice”!) look, well, sane.

For Those Seeking More Discrediting of Last Night’s Speeches…

posted by on September 4 at 10:30 AM


… Sullivan has a bunch of posts about what they got wrong:

Listening to [Obama] speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or even a reform, not even in the state senate.

I guess we should thank Matt Scully for inserting the word “major.” You can go look at Obama’s State Senate legislative record here. And his US Senate record here. At last count, sponsorship of 820 laws in Illinois, and authorship of 152 bills and co-sponsorship of 427 in Washington. The 2007 Ethics Reform bill alone cannot be dismissed as simply non-existent. And since part of Palin’s own claim to substance is an ethics reform bill, it seems extremely weird that she should believe that Obama’s record is a total zero.


According to the Anchorage Daily News, whose archives are the best source for Palin info, Palin has never personally issued an order to the Alaska National Guard


The Washington Independent finds Palin’s handwriting on an earmark.

and from fellow Atlantic writer, Ross Douthat:

Do not attack [Palin]. Stop referring to her as a just a small-town mayor and a neophyte governor who’s unqualified to be President; in fact, stop referring to her at all. Attack John McCain, John McCain, and John McCain. Attack him all day, all night, and on weekends too.

Reading Tonight

posted by on September 4 at 10:25 AM


A whole bunch of readings tonight, and one open mic.

Kathy Reichs, who writes the mystery series that is the inspiration for the television show Bones, will be signing at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop and also Third Place Books. If you just want a signed copy of her newest, Devil Bones, you can go to Seattle Mystery Bookshop. They’re not sure if she’ll actually be in attendance—her plane might be late, I guess—so there’s an off chance that they might deliver the books to her hotel room to be signed. If you’d like to see Kathy Reichs (and ask her if David Boreanaz is really that hunky in person,) you should go to Third Place Books, where she’s guaranteed to be in attendance.

Stranger Genius Sherman Alexie will be at the Ballard Branch of the Seattle Public Library, discussing The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. If you haven’t seen him read, you really should go.

At the University Book Store, Priscilla Wald reads from Contagion, which purports to look at “the outbreak narrative.”

And at Arundel Books, Stranger favorite Doug Nufer claims that he will impersonate “a god, a road sign, and a lawyer, among others.” The lovely Maryrose Larkin, who for a while there was blogging poetry about classical music, reads with him.

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

He’s a Loser, Baby

posted by on September 4 at 10:15 AM


County Budget Cuts Could Keep Felony Defendents Out of Jail

posted by on September 4 at 10:11 AM

Originally posted last night, but I moved it up.

A controversial plan to divert thousands of King County’s felony drug cases to city courts has been scratched, says King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. Instead, the county may send approximately 2,300 cases from King County Superior Court down to the county’s district court, which handles only misdemeanors, at a lower cost per case. Once in district court, Satterberg says, “in most cases the person will not get jail.”

The prosecutor’s office is shuffling cases in an attempt to slash its spending by $5 million to accommodate an estimated county shortfall of $86.5 million next year. Says Satterberg: “We have to focus our resources on serious violent crimes, sex offenses, domestic violence, car theft and major economic crimes, to name a few.”

Under the county’s current proposal, the lower court would hear the cases of defendants found in possession of three grams or less of hard drugs (such as heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine), less than 100 grams of marijuana, or fewer than 12 marijuana plants. It would also hear an additional 300 more cases involving property crimes; meanwhile, about 1500 minor property crimes normally charged by the county, would be sent to city courts.

Barbara Linde, chief presiding judge for King County District Court, says charging cases in district court is less expensive. If defendants are jailed, sentences are shorter and incarceration and court costs are lower, she says.

Although prescribing prison terms for nonviolent drug offenders is a proven mistake, downscaling charges is an imperfect solution. Unlike the superior court, the district court lacks a drug court, which allows defendants to opt for treatment instead of a criminal record. In addition, the additional cases put pressure on an already burdened department. “We are tapped out,” says Linde, whose court is under orders from the King County Executive Ron Sims to slash 11 percent from its budget. “We’re talking about taking already strapped judicial resources and adding 2,300 more cases,” she says.

When Sims first instructed criminal justice agencies to cut their budgets in June, Satterberg’s office responded by suggesting the drug possession cases be sent to cities. But Satterberg says, “It was clear to me after meeting with numerous city officials from cities throughout King County that their municipal courts were not in a position to absorb large numbers of new cases.”

This latest proposal, however, would put the cases in a legal gray area. The drug cases are felonies, but district court can only charge defendants with misdemeanors. So the lower court will charge defendants for “attempted” drug possession, which carries a lesser penalty. “I don’t think anyone is pretending that is the accurate label for the offense,” says Linde.

Sims will make his final budget recommendations to the county council next month, and the council is expected to modify or approve it in late November.

The One

posted by on September 4 at 10:10 AM

What we learned from Palin’s speech? In 2004, the enemy was terrorism. RNC’s one message: terrorism is a real threat and the greatest military force is needed to defeat it. This time around, the enemy is simply one person, Obama. The single issue on the party’s mind is Obama. The Republican convention is not about McCain but his opponent. The speakers can look neither right or left but only straight ahead at the giant Obama. Why this magnificent obsession? Because of this one fear: If the reasonable Obama goes in the White House, America will never return to their crazy end of the political spectrum. Obama is being attacked not because he is black, but because he represents the Europeanization of the American democracy.

“Caribou Barbie”

posted by on September 4 at 10:10 AM


Not sure who coined the term—a Google search shows it spreading like wildfire since yesterday, and Wonkette’s already made it a subject tag—but I wholeheartedly approve.

This is No Time for Subtlety

posted by on September 4 at 9:30 AM

So here’s the Associated Press report on the various tall tales, fibs, and outright lies told from the stage of the RNC last night—originally alluded to in this post—showcased in its very own Slog entry.

Here’s but one highlight of the AP’s RNC fact-checking:

FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Palin “got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States.”

THE FACTS: A whopper. Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor’s election, and got 909 in her 1999 re-election race, for a total of 1,525. Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses, but he still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia where he was on the ballot during the 2008 presidential primaries.

(Confidential to Slog tipper 100,000 Fireflies: I have a mandolin. I play it all night long. It makes me want to kill myself.)

Hockey Moms for Hitler?

posted by on September 4 at 9:09 AM


Thank you, Slog tipper Naylor, who says he found the image on CNN. (And lest anyone cry photoshop, here’s the moment from another angle.)

Speaking of Strangely Compelling Women Giving Can’t-Tear-Your-Eyes-Away-Even-Though-That-Lady’s-Clearly-Insane Speeches…

posted by on September 4 at 8:50 AM

…please prepare yourselves for another dose of America’s preeminent YouTube sex rambler/public-access TV host Alexyss K. Tylor.

Unlike Sarah Palin, Alexyss Tylor tells the truth.

Plus she’s not afraid to ask the big questions: “Can anyone turn you against dick?”

(Audio NSFW, and thank you, Slog tipper Clint.)

Palin: Ready to Lead

posted by on September 4 at 8:35 AM

Or, what he said:

I was also impressed by what I didn’t hear in the speech. I didn’t hear a word—didn’t hear the phrase middle class mentioned, I didn’t hear a word about health care. I didn’t hear a single word about what we’re going to do about the housing crisis, college education, all the things that the middle class is being burdened by now.

I didn’t hear the words Afghanistan or Pakistan where al-Qaeda lives and bin Laden resides, so I also, you know, there was a deafening silence about the hole that the Republicans have dug us into and any specific answers to how the McCain-Palin ticket is going to get us out of that hole.

Thanks Biden. That’s exactly what I was yelling at the TV, until I was forced to turn the speech off.

She’ll make a great President, when McCain keels over. With so many ideas about what she’d do as President—to solve our multitude of problems—how could it go badly?

My only hope is this deep lack of thought and lack of seriousness won’t play all that well in the swing states of the Midwest--where the catastrophe of Republican rule is causing real pain.

Learning Foreign Policy “by Osmosis”

posted by on September 4 at 8:34 AM

Republicans—including McCain—making the dumb, dumb argument that Palin has foreign policy savvy because Alaska is near Russia.

And more bad news for democrats from the mayor of Detroit.

What Not to Say…

posted by on September 4 at 8:30 AM

…when you’re interviewing a former member of the Bush cabinet.


Apparently it violates all standards of decency to use the word “clusterfuck” when you’re interviewing Christine Todd Whitman, who is also the former governor of New Jersey, a state where the “f” word is rarely bandied about. She looked shocked, my foul-mouthed HBO crew looked shocked. So I rephrased the question…

“How big a fuckstercluck is the Palin thing?” (This was asked before Palin’s speech.) I believe the governor, once she recovered her bearings, said, “I’ve seen worse.”

The Morning News

posted by on September 4 at 8:25 AM

Quite a Pair: Curmudgeon vet and baby machine seek to lead the free world.

Danny Westneat: He loves, loves, loves Sarah Palin so much. She didn’t talk much about policy but he also liked that.

Dick Cheney: Supports Georgia’s inclusion in NATO and smacks Russia for invasion.

You Mean That Wasn’t Already the Rule? City board recommends that lawmakers found guilty of ethics violations pay fines with their own money, not with city money.

You Mean That Was the Rule? Teenager pleads not guilty to manslaughter after shooting a hiker, because it is legal for 14 year olds to shoot rifles without adult supervision.

Rough Rider: Mayor Nickels announcing plan to fund $8.6 million for completion of Burke-Gilman trail, extending to Ballard, this week.

Rough Patch: Port Commissioner Pat Davis appeals to block a recall petition. She had signed a memo extending payment to a retired chief; now 180,000 signatures are required to get Davis recalled.

Rough and Tumble: Detroit mayor pleas guilty to felony charges of obstruction of justice and perjury, arising from affair.

An Army of One: Quaker asks to distribute counter military recruitment leaflets in high school, where military is recruiting students, but school superintendent has refused. ACLU preparing to sue.

Lights on Broadway: Car hits gas pump, igniting fuel and giving a bystander second-degree burns.

Fashion Police: Fourth person arrested in Riviera Beach, Florida for wearing sagging pants. 29-year-old Kenneth Smith was charged with disorderly conduct and exposure of his undergarments in public.

Sleeping with the Enemy

posted by on September 4 at 8:17 AM


Overheard at CNN’s open bar last night, from one young lady reporter to another:

Now I’m going to go drink with that hot delegate who got me on the floor tonight.

Then to me:

Do NOT blog that.

How Do Those Busy Hockey Moms Do It?

posted by on September 4 at 6:53 AM

Palin’s hometown—where she was mayor—is the meth capitol of Alaska.

Via Sullivan.

A White Shade

posted by on September 4 at 6:50 AM

Washington Post:

Organizers conceived of this convention as a means to inspire, but some African American Republicans have found the Xcel Energy Center depressing this week. Everywhere they look, they see evidence of what they consider one of their party’s biggest shortcomings.

As the country rapidly diversifies, Republicans are presenting a convention that is almost entirely white.

Only 36 of the 2,380 delegates seated on the convention floor are black, the lowest number since the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies began tracking diversity at political conventions 40 years ago. Each night, the overwhelmingly white audience watches a series of white politicians step to the lectern—a visual reminder that no black Republican has served as a governor, U.S. senator or U.S. House member in the past six years.

But, hey, Sarah Palin sure let those community organizers have it!

This Is Completely Ridiculous

posted by on September 4 at 6:29 AM


Guess what? I’m leaving on a jet plane—right now, this morning, before the final night of the Republican National Convention. I’ve got to get to LA and work on an edit of my piece for Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher. So I’m going to miss the last day, McCain’s speech, and, most distressingly, the balloon drop.

So Mr. Kiley is on his own in St. Paul—stay out of the pepper spray, Brendan—and despite collecting enough video to do roughly 400 pieces for Real Time, despite meeting Miss Minnesota, despite getting hammered on CNN’s dime, despite posting roughly three thousand items to Slog… I feel as if I’ve failed. The convention was a bust for me because… well…

I didn’t get a picture with Rick Santorum. He was in the building, I was in the building. The crew from HBO ran into him but I was in another part of the Xcel Center at the time. So the photo that everyone wanted to see—Sen. Frothy Mix and Dan Savage, together at last—will probably have to wait until the next RNC.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

As The Stranger’s Theater Critic…

posted by on September 3 at 11:08 PM

… I’ll say Palin grew as an actor tonight.


She started so nervous and shaky, I wanted to take her home and feed her tomato soup. But she learned to thrive in the wicked asides. It was almost Shakespearean—specifically, Iago.

Here’s the moment when she came alive (I’m working from notes, so these are paraphrases):

They tell us drilling won’t solve all of our problems (as if we didn’t know that already).


[McCain is] a leader who’s not looking for a fight (but sure isn’t afraid of one).

The cocked eyebrow, the tough-girl snarl—she’s a bitch. But she’s a new bitch, the Right’s bitch, a pugnacious, sexy type nobody’s tired of (yet) with a tough-ass husband who works the North Slope and rides rough snowmobile courses in his off time.

No denying it—the lady worked it where it counts—above the podium.

I happened to be sitting on her right-hand side and watched her legs throughout the speech—she shifted her weight constantly, bending one hosed knee and then the other, but didn’t show it from the waist up.

Were I some kind of physio-psychologist, I’d say this indicates a profound ability to compartmentalize, an overreaching ambition, and a dangerously deep need for approval.

Like Palin, Iago also lives in his asides:

For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, ‘tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am

She’s a clever monster who understands how to whip up a mob. And no matter what the police commissioner or Fox News says, I saw no greater mob-whippery this week (not even from Rage Against the Machine leading a protest crowd in a capella sing-alongs) than I saw from Palin. The crowd went bananas for her. And none of them even knew who she was.

Obama is also a great orator, but he appeals to people’s best instincts (hope, change, the American dream). Palin—tonight, at least—appealed to people’s worst (rage, fear, and contentiousness). She sows the seeds of discord. She thrives in attack mode.

She’d make a great Iago.

(Confidential to Bart Sher—can you get on that?)

Hey, Andrew!

posted by on September 3 at 11:07 PM

Rudy called what John McCain endured in Vietnam “torture,” but McCain’s running mate would only went as far as describing it as “torturous.” Looks like someone will have to ask the president for a final verdict.

More and More

posted by on September 3 at 9:43 PM

This from Joe Klein’s blog:

There is a tendency in the media to kick ourselves, cringe and withdraw, when we are criticized. But I hope my colleagues stand strong in this case: it is important for the public to know that Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library and thinks the war in Iraq is “a task from God.” The attempts by the McCain campaign to bully us into not reporting such things are not only stupidly aggressive, but unprofessional in the extreme.

And Speaking of “Drill, Baby, Drill”…

posted by on September 3 at 9:22 PM


A chunk of ice shelf nearly the size of Manhattan has broken away from Ellesmere Island in Canada’s northern Arctic, another dramatic indication of how warmer temperatures are changing the polar frontier, scientists said Wednesday.

White Power

posted by on September 3 at 9:20 PM

What it comes down to:

According to polls of delegates conducted by The New York Times and CBS News, 93 percent of the Republican delegates are white (compared with 85 percent in 2004 and 89 percent in 2000), while 5 percent are Hispanic and 2 percent are black. The Democratic delegate pool in Denver, according to the survey, was 65 percent white, 23 percent black and 11 percent Hispanic, roughly the same as at other recent Democratic conventions.
The Republican Party is the white party.

The Frye Art Museum Cuts (Entirely??) Its Education Programs

posted by on September 3 at 8:35 PM

I couldn’t get any details tonight, but I do know that Yoko Ott, the terrific curator of education at the Frye, has been let go and her programs have been axed. These were some great programs; I followed along on a class one Saturday in July. I’ll describe later.

The “changes” were announced to the staff today, said Frye spokeswoman Rebecca Garrity-Putnam, who added:

I think that this was a very difficult decision, and a decision that was made for purely financial issues. It was very, very hard. I know that everybody at the museum is impacted, very much, and I know the community will be as well.

More on what this means for the Frye and the city’s art ed offerings tomorrow.

Hate Is A Strong Word

posted by on September 3 at 8:34 PM

And I hate Sarah Palin.

But in other news, the inevitable art onslaught featuring her offensive face has begun.

Sarah Palin Alaska Fur Bunny Pancake Breakfast Art

Sarah Palin, Insult Comic Dog

posted by on September 3 at 8:12 PM

There she was, Mrs. America—and the crowd ate her up. We’ll soon see how well Palin played with those watching at home.


Nope, she didn’t decline the nomination. “I accept the nomination!” was pretty much the first thing out of her mouth. And, man, did she ever lay into Obama. The Clown Car, it turns out, is a pretty good attack dog. And the contrast between her looks and the juvenile stream of crap spewing from her mouth, well, a spoonful of eye candy helps the bile go down.

One small quibble with the GOP’s imagemeisters, though: What was with the live video feed of tourists strolling around the Washington Monument playing behind Palin as she spoke tonight?


Watching tourists waddle around Washington in baggy t-shirts and shorts doesn’t exactly have the gravitas we’ve come to expect from GOP conventions.

And while Rudy called what John McCain endured in Vietnam “torture,” his running mate would only go so far as describing it as “torturous.” Looks like someone will have to ask the president for a final verdict.

Oh, and here’s John…

Sarah Palin!

posted by on September 3 at 7:39 PM

7:39 pm: Sarah Palin talking about her husband: “It all makes for quite a package.”

7:40: Palin is courting the “children with special needs” vote. I gotta say, whoever wrote this speech is a genius.

7:42 pm: “The difference between a hockey mom and a pitt bull? Lipstick.”

7:45 pm: “Here’s a little news flash for reporters and commentators. I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I’m going to Washington to serve this great country.”

7:51 pm: It’s amazing, the difference between this Sarah Palin and the uncoached, unpolished Sarah Palin of last week. Whoever wrote her comments from the rally in Ohio last week has clearly been taken out back and shot. This new speechwriter has written right over her weaknesses and made them strengths—all that stuff about how her husband hates America has turned into her fighting for Alaska like any good governor would; all that stuff about how unsuccessful her daughters have been at following her abstinence-only ideals have been translated into We’re not the typical family but no family is!. Nevertheless, she’s got crazy oil lust. “Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin adminsitration, we’re going to lay more pipelines,” she said.

7:55 pm: Now she’s making fun of Obama’s books (he’s written two memoirs about himself but not a single law la la la) and the stage set at the DNC last week.

7 :59 pm: On Obama: “Taxes are too high. He wants to raise them. The democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise taxes… and the death taxes… and business taxes… and increase the tax burden on American people by hundreds of billions of daughters.”

8:08 pm: Sorry everyone who was trying to follow along. Serious technical difficulties. The speech is now over and I have to say, it was far better than anyone in the free world thought it was going to be. I still don’t see how she’s qualified to be commander-in-chief—her entire strategy seemed to be to mock the media and mock Barack Obama—but she sure did seem to have some poise. Can you just spray poise onto someone? Does poise come in a can?

8:11 pm: John McCain comes out and says, “Don’t you think we made the right choice for the next vice president of the United States? And what a beautiful family!” Bristol’s holding hands with her dude. Jury’s out on which of them is hotter.

8:13 pm: Keith Olbermann says, “She gives a good speech.” Chris Matthews agrees: “I have to say that I was completely surprised by what I saw… She is a torpedo aimed directly at the ship of Michelle and Barack Obama.” The commentator who looks like he’s from Planet of the Apes—is that David Gregory?—agrees. This is going to excite the base. She’s the best thing since sliced bread. She’s the new Ballard. She’s the new black.

8:16 pm: Chris Matthews says, “I think it was a very appealing presentation. I think people will like her.”

8:32 pm: Pat Robertson says, “This was a sensational evening for the Republican party.”

Whoever is Responsible for Dressing Cindy McCain…

posted by on September 3 at 7:39 PM

…is her worst enemy and my best friend.

Republicans Back on Their Heels

posted by on September 3 at 7:19 PM

Giuliani is all New York bluster—”change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy”—but Obama has totally defined the terms of the speeches tonight. Romney, Rudy, Huckabee: all of them have been using “change” and “hope” and Obama’s past (“he was a community organizer,” Giuliani sneered) as the rhetorical underpinnings of their speeches.

They’re playing defense, which means they’re scared.


(And now the crowd is chanting “Drill, baby, drill!” vis a vis offshore oil, like offshore rigs were gigantic piles of ecstacy. Christ.)

“Drill, Baby, Drill!”

posted by on September 3 at 7:13 PM

Are you listening, Levi?

Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!

posted by on September 3 at 7:01 PM

Yeah, yeah: USA, USA. McCain has passed every test—except that picking-your-VP test. He kind of botched that one.

For those of you cringing at home, they crowd is chanting “Zero! Zero! Zero!” whenever Obama is alluded to, mentioned, slammed, slimed, or misrepresented. Rudy is slamming Obama for voting “present” a number of times as a member of the Illinois state legislature. To vote present, though, you have to at least show up—something John McCain doesn’t seem that interested in doing.

Rudy: “Barack Obama has never lead anything. Nothing. Nada.”

Crowd: “Zero! Zero! Zero!”

Rudy: [cackles]

Wonder how this is playing with those minority voters the GOP has worked so hard to attract over the last eight years? Or were all those photos ops with black schoolchildren all for nothing?

Now about Obama opposing the surge… so did the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Iraq Study Group, General Casey, General Abizaid, and, um, Condoleeza Rice.

Tonight’s Headliner

posted by on September 3 at 6:51 PM


Brendan will be live-Slogging Sarah Palin’s speech tonight. In the meantime, Sloggers, feel free to discuss the run-up to Palin’s speech—the video in particular—in the comments thread attached to this post.

Text Message to Huckabee

posted by on September 3 at 6:44 PM

The U.S. lost the Vietnam war. Sad as it was, it didn’t buy any damn kids any damn desks.

Huckabee Speaks

posted by on September 3 at 6:31 PM

Right now he’s slamming the “elite media,” but earlier today he was…


…sucking up to members of that same, um, media elite.

Why is he speaking in front of a picture of a… what is that anyway? A suburban church’s parking lot?

And Mike Huckabee is a Republican because he didn’t expect the government to rescue him—unlike, you know, all those whiners down Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas boo-hooing about those hurricanes.

And, again, it should be blazingly obvious to everyone—everyone in America—that John McCain should be president, even if it wasn’t blazingly obvious to Mike Huckabee back when he was running against John McCain. I understand that the also-rans have to engage in this ritual humiliation, showing up at their party’s convention to endorse the candidate that vanquished them in the primaries, but it makes my skin crawl—no matter who’s doing it.

Nothing to See Here

posted by on September 3 at 6:24 PM

Ratings, like reality, have a liberal bias

Nielsen Co. estimated this afternoon that about 20.7 million people watched the convention on Tuesday—its first full evening after a truncated program on Monday because of Hurricane Gustav—on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX News Channel, and MSNBC.

That was 4.3 million viewers lower than the Democratic National Convention last Tuesday…. More significantly, the GOP number was 600,000 lower than Day 2 of the 2004 convention, which lacked much drama since it was the renomination of President Bush.

Romney Speaks

posted by on September 3 at 6:10 PM


So we squeezed into the Xcel Center in time to catch Mitt Romney’s speech—there he is! doesn’t he have great hair! if we were a little closer we might be able to see if his magic underpants created VPLs!—and people are clapping and clapping and clapping and chanting “USA! USA! USA!” And Romney—who spent how many millions of his own money trying to get the nomination?—is telling us that it should be completely and blatantly obvious hat John McCain is the right man to lead America now.

But somehow this wasn’t completely and blatantly obvious to Mitt Romney back when he spending millions of his own money trying to make sure John McCain wasn’t the Republican nominee. Anyway…

“We need change alright,” Romney says, “change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! Throw out the big-government liberals and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin!”

Because, hey, if there’s been anything wrong with Washington over the last few decades it’s been a lack of, um, conservative elected officials.

And, man, this is brazen. The solution to our social problems? “Homes with family values,” and children raised “in the presence of a mom and a dad!”

Yeah, those opposite-sex parents. They’re magic, aren’t they?

This Is Jeff

posted by on September 3 at 5:35 PM


Jeff is a waiter at the Eagle Street Grill, which is across the street from the Xcel Center. For the duration of the Republican National Convention, however, the Eagle Street Grill has been transformed into the CNN Grill. The signs outside the restaurant were changed, the waiters are all wearing CNN Grill t-shirts, the freakin’ wood platter my burger came on had “CNN Grill” branded on it.

We came, we ordered, we ate, we drank. We drank some more. And then I noticed something weird…

When I picked up the menu to look at desert… there were no prices. Not for the aps, not for the entrees, not for the deserts. Huh. I called our waiter over—Jeff, seen above—and relayed my suspicions to him: “Is everything on CNN?” And Jeff told me it was—the burger, the salad, the three beers, the cupcakes, all of it—and nodded and smiled and asked me if I wanted another beer.

“Oh my God, you guys must be getting screwed!” this former waiter said. “Is anyone tipping you guys?”

I had to drag it out of Jeff—they’re so polite, these Minnesotans—but he confirmed that very few of CNN’s guests (Anderson got me in here) are remembering to tip. Jeff says they’re getting a bit more per hour working at the CNN Grill, but… yeah, folks aren’t really tipping.

I have to say that I’m appalled—appalled!—that most of the folks eating and drinking on CNN’s dime are neglecting to take care of the waiters keeping ‘em in free chow and booze. Hey, librul media elite! Estimate what you think your chow would’ve cost you and TIP THE FREAKING WAITERS! Christ!

Okay, gotta get back to the Xcel Center in time for Sarah Palin’s declination speech.

Eat Your Hearts Out, Arrested Journalists

posted by on September 3 at 5:22 PM


What’s a little pepper spray between friends?

(And enjoy this story about a 17-year-old who got stomped by police—you can see the bootprint on his back in the photos—while trying to leave a march.)

Linguistic Gymnastics

posted by on September 3 at 5:14 PM

National Review’s Corner blog has a long-winded and difficult-to-understand explanation by Peggy Noonan about what she said was “over” when her mic was live today on MSNBC.

In our off-air conversation, I got on the subject of the leaders of the Republican party assuming, now, that whatever the base of the Republican party thinks is what America thinks. I made the case that this is no longer true, that party leaders seem to me stuck in the assumptions of 1988 and 1994, the assumptions that reigned when they were young and coming up. “The first lesson they learned is the one they remember,” I said to Todd — and I’m pretty certain that is a direct quote. But, I argued, that’s over, those assumptions are yesterday, the party can no longer assume that its base is utterly in line with the thinking of the American people. And when I said, “It’s over!” — and I said it more than once — that is what I was referring to. I am pretty certain that is exactly what Todd and Murphy understood I was referring to. In the truncated version of the conversation, on the Web, it appears I am saying the McCain campaign is over. I did not say it, and do not think it.

Ms. Noonan also squirmily apologizes for blurting the “barnyard ephithet,” for those of you who were offended by the word “bullshit.”

I guess that settles that.

City Hearing Examiner Rejects Neighborhood Plea to Save Waldo Woods

posted by on September 3 at 5:09 PM

The City Hearing Examiner has ruled that Prescott Development can continue with plans to demolish the Waldo Hospital in the Maple Leaf neighborhood to make way for 39 townhomes and cottages.

Maple Leaf residents have been fighting Prescott’s plan since May 2007, when the developer purchased the property from Campfire USA.

The Maple Leaf Community Council (MLCC) appealed Prescott’s permit application with the city over plans to remove a number of trees at the site and concerns that demolition at the site would expose the neighborhood to lead dust.

“In our estimation [the lead dust] will reach the neighboring houses, and it will reach the [adjacent] reservoir and park,” says MLCC president David Miller. “There’s no plan to control the dust [and] there’s no plan to handle the lead in the soil,” he says. “It[’s] like the city is experimenting on our neighborhood,”

Miller says the MLCC will closely examine any further permit applications from Prescott.

Godless America: Part II

posted by on September 3 at 5:02 PM

Do they give delegates a script?

All of them today are talking about Palin’s credentials (“she’s the CEO of a state that makes a lot of money and she’s the CEO of a family”), the protestors (“if they had any love for our country, they would not do this… they should ask permission to protest”), and 9/11 (“Bush has kept us safe—if he wasn’t president, they would have hit us again”).

The good news: Every single one has agreed that the party is moving away from evangelicalism/social conservatism—which is great fucking news. Because those gay-hating, pot-hating, hypocritical dirtbags are the dregs of American politics and they’ve had far too much influence for far too long.


Phyllis Gorman, from Oklahoma, on the fall of the evangelicals:

“The social conservatism came in the ’90s. Small-government conservatives is what we were before. And we’re returning to that.”


Tim Babcock, former soldier, trucker, and governor of Montana (and the oldest delegate at this convention):

“There’s a little trend in that direction [away from social conservatism]. And I’m not so sure that’s all bad. We’ve become a little more conscious of other countries and the needs of the world.”

(His cell phone ring: A synthesizer version of “When the Saints go Marching In.”


Ed Gudknect:

“I’m no evangelical. You gonna put my picture in the paper? They make stuff up.”


Bill and lil’ Walker Gombor:

[Well, he deferred on the question. Which I take as a no. Since evangelicals are supposed to, you know, evangelize.]


Gabriela Wyatt, from Illinois:

“I’m a Catholic.”

And so on. None of these people said they were for marriage equality or legalization or choice—but it’s a good sign that “evangelical” and “religious right” are bad words in these parts.

Also: The RNC has been sending out emails with excerpts from the speeches tonight by Palin, Huckabee, et al. They’re “embargoed until delivery,” but a teaser: Palin sold the former governor’s plane on Ebay, lots of talk about smaller government (which is a [very] oblique hit on the Bush administration), and not one mention of anybody’s Lord and Savior.

Also-also: I’ll be liveblogging Palin’s speech later tonight (somewhere between 9 and 10 pm Minnesota time).

Stop by and tear it up the comments.

Re: What Palin Should Say Tonight

posted by on September 3 at 4:50 PM

McCain’s problem if Palin declines the nomination is written in history.



What Sarah Palin Needs to Say During Her Speech Tonight

posted by on September 3 at 4:48 PM


“I decline.”

Sarah Palin’s speech tonight is, technically speaking, an acceptance speech. She’s here to accept her party’s nomination for vice president. Of course, her party didn’t nominate her; McCain choose her name out of hat late last week when the religious right made it clear that there would be blood in the streets of St. Paul if McCain dared to nominate either of his pro-choice first picks, Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge.

And we all know how well that’s worked out. While the McCainiacs are putting on a brave face, and while Republican wanking heads are saying one thing in private and another thing in public, and while the “base,” those right-wing delegates you’re seeing on the teevee are ecstatic, Palin has been a disaster. The pregnant teenage kid, troopergate, a corruption investigation, the Alaska Independence Party, Jews for Jesus, and on and on. The woman either wasn’t vetted or lied her ass off during what little vetting was done.

So here’s what Palin should do: Open by thanking John McCain for the honor of being nominated, thank her family for their love and support, wax poetic about the progress that Hillary’s historic run and her nomination both represent—for the country, for her party (the Dems nominated a woman for VP years ago)—and then Palin should say that, as much as she would love to accept the nomination, as qualified as she knows she is to be vice president, as much as she would love to run… she has to focus on her family right now. And Palin should selflessly decline the nomination.

Imagine the pandemonium. Imagine the news stories. Imagine the freakin’ headlines. If the speech is calibrated just right, if it hits all the right notes, Palin will look like a good soldier falling on her sword… and she’ll be setting herself up for a political resurrection four, eight, or twelve years from now.

Eat Your Hearts Out, Gay Boys (and Straight Women)

posted by on September 3 at 4:12 PM


Oh My God

posted by on September 3 at 4:00 PM

I’ve written about how much I loathe this lady who is writing a blog called “Living Oprah” about living the way that Oprah recommends. I’m sure that it will become a book, and I will read that book and hate the book, but she will go on Oprah to promote it and, consequently, the book will sell a bajillion copies.

Today, Living Oprah had its first honest post:

Today I am celebrating. Why, you might ask? Why, I’ll tell you. I am excited today because after 8 months of doing exactly what I’ve been told by Oprah nutritionally, my visit to the bathroom…my morning constitutional…ahem…when I dropped the kids off at the pool…hm…oh, I’m just going to say it: My poo was “S” shaped! Woohoo! Just like Oprah and Dr. Oz say it should be!! Par-tay!

Studying your own shit is truly Living Oprah.

Palin Speaks

posted by on September 3 at 3:50 PM

There she is, Mrs. America—and the crowd is eating her up.


And, man, is she ever laying into Obama. The Clown Car is, apparently, a pretty good attack dog. And the contrast between her looks and the crap coming out of her mouth, well, the spoonful of eye candy is helping the bile go down easier than it might otherwise.

One small quibble with the GOP’s image folks: What’s up with the live video of tourists strolling around the Washington Monument playing behind Palin as she speaks?


Watching tourists in baggy t-shirts and shorts waddle around DC doesn’t exactly have, you know, the gravitas you were shooting for.

Tonight’s Lineup

posted by on September 3 at 3:45 PM


A Palin Affair?

posted by on September 3 at 3:40 PM

It’s been at least a few hours since the last Palin revelation, so we were overdue for another. This one comes from the National Enquirer, which was right about the Edwards affair but has been wrong about so much else…

You can’t read the “revelation” online because the Enquirer is only hinting at it on its web site:

The ENQUIRER has also learned that Palin’s family is embroiled in a vicious war that is now exposing her darkest secrets, threatening to destroy her political career.

But the McCain campaign is happy to tell us what’s in the Enquirer’s print edition:

The smearing of the Palin family must end. The allegations contained on the cover of the National Enquirer insinuating that Gov. Palin had an extramarital affair are categorically false. It is a vicious lie… The efforts of the media and tabloids to destroy this fine and accomplished public servant are a disgrace. The American people will reject it… Legal action will be considered with regard to this disgraceful smear.

My guess is that the McCain campaign wouldn’t be drawing attention to the Enquirer article in this way if it wasn’t false. And if that’s the case, then this is probably one small step in a larger process of using false claims about Palin to distract from true claims about Palin—a process that also lays a foundation for casting her as a victim of a vicious, sexist, media witch hunt.

But you never know… The Enquirer has been right before.

Eat Your Hearts Out, Straight Boys

posted by on September 3 at 3:36 PM


UPDATE: SPD Investigating Assistant Attorney General For Fraud, Identity Theft on Adult Hookup Sites

posted by on September 3 at 3:29 PM

Originally posted last night at 9pm.

The Seattle Police Department and King County Prosecutor’s office are investigating a Washington State assistant attorney general for alleged fraud and identity theft related to several adult hookup sites.

Earlier this month, according to a police report, a woman told police that someone had been impersonating her online and had arranged sexual encounters under her name, giving out her phone number. The report says that between December 25th, 2006 and May 15th, 2008, the woman received between 25 and 30 phone calls from people looking for sex.

According to court documents, the first incident occurred on Christmas day in 2006, when the victim received a telephone call from a Tacoma couple who claimed they had arranged a meeting on Adult Friend Finder to have sex with her. The couple told the woman that a person claiming to be her had given out her name and phone number to arrange a tryst.

Records say that over the next year and a half, the woman received one or two calls a week from people looking for sex. Some of the callers were from New York City, Florida, and California. The callers—a number of whom were female—all said someone claiming to be the victim had contacted them on or, using handles like BiseattleBi06 and Mellywood. Some of the callers said they had received photos from the impersonator, which were not of the victim. Most of the accounts have been removed, but one account on Adultfriendfinder lists the account holder as a 24-year-old Seattle woman who is “lookin to play, willing to travel.” The account also includes a picture of a young brunette woman.

In May 2007, five months after the calls began, the victim contacted the FBI and Seattle Police. Authorities subpoenaed information from Adultfriendfinder and the accounts were then traced to a Washington state IP address that belongs to the assistant Attorney General.

Police asked the woman if she recognized the assistant Attorney General’s name and she identified him as the husband of a former co-worker at a local news station. The victim had also lived in the same Seattle neighborhood as the assistant AG and his wife until 2007, when they moved outside of Seattle. The Stranger is not naming the man as no charges have been filed.

According to court records, the victim told police that after her former co-worker and the co-worker’s husband moved out of her neighborhood, she still saw him walking near her home a half-dozen times, sometimes alone, sometimes with a stroller. Neighbors also told her they’d seen the man in the neighborhood.

On July 31st, police searched the man’s home and took 16 CDs, a USB drive, 2 digital storage cards, an RSA encryption device, a laptop, paperwork, and three cameras.

Kristin Alexander, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, says the AG’s office has been informed of the investigation but has not put the employee on leave. Alexander also says it does not appear that any state computers were used to access or

The man being investigated has been with the attorney general’s office for nine years.

Running the Gauntlet

posted by on September 3 at 3:24 PM


To get into the RNC today we had to run a gauntlet of Ron Paul revolutionaries. They were very nice, very polite, and very determined. But I’m not exactly sure what standing by the gates to the Xcel Center—or the gates that lead to a second set of gates, a line of metal detectors, and ultimately the doors to the Xcel Center—is going to accomplish. Ron Paul lost and I can’t imagine that the McCain delegates pouring through the doors are going to be swayed by these folks.

Still… I can’t help but wonder why these protesters—and the Christian protesters that rode by the gates on bikes waving “Repent!” signs—weren’t being pepper-sprayed along with the rest of the scum.

Ladies and gentleman, Samantha Bee…


Had He Lived, the Author Would Have Thrown His Own Shit and Masturbated to Celebrate

posted by on September 3 at 3:00 PM


A book written by a chimp has been longlisted for the Guardian first book award.

Me Cheeta: the Autobiography, is billed as the true story of Cheeta the Chimp, star of Hollywood blockbusters, told “in his own words”. The book documents the life and times of a chimpanzee who has outlived all his co-stars from the 1939 film Tarzan to reach the ripe old age of 75. He withdrew from the limelight in 1964 after biting his Doctor Dolittle co-star Rex Harrison, and has retired to an old chimps’ home in Palm Springs, California.

The book is not published until October 1, but judges for the award, now in its 10th year, were so startled by the early version they were sent that they included it on the 10-strong longlist, revealed today.

In/Visible Is Up: Harry Dodge & Stanya Kahn, Vaudevillians of the Apocalypse

posted by on September 3 at 2:47 PM


L.A.-based artists Harry Dodge (born Harriet, but now not identifying as either male or female) and Stanya Kahn are as uncompromising as they are hilarious. The entertaining but unsettling performances in their videos—both in front of and behind the camera—are plainly spontaneous, but the final works are carefully crafted. To get a sense of what they do, watch a segment of their Can’t Swallow It, Can’t Spit It Out here (that’s Kahn you see in the frame, and Dodge is shooting).

Then listen in to a sprawly phone conversation with them here.

For more, there’s a comprehensive New York Times profile of the artists here, and a nice Time Out piece about them here.

Their 2006 work Masters of None (pictured above) is screening at TBA:08 in Portland through October 4, and the artists will talk at the Back Room Friday night, September 12.

“It’s Over”

posted by on September 3 at 2:45 PM

Peggy Noonan says so. But if these new state polls hold up, you won’t have to take the Republican operative’s word for it:

OHIO: Obama 47, McCain 45

MINNESOTA: Obama 53, McCain 41

IOWA: Obama 55, McCain 40

It’s never been about what Peggy Noonan thinks about Sarah Palin and narratives (no matter how delicious her caught-on-mic criticism of McCain’s VP pick). Nor has it ever been about what the national tracking polls say. It has always been—and will continued to be—about a handful of swing states, which way those states tip on Nov. 4, and how that alters the electoral math.

So do the math using the results of these new state polls. If Obama wins all of the above states, and all of the states that are currently considered safely in his column or leaning his way, then that’s it, game over, he has more than 270 electoral votes and the Democrats have the White House.

(And, I might add, in this scenario Obama wins the White House without taking one Southern state or Florida.)

Local Press Does…Good?

posted by on September 3 at 2:00 PM


That Sarah Palin biography that’s sold out everywhere was published by Epicenter Press, which is a Seattle-based publisher that publishes books about…um…Alaska. Sadly, this is the biggest news to hit Seattle publishing in years. We need about twenty more small presses, stat.

I love that the line above the title of the new edition of the biography is this:

“Sarah Palin is a politician of eye-popping integrity.” — Fox News Network

You can read the first chapter of the biography on the Epicenter Press website.

It’s Almost Enough to Make You Believe in God

posted by on September 3 at 1:57 PM

From HuffPo:

(Wall Street Journal columnist) Peggy Noonan and (former McCain adviser) Mike Murphy were caught on a live mike referring to the Palin choice as “cynical” and “gimmicky,” and commenting that “it’s over.”

Undead Stoners On Tour!

posted by on September 3 at 1:57 PM

I am most confused. I admit it. I simply don’t understand what the hell I was thinking!

Hypothetical situation: If some mad person were holding a shotgun to my head and said something like, “True or false: Cheech and/or Chong are totally dead, dead, dead, and you completely remember reading the obit all about it, right, Adrian? RIGHT?!” I would have instantly answered, “TRUE!” and had my lovely brains blown all over the wallpaper. I simply have no clue where I got that idea, becasue….

Cheech and Chong are back and ready to hit the road for their “Light Up America and Canada” tour!

Well. That’s certainly a relief. I guess.

Full tour dates and information can be found here.

The Civic Fest

posted by on September 3 at 1:36 PM

The Civic Fest, which is in Minneapolis, is far from the convention site. There’s a mock-up of the Oval Office here, a little chunk of Air Force One… and that’s pretty much it. This is where the convention vendors are all located—the folks selling T-shirts and buttons and mugs and commemorative plates. It’s also the site of the RNC’s Official Convention Gear shop. And this place is freakin’ deserted. Empty. And, man, are the vendors ever pissed.



One vendor in particular—a vendor who wished to remain anonymous—unloaded on me about how poorly sales are going. She sells political schwag “on a bipartisan basis”; she was at the DNC last week and she’s at the RNC this week. And she’s amazed at the difference between the Dems’ convention and the Republicans. In Denver, people were buying up everything she had, the place was packed, “and the Democrats were pumped up and excited,” she says. But here? “They’ll come up and pick over the merchandise and buy one thing, maybe two. And no one seems very jazzed about their candidate.”

“Really,” she said, “this is just pathetic. Pathetic.”

In Advance of Tonight’s Project Runway

posted by on September 3 at 1:25 PM


…here’s a Hot Tip from my intern-for-life-who’s-vacationing-in-Manhattan Marti:

I just saw the Leathuh Lady from Project Runway!!!!

My immediate response:

Oh my god! How did she look? Did you hear her say anything? WHAT WAS SHE WEARING???

Marti’s reply:

We were in Chelsea and she suddenly appeared in the doorway of some kind of supermarket as I walked past. She was talking to her dog, but not in a crazy way, just in the way that normal people talk to their dogs: “What are you doing? Can we go now please? Why are you standing there? Come on!” It was a huge black dog—I think a rottweiler. She was wearing pretty casual and nonremarkable clothing—our encounter was so fleeting and I didn’t get a chance to really study her like I would’ve wanted. I did notice that she is quite tiny. It was early in the day and she was apparently out running chores. Ta-da!

God bless you, Marti. Everyone else, here’s my prediction for tonight, which feels so true it should probably come with a spoiler alert: Yammy Davis Jr. is gone-licious.

More Arrested Photographers

posted by on September 3 at 1:23 PM

This time videographers from Seattle: Lambert Rochfort and Joe LaSac of, um, “Pepperspray Productions.”

The XXX Files!

posted by on September 3 at 1:01 PM

Oh, the “famous”! Aren’t they all such total bunch of big raging perverts? Of course they are. They can’t help it. It’s all in the DNA. (The celebrity allele and the pervert allele travel hand-in-hand. Look it up.) But oh so very few of “the famous” have the courage to stand up (off their God damn knees) and do what David Duchovny just did: buck nature and check his famous and perverted ass into rehab to handle the sticky issue. (Or, um, not handle it.) And David’s particular perversion? Well, he’s addicted to, uh, online porn. Well. Yes. Online porn!

Online porn?


Actor David Duchovny allegedly entered rehab for an Internet porn habit, according to reports.

Indeed. At first the rumors flying around claimed that David checked into a sex addiction rehab or whatever to save his marriage to Tea Leoni after she caught him porking the tennis instructor. (People still pork tennis instructors? People still have tennis instructors?) But no. Porn. Online porn. Which seems like such a waste of effort, as far as addictions go. Especially sex addictions. I’m sure you agree.

But most importantly: They have actual rehabs for perverts? Who knew? And where the hell can I find one near me?

Progressive Conservatism?

posted by on September 3 at 1:00 PM

One happy thing about the convention: Surprisingly little God-talk. The speeches last night were pretty much Jesus-free (Fred Thompson isn’t very religious, Lieberman’s Jewish, and Bush was too neutered to do anything except say hello and goodbye).

Palin, of course, is all Jesus-y—she signed a “Christian Heritage Week” into law last year. But McCain has a long and bitter history with the evangelicals—I’d hoped he’d mostly ignore them during his campaign and try to build a new Republican base.

“Yeah, and then he would’ve lost 25 percent of the vote,” Saul Farber, a young candidate for New York state assembly, told me last night in the convention hall. He thinks it’s too soon to jettison the religious right, but agreed that the base is changing. “I think in coming years you’ll see a move towards fiscal conservatism and away from some of the social conservatism,” he said.

He wouldn’t go on the record as being pro-legalization and pro-gay marriage per se, but said that he was for small government across the board, including what people do with their bodies and in their own homes. And he thinks that’s where the party as a whole is headed—call it progressive conservatism.

Tonight should be the high-water mark of the Jeebus-talk, with Romney, Huckabee, and Palin all on the speech list.

How much Bible-thumping the McCain camp allows (or encourages) from Palin will tell us how much stock McCain puts in the evangelical base.

Hopefully, it ain’t much.

“Cowardly Self-Censorship”

posted by on September 3 at 1:00 PM

In this week’s Constant Reader, I wrote about one controversy that’s consuming booksellers lately:

Independent publisher Chelsea Green is publishing Robert Kuttner’s newest book, Obama’s Challenge: America’s Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency, exclusively through’s print-on-demand service for two weeks.

Many booksellers are threatening to boycott Obama’s Challenge and some are threatening to boycott Chelsea Green’s books entirely. In my column I also wrote about the controversy that bookselllers should be paying attention to:

Random House imprint Ballantine Books paid $100,000 for the rights to The Jewel of Medina and a hypothetical sequel by Spokane author Sherry Jones. Medina is a novel written from the point of view of Muhammad’s wife Aishah, and the book had all the signs of becoming a best seller with the book-club crowd…Soon, angry Muslims were calling for a boycott and demanding that Random House disassociate from the book. In late May, presumably out of fear of retribution, Random House announced it would not publish The Jewel of Medina.

To my knowledge, not one independent bookseller has threatened to boycott Random House’s books. But now, one literary prize has:

An American book prize has blacklisted Random House following its “cowardly self-censorship” of Sherry Jones’s novel The Jewel of Medina. The Langum Charitable Trust, which awards two yearly $1,000 (£550) prizes, has said that until the novel is published, it “will not consider submissions of any books, for any of our prizes, from Random House or any of its affiliates”.

I know that this seems tiny—$2,000 a year!—but many authors need book award prize money to survive, and there’s no better way to get their attention than by threatening to withhold it. Maybe Random House will be made to account for this Jewel of Medina mess yet.

Lying Email of the Day

posted by on September 3 at 12:50 PM

Tim Eyman sent out a blast email this morning claiming that opponents of his latest initiative, I-985, only want rich people to be able to drive alone in carpool lanes. (His initiative, in contrast, would open carpool lanes to everyone, including solo soccer moms in suburban assault vehicles, for most of the day, including hours when traffic is already congested). Eyman’s explanation for this audacious claim: Enviros (who oppose I-985) do support high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes—HOV lanes that solo drivers can access for a variable toll during the parts of the day when freeways aren’t congested. (The worse the traffic is, the more solo drivers have to pay to get around it—and if traffic gets too bad, they aren’t allowed at all.) Opponents call these “Lexus lanes,” reasoning that after all, we’ve already paid for all those roads with our gas taxes and it isn’t fair to pay twice. And just think about all those poor, poor solo commuters stuck in traffic who just can’t afford the buck or two it will cost to jump on the HOV lane with all the (rich) carpoolers and folks on buses (and who, presumably, also can’t afford the bus)!

According to Eyman’s email:

I-985 opens carpool lanes to everyone during non-peak hours — it’s what other states do and provides immediate, cost-effective congestion relief. Opponents are squawking about this, whining that it’s just not right for solo drivers to be able to drive in those lanes. But I-985’s opponents support solo drivers using carpool lanes … as long as they’re rich. Lexus lanes are the future, say opponents, forcing solo drivers to pay twice for the ‘privilege’ of using carpool lanes.

There are a few glaring problems with that argument. First, “congestion relief” is a myth. The second you open up a new lane to solo traffic, that lane inevitably fills up, as people change their travel patterns, making trips they wouldn’t have taken or would have taken at different times—a very old, very basic concept known as latent or induced demand.

Second, the idea that “only rich people” can afford the tolls is ludicrous. According to the state Department of Transportation, the variable tolls on SR 167, the first HOT lane in the state, will range, on average, from $2 to $5. (If you’re riding in a carpool or on a bus, of course, the lanes are completely free). In comparison, Sound Transit Express bus fares range from $1.50 to $3; Sound Transit’s Sounder train fares range from $2.55 to $4.75; Pierce Transit bus fares range from $1.50 to $3; and King County Metro bus fares range from $1.50 to $2.25—and that’s about to go up. So the cost for “rich” people to drive alone in the 167 HOT lane is comparable to the price of commuting by bus—and that’s without all the stops, inevitable delays, and the hassle of sharing a small space with lots and lots of random strangers.

Finally, there’s the question of the gas tax. Is it true, as Eyman claims, that by paying a few bucks to hop in the HOV lane, solo drivers are “paying twice”? Of course not. Only about $12 million of the funding for the 167 project, for example, came from the five-cent gas tax approved by the legislature in 2005; the rest, around $5 million, came from a federal grant. The tolls themselves will pay to maintain HOT lanes, not build them—so no one will be paying twice for anything, and drivers won’t even pay the full cost of building the system in the first place. Meanwhile, the overall state transportation budget is facing an ongoing deficit—a deficit serious enough that, over the last four years, the state legislature has chipped in an extra $3.8 billion to pay for state transportation projects. That money didn’t come from state gas taxes, either—which, incidentally, only cost a typical driver (one whose car gets between 20 and 30 mpg) between $150 and $225 a year.

So, to summarize: Thanks to latent demand, opening HOV lanes up to everyone doesn’t provide “congestion relief.” HOT lanes are free if you carpool, and only a little more expensive than transit if you choose to drive alone. And drivers aren’t being forced to “pay twice” for roads they’ve already paid for with gas taxes; in fact, they’re getting subsidies from the state and federal government that protect them from the true cost of paying for those very lanes.

And speaking of rich people… Voters Want More Choices, Tim Eyman’s latest PAC, already has nearly $170,000 in the bank in advance of this November’s election.

Weigh in on Palin!

posted by on September 3 at 12:12 PM

Gov. Sarah Palin will be addressing the Republican National Convention tonight sometime after 7 p.m. Pacific. We’ll be here to liveblog the historic event, but while we wait, a Slog poll:

What will they be saying about Palin’s speech tomorrow?

I’m With the Band

posted by on September 3 at 12:09 PM

Mike Huckabee’s band…


The former governor of Arkansas is rehearsing before the Republican Governors Association reception this afternoon on Nicolette Island. Right now, as we wait for him on the deck outside the pavilion, the governor’s band is rehearing—no shit—Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine.” Not sure if that’s for the show or just to warm everyone up, but… “Cocaine,” governor?

UPDATE: Oh my God! Security lapse! Security lapse! Awwoooooga! Awwooooga!

On our way out of the RGA reception—which was just beginning as we were heading to the car—a perky blond 20-something with lots of pink lip gloss and the interpersonal skills of Leni Riefenstahl informed that the event was closed to the press! To the press! CLOSED! I was holding my laptop open and had just asked her if there was an apostrophe after the “Governors” and she looked at me like I had asked her to piss in my mouth. “This event is closed to the press! You can’t be in here. No press!” I told her we just were “in here,” and that we took pictures and shot video, and that we were invited by Governor Huckabee hisseff. She told me that wasn’t possible because THIS EVENT IS CLOSED TO THE PRESS! CLOSED!

I thought she was kidding so I laughed and told her I took a picture inside the reception, in the main hall, and then she looked like she wanted to piss in my mouth. She told me I absolutely, positively couldn’t use that picture anywhere, ever, because THIS EVENT IS CLOSED TO THE PRESS! CLOSED! TO THE PRESS!

Well, I hope you’re sitting down, Slog readers, because I am about to blow the motherfucking lid off the motherfucking Republican Governors Association. Here it is, the picture RGA does not want you to see


Death Desert

posted by on September 3 at 12:05 PM

Five women buried alive in name of honour:

Three teenage girls along with their two close elderly relatives were shot at before being buried alive in a desert of Balochistan by their tribesmen in the name of honour.

The shocking reports of this horrible incident reaching the capital from different quarters revealed that the girls studying in classes 10 to 12 intended to marry men of their choice through a civil court by defying the centuries-old tribal traditions. When the fuming elders of Umrani tribe came to know about the intentions of these girls to appear before a local court, they picked them up from their homes along with two of their elderly women relatives. The crying girls were pushed into official cars and driven to a deserted area. There they were pushed out of the cars, made to stand in a queue and volleys of shots fired at them.

As the bleeding girls fell on the sand, the tribesmen dragged them into a nearby ditch and levelled it with earth and stones before the girls could breathe their last. As the two shocked elderly women tried to rescue the hapless girls, they too were gunned down and buried in the same manner.

But even worse than the killings: “Legislators indifferent to sorry end of women buried alive”:

As the government remained indifferent towards the sorry end of the five women who were buried alive in a desert of Balochistan last month, it has been revealed that the influential man who had killed the women is a ìserial killerî and loves to kill women.

The alleged serial killer had reportedly killed three persons, including one girl, before killing the five women. But he has never been captured or punished for his acts against humanity. Even parliamentarians who had raised hue and cry over the issue of Dr Aafia Siddiqui and passed a joint resolution in this regard remained silent on the sorry fate of the five women.

Utterly horrible.

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on September 3 at 12:01 PM

Look alive, at 0:25…

Lunch Date: The James Boys

posted by on September 3 at 12:00 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? For a change, I closed my eyes and picked a book from our bookshelves at random. I wound up with The James Boys by Richard Liebmann-Smith

Where’d you go? Chaco Canyon Cafe, a vegan cafe in the U District.

What’d you eat? A vegan ruben sandwich with a cup of chili ($9.95).

How was the food? I like eating vegan food every now and again—I’m actually fond of field roast, whatever the fuck that is—but Chaco Canyon needs to get a new vegan cheese, because their current vegan cheese tastes like vomit. Once I pulled the offending yellow triangles off, everything was great: the sauerkraut wasn’t too wet, the bread was great. The chili was more like a bean soup, but it was pretty good, too. I can totally see myself returning for a sandwich with no cheese and one of their soups, which I’m pretty sure are made fresh onsite every day.

What does your date say about itself? Kirkus Reviews says that this is “a debut novel that imagines two sets of real-life James brothers, novelist Henry and psychologist William, and desperadoes Frank and Jesse, are related…”

Is there a representative quote? “In his later years, after the turn of the century, James would be widely revered as “The Master,” with an imposing ouvre comprising dozens of novels, scores of novellas, and hundreds of short stories. But in that centennial summer of 1976, all of this was far ahead of him and by no means assured as his destiny. He was still in the thrall of what he once called “the hungry futurity of youth,” and we can only imagine the maelstrom of emotion generated by the fledgling author’s realization that this lovely woman was in fact perusing his very own words.”

Will you two end up in bed together? Nope. I like Henry James, but I’m not one of those people who thinks he’s the be-all end-all. And the writing in this book has flashes of greatness, but it’s full of book report-style exposition like in the above quote. I’ll pay attention to Richard Liebmann-Smith’s next book to be sure, but this one left me cold.

Big Guns

posted by on September 3 at 11:39 AM

So I went to the gym this morning in Edina, Minnesota, near my hotel. This was the sign on the door…


Being at the convention means you spend most of your time milling around, sitting around, sitting in cars. So… the gym, for an hour. Edina is pretty far out of St. Paul, but our hotel is packed with delegates and journalists and pretty much the nicest, politest, most helpful front-desk staff that I’ve ever had the pleasure of tormenting with my insane demands.

Anyway, there were some delegates working out at the gym, and they weren’t feeling very bad for the pepper-sprayed protesters or the arrested journalists. The protesters, said the men, “should be glad that they’re only getting pepper-sprayed.” Big laugh. “If it were up to me, it’d be line ‘em up, shoot ‘em down.” Har har. And the journalists ought to be inside the convention, covering the proceedings, not outside the convention, documenting the atrocities. Then the men began discussing—no shit—gout. One of ‘em recently had a bad bout o’ gout, and so now his doctor tells him he’s gotta eat “salads and lemons and shit.”

Anyway, I quickly came to regret not bringing my earphones with me. And, hey, if you’re ever in Edina, Minnesota, and you wanna work out and you can spare the extra $60 bucks… some of the personal trainers at Bally Total Fitness in Edina are pretty freakin’ hot…


Rick Santorum Hoses Sarah Palin

posted by on September 3 at 11:00 AM

Rick is positively obsessed with hoses, huh?


“She will learn and she will, she will learn at uh, you know, with uh, with a, with a firehose attached to her mouth. I mean with she’s, uh, it’s gonna be pretty tough.”

Well, that depends, uh, on how fast the woman can swallow, Rick.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on September 3 at 11:00 AM


Frequently Asked Questions

For reasons nobody can explain, Seattle produces a disproportionate number of excellent solo performers. Two of them—Mike Daisey and Reggie Watts—will address Town Hall this evening, answering rarely articulated FAQs: Why am I here? What’s the point? What’s wrong with me? Reggie Watts is a beat-boxing marvel whose extemporaneous comedy sounds like an anthropologist from Alpha Centauri delivering a standup routine in Reno. Storyteller Mike Daisey rides two rails—tragic comedy and patriotic outrage—that identify him as a direct descendant of Mark Twain. Do not miss this performance. (Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 800-838-3006. 8 pm, $15–$18.)

I Hear He’s a Real Fun Guy

posted by on September 3 at 11:00 AM

Nicholas Evans, who wrote The Horse Whisperer, has been hospitalized for eating bad mushrooms in Scotland. Apparently, he was with a group of people who ate a mushroom that infects the kidneys, and now all four of them are on dialysis. Remember, kids: Always go mushroom hunting with a specialist.

Boy Trouble

posted by on September 3 at 10:38 AM

levi.jpgIs anyone else shocked that Levi Johnston, the boy that famously ejaculated inside Sarah Palin’s daughter five or so months ago, is reportedly going to be at the RNC tonight? Presumably he’ll be sitting in the section of the stands reserved for the family.

Bristol’s pregnancy is a private matter, the McCain camp keeps insisting, and yet the boy that knocked Bristol up, a kid whose since-yanked MySpace page indicated that he didn’t want children, is going to be paraded before the Republican faithful and sit in the section of the Xcel Center reserved for family members… even though, you know, he’s not technically a member of the Palin family at the moment.

Anyone else wondering if Levi is going under duress? Anyone else concerned that Levi’s appearance tonight at the RNC will put this reluctant dad in the position of feeling that he must go through with marrying Bristol? Anyone else staggered by the emotional manipulativeness of this stunt? Anyone else believe that it would be in the best interests of Levi, Bristol, and their unborn child if made a free choice to marry Bristol—will he be able to have second thoughts?—and didn’t feel that he had to go through with it to save face after he received a hero’s welcome at the RNC from the assembled GOP hypocrites? (Your pregnant unwed teenagers suck! Our pregnant unwed teenagers rock!)

Far be it from me to question anyone else’s parenting, but… where are Levi’s parents? If this were my son—and I have a son—I would not allow him to be paraded around on national television tonight.

What Sarah Palin Thought of Obama Two Weeks Ago

posted by on September 3 at 10:29 AM

The New Yorker reports:

Before she was running against him, Sarah Palin—the governor of Alaska and now the Republican candidate for Vice-President of the United States—thought it was pretty neat that Barack Obama was edging ahead of John McCain in her usually solidly red state. After all, she said, Obama’s campaign was using the same sort of language that she had in her gubernatorial race. “The theme of our campaign was ‘new energy,’ ” she said recently. “It was no more status quo, no more politics as usual, it was all about change. So then to see that Obama—literally, part of his campaign uses those themes, even, new energy, change, all that, I think, O.K., well, we were a little bit ahead on that.” She also noted, “Something’s kind of changing here in Alaska, too, for being such a red state on the Presidential level. Obama’s doing just fine in polls up here, which is kind of wigging people out, because they’re saying, ‘This hasn’t happened for decades that in polls the D’ ”—the Democratic candidate—“ ‘is doing just fine.’ To me, that’s indicative, too. It’s the no-more-status-quo, it’s change.”

And so on.

Sarah Palin, Joe Eszterhas, and God

posted by on September 3 at 10:14 AM

Jesus Christ—what did I think/talk/read about before “the clown car that is Sarah Palin” (rightfully) took over all human consciousness?

Oh yeah—this, which brings me to something I’ve been meaning to Slog for days, but I kept getting sidetracked by some new hilarious twist in Palingate: Joe Eszterhas has written a book about his spiritual rebirth.

From the nation’s preeminent dispensary of Eszterhasenalia, the Toledo Blade:

Joe Eszterhas’ latest book is a shocker, but not the kind that made him rich and famous. The [new] release from the man who penned dark thrillers such as Basic Instinct and Jagged Edge [and this!] tells the story of his spiritual conversion and his newfound devotion to God and family.

Of course I’m tempted to say something snarky, but you can’t blast a dude for being a boneheaded cro-magnon man then get uppity when he starts taking baby steps toward evolution.

But still:

“Frankly my life changed from the moment God entered my heart. I’m not interested in the darkness anymore,” [Eszterhas} said. “I’ve got four gorgeous boys, a wife I adore, I love being alive, and I love and enjoy every moment of my life. My view has brightened and I don’t want to go back into that dark place.”

Dear God: Please inspire Joe Eszterhas to make a movie of the Bible. Amen.

We now return to previously scheduled obsessing over Palin…

More Palin

posted by on September 3 at 10:14 AM

Beyond satire? Not yet…

And We Were Just Heading Off to Lunch

posted by on September 3 at 10:02 AM


I thought McCain and the GOP were generally opposed to abortion and homosexuality? What do they have to repent for? Or is the problem that the GOP faithful keep nominating anti-choice candidates—and vetoing pro-choice VP candidates—and electing anti-choice presidents and appointing anti-choice Supreme Court justices and yet abortion remains legal in the United States? Is that the problem?

Reading Tonight

posted by on September 3 at 10:02 AM


One open mic and one reading tonight, but the one reading is a goodie.

There will be a Subtext group reading at the Chapel Performance Space in Wallingford tonight. There will be at least one certified Stranger Genius reading. Christopher Frizzelle says of poet John Olson:

It’s easy to find surrealist influences in Olson’s work (“The caribou are unfolding from the day like a hill”), as well as the influence of Beat poetry (“We allow ourselves to become intimate with the idea of intimacy”), language poetry (“the man was a tube of armor ejaculating metal at the idea of blood”), Gertrude Stein (“Computers and airplanes have made our city wealthy and it is full of coffeehouses”)—you can comb his poems for literary derivatives, if that’s your thing. There is something athletic and ruthless about the way Olson does so many things at once, as well as something strangely at ease.

And there will also be readers like Stacy Levine, who is awesome, and Nico Vassilakis, who is always working on something experimental and interesting, and Drew Kunz, who also produces some gorgeous chapbooks. The Subtext series is a good way to get a handle on who’s producing good local work.

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

Happy Birthday, Fnarf!

posted by on September 3 at 10:00 AM


Everyone at the Stranger and Slog wants to wish you a very happy 50th birthday, Fnarf. I will personally drink to your health today on the floor of the Republican National Convention. Congratulations!

A Moment for the History Books

posted by on September 3 at 9:54 AM


I know Eli already posted a link, but I think this rises to the level of posting the video itself.

And Barack Still Doesn’t Support Gay Marriage?

posted by on September 3 at 9:40 AM

Even now, after Terry Moran has broken the shocking news that Obama has two dads? Really?

(Via Ben Smith)

Does Anyone Want Dick at the RNC?

posted by on September 3 at 9:34 AM

Besides these guys?

Everyone’s talking about Bush not making the RNC… but what about Dick Cheney? Has his name even been mentioned? Was his face shown during last night’s sepia-toned video homages to past Republican administrations? Where’s Dick?

UPDATE: Oh, right: Dick’s in Georgia, where he just announced that the American taxpayers will be sending one billion dollars to help “rebuild Georgia after its rout by Russian forces,” the NYT reports.

The aid—along with Mr. Cheney’s visit—is sure to increase tensions with Russia, whose leaders have accused the United States of stoking the conflict with Georgia over its two separatist regions, by providing weapons and training to the Georgians.

Hey, what was that Onion headline back in January of 2000? Oh, right:

Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over’

Ladies and gentleman, Arlen Specter…


Goodbye to All That

posted by on September 3 at 9:20 AM

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Free speech “zones,” preemptive pepper spraying of (currently) peaceful protesters, the arrests of AP photographers and radio show producers and hosts… again I say to you 2nd Amendment purists: You’re always saying you need all those guns to defend yourselves against the guvmint and protect your constitutional rights. But how come your right to own guns is the only constitutional right you guys ever seem interested in protecting? If you guys used all that firepower to protect, say, the right to free speech—if you functioned as the armed wing of the ACLU—you could make 2nd Amendment purists out of 1st Amendment purists.

Just sayin’.

For Now

posted by on September 3 at 9:09 AM

What is happening? The contradictions that have structured the Republican hegemony (hegemony in the Gramscian sense of interests connected to form a bloc of political power) are breaking apart. The force that consolidated social conservatives, neocons, and advocates of neoliberalism is weakening. And this is occurring at exactly the moment the Democrats have consolidated their party and undone far left opposition to its own hegemony. I think this is the happening.

Oh, the People You’ll Meet

posted by on September 3 at 9:02 AM

Whatever the prize is, this guy wins it:


Just look at that smug jackass. In fact, let’s take a closer look at that smug jackass:


That’s Daniel Kramer, from Sacramento, having his photo taken with protestors who are two barricades away. He runs a p.r. firm and says the protests seem “unique.”


“They seem rather coordinated. They look almost violent. And it’s surprising—most of those folks look well-off, well-to-do. If I didn’t know better, I’d think some of them were getting paid to be out here. M-hm.”

There’s no other description for a guy like this: He is pure, distilled jackassery.

Currently Hanging

posted by on September 3 at 9:00 AM

Mark Takamichi Miller’s Thieves: Man at Party (2008), acrylic, wax, urethane, oil, and glass spheres on canvas over board, 48 by 72 inches

At Howard House. (Gallery site here.)

I can’t get the story of this painting out of my head. A man goes to his car. Everything is normal except that a roll of film is lying on the seat, with a business card rubber-banded around it. The business card says “Associated Counsel for the Accused.”

The man figures he’s been attempted-robbed. But nothing of his is gone. Instead, he’s come away with something from the robber: this film. He gives the film to a friend of his, an artist who specializes in making painting from photographs of people he doesn’t know, photographs he only half-understands. The artist makes paintings from the pictures. The pictures end up in a gallery in Pioneer Square.

Consistently Conservative

posted by on September 3 at 8:57 AM

Dr. Laura:

I am extremely disappointed in the choice of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential candidate of the Republican Party…. Role models are very important. Children and young adults look to those who are visible and successful as a road map of what is acceptable behavior and emulate those actions over the morals and values their parents and churches have taught and tried to reinforce. It’s a tough go these days, when the “bad that men or women do” is used for entertainment purposes without judgment, or is excused because of political or financial considerations.

I’m stunned—couldn’t the Republican Party find one competent female with adult children to run for Vice President with McCain? …I am haunted by the family pictures of the Palins during political photo-ops, showing the eldest daughter, now pregnant with her own child, cuddling the family’s newborn. When Mom and Dad both work full-time (no matter how many folks get involved with the children), it becomes a somewhat chaotic situation. Certainly, if a child becomes ill and is rushed to the hospital, and you’re on the hotline with both Israel and Iran as nuclear tempers are flaring, where’s your attention going to be? Where should your attention be? Well, once you put your hand on the Bible and make that oath, your attention has to be with the government of the United States of America.

What’s McCain Got Against Vetting Anyway?

posted by on September 3 at 8:56 AM

Perhaps McCain didn’t fully vet Palin because he didn’t care for the vetting process himself? A friend writes…

Back in 1996 McCain was a finalist to be Bob Dole’s running mate, and by all accounts, he was a one of the last ones left. That said, my memory says it was reported at the time, prior to the internet saving our every sneeze, that McCain bristled at the vetting of him and his wife… particularly her family’s beer distributor business. Obviously he wasn’t chosen and he might feel the vetting has something to do with it.

I am guessing, fast forwarding to 2008, that McCain feels vindicated that he is now his party’s nominee despite whatever was turned up by Dole’s research team. Victory often teaches us the wrong lesson and I am guessing that McCain might have felt his gut would be better than whatever a vetting team of his own could turn up on Palin. Hence his hurried decision.

There’s not a lot available online about the 1996 election—particularly the VP mightabins—but my friend did find this reference to McCain’s experiences with being on the receiving end of the VP vetting process…

McCain was especially sensitive about maintaining the privacy of his prospects after he was passed over in 1996 by the GOP nominee, Bob Dole. McCain had waited around his hotel room in Hawaii on the eve of Dole’s selection thinking he might get the call, but learned on television that Jack Kemp had been chosen.

Hawaii? Hm. Weird that John McCain would vacation in such an exotic, foreign place. Now who will break the news to Cokie Roberts?

The Morning News

posted by on September 3 at 7:55 AM

Russian Roulette: Bush Administration will give $1 billion in aid to Georgia—and may include military support. Russia still occupies some territory.

Compassionate Conservatives: Now putting their “Country First.”

The Harder They Come: Bush calls McCain “the man we need”; then spotlight is usurped by someone more credible—a wishy-washy former Democrat who ran against Bush.

Lie-Berman: Joe’s speech assailed for inaccuracies about Obama’s voting record on bipartisanship, troop funding.

Wrong Paul: Thousands of dupes attend shadow convention for Paul. Congressman’s access to Republican convention restricted.

Ms. Maverick: Palin requested $197 million in earmark funding for Alaska.

Convention Protesters: They protest either party, apparently—but they always make the left look bad.

Cut the Cord: Buses to carry commuters while the viaduct—West Seattle’s “lifeline”—is under construction. “That will never work,” say drivers with no alternative.

Chopper: NATO helicopters in Pakistan kill 15—women, kids, Taliban, and governor.

The Was Easy: Staples’s second-quarter profit drops 16 percent.

Six Dead in Skagit County: Shooter kills six, including sheriff’s deputy responding to a disturbance, on multi-house murder spree and turns himself into police. Mother says he is mentally disturbed and has lived in the woods on and off for years.

Making Waves: Georgia prepares for Tropical Storm Hanna—currently over the Caribbean—expected to make landfall Friday afternoon.

Absent Ape Eight-foot mechanical gorilla missing in Maine.

Urban Wildlife: City creates $462,000-dollar parks-ranger program. They don’t carry guns and act like social workers.

“The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government.”

posted by on September 3 at 7:36 AM

I just can’t stop saying it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Quote of the Day

posted by on September 2 at 11:49 PM

Two Republicans at the convention watched from behind the barricade as a group of 2,000(ish) protestors briefly considered trying to topple the fence:

First Republican: “Oh shit. I think they want to jump the fence. You wearing comfortable shoes?”

Second Republican: “Yeah—I can run in Prada loafers.”

Also: No matter what you think about the protestors’ politics or methods, the police here are behaving like brutes. I’m not just saying that because I got pepper-sprayed several hundred feet from the protests (and after I’d identified myself as a non-protesting reporter with an RNC credential badge):

Yesterday and today, I saw police gratuitously smack and pepper-spray people (most of them peaceful protestors or non-protesting passers-by) who only wanted to get out of harm’s way.


So did CNN:

The protesters were noisy but peaceful as they approached the convention. Once they arrived, a police officer read an order to disperse, CNN reporters on the scene said.

But almost immediately, officers along the exit route opened fire with gas and projectiles. In one instance, a CNN producer said, an officer stepped out of line to hit a young woman with pepper spray as she ran for the exit.

Firing tear gas at your police-appointed exit route? Which will only drive people back into the fray that you’re trying to disperse?

That’s either gross idiocy or gross sadism.

There’s no other explanation.

The Palin Clown Car

posted by on September 2 at 9:05 PM

A knocked up daughter, a husband who hates America, and an ongoing investigation into abuse of power. Anything else about to jump out of the clown car that is Sarah Palin? Well, how about this: on top of everything else Sarah Palin has a preacher problem! David Brickner, founder of the Jews for Jesus, came to Sarah Palin’s church to preach recently and you’ll never be able to guess what he had to say.

Brickner… explained that Jesus and his disciples were themselves Jewish.

“The Jewish community, in particular, has a difficult time understanding this reality,” he said…. Brickner also described terrorist attacks on Israelis as God’s “judgment of unbelief” of Jews who haven’t embraced Christianity.

Palin was in church two weeks ago when Brickner made these comments.

Via Sullivan.

So, How Was It For You?

posted by on September 2 at 8:32 PM


George W. Bush couldn’t make it to the Republican National Convention Tuesday night because, you see, he had to be at the White House, of course, where he was closely monitoring, um, Monday morning’s storm. (Gustav, not Bristol.) This, of course, is total bullshit. The White House goes wherever the president goes. The White House is wherever the president is. Bush was at the White House because 1. he’s making amends for Katrina, and 2. it was better for John McCain for the wildly unpopular president to be elsewhere tonight.

Now about Katrina: the problem during that earlier hurricane wasn’t that the president wasn’t at the White House, but that the president was on vacation when the storm hit and stayed on vacation in the immediate aftermath. And for days George and rest of the Hee-Haw gang had no idea what was happening in and to New Orleans—something they would have realized if, like the rest of the country, they had bothered to watch five seconds of the news.

Now about the president’s absence tonight: George W. Bush is the first sitting president to miss his party’s convention since LBJ in 1968. Hm… what does George W. Bush have in common with LBJ? Oh, right: Like LBJ was in ‘68, Bush is wildly fucking unpopular. He’s toxic.

It’s really remarkable that Bush wasn’t physically present in St. Paul tonight. Yes, yes: he was there on that screen, larger than life. But the symbolism was clear: Bush was exiled from the RNC, kept at a distance, practically held with tongs. Bush’s wife was there in person, and so were his mother and father. But Bush himself? Oh, that bad boy was grounded, stuck at the White House, sulking away the hours in the family quarters. George W. Bush had to watch what should have been his night at the RNC—the night devoted to celebrating him and his (dubious) achievements—on television, like the rest of us, and he was denied the adulation and grateful send-off that, as a two-term president, Bush no doubt feels he deserves.

Sucks to be him, huh?

Finally, what’s it like to stand in that crowd. Words fail me.

Live From the Convention

posted by on September 2 at 7:05 PM

A distillation of W’s two minutes: Country first, husbands love their wives, political maverick-dom, 9/11.


1893, from a literal meaning (1840) “metal rolled in large, flat plates for use in making steam boilers.” The connecting notion is probably of sturdiness or reusability. From 1890s to 1950s it was literal: publicity items were cast or stamped in metal ready for the printing press and distributed to newspapers as filler. The largest supplier was Western Newspaper Union.

Another Game!

posted by on September 2 at 6:53 PM

Savage writes:

There’s an African-American in this picture. Can you spot him?


Havana Movie Night Finale: Superbad

posted by on September 2 at 6:36 PM

Tonight being the finale of this dicey summer’s Movie Nights at Havana, things are going out proper-style, with a viewing of the hilarious teen comedy Superbad. It stars the excellent Michael Cera, and it all happens at dusk, that is, if the weather holds out.

Pro Walk/Pro Bike Comes to Seattle

posted by on September 2 at 6:29 PM

Pro Walk/ Pro Bike 2008—that would be the same bike/ped conference Seattle almost forfeited when it mysteriously demoted bike/ped manager Peter Lagerwey, one of the most respected bike planners in the nation, early last year—is happening this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at the Westin in downtown Seattle.

You can still register as a walk-in participant—I’m particularly interested in Thursday’s panel on “How to Develop and Implement a Successful Bike Master Plan,” headlined by Lagerwey, given the extent to which Seattle’s own Bicycle Master Plan has been whittled away—but Friday afternoon’s event, which will look at how biking and walking can impact climate change, is free and open to the public. According to the conference web site, it’s an “interactive workshop” where participants will explore “(1) the value of trading a car trip for a bicycling or walking trip, (2) strategies to create buy-in from general public, businesses and elected officials, and (3) improving air quality through policies, programs and projects that promote bicycling and walking.” Full details available here.

Text Message from Dan Savage

posted by on September 2 at 6:08 PM

Everyone is waving these on the floor of the RNC. As the Palin thing is breaking. Hilarious.


“The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government.”

posted by on September 2 at 5:38 PM

OK, everyone—who said it?

(A) Osama bin Laden addressing his followers in a videotape released after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

(B) Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

(C) The founder of the Alaska Independence Party, which Todd Palin—husband of the Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States—was an active member of from 1995 to 2002.

The answer’s here.

You Want Cheap Shit Condos?

posted by on September 2 at 5:32 PM

Then go to to review Seattle’s cheapest, shittiest condos. The buildings range from unforgivable blights (what were you thinking, Capitol Crest?), to ordinary buildings with cladding like layers of Wet n’ Wild slapped on a drag queen (hey, Braeburn). And the Breaburn’s real burn: It may look like shit, but the units aren’t cheap. A medium-sized one-bedroom loft went for $465,000.

So, then, what qualifies a condo as a cheap shit condo? Here is CSC’s answer:

Cheapshit condos are the boxy, boring, characterless buildings blanding up our neighborhoods. As far as specific criteria, we look at buildings that are new-ish and clash with the neighborhood, basically whatever we don’t like and our neighbors send us. There has been a good response from people who recognize the cheapshit condos in their neighborhoods.

I’ve got to say, I’m rather enamored with CSC. Some developers hire discount architecture firms that use shoddy materials to save money but charge market rate for their condos anyway. Then we’re all stuck looking at a crappy-ass building for decades, while the seedy siding is besieged by rust and mildew. Unless developers are building low-income housing, they deserve a slap on the wrist from

That said, the crowd that reflexively screams bloody murder about any new housing on the site of a precious parking lot or a dilapidated vacant supermarket deserves a swift kick in the eyes. Those morons always whine that new buildings aren’t made entirely out of hand-formed masonry and finished with detailed trim, and then, when they do see a really nice modern building, they bitch that it costs too much. Things made out of expensive materials cost more, fussy twits. And anything new will “clash” with old stuff around it. Failing to look like the old stuff—does anyone really want Disneyesque replications of old Seattle architecture?—is only a problem when the modern building sucks. Which some do.

So if you’ve got a cheap shit condo to suggest—a condo that is truly uninspired and flimsy—pitch it to CSC over here.

In Memory of Joe Lieberman

posted by on September 2 at 5:23 PM

Well, the in memory of the Joe Lieberman that was a Democrat anyway.

Lieberman—McCain’s first choice for VP—speaks tonight at the RNC. Give ‘em Zell, Joe.

Copping a Feel

posted by on September 2 at 5:05 PM

Man, you can almost feel the light freckling


…and in other irrelevant convention news: Slade Gorton, a former GOP senator from Washington state (turned out of office by Maria Cantwell), walked by a few minutes ago. After he passed two delegates standing next to me looked at each other, their jaws dropped open, and one said, “Was that Larry Craig!” It must suck to look a little like Larry Craig at the RNC.

Ladies and gentleman, Joe Scarborough…


Pro-Choice Pop Star

posted by on September 2 at 5:04 PM

At long last, thanks to NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, I’ve discovered the perfect way to combine my two favorite things: Neil Diamond and abortions! (I mean, a way that doesn’t involve breaking and entering and the phrase “Breathe into this rag, Neil Diamond.”)


This Saturday, September 6th, I’ll be “celebrity” judging the Pro-Choice Pop Star karaoke contest and cocktail mixer (to benefit NARAL) at the Spitfire in Belltown. My worthy fellow judges are the über-beloved DJ Riz, and the sprung-from-our-governor’s-loins Michelle Gregoire. Also on hand will be macabre ringmaster Armitage Shanks, comedian Vince Valenzuela, and my parents!

Points will be awarded for “Best Pro-Choice Take on a Song” (last year’s winner, apparently, was “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” from Grease). A few suggestions for this year: “Hit Me, Baby, One More Time” or, perhaps, “Oops! I Did It Again.”

View the flyer here.

Sssshhhh. Go to sleep, Neil Diamond. GO TO SLEEP!

McCain Spokesman Doesn’t Know What Sarah Palin’s Foreign Policy Qualifications Are

posted by on September 2 at 5:01 PM

Has this already been on Slog? There’s been so much on Sarah “Gift That Keeps on Giving” Palin that it’s hard to remember what I’ve watched where. Here’s McCain’s spokesperson stumbling last night on CNN trying to think of one thing—just one thing!—that qualifies Sarah Palin to be commander in chief. It’s so, so satisfying.

According to TPM:

After Campbell Brown’s interview with McCain’s spokesman Tucker Bounds last night, McCain is pulling out of an interview tonight with Larry King.

Palin to Teen Moms: Drop Dead

posted by on September 2 at 4:51 PM

It just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee who revealed Monday that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, earlier this year used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live.

Wow. WOW. I wonder how many pregnant teenagers in Alaska decided to go ahead and abort because they were homeless and broke and without the same resources and support that Bristol Palin enjoys.


One thing about the choice to have an abortion—one unfortunate thing—is that far too many young women make the choice to have an abortion under duress. Young women who choose abortion because they can’t see how they could care for the baby themselves are, sadly and maddeningly enough, likely to view themselves not as victims of conservatives who enact policies that are hostile to the poor, but as victims of legal and safe abortions.

Back to the story…

According to Passage House’s web site, its purpose is to provide “young mothers a place to live with their babies for up to eighteen months while they gain the necessary skills and resources to change their lives” and help teen moms “become productive, successful, independent adults who create and provide a stable environment for themselves and their families.”

Palin’s own daughter, Bristol, is five months pregnant.

You know, I don’t see how you can count yourself as pro-life if you enact policies that coerce other peoples’ children into having abortions.

Overheard at the Anti-Flag Protest Concert

posted by on September 2 at 4:30 PM

The singer, from the stage, in the middle of a rhetorical fit:

…and all children should have access to the kind of education Palin’s children had!

Um, you sure about that, Anti-Flag singer guy?

(Also: A well-dressed middle-aged woman, who looks like she just walked out of the Xcel Center, saw me typing, and leaned over expectantly, like she was about to give me a bonbon: “You know, some band called Rage the Machine will be here in about 20 minutes.”)

King of the Sea

posted by on September 2 at 4:19 PM

The sad death of Movie Trailer Master Don LaFontaine has me in a bit of a reflective mood today, resulting in me spending my day off going through my DVD collection in an attempt to find something that he didn’t do. ( Bloodsport? Yep. Did that one, too.) Dude was everywhere, managing to class up even those previews that featured “Who Let The Dogs Out?”. What more can be said, really?

As the deserved tributes pile up, though, allow me a moment to pay homage to the great Percy Rodriguez, who died last year at the age of 89. Although the Afro-Portuguese actor worked steadily on Broadway and television (including, apparently, some show about a Star Trek type deal, as one “Commodore Stone”), his crowning glory may be his voice-over work for the Jaws series, which raised the bar to a level that not even the great LaFontaine could ever quite match. I mean, dig that voice: rich, rolling, and, above all, genuinely amused at the prospect of scaring the living whiz out of moviegoers. Check it out:

Now that’s a set of pipes.

The Guts of Great Sentences

posted by on September 2 at 4:18 PM


Christopher Frizzelle wrote the books lead this week. It’s about a Middle Eastern restaurant, a magazine, a very good book about writing, and, most especially, sentences:

Wood unearths tons of even better examples of intimate third person—aka “free indirect style”—from the work of “its founder,” Gustave Flaubert, as well as Henry James, Nabokov, James Joyce, John Updike (who supplies an example of third-person intimate done poorly), David Foster Wallace (whose fiction “prosecutes an intense argument about the decomposition of language in America, and he is not afraid to decompose—and discompose—his own style in the interests of making us live through this linguistic America with him”), and, wonderfully, Robert McCloskey, whose children’s book Make Way for Ducklings has this sentence in it: “Just as they were getting ready to start on their way, a strange enormous bird came by.” That “strange” belongs to McCloskey’s removed but not totally removed third-person narrator, who is right there inhabiting the confusion of the father duck at the sight of a swan-shaped boat.

It’s been a while since we’ve read a story like this from Frizzelle—ever since some schmuck took over the books section and started writing endlessly about teenage vampire novels—and it’s really wonderful. Give it a read, won’t you?

Oh, She’s Good…

posted by on September 2 at 3:44 PM

You would think the folks manning the Trojan tents would be anxious to talk about Bristol Palin.


But you’d be wrong. Someone from corporate must have threatened to have this woman’s reproductive organs ripped out if she got anywhere near Sarah Palin’s knocked up daughter. Because she absolutely, positively, emphatically refused to discuss Bristol Palin. She wouldn’t even fill in the blank when I said Harvey’s ______ Cream. She was actually unpleasant about it.

You would think a company out there promoting condom use (“to increase awareness of sexual health!”), and whose display included a stat about unplanned teenage pregnancies, would be anxious to discuss the lessons of Bristol Palin. Bristol wouldn’t be pregnant and engaged to be shotgunmarried to teenage hockey player who isn’t all that anxious to be a dad if she’d been using condoms, or if her parents were “evolved” enough to back comprehensive sex education and allowed their children to have access to effective birth control.

Anyway, kids, be sure to use condoms. Or you’ll wind up like… well, she who must not be named.

“Just Write Something Offensive”

posted by on September 2 at 3:44 PM

Former Public Intern and current Stranger Chow Bio-ist Steven Blum writes about a Bumbershoot encounter with a surly Lauren Weedman on his blog.


It’s funny. You should read it.

“…folks who are going through their own quiet storms…”

posted by on September 2 at 3:43 PM

Start at about 5 min for the real moment…

Post PAXdom Depression

posted by on September 2 at 3:24 PM

The biggest surprise at the weekend’s Penny Arcade Expo wasn’t the popularity or the fun. It was the age. Turns out the 15-and-under crowd and PAX are like PB&J.


Most were running around the Expo’s main exhibition hall, trying out new video games that typically aren’t rated higher than T for Teen. Some plunked down in PAX’s Sumo beanbags and played DS games with their parents. Others hit the tabletop annex wielding either Pokemon cards or a level 11 dragonborn mage. And tons were going toe-to-toe with gamers twice their age in the zillions of video game rooms—the retro centers, the cavernous computer lab, the public Rock Band sessions, the hundreds of free-play consoles. While not the majority at PAX, kids held a larger percentage this year than any other.

Really? At PAX? Its namesake comic strip is cartoony F-bomb city. In case the Fruit Fucker character didn’t clue you in, this year’s draw-a-comic panel involved a strip about gettin’ it on with band groupies. Midway through the comic’s creation, the PA creators unveiled their “new favorite” curse word by drawing it on the screen for all to see: “twatvomit.”

At this point, both guys’ wives had to cover their kids’ eyes.

So it’s shocking to think that kids are fine in most of PAX’s rooms and halls. But, really, they are. On a basic level, older attendees aren’t cussing non-stop or talking about “mature” subjects—certainly nothing worse than a middle-school cafeteria. And most of the panels were mindful of kids in the crowd (except for Ken Levine’s keynote, admittedly). But even more interesting is a higher-level idea—PAX as refuge for a growing geek.

Dunno about you guys, but when I was little, I would’ve killed for a place where I could say the word “graphics” out loud without fear of wedgie. A place where all of my peers—and all of the intimidating people older than me—were crazy about the same hobbies. No bullies. No social stigma. There are people like me out there—with girlfriends and jobs and nerdy T-shirts! My god, there’s hope.

(As a bonus, idiot kids who’ve grown up on Xbox Live could come to PAX and see adults who play video games without spouting racist epithets between rounds of Halo.)

Chances are, grown-up gamers had similar nerd-refuge thoughts pass through their heads—lord knows I did. The gaming stigma is evaporating as the NES generation grows into ownership of America, yet it’s hard to deny the nerdy comfort of a huge PAX crowd.

(FYI, PAX’08 topped off at 58,500 attendees. Let that sink in. It’s barely a thousand or so short of the population of Renton.)

Seattle can now claim ownership to the biggest public gaming show in the nation, if not the world. The major reason? Because it’s nothing like the previous king, E3, an expo that glorified press people and PR hype. Nothing at PAX is hands-off, look-don’t-touch, and the majority of PAX’s content is free of corporate sponsorship. While the exhibition hall is a huge exception, it still has tons of small-fry participants (particularly the PAX 10) showing off homegrown games and merchandise.

Better still, the rest of the fest is what gamers make of it. Bring your own DS, join the largest LAN party you’ve ever seen, bust out the D20s. Even Folklife and Bumbershoot can’t match the sheer 2.0-ness of PAX.

A few fixes for next year’s will help preserve that spirit. Panel sessions (speeches, Q&As) need to be held in larger rooms, since lots of people were left in the cold after waiting in long lines. And, yeah, PAX could use newbie-friendly tweaks so that folks can better acclimate to the “build your own fest” spirit. More explicit instructions and information would help. People expect their entertainment thrown at them a la Bumbershoot; the freedom to make the PAX you want is so novel, it’s almost intimidating.

And people will complain about the growth of the fest, about newbies and line-waits and cost and lack of DDR machines. But this PAX was a success—a huge fest with minimal corporate burdens, an all-volunteer core of friendly, passionate people working the floors, and an ultimate getaway for kids and grownups alike. I look forward to having fun with all ages of gamer next year.

(If you missed our daily coverage this weekend, relive the fun here.)

Bumbershoot on Line Out

posted by on September 2 at 2:34 PM

Monotonix by Blush Photo

A lot happened at Bumbershoot this weekend, and as usual Line Out was all over it:

Throw Me The Statue debuted a new song.

Grynch held down the Fisher Green stage.

The Walkmen and Estelle underwhelmed, competently.

Man Man made a new fan (fan) out of me; Saul Williams made Black Nationalists out of a bunch of white folks.

Darando made up some new words for old desires.

!!! threw a rave on the Fisher Green.

TI brought heat, summoned smoke, and blew the crowd away.

Lee “Scratch” Perry put the “dub” in dubious mental health.

Upright Citizen’s Brigade and Human Giant begged the question, Is facebook is too edgy for improv comdey?

The Weakerthans renewed my faith in having my faith renewed.

These Arms Are Snakes and Brother Ali looked great, sounded like a “big bassy fart.”

The Saturday Knights cooked a hot rock out out of the Fleet Foxes “White Winter Hymnal.”

The Black Keys struggled with the size of Memorial Stadium.

Stone Temple Pilots reminded me how much I hated every minute of my life in 1993.

Monotonix rocked too hard, got shut down after 14 mintues.

Battles bent the Space Needle to their own vision of the future; Dan Deacon passed out the bug juice.

Two Gallants gallantly entertained on an afternoon lawn.

Superchunk just ruled.

Black Eyes and Neckties played KEXP and no one got hurt.

Death Cab For Cutie drove me home.

Flatstock moved Megan Seling.

And that’s just what we have so far…

Cognac, Veal, and Cigars

posted by on September 2 at 2:18 PM

Thank you, David Kiley. If you hadn’t been invited to the Republican cognac-and-cigar party last night, I never would’ve gotten in the door.

(And thank you, chipper door lady. I never thought I’d be able to sneak past you. But when I said “Kiley,” you helpfully offered: “David?” I smoked a cigar in your honor.)

Inside, delegates, politicos, and their wives drank beer (the favorite: Corona), cocktails, and gallons of expensive cognac and single-malt scotch. Wine was anathema.

Pretty young women in black party dresses circulated with boxes of cigars (from Rocky Patel—which, according to a young cigar-smoker in the obligatory red tie, gets some of its tobacco from Cuba). Veal meatballs, sliced filet mignon, and shrimp glistened in the dim light.

The bar, Solera, was four stories of short haircuts, smugness, and misinformation: about the protests that day (“their stated objective was to kill a cop”), about the significance of the Palin-baby story (“only liberal bloggers are writing about it”), about their own attractiveness (“last night, every 18–25 year-old-girl in Minneapolis was here; it was one step short of a rave”).

Weirdly, there were Republican Stranger fans in the house—Shane Osborn, state treasurer of Nebraska and his wife Teri, who lived for awhile on Bainbridge Island, got all effusive and happy about it: “I Saw U!” Teri squealed. “I just love good satire,” Shane added. “You have to be able to have a sense of humor about things.”

Osborn (a former Navy pilot, briefly imprisoned in China after his plane had a mid-air collision with a Chinese plane) was the gentlest soul at the party. “You really ought to visit Omaha sometime,” he said. “I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

Less gentle: One slightly slurry delegate from Alabama who, during a conversation with me about the South, said, “It’s like I always tell my daughters: if you see a nigger driving a limo, he isn’t necessarily a drug dealer—he might be a chauffeur! And that’s progress.” (He then launched into a paean for his black taekwondo instructor. “He’s my master,” the delegate grinned. “Isn’t that funny?”)

Ryan, Bryan, and Tony, three ebullient young gentlemen at a back table on the cigar-smoking deck, complained about Kofi Annan (“he flies in the UN flag above the US flag”) and Al Franken. The triumvirate work for Norm Coleman, who is running against Franken for Senate. “Franken seems like an asshole,” one of them said.

I asked whether Palin was going to become the Tom Eagleton of the 2008 race. They blinked.

“You know, Eagleton,” I said. “The guy who didn’t tell McGovern about his shock therapy.” They blinked some more.

“I’ll have another cocktail and then maybe two beers and then let’s roll,” a man at a nearby table said to his friend. “Hey, you seen Crawford?”

“I think he’s in the bathroom,” the friend said. “Probably hugging the toilet.”

And Would You Like Some Cloned Fries with That?

posted by on September 2 at 2:01 PM

Mmm…delicious clone-burgers!

Food and milk from the offspring of cloned animals may already have entered the U.S. food supply, the Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday, but it would be impossible to know because there is no difference between cloned and conventional products.

The full creepy-juicy story is here.


On Palin

posted by on September 2 at 1:49 PM


I’ve been out this past week, so I haven’t had a chance to weigh in on the whole Sarah Palin clusterfuck, but now I’m back and wow, what a gift to Barack Obama. And I’m not just talking about her 17-year-old daughter Bristol’s pregnancy (more on that in a moment). Other Sloggers have mentioned Palin’s political history already, but allow me to renumerate it briefly here.

She’s a member of the Alaska Independence Party, a group more radically secessionist than the Nation of Islam.

She’s a staunch opponent of universal health care.

She said she would support a ballot measure denying benefits to same-sex couples.

She is an anti-abortion absolutist, even in cases of rape, incest, or to protect a woman’s health (and even if her own daughters were raped).

She called wacky Libertarian Ron Paul a “cool… good guy,” adding, eloquently, “He’s independent of like the party machine, I’m like, right on, so am I.”

She’s a member of a group that believes most contraceptives cause abortions.

She campaigned as an anti-corruption crusader while securing millions of dollars in Congressional earmarks for her town.

She is under investigation for firing Alaska’s public safety director, allegedly because he refused to sack her former brother-in-law.

She laughed repeatedly when a radio host referred to Alaska’s Senate President Lyda Green—a cancer survivor and political opponent of Palin—as a “cancer” and a “bitch.”

She was a director of disgraced Alaskan Sen. Ted Stevens’ “Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.,” 527 group, which could raise unlimited funds from corporate donors (she also recorded a commercial with Stevens for her 2006 campaign).

She flat-out lied about opposing Alaska’s infamous Bridge to Nowhere, which she, in fact, supported.

So even without raising the issue of her daughter’s pregnancy—and leaving aside the completely ridiculous nonissue of whether a mother can be qualified to serve as vice-president (hello, Daddy Biden?)—there’s plenty about Palin for liberals to hate.

But let’s talk about that pregnancy. Should it be, as Barack Obama said, “off limits”?

Dan says no, and so do I—though with a major caveat, and for slightly different reasons.

As mentioned above, Sarah Palin believes in abstinence-only education and that everyone should abstain from sex completely until marriage. She also believes that abortion should be illegal in every single instance except when a doctor deems that it will save the life of a woman—that is, in virtually every circumstance including rape and incest. Additionally, she says she would “choose life” for her daughters, even if they were raped—a statement that implies she believes that a teenage girl’s uterus belongs not just to the government, but to her parents. In other words, if one of Palin’s daughters gets knocked up, she wants the law to require them to bring the fetus to term. If the law doesn’t do it, she will. If Sarah Palin had her way, every pregnant teen in the country would be forced to bring their pregnancies to term.

On the other hand: The McCain campaign has made every effort to stress that Bristol Palin is not being coerced into having a baby. In a statement, the campaign said Bristol made the choice to keep her baby—a choice that, if Sarah Palin and John McCain had their way, she would not have had. Sarah Palin believes the government should have authority over women’s reproductive organs—including, presumably, her daughter Bristol’s. That the campaign has stressed Bristol’s “choice” in the matter is flaming hypocrisy of the most pandering, despicable kind.

Even more despicable, however, is Palin’s hypocrisy on abstinence-only education—a system that substitutes for comprehensive sex education the premise that all people should abstain from sex completely until they’re married. Had Palin’s daughter followed her mom’s preferred curriculum, she wouldn’t be a knocked-up, unmarried 17-year-old. But, as Palin is no doubt aware, abstinence-only doesn’t work—and her daughter is living proof of that well-documented, incontrovertible fact. Liberals—including Barack Obama—have every right to call Palin (and other conservatives, including evangelicals) on their hypocrisy in calling for abstinence-until-marriage while celebrating the pregnancy of an unwed teenager.

All of that said, I do disagree with Dan on one fundamental point. He wrote:

Perhaps if [Bristol Palin’s boyfriend, 17-year-old Levi Johnston] and his girlfriend had received a little comprehensive sex education and had access to birth control—over the objections of his girlfriend’s mother/the governor of the state in which he lives—Johnston wouldn’t be confronting the pressures and responsibilities of fatherhood at 18.

The truth is, we don’t know the exact circumstances under which Bristol Palin got pregnant. Maybe she wanted a baby. (Hey, it is Alaska). Maybe they were using a condom and it broke. Maybe she was on the pill. Maybe she didn’t have access to emergency contraception. But the fact is, we can’t just assume that Bristol shares her mom’s anti-contraception, anti-choice politics (clearly, she doesn’t believe in abstinence until marriage); nor can we assume that she, as a 17-year-old, was blissfully unaware that contraception existed. If we accept that 17-year-olds are resourceful; and if we accept that not only does abstinence-only not work, but that, in fact, contraceptive use is about the same among kids who receive ab-only education and kids who don’t, we can’t blame Bristol Palin’s pregnancy on her mother and her policies. Teenagers make dumb decisions—whether they receive comprehensive sex education or whether their teachers tell them sex before marriage will ruin their lives forever.

And the bottom line is, Bristol Palin made a choice. It may have been (and probably was) a bad choice. But being “pro-choice” means being pro-choice, and that includes choices we don’t agree with. It even includes the choice of a 17-year-old to get married and have a baby if that’s what she wants to do. We can’t say that teenagers should have the right to get abortions without parental consent—something I personally believe—and simultaneously say that Bristol Palin’s decision was somehow beyond her control (or that she should have had an abortion). If pro-choice simply means pro-abortion, then we lose our moral authority to support the right to abortion for those who want one.

On a lighter note: Shades of Harriet Miers (the Bush Supreme Court candidate who was summarily dumped after it became clear she was utterly unqualified for the position)—Sarah Palin has a blog!

Overheard in a Coffeeshop Outside the Xcel Center

posted by on September 2 at 1:47 PM

Bob Barr (Libertarian presidential candidate, former Republican congressman from Georgia, and famed hypocrite), sitting next to me drinking an orange soda and giving a phone interview with Lou Dobbs:

The only option is to vote Libertarian, Lou… The market works—because of the rising price of gas, people have been driving less. If we allow the market to operate, it will adjust itself!

He and his people are trying to get into the convention. I asked one of his staffers, Andy MacPherson, who he’d pick if he had to choose between Obama and McCain.

“I have no preference,” he said. “They’re the left wing and the right wing of the same buzzard.”

“I had a strange dream last night,” one of the other staffers said. “I dreamed I was being lynched in a small town.”

Then they all left to go buy cigars at a shop across the street.

Heaven Bound & Down

posted by on September 2 at 1:38 PM

Jerry Reed has died at age 71. A friend of mine finally returned my copy of Jerry Reed’s Greatest Hits to me yesterday. This is really sad. I loved to sing “She Got the Goldmine, I Got the Shaft” at karaoke.

Big! Sprawling! Saga!

posted by on September 2 at 1:31 PM

Because not even the great Don LaFontaine could cover everything

Bonus Points: Approximately how stoned was Harrison Ford during this recording session? Show your work.

Why Does Todd Palin Hate America?

posted by on September 2 at 1:28 PM


The McCain camp today disputed rumors that presumptive vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin was ever registered with the secessionist Alaska Independence Party by releasing years of voter registration history … but it looks like that doesn’t apply to her husband.

This afternoon, the director of Division of Elections in Alaska, Gail Fenumiai, told TPMmuckraker that Todd Palin registered in October 1995 to the Alaska Independence Party, a radical group that advocates for Alaskan secession from the United States.

Besides a short period of a few months in 2000 when he changed his registration to undeclared, Todd Palin remained a registered member of AIP until July 2002 when he registered again as an undeclared voter.

Imagine the shit storm if Michelle Obama blah blah blah.

McCain’s VP

posted by on September 2 at 1:21 PM

John McCain today on Sarah Palin…

America’s excited and they’re going to be even more excited once they see her tomorrow night.”

But will America ever be as excited about Palin as McCain clearly is?

Bumbershoot Coverage on Line Out: Bare Butts, Broken Feet, and Battles (the Band)

posted by on September 2 at 1:15 PM

The Stranger’s music staff was at Bumbershoot all weekend (along with hundreds of thousands of other people). Here are just some of the highlights currently on Line Out:

-Death Cab for Cutie closes out the weekend.
-Monotonix get shut down after four songs.
-Black Eyes and Neckties slay even though the singer rocks a broken foot.
-Superchunk make Eric Grandy feel like a kid again.
-Dave Segal on Battles, Dan Deacon, Feral Children, and Arthur & Yu.
-Lee “Scratch” Perry and Stone Temple Pilots battle for the crazy crown.
-The Saturday Knights cover the Fleet Foxes.
-These Arms Are Snakes sounded like “a big, bassy fart,” and the kids didn’t care at all.

Plus a whole lot more! Read all the Bumbershoot coverage here.

And, did you go to Bumbershoot? Did you take pictures? If so, you could win FREE TICKETS to any upcoming Stranger-sponsored event.

Can’t Help But Wonder

posted by on September 2 at 1:05 PM

They’re so nice and polite and look so handsome their blazers…


…but are they virgins?

Scene in St. Paul

posted by on September 2 at 1:00 PM

Full of shit Republican…


Full of Republican shit…


Two Sequels to Surprisingly Good Movies

posted by on September 2 at 1:00 PM

The, um, geniuses who brought us Crank are currently making Crank 2. I have to say, I really appreciated Crank, in which Jason Statham had to do all kinds of stupid things to keep his adrenaline running, or he would die. It was stupid and funny and, you know, an action movie. But the ending was, how do you say, not entirely conducive to a sequel. Still: if they title this movie Crank 2: Stupider! and make it about 48 minutes long, I will totally buy a ticket on opening weekend.

And in more depressing news, someone—not the original director—is making The Descent 2. The Descent was the scariest movie I’ve ever seen in a movie theater. I hear that it doesn’t hold up on DVD—there was something special about watching a horror movie about spelunking in a cool, cavernous dark theater—but a sequel is a horrible idea. At least it’s not a remake, I guess.

Sauces from the Other Side!

posted by on September 2 at 12:50 PM

In the current Stranger, page 29, I go on and on about a delightful old woman called Jocelyn Owens. Maybe you read a little of it. Maybe not.

If not, Mrs. Owens was the ingenious pastry chef responsible for everything on the Kingfish Café’s dessert menu, et al, and quite sadly, she passed on not too long ago. She was known around town as The Cake Lady, but she was famous for so much more than cake. Like her incredible sauces. Down home BBQ, African Peanut, Spicy Creole and Cajun… my goodness!

Well, ol’ Mrs. Owens’s daughter Debbie (who runs catering at the University of Washington) has informed me that she and Mrs. Owens’s other children have big plans to duplicate and sell Mrs. Owens’s very best sauces—including those mentioned above—and are working to have them ready for market next year. They hope to give a bit of the magic that was Mrs. Owens back to us. God bless them.

Ol’ Jocely’s Ethnic Sauces: Coming soon to a supermarket near you!

In a World…

posted by on September 2 at 12:02 PM

The voice of every movie trailer ever, Don LaFontaine, has died at age 68. Bummer. RIP, man.

Thanks to Matt Hickey for the heads-up.

Experience When it Counts

posted by on September 2 at 12:00 PM

What is more important: Having an experienced and capable President? Or Vice President?

FiveThirtyEight makes an excellent point:

In a perfect world, we would all like a President who is Ready on Day One (TM); it is not uncommon for a newly-elected president to face a major crisis almost immediately upon taking office. But more commonly, a President takes the Oath of Office under relatively calm waters, allowing them something of a learning curve.

On the other hand, when a Vice President takes over for a president, the nation is necessarily undergoing a crisis, because the death (or resignation) of a president is perhaps as traumatic an event as can reasonably be imagined (in the “best” case resulting from a slowly-developing illness, and the worst, an attack by terrorists or foreign adversaries).

In that light, the GOP’s recent political theater bullshit isn’t just silly. It’s dangerous. I’m totally and completely fed up with Sarah Palin and her personal, professional and political problems. Enough of the notion that deciding to carry a child with trisomy-21 to term makes one capable of leading the nation in a crisis. Enough.

Every single one of these family planning problems have long been solved. I’m willing to bet that Sarah Palin couldn’t make a coherent ethical argument against medically accurate sexual education and contraception, even if you gave her unlimited access to a Jesuit priest and every peer-reviewed medical article ever written. It’s bullshit—pure, unmitigated, willful ignorance parading as a sound ethical position.

I can tell you any couple should have access to the dozens of safe and effective forms of birth control. I can even tell you the precise failure rates of the different methods.

Continue reading "Experience When it Counts" »

You’ve Ruined it For Everybody Else

posted by on September 2 at 12:00 PM

Because a partial early draft of her next book Midnight Sun leaked on the internet, Stephenie Meyer is pulling Midnight Sun from publication indefinitely.

“I did not want my readers to experience Midnight Sun before it was completed, edited and published. I think it is important for everybody to understand that what happened was a huge violation of my rights as an author, not to mention me as a human being.”

Imagine if bands did this every time their albums leaked on the internet.

It’s Just So Sad

posted by on September 2 at 11:58 AM

The Log Cabin Republicans are hosting a luncheon—“Big Tent Event”—at the University Club of Saint-Paul. The room seems just as stuffy as the assembled gay Republicans. Sorry, cheap shot. I’m sure some of the guys—and they’re mostly guys—in suits and ties know how to get down and dirty. But… the room is stuffy and compared to the bejewelled revelers at the Xcel Center, so are the guys sitting around the tables. And honestly? There are a lot of empty seats and the best the Log Cabin could do, guest-wise, seems to a handful of state legislators and few members of the Republican National Committee.


Someone is speaking when we arrive—Tom Morgan, a member of the Republican National Committee from California. He’s not gay, just an “ally.”

“Your endorsement of John McCain will spread far and wide and should be extremely helpful in California,” Morgan says. John McCain is expected to lose by roughly twenty percentage points in California and somehow I don’t think the Log Cabin endorsement is going to turn the tide. “We are Americans,” Morgan continues, “we have so much more in common as Americans than we do with so many of the other peoples of the word.” Uh… where is this going, Mr. Morgan?

Morgan points out that that gays and lesbians in other countries face “outright hostility,” which is much, much worse than the plain-old hostility gays and lesbians face here at home. So, you know, it really sucks to be gay in Saudi Arabia, so we you so totally risk voting for John McCain!

The next speaker is Patrick Sammon, President of the Log Cabin Republicans.

“We are making progress. Four years ago we were meeting in New York City and the nominee of our party was pushing the federal marriage amendment… this year we have an inclusive nominee.”

You do? Really? What’s his name?

Sammon said in his remarks that gay Republicans frequently get yelled at at dinner parties, which is proof that really they love their party and country.

Sammon and I spoke for a few minutes. He seems like a nice guy. Please don’t yell at him at dinner parties, Democrats. Talk sense to him, yes. Maybe try to fuck a little sense into him. But please don’t yell at him, okay?

A Tale of Two Covers

posted by on September 2 at 11:55 AM

What the readers of US Weekly know about the Republican and Democratic tickets:



Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on September 2 at 11:00 AM


‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’

Fools born after 1970 think westerns began and ended with Unforgiven, but there would be no Unforgivenhell, there’d be no Clint Eastwood—without Liberty Valance’s bracing ambiguity. Three of the greatest movie actors of all time push each other to some of the finest work of their careers, with John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart playing against type as an oaf and a coward, respectively, and the always-brilliant Lee Marvin at his evilest. (Grand Illusion, 1403 NE 50th St, 523-3935. 6:30 and 8:45 pm, $8.)



The 1900s

The white guys and gals in the 1900s recall another ambitious Chicago rock band, the Fiery Furnaces, but without the proggy convolutions and dissonant keyboard embellishments. Rather, the 1900s generate a smoother brand of psych pop with more winsome melodies and amiable textures while avoiding obvious homage to their ’60s forebears. The fact that the 1900s once served as a backing band for Belle & Sebastian member Stevie Jackson hints at their smart tunefulness—and at Jackson’s fine taste in watermelon-sugary songcraft. (Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave NW, 784-4880. 9 pm, $7, 21+.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Gunning for the White House

    posted by on September 2 at 10:52 AM

    I’m pretty sure this is photoshopped, but I’m tossing it up in the hope that folks will stop emailing it to me already.

    She Is Evil

    posted by on September 2 at 10:48 AM

    Just in case you were in doubt about Sarah Palin, from Time:

    Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. “She asked the library how she could go about banning books,” he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. “The librarian was aghast.” The librarian, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn’t be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire her for not giving “full support” to the mayor.

    Before, hating her was sport but now, it’s personal.

    In other Palin news, because I’ve been pickled in Palin news all weekend, here are Republicans pre-dismissing Palin mere hours before they embraced her. It’s also noteworthy because Pat Buchanan doesn’t know the difference between 1966 and 2006.

    Also, Palin is on the record as being “pleased with Obama’s energy plan.” What a maverick!

    Can We PLEASE Get Back to Talking About Your Lousy Parenting?

    posted by on September 2 at 10:46 AM

    Conservatives are fed up with all this talk about Sarah Palin’s knocked up daughter.

    The Republican backlash against coverage of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s family came on full display Tuesday, as the audience at a breakfast panel discussion groaned loudly in reaction to a question about 17-year-old Bristol Palin’s pregnancy.

    “Lay off the kid,” said former Republican strategist and NBC news analyst Mike Murphy, responding to an audience member who asked how conservatives would respond if similar information arose about a Democratic candidate’s child.

    Idaho Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, another panelist, dismissed the subject, tersely saying: “Next question.”

    John at Americablog makes an excellent point:

    I’m watching McCain surrogate Gary Bauer, a religious leader who had a fall from grace a few years ago, lecture MSNBC about how dare they cover the Bristol Palin unwed pregnancy story. McCain supporter Bill Bennett tried this tactic on CNN’s Wolf Blitzer yesterday too. Someone needs to remind the McCain campaign, when they whine to journalists about how terrible it is that the media is reporting on the pregnancy, that none of us knew about Bristol Palin’s unwed pregnancy until yesterday morning when John McCain’s campaign leaked the story to Reuters.

    Gallup Puts Obama at 50%…

    posted by on September 2 at 10:43 AM

    …for the first time.


    Is it a delayed-onset convention bump? Or is it a Palin bump?

    Early Childhood Developments

    posted by on September 2 at 10:41 AM


    Similar reaction came from high-profile leaders on the religious right, including radio psychologist James Dobson, founder of the Focus on the Family ministry. Mr. Dobson routinely advises mothers to stay home full-time with their young children. But he has enthusiastically welcomed Gov. Palin’s candidacy and hailed her response to her daughter’s pregnancy. “The media are already trying to spin this as evidence Gov. Palin is a ‘hypocrite,’ but all it really means is that she and her family are human,” Mr. Dobson said.

    Maybe the media should spin up a little something about Dobson’s hypocrisy?Mothers of young children should stay home full-time… unless it’s politically useful for the GOP to nominate a mother of a four-month-old baby with Downs Syndrome for VP, in which case, hey, the kid’s already retarded so what’s the worst that could happen?

    Cressbeckler Attacks McCain From the Right

    posted by on September 2 at 10:18 AM

    Old, Grizzled Third-Party Candidate May Steal Support From McCain

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on September 2 at 9:57 AM


    Two events tonight, both of them way up at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. At 5 pm, Tonya Hurley reads from Ghostgirl, which is about a high school girl who chokes to death on a gummy bear in physics class and awakens in the afterlife, where she has to go to a school called Dead Ed. But she’s still not popular, even though she’s dead. I’m sure that lessons about life and love will be learned.

    Then, at 7 pm, Steven Erikson reads from Toll the Hounds, which is the eighth book in a fantasy series. Publisher’s Weekly explains the plot:

    Book eight in the intensifying Malazan series (following 2007’s Reaper’s Gale) sees the grinding, bloody clash of newly created deities against longstanding, increasingly powerful Gods. The Crippled God, born in the city of Darujhistan, and the Dying God, who bleeds a poison that enthralls and addicts his followers, both vie for a place in the formal pantheon, using humans and the goddess-descended Tiste Andii as pawns in their unholy, greedy game.

    So there’s that.

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

    Oh, the People You’ll Meet

    posted by on September 2 at 9:35 AM

    I’d hoped to post a “Delegate of the Day,” but yesterday’s activities wrecked the camera. Instead, I’ll introduce you to the folks I met yesterday, one post at a time.

    This dapper young caricature is called Dennis Lennox. He’s 24 and “the youngest delegate or alternate from Michigan.”


    He didn’t have anything original to say—except that the protestors should cancel their march on account of the hurricane—but isn’t he cute? Like Republican Ken. Or a stylish lemur.

    At the Target Center

    posted by on September 2 at 9:29 AM

    They’re lining up outside the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis for Ron Paul’s Campaign For Liberty counter-convention.




    Everyone here is a Republican who seems to hate McCain and everything he stands for—lots of the Paultards are wearing “Proud to be a Conservative Republican” buttons—but… we only ever hear about Democratic disunity. How come?

    And, yeah, I only took that boy’s picture because he’s awful damn cute—so shoot me. No, wait. It’s probably not safe to type those words aloud in this crowd.

    Ladies and gentlemen, Ron Paul…


    UPDATE: Talked to a few people outside the Target Center. Man, these Republicans hate George W. Bush almost as much as the average pepper-sprayed protester does. When I asked one woman—whose picture I won’t post—if George W. Bush, clearly unwelcome at John McCain’s convention, would be welcome to speak at Ron Paul’s convention, she said no. What if he showed up to wave at the crowd? “He’d be shot.”

    Yikes. Now we’re across the street at the Hard Rock Cafe—so glamorous—having something that very nearly approximates lunch. Then we’re off to the Log Cabin Republican fete.

    Not So Proud To Be an American

    posted by on September 2 at 8:15 AM

    It looks like today’s Sarah Palin scandal is going to be her involvement with—excuse me, her membership in—the Alaska Independence Party, which wants to lead that state out of the union. Until yesterday the homepage of the AIP featured this quote from the party’s founder:

    “I’m an Alaskan, not an American. I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions.”

    And here’s Sarah Palin’s videotaped message to the AIP convention—this year’s convention, the AIP convention in 2008.

    Do you think that John McCain would have a problem with Barack Obama sending cuddly messages of support—”Keep up the good work! And God bless you!”—to fringe political parties seeking to break up the United States of America?

    And what’s with that outfit?

    The Morning News

    posted by on September 2 at 8:05 AM

    Breaking Wind: Hurricane Gustav blows out electricity to one million in Louisiana, causes damage estimated at $10 billion in insurance claims in the Gulf; destroys or damages 90,000 homes in Cuba.

    Blowing Hard: RNC resumes program with prime-time speech from former self-proclaimed Democrat Joe Lieberman.

    Striking Out: Bellevue teachers begin strike on first day of school. Issues stem from standardized web-based curriculum, heath-care benefits, and, of course, shitty pay.

    Sweet Baby Jesus: Evangelicals cheering for Palin’s abstinence-only-educated, unwedded, pregnant daughter. “The media are already trying to spin this as evidence Gov. Palin is a ‘hypocrite,’ but all it really means is that she and her family are human,” says ‘hypocrite’ cheerleader James Dobson.

    Forgive Them, Father: All about the baby’s daddy, Levi Johnson, a self described “f—-in’ redneck.”

    Browsers: Google releases open-source Chrome browser today to tackle Internet Explorer. What’s wrong with IE? Observe this excellent cartoon.

    Smokers: Fox reports that unnamed “medics” say Amy Winehouse was brain damaged by cannabis.

    Protesters: One hundred and thirty charged with felonies after thousands join a peace march outside RNC. St. Paul has received $50 million in federal grants for local policing.

    Competitors: Gregoire and Rossi both taking money from drug and insurance companies.

    Hot House: Thailand declares state of emergency, banning groups of more than five people in public after one died in weekend protests. Demonstrators accuse the government of ties to ousted former prime minister.

    Dog House: Garfield High School reopens after years of remodeling the 1920s building.

    White House: Alberto Gonzales took classified documents out of secured areas. “He regrets this lapse,” his legal team says.

    “It’s Like a Seat Belt”: Concealed weapon permits up 44 percent in Washington over four years.

    What She Said

    posted by on September 2 at 8:02 AM

    Jane Smiley in the Huffington Post:

    Sarah Palin and her church and her pastor have made themselves abundantly clear on issues of reproductive privacy—there won’t be any. In a Palin world, if my daughter wanted birth control, she wouldn’t be able to get any, and if I wanted sex education to be taught in my son’s school, I would be out of luck. If a girl I knew were raped and impregnated by her uncle and she elected to have an abortion, she would not be allowed to do so. She wouldn’t even be allowed to take the morning after pill in case he got her pregnant. Maybe there’s something you guys don’t get about this. Bristol Palin’s pregnancy is at the heart of what women and the right wing have been fighting over for thirty years, and it isn’t abortion, it’s privacy and the right to control your own reproductive choices. There will always be abortion, and there will always be choice, but Palin would like the choice to be illegal and punishable. Same with birth control.

    I like you, Barack, but you don’t get it either. The issues of birth control and abortion have been made into public issues by the right wing, and millions of women and girls have suffered because the right wing wants to impose its ideas of what women should do upon every woman in America including those who don’t share and have never shared their values. So, Barack, I suggest that you, as a man, should do the backing off.

    Off Limits

    posted by on September 2 at 7:31 AM

    Palin’s daughter is off limits, says Barack Obama, so I guess we’ll just have to drop it. (You too, Larry King.) But I’m going to post one last detail about the latest Palin pregnancy because, well, it bodes so well for the future happiness of young Miss Palin and her unborn child. Seventeen year-old Levi Johnston is the unborn child’s father and until yesterday afternoon he had a MySpace page. The NY Post grabbed a copy before it got pulled down:

    On his MySpace page, Johnston boasts, “I’m a fuckin’ redneck” who likes to snowboard and ride dirt bikes. “But I live to play hockey. I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing, shoot some shit and just fuckin’ chillin’ I guess.”

    “Ya fuck with me I’ll kick [your] ass,” he added. He also claims to be “in a relationship,” but states, “I don’t want kids.”

    Well, that’s too bad for Johnston, who shot the wrong shit. Perhaps if he and his girlfriend had received a little comprehensive sex education and had access to birth control—over the objections of his girlfriend’s mother/the governor of the state in which he lives—Johnston wouldn’t be confronting the pressures and responsibilities of fatherhood at 18. As things stand now, of course, the dad-to-be who professed no interest in ever having kids is not going to have much time for snowboarding, hanging out with the boys, fishing, and chillin’. Best of luck to the happy young couple.

    Putting the Palin pregnancy into its proper perspective, Josh Marshall at TPM writes

    A lot of attention is being given to Gov. Palin’s daughter’s situation. The much bigger deal is the expanding trooper-gate investigation, the fact that Palin lied in her Friday speech about her purported opposition to the Bridge to Nowhere, her apparent former membership in the secessionist Alaska Independence Party, and more. Individually, you can come to your own judgment about how consequential these stories are. What they show pretty clearly now—in addition to the news that the McCain campaign is only now sending in a vetting team—is that John McCain didn’t do any serious vetting of Palin before he invited her to join his ticket and, he hopes, become Vice President of the United States.

    Fundamentally, of course, this is about John McCain. And the real issue here is what this slapdash decision says about his judgment.

    Savage Love Letter of the Day

    posted by on September 2 at 6:17 AM

    PLEASE hit us with a column about evangelical, abstinence-only, anti-gay marriage, anti-choice Gov. Palin. America needs you, Dan! Not a column about her teenage daughter’s pregnancy, just a column about how hypocritical it is that politicians parade their families when it flatters them, and demand privacy when it doesn’t. A column about how any time a conservative pol’s behavior differs from his or her vaunted values, it’s a “private (DUI, lesbian daughter, bathroom blow-job, draft-dodging) matter.” Of course ordinary people don’t have private lives, so they need the government to tell them when to have babies and whom to love and marry. Only public people have private lives…

    Dan I LOVE you (not in that way, I’m a girl.) Get to work!

    VT in Texas

    P.S. If this email makes me look classy, it’s public; but if, later on down the road, it makes me look silly, it’s private. You understand.

    Will do, VTIT.

    Monday, September 1, 2008

    The Palindrone

    posted by on September 1 at 9:19 PM

    McMaverick caved to a furious religious right and didn’t go with either of his top picks for VP—Lieberman or Ridge—and apparently picked Palin’s name out of a freakin’ hat. NYT:

    Up until midweek last week, some 48 to 72 hours before Mr. McCain introduced Ms. Palin at a Friday rally in Dayton, Ohio, Mr. McCain was still holding out the hope that he could choose a good friend, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, a Republican close to the campaign said. Mr. McCain had also been interested in another favorite, former Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania.

    But both men favor abortion rights, anathema to the Christian conservatives who make up a crucial base of the Republican Party. As word leaked out that Mr. McCain was seriously considering the men, the campaign was bombarded by outrage from influential conservatives who predicted an explosive floor fight at the convention and vowed rejection of Mr. Ridge or Mr. Lieberman by the delegates.

    Perhaps more important, several Republicans said, Mr. McCain was getting advice that if he did not do something to shake up the race, his campaign would be stuck on a potentially losing trajectory.

    With time running out—and as Mr. McCain discarded two safer choices, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, as too predictable—he turned to Ms. Palin. He had his first face-to-face interview with her on Thursday and offered her the job moments later. Advisers to Mr. Pawlenty and another of the finalists on Mr. McCain’s list described an intensive vetting process for those candidates that lasted one to two months.

    “They didn’t seriously consider her until four or five days from the time she was picked, before she was asked, maybe the Thursday or Friday before,” said a Republican close to the campaign. “This was really kind of rushed at the end, because John didn’t get what he wanted. He wanted to do Joe or Ridge.”

    Read the whole thing here.

    Bush to Speak at RNC Tomorrow

    posted by on September 1 at 8:38 PM

    CNN said so a moment ago. I speculated about the possibility earlier today. You reading Slog, Mr. Bush?

    Who’s the Daddy

    posted by on September 1 at 8:34 PM

    He is…


    hot. NY Daily News:

    He’s a superhunky bad-boy ice hockey player from cold country; she’s a chestnut-haired beauty and popular high school senior. Soon the all-American teen twosome will make GOP vice presidential pick and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin a grandma at age 44, just in time for Christmas.

    Doe-eyed Bristol Palin, 17, and ruggedly handsome Levi Johnston, 18, have been dating for about a year, locals in their hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, told the Daily News. And the pregnancy? An open secret in the close-knit town of 9,780.

    When The Levees Break

    posted by on September 1 at 6:02 PM

    Not this time around:

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (MarketWatch) — Hurricane Gustav moved past the New Orleans area Monday, and though it still threatened to flood some areas with storm surges, the city’s levees and floodwalls apparently braved the worst the storm had to offer with minimal damage.
    The front end of Gustav was working its way toward northwest Louisiana and had been downgraded to a tropical storm, although there were warnings the storm’s back end still featured hurricane-force winds.

    You’re In Our Thoughts, Sheryl

    posted by on September 1 at 5:18 PM

    Sheryl writes in this comments thread…

    Listen. I’m in Baton Rouge with no power (the power is out to the entire parish). I’m on dialup with a laptop battery that is less than 50%.

    Louisiana is in really, really bad shape, throughout the entire southern part of the state. The damage is really severe. I understand that there is other news out there, but why isn’t anyone talking about this? This recovery process is going to be at least as long as the one from Katrina was going to be. The government has done a better job, as have the citizens, but the damage is… well… catastrophic.

    There is a time for snarkiness, and I’m all for that, but this isn’t it.

    We’re sorry you’re getting hammered again like this, Sheryl, and it seems so cosmically unfuckingfair after what you all went through just three years ago. But I hope you don’t think we’re being snarky here about the hurricane. We’re not. (Bush, yes; Rs, yes; Gustav, no.) But the reason there’s no one Slogging about Gustav or much else besides the RNC is because… well… it’s pretty much just me and Brendan on duty today and we’re both at the RNC.

    As hard as it may be to believe… we’re not actually getting much news inside the Xcel Center (which is in St. Paul and not, as I’ve been sloppily blogging all day, Minneapolis), where I’m currently glowering at Brit Hume, or outside at the protests, where Brendan recently got his ass pepper sprayed. We’re both offline most of the time here and even with the media all around us… we’re not actually consuming much media. We’re kind of cut off from the news.

    And the rest of the Stranger staff is off today… so there’s no one to pick up the slack, Gustav-wise. But readers can follow the storm here, and make a donation here. And Republican delegates are welcome to stop by the YouTube booth at the Xcel Center to, er, show their support.

    The Dumbest VP Candidate Since Dan Quayle

    posted by on September 1 at 4:55 PM

    First Broken-Watergate and now this.

    Officials of the Alaskan Independence Party say that Palin was once so independent, she was once a member of their party, which, since the 1970s, has been pushing for a legal vote for Alaskans to decide whether or not residents of the 49th state can secede from the United States.

    “We are a state’s rights party,” says Clark, a self-employed goldminer. The AIP has “a plank that challenges the legality of the Alaskan statehood vote as illegal and in violation of United Nations charter and international law.”

    Coming from a family of southerners, I learned early on that “state’s rights” is code for opposition of integration and abortion.

    Two questions:

    1) What the fuck is wrong with McCain that he can’t vet a veep properly?

    2) What the fuck is wrong with Palin that she thought she could get away with this crap? Secret kids and kids-having-kids and membership in a weird political party? This is the aughts, friend—the internet is everywhere and you can’t hide this shit. Why wouldn’t she have brought these issues up in her vetting interview and given the RNC a strategy for dealing?

    Because she’s a fucking moron. And a fucking moron shouldn’t be a heartbeat away from—or anywhere near—the presidency.


    What, me worry?

    Oh, Oh, Oh I’m on Fire

    posted by on September 1 at 4:53 PM

    Well folks, I spoke too soon and, as of now, my skin feels like it’s being peeled from my body. Pepper spray: It’s not just crowd control, it’s exfoliation.

    About an hour after my Pollyanna post about the peaceful protests and restrained cops, a large group with a “direct-action” banner (100? 200?) started a quiet, ominous march down to the Mississippi River.

    These were different from the earlier protestors—mostly in black, mostly tanned, most of their faces covered. They didn’t chant, they just moved, quickly. One kid on a bike, who was bleeding out of his ear all down his shirt—presumably from an earlier encounter with the police—was all grim smiles.

    Riot police wearing gas masks massed on the other side of the street (the Xcel Center side, opposite from the Mississippi). Coast Guard boats massed in the river. The protestors tried to cross the street, tear gas was fired, and that was that. Police closed in from both sides, liberally pepper-sprayed the crowd and basically pushed them in a park.

    I was watching one phalanx of police walk away from me, corralling the protestors. The last notes I took:

    Cop pushes girl into tear-glass cloud, then pepper-sprays her. Unnecessary.

    A voice behind me said: “Hey! Keep moving!” It was another phalanx of police. Stupidly, I flashed my media credentials and said “You go on without me. I’m just reporting on this.” I felt a cool shower over my head and heard the cop throw the canister on the sidewalk. She dumped the whole damn thing on me.

    (She was a lady. I’ve always wanted to be pepper-sprayed by a lady.)

    In a couple of seconds, I was a blind, wheezing, snotting, doubled-over wreck of a man, trying to push my bike toward safety while being jabbed in the back with a baton and told to hurry up. I bumped into several small trees along the way.

    I’ll post the boring, first-person details below the jump. I wish I could post some of the photos, but I’m afraid the events—and liquid—of the afternoon has rendered my camera unusable.

    More cogent reporting on this latter protest here.

    Now I’m off to Minneapolis to try and crash a cognac tasting thrown by the RNC for the delegates. From pepper spray to cognac—it’s a grand old party.

    Continue reading "Oh, Oh, Oh I'm on Fire" »


    posted by on September 1 at 4:52 PM

    Are you really gay?
    I now have my doubts.

    Talking Head Case

    posted by on September 1 at 4:33 PM

    I’m not sure who this guy is…


    …but a lot of folks want to talk to him.


    Don’t Worry, Ladies (and Gents)

    posted by on September 1 at 3:55 PM

    Annie Wagner uses her sharp political mind, and her interviews in Denver during the DNC, to debunk the idea that Sarah Palin is going to swing tons of upset Hillary Clinton supporters over to the McCain camp:


    If McCain thinks that dangling an inexperienced, anti-choice woman like Palin in front of emotionally raw former Hillary supporters is going to bring them to his side in droves, he’s badly mistaken. And, frankly, the move is a bit insulting. Expressions of emotion don’t equal gullibility and, more to the point, Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton.

    Photo by Eli Sanders

    And Now, Something Totally Else…

    posted by on September 1 at 2:31 PM

    I’m sure you’ve probably seen some version of this before (there have been more than one)…

    …but I figure, hey, any distraction from Republicans and their conventioneering at this juncture is a damn healthy distraction—the less attention paid to Republicans the better is my policy—and this is the least Republican seeming thing I could find on teh entire internets. I’m not precisely sure what it is, but it sure as hell ain’t Republican seeming. Word.

    Enjoy! I think…

    Bush Is Coming

    posted by on September 1 at 2:25 PM

    Laura, not George—not yet, anyway.

    Laura coming to the convention to encourage people to donate to relief efforts makes me wonder if George W. Bush might make it yet. Fly up from Texas, walk out on stage, wave, and then apologize for not having any prepared remarks since he wasn’t a plannin’ on a comin’. He says a few quick words about all the hard work he’s done over the last few days, encourages everyone to make a donation to relief efforts, and then gets the hell out of dodge. It would be a good stunt, it would get tons of press, and the focus would be on the hurricane and not on Bush’s performance in office and his catastrophic legacy.

    Cheap Shot

    posted by on September 1 at 2:02 PM

    The difference in security measures between last week’s Democratic convention and this week’s Republican convention is the talk of the assembled media. It took hours to get through multiple layers of security in Denver. We breezed through the barricades here in Minneapolis in less than ten minutes. Of course, in Denver they were trying to keep out the nuts with guns. And here in Minneapolis, well…


    You can’t have a convention without delegates, right?

    And confidential to Terry: There will be balloons, honey.

    Postcards from the Protest

    posted by on September 1 at 1:21 PM

    It was mostly peaceful. Seven people got arrested, including a septuagenarian surgeon.

    This lady sang improvised gospel songs on an anti-war theme:


    These guys were ready to rumble. No rumbling was needed:


    These kids briefly blocked an intersection, then surrounded a police car, but were charged by cops on horses. They kept shouting: “We’re here, we’re queer, we’re anarchists, we’ll fuck shit up.”


    One of the group, a feisty lesbian, charged one of of the Phelps “God-hates-fags” people. (They were there claiming “McCain loves fags.”) The cops broke it up, and the feisty lesbian shouted, “I’m staying right here and when this is over, I’m going to kick your ass.” I didn’t stick around to see if she was as good as her word.

    Mostly, it was really fucking hot:


    Getting Inside

    posted by on September 1 at 1:09 PM

    Does this scene a block from the Xcel Center remind anyone else of 28 Days Later?


    Whoa… check out the GOP hotties lurking near the convention center. If this was 28 Days Later, hungry zombies would run up and try to eat their brains. And there’d be, uh, plenty of gray matter for everyone, no doubt.


    And we’re in!


    GOP Parties, Gulf Coast Drowns

    posted by on September 1 at 1:05 PM


    Inside Xcel Center… and here’s the split-screen shot the GOP was worried about—and on FOX News, no less.

    Got a Name for the Palin Scandal?

    posted by on September 1 at 1:03 PM

    My friend Philip suggests “Waterbreak.” Anyone got anything better?

    Maternity Testing

    posted by on September 1 at 12:58 PM

    Well, we seem to have a bit of a question here.

    While some cover is being created, if I were a woman accused of claiming my daughter’s child was my own, and I knew such accusations were false, I’d use science to prove myself right.

    Using genetics to test for maternity is no different than in paternity testing, and I wrote about that a bit ago:

    Paternity testing is all about mixing and matching.

    DNA-based tests work by comparing the recipes—the alleles—you have for a given gene to those of a possible child. For most genes, we get two alleles—one from our mother and one from our father. A child of yours must have one of your alleles for all the paired genes in his or her DNA.

    A graphic if this process—how genetics can be used to rule out a woman as the mother of a child—is over at

    What He Said

    posted by on September 1 at 12:00 PM

    Demolator in comments:

    If Obama had a pregnant 17 year-old daughter, this race would be over.

    Spin the Fetus

    posted by on September 1 at 11:45 AM

    A question for the Palins: Your pregnant daughter “plans to marry the father.” That’s nice. Plans are great. I have long-standing plans to ass fuck Brad Pitt myself.

    But does that horny kid of yours—the one you worked to protect from medically accurate sex education—plan to get married before the election? She could get married this afternoon. Quickie wedding, down at city hall. But if she wants a big wedding, well, that takes some doing. If that’s what she wants, Mrs. Palin, will you be able to take care your new infant, plan your daughter’s wedding, and run for Vice President all at the same time?

    And if you and John McCain lose this election—or, hell, even if you win—what do you think the odds are that your daughter’s plans might change? Any chance that she’ll decide not to marry this Levi person after all?

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on September 1 at 11:00 AM


    Villainaires Mansion Dance Party

    Bumbershoot isn’t even over yet, and there’s a new festival to attend. To celebrate the release of their new album, Villainaire, the Dead Science are presenting The Villainaire Festival of Culture, a weeklong celebration including lectures, film, and art. It begins tonight with a dance party at Waid’s, the underappreciated Haitian dance hall and restaurant. If the band’s past dance nights are any indication, you can expect lots of Wu-Tang Clan, Prince, and crazy, drunken dancing. (Waid’s Haitian Cuisine and Lounge, 1212 E Jefferson St, 328-6493. 9 pm, free, 21+.)


    The New American Politics

    posted by on September 1 at 10:30 AM

    Obama brought race to the very top of American politics. For obvious reasons, Palin is bringing pregnancy to this top. The consequence is that the top of American politics is very much alive, passionate, and gravid with new possibilities, happenings, and unexpected events. We are possibly watching, simultaneously, the birth of a wholly new political constellation and the implosion of an old one. The galaxy of four Republican presidencies that end in Bush will one day be the pulsar we see from afar.

    Spinning the Pregnant Palin

    posted by on September 1 at 10:21 AM


    The campaign intends to cast this as the kind of situation that ordinary American families face.

    Yes, ordinary American families face this situation all the time. Fewer would face this situation, however, if we had comprehensive sex education in the United States, and teenagers had access to accurate information about birth control methods and contraceptives were made easily available.

    And it’s great that Bristol is choosing to keep this baby. As the adoptive parent of a child born to a pair of unwed teenagers, I’m certainly not in favor of abortion in all circumstances. But it’s a choice that the teenagers should be able to make with, whenever possible, input from their families.

    But Bristol still made a choice here.

    UPDATE: First, this is sitting in the comments section…

    Palin’s 2006 AK governor questionnaire:

    Question:”Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?”

    Palin’s response: “Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.”

    Anyone got a link for this? I’d dig it up myself but I’m blogging on the fly here.

    If this is actually Palin’s answer, then she opposed the kind of medically-accurate, comprehensive sex education and programs that could have prevented her teenager daughter’s pregnancy. Congrats, grandma!

    And in response to A Little Wiggle: I’m not taking refuge in legalisms when I say that abortion is a choice a teenager should be able to make with input from her family “whenever possible.” Sometimes a teenager can’t discuss her pregnancy with her parents, and most people get that. It’s why large majorities—including opponents of abortion—believe an exception should be made for cases of rape or incest. Because, you see, sometimes the problem is rape and incest. It’s kind of hard to get a little input* from your father about your unplanned pregnancy when your father is the father.

    * or a little “more input,” I should say.

    They Assemble

    posted by on September 1 at 10:15 AM

    Scenes from the St. Paul Capital lawn:


    Veterans, students, a guy from the American Indian Movement, a sweet little old lady (whose affiliation I didn’t catch), and a young lady who probably tore a few vocal chords, are whipping the crowd up—with horror stories from Iraq, mostly.



    The crowd is pretty diverse—nice suburban types, students, the street-puppet types. Not too many of the black bloc-looking types, however. Demonstrators say they’re expecting 50,000. The crowd doesn’t look anywhere near that size. Yet.

    The Night Before

    posted by on September 1 at 9:55 AM

    The Southern delegation were nodding their well-trimmed heads to Sammy Hagar last night at a party in downtown Minneapolis. (Press wasn’t invited, but a nice doorman from New Orleans, who happened to hate the crowd that night, slipped me in.)


    Sammy Hagar was wearing pink Crocs. That’s all you need to know.

    Then this poor guy, who is also from New Orleans, got up and tried to auction off a guitar for a hurricane relief fund:


    Maybe Sammy played it that night. Maybe he signed it that night. It was kind of hard to hear because the Southern delegation was drunk, yapping, and wouldn’t pay attention. These guys—I swear to you—were discussing golf. It was like a cartoon:


    “C’mon all you people who make a lot of money in Washington,” the auctioneer said. “Can I please have your attention?”

    He could not.

    Protestors were a couple of miles away, getting lashed up at Pi Bar and having some kind of queer-carnival event.


    (I swung the hammer; I hit the bell.)

    The next morning, a few protestors from Seattle got up from the couches in the apartment where they were staying, rubbed their eyes, and wrote the number of a legal-defense fund on their bodies with Sharpies, assuming they’d be arrested today.

    Their plan is to lock down the streets to prevent the delegates from meeting today (as they must, for convention protocol.) Teams from different cities are taking different sectors around the Xcel Center. They wouldn’t share their plan of attack.

    “Meet you at the barricades!” one said as I rode off on my bicycle. “I’ve always wanted to say that.”

    Has Mike Huckabee Resumed Digging His Grave With a Knife and Fork?

    posted by on September 1 at 9:46 AM


    Kinda looks that way, doesn’t it?

    The Morning News

    posted by on September 1 at 9:32 AM

    Southern Discomfort: Gustav’s winds hit Gulf shore at 105 miles per hour 70 miles southwest of New Orleans, where engineers expect levees to hold; hurricane path projected to cross Baton Rouge, LA.

    Midwest Meeting: McCain to accept party nomination despite storm, but many Republican National Convention plans in limbo.

    Northern Exposure: Palin’s 17-year-old daughter pregnant, not married, but due in December, and due to be huge in October.

    Courting Disaster: Eyman sues to maintain standards for amending King County charter.

    Car-Free Sunday: Shuts down Rainier Avenue South; people successfully ride bikes, walk.

    Prime Minister in Japan: Resigns after floundering in deadlock with parliament.

    Floods in India: Eighty dead and 500,000 without food or drinking water.

    Glass Onion: EU to hold emergency meeting, threatening to isolate Russia over Georgia invasion.

    Uppity Teachers: Strike could delay first day of school in Bellevue.

    Dirty Hippies: Dust storm consumes Burning Man.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on September 1 at 9:26 AM


    Two open mics today, and a whole bunch of stuff at Bumbershoot.

    Christopher Frizzelle is in conversation with the fabulous Edmund White. William Gibson is reading and talking. There is a lot of poetry, including Karen Kinneyfrock (twice.) And much more.

    Bumbershoot is here.

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

    Knocked Up

    posted by on September 1 at 9:14 AM

    She wasn’t pregnant then, but she’s pregnant now.

    The 17-year-old daughter of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is pregnant, Palin said on Monday in an announcement intended to knock down rumors by liberal bloggers that Palin faked her own pregnancy to cover up for her child.

    Bristol Palin, one of Alaska Gov. Palin’s five children with her husband, Todd, is about five months pregnant and is going to keep the child and marry the father, the Palins said in a statement released by the campaign of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.


    First, did Palin let the McCain Keystone Vetters know that her 17 year-old daughter was pregnant before he put Palin on the GOP ticket?

    And, I’m sorry, but if abstinence education can’t keep the daughter of the evangelical governor of Alaska off the cock, what hope is there for the daughters—and sons—of average Americans? Seriously: The GOP has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into abstinence “education” programs over the last 10 years (with an assist from Democrats terrified of appearing “soft” on teen sex). This public investment of funds gives us the right to ask why Palin’s daughter, despite this massive outlay on the part of the American taxpayer and the example of her married heterosexual fundy parents, nevertheless become sexually active while still in high school.

    Back to the story:

    The Palins asked the news media to respect the young couple’s privacy.

    Hilarious. When it comes to respecting your kids’ privacy, the GOP doesn’t see a need. They want to tell you when and how to have kids, and they want to tell your kids when and how they can have sex. And if their own kids fail to live up to the standards the GOP seeks to impose on your family, well, suddenly teen sexuality is a private matter, and you’re a boor for even bringing it up.

    Sorry, but if the federal government is going to pour hundreds of millions—billions—into abstinence “education” programs, we have a right to ask if these programs are effective. You know: Is our children abstaining? Sarah Palin’s aren’t, and I strongly suspect that Jenna Bush wasn’t a virgin on her wedding night either.

    “Hurricanes happen.”

    posted by on September 1 at 8:23 AM


    Hey, that’s Tucker Carlson. (He’s on the right.) Carlson thinks George W. Bush should be here at the RNC, not hunkered down in Texas “monitoring the situation” and pretending that he’s somehow responsible for the weather. I asked Carlson if he thought RNC delegates should at least get a fly-over from the president. You know, something like Bush did for the Gulf Coast after Katrina…


    Even if George W. Bush can’t come to the RNC, surely he could fly in low over Minneapolis, peer wistfully out the window of Air Force One, and survey the wreckage he’s left behind?

    Carlson agreed.

    Welcome to Minneapolis

    posted by on September 1 at 7:39 AM


    It’s hazy and warm up here at the top of the Mississippi. Gustav is doing its worst (but NO may be spared), the Palin’s baby bubble is bursting, and George, Laura, and Dick are all skipping the RNC’s truncated opening night.

    Which is, of course, good news for the GOP. The McCain camp really didn’t want Americans to see RNC delegates cheering for George W. Bush during prime time tonight. That might remind viewers that the same folks—the exact same delegates, electeds, and party officials—so enthused about McCain/Palin were just as enthused about George W. Bush back in the day. Watching RNC delegates cheer George W. Bush might instill doubt in their collective judgment.

    Ladies and gentleman, Peggy Noonan…


    Sunday, August 31, 2008

    To the Many Evacuees Who Commented on the Hurricane Posts

    posted by on August 31 at 9:26 PM

    Best of luck tonight, tomorrow and into the future. We’re with you in spirit.

    And a parting bit of better news:


    PAX Day Three - Megathread

    posted by on August 31 at 8:24 PM

    6:30 p.m.: The show is over. I need to go on nerd detox overnight to reflect, sort through photos, and write something with a few more hours of sleep under my belt. Will post final impressions tomorrow.

    3:00 p.m.: G4’s Adam Sessler just walked in front of me in the press room, talking to his friends about the birthday party he’s having in Seattle tonight. “You sure you wanna have it in Seattle?” one friend asked. Sessler responded by slapping his wrist in mock-heroin addict fashion, laughed, and left. I would’ve spoken up, but Morgan Webb was nowhere to be seen, so I lost interest quickly.

    2:30 p.m.: Jazz loves the Penny Arcade Expo. That’s her name; Jazz is a young native of BC attending her first-ever PAX. She’s standing outside of a panel, talking to random passersby about her favorite games; when I meet her, she’s asking me about Psychonauts. I indulge her some chat about the game (wonky but brilliant, if you must know). Then I ask her why she came all this way, and her first answer is that she came with a boyfriend. I dig a bit, to see whether she was dragged or came willing, and she puts her hand on my shoulder.

    “All he had to tell me was, when you come to PAX…” She grips my shoulder. “You’re home.”

    Indeed, home is where the Jazz is. She goes on about her cosplaying fun from yesterday (“my Rosalina outfit only took a month to make”), her gameplay moments with friends old and new, and her favorite moment so far (“breakdancing with the devil;” or at least a guy dressed up as such). All grins and good stories; except for complaints about long lines throughout the Expo, this girl is in her natural habitat and glowing for it.

    This conversation has been typical of the strangers I’ve approached for the past three days. Lots of out-of-towners have come for their first-ever PAX, and few have said their purpose was to try out new games or dive head-first into Penny Arcade comics and panels. Plainly, simply, and proudly, they’ve come from miles around to find their home. Hopefully, home will have fewer lines and full-capacity panels next year, but that’s not stopping these people from randomly bombarding anyone they see about their favorite eras of 3D platforming games—or going to a free-play room and loading ‘em up.

    2:00 p.m.: The “girlfriend into gaming” panel was comedic to some extent; much of the Q&A session felt like therapy for confused dorks with girlfriends. “Relationships are about compromise.” “You should be thankful she plays games at all.” “Attract her to gaming by leading a responsible gaming example.” Seems the panel expected this barrage of questions, and to their credit, you couldn’t have asked for a more accommodating panel—nothing mean or condescending was directed to these guys with apparent struggles.

    Thankfully, the five women heading the panel—all webmasters, writers, and community leaders—rose above the advice portion by offering a lot of perspective and character to the crowded panel session. They were interested in games aimed at young girls; while initially offended by Barbie/Hannah Montana fare, one panelist realized that young girls can’t get into gaming if moms aren’t willing to purchase it. “If it has to be pink, so be it”; they saw Barbie as a gradual segue to Call of Duty 4. Take that as you will. Still, the five panel speakers warned parents to be as concerned about GTA IV’s influence on younger gamers as the over-materalistic “girly game” fare.

    3:00 a.m.: I’d write about the friendliness of PAX crowds, but it’s hard to make that description interesting. The sky’s blue. D&D has geeky fans. The PAX crowd is a fun-loving group with absolutely no troublemakers. Last year, the character of the crowd was striking; this year, it was expected.

    But concert etiquette isn’t a PAX crowd’s forte. Midway through the final show of the expo concert series, roughly 2,000 fans were screaming song titles in unison—occasionally joining forces to shout their pleas as a mob. Normally, this is my fingers-on-chalkboard. But when the band is The Minibosses, and the song requests are names of video games, I instead felt like I’d been dropped into a real-life Internet flame war.

    “METROID!” “ZELDA!” The closest this crowd got to shouting for a deep cut was a mass request for cult NES hit Rygar.

    Continue reading "PAX Day Three - Megathread" »

    A Memorial for the Art Laborer

    posted by on August 31 at 8:06 PM

    Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of the day that Jason Sprinkle attached a 700-pound ball and chain to Jonathan Borofsy’s Hammering Man in front of Seattle Art Museum.

    In remembrance, Sprinkle’s friends, family, and other artists will be meeting at 10 am at Hammering Man to set a memorial sign there. The memorial is both for Sprinkle’s art, and for his life—he was killed when hit by a freight train in 2005.

    The organizer, Doug Parry, says:

    Please feel free to bring cut flowers to place around the memorial sign (no jars or cups of water for the flowers and no candles—just cut flowers, please).

    This is an unofficial gathering, although our goal is to invite SAM to recognize Jason’s artistic contributions to the city of Seattle, and, especially, his Ball and Chain. Therefore, this will also be a peaceful gathering and if we are asked to disperse (by either SAM or the SPD), we will peacefully comply. Cool?

    The memorial gathering will last from 10:00AM to 10:30AM and will end with a moment of silence before we all go our separate ways.


    Baby Games

    posted by on August 31 at 7:12 PM


    Is raising questions about the Palin pregnancy a smear campaign? Here’s why it’s not. The circumstantial evidence for weirdness around this pregnancy is so great that legitimate questions arise—questions anyone with common sense would ask. The answers to those questions can easily be provided. This is an easier call than the “cross in the dirt” story, which will never be resolved one way or another. The McCain-Palin campaign can resolve this now with medical records, as are mandated for presidential candidates anyway.

    The job of a press is to ask questions which have a basis in fact. Read for yourself the full chronology here. See whether you are certain there are no legitimate questions worth asking. I have claimed nothing. I am asking the McCain campaign to resolve a factual question which they must already have covered in the vetting process. After all, this baby was a centerpiece of the public case for Palin made by the Republicans. They made it an issue—and therefore it is legitimate to ask questions about it.

    The 50 Greatest Arts Videos on YouTube

    posted by on August 31 at 3:47 PM

    Yesterday Metafilter linked to The Guardian’s list of the 50 greatest arts videos on YouTube—and I just disappeared into it for about three hours. Go ahead: let it swallow your Memorial Day weekend. It’s so worth your time.

    My favorites so far:

    1. A screen test for East of Eden wherein James Dean tells Paul Newman to kiss him, and Newman responds, “Can’t here.”

    2. Billie Holiday singing “Strange Fruit” not long before her death.

    3. Jackson Pollock, filmed by Hans Namuth, saying pretty much everything that needs to be said about Pollock’s painting, including that he got the idea from Native American sand painters.

    4. Samuel Beckett’s only film project, running in two parts (although like me, you may have to go three parts to piece together the whole thing, because of the original linkage) at about 15 minutes long, starring an old, wrinkly, terrifying, and still hilarious Buster Keaton. It’s silent. Do watch it through to the end.

    5. Kurt Russell trying to get the part of Han Solo.

    There is also far, far more. I have to get back there. Now go!

    Faded, Maybe, But Not Useless

    posted by on August 31 at 3:38 PM


    Last week, when I posted an item announcing that local artists (including NKO) were starting work on a large mural on the side of the Monique Lofts, I asked this question:

    Are they covering up all the ghost signage? I sincerely hope not.

    Which brought this response from Gurldoggie:

    I agree with preserving context when it’s meaningful, but the importance of a decades-old service station ad eludes me. What’s the history you want to preserve? It’s not like it’s a stop on the underground railroad - it’s just a place people used to get their oil changed. To me it doesn’t seem like anything worth preserving.

    Except that ghost signs are part of a long history of sign-painting. Advertising may be corporate today, but back in the day, itinerant sign painters would go door to door offering their services to small businesses. That’s how those signs went up. They represent a very cool, mostly lost tradition of independent craftspeople.

    Which is exactly what the artists on the mural said they’re thinking when I finally got out to ask them on Friday. They’re not covering up the ghost signs.

    We like them. We have histories as sign painters, too. It’s part of the history of this wall, and it adds a layer of depth to the ground.

    Photos of the project in process will be appearing here.

    Hey! White Working Class Male Voters! Doesn’t Sarah Palin Remind You of Your Ex-Wife’s Vicious & Vindictive Bitch of a Sister?!?!

    posted by on August 31 at 2:23 PM


    Remember how George H. W. Bush reminded women of their first husbands?

    If you’re under 35 you may not actually remember. But trust me: The current president’s daddy was regarded as something of a tool and Bush 1 was said to remind a lot of female voters of their first husbands, all presumably tools as well. And this reminds-women-of-their-first-husbands thing was a political problem for the first President Bush. It’s one of the reasons George H. W. Bush didn’t get his ass reelected in 1992. (Bill Clinton beat Bush in part because Clinton, I believe, reminded a lot of women of the total horndog they dated between their first and second husbands.)

    Now if it turns out to be true that Sarah Palin abused her authority as governor of Alaska in an effort to get her ex-brother-in-law fired—that would be state trooper Mike Wooten—then it seems to me that Palin just might remind a lot of men out there of their ex-wife’s vicious and vindictive bitch of a sister. Seeing as the man she tried to get fired is a white and working-class, Palin might particularly remind those crucial white, working-class male voters of their ex-wives’ vindictive and vicious sisters.


    Look, Sarah Palin tried to get her sister’s ex-husband fired—and, yeah, he sounds like a total douche, but that’s beside the point. Palin tried to get a guy with child support payments to make thrown out of work. Hello? Democratic talking heads? There are a lot of divorced & divorcing men out there—working class, middle class, upper class—who are still angry about the way they were treated by their ex-wives’ families. Particularly their ex-sisters-in-law. And these guys just might think twice about putting their ex-wife’s raging bitch of a sister a heartbeat away from the presidency.

    If somebody, you know, slyly worked to put that notion into their heads.

    Just sayin’.

    Windows Unfettered by Staircases or Corners

    posted by on August 31 at 2:19 PM


    Check out this story and slide show by Pilar Viledas of Seattle artist/designer Roy McMakin’s latest creation, a house on Vashon for the personal manager of K.D. Lang. From the outside, it looks like a Whiting Tennis painting, and on the inside, the cloudy concrete, gray paint, and vivid woods look like a blend of American Gothic, Northwest rustic, and Kafkaesque bureaucratic. If you can believe it, it’s also child-like.

    McMakin’s the one who made the steel storage box, bronze lawn chair, and concrete bench at the Olympic Sculpture Park, not to mention his installation Love & Loss there.

    McMakin has a solo show at James Harris Gallery coming up this fall.

    Camera Shy

    posted by on August 31 at 2:03 PM

    This photo is an detainable offense: Attorney Gena Berglund.

    A Minneapolis-based attorney has asked Hennepin County district judge Mark Wenick to sign an emergency injunction to stop police from seizing video cameras and other recording equipment from journalists during the Republican National Convention.

    Attorney Gena Berglund, of the National Lawyers Guild, says Judge Wernick claims to be “too busy with probable-cause hearings” to sign the injunction.

    Police have been seizing video cameras and other recording equipment from video bloggers throughout the summer—seven affidavits of different instances—and in the past few days.

    Just yesterday, say Bergland and a lefty organizer named Michelle Gross, police conducted a raid on a house and seized video equipment from a Eyewitness News, a New York-based video group. (Their footage from the RNC in New York in 2000 helped acquit 400 people who were arrested during protests.)

    Berglund adds that right now, a team of videographers, who were on their way to this very press conference, are being detained by police on a streetcar just a few blocks from Minneapolis City Hall, where the conference is still underway.

    (Sgt. William Palmer, a spokesperson for the Minneapolis police, says he hasn’t heard anything about this.)

    “The police just stopped the car on its tracks and have them trapped in there,” Berglund says, her voice shaking. “I’m very angry and my clients are very angry,” she said. “This has to stop.”

    (Maybe those photos I posted a couple of minutes ago could’ve landed me in more trouble than I’d thought.)

    The delayed Anointment of McCain is becoming less interesting by the second.

    What the hell’s going on between the police and everybody else? Is this just saber-rattling in advance of the protests? Does the GOP not want to be filmed?

    Are they not feeling pretty this week?

    Because Importing Hordes of Young Volunteers Worked So Well For Howard Dean in Iowa in 2004

    posted by on August 31 at 1:47 PM

    Slog tipper Jason writes…

    The idea is that there are (a) underemployed, overeducated young people in blue states that want to get to battleground states, and there are (b) rich, old people who have too many frequent flier miles or want to help the campaign in a personal way. We connect these two groups so that rich people can buy young people plane tickets to the swing states and the young people can work like slaves on the campaign.

    So Jason helped start in order hook young people with free time up with old people with frequent flier miles.

    Hm. I’m thinking it might be better if the Obama camp recruited red-state volunteers in actual red states. Because, you see, Karl Rove’s flying assmonkeys—experts at stoking cultural resentment—would be delighted to see hordes of earnest young 20-somethings from blue states descending on red states. Hell, they’d be delighted to see a trickle, which they will portray as a horde, in an effort to discredit indigenous red-state volunteers already working on the Obama campaign.

    Instead of leaving Seattle or Boston or SF to canvas the rubes in Wyoming or Indiana or Florida, it might be better idea for those underemployed, overeducated young Obama supporters in blue states to get a second job—even a crap one—and donate whatever money they make to the Obama campaign, which could turn around and spend their money on ads and field offices and identifying and recruiting volunteers in red states.

    Anyone want to check and see if is available?

    But, hey, if you simply must “travel for change,” please don’t all wear orange hats, okay?

    Opening Night Cancelled

    posted by on August 31 at 1:07 PM

    Because of the storm.


    posted by on August 31 at 1:02 PM

    That was then…


    This is now.

    Just spent an hour at the gym watching the noos on CNN and MSNBC. It’s wall-to-wall Gustav. And this time George Bush is on top the situation. Bush learned his lesson last time a hurricane destroyed New Orleans and he’s not gonna get caught napping—or vacationing or playing air guitar or speaking at the RNC—again this time, that’s for sure. This time the federal government, under George W. Bush’s leadership, is prepared.

    Can’t help thinkin’ that the man could probably run a wonderfully competent invasion of Iraq right about now.

    All Along the Watchtower

    posted by on August 31 at 12:32 PM

    You’ve heard of the parking garage in St. Paul that’s been turned into a mass detention center.

    Looks like there’s one in downtown Minneapolis, too. Guards in camouflage stand watch over Second St…


    … and hide behind walls when they realize you’re taking their picture. (See the bit of orange vest out from behind the pillar?)


    We played an eerie game of hide and seek for a few minutes. They’d stand, I’d point my camera, they’d scurry away. They’d peek out again, I’d raise my camera, they’d scurry away. They all watched me, some through binoculars, and talked into their walkie-talkies. Nobody came down to question me.

    The Defining of Sarah Palin

    posted by on August 31 at 12:30 PM

    It’s happening on two blogs with somewhat opposite political orientations, and the results are not looking good for the half-term governor from Alaska.

    The conservoflexible Andrew Sullivan is on a tear, mocking the idea that Palin is qualified to negotiate with Putin just because Alaska is close to Russia, pointing to “the mommy question,” expressing dismay at her ignorance on Iraq, and tying it all back to McCain’s bad instincts and lack of concern for national security.

    At the same time, over at TPM, the liberal-but-not-hysterical Josh Marshall and his crew are zeroing in on troopergate, “Bridge to Nowhere” flip-floppery, the laughter during the “bitch” interview, and the reminder all of this brings of McCain’s alarming willingness to shoot from the hip.

    All in all, not a positive reception for the Republican VP pick. Lucky there’s a hurricane coming!

    Gustav, Katrina: Storms of the Century

    posted by on August 31 at 11:14 AM



    Right now, this is what constitutes good news for New Orleans.

    Given the projected strengthening—to a category IV hurricane—and the predicted track that will take the storm’s landfall near to New Orleans—where the levees are either weak or uncompleted, and thus totally unequal to the projected huge 10 to 20ft storm surges—this might be it for the crescent city. Again.

    There will be no more “shelters of last resort,” that fig leaf expended during Katrina when the rest of us learned astonishing numbers of our fellow Americans have no choice but the last resort. Some of the poorest people in the country—let’s be honest with ourselves, some of the poorest people in North America—are being asked to evacuate, with no resources to do so. Again.

    Frankly, this should be exactly why we pay taxes—to help people without any means to follow mandatory evacuation orders. Of course, after eight years of Bush and even longer under Republican dominance, such public assistance will be woefully unequal to the task. Again.

    Consider donating to charity. The American Red Cross has started a fund. It’s an ugly way to deal with this, but the only way with which we’ve been left.

    The second storm of the century is about to hit New Orleans, the second storm of the century within five years. That should make you wonder.

    (More after the jump, or here.)

    Continue reading "Gustav, Katrina: Storms of the Century" »

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on August 31 at 11:00 AM



    I know it’s tempting to curl up and pretend that Bumbershoot doesn’t exist—the crowds, the heat, the piles of fried rice you inevitably step in—but Bumbershoot is a necessary evil. Especially this year. Today’s lineup is littered with acts that are worth your trouble, like thrashcore locals These Arms Are Snakes and the delightfully weirdo experimental solo act Final Fantasy. And assuming your Depends® aren’t overflowing by 9:00 p.m., you oldsters can stick around for Stone Temple Pilots. (Seattle Center, 11 am–11 pm, $40, all ages.)


    Congratulations, Dearly Beloved Dykes!

    posted by on August 31 at 10:59 AM

    My big sister Robin? Well, she’s a helluva woman, isn’t she? Of course she is. She was recently declared Woman of the Year at the Oregon State University, Corvallis, in fact, where she heads the Student Organizations and Events department, and she lives with her partner, Carol, in a small house on their big land on a river deep in the misty Oregon rain forest. They have been together since 1996-ish. They were “married” in a mass gay wedding in Washington, DC in 2000. That was all in protest: an outlaw wedding. It was kind of a big deal. Totally illegal, of course.

    Well! Now! Here we are eight years later, and their deep and undying gay luv has finally been smiled upon by the State of Oregon: Robin and Carol successfully registered as domestic partners in Portland just last Friday, and it’s a done deal, good and proper and legal and everything. They have now officially been pronounced wife and wife.

    My big sister is big gay married! Hooray!

    What Happens to a Protest Deferred?

    posted by on August 31 at 10:30 AM

    A few of the preparations in St. Paul:

    Manhole covers near the Xcel Energy Center have been spot-welded into place, just in case anarchists plan on heaving them through expensive plate-glass windows.

    A new $3.4 million network of spy-in-the-sky cameras punctuate downtown corners, allowing officers at St. Paul police headquarters to zoom in on everything via eight video screens in Room 540 — the same room once used to store supplies left over from Y2K.

    Emergency foster care families have been put on call to care for the children of those arrested.

    And the required squealing and skirt-gathering (this from South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint, on the DNC protestors):

    And have you seen some of these protesters on TV? They wear black masks, chant “Down with America!” and do their best to intimidate everyone. They argue for more rights for terrorists and less energy alternatives for you and me. They could care less about the high price of gas because most of them like anarchy. It is a pretty frightening sight.

    So what will the protestors do if the whole convention is delayed?

    From the NYT:

    And Senator John McCain, is not ruling out the possibility that the event may have to be put on hold due to the powerful hurricane bearing down on the Gulf Coast.

    “It wouldn’t be appropriate to have a festive occasion while a near tragedy or a terrible challenge is presented in the form of a natural disaster,” Mr. McCain said on Fox News Sunday, noting that he was continuing to review the situation and “saying a few prayers too.”

    Maybe nobody will get what they want: no convention, no meaningful protests, no nothing. Just McCain slipping quietly onto the ballot.

    On the bright side, there are thousands of idle people in St. Paul this week—if the convention is cancelled and the South needs a wave of humanitarian aid, we’re all right here.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on August 31 at 10:00 AM


    There’s an open mic and a bunch of readings today at Bumbershoot including my personal pick, Dan Clowes, Adrian Tomine, and Ivan Brunetti in conversation. There will also be a Short Stories live performance featuring stories by great local authors Rebecca Brown and Ryan Boudinot. There’s also something called the Post-It Note Reading Series, which has been on NPR a whole lot and involves someone drawing on Post-It Notes.

    Bumbershoot is here.

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

    It’s Too Early for This Headline of the Day

    posted by on August 31 at 8:46 AM

    Jacksonville Daily News in North Carolina:

    Gay angle may have hurt probe