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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tonight at the Sundown: COME ON DOWN!

Posted by on Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 2:59 PM

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Every first Tuesday, the Sundown Tavern in Ballard plays its own special version of The Price Is Right—$1 per chance to be called to COME ON DOWN, with proceeds going to charity (tonight: the Youth Development Fund).

Last month it was really fun: giant frosty beers, near-riotous audience, funny hosts, lots of good-looking people. And now they have hickory- and apple-wood smoked barbecue—the owner says modestly, "Our BBQ sauce rocks!" Menu after the jump.

[Update: This was originally posted on the wrong day; pardon me.]

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Amanda the Animal

Posted by on Sat, Feb 28, 2009 at 7:24 PM

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Suspect 'did cartwheels'

The woman accused of murdering British student Meredith Kercher performed bizarre gymnastic stunts immediately after the killing, her trial heard.

American Amanda Knox did cartwheels and performed the splits as she was waiting to be questioned over the death, a senior police officer told her trial.

She and her former lover Raffaele Sollecito are accused of killing Miss Kercher, from Coulsdon, in Perugia.

I'm becoming convinced that Amanda is simply simple. Simple in the sad sense of having a mental disability. A serious weakness or break must exist in the processes that connect her mind to the world of actual things and happenings. More and more I do not see her as a criminal but as clueless as that horse of Enumclaw. The undeveloped state of her mind make her as undesirable and as simple as that horse. What separates Meredith from Pinyan is that Meredith had no idea that an animal was in her house.

EDITOR'S NOTE: On October 3, 2011, Amanda Knox was acquitted of the murder of Meredith Kercher and released from prison.

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Gone Fisting

Posted by on Sat, Feb 28, 2009 at 5:54 PM

The entire editorial staff is away on some sort of retreat—save me. But I'm—surprise—out of freakin' town. Which is why no one has posted anything about this news story to Slog yet, despite the dozens of emails insisting that this story is Slog worthy. And it is. Sorry no one was around to respond.

This Week in the Book Section

Posted by on Sat, Feb 28, 2009 at 4:45 PM

This week in the book section, Brendan Kiley reviews the third book by Hari Kunzru.


31a0/1235785645-book_myrevolutions.jpgIt took 9/11 to rip the vein of romanticism for left-wing terrorism out of the American brain. In previous decades, when the deaths were oceans away and inflicted for causes you could sympathize with, it was easier to fetishize Che Guevara, the IRA, and the Red Army Faction; to linger in the bright, unforgiving halls of Leninist revolutionary theory; and wonder whether you would've pulled the trigger on a czar if you'd had the chance. In those previous decades, My Revolutions, by British novelist Hari Kunzru, would have been read through the soft, romantic lens Kunzru describes so well: "We were laughing, strolling through the churchyard like conventionalized lovers, bathed in the yellow light that's now eternally the light of 1971, not just for me but for everyone who saw a film or looked at a magazine that year. Dazzle and softness and lens flare."

But Kunzru's characters aren't conventionalized lovers, and he doesn't let his novel linger in that yellow light for very long...

The whole thing is over here.

This Week in the Book Section

Posted by on Sat, Feb 28, 2009 at 3:42 PM

This week in the book section, I review a thriller that attracts and repulses me.


8dc1/1235785461-book_beatthereaper.jpgIt's been a long time—maybe even as far back as the rat-a-tat release of Chuck Palahniuk's first three novels—since I've found a book this compulsively readable. And it's been exactly as long since I've read a book this actively disgusting. Beat the Reaper is narrated by a mafia hit man named Pietro "Bearclaw" Brnwa who, after a messy court case and with the assistance of the witness protection program, becomes a medical intern named Peter Brown. Of course, an old employer recognizes Brown from his old life, and half of the book is spent flashing back to his hit-man days.

I hope you'll read the whole thing.

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Pissed Off About the Recent Gay Bashings?

Posted by on Sat, Feb 28, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Originally posted Thursday and moved up for tonight's event.

This weekend, the Queer Ally Coalition is planning a vigil and candlelight procession through the streets of Capitol Hill to draw attention to an upsurge of anti-gay violence in Seattle. Two men attacked Jerry Knight last weekend, and a man attacked Jay Lewis earlier this month—in both cases the assailants yelled “faggot” before beating the victims. Nationally, the FBI reported in October that anti-gay bias crimes had increased by six percent.

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“We are trying to send a strong message to these bigots that we are not going to stand for these sort of attacks,” says Chanan Suarezdiaz, one of the Queer Ally Coalition organizers. He thinks the passage of Prop 8 may have emboldened homophobic attackers. “These bigots feel they can terrorize queers and get away with it because were just stripped of marriage rights,” he says.

Vigils may seem a wimpy tactic to counter violence. Some folks believe that, rather than lighting candles, the gays need to go out and kick some ass. Defending the streets is a need going unmet. But a candlelight march is a good start at increasing visibility. The presence of the gay-safety squad Q-Patrol (who also was not afraid to kick some ass, if needed) years ago was credited with instilling a sense of protection and helping deter hate crimes on Capitol Hill. The group dissolved years ago, in part, because gay bashings had grown rare—probably because Q-Patrol scared off some of the fuckers. Now there’s growing sentiment that Q-Patrol, or a group like it, should return to the streets. If you're of the mind that gays must physically defend the hill, then attending this vigil is more important than ever: The demand for a new group will be gauged partly by the turnout Saturday. Think you want to be involved in a street-patrol group? Meet like-minded folks at the protest.

The event begins at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 28 by the pillars on Boren Avenue and Pike Street. Speakers will include victims of anti-gay violence on Capitol Hill and representatives from the Seattle Commission for Sexual Minorities. The Facebook page is here.

This Week in the Book Section

Posted by on Sat, Feb 28, 2009 at 12:33 PM

This week in the book section, Dave Segal reviews a book about Sly and the Family Stone:

12df/1235784954-book_takeyouhigher.jpgFew artists have plummeted in quality as precipitously as Sly Stone. Gifted with the ability to play many instruments, write, produce, arrange, perform, and radiate a million-watt charisma onstage, Sly (aka Sylvester Stewart) and his multiracial, gender-diverse group the Family Stone have created a body of work that will exhilarate humans for as long as electricity exists. They had an astounding run of albums, singles, and live performances that raised the bar for popular music with their inventive, combustible fusion of soul, funk, and psychedelia. Sly excelled at everything from explosive rave-ups to morose ballads. He was a master crafter of memorable hooks and a pioneer of drum-machine programming. As Jeff Kaliss states in his book, Sly & the Family Stone were "funky enough for Harlem and Watts and trippy enough for the Haight-Ashbury." But following the band's peak (roughly 1967 to 1973), Sly succumbed to the pitfalls that have plagued hundreds of musicians before and since: creative stagnation, financial problems, and drug overindulgence, with its attendant paranoia and unreliability.

A life of such dizzying highs and miserable lows makes for a potentially riveting biography, of course, and Kaliss does about as solid a job as can be expected, given Sly's notorious reclusiveness. Unsurprisingly, Kaliss only secured two very brief interviews with Stone (who forbade the author to record them), both of which mainly serve to show how much spark has drained from Sly's brain. Nevertheless, I Want to Take You Higher is a well-researched, well-reported account of Sly & the Family Stone's career and the group leader's personal life.

You should read the whole thing.

This Week in the Book Section

Posted by on Sat, Feb 28, 2009 at 11:53 AM

This week in the book section, Aaron Pickus looks at a graphic novel adaptation of the movie Waltz With Bashir and explores the idea of art about atrocities.

2d4d/1235786090-book_waltzwithbashir.jpgThe German philosopher Theodor Adorno, when discussing pop songs protesting the Vietnam War, said that he found these attempts "inseparable from... consumption, from the cross-eyed transfixion with amusement. When somebody [is] singing something or other about Vietnam being unbearable... I find, in fact, this song unbearable. By taking the horrendous and making it somehow consumable, it ends up wringing something like consumption-qualities out of it." The problem of art and genocide was also touched upon in George Steiner's classic essay "To Civilize Our Gentlemen," where the literary critic explores the ability of literature to exist in a world where humans are systematically murdered.

It's a smart, funny piece, and it's over here.

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Reading Today

Posted by on Sat, Feb 28, 2009 at 10:11 AM

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There's a lot going on for a Saturday.

At Seattle Mystery Bookshop, Earl Emerson, who is a local author who writes about Seattle fire fighters, returns with Cape Disappointment, which is hopefully not a self-fulfilling prophecy. I'm embarrassed to say I haven't read Earl Emerson, which is ridiculous since I've worked in the Seattle book industry for nine years now. Maybe I'll give this one a shot.

At the Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library, Bruce Barcott reads from The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman's Fight to Save the World's Most Beautiful Bird, which was a very popular book last year. Up in the Montlake branch of the library, Tony Wolk reads from Lincoln's Daughter, which is the last book in a trilogy about a time-traveling Abraham Lincoln and the daughter he left behind in 1964. I don't know what this book reads like, but this idea is, as the kids said five minutes ago, MADE OF AWESOME.

Three big events at Elliott Bay Book Company. Stephen Mitchell reads from The Second Book of the Tao, a new translation of the sequel to the tremendously powerful 1984 romantic comedy The Tao de Ching. Or something. Then, a little later in the day, Xinran reads from China Witness: Voices from a Silent Generation. This is the latest in a string of book describing what it is like in China right now. This one has interviews, and Xinran is a good author despite the troublesome mononomenclature. Then, finally, the African American Writers Alliance will read pieces to celebrate the conclusion of another African American History Month.

And up at Third Place Books, Azadeh Moaveni, who is a Time magazine correspondent who winds up in Iran in the middle of some tough times, reads from her book about the experience, Honeymoon in Tehran.

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

The Morning News

Posted by on Sat, Feb 28, 2009 at 7:11 AM

Financial aid for college students: Last thing to be cut.

GDP: Shrinks by 6.2 percent in the final quarter of last year.

Tobacco: New regulations.

Russians chased: Russian bomber chased by Canadian jets soon before President Obama's visit to Canada.

Less global trade in recent months: Duh.

Broke: Eli Wiesel and his foundation fall victim to Madoff.

Internet porn and Christianity: A possible correlation.

Mugabe: Diamonds and Hong Kong.

Self-portrait: Leonardo da Vinci.

President Obama: There is "no interest or aspiration" to be in Afghanistan for the long term.

California: Drought and possible water rationing.

Ben Smith: An interview with Mitt Romney.

More rockets: From Gaza to Israel.

Placentas: Found in Illinois sewers.

Shooting: At 24th and Lane in the CD.

Body at Golden Gardens: Medical Examiner says it was a suicide.

Sex offender in Puyallup beaten with bat: Attacker gets three months in jail.

Friday, February 27, 2009

We Are Now Allowed to Publish This Image (Yesterday, We Weren't)

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 6:01 PM

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Has this not been on Slog today? (Somehow I missed it when I was reading up on Obama's Iraq-withdrawal remarks today.) The ban on images like the one above—published this morning on the cover of the New York Timeshas been lifted:

WASHINGTON — In a reversal of an 18-year-old military policy that critics said was hiding the ultimate cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the news media will now be allowed to photograph the coffins of America’s war dead as their bodies are returned to the United States, but only if the families of the dead agree.

What happened 18 years ago that got the ban instituted in the first place?

The original 1991 ban had its genesis in an embarrassment for the first President Bush.

In 1989, the television networks showed split-screen images of Mr. Bush sparring and joking with reporters on one side and a military honor guard unloading coffins from a military action that he had ordered in Panama on the other.

Mr. Bush, a World War II veteran, was caught unaware and subsequently asked the networks to warn the White House when they planned to use split screens. The networks declined.

At the next opportunity, in February 1991 during the Persian Gulf war, the Pentagon banned photos of returning coffins.

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All Kinds of Bad Ideas Wrapped Up in One

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 5:47 PM

9b19/1235771666-shotgun.jpgOh lord. I'm not convinced that developing an even faster way to get drunk is a good idea. I'm also not convinced that you want drunks to continually shoot themselves in the mouth.

Armed with the Alcohol Shot Gun, you can re-enact the most memorable movie scenes from "Dirty Harry" to "Matrix". "Do you feel lucky, sucker" is the only question? Pour in an ounce of your favorite drink into the cartridge, cock the trigger, point and shoot.

Still and all: It's probably safer than Jell-O shots, if just because you have to be able to have the manual dexterity to reload the goddamned thing time after time.

Comic Book Guy

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 4:54 PM

c973/1235764876-nerdupsupermandown.jpgThis is a good idea that's maybe not explored to the fullest: Wired interviewed comic book store employees and owners and took photos of them at work and at home.

The questions seem like a missed opportunity ("If you could be any comic book character, who would it be?" Duh-hut!), but there are little interesting bits sprinkled throughout, occasionally transcending the stereotypes of comics store employees. I especially enjoyed the interview with Olive Panter, the daughter of comics artist Gary Panter (she was named after Olive Oyl, which seems unnecessarily cruel to me). Panter works at a Brooklyn store called Cosmic Comics, and she tells a story that is at once heartbreaking and embarrassing:

On a Wednesday, a regular customer came and bought a ton of comics as per usual. Then the next day he came in he was completely scab-covered and bruised on his face. We were like, "Dude, what happened to you? Are you okay?" Turns out he started falling down on a escalator while holding his comics and rather than protecting his face he protected his comics. But they still got a little bent, so the next day he came back and re-bought them.

Recruiting God's Army, Part 2

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 4:46 PM

More people are coming forward to say that the Turning Point Church in Marysville is engaged in more than standard outreach practices to the secular masses. Yesterday, I posted about a mom who says adult “youth leaders” attempted to recruit her 11-year-old daughter, who they met during school hours at a public school, into attending church meetings—without obtaining the mother's consent.

Students' issues with the Turning Point Church aren’t new. More than four years ago, church delegates were on public school campuses during school hours, says one former student.

“People of various ages, [in their] 20s and older, were going around handing out these Bibles and saying that we should all go to Turning Point Church because it’s a cool place to be,” says Nick Poling, 18, who attended Totem Middle School in Marysville a few years ago. “They would give out pamphlets to people that said, you should come to our youth group.” The school has open-air hallways, and the youth leaders would hang out between the buildings. “They were out there waiting for us when we came out for the buses.”

“There were teachers around and it’s not like they tried to stop them,” he says. “Back then, I just was kind of confused as to why the administration would let them do that.”

The state constitution seems clear on the subject: "All schools maintained or supported wholly or in part by the public funds shall be forever free from sectarian control or influence."

But it’s unclear whether the group’s actions are illegal. Doug Honig, a spokesman for the ACLU of Washington, says each intersection of religion and government must be taken on a case-by-case basis. But, he notes, "Separation of religion and government means that public schools cannot sponsor or promote religious activities. People who are invited onto school grounds by school officials are not permitted to proselytize students."

On Wednesday, Totem Middle School—no doubt aware of those concerns—blocked further visits to the school by church members while it conducts an investigation. Turning Point Church continues to communicate on campus with students at Marysville Pilchuck High School, Cedar Crest Middle School, Mountain View High School, and Marysville Middle School, spokespeople for the respective schools confirm.

Some Marysville residents made up their minds long ago. Sam Poling, 20, Nick Poling’s older brother, began making videos last summer that parody Turning Point Church Pastor Mike Villamor, whose YouTube videos the elder Poling calls "creepy.”

Here’s one video of Villamor visiting his six-year-old son at school and goading the boy into praying over a school lunch and confirming his love for Jesus:


In response, Sam Poling made the first of several videos that parody Villamor:

Although Sam Poling calls the video "very tongue-in-cheek, silly," he says an irate member of the congregation came looking for him at the Blockbuster Video where he works. Although Poling wasn't working that night, his fellow employees said the church member wanted "to ‘kick my teeth in’ for ‘making fun of a pastor’” he says.

Rick Ross, a court witness on “destructive religious groups,” runs a national forum on organizations engaged in cultish behavior. The forum has a rich thread dedicated to the Turning Point Church, where former members and others express concern the church is targeting children, trying to persuade them to follow the Turning Point Church without telling their parents. “In my experience, that leads to a breakdown in the family, a conflict between child enthralled with church organization and parent who says that is not my belief,” says Ross. “If Mom and Dad sign off on [a consent form] and then the child comes back and the church puts it on file and work with child with the family’s knowledge, that is fine.”

But, he says, “The idea that any church would try to circumvent parents without notifying [them] in advance is shocking to me because the right of parents to decide the religious affiliation of their children is sacrosanct."

Villamor and other members of the church did not return calls to comment.

Tim Burgess

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 4:29 PM

Coward.

Citing council duties and noting reluctance of downtown business to contribute, Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess said today he will not run against Mayor Greg Nickels in this year's election.

I may have to run.

10 / 40 / 70

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 3:50 PM

e456/1235766992-oceans_twelve_2004_1.gifStephen Elliott at The Rumpus points to Digital Poetics' new film-reviewing experiment: 10 / 40 / 70. They freeze-frame the film ten minutes, forty minutes, and seventy minutes in and review the film based on those frames. It's an interesting little constraint-based reviewing system.

Unfortunately, the first film is Ocean's Twelve, which I recall as a messy, arrogant piece of shit that was gorgeously and inventively shot. The 10 / 40 / 70 method seems to point in other directions:

Generally considered the weakest in the trilogy (Entertainment Weekly ranked it as one of the 25 worst sequels of all time) it is in fact one of Steven Soderbergh's strongest films, apart from The Limey (1999), which is his best. Julia Roberts playing Julia Roberts, and all the complications that ensue, hearken back to the Jerry Lewis / Dean Martin movies.

This reviewing technique is an interesting idea, and it's already achieved the unthinkable by making me want to watch Ocean's Twelve again.

Detour: Burke-Gilman Trail

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 3:12 PM

It's nice out today.

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Squeeze Bad Stick Guts

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 2:52 PM

A computer model that tracks the development of the English language thinks that the words bad, stick, guts, and squeeze are likely to become extinct in the near future. Of course, we're talking about English's near future, and so the scale you need to keep in mind is tens of thousands of years. I, we, two, and three are the oldest words in the language.

Meanwhile, the fastest-changing words are projected to die out and be replaced by other words much sooner.

For example, "dirty" is a rapidly changing word; currently there are 46 different ways of saying it in the Indo-European languages, all words that are unrelated to each other. As a result, it is likely to die out soon in English, along with "stick" and "guts".

Verbs also tend to change quite quickly, so "push", "turn", "wipe" and "stab" appear to be heading for the lexicographer's chopping block.



(Via. Thanks to Original Monique for pointing it out.)

Ex-NBA Star for Mayor? Wouldn't be the First Time...

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 2:50 PM

It happened in Sacramento, where Kevin Johnson, a three-time NBA All-Star as point guard for the Phoenix Suns, was elected mayor in 2008. And it could happen in Detroit, where former Pistons guard and seven-time All-Star Dave Bing came in first in this month's primary to replace ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who resigned. Maybe ex-Sonics center James Donaldson's rumored bid for mayor isn't so quixotic after all.

This Weekend at the Movies

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 2:37 PM

Hi, friends. Here's some movie stuff for you!

Opening today:

David Schmader loves Gomorrah:

The Cannes-dazzling Italian mob movie Gomorrah begins with a blank screen, upon which appear the film's credits, underscored by a piercing industrial hiss. Emanating from a film that identifies itself as a gritty mob movie, this violent, mysterious hiss fuels dreadful mental images: Is someone's face being removed with an electric sander? Is a corpse being fed into a shredder? As the hiss continued, I found myself taking a mental tour through every scene of crime-related cinematic sadism I'd ever witnessed, from the car-trunk stabbing of Good- Fellas' Billy Batts to the cramming of Steve Buscemi into Fargo's wood chipper. At last, the source of the hiss is revealed: the UV lamps of a tanning bed, beating down upon a male member of the Naples crime syndicate known as the Camorra, in a Neapolitan tanning salon that soon enough becomes a scene of carnage. It's a dazzling bait and switch and switch again, and one that perfectly encapsulates Gomorrah, a mafia movie in which every hint of glamour is killed.

I feel so-so about Two Lovers:

A broken engagement sends Leonard—the sad, spazzy, but inescapably likable heir to a Brighton Beach dry-cleaning business—on a few long walks off a few short piers, then to a mental hospital, then back to his parents' humble two-bedroom apartment where, round-shouldered, he shuffles around the neighborhood taking pictures of human-less storefronts. He strikes up a romance with sweet, reliable Sandra (Vinessa Shaw), while at the same time becoming obsessed with his flighty, manipulative neighbor Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow—are you interested in seeing one of her boobs? Because congrats...), the luminous life-ruiner described above.

Ballerina, says Jen Graves, tries to do too much and winds up saying very little:

In the overly broad documentary Ballerina are the beginnings of five or six separate great documentaries. For instance: a movie obsessively devoted to the legendarily expressive arms of Russian ballerinas. Just the arms. Or a movie that compares two great living primas, say, the lusty Diana Vishneva and the ethereal Uliana Lopatkina. Or an opinionated ranking of primas going back to the 19th century. Or a portrait of brand-new budding ballerinas—their little shirtless bodies (they wear only underwear) bent every which way by old men and women teachers—and the primas they idolize. Or a portrait in the middle: of the aspirers, the dancers on the verge.

And in Concessions, I had just a few more teeny tiny small thoughts about the Oscars:

The "Isn't It Kind of Rude to Repeatedly Bring Up That Time When Your Friend Had a Decades-Long Career-Ending Meltdown and Wound Up an Orange, Scarred Wreck Who Creeps Out Dogs, Women, Children, and Most Men?" Award

Goes to: everyone at that fucking thing. Seriously, every two seconds it was "Mickey Rourke's fucked-up face" this and "you look like a zombie potato in a wig" that. You guys. Maybe dude doesn't want to talk about it right now.

As always, all of our limited runs and movie times are searchable HERE.

Happy weekend!

City to Spend $14,000 to Send Two Retiring Council Members to Dubai

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 2:34 PM

This post has been updated.

City council members Jan Drago and Richard McIver—both of whom are assumed to be retiring this year (McIver has confirmed; Drago is making her announcement soon)—are headed for Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, as part of an 85-person trade mission that starts next Wednesday. McIver's flight, hotel, and other expenses will cost the city $7,595; Drago's will cost somewhat less, $6,286, because she found a ticket herself and will share a room. Both of the council members' trips were planned last year and paid for out of the council members' office budgets for 2008.

Drago's office says such missions are worthwhile because they enable participants to build relationships with officials in other cities and can create financial benefits for Northwest companies. For example, her office says, the most recent trip Drago took—to Chongqing, China—resulted in a $30 million contract for the Robbins Co., a Kent-based firm that builds construction machines. Boeing does business with two huge UAE-based airlines, Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways. Other Northwest companies, such as Microsoft, Starbucks, and NBBJ Architects, do big business in Dubai.

Spending thousands of dollars to send two council members to one of the most expensive cities in the world during a severe recession may be a judgment call. However, choosing two council members who won't be around to implement any policy ideas they may learn about in Dubai, or to actually capitalize on any relationships they may form there, is a highly questionable use of public dollars. (Not to mention: What exactly is the purpose of a trade mission to a country whose economy is in freefall, with workers fleeing to their home countries to avoid being thrown into debtors' prisons?)

At a time when council president Richard Conlin is freezing the council's travel budget for the rest of the year, and perhaps permanently, the image of council members jet-setting off to Dubai just months before they retire is a bit unseemly.

"Off-the-charts Weird"

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 1:53 PM

Cincinnati freaks me the fuck out:

On many nights over 16 years, Kenneth Douglas engaged in his own personal macabre workplace party.

He often brought drugs or alcohol to work and sometimes had sex with women.

At least three of those women were dead, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said Thursday.

But if Douglas is to be believed, he could have had sex with as many as "over a hundred" bodies in the 16 years he worked as night attendant at the Hamilton County morgue.

He could wind up going to jail for three years for his crimes.

War Pigs

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 1:16 PM

In groups of dozens and (in a few southern states) even the low hundreds, Republicans turned out at noon today to throw "tea parties" to protest the stimulus bill. Wonkette has some hilarious coverage, including photos of a guy in a Poop hat and Michelle Malkin with her usual look of deranged outrage. On Malkin's own site, there are lots of reports of happy Republicans who are elated at their newfound ability to protest the President.

I’ve got tons of photos and e-mails pouring in from Tea Party people across the country. I joked to a Christian Science Monitor reporter covering the events that fiscal responsibility is the new counterculture...There is, as the old ’60s song goes, something happening here. And what it is, is very clear: A grass-roots revolt against the culture of entitlement. The spendzillas in Washington do not speak for us.

I hope this is the Summer of Fiscal Responsibility in the counterculture. I really want to go to the Fiscal Responsibility Woodstock. I bet it'll be in Alabama somewhere, and Kid Rock will totally fucking rock the shit out of that crowd.


Dear Michelle,

I just wanted to let you know that I attended the Atlanta Tea Party. I would say there were over 200 people who came out and stood in a driving rain to listen to the speakers, and make their voices heard! The inclimate weather was not enough to dampen the spirits of modern day patriots, or to quench their outrage over the Obamanation.

It's adorable watching these people learn about activism, now that something as petty as American soldier's lives or innocent Iraqi civilians aren't at stake.

Slog tipper Davey sent along a photo from Seattle's own tea party, in Westlake Center:

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He says: "Appropriate accessories, no?" Davey, you are my Slog Tipping hero.

So Sad

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 1:15 PM

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To mix and play with the words of Nas: "Life's a beech and then you die."

Notes from the Unemployment Line

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 1:00 PM

Last week Sophia Ferrel, 32, e-mailed me late at night asking that I delete a certain paragraph from her note. She thought it was ill-considered. Today, after responding to some of her comment critics, she reconsiders last week's deleted paragraph and its class implications.

9ef1/1234545801-sophia2.jpgBeing unemployed is like being pregnant, in that everyone wants to give his or her advice/opinion about what I should do with this new and very noticeable situation. The trouble with advice like this is it only reflects the idealized version of what these people imagine they would do were they in my situation—not my actual life with all its variables.

Another analogy: Looking for a job makes me feel like I am dating again. I know I am a great catch so why has no one snapped me up? And where is the one that I will have great chemistry with?

“Thank you for applying for the position of …This email is to inform you that we will not be using the applicant pool to fill this position. As you may have read, the City [of Seattle] is anticipating budget shortfalls, and we will need to use this position to place an employee who would otherwise be laid off... The economic outlook will not always be this challenging…”

In other words: I think we would be better off as friends.

I wondered if the Employment Security Department was hiring since they are so obviously overwhelmed. And they are! They're hiring 70 intake agents to work in their telecenter, part-time, with this caveat: Expected Duration: March 1, 2009 - February 28, 2010.

Apparently our state government has an end date forthis madness. It’s right there: February 28th, 2010. Just like the quick little wars that we get ourselves into; didn’t they have an end date too?

I don’t know why but this doesn’t actually sound so bad, sitting on the phone all day long with frustrated unemployed people. Maybe my standards are getting lowered after looking at thousands of soul-sucking job postings. Maybe I just care about my new co-unemployees—these collected masses of wonderful people without jobs—and want them to hear my sweet voice of concern and empathy.

Sometimes my optimism can get me into some trouble. For last week's post, I had written a small paragraph about driving right by 7-11’s with "Now Hiring" signs. My boyfriend read the piece and not so subtly pointed out how flip and insensitive that was. At one point in his life, he had to live in his car and took jobs at places like McDonald's to make ends meet. I felt like such an asshole and so insensitive. Who am I to not just take any job that comes along?

I e-mailed Eli Sanders late at night and asked him to take out that paragraph. My boyfriend made me realize that part of the unexplored reality is that it really is part of a broader class struggle to be holding onto the notion that because one has a college degree and has had white-collar jobs, one will be owed that kind of work by the world. Sometimes it is easy to forget this, though even unemployed people are rewarded according to class. Two years ago, I worked at a coffee shop and earned $8.75 an hour. My current unemployment benefits reflect none of that, but reflect 60% of what I was paid at my last job (that I was lucky to get and lucky to be well-compensated for). My friend who was laid off from The Seattle Times makes quite a bit less on unemployment than I do, and she is no less talented, hard working or intelligent than I am. I know we pay into these benefits, and that is why they differ (and they do cap out at around $530 a week). But having these benefits differ based on what you were paid only in the last two years can’t help but seem slightly unfair.

So I have spent most of this week thinking a lot about what other kinds of jobs I would take, since apparently it is near impossible to get an interview for jobs you are incredibly qualified for.

The real truth of the matter is that the very last places I will go will be places like Labor Ready, 7-11 or Fred Meyer. Is that classist? Do I sound flip and insensitive? It doesn’t really matter, does it? I have trouble selling my soul to earn a pittance. I grew up poor, but I grew up educated, free, playing in streams, building forts and riding my bike around the loop road on Guemes Island. My mom is and was a super liberal naked-gardening hippie. I am not well suited to work under florescent lights and suck up corporate bullshit to earn what is not even a livable wage.

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Allah Against Ethanol

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 1:00 PM

So says Saudi scholar Sheikh Mohamed Al-Najimi:

A prominent Saudi scholar warned youths studying abroad of using ethanol or other fuel that contains alcohol in their cars since they could be committing a sin, local press reported Thursday.

Sheikh Mohamed Al-Najimi, member of the Saudi Islamic Jurisprudence Academy, based his statement on a saying by the prophet that prohibited all kinds of dealings with alcohol including buying, selling, carrying, serving, drinking, and manufacturing, the Saudi newspaper Shams reported Thursday.

You're sure this "prominent Saudi scholar" isn't coming out against ethanol for some other reason?

The Rodham

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 12:59 PM

Hillary loves her some Hamas.

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is now hammering Israel over its treatment of Palestinians in Gaza.

As First Lady, Clinton raised eyebrows when she kissed Suha Arafat.

Since she was then seeking a Senate seat the resulting brouhaha caused her to "re-think" her positions.

"I'm a very strong supporter of Israel," Clinton said back in February 2000.

On Thursday, as Secretary of State she had yet another about face in the form of angry messages demanding Israelis speed up aid to Gaza. Jewish leaders are furious.

Some Israelis are already longing for the Bush years.


"I feel it's unfortunate that they don't continue the policy of the Bush administration, which was much more pro-Israel," said Akiva Homnick of Jerusalem.
It's a hard times for hardliners.


Photo by Doug Mills.

Speaking of Poetry

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 12:52 PM

In case you haven't noticed, The Stranger's gone poetry-crazy in the last few months, and this week's new column introduces a new poetry contest for all you Metro riders out there:

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We've already gotten a ton of submissions—some serious, some decidedly not—but we'd love to read what you have to say about riding the bus. Send your 50-word-or-less* bus poetry here. The best and funniest poems will run in the paper over the next week or two. Others will be included here on Slog. Go get all Robert Frosty on our asses!

*Someone sent an e-mail asking if the 50 words or less included the title. It does not. But if your title is 150 words long, we probably won't have room for it.

Lunchtime Quickie

Posted by on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 12:02 PM

The Mayor of What-The-Fucksville just called and he wanted me to tell you to watch this Japanese gay porn baby video. Happy Friday!

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Kenneth the Governor

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Dear Metro,

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Who Likes Porn?

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No Such Duck

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Today in Watermelon

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Reading Tonight

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House Proud

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On the Radio

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The Morning News

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