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Thursday, September 30, 2010

It Gets Better: We're Giving Them Hope

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 5:43 PM

View more "It Gets Better" videos at the It Gets Better Project YouTube Channel.

I want to thank you for this project.

My son is 14 and a freshman in high school in rural Georgia. He isn't athletic. He isn't religious. He isn't in ROTC. He has long hair and reads books. He is constantly being called "gay" or "faggot," often times by the people he thought were his friends. He tries to ignore them, but it doesn't stop them. He tries to debate them, but it doesn't stop them. So far, it hasn't gone beyond name calling, but I worry. I showed him your site the day it went live. He sat down and watched the video that you and Terry put up. Since then I have seen him checking the site out on his own. I don't know if he is gay. But I do know that your message has touched him, although he does confide that four years is still a long time to wait for things to get better. I think that seeing so many other people say the same things holds much more weight than having his mother tell him.

So, thank you again for sharing.

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City Received Ineligible Federal Funds For King Street Station Project

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 5:31 PM

A state audit released today says that the City of Seattle received $160,622 in federal reimbursements for unallowed activities. The audit, carried out between January to December 2009, is on the city's financial condition, but singles out the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) for not complying with federal laws while claiming costs from Federal Transportation Authority (FTA) grants. A part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the FTA program is intended to help in the planning, construction, and improvement of public transportation projects.

In 2009, the city spent $5.4 million of FTA award money, of which $3.5 million went to SDOT, including $2.3 million for the King Street Station renovation project. The audit determined that the department did not have proper controls in place to prevent or detect a $185,921 ineligible contractor payment related to the project that was inappropriately charged to the grant. Since the grant pays 86.5 percent of the project costs, the city received $160,622 as reimbursement. As a corrective measure, SDOT has reduced the amount of its July 2010 claim for reimbursement by that amount.

The audit says that SDOT lacks control over ensuring that only eligible reimbursements are charged to federal grants. State Auditor Brian Sonntag says that his office specifically chose the FTA grant because previous audits have discovered problems with this program.

Although SDOT agrees with the audit's analysis on the ineligible reimbursement, the report says, it disagrees with its assertion that SDOT's information system cannot generate clear and timely reports of detailed charges to federal grants. The audit points to this as the main reason for SDOT not having effective controls to monitor grant charges.

I have a call in to SDOT to see if they want to comment.

Man, How About that Arcade Fire?

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 3:58 PM

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Here's what you missed if you weren't there. Plus: backstage photos!!

Library Fines for Kids Nothing New

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Yesterday, state Rep. Reuven Carlyle wrote a piece on Crosscut arguing that the mayor’s proposed budget cuts released Monday—"a budget that slashes virtually every program, service, and benefit that families with children utilize and enjoy in our neighborhoods"—proves that Seattle is not a place for kids. Exhibit A: Mike McGinn’s plan to collect fines on overdue library books checked out by kids. “The proposal to begin enforcing collection of fines against kids under 13 for overdue library books is perhaps the ultimate elbow against families,” Carlyle wrote. While Carlyle cites a lack of funding from the city government for several kids programs, this one is the "ultimate elbow" (it bears mentioning that many, many thing have been cut that don't have anything to do with kids, like cost-of-living increases for union workers, and revenue has been tappped from sources paid by exclusively by adults, like parking spaces).

When it comes to library fines, however, it turns out families have been taking the elbow since the Nickels administration. The Seattle Public Library (SPL) approved a rule last summer that took effect October 15, 2009 which says, “Items designated for children 12 and under: Daily fines of 15 cents per item accrue on overdue items.” Before then, books checked out by people under 13 were fine-free.

SPL spokeswoman Andra Addison says that ever since that rule took effect, when kids held past-due books, “overdue notices to juvenile accounts included fines.” The notice would go to whomever was on the account: either the kid or the parent, Addison says. Return rates on library materials for juveniles have improved since then.

Under the change that takes effect November 1 of this year, the library will send a notice to a kid's parents, via the collection agency that handles all library fines, once the fine exceeds $25. Megan Taylor, the SPL circulation manager, says those fines accrued when someone is 17 or under never go to credit reporting. The goal is not to penalize children, Addison says, but to collect the library stock. Before the fines, “people forgot about it,” she says. But the fines and notices encourage “getting the books back faster. It is saving that book budget and keeping popular materials in circulation.”

City council member Tim Burgess is also reportedly opposed to collecting the fines, but his office said it was too early for Burgess to comment.

McGinn spokesman Aaron Pickus says, “With the cuts we are making to library services, it makes sense that once fines exceed $25 it is acceptable to ask that the fine actually be paid."

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"How Do I Have Sex with That Thing?"

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 3:47 PM

The title of this post, of course, is the question humanity asks when presented with a new piece of technology. And unsurprisingly, Slate reports that smut is climbing up the Kindle charts. Right now, an erotica novel titled Compromising Positions (about a fitness-company CEO who falls for a "Sensational Sex workout" instructor) is edging out Franzen's Freedom for the most popular Kindle book.

The description of books that are dominating the Kindle right now are pure gold:

Take, for example, a novel called Office Slave, in which an attractive female CFO is found to be embezzling from her manufacturing company. Rather than go to prison, she agrees to her boss's demand to become the company's sex slave. She is forced to wear slutty (or no) clothing at work; he films her in intimate acts; he instructs male coworkers to beat her physically for perceived transgressions; and she has sex with everyone imaginable, including factory workers (to reward productivity gains), prospective customers (to secure new contracts), a coworker (as a retirement gift), teenage boys (who deliver lunch to the office), etc. And—whaddya know?—no matter how physically abused and mentally degraded she is, she finds she actually enjoys it.

Anybody who didn't see this coming has no idea how the human mind works.

Dads? Try to "Out-Dad" This Dad.

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 3:36 PM

A dad in New York and his 8-year-old son attach an HD video camera to a weather balloon, send it into space, and retrieve it. Here's the breathtaking video, and by the way, my dad and your dad sucks compared to this dad.

Man with Dementia Threatens Housemate with Handgun

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 3:24 PM

Seattle police were called to a home in the Georgetown neighborhood on Saturday after a man with dementia reportedly threatened his housemate with a gun, according to a police report. The disturbance apparently began earlier in the day when the suspect got into an argument with the woman about a friend of hers. The suspect left the house only to return 15 minutes later with a .38 caliber revolver. The argument apparently picked up where it left off, but now the man was pointing the revolver "6-8 inches away from [the victim] with his finger on the trigger." The suspect continued threatening the woman, calling her a "fucking slut" numerous times. In fear for her life, the woman managed to slip past the suspect, seeking refuge with a male friend in a back room. The victim called police as she hid herself, while the gunman remained in the front of the house. As police approached, they saw a man matching the suspect's description standing on the sidewalk near the house. The police quickly zeroed in on the individual's blue sweatshirt, which they describe as having an, "obvious sag in the front sweatshirt pocket from containing an object." Officers began to give "loud and clear" instructions to the suspect to put his hands up and get on the ground. The suspect apparently would not follow instructions. He began to reach for the pocket of his sweatshirt, but just before reaching into his pocket, he put his hands into the air. Officers approached the man, handcuffed him, and searched his sagging pouch to find the black and brown revolver loaded with six .38 caliber, hollow-point bullets.

The man, who is suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's according to reports, does not have a concealed pistol license and had not been seen with a gun before the incident. Police booked him into King County Jail for investigation of assault and harassment.

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Slog Poll: What Should the Mayor Do with Seattle Center?

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 3:00 PM

UPDATE: We're shutting down this Slog poll because it's obviously been gamed. Although the Chihuly museum had only about 4 percent of the vote at first, it suddenly shot up to about 50 percent of the vote. What happened? Our internet squirrels looked around and found that about 800 votes had been cast from one IP address. That address is 173.160.142.233, which maps to Chihuly.com. I called the Chihuly folks—who have in the past have enticed would-be supporters with gift certificates and packed public meeting with PR flacks—but they didn't have a comment. — Dominic Holden

UPDATE 2: Janet Makela, spokeswoman for Chihuly Studio, says she talked to several people at Chihuly Studio and "most... didn’t even know about the poll and they don’t read the Slog or read The Stranger." She added that only about 100 people work there so they couldn't have cast 800 votes. "Once you vote you can't vote again," she said. — DH

Within the next month, Seattle Center director Robert Nellams will give his presentation to Mayor Mike McGinn on why a Chihuly museum is the best fit for the center's Fun Forest Arcade site—over a KEXP/Open Platform collaboration or a Northwest Native Cultural Center (among others). Support for Chihuly and KEXP/Open Platform is neck and neck, according to the mayor's office. Meanwhile, the mayor's said that he'll listen to the wishes of the people, so email him.

But the mayor, being a smart man, also recognizes the power of Slog and its infallible polls. He knows that many slog commenters—his adoring public—are more comfortable bitching anonymously online than emailing him directly. Which is why he's agreed to let a Slog poll decide the fate of the Seattle Center's Fun Forest site.*

To the polls! What should the mayor champion at the Seattle Center?

*The mayor has not agreed to let a Slog poll decide the fate of the Fun Forest site.

BIAW, Main Backer of the Workers' Comp Initiative (And This Insane Rap Video), Found to Have Mishandled Member Funds

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 2:46 PM

The conservative Building Industry Association of Washington—which is backing Initiative 1082 to the tune of $500,000—has been found by a Thurston County Superior Court judge to have mishandled tens of millions of dollars in member funds.

"It's the second time in a week that they've been found guilty of significant financial impropriety," said Collin Jergens, spokesman for FUSE Washington. "These guys clearly are not capable of managing their money well. They're not good financial stewards. And they're asking to play a greater role in our entire state's worker's compensation system under Initiative 1082. Why would we trust them?"

Well... Because they use their funds to help pay for amazing rap videos like this one?


According to Jergens, the judge found the BIAW had put money from its workers comp cash cow scheme into an interest-bearing account that earned the group $500,000—coincidentally, about the same amount the BIAW has put into 1098—when it wasn't allowed to do so.

Erin Shannon, spokesperson for the BIAW, laughed out loud at the claims of a court victory by Jergens and others, calling them "delusional."

"It's an absolute victory for BIAW," Shannon said, claiming that none of the damages the plaintiffs in the lawsuit asked for were awarded.

Shannon said the problems identified by the judge today were just "some technical paperwork and accounting procedural violations," and she added that the judge "found that there was no wrongdoing as far as we spent the money or how it was handled or where it went."

So where did it go? "I don't know what we've done with it," Shannon said.

Are Your Apps Spying on You? And Can Amazon Save Us?

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 2:38 PM

Is the creepy Droid Eye watching you?
  • Is the creepy Droid Eye watching you?
Engadget says that a recent study has proven that 15 of a sample of 30 of the most popular apps for the Android phone are surreptitiously sending GPS information "and/or other unique identifiers (IMEI numbers, phone numbers, SIM numbers, etc.)" to advertisers.

This would be a reason why Apple having a stringent app approval process could be seen as beneficial. And it could be a reason why Amazon is opening their own Android app store. But Slashgear says that Amazon's deal with app developers will be a strict one: Besides the $99 annual fee for developers, developers won't be allowed to sell the apps cheaper (or debut them earlier) in any other app store. In addition, Amazon might require developers to install DRM software in the apps.

The question is whether consumers would feel safer going to Amazon, rather than buying their apps from Google's own laissez faire marketplace, where things like secret spying are apparently a matter of course.

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Open Studio Sale at the Washington Foundation TONIGHT

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 2:32 PM

If you haven't been yet, you're about to make a great discovery. Here's the little documentary about the Washington Foundation that recently aired on the Seattle channel.

Things start tonight around 6, and the foundation's at 1816 26th Avenue, and two doors down is another amazing artist house—you'll see.

Sarah Kavage and 1,000 Bushels of Wheat

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 2:25 PM

This summer, Seattle visual artist Sarah Kavage bought and milled a thousand bushels of wheat, and gave it away to hundreds of people in Chicago—including at homeless shelters and food banks, in a project she calls Industrial Harvest. Her only request is that people nourish someone else with what she gives them, and that they send her a note or a picture telling her how. In addition to being a creative gesture of giving, it's an exploration of the artificially inflated wheat commodities market—which has caused people to go hungry worldwide.

Read all about it here or check out this quick video.

Broadway Meets Rock 'n' Roll: Too Little, Too Late

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 2:17 PM

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The first time I saw a Twisted Sister poster, I must've been nine or so, hanging out in my older cousin's bedroom in a swampy town in southern Virginia. It scared the shit out of me. Who were these florescent monsters with long tongues and long hair and tortured/sadistic faces? They seemed as remote from our grandparents' records of Rogers & Hammerstein musicals as a bacon burger from a fresh carrot. I averted my eyes, and communed with a poster of a snarling Axl Rose for comfort.

But now, Dee Snyder from Twister Sister wants to be on Broadway. What can this possibly mean? That Broadway has finally realized that heavy metal exists, 30 years after the fact? That Dee is grasping for any attention he can? That metal and Broadway and Dee have all met at the far end of the Kitschy Brick Road?

To begin the answer, please revisit these questions Dan Savage asked NYT theater critic (turned political writer) Frank Rich about how Broadway missed the rock 'n' roll boat:

A love of musical theater used to be a mainstream, even aggressively heterosexual interest—my parents own the eight-track tapes to South Pacific, Oklahoma, Camelot. When and how did musical theater lose its hold on the general American psyche?

It was the advent of rock music—and I was just the right age to witness it happening. I remember when I was 7 or 8, the number-one songs in the country were from My Fair Lady or Camelot and West Side Story. It literally ended when the Beatles happened. I have this vivid memory, I would have been 14 or 15 at the time, when Meet the Beatles! sort of swept through the country and my life. The whole British invasion consolidated the whole rock and roll takeover of American pop culture. That was the end of Broadway musicals as being the pop music of the country, and it's never been the same since.

Why wasn't Broadway ever able to digest and regurgitate rock and roll like it had done so many other forms before?

It's so interesting—my own theory is that it was an incredibly shortsighted industry. You would think the obvious thing to do would have been for a producer to go to Laura Nyro, Simon and Garfunkel, Lennon and McCartney, whomever, and say, "Write a score, write a musical!" No one did it!

They eventually did it to Paul Simon.

Years later, 20 years later. In the past 10 or 15 years, they have tried to catch up, Spring Awakening as an example. Green Day is doing a musical right now on its way to Broadway that's trying out in San Francisco or Berkley, but that's all after the horse is out of the barn. When it would have made a difference, it did nothing. I was startled to read in the Times a piece about Bye Bye Birdie, because it's being revived for the first time on Broadway this week—and Bye Bye Birdie was in 1960, and the authors of it said they could hardly raise the money for Bye Bye Birdie because it was considered this radical rock musical by producers of the period. I thought that was an absolute snapshot of what went on. In some ways, it's like newspapers not figuring out the internet until too late. Broadway thought rock music was a fad and laughable. The last generation of great musical-theater writers, they all started their careers just before rock came in.

Will Broadway embracing rock be the death knell for rock? Which would be delightful, because I hate rock.

[Laughs.] It could be, you know there's always been that joke—when you see a Hollywood actor turn up in a Broadway musical, it's like a way to repent and reform a career that is tanking.

Now Dee and Broadway have embraced each other in the jukebox musical Rock of Ages, playing the songs of Styx, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, et al.—and Green Day and Broadway have cuddled together over American Idiot.

"This rock... it's not corny!" Billie Joe Armstrong insists in the American Idiot internet trailer. The lady doth protest too much.

So Broadway discovers rock 'n' roll—and not even the best rock 'n' roll—45 years after it rolled into town. Some might read that as a sign of life, but these jukebox musicals are just a few more skulls littering theater's boneyard of the imagination.

(We'll see what happens with Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson—but even that's an ironic riff on emo, which doesn't quite count as Broadway getting/embracing pop music. And the new versions of the songs, up here now, sound too overproduced and slicked-up. As soon as it made the jump to Broadway, Bloody Bloody stopped sounding like something new and started sounding like a reunion tour.)

The Look of Hate

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 2:07 PM

When I first learned about this story...

A New Jersey college student has leapt to his death a day after authorities said two students secretly filmed him having sex with a man and broadcast it over the internet.

Tyler Clementi's wallet was found on the George Washington Bridge on 22 September after two witnesses saw someone jump from the structure, authorities told the AP news agency.

...my mind instantly imagined this to be the look of the suspects...

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But this is in fact their look...

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Yes, it's rather shocking. They have the look of the kind of global cosmopolitanism that I see as the bright (post-racial, post-homophobic, post-xenophobic) future of humanity. I still believe in this future terminus, but, clearly, the road to it has some serious bumps.

The Best Legs in Seattle Are Leaving—Early?

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 2:06 PM

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Ariana Lallone is leaving Pacific Northwest Ballet at the end of this season after 24 years with the company. She is spectacularly long-limbed—the woman is 6-foot-5 on pointe—but she is also extremely expressive and unusual.

I've always liked her better than the patrician Patricia Barker, the longtime PNB ballerina whose retirement was the cause of approximately three million appreciation parties and performances. What gives? No tribute to Lallone?

And is she being pushed out a year early? What's this in the fine print of the press release?:

In a letter read to the Board, Ms. Lallone said "Although it was my wish to take my final bow during the 2011-2012 season, I am extremely grateful for the 24 years that I have been able to perform with PNB. You have provided me with the opportunity of a professional career that has been more of a fairy tale and dream-come-true than anything I could have imagined."

Harumph is what I have to say.

I hope I get to see a lot of her at tonight's performance.

Full press release on the jump.

*This post has been updated. Two notes: First, Lallone specifically asked that word "retired" not be associated with her leaving, so I've cut it from the title as a courtesy. Second, I will not get to see her at tonight's performance because she's not dancing until this weekend.

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So Much Local Art It Hurts: Fourteen—14!—Shows

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Last weekend I saw so many art shows in the city—14—that I'll spread them all out in front of you buffet-style. You can go to see every single one of these. (Hurry to the first one!)

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1. Ben Waterman, The Grand Rooms, at Gallery4Culture through today.

This will be the longest review, because Waterman is a really exciting young artist I haven't written much about before. He has a pitch-perfect but offhanded way with material (he uses lots of different stuff, but clay, fabric, cardboard, and spraypaint come to my mind as major elements) and color (often neon or metallic), almost as if all he has to do is flick his wrist and watch entire atmospheric landscapes fall from it.

These landscapes aren't anything like traditional landscapes—there aren't mountains and rivers and whatnot—but instead are like the byproducts of a self-conscious body camping out in a dirty city that also happens to feel like the moon. I see Waterman's relationship to Northwest artists like Nicholas Nyland, Chauney Peck, Eli Hansen and Oscar Tuazon, and Wynne Greenwood (in addition to the UW ceramics teachers he studied with); but also LAers like Amanda Ross-Ho and Anna Sew Hoy; and basic art-world eminences like Gerhard Richter, Bruce Nauman, and Robert Rauschenberg.

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All of which is why I feel comfortable saying that he is somebody I think could also benefit from a swift kick in the ass. He doesn't edit enough, which means his work can feel trendy in that discarded-shit-strewn-around, Unmonumental sorta way. He can do better than hiding behind messiness or obscurity. It feels like he's playing at the edge of making you call bullshit on his work, and when the work wins you over, you realize you can believe in something new, believe that something inanimate is actually full of life. The blue-spraypainted clumps of raw clay that stand in for a mouth and two hands are primitive and postmodern, like a coyote under a gargantuan digital billboard. There are not enough little moments like this, where color, shape, and material come together in an unholy, righteous union that justifies itself beyond any external "meaning" it might point to.

The major work in the show, 17 Lines (Each Over 400 Feet)—a process work in which the artist laid down thumb-pressed bits of clay and spray painted over them to create a Richteresque layered abstraction, then put the thumbed bits in obsessive piles next to studly wood planks—feels like a breakthrough. It is a painting made and unmade at the same time, soft as a thumbprint but determined to stack itself into existence/importance—which is an endearing determination to expose, maybe because it's so damn familiar.

So, humbly I ask: Less, please. But also: More, please.

2. Amy Blakemore: Photographs 1988-2008, at SAM through February 13. More later. Powerful stuff.

Duncan (2002), shot with a Diana camera, 19 by 19 inches
  • Duncan (2002), shot with a Diana camera, 19 by 19 inches

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We Are Not That Far Away from Mass-Market Quantum Computing

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 1:27 PM

From OneIndia:

London, Sep 30 (ANI): In what could be called as a big leap in quantum mechanics, a research team at Yale have achieved the entanglement of three solid-state qubits, or quantum bits, for the first time.

Their accomplishment is a first step towards quantum error correction, a crucial aspect of future quantum computing.

"Entanglement between three objects has been demonstrated before with photons and charged particles. But this is the first three-qubit, solid-state device that looks and feels like a conventional microprocessor," Nature quoted Steven Girvin, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Yale and an author of the paper, as saying.

If this sticks, it's a huge milestone. And when/if we ever get mass-market quantum computers, the internet will look as quaint as a mimeograph machine. We live in exciting times.

Utah Poised to Criminalize Miscarriages

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Earlier this year, Utah legislators voted overwhelmingly to pass a bill that would criminalize miscarriages in the state. Now Utah Governor Gary Herbert is poised to sign into law a measure that could make women criminally liable for being in abusive relationships, car accidents, or other "reckless" situations that result in miscarriages.

Here's how: The bill changes the definition of (legal) abortion to any procedure "carried out by a physician or through a substance used under the direction of a physician." Everything else that terminates a pregnancy falls under the umbrella of illegal abortions—including miscarriages. Furthermore, lawmakers would revise Utah's Criminal Code to make illegal abortions that are the result of the "intentional, knowing or reckless act of the woman" grounds for criminal homicide.

For example, if a pregnant woman gets into a car accident while not wearing her seat belt and suffers a miscarriage, she could be charged with reckless homicide, according to Utah's chapter of the ACLU. Same goes for women who suffer miscarriages as a result of domestic violence. But it gets worse. Because, you see, under this new law, women in Utah would be forced to defend their miscarriages—which are a common, natural part of pregnancy—as lawful.

From the ACLU via Daily Kos:

...this bill changes the presumption that abortions obtained in this state are legal. If this bill is signed into law, women in this state will essentially be in the uncomfortable and unfortunate position of having to prove that abortions they obtain (or miscarriages that they suffer) are not unlawful.

A woman who fails to wear a seatbelt and is in a car accident could be charged with reckless homicide, should she miscarry. Likewise, a woman who has a substance abuse problem is likely to forego necessary prenatal care out of fear that she could be prosecuted for "knowing" or "reckless" homicide by continuing to use illegal substances while pregnant.

50Cent Tells Gay Men to Commit Suicide?

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 12:37 PM

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There is, of course, another reading of this. Maybe 50Cent is just encouraging men to eat pussy—to be good partners. Or not. As Towleroad also notes (saying the "Tweet Encourages Gay Suicide"), 50Cent earlier this month wrote, "Perez Hilton called me douchebag, so I had my homie shoot up a gay wedding. wasnt his, but made me feel better."

Well, at least the bullying here doesn't start until after they're all grown up—even grown up and getting married—so he's not contributing to the problem of bullying kids. Just threatening adults. And for what it's worth, gay men think about suicide more than straight men, most homophobic guys turn out to be gay, and only a muscle mary posts gym photos of himself on Twitter.

Also, if I get gunned down at a gay wedding, y'all know what happened to me.

Lunchtime Quickie: God Sperm?

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Eddie Long is one dirty, diiiiiiirty bird.


Think You're So Smart? PROVE IT.

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 12:27 PM

There are two questions in Questionland right now that don't have a (good) answer. Can you help?

Can anyone recommend a better quality costume shop?

How long would it take something man made to travel 20 light years with existing technology?

Edit: Actually, there was a good answer to the latter question. Kip Waddle said: "'From A Distance' by Bette Midler, traveled 20 light years since its release in 1991. So the the answer is; 20 years."

I thought he was kidding. But, as he pointed out after I implied his answer wasn't good, "The fact is, radio waves are man made and our transmissions have already reached the newly found planet. Valid answer."

I stand corrected. I got a C in science. I'm sorry.

Today in Awesome: Explode Slog!

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 12:26 PM

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Turn any website into Asteroids. If anyone needs me, I'm going to be busy this afternoon destroying the entire internet.

(I love Daring Fireball.)

Judge Says Candidate Switched to Get "Financial Support" of Attorney Group

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Earlier this year, on the first day candidates could file to run campaigns, Municipal Court Judge Fred Bonner says he got a phone call. It was Ed McKenna, an assistant city prosecutor who had just filed to run for an open seat on the bench. McKenna was having reservations, Bonner says, because McKenna told him that “he had not been receiving that kind of support that he thought he would from the defense [attorneys] group.”

That defense group made McKenna another proposal, Bonner recounts. “McKenna indicated that he would receive financial support from a defense group if he decided to run against Judge Edsonya Charles,” he says. As it happened, McKenna did switch shortly thereafter to challenge Charles.

This account may add credence to a complaint—which names Bonner and cites this conversation—with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission claiming that Citizens for Judicial Excellence (CJE), a campaign run and funded by DUI attorneys, recruited McKenna and engaged in illegal coordination with his campaign. State law prohibits independent-expenditure campaigns from coordinating with the candidates they intend to support, particularly with money.

However, unlike the allegation in the complaint, Bonner insists that the DUI attorneys' PAC wasn't named specifically in the conversation. “He did not say CJE,” Bonner says, but he adds, “I took that to mean that he was referencing the DUI organization, but he did not state that.”

Bonner says, “I was somewhat of [McKenna's] unofficial advisor and I was trying to get him to file for one of open positions.”

I have calls in to McKenna and CJE spokeswoman Patricia Fulton and will update this post when I hear back.

Jaime Herrera: Slamming the Other Washington from... the Other Washington

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 12:08 PM

The Republican candidate for Congress in Washington's 3rd Congressional District, Jaime Herrera, has a new ad out that pretty blatantly swipes President Obama's "change" campaign font and, more interesting to non-font-nerds, talks about how "in Southwest Washington, we know what they don’t in the other Washington."


The problem? On the day she released this ad, Herrera was herself in "the other Washington" raising money with Republican establishment like former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton.

The take from Aaron Wasser, spokesman for the campaign of 3rd District Democrat Denny Heck: "Jaime Herrera hits another home run for hypocrisy."

Today in "What? WHAT??? BOOOOO!!! BOOOOO!!!"

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Jessica Alba's nude scene in Machete was CGI! FUCKING CGI, GUYS! She was wearing granny panties (and granny bra) the entire time! BOOOOOO!! BOOOOO!!! (Full story here.) BOOOOOO!!!!!

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That calls for a poll!
JESSICA ALBA FAKING NUDE SCENES WITH CGI WHILE ACTUALLY WEARING GRANNY BRA AND PANTIES:

In addition:

The Buzz in the Space Community

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Josef Krebs, who believes our future is not on this fine planet but elsewhere in deep space, sent me this story:

For the first time, astronomers have detected a rocky planet in another solar system that has the most basic and essential conditions needed to support extraterrestrial life.

The presence of Earth-like exoplanets in what is called the "habitable zone" has been predicted for some time, but actually identifying and measuring one was referred to Wednesday as the beginning of a new era in the search for life beyond Earth.

"This is our first Goldilocks planet - just the right size and the right distance from its sun," said astronomer and "planet-hunter" Paul Butler with the Carnegie Institution of Washington. "A threshold has been crossed."

The planet, called Gliese 581G, is quite close at 20 light years from Earth's solar system. It is considered to be in the habitable zone because of its distance from its sun and its size.

I will not lie. I'm fucking impressed. Not only is the rocky planet in the habitable zone, and not that far away from our home, it's also has a jupiter—a living planet as we know it, and we are made from the stuff of the universe, can only appear near the core of a solar system and needs a big and distant planet for protection from the remains (or junk) of the system's early development.
"As we collect more data, we can see the system looks like our own - with an inner clutch of rocky, terrestrial planets and then a big loner like Jupiter further out," Vogt said.

Fine, this is pretty amazing. I didn't think I'd hear news like this in my lifetime. I, as with Peter Ward, thought the conditions for life were very exceptional, very rare. But maybe there is a cosmic imperative in this universe—I'm sure there are other and very different types of universes. If so, if there is a cosmic imperative, then we should not be surprised to find complex life forms on this planet. If this is the case, doesn't it raise another and very serious problem? Krebs, do you know what this problem is? Simple: It's not our planet! We already have and inhabit an excellent planet—here, earth, the third rock from the sun. Why do we think we can just go to another planet and inhabit (colonize) it? Seriously, are we thinking about taking a whole planet from another life form? Let's think about this.

Derek Erdman Meets Goddess Kring

Posted by on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Remember Goddess Kring and her real out-there Public Access show? Chicago transplant and cartoonist and all-around hilarious guy Derek Erdman finally got to meet her yesterday after years of watching VHS tapes of her show sent to him by a friend living here.

I wrote KRING an email and 42 exchanges later we decided to meet outside of Whole Foods on NE 64th where I had agreed to buy Shannon a medium sized Pomegranate Paradise from Jamba Juice. And then we sat on a bench and Shannon filled me in with the details I had missed of not seeing her show for 5 years.

Read the whole thing here.

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Get Your Ass Off the Couch

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The Morning News

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Tony Curtis.

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