The state legislature is considering $620 million (or more) in cuts to education funding in order to balance the budget, and in response the Washington Student Association is organizing a statewide walkout tomorrow.
How big a deal is $620 million (or more) in cuts to education funding? Megan Brownlee, of the Washington Student Association, offers a sense:
-The legislature's $620 to $800 million in proposed cuts to higher education is the equivalent of cutting all funding for Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, Western Washington University, Washington State University, and Evergreen—combined. (OR, over half of all community colleges.)
-These funding reductions would put public support for four-year colleges at or below 1987-89 levels.
-Already, severe tuition increases and cuts to colleges over the last two years have resulted in students and their families paying more than 50 percent of the cost of instruction.
In Seattle, the University of Washington's walkout will involve tabling in Red Square from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and generating calls to state legislators, according to Melanie Mayock, a legislative assistant for the UW Graduate and Professional Student Senate. (A full list of participating schools and their rallies is right here.)
Seems like an issue that would draw a huge crowd, right? So, um, what's with the hundreds of "maybes" on the walkout's Facebook page? I'll be there... If I wake up by 1 p.m.? If it's not raining? If my ouija board tells me it's a good idea?
Prominent US conservatives have begun to distance themselves from Glenn Beck, the radio and television host, after outbursts warning of a looming caliphate in the Middle East and likening Reform Judaism to “radicalised Islam."[...]Jennifer Rubin, who writes a Washington Post column called Right Turn, urged conservative groups and candidates to disassociate themselves from Mr Beck. “If they host, appear with or defend him they should be prepared to have his extremist views affixed to them,” she wrote.
The comments follow an article by Bill Kristol, the conservative editor of the Weekly Standard, warning that Mr Beck’s “hysteria” in seeking to link “caliphate-promoters” with figures on the left of US politics was unhealthy.
Glenny's digging himself a hole he won't be able to crawl out of.
On Friday, the Seattle Times editorial board joined a chorus of critics demanding the resignation of Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson:
THE emerging details of the financial scandal at the Seattle Public Schools suggest one conclusion: Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson should resign. If she doesn't, the board should fire her.
She was brought here from South Carolina in 2007 to fix several problems, the first of which was the district's lax control of its money. The latest mess shows the task has not been done.
Let's see... arrived in 2007... it's now 2011... yeah, that tenure seems about right for a school district that has managed to run through five superintendents in less than 20 years. Yes, I know that one of those superintendents literally died in office, but still, I'm kinda surprised Goodloe-Johnson lasted this long.
Now, I'm not a big fan of Goodloe-Johnson, having never really understood what recommended her for the job in the first place, and I was certainly more than ready to bid good riddance to her predecessor Raj Manhas by the time he stepped down. But you gotta wonder how much of the district's management woes are due to the incessant turnover at the top? I mean, it's hard to be surprised to see the Seattle Public Schools consistently miss the target on its various "Five Year Plans," when no superintendent in recent years has managed to survive for more than four.
Then again, according to a 2008 study (PDF) conducted by the Council of Greater City Schools, Seattle's no outlier, with the average tenure of an urban school superintendent lasting only 3.5 years.
I dunno, you'd think a little management stability might pay dividends in the long run. Or perhaps the district should just come to terms with the city's impatience, and pragmatically shoot for "Three and a Half Year Plans" from hereon out?
She gets to keep 70% of her book sales — and she sells around 100,000 copies per month. By comparison, it's usually thought that it takes a few tens of thousands of copies sold in the first week to be a New York Times bestselling writer.
The comparison isn't entirely fair, because Hocking sells her books for $3, and some $.99. But that's the point: by lowering the prices, she can make more on volume, especially impulse buys. Meanwhile e-books cost nothing to print, you don't have to worry about print volumes, shelf space, inventory, etc. And did we mention the writer keeps 70%?
There are definitely lessons that can be learned from this story, but I'm afraid the wrong people are going to learn the wrong lessons. Hocking is very social-media smart; her fans find her to be very accessible, and that makes all the difference, especially in the science-fiction community. And I think this can be considered some kind of proof that lowering prices on e-books could get publishers to sell a lot more books. But it doesn't mean that self-published authors are the future. Books need editors. Editors are a necessary part of the book-writing process. If the editors of the future are freed up from the enormous corporate publishing system, that might be a good thing. But this is not some sort of vindication for self-published authors, and it shouldn't be considered proof that your 5,000-page memoir is somehow suddenly readable.
God bless America, people—it's free pancakes day tomorrow at IHOP, and it's for the children. Here are the details.*
Also tomorrow, Dine Around Seattle startzzzzzzzzz... Is it an ah-MAY-zing opportunity to try out new places, or a gimmick wherein you have to eat from limited menus and don’t necessarily save money? I'm in the latter camp—wake me up when it's over.
Tonight, you have the freedom of choice as to whether to attend the Tom Waits Cocktail Club at the BottleNeck Lounge or to run screaming in the opposite direction.
And over here, the authors of The Stranger's Food Events calendar show some restraint (almost).
More, more, MORE food events await your eyeballs.
*Or, better yet, donate to Children's Hospital online and make your own damn pancakes—I use an old New York Times recipe that is very similar to this one, and they kick IHOP's ever-loving ass. Be sure to sift, and don't overmix.
Mubaraka also had a chance. But he did not take that chance. He might soon wish he had taken that chance...
Egypt's public prosecutor has issued a travel ban on ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his family.
The order also freezes their money and assets, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said.
Mr Mubarak stepped down on 11 February, after almost 30 years in power, in the wake of mounting public protests.
He is believed to be living in his villa in Sharm el-Sheikh but in poor health, and has not been seen or heard of publicly since stepping down.
I have been dating my first serious boyfriend for two years now. Last summer, after we had been together for well over a year, he told me that he was bisexual. Actually, he told me, "I'm bisexual, and I cheated on you with a guy." All things considered, it was sort of best-case-scenario cheating: they didn't end up having sex, he was far from sober, it wasn't anyone I knew, and I think that I would have gotten a lot more jealous had it been with another woman. So it was an easy decision to forgive him and try to move on.
My problem is that I am still really uncomfortable with the fact that he's attracted to and has had sex with men. It still makes me angry that he didn't tell me that he was bisexual for more than a year after we started dating, and when it comes up, even just in casual conversation, I feel overwhelmingly hurt and sad again. I haven't told him this explicitly, but I'm sure it's pretty obvious. He gets hit on by guys a lot when we go out, and he has no problem telling strangers who are chatting him up that he's bi when I'm standing right next to him. I am glad that he's more comfortable with his sexuality now, but it still feels like a slap in the face.
Am I being a bigot for not being able to accept this? I really don't have a problem with bi guys in general—I've been involved with a few before, and if anything I think bisexuals are kind of hot. Heck, I've always been kind of curious about sleeping with women (though I know that this is a fairly common sentiment among otherwise straight girls). I have absolutely no doubt that my boyfriend is crazy about me (and my body), and I feel like a jerk for holding this against him.
How can I come to terms with my boyfriend's sexual orientation?
My response after the jump...
Sounds like that's exactly what the good reverend was doing:
The Reverend Grant Storms, a Christian fundamentalist pastor known for his campaigns against New Orleans' gay Southern Decadence festival, has been arrested for masturbating in a public park in front of children.
No one could've predicted. Full details at Towleroad.
The New York Times has a roundup of one of the most contentious issues facing Republicans in the buildup to the 2012 campaign: Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign. Sarah Palin has tried to frame it as another case of government intrusion into the personal lives of Americans. On the Sunday news shows yesterday, two Republicans who have had very public battles with weight—New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee—have defended the first lady:
“I think it’s a really good goal to encourage kids to eat better,” Mr. Christie said on “Face the Nation,” on CBS. “You know, I’ve struggled with my weight for 30 years, and it’s a struggle. And if a kid can avoid that in his adult years or her adult years, more power to them, and I think the first lady’s speaking out well.” [...A]ppearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Mr. Huckabee, who once shed more than 100 pounds, said that in fact Mrs. Obama was calling attention to a serious problem, not calling for government intrusion.
Asked about the criticism of Mrs. Obama, Mr. Christie said, “I think it’s unnecessary,” and he made a point of saying that he did not want the government telling people what to eat.
Is this going to turn into a major Republican discussion during the 2012 campaign? Because that could actually make their debates into something interesting and useful.
He/she should look like my cousin in this photo...
...and we couldn't tell which ones would grow up to be black at birth—just go with me here—then we wouldn't let racists adopt. Just to be on the safe side, just because the last thing a black kid needs is white racists for parents, just, you know, adoption is supposed to be about what's in the best interest of the child and all that. So this seems completely reasonable to me.
A Pentecostal Christian couple have lost their high court claim that they were discriminated against by a local authority because they insisted on their right to tell young foster children that homosexuality is morally wrong.
Eunice and Owen Johns, who are in their sixties and have fostered children in the past, claimed they were being discriminated against by Derby city council because of their Christian beliefs, after they told a social worker they could not tell a child a "homosexual lifestyle" was acceptable. The couple had hoped to foster five- to 10-year-olds.
LGBT children whose families refuse to accept their sexualities—and they represent a large chunk of the kids in foster care—are eight times likelier to attempt suicide than kids whose families accept them.
You have a right to believe whatever biblically-based nonsense you like, bigots, but you have no right to torture foster kids to death—all because you haven't learned (yet) to ignore what the the bible says about homosexuality they same way you've learned to ignore what the bible says about women, virgins, slavery, beards, lobster, rape, etc., etc., etc.
It'd be this fucking disgusting piece of wall. I retch every time I have to pass it.
I was wrong all those years ago when I volunteered the Space Needle for destruction. I still think the Needle places an unfortunately architectural tyranny on the rest of the city, but that can wait. This gum wall (just typing that makes me retch) has to go. Soon.
You can read about it here:
Nine bicyclists in a Critical Mass ride event in Porto Alegre, Brazil, were injured after a driver in a VW Golf car drove into the group at high-speed. According to Sky News, the driver of the car, 47-year-old Richard Neis, has been apprehended by police and is claiming self-defense after being threatened by some of the cyclists.
This makes Seattle's Critical Mass dustups look like a feisty game of Rock Paper Scissors. (Thanks to Slog tipper Bob.)
A new survey released today by Public Policy Polling shows Wisconsin voters experiencing a bit of buyers' remorse, with defeated Democratic nominee Tom Barrett leading Republican Gov. Scott Walker by a 52-45 margin. And not surprisingly, it's union households in which Walker fares the worst.
The difference between how folks would vote now and how they voted in November can almost all be attributed to shifts within union households. Voters who are not part of union households have barely shifted at all- they report having voted for Walker by 7 points last fall and they still say they would vote for Walker by a 4 point margin. But in households where there is a union member voters now say they'd go for Barrett by a 31 point margin, up quite a bit from the 14 point advantage they report having given him in November.
Specifically, it appears to be Republican union members who account for much of the shift, with only 3 percent saying they voted for the Democrat Barrett in November, but 10 percent saying they would vote for him now. PPP plans to release full cross-tabs tomorrow.
Huh. The national media may be doing a shitty job of explaining that this is a battle over busting unions, not balancing budgets, but Wisconsinites appear to be getting the message. Here's hoping Republicans in other states take notice before attempting the same.
And lo, unto many in-boxes at The Stranger came this e-mail message:
I 'd like to make an inquiry regarding the New American Standard Bibles. Please get back to me and advice pricing as soon as possible.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Monogamy viewed—and defended—through a fish-eye lens:
In biology monogamy is defined as forming a pair bond with only one mate for the length of a breeding season. Throughout the animal kingdom monogamy is rare and there is a differentiation to be made between "social monogamy" and "genetic monogamy." Many species of birds have been observed to be socially monogamous. They build a nest together, incubate their eggs together and feed their chicks together. Therefore when scientists started using genetics to determine whether all of the chick were the offspring of the two parents they were surprised to find that in most species of socially monogamous birds over 10-25% of the chicks do not belong to the father! Why would this be? One explanation is that females don't want to put all of their eggs in one basket. Females are choosy and look for the best mate based on characteristics such as bright coloration or a complex vocalization....
What are the factors that lead to a monogamous mating system? The intensity of parental care needed to raise the young is one important factor. This point is made clear by a comparison of different marine reef-fish species.
Read the whole thing.
This sums up all my feelings on the Oscars:
For a movie that was at least shot in 3D, unlike The Green Hornet or Clash of the Titans or any of those other cynical cash-ins, you'd expect Drive Angry to have a lot more eye candy. Unfortunately, you get a severed hand flying at your face here, the occasional bit of shrapnel over there, and long swaths of the film with no depth of field at all. You won't find any depth in the plot, either: Nicolas Cage is driving (angrily!) to retrieve his baby granddaughter from an uncharismatic cult leader. Along the way, a skinny blond woman (Amber Heard, whose acting style consists of being skinny and blond) decides to accompany him. It's supposed to be good exploitation-style fun, and it is at least more entertaining than Faster, The Rock's recent entry into the cars-and-vengeance genre. But it's paychecksville all the way: Despite being onscreen for most of the movie, Nicolas Cage only bothers to check in once or twice
The only compelling reason to see Drive Angry 3D is a fun, fascinating turn by perennial "Oh-it's-that-guy" supporting actor William Fichtner as a supernatural figure who calls himself "The Accountant." Fichtner is always a joy, but he carries the first half of Angry squarely on his shoulders. He savors his lines, taking his sweet time to deliver every syllable in an interesting way. When he starts to figure into the plot in the latter half of the movie, he loses some of his intrigue, but he's clearly the only cast or crew member in Angry who cares about what he's presenting to the world. He acts circles around Nicolas Cage in this film, and one can only dream of the juicy slab of pulp that could have been if Cage had even bothered to do his job this time around. Hopefully one day soon, Fichtner will get a role that matches his talent—something on a quality TV show, maybe as the conflicted lead in an epic crime story—but for now, I'm pretty content to watch him elevate schlock just by setting foot in front of a camera. He's an honorable, craft-centric man in a business that seems to be content with repeatedly celebrating and rewarding mediocrity. He will never win an Oscar.
UPDATE: Removed all the extra H's in "Nicolas Cage" in this post. I don't know why I can never spell his name right.
... to end his career. Sun UK has video of a drunken, anti-semitic rant by Galliano, current creative director of Christian Dior. Since he slurs so much, here are some of his choicest comments:
“I love Hitler... People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be [bleeeep] gassed... You're ugly...”
Seattle City Council president Richard Conlin wrapped up his speech about the deep-bore tunnel ordinance this morning by
citing hard data that shows it's a cost-effective mechanism to move vehicles and capacity... projecting slides of the collapsed Cypress Street Viaduct where 42 people died in the Bay Area earthquake:
"These pictures remind us that we are talking about people’s lives," said Conlin, claiming that we need to build the deep-bore tunnel so that we can tear down the Alaskan Way Viaduct. "This is not just about transportation; this is about safety." The council then voted 8-1 (Mike O'Brien dissenting) to approve an ordinance for the tunnel.
Um, but Richard. Seriously. The viaduct would have come down sooner—next year instead of 2016—if tunnel supporters hadn't delayed it. Now this death trap is left standing longer, because of the tunnel proposal.
"The city council has chosen the option that leaves the existing viaduct up the longest," said Mayor Mike McGinn, responding to Conlin's transparent fear-mongering spectacle. "Under their plan, the viaduct will not be taken down until the tunnel is completed. Who is irresponsible?"
If this is truly life or death—if that's what Conlin is really afraid of—then the council would be trying to tear down the viaduct now. Because it doesn't matter which alternative comes out on top (tunnel, new viaduct, transit improvements, etc.). Saving people's lives is more important that a few years of bad traffic.
Natural selection in action, Alabama style:
(BAY MINETTE, Ala.) The Baldwin County Sheriff's Office said a small child accidentally shot his mother, after finding the gun near his injured father's side.
And how was the father injured? He tripped and fell, accidentally shooting himself in the leg with the loaded Glock he was carrying.
I know it pisses off the 2nd Amendment fundies every time I point this out, but study after study shows that the number one risk factor for death or injury due to firearms is availability. I'm just sayin'.
Tonight, Elliott Bay Book Company is hosting a little celebration for Nancy Pearl starting at 6 pm with drinks, appetizers, and a little talk from Ms. Thing herself. You're invited. This should be a nice, low-key occasion to hang out and talk about books with complete strangers. I bet you could even get a recommendation from Ms. Pearl. (Swoon!) You're invited. Stop by on your way home.
Posted by news intern Megan Burbank
In another good news missive, Seattle Police Chief John Diaz and East Precinct Captain Jim Dermody recently announced that the East Precinct experienced a twelve percent decrease in violent crime and a four percent decrease in property crime between 2009-10. This means that last year, the East Precinct had its second lowest crime rate in eleven consecutive years.
High-fives for good news! And a job well done, SPD.
Gently proving that not all officers are frothing dickbags, Dermody graciously extends the congratulations to “the residents, business owners, employees, schools, students, commercial property owners and those who travel within eight square miles of the central part of our city”—so, pretty much everyone in Seattle—for their help in reducing crime.
"You called 911 when needed, were excellent witnesses...let us know about emerging problems and said hello and thank you on the street," Dermody writes. Aw, shucks.
Beyond this verbal group hug, Dermody lays out a plan for reducing crime this year. "We know that crime statistics do not mean much if you’ve been the victim of any type of crime," they write. "You have my pledge that we will continue to work 24 hours per day, seven days a week to continue to lower the crime rate by deploying our officers into known crime hotspots and by focusing on our most prolific offenders."
So while the SPD targets the Joyce Carol Oateses of crime, give yourself a pat on the back, Seattle. You're great at calling 911.
The paintings of Barry Masteller look to be just the same as all the other paintings at the gallery, and the PR is just as nonsensical. Take it away, PR:
Barry Masteller interprets light and shadow with both expertise and enthusiasm. His painterly style requires nearly transparent applications of pigment, creating a surface in which light seemingly emanates from within the canvas. Although his paintings are expressionistic, they also at times exhibit subtle nuances of the surreal. His compositions evoke a warm beauty that is utterly contemporary.
I do not know where to start, so I will only say that warm beauty is not utterly contemporary.
It's another reminder, says Ben Smith, that Andrew Sullivan helped to create not just the political blog as we know it, but also a new kind of relationship between superstar journalist/blogger and traffic-hungry host:
One of the things Sullivan pioneered was the split between journalist and institution, and though he's been attached to various publications over the years, he's always been the one riding the beast—not vice versa, a change in journalism for which he's one of the models.
Posted by news intern Ryan T. Hicks
Washington is currently one of eleven states that have no regulations on indoor tanning, but carte blanche baking may soon come to an end. Two bills introduced in Olympia—House Bill 1363 and Senate Bill 5593—seek to put barriers between Washingtonians and that all natural, sun-scorched look.
If passed, the legislation would impose age restrictions (over 18 in the house bill, over 16 in the senate), staff training to identify at-risk skin types, stipulate that warning signs are made easily visible, and new cleanliness and safety standards on the tanning industry. Tanning salons would also need a $500 annual license to be able to operate in the state.
Shockingly, tanning overlords oppose the legislation.
John Overstreet, Executive Director of the Indoor Tanning Association, says that the salons already self-regulate—they don’t want to burn their customers. “People tan to achieve a certain look,” Overstreet says—and burnt isn't the look most people are going for. The look most people are going for is called "healthy."
The Alaska Way Viaduct didn't collapse.
In the best of all possible worlds the Viaduct would've collapsed ten years ago today, and it would've collapsed very slowly—very, very, very slowly—so that everyone who was on or near it when the Nisqually earthquake hit could've safely gotten off or out from under the Viaduct before the thing fell down. Then we would've had to live without the Viaduct while we debated what to do about replacing the Viaduct... and we would've realized, like SF did after the 1986 Loma Prieta earthquake brought down the Embarcadero Freeway, that we could get by just fine without replacing our waterfront-killing, noisy, polluting freeway.