Sadly, funding for this traffic report station dried up some months ago. The recession has been tough on everyone. Traffic Reports will resume as soon as a new station is located. Here at the Stranger, we strive to provide you with up-to-the-minute traffic coverage 24/7. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
Lots of folks have focused on Mayor Mike McGinn's more controversial local fights, but—agree with him or not on the tunnel, bike lanes, banning cars—he's continuing to carry the civic torch to distinguish Seattle as a national leader on environmental policy. Today he's in Chicago with Bill Clinton and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, who named Seattle, Atlanta, an Los Angeles as the three incubator cities on the Better Buildings Challenge. It's part of a national project to increase buildings' energy efficiency 20 percent by 2020.
Energy efficiency, McGinn says, is a potential industry for Seattle. "The sector can be as big for us in the long run as software and global health," he posits. "Every city and county in the world is trying to figure out how to get off of coal and oil, and the cities that figure it out first are going to be leaders in exporting ideas and products to the rest of the world."
Along with 11 NGOs, Seattle is up for the recognition, in part, because the city has been at the vanguard of environmental progress—LEED certification for buildings, goals for carbon neutrality, a green-jobs program, etc. The White House wants Seattle to have "23 million feet of downtown buildings will meet or exceed Better Building Challenge goals," according to its announcement today. What does this mean in the immediate future? In the short term, technical assistance from the feds, McGinn says, but after that "one hopes for federal grants and private investment."
Initiative profiteer Tim Eyman has a tidy little side business going, running local initiatives to ban red light cameras in small cities throughout the state, but it turns out that once drivers become familiar with the cameras, a sizable majority support them.
According to a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (the folks who issue those vehicle safety ratings), two-thirds of drivers in large cities with longstanding red light camera programs favor their use for red light enforcement, and 42 percent strongly favor it. Nine out of ten drivers in these cities were aware of the red light camera programs, and 59 percent of this believe they have made intersections safer. Seattle was not included in the study, presumably because our red light camera program is so new, but Portland, OR, was, and according to the study 68% of Portlanders support the cameras.
I know there are some lawmakers are getting a little spooked by vocal red light camera opponents, but this study suggests that if they give it time, and do a slightly better job educating the public, they'll have nothing to worry about.
While Herman Cain scrabbles for publicity...
Cain is set to make a campaign stop this Sunday in a special town: Winterset, Iowa, the hometown of actor John Wayne — whose name has suddenly re-entered the American political psyche, thanks to a gaffe during Bachmann's campaign rollout.
And that's not all: Cain will be visiting a Godfather's Pizza restaurant — the corporation that he used to head up — on John Wayne Drive in Winterset.
...Public Policy Polling has more good news for Michele Bachmann:
our new Republican primary poll in New Mexico finds her leading the field with 21% to 18% for Mitt Romney, 13% for Gary Johnson, 11% for Sarah Palin, 10% for Herman Cain, 7% for Tim Pawlenty, 6% for Newt Gingrich, and 5% for Ron Paul.
If Bachmann can survive this early period of the media scrutinizing every dumb thing she says, (also known as everything she says) she might be able to give Mitt some heartburn when the actual primaries begin.
After deliberating for about four and half hours, the jury in the Isaiah Kalebu trial went home today at 3 p.m. with no decision reached.
Here's what I think that might mean, from most plausible to least plausible:
And I also offered to fuck Tony Perkins, so...
...thought I'd toss this clip up. And because some of you are asking: the champagne at the White House was excellent, Megan's cupcakes are better than the White House's (sorry, White House pastry chef!), and, no, I didn't get to meet Obama. And for details about how to get an "Evolve Already" button of your very own, watch this space.
Last night, I got an invitation to join Google's new social network. I've played around with it for a few hours, and I'm nowhere near ready to write a strict up-or-down review for a few reasons: First, it's obviously a beta test, and second, there aren't enough people on it yet to really see how it operates as a social network. I don't have the capability to invite people—it seems like Google put the brakes on invitations for just about everyone last night—so I can't really test all the different social features yet. But I've downloaded the Android app and messed around on the site, and here's what I think:
1. I love how fast Google+ is. If I take a photo on my slow-as-hell, 2-year-old phone, the app immediately uploads the photo to a private photo album section of my Google+ profile (and I mean immediately, as in: Take a photo, set the phone down, go to the site on my desktop and find the photo there, waiting to be delivered to the contacts of my choice). Everything feels instantaneous like that.
2. I love the Circles feature, where you can organize contacts in one circle (or multiple circles) and restrict sharing of information to certain circles. I know Facebook has this feature, but it's a chore, and not nearly as fun as Circles. I could see certain fastidious people spending hours organizing their friends and coworkers into various categories and subcategories just for the OCD thrill of it. (A pleasant part of Circles is that people never get to see the name of the Circle you put them in, so if you put someone in a "Distant Friends," or a "Necessary Evil" Circle, they'll be none the wiser.) And I like that on most screens you have the option to view your page as any of your contacts would see it; that resolves a lot of privacy issues that people may have.
Conan O'Brien addresses marriage equality in New York. I love this (fake gay flirtation, fat jokes and all).
Thank you, Towleroad.
And we mean that.
Baconopolis the Third: This is Tom Douglas’s paean to bacon. There will be carbonara with bacon, donuts with bacon, bacon wrapped in bacon with some bacon on the side... all in a ballroom with several hundred other people. Best part: bacon!
Seattle International Beer Festival: Sample over 150 beers from 15 different countries in this three-day beer bonanza at the Seattle Center. Dogs are welcome. Children are not. Best part: beer!
Canada Day at Smith: This is not a joke: America’s hat really does have its own day. If you’re an expat, or just like singing Canada's national anthem, head to Smith for some Canadian beer. Best part: poutine.
I've just ended my almost four-year relationship with a great man who didn't lay his kink cards on the table until way late. He's your typical straight guy with a shemale cock fetish. It wasn't too difficult to figure out what got him going since we're both very openminded and communicate very well, or so I thought. Apparently the dom pegging I provide him isn't enough, because I found a secret email account where he's soliciting shemale escorts in hot detail. The strap-on isn't up to par when he sincerely has a cock fetish and wants to see, touch, taste, etc. I'm genuinely more pissed that he didn't tell me that he wanted to explore this and allowed me the opportunity to make his fantasy fit with our life together. I can't tell if any of these escorts ever met with him and in usual hetero-male fashion, he is mortified that I know about his darkest cock fetish secret. He swears sincerely that I am all he wants and loves me like crazy—and I believe him.
So, my question is this: As a GGG girlfriend who would honor just about any fantasy, is this secret search for a stranger the betrayal I think it is or am I wrong? I get it that our play isn't the same as the real thing, but isn't cheating cheating? I would really appreciate your opinion.
Willing But Not Enough Sadly
My response after the jump...
The Stranger Election Control Board is sitting down two of the candidates running for Seattle City Council position 9, challenger Dian Ferguson and incumbent Sally Clark, who began the meeting few minutes in by whipping out two knives, three bowls, four spoons, a thermos of warm milk, a stick of butter, a loaf of bread, and a toaster. She plugged in the appliance and began toasting:
She's now putting all the wet ingredients—and the toast—into the bowls.
It's milk-toast! (Well played.)
As had been widely expected, the University of Washington Board of Regents approved a 20 percent resident undergraduate tuition hike this morning, from $8,701 to $10,574, the largest increase in tuition and fees ever. Following two consecutive years of 14 percent increases, the in-state cost of an undergraduate education will have increased by 55 percent over three years.
Over that same period, the state legislature has cut funding for higher education by more than 50 percent. Hmm. I wonder if there's a connection?
ASUW Government Relations Director Andrew Lewis decries the move as "another step in the direction of privatization." Lewis complains that there wasn't enough transparency in the process, there wasn't enough public input, and there wasn't enough thoughtfulness put into the final decision. According to Lewis, only three of the ten regents were actually physically present at today's meeting, with the remaining seven joining by conference call. "They literally phoned it in," says Lewis.
Amongst other things Lewis would like to see more public discussion about administrative costs, calling it "the huge bloated elephant in the room." But Lewis acknowledges that given the financial constraints, the regents' options were limited. "The state is the adversary," says Lewis. "This is the state abdicating its responsibility."
DC Comics is still moving forward with their plans to reboot their entire superhero line in September. (There's a new promotional video after the jump.) DC is saying that they need new readers (and a new digital strategy) to stay relevant. Some older DC fans are outraged. How outraged, you ask?
Some 250 comics fans are going to march on the San Diego Comicon to protest the revamp:
Are you utterly baffled, disappointed and just ANGRY to see how DC ruins your favorite character's design and wipes decades of comic history out of the mainstream universe? Well, you're not alone!
And why not make some noise at the biggest pop-culture event this year, where creators, artists and writers appear in person - show them how fans - the fans of the classic characters, the (nevertheless slightly changing) designs, the character's history and personality - really feel about it!
San Diego Comic Con 2011: DC Original Characters Protest Walk!
It certainly is their right to do that.
Take it away, Slog tipper John:
A giant pacific octopus mother who lived just across from downtown Seattle had her hatch right under the noses of local divers. Her den was sequestered in Cove Two in West Seattle, in a location that spared her from predators and over-visitation by humans. On September 4 (aka early, early on September 5), 2010, the eggs began hatching. It's a time of mixed emotion; joy at the hatch, and sadness at the knowledge that this event means the mother's life will end. The hatch lasted a full week, after which the mother died.
If you're not going to see Jim Woodring tonight, there's another literary event that you shouldn't miss. Local lit magazine Hoarse is celebrating a release party for their third issue in the Grotto of the Rendezvous. It's Houdini-themed, and there will be readings, along with finger traps, "a wandering magician," "Fortune Teller Miracle Fish," and "an escape cake."
The bar opens up at 7. The reading starts at 8. Featured readers include young local lit heartthrob Greg Bem. Find more information (but not much more information—gotta love those seat-of-your-pants operations) on the party's Facebook page.
Several of the works plug into the space's freaky majesty: photographs in light boxes tucked away in dark hallways that go nowhere (Adam McRae), a weather-beaten installation in the former exercise yard on the roof (Aimee Biggerstaff), people drawn ghostly onto photographs (Teresa Grasseschi). Go!
Entire Voice staff just walked out, over 50 of us standing outside on the sidewalk. Still hoping to avoid a full-blown strikeI do not know the details.
Village Voice staffers are threatening to go on strike this weekend because of salary cuts and declining benefits. But that doesn’t mean that they’re going stop working—they’re just not going to let the newspaper benefit from it.Everywhere is becoming Greece.
The Village Voice Media workers union has announced that in the case of a strike—which the union has authorized if a new contract isn’t agreed upon by midnight Friday—it will keep producing content and post it to a Tumblr page, where Village Voice Media can’t sell ads.
Genius. This makes me so happy.
And to celebrate, Media Matters put together a Glenny's Greatest Hits Reel. It's required viewing:
This is the anti-capitalist space in question (I naturally side with this kind of space)...
A neighbor of the "radical free space" Autonomia—popular amongst young anarchists in the Central District—claims she and her husband are being harassed by a group of anarchists.I could never side with the homeowners and their practical concerns. I simply must support those who can dream of something as ridiculous as "radical free space." There are no dreams in this sad business of protecting the value of your property. In the words of a pop tune I recently rediscovered: "The people say, they want to live their life a different way." Another world is compossible.
According to SPD, the woman called police on June 27th after she "became aware of a posting" on Pugetsoundanarchists.org, referencing "the half-million dollar house across the street [from Autonomia] is trying to close us down." The woman told police the posting was made by someone who "frequents" Autonomia.
The woman and her family live near Autonomia—on 24th Ave S and S Lane—and have been active in a dispute between neighbors and the anarchist venue.
Look! Herman Cain the Pizza Man has a plan to save America:
The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza advocated a maximum tax of 25 percent on company profits and personal income, and end to the capital gains tax.
He said the U.S. must get its debt under control and that companies should not pay taxes on overseas profits that are invested back home.
A national sales tax should replace the federal income tax, he said, giving individuals and companies "certainty" about making purchases and investments. He wants a "restructuring" of Social Security so people can invest in their own retirement funds.
Cain believes this plan will reduce unemployment to at least 5%, although his campaign doesn't have any real numbers to back that up. (My thoughts on Cain's economic platform...and Cain's pizza...can be found in this week's feature.) My favorite part of the story is the end:
"I love what he had to say about Social Security," said Maria Jose Lehman, 45, of Greenville. Lehman said she worked for a financial services firm and is convinced that young people should be allowed to save for their own retirement.
I agree with Lehman. It is absolutely criminal how the government doesn't allow young people to save for their retirements. I hate that my 401(K) and savings accounts were seized by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms as illegal contraband. Damn Marxists!
I'm not sure what Rudy is thinking. If this—refusing to return the calls of this gay friends, the couple whose wedding he promised to preside over if and when marriage equality came to New York—is about maintaining his political viability as a potential GOP nominee for president, well, then Rudy's political delusions are thicker than his skull.
A savory alternative to birthday cake: Bacon cornbread layered with black beans, seasoned ground beef, and nacho cheese sauce. Frosted with sour cream and decorated with crunched up cheese Doritos. Served at room temperature.
Robbyn at PETA just called to say she'd send along this informative guide for pet owners and that she "really hoped" I would share it with all of you. In my effort to provide useful information and reward animal-rights activist who spare us their vegan sanctimony, I'm happy to offer these PETA-sanctioned dos and don'ts for the Fourth of July:
· Keep cats and dogs inside during fireworks displays, and if possible, stay with them.
· Leave your animals at home during the celebrations—never take them with you to watch fireworks displays!
· Never leave animals tethered or chained outside; they can hang themselves if they leap over a fence while trying to run from the noise.
· Close your windows and curtains. Turn on a radio that's tuned to a classical-music station, or turn on the TV to help drown out the sound of the fireworks.
· Make sure that your animal companion is wearing a collar or a harness with an up-to-date identification tag—just in case.
An enduring mystery of this trial is what, exactly, is going on inside the mind of Isaiah Kalebu.
State psychiatrists and Judge Michael Hayden say Kalebu is competent to stand trial. They also say he's mentally ill. (The two things are not necessarily mutually exclusive.) According to Kalebu's mother, he's schizophrenic. According to state psychiatrists who evaluated Kalebu in 2008, he's bipolar. Kalebu's defense attorneys, though they've never wanted to enter an insanity defense until this week, argued yesterday that he's insane based on his testimony about the rapes and murder he's accused of committing. Kalebu himself told the court on Wednesday that he's been "diagnosed several times" as mentally ill.
All of which only leads to more questions: Is Kalebu psychotic? A sociopath? A treatable mentally ill person suffering from a lack of medication and/or therapy? A shrewd, manipulative rapist and murderer? All of the above? Some of the above? One—and only one—of the above?
I don't think anyone knows. But having sat in the same courtroom as Kalebu over the last two days, I will say this:
The only emotions I saw from him were anger (over his confinement, his inability to convince the judge of his world view, and the media glare) and concern about the fate of his dog, a pit bull he calls Endo.
Last night, watching this bit below, I thought: How come this isn't the most popular late-night talk show in the land? Then this morning we got a very excited press release from Comedy Central proclaiming that The Daily Show "has accomplished what no other late night talk show has been able to do since the turn of the millennium," beating The Tonight Show's victory streak for the last 40 consecutive quarters and finishing "the second quarter as the most-viewed late night talk shows in all of television." It's so nice when the best thing wins.
Heade's haystacks in this show are the opposite of the super-serious Monet haystacks to come. These haystacks have cowlicks. And when Heade erases one, he leaves its ghost behind rather than giving you a seamless surface of illusion. The man is just a good time.
It's a convincing argument the Financial Times makes, Christopher, when it refers to the recent bombing in Kabul as, above all, a psychological event.
It seems to me that in some ways, this chaos is like the chaos on September 11. Its location is important above all, even more important than the identities (or identifications) of those who are killed, or the number of casualties. The attack is on the place itself, the place as an idea, and the people are collateral damage.
Kabul as an idea means nationhood. Its opposite is uncontrollableness and anti-unity, and that idea is represented by Kandahar, where I reported from briefly in 2003.* When Obama claimed recently that the United States has largely reached its goals in Afghanistan, this claim struck me as absurd. It's always seemed to me that the basic American goal has been to make Afghanistan more like Kabul and less like Kandahar—and this bombing is an exclamation point to the contrary: It declares that Kabul is like Kandahar, that Kandahar is winning.
*The News Tribune makes linking impossible. Sorry. I published long segments here.
A new sales tax about to be signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown inspired Amazon to send an e-mail to every Californian in their affiliates program saying they're dropped from the program if the law is adopted. As TechCrunch notes, Amazon has already killed the program in four states that tried to tax online revenue. Here's the e-mail:
For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with thousands of California residents. Unfortunately, a potential new law that may be signed by Governor Brown compels us to terminate this program for California-based participants. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers — including but not limited to those referred by California-based marketing affiliates like you — even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.
We oppose this bill because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It is supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside California, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that we must take this action.
As a result, we will terminate contracts with all California residents that are participants in the Amazon Associates Program as of the date (if any) that the California law becomes effective...