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Monday, October 31, 2011

Today in Violent Halloween-themed Republican Rhetoric

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 5:08 PM

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The Loudon County Republican Committee invited people to a Halloween parade with a cartoon of a zombie President Obama with a bullet hole in his head, Wonkette reports*.

In better news, this illustration was first publicly called out by a conservative blogger, and the Virginia Republican Party has been quick to distance themselves from the invitation:

“The disgusting image used today on a mass e-mail has no place in our politics. Ever,’’ said Pat Mullins, chairman of the state party. “The Republican Party of Virginia condemns the image and its use in the strongest possible terms.”

Good response, Republicans. Read more here.

* Important nerdy note: Even an eight-year-old knows that if you shoot a zombie in the head, the zombie dies. Therefore, you can't shoot someone in the head and then bring them back as a zombie. Loudon County Republicans can't even get their monster lore right.

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Michele Bachmann Has "Run Out of...Ideas"

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 4:15 PM

Today in stating the obvious:

Michele Bachmann has “run out of money and ideas” and can no longer expect to win in Iowa, her former campaign manager told ABC News on Monday.

Ed Rollins, who left the campaign in September, said the Minnesota congresswoman had backed off earlier comments by her campaign that Iowa was a “must-win” state because she lacked the finances, campaign structure, and ideas to win the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

With Bachmann and Perry, the 2012 Republican presidential race is providing some excellent case studies to future campaigns in how not to run a campaign. They have done nothing but squander the good will of Republican voters at every turn.

As I Hear the Occupy Protesters Chanting at SCCC

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 4:14 PM

I read:

Our Congress today is a forum for legalized bribery. One consumer group using information from Opensecrets.org calculates that the financial services industry, including real estate, spent $2.3 billion on federal campaign contributions from 1990 to 2010, which was more than the health care, energy, defense, agriculture and transportation industries combined. Why are there 61 members on the House Committee on Financial Services? So many congressmen want to be in a position to sell votes to Wall Street.
Even defense can't hold a candle to Wall Street's power.

Krist Novoselic Wants You To Know He Always Votes and Was Never in the Foo Fighters

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 3:59 PM

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I still swear he was in the Foo Fighters, but he can think whatever he wants. It's a free country.

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RE: The Wild Card in the I-1125 Numbers
(or Why I-1125 Will Fail)

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 3:50 PM

As Eli's already pointed out, Initiative 1125 isn't doing so well. In fact, if the poll numbers are to be believed, the Eyman/Freeman anti-tolling/anti-light-rail initiative is going to fail.

Yeah sure, the top-line numbers show a 41-40 statistical dead heat, but scratch just beneath the surface and you see I-1125's support weak and weakening. When you look only at those respondents who are "certain" to vote Yes or No, I-1125 now ends up on the losing side of 25-30 margin, meaning there's a lot more room to sway Yes voters than No. No wonder then that as election day draws closer, I-1125 loses support. Over the first 10 days of the survey, the initiative led by a cumulative 42-37 margin; over the final 10 days it trailed 41-43, a significant 7-point swing.

Eli's right that the I-1125 benefits from an extremely advantageous ballot title, but with little money to market the measure in the face of a couple million dollar No campaign, it's just not advantageous enough. I've covered enough initiatives to know a losing one when I see one. And so a week before the ballots are due, I'm ready to call it. I-1125 will fail, and by a comfortable margin... maybe 7 to 9 points, when all the ballots are counted. Maybe even double digits.

So now that I've stuck my neck out, please send in your ballots and prove me right.

Q&A With Brian Rauschenbach, Curator of the Seattle Interactive Conference

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 3:31 PM

If you see downtown inundated (more than normal) with socially awkward people tomorrow and the next day, it's likely due to this:

How did the idea for SIC come about?

We spent a lot of time traveling the trade-show circuit in different cities and saw that they were focused on exhibit halls and not real quality programming, and we'd been wanting to bring a show like SXSW to Seattle. In recent years, Interactive at Sx has outpaced the music attendance, which was a catalyst for us to launch SIC.

Continue reading »

Rick Perry Addresses Can'tspeakwithoutsoundinglikeamorongate

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 3:15 PM

In the aftermath of a certain hilarious video, Rick Perry has put out a commercial about the fact that he can't seem to form a coherent sentence: It turns out he's a "doer" and not a "talker."

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Kid-Friendly Halloween Happenings

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Happy Halloween, everyone! The neighborhood blogs have quite a bit of material on the best trick-or-treating destinations and other Halloween happenings, so for your convenience, here they all are!

Safety First: The Washington State Department of Health has a guide for safe trick-or-treating, with tips on safety away from home, preparing to go out, and creating a welcoming, obstacle-free environment for trick or treaters. (Via Magnolia Voice.)

Trolloween! Fremont Universe notes that tonight is the anniversary of the Fremont Troll, and that many Fremont denizens shall venture under the bridge to pay homage to their pagan deity. The Seattle Police Department will be escorting the Troll Walk from North 36th Street and Troll Avenue North to the Fremont bridge, and the relevant streets will be closed from 4:00-8:00 p.m.

Ballard Businesses Hand out Candy, 4:00-6:00 p.m.: My Ballard, your source for everything Ballard, says that "Downtown" Ballard businesses will be handing out candy this afternoon.

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Seattle Celebrity Voting Records

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 2:26 PM

As the November 8 election approaches, The Stranger looked into the voting histories of our state's most esteemed leaders—local billionaires, rockers, authors, and broken moral compasses—because, well, why the fuck not? These people are often stumping for their own pet issues on local or national platforms, some of them this election cycle, coughcoughKemperFreemanhackhackhack, and we wanted to know: Are they voting themselves?

But first, our methodology: We began by pouring a trough of stiff drinks, then researching when each person became a registered voter in Washington and cross-referencing that with their voting records on statevoices.org, which notes if a person has voted in any given primary, general, or special election. (For our purposes, we only counted the 11 general and primary elections between 2000 and 2010—meaning that a perfect voting record would be 11 GE votes and 11 primary votes.) Then we grouped the celebrities to more easily cast judgment upon them.* Note: We excluded most political officials because they are not real celebrities.

Musicians:
Krist Novoselic, Nirvana, Foo Fighters
11 General Elections, 6 primary

Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jammer and outspoken voter advocate
5 GE, 1 primary

Ann Wilson, half of Heart
4 GE, 2 primary

Ben Gibbard, Death Cab for Cutie
4 GE, 1 primary

Continue reading »

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Guerrilla Marketing Today

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 2:15 PM

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This is taking to the streets.

Herman Cain Details Sexual Harassment Gesture

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Herman Cain just described one of the complaints in the sexual harassment suit that were filed against him to Fox News's Greta Van Susteren:

Van Susteren asked what Cain did that led to the accusation. There were reportedly more than one accusations in the complaint, but Cain said he recalled just one incident. "She was in my office one day, and I made a gesture saying — and I was standing close to her — and I made a gesture saying you are the same height as my wife. And I brought my hand up to my chin saying, 'My wife comes up to my chin.'" At that point, Cain gestured with his flattened palm near his chin. "And that was put in there [the complaint] as something that made her uncomfortable," Cain said, "something that was in the sexual harassment charge."

There's more to the suit than just that one incident—two women filed the complaint, according to Politico. And it's interesting to see that Cain's camp has come a long way in just a few hours. Cain went from "no comment" to saying he was unaware of a settlement to singing a gospel song to a detailed description of part of what happened in less than 24 hours. This is not the response of a disciplined campaign.

SPD Even Managed to Fuck Up Investigation Into Whether It Fucked Up

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Steve Miletich has the scoop:

The Seattle Police Department was admonished by the U.S. Department of Justice for purportedly retaliating against a patrol officer who criticized police command staff while he was being questioned by a Justice Department consultant, according to documents disclosed Monday.

The Justice Department, which opened a civil-rights investigation of Seattle police in March, sent a pointed letter to police officials in June requesting that officers be told they should not fear reprisals for speaking candidly when interviewed in the investigation.

"Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that SPD has taken actions that could be viewed as intimidating, retaliatory or harmful against an officer for comments that officer made to a consultant of the Department of Justice," federal attorneys wrote. "We take this action very seriously and find it deeply troubling."

According to a presentation by Officer Ernest DeBella Jr. also obtained by the Seattle Times, "The initial media response to the incident was poorly executed. This event cried out for strong leadership from Chief Diaz." He continued: "The community was looking towards him for reassurance that their beat officers were not racist killers."

The SPD released an explanatory statement:

Continue reading »

The Wild Card in the I-1125 Numbers

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 1:34 PM

As I mentioned earlier, Kemper Freeman's anti-tolling, light-rail-derailing Initiative 1125 needs to pick up about nine percentage points in order to pass, according to the new Washington Poll.

Can it? One part of the answer is right here:

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It can, if just half of the undecideds break in favor of this initiative. And this is where the wild card—the ballot language—comes in. Freeman isn't funding any sort of last-minute advertising push to get this thing passed, but that's partly because he believes the ballot language is enough. It mentions tolls twice, doesn't mention light rail at all, and to an under-informed voter can sound, well, sensible:

Continue reading »

Here's Your Second Herman Cain Scandal of the Day

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Did you know that, even in the wake of Citizens United, it is still somehow possible for political campaigns to take illegal donations from corporations? Apparently so! And a Journal Sentinel story alleges that Herman Cain's campaign may have crossed the line at the very beginning of their race for the White House:

Herman Cain's two top campaign aides ran a private Wisconsin-based corporation that helped the GOP presidential candidate get his fledgling campaign off the ground by originally footing the bill for tens of thousands of dollars in expenses for such items as iPads, chartered flights and travel to Iowa and Las Vegas - something that might breach federal tax and campaign law, according to sources and documents.

Internal financial records obtained by No Quarter show that Prosperity USA said it was owed about $40,000 by the Cain campaign for a variety of items in February and March. Cain began taking donations for his presidential bid on Jan. 1..."If the records accurately reflect what occurred, this is way out of bounds," said a Washington, D.C.-based election lawyer who advises many Republican candidates and conservative groups on campaign issues. The lawyer asked not to be identified because of those affiliations.

None of Cain's campaign filings seem to recognize the loan. (Remember: He's running his campaign like a businessman!) There's much much more—$150,000 in unidentified loans to Prosperity USA! 3,700 dollars' worth of iPads! An election expert calling the records "a total mess," plus more!—at the Journal Sentinel.

Truly Smashing Pumpkins

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Plus an accidental ad for Starbucks. Go, 1 %!
  • Plus an accidental ad for Starbucks. Go, 1 %!

It's Time for State Dems to Play Hardball and Hold "Levy Equalization" Hostage

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 1:03 PM

As I posted earlier, a new Washington Poll reports 71 percent of respondents supporting at least some new taxes to help close the state's additional $2 billion revenue shortfall. Crosstabs on that question have not been published, but you don't get to 71 percent without at least some support from Republicans.

What this tells me is that even Republicans—even some rural Republicans—recognize that some of the proposed budget cuts simply cut too deep. And chief amongst these cuts, I'm guessing, is Gov. Chris Gregoire's proposed $150 million halving of "levy equalization," a program that subsidizes tax-poor school districts unable to raise sufficient funds via local school levies.

Levy equalization is one inefficient/unsustainable/anti-market big-government program that rural Republicans seem to love. So my advice now to Democratic budget negotiators, as it was a year ago, is to force their Republican colleagues to fight to keep it:

Yeah, I know, levy equalization is good policy and all that, but let's try to approach this from a classical, free market, Republican perspective for a moment. I mean, if folks out in rural Washington are unwilling or unable to raise local school levies sufficient to educate their children, then perhaps they shouldn't even have public schools? That's the market at work, right? So why should taxpayer dollars be sucked away from school children in Seattle to help pay for schools in communities that obviously don't care enough about their children to properly educate them? At a time of budgetary crisis like this, how can we possibly afford to pay for all this rural welfare?

Or, of course, we could offer to maintain levy equalization transfers, in exchange for enough Republican votes necessary to raise the revenue to pay for them. Pay as you go: that's Republican Budgeting Philosophy 101, isn't it?

Continue reading »

Lunchtime Quickie: Halloween For Dummies

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 12:15 PM

This trick is almost better than this trick? Happy Halloween, dummy!

Occupy Jamie Dimon This Wednesday

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 12:15 PM

Posted last week and moved up because Jamie Dimon will be here, ready to be occupied, on Wednesday night.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is one of the most powerful and wealthiest men on Wall Street. He earns about one thousand times the median U.S. household income, and has an estimated net worth of somewhere between $300 million and $3 billion. His bank was at the epicenter of the economic collapse that cost millions of Americans their jobs, their homes, and their futures. He insists that foreclosure is a form of magnanimous "debt relief" that leaves the former homeowners "better off" than they were before. He's perhaps the most vocal and effective opponent of proposed international financial regulations that could avoid yet another banking collapse and bailout.

And he's coming to Seattle.

Few banks were more complicit in, or profited more from, the financial collapse than JPMorgan Chase, a leading player in the real-estate-bubble-inflating subprime mortgage market and the main banker to imprisoned Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff. Earlier this year, Chase agreed to pay $153.6 million to settle US Securities and Exchange Commission fraud charges, just days before the trustee representing Madoff's victims filed claims seeking $19 billion in damages. "JPMorgan Chase chose to enable Madoff's fraud," the trustee charged in a 155-page complaint, "not just through the various ways it participated in its activity, but by helping to cover Madoff's naked theft with the imprimatur of a globally recognized financial institution."

Even Madoff credits the "willful blindness" of his bankers for his ability to carry on his scheme so long. "They had to know," Madoff told the New York Times. "But the attitude was sort of, 'If you’re doing something wrong, we don’t want to know.' "

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Clerk Risks Getting Knifed for $500 of Merchandise

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Here's a risky thing to do for a day's pay: An employee of a Rainier Valley store followed a shoplifter to the sidewalk and was threatened with a knife, but he continued to follow the shoplifter anyway, according to a police report.

It began last Wednesday around dinnertime, when a man working for Stewart Lumber, which sells construction supplies and tools (as a side note, employees there actually know stuff about construction and are super helpful), spotted a man with duffel bag in the store. The man wasn't attempting to buy anything, the duffel bag was full, and items the employee had just stocked on shelves were missing. When asked what was inside the bag, according to the employee's statement in a police report, the man simply replied "Fuck off."

The man left, but the employee tailed him down Rainier Avenue South for one block, until the man with the duffel bag turned around. The police records say that the suspect "pulled out a knife," pointed it at the employee, and told him to "stop following him.... Though scared, [the employee] continued to follow (at a greater distance)." When police arrived, they arrested the suspect and found $500 in goods labeled exactly as described by the employee, later corroborated by security footage from the store, showing the man taking the goods from store shelves.

A Tour of Your New and Improved Occupy Seattle (Plus a Call to Shop at the Farmers Market, and a Shaming of Ralph132)

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 12:01 PM

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Yesterday I went over to Occupy Seattle to gauge how the move to SCCC had changed things, and damn: The movement is revitalized. (Dom's overnight reporting is here and here.) There was a palpable difference—Occupy Seattle felt both more relaxed and more energized. The easiest way to sum it up is by pointing to what's underfoot: Grass rather than concrete. You feel the change right away, right there under you. "People were going hypothermic from sleeping on the concrete at Westlake," the guy at the information booth, Martin Chapman, told me. "One time, the police acquiesced, and we carried a kid and laid him on the hood of a cop car to warm him up. It was just bad."

Lots of pictures and words from this new Occupy Seattle on the jump.

Continue reading »

Herman Cain Addresses Sexual Harassment Claims in Song

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 11:58 AM

In another what-the-fuck moment, Herman Cain just concluded a National Press Club appearance by singing a gospel song called "He Looked Beyond my Faults." Here's the video. Please note that it comes after a speech and a series of questions about the sexual harassment story that Politico broke this weekend:

YouTube commenters are rapt in their adoration:

This is how he turns the other cheek. True dignity and integrity !!!

amazing Herman! Yes, we Cain! Conservatives for Herman! Liberals, like Politico, are racists

yes we Cain evict Obama from the White House!

Caution: Sometimes When You Close Your Account at Chase It's Not Actually Closed (How Else Are They Going to Keep Wringing Overdraft Fees Out of You?)

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Remember how I said closing my account at Chase was really easy? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. A week or two later, I'm going through the mail and there's all this mail from Chase—overdraft notices for my Chase checking account. Which is supposed to be closed. The notices are for two debit card transactions and two auto-pay electronic checks. Instead of the payments not going through, like you would expect of a closed checking account, all four were paid by Chase, which then added an overdraft fee of $34 to each one, meaning $136 in overdraft fees. So I called Chase's 1-800 number and spent about half an hour arguing with them on the phone, and they kept telling me that while they had received my "request" to close the account, the account had not been closed, and that if I wanted to close it I had to go to the branch in person, which I kept saying I'd already done. At the end of the call he said, "Thank you for choosing Chase." It was too late to go to the branch right then, which is good, because I probably would have brought a bazooka.

Continue reading »

Offensive Halloween Costumes!

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Along with some arguably non-offensive ones.

Mitt Romney: Fashion Icon

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Last week, Slog overwhelmingly chose Mitt Romney's $60 campaign fleece over Michele Bachmann's campaign fleece. No doubt thanks in part to your excitement, Mitt Romney has unleashed two more fashion creations on the world. His fleece, which was previously only available in navy, now comes in gray. But more importantly, the Romney camp is now selling the Believe In America Hoodie for $50.

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Lesbian Couple Crowned Homecoming King & Queen at High School in California

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Very sweet:

Two California high school students became one of the first lesbian couples crowned homecoming king and queen in the nation this weekend. Rebeca Arellano, a senior at Patrick Henry High School, was made the school's first female homecoming king when her name was announced Friday at a pep rally. "They were chanting my name and it was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had," said Arellano. Arellano's girlfriend, Haileigh Adams, who also attends Patrick Henry High School, was made homecoming queen at Saturday night's dance. "I was happier than when I won, my little Haileigh has just been announced Homecoming queen and I couldn't feel happier! Thanks to every single one of you! You guys made this happen and we are all part of something huge. I can't fully express how grateful I am. I am in completely shocked that this happen. My girl looks absolutely flawless," wrote Arellano on Facebook Saturday night.

It's not all bad news out there for LGBT youth. The bullies may dominate the headlines but there are a lot of great kids out there—queer kids and straight kids—who are proving that things are, in fact, getting better. Video here. Via JMG.

Artists Have Higher Salaries? Yeah, Right.

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 11:03 AM

The headline in yesterday's New York Times was "Study Says Artists Have Higher Salaries." It reminded me of the sign for Yogurtland yogurt that I saw on Broadway last week: "Twice the real pumpkin inside!" Twice what? Inside where?

There's a better rundown of the study, with a direct link to it as a PDF, on the National Endowment for the Arts blog. It helps to clarify what the study means by "artist"—and 39 percent of the time, it means designer. Almost 40 percent of artists are "Graphic, commercial, and industrial designers, fashion designers, floral designers, interior designers, merchandise displayers, and set and exhibit designers."

Factoids: The highest paid artists, as a group, are architects (some $63,000 annual salary on average). Lady artists make 81 cents on the male artist dollar. Announcers are considered artists. Minnesota has more publishing than anywhere else. In Seattle, employment in the theater industry is twice the national average (same in Minneapolis and San Diego areas). Artists are more likely than the general workforce to be white. There are more musicians than any other types of performers.

There are 46 pages. Dive in.

Tonight: Collide-O-Scope's Not-for-Kids Halloween Spooktacular

Posted by on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Collide-O-Scope is the found-footage video extravaganza that routinely lights up both Central Cinema and Re-bar. Tonight's a Central Cinema night, and in honor of Halloween, the CoS guys will be working a spooky-ooky, not-for-kids theme.
Trailer below, tickets here.

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The Morning News

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