If you didn't know better, you'd think our current legislative special session was called primarily for the purpose of bailing out Wenatchee, at least judging from the buzz in the hallways of the Capitol yesterday. That's all any of the in people wanted to talk about, and with a $42 million default looming on Wenatchee's municipally financed Toyota Town Center arena, a proposed bailout somehow became the first order of business.
But... it doesn't look like it's gonna happen.
"There are bailout Republicans and there are sane Republicans," Rep. Glenn Anderson (R-5) said today regarding the Republican-sponsored bailout bill... or so Rep. Luis Moscoso (D-1) tells me. According to Moscoso, House R's are having a tough time lining up even half their caucus behind a bill sponsored by their own leadership, not enough of a show of support to satisfy some Dems. But the bill's woes in the House are nothing compared to its troubles in the Senate, where several senators have already pronounced it DOA.
Sen. Ed Murray (D-43) insists the bailout bill isn't dead, though he wouldn't mourn it if it was. Murray says he personally opposes the bill, but would let it out of his Ways and Means Committee if it had the votes. "But the people out there trying to find the votes for the bill can't find them, " says Murray.
"Just by the number of people out here you can tell how loved Danny was," said Police Chief John Diaz, speaking of the November 15 beating and subsequent death of proudly gay salon owner Danny Vega to the crowd of 200 south Seattle residents, including men and women from the Filipino and LGBT communities who assembled tonight at the Filipino Community Center in South Seattle. "I want you to know we are aggressively investigating this case. We will catch and successfully prosecute [the attackers]... but we need help from you."
This afternoon, police released photo stills of three persons of interest who were in the area the night of Vega's assault. But the footage isn't the only lead police are exploring.
South Precinct Captain Mike Nolan said that Vega's assault fits within a crime trend of robberies perpetrated by teenagers and men in their 20s that has plagued Seattle for the past two or three months. "This is not just a south Seattle phenomenon, it's occurring everywhere in the city," Nolan said, adding that it "isn’t just one or two or three people, it’s multiple [perpetrators]." The robberies typically take place along metro corridors, between 5:00 and 10:00 pm but "peak times are after school and work, when people get off bus and walking home or to their cars," he explained, and the victim profile broadly includes "anyone with visible electronics."
His advice: “Don’t advertise that stuff.”
Which isn't to say that SPD is ruling out the possibility that Vega's assault was motivated by his sexual orientation—it's just that in this phase of the investigation, homicide trumps hate crime. "Motives are being pursued aggressively as part of that investigation but you have to understand, this is a homicide," stressed Chief Diaz, explaining that the hate crime demarcation would be important "once we identify the individuals... and get to the trial phase."
Since Vega's assault, Nolan said that officers have increased patrols and are now walking beats along metro corridors. "We do have some leads," he said. "We are closing in on some known suspects.”
Despite the assurances, emotions ran high at tonight's meeting.
This weekend, 45,000 people are being told to evacuate the town of Koblenz while German explosives experts defuse a bomb that's been sitting there since World War II. NPR reports that the bomb "emerged in the Rhine River because of low water levels."
Here's Mitt Romney saying he "just read" the same two books in two separate interviews separated by six months:
Apologists might say that running for president is a tiring job, and that nobody has time to read when they're campaigning. That's bullshit; Barack Obama read books all through his campaign. So much of campaigning is sitting in planes and buses and waiting for your moment to go onstage. Even with smartphones and cable television, there's a whole lot of dead time mixed in with the schedule of appearances. This is calculation, pure and simple: Romney name-checking Bush's book is a sly way of alerting the 20% of all Americans who still think Bush did a good job as president that he's keeping Bush in mind. And if any more moderate voters protest the book, Romney can claim that he reads a lot of books and they shouldn't see his reading of that book as an endorsement.
The Northwest Grocery Association—which represents the largest grocery chains in Seattle, including Safeway, QFC, and Fred Meyer—tells The Stranger today that it is formally backing the Seattle City Council's proposal to ban plastic shopping bags and charge a five-cent fee for paper bags. That would save roughly 1,000,000 plastic bags per grocery store each year, says NWGA president Joe Gilliam, who represents 600 retail outlets in the Pacific Northwest.
"We support this right now," Gilliam says, and he's prepared to pressure the city council. What if the ordinance is challenged with a ballot referendum? "It's possible that we would contribute to the campaign to uphold the law."
That's a different tune than the NWGA sang two years ago, when it expressed concerns with an ordinance placing a 20-cent tax on all shopping bags. "The Nickels administration was married to this idea a 20-cent bag tax that went to government—that was a nonstarter," says Gilliam. His group stayed "neutral" on that fight "and we all saw the results of it," he says. The American Chemistry Council funded a $1.4 million campaign that ultimately overturned that measure in August 2009.
But this time, Gilliam says, grocery stores like a provision that allows them keep the nickel for each paper bag. That would offset the cost of switching from plastic to paper, which costs the average grocery store about $60,000 a year. "It's a far cry better than the old proposal that went down in flames," he says.
Gilliam believes industry support could allow this measure to stick. "As people see the retail community supports doing the right thing environmentally, and that there is a way to do it without causing the price of groceries to go up, I think that has value."
Vote over here!
Organizers of today's march and rally of Garfield High School students couldn't have hoped for a better outcome. Several hundred students walked out of school around 12:30 pm to protest continued cuts in education funding, and marched to a rally in the city hall plaza. It was a large, enthusiastic, and diverse crowd—"The most diverse Garfield event I've ever been to," one student told me—and well behaved almost to a fault. Every time a student strayed into the street, others would call for them to stay on sidewalk, and bike cops had to repeatedly yell at students to continue crossing against the crosswalk light. It made for slow going.
Students, parents, teachers, and administrators should be proud.
Fox News says Cain is openly flirting with quitting the Republican campaign. This is probably not the first time Cain has openly flirted with something:
"I can only conjecture that maybe I am the Democrats' worst nightmare if I win the nomination," Cain said, later suggesting that some Democrats may want former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to win the nomination so they can go after his personal life.
Cain said he expects to make a decision within "several days," after consulting first his family and then taking the pulse of his supporters and donors.
"A week from now, I will have made a final decision," he said.
Man! I hope he gets someone good to write his campaign memoir when he drops out.
The Seattle Police Department has released security camera stills of three people who appear to be disposing of a jacket on November 15 in the vicinity of the fatal attack on gay salon owner Danny Vega. Police are asking for the public's help in identifying these potential suspects by calling the Homicide tip-line at (206) 233-5000. Anonymous calls are welcome.
In addition, SPD will be hosting a community meeting tonight at 6:00 p.m. at the Filipino Community Center (5740 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S) to answer whatever questions they can about Vega's case and the criminal investigation process. For instance, we've received tons of calls, emails, and comments from people angry at Seattle police for not classifying Vega's assault as a hate crime. Here's the problem: While police are definitely not ruling that possibility out, currently the police department has no firm evidence that Vega was targeted because he was gay.
"We are certainly open to the possibility that this is a bias crime or a hate crime and that he was targeting him because he was gay," says SPD spokesman Sergeant Sean Whitcomb. "What we do know is that he was viciously beaten and left on the sidewalk and property was taken, so we are open to possibility that this was a robbery."
Whitcomb says that what SPD needs is for eye witnesses to come forward or better yet, suspects to question. So again, if you know anything, however seemingly insignificant, please call:(206) 233-5000.
As of yesterday, Slog commenters had raised $8,175 more than Gawker commenters to feed the homeless and hungry. Today our lead has ballooned to $8,995! That's amazing, of course. But now we gotta get it over the $9,000 mark.
As you know, if you donate to Northwest Harvest and send us your receipt, you'll get an AWESOME PERSON tag on your commenter handle. To sweeten the pot today, the first person to make a donation after this post goes up and send us the receipt will also get this drawing:
This one-of-a-kind doodle was made by The Stranger's general manager Laurie Saito in a recent manager's meeting. Laurie went to art school and makes one-of-a-kind drawings like this all the time. There's a gallery of them on my office wall because I usually beg her for her doodles when meetings are over. But for charity, today, I'm giving this one away.
On my voice mail just now: "Hi, Dominic, my name is Adam Miller, I am with PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Tomorrow in Seattle, two PETA activists wearing lettuce bikinis are going to be handing out free soy jerky at the 3rd Avenue electric vehicle charging station. The demonstration is in order to remind people that the best way to help the environment is to go vegan.... I just wanted to find out if this is something you'd like to cover in The Stranger."
I am happily married woman, married for many years, and I have a really great sex life with my husband. I enjoy a lot of the weirdness that my husband talks me into; he's helped me discover things I didn't know about myself, and so far I have liked most of it. So here is my problem: 3 years ago my first love contacts me after 23 years. He was married as well, although he really didn't want to be, and he tells me that he never stopped loving me and wants to be with me and no one else. He says he hasn't had sex in a VERY LONG TIME... We have had sexy e-chats and I know what he is "working" with if u know what I mean, and I am very interested. I have shown him how good the years have been to my body. The result was explosive :-)
My husband knows about our past and knows how my ex still feels about me. My ex even asked if I would have a 3some with him and my husband, I told him that would be too weird for me. My husband says that I can help him out if I wish. My husband is very "GGG" and loving. What I want to know is what would you do in my situation? Please help.
Chick With 2 Dicks
My response after the jump...
Last week, rumors circulated that the national city-blogging company Gothamist LLC was going to shutter their Seattle branch. The shame of this is that about six months ago, local news and culture website Seattlest started getting really good. For years, Seattlest had been irrelevant and uninteresting, but when new Editor-in-Chief Hanna Brooks Olsen arrived, she brought on a talented new writing staff—including Sarah Lloyd, Dikla Tuchman, and Everett Rummage—who quickly established beats and started writing originally reported news stories. (Speaking as the books editor, I especially appreciated that Seattlest regularly published interviews with authors and previews of upcoming readings events; it’s embarrassing that a town this packed with literary riches only has two outlets—The Stranger and the Seattle Times—providing consistent book coverage.)
Yesterday, I spoke with Gothamist LLC’s publisher Jake Dobkin, who confirmed that Seattlest’s future is in doubt. Dobkin says “no decision about the site's future has been made,” but that Gothamist is considering putting the site on a hiatus that he predicted would last “a year or two.” He says “it’s not so much a money thing, because [Seattlest] doesn’t lose money for us,” but that five of Gothamist’s sites make up 97 percent of the company’s traffic. They’ve been consolidating their focus into those sites—New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Los Angeles—and putting the other sites into hibernation. (In an October 7th post, Bostonist co-editor Matthew Gannon announced his site’s hiatus, writing, “Hopefully, the hiatus is temporary and we can build a better Bostonist in the future.”)
“We don’t want to make it a drag to write for us,” Dobkin says, adding that in the future, Gothamist wants to “support the site” with “one, two or three [paid] full time editors for a year or two without having to worry so much about ads or revenue.” Dobkin doesn’t see Gothamist giving up on Seattlest entirely: “I see a lot of promise in Seattle, with the decline of the alt-weekly and the trouble with your local newspaper.”
But if Seattlest isn't losing money, and a solid young staff of reporters in a single half-year have repaired the damaged brand and turned it around into one of the only local news blogs worth checking on a regular basis, why doesn't Gothamist keep the site around, to see what Olsen's staff can do with another six months? I couldn't get a satisfactory answer out of Dobkin. Olsen believes the problem may be built into the inflexible structure of Gothamist's city blogging platform.
Bellevue Arts Museum has a show up through December 31 called Travelers: Objects of Dream and Revelation and, on the whole, it's just okay.
My major complaint is that it's all over the place: its theme (travel) is meaninglessly broad, its tone veers from didactic to sugary, and the quality of works ranges like crazy. It's like trying to do too much on one trip: you can barely recall even the good parts. Marc Dombrosky's found and embroidered detritus is like the most delicate flower in the world, with a heart of a million petals, while Filigree Car Bombing by Cal Lane is a clunker, obvious as a heart attack. Erika Harrsch's passport experiment is a pale version of political/participatory sculpture, while Margarita Cabrera's soft sculptures of a VW Beetle and a bicycle sag with the weight of perfectly tuned sorrow.
And now to the snowglobes! Rather than making idyllic little Kinkadean trinkets, Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz have created tiny disasters. I especially like the one of a circle of children holding hands and dancing (are they children or adults? It's hard to tell when they're so teeny in there) while a shotgun leans up against the mountain nearby.
My only complaint: WHY ON EARTH CAN'T WE PLAY WITH THESE?
They're begging for a good shaking. Out of the vitrines with you!
The sad truth nowadays is that if you own a piece of technology, you should probably just automatically assume that it's storing everything you do. Gizmodo says:
If you have any decently modern Android phone, everything you do is being recorded by hidden software lurking inside. It even circumvents web encryption and grabs everything—including your passwords and Google queries.
Worse: it's the handset manufacturers and the carriers who—in the name of "making your user experience better"—install this software without any way for you to opt-out.
The very long video proving the existence of this hidden recording software can be found after the jump.
For the past forty years, Seattle resident Helen Gilbert has regularly commuted to Olympia to sit in on legislative committee meetings and advocate for everything from women's reproductive rights to basic healthcare access. Last April, she participated in the peaceful sit-in at the Capitol's rotunda to protest state budget cuts—and wasn't arrested—so she thought nothing of driving up to Olympia on Monday with healthcare activist group Sisters Organized for Survival (SOS) to do so again.
But on Monday, Gilbert was one of a handful of protesters who was arrested for occupying the Capitol rotunda after hours. Now, after being arrested again yesterday while on her way to a Ways and Means committee hearing (she'd been banned from the building for a month), and booked on first-degree criminal trespass, the 55-year-old activist is facing a ban from stepping foot in the Capitol, or even toeing its expansive lawn, for the next year.
It's become a bit of a saga, truth be told. I'll try to narrate briefly.
You may remember that Devon Britt-Darby, the artist formerly known as Douglas Britt of the Houston Chronicle, asked me and several other female art critics to marry him as part of a social sculpture he was performing to protest the Menil acquisition of The Art Guys Marry a Tree.
No art critics took him up on his offer, but a by-all-accounts-wonderful woman named Reese Darby did, and the two were married on the eve of the dedication of The Art Guys Marry a Tree, at a gay Houston strip club.
Just before that happened, I interviewed Toby Kamps of the Menil about the acquisition. "I'm not sure this is the mean statement about gay marriage that people are wanting this to be," he told me, and accused then-Britt (since the marriage, he's changed his name) of conducting a "witch hunt" by calling out the Art Guys.
I wasn't terribly sympathetic to this point of view. What I saw was a powerful institution holding up a work of art for special attention—most artists would kill to have a piece on the lawn of the Menil, sharing space with Rothko and Newman—and balking when they were questioned about its relevance and sensitivity to real-life marital inequality, while at the same time the Art Guys's own bio (click the PDF) makes claims about "blurring the divisions between art and life".
Have you watched this yet? Because it is a pleasure. Colbert is out of character, and Neil deGrasse Tyson is his usual enthusiastic, giddy self. Put it on in the background while you work, it's a fantastic way to spend an hour and twenty minutes. SCIENCE!
Jennifer Fox, the Occupy Seattle protester who claimed that an altercation with police led to a miscarriage five days later, was never able to provide me copies of her medical records to prove her story. This led me to question the veracity of her claim. But Occupy Seattle activist Ian Awesome says that he's seen them:
The paperwork she showed me was not a complete medical record. It was a discharge summary, and it confirmed two facts to me: that she was seen at Harborview after November 15th and that she has indeed suffered what is called a retained miscarriage, meaning that the fetus has yet to be dispelled. She will be seeking further medical treatment in order to facilitate removal of the fetus from her body.
The discharge summary, however, does not mention the reason for her miscarriage nor the time of death of the fetus. Frankly, I don't know if that is determinable.
Noting that I have questioned the accuracy of Fox's allegations—that police were responsible for the miscarriage—Ian writes, "Her case, ultimately, will be decided by a judge, not the Stranger, and not the public." His whole post is here.
Goldy reports from the raucous scene: After marching out of class this afternoon, 200 to 300 Garfield High School students are marching downtown for a rally at City Hall in a protest of the state legislature's systematic cuts to education over the last several years.
We've posted their demands here. Those kids are all right.
Video after the jump:
Also, if it's been a while since you stomped around the state Capitol, you really ought to go Friday and/or Saturday. Here's everything you need to know before you get on a bus or train or hitch a ride, including where to camp, what bars to drink in so you can rub shoulders with legislators and lobbyists, who you should be shouting at, and what you should shout.
A bunch of Stranger staffers will be down there, too. If you need Cienna, you now know where to find her.
David Milch, creator of Deadwood (did you watch that short-lived surfing show he made after Deadwood? Why did it feature the worst acting in the history of history?), has now announced a deal that will enable him to adapt Faulker stories for premium cable.
Which ones? We don't know yet:
...he and the estate’s executor, Lee Caplin, will work together to choose from 19 novels and 125 short stories by Faulkner that could be adapted for film or television.
Faulker medley? Faulkner season after season? Faulkner film festival? Can we at least have one where we just hear Al Swearengen read Faulkner for an hour?
UPDATE: I will be making a movie called Meet the Faulkers, yes.
Seven months after she gutted protections for medical marijuana patients due to concerns with federal law enforcement, Governor Chris Gregoire filed a petition today with the with the US Drug Enforcement Administration that seeks to reclassify marijuana to allow the drug's medical use. If approved, the DEA could allow doctors to prescribe and pharmacists to dispense marijuana like any other drug.
You should read Gregoire's excellent petition in its entirety, sent in conjunction with Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, here. They describe the current conflict between states that allow medical marijuana and federal prohibition is "untenable."
"The solution lies with the federal government," the governors write. "We urge the DEA to initiate rulemaking proceedings... so qualifying patients who follow state law may obtain the medication they need through the traditional and safe method of physician prescribing and pharmacy dispensing."
This isn't the first time the DEA has been petitioned to reclassify the Schedule 1 drug (which means it has no medical value) to a Schedule 2 drug (which includes powerful substances like opiates). The DEA rejected a similar request in February, nine years after the request was filed in 2002. But in that case, the petitioners were marijuana-legalization lobbies. So this appears is the first time in modern history the request has come from such prominent government officials, including Gregoire, a former attorney general.
But advocates are skeptical. "This is a major step forward, but it's only a step,” said Philip Dawdy, political director of the Washington Alternative Medicine Alliance, in a statement. “While I appreciate the governors sticking their necks out on this issue and giving political legitimacy to what medical cannabis patients and voters in this state have known for decades, the DEA has a long track record of opposing any attempt to reschedule cannabis and continues to claim that cannabis has no accepted medical uses."
We'll see how the DEA responds or, based on its track record, how long it takes to respond.
Gregoire's full statement is after the jump.
Did you know Billy Graham is still alive? He turned 93 this month and he's not going to live forever (unless you ask him, of course). Anyway, he's in the hospital.
"Bravo's Addictive 'Work of Art.'" I do not find it addictive.
I love a thing like this:
If you're headed down to Olympia to protest the looming $2 billion in budget cuts, try clicking around on the great little calculator made by the League of Education Voters before you go. It'll help you clarify what, exactly, you think lawmakers should do instead of staying on the current path.