For reasons that are both political and aesthetic, traveling down to Portland is best done by train. Traveling up to Vancouver, however, is best done by car. In this case, the aesthetics soundly beats the politics. The car ride is undeniably more beautiful than the train ride. The opposite is true for the trip down to Portland. The car ride is simply unpleasing and dull, while the train ride is really something else. These considerations were made here at Harrison Hot Springs, the closest thing the Northwest has to the mood of the Alps.
Warren Jeffs, the child-raping leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints—last seen compulsively masturbating in prison—has issued a game-changing decree from behind bars. From Utah's KSDK News:
Warren Jeffs, the imprisoned FLDS leader...just announced that marriages of his followers have all been voided....Jeffs has recently banned many of the things his followers enjoy: bicycles, ATVs, trampolines, and even children's toys. But [one new] edict reaches into the bedroom.
Joni Holm, who has many FLDS relatives, said Jeffs has voided all existing FLDS marriages. "Right now they have all been told that they are not to live as husband and wife. They can live in the same house but they are not to have sexual relationships until Warren comes out and reseals them." If they have sex on the sly, any resulting children will be considered "sons of perdition." "The parents will also be excommunicated," said Holm.
The [no more sex] curse would be broken only if Jeffs' latest prophecy comes true: an apocalypse that will bring down the prison walls and broil the human race. "They believe that they'll still roam on the earth but the rest of us will be burned," said Holm.
Silver lining: A lot of FLDSers aren't standing for it, and are reportedly fleeing the church/cult in growing numbers. Read the whole thing here.
At $73.4 billion, fuel will top the list of US exports in 2011, marking the first time in 60 years that we were a net exporter of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.
The news is generating a lot of headlines, but more surprising to me is number four on the list, an export category that appears to consistently rank in the top five, year after year: Vacuum tubes.
Really? The US exported $37.1 billion worth of vacuum tubes this year? I didn't even know the US still manufactured vacuum tubes anymore, let alone was a major exporter. Where are we shipping them? The 1950's?
A cursory Google search didn't turn up much useful information, so could somebody who knows something about this please explain the US's massive vacuum tube industry to me?
Posted by news intern Marley Zeno
Obama Wishes You a Happy New Year: And he's hopeful about 2012.
Need a Ride Tonight? CarGozz will drive you home, in your own car.
Want to Know What's Open or Closed Tomorrow and Monday? The Seattle Times has a handy list for you.
Toll-pocalypse! 40,000 people avoided 520 on Thursday.
In Los Angeles: More than 35 arsons since Friday morning.
Sad Michelle Bachmann: She's had a hard time drawing crowds in Iowa.
In Iraq: The security agreement between Iraq and the US was officially over yesterday. Prime MInister al-Maliki marked the day with a speech and national text message:
“All of us are for Iraq glory and pride in the nation,” the message read. “I congratulate you and our Iraqi people on this historic day. With love, and with my respect to you and your honorable family, your brother, Nouri al-Maliki.”
In Nigeria: The president declared a state of emergency in the group hit by the terrorist group that bombed churches on Christmas Day.
In Syria: The two main dissident groups came together and formed an agreement for what happens if they get rid of President Assad. The agreement rejects foreign military intervention and sets up a transitional period in which state institutions are preserved and a new constitution will be drafted.
Any time the whole freakin' world is trying to figure out what's going on based on where people stand at a funeral, or whether or not they're wearing a uniform, we have serious shit going on. Serious Shakespearean shit. With nukes! And saber-rattling. And even analysis of the dress of TV news announcers:
In a break from the black mourning clothing worn since Kim Jong-il's death, the broadcaster wore dark red clothes and almost shouted her defiant message.
Well, that'll set the tone.
Happy New Year!
I love and respect the Seattle PI's Joel Connelly. Honestly, I really do. He was one of the first olde tyme journalists to take the local blogosphere seriously, and one of the few to consistently reach out and interact with us, if admittedly, often with ridicule. At least he cares enough to criticize. And I appreciate that.
That said, his piece yesterday on Seattle's "liberal group think"... really, Joel?
— Tolerance of Republicans: The national ones can be pretty awful, but a sub-species in this state has stood for government reform and environmental conservation. Washington Conservation Voters folk writing anti-Rob McKenna screeds should remember the wilderness protected by GOP Gov. (and Sen.) Dan Evans.
Um... Dan Evans last ran for governor back in 1972—almost four decades ago—so how exactly is Evans' reputation as a moderate Republican at all relevant to what we should expect from a Gov. Rob McKenna, who was 10 years old at the time of Evans' last inauguration? Besides, judging from what few but consistently party-line public statements I've heard from Evans during my 20 years in this state, I'm not convinced even Dan Evans would qualify as a "Dan Evans Republican," let alone Rob McKenna.
The moderate strain of Republicanism should not be allowed to go extinct.
What was all of this nice weather about? Where did it come from? And where is it going?
Just writing to say thanks. I'm a 29-year-old straight guy from Edinburgh, and my brother (24, gay) and I are both regular readers, listeners and iphone-app owners. I met a girl online about a year ago, we hit it off great and, as one does, the second or so time we went to bed I asked her, "So, what are you into?" She looked at me like I was nuts, then did the same again a while later, when I suggested we have sex a second time in a day. Turned out she'd never had an orgasm with another person involved, ever. So we followed the you-do-it-while-I-watch, you-do-it-while-I-help, I-do-it path that you recommend, and the problem was soon solved.
Next came the more tickly subject of kink. I have an armpit fetish: regular porn does nothing for me—I masturbate to pictures of girls with pitstains and have done since the internet was invented, and the smell of women's sweat drives me crazy. This has been a subject of fairly deep lifelong embarrassment; I think previous girlfriends probably figured it out, but I was very much in the fetish "closet." This summer, after listening to quite a lot of your podcasts, I finally managed to OK it with myself and "came out" to the GF. She was initially puzzled but willing to give it a try to please me, and now—not being a naturally very sweaty person—routinely goes without deodorant when we are together. In return she gets infinity oral (which I love anyway), no pressure to go down on me (which she likes rather less and I can take or leave) and, without wishing to cast a huge festive jinx on everything, we're ridiculously happy.
So... I'm not saying I definitely couldn't have got to this point without your advice, but I definitely probably couldn't, and that merits a big sincere thank you. Keep up all your excellent work, and have a great new year.
Grateful In Edinburgh
Thanks for the wonderful note, GIE, and a happy new year to you, your GF, and her pits.
Barely a day after sparking an Internet shitstorm by announcing plans to charge customers a $2 "convenience fee" for one-time credit card bill payments, Verizon has reversed itself, citing "customer feedback."
Objections to the fee came fast and furious, and highlighted just how quickly things race around the feedback loop now, even when a company attempts to deliver the bad news during what is supposed to be a slow news week when fewer people are paying attention.
The commentary appeared first on Twitter ... Some people started petitions on the same Web site where a similar campaign helped convince Bank of America to rescind its now infamous $5 monthly debit card fee. Many others insisted that they would switch to paper billing, in effect to punish the company for its actions by finding the most cost-consuming way to pay their bills each month that did not require them to pay a fee.
In addition to the Bank of America and Verizon reversals, Internet domain registry goliath Go Daddy recently pulled its support of the overreaching Stop Online Piracy Act, after a spontaneous and highly effective online boycott cost it thousands of accounts.
Wow. This Internet thing. There may actually be something to it.
The Virginia State Board of Elections has given the state Republican Party permission to require voters to sign a loyalty oath before being allowed to participate in the March presidential primary:
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, voters will be required to sign a document that reads: “I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president.”
Virginia does not oblige voters to be registered to a party before participating in the primary. Voters are welcome to vote in both Democratic and Republican primaries unless they are held on the same day.
Honestly... what a bunch of assholes. If they don't want Democrats voting in their primaries, then they should work to change the state law to require registration by party. But forcing voters to sign a loyalty will only condition voters to feel not so bad about breaking oaths.
Even as local officials continue to forcibly evict the few remaining Occupy encampments throughout Washington state and much of the rest of the nation, the National Park Service has just extended a permit for an Occupy DC tent city to remain in Freedom Plaza, a small park just blocks from the Capitol and the White House. The Occupiers will have to make space for other groups that have reserved the plaza, but they've done that in the past without problems.
Meanwhile, a half-mile away, at McPherson Square in the heart of the K Street lobbying district, a second Occupy DC encampment continues unimpeded. Under federal law, there is apparently no permit needed for gatherings of fewer than 500 people in DC city parks.
The NHL Winter Classic is just a few days away. Are you excited yet? Here's a pretty cool time-lapse video of the crew putting together the rink at Philly's Citizens Bank Park:
While we're on the subject, can you recommend any places in town that'll be good for watching the game on
Tuesday Monday? Somewhere with a lot of hockey fans! Or good food. Or even outside seating, so it'll be like we're out in the cold just like all the fans in Philly.
Help, Seattle hockey lovers!
(Sorry I originally said the game was on Tuesday when it's really on Monday. I got confused because it's on the 2nd instead of the 1st, and then I was all "That means Tuesday!" in my head and I didn't bother to look at a calendar to double check. Good job, me!)
Make your Friday even brighter with over two hours of music, approved by all the music-lovers at Line Out!
Okay, if you love turkey, and prefer to remain blissfully ignorant of the horrors of factory farming, don't watch this video of "Butterball Abuse," shot undercover by the animal rights organization Mercy for Animals, at a Butterball "turkey semen collection facility" in Shannon, North Carolina. Warning: It's not for the squeamish.
Now, I'm not one of those animal welfare zealots who would ban all factory farming, but I do think if more people were aware of the abject suffering required to make our food so affordable, many more people would choose more humane (if less affordable) alternatives. Or, do what I do, and simply eat less meat. It would be good for the animals, good for the environment, and good for our health.
1) Nostalgia for the Light by Patricio Guzmán
2) A Screaming Man by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
3) I Want to See by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
4) The Pruitt-Igoe Myth by Chad Freidrichs
5) Urbanized by Gary Hustwit
6) Higher Ground by Vera Farmiga
7) Rise of the Planet of the Apes by Rupert Wyatt
8) Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
9) The Tree of Life by Terrence Malick (for the first 30 or so minutes)
10) War Horse by Steven Spielberg.
You never would've guessed it from the education "reform" debate going on here in the US, but it turns out that the teaching profession doesn't exist in some sort of bizarre alternate universe, operating under its own unique economic principles: According to a new study at the London School of Economics, if you pay teachers more, you'll attract better teachers. In fact, as the chart above shows, there's a direct correlation between teacher pay and student performance, with a 10 percent increase in teacher pay resulting in a 5 to 10 percent increase in test scores.
Who'd a thunk?
As usual, Atrios sums things up well:
Yes it seems rather obvious that if you pay teachers more you'll probably get better ones. We seem to understand that in every other area of the economy. Perhaps if there was less of a constant drumbeat about how teachers were all history's greatest monsters some better people might be attracted into the profession, also, too.
It's interesting to note how advocates of charter schools, vouchers, merit pay, and other "market" based education reforms argue that competition is the magic panacea to all our K-12 ills, yet these same "reformers" seem to believe that the teaching profession is somehow immune to the economic forces and incentives that capitalist theory insists self-regulates all other labor markets. Huh.
You have a huge variety of beer. What motivated you to provide a more extensive selection of intoxicants at your convenience store than the standard Natural Ice, 5-hour Energy, and rubber cement?
It's better to have more variety, especially of craft beers. I want customers to think, "Wow, this is a great place to buy beer." Wine, too—I want ladies to shop here.
[Laughs] Do you find that ladies prefer wine?
I want them to feel comfortable here—it's more like a supermarket than a convenience store. I also support small, local wine distributors.
Read the full interview, including Williamson's personal beer picks, here.
But the year is not over? We really should wait for the first day of 2012 to post things like this...
2011 has been the safest year ever to fly, with one passenger death per 7.1 million air travelers.We live in the universe. Anything can happen in this universe.
There are clearly two favorites in this week's Drunk of the Year poll:
It's so close! Especially with the whole weekend left for voting. Who will win? Have you voted yet? Get over there and do it! The winner will be on the cover of next week's issue.
The development of the self also involves the deracination of bad things that were planted in one's thinking and language by one's society. For example, I used call Indians (East Indians) kurrimaanchas. I had no idea what this word meant; it was just what all the other Africans around me called Indians. Then one day I stopped, thought about the word for a minute, and realized it was racist. I was calling Indians the munchers of curry. I uprooted the word and discarded it.
Another example can be drawn from something that happened last night. After being hit by a car on the corner of Madison and 7th avenue, I thought:
It's a woman driver. I can't let her know I have been hurt. Men must hide their pain. I will reassure her that everything is fine and warn her to next time better mind the road. The light was green for me and red for her; she was clearly asleep at the wheel. Probably her nerves or something. I will be the man in this situation, make no big deal about it, and continue to my destination, the Pioneer Square Station.What I thought is exactly what I did.
Hey, I didn't know that Mitt Romney had an idiot son:
“He’s certainly not afraid of anything, he’s not hiding anything,” [Matt Romney] said of his father in a video recorded by a Patch reporter in New Hampshire. “But I heard someone suggest the other day that as soon as President Obama releases his grades and birth certificate and sort of a long list of things, that maybe he’d do that.”
After his brothers stepped in to distance the candidate from the remarks, Matt added that “that’s a suggestion from someone else.”
One of the things that's always bothered me about Mitt Romney is that he's always been less fun to cover than the other frontrunners in the GOP presidential field, but now that I know he has an idiot son to make fun of, I'll have to reevaluate my primary preferences. Guess I should've been paying closer attention.
Anchorage: "A 14-year-old Anchorage girl who overdosed after a man injected her with heroin last week has died, police said." This might have been the girl's first (and clearly last) encounter with the drug.
Vancouver: "Take a look at a few of the day’s best local weather images of Vancouver blanketed in low-lying grey clouds and unseasonably warm temperatures." Vancouver really is the twin of our city.
Seattle: "Today, those who knew [Christina] Choi as one of the bright lights in Seattle’s food community mourn her passing. Choi died due to complications from a brain aneurysm, diagnosed Dec. 12." This is sad indeed. Choi, who briefly operated the "cute-in-a-good-way itty-bitty Eastlake restaurant Nettletown," was only 34.
Portland:: "Opponents of Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail won approval Thursday from Clackamas County election officials to launch a petition drive to require a countywide vote before officials can spend money to finance, design, construct or operate the project." The reason why these people are against progress? "Residents have raised concerns over cost, crime, pedestrian safety and changing the character of their neighborhoods." Democracy has its limits.
New York City: "Ms.Terry is a prostitute who has worked nearly her entire adult life on the streets of Hunts Point, in the Bronx." Ms.Terry is 52.
Overseas: "Hundreds of thousands of antigovernment demonstrators gathered in cities across Syria on Friday, including areas previously quiet, apparently energized by the presence of the Arab League committee." This revolution will not end with President Bashar Assad. It's time for him to smell the coffee.
Outer Space: "The 2012 Quadrantids, a little-known meteor shower named after an extinct constellation, will present an excellent chance for hardy souls to start the year off with some late-night meteor watching."
Speaking of space...
The courts rule once again that money has more free speech rights than actual speech:
Washington state cannot prohibit individuals from making large donations to certain political action committees in the weeks leading up to a general election, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit invalidated a Washington state law that prevented individuals from contributing more than $5,000 to PACs supporting ballot measures during the three weeks before a vote. At the same time, the court upheld two other Washington laws that require political action committees to disclose information on donors who give more than $25 and $100.
Of course, the whole disclosure thing is kinda meaningless if the disclosure doesn't come until after the election, which is exactly what would happen with these large, last minute contributions the court has now allowed. You know, just the way the rich people like it.
Well, not really. But I imagine I'd make a helluva scene at the airport should something like this ever happen to me.
A member of the Occupy London protests was stopped from boarding his flight home for Christmas after he was found carrying anarchist literature, it has been claimed.
The demonstrator, who is part of the group occupying the empty UBS building dubbed the "Bank of Ideas", said he was told he would not be allowed on the Ryanair flight to Malaga because the pilot feared he might distribute leaflets and "upset other passengers".
To be clear, I find anarchism to be stupidly simplistic—kinda the ideological yin to libertarianism's yang. But if you're trying to prove the anarchists are right, I can't think of a better way to do it.
Someone—not me, I swear to God—created the hashtag #replaceawordinabiblicalversewithsantorum over on the Twitter machine. HA HA HA HA: