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Friday, March 2, 2012

Welcome to the First Day of the Special Session

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 10:28 PM

Yeah sure, there's still another week in the current session, but the Senate Republicans' nuclear parliamentary maneuver today guarantees a budget deadlock and a special session or three. The Republicans will pass their budget in the Senate—there's no way to stop it—but there's also no way this budget gets through the House anywhere near its current form, and there just isn't the time this late in the session to negotiate some sort of compromise.

The Republican leaders and their three ex-Democratic collaborators had to know this when they chose to violate both precedence and decorum in such an insulting, anti-democratic, and heavy-handed manner. There is now absolutely no chance of passing a budget this session. None. Zero. Nada.

But tonight's proceedings are more than just the kickoff to an acrimonious special session. The Republicans expect to win control of the Senate this November—possibly girded by a Rob McKenna victory in the governor's race—and this is a clear indication of how they plan to govern: Capriciously, dishonestly, unilaterally, and in a totally partisan manner. Their goal is to take advantage of what's left of the Great Recession to defund and destroy what's left of our state's social safety net and regulatory capacity.

Even K-12 education, for which Republicans love to voice their support, endures another $40 million in cuts in the Senate Republican budget. Total. Fucking. Liars.

No, a budget is not possible this session, and possibly not in the special session either—or the next—because it's starting to dawn on Democrats that there's nothing to be gained from negotiating with terrorists or appeasing tyrants. Make no mistake: Republicans want to do to Washington what they've done to Wisconsin, and if it means grinding state government to a stop to oppose them, then so be it.

This is war. And the Republicans started it.

UPDATE: Speaking of war, twice now Senator Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) has made impassioned speeches defending education programs from brutal cuts, and twice Republicans have responded by threatening to sanction him for "impugning the motives" of the budget writers, and violating "decorum." Yup. That's how Republicans plan to play this game once they're in control: Censure the opposition into silence.

What a total bunch of assholes.

UPDATE 2: Speaking of assholes, Senator Dan Swecker (R-Rochester) is now speaking in defense of cutting $3 million from the K-12 "Readiness to Learn" program in order to fund prizes at state fairs, pointing out that his own son was home-schooled, and thus never spent a day at public schools. Get it? He didn't choose to send his son to public schools, thus they don't deserve funding. Ass. Hole.

UPDATE 3: The Senate Dems have released a fact sheet, which I've appended after the jump.

UPDATE 4: I've been a pretty vocal critic of the Dems' "Roadkill Caucus", but today we see the difference between being a Roadkill Dem and a total traitor. Democratic Senators Steve Hobbs and Brian Hatfield remain Democrats, while Senators Ro_ney Tom and Jim Kastama have abandoned their party by facilitating this undemocratic GOP coup.

"Our caucus is about reform of government through efficiency and transparency, not going behind the backs of our fellow members, wrote Hatfield in a statement. "This move is the antithesis of transparency, respect and fairness," added Hobbs.

UPDATE 5: Hey... looks like House Speaker Frank Chopp agrees with my assessment:

"The Senate Republicans have exercised the worst abuse of power I have ever witnessed in the legislature. It says something about them that the minute they gained power, they abused it.

With this stunt, the Republicans have poisoned the political well for a generation.

UPDATE 6: Senator Ed Murray (D-Seattle): "It is a narrow, extremist agenda that is being shoved down our throats tonight."

Senator Kevin Ranker (D-San Juan Islands): "Last year I was proud, this year I am disgusted."

Senator Tracey Eide (D-Federal Way): "I am embarrassed and appalled."

Senator Karen Keiser (D-Kent): "We can't negotiate in good faith when we don't have credibility and trust."

UPDATE 7 (12:47 AM): Well, that's it, the Republican coup budget passes 25-24, totally poisoning the political well in Olympia. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown: "Well congratulations Mr. Minority Leader, you fooled me."

In listening to the closing comments from members of both parties, it's kinda stunning how much the R's fail to comprehend the level of animosity they have generated. They have the votes to pass what they want in the Senate, but they're smoking crack if they think that this procedural fuck you is going to lead to a spirit of bipartisan cooperation in the House.

You want to transform legislators into Goldy-style Democrats? This is the way to do it.

Now off to bed so I can get up tomorrow morning and fuck with the Republican caucus with renewed vigor.

Continue reading »

Senators Lisa Brown and Ed Murray Say Republican Budget Maneuver Is "A Breaking of Faith" (Plus Updates on the Senate Floor Showdown)

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 7:07 PM

In response to Republicans seizing control of the senate floor this afternoon to pass an essentially secret budget, Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown and Senator Ed Murray said in a just-released statement:

This is a breaking of faith and the bipartisan agreement we reached last year. Since the fall, we have worked personally with ranking Republican Sen. Zarelli in countless meetings. Our team consistently asked to see a Republican counterproposal to our ideas. We saw it on day 44 of a 60-day session this year. We continued to meet with our Republican counterparts and seek a bipartisan solution. It didn’t come. Promising and not delivering is not how you write a budget.

Skipping a pension payment, gutting state services and subverting the public process is not how you write a budget. Ignoring the stories of the people who spent 12 hours in committee hearings talking about how their lives would be changed by the budget cuts we faced, the people who would lose a quality education, the people who feared they would become homeless – disregarding our citizens – that is not how you write a responsible budget.

UPDATE: Furious Democrats have invoked a right to have this secret bill read in full—which could take forever—and now we're having a giant debate over senate rules.

UPDATE 2: The Democrats appear to have won this particular part of the debate. The 233 page bill is now being read. If you'd like to read along, a copy of the bill is right here!

UPDATE 3: And you can watch the insanity live right here.

UPDATE 4: Tim Sheldon, one of the Democrats who sided with Republicans to create this standoff, says in a statement:

My votes today and tonight were not partisan votes, they are votes for a responsible budget without accounting tricks or gimmicks.

As a businessman and a local government official, I see a clear and urgent need for a balanced budget.

I have read the proposed budget as amended. I don’t agree with everything in it, but it is a point to start negotiations with the House. There are many problems with the House budget. This action places a conservative budget proposal on the table.

I firmly believe we need less government spending, more fiscal responsibility and better prioritization of spending, with education first and support for our seniors.

UPDATE 5: A pause in the reading of the "secret" bill as everyone breaks for dinner—and, likely, screams at each other with their mouths full trying to figure out how to get out of this mess.

UPDATE 6: Well, I don't know how much dinner their eating, but word from the ground is that the Dems are now behind closed doors, and the staff has been kicked out. Oh to be a fly on the wall. (—Goldy)

UPDATE 7: They've been back on the floor for some time, the Democrats proposing amendments to save programs, and Republicans voting them down. It's a good show at times, but it's just that, a show. With newly minted Republicans Kastama, Tom, and Sheldon on board (and let's be honest, that's what they are: Republicans), the R's have the votes they need to do what they want. Their budget will pass—tricks, cuts, and all—and that's that. (—Goldy)

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Fran Lebowitz: One More Outtake

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 7:00 PM

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In one hour, it's the Fran and Dan Show at Benaroya Hall! Tickets are probably still available—we're at happy hour before we head down there, so I'm not sure. But you should come! The prospect of these two people on stage is awesome, in the sense of the word that includes a little bit of terror.

Here is one more bit of this Fran Lebowitz interview that got left on the cutting-room floor.

THE STRANGER: [Here we were discussing modern-day manners, or lack thereof.]
FRAN LEBOWITZ: ...the way people dress, and you have to look at them. Shorts—shorts is a big thing with me. Shorts on men, which is a thing, of course, that didn’t exist in my childhood. You know, it didn’t exist.

You never saw a man’s legs.
I happen to have a father who wouldn’t have considered it. But sometimes, in someone’s backyard on a summer day—not in the middle of New York City, no.

How do you feel about sandals on men?
You know what—I have to say that in the case of sandals, I feel equally against them, men and women. They’re worse on men.

How against sandals are you?
Well, I would say I’m more against Rick Santorum.

But only marginally so?
Marginally, yes.

Read the interview > > >

David Ishii

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 6:07 PM

When I read David Ishii's obituary in the Seattle Times this morning, I knew I should Slog about it, but I didn't know what to say. I still don't. If you never visited his bookshop in Pioneer Square, you really missed out. It was a glorious mess, a pile of books with a roof, and your only hope at finding any order in the chaos was David, who, thankfully, was always right there and eager to help you.

Working at Elliott Bay Book Company, one of my favorite sights was David's fisherman's hat coming through the door. He was always polite, and kind, and he usually said very little. But when he did talk, you realized that he knew more—about books, about Pioneer Square, about Seattle, about things that matter—than you ever would. And you were glad to know him.

He was a great bookseller. He was one of the world's best booksellers, and I will miss him, and so will many others.

"It's not the language I would have used."

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Politico says someone finally asked Mitt Romney about Rush Limbaugh's suggestion that women who use contraception are sluts who should be forced to show video of themselves having sex in order to pay for their birth control. Here's what he said to say:

Mitt Romney, on a rope line on Ohio a short time ago, was asked about Rush Limbaugh's "slut" verbiage about a young woman testifying on birth control, and replied, per POLITCO's Reid Epstein, "I'll just say this, which is it's not the language I would have used."

Okay. Let me translate Limbaugh's comments to Mormonism:

"Golly gee, if ladies are going to run all around town all loosey-goosey like that, they should have to show their stag films when they go to pick up their darned monthly visitor pills."

Is that more like the language you would have used, Mitt?

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Bill to Insure Abortions Along with Maternity Care Is Dead

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Updated with comments from Planned Parenthood Votes NW.

Democrats made several attempts to force a vote on the Reproductive Parity Act this afternoon—in the midst of this clever (albeit bullshit) parliamentary hat trick the Republicans threw down—but they failed, 23-26. This has got to be a bitter pill for women's healthcare advocates, who were pretty confident earlier this week that they had the votes needed to pass the measure.

From PP Votes NW:

While advocates were disappointed that the bill did not come up for a vote in the Senate earlier in the session, they credit Senate Democratic leaders for trying twice during Friday afternoon’s session to bring the bill to the floor. This came amidst procedural antics related to budget concerns. The motion to bring the bill to the floor was voted down twice. Advocates expressed surprise that numerous members from pro-choice districts, including King County Senators Rodney Tom, Steve Litzow, Andy Hill, Joe Fain, and Cheryl Pflug among others, all voted against bringing the bill to a vote.

... With the current war on women raging across the country, the opportunity Washington had to be a leader in protecting women’s health and safety was unique. Unfortunately, Washington’s Senators did not seize on that opportunity. As the Affordable Care Act moves forward, women’s health advocates expressed deep concern that women may face increased barriers to accessing abortion through their insurance policies.

“I am deeply disappointed to see our pro-choice Senate in Washington State fail to ensure women have access to the full insurance coverage they pay for,” said Elaine Rose, CEO of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest. “Anti-choice politicians in Congress made it difficult enough to access abortion care when they put provisions in the Affordable Care Act to roll back reproductive health care."

“It is truly disappointing to see Washington's elected officials ignore the repeatedly voiced will of the people,” said Lisa Stone, executive director of Legal Voice. “We know Washingtonians support women's right to continue or terminate a pregnancy. The vote today betrays the people's trust.”

Continue reading »

Sorry About the Light Slogging

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Here's something:

Okay, see you Monday.

State Democrats Are Pissed

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 5:00 PM

As Goldy just posted, Republicans have hijacked the Senate floor and are demanding a vote on a budget that essentially, no one's read. The goal is to subvert the public process and log-jam the other bills slated to be voted on by 5:00 pm (basically ensuring that Senators won't be able to pass any other legislation before today's deadline). It's unclear if that will actually happen. What is clear is that Democrats are furious (you can follow along on TVW over here). Here's what they've been saying:

Sen. Ed Murray (D-43): “This is a huge step backwards for parliamentary process. Transparency is being tossed out the window, along with any hope of bipartisanship.The motion is whether to consider SB 5967, to not vote, to undertake a budget under consideration on the floor when it hasn’t been reviewed."

Sen. Karen Keiser (D-33): "SB 5967 is a dark, backroom, secret document. We shouldn’t be doing this. This is beneath us."

Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-34): "This is a 233-page budget that they’re being asked to vote on without reading it. How can I make a decision…when I wasn’t even allowed to read the document?"

Sen. Jeanne Khol Welles (D-36): "We are seeing partisanship here that I think is very similar to what is going on in Washington DC and Congress. Not working together, trying to pull fast ones so that the citizens of the state of WA don’t know what’s going on. I believe that what is going on here today is going to damage the perception of our state legislature… and I think it’s distasteful."

Sen. Cheryl Pflug (R-Smug): "The partisan majority may keep a bill bottled up in majority. The parliamentary move is essentially like the initiative process in the public. It’s a relief valve… to move around a partisan blockade." Pflug demands the vote.

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Short Film Fridays

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 4:58 PM

This week’s short is Adam Sekuler’s “Third Floor,” a 10-minute film shot in the “remains of a six-story historic Seattle hotel.” The film continues Sekuler’s exploration of dead spaces. In “Kosmos” (a collaboration with Karn Junkinsmith), he explored a resurfaced town that was killed by a river in 1968; in "Hanford Reach" (another collaboration with Karn Junkinsmith), he explored a nuclear wasteland. In this film (a collaboration with Shannon Stewart), he enters the dead spaces of a hotel.

The film is a part of a project that explores "memory and memory loss." Support for this fine project can be made here.

Republicans Just Seized Control of the Washington State Senate

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Utilizing a parliamentary maneuver called the "9th Order", and thanks to the support of alleged Democrats Jim Kastama, Tim Sheldon and Ro_ney Tom (a man who doesn't even deserve a "D" in his name, let alone next to it), Republicans have just seized control of the Washington State Senate Floor in attempt to force through the Republicans 233-page budget proposal, without hearings or review. You can watch the debate right now streaming on TVW. It's pretty dramatic.

So much for bipartisanship. Or even decorum. This is at best a political stunt, at worst a coup.

UPDATE (4:57 PM): Kastama, by the way, is running for Secretary of State as a Democrat. Given his betrayal today, I'd vote for a Republican in November before marking my ballot for him. Not that it matters, as I can't see how he now gets enough Democratic votes in the primary to make it through the top-two.

UPDATE (5:10 PM): How many times does shit like this have to happen for Democrats to realize that Republicans view Democrats' unwillingness to go nuclear as a sign of weakness to be exploited at every opportunity? Hell, conservative Democrats view Democrats unwillingness to go nuclear as a sign of weakness. Kastama, Tom, and Sheldon should be expelled from the Democratic caucus. That might teach 'em. And besides, if Republicans are going to have a majority in practice, they might as well have one in reality, so that a Democratic so-called "majority" doesn't get blamed for the Republicans' cruel budget.

UPDATE (5:33 PM): I need to head home and walk my dog before her bladder explodes, but one final comment on this post. This is more than just crossing party lines. Kastama, Tom, and Sheldon are voting with the Republicans to subvert the process and embarrass their own leadership. This is inexcusable behavior—behavior no Republican would dare without well justified fear of being stripped of all committees and privileges. Democrats will never have the discipline they need to govern until they impose it on their own members.

Fran Lebowitz On Stage With Dan Savage Tonight

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 4:28 PM

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It's true—at 8 p.m. tonight, the world may spontaneously combust as two of the funniest, always-rightest people ever take the stage together at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle and speak words. Tickets are still available. And, by popular demand (by one commenter, izzy), here is an bit of this Fran Lebowitz interview that got left on the cutting-room floor.

THE STRANGER: Gay marriage: pro, or con, or neutral?
FRAN LEBOWITZ: I don’t care if people want to do this. I happen to be, apparently, the last person alive who actually does not care what other people do. My main feeling is, I don’t care what you do, as long as you don’t make noise. I don’t care if people want to get married, they can get married, you know, as long as it’s not mandatory… I, as a single person who pays taxes, I think it’s unfair that anyone is allowed to get married, from a money point of view… It seems to me that the arguments are either about money, or about visiting people in hospitals, neither of which I find that sexy, to tell you the truth. To me, not having to be with someone else in the hospital? Perfect! Great! “I’d love to meet you in the hospital, but unfortunately, I can’t.” That would be more my stance. I don’t want to have to visit you in the hospital. But as far as all of these financial advantages, I don’t see why that’s fair.

Single people should get them too?
No one should get them!

[But] you said as long as they don’t make noise…
Noise is the thing I hate the most… I don’t care if the people in the next apartment—I don’t care what they’re doing, as long as I don’t hear them.

And what if you do hear them?
Then I care. Then pipe down. But I don’t care what configuration they’re in.

Read the interview > > >

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Republican for a Day!

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 4:24 PM

Fucking Republicans moved my caucus! Or maybe they just had bad information up online until recently, but regardless, all 160-some precincts of the 37th legislative district are no longer caucusing tomorrow at a Rainier Valley Ethiopian restaurant. Now were all at a middle school in Renton.

Whatever. I'm still committed to showing up and caucusing for Rick Santorum. I don't really know much about his stance on the issues, but we're both from Pennsylvania, so I assume we've got a lot in common. (That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.)

Anyway, if you're registered to vote in Seattle, and you want to join the Grand Old Party party (tomorrow morning, March 3rd, from 10 am to noon), it's pretty easy to find your caucus location, especially if you're in the 11th, the 37th, the 43rd, or the 46th legislative districts:

11th LD:
Homerun Restaurant, 423 Airport Way, Renton, WA 98057

37th LD:
Dimmitt Middle School, 12320 80th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98178

43rd LD:
Roosevelt High School, 1410 NE 66th St – Seattle, WA 98115

46th LD:
Concordia Lutheran School, 7040 36th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115

(And yes, Dimmitt Middle School is in the Renton school district, yet has a Seattle address. Go figure.)

If you're in the 34th or 36th LDs it's a little more complicated, as they have multiple caucus sites (listed after the jump), so you're going to have to use King County Election's voter lookup page to find your precinct, and then the KC GOP's precinct caucus locater to determine your proper location.

Continue reading »

State Towing Bill Slated to Die Today at 5:00pm

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 4:09 PM

I just got word that HB 2372, the state bill designed to cap towing rates in the state, won't be voted on today in the Senate. Instead, insiders say that tow truck lobbyists are prepared to let the bill die rather than risk having Senators tweak the legislation to allow individual cities to set their own rate caps.

"The [all-powerful tow truck] lobby decided that they’d rather kill the bill than risk Seattle regaining its capping power," said a state source. "So for the city, it turns out to be a good thing because if this bill dies, Seattle will retain its ability to set its own rates."

In other news: TGI-motherfucking-F.

Obama Praises the Woman Labeled a "Slut" by Limbaugh

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 3:25 PM

I tried to ignore the whole Rush-Limbaugh-calling-Sandra-Fluke-a-slut-for-using-birth-control debacle because Limbaugh's comments struck me as so willfully stupid and cruelly inflammatory as to have been said purely for the media spectacle. Obviously, women take birth control for reasons other than because they're sexually active, and there's no 1:1 ratio between birth control pills and sexual encounters, so arguing that women "have so much sex they can't afford birth control" is just dumb.

And really, who the fuck cares what Rush Limbaugh thinks? Who the fuck even listens to his garbage show?

But today's news that President Obama reached out to Fluke to give her his presidential blessing is touching:

“You were in our green room getting ready to come on and the White House tells us that we can reveal that you just got off the phone with President Obama,” MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell explained.

“Yes, I did,” Fluke agreed. “He encouraged me and supported me and thanked me for speaking out about the concerns of American women.”

“And what was really personal for me was he said to tell my parents that they should be proud. And that meant a lot because Rush Limbaugh questioned whether my family would be proud of me,” she added, fighting back tears.

A call from Obama is worth a million bitter old men screaming into their tin cans about sluts. ("They're in the walls! They're in my hair! Sluts, sluts—they're everywhere!") Still, though: I wish we could get back to ignoring Limbaugh and his stupid old man "get off my lawn!" rants like normal.

Obama Campaign to Counterprogram Tomorrow's Republican Caucuses

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 3:14 PM

The perks of incumbency...
  • The White House
  • The perks of incumbency...

Just like they've done in other states holding Republican presidential nominating contests, the ready-to-rumble folks at Obama for America will be staging events in Tacoma, Olympia, and Seattle tomorrow that are timed to coincide directly with the Washington State Republican caucuses (and designed to show that Team Obama is preparing for the fight ahead).

It's mainly voter registration and canvassing—with pep talks from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, and 10th District Congressional Candidate Denny Heck—but the message is clear: We're coming after you, Republican nominee, whoever you end up being.

What We Talk About When We Talk About We Need to Talk About Kevin

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 2:48 PM

We Need to Talk About Kevin opens here in Seattle today. David Schmader and I both watched it. Here is where we talk about We Need to Talk About Kevin. Non-spoiler: THE MOVIE IS TOTALLY FREAKY. Is it a horror film? That is one of the things we talk about (non-spoiler IT SURE SEEMS LIKE IT).

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN The most unnerving commercial for birth control you'll see this year.
  • WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN The most unnerving commercial for birth control you'll see this year.

A Cool Ad for the New Journalism

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 2:22 PM


This ad for The Guardian's "open journalism"—a journalism that embraces crowd-sourcing and other forms of digital engagement—is very well done and, appropriately, comes with a somewhat dystopian sheen.

The setting: A world we've all been living in for a while now, a world in which the journalist is de-centered as an arbiter of fact and truth, the clamor of online commenters acts as a sort of constantly shouting and incessantly skeptical assigning editor, old fairy tales are swiftly shredded and rewritten by an all-seeing new media Medusa, and meanwhile the world spins on, still messed up in a V for Vendetta / "Call Guy Fawkes!" sort of way (and requiring a lot more of this kind of new journalism).

Complain about it if you want, but this is the journalistic present—and it has never been sold quite like this. (Important but unanswered: Can selling journalism like this generate enough revenue to fund journalism like this?)

State Senator Derek Kilmer the Instant Favorite in 6th CD Sweepstakes

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Welcome to Washington's 6th Congressional District Sweepstakes, the once in a lifetime chance for Olympic Peninsula-ish politicians to win an all-expense-paid trip to our nation's capital! And the earlier favorite among political know-it-alls to succeed Representative Norm Dicks (D-Appropriations) following his surprise retirement announcement, is state Senator Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor).

"He's seriously considering it," Kilmer consultant John Wyble confirmed by phone.

No surprise there. Kilmer, only 38, has been on the fast path in Olympia since first winning election to the state House in 2004, and has proven both a formidable legislator and fundraiser. Dicks has held onto this congressional seat since 1976—when Kilmer was only two years old—so if Kilmer has any ambition of serving in the other Washington, it very well may be now or never.

Other state senators whose names are being bandied about are Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island) and Jim Hargrove (SortaD-Hoquiam), both of whom are up for reelection this year, and thus would have to sacrifice their current seats in order to run, unlike Kilmer, whose four-year term isn't up until 2014. Other names I'm hearing are Tacoma City Councilmember Mayor Marilyn Strickland and former state House Majority Leader Lynne Kessler.

As for Dicks' son, David, once presumed the dynastic heir apparent, it's hard to imagine him taking a crack at the seat so soon after his scandal-marred tenure as executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership. The timing just doesn't seem right.

Oh yeah. I guess there has to be a Republican candidate too, in what without Dicks' incumbency is in truth only a lean Democratic district.

"Jan Angel would prevail against any Democrat," Mainstream Republicans of Washington executive director Alex Hayes confidently predicts in regard to the Republican state representative from Port Orchard. Her advantages? She fits the district, and she's a woman, according to Hayes. But then, this is a guy who genuinely believes that there is still such a thing as a "mainstream Republican," so I take his prognostications with a grain of salt.

New Column: Never Heard of 'Em, by Anna Minard!

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Anna Minard, the latest addition to the Stranger's editorial gaggle, has never heard any music aside from Richard Marx and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Thus, starting today and following every Wednesday, we present Never Heard of 'Em, in which we force her to listen to and write her impressions about random records by artists considered to be important by music nerds. This week: Suicide's first record!

Public Forum Monday to Discuss Cutting of SCCC Film & Video Program

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 1:11 PM

In June, Seattle Central Community College announced it would be cutting its film and video program—to loud protests from students, faculty, and a broad base of supporters who said the college didn't give the program a chance to prove how it could survive without costing the college.

Further bad news was to come: Students already enrolled were told that they would be able to finish their degrees. But now even that isn't slated to happen—the program is set to be cut immediately, leaving students with half-completed degrees.

The program's faculty members, Sal Tonnachio and Sandy Cioffi, have circulated a petition to save the program—or at the very least allow the remaining students to finish what they started under a plan that will cost the college nothing. Sign it here. They've also organized a town-hall meeting Monday (March 5) at 6 pm at Broadway Performance Hall. It will be hosted by Warren Etheredge of The Warren Report, with a panel including Tom Skerritt, Amy Lillard from the State Film Office, Cioffi, students, and representatives from the college have been invited. They've circulated an outline for the forum (PDF) and a fact sheet about the program, with numbers and history (PDF).

In other SCCC Film & Video news this week, Cameron Rumford, class of 2007, was assistant editor on this year's Oscar-winning documentary, Undefeated.

Occupy Seattle to Protest Breast Cancer Fundraiser Tomorrow

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Updated after the jump with comments from Occupy Seattle organizer Lara Salomon Schuchat.

Encapsulating the continued public fallout between breast-cancer awareness giant Komen for the Cure and its supporters, tomorrow evening, women from Occupy Seattle are joining forces with other pro-lady organizations to protest a swanky downtown fundraiser to benefit the breast cancer organization's local Puget Sound affiliate.

"With all the various attacks on Women's Choices and debate over control of our bodies raging on (with renewed spirit, especially in the South) we feel it is important to let a foundation as big as Komen know we will not fall prey to their propaganda machine," writes women of Occupy Seattle spokeswoman Lara Salomon Schuchat. "There is no pretty pink spin you can put on unnecessary cancer deaths due to lack of free/low-cost screenings."

The $300-a-plate gala is scheduled to begin tomorrow night at 6:00 pm at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle. Women of Occupy Seattle are urging the public to join them.

Here's the problem: Protesting the event won't take money away from the GOP-humping slimeballs at Komen national; what it does is hurt low-income women in the Puget Sound area—the very women these protesters are hoping to support.

"There's this confusion between what we do and Komen national," says Jim Cline, a spokesman for Komen Puget Sound. "All of the money we raise stays in the community. We don't give a penny to Komen national and we were against their decision [to defund Planned Parenthood] from the start."

Cline explains that there are currently over 600 low-income women in the Puget Sound area who qualify for free mammograms—and need them ASAP—but who are relegated to a long waiting list because there aren’t enough public funds available to pay for them.

The gala is expected to take in $400,000 for local breast cancer screenings. Last year, Komen PS provided 13,000 free screenings and mammograms in the Puget Sound area with its funds. "Cutting our ability to raise these funds hurts poor, local women," he adds. "It doesn’t hurt [Komen CEO] Nancy Brinker."

"I think these protesters are well-intentioned, but they’re confused," Cline says.

Continue reading »

Anyone Know Anything About This Lost Chicken?

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 12:23 PM

You know you live in Utopia when you see signs like this...

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  • Tim Baker

By the way, the poster is not far from The Fat Hen—a restaurant that's favorably reviewed in this issue. I'm now beginning to wonder if there are signs for lost five-dollar bills in Utopia? Maybe even raccoons return chickens in Utopia. There's no place like this Utopia.

UPDATE: A source tells me the chicken was returned, and not in a pot. It's a live and kicking chicken. What a country!

Seattle's Monogamy Party Check in from the Road to Tell Funny Stories About Weird Things

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Monogamy Party has been keeping a tour diary on Line Out for the past week, giving us a glimpse of life on the road. The latest installment just went up and this time they tell tales of a club that's obsessed with the word "fucktard," another club that has bugs crawling up bathroom walls (and a seedy history filled with "glory-holing and fisting"), a transvestite in Paul Stanley makeup, and devil-worshipping microwaves.

You can (and should) read it here.

My Unsentimental Mother

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 12:08 PM

My mother made our house in Harare an English-speaking house. I recall when requesting that we speak some Shona so that I could increase my vocabulary (I also attended an English-speaking school), my mother saying: "Shona is going nowhere. So, if you want to go nowhere, if you want to be stuck in this country, learn all the Shona you want. I would prefer we speak Chinese in this house before we speak that useless language." I hid many of my mother's opinion about Shona and African men ("whatever you do Charles, do not become one of them; they only wake up when it's time to slow a woman down") from my close friends.

As you can imagine, my mother left me with a major complex.

Anyway, all of this came to my mind when I noticed the number of Wikipedia entries for English was approaching 4 million and the number of entries for Shona only managed to pass 100.

Mitt Romney Thanked His Bellevue Rally for Giving Him "a Great Seattle Welcome"

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 12:05 PM

"I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country."
—George W. Bush on Vladimir Putin, June 16, 2001

Click to enlarge.
  • Click to enlarge.
To use Mitt Romney's own stilted language, Mitt Romney's handshake is the right firmness. In fact, he shakes hands exactly right—his hands aren't the overly moisturized baby skin you expect, but they're not too rough, either. He pumps your hand up and down exactly the correct number of times (four-and-a-half, I think) and he looks you right in the face, makes eye contact, and acknowledges your presence with a broad, welcoming smile. A Mitt Romney handshake is the very definition of cordiality. As he's shaking your hand, you think he must have taken a course on handshaking, sometime back in his youth. Not too formal. Not too friendly. It's so perfect, it makes you feel imperfect. And then, after just exactly the right amount of time has passed, he moves on and is shaking another hand, and you're standing there with your hand in the air, like an idiot.

Ostensibly billed as a "meet-and-greet," the Mitt Romney rally at Highland Community Center in Bellevue this morning made all the other Republican candidate rallies that have been held in Washington state this month look dumb in comparison. He drew thousands of people to a tiny venue the size of a high school gym. Only those, like me, who lined up an hour before the 8 am start time managed to make it inside. Everyone else was stuck out in the cold, envying those who managed to score access, the few hundred VIPs. It made the rally feel like a status symbol, something earned, a valuable commodity.

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  • Click to enlarge.
Which, really, it wasn't. Romney was in and out in twenty minutes or so. The preambles, featuring Dino Rossi, Michael Medved, and Romney Washington chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, took about as much time as Romney's speech. And Romney was awkward, just the way he is on TV. He looked uncomfortable in his jeans, dress shirt, and brown loafers with black socks. He thanked the Bellevue crowd for giving him "a great Seattle welcome." There was a very noticeable pause before Romney identified the state he was in, later in the speech—"You sell a lot of products from [beat] Washington state." He opened his speech by talking about his wife and how much he loves her and how they met in elementary school, and all of that biographical information was revealed for seemingly no good reason at all. It was as though he was talking with someone about his wife just before he took the stage, and he just kept going as though the person was still there. And he seemed impervious to the crowd's wild enthusiasm; if he were talking at a brick wall, he would be hitting the same points in the same measured tone, oscillating in a clockwise rotation around the room and making the same three gestures with his arm as he spoke. The audience's angry shouts of "MY MONEY" whenever he mentioned taxes and "CAPITALISM" whenever he mentioned cutting regulations were basically wasted; they may as well be shouting at an ottoman.

In fact, Mitt Romney was the exact same person you see on TV.

Continue reading »

Help Senator Lisa Brown Get Her Shit Together

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Bad news: Washington's Reproductive Parity Act, a progressive, pro-lady bill that would make our state the first (and only) to require insurers that offer maternity coverage to also pay for abortion coverage, is quietly circling the legislative drain. It's got the votes needed to pass on the senate floor but still hasn't been voted out of the Rules Committee and time is running out: Bills need to be passed by 5:00 pm today.

"We're really fighting for it but right now it's unclear if we're going to get that vote," says Sara Keisler, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Votes NW.

Here's what you can do: On your lunch break, call (360-786-7604) or email Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown (D-3) and politely tell her that HB 2330 is a priority and she needs to get her shit together, herd those goddamn cats, whatever it takes, and get this legislation passed before 5:00 pm.

Get Your NSA File! ...Or Not

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 11:25 AM

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  • NSA

Our fun with FOIA continues! Yesterday, a two-page letter from the National Security Agency arrived in my mailbox. I'd requested that the agency share any intelligence it may have gathered that includes me. Not that I suspect they have any—I've nothing to do with the military or anything sensitive. (Though there was that bizarre run-in with the Secret Service at the 2008 Republican National Convention...) But I'd asked the FBI, so I figured I'd ask the NSA while I was at it.

The FBI replied, in essence: Hold on, we'll take a look. The NSA, on the other hand, makes the extraordinary claim that my even knowing would constitute "identifiable or describable damage" to national security.

A scan of the letter is below the jump, but here's the money passage:

The classified nature of the National Security Agency's efforts prevents us from either confirming or denying the existence of intelligence records responsive to your request, or whether any specific technique or method is employed in those efforts. The fact of the existence or non-existence of responsive records is a currently and properly classified matter in accordance with Executive Order 13526, as set forth in Subparagraph (c) of Section 1.4.

What is this executive order that classifies the "fact of the existence or non-existence" of any records on U.S. citizens as, well, classified?

Executive order 13526, signed by President Obama in 2009, is here. Section 1.4 begins:

Information shall not be considered for classification unless its unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause identifiable or describable damage to the national security in accordance with section 1.2 of this order, and it pertains to one or more of the following: (a) military plans, weapons systems, or operations; (b) foreign government information; (c) intelligence activities (including covert action), intelligence sources or methods, or cryptology;

Let me see if I've got this right...

Continue reading »

Potential Shooting Possibly Averted at South Seattle Wake

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 11:16 AM

From the SPD Blotter:

On March 1st, in the late afternoon, officers and Gang Unit detectives were monitoring a large gathering of people attending a viewing of a recent homicide victim. Several times throughout the event, officers and detectives had to break up disturbances among people attending the viewing in the 9000 Block of Rainier Avenue South.

At approximately 5:15 pm, a vehicle drove past the viewing location on Rainier Avenue South and revved the engine in an apparent attempt to draw attention. Detectives recognized the vehicle. As detectives got behind the vehicle, they observed the driver ducking down behind the wheel and reaching toward the center console...

Detectives pulled the car over, recovered a loaded gun from the glovebox, and arrested the 22-year-old driver of the car, who happened to be a convicted felon. "It is the belief of the detectives that the suspect intended to get as close to the viewing as possible and commit a shooting," the Blotter states. If that was the driver's intent, this was pretty fine police work—and an indication that SPD is taking our "public safety emergency" very seriously.

I know it's stupid to expect a code of conduct from criminals, but disrupting a gunshot victim's wake with further gun violence is pretty reprehensible.

Are Stoners Throwing Patients Under the Bus?

Posted by on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Yesterday we ran a guest post by the campaign trying to stop Initiative 502, and if they're successful, they'll block the best shot any state has ever had at legalizing and taxing marijuana. That opposition campaign is led by medical marijuana patients who want to drive with more than 5ng/mL of active THC in their blood and are afraid of getting DUI convictions if I-502 passes. In the comment thread, some of those medical pot activists claim that stoners supporting I-502 simply want to indulge in getting high at the expense of pot patients' liberty to drive.

In comments, NORML's Russ Belville responds:

"And this is what we get in return. You make us the sacrificial lambs now so you can have a little bit of smoke in your pocket."

Yup, that's it. You're a patient, therefore arrest and incarceration and ruining your life over cannabis is unjust. But we're just stoners trying to "have a good time legally", so what the hell, arrest another 10, 20, 30, 40,000 of us before another shot at legalization comes around.

I guess we're the sacrificial lambs so you can continue to have 24 ounces, 15 plants, pot boutiques, smoke pot all damn day, and when a cop pulls you over, suspects you of impairment, gives you a field sobriety test you fail, arrests you for DUI, takes a blood sample you submit to or he gets a warrant for, which registers at >5ng, you'll have a slim defense for your DUI charge, after you pay your lawyer $10,000.

And if you want to play the "slaughterhouse", "morally corrupt", "heinous of crimes" card, take a trip with me to Juarez, Mexico sometime. Explain to the mother of a teenager slaughtered by morally corrupt weed barons why you voted to forestall US progress on ending the prohibition that supplies the funds for their most heinous of crimes.

I have lost my patience for patients. Yeah, yeah, you're sick and disabled, sorry to hear it, but while you and other states' medical marijuana patients have been largely left alone while smoking copious amounts of weed, 13 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana and 50,000 Mexicans have been murdered (10% of them beheaded / tortured) and left in the streets with banners taunting law enforcement. Juarez's entire 2,600 man police force just had to move out of their homes and into a highly secured hotel with their families because of drug gang assassinations that killed five cops as they came home from work to their families.

Resent name calling all you like. Rationalize it any way you choose. Shout your legalizer bona fides from the highest rooftop. But come November, there are three choices:

Vote YES on I-502 to begin the end of prohibition, along with NORML, MPP, SSDP, and DPA

Vote NO on I-502 to continue prohibition, along with ONDCP, DEA, Washington Sheriffs, and Mexican drug gangs

Don't vote.

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