The images say it all:
Aerial photos, Thursday June 28, 2012, of the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs shows the destructive path of the fire in Mountain Shadows Subdivision area.
By the way...
When it’s not in the news for historic wildfires that have devoured hundreds of homes on its outskirts, Colorado Springs, Colorado, is nationally known as the home of the Air Force Academy and as the unofficial capital of evangelical Christianity.
The Springs, as it's called locally, plays host to lots of global evangelical organizations, including Focus on the Family, Compassion International and the International Bible Society. The concentration has earned the city the nickname “Vatican West” among some evangelicals
Underneath the Juneuary jokes, Seattleites seem to be genuinely unsure if sunlight will ever grace the skies again. Let me tell you, right now: IT WILL. Granted, there have been summers composed of an endlessly woolen sky, and there have been stretches of July and/or August drizzle so long we thought we'd raisin, but the sun is, in fact, scientifically known to still be in the sky, and it will be poking its face out again. Soon, even! Barring the apocalypse, there is a 100 percent chance of sun at some point in the future...
The Castaways have always seemed smarter, stronger, and more artful than the average burlesque company, as if a few eggs laid by ballerinas and acrobats were shoved into the wrong incubator.
In a city overrun with bland, Americana-humping beardos, the Numbs stands out like a platinum obelisk in the forest.
Posted by news intern Joseph Staten
Today Is "Completely Predictable" Day: Several Republican-controlled states may leave millions out of Medicaid, taking advantage of a facet of the recent Supreme Court ruling.
Wondering Why You Couldn't Watch Netflix Last Night?: Amazon servers crashed, causing outages on Netflix, Instagram, Pinterest, and others.
That's Preposterous!: Nearly half of voters believe Republicans are intentionally sabotaging the economy to cost Obama reelection.
Covering for a Child Molester?: CNN speculates that a newly discovered email correspondence confirms that Penn State higher-ups knew about and covered for coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of children.
I'm Tired of Humanity: A 7-year-old Chicago girl was gunned down in front of her house while selling lemonade this week.
I Thought This Happened Five Years Ago: Google's Gmail has beaten Hotmail to become the most used email service in the world.
One Hundred March Against Pepper Spray: A sizable march through Capitol Hill yesterday protested the pepper spraying of a man over Pride weekend, an incident Seattle Police have been unfortunately uncooperative about.
That's Bold: Someone stole the lights and plates off a police van, right next to Tukwila police headquarters.
Glad That's Possible: A "minor stabbing" took place near Seattle University yesterday afternoon.
Norwegian Customs Problems: Snoop Dogg was detained and fined for bringing a bag of pot and a grip of cash into Norway yesterday.
Whatever, Smoke Weed Everyday: Marijuana is now the most popular drug in the world.
No Shit: A new study has ranked George W. Bush among the worst presidents in US history.
For everyone complaining about the weather in Seattle, just be glad you don't live in Richmond, Virginia:
As state attorney general, Rob McKenna has cultivated an image as a careful, squeaky-clean good-government type. But you wouldn't know it from rummaging through three large boxes sitting in the King County Archives and available for public inspection. Marked "Documents: Rob McKenna," these boxes are packed full of papers from McKenna's days on the King County Council (where he served from 1996 through 2004), and many of those papers involve not county business but election campaign business.
That type of activity—the relevant state law describes it as "assisting a campaign for election of any person"—is flatly prohibited inside Washington State government offices.
In response, two complaints were filed with the King County Ombudsman's office, including one from a woman who said McKenna's archived files show he had a "complete disregard" for rules prohibiting campaign activities inside government offices.
The ombudsman's office won't be figuring out whether it agrees or disagrees with this complaint, however.
The problem, according to Ombudsman-Director Amy Calderwood: "The complaints and the supporting documents concern meetings apparently held 9 and a half to 10 years ago."
She continues, in a letter to McKenna that was just shared with me:
This is a photograph taken of the world passing by outside, projected inside Ellen Sollod's new installation at Jack Straw Gallery.
Her installation celebrates Jack Straw's 50th anniversary by turning the gallery into a camera obscura. An accompanying sound score is made of historical and contemporary found noise, samplings from the life of the new media center.
Sollod made the camera obscura by covering a gallery window with a sheet of opaque black plastic with a hole cut in it. She mounted a lens in the blackout shade on the window, and voilà! Live projection with an ancient twist.
The show is open weekdays through August 17.
Want to make a tour of it? There's a great camera obscura in Vancouver, B.C., at UBC's Belkin Gallery. It's a permanent installation by Rodney Graham. The projection happens inside a 19th-century horse-drawn landau carriage (!) parked inside a glass pavilion built especially for it. The outside vision you see is of a landscaped garden, with a young sequoia tree in the center. It's called Millennial Time Machine, and here's a view:
In far more contemporary camera news, have you heard about the new "best pocket camera ever made"?
It's not surprising that this happened. But the timing is a little suprising—a month and a half before the primary? more than four months before the general? the day after the Supreme Court's health care decision?—and so is the extent to which the Seattle Times' endorsement is at odds with the policy analysis within that same endorsement.
In the end, for the Times, it all seems to hinge on the fact that Rob McKenna is from Washington State and has more "local knowledge" than Inslee. (Inslee is also from Washington State, by the way, but gets dinged by the Times for working a lot of recent years in Washington, D.C., while representing a Washington State district.) Of Inslee, the Times writes:
He went to Washington, D.C. For the past 13 years he has been a congressman, which is not a management position. He has the right positions on reforming the financial system, limiting the consolidation of media companies and opposing the pointless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has a stronger vision about fighting global warming than McKenna does.
So. Inslee is better on financial reform, better on media consolidation, better on foreign wars, better on the environment, and basically—as the Times writes later—the same as McKenna on education. He also happens to agree with the Times in its support of gay marriage (unlike McKenna). But! But!
But Inslee has not been here. He does not have the deep knowledge of what has been done and not done here, for what reasons, and by whom, and what the consequences have been.
I love a good policy analysis in an endorsement. But, call me crazy, I think it should support the conclusion. If the whole thing's just going to hinge on a nativist assessment of who has more "local knowledge"—well, then why bother with a policy analysis at all?
This week's short film is "Look Up at the Stars, Portugal!," a stunning and packed epic by the local filmmaker Matthew Brown. In just 4 minutes, Brown’s short (the soaring music, the brilliant colors, the gorgeous city, the reflections on the nature of the universe) says more about life and the human condition than The Tree of Life said in three or so long (indeed interminable) hours.
Yesterday morning, Attorney General Rob McKenna notified media across the state that he would be speaking about the US Supreme Court’s decision to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act. McKenna was one of 26 state attorneys general who sued to block the Affordable Care Act. But when Stranger reporter David “Goldy” Goldstein arrived for the press conference at McKenna’s downtown Seattle offices, a guard was waiting for him. Cameramen, radio people, and reporters were granted free entry. Goldy was prevented from entering.
"They are physically blocking me from entering," Goldy told me by phone, seven minutes before the 11:30 a.m. press conference was scheduled to begin. A spokesman for McKenna, Dan Sytman, had told Goldy a few minutes before that Goldy wasn’t a journalist and then blocked him from entering. A McKenna staffer had also grabbed Goldy by the shoulders and turned him away from the door.
If Rob McKenna was trying to restore faith in his competence as a lawyer—by attempting to put a positive spin on his legal defeat a few hours before—McKenna sabotaged himself by making yet another legal miscalculation.
The Stranger’s editorial staff and publisher, Tim Keck, agreed that Goldy should proceed into the press conference anyway. State statute requires that press conferences like the one McKenna had called be open to all press and all members of the public. The Stranger also contacted one of its lawyers, Jessica Goldman, a litigator at Summit Law Group. She affirmed that state public meetings law as well as the First Amendment guaranteed Goldy’s access.
On the phone with Goldy—a conversation easily audible to the guard and McKenna’s staff—I assured him that we would bail him out of jail, feed his dog, and pay his parking tickets if he was arrested.
Then Stranger attorney Goldman got involved, first calling Sytman (he didn’t answer), then sending an e-mail. Barring Goldy was “a clear violation of The Stranger’s and Mr. Goldstein’s First Amendment rights and the guarantees of Washington’s Open Public Meetings Act,” she wrote.
Sytman capitulated. “Actually he's in the conference,” Sytman wrote back. But the matter wasn’t settled. McKenna’s office has barred Goldy from attending press events before, Goldman noted to Sytman in a second e-mail, adding, “I would like to have your assurance, in writing, that this will not happen again. Otherwise, we will go to Court and obtain a restraining order prohibiting Mr. McKenna from violating these critical rights.”
Goldman followed up: “If there is someone else in Mr. McKenna’s office with whom I should speak about this request before going to Court, please advise me today." (The full e-mail exchange is after the jump.)
Goldman heard back, not from the PR flack Sytman, but McKenna’s own lawyer, Washington State Solicitor General Maureen Hart. Details of those negotiations are still in the works. But Goldman and Hart discussed the need to (1) allow Goldy full access to all of AG McKenna's press conferences and (2) to invite The Stranger in writing to all of those press conference. Really, it's a cut and dried legal issue.
I called the AG’s office this morning to ask why they barred Goldy in the first place—and on what grounds. Reached by phone, Dan Sytman said, “I am not interested,” and then hung up on me.
Contacted by e-mail, AG deputy chief of staff Janelle Guthrie said she couldn’t comment, but added, “Thank you for your professionalism.”
Let's pause here to appreciate the irony in all of this: Part of the reason McKenna is so angry at Goldy is that Goldy keeps calling McKenna a crappy lawyer. McKenna himself seemed determined to prove Goldy right yesterday: Having just lost a lawsuit before the US Supreme Court, McKenna picked a fight with Goldy (and The Stranger) that ended with McKenna's own lawyer being forced to acknowledge that barring reporters from a press conference is against the law in Washington state.
Rob McKenna is currently the state's top law-enforcement official. McKenna is running to become the state's chief executive.
Say what you will about Goldy, his partisan allegiances, or his criticisms of McKenna: Goldy is a working journalist. He’s also a member of the general public. As such, he’s entitled to enter official functions held by public officials in public facilities. And Goldy knows that. The Stranger's lawyer knows that. But Rob McKenna doesn’t know that.
Because Rob McKenna is a crappy lawyer.
A friend made me sit and watch this video days ago... and I had the same reaction Joe did:
Even though it's by miles the most wildly popular viral video of the week, I've resisted posting this "hood take" on Disney produced by openly gay American Idol contestant Todrick Hall. It's funny, clever, inventive, and musically brilliant. But it takes its humor at the expense of the stereotyped, impoverished black community and that makes me uncomfortable behind the laughs. A black reader just told me to let go of my "white man guilt" and just enjoy it. I hate it when I get all "too PC to be cool," so I'm posting to generate some discussion. Yeah, I'm probably over-thinking this...
Has it been on Slog yet? Did everyone with Slogging privileges have the same reaction I did? (There's a behind-the-scenes video over at JMG.)
After initially rejecting a petition to allow alcohol service on Seattle's new waterfront Ferris Wheel, yesterday the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) reversed its decision and approved alcohol service in the enclosed six-person gondolas for riders 21 and over.
"It's not ever going to operate where you can just go in there and have drinks," he added.
The board's timing couldn't be better: the 175-foot-tall wheel probably celebrated its grand opening today on Pier 57. (Although intrepid girl reporter Bethany Jean Clement says that as of two hours ago, the wheel looked far from open-ready and at least one construction worker was eating a sandwich.)
While the new policy certainly brings exciting new meaning to the term bar fly*, it's heartening proof that the notoriously conservative liquor control board is both willing and capable of revising its stupider policy decisions.
*FYI, it took four staffers seven minutes to come up with that one weak pun.
OMG. A grown gay man wearing Crocs. What is the world coming to? And in public!
Know that guy?
No. Just some random gay at Pags. So upsetting.
Cute from behind. Nice butt. Naturally perky? Or Crocs give him that lift?
Naturally. You'd love him. Totally your type.
Thanks for the pic.
Markos Moulitsas, the founder of Daily Kos and the spiritual leader of the national Netroots movement—the man whose talking points and marching orders I slavishly follow—will be speaking at Town Hall Seattle tomorrow afternoon, Saturday June 30, from 3 to 4:30pm, at a benefit for Darcy Burner.
Markos is always a fascinating and outspoken speaker. Hope to see some of you there.
“I date women and trans men” is the definition of cissexism. It’s basing your frame for sexuality on the gender coercively assigned to a person by their doctor at birth, not on that person’s actual identity. In this case, we’re talking about folks who were assigned female. Of course, “women” means cis women—trans women totally drop off the map.... It’s incredibly undermining to frame sexuality in a way that lumps [trans] men in with all female assigned folks instead of with cis men. It’s a failure, in the realm of sexuality, to recognize that trans men’s male identities are just as legitimate as cis men’s. If you’re going to base sexuality on gender, better base it on people’s actual genders.
I get why a lot of female assigned folks exist in this frame for reasons that aren’t overtly about undermining trans identities. There’s a ton of gender based trauma out there, and I understand that folks associate this with cis men, and not with trans men. But that’s not a reality-based approach to gender. A lot of that trauma gets easily linked to genitals, but this isn’t about bodies, it’s about patriarchy. I think this sexuality frame is a big part of why so many trans men get away with (and are sometimes even encouraged to practice) unchecked misogyny and male privilege (remember, power is complicated. You can experience both male privilege and cissexist oppression). Real talk: being trans doesn’t prevent you from perpetrating hurt and violence in the realm of sexuality.
My trans brothers deserve better than sex in a frame that undermines their identities. This doesn’t mean queer cis women and gender non-conforming female assigned folks can’t fuck trans men, but then they owe it to these guys to reframe their sexuality in a way that’s not undermining – to recognize that they sleep with men, and to question why they’re OK with sleeping with trans men and not cis men. I just don’t think it’s OK to process your sexual trauma in a delegitimizing way through the bodies of folks who’ve often faced tons of trauma at the intersection of gender and sexuality.
... Here's just one more and then I'll shut the fuck up.
A good friend of mine, Jess, is searching for witnesses to a bike wreck that took place on 12th Ave at roughly 5:45 p.m. on June 8.
For a full rundown of the accident, check out Seattle Bike Blog. The long and short of it is, Jess was riding southbound in the bike lane near Seattle University, headed towards Marion Street, when a driver opened his door into the bike lane and doored her. The problem is, she passed out briefly when her helmeted head hit the ground and admits that the details of the accident are fuzzy (although she distinctly remembers being doored), so police decided to take the driver's word—corroborated by his wife/passenger—on what happened.
Their story basically is, "she spontaneously fell next to our open car door."
Without witnesses, the driver won't be held responsible for fracturing Jess's wrist and elbow, or for damaging her bike. So: If you happened to be around SU on June 8 and see a pretty girl eat asphalt after being doored by a car, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Credit where credit is due. (The Log Cabin Republicans appear to have had a hand in this, not the useless shriekers at GOProud.)
Seattle doesn't have enough low-income housing—that's a simple fact.
However, the city is currently considering a proposal to build an apartment complex for extremely low-income people at the current site of Lake City's Fire Station 39—the same crumbling structure that hosted an emergency winter shelter for homeless people last year. The city's Department of Finance and Administrative Services has recommended this project and the funding is there: Capital costs for a ground-floor community space would be covered by $950,000 set aside from the Sunny Jim’s fire insurance settlement, and further housing development costs would be covered by levy dollars.
Unfortunately, FAS is looking for feedback on the proposal and a number of area residents have written letters of opposition, which could ensure that it's killed before ever being seriously considered by the city council.
So here's what you need to do, all ye faithful friends of the poor and downtrodden: Send a quick note of support for the proposal by 5:00pm today to email@example.com.
Something along the lines of:
As a faithful friend of the poor and downtrodden, I fully support the city's preliminary plan to turn Lake City's decrepit Fire Station 39 into subsidized housing.
Hearts and Butterflies,
[Whatever the fuck your name is]
And you'll have done one very good deed for the week.
From a staffer excited about his upcoming vacation—in Seattle:
It's a pretty cheap vacation if you just turn your phone off.
Nerve's Ben Reininga wrote an absolutely hilarious piece last week about the terrible sex tips for women in Cosmo. In the interest of fairplay, Ben is back this week with a look at the terrible sex tips for men in Maxim and Men's Health. A sample:
Take a pearl necklace and “…lightly lubricate the pearls and your penis. Have your partner wrap the pearls around the shaft and slowly stroke up and down with a gentle rotation.”
Just don’t tell Mother. She’s still cross about the time she caught you rimming the good china.
“Rope-a-dope: this is named after Muhammad Ali's strategy for toppling George Foreman. Ali stood there for seven rounds before springing to life and sending the tired Foreman to the mat. When it comes to cunnilingus, be like Ali... Hit her with a series of fast vertical and diagonal tongue strokes on her clitoris. Then... Return to slow, easy strokes... Repeat until she's out cold."
I’d just like to point out that in this scenario—where you’re Ali—her vagina is George Foreman. I’d avoid that comparison, whether you mean the boxer or the sandwich press.
"81 percent of women do not want you to attempt anal sex without asking."
A unexpected loss for Team Surprise Anal.
I want a "Team Surprise Anal" t-shirt. Go read the whole hilarious thing.
I can hear you say, “Well, so what? Aren’t most comedies, hopefully, a huge fucking pile of jokes?” And the answer to your question is, “no.” A good comedy is a series of jokes, and the jokes work together in service to a story. They advance the story, they fill out the story—think of a good musical, replace the songs with jokes, and you have an idea of what I mean. Bridesmaids was a great comedy because it was a series of well-crafted jokes about characters and their interactions. Hell, even a good stand-up set from, say, Louis C.K. is a series of jokes that construct a story about a fictionalized Louis C.K. They may feel randomly placed, but every joke has a reason to be there.
Instead, Ted is a crappy framework of a movie—about a grown man (Mark Wahlberg) whose childhood teddy bear came to life—with a bunch of jokes stuck to it. You’ve got pop culture jokes, self-aware jokes about what a flimsy premise the movie has, and gay panic jokes. Some of the jokes are funny. But many of them aren’t. And none of them are essential to the story, because the story is incredibly inessential.
According to modern popular cinema, the single greatest problem that the United States faces in the 21st century is youngish white men who just can’t manage to grow up and accept adult responsibilities.
Updated with comments from Seattle Port Commissioner Gael Tarleton.
If Whatcom County succeeds in building the country's largest coal export terminal outside of Bellingham, Seattle will soon be saddled with 16-plus coal trains rumbling through the waterfront, disrupting downtown traffic and freight up to two hours a day, according to a thorough new study authored by Sightline's Eric de Place. The report breaks down the specific streets and volumes of traffic that would be effected, for all of you nerds out there hot for traffic studies.
But the real news is that even as the Port of Seattle and other manufacturing and industrial interests fight Seattle's SoDo arena deal on the grounds that game-day traffic congestion would cripple freight mobility, the report notes that these same interest groups have been eerily silent on the adverse impacts of moving coal trains through Seattle.
Their silence isn't a huge surprise; manufacturing and industrial interests tend to back each other. But it's a rather hypocritical non-position to take while in the midst of bitching to anyone who'll listen that traffic congestion from a basketball arena will destroy commerce. And as de Place's notes:
It might be one thing if the coal trains were producing a tangible economic benefit for Seattle. After all, it’s perfectly reasonable to accept some level of traffic impairment in order to provide local jobs, freight access to the port, or support the city’s industrial base. But the coal trains have virtually nothing to offer Seattle except delay and pollution. They will connect a handful of mining jobs in Wyoming or Montana to a handful of railroad jobs to a relatively small number of jobs at a port site near the Canadian border. But at what cost to jobs and businesses in Seattle and other cities along the way?
Seattle has very little leverage in the coal terminal decision—the city council already unanimously passed a resolution opposing coal transportation through Seattle—and the industrial community's silence on this issue isn't helping.
UPDATE: Seattle Port Commissioner Gael Tarleton responds, "My position is clear: No public money on coal or any fossil fuel facilities, or on arenas. If private interests are the winners, then private money pays."
"Cities should be demanding a cumulative environmental review of all coal trains passing through cities to measure the industry's true environmental footprint and impacts."
HuffPo posted a piece by "queer activist" Richard Lyon this morning. In it Lyon dismissed me as a "self-declared" gay pundit and then accused me of questioning "the desirability of a close alliance between" gay people and trans people on "repeated occasions." There was no link to anything I'd written questioning the alliance between gay and trans communities, no link to a YouTube clip where I said something like that, there was, you know, no proof that I had ever said something like that. Because it was a lie. Or, more charitably, it was a mistake. HuffPo has corrected Lyon's piece. (Although Lyon still accuses me of being "involved" in "continuing controversions and conflicts with the transgender community." My "conflict" isn't with the "transgender community," it's with a small number of self-described trans activists—most of whom are not trans, all of whom are full of shit.)
While I've had dustups with these "self-declared" trans activists—about word choice, about advice I'd given—I wholeheartedly support the political alliance between gay and trans people. I support trans people. Because we're all gender non-conforming sexual minorities, right? I also happen to agree with my fellow gay, white, cis-gendered pal Gabriel Rotello: a growing body of evidence points to gay being a a point on the trans spectrum. Science!
But here's what was most maddening about self-described "queer activist" Richard Lyon's piece:
From an effort to counter the notion that all gay men are effeminate, they have moved toward the position that all gay men should present an image of red-blooded American masculinity. The drive toward becoming respectable leaves no room for the presence of gay men who are less than fully and thoroughly butch.... The point of this is that not all boys are cut out to be the personification of masculinity. I was a kid who started life as an identified sissy and grew up to be a gay man who still hates sports and likes to cook. By and large, it is the kids who look and/or act different who are most likely to be targets of bullying.
Lyon, who writes that he was "a kid who started life as an identified sissy and grew up to be a gay man who still hates sports and likes to cook," is decrying the marginalization of effeminate gay men by more masculine, gender-conforming gay men. And Lyon accuses me of being one of the gay voices out there condemning gay men who don't "conform to the masculinity specification" and "fail to measure up on the butch index."
Here I am coming to the defense of sissies in a piece I did for "This American Life" way back in 1996. I happen like effeminate men and I've always defended effeminate men in my column and on my podcast. And not just their humanity and right to exist, Richard, but their sexual agency and sexual desirability. There aren't a lot of high-profile gay writers out there—excuse me, "self-described gay pundits" (not that I've ever described myself that way)—who've defended sissies as sex objects. Except me: I happen think swishy gay men are hot and I've never been shy about saying so. (My husband hates team sports and likes to cook and wears flashy clothes and dyes his hair.) And I've gotten tons of grief over the years from insecure gay men—some a whole lot less butch than they imagined themselves to be—who are openly hostile to effeminate gay men. I've always slapped those guys down. (Most seemed to think that if we all acted a little straighter the haters would hate us less. Not true.) So to be cited as part of the problem in a piece about gender non-conformity among gay men and the oppression of sissies just added insult to injury.
Last night, Romney surrogate Rick Santorum was called upon to attack the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision. Instead, he gleefully tore into Romneycare, saying it "hasn't worked" due to "a series of problems."(Maybe he had a Republican debate flashback and forgot he was supposed to be on Romney's side?) When Piers Morgan described Romneycare for Santorum as "a catastrophic disaster," Santorum didn't reject that description. Instead, he said that Romney made mistakes as governor and has learned from them, which makes him a better candidate. Here's video:
The thing is, Rick Santorum is not a very good politician. We just lived through months of evidence of this fact, and it's kind of stunning that the Romney campaign keeps employing him to speak for their candidate. Romney's people should know that Santorum goes from a trickle to a flood without any warning at all. Santorum simply cannot be contained.
For your pleasure, a Barbie-themed Yoruba wedding by.London-based wedding photographer Obi Nwokedi:
The bride is hidden under a veil at the beginning of the ceremony. The groom's family ceremonially checks to see that she is the right girl.
The groom and his male relatives lie prostrate before the bride's family as a sign of respect.
Wedding guests shower the couple with money in celebration of their union
This summer at the Hedreen Gallery of Seattle University, you have a chance not only to meet the late James Washington Jr. but also the 22 artists he has haunted since his death in 2000.
The story is here.