Five are dead—two Americans, three Afghans—after troops in the midst of a "misunderstanding" started shooting at each other.
The Afghan soldier who started the shooting is dead, so it's hard to know what happened. But it sounds like "insider attacks" might be the next stage of the IED: sneaking insurgents into the Afghan army on suicide missions to fire at American troops and cause short-term mayhem and long-term distrust.
Insider attacks this year have increased greatly compared with 2011, when there were 35 over 12 months, arousing concern in the coalition, as well as in Western capitals. French forces announced that they were leaving by the end of next year, a year earlier than originally planned, after losing four of their soldiers in an insider attack in January.
In addition to restricting joint patrols by small units, the military has also required its forces to wear body armor and carry loaded weapons whenever they are in the presence of Afghan forces...
A senior American military officer said recently that only a fourth of the insider attacks could be definitely linked to insurgent infiltration of the Afghan security forces, and another fourth were judged to have been caused by personal disputes. The rest, however, usually resulted in the death of the perpetrator and it was unclear what the cause was.
It's a devilish and clever strategy to keep the chaos rolling and stymie efforts at coalition- and nation-building. The Taliban's greatest enemy is a stable, secular, viable alternative to their way of ruling the country.
We're still on the hunt for a crackerjack web programmer to add to our hard-working, sharp-dressing web team. We have oh-so-many things for you to do! Web things!
Despite what you might have heard or assumed or seen direct evidence of, we actually do work pretty hard over here, supporting two very popular newspaper sites, our (very) fast-growing and (very) demanding event tickets system, and a whole lot of other fun stuff.
There are a lot of smart people around here, and they think up great new ideas all the time. Our job is to make it happen. It can be a lot of work, but we find it very rewarding. We build stuff that gets used, a lot.
But enough of my yappin'. Read the full job description. If this sounds like you, let's talk. If it sounds like someone you know, tell them, and let's talk to them. If this doesn't sound like you or someone you know, but might sound like someone someone you know knows, post it to Facebook or Twitter or app.net and help spread the word. If this doesn't sound like you, or anybody you know, or anybody anybody you know knows, then your work is done.
Who doesn't like a bow tie? Charlie Staadecker and his neckwear would like your consideration for mayor of Seattle next year. His announcement speech (after the jump) is awfully sweet—fourth generation Seattleite! Franklin High School! Family of hatmakers! "Know this is from the heart"!—however, it's difficult to discern anything about his actual politics from it. His four pillars—Education, Jobs and Economic Security, Quality of Life, and Safety and Core Services—sound nice but mighty vague.
One thing we do know: Charlie and his tie support the Seattle arts—he even commissioned a play at ACT as a birthday gift for his wife. Here, he talks some talk on education—including advocating for early childhood education/after-school programs and "technical and vocational" programs, and getting rid of "the stigma of not going to a four-year colleges for everyone." Otherwise, he's in real estate.
The SECB will delve more behind the bow tie later. Today, we rest.
The Resident Republican Numbers Genius™ refuses to talk specifics on that most socialist of gotcha media outlets, Fox News, this morning. I like that little "heh" he lets out where he stops himself from finishing "I don't have the time." It speaks volumes of exasperation:
This student loan situation isn't at all surprising at this point—it just keeps going up, now with 9.1% defaulting within two years—but "distressing" isn't quite a strong enough word for it.
· Public school borrowers defaulted at a rate of 8.3%
· It is the fifth straight year for defaults to rise
· One study showed one-fifth of all of the nation's households owed some student debt in 2010
Kids These Days™ don't know what they're getting into, and what it can do to their lives is criminal. And these stats aren't anywhere near the whole story: "The Department of Education for the first time also released an official three-year default rate, which showed that given another year of payments, last year's 8.8% default rate ballooned to 13.4%." One defaulter says:
"You think 'I'm going to get a job when I get out, I'm going to pay back these loans, I'm going to be set'," she said. "The next thing you know, I can't even find anyone to hire me.
"It's a lot of stress. It's scary. And all because you did the right thing—which was to go to school and get off the street."
More on this over here, in the "Student Debt" and "It's Not Too Late to Drop Out" sections, as well as in the comments.
At least three people have appeared before the grand jury after a series of raids and subpoenas issued in July. The warrants for the raids listed black clothes, sticks, paint, notebooks, and "anti-government or anarchist literature or material" among the items to search for.
Two of the three—Matt Duran and Katherine “KteeO” Olejnik—are currently imprisoned at the SeaTac FDC for refusing to cooperate. The third, Leah-Lynn Plante, who prosecutors admit was not in Seattle on May Day, remains free.
Duran had a hearing last week. Some eyewitness details from nopoliticalrepression.wordpress.com:
... Matt’s lawyer took the floor to explain Matt’s current conditions and intentions. Here is an abridged and bullet-point list of issues and information brought up by Matt’s lawyer in court —
Matt is in Solitary Confinement (the Secure Housing Unit) which means …
+ he has very little access to phone
+ he has been denied the ability to initiate contact with attorney
+ he has been denied visitor request forms
+ he has been denied vegan food (has access to vegetarian options and commissary items)
+ he has no way of socializing within the prison
+ he has no access to sunlight, fresh air or an untinted window to the outdoors
Even under these conditions, Matt has no intention of changing his mind or strategy. Matt’s lawyer explained that Matt will be at peace no matter where he is within the prison. She said that he would like to socialize and play chess with other inmates, but is content where he is. He has a clock radio and a couple of romance novels the prison gave him upon arrival.
The local chapter of the National Lawyers Guild has urged the FBI and US Attorney Jenny Durkan to drop the subpoenas, arguing:
While grand juries are part of our federal criminal justice system, the grand jury was intended to serve as a protector of people’s rights and should not be used as a mechanism for intimidating those who speak out against social and economic injustice in our society. “Movements and individuals working for social change in the United States have historically been at the receiving end of grand juries being used to harass political activism,” said Neil Kelley, an officer of the Seattle NLG.
Throughout the process, Emily Langlie from the US Attorney's office has reiterated: "We do not prosecute people for their political beliefs."
Coalition of Troops Oust Al-Shabab: African Union and Somali forces stormed Al-Shabab's financial stronghold of Kismayo yesterday. Driving Al-Shabab from Kismayo may prevent the terrorist group, with links to Al-Qaida, from funneling weapons through the port city. In this final phase of "Operation Sledge Hammer," the allied forces stormed a north Kismayo beach to gain entry to the city.
GOP Under Scrutiny About Voter Fraud: The Florida voter registration scandal is quickly spooling into a full-blown shitshow. If you missed it this week, Strategic Allied—a grassroots mobilization company contracted by the RNC—reportedly trained its employees to register only Romney supporters to vote in Florida. After closer scrutiny of Strategic Allied, at least 11 counties have found fraudulent forms submitted on behalf of the Florida GOP.
I-5 Blocked Briefly Near Bellingham: A Ferndale man left a wake of destruction on I-5 after rear-ending one car, veering off the roadway, crashing through a chain-link fence, and then rolling several times, according to the Bellingham Herald. The detritus left on the road then caused an incident with a third car. Police found a case of beer in the man's truck and are investigating the possibility that he may have been drunk.
Good Samaritans Hog Pile on Suspect: On Saturday in Burien, a man with long stringy black hair grabbed a boy in an Albertson's bathroom, according to King County Sheriff Steve Strachan. The boy fought back, making enough noise to attract store employees to the bathroom where they freed him. The employees chased the suspect down and hog piled on him until authorities arrived. KOMO reports that the suspect's pants were down and several used syringes fell out of his pocket in the tussle.
Candidates Fight for the Youth Vote: Chavez has a serious challenger in the upcoming Venezuelan presidential election, reports the Washington Post. Recent polls put incumbent Chavez and challenger Henrique Capriles roughly even. Capriles, an enigmatic young governor, enjoys unprecedented support from a newly energized demographic of 18- to 30-year-olds.
Series of Late-Night Robberies in U-District: A mugging blitz in the UW area last night left three people with serious headaches after the suspects reportedly pistol-whipped the victims. The police are investigating if the three incidents, which happened 15 to 20 minutes between each other, are connected. Investigations were hindered, though, because some of the victims were drunk when the incident occurred.
[Slog Bible Study is on hiatus through the November election as we honor Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney by studying the scriptures of his Mormon religion.]
Doctrine and Covenants 130:12
I prophesy, in the name of the Lord God, that the commencement of the difficulties which will cause much bloodshed previous to the coming of the Son of Man will be in South Carolina.
The New York Times this morning published a description of the presidential debate prep:
Mr. Romney’s team has concluded that debates are about creating moments and has equipped him with a series of zingers that he has memorized and has been practicing on aides since August. His strategy includes luring the president into appearing smug or evasive about his responsibility for the economy.
Mr. Obama is not particularly fluid in sound bites, so his team is aiming for a workmanlike performance like his speech at the Democratic convention. He is looking to show that Mr. Romney would drive the country in an extreme ideological direction at odds with the interests of the middle class.
Prepping for zingers sounds like a terrible idea. The thing about debate zingers is they happen naturally. If you reach for them, you sound forced and plain weird. The Republicans have been through this before, and recently.
All day, Twitter has been responding to this news with the hashtag #RomneyZingers. Some favorites:
"You're so poor, you only have one house" #RomneyZingers— Marta Evry (@venice4change) September 29, 2012
"Kenya believe how bad my opponent has wrecked the economy? Kenya?" #RomneyZingers— Steve Ferra (@AbPow) September 29, 2012
"Mr President, you've left this economy on the roof far too long!" #RomneyZingers— Greg Pinelo (@gregpinelo) September 29, 2012
"The aristocrats!" #RomneyZingers— Ian B. (@iboudreau) September 29, 2012
But you quickly realize that there is no movie there. Or at least, there is no movie outside the phone call. It's an hour-plus phone conversation between siblings, with the camera following the woman around the house as she does laundry, some light gardening, and other household chores. We can hear the brother's voice, but we're forced to imagine the stories he tells his sister about amazing rock shows he's seen and shipwrecks he's barely escaped from as she goes about her mundane daily work. The movie is practically one-half radio show.
But this is a movie that builds into something huge. As the conversation continues, we start to see that the siblings have complicated motivations that shift with each passing second. They get bored with the conversation, then are suddenly drawn back in again. They talk about changing their lives, but they don't really mean it. They behave like people. This isn't a movie for people with short attention spans, but it is a movie for those who like to piece together the lives of total strangers by eavesdropping on their cell phone conversations. It's practically a novel in the way it slowly unfolds, and the journey is easily worth the early aggravation.
Buoy plays at Northwest Film Forum tonight at 5:30.
A Florida Republican volunteer has been caught on tape calling up senior citizen voters on behalf of Mitt Romney and telling them that President Barack Obama is a secret muslim who wants to take away their Medicare.... "I don't know if you've done any research on Obama or not, but he is a Muslim," the woman says. "If he had his way, we'd be a socialistic country. Ya'll sound like ya'll are seniors citizens, right? You really don't want Obama because he will get rid of your Medicare ... say goodbye to it." Because if there's one thing socialists do its getting rid of "socialistic" programs like Medicare. The woman also informed the voters to "pay attention to Fox News."
Slog tipper and late-night wordsmith Gale—who may have been inspired by the above story—sent this email late last night:
I just made up a word because I couldn't focus my eyes. AND I LOVE MY NEW WORD. It fits this current political climate we are in. Some folks aren't misinformed. They are MALINFORMED. Dare I whisper the demographic... Fox News viewers?
People who pay attention to Fox News—like that Republican volunteer calling to warn seniors that Obama is a secret Muslim socialist who has it in for social programs (?)—aren't just misinformed. They are maliciously misinformed. They are malinformed by malinformers spreading malinformation.
Spread the word.
FCC Set to Auction Airwaves: The FCC is going to auction public airwaves, probably for lots of money. Turns out the airwaves now occupied by television would be better used as high-speed Internet for sharing cat memes on "devices that have not even been thought of yet."
Surprise for Rob McKenna: The environmental group Washington Conservation Voters will spend $750,000 on ads to help Jay Inslee in his gubernatorial bid against McKenna. The group's director thinks the ads are "going to surprise Rob McKenna in a big way." It's not the good kind of surprise, like one of those ice cream cookie sandwiches. But it's good for Inslee.
New Virus Not Spread Easily: A new respiratory virus belonging to the same family as SARS isn't that contagious, according to the World Health Organization. But it can still kill you.
State May Restore Workers' Pay: Unions representing 60,000 state employees are in contract negotiations with state officials to restore workers' pay that was cut the past two years due to the reduced budget.
Firefighter Dead in Japanese Chemical Fire: One firefighter is dead and around 30 others are injured at the Nippon Shokubai Co. chemical plant after an acrylic acid residue storage tank exploded around 2:30 p.m.
Iranian Press Fooled By Onion Poll: The Iranian FARS news agency fell for it. It used unattributed polling data from the Onion that said rural Caucasians prefer Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Obama in part because "he doesn't try to hide the fact that he's Muslim." Someone at the agency has probably been fired. Or promoted.
Visit a State Park for Free Today: Because it's National Public Lands Day, state parks are free of charge. So go find a good state park and enjoy your smartphone in nature.
No More Canadians at Guantanamo: The last one was flown back today. Former Al-Qaeda teenage soldier Omar Kadhr has been detained in Cuba since 2002. The Toronto native pled guilty to five war crimes and will remain incarcerated in Canada. Guantanamo is now only populated by terrorist suspects from the Eastern hemisphere.
And here's a dramatization of Obama partying in college, courtesy of Key & Peele.
I kept running into people on the streets of Seattle all day long who were on their way to see Cory Booker speak, and it seemed like all those people were going to see Booker at different events.The mayor of Newark was making appearances all around town. He was the keynote speaker at the Plymouth Housing Group's luncheon at the Westin. After he booked that event, the requests for speeches started flooding in. I caught my Booker speech at the Washington State Democrats office at 901 Rainier Ave S. Dozens of Obama campaign volunteers gathered in the main front room to hear Booker speak about voter fraud, about Election Day numbers, and about the chances that Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016.
And it's no surprise why all these folks turned out: As I've noted multiple times before on this blog, Booker's a great speaker. He packs his speeches full of corny jokes—every time I've seen him speak, he's made a reference to spending time with his good friends "Ben and Jerry"—and catchy lines, and lots of optimism. "When I get around groups like this," Booker said, gesticulating out to the crowd of Obama volunteers, "I get jazzed up." Patriotism, he told them, is demonstrated by "your actions, not your words," and he admonished the volunteers that everyone alive in America now should know that they "eat lavishly at banquet tables" prepared by "your ancestors." That kind of thing. It was just the kind of energizing talk that a room full of people making calls and knocking on doors in their free time needed to hear; Booker worked them into a lather, and he seemed to feed on their enthusiasm as he went along.
But I always get a little itchy when Booker starts in on his bipartisan talk. It's what got him in trouble earlier this year, this impulse to not mention a flaw in Republican thought without marking an equal flaw on the Democratic side. He gives out compliments in much the same way, too. Today, he said Mitt Romney is a good man, and that "anybody who puts themselves up for that kind of scrutiny" by running a presidential campaign, deserves our respect. (What about the topics, like his tax returns, that Romney refuses to put up for our scrutiny? Is he really such a good man, in light of his 47% speech?) Booker always returns to the rah-rah party talk in a very convincing manner—"We know we have the better candidates," he says, and "we outnumber our opponents by a lot, actually"—but it seems that he always has to make amends with the other side first. But when the other side, as he suggested in his speech today, is so far to the right that the kind of Republicans Booker cites as the good ones—Snowe, Lugar, Kemp—are considered to be too liberal for the party, is that kind of centrism really helpful? Apparently, Booker believes so.
When the militias come and civil war breaks out in the streets of Washington State, I'll blame Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen, because nobody has done more to undermine the rule of law than his Constitution-hating editorial board. Take, for example, this morning's offensively stupid editorial on Initiative 1053, in which the paper once again demands that the state Supreme Court ignore, you know, the state Constitution:
The league argues that the two-thirds requirement violates Article 2, Section 22, of the state constitution, which says “no bill shall become a law” without majorities of both houses of the Legislature.
Note the wording. It doesn’t say a bill becomes law with majorities. It says no bill becomes law without majorities. So if voters want to pass a law raising the threshold to two-thirds, it is still true that no bill becomes law without a majority of both houses. Therefore, a two-thirds law does not violate the constitution.
[...] So argued Attorney General Rob McKenna in court papers, and we believe he is correct.
Jesus. Fucking. Christ.
If the editors had actually bothered to read the briefs in LEV v. State instead of just parroting Rob McKenna's press releases, they might have understood why Solicitor General Maureen Hart spent most of her time before the court arguing justiciability. It is because the negative phrasing argument, upon which the state's defense of super-majorities wholly relies, was already rejected by the court in 1998's Gerberding v. Monroe.
If you're a renter who lives in one of Seattle's 42,000 rental properties, listen up, this is important: On Monday, the Seattle City Council is slated to vote on new rental housing legislation that will grant tenants broader rights when dealing with bad landlords or slumlords who flout the law.
Word on the street is the council has the votes to pass this important measure, which would:
·Require every rental property to be registered with the city (between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2016, depending on the number of units), pay a registration fee, and demonstrate that it meets basic health and safety requirements.
· Allow the city to randomly select at least 10 percent of Seattle's rental stock for an annual inspection. (Inspections are capped per building to minimize owner costs. For example, a building with more than 20 units would have 15 percent or less of its units inspected.) Every five years, inspected properties will be placed back into the inspection pool when their registration expires.
· Allow landlords to select a private inspector who's been certified by the city.
· Ensure that all of the city's registered rental housing stock is inspected at least once a decade.
· Allow citizens to lodge complaints about rentals and have the Department of Planning and Development respond with an interior inspection of the housing unit.
The legislation is a great victory for council member Nick Licata's office, which has worked tirelessly on this issue for years, as well as the Tenants Union of Washington. And, of course, for tenants. Do yourself a favor and, if this thing passes, know your rights.
"One the one hand, this guy won't vote to condemn a Nazi sympathizer. On the other hand, that guy stood by, laughing, while a Jew on our staff was gassed*."
Help the SECB out, Sloggers. Who do you think we should endorse?
*Tear gassed, to be fair.
A new series that allows readers to vote on the best of the worst. "Take It on the Run" by REO Speedwagon or "Double Vision" by Foreigner, choose which is the top of the rubbish heap right over here!
Look, a local Facebook hate group.
Tip from Daniel.
I'm on hiatus while working on a manuscript for a new book. In the meantime, please enjoy these classic Savage Love letters pulled from previous columns. I will be back October 1st, when the book is finished. —Dan
Originally published December 11, 2008:
I am obsessed with my girlfriend sitting on my face, so I can eat her out while my nose penetrates her. It drives her crazy as well. I am wondering if you have heard of a dildo that could be mounted on my face, specifically on my nose, so that I penetrate her more deeply while she sits on my face and I lick her clit? Basically, I want her to be able to really ride my face while I lick her clit.
Strange Fantasy Dude
Read my response after the jump...
So Myspace is touting a relaunch. And while it looks pretty sexy, it seems unadvisable to continue on the with the Myspace name, as it's basically taken the place of Friendster as the punchline to every bad social-network joke ever. Also, no matter how unrealistic their odds are, tech companies can be real great at producing flashy promotional multimedia. To wit, see the teaser for that crazy cat Kim Dotcom's upcoming launch of Megabox, while the trial for Megaupload is still in process.
The interesting thing here is Facebook integration, and it's one sign that the relaunch may be onto something. This indicates that they're not trying to go head-up against Zuckerberg, et. al, who, despite having suffered poor stock performance since their recent IPO, are not going anywhere anytime soon. Rather, Myspace looks to be attempting to re-capitalize on its once-dominant relationship with musicians.
So last night, I finally made time to watch Dredd 3D. And I've got to be honest: It's not for everybody. If ultra-violence is your thing, you should absolutely go and see it. If you're a fan of the comics, you better have already seen it. Science fiction fans need to see it—although this weeks' Looper is definitely a better genre film—and action movie fans will find a lot to like, too. It's set in the far future, and it's about a fascist super-cop and his telepathic partner trying to siege a super-skyscraper slum in search of a crime lord who's manufacturing a new drug called SLO-MO. If that description does it for you, you should probably go.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed into law a measure to afford greater protections of young actors in Hollywood, after recent revelations about child molesters working in the entertainment industry.
The law bars registered sex offenders from representing minors working in the entertainment business. It requires criminal background checks for managers, publicists, photographers and others with unsupervised access to young performers.
Maybe the same should be required for youth pastors.
Sometimes people email me for restaurant recommendations. I always answer! Here's one for Ryan and his mom (awwwww!).
Hello Hello Hello!
So my Ma was recently diagnosed with a gluten allergy as well as a dairy allergy. Her birthday is approaching rapidly and calling around looking for a place that serves a primarily gluten-free menu is starting to get me down. Most places have one, maybe two items and swear that they can "whip something special up" but what I'm really looking for is a menu full of choices for my Ma! At the very least on your birthday out to eat you should have some options! My folks live in Tacoma, but we're more than willing to drive for good food! Thank you so much!
First of all, CUTE. Your ma is lucky to have you. I emailed my thoughtful, lovely, gluten-intolerant friend Holly about your ma's birthday dinner, and while she didn't have ideas for down south, her first thought was to recommend Staple & Fancy in Ballard. She went there recently and had the "fancy" menu (a multi-course seasonal menu made for everyone at your table), and she says, "All I had to do was breathe the words 'gluten free' and I was beautifully fed—they even had gf pasta on hand! It was kind of amazing. It was especially magical for me because I like turning my dining experience over to a higher power, but that's often not an option for restricted types. So relaxing and fun."
And despite your reluctance to do so, she suggests that you do choose a non-primarily-gluten-free place—a place that is just really good—put yourself in their hands, and be ready to be happy with what they "whip up." Of course, you would want to let them know what's up when you make your reservation... Holly also has had great gluten-free, celebratory dinners at Tilth, Madison Park Conservatory, and Cafe Flora (which is also vegetarian). Reassuringly, she says, "Anywhere he goes that's on the nicer end of the spectrum is going to take good care of his mom... Just go somewhere where real people are cooking real food made out of, y'know, ingredients, and they'll be fine." And if you want to go more casual (and less expensive), "Razzi's pizzeria in Greenwood has a completely GF menu and a completely vegan menu, on top of their traditional one. Many options!"
Yay for Holly and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your ma! Let us know how it goes.
This is going to be a long one. Slog tipper Sara sent along a conservative e-mail that a relative of hers forwarded around about the nightmare of government-run health care. Sara is a family doctor, and she decided to respond to the e-mail with facts and life experience. After the jump, I've included the conservative e-mail—minus the comic sans—and Sara's thoughtful, well-researched response. This is exactly how you handle those e-mails: Not by getting into a pissing match, but by pointing out the untruths and then providing facts.
Were you a fan of this long-running, queer dance party? If so, you really should go tonight. [Sniff] Read here!
Albert Peterson shot dead his wife and two sons hours after going to church because he dreaded the thought of Obama winning the election, a family friend has revealed.... Albert, 57, Kathleen, 52, Matthew, 16, and Christopher, 13, were found Tuesday just after noon inside their home in Herndon, Virgina. Co-workers reported to police that they were concerned that Mr and Mrs Peterson had not reported to work for the past two days.
No, really. Wonkette says:
A recent Bloomberg survey revealed that a full 43 percent of Americans have a positive view of Mitt Romney, against only 50 percent who don’t. This puts Romney only 3 percentage points away from America’s most beloved president, George W. Bush!
Yes, a full 46 percent of Americans apparently have fond memories of George W. Bush, though it’s likely that most of these people are political comedy writers who miss the endless stream of easy jokes.
If this whole election thing doesn't work out for Romney—knock wood if you're superstitious—I could see he and George W. Bush getting along real well: Taking vacations to the Caymans together, comparing portfolios, boating at Kennebunkport. They'd both be about equally loved by their own party, and when you put a pariah together with a pariah, they're not pariahs anymore; they're a super-exclusive clique!
According to announcement just sent out by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Seattle was selected by the U.S. Department of Justice to get $125,000 for a new officer specifically concerned with teen violence.
The grant is part of the Community Oriented Policing Services program. "In June 2012 over 220 cities and counties were awarded COPS funding for the purpose of hiring or rehiring approximately 800 law enforcement positions," the announcement said.
The grant requires the new, federally funded officers to be recent military veterans.