Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

Archives for 01/21/2007 - 01/27/2007

Saturday, January 27, 2007


posted by on January 27 at 4:53 PM

FACT: Neal Pollack’s very first job was as a busboy at Red Lion’s La Posada, in a luxury resort in Paradise Valley, Arizona. He was fired for telling a customer that after the customer finished their meal, he was going to go into the back and eat the leftovers.

[This has been a Neal Pollack Fact of the Day. For yesterday’s NPFOTD, click here. Mr. Pollack will read from and talk about his new book at Chop Suey on Thursday, Feb 1, with special guests Dan Savage, Sean Nelson, and “Awesome.”]

New GOP Chair: Luke Esser

posted by on January 27 at 2:24 PM

I wasn’t allowed in the Phoenix ballroom here at the Southcenter Doubletree, but I could hear the result through the door:
“Luke Esser 71 votes. Diane Tebelius 43 votes. We have a new chair.”
Sustained applause.

I kind of had a sense it was going to go that way during the break when I was lucky enough to catch Tebelius sneaking out a side door and bitching to a colleague that she didn’t think the speeches had gone well and everyone was just complaining that ‘we did this wrong and that wrong.’ Her friend said something encouraging, and Tebelius shot back: “Did you tell him that?”

I approached her as she was heading back in, and she said “I’ll talk to you later.”

I did get a chance to talk to Esser during that break. He seemed confident. He said in his speech he had stressed that the GOP needed to do a better job getting its message out of Olympia to distinguish the local GOP from the national GOP. He wants the party communications director to be down in Olympia coordinating with the caucus.

Esser told me there’s no ideological difference between him and Tebelius. “We’re both conservative Republicans,” he said. He pointed out the irony that despite last November’s national tide, all of Washington’s GOP national delegation held their seats while it was the state level folks who got pounded. “We need to establish an ID for Republicans in Washington so folks know what we’re doing in Olympia.”

I think, actually, the GOP has established an ID in Olympia, and well…

After the vote was announced, Tebelius actually wasn’t interested in talking to me. She left pretty abruptly. There was still business, but Esser ran the rest of the meeting.

I tried to chase after Tebelius, but she waved me off.

All that’s left in the hallway outside the banquet room is a guy on a cell phone saying: “Nope, Diane has disappeared. I guess she’s pretty devastated.”

New GOP chair Esser just stepped out to talk to the media (that’d be just 2 of us, David Postman from the Seattle Times and me), and we got to interview him for about 5 minutes.

Postman asked if Esser was surprised by the big margin (most had expected it to be closer). Esser said he was surprised, but the late vote broke his way… “and it always doesn’t go that way,” he joked, referring to his recent loss to born-again Democrat Rodney Tom for his Eastside state senate seat.

Esser repeated what he told me earlier, that the GOP hadn’t gotten its message out in November (not strong enough fundraising, he complained).

I asked what that message is and Esser said: “The GOP is for limited government and responsible spending.”

Do you honestly think people don’t know that’s the GOP message, I asked. And Esser said the GOP at the national level has not been fiscally responsible and so the local message got lost. (Ummm… didn’t he just finish telling me the national level GOPers held their seats?)

“We’ve [now] got a great opportunity,” he said, “to contrast ourselves with Gregoire’s $30 billion budget—which is going to lead to deficits and higher taxes.”

I have to say part of the reason Gregoire’s budget may lead to deficits is thanks to years of Democrats cowering to GOP-driven tax cuts. If you ask me, Gregoire is giving the people what they want—spending on education and children’s health care. Meanwhile, given how Washington state has been voting lately, voting down a gas tax repeal and slamming the estate tax repeal (a tax that kicks $100 million into education funding), I’m not sure the GOP anti-tax message is as potent as Esser thinks. We’ll see.

A final thought: Tebelius was not very good with the media last year. Esser, I think, will be. This may force Pelz to be the old Dwight Pelz—rambunctious and loud with the press. I found that Pelz was oddly press release-y and speaking point-y this past year; his Cantwell quote about dissatisfied Dem activists nonwithstanding. In fact, that infamous quote, when Pelz said last Spring that the party rank and file wasn’t excited about Cantwell, may have led to the canned reticence Pelz displayed for the rest of the year.

Speaking of press releases, here’s the GOP press release:

WASHINGTON REPUBLICANS ELECT NEW PARTY CHAIR ESSER CALLS ON REPUBLICANS TO REENERGIZE PARTY IN THE WAKE OF 2006 DEFEAT Tukwila, WA—January 27… Washington Republicans elected Luke Esser Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party at their biannual organization meeting today. Esser, a former state senator from Bellevue and a longtime party activist, defeated incumbent Chair Diane Tebelius by a massive 71-43 margin. . “The first step towards recovering from our defeat in 2006 is recognizing that we have a problem, and today we did that,” said Esser. “Though we face difficult times I’m confident we will rebound. The Republican Party is overflowing with ideas for making Washington more prosperous and secure.” “The Democrats are using their majorities to restrict the initiative process and spend a massive 30 billion dollars on state government. They’re governing way to the left of Washington voters.”

Meanwhile, this just in from the Democrats:

Unprecedented Democratic gains lead to State Party Chair’s overwhelming reelection

OLYMPIA – Washington State Democratic Party leaders met in Olympia today and re-elected Dwight Pelz as its Chair. Pelz, who faced no opposition for reelection, oversaw unprecedented gains for the Democrats in the State Legislature in 2006, as well as the resounding reelection of U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell.

Upon winning reelection, Chairman Pelz issued the following statement:

“I am honored to have been reelected today as Chairman of the Washington State Democratic Party,” said Pelz, a former State Senator and King County Council member. “2006 was a terrific year for Democrats, having picked up six seats in both the State House and the State Senate, as well as sending Maria Cantwell back to the other Washington for a second term. I look forward to continuing our work in pushing a Democratic agenda for Washington State’s working families.”

Intramural Politics

posted by on January 27 at 12:59 PM

Originally posted on Wednesday, Jan. 24

Remember, oh so long ago, when the Democrats were soul searching, hand-wringing: Get a backbone? Be more moderate? What to do? What to do?

Well, that shoe is on the GOP’s foot right now.

And this Saturday in Bellevue, the angst (“How do we appeal to mainstream voters?”) will be on full display at their annual meeting where they will be voting on their state chair. Should they keep Chairman Diane Tebelius? Should they replace Tebelius with Luke Esser?

Courtesy of Sound Politics, here’s a sneak peek at the intramural fisticuffs.

Jan. 27 UPDATE:
GOP spokesperson Carrie Shaw told me today’s meeting, at the Southcenter Doubletree, is closed to the press, but media availability will occur afterwards. I’m heading down.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on January 27 at 12:55 PM

this buds pho you.jpg

Pho Bong: Seattle pot ring in hot water.

Field Goal: Less juice in the NFL.

Hard Times: Pfizer tries to keep up.

Partially deaf, 74-year-old grandmother with breast cancer, painful growth in her back and in need a hip replacement jailed for cocaine: Fucked.

Piñatas? Mexico extradites cartel for US prosecution.

Not Bitter: Scientist develops caffeinated donuts.

Black Hawks Down: Military retreats from drug war.

Fields of Dreams: Afghanistan won’t kill poppies.

Smoked Out: Illegal cigarette ring nabbed.

With God on Their Side

posted by on January 27 at 12:46 PM

Today the Seattle Times has a front-page story about how local anti-gay crusader Ken Hutcherson has found a new ally in Russian-speaking Evangelicals from the former Soviet Union.

Janet I. Tu begins the story with this scene:

On a recent Sunday morning, at a strip mall in Kent, a few hundred people gathered to worship, rocking out to a band playing contemporary worship songs and cheering on the fiery pastor — all in Russian.

This might seem an unlikely place for Ken Hutcherson — Redmond’s Antioch Bible Church senior pastor, who is known for outspoken views against homosexuality — to look for allies in his effort to overturn a state law banning discrimination against gays and lesbians.

But then Pastor Andrey Shapovalov asked the children to come forward. Bless them, he said. “Pray that none of them become homosexuals or lesbians or have abortions or live a life of crime.”

Of course, drilling homophobia into young people’s heads can help set them up for committing crimes later in life, as I pointed out in this Stranger story about a gay-bashing conducted in 2004, in Seattle, on Gay Pride weekend, by three Russian-speaking Evangelicals from Bellingham.

The gay-bashers attended churches that preached against homosexuality, and were later convicted of assault and a hate crime for beating and stabbing former Seattle resident Micah Painter. Why did they attack Painter? Because, as a female companion who was with the attackers that night told police, Painter looked gay and being gay is “against our religion.”

This incident, which was covered by the Times, is curiously absent from Tu’s report on Russian-speaking Evangelicals teaming up with Ken Hutcherson to fight gay rights. The Times wrote about the gay bashing, it wrote about the trial of the attackers, it editorialized that “the best defense against hate crimes is a strong offense,” and after my story came out, it picked up on what I identified as the central irony in the case: That a group of Evangelical Christians who had themselves fled religious persecution in the former Soviet Union were now using their newfound religious freedom to persecute gay Americans.

As the Times wrote in 2005:

[The attackers] came to the United States from Russia, in part, to escape persecution. So it was ironic, a King County Superior Court judge said yesterday, that they were awaiting sentencing for persecuting someone else.

Why is it so important that this three-year-old incident, and the ironies involved, be included in a story about Russian-speaking Evangelicals now teaming up with Ken Hutcherson?

Because, as is often said, and as my colleague Josh Feit said recently in another context, root causes are important. Preaching homophobia as religion can be a root cause of anti-gay violence, and in fact, here in Seattle, we had, in 2004, a gay bashing whose roots traced directly back to the homophobia preached in Russian-speaking Evangelical churches. That’s worth noting in a story about Ken Hutcherson now stoking the anti-gay passions in these churches as part of a campaign to repeal the state’s new gay civil rights law.

But while we’re on the subject of root causes, here’s something else that jumped out at me from Janet I. Tu’s story. The whole alliance between Russian-speaking Evangelicals and Ken Hutcherson traces back to an event organized by Josh Feit — a Stranger-sponsored debate between Hutcherson and King County Executive Ron Sims.

The unusual alliance began last spring, after a debate on gay rights between Hutcherson and King County Executive Ron Sims. A local man saw it and approached Hutcherson to arrange a meeting with his uncle, an evangelical pastor in Latvia who heads a network of churches in 14 countries, including the U.S.

At the time of the Hutcherson-Sims debate, some people were uneasy about the event for exactly this reason.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 27 at 11:00 AM


A Time for Fun
Normally, I don’t like these comedians with the potty mouths. What happened to EVERYBODY LOVES THE RAY-MAN? He was on the TV, and didn’t have the potty mouth. But my son Paul Merrill has no attention span, so Dartanion London made him a show with movies, audience participation, and Paul Merrill. Also with Hari Kondabolu, Black Daisy, David Cope, Scott Moran, and Emmett Montgomery. I hope they don’t have the potty mouths. (Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave, 686-6684. 9 pm, $7, all ages.) PAUL’S MOM

[All Suggests items this week are written by the Strangercrombie auction winners over at]

DAMF: Iraqis Stand Up, Americans Shot Down

posted by on January 27 at 9:49 AM

Something tells me that this this

In perhaps the boldest and most sophisticated attack in four years of warfare, gunmen speaking English, wearing U.S. military uniforms and carrying American weapons abducted four U.S. soldiers last week at the provincial headquarters in Karbala and then shot them to death….

The new account contradicted a U.S. military statement on Jan. 20, the day of the raid on an Iraqi governor’s office, that five soldiers were killed “repelling” the attack….

In a statement issued late Friday, the military said two of the soldiers were handcuffed together in the back seat of an SUV near the southern Iraqi town of Mahawil. A third dead soldier was on the ground nearby. The fourth soldier died on the way to the hospital.

The brazen assault, 50 miles south of Baghdad, was conducted by nine to 12 gunmen posing as an American security team, the military confirmed. The attackers traveled in black GMC Suburban vehicles—the type used by U.S. government convoys—had American weapons, wore new U.S. military combat fatigues, and spoke English, according to senior U.S. military officials and Iraqi security officials.

…is going to have more on public opinion than this

Tens of thousands of demonstrators from across the country converged on the Mall in Washington this morning to urge the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq as President Bush is proposing to send more troops in an effort to stabilize the country.

The event, which authorities said could draw 100,000 people, began with a rally at 11 a.m. Among those expected to address the crowd are Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon and Jesse Jackson.

John Aravosis is on his way to the march, and he just posted this over at Americablog

I’m watching some idiot on C-Span

I’m watching [the march] on C-Span right now, and I’m asking myself—though I’m not surprised—why is some woman from the “US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation” speaking? And why is she speaking, ad naseum, about the “Israeli occupation of Palestine” rather than speaking about the war in Iraq?

…I tend to have issues with “peace rallies,” not because I have issues with peace or rallies, but because I find myself cringing when I see the substance of them, who’s attending, the issues they feel compelled to bring up (Mumia, Israel, trans fats, the suffering of amoeba, whatever). Would it kill someone organizing these events to tell the speakers to speak about Iraq or don’t speak at all? Would it kill people to try to present their message in a way that appeals to the majority of Americans?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Teen Dance Explosion!

posted by on January 26 at 5:40 PM

A new state license for nightclubs will no longer include a provision effectively prohibiting all-ages shows, according to deputy administrative director Rick Garza. Instead, minors will continue to be allowed in areas of clubs where alcohol is not served.

Today On Line Out

posted by on January 26 at 5:20 PM

Dangerous Quotes: How Awesome are “Awesome,” Really?

Game On: Love it or Hate it.

Talk On: Girl Talk Can’t Stop.

Dirty Uncle: The Best Album Art EVER!

And On And On: I thought I Told You That Girl Won’t Stop.

Some Next Level Shit: Charlers Mudede Bends Notes, Time.

Sweat On The Walls: Tonight’s Hardcore Pile-Up.

Setlist: This Week In Live Music.

String Thing: Sound is Vibration.

Some Other Level Shit: These Are The Breaks.

A Product That Doesn’t Sell Itself: Clipse Take a Break From Moving Keys To Push Microsoft’s Shiny Brown Turds.

Magical Thinking: Joan Didion on Jim Morrison’s Leather Pants.

Some Rebuttal Shit: If Grandmaster Flash is Meta Music, Then What The Fuck is Girl Talk?

Free Kate Simko: From Shirtless Maximalism!

Pumpkin Head: Billy Corgan’s Head Is Even Bigger In Germany.

You Know Him: Poster Giant Behind Spread of STDs?

Auxious: Noh-Supsend Wish To R&R With You.

Martin Amis Is Talking at Town Hall in Two Hours

posted by on January 26 at 5:07 PM

We woulda put the event in Stranger Suggests like crazy if only we had control of Stranger Suggests this week. But a crazy band of comedians bought out Suggests this week…

So anyway! Martin Amis!


In two hours! At Town Hall! Eighth and Seneca! Five bucks! To see the man whose written more awesome books than you ever will (meaning both awesomer and more of them). Some highlights:


Quote of the Day

posted by on January 26 at 4:50 PM

“I’m not sure I’ll vote for my own bill.”
—Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill, U-District, Wallingford)

I was harrassing Sen. Murray today about sponsoring this bill—which weds Sound Transit’s light rail expansion and RTID’s roads expansion into one ballot title.

The reason I was bent out of shape about the bill is because I think linking the issues is bad news for light rail (and you know, they did buy our cover this week).

Poll after poll shows that people want light rail, but are mixed about RTID and roads expansion. Basically, an expensive roads project may kill light rail—which is crazy if you think about it.

I was double mad at Murray because going into this year’s session he denounced a bill that he sponsored last year (“at the request of the Governor,” he defensively points out) to link light rail and RTID by making their separate ballot titles dependent on the other one passing. Well, now, he’s moving in the wrong direction—rather than decoupling them, he’s now moving them from domestic partners to marriage. “At the request of Sound Transit,” he told me defensively.

But wait, there’s still hope! Now, he’s threatening to vote against his own bill. Here’s what he says: “If I see [RTID] is roads for sprawl in Pierce County while funding and mitigation issues for 520 are not addressed, I’m not sure I’ll vote for my own bill.”

The Other Sundance Movie from Seattle

posted by on January 26 at 4:44 PM

I’ve been making quite a fuss about Zoo (what do you expect? bestiality and a writer who gives good gossip about Manohla Dargis?), but there was also a short Seattle film at Sundance this year: Little Farm, by Calvin Reeder (Jerkbeast).

You can download it from iTunes for your iPod, or stream it online at (NSFW!)

At Sundance, it screened before the horror film The Signal, which has been getting tons of positive press, so I can only assume that EVERYONE IN THE FREE WORLD has seen it. Uh, free as in, free press or industry pass. I’ve found two reviews.

Ain’t It Cool News: “One of my favorite shorts so far. You get faces bashed in, guts strung up and even some exploding heads. Good stuff, Mr. Reeder.”

And the ever-contrarian Film Threat: A “completely silly waste of eight minutes’ worth of 16mm film… Oh, there is one redeeming feature: a blonde bombshell named Lindsay Pulsipher. She plays the guitar-strumming/egg-scrambling daughter and she is the sexiest blonde to hit the screen in ages. Let’s see more of her (especially when she’s running around in her panties, woo woo!).”

Lindsay Pulsipher, ladies and gentlemen. Does she live in Seattle?


It’s a Rap

posted by on January 26 at 4:28 PM

sharon tracy and defender.jpg

This is Sharon Tracy, who suffers chronic pain from congenital hip deformities and migraines, with her public defender David Shultz in front of Stevenson’s Skamania County Courthouse, where she faced up to 90 days in jail yesterday for growing a few medical marijuana plants. You can read Slog’s coverage of her case here and here. A crowd of supporters, who had just packed the courtroom, stand outside the picture’s frame.

From the Associated Press…

A medical marijuana patient who lost her case before the state Supreme Court last fall was sentenced today to 60 days home confinement, after her lawyers argued that she was too sick to spend any time in jail.

Sharon Tracy, 53, said she was “overjoyed” with the sentence handed down by Skamania County Superior Court Judge E. Thompson Reynolds. She also must perform 30 days of community service and pay $3,000 to help cover the cost of her appeal.

“He could have gone ahead and let me go, but it’s the best I could have gotten in a bad situation,” Tracy said.

The judge, who could have issued no penalty at all under current sentencing guidelines, had never been sympathetic to Tracy’s condition - even chastising her once for just wanting to see the doctor a lot. At a previous hearing, he insisted that Tracy must serve a 90-day jail term. Despite being more lenient at this hearing, Judge Reynolds announced that, in addition to paying the state’s cost of her appeal, she must also pay roughly $500 for her electronic home detention. Taking the cue, supporters in the courtroom dug though their pockets and came up with bills and change to cover her tab.

As recommended in the Washington State Supreme Court’s ruling, the state legislature is considering amending the Medical Use of Marijuana Act this session to protect qualifying patients with a doctor’s authorization from getting prosecuted under technical loopholes in the law.

Co-counsel Douglas Hiatt addressed the crowd in the courthouse parking lot, “If you hadn’t been down here today, she probably would be in jail right now.”

I Love Fox News!

posted by on January 26 at 4:16 PM

FOX so-called NEWS possibly reports that Hillary Clinton, who is a dyke, just secretly leaked them some startling facts. Apparently, Barrack Obama is an Anabaptist Jew with a snake handling problem who suffers from gout and scurvy, and the other day, he rushed into the Broadway Market QFC and plunged his filthy hands into the bowl of sample goop and rushed back out again. (And if they haven’t reported it yet, they surely soon will.) Whatever the case, the librarians have been totally unable to impeach Barrack Obama OR Hillary Clinton at this time.

Oh, and, by the way, Bill O’Reilly is sucking my dick. And yes, he swallows.

Domestic Partnerships Update

posted by on January 26 at 4:10 PM

The domestic-partnerships bill in the house currently has 56 cosponsors. Provided it gets out of committee and then passes the rules committee, it only needs 50 votes to pass on the floor.

The domestic-partnerships bill in the senate currently has 21 cosponsors. (Yesterday, the Senate Goverment Operations and Elections Committee held a hearing on the bill.) If it gets out of committee and then the rules committee, it needs 25 votes in the full senate to pass. It’s just four votes away.

Basically, we’re four votes away from a domestic-partnership bill for gays and lesbians… and um, het seniors.

Aisha, the Passive-Aggressive Hippy

posted by on January 26 at 3:44 PM

So I came home last night, tired and hungry, to find NOT one, but TWO of these giant notes duct-taped to my apartment building’s entry way.


If you can’t read it, click here.

Now call me crazy, but this note seems vengeful. “Aisha” seems to want everyone in our building to know that this boy has an STD. She also, obviously, wants the boy to know that now everyone ELSE knows. The warning to our “little community” - to “please be careful now” is also probably a little unnecessary. I don’t think we are all having unprotected sex with our building mates. Or maybe some neighbors are bumpin, but they sure haven’t invited me.

Anyway - the most baffling part is the “PEACE” sign-off at the end. It’s like putting a smiley face emoticon at the of an obituary. Aisha, if you’re gonna get angry, GET ANGRY. Do it. Do it right. Don’t be such a wimplette… all sensitive, all CONFLICTED. He probably would have made flyers with a giant picture of your face, that said “AISHA GAVE ME THE CLAP!” You know he would have. If you’re gonna survive, girl, you gotta toughen up. Okay? I’m just sayin :)

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on January 26 at 3:25 PM

We didn’t get to do Suggests this week, but if I could have, I would have passionately urged you to see both Ugetsu and Sansho the Bailiff at Northwest Film Forum this week.

Here’s the famous un-carnal embrace from Ugetsu. He’s a potter, she’s a ghost:


My review of the Mizoguchi series has already attracted one very angry Japanese film fan. If you care to debate: Is it wrong of me to identify a “classic triumvirate” of Ozu, Mizoguchi, and Kurosawa since critics who originally selected the trio I mentioned (see here, for example) often hadn’t seen anything by Mikio Naruse, whose work was relatively unknown in the U.S. prior to a recent revival? I’ve seen some Naruse, thanks to NWFF, and his interest in melodrama and preoccupation with the oppression of women places him much closer to Mizoguchi than either Ozu or Kurosawa. Degree of Western inflection could slice the group in different halves: Ozu and Naruse on one side, and Kurosawa and Mizoguchi on the other.

Sansho the Bailiff, a moving tragedy that’s perhaps more typical of Mizoguchi’s oeuvre, is only playing for two days: Monday and Tuesday.


Since you should be seeing Asphalt on Monday, that leaves Tuesday. Make a note of it.

Here’s a still from Asphalt:


Andrew Wright reviews Venus, in which Peter O’Toole hits on a pubescent girl:

Mostly, it’s about building a shrine to the greatness of Peter O’Toole, assembling a loose, shambling framework for the icon to caper, rage, charm, and otherwise do whatever pops into his head at the moment. This is hardly a bad thing.

And in On Screen this week: reviews of Smokin’ Aces (yay, mostly, to trillions of simultaneous assassination attempts!), Catch and Release (boo, sort of, to bizarre fishing metaphors!), and Seraphim Falls (will “sate all but the most ardent oater fan”).

I’d like to devote a whole Slog post to China Blue, at Grand Illusion starting tonight at 7 and 9 pm (review here). For now, I’ll just say that I immediately got up and checked every single tag on every single pair of jeans I own to see if any were made by diligent, overworked, underage factory girls in China. It’s a straightforward documentary, not agit-flavored in the least, and that’s good, because there are no easy solutions. See it.

Also in Limited Runs: Opal Dream (a web exclusive review), Family Law, and more. Fans of Jon Moritsugu should note that the director of Mod Fuck Explosion and other delectable, nonsensical examples of trash-art cinema now lives on Vashon Island and will attend the Northwest Asian American Film Festival screening of Scumrock.


Movie Times are completely integrated with Film Shorts in Get Out. Get thee to the cinematheque.

God’s Gift to Socializing Stoners

posted by on January 26 at 3:08 PM


That’s right: Hot Tamales—“America’s Favorite Cinnamon Candy” and nature’s most perfect food—has a minty new sibling. Hot Tamales Ice are identified as “Chewy Mint Flavored Candies,” which comes close to summing up what they actually are, which is edible gum.

Really, if you’ve ever been hungry for gum, you MUST try Hot Tamales Ice, as they will help you actualize a dream. However, as candy, Ice can’t hold a candle to original recipe Hot Tamales, which are also kinda like edible gum, but at least the gum’s Big Red instead of Doublemint.

Most importantly, if you’re one of those stoners who likes to mingle with the people—at art galleries, movie houses, or Marijuana Anonymous meetings—Hot Tamales Ice are literally a godsend (the first one since Jesus, as Eric Grandy pointed out), singlehandedly conquering both the munchies and musty stoner mouth.

Thank you, Ferrera Pan.

Obama Hunts FOX!

posted by on January 26 at 3:06 PM

As I mentioned earlier, FOX NEWS exists only as a filthy propaganda machine for George Bush and his various pursuant psychopathic agendas. This is scientific fact. Common knowledge. But FOX has finally unleashed its trademark brand of wretched lies AT THE WRONG DEMOCRAT, dammit! They’ve apparently reported that Barack Obama was secretly a Muslim at some point (claiming he attended a radical Muslim school as a child, in fact), and that, of course, is just a big fat LIE. And now…Obama….is….so…PISSED….

Observe, this quote from the Senator’s office (from The Horse’s Mouth) :

These malicious, irresponsible charges are precisely the kind of politics the American people have grown tired of, and that Senator Obama is trying to change by focusing on bringing people together to solve our common problems.

Read the entire fabulous story here.

The Contenders: Tom Vilsack

posted by on January 26 at 2:45 PM

Sure, November 2008 is nearly two years away, but it’s apparently never too early to declare one’s intention to run for president, and thus it’s never too early to get to know the people who might be the next leader of the free world. This month we’ll be taking a brief look at them.


Tom Vilsack

Party: Democratic

Age: 57

Status: Declared

Does former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack have anything going for him in the presidential race beyond his high name-ID in a state that holds the earliest Democratic nominating contest?

He would say so. Vilsack (pictured here in his Winnie the Pooh costume) now serves as vice-chair of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, he was rumored to be high on the list of potential running-mates for John Kerry in 2004, he holds the distinction of having broken 30 years of Republican control of the governor’s mansion in Iowa, and he’s currently polling ahead of Hillary Clinton in his state, which holds its influential caucuses next January.

However, Vilsack is polling behind John Edwards and Barack Obama in Iowa, and he’s seen as something of a long-shot to ultimately win the state, much less the nomination.

An orphan from Pittsburgh, Vilsack was adopted when he was less than a year old by a Roman Catholic insurance salesman and his wife. He earned a BA from Hamilton College in 1972 and a JD from Albany Law School in 1975. He met his wife, Anne Christine Bell, in New York, and then moved with her back to her home town of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and took a job at her father’s law firm. The couple has two sons, both attorneys.

Vilsack was elected mayor of Mt. Pleasant in 1987 and went on to the Iowa State Senate in 1992. In 1998, he became the first Democrat to be elected governor of Iowa since 1968. He won a second term in 2002 but followed through on a pledge to limit himself to two terms.

Vilsack has said he favors withdrawing troops from Iraq (except for a small contingent he believes should remain in northern Iraq), he’s been critical of “No Child Left Behind,” and he supports abortion rights despite his Catholic upbringing. While the governor of Iowa he led a “War on Methamphetamine,” gained a reputation as a strong environmentalist, and signed an executive order allowing all felons who had served their sentences to vote again. He also signed into law a bill declaring English the official language of Iowa.

In June 2006, at the “Take Back America Conference,” he said this about the “War on Terror”:

What the rest of the world knows about America is that we have phenomenal military might. But I think there’s something even mightier than that. I think we ought to consider a second front in the war against terrorism and extremism. Our enemy is not a country; our enemy is a condition: poverty, ignorance and hunger. The time has come for America to lead an international effort to eliminate hunger and illiteracy and poverty in America and in the world.

And here he is on The Daily Show:

(With help from super-star intern Sage Van Wing)

Previously: John Edwards, John McCain, Bill Richardson, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Barack Obama, Sam Brownback, Christopher J. Dodd, Newt Gingrich, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Huckabee.

Man of Steel

posted by on January 26 at 2:27 PM


Behold: Superman’s brief career in porn.

(Completely SFW; via Fleshbot, which is not.)

Once Again

posted by on January 26 at 2:07 PM

Voters in South Dakota may have slapped down the state’s draconian abortion ban last November, but that hasn’t stopped the state legislature from trying again.

Donnie Davies: New Video… And, Yes, Even I’m Pretty Sick of Donnie’s Shit At This Point

posted by on January 26 at 1:57 PM

He claims he’s being attacked for being overweight. He’s not—uh, he’s not being attacked for being fat, although he is, you know, fat. He insists he’s for real and soon all will be revealed.

My thoughts? Methinks the lardy doth protest too much.

Anyone recognize the barren cityscape behind Donnie?


posted by on January 26 at 1:51 PM

to the Pseudacris regilla: Pseudes, meaning false or deceptive; acris, from the Greek akris, meaning a locust; and regilla is from the Latin regillus, meaning regal or splendid.

A false regal locust?

Yes ma’am, it’s the Pacific Tree Frog or Pacific Chorus Frog.

And next week the legislature is designating pseudacris regilla as the state amphibian!


Meanwhile, the state vegetable will go to: The Walla Walla sweet onion.


A Very Short List

posted by on January 26 at 1:33 PM

Only one Democratic member of Congress, and only one prospective presidential candidate, is going to be speaking at tomorrow’s big anti-war rally in D.C.: Dennis Kucinich.

Zoo Roundup

posted by on January 26 at 1:15 PM

Charles is back from Sundance, and the final round of interviews and reviews (prior to the theatrical opening, of course) are trickling in.

Today, an article in The Seattle Times begins by noting that Charles Mudede and Robinson Devor “aren’t Northwest natives”. Quelle horreur! Say it ain’t so, Charles! I always imagined you were born in a woodsy, mossy grove, perhaps making your first pillow out of a clump of wood chips gathered near the merry-go-round at Ravenna Park. I don’t know if we can still be friends.

At Indiewire, critic Anthony Kaufman calls Zoo “a persuasive, provocative and deeply profound case for tolerance and understanding in the face of the seemingly most incomprehensible of acts.” I have to say, I think that’s going a little too far. Dennis Lim, the pre-New Times Village Voice critic, sneaks in an off-topic opinion too, calling the film “masterful”.

Seattlest, whose film coverage has been bizarrely aggro of late, has a very silly review of Zoo from Audrey Hendrickson: Apparently it’s either “European-seeming” or “ponderous to the point of boring.”

As a side note, what is with people insisting that the movie be either pro- or con-bestiality? Agitdocs have ruined us all.

Scuttlebutt has it that New York Times critic Manohla Dargis, an ardent fan of Mudede and Devor’s Police Beat, refused to see Zoo because she’s a member of PETA. Hmmm.

Nickels’s Lite Funding

posted by on January 26 at 12:42 PM

Yesterday, Team Nickels presented an updated finance plan for tunnel lite. It was much different than the tunnel lite funding plan Mayor Nickels himself presented to the governor and gang last week.

Here’s my report from last week’s Nickels/Gregoire meeting:

At the meeting yesterday, Nickels laid out his plan to fund his abridged tunnel option, which according to him would cost about $3.4 billion (as opposed to the $3.6 to $5.5 billion for his full-fledged tunnel.)

He included $250 million in Local Improvment District money (money that would have to be approved by a supermajority vote of businesses that would be negatively impacted by tunnel construction); $200 million from the Port (not secured); $800 million in RTID money (not anywhere near secured); $373 million in money the governor had earmarked for the elevated (ummm?); and some $110 million in federal money. That’s $1.7 billion right there that sounds pretty shaky.

The plan Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis presented to the senate transportation committee yesterday explicitly dropped the $800 million from RTID and the $200 million from the Port.

However, Ceis continued to include the LID money (questionable because it would require area businesses to approve the plan with a supermajority vote).

Ceis also included the $373 million in additional state funding that Gregoire pledged to the Viaduct project late last year. At last week’s meeting Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown (D-3, Spokane) reportedly contested Nickels’s attempt to include that money.

Well, likewise yesterday: Transportation chair Senator Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10, Island and Skagit County) scoffed at the $373 million. Pushed to explain why he included that money, Ceis told Haugen, “It’s in the governor’s budget.”

Chair Haugen responded, chuckling derisively: “The governor’s budget and our budget are two different things.”

Meanwhile, excellent Seattle Times transportation reporter, Mike Lindbloom, has an article today that raises a few other questions about Ceis’s presentation.

Volunteer Park Cafe & Marketplace Open: Yay!

posted by on January 26 at 12:39 PM

For your weekend brunch consideration: Volunteer Park Cafe & Marketplace at 17th Ave E and E Galer St.
In charge: Ericka Burke, of well-deserved Carmelita fame. Breakfast/lunch/brunch only at this juncture. It is cute, they are very eager to please, and the food is very delicious. (Most likely a review coming soon in the actual paper will say exactly this, but in 50 times as many words.) For best results, get two things and go halvsies.
Yes, that is a giant pitcher of syrup. In other syrup news, the new La Spiga has an appetizer that falls pretty wonderfully in the breakfast-for-dinner category: grilled slices of thick mortadella, with aged balsamic acting as an improvement on our friend syrup, if such a thing is possible.

Americans Love Spanking Their Children

posted by on January 26 at 12:30 PM


A California state legislator lost her mind and introduced a bill that would ban spanking children under the age of four. Even though the law is totally reasonable, and hitting children only shows your weakness as an adult human being, you gotta know such a ban will never fly in the US. Americans—even pro-smoking-ban urban liberals—still hold dear the privacy of the home. And for some strange reason, I think we take pride in whacking our children. Everyone has shameful war stories of their old man’s belt or paddle. Maybe it reminds us of our hardscrabble history. I bet the pioneers whipped their kids but good. Slate tries to convince us otherwise here.

CoCA, On the Ropes Again

posted by on January 26 at 12:08 PM

The perennially troubled Center on Contemporary Art is moving out of 410 Dexter Ave North on Sunday and temporarily taking up residence at Shilshole Bay Beach Club, in Ballard, which is not an exhibition space.

Why else? Lack of money. The alternative art space already owes its landlord a chunk—reportedly, $36,000—and can’t afford to continue to rack up debt, said Mike Sweney, a member of the board of trustees. (I haven’t yet heard back from Joe Roberts, the board president and owner of a company that owns the Shilshole Bay Beach Club.)

For a while now (see The Stranger’s 2000 story Death: The Next Step for CoCA?), the rap on CoCA has been that its best years are behind it. In February 2004, it moved into the large space in the South Lake Union neighborhood as a way to recharge. But that didn’t work.

“We moved into South Lake Union expecting an arts renaissance — the Wright Space and Winston Wachter across the street, ConWorks and 911 around the corner, and commercial galleries considering a move to SLU — it was starting to look like the new frontier for the arts,” Sweney wrote in an email. “Alas, things didn’t work out that way. Except for openings, traffic has been non-existent, leading to a precipitous drop in membership. Several key board members have recently left and we have been hesitant to fill those voids until we figure out our next step. We need to find a space and neighborhood that can fully support our mission.”

CoCA emits little jolts of energy, but for years it has seemed like a great love affair that’s over but hasn’t yet been ended. It seems sad to advocate for the death of something so weak, so I won’t.

The current show, Judith Kindler: Consuming Youth, will be up at the South Lake Union space today through Sunday, noon to 5. It will be at least partially installed at the Ballard location, Sweney says.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 26 at 11:00 AM


Mass Line Media Presents…
Mass Line Media is sponsoring this night of intelligent, socially conscious, and hysterically funny comedy at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. Saba from Blue Scholars and Khalil from Abyssinian Creole meet up with comics Hari Kondabolu, Ahamefule Oluo, and Dan Moore. (Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, 104 17th Ave S, 9 pm, $7, all ages; or check out the Local Ballard Comedy Show at Mr. Spots Chai House, 5463 Leary Ave NW, 297-2424. 9 pm, all ages, free.) HARI KONDABOLU

[All Suggests items this week are written by the Strangercrombie auction winners over at]

Sheket Bavakasha!

posted by on January 26 at 10:55 AM

I haven’t handed out a sheket bavakasha in several weeks. (That’s Hebrew school teacher for: Shut Up!)

Well, there’s nothing like Mayor Nickels’s grating hypocrisy to earn a stern sheket bavakasha.

Indeed, Nickels was in DC for the national conference of mayors this week.What’s he doing there? Taking center stage as an enviornmental champion.

From Nickels’s press release:

Speaking at a news conference at the annual winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Nickels announced the Mayors Climate Campaign 2007, which will press the 110th Congress to:

Fund an Energy and Environmental Block Grant of $4 billion to help cities combat global warming by increasing community energy efficiency;

Establish a national cap on greenhouse gas emissions and a flexible market-based system of tradable allowances for emitting industries; and

Pass climate-friendly energy and transportation policies.

Italics are mine. We’ll get to that in a minute. First here’s Nickels:

“Change is in the air and the time to act is now. We need our leaders in Washington to step up to the aggressive but achievable goal of cutting emissions 80 percent nationwide by 2050.”

Leaders in Washington need to step up? Yeah, maybe Washington state, Greg.

Look, I gave you props when you first started this effort at the 2005 U.S. conference of mayors, but since then, you have done nothing but push your tunnel freeway idea—that is, a plan to accommodate 140,000 cars, trucks etc. a day right through downtown Seattle.

Just yesterday, Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis was in Olympia pitching the tunnel plan and boasting that even your scaled back version would accommodate cars cars cars.

Sheket bavakasha Greg! And you too Ceis.

My No Legs Dream

posted by on January 26 at 10:30 AM

Last night I had a dream that began with me showing students what was wrong with postmodern architecture. Across the street from where we stood there was a building with a particularly irritating postmodern detail. I ran toward this building pointing at this detail and denouncing it. Suddenly, in the middle of the street, a milk truck (much like the one that killed Roland Barthes) ran over my legs, parting them at the knees. But because I lived in the future in this dream world, the missing lower half of my legs, from the knees down, where quickly and painlessly replaced with robot limbs. They worked great. All I had to do was hide my metallic ankles with long pants and everything was as good as before the accident with the milk truck. I used robot limbs for the rest of the dream, which had a happy ending.

Then this morning I read this. Yes, I’m spooked.

On an unrelated note, while in bed I read Yeats’ poem “The Tower” for the first time in many years and I’m now convinced that this is the most important passage ever written by any poet in the English language:

And I declare my faith:/I mock Plotinus’ thought/And cry in Plato’s teeth/Death and life were not/Till man made up the whole,/Made lock, stock, and barrel/Out of his bitter soul,/Aye, sun and moon and star, all—
Those are words to live by.

Lastly, while listening (after my shower) to Coltrane’s solo in the opening half of “Africa,” which, by the way, sounds nothing like African music but, instead, like Bernard Herrmann energized by a lot of soul power, I decided that Coltrane’s playing, his sound, his genius, has a lot in common with Plato’s chariot of the soul, with its white horse of reason and dark horse of passion. One pulls him up to the heavens, the other down to the earth. The best of Coltrane has this struggle; in his least interesting work, one or the other dominates the performance.

Say Whisky

posted by on January 26 at 10:25 AM

As I was writing my review of the irritating Argentinian film Family Law, about fatherhood and Jewish identity in South America, I was reminded of another, better movie about South American Jews. Whisky, which was part of the Global Lens series and the Seattle Jewish Film Festival but never received a proper theatrical run, is an amazing, melancholic film about fraternal competition, national pride, and a decrepit Uruguayan sock factory. My reviews appeared here and here. Whisky is available on DVD now, and Scarecrow has a copy.

The movie was sad enough already (and also quite funny), but as I found out, co-writer/director Juan Pablo Rebella shot himself in the head this past July. I’d somehow missed the news.


According to this obituary in the Guardian, Rebella’s body was discovered by his girlfriend and his writing-directing partner Pablo Stoll. They’d been working on a new film.

Cap and Trade Bill

posted by on January 26 at 10:06 AM

Let me amend my last post. It should read: “Hey, Seattle Democrats. Please Get Real About CO2 Emissions Already.”

Indeed, I apologize for pouncing on Rep. Maralyn Chase (D-32, Edmonds). While I still think her proposal to give tax credits for greenhouse gas mitigation is dumb (Ha! the more CO2 you produce the more tax breaks you can get), it turns out she does have a cap and trade bill that would mandate a limit on emissions.

Unfortunately, I don’t see a senate companion bill, and I don’t see any Seattle legislators on board her bill.

Two First Looks and An Old Legend

posted by on January 26 at 9:40 AM


1. Suspended over the pool at Aqua Art Miami, Leo Saul Berk’s cloud made of tough plastic parts fell flat. Now I realize it’s like I didn’t even see it. Focused light should be listed on its label as one of its materials, because lit in a gallery, it comes alive. At Howard House (through Saturday), its blues and whites bounce against each other with a sort of lulling, pointillist rhythm. Beautiful.



2. Ellen Garvens’s large, slyly staged photographs of plaster molds for prosthetic limbs present the molds ambiguously, wrapped in gauze, mounted, arranged, or rising from translucent white paper that makes it look like they’re floating in their white backgrounds. Are they ruins being held for safekeeping? Failures in a sculptor’s studio? Through Saturday at Davidson Contemporary. (She’ll also be in the Tacoma Art Museum Biennial.)


3. Mary Henry is 94 this year and has been making and showing geometric abstract paintings since before the United States entered World War II. Her show of paintings at Howard House opens February 1 (reception February 8), but this wall mural is already up.

It reminds me of early Russian graphic art, which gives me an excuse to post one of the great political posters of all time: El Lissitzky’s 1919 Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge. Beat them! Stab them! Good Friday morning!


The Morning News

posted by on January 26 at 8:52 AM

The Bush administration believes Iranian agents are helping the insurgents in Iraq, and now U.S. forces have been given the go ahead to “take whatever actions are necessary” to combat them.

President Bush says he’s still the decision-maker, and that his new plan for Iraq is the best one.

A curfew has been lifted in Beirut after four were left dead and over 150 wounded in fighting between government supporters and non-supporters.

The Senate has unanimously confirmed Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus as chief commander of troops in Iraq.

Iran is reportedly beefing up its space program. Meanwhile, the country is close to large-scale uranium enrichment.

14 dead in Baghdad after a bomb hidden in a box full of pigeons was set off in a pet market.

Jet skis, iPods, and other “luxury items” are now officially banned from being exported to North Korea.

Two U.S. special forces soldiers may face charges for an alleged “torture death” in Afghanistan in 2003.

The University of Washington is able to raise $1 million every 29 hours.

The urban-corridors administrator for the Department of Transportation doubts Nickels’s “tunnel lite” will really save $1.2 billion.

A woman in Monroe has been arrested for driving infractions for the 50th time.

Nine arrested, nearly $5 million worth of pot seized during drug raids in unincorporated southeast King County.

Bigfoot has been found in Federal Way.

Big Bad Librarians DON’T Shush Bush…

posted by on January 26 at 8:48 AM

ALA Impeachment Resolution UPDATE!

This is just too depressing. That bold and wonderful resolution to impeach Bush by the Library Association of America has FAILED to pass its final committee vote. Lynn Lorenz, the local librarian who spearheaded the effort, told me this…

The resolution was defeated. Obviously, the demand for impeachment is going to have to come from below, so we’ll be taking the resolution to the next Annual Conference in Washington DC for a vote by the general membership. Almost every ALA Councilor who spoke against the resolution felt compelled to preface their opinion with comments like, “I hate Bush more than anybody.” But the Resolution is not about hating Bush, it’s about STOPPING Bush! It’s about bringing this whole trajectory of endless war, legalized torture, moves toward theocracy and the dismantling of the constitution and the rule of law to a halt! If we don’t, if people, both as individuals and as organized groups from all different spheres, don’t start acting on their convictions, we are going to look back on this moment in history and regret it. Seriously, we are going to wonder what ever compelled us to be so well-behaved in the face of such enormous evil.

Amen, sister.

Continue reading "Big Bad Librarians DON’T Shush Bush…" »

Donnie Davies-Gate: Day Three… And Even I’m Losing Interest

posted by on January 26 at 8:09 AM


Radar got ahold of our drummer the prime suspect—the drummer in the band Bobby Conn and the Glass Gypies—and he naturally enough denied being Donnie “God Hates a Fag” Davies.

It’s looking more and more like “Donnie Davies,” the singer behind gay-hating sing-along “The Bible Says,” is a hoax. But one real-life musician accused of perpetrating it insists he’s innocent.

Yesterday, Good As You, an anti-discrimination website, made the case that Davies is actually a member of Chicago-area band Bobby Conn and the Glass Gypsies, listed as a “gay band” on the Love God’s Way website. While Good As You didn’t actually name the band member, a little digging revealed him to be drummer Colby Starck.

The only problem: Starck tells Radar he’s not the hoaxer. “While I’m getting a kick out of the hoopla, I’m not Donnie Davies,” he says. In fact, he adds, the photos in which he looks like Davies are several years old; Starck has since lost weight and shaved his mustache.

That would be the end of it, I suppose, if Starck hadn’t gone on to make a statement that sounds every inch like the Donnie Davies we’ve come to know and love:

“I’m not as fat as he is, but it’s really the love that I have in my heart for homosexuals that distinguishes us,” he says.


Check out the original video by clicking here. Then watch this video of Bobby Conn and the Glass Gypies in action. At the 1:08 mark, Starck is clearly visible and he’s a dead ringer for Davies. The likeness is better than the images at the top of the post.

In other Davies news…

Shane Kendall, Davies’ publicist got back to me today. Yesterday Kendall assured me that Davies would quickly respond to the questions I was asked to submit by email. Today Kendall wrote to tell me that…

Dan, I am sorry for the delay. Donnie has been swamped with work and all this other stuff as well. I could answer a lot of this stuff myself, but I feel I should wait for him. We are acutally working with one of the local news stations to do an interview. This should put to rest the rumors swirling around Donnie Davies being someone else. I don’t think he would mind me stating emphatically that any and all rumors that have been posted about him being someone else have all been false.

Neal Pollack Fact of the Day (for short, say NPFOTD)

posted by on January 26 at 7:30 AM

Among other professional distinctions, many dubious, Neal Pollack had the very first piece in the very first issue of McSweeney’s, which included a parody of NPR-style strife-in-the-Third-World reporting. Representative sentence: “We had dirt for lunch today. All 23 of us. Jumanji, the patriarch of the family, is a short, bald, armless man who looks older than his 87 years…” OK, that’s three sentences. Once you start it’s hard to stop. Other then-basically-unknown writers in the first issue of McSweeney’s, published in 1998, include Sarah Vowell and John Hodgman.

[This has been a Neal Pollack Fact of the Day. A new NPFOTD will appear every day until Thursday, Feb 1, the date on which Mr. Pollack appears at Chop Suey in an event produced by The Stranger. Also at that event: a live interview with Mr. Pollack conducted by Sean Nelson, a reading by Dan Savage, and new songs by “Awesome.” Chop Suey is at 1325 E Madison Street. Doors at 7 pm. Show at 8 pm. And it’s free. If you hate Neal Pollack but love “Awesome,” don’t miss the “Awesome” Facts of the Day—Fact of the Days?—over on Line Out.]

Hey, Democratic Majority. Please Get Real About CO2 Emissions Already.

posted by on January 26 at 12:11 AM

Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36, Ballard, Queen Anne) and Rep. Maralyn Chase (D-32, Edmonds, Shoreline)—along with a small contingent of Democratic co-sponsors like Seattle Sens. Eric Poulsen and Adam Kline —are pushing a bill that would allow industry to get tax credits for limiting carbon dioxide emissions.

Specifically, participants would get a dollar tax credit for every ton of carbon mitigated in a year. (The total credits granted per year could not exceed $1 million.)

It’s an okay idea, but it seems a bit timid in that it’s voluntary. Moreover, while there may be an economic incentive for companies to reduce, there may be a stronger economic incentive to pump out more CO2. After all, the more coal, natural gas, or whatever fossil fuels a given utility burns—the more electricity it can take to market. Those profits could outweigh the savings from cutting back production. (Ha! Plus: The more CO2 a company produces, the more tax breaks the company could get. Afterall, the more CO2 a company kicks out, the more there is to mitigate.)

Furthermore, tax breaks sap state revenues.

Luckily, there’s a better approach that puts money into the public coffers. It’s called a cap and trade system.

More important: Cap and trade systems mandate mitigation rather than making it voluntary. Lastly, cap and trade systems offer a much more compelling financial incentive to reduce emissions.

Here’s how it works: The state puts a cap on how much CO2 a certain industry can produce. Then the state divvies up the total and sells permits allowing companies to produce a portion of the total.

Here’s a good explanation of cap and trade from the Union of Concerned Scientists that highlights why this system actually creates a stronger financial incentive than tax breaks do:

First, an environmental regulator establishes a “cap” that limits emissions from a designated group of polluters, such as power plants, to a level lower than their current emissions. The emissions allowed under the new cap are then divided up into individual permits—usually equal to one ton of pollution—that represent the right to emit that amount.

Because the emissions cap restricts the amount of pollution allowed, permits that give a company the right to pollute take on financial value. Companies are free to buy and sell permits in order to continue operating in the most profitable manner available to them. So, those that are able to reduce emissions at a low cost can sell their extra permits to companies facing high costs (which will generally prefer to buy permits rather than make costly reductions themselves).

Well, just yesterday, Oregon’s governor Ted Kulongoski expressed his intent to go the cap and trade route.

Gov. Gregoire?

Thursday, January 25, 2007


posted by on January 25 at 8:21 PM

For some reason David “City Comforts” Sucher CC’d on an email that he sent to city council member Peter Steinbrueck. I assume Sucher CC’d it to lots of folks, so I’m going to post his letter and my response.

I find it particularly ironic that the son of the man who did noble work in fighting to save the Pike Market and Pioneer Square is taken in by the convenience that the Viaduct cannot be repaired and must be torn down.

Sure, in the long run there is little question that Seattle would be a better place, and more like every other gentrifying city with a waterfront, if there were no Viaduct.

But there is a corrosive political effect to stretching the truth—GW Bush will eventually testify to that, if not to his fellow citizens then to a higher father— even to achieve a worthwhile goal.



Are you suggesting that the viaduct—a mistake we would not make today, and that no one would propose constructing today if our waterfront were viaduct-free—is in any way comparable to the Pike Place Market? And the efforts to “save” a noisy, double-decker freeway that cuts Seattle off from its waterfront are in any way comparable to the efforts to save the public amenity that is the Pike Place Market?

Puh-huh-huh-huh-leeeze, David.


Today On Line Out

posted by on January 25 at 4:38 PM

That’s My DJ: Dave Segal’s Girl Talking.

Fop of the Pops: Dan Savage’s Love For Mika.

We All Suffer For Fashion: Trent Moorman’s Seam Splitting Hardcore.

Whores and Valkyries: Megan Seling’s Night In Music.

Sexy Thangs: Eric Grandy’s Spazzy Miracle.

Wizard Rock: Unpaid Intern’s Fucking Destruction.

Mass Refusal: Charles Mudede’s Power For The People.

Every Child Needs a Mother and a Father

posted by on January 25 at 4:38 PM

A heterosexual couple in Seabek, Washington, charged with murdering their adopted son.

Beyond Abuse; It Was Torture

As 8-year-old Christopher Forder lay on his bedroom floor, stricken with pneumonia, heavily bruised and nearing death, his father called a family meeting.

Inside the family’s Seabeck-area home, the father, Robert, told his seven children they had a choice: They could bury their brother in the backyard, or call 911 and risk having the state snatch all of the children away because of Christopher’s obvious bruising.

They didn’t call 911—not in time, anyway. Mom and Dad—Christian missionaries—let the poor kid die on his bedroom floor. Maybe I should have filed this under “O, They Will Know We Are Christians By… The Kids We Beat to Death.”

Via PamsHouseBlend.

Thinker of Death Dies

posted by on January 25 at 4:29 PM

The last existentialist in America is dead. Professor Robert Solomon, who taught at the University of Texas and recently published a book about death, Dark Feelings, Grim Thoughts, died two weeks ago at the Zurich airport.

[He was] on the way to catch a plane to Rome. [He] said he felt dizzy and collapsed. Though Solomon received first-aid, he died shortly afterward. [He] suffered from a congenital heart disorder that contributed to his death.

Robert Solomon’s end was met on the 64th year of his life. With his last breath went the last major American advocate of a doctrine that was brought to life in France after World War Two by Sartre. Solomon in fact abhorred popular French post-structuralists like Foucault and Deleuze because of the raw way they rejected the father of existentialism. With the exception of Fredric Jameson, Sartre’s work and ideas have had no postmodern supporters. Though Solomon was right to complain that postmodern thinkers had done Sartre wrong, existentialism as a doctrine was by the 80s as dead as Descarte’s doctrine on the mind/body split. Solomon lived and died in the wrong age. His passions would have corresponded with the times if he had been born in 1902. Still, he was a good philosopher in a world that produces too many bad ones.

Your Dog Does Not Pay Taxes

posted by on January 25 at 4:28 PM

Yes, dogs should not be mistreated. Yes, it’s sad when people find dead puppies in trash cans, as Issaquah Animal Services did this week. (But does it really merit twice as much space and four times as many stories as, for example, domestic violence cases, which are routinely relegated to the 150-word items in “Local Digest”?) And yes, dog owners have the right to take their dogs out in public, to a point.

But that point ends where the door of a food-service establishment, like a bar, begins. I don’t care what state Sen. Ken Jacobsen (who proposed the bill allowing dogs in bars) and Metroblogs (which just got my blood boiling about this again) say: You do not need to take your dog with you into a bar. Dogs are not babies. They are no different than any other pet. (Should cats be allowed in bars, too? How about “well-behaved” snakes? Rats?) You can leave them home alone. If you really can’t bear to be without your precious pooch for even a couple of hours, then find a recreational activity that doesn’t infringe on everyone else’s ability to enjoy a clean, healthy, slobber-free space. I already have to deal with your dogs running, leash-free, through Cal Anderson Park; jumping on me because you assume that everyone will find your cutesy wootsy puppy wuppy as adorable as you do; shitting all over the ground where I’d planned to have a picnic; and barking at me from the bike rack where you tied them, heedless of the fact that bike racks are for bikes, not your slobbering mutt.

Want to let Fido run free? Take him to a dog park. I hear they’re pretty nice—we pay $88,000 a year to maintain them, so they’d better be. But keep him (and his hair, and saliva) out of my beer.

UPDATE! And just so you don’t think I’m a heartless shrew with a soul made of coal, here’s a photo of a cute little puppy:



posted by on January 25 at 4:25 PM

Well, the domestic-partnership hearing (overflowing, btw, with a second hearing room set up so folks can watch on TV) started off with a serious PR coup for supporters of the bill.

Charlene Strong spoke first. Charlene’s partner, Kate Fleming, died on December 15 when their Madison Valley home was flooded in last month’s infamous storm and Fleming was trapped in the basement.

Well-composed, Strong recounted how, after almost dying herself trying to save Fleming, she was denied access to Fleming’s hospital room (as Fleming was dying). She was finally admitted after a phone call from Fleming’s family okayed it. Next, Strong recounted how she had to get Fleming’s family to sign off on Fleming’s wish to have her body donated to medical science. And lastly, Strong (angry now) explained how she was not able to play a role in Fleming’s funeral arrangements.

Strong and Fleming were together for 10 years. The DP bill would give domestic partners rights on hospital visitation, making medical decisions, and deciding funeral arrangements.

P.S. Addressing the discrimination against young hetero couples that I noted in my earlier post, someone just gave testimony asking that the bill be amended to include DP for all couples, and suggested calling that bill “Domestic Partnerships for All.”

Committee member Senator Pam Roach (R-31, South King, North Pierce) then asked the bill’s sponsor Senator Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill, U-District, Wallingford) if he would be open to an amendment to broaden the bill. Murray said, “No. We are confusing issues.” Murray then said that gays have a history of advocating for domestic partnerships while this afternoon was the first time we were hearing about other demands, from say siblings who care for one another. His point, it seemed, was to argue that same-sex couples’ demands for domestic partnerships had more legitimacy or carried more weight.


posted by on January 25 at 4:18 PM


Thomas Eakins’s The Gross Clinic (1875)


Timea Tihanyi’s Neither Here, Nor There (After Southworth and Hawes: Demonstration of the Surgical Use of Ether) (2005)
(Part of Tihanyi’s series of felt cut-outs suspended in rubber, based on historical photographs of the earliest trials with ether. At Davidson Contemporary through Saturday.)

Donnie Davies: UNMASKED! No, Really!

posted by on January 25 at 3:45 PM


A band named “Bobby Conn” appears on the list of “gay bands” at LoveGodsWay—and “Bobby Conn,” needless to say, is an awfully obscure group compared to Erasure, The Doors, Queen, Scissor Sisters, etc. Here’s the website for Bobby Conn and the Gypsies. “Davies” is one of the Gypsies and not Mr. Conn himself. The pic in the center above is of Donnie Davies. The pics on either side are from the Bobby Conn website. Looks like a better match than poor Todd Quillen, who can now return to total obscurity—and fire his agent, who utterly failed to capitalize on the web’s momentary interest in her client.

Good As You broke the Bobby Conn angle. Congrats, GAY. This looks like it might be the end of the road for Donnie Davies. As for my theory—that Davies could a fundy asshole hoaxer—I hereby withdraw it. No one in a band as queer as Bobby Conn and the Glass Gypsies could be an actual fundy.

Newspeak has a review of Bobby Conn and the Glass Gypsies—apparently the band specializes in glam rock political satire, which Newspeak considers the clincher.

And here’s a Bobby Conn video—at the 1:08 mark of you get a good look at someone in the band who looks exactly like Donnie Davies. Bobby Conn is a Chicago band—and the gay director busted earlier today by Radar Online is based in Chicago.

Oh, and there’s this. Not sure what to make of it. Click the up and down buttons to change Donnie’s hair. Don’t know who the dude on the right is supposed to be.

Proof That the Democrats Control Olympia

posted by on January 25 at 3:40 PM

I have two hearings to choose from right now.

In senate hearing room 1 it’s: a hearing on a bill for public financing for judicial campaigns.
In senate hearing room 2 it’s: the domestic-partnerships bill.

Truth be told (and as I’ve said before), I’ve got serious problems with the public-financing bill. And, honestly, Stranger staff also has some serious reservations about the DP bill. Namely, why does it discriminate against young people by giving seniors special status to get domestic partnerships at the exclusion of marriage? The special clause for senior DPs not only thumbs its nose at young couples, but also contradicts the bill’s stated purpose of ultimately wanting to institute marriage. (Props to my SECB colleague Annie Wagner for pointing out that contradiction.)

Meanwhile, I just watched Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis and SDOT’s Grace Crunican present their tunnel-lite plan to the very grumpy Senator Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10, La Conner) and her senate transportation committee.

It was just like Joel Horn presenting the slimmed-down monorail plan, which kinda made me sympathetic to Ceis and gang. Not so, it seemed, to the committee. Particularly Haugen, who said sternly that any costs of studying the financial reality of this plan (which Seattle’s Senator Ed Murray demanded, saying Ceis’s plan needed to go through the independent expert review panel) would come out of any money the state was putting toward the project. With that she ended the city’s time.


posted by on January 25 at 2:54 PM

With the welcome (?) news of a Van Halen reunion, it’s time to look back on what was perhaps their brightest moment in an all-too-short career: the HOT FOR TEACHER video. For those who haven’t seen it in awhile, it’s not just a searing indictment of our educational system—and its lack of bikini-clad instructors—it also provides clear and unarguable proof that drummer ALEX VAN HALEN should never, EVER be allowed in a synchronized dance routine. Guys… C’MON! This video is going to be worshipped throughout eternity. Is it going to kill you to rehearse??

Rubber Wars

posted by on January 25 at 2:45 PM


One of my favorite anecdotes about World War II involves condoms and cooperation between nations. I think my father first told it to me. The story goes like this:

During the war, Russian soldiers would place condoms over the barrels of their rifles to prevent water damage. As the war grinded on, condoms were in short supply, leading Stalin to send a request to president Roosevelt for a shipment of “standard small U.S. condoms.”

Roosevelt agreed, with one request of his own: The condoms were to be extra large in size and stamped with the words “Standard U.S. Size.”

At least, that’s how I had heard the story. But after recounting the anecdote to a friend the other night, who found it all very dubious, I decided to do a little investigating. Wikipedia told me nothing, but some time with Google led me to a comment posted here by one “markm”:

In WWII, the Russians complained about the condoms sent with the Lend-Lease supplies. Stalin claimed they were too small. Finally, Roosevelt had extra-extra large special ordered—and shipped in packages marked “Texas Medium.”

This is similar to the story I’d been told, save for the “Texas Medium” bit. But after a bit more sleuthing I found this comment on a site called Creative Cow:

Ran across this in a “Straight Dope” article. Don’t know if it is true but it’s the Cold War in a nutshell:

Seems that in the latter part of the cold war Russia was allowed some limited trade with the U.S. Some nameless institution ordered 50,000 condoms from an American plant (located in Texas, I like to think).

The order specified that the condoms were to be 11 inches long. The Americans scratched their heads, called the Russians to verify the measurement, and were rudely told that the order was correct, all of the condoms should be 11 inches long.

So the Americans proceeded to fill the order and shipped the Russians 50,000 11-inch condoms—in boxes labeled “medium.” Heh heh heh.

Again, similar, only this time the tale has been transferred to the Cold War. And seeing as how I couldn’t find one reputable source to verify my story, I was beginning to think it was all horsehockey—a feeling backed up when I came across this:

There is a story—probably untrue—that during the war, one soldier learned how to keep his gun’s firing mechanism warm in freezing weather by stretching a condom over it. News got back to Churchill, and it was suggested that Durex be approached to manufacture 18 inch condoms. Churchill is said to have agreed, on two conditions—that the condom be labeled ‘Made in Britain,’ and ‘Medium.’

And then this, from the site Anecdotage:

During World War II, British soldiers discovered that placing a condom over a gun’s barrel would keep the weapon dry and prevent it from corroding (near the sea) or icing up (in winter conditions).

No such condoms existed for larger weapons, however, and it was suggested to Winston Churchill one day that 18” long specimens be made to cover larger artillery pieces. Churchill agreed, with two stipulations. First, the larger condoms would clearly be labeled “For Use By British Servicemen.” And second? The condoms would also be labeled “Small.”

So it appears my favorite WWII anecdote is complete trash—and if something close to it did happen it probably belongs to Churchill, not Roosevelt. Which is too bad, because the one I thought was true was funnier.

Still, Googling “Franklin Roosevelt + condoms” did turn up this bit of history:

One of the most intense policy debates during the war was whether to provide American troops with condoms. The secretary of the navy, Josephus Daniels, rejected the idea, fearing that it would corrupt the troops’ morals…While Daniels was on vacation, however, his undersecretary, Franklin Roosevelt, authorized prophylactics for sailors.

So there you go.

A Correction

posted by on January 25 at 2:27 PM

Art director Aaron Huffman was so stoned earlier this week that the photo in the Strangercrombie book review, of a bride holding a bong…


…went to the printer without a photo credit. The photograph should have been credited to Heather Corinna. You can see more of Corinna’s work here.

Reminder: Stranger Valentines

posted by on January 25 at 2:17 PM

The deadline for Stranger valentines is Friday, February 2 at noon. Don’t blow it this year. Go here to submit yours today.

Porn Is Abstinence. (I’ll Say.)

posted by on January 25 at 1:33 PM

The 14-year-old girl sitting next to me during the sex-ed hearing kept hurrumphing through her braces during the testimony from advocates of the bill.

It turns out she’s a home-schooled student from Vancouver, Washington, and she came up to Olympia today with an abstinence-only education group called AWARE.

I asked her if I could interview her about the bill, and she seemed happy to do so, but then the program director, Jim Grenfell, said Cassandra wasn’t the best student to talk to, and he offered up 19-year-old public-high-school grad Ric Burleson, from Vancouver.

Burleson, glancing up at Grenfell a bit embarrassed, told me he didn’t have any problems with teaching about condoms, but he didn’t like that condom use and other contraceptive choices had to be taught alongside abstinence. He believed that was a contradiction.

Burleson also referenced a Planned Parenthood primer, Making Sense of Abstinence, and said if sex-ed classes used PP guidelines, it would redefine abstinence. He complained that the PP guide recommended experiencing “sensual pleasure” and “watching porn” as forms of abstinence.

“You can’t just leave it up to the individual to decide what abstinence is,” he said. “That’s like taking the speed limit, and seeing how far you can go above it, and still count it as not speeding.”

I’ll check in with PP about their primer to see if indeed it does define watching porn as a form of abstinence for teens. It seems to me that would be fine given that watching porn doesn’t pop your cherry. Although, it is illegal for teens to buy porn or access it on the net. So, it would be odd for PP to advocate high-school programs that promote porn. (Although, state guidelines certainly aren’t dictated by PP.)

Planned Parenthood was down here, too, and said they’ve done a vote count and the bill is going to finally pass the senate this year, where it has failed to make it out of committee five years running because key Dems have chickened out.

AWARE’s Grenfell had two concerns with the bill. First, he said the bill might force faith-based abstinence-only groups like AWARE—which present in 29 schools statewide—to teach things it doesn’t support, like giving the green light to sexually active teens by teaching about condoms and other contraception.

His second problem with the bill was this: He felt that if schools and parents didn’t approve of the state guidelines (having to teach about condoms, etc., alongside abstinence), then nothing would get taught at all because dissident schools and parents would opt out. “And that’s not healthy for teens,” he said.

Basically, it seems to me, Grenfell is concerned that this bill will put AWARE out of business.

But, sigh, Grenfell is being a bit alarmist, I think. Certainly a requirement that schools include contraception alongside abstinence in sex-ed curricula wouldn’t prevent schools from inviting AWARE to present. I asked Grunfell if he’d be okay with the bill if it specified that the curriculum had to teach all sides—not that a particular group or lesson plan had to cover all sides.

He said it shouldn’t be up to the state to dictate curriculum.

Meanwhile, I have a call into Rep. Hinkle’s (R-13, Ellensburg, Moses Lake) office to see if he got his question answered.

Okay, off to a viaduct hearing where it looks like the mayor’s office—they just showed up here at the campus cafeteria with lots of big charts—is going to defend tunnel lite.

The Real Donnie Davies

posted by on January 25 at 1:16 PM

The “real” Donnie Davies singing “It’s Not Okay to be Gay.”

Courtesy of a Josef, who sent this observation along with the clip: “Davies is too exaggerated, too much a caricature to be legit.” Agreed, Josef. But who is Davies spoofing? The still-gays? Or the ex-gays?

Art That Collects

posted by on January 25 at 1:15 PM


This intricately handmade sculpture, John Grade’s latest, called Collector, began in Grade’s studio and hangs in the clean white space of Davidson Contemporary. It bears his signature sense of almost too-exquisite craftsmanship. But it will not remain spotless.

After Saturday, it will be submerged in Puget Sound for a while, until oysters attach to it. Then, for the final stage, Grade will mount it to his truck and drive it through the dusty Southwest. Grade often pushes the rare comparison of Northwest and Southwest, possibly the two most climatically disparate yet linked regions in the US.

Collector’s process is like a Simon Starling project in Toronto at the Harbourfront Centre Power Plant, but with very different intentions. While Grade’s object is semi-fragile and his results are only loosely predicted, the British artist sunk a steel reproduction of a Henry Moore bronze into Lake Ontario as a commentary on foreign influence and a way of representing the nationalistic tension that made Moore a controversial postwar figure in the city. (Taxpayers had refused to fund the installation of one of Moore’s sculptures outside Toronto’s city hall because he wasn’t Canadian; private donors purchased it anyway, and it has become a prized possession of the city.)

In the several months it was underwater, Starling’s steel version of Warrior with Shield (1954) was invaded by the Eastern European zebra mussel, a non-native species that has invaded the waters of the Great Lakes since coming over from the Black Sea in the ballast water of ships around 20 years ago. Last I heard, the Art Gallery of Ontario planned to take the piece (commissioned by the Power Plant) into its collection, which also includes Warrior with Shield.

Will anyone take in Grade’s study? I like its vulnerability and openness much better than Starling’s overly determined symbolism, and I’m curious what the trip will do to it. See Collector in its infancy through Saturday at DC.

Countdown to Black History Month

posted by on January 25 at 12:51 PM


Just seven days away from Black History Month! Time to start thinking about the things blacks have done in history. Today we begin with an incident that happened on June, 25, 1807, at around 6 am.

In a room that’s small and drafty, a black man wakes up and sees the sun rising in the sky. He cant remember his dream. A piece of something he ate the night before is caught between the teeth near the back of his mouth. He yawns and goes back to sleep for another 10 minutes.
This moment in black history was brought to you by The Stranger.

AA Meeting Has Begun

posted by on January 25 at 12:39 PM


Attention Oscar obsessives: After years of tireless suffering in private, I finally have an outlet for aggressive obsession I’m required to devote to each year’s Academy Awards.

AA Meeting is a weekly podcast devoted to all things Oscar, from nominees’ odds to winner predictions to all the rest of that meaningless award-show bullshit I’m physically incapable of ignoring. Plus, I’ll have guests—in the premiere episode, it’s Stranger film editor Annie Wagner, with whom I discuss the basics of this year’s nominations, including the triumph of James Longley, the mystery of Borat’s “screenwriters,” and the dashing of Beyonce’s Oscar dreams. Enjoy.

(And for a full list of this year’s nominees, go here.)

The Seattle Library’s Zine Symposium

posted by on January 25 at 12:26 PM

One of the coolest things that the Seattle Public Library is doing right now is forging a partnership with the Zine Archive and Publishing Project. In order to get to the ZAPP, you have to go around the back of the Richard Hugo House, down some stairs into the basement, and through a room full of tables that are usually strewn with bits of paper and magazines that are being cut up into new zines. Once you are inside, you are surrounded by ceiling-high bookshelves that are full of zines of every possible genre, filed by subject. You can sit in there for hours, listening to whatever music the volunteers are playing, going through the zines one by one and finding new favorites. None are for sale.

This little hidey-hole has been the well-kept secret of Seattle’s young DIY community for far too long. Thankfully, the Seattle Public Library is aiming to create a similar place in its Central Library, by acquiring local independent self-published works and displaying them for anyone to read. They are having a symposium this Sunday to celebrate and inform people about their project. It’s going to be fun! Here’s the schedule:

Zine Symposium,

2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday Jan. 27
@ The Central Library

2 p.m. - 3 p.m. Zine 101
Learn how to make a zine or just come
make a new zine buddy. Please e-mail us at to register.

3 p.m. - 4 p.m. Zine Panel
Discussion about the cultural, political, and creative
role of zines in our culture.

4 p.m. - 5 p.m. Zine Readings
Read from your zine! Please e-mail at to sign up.

5 p.m. - 6 p.m. Zine exchange
and Refreshments
Come eat free food and exchange zines. Open to
everyone and anyone.

Free food? Zines? I’m so there.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 25 at 12:03 PM

Comedy Festival Kickoff

(Comedy Festival) The first annual Week of Fun comedy festival starts today, showcasing the best of Seattle’s alternative comedy scene. Standup comedy has traditionally been seen as a cross between monologues and monkeys throwing poop. We hope you feel “alternative comedy” proves to be otherwise. What is alternative comedy? I don’t know, but I think it involves robots and/or hobos. Cathy Sorbo, Matt Schmidt, Meghan Hounshell, and Andy Peters. Visit for more info. (Live Girls! Theater, 2220 NW Market St. 8 pm, $6, 21+.) PAUL MERRILL

Hey, Charles! You Pissed off the Concerned Women!

posted by on January 25 at 11:58 AM

Well played, my friend. Well played:

A spokeswoman for America’s largest conservative women’s public policy organization says the Sundance Film Festival’s premiere of a sanitized documentary on bestiality and a movie featuring a sexual assault on a 12-year-old may have earned the popular film showcase a new title — the “Sundance sleaze festival.”

Jan LaRue, chief legal counsel for Concerned Women for America (CWA) … says another movie being premiered, the documentary Zoo, tries to make the serious issue of bestiality — which is illegal in many parts of the United States — “artistic.”

“I doubt that either one of these films deals with the reality of the subject, which would include all of the harms to the individual and to society,” LaRue says. She feels the effort to shock people with sexual exposure in movies works hand in hand with the porn industry’s desire to achieve mainstream affirmation.

“This is part of a desensitization process, when you can get movies like the two I just mentioned premiered at a legitimate film festival,” the CWA official contends. And were it not for the shock value, she adds, such movies as these would not merit the passing grade of even a high school drama teacher — which she believes is why they end up at a forum like Sundance.

That kind of shock value, as presented in films such as Hounddog and Zoo, may actually support the efforts of the porn industry to legitimize deviant sexual behavior, LaRue warns. While Zoo features no graphic scenes, she admits, she believes the film — with its humanization of its subculture subjects and its artistic scenery — still has a subtle but very harmful effect on audiences.

According to the CWA attorney and pro-family activist, what the film festival is doing with movies like these is taking the worst parts of human behavior and desensitizing the general population to them. Showing these kinds of films at Sundance under the guise of artistic freedom, she insists, only serves to move American culture in a perverse and dangerous direction.

When one can get movies like Hounddog and Zoo screened at a legitimate, even prestigious and well-known event like Sundance, “you’ve taken society further down the slippery slope,” LaRue asserts. And American society as a whole, she suggests, will be forced to pay the price.

Evil, Evil Fox News Digs For McDermott Dirt, Plies Local Wonk!

posted by on January 25 at 11:54 AM

FOX News, AKA George Bush’s Filthy Whorehouse of Raving Propagandists, has apparently been desperately digging for dirt on Washington’s beloved Congress fossil, Jim McDermott. Reporters from said whorehouse just contacted Mr. McDermott’s opponent in last November’s elections, Independent former candidate Linnea Noreen, asking her for a quote or twelve about poor sweet McDermott. Behold, from an email from Linnea entitled “I’m on FOX News!”:

Well, maybe. A reporter from Fox interviewed me about Jim McDermott on Tuesday, and said it might air today. So, should you want to see my interview in all its glory, tune to Channel 48 (in Seattle), Thursday 1/25/07 at 3:00 pm Pacific, 6:00 pm Eastern.

Who knows what they’ll cut and splice (will I be a flaming liberal, a raving conservative?!), but it should be interesting at least… they’re doing a story on whether McDermott will change his tactics now that he’s in the majority. Hopefully I said something intelligent


What horrible Republican lies will FOX concoct to malign our lovable Congressional coot? Don’t tune in and see!

College Students Are Really Classy, Smart

posted by on January 25 at 11:52 AM

White students at the University of Connecticut School of Law “celebrated” Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a “Bullets and Bubbly” party featuring do-rags, gang signs, gold teeth, malt liquor, and a fake machine gun, the Smoking Gun reports. Then, duh, the photos ended up on Facebook. For more photos of UConn law students celebrating black culture, go here.


“Herpes on Its Eyes.” Oh My God. Pass the Sex-Ed Bill.

posted by on January 25 at 11:33 AM

The hearing room is packed here in Olympia this morning for HB 1297, a bill that would require school sex-ed classes to be “medically and scientifically accurate.” And “abstinence my not be taught at the exclusion of other materials and instruction on contraceptives and disease prevention.”

As a study released by a coalition of health-care groups last week found, Washington schools (nearly a third) do not allow schools to teach about condoms or contraception while teaching about abstinence in health/sex-ed classes.

Eight of the 30-plus sponsors are representatives from Seattle and/or the nearby Eastside suburbs. The Eastsiders are Judy Clibborn (D-41, east suburbs); Roger Goodman (D-45, Redmond, Woodinville); Rep. Geoff Simpson (D-47, east King County); and Larry Springer (D-45, Redmond, Woodinville). Thanks for taking Seattle’s suburbs out of the hands of the George Bush right, you guys.

Seattle-area sponsors include Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Capitol Hill, U-District, Wallingford); Bob Hasegawa (D-11, South Seattle); Rep. Jim McIntire (D-46, North Seattle); and Phyllis Kenney (D-46, North Seattle).

Three of the bill’s sponsors are Republicans.

Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D-33, SeaTac), the rep who’s also pushing the freedom of press bill for student journalists, is also a sponsor.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Shay Schual-Burke (D-33, SeaTac), opened the hearing saying: “Five years. Here we are again,” referring to the fact that the bill has been shot down every year by the right. “We do not allow teachers to teach that 2+2=3. And we should not tolerate teaching sexually inaccurate information—like ‘condoms don’t work.’”

The hearing just got interesting: Rep. Bill Hinkle (R-13, Ellensburg, Moses Lake) doesn’t like that sex ed is supposed to be “culturally sensitive,” as he derisively described the language that requires sex-ed curriculum to be “appropriate for students regardless of gender, race, disability status, or sexual orientation….”

Hinkle says sex ed should just be based on science. He wanted to know what “culturally sensitive” meant. Sponsor Burke said she would let one of the experts who are slated to testify address that.

I will report back on that.

Right now, a senior from Chehalis High School, Ashley Thomes, is testifying that her school only teaches about contraception to show how ineffective it is. And she added that a 16-year-old classmate, who didn’t know about contraception and STDs, got pregnant and discovered that her baby has herpes (on its eyes). The girl did not know she should get tested after having sex.

Donnie “God Hates a Fag” Davies: Radar Weighs In

posted by on January 25 at 11:02 AM

From Radar Online’s Fresh Intelligence

The unintentional humor of it all strikes a few commentators, including Andrew Sullivan and Dan Savage, as too perfect to be true. They may be onto something. Neither Donnie Davies nor Love God’s Way responded to inquiries from Radar, but scrutiny of their websites raises some red flags. For one thing, both sites were registered by Domains by Proxy on October 25, 2006. The company allows clients to register domains while safeguarding their anonymity. ( was registered even more recently, on Dec. 2.) A copyright on the Evening Service website dates back to 1999, though searches on both Lexis and Internet Archive turn up no hits from before this week—a strong indicator the sites just went live.

Then there’s the matter of Jason Bolicki, a gay director whose name surfaced on YouTube among commenters speculating on the video’s origin. Reached for comment at his home in Chicago, Bolicki denied any association with the video but said he laughed out loud when saw it “a couple weeks ago.” How’d you see it a couple weeks ago when there’s no record of the video existing before January 23? “Hm. Well, maybe I have the timing wrong.”

Donnie “God Hates a Fag” Davies: Contact Has Been Made

posted by on January 25 at 10:30 AM

Okay, I admit it. I’m obsessed and it’s unseemly. Not quite as unseemly as my burgeoning obsession with UK pop sensation Mika—his hair! his eyes! his frame! and oh yeah, his voice!—but unseemly nonetheless. I mean, I have real work to do and all I’ve done this morning is send emails and make phone calls about Donnie Davies.

First off, here’s a link to the video that started it all. And here’s yesterday’s Donnie Davies video, thanking us all for our interest in him and his work. He’s particularly grateful to Andrew Sullivan.

At Joe My God this morning we got our best lead yet. Donnie Davies, a reader claimed, is actually Todd Quillen, an actor and improv comic based in LA. Here’s Quillen’s website. And here’s a picture Davies…


And two of Quillen…



The Donnie Davies Fag Club over at Newspeak says they’re two different people. I’m on the fence. I think they have the exact same nose, the same shape to their jaws. But the eyebrows are different and Davies’ face is… wider. Quillen could still be Davies only with a little added weight. Another clue: In his most recent video, Davies talked about his weight loss and his thyroid condition. On his MySpace page, the very first thing Quillen says about himself is, “I grew up the fattest of 3 boys.”

I’ve sent emails to Quillen and his agent, and left phone messages for agent. I’ve also sent emails to Davies’ publicity person asking to speak to Donnie. They asked me to submit my questions in writing, which I did. I’m waiting to hear back.

Are You Gonna Eat That?

posted by on January 25 at 10:11 AM

In the journalism racket, “killing” a story just means pulling and not printing it. Still, this headline is terrific.

The Morning News

posted by on January 25 at 8:46 AM

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has rejected president Bush’s new plan for Iraq.

The White House wants another $7-$8 billion to help secure Afghanistan, which just had its bloodiest year since 2001. Meanwhile, Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai says his country won’t spray the country’s heroin-producing poppies.

Children as young as six are being sold to brothels in Cambodia—some for as low as $10.

The Ford Motor Company lost a record $12.7 billion last year. Nonetheless, chief executive Alan Mulally confirmed that

despite the immense losses, Ford is considering paying bonuses to some of its executives to encourage them to stay on…

Existing home sales fell by 8.4 percent in December, the worse fall since 1989.

Still smarting from the 2000 election? Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says you need to get over it.

The U.S. military has a shiny new ray gun that “shoots a beam that makes people feel as if they are about the catch fire.” Look for it at the next Republican National Convention.

The Seattle Sonics say a new arena would be great for local businesses—all for the low, low cost of $530 million.

The teenager who died at the King County Juvenile Detention Center last week had swallowed cocaine when he was arrested two years ago. A toxicology test following his death is pending.

Sen. Ken Jacobson [D-Seattle] has introduced a measure to allow dogs in bars. On a related note: Why, exactly, are we paying him?

The ballot language for the March 13 viaduct vote has been set. It reads:

Advisory Measure 1 Seattle Advisory Measure Number 1 concerns replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a Surface-Tunnel Hybrid Alternative. This measure is advisory only. If you vote yes, you are stating that you prefer that the Alaskan Way Viaduct be replaced with a four-lane tunnel with wide shoulders that could be used for peak-period travel, in addition to surface-street and transit improvements. The estimated cost is $3,410,000,000, to be potentially funded with $2,800,000,000 in state and federal funds, $500,000,000 in city utility funds for utility relocation made necessary by the project and $250,000,000 from a localized tax on specially benefitted landowners. The Governor has said state and federal funds might not be available above $2,800,000,000.

Yes, I prefer the Surface/Tunnel Hybrid Alternative

No, I do not prefer the Surface/Tunnel Hybrid Alternative

Advisory Measure 2
Seattle Advisory Ballot Measure Number 2 concerns replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with an Elevated Structure Alternative. This measure is advisory only. If you vote yes, you are stating that you prefer that the Alaskan Way Viaduct be replaced with a six-lane elevated structure, increased to four lanes in each direction between South King Street and new ramps at Seneca and Columbia Streets. The estimated cost is $2,800,000,000 to be potentially funded with $2,800,000,000 in state and federal funds.

Yes, I prefer the Elevated Structure Alternative

No, I do not prefer the Elevated Structure Alternative

Donnie “God Hates a Fag” Davies: UNMASKED?

posted by on January 25 at 7:46 AM

Joe My God may have unmasked the man behind “God Hates a Fag.”

After an almost 48-hour run of speculation that has gripped the gay blogosphere, tenacious and smart JMG reader “Chrome” (a frequent commenter here), wrote to me early this morning with his conclusion that “Ex-gay” Pastor Donnie Davies is actually actor/musician/improv performer Todd Quillen. Quillen’s personal site is herehere, his Yahoo photo album is here.

By cross-referencing the MySpace pages of Donnie Davies and his band Evening Service, Chrome began to find an interesting commonality among the friends of the “friends” of Davies and his band, namely an interest in film, television, acting, and most telling: improv. There appears to be a relationship to the improvisational acting group B.R.O.T.O.R.

I think Joe may have done it. Now the only question remains: Kidding hoaxer? Asshole fundy? Or, like I wrote last night, an asshole fundy hoaxer?

Breaking News: Did Seattle Just Forfeit Its Role as National Bike/Ped Conference Sponsor?

posted by on January 25 at 12:15 AM

Originally posted at 9pm on Wednesday.

Seattle was set to host the marquee bike and pedestrian conference in the country next year. However, the Washington, DC-area group that organizes the high-profile biennial conference, The National Center for Bicycling and Walking (NCBW), now has serious reservations about holding its influential confab here.

Background: As Erica C. Barnett reported in her column last week (and originally broke in an In Other News item two weeks ago), there’s been a shake-up at Seattle Dept. of Transportation (SDOT): Longtime bike/ped manager Peter Lagerwey was “reassigned.”

Apparently this news is not going over well nationally in the bike/ped community. In its e-newsletter yesterday, NCBW posted an irritated report about SDOT’s move.

The report was written by NCBW Executive Director Bill Wilkinson, who says he was “stunned by the news” adding, “as virtually everyone in any way involved with bicycle and pedestrian programs in the U.S. knows, Pete is one of — if not the premier — planner working on these issues.”

I’ve linked Wilkinson’s entire write-up below, but here’s the must-read paragraphs:

Additionally, the NCBW has another, related concern: we selected Seattle as the host city for Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2008. Notwithstanding a broad base of support from the Seattle community for the City’s bid for the conference, it was Pete’s leadership and his program’s accomplishments that prompted us to select Seattle. What now?

In a 22 January note to Grace Crunican, SDOT Director, I wrote, “I was planning a trip to Seattle in mid-February to meet with the local host committee and to formally kick off planning for the conference. Now, I’m not sure it is appropriate to move forward for the time being.” I
have not heard back from Grace, so I am writing to the City today to postpone the meeting until such time as City officials meet with us to explain what is going on,
what we can expect, and to — we hope — reassure us that the City is committed to hosting the conference and that Pete will continue to lead the City’s efforts in this regard.

Thanks tipster Fay Wray, who gets NCBW’s newsletter in another time zone.

Continue reading "Breaking News: Did Seattle Just Forfeit Its Role as National Bike/Ped Conference Sponsor?" »

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Donnie Davies: A New Theory

posted by on January 24 at 9:36 PM

There are two operative theories about Donnie “God Hates a Fag” Davies:

1. It’s a hoax! “God Hates a Fag,” “there’s no back door” to heaven, the pink shirt, the ‘stache. Ha ha. It’s an elaborate, hilarious joke, a deadly send-up of the religious right, the ex-gay movement, anti-gay ranters. Davies doesn’t meant it, doesn’t believe a word he’s saying. Or singing. What a kidder!

2. It’s not a hoax! Donnie is completely sincere—sincerely nuts, but completely sincere. He’s not an evangelical, but a fundamentalist, dripping with compassion and concern. And hate. Hate, hate, hate. But Davies doesn’t realize how hilariously idiotic he is. Still a hater. What an asshole!

I’d like to propose a third possible theory…

Donnie Davies is a kidder and an asshole.

Are you with me? It’s a hoax but Davies—or the man playing him—mean every last word. Davies is trying to be funny—heaven’s “back door,” thanking Andrew Sullivan for “getting behind [him],” kneeling next to the guy at the control board—but he means it when sings “God hates a fag.” He may not be ex-gay (those desperate dudes don’t have a sense of humor about their predicament), but a straight religious bigot with a sense of humor. We’re watching this video—all of us secular urban hipsters—because it’s hilarious. Which means that Donnie, through the use of humor, is reaching people that he might not otherwise. And his message is this: Laugh your asses off, sinners, but the bible says a man should not lay with a man.

So here’s where I’m at as of tonight: This is not a hoax. Donnie Davis is engaged in a deadly serious effort—a seriously successful effort—to spread the fundy message about homosexuality (it’s a choice, god hates it) through the intentional use of humor.

And we’re all complicit! Yikes!

Donnie “God Hates a Fag” Davies: This Just In!

posted by on January 24 at 7:58 PM

Donnie Davies has posted a new video on his website—and in it he thanks Andrew Sullivan. He calls Andrew a “great Christian man,” which is an odd thing for an ex-gay fundy to call an openly gay Catholic and the nation’s most prominent supporter of same-sex marriage. Donnie also thanks Andrew for taking time out to condemn YouTube for pulling his video, which I don’t believe Andrew actually did. Hm… And Donnie has lost his mustache. Here’s his latest video on YouTube…


But Donnie maintains that he’s for real, CHOPS is for real, and that we should keep checking back at the website for news…

And then there’s this video on YouTube…

And clearly someone out there is taking Donnie seriously…

Okay, this has got to be a hoax. Right? Please? Someone tell me this is a hoax…

“God Hates a Fag”: Donnie Davies Speaks! A Little! Or, Uh, IMs!

posted by on January 24 at 7:22 PM

Today Andrew Sullivan declared “God Hates a Fag” to be a hoax. (You can see the video here.)

At the risk of spoiling the illusion, the God Hates Fags video is, when you examine the site more closely, and watch the video more attentively, a brilliant piece of performance art. So brilliant it illuminates what it satirizes more deeply than any argument could.

Not so, says Seattle’s own Laurence Ballard.

Ballard did some digging on Donnie Davies’ website and found his AIM handle, and added it to his iChat “buddies” list. Davies logged on earlier this evening, and popped up on Ballard’s computer. Ballard asked for a video chat and Davies declined. But Ballard did manage to draw Davies—or the person pretending to be Davies—into a short chat session. So far as I know, this interview—truncated and one-sided—is the only one that Davies has done since this exploded. So let’s meet the man behind what is either the most brilliantly sublime piece of camp since South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut or the an appalling example of poisonous self hatred since Ted Haggard gave that interview in his minivan.

But first a word from Ballard:

I just had a brief iChat with the fellow who uses the AIM handle PastorDavies. The same Pastor Donnie Davies who has created a hoax/non-hoax shitstorm over the recent release of “God Hates a Fag” from Love God’s Way and I think Donnie’s for real. As a former fundamentalist I know the power of sincerity wed with stupidity. When mixed with the faculty and word of God it can be a confusing amalgam to those not so inclined. This is where secular cynicism can lead one astray. Never underestimate the power of folly. A glance at our Chief Executive will make that point.

Also, whereas I might be surprised that an evangelical would write a song and produce a video entitled, “God Hates a Fag,” the achingly conservative and judgmental Fundamentalist mind-set would eat this shit up like a labrador in the kitty litter box.

Ballard sent me a copy of his chat with Donnie Davies. You can download a copy by clicking here. I’ve transcribed their short chat, below. Ballard wanted to note that, “this is the first time I’ve used—yuck—’smileys,’ but I figured they would help.”

Laurence Ballard: Just a simple and sincere question - is your ministry for real? (smiley)

PastorDavies: I think its strange you would ask.

Laurence Ballard: Strange only in the sense that your video has received so much attention.

Laurence Ballard: There are information sources out there that state that this is all - no offense - an elaborate hoax. In these cynical times, it is often hard to tell the difference. (smiley)

Laurence Ballard: A ministry that counsels homosexuals and concerns itself with life in teh womb needs to be taken seriously, if it is to have any success. That is what I meant by my first question. (smiley)

Laurence Ballard: Would you be willing to answer any of my questions?

PastorDavies: Sorry, yes.

PastorDavies: I am getting slammed right now, please forgive.

Laurence Ballard: I can only imagine.

Laurence Ballard: Many, many people probably want to talk with you at present, yes?

PastorDavies: Yes

PastorDavies: You can imagine.

Laurence Ballard: Talk about mixed blessings! (big smiley)

PastorDavies: yes

Laurence Ballard: You’ve probably touched quite a few nerves…

Laurence Ballard: Is all of this attention anything you expected?

PastorDavies: Not really.

Laurence Ballard: Didn’t you think your band’s video would capture a lot of notice?

PastorDavies: I hoped so.

PastorDavies: God works in mysterious ways.

Laurence Ballard: This could be the start of an online ministry.

Laurence Ballard: What do you hope your band’s video will accomplish - in the near term?

PastorDavies has gone offline.

UPDATE: Newspeak also got to IM for a moment with Donnie this evening.

Can You Have Your Dyke Daughter And Oppress Her Too?

posted by on January 24 at 5:41 PM

Dick Cheney thinks so.

Says Sullivan

The vice-president really does believe that he can somehow champion a party that declares that his daughter must be barred from any legal protections for her child and marriage and never be confronted with the contradiction. Sorry, Mr vice-president, but one day you will have to address how you can front a party dedicated to smearing, marginalizing and disenfranchising a member of your own family. Wolf Blitzer’s question is not out of line. Your hypocrisy is.

I Confess! It Was Me! I Did It! I’m Glad I Did It! I’d Do It Again!

posted by on January 24 at 5:31 PM

If you read Eli Sanders’s excellent pre-Christmas angstfest—“The Jewish Problem”—perhaps you remember this passage:

Lately, as Seattle becomes more sophisticated, and people here travel to and from bigger cities, where they learn that all the cool kids in the really big cities tend to be down with the Jews, I’ve been presented with a new type of awkward encounter. This one involves the Seattle hipster who wants to prove that he’s so down with the Jews that he’s able to make harsh fun of them, to their faces, in front of his friends.

A lot of Eli’s hipster friends worried that he might talking about them—all his goy hipster friends, anyway, were all stressed out about it. Eli wrote one Slog post about the fallout; Christopher Frizzelle wrote another in which he speculated about whether he was the guilty hipster. While I don’t think of myself as a hipster—I hung that hat up when I stopped doing drag and started changing diapers—I’m pretty sure Eli was talking about me. I think he threw out that “hipster” ID and placed the offense at a “party” to mask my identity. (Or maybe he did it to maximize the guilty—all his hipster friends felt bad, all assumed they were the evil one!)

And how am I sure that I’m the guilty hipster? Well, because… because of this…


That’s a six-foot-tall statue of Jesus. And it’s standing right behind Eli Sanders’s desk. And I put it there. I put that statue there as a joke, you see, because Eli is Jewish. And that’s a statue of Jesus. Get it? Eli is Jewish and that’s a statue of Jesus Christ, founder of Christianity, rejected Messiah, and so totally ascended into heaven!

I had originally planned to to move that statue around the office, leaving it behind the desks of other prominent Jews on the Stranger staff, but I’m pretty lazy and so He’s remained with Eli for months now. And guess what? Eli, who’s so sensitive about perceived slights, has been slowly desecrating my statue of Jesus Christ! The picture above? That was Jesus then. Check out Jesus now…


Tsk-tsk. Eli wants us all to respect his beliefs, and we’re supposed to feel sorry for him because he got picked on at a party, but does he respect my Lord and Savior? Look again at what Eli did to Jesus! Defenseless, plaster-of-Paris Jesus! A viking hat? A bag of cookies? Half a skateboard? A can of olives? A wind chime?

Now who’s making harsh fun of whom?

Jen Graves Fact of the Day

posted by on January 24 at 4:51 PM

She was once an au pair in Switzerland.

Today On Line Out

posted by on January 24 at 4:37 PM

Astral Fruits: Dave Segal Finally Finds His Cherry.

RIP Floyd Standifer: Local Hard Bop Trumpeter Has Passed.

Tonight: In Music.

Stop Writing: “I’m Drunk, This Journalism Shit Is Hard.”

Busted Junk: Where To Get Your Analog Fix.

String Theorists: The Fourth Annual String Specialists Concert.

What, No Police Reunion?: The Elusive MC Scat Cat To Make Rare Live Appearance At Coachella.

What, Jane Weidlin Doesn’t Speak Urdu: The Surprisingly Convoluted Story of “Our Lips Are Sealed.”

That’s Like a Long Island Made With Pee, Right?: Fergie’s Wild Orchid.

And Meth: Or Is That a Black Opal? More Fergie!

Joni and Fiona: Sarah Rudinoff’s Guilty Pleasures.

Do You Think It’s Gonna Make Them Change?: Megan Seling Cuts Her Hair.

All-Ages Crisis!: In a Teapot.

American Eyesore: Paula Abdul Was Asking For It.

Maybe Next Time They’ll Take The Bus: Earl Greyhound Flip Out, Cancel Show.

Speaking of Chocolate Month

posted by on January 24 at 4:36 PM

It turns out I do own that LeRoi Jones book of poetry that I was hung up on the other day.

It’s called Black magic: Sabotage, Target study, Black art; collected poetry, 1961-1967. It was actually right there on my desk in my apartment with a stack of other special books that are supposed to be my sentimental favorites— that I don’t want to ever lose track of.

Problem is, after gasping with glee when I saw it, I flipped through it and did not find said poem: “Note to America.”

I’m telling you. This poem exists. It’s about Muhammad Ali. I read this poem in my high school library while sitting in detention after school. It totally totally totally changed my life.

Where is this poem? Does anyone know where to find it. “Note to America” by LeRoi Jones. My memory is that it’s just a bumper sticker of agitprop and reads: Note to America. You cannot hurt Muhammad Ali and stay alive.

I want to see it in print.

The Sleeper

posted by on January 24 at 4:20 PM

Was John McCain asleep during the president’s State of the Union address? Kinda looks like it.

And the pundits pounce:

If you’re McCain, who will be over 70 by 2008, you’ll want to make doubly sure to demonstrate your alertness and vigor. You definitely won’t want to slump in your seat, out cold, when Bush starts talking about Iraq. And yet that’s exactly what McCain did tonight, napping on camera for ten agonizing seconds. Lack of self-control? An expression of contempt? Embarrassing in any case.

(Via AmericaBlog)

The Day in Women

posted by on January 24 at 4:15 PM

Well, this is depressing: American women have become so overweight, the FDA now says birth control pills should be tested again using “heavier” subjects.

And this is just disturbing: A court rules in favor of parents who had their dead son’s sperm “extracted” five years ago and are seeking to have it implanted into a 25-year-old woman, making their son a posthumous parent; although their 20-year-old son never expressed a wish to be a father in writing, the parents say that was what he wanted.

That didn’t take long: The backlash over the news that the majority of American women are now unmarried begins, with this column (by a divorce lawyer and a “men’s advocate”) from the Chicago Tribune: “The current trend away from marriage and toward divorce and/or remaining single has more to do with overcritical women and their excessive expectations than it does with unsuitable men.” The authors do cut the ladies some slack, though, allowing that women’s incessant nagging is “an evolutionary necessity.”

The study linking coronary disease in women to higher levels of “expressed anger” continues to be used as evidence that women should suppress their feelings, most recently in this article, charmingly headlined “Angry women prone to heart problems”: “In what may prove to be good news for husbands and boyfriends everywhere, a new United States study finds that some women who make a habit of openly expressing their anger may be more likely to develop heart problems.” (As I noted earlier, what the study actually was found a correlation between heart problems and expressed anger in women with certain pre-existing health conditions—anger itself, meanwhile, has repeatedly been found to be a risk factor in men.)

Bush thinks health care choices should be kept between patients and their doctors. Unless, of course, that patient has a uterus.

The New York Times just can’t leave Nancy Pelosi’s clothes alone. This time, in an article that contains no information about, say, Dick Cheney’s tie, the Times notes that “appearances were obviously important to Ms. Pelosi, who changed from the brown suit she had worn earlier in the day to a soft green one, which offered more contrast to her dark leather speaker’s chair.” I’m sorry… How is Pelosi the one obsessed with appearances?


Anne Heche

posted by on January 24 at 4:04 PM

It looks like Anne Heche is a lousy heterosexual too.

Anne Heche and her husband are separating after five years of marriage, her spokeswoman said Wednesday…. Heche, 37, and Coleman Laffoon, a motion picture cameraman, were married in September 2001. The couple have a 4-year-old son, Homer.

They met while working on a documentary about Ellen DeGeneres’ return to stand-up comedy.

Heche was, of course, famously chomping away at DeGeneres’ twat during the filming of that documentary.

Good Grief! Redesigned Section Induces Spontaneous Screaming

posted by on January 24 at 4:02 PM

You’d better be sitting down for this one: The Seattle Times just launched a new Sunday Styles section! And dig this, kids: It’s “edgy”! “Fun”! “Bold and not for everyone!” For “people living life to the fullest”! Well… “You know who you are.”

Basically, the redesign appears to be geared toward either a) septuagenarians or b) people with utter contempt for the English language. Everything’s BIG (sorry— “bold”!) and blocky, with entire “stories” contained in chunky little blocks of large-print text. (Knitting AND emo? It’s like they know me!) The “new tone” is what the sixtysomething dudes running things over on Fairview probably consider “breezy” and “conversational”; it consists mainly of inserting “ums” and rhetorical dear-reader questions (“you say there’s something different about today’s Sunday Life section?”) pretty much at random all over the place. And while I was planning to take on every single damn article in the section, my head exploded somewhere between the intro (featuring a cartoon of a “very, um, retro-looking blonde”) and a truly vomit-inducing piece on “dog parks that are worth the drive.” So we’ll have to confine ourselves to the front page.

It’s pretty clear that Fancher & Co. think what “people living life to the fullest” want is more of “quirky-Asian-girl-who’s-really-into-shopping” Pamela Sitt (nee “TV Addict”), because they’ve positioned her new column, “Girl About Town,” at the very top of the page, above the masthead. (Way to “think outside the box,” boys!) The inaugural installment takes on the topic of book clubs—specifically, book clubs for men—and proceeds apace through every hoary gender stereotype in the book. Girls don’t like to read? Yep, that’s in there: “So it was that I found myself… an auditor of someone else’s book club—ideal, as I didn’t have to do the reading.” Boys like serious stuff like politics, girls like romance? Check: While the guys were reading up on “the energy crisis, economic collapse, politics,” Sitt’s “erstwhile book club considered reading ‘The Crimson Petal and the White’ by Michael Faber because it was considered ‘steamy,’ but it was 800 pages, which is way too long even if it is educational.” Women really just want to shop and gossip? Oh, yes: “[Forming a book club] surely makes us better people, and makes up for many hours spent shopping and devouring tabloids.” Women looove to yakity-yak and never let men get a word in edgewise? You know it!: “‘Not having women in the group is important,’ said co-founder Brian Clark, ‘because I never get to talk at home.’”

I can’t wait for the next installment. Maybe she can go shopping with a male friend and write about how boys just don’t understand why girls love shoes! I mean, it practically writes itself.

Seattle Looks to Re-Devo Old INS Building in ID

posted by on January 24 at 3:39 PM

The brick building (Neo-Classical, 1932), at 815 Airport Way S., has been junked by the feds and gifted (watch what you ask for) to the city. The mayor’s office sent out a request for proposals today. Proposed uses include: “affordable housing (particularly for downtown workers), retail space, historical exhibit space, and space for agencies serving immigrants.” But any new use must also be one that, according the mayor’s office: “preserves historic building elements, remembers and celebrates the immigrant experience, and reflects the historic uses of the building.”

So, like, we gotta keep the cells they used to lock up brutish feriners? That could be interesting. A BDSM bathhouse perhaps?

Share your ideas here: Public Meeting:
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Tashiro Kaplan Community Room
115 Prefontaine South

Sometimes These Things Can Be Easy

posted by on January 24 at 2:21 PM


CENTRAL DISTRICT A group of Central District community groups has voted to draft a letter of support for Casa Latina’s proposed move to 17th Ave. S. and S. Jackson St. The nonprofit would bring with it a day worker center—the impending arrival of which spooked neighbors in the Rainier Valley so much that they rolled up their welcome mat. Ted Divina of the Central Destrict Neighborhood Service Center says a few home owners and renters near the proposed location have concerns about litter and loitering. But, he said, Casa Latina is working with police to develop ways of improving safety. Divina says the same people have concerns about the nearby Operation Night Watch, which provides meals and other services for the homeless.

Expect lots of other changes on Jackson St. in the near future. The Central Area Development Association has plans for 60-unit mixed-use apartment complex also at the intersection of S. 17th Ave. and plans are underway to build a 250-unit structure at the former Wonder Bread site a block away.

When Commerce and Commemoration Collide

posted by on January 24 at 1:24 PM

I’ve always felt a bit uneasy about the designation of February as Black History Month—did The Man really have to give African-Americans the shortest frickin’ month of the year?

Today my iffy feelings re: February were kicked into high gear, thanks to an email from a local Tully’s employee who shall remain nameless:

I have only been working for Tully’s for a few weeks now, but I was floored when I saw the advertisements sent to the stores to be put up on February 1. Apparently the marketing geniuses at Tully’s came up with the idea of proclaiming February—also known as ‘Black History Month’—‘Chocolate Month.’ I figured the least I could do was snap a picture and send it along.


Thank you, nameless Tully’s employee. (And, uh, thank you, Tully’s.)

The Continuation of Isaac Layman’s World Domination Tour

posted by on January 24 at 12:45 PM

I say that with nothing but love. The photographer, who was picked up by Lawrimore Project in Miami after his pastiched bookcase photograph took the place by storm, is now showing in the white-cube gallery at LP.



The six images at Lawrimore Project (see those and more on his artist’s page) are limited in tone (mostly black to white) but range widely in technique and approach.

Unlike many of the big names in photography, from Sherman to Goldin to Struth, Layman has no signature style, or at least not yet. The closest you could come is to say that he subtly alters or arranges everyday objects for the sake of photography. It’s his insistence on the subtlety of his intervention and the gorgeous way he executes each image that keeps you coming back. Coat Hanger (2003), for instance, is an austerely beautiful formal portrait. Is the hanger hanging? Is it lying down? The questions fade the longer you allow yourself to be seduced by the thick, round lines in the landscape of white.

The performative nature of what he does before he takes the photographs (or after, in the case of the digitally compiled bookcase image) is made literal in the earliest work in the show. It’s a 2001 black-and-white portrait of himself in a sweatshirt, pointing out a window to another window that looks like it has a window built into it. It’s called, of course, Window.

Also earlier are his photograms. A portrait of himself in a chair, made of collaged photograms (2002), is ghostly and impressive in size, but it comes off as bland. A 2003 photogram of a lawn mower mounted on a plinth makes the opposite use of the technology—it’s eggheaded and witty in a warm way, like what comes later.

For White T-Shirt (2004), the triumph of the show, Layman drew dark lines on a folded T-shirt. He made a spotless white T-shirt look like one of van Gogh’s boots: used, rustic, loved, lovable. At the same time, all of those charming cartoonish marks are obviously fake, and the shirt is no longer a shirt, but a drawing on one part of the shirt. So now it’s a photograph of a drawing on a sculpture, an homage to and a critique of each one of those disciplines.

Mayor Ceis

posted by on January 24 at 12:39 PM

Danny Westneat has a column today comparing the Mayor’s tunnel fiasco to the monorail fuck up.

It’s like I said a couple of days ago: Governor Gregoire=Mayor Nickels. Mayor Nickels=Joel Horn.

However, here’s the thing about Westneat’s column: Mayor Nickels=Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis. That is to say, it’s Ceis who goes on record with Westneat defending the tunnel, not Mayor Nickels. It’s Ceis who’s sitting down with the Seattle Times city columnist, not Mayor Nickels.

This, I think, goes a long way toward explaining why Nickels’s tunnel has so little traction. It’s an exciting idea that, like the monorail, should have liberal Seattle giddy with excitement. (Personally, I don’t like the tunnel idea—I’m for the surface transit option—but the tunnel is certainly a big, future idea about a groovy waterfront that could win support). But big ideas flop without the personality of big politicians selling them.

Sure Nickels goes on KUOW and the Seattle Channel with C.R. Douglas. And he certainly pushes ethics laws by being out there with newsletters and mailings and ads to get out the word on the tunnel. But really, he’s not much in the spotlight himself—and that may help explain why he hasn’t been able to capture the public’s imagination with his tunnel idea.

Part of being the big city mover and shaker mayor that Nickels longs to be—involves getting out there and mixing it up with the council and the public and the press; having a big city mayor personality. Maybe if people knew and trusted Nickels there’d be more general support for his tunnel idea. But the guy has just disappeared for four years now. Why should we care about his idea if we don’t care about him?

Besides his canned speaking points on C.R.’s show or on the radio, Nickels leaves everything to Ceis.

Just last week, when I was hovering outside the governor’s office waiting for the viaduct meeting to get out, I ran into Ceis hanging out as well. Despite the Stranger’s antagonism toward Nickels, Ceis was—as he always is when we crash into each other—funny, friendly, smart, interested, thorny. Engaging.

After we bickered about density, we both ended up sitting in the Governor’s giant lobby with the press corps. And classic Ceis: He took a spot on the couch with his face buried in a newspaper, and randomly, every two minutes or so, he’d announce bits and pieces of stories out loud (like your cranky old dad) to everyone in the room.

Obviously, Nickels had to be in the meeting, and so, couldn’t work the room like Ceis, but the moment struck me as a defining one. More so because, soon enough Ceis was called back (unbeknownst to the press) to sneak out the back with Nickels. Indeed, about 20 minutes later, when Gregoire and Seattle City Council President Nick Licata and the Olympia legislators emerged, Nickels was nowhere to be found. Evidently, he didn’t want to talk to the waiting press.

Whatever with that. A good politician, would have walked into the room and—exploiting the relationships he’d built over the years—played the room and swayed the Seattle press to at least understand his side of the story. But no. I didn’t hear from Nickels until I got back to my office and there’s a canned press release in my e-mail. Earlier, I had been no more than 20 yards from the guy, and all I get—along with everybody else—is a lame-o press release. Who cares? I didn’t even read it. (I would have read a press release from Ceis, though.)

You know, on the ride back to Seattle, I was talking to Licata—who’d been in the meeting—and I had to ask the main question on my mind: How’d Nickels do in there…without Ceis? Was he persuasive? Compelling? Had he done his homework? Do you think Ceis would have done a better job?

Licata wouldn’t go on the record about that. I will say he was polite and respectful of the mayor.

It seems to me that Mayor Nickels has a populist/legacy fetish with this tunnel. Unfortunately for Nickels he’s just not the kind of mayor who can deliver on this project because 90 percent of politics is being a politician.

Minimum Wage

posted by on January 24 at 11:55 AM

The Senate—the Dem-controlled Senatejust shot down the raise in the minimum wage passed with much fanfare by the Dem-controlled House.

UPDATE: Sloppy, hungry me. I tossed this post up quickly on my way out the door for lunch. To clarify: the Senate’s failure to raise the minimum wage is entirely the fault of the Republicans. The GOP provided all the votes—all 43 of them—necessary to prevent the majority in the Senate from voting on, and passing, the $2.10 hike in the minimum wage.

Life Insurance for Pot Smokers

posted by on January 24 at 11:50 AM

It’s old news that a couple tokes of reefer can make truck stop food taste like ambrosia, but now an insurance provider is banking on the belief that kind bud can keep stoners truckin’. From the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws…

For years responsible marijuana smokers have been unable to access affordable life insurance products. Because of cannabis prohibition and cultural stereotypes, adult marijuana smokers have been forced to lie on applications or forego the health benefits of responsible marijuana use. Those who were honest about their use of marijuana were flat out declined or rated so high that they could not afford the coverage they needed.

No Longer!

Odd as it seems, providing special coverage for pot smokers is a savvy investment. Studies keep popping up that show the spindly plant can stave off deadly diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and cancer. More to the point, though, stoners aren’t killed by their vice - like their drinky counterpartsbecause pot won’t melt your liver.

Not convinced a doobie a day can keep the reaper at bay? Check out this lady.

Baugh!: Episode 3

posted by on January 24 at 11:40 AM

I’ve received requests for one last installment in my Baugh! series on John Longenbaugh’s “theatre” column in the Seattle Weekly. I’m getting pretty sick of John emailing me half-baked rebuttals and refusing to let me post them on the Slog, so I’m going to try to be done after this.

Sentence: “When the Rep’s artistic director, David Esbjornsen, asked about ‘the protagonist’ in The Lady From Dubuque, [Edward] Albee responded, with feigned freshman innocence, ‘What is a protagonist?’”

Previously from John Longenbaugh:

As to all your other comments—whatever. I assumed that having someone fact-check my column each week is what the Weekly’s supposed to do, but if you want to donate the time, go for it.

I think you’re going to have to give up on the Weekly’s fact-checkers, John. It’s Esbjornson.

Previously from John Longenbaugh:

But rather than engage in any more button-pushing, I’ll just say that I’m just as glad that you’re out of theatre criticism as I am glad to be out of it myself. I would guess we’re both tempermentally unsuited to it.

Posted by: John Longenbaugh | October 27, 2006 04:59 PM

After I brought this comment up the first time, John emailed me to say his column was not going to be criticism and asked that I correct the record.

Well, based on this week’s column, I have to rescind my correction. What the fuck is this, John, if it’s not criticism? You’re talking about the play, for the most part, not the production. But it’s certainly criticism. What’s happening? Have you found that you’re “tempermentally unsuited” to reporting theater news, too?

For the Mad Bomber

posted by on January 24 at 11:40 AM

In response to my post last week, Does Sculpture Exist? Or the Search for Traction, “George Metesky” (the name of the “mad bomber” who hit New York City dozens of times in the 40s and 50s) wrote:

It’s rare that you get two writers - in this case one quoting another - so specifically ignorant about their chosen (even professed) focus.

The point of reference here is the hardly obscure essay “Art and Objecthood”, by Michael Fried. A nearly thirty year old essay, it should be said.

In attempting to oversimplify and co-opt Fried’s central, landmark thesis on what he termed “theatricality”, Burton gives uninformed Graves just enough rope to (publicly) hang herself with.

Posted by George Metesky | January 19, 2007 07:54 PM

Actually, I’m glad you brought up the Fried piece. It’s a great touchstone that, you’re right, I should have thought to mention. Krauss hated Fried’s overly broad dismissal of “theatrical” sculpture, and it’s a fair and even interesting accusation that Burton’s assertion coopted Fried’s argument without crediting him, but far more interesting is why Burton would choose this tack now. (Especially considering the drubbing Fried took when he wrote it — what if he’d written it today?)

That said, why are you such an asshole? As a superior sculptural thinker, all you can do is drop an obvious missed reference? Anonymously?

Comparing cocks expertise is dull, stupid, and small. I write out of curiosity. Naturally I try to be informed, and in this case I happen to be more informed than you thought I was. But even if I hadn’t been, I’m not slain by the prospect that somebody else thought of a good idea, question, or reference that I didn’t — I’m glad to have it to consider.

I realize there are few things more fascinating to write about than me, but I challenge you to write under your real name, and about sculpture, my original subject. What say you about the Krauss/Fried conversation today? Why are Burton and Ellegood and Handforth talking like this now? (Jesus, this stuff was too wonky for Tyler Green, who put up an Art BS alert about it, and it wasn’t wonky enough for you, bomber. A girl can not win.)

Or, if you want to continue to masturbate all over our fine Slog, you can do that, too.

The State of the Morning After

posted by on January 24 at 11:14 AM

In case you missed it, here’s our boozy liveblogging of last night’s State of the Union address, and here’s Congressman Jim McDermott’s comment-pleasing post-speech tete-a-tete with the Slog and our readers.

And in case you missed this SOTU parody, here’s yet another friend of mine from college who’s ended up in California doing something hilarious (Ms. Wortham, you make a lovely Nancy Pelosi).

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on January 24 at 10:55 AM

The Prayer Warrior has received a big gay radio invite…


January 23, 2007

Dear Prayer Warrior,

This Friday January 26th, I will be interviewed at 12:30 PST, by Michelangelo Signorile on Sirius Satellite Radio. Michael is a radio talk show personality who is gay and he has called to debate me regarding the initiative that I submitted to Olympia last week, to repeal HB 2661 (the sexual orientation/civil rights bill that was passed last January). This will be on the gay channel of Sirius Satellite Radio. Here is a brief description of his show:

Monday to Friday 2 pm - 6 pm EST Signorile puts sizzle in the afternoons with his provocative brand of hot talk that sends homophobes and right wing zealots running for cover! Michelangelo draws newsmakers and community leaders, as well as icons from pop culture to politics, to talk about the issues of the day, and you’re invited to join them live on the air.

Pray for me as I speak about the “Initiative to Repeal HB 2661,” that I will speak clearly and concisely regarding the details of this initiative, and that the truth behind HB 2661 be evident to all who hear me. This show is one of the largest in the gay community, it will touch many people - remember “ONE LIFE.”

The initiative is currently waiting to see how many signatures we are going to have to gather. Please be in prayer also for the money that we need to print and distribute the petitions for people to sign.

Your Pastor,

Kerry’s Out

posted by on January 24 at 10:31 AM

John Kerry says he won’t seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 24 at 10:30 AM

‘The Photographer, His Wife, Her Lover’

(Film) What do you get when an overrated artist discovers that his younger wife is not only stealing his work but also having an affair with a man who not only lives in his house but is also working on a dead train engine that the sentimental photographer wants to revive? A divorce from hell. The overrated photographer is O. Winston Link, the young wife is Conchita Mendoza, and the ordinary lover is Edward Hayes. The three sordid souls prove without a doubt that money is the root of all evil. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 267-5380. 7 and 9 pm, $5—$8.50.) CHARLES MUDEDE

Praise the Fucking Lord

posted by on January 24 at 10:21 AM

John Kerry to announce his ‘08 intentions—and they don’t involve running for president. What did him in? Well…

…according to Kerry associates, the senator’s plans changed dramatically in the fallout of his election-eve “botched joke” about the education levels of US troops. The harsh reaction to that incident—from many Democrats as well as Republicans—displayed to Kerry the extreme skepticism within his own party about whether he should mount another run.

Head Case

posted by on January 24 at 10:07 AM

A gay man in Nigeria gets six weeks in prison—for laying his head on another man’s chest.

A self-acclaimed homosexual, Mr. Francis Chima, was yesterday sentenced to six weeks in prison by an Abuja magistrate court… The convict who lives in Jabi, Abuja, told the court that it was the work of Satan.

“The time I met him on the road, I saw him as a friend and when we entered his house, we discussed and as I was about to go, I put my head on the chest of the man and I wanted to be his friend,” he said.

Before he was sentenced, Mr. Chima pleaded for leniency and promised that he will not repeat such offence.

Somewhere Sam Brownback is smiling…

Charles Called It

posted by on January 24 at 8:43 AM

Charles on Slog yesterday about Iraq in Fragments:

What’s truly amazing about Iraq in Fragments is not its Academy Award nomination but its relative obscurity. Even here in Seattle, where the director, James Longley, is based, it has not received serious attention and roaring praise outside of The Stranger…. Now that it has an Academy Award nomination to its name, we can expect big stories from the Seattle Times, the PI, and Seattle Weekly. But where were they last year?

And today on the front page of the PI:

Seattleite’s film on Iraq nominated for Oscar

Seattle filmmaker James Longley’s poetic portrayal of the world of everyday Iraqis — Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds — in the midst of a devastating war has earned him an Academy Award nomination.

Longley, 35, who lives in Belltown, learned Tuesday morning that his film, “Iraq in Fragments,” was one of five Oscar nominees for Best Documentary Feature.

It is, as Charles predicted, a big story. The piece jumps to the inside of the paper, where there are several pictures from the film. I haven’t seen the Seattle Times today, but their big story can’t be far behind.

Last summer The Stranger selected Longley for our 2006 Genius Award for Film. Here’s Annie Wagner’s profile of Longley from our Genius Issue.


A note from Annie Wagner. I’m pulling this note up from the comments because some of you seem to be having trouble believing that I’ve been cheerleading for this movie from the start.

My long interview with James Longley for the Arab and Iranian Film Festival in March:

My review of Iraq in Fragments for the Arab and Iranian Film Festival:

My Slog post on the occasion of the Arab and Iranian Film Festival:

Andy Spletzer’s Slog post on the Sundance screening of Iraq in Fragments:
(apologies for the formatting)

Andy Spletzer’s Sundance wrapup, which mentions Iraq in Fragments:

And while we’re at it:

Sean Nelson’s review of Gaza Strip, James Longley’s earlier film about Palestinian kids:

And of course, there’s the Genius profile, the short film Sari’s Mother by Longley that we played at the Genius Awards and throughout the Henry installation, my speech at the Genius Awards, the long review I wrote when it opened in Seattle, the Stranger Suggests, between ten and twenty Slog posts, etc.

We were advocating for Longley and Iraq in Fragments earlier and harder than any paper in Seattle. But that wasn’t so we could predict the Academy Award nominations. That was because we recognized a great Seattle filmmmaker and wanted to give him his due.

The Morning News

posted by on January 24 at 8:41 AM

President Bush’s State of the Union address was “limited in ambition” according to the New York Times. He “appeared unchastened” and “took no responsibility for his party’s defeat or errors in office” according to the Washington Post. Still, more than three-fourths who watched the speech reacted positively according to a CNN poll, though the “reaction was more muted than in previous years.”

The trial of I. Lewis Libby Jr., former chief of staff for vice president Cheney, got off to a finger-pointing start, as the defense team claimed their client was just a scapegoat for Karl Rove.

As the U.S. sends a second aircraft carrier group towards Iran, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he ain’t scared.

Hezbollah continues to apply pressure to the Lebanese government, hoping to embarrass Lebanese officials before an international aid conference, and ultimately, topple the government altogether.

Manuel Noriega dreams of returning to Panama after he’s released in September. Unfortunately, a murder conviction awaits him upon his return.

Hundreds of chickens have died in eastern China and the courts say a 4-year-old boy’s shrieking is the cause of it.

Global warming may make Germany the red wine capital of the world.

First there was “tunnel lite,” now there’s “elevated lite.”

The University of Washington wants to build affordable condos for its faculty—no doubt because Seattle’s home prices keep going up and up.

Microsoft tried to pay for Wikipedia copy, got busted.

The Port of Seattle is one of the least-efficient ports in the country.

Sane, angry parents took the Federal Way School Board to task last night over its idiotic banning of Al Gore’s (now Oscar-nominated) An Inconvenient Truth.

The oldest aardvark in captivity was put to sleep yesterday at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Her name was Kikuyu and she was 30 years old.

Because I Can, Too

posted by on January 24 at 8:39 AM


Confidential to Sidney

posted by on January 24 at 8:30 AM

That Pedersen post from Monday afternoon is still kicking. I responded to your comment. Enjoy.

Platonic Ideals in (and of) France

posted by on January 24 at 1:52 AM

January 18:

Marseille feels like the platonic ideal of a city—dirty, teeming, ornate, ancient, fecund. Once a resort town, it´s now got a terrible reputation because of the immigrants (Turkish, Algerian, Moroccan) and the poverty and its attendant crime. It looks officially neglected but undeniably alive. The streets are full of people (fashionable French, bearded men in jeballahs, Berber women with chin tattoos and hennah-dyed fingertips) and the walls are full of grafitti and soot.

Our host, Florian, was the platonic ideal of a Frenchman. He had a beautiful, huge apartment—wrought-iron balconies, high coffered ceilings, and an awesome record collection—that was dingy enough to feel comfortable. He spoke excellent English and Spanish and wore black, rectangular spectacles, casually mussed hair, and a hickey, demurely half-hidden by his collar. He was roommates with a half-Algerian man and an all-Moroccan woman. He also cooked the best food of any of the promoters on tour (I know—they cook for the bands here): pasta with garlic and parsley and a perfectly spiced ratatouille.

After the gig and a drink at his apartment, he dug around in the kitchen for some comte cheese and a bottle of bordeaux he had been saving. (“Poh!” said his roommate when Florian pulled out the bottle and was first in line to have a sip.) When he found out it was my birthday, he motioned me into the next room for a celebratory shot of absinthe. He and his girlfriend talked intelligently about immigration, architecture, and rock and roll while she rolled hash cigarettes to pass around. The next morning, he got up before everyone to make coffee and fetch fresh bread and chocolate. He was the soul and flower of grace and hospitality. I left his apartment with the same feeling I always have when confronted with perfection—a little bettered, a little ashamed.

January 23:

Clorox Girls and Holy Ghost Revival have been playing bars and clubs but their squat audience last night, in Logrono (the capital—I think—of La Rioja, which would make it the capital of Spanish wine), was great. So great that the bands got bucky and turned their usual finale (a punked-out group cover of Wooly Booly by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs) into a tour through rock and roll history, moving from Sam the Sham to the Misfits to the Germs to the Kingsmen to the Troggs and back into Wooly Booly. The crowd went nuts. We went nuts. Despite the dogs and the vegan anarcho-twits and the shitty beer. (Forseeing the latter, we brought five bottles with us into the squat. We should have brought ten.)

(Sorry I´m not slogging more—I´m hardly ever near a computer. I was surprised to see, on our host´s television yesterday morning, that Obama had declared he´s running in ´08.)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

YouTube Yanks “God Hates a Fag”

posted by on January 23 at 11:23 PM


The video of the day—of the year—has been removed from YouTube. But it’s still available at Evening Service’s website. Enjoy—and if you’re a DJ, get on that remix already! (Video sleuthing via Sullivan.)

Eek! Crazy Socialist Does Crazy Things in Venezuela!

posted by on January 23 at 10:27 PM

North Americans sure feel uncomfortable with Hugo Chavez. Check out his baffling array of influences (and plans to reverse screw foreign investors, the horrors!) in this readable if biased NYT feature. The author finds it outlandish that Chavez quotes both Jesus and Einstein. Not really that baffling when you consider our own president talks about Jesus and Camus.

Chavismo sounds better than Bushism though. (And yes, grammar Nazi slogsters, I know they’re not really comparable terms.)

Jim McDermott Responds

posted by on January 23 at 7:28 PM

Congressman Jim McDermott just sent us his response to the president’s speech, and he’s willing to answer questions from our Slog readers. Put them in the comments starting… now.

I wanted to take in the President’s speech tonight like the vast majority of Americans, so I chose to watch in front of a television set instead of the inevitable pomp and circumstance associated with hearing a State of the Union Address in person in the House.

Before the President finished the first page of the speech, I wondered if the President was aware of what the American people said at the polls in November. He announced he was staying with his convictions—stay the course even after the American people demanded he change course for the good of the nation.

The number one issue facing this nation is Iraq, but the President chose instead to talk about earmarks and judges and a host of other issues before he mentioned Iraq. He simply cannot face the crisis before us, a war claiming more American lives every day.

For me, the State of the Union begins and ends with solving the Iraq War and I heard nothing tonight to make me feel optimistic that this President will ever face the truth about Iraq. If the neocons started this war, the President gave us a neocon job tonight.

I’ll blog more as you respond to my initial thoughts.

McDermott’s answers to Slog questions:

Congressman McDermott,

How will the president pay for an additional 92,000 soldiers?

Posted by Greg | January 23, 2007 07:33 PM

McDermott: The President has no idea except to drill deeper into debt.

An interlude, via McDermott’s press aide, via his Blackberry:

We are in statuary hall, ringed with tv cameras for instant analysis. A print reporter sees Jim is blogging and is taking notes about The Stranger now. Reporter is from National Journal and she is asking about health care, and you all.

And now, more Q & A:

How will the president balance the budget and pay for a trillion dollar war?

Posted by dental.demolition | January 23, 2007 07:38 PM

McDermott: He simply cannot do it. If he puts the war into the budget, he breaks the budget. It’s disingenuous and impossible, at least the way he described it tonight.
Congressman McDermott,

What do you believe the house democratic leadership is willing to do to bring this war to a conclusion?

Posted by golob | January 23, 2007 07:42 PM

With help from public, we will put more pressure on President. We will pass a non-binding resolution stating our opinion of the president’s war plan, and we will introduce legislation to require him to come back to Congress for approval if he wants additional money for the war. The mood of the speech was filled with arrogance and stubbornness and the American people saw it.
Are the Democrats going to support the renewal of the No Child Left Behind Act? After working in the public schools, all I saw it do was stress out teachers to get good test scores. It didn’t help the students at all.

Posted by Marcy | January 23, 2007 07:53 PM

McDermott: We need to do more. We should be investing in our future. This President never funded it fully in any budget. We are going to look carefully at it—fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
While the president’s plan for providing tax cuts appears to be great news for those who make enough money to afford extraordinarily expensive private health plans… it appears to be very bad news for anyone who is still lucky enough to still get employer sponsored healthcare or who do not make enough money to afford health insurance in the first place. After all, you don’t get the tax break if you can’t afford the insurance in the first place.

How would you propose solving the healthcare crisis in America or at least stop it from becoming worse?

Posted by Pack | January 23, 2007 07:53 PM

McDermott: You got it. This is health care for the rich and health prayers for the rest of us. As for solutions: Univeral health care. We can start by insuring every child and every person over age 50.

Blogging (and Drinking) Our Way Through the State of the Union

posted by on January 23 at 5:55 PM


Ari Spool is here with Eric Grandy, a case of Coors, a bottle of Cristalino, some lime vodka, a quart of cranberry juice, and her official SOTU drinking game rules.

I’m here with my keyboard.

Congressman Jim McDermott is in Washington, D.C., and will be joining us after the speech to offer his thoughts and answer a few questions. (Got a question for the Congressman? Put it in the comments.)

Now all that’s left is for the president to arrive… in about 20 minutes.

While we wait, fill in the blank: “The state of the union is __________”

* * * * * * *

6:10 PM “I have a high privilege and distinct honor of my own—as the first President to begin the State of the Union message with these words: Madam Speaker.” How nice. And Pelosi is looking very pure and very un-San-Francisco liberal in her white suit. And Ari and Eric are getting ready to drink “whenever he insults our intelligence.”


6:11 PM Praying for the speedy return of Democratic Senator Tim Johnson, huh? Ari and Eric don’t believe it. They’re drinking.

6:14 PM “Like many before us, we can work through our differences, and achieve big things for the American people.” (Or just keep flailing. )

6:15 PM “This economy is on the move.” Right. And freedom is on the march, and the terrorists are on the run, and Ari is now on her third shot.

6:16 PM “First, we must balance the Federal budget. We can do so without raising taxes.” And flowers in Baghdad, and WMDs, and Ari and Eric are drinking again.

6:18 PM “We need to make sure our children are prepared for the jobs of the future.” Because, as the president’s said in the past, “The illiteracy level of our children are appalling.”

6:19 PM Eric says: “Those kids are going to need their math skills to keep track of the casualties.” Drinks.

6:21 PM Ari says: “Wait, so how’s he paying for this new healthcare plan?” Exactly.


6:26 PM “For too long our nation has been dependent on foreign oil.” Where have we heard that before? Oh yeah, last year, and the year before, and the year before that.

6:27 PM Ari has a new rule: A drink for every time the word “terrorist” comes up.


6:28 PM Dan walks in and asks: “Why is Sen. Ted Stevens clapping at a line about Americans using less oil?” Pause. “Oh, right. Because it’s never going to happen.”

6:31 PM “Five years have come and gone since we saw the scenes and felt the sorrow that terrorists can cause. We have had time to take stock of our situation.” And time to decide… Our situation is great!

6:33 PM “Our success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen.” Eric says: “If success is measured in things that haven’t happened, then this war is going great.”


6:36 PM “And so it remains the policy of this Government to use every lawful and proper tool of intelligence, diplomacy, law enforcement, and military action to do our duty, to find these enemies, and to protect the American people.” Ari says: “Oh, lawful tools, yeah, like… suspending habeus corpus.” Drinks.

6:38 PM “Free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies.” So John McCain was wrong about America’s “agents of intolerance”?

6:40 PM “This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we are in.” Eric and Ari, now at 17 shots, start singing: “We didn’t start the fire…

6:43 PM “We did not drive al Qaeda out of their safe haven in Afghanistan only to let them set up a new safe haven in a free Iraq.” Ari: “Woah. I don’t even know what to say to that. Drink.”

6:45 PM “The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others…” Have fun Hillary… Or Edwards, or Obama, or McCain.

6:50 PM “American foreign policy is more than a matter of war…” Now he tells us.


6:53 PM Ari asks: “Is Dikembe Mutombo touching Laura Bush? When do you think was the last time she was touched by a black man?”

6:55 PM More Grandy pics requested from the comments. And we aim to please…


6:59 PM The conclusion: “The State of our Union is strong … our cause in the world is right … and tonight that cause goes on.” And as for the state of Ari and Eric’s livers… They say: “STRONG!”


* * * * * * *

webb with daddy.jpg

Webb’s response: “This is the seventh time the president has mentioned energy independence in a state of the union message, but it is the first time it has taken place in a Democratic Congress.”

“The middle class of this country… is losing it’s place at the table.”

Under the Democrats: “The House just passed a minimum wage increase, the first in 10 years.”

“With respect to foreign policy, this country has patiently endured a mismanaged war for four years.”

“The majority of our country no longer supports the way this war is being fought, nor does the majority of the military, nor the majority of this Congress.”

ADDENDUM: OK, you caught us. Liveblogging is hard, it moves really fast, so yes, we did take a drinky picture or two before the speech, just to make the liveblogging go more quickly. However! Ari and Eric were here watching and drinking and bitching the whole time the president was speaking, and if you want the photographic, dark-windowed proof, here it is:



Taxi Stands Coming to Pioneer Square

posted by on January 23 at 5:52 PM

Starting Friday, January 26th Harborview’s taxi stand program will be up and running in Pioneer Square. Taxi stands, the thinking goes, make taxis more accessible (no calling, waiting, searching)—and so people can factor taxis into their plans instead of shrugging and drunk driving. Harborview opened a stand in Fremont last November in front of PCC Natural Markets on Evanston, just north of 34th street.

The Pioneer Square stands will operate Thursdays-Saturdays from 11:30 pm - 3:00 am.
They are at S. Washington St. at Occidental Park, across from Last Supper Club and
on the south side of S. King St. at Occidental, adjacent to Qwest Field parking.

A Harborview survey, based on answers from 300 21-34 year-olds living in Seattle who say they go out to drink, found that the most popular Seattle neighborhoods to go drinking, in order, are:

1) Capitol Hill (20%) 2) Fremont (18%) 3) Belltown (16%) 4) Downtown (13%) 5) Pioneer Square (12%) 6) U-District (8%) 7) Queen Anne (2%)

Some other tidbits from the study:

Nearly 20% said they’d driven within the past month, even though they knew they’d had too much to drink.

There were 8,210 DUI arrests in King County last year, with an average blood alcohol level of 0.14 (legal limit is 0.08).

43% of 21-34 year olds in Seattle drink 2-4 times per week; 10% (17% of males) drink 5 or more days per week.

44% in Seattle typically have more than 2 drinks when they drink alcohol; 34% of men usually have more than 4 drinks.

40% of men and 24% of women binge drink at least once a month.

54% of people this age in Seattle drank at a bar, restaurant or club the last time they were drinking with others. Only 24% were in their own home.

Alcohol-related crashes kill more people ages 21-34 than people of other ages.

Sample-Snatching Homeless Horror at QFC!

posted by on January 23 at 4:42 PM

Brace yourself.

At exactly 3:45 p.m., the skankiest homeless man in the history of Capitol Hill/Broadway (yes, even skankier that “the Human Scab” that lingers perennially in front of Dick’s, even skankier than the “Spare Any Change for a Hungry Man?”
man) snuck into the Broadway Market QFC. Snuck? Indeed. He was furtive as a coked-out cow in a leather factory. Or something. It was obvious that he had been 86’d from this particular QFC before—judging by his paranoid twitching, I’m guessing that he had been banned for life under threat of death by gainful employment.

I, tragically, was shopping at said QFC at the time, innocently standing in the DELI SECTION (near the fancy cheese!), and ruminating over the general repulsiveness and probable horrifying germy-ness of a sample display of some odd sort of HAM and MAYONNAISEY GOOP that was sweating goopishly, totally exposed to any and all elements and effluvium, in a big plastic bowl on a table. Next to it, a pile of suffering Wheat Thins. Before my wide and horrified eyes, the SKANKY HOMELESS MAN rushed to the bowl of sweating goop and PLUNGED his cracked, filthy, crack-blackened hands—practically up to his fucking elbows!!!—right into it. Then he RUSHED BACK OUT, absconding with TWO BIG SLOPPY BUM HANDFULS of delicious goop.

I informed the QFC staff, rather hysterically, and they kindly took the goop away, God bless them. Perhaps they’ll have the wisdom TO NEVER OFFER IT—or ANYTHING LIKE IT—EVER AGAIN.

Let’s hope so.

I am very sorry I had to tell you this.

Because I Can, Too

posted by on January 23 at 4:33 PM

Serena Williams is back! She beat 16th-seeded Shahar Peer (3-6, 6-2, 8-6) to reach the Australian Open semifinals. Serena’s stuff was all over the court for 2 hours, 34 minutes.

Sen. Ed Murray Officially Offers School Board Reform Bill

posted by on January 23 at 4:18 PM

I’m swamped. Here’s Murray’s just-released press release. I know Savage digs this. What say the rest of you?

Murray offers school board fix

OLYMPIA – School closures, million dollar budget shortfalls and leadership challenges at the superintendent’s position are just a few of the struggles facing school districts today. Parents are eager for solutions, yet patience is running thin.

“There’s a lot of frustration out there,” said Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, who is proposing legislation to allow voters to revamp the governance structure of their school district board of directors. “There are plenty of parents who’d like to try something new at the school board level. A new structure for school boards is one way to bring about some constructive change.”

Murray’s proposal, Senate Bill 5535, would create a petition process for citizens to change their elected school board to an appointed board, and vice versa. If changing to an appointed board, the petition would determine the appointing body.

Today on Line Out

posted by on January 23 at 4:17 PM

Right Fit: Round Here We Say Birds Not Blanchett.

Tonight in Music: Seattle Symphony and Lowfish.

Love God’s Gays: Sufjan Stevens, Polyphonic Spree Battle Make Twee Case for Gay Christendom.

Miss Shapes: Is Ari Spool the Fourth Pipette?

Can’t Go Back: Paper Cuts’ Songs for a Sunny Winter’s Day.

Kiss Off: Black Lips Shut My Mouth.

Mr. Pharmacist: Ted Leo, Pharmacists, Medications, and Incurable Disease.

Eye Burgers: Industrial Revelations Contort Your Senses.

Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad: Knitting, War, and the Decemberists.

RIP DJ Soonami: Local DJ Dies in Car Crash.

Full Release: Today’s Many New Records.

RIP Disco D: Ghetto Tech DJ Commits Suicide.

Star-Crossed Love: Courtney Love Must Be Stopped.

Workers of the World Unite!: Against the Boss.

Because I Can

posted by on January 23 at 3:43 PM

Ladies and gentleman, once again the Croatian national water polo team…


There’s more where that came from at the New York Times.

Well, That Took Too Much Time

posted by on January 23 at 3:39 PM

Okay, so the top donor to the highest-profile campaign in the highest-profile battle this city has seen in years is Christopher Ackerley, head of Ackerley Partners.

You wouldn’t know that, though, if you simply went to Seattle’s elections commission where campaigns file contribution reports.

Sheesh. I had to tell them where the money came from.

That’s because, in the disclosures presented to the public, the biggest donor is simply listed as: AWV Partners LCC. They’ve contributed $18,000 to the pro-tunnel campaign, which is called Waterfront for All/Not Another Elevated.

To find out who AWV Partners LCC is, you have to call the secretary of state’s office to get AWV’s annual report. That lists their board and a phone number. That gets you to Ackerley Partners—a venture-capital firm run by the former billboard guys who got bought out by Clear Channel a while back.

They won’t want to talk about where the $18,000 came from, though, and they’ll forward you to John Taylor—who is the policy director of the Downtown Seattle Association.

So, Taylor told me he didn’t know where the $18,000 came from. Then he called back to tell me that Christopher Ackerley called Taylor to say, yes, he contributed the money. (I had left a message on Christopher Ackerley’s voice mail.)

Why am I relaying this mundane reporting story? Because: The public’s access to information about big donors to important ballot campaigns like Tunnel vs. Rebuild shouldn’t depend on reporters getting annual reports from the secretary of state and then having to make phone call after phone call. (I also happen to be friends with Taylor, which I think, helped me get the info.)

The public just doesn’t have that kind of access or time. And they shouldn’t have to have that kind of access or time to get this basic info.

My point being: Public disclosure law is Swiss cheese.

State of the Union Drinking Game

posted by on January 23 at 3:27 PM

Ari, looks like someone beat you to it.

Ghost Universe

posted by on January 23 at 3:12 PM


Researchers from the Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS) have released a map of dark matter that they created with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope. On the left is regular old light matter (good enough for me, dammit) and on the right is the dark matter that we can only see through its gravitational effects on light matter. But as the article says, “most cosmologists believe dark matter plays a crucial role in how large structures such as galaxies emerged after the Big Bang.” So there’s something we can’t see, smell, touch, hear, or taste, and it is essential in the formation of life as we know it. Worrisome.

What’s more: I’m having trouble getting this image out of my head. I see poltergeists here. Spirits, ghouls, the undead scarifying the universe. Call me old-fashioned, but I’d prefer a world composed solely of comprehensible light matter. But I guess we’re way past that now.

You can read about it here, but I warn you, it’s unsettling.

Re: Campaign Finance. Well, I’ll be Damned.

posted by on January 23 at 3:10 PM

I eat my hat for criticizing the do-gooder campaign finance folks.

There actually is a bill that gets at the real problem of veiled LLC contributions. This one, sponsored by Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-44, Snohomish), would regulate donations from LLCs—limiting the contributions and providing disclosure.

SOTU: No Radical Shift on Climate Change

posted by on January 23 at 2:58 PM

Environmentalists are already preparing to be underwhelmed by Bush’s State of the Union speech, at which he’s expected to acknowledge climate change for the first time ever—and unveil a list of policies that will do virtually nothing about it. Among the policies Bush is expected to propose:

Huge new subsidies for ethanol producers. Bush will pay lip service to alternatives like cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel, but the majority of the subsidies will go where they always have: Big Corn.

• “Improved” fuel economy standards that actually just shift the playing field to favor larger cars at the expense of smaller, more efficient vehicles.

• The same old emphasis on “energy independence,” which will once again be code for more and more drilling for oil. (For a great synopsis of Bush’s “energy independence” rhetoric in previous SOTUs, go here.)

• No commitment to specific emissions reduction goals.

By the way, emissions reductions are hardly controversial. As one supporter of mandatory emissions goals put it recently, “Action is not only justified, it’s critical - greenhouse-gas emissions are rising at an unprecedented rate.” The source for the quote is that noted environmental extremist Peter Darbee, head of Pacific Gas & Electric.

A Week of Fun

posted by on January 23 at 2:55 PM

Okay, so two comedians bid on the Strangercrombie Stranger Suggests, win it, and then have three weeks to pull together A Week of Fun.

From an email they sent me:

Dartanion London and I (Hari Kondabolu) saw an opportunity with the Strangercrombie auction to showcase the Seattle alternative comedy scene by planning a festival around The Stranger Suggests. We booked a bunch of great venues around the city (many of which aren’t traditional comedy venues) and we’ve kept prices low, so people can afford to go. We’re also collaborating with parts of the improv and sketch scene too. I think standup comedy can really suck and I realize why people have developed a distaste for it. (The racism, misogyny, homophobia, and classism that come with much of the standup you see on TV and in many clubs is a reason why and I hate much of it too.) However, I also think it is one of the freeest (3 E’s in a row? No way that could be right) art forms in the world and Seattle is building a really interesting scene right now. (Not perfect…not huge…but growing and developing.)

It’s an ambitious, clever idea and if elbow grease and enthusiasm count for anything, A Week of Fun is already successful. But aside from the cerebral high of putting this week together, they really want people to show up. Each night will feature a new venue (or venues) and a different take on comedy—from open mics and entertainments shows to improv comedy/horror.

Dave Schmader, Charles Mudede, DJ Sabzi from Blue Scholars and I have already agreed to perform at Sunday night’s celebrity open mic at the Comedy Underground. I am considering asking Joel Connelly to be my date.

Dave will be reading from a hilarious piece called Exploring Whoring and I will be reading something penned at the age of 13 (my sense of humor peaked young). I have no idea what DJ Sabzi or Charles have planned, but I’ve never had an encounter with Charles that I didn’t walk away from highly amused.

For A Week of Fun’s night-by-night lineup, you can check this week’s Stranger Suggests, or visit

Sam Brownback

posted by on January 23 at 2:37 PM


Right-wing pundits were steaming about my campaign to turn Rick Santorum’s last name into a very dirty word in the run-up to the last election. That would be the race Ricky lost by 18 points. Here’s Kathryn Jean Lopez letting me have it at National Review, and pay-for-say conservative pundit/Bush administration hack Maggie Gallagher fuming in her syndicated column (“The undying hatred of people with Dan Savage’s views is a badge of honor…”). Those were good times, huh?

But at least with Santorum the wingers waited to attack me until after I attacked him. (And I only attacked Santorum after he attacked me—and all homos everywhere—several hundred thousand times in the U.S. Senate.) The wingers are worried that with Santorum farmed out to some stink tank or other, I might turn my attentions to their new pooperstar, a conservative presidential candidate with a last name as ripe for the fucking as Rick Santorum’s: Sam Brownback.

The Republican presidential candidate who generates the most contempt among the Left is Kansas Senator Sam Brownback. On Saturday he announced that he’s officially entering the race for the Republican nomination. Brownback wants to position himself as the “true conservative” among Republican presidential candidates. He’s a vocal opponent of gay marriage and abortion.

He’s attracting notice from both ends of the political spectrum.

As I’ve remarked earlier about Brownback, left-wing gay activists have taken to mockingly nicknaming the senator “Brownback Mountain.” But it may not end at name calling…. Despite meager support among Republicans when they ran for president in 2000, some gays couldn’t stomach the very idea of Gary Bauer and Alan Keyes.

Sex advice columnist and gay-rights activist Dan Savage, pictured above, took his Bauer-Keyes hatred to a bizarre level seven years ago. He volunteered for Gary Bauer’s campaign shortly before the Iowa caucuses—while suffering from the flu. By licking pens, doorknobs, and any other device that could be touched by other Bauer staff, Savage hope to use germ warfare to undermine the Bauer effort…. A warning to the Brownback campaign. Watch out for the guy….

Hm… licking Brownback’s knob? I’m not interested, Marathon Pundit. First, licking office supplies, doorknobs, hardware, and staplers is gross—which I know that for a fact. And while pretending to be a terrorist in 2000 was tres amusant, it’s not so much anymore. (And remember: Bauer compared gay marriage to terrorism before 9/11, something Santorum would do after 9/11. So while I, depraved homo, no longer see faux terrorism as a funny stunt, right wingers still can’t resist abusing the term.) Besides, I learned my lesson when I was indicted by the state of Iowa for something I didn’t do (vote fraud) because they couldn’t charge me with a crime for what I did do (slobbering all over Gary Bauer’s knobs).

And besides, Marathon Pundit, do I even need to lick Brownback’s knobs? Calling Santorum names—from afar! I never even had to get near him! thank God!—did Rick so much damage that wingnut bigwigs like Lopez and Gallagher took time away from making excuses for (and cashing checks from) the Bush administration to attack lil’ ol’ pole smokin’ me. My readers are badgering me to go after Brownback. A few recent emails:

It was great to see how much good the re defining of Rick Santorum’s name worked out in the election but now it appears the GOP has another up coming star, Sam Brownback. Brownback as I’m sure you know is opposed to abortion (even in the case of rape and incest) and doesn’t think the constitution affords those undergoing abortion a right to privacy. So far he hasn’t really made strong statements in opposition to gay life styles although he does oppose gay marriage but he has been deliberately swinging to the right whenever possible recently to try and establish himself as the right wing candidate for the ‘08 election. Perhaps you and your readers could work on a definition to pin on him. I mean come on… BROWNBACK!—Slander Politicians If They’re Evil
In light of his unrelenting efforts to persecute those who support gay marriage and persistent (and unconstitutional?) attempts to malign judicial nominees based on their activities supporting the LGBTG community, wouldn’t it be great to jumpstart a campaign to associate Senator Sam Brownback’s surname with something less savory and more antagonistic to his political base? Considering the success with Rick Santorum, this one should be fairly easy given the meanings one can readily infer from “Brownback.”—Faithful Fan
Despite your humility on the issue, the world owes you much for the humiliation cast upon Sen. Frothy Mix. May I suggest that you turn your arsenal of readers (and now listeners—great podcast) toward a new target: Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback. Besides having a name divinely crafted for ridicule, he is being anointed as the next great hope of the theocons and is testing the waters for a presidential run. He’s virulently anti-abortion, anti-stem cell, anti-gay rights, and member of a creepy Christian Right group “The Fellowship.” He even co-sponsored the “Constitution Restoration Act,” a bill that would strip the Supreme Court of its ability to hear church-state cases. So, how about it: a contest to name a sex act or by-product ‘The Brownback’?—Time to Savage Brownback

Brownback… upper case… brownback… lower case…

It seems we could, with a little effort and a website, come up with a lower-case definition for Brownback. I could sit on my ass in Seattle, do whatever harm I can to Brownback’s presidential campaign, all without having to travel or risk arrest. Sounds like a plan.

I’m open to ideas for possible sex acts, substances, or byproducts.

The Case Against Public Financing

posted by on January 23 at 2:36 PM

Today, I’m wasting a lot of my time trying to track down the biggest donor to a particular high-profile campaign in town. This shouldn’t be a big deal. But despite public disclosure laws, the donor remains a mystery because they’re simply registered as an LLC with a meaningless name.

Who are they? Where does their $20,000 come from?

Well, I’m working with the Secretary of State’s office to find out.

So, here’s the bigger story: The reason these “off-shore” campaign groups exist is because misguided do-gooder politicians regulate (limit) how much many candidates can raise. This means independent groups pick up the slack for candidates. (It’s legal to put limits on candidates through opt-in public financing schemes, but it’s much trickier, constitutionally, to regulate donors.) This means we don’t know who the fuck is funding campaigns.

The silver bullet for the corrupting influence of money in politics is not limiting money through public financing (that’s just like putting your finger in the dike), it’s full disclosure. Well-intentioned campaign finance reform like the public financing scheme currently being pushed in Olympia by Rep. Mark Miloscia (D-30, Federal Way) will unwittingly move the money to the murky netherworld of PACs and LLCs. This makes it difficult for the public to know who’s actually contributing.

For example, the end result of McCain/Feingold has been the emergence of 527s and Independent Expenditure groups, IEs. Sure, you can identify the 527 itself (“People for Groovy Candidates”) or the IE (“Citizens for the Constitution”), but try tracking down who’s giving money to them. It can be done (in some cases), but this system is truly a petri dish for corruption.

If candidates didn’t have to rely on third parties to spend the big bucks to get their messages out in our cluttered media world, but could raise the money directly, the public could track it more readily and reliably.

This would provide more transparency in our election process.

Meanwhile in Nigeria

posted by on January 23 at 1:55 PM

We have a very special guest Slogger: Laurence Ballard—actor, drama coach, blogger, impassioned commenter—sent us this post about some rather unpleasant goings-on in Nigeria.

While Slog readers may all be clucking their collective tongues about the over-the-top-can-it-possibly-be-real “God Hates a Fag” video from the good pastor Donnie Davies, over in Nigeria the government is very, very serious about their hate for all things homosexual, and are getting positively medieval about it. As reported on

Legislation that would strip gays and lesbians of all civil rights has passed its final hurdle and is set for a vote in Nigeria’s Parliament.

The bill started out as a ban on same-sex marriage and has been revised to make it a crime for more than two gay people to be in the same venue at the same time. It prohibits LGBT social or civil rights groups from forming.

It would be illegal to sell or rent property to same-sex couples, watch a gay film or video, visit an LGBT web site, or express same-sex love in a letter to one’s partner.

The legislation goes so far as to make it a criminal offense to impart information of HIV/AIDS to gays or for non-gays to meet with any group of gays for any purpose. The penalty would be five years in prison with hard labor. Gay sex already is illegal in Nigeria with sentences up to 14 years behind bars.

In the mostly Islamic north homosexuality can be punishable by death.

Nigeria has a long and robust history of aiding Atlantic Slave Trade. LGBT’s are the latest addition to the slave class.

The Promises He Made (Or: Blasts From Bush State of the Unions Past)

posted by on January 23 at 1:50 PM

This week the Wall Street Journal looked at the promises Bush has made to the American public each January, going all the way back to 2001. The piece kicks off with this Bush quote about Iraq, from last year’s speech:

“Fellow citizens, we are in this fight to win, and we are winning. The road of victory is the road that will take our troops home. As we make progress on the ground, and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further decrease our troop levels.

The Journal then notes:

After perhaps the bloodiest year for both American troops and Iraqis since the 2003 invasion, the strategy in Iraq has shifted dramatically — as has the language used to discuss the conflict. “Stay the course” is out, while “the way forward” is in.

Support among Americans and their representatives in Congress hit lows as the country spiraled toward a sectarian civil war and kidnappings and killings made daily headlines. Just after the midterm elections, in which voter anger about the war helped Democrats retake control of the House and Senate, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was pushed out. The Iraq Study Group report, released in December, provided both a searing critique of the administration’s policies and a bleak picture of how bad the situation really is. Conceding in an address earlier this month,”Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me,” Mr. Bush acknowledged a litany of American failures and announced plans to send at least 20,000 more troops to Iraq.

Meanwhile, a new addition to tonight’s liveblogging lineup: Ari Spool will provide real-time photographic evidence that she is indeed participating in her much-hyped State of the Union drinking game.

Speech begins at 6 p.m.

Re: “God Hates a Fag”

posted by on January 23 at 1:17 PM

Over at Newspeak—home to the Colorado Heterosexual Hall of Fame—they’ve pulled together a Donnie Davies Fag Club.

It’s also clear to me that, based on Donnie’s awesomeness, that he can be saved from the clutches of heterosexuality. To contact Donnie and let him know that good times and great gay sex await him, please send him a friend request and a message at or email him at, or AIM him at PastorDavies.

To be a member of the Donnie Davis Fag Club you can add the icon above to your blog sidebar or myspace page and we’ll get some pins and maybe even some t-shirts made up. It’s not too late for Donnie! Please help him see that there IS a back door to heaven.

Meanwhile in the comments thread to my original post the debate rages: Legit? Hoax? Sublime? Offensive?

If it is a hoax—and some little bit of me is hoping it’s not—then it’s a spectacular one, and some enterprising DJ needs to do a dance remix of “God Hate a Fag” and get this into the clubs by Saturday. A bar filled with homos dancing their asses to Donnie Davis’ vocal stylings would be proof that there is a God after all.

And heaven’s back door is gaping open.

Knitnotwar 1,0o0

posted by on January 23 at 12:58 PM

When I interviewed the Decemberists in PDX a couple months ago, talk turned to my passion for crafts, and Chris Funk told me about “an art installation of peace” called knitnotwar 1,0o0. Inspired by Sadako Sasaki, who folded 1,000 origami cranes after the US atom bombings of Hiroshima in 1945, Portland artist Seann McKeel is rounding up folks to knit and felt a thousand origami-style cranes. The whole teeming flock will be displayed in late 2007 in the Rose City. (There’s a nice pic of a modest gaggle of them here.)

For information on how to get involved, a downloadable pattern, photographs, etc., visit I completed my first crane this weekend. Here are a couple photos. The actual knitting and finishing went very quickly — the felting was the only time-consuming part (it took three washes to get the quality I wanted).

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Oh. My. God.

posted by on January 23 at 12:39 PM

From the New York Post (via Shakes’ Sis): Hispanic New Mexico Gov. Richardson “Throws Sombrero Into the Ring.”

No, really.

Faboo TV Tonight

posted by on January 23 at 12:18 PM

Watching the State of the Union make you want to slit your wrists?
Well here’s something to lift your mood: David Letterman has a terrific lineup tonight:
The Shins, Ricky Gervais, and Forest Whitaker!


Another State of the Union First

posted by on January 23 at 11:54 AM

The president intends to call on Americans to reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent over the next 10 years.

Sounds big. But so did Bush’s call, in 2004, for putting Americans on Mars.

I Will Buy Anything This Person Is Selling

posted by on January 23 at 11:49 AM

What’s the secret behind great salesmanship? RAPPING YOUR TV COMMERCIAL. Just ask Montgomery, Alabama’s SAMMY STEPHENS who offers the most convincing reason I’ve ever heard to buy a living room… bedroom… dinette… from Flea Market Montgomery! Why? Because it’s just like… it’s just like… it’s just like a mini-mall! Hey-Hey! You know it! It’s just like… a mini-mall!

Big tips to BWE!

More State of the Union Fun!

posted by on January 23 at 11:38 AM

An addition to Ari’s drinking game, from the great Zay Smith.

For those scoring at home
QT Annual State of the Union Address (Which Is Not to Mention the Democratic Response and Subsequent TV Spin Interviews) News You Can Use:

Touching the nose, touching the face and ears, slurring or stammering, leaning forward, swallowing, lip licking, inappropriate smiling, pauses filled with such words as “uh” and “er,” increased slips of the tongue and grammatical errors, an averted gaze, throat clearing, increased verbal qualifiers such as “generally” and “actually,” expansion of contractions into full phrases such as “didn’t” into “did not,” emphasis of statements with such words as “honestly” and “as far as I know,” decreased finger-pointing, decreased hand gestures in general, tightened lips, shrugging, increased handling of such objects as eyeglasses or papers, decreased blinking, crossed arms, closing the hands into fists and increased sighing and audible breaths are 23 ways, according to researchers, to tell if someone is lying.

Do a shot each time you see one of these signs, and you won’t have to worry about lack of health insurance because you’ll be dead from alcohol poisoning.

By Popular Demand— A State of the Union Drinking Game!

posted by on January 23 at 10:48 AM

GAWD! Politics are BORING! But drinking makes anything a party, and if you can feel like you are doing your civil service by paying attention and get slammed at the same time, then why not? Then, at work the next day, when everyone asks you why you look like shit, you can say, “I was crying because the State of the Union speech was just so BEAUTIFUL! No, I’m not still drunk! Why would you even think that?”

OK, here are the levels:

Every time the President insults your intelligence, take a shot of Coors!
Every time Nancy Pelosi either raises her eyebrows in disbelief or brings the sassy attitude, take a red, white and blue Jello shot!
Every time the Democrats applaud sarcastically, chug champagne until you burp!

Hopefully, by the end of the speech, you will look like Ted Kennedy in Cabo San Lucas during spring break!

Last one to puke wins!

Free Stranger Valentines!

posted by on January 23 at 10:40 AM

Flowers are too predictable, chocolate is too fattening, and cards are too easy. So instead of the usual Valentine’s Day gift why not make a public spectacle of your love by sending your sweetheart a Stranger Valentine! Not only is your Stranger Valentine absolutely FREE—no hidden fees! no sales personal will call! no shit!—it’s easier than Adrian Ryan in a K-hole!

Just click here, follow the simple instructions, and gush to your heart’s content! (Your heart’s content cannot, however, exceed 40 words.) Your valentine is FREE—absolutely free! 100% free!—and it will appear in our February 8 Valentine’s Day Issue!

The deadline is noon on Friday, February 2. Due to overwhelming demand, it’s first come first served and space is limited—so don’t delay! Get that Valentine in today!

The fine print: No assholes, no stalkers, no last names, no phone numbers, and one per customer—unless, of course, you’re poly and have video to prove it.

Awarding Genius

posted by on January 23 at 10:35 AM

What’s truly amazing about Iraq in Fragments is not its Academy Award nomination but its relative obscurity. Even here in Seattle, where the director, James Longley, is based, it has not received serious attention and roaring praise outside of The Stranger. And when released in November 2006, the public’s interest was at best lukewarm—like the two other local productions screened at Landmark Theaters last year (We Go Way Back, and Police Beat), Iraq in Fragments ran for just two weeks. That’s as far as Seattle would go with it—two fucking weeks for the greatest work of film art to come out of this town. Now that it has an Academy Award nomination to its name, we can expect big stories from the Seattle Times, the PI, and Seattle Weekly. But where were they last year?

I have a guess: No one wanted to support a movie that looked at the situation in Iraq completely from the other side of the story. Why? Because, in general, Americans can only understand Americans. If the documentary had been about some Kentucky kid who, while serving in Baghdad, starts wondering if the war is in fact a bad war, then those publications would have been all over it like nobodies business. It is the strangeness of the approach that caused them to neglect the film.

I’m also sure that if the Nov 7th election had not made the war’s unpopularity loud and clear, the Academy would have given Longely’s documentary nothing more than a nod. Only now, as that Bush fox is going down, are the chickens coming out, trying to look all brave and progressive.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 23 at 10:30 AM

Vendela Vida

(Literary Greatness) Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name is far from the usual overreaching or rut digging that typify sophomore novels. Vendela Vida takes the conceit of a woman searching for her biological father and expands it into wonderful, weird places—specifically, the permanent dusk of Lapland in winter. The sentences are warm with their own pulse, alive with ice hotels and reindeer, matchbook collections and hampering hampers. This is a book that echoes, and you should go and listen intently and be grateful that a human being can write something so gorgeous. (University Bookstore, 4326 University Way NE, 634-3400. 7 pm, free; also on Wed Jan 24 at Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 South Main St, 624-6600. 7:30 pm, free.) PAUL CONSTANT

Confidential to “First Amendment Lover”

posted by on January 23 at 10:25 AM

I’m super busy today, but I did leave another comment in the Pedersen thread.

Someday My Prince Will Come…

posted by on January 23 at 10:14 AM

… but I will walk away. Actually, I will RUN.

A little over a week ago, I went to a party called “Pornstarville” in Las Vegas. I was getting my drink on, in a room full of strangers and more barely-dressed porn chicks than you could shake a stick at. I’ve never seen so many, um, tanned and “augmented” ladies. I’m standing there, looking Seattle (pale and NON-augmented), and wearing a ratty Slayer t-shirt. Four men in razor-sharp suits come up to me and tell me that their friend wants to meet me. Okay. I sit down in a booth with a man, in an even nicer suit and a jet-black turban. He tells me, very bluntly, that I’m “the most beautiful woman in the whole club.” “Yeah, right,” I say. He grabs my face and starts kissing me. Uh, REALLY kissing me. His four buddies start excitedly snapping pictures, saying, “She’s going to be FAMOUS! These pictures will be all over the papers in Middle East next week!” Whoah, whoah, whoah. Brakes. I tell him, “I have to go.” I get up. They BEG me to stay. Finally they say, “You CAN’T leave! Don’t you know who this is?! HE’S THE PRINCE OF DUBAI!” I laugh. I say, “I don’t care WHO THE HELL he is, I gotta go.” My stone-sober friend, who’s been watching this whole scene, perplexed, grabs my arm and pulls me out. We head for the door. We run. So does The Prince. He grabs my other arm, and pleads with me. He says he’ll give me anything, ANYTHING in the world, if I will just stay with him. I look at him, square in the eye, and bolt for the door.

Home to Seattle. First thing I do is Google “Prince of Dubai.” Ha! Liar. This guy pops up.


Too old. That’s not this guy. Dig deeper. Uh-oh. Sure as shit, His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has a whole bunch of sons. And there’s ole Makeout Maktoum, second from the right. His name is Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, he once gave Tiger Woods a big-ass gold trophy, and well, he probably has more money than God.

Did I miss my chance to marry a billionaire prince? Or did I narrowly escape a potentially terrible *TERRIBLE* situation? OR was it just simply a rich creep trying to get all mackadelic on my ass at a porn party in Vegas? I guess I’ll never know.

State of the Union Firsts

posted by on January 23 at 9:56 AM

Tonight, when the House of Representatives’ Sergeant at Arms announces the arrival of the president, he will, for the first time in history, say: “Madam Speaker, the President of the United States.”

And for the first time since Bush took office, viewers of the speech won’t be looking at an image like this…


…but instead will see House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seated in Denny Hastert’s old spot. All eyes will be on Pelosi’s expressions and her moments of applause (and non-applause). And more than a few eyes will probably remain on her wardrobe.

I’ll be liveblogging the speech here beginning at 6 p.m.

And in another State of the Union first, Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott will join me here on Slog after the speech to give his impressions and answer a few questions.

“God Hates a Fag”

posted by on January 23 at 8:53 AM

Holy. Shit. This. Is. Hilarious.

But is it serious?

Sample lyrics: “Lord you are my strength, fill me with your love, help me fight these feelings… God hates a fag, God hates a fag, God hates a fag… To enter heaven, there is no back door…. Righteous man, get on your knees, there is no virtue in sodomy! Jesus my savior is the only man for me!”

God hates a fag? Whew! I thought he hated all of us! And if God only hates one of fag, shit, God isn’t even trying. I mean, right off the top of my head I can think seven or eight fags I hate. And “fill me with your love”? Is that the gayest lyric ever or what?

This video reminds me that South Park episode where Eric Cartman becomes famous for singing vaguely creepy Christian pop songs—with lyrics that echo “fill me with your love,” and, “Jesus is the only man for me,” and, “righteous man, get on your knees.” That South Park episode nailed the blatantly homoerotic, completely freaky sexual obsession that some straight Christian fundy boys and closeted Christian fundy homos allow themselves to have with their Lard and Saver. Can anyone find a clip of that video on YouTube? I tried and failed—but I’m not a tech-savvy, at-risk youth. It needs to be posted alongside this one.

UPDATE: And here it is… courtesy of tech-savvy, at-risk Elysse… Eric Cartman singing “Jesus Baby.” Favorite lyric: “I want to get down on my knees and start pleasing Jesus…”

“God Hates a Fag” via Pandagon.

The Morning News

posted by on January 23 at 8:27 AM

President Bush’s State of the Union address is tonight. The bullet points: global warming, immigration—pretty much everything except for that whole disastrous war thing.

Lebanon is one step closer to an open sectarian conflict today.

China has copped to testing an anti-satellite weapon. The U.S., Japan, Great Britain, and Australia are not amused.

Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House may have killed the public financing system.

Israeli president Moshe Katsav will be indicted on rape charges today. The allegations come from four women who used to work for him.

A 17-year-old boy was booked into the King County Juvenile Detention Center last weekend, spent 30 minutes in the holding area, started to convulse, then died. Seattle police now want to know why.

Governor Gregoire is defending the viaduct vote, refuses to say what she’ll do if Seattle voters say they prefer Nickels’s stupid tunnel plan.

Port of Seattle commissioners are calling for an investigation into racist and dirty e-mails sent by some of the Port’s employees.

Scientists at the University of Washington have found a new way to grow Hepatitis C in the lab, a discovery that may help lead them to a vaccine.

A diver in Australia survived a shark attack by jabbing the beast in the eye after it had already chomped on his head.

And the Oscar Doesn’t Go To…

posted by on January 23 at 7:24 AM

Oscar nominations were announced this morning, and to the shock and delight of musical-haters everywhere, Dreamgirls did not make the cut for best picture. (Yesssss!)

Congratulations to Stranger Genius James Longley and Seattle-based producer John Sinno who secured the nomination for Iraq in Fragments. They’ve got crushing competition in Al Gore and Paramount’s An Inconvenient Truth, but fuck yeah! I’m slightly sorry that Jonestown didn’t knock off My Country, My Country; still, overall, it’s a fantastic year for documentaries. People should see all those nominees.

Now for what you guys actually care about:

Best motion picture of the year

“Babel” (Paramount and Paramount Vantage)
An Anonymous Content/Zeta Film/Central Films Production
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Jon Kilik and Steve Golin, Producers

“The Departed” (Warner Bros.)
A Warner Bros. Pictures Production
Nominees to be determined

“Letters from Iwo Jima” (Warner Bros.)
A DreamWorks Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures Production
Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg and Robert Lorenz, Producers

“Little Miss Sunshine” (Fox Searchlight)
A Big Beach/Bona Fide Production
Nominees to be determined

“The Queen” (Miramax, Pathé and Granada)
A Granada Production
Andy Harries, Christine Langan and Tracey Seaward, Producers

Two of these are all or mostly in languages other than English, which is unprecedented. (Foreign language films that have previously been considered for best picture are Grand Illusion, Z, The Emigrants, Cries and Whispers, Il Postino, Life Is Beautiful, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon—all in different years.) I believe three out of five are technically considered independent. And though I won’t strain myself defending Little Miss Sunshine, I think Babel has been seriously underrated by critics. (You want to see an implausible trainwreck of tragedy, try Mizoguchi’s Life of Oharu.) Too bad about United 93, of course, but at least Paul Greengrass got a directing nod.

Let the prognosticating begin!

Monday, January 22, 2007

The State of the Union

posted by on January 22 at 7:56 PM


Tomorrow night during Bush’s second-to-last State of the Union address—worth watching just to see Nancy Pelosi sitting behind Bush throughout the speech—I’ll be reading the Slog while Eli Sanders liveblogs the speech. Then I’m going to watch Sen. Jim “That’s Between Me and My Boy” Webb (D-ASSKICKING) give the official Democratic rebuttal. (Remember a few years ago when Washington’s own Gary Locke gave the Dem rebuttal? Of course you don’t—nobody does.) Then I’m heading over to to Talking Points Memo. Joshua Marshall had a brilliant idea: Invite his literate, politically informed, and tech-savvy readers to give their own rebuttals.

With the proliferation of webcams, phone-cams and video cameras, putting together a short video response to the president’s State of the Union address is relatively easy to do for a great number and possibly the majority of our readers.

So, watch the State of the Union address tomorrow night and then respond. It can be funny or serious, short or long (though shorter the better), focused on a specific point about the president’s speech or about the speech in general. It’s up to you.

Oh, and who’s brilliant idea was it to have Webb give the rebuttal? That was a stroke of genius.

Little Pink Bows

posted by on January 22 at 6:40 PM

So… Craigslist features prominently in next week’s “Savage Love,” and I’m sitting at my desk dinking around in CL, checking things out. You know, research. And I find this ad. Don’t you think the guy in the ad owes us some sort of explanation for the pic on the right?

I mean, we can surmise, I guess, what he’s into and all. And maybe I’m old fashioned. But a word or two about those little pink bows would seem to be called for. Or, shit, maybe I just don’t get the whole CL thing.

Dykin’ It Up, Madam President Style!

posted by on January 22 at 5:55 PM

The thing one must understand when discussing Hillary Clinton in any capacity is that she is probably a SECRET DYKE. Now, I am forced to admit, I am notoriously bad at spotting lesbians in general—I grew up in Montana, and all Montanan women are born with shaggy brown mullets and a lip full of SKOAL; ergo my lesbometer lies rather underdeveloped.


A secret source whose word I trust just a little less than God’s (and who boasts a long and celebrated military and political career, I’ll have you know) swears by the divine diapers of little Baby Jesus that the so-called “Clinton marriage” is merely a political device, that Hillary munches carpet like a boll weevil, and that at the Clinton White House? Well, the Secret Service had to sneak Hillary’s secret lesbo lovers in and out of the place, while Bill was busy sampling cigars elsewhere. I don’t KNOW that this is true, of course, and yet still, I somehow choose to really, really believe it. (It explains OH so very too fucking much.) But. Well. I’m notoriously gullible.


Dyke, dyke, dyke.

Keep Your Fork, There’s Pie

posted by on January 22 at 5:48 PM

January 23rd is National Pie Day.

Bake a pie tonight, share it with your friends tomorrow.

A nice slice of good apple pie is my favorite, warm, with a scoop of ice cream. Annie Wagner prefers tangy berry pies. Jen Graves says strawberry-rhubarb is the best. She’s wrong.

Regardless, we should all eat pie tomorrow.

Today On Line Out

posted by on January 22 at 5:45 PM

Very Well: Christpher Frizzelle listens to Joni Mitchell, Plays With Interviews Himself.

Californication: Rage Against The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers taint an otherwise awesome Coachella lineup.

Tonight in Music: MC Vagina.

Boogadaboogadaboogada: Megan Seling Listens To Screaching Weasel, Breaks Up With Imaginary Boyfriend.

What Do You Think Of The Sound Of The Foo Fighters?: Talking Shit and Pretty Sunsets

Didn’t Elephant Six Have That Song About Fire In The Taco Bell?: Ari Spool Listens To Apples In Stereo, Knows Where Jeff Mangum Lives.

Whiter Than Stuart Murdoch: Return Of The Mayonnaise.

Virgin Megawhore: Terry Miller Listens To John & Beverley Martyn, Shamelessly Plugs Own Blog.

A Lovely City: Detroits Belle & Sebastian?

A Lovelier City?: Yakima’s Hungry For Music, Feeds Bands.

Pod People: David Schmader Listens To Your iPod, Destroys You.

Pee On Me!: Black Lips and Gene Simmons.

Washingtonication: Because The Desert Fucking Sucks.

Re: Hillary’s “Conversation”

posted by on January 22 at 5:10 PM

As predicted, Hillary’s first webchat didn’t produce any astonishing new positions from the Senator or any uncomfortable questions from out of the wild web yonder.

What it did produce is a ton of email addresses for the Hillary Clinton campaign (you had to give an email address in order to watch the chat), more grist for the continuing mainstream media coverage of Hillary’s newly-launched presidential bid, a bunch of well-screened questions from the public, and a study in Clinton’s on-camera demeanor.

Clinton was, as even her detractors have taken to noting, extremely competent. She was obviously in command of all the issues that came up (health care, terrorism, energy independence, etc.) and in her instinct toward intelligent inquiry and perpetual dialogue she provided a stark contrast to the man she wants to replace. But I don’t know if she passed the likability test, the test of whether the average American wants to watch her on television (or on some computer’s media player) for four years starting in 2008.

Perhaps it’s unfair, but the inevitable comparison one ends up reaching for, when watching Hillary speak, is with her husband. And she is not as smooth or emotive as Bill Clinton, nor is she as warm. The question is whether, after eight years of Bush, Americans will settle for cold and competent. Andrew Sullivan frames it this way:

Hillary is essentially saying that we should trust her. She is giving us a clear signal of what a second Clinton administration would be like: all the centrism and responsibility of her husband’s eight years but without any of the charm.

Is that what Americans want? It seems that what they want is a form of escapism (in the form of Edwards), charisma (in the shape of Barack Obama), or integrity (in the guise of John McCain). But when the decision nears and the stakes, especially abroad, begin to seep in, might Hillary be right? Might they actually be yearning for dullness, competence and responsibility?

Speaking of Librarians…

posted by on January 22 at 4:35 PM

… did anyone feel betrayed by reviews like this and this while watching Masterpiece Theater’s Jane Eyre last night?

Authentic? Ha! What was the point of having Rochester hide all creepylike behind a curtain while an Irish lady played the gipsy? (Rochester impersonates the gipsy in the book.) Not only was the movie so dark you wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference (note to Susannah White: Barry Lyndon notwithstanding, you don’t have to light a period piece exclusively with candles), but it totally transforms a manipulative/sexy scene into a voyeuristic/skeezy scene.

And the actors have no chemistry. I would’ve sooner thought Rochester was about to molest Adèle than marry Jane Eyre. Yuck.

Note to concerned second-guessers: I am using the spelling of “gipsy” as Brontë had it. Check out the etext if you like. The fake gypsy in the novel is more a concept than an ethnicity and has nothing to do with the Romany people, so I retained the “i.”


posted by on January 22 at 4:33 PM

A bunch of readers and a coworker have sent me a link to this story, which explores the apparently growing trend of coffee stands that feature scantily clad female baristas, presumably thinking it would make my head explode. (And it does, but only the writing: “Hot is not the half of it”! “Bodacious baristas” are “on the menu”! “Sexpresso”! Is this part of the Times’ new “edgy,” younger image?)

However, the article notes that many of the baristas dressing up as sexy schoolgirls, sexy librarians, and sexy cowgirls for tips are high-school girls—which brings us to this story in today’s P-I, about a 17-year-old barista who was stalked at her job by an older man. After asking her to marry him, threatening to kill her and her family, and attempting to buy an assault rifle, the man was finally arrested and is being held in King County jail. Which makes me wonder: Are these men, the ones who “freakin’ adore” their baristas and ask for special theme days like “Thong Tuesdays,” maybe just the tiniest, littlest bit creepy?

The Sungay Magazine

posted by on January 22 at 4:28 PM

Did you all catch the The New York Times Sunday Magazine this weekend?


The Croatian national water polo league was featured in a not-to-be-missed fashion spread. Isn’t it just shameful how the fashion industry exploits male bodies to sell Emporio Armani Bermuda shorts, shown above, ranging in price from $198 to $298? With three hundred bucks, you know, you can buy yourself a castle in Croatia.

Big Bad Librarians Shush Bush!

posted by on January 22 at 3:47 PM

Consider for a moment librarians. Nerdy, bespectacled hoteliers of the homeless? Demure, persnickety, compulsive shushers? Hell yes! But as of this moment, librarians are also Extra Super Ninja Freedom Fighting Guerilla Shushers, out there kicking ass for the future of democracy (as per the ALA mission statement)!

At this very moment, the brave Library Association of America (which is holding its Midwinter conference in Seattle as we speak) is mobilizing its library-ish forces to put The Ultimate Shush on G.W. Bush! Something called “The ALA’s Social Responsibilities Round Table Action Council” (an elected board in charge of policy making for the ALA) passed the following resolution just hours ago, which demands the immediate impeachment of George W. Bush, for, among many, many, many other things, “Subverting the Constitution of the United States.”

Do the librarians actually have the power to impeach George W. Bush? Don’t be silly. But the above resolution will most likely become official ALA policy (it has to go through one last vote tomorrow—and it is expected to pass), and the ALA hopes such a bold statement and definitive stance will get the bye-bye Bush ball rolling. In any event, I would like to declare 2007 The Year of the Warrior Librarian, and suggest that everyone send a librarian a nice bouquet or something today. Cash money and/or (probably and) oral sex are also appropriate under the circumstances.

Full text of the resolution after the jump.

Continue reading "Big Bad Librarians Shush Bush!" »

Nickels’s Web Site Violates City Code

posted by on January 22 at 3:35 PM

Now that there’s an election, the Mayor is required to stop
campaigning on the public’s dime.

Currently, Nickels’s web site, which proclaims, “The right choice for Seattle & the region…The Alaskan Way Tunnel” and links to an anti-rebuild ad and pro-tunnel propoganda, is a bona fide campaign headquarters.

“It’s not kosher,” says Seattle Ethics and Elecions Director Wayne Barnett. “If this doesn’t change soon we’ll be looking at enforcement action.”

You can’t use city resources to promote the tunnel (or the rebuild). Although, you certainly won’t find any rebuild propoaganda on Nickels’s web site.

Greenwashing Greg

posted by on January 22 at 3:19 PM

Savage missed this telling typo in Greg Nickels’s self-congratulatory Huffington Post piece about Seattle’s “leadership” on global warming: “That’s why I say hurrah for Huron, South Dakota! It has the distraction of being the first city in the last state in the nation to sign onto the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.”

Global warming is important—perhaps the most important issue of our lifetimes. And there’s no longer any question that it’s caused by human activity; according to a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there’s more than a 90 percent likelihood that global warming since 1950 has been caused by human activity, and that more warming and rising sea levels are on the way.

But while we’re all distracted by Nickels’s efforts to sign cities up to for his symbolic battle against climate change, the mayor has been pushing for a new waterfront freeway that would preserve capacity for the activity most responsible for global warming: Driving. Tearing down the viaduct would be more than just a symbolic gesture toward reducing auto dependency; it would force our city and region to come up with real alternatives to driving (alternatives that we might be able to afford if we weren’t building freeways all over the place.) Rebuilding any kind of freeway on our waterfront, especially an elevated one, should be unthinkable in 2007. There’s nothing visionary or green about it. When will Greg stop pretending there is?

ACLU Report on President Bush

posted by on January 22 at 3:13 PM

The ACLU just released a scary paper titled “THE 2007 STATE OF CIVIL LIBERTIES IN AMERICA.”

From sneak and peek searches that are a-okayed by the PATRIOT Act to the President’s sole authority to determine what constitutes torture and who should be held indefinitely without being charged to seeking private financial records without warrants, it seems awfully 1933 in 2007.

The ACLU says:

America is in a state of constitutional crisis engendered by the president’s unprecedented expansion of executive power. The crisis is exacerbated by the 109th Congress’s failure to carry out its constitutionally mandated role to act as a check on the executive.

To restore traditional American values guaranteed by our founding fathers, we call on the president to sign an amended Military Commissions Act that restores habeas corpus, stop warrantless NSA wiretapping, protect our privacy, end torture and abuse, and stop hiding behind false claims of state secrecy. The president’s recent announcement to follow the law and get a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court before actually conducting a wire tap, it is only a small step toward restoration of civil liberties.

More ACLU findings below.

Continue reading "ACLU Report on President Bush" »

Hillary’s “Conversation” Begins in an Hour

posted by on January 22 at 3:00 PM

I’m going to be watching Hillary Clinton’s first live webcast at 4 p.m., not because I think there are going to be any earthshaking exchanges between her and the online public, but because I’m interested in how someone with as much campaign cash as Hillary uses the web (and because I’m particularly interested in how Hillary deals with the liberal netroots as she tries to secure the Democratic nomination).

From where I sit, the liberal netroots seem to be far more predisposed to “underdog” candidates like Obama and Edwards, and distrustful of (if not downright hostile toward) establishment Democrats like Hillary. It’s about Hillary’s slowness to repudiate her vote in favor of the Iraq War, sure, but it’s also an insider-outsider thing. The Clintons, and their advisers, are the consummate Democratic insiders, the people behind those proverbial gates that Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, the founder of DailyKos, wants to be crashing.

It’s worth noting, then, that today DailyKos, along with just about every major liberal political blog in the country (as well as the local blog Horsesass) is boasting an ad, paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign, promoting her series of webcasts. This shows two things. One, that Hillary’s campaign knows how to get the attention of a sprawling medium with a still-uncertain business model: by using cash. And two, that Hillary’s campaign is wary enough about the likelihood of either buying off, or winning over, the netroots that it is willing to go around them — is willing to pay for ads that drive the considerable traffic of the liberal blogosphere over to her own web site, where she can speak directly, unfiltered, to the netroots (and collect email addresses that will allow her to continue speaking directly to these people throughout her campaign).

It’ll be interesting to see how this strategy plays out.

We’re Still Trying to Figure Out…

posted by on January 22 at 2:59 PM

how to vote on the February 6 school levies (we’ll tell you our opinion in this Wednesday’s paper), but Stefan Sharkansky over at Sound Politics wants you to vote No.

There are two levies: A $397 million operations levy and a $490 million construction levy.

The Day in Women

posted by on January 22 at 2:57 PM

Is over here.

Greg Nickels: Lying Sack of Shit

posted by on January 22 at 2:38 PM

But, hey, at least he’s a sack of green shit.

Greg Nickels gave himself a nice blowjob today at the Huffington Post—it’s wet and sloppy and all about his big, green agenda. Yes, that would be the same Greg Nickels doing all he can to keep Seattle safe for automobiles and their greenhouse-gas-spewing tailpipes.

There is a long and challenging road ahead of us in the effort to protect our climate from the ravages of global warming. So when we reach a milestone, even a symbolic one, it is cause for celebration.

That’s why I say hurrah for Huron, South Dakota! It has the distraction of being the first city in the last state in the nation to sign onto the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

Greg? Mayors that are serious about fighting climate change don’t build highways through the centers of their cities. They tear ‘em down. But, hey, you did manage to dupe another city’s mayor into signing up for your big green smokescreen. Another symbolic milestone has been reached, but fuck all has been done. Huh-fucking-rah.

Suburban Sprawl?

posted by on January 22 at 2:35 PM

Why, you’re sitting on it. From the latest Science News: If you’re living in the ‘burbs you’re probably fat.

So far, the dozen strong studies that have probed the relationships among the urban environment, people’s activity, and obesity have all agreed, says Ewing. “Sprawling places have heavier people,” he says. “There is evidence of an association between the built environment and obesity.”

Scientists continue to wrestle with the question of whether fat asses move to the ‘burbs or are acquired there. But one point is no longer debatable: the suburban lifestyle positively correlates with obesity.

Women Pay More

posted by on January 22 at 2:18 PM

Given the comment shitstorm that resulted when I dared to suggest that women routinely pay more for dry cleaning, shoes, clothes, and haircuts (haircuts were particularly controversial, though the proof is right there, in the price lists for any upscale salon), I wonder what Slog readers have to say about this new study showing that women also pay more for mortgages, despite having better credit ratings, on average, than men. According to the study, released today by the Consumer Federation of America, about a third of women took out “subprime” mortgages in 2005 with interest rates over 7.66 percent—well above the average prime mortgage rate of 5.87 percent—compared to about a quarter of men. Put another way, women are 32 percent more likely to carry high-interest mortgages than men with similar incomes, and wealthier women are 50 percent more likely to carry such mortgages as comparable men. That trend holds true across income levels and ethnicities, although the gap increases among wealthier men and women. African American and Latino women paid the highest rates, and the gap between minority women and white men rose in direct proportion to income levels. “African American women earning double the area median income were nearly five times more likely to receive subprime home purchase mortgages than white men with similar incomes and Latino women earning twice the area median income were about four times more likely to receive subprime purchase mortgages than white men with similar earnings,” the study says. Higher mortgage rates make it “harder for households headed by women to build wealth through homeownership,” according to the study.

Justify Your Pod, Bitch

posted by on January 22 at 2:12 PM

There are a number of ways to really get to know someone, from watching them eat to travelling with them to another country to hiding tiny video cameras in their bathrooms.

But if you really want to see behind someone’s mask, without breaking the law, there’s only one thing to do: investigate their iPod.

Such investigation is the driving force behind Justify Your Pod, the new Stranger podcast in which a chosen subject—a Stranger staffer, a local politician, a visiting rock star—is forced to defend the five most incriminating songs on his or her iPod or other MP3-playing device.

Installment #1 features me grilling Stranger music queen Megan Seling, who holds forth on Ashlee Simpson, alterna-rock Christmas carols, and the propriety of fearing the reaper. Enjoy.

Herbal Remedy

posted by on January 22 at 1:10 PM

Thursday morning, medical marijuana patient Sharon Tracy will enter a re-sentencing hearing in the Skamania County Courthouse. The Washington State Supreme Court reluctantly ruled last November that Tracy, who suffers chronic pain from degenerative spinal discs and congenital hip deformities, must face up to 90 days in jail for growing four plants. A Superior Court judge later insisted she serve the full term.

At this hearing, the same judge shall decide whether she will be taken into custody or granted leniency. Her husband has voiced concern that her health could be compromised in jail because the nearest hospital is over 25 minutes away by ambulance (she has twice required urgent medical attention for heart problems). Activists and patients plan to “pack the courthouse” to encourage the judge to commute her sentence.

Even though Tracy, 51, has a qualifying condition and was growing a quantity within the legal limit, she lost an affirmative defense because her medical marijuana authorization wasn’t signed by a physician licensed in Washington. She obtained her authorization, while caring for her mother who was ailing from cancer, from a doctor licensed in California.

The Washington legislature is under pressure this session to repair the state’s Medical Use of Marijuana Act – as urged in the Washington Supreme Court’s Tracy ruling. Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-23) introduced a House bill last Thursday that would provide reciprocity to patients with authorizations from physicians licensed in any state with a medical marijuana statute. Meanwhile, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Wells (D-36) is expected to introduce a Senate bill that would provide reciprocity and other protections. (Federal law, which doesn’t acknowledge a medical marijuana defense, rarely is applied to marijuana cases in Washington.)

If the bills fail, more patients like Sharon Tracy who are trying to abide by the state’s medical marijuana law will get ensnared on technicalities and face precarious legal battles. But if the bills pass, sick and dying people will finally get laws that more closely reflect what Washington voters wanted when they passed Initiative 692, in 1998.


posted by on January 22 at 1:05 PM

To paraphrase Barbie, brain-teasers are tough! (Reprinted verbatim from Answers below the jump.

1. A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms: The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven’t eaten in 3 years. Which room is safest for him?

2. A woman shoots her husband. Then she holds him under water for over 5 minutes. Finally, she hangs him. But 5 minutes later they both go out together and enjoy a wonderful dinner together. How can this be?

3. A magician was boasting one day at how long he could hold his breath under water. His record was 6 minutes. A kid that was listening said, “that’s nothing, I can stay under water for 10 minutes using no type of equipment or air pockets!” The magician told the kid if he could do that, he’d give him $10,000. The kid did it and won the money. Can you figure out how?

4. There are two plastic jugs filled with water. How could you put all of this water into a barrel, without using the jugs or any dividers, and still tell which water came from which jug?

5. What is black when you buy it, red when you use it, and grey when you throw it away?

6. Can you name three consecutive days without using the words Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday?

7. This is an unusual paragraph. I’m curious how quickly you can find out what is so unusual about it? It looks so plain you would think nothing was wrong with it! In fact, nothing is wrong with it! It is unusual though. Study it, and think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you work at it a bit, you might find out! Try to do so without any coaching!

8. You are participating in a race. You overtake the second person. What position are you in?

9. If you overtake the last person, then you are…?

10. (in your head!) Take 1000 and add 40 to it. Now add another 1000. Now add 30. Add another 1000. Now add 20. Now add another 1000. Now add 10. What is the total?

11. Mary’s father has five daughters: 1. Nana, 2. Nene, 3. Nini, 4. Nono. What is the name of the fifth daughter?

p.s. Yes, I am a nerd.

Continue reading "Dude..." »

The Contenders: Mike Huckabee

posted by on January 22 at 1:00 PM

Sure, November 2008 is nearly two years away, but it’s apparently never too early to declare one’s intention to run for president, and thus it’s never too early to get to know the people who might be the next leader of the free world. This month we’ll be taking a brief look at them.


Mike Huckabee

Party: Republican

Age: 52

Status: Undeclared

Is the nation ready for another “Boy from Hope,” this one a Republican? Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee seems to think so (or at least his supporters do). Huckabee is one of those “widely mentioned” potential presidential candidates whose intentions are still unclear, but who nevertheless has a slick web site.

Mike Huckabee was born in 1955 in Hope, Arkansas, the hometown of another famous former Arkansas governor: Bill Clinton. Huckabee went to college at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas, graduating in 2 years, and then went on to train for a career in the ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas. His pre-politics resume includes a brief stint as director of communications for evangelist James Robinson and six years as minister at Beech Street Baptist Church in Texarkana (where he started a religious TV station and was elected President of the Arkansas Baptist Convention).

Huckabee made a failed bid for the Senate in 1992 but the next year won a race to become lieutenant governor of Arkansas. When the state’s then-governor, Jim Tucker, resigned in 1996 after a felony conviction associated with the Whitewater investigation, Huckabee assumed the governorship. He was reelected to the governorship twice, serving as long as possible within term limits. (One hilarious scandal: Huckabee was criticized, during his governorship, for living in a triple wide trailer with his wife, Janet McCain, while the governor’s mansion was being renovated. People thought this played to common stereotypes of rural Arkansas.)

An avid hunter, Huckabee led a campaign to institute a state constitutional amendment to dedicate one eighth of the state’s sales tax to the Arkansas state park system. He also focused on health care (channeling the state’s tobacco tax revenue directly into health care) and education (failing in a controversial bid to consolidate small school districts in order to help them overcome funding issues). Huckabee received attention toward the end of his first term for several high-profile pardons and commuted sentences, including that of Wayne Dumond, a convicted rapist who sexually assaulted and murdered a Missouri woman after he was released.

After being Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2004, Huckabee went on a regime of diet and exercise and lost 110 pounds. He has since run in several marathons, including the 2006 New York City Marathon. This personal transformation became the grist for his book, Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork. (His other books are: Character is the Issue, Kids Who Kill, and Living Beyond Your Lifetime.)

On evolution, Huckabee has said: “I do not necessarily buy into the traditional Darwinian theory, personally.” He thinks students should be exposed to creationist thought in school. He says his Baptist faith has “everything to do with my politics.” He’s therefore against gay marriage, pro-life, and for the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Huckabee has supported President Bush’s call for a guest-worker program that would grant legal status to illegal aliens. He supported the Iraq invasion and opposes a withdrawal timetable. And he wants to make Bush’s tax cuts permanent.

Informed by his own experience with diabetes, Huckabee also spends a lot of time preaching that exercise and healthy eating are a way counter obesity and attendant diseases — and a good way to counter the nation’s rising health care costs.

He plays guitar in a band called Capitol Offense.

(With help from super-star intern Sage Van Wing)

Previously: John Edwards, John McCain, Bill Richardson, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Barack Obama, Sam Brownback, Christopher J. Dodd, Newt Gingrich, and Dennis Kucinich.

Well, That’s Big of Her

posted by on January 22 at 12:55 PM

The Times reports that Gov. Christine Gregoire wants to hear what Seattle voters have to say on March 13 before she decides how the state will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

This is the election, you’ll recall, that Gregoire pushed the city council into holding, by threatening to move forward with a larger rebuilt viaduct if they didn’t make a decision. (The council had preferred an April election, but Gregoire scotched that idea because she wanted a vote before the end of the legislative session.) So the fact that the governor is allowing the citizens of Seattle to vote on a nonbinding resolution before shoving a new viaduct down our throats is hardly an act of generosity.

Here’s how I’m voting: No, and NO. I definitely don’t want a new elevated freeway, but I’m also skeptical about the cost and design of the “tunnel lite,” the details of which could fit on a bar napkin. This vote is, as Peter Steinbrueck put it, a sham. It’s a false choice between the ugly and the unknown, and we shouldn’t fall for it.

Ted Haggard: Still Giving Headlines

posted by on January 22 at 12:36 PM

Alexandra Pelosi’s new HBO documentary Friends of God—which is about the sex lives of Evangelicals—features a long interview with America’s favorite disgraced pastor. From ABC News

Haggard served as Pelosi’s tour guide through the evangelical community. In the film, he proclaims that evangelicals have the best sex lives in the world.

“You know all the surveys say that evangelicals have the best sex life of any other group,” he says.

Ted is the gift that just keeps on giving, huh? And Haggard’s answer isn’t technically a lie. He said evangelicals have the best sex lives… he didn’t say that they were necessarily having all that sex with, you know, their repulsive, bloated wives. (See: Driscoll, Mark.) Back to the story…

Haggard resigned from the church in 2006, after a scandal linked him to drugs and a male prostitute.

Ah, that feels better…

Pedersen Defends Phelps?

posted by on January 22 at 12:35 PM

As I noted on Slog on Friday, a bill banning protests around funerals was up in the House today.

The bill, which prohibits protests within 500 feet of: a funeral or burial; a funeral home during the viewing of a deceased person; the location of a memorial service; or a funeral procession if the person knows that the procession is taking place, passed 89-5 this morning.

The bill was targeted at famed homophobe Rev. Fred Phelps, who made it his business to protest outside of war vet funerals to make the point that our casualties in Iraq were God’s punishment for our acceptance of homosexuals. Say wha?

Phelps started stalking funerals (like Matthew Shepard’s) back in 1998, and upped the ante in recent years by protesting at funerals of U.S. soldiers. Says Phelps: “Military funerals are pagan orgies of idolatrous blasphemy where they pray to the dunghill gods of Sodom and play taps to a fallen fool…”

And so, it may seem a bit odd that the main dissenter on the bill was gay Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Capitol Hill, U-District, Wallingford).

I’ve linked Pedersen’s floor speech below, but the bottom line, Pedersen told me, is that banning protests within 500 feet of a funeral procession—which can go for miles— gives the government too much power to shut down protests. (Indeed, the ACLU has filed briefs on behalf of Phelps against similar laws in Ohio and Missouri aimed at shutting down funeral protests.) “It’s a First Amendment issue,” Pedersen says.

Given that legislation aimed at reigning in funeral protests wasn’t a top priority until the military protests (as opposed to the late 90s protests aimed directly at gays) Pedersen quips: “In my cattier moments, I noticed there wasn’t a rush of legislators to protect funerals around the time of Phelps’s Shepard protest.”

Two other Seattle-area Reps joined Pedersen. Voting Nay: Rep. Bob Hasegawa (D-11, South Seattle) and Rep. Jim McIntire (D-46, North Seattle).

Pedersen’s floor speech is after the jump.

Continue reading "Pedersen Defends Phelps?" »

My Apologies, and Lacayo on OSP

posted by on January 22 at 12:30 PM

In The Stranger Suggests on Saturday, I got carried away and called the Olympic Sculpture Park a former Superfund site, which it isn’t. (Sorry, Chris.)

It’s a brownfield, which is defined by the EPA as follows:

Brownfields are abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.

Superfund sites are the worst of the worst—the country’s most contaminated hazardous waste sites.

While we’re on the subject of reuse, the Time art and architecture critic Richard Lacayo has a nice piece setting OSP in the context of other rescue sites.

So this isn’t just a park in the city. It’s a park with the city in it. Talk about the machine in the garden. … This is the direction that some of the most interesting new parks in the world are taking. In their search for usable parkland, densely developed cities in the U.S. and Europe are combing through their brownfields, disused and sometimes contaminated industrial sites. The Olympic Sculpture Park, for instance, is located on the former site of a fuel-storage and -transfer facility, which is why nearly all the original soil had to be dug out and carted away. And the City of New York is planning a huge and inventive new park atop Fresh Kills, the massive landfill—meaning garbage dump—on Staten Island where much of the debris from the Twin Towers was hauled after 9/11.


It’s An Honor Just To Be Nominated…

posted by on January 22 at 12:27 PM

…but there’s been some sort of misunderstanding.

GLAAD—the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation—just announced the nominees for the 18th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. And despite the best efforts of GLAAD’s SF chapter to get my column kicked out of the SF Weekly back in the day (they labeled it a “hate crime” because I used the word “fag” a lot), I’ve been nominated for best newspaper columnist. But not as the author of “Savage Love.” From the press release

The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor mainstream media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and the issues that affect their lives. A complete list of GLAAD Media Awards nominees and descriptions of this year’s Special Honorees follows.

Movies, TV comedies, TV dramas, TV commercials, TV reality shows, TV talk shows, blah blah blah… and then we get to the nominees for…

OUTSTANDING NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST Alfred Doblin (The Record [Bergen, NJ]) Dana Milbank (The Washington Post) Deb Price (The Detroit News) Frank Rich (The New York Times) Dan Savage (The New York Times)

It’s an honor just to be nominated, of course, and it’s a thrill to be on that list and, you know, it’s an honor to bottom for Frank Rich. But… GLAAD? I’m not a columnist for the New York Times. I’ve written seven or eight op-eds for the NYT and sometimes late at night I like to go into chat rooms at Poynter and pretend that I’m a columnist for the NYT. (Usually Dowd, sometimes Krugman.) But I’m not a columnist for that paper. I’m not even sure if I qualify as a contributor.

Other nominees with Seattle connections: Scissor Sisters (Outstanding Music Actist) and Dina Martina (Outstanding New York Theater: Off-Off Broadway).

Darfur Wall Lights Up

posted by on January 22 at 12:15 PM

My friend/enemy Jonah Burke got some local press this weekend for his web project raising money for Darfur. The website lists numbers 1 to 400,000, all in gray, representing those killed in the fighting. Whenever someone donates a dollar or more, one of the numbers lights up. So far, he’s raised about $30,000.

Sculpture Park Hangover

posted by on January 22 at 12:05 PM

Because it was such a rowdy party at the Olympic Sculpture Park opening this weekend—Seattle Art Museum clickers counted 23,000 visitors Saturday and 12,000 Sunday—museum conservators are out pressure-washing Richard Serra’s Wake this morning.

“The oils from people’s fingers were making marks, I think,” says museum spokeswoman Cara Egan.”It’s not serious damage.”

Another source told me the marks looked keyed in. Egan said she didn’t know of any keying. Here’s an image by fweez that I found on Flickr of one tag (Lena):


The performance art trio SuttonBeresCuller planted their graffiti (photo from Greg Lundgren): a 3-foot stainless steel tree called Splinter, after Roxy Paine’s 50-foot stainless steel tree called Split. The museum, for now, is allowing the homage/parody to stand. But “I don’t think it will be there for very long,” Egan says.


UPDATE: Christopher Frizzelle got a tip this afternoon that it wasn’t SuttonBeresCuller after all who put up Splinter (they haven’t responded to my email yet), but that it was hot tipper and photo supplier Greg Lundgren himself, as part of a RIVAL art-gang-trio with Jed Dunkerley and Jason somebody.

Are you a liar, Greg Lundgren? Confess!

I’m bruised by your strong accusations! I simply sent you a photograph of a piece of sculpture that I SAW at OSP, that bore a tag with SBC’s name. I’m too old to be in a rival gang (and the Mimi Gates part is true). If I were in a rival gang with Jed and Jason, I can’t imagine why we would create a piece of sculpture, sneak it into the park opening day, and give SBC all the credit. Plus, it sure does LOOK like something they would do.

I’ll have to investigate this matter more on my own. I WAS doing a performance at Pacific Place that afternoon. I have an alibi and video. And where Christopher gets his information is suspicious. I guess only the security tapes at OSP could possibly reveal the truth. Curious indeed.

Greg Lundgren

Other morning-after park bits:

Photography of Paul Allen’s Typewriter Eraser is allowed, regardless of the crazy signage. “That’s a misinterpretation of the loan agreement,” Egan says. “We thought it was right, but it wasn’t that extreme, so we’re taking it down.”

And the Louise Bourgeois fountain will be out of commission for the next few weeks as the museum paves the plaza and puts the eyeball benches down. The plantings and the pathways down there—the rest of the park, in other words—should be finished by late February, Egan says.

Tom Coburn vs. Everybody

posted by on January 22 at 11:20 AM

Wil S. Hylton writes in GQ about the war against government waste being waged—nearly single-handedly, and of course more or less in vain—by Senator Tom “Death Penalty for Abortionists” Coburn, R-OK.

The story could be subtitled “Everything you always wanted to know about Tom Coburn, but didn’t get to hear because the only thing you ever hear is that ‘death penalty for abortionists’ line.” But that might be a little long.

It turns out, according to Hylton, that Coburn does have very conservative social views, but he’s surprisingly even-handed about it:

“I’m not going to be critical of the people who are pro-abortion. They have a different set of values than me. I can see their position, and I won’t demean it. I counsel lots of women—and I love them to death—who have been through abortion. I’ve done two abortions myself, to save the lives of women. When you talk about abortion, emotion gets into it. But you can understand the position of the other side.”

Understand the position of the other side?!? Where did this guy come from?

Coburn’s real fight is against pork, and he fights his own party as aggressively as he does the Democrats, though he’s particularly “impressed” with the Democrats:

The Democrats are amazing,” said one of Coburn’s senior staff. “If just one more of them had changed votes, we would have won, and then they could have claimed it [removing billions in earmarks from a emergency relief bill] as a victory. But they’re so in love with spending money, they’ll fall on their swords to protect a Republican earmark.”

It’s obviously difficult to ignore some of the more insane comments Coburn has made—the abortionists thing, the vast gay conspiracy thing—but this is also hard to ignore:

That’s what Tom Coburn wants you to know. That the members of the United States Congress will spend your money just because they can. That they’ll do it even when they can’t. That every year, they borrow the extra $500 billion from China, raising their own credit limit each time they reach it and then raising it again the next year, for a total of $9 trillion in debt so far. That’s right, nine trillion dollars, a figure so enormous that even if the fifty richest people on earth—including Bill Gates and Warren Buffett and Michael Dell, along with the richest men in Saudi Arabia and Russia and Hong Kong—got together and sold everything they owned, right down to the last buttons on their last embroidered shirts, and then they donated all their money to the U.S. national debt, they still couldn’t afford to pay a single year of interest at 10 percent.

Solved! The Mystery of the Abandoned Panties

posted by on January 22 at 10:59 AM

A wise slog poster sent this link which explains the curious pair of leopard print panties left outside my apartment this weekend. Apparently, this mystery can be explained by celery.


I couldn’t resist.

Hillary: Coasting on the Clinton Name?

posted by on January 22 at 10:50 AM

DailyKos knocks down the argument, from a recent LA Times Op-Ed (and, in the past, from DailyKos itself), that there’s some sort of parallel in the way that Sen. Hillary Clinton and President George W. Bush have both benefited from their last names.

There’s a one argument made in the article — one that’s been made many times in posts on this site — that sticks in my craw.
George W. Bush would not be president today were his name not George Bush, nor Hillary a senator from New York absent the Clinton name.

This is a comparison that’s unfair in the extreme. George W. Bush loafed through life and depended on his name and family connections to get him out of trouble. Most importantly, G. H. W. Bush owes not one moment of his career to the help of his son.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton was on her own a capable, high-powered lawyer with nearly unlimited potential. She chose to partner herself with her husband, and worked with him to raise his profile and possibilities. Would those “she wouldn’t be senator” folks be as comfortable if this was turned on its head: Bill Clinton would never have been president without a wife named Hillary.

Choosing Apartheid

posted by on January 22 at 10:33 AM

Stranger books reveiewer Tom Nissley has an interview with former President Jimmy Carter over on the books blog. (Carter has a new controversial book out called Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.)

Our man Nissley gets right to it: Your use of the term “apartheid” has been a lightning rod in the response to your book. Could you explain your choice? Were you surprised by the reaction?

Carter: The book is about Palestine, the occupied territories, and not about Israel. Forced segregation in the West Bank and terrible oppression of the Palestinians creates a situation accurately described by the word. I made it plain in the text that this abuse is not based on racism, but on the desire of a minority of Israelis to confiscate and colonize Palestinian land. This violates the basic humanitarian premises on which the nation of Israel was founded. My surprise is that most critics of the book have ignored the facts about Palestinian persecution and its proposals for future peace and resorted to personal attacks on the author. No one could visit the occupied territories and deny that the book is accurate.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 22 at 10:30 AM

‘The White Hell of Pitz Palu’

(Silent Film) The awesome title should be enough to induce anyone to see this film, presented at the Paramount with organ accompaniment by Dennis James. But should you need more: It’s a fine example of the Weimar-era genre of Bergfilme, or “mountain films” (recently resuscitated in movies like Touching the Void), and it stars the dancer Leni Riefenstahl, before she became a director and a Nazi and a genius (unfortunately all at once). (Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St, 292-2787. 7 pm, $12.) ANNIE WAGNER

Letter of the Day

posted by on January 22 at 10:13 AM

EDITOR: Why the Olympic Sculpture Park matters? Here is why it matters, moron: SHAME on all of you in the media for not telling all of us in advance of the VERY SICK FATHER & SON nudes! This shows just how SICK the entire City of Seattle is to put up with this. Is this sculpture a monument to The North American Man/Boy Love Association? And people are calling this revolting bullshit, art?

For those of you who are not familiar with the particular ambiance, l’atmosphère particulière; or dopé vers le haut du weirdness of the City of Seattle, you are in luck! Two “artists” by the name of Manfredi and Weiss have created what might reasonably be described as the “essence de Seattle”: Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park!

The park, which was recently completed on 9 acres of city property on the waterfront of Elliott Bay, is not merely an embarrassment for those sober and sane Seattle residents already dealing with a city bordering on insanity, it is an insult to the intelligence of the tax payers who coughed up the $85 Million (that’s right $85 Million Dollars) for this welfare project for the so-called “artists” who slapped this abomination together.

However, ALL is not lost. The “Olympic Sculpture Park” does have its saving graces:

1. There are plenty of places for the MS-13 gang and others to paint all sorts of gang graffiti, that might actually IMPROVE the park’s look and feel!

2. One series of sculptures by Richard Serra does provide for protection from gunfire in the event the gangs have another of their series of gunfights over drug turf in the downtown area. If you are visiting the park don’t forget what the late President Reagan once said: “I forgot to duck!”

3. There are private areas in the park where bums, drunks and drugged-out types (PC: homeless persons) can defecate and urinate without horrifying the Seattle Limo Liberals who come to ogle and “aw shucks” at the “progressive” art being displayed in the park.

4. It acts as an example of how nuts the “greenies” are in the Emerald City! Emerald is the color of the sheen on the surface of Elliott Bay every time it rains and water runs down the park ramps into the sound! They didn’t completely clean up the former Oil Transfer station site, they merely built the park on top of the remaining TOXIC waste! And if that’s not enough, one has the fumes and stench of traffic on Western Avenue on one side and Elliott Avenue underneath the park to provide enough carbon monoxide to complete the park’s “experience”!

5. Finally, I believe this park should be dedicated as a monument to “Seattle’s Crack Head Community”, because only the ‘whacked out of their minds on drugs’ can truly appreciate this insanity!


Opening ceremonies began on 1/20 at 11am with ribbon cutting, Teatro ZinZanni characters, a STILT WALKER, and Circus Contraption acrobats! (No, I didn’t make this up!)

Bob Clark

Zoo: Do!

posted by on January 22 at 9:40 AM

Brad may only read Drudge, but Zoo is getting love from all over the place.

Kenneth Turan in the LA Times: “elegant, eerily lyrical.” Greencine Daily imagines a dinner in honor of the rowdy horse. The Toronto Star reassures us that the movie is “strenuously anti-sensational”. (Yuck.) And, best of all, the “Home and Family” section of the Salt Lake Tribune issues a plaintive request: “Before bashing a film, why not see it?”

UPDATE: 10:30 am
Oh, and how could I forget the “most thorough review database” in the world? Variety has a perceptive write-up from Scott Foundas, who calls Zoo “a subdued, mysterious and intensely beautiful film that presents bestiality not for the purpose of titillation (a la the 1970s porn films starring Bodil Joensen) or comic relief (as in last year’s “Clerks II”), but as a way of investigating the subjective nature of morality.”

Petting Zoo

posted by on January 22 at 9:30 AM

Charles may be having a dull time of it at Sundance, but at least the movie Zoo is being talked about, earning not one but two links on the Drudge Report this morning.

No Sundance News, Just Sad News

posted by on January 22 at 9:22 AM

From the Free Press:

State prison inmates, particularly black people, are living longer on average than people outside, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics said in a report Sunday.

Inmates in state prisons are dying at an average yearly rate of 250 per 100,000, according to state figures. People overall between 15 and 64 are dying at a rate of 308 a year.

For black inmates, the death rate was 57% lower than among the black population.

Most prison deaths — 89% — were due to medical reasons. Of those, two-thirds of inmates had the ailment they died of before they went to prison.

This fact will be eclipsed by the “historic” Super Bowl XLI.

The Morning News

posted by on January 22 at 8:39 AM

At least 75 dead, 160 wounded following bombing attacks at a crowded Baghdad market.

Confidence in President Bush is at an all-time low.

Northern Arizona was blanketed with over a foot of snow.

Iran is gearing up to test some shiny new short-range missiles.

China is promising to end sex-selective abortions.

Thousands protest, counter-protest the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez tells America to “go to hell,” calls Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “missy”.

Five injured in a shooting spree at a Denny’s in Kent.

Seattle schools want $887 million.

Microsoft is working on emails from the grave service.

Local ski areas are enjoying booming year. (They better enjoy it while they can.)

And it’s Bears vs. Colts in Super Bowl XLI.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Found: Leopard Print Thong Undergarment

posted by on January 21 at 3:40 PM

If you lost your leopard print thong last night, you can find your undies down near the intersection of 12th and Republican. I noticed them near the bushes this a.m. and just saw a young couple kick them joyfully down the street.

I can sort of understand the storm drain hair extensions and even single shoes and socks. But how do you lose your panties on a busy street?

Over Sundance

posted by on January 21 at 12:40 PM

I haven’t seen anyone famous, it is very cold, the bars are too packed, buses are dead slow, taxis demand a fortune no matter what, and every event comes with a very long line. I really have nothing to report about Sundance except complaint after complaint. It really is too crowded and everything takes forever. I wish I had something more positive to say, but those are my impressions of the most important film festival in the great U.S. of A..

But wait! This conversation just happened in the lobby of my hotel:

Man one: “Yes, I’m journalist. I’m here to review movies.”
Man Two: “Cool, I’m from Denver, I’m here to ski, watch a few movies, and party.”
Man one: “Have you seen anything?”
Man two: “Yeah, I watched a movie last night. I had a ticket for it but they almost didn’t let me in.”
Man one: “What did you watch?”
Man two: “Don’t remember… But I liked it. Do you have two recommendations for me, as a journalist?”
Man one: “What about I give you three?”
Man two: “No, just give me two.”
Man one: “Once and War Dance.”
Man two: “Thanks.”
Man one: “I got one more.”
Man two: “No, thanks. Have a good time.”

The journalist didn’t recommend ZOO

Capitol Club Closed

posted by on January 21 at 11:05 AM

According to KEXP, the Capitol Club suddenly lost its license. Whatever was supposed to happen there tonight will occur at Chapel. Mysterious.

Save Yourselves! Do Not Go Near the Olympic Sculpture Park Today!

posted by on January 21 at 10:40 AM

When I planned my day yesterday, I had no idea that the opening day of Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park downtown would be far more disturbing than David Lynch’s movie Inland Empire at the Neptune.

First of all, for this weekend, it is actually not Seattle Art Museum’s park, but Target’s own corporate park. The Target dog is dancing in the lobby of the pavilion. Stuffed Target dogs are being given away for free, so every little infant is shilling for the retailer. Almost bumping up against Richard Serra’s Wake is a big, clear plastic tent with red targets on it. Inside, yesterday, a band was playing the kind of noodling jazz-lite that could turn deafness into a special power, and a sad, terribly sad, dance floor was bereft of dancers except two kids breakdancing—breakdancing to this music? Did the museum pay or otherwise cajole these kids into being performing monkeys for this event?

Meanwhile, the space itself is under some kind of spell. It’s full of limitations that violate the very spirit of it. There are gates and fences and don’t-touch signs everywhere. The waterfront area is not even finished—it’s a pile of mud. But the worst is treating the land with such extreme delicacy that the sculptures and the plants become zoo specimens. The “ASK ME” lady that I talked to about some of this stuff said it was to accommodate the extreme crowds of the opening weekend. She said she thought some of the gates might come down this week. I hope that’s true.

But I can’t help but think the museum simply planned badly. If the point of the park is to allow at least a modicum of free roaming, then the idea that visitors can roam “once the plantings are established,” as the lady told me, is ridiculous. When exactly will the plantings be established? And it’s hard for me to trust the museum’s judgment when two of the gates up now are protecting grass that is intended to be trampled into a use path. “We have to protect the delicate plantings until they are established,” the “ASK ME” lady said. “When you say delicate plantings, you mean the grass that is supposed to be trampled into a use path?” I said. She moved on to somebody nicer.

I’m sorry to be belligerent about this, but the spirit of the park imparts a real overlay on the way you experience the art and the land. If the museum continues to behave as though this park is exactly like the controlled zone of a museum, or worse, like some kind of tasteless corporate-sponsored carnival ground, then the park is going to be a massive flop. I’m depressed.

(And in no state to write about the Louise Bourgeois fountain: later.)

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 21 at 10:30 AM


(Conflict of Interest) Full-disclosure: The Stranger’s design director, Aaron Edge, plays guitar in this band. But I liked ‘em before he worked here, dudes, and that little fact should not stop me from talking about this really stellar band comprising notable local hardcore heavyweights. Just check out this lineup: Edge, who’s done time in both Harkonen and Grievous, is joined by Johnny Pettibone of Himsa and Undertow fame, Joe Axler of Skarp and Book of Black Earth, and Jerad Shealey of Receder. Now how the fuck could that be bad? It can’t and it’s not. (The Junkyard, 6402 S Tacoma Way, Tacoma, 6 pm, $5, all ages.) MEGAN SELING

Mike Daisey Profiled by the New York Times

posted by on January 21 at 8:45 AM


Former Seattlite, current professional monologuist, and sometime Stranger contributor Mike Daisey earns a great big profile in today’s New York Times, and it’s wonderful. The peg for the piece is Invincible Summer, the new solo show Daisey’s performing this month at the Public Theater’s “Under the Radar” Festival. (Also in the fest: Seattle’s own Allen Johnson.) But the big draw of the NYT piece, for me at least, is the insight into the working relationship between Daisey and his director/wife Jean-Michele Gregory, who has the unusual task of directing shows that have no written script.

Read the NYT profile here, and for an early incarnation of Invincible Summer, check out this excerpt Daisey wrote for The Stranger back in summer 2005.

**AND**: For those itching to see Mike Daisey in action, he’ll be doing a one-night-only performance of his ongoing improvised solo show Stories from the Atlantic Night Cafe on February 4 at Capitol Hill Arts Center. For tickets, go here.

Vera Project Announces Opening Weekend Details

posted by on January 21 at 2:45 AM

On Tuesday, February 20th, the locally renowned Vera Project will officially open the doors of its new home in Seattle Center to folks all over the Seattle area. After almost a year of acting as makeshift music venue, the always all-ages club will host a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by three concerts over the following weekend. As a thank you to the community that helped build Vera’s new location, every single one of the opening week events will be completely FREE!

Head on over to Line Out to get all the details.