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Archives for 11/18/2007 - 11/24/2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Stranger Science News Hour

posted by on November 24 at 6:56 PM

Tonight I’ll be the 7pm guest for the “The David Goldstein Show” on 710 AM (live streamed)

The topic? My news article on the failed HIV vaccine. Prepared to call me a mastermind of the global AIDS conspiracy? Do it on live radio.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 24 at 11:00 AM


Feral Children, Das Llamas, Fleet Foxes, the Pharmacy at Neumo’s

Thanksgiving weekend is usually a bleak time for shows, so be thankful (I know, I know) for tonight’s generous helping of local music, courtesy of Aviation Records. The Pharmacy trusses up its punk pop with orchestral pomp, hints of ska, and gently psychedelic melody. Fleet Foxes brings vintage folk. Das Llamas dishes out dark, danceable post-punk laced with narcotic keyboards. Headliners Feral Children veers from melancholic dirges to drunk, animal rhythms. Attention orphans: This is a feast. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $5, 21+.)


Bonjour Tristesse

posted by on November 24 at 10:43 AM

Said he:

“The time we spent together flew by. I thought she was out of this world. She lived life like a dream, reality didn’t enter, and she could not distinguish dreams from reality. Her life seemed pure pleasure, and she had an almost inexistent contact with reality. Her only goal was the search for pleasure at all times.”


Morning News

posted by on November 24 at 8:35 AM

posted by news intern Brian Slodysko

The Emperor’s new clothes: With little political capital left, Bush sets sights on “small bat” goals.

Black Friday: Impending recession, gas prices lead to underwhelming sales numbers

Blame game: Romney calls for judge to resign after released convict kills a Puyallup area couple.

: Twin Suicide bombings kill 16 in Pakistan.

Reactions to oil prices around the world
: Russian oil barons don’t know how to spend new wealth while French fishermen riot.

Police brutality: lawsuit to cost city of Seattle six figure sum.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

posted by on November 23 at 5:02 PM

A gunman shot and killed his ex-wife, their three children and himself in a small-town park as the woman prepared to hand over custody, police said Friday.

Their bodies were found Thursday evening in the tiny community of Unity, Maryland… The bodies of Gail Louise Pumphrey, 43, of Woodbine, and the three children—ages 6 to 12—were found in the cars, Jerman said. David Peter Brockdorff, 40, of Frederick, was found nearby with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police said they recovered a .22-caliber rifle near his body….

There have been several domestic killings involving children in Maryland this year.

In April, a father hanged his two young children before committing suicide in rural Boyds, in Montgomery County. In March, the remains of four young children were found in a town house in neighboring Frederick. The father’s body was found hanging from a bannister, and the mother remains missing.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on November 23 at 4:14 PM

First, a couple of articles of note:

Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution—which has done much better business in Taiwan and mainland China than it did here—has inspired the Chinese government to warn against attempting its acrobatic sex acts at home. (Via Thompson on Hollywood.)

The Guardian has a worthwhile piece on the treatment of abortion in recent Hollywood films.

Opening this week:

Wednesday’s wide releases I covered then: They include I’m Not There, Margot at the Wedding, and the surprisingly delectable Enchanted.

A respectable limited-run lineup starts off with The Landlord at Northwest Film Forum (reviewed in On Screen this week).

The Landlord

Grand Illusion is kicking off its A Date with Kate series with Hepburn’s glorious comeback in The Philadelphia Story and her lesser-known noir turn in Undercurrent. (Up next week: Adam’s Rib and Summertime. I’m reading Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn right now, by the way; it’s newly out in paperback. I recommend it, even if the writing can be pedestrian.)

SIFF Cinema is into its second week of 30 Years of Kino, and it’s just as good as the first. Chaplin’s subtexty City Lights plays through Monday, followed by a kinky pairing of The Piano Teacher and A Winter Tan, Raul Ruiz’s Proust adaptation Time Regained, and the enigmatic Russian film The Return.

Plus: The Red Balloon w/ White Mane at the Varsity, megadetailed 70mm Titanic at Cinerama, and more.

The Red Balloon

For all your movie times needs, Get Out.

Happy Black Friday, Everyone!

posted by on November 23 at 4:00 PM

Did you know that the average American consumes 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving Day alone? It’s true! That’s like eating six sticks of butter! Mmmm… Butter.



posted by on November 23 at 3:35 PM

Hey, whaddya know… Another day, another perverted religious asshole. (Via Pam’s House Blend).

This Week on Drugs

posted by on November 23 at 3:26 PM


Not Buying It: Washington Post cuts on Drug Czar’s “cocaine shortage” line.

Hard Time: Bush procrastinates on prisoner clemency bids.

Less Cocky: Post-exposure HIV drugs don’t boost risky behavior.

One hundred people, 95 of them men, participated. They received the drug treatment, HIV testing, and counseling for up to 26 weeks after enrolling in the study. Fifty-eight participants reported having unprotected anal sex, while 18 percent reported condom breakage.

Among the 84 people given the full course of medication, 75 percent actually took all the drugs. No one became HIV-positive during the course of the study.

Some health authorities have been reluctant to offer PEP after risky sex or drug use for fear that people wouldn’t change their behavior if they knew “there’s a parachute somewhere they can take to stay negative,” Shoptaw noted. However, he and his colleagues found people reduced their risk behavior after using PEP, rather than increasing it.

What’s Cooking: More meth in Europe.

Stiff Drinks: Washington Supremes uphold liquor tax hike.

The House Always Wins: Nabs counterfeit tweaker.

Body High: Drug hit men retrieve friend from morgue.

Mass Signatures: Petitions submitted for pot decriminalization.

Showing Initiative: Michigan accepts signatures for medical marijuana.

Meds for Rugrats: Untested.

Edwards: Just not that into the drug war.

Atlanta Braves: Family sues city for killing 92-year-old woman in police raid.

It Wasn’t the Tryptophan: We’re just a nation of drunken gluttons.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on November 23 at 3:19 PM

Where’s the Tumble Bus when you need it? I’m not sure what this thing is, but I think it needs to stop by the office today. Then again, maybe even the Tumble Bus driver gets the day after Thanksgiving off…


Thanks to photo pool contributor ascheele100.

Another Elected Official’s Double Life

posted by on November 23 at 2:52 PM

CENTERTON, Ark. — The mayor of an Arkansas town resigned on Wednesday, claiming he was abducted and brainwashed by Satan worshippers nearly three decades ago

Centerton Mayor Ken Williams said he has been living under an assumed name for nearly 30 years. He had been mayor since 2001.

It was a double-life he had never acknowledged, Williams said, because he didn’t even realize it existed until he had recently taken a truth-serum injection


(Thanks, Sarah.)

This Just In—The Handicapped Space!

posted by on November 23 at 1:51 PM

Sources so sourcey I forgot to laugh have reported recently seeing King 5 news monster Jean Enersen possibly (ahem) illegally parked in a reserved handicap space (she does have legs, yes? Has anyone around here seen Jean Enersen’s legs? Anybody?), yammering, yammering, yammering on her cell phone. (Or so those sourcey, sourcey sources say.) Frankly, I have no opinion on the matter, but I can assure you that nothing like this has ever happened before.


Recipe of the Day

posted by on November 23 at 1:48 PM

Since Jonah did the Morning News for me this morning, I didn’t get a chance to tell y’all my recipe of the day. Haters like Jill Pellettieri (whose Slate piece “The case against Thanksgiving leftover recipes” runs nearly 1,000 words), may disagree, but I’ve always loved all the rich, semi-gross things you can do with Thanksgiving leftovers, most of them involving cream of mushroom soup. Here’s one my mom made every year.

Turkey A La King

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups half-and-half or milk
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 jar (2 ounces) pimiento, strips or chopped
2 1/2 cups cooked cubed turkey
dash onion powder
dash pepper

Melt butter; add green pepper and mushrooms. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Remove vegetables with slotted spoon. Add flour to butter, cooking and stirring until smooth. Add half-and-half and cream of mushroom soup, stirring until smooth and thickened. Serve over rice or toast.

The Bush Man

posted by on November 23 at 12:13 PM

What does this piece of NYT news make obvious?

The daily, Jomhouri Eslami, criticized Mr. Ahmadinejad for calling a former nuclear negotiator, Hossein Mousavian, a nuclear spy and saying that influential politicians were using their power to have him cleared of those charges. Mr. Mousavian was a close aide to a former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

“Lately, defaming political rivals has become common in the country and has replaced lawful behavior,” the newspaper wrote in a front-page editorial on Wednesday. “We want to reject this kind of behavior as immoral, illegal, illogical and un-Islamic, and remind wise figures that such a trend is dangerous for the country,” it added.

Mr. Ahmadinejad has proven a divisive leader, with both hard-line conservative and reformist opponents finding fault with his economic programs and his harsh anti-Western rhetoric. But the criticism is often indirect, to avoid political repercussions. Jomhouri Eslami, however, is so established — the current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was once the managing editor — that it is unlikely to be closed down or censored.

Iran is not Mr. Ahmadinejad. Bush, however, makes Iran an enemy by making Mr. Ahmadinejad Iran. Remove Bush and you remove his Iran, Ahmadinejad. When Bush goes, Mr. Ahmadinejad goes with him.

Strangercrombie Letter of the Day: “Ask Them to Prepare Your Carp”

posted by on November 23 at 11:55 AM

Dear Editor,

I hereby challenge you to an ad-hoc category for the Strangercrombie auction - we name the story we want written up by year team, for a sum of money, and you accept. Here is my story I want researched:

Go buy some fresh carp somewhere. Take said carp, minimally cleaned/ processed, to some of the best fish places in town, and ask them to prepare your carp - you pay full price for prep, of course. Find 3 upscale fish places that will prepare the carp for you, and judge the quality, and report it to us in your dining section.

I mean, you have one food/bar reviewer now that advocates exploding the tacky ornamental pigs around town, while another advocating eating their private parts with her father - I’m sure you can get such talent to get some nice places to cook up a carp. And if they can make a carp taste somehow palatable, then they can make anything taste good, so they deserve such mention.

What do you think ? I’ll donate $999.99 to the cause, for 3 reviews on preparing fresh carp in upscale restaurants?



You’re in luck, BB. Like every year, we’re auctioning off chunks of the paper for Strangercrombie, so readers like you can tell us what to write.

For the first time this year, you can do the writing.

We’ll still write the stories if you want, but why would you? Why worry we’ll fuck up your good idea? Why not write it yourself, get your name in the paper, and show everyone that anyone—even you—can write a superior story for The Stranger.

So if you want a chow story on carp, a chow story you shall have. And, for all our sakes, I hope you this is one you want to research and write yourself, you big sadist.

The New Crime

posted by on November 23 at 11:51 AM

The samples below show that the investigation of Meredith Kercher’s murder has three domains. Domain number one is microscopic—the space for events that are extremely small, tiny, invisible to the naked eye. This is the DNA domain.

The next domain is that of discourse. This is the narrative area, the human space of words, testimonies, accusations, and confessions. For the cops, the DNA domain is the light of truth that penetrates and clears the chaotic darkness of the discourse (human) domain.

But there is another domain of truth and light: the third domain of digital technology. Here we have blogs, email, text messages, cell phone calls, web chats, and web communities. It is this domain that makes Meredith’s murder exceptional. The digital domain, which has been with us in a significant way since the late 90s, has a larger than usual presence in this investigation. It is the large size of the third domain that broke the crime and its investigation from the past. We are witnessing something that is fully new. Full in the sense that it fully engages three domains. This new monster walks on three legs: one is shaky; two are sturdy.

The 90s saw the expansion the DNA domain. The 00s are witnessing the expansion of the digital domain. We may eventually see the death of the discourse (human) domain.

I asked her about the rather decisive evidence of the DNA on the knife, and she said, ‘Fine, but I’m innocent. Let’s see what the police do with that’.

One of the suspect’s lawyers, Vittorio Lombardo, said the test results did not mean his client was guilty. “Rudy has not denied being in Meredith’s house, and the tests do not say that the sex was not consensual,” he said. Rudy maintains he was in the bathroom when Meredith was killed, and these tests do not show anything which contradicts that.”
One of the earliest clues in the probe was a text message from Kercher’s American flatmate Amanda Knox, 20, to Congolese bar owner Patrick Lumumba Diya on the night of the murder, reading “See you later.”
A British newspaper said a Web chat involving a recently-arrested suspect in Meredith Kercher’s slaying may reveal new insight into the case and possible exonerate Amanda Knox, the Seattle woman who is a suspect in the Perugia, Italy, killing of her British roommate.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 23 at 11:00 AM

Seasonal Treat

‘The Dina Martina Christmas Extravaganza’ at Re-bar

Yes, yes, He died for our sins, turned water into wine, and secured Mary J. Blige’s recent Grammy win—but for many Seattleites, Jesus Christ’s primary claim to fame is as the catalyst for Dina Martina’s legendary Christmas shows. After another summer knocking ‘em dead in Provincetown, Seattle’s favorite chanteuse/raconteur/train wreck returns with another Christmas blowout. Expect butchered songs, face-numbingly-weird anecdotes, and deep, raucous laughter. (Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 8 pm, $20, 21+. Through Dec 31.)


The Expectations Game

posted by on November 23 at 10:29 AM

The Clinton campaign, seeing her rivals still even with her (or ahead) in Iowa, starts to lower expectations:

Our definition of success doesn’t necessarily mean coming in first.

Via The Page.

The Morning News

posted by on November 23 at 9:34 AM

Payday: In case you missed it, the Seattle Police Department has settled out of court in the Maikoyo Alley-Barnes case.

Fudging the Numbers: Pentagon doesn’t include 20,000 brain injuries in tally of combat wounds.

Doritos Bags & Rubber Bands: New federal regulations are making birth control really expensive for college students.

First Desperate Housewives, Now This:
Writers Guild strike may derail democratic debate.

Fired For Blogging, Sort of:
Yakima Councilmember asked to resign over wife’s blog.

Prison Guards Gone Wild: Girls Gone Wild producer claims abuse while in jail.

Dark Days: It’s Black Friday. Someone buy me this.

Now, here’s a list of every imaginable use for your turkey leftovers.


Northwest Artists Take Over Miami’s Video Lounge

posted by on November 23 at 9:30 AM

Seattle Art Museum modern/contemporary curator Michael Darling has flashed his well-concealed muscle again.

When Art Basel Miami Beach (coming up December 5-9) invited him to curate the fair’s Video Lounge—a video-art center set up in a building adjacent to the convention center hosting the massive fair—he agreed.

Video Lounge curators typically sift through material submitted by the various galleries in the fair, try to suss out some general themes, and then put together a program for the video lounge.

Darling threw out that model.

He decided this would be a Pacific Northwest show. And it is.

The 19 artists in the 90-minute loop that will play all day during the fair include Anne Mathern, Jack Daws, Mary Simpson, Hadley + Maxwell, Rodney Graham, Vanessa Renwick, and Euan McDonald. (Some of the artists don’t live in the Northwest anymore, but all have connections to this region.)

In addition, Darling put together three evening programs, by theme. One is “Return of the Wild West,” with work by Damian Moppett, Simpson and Fionn Meade, Matt McCormick, and Renwick. Another is devoted to Miranda July. And a third, called “Storytelling,” features Gary Hill, Judy Radul, Renwick, and Harrell Fletcher.

The show is a quick-chute escape from one corner of the country to its opposite, both geographically and culturally.

What sort of work is in the show?

“There’s definitely a nature theme: people filming in forests and addressing the beauty of this location, but also in an ironic way and poking holes in that, so it’s not just rhapsodic,” Darling said in a phone conversation. “There’s definitely a rock-and-roll and music-related interest that bubbles up in different ways. As a counterpoint to the natural beauty thing, there’s also a sense of simmering violence, maybe, that comes out in pieces from Vancouver and also here.”

Darling says he hadn’t planned on bringing the loop to show in Seattle, but I desperately hope he’ll be able to. When was the last time anyone did a video survey of the Northwest?

A still from Rodney Graham’s A Little Thought (2000)

Need a Post-Thanksgiving-Gorge Appetite Suppressant?

posted by on November 23 at 9:28 AM

Check out this CNN report about the 10-pound hairball removed from the stomach of an 18-year-old woman. (Complete with post-op hairball photo.)

You’re welcome.

It’s a Question Every Male Fashion Designer Has to Answer for Himself

posted by on November 23 at 9:01 AM

“When should I expose my bare nether-parts for the camera?”

Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs waited until after their design careers were well-established but before time robbed them of their nude photogenicity. (Links safe for work.)

But for Project Runway Season 4 contestant Jack, there’s no time like the present (or whenever exactly these NSFW-but-otherwise-artsy-and-tasteful shots were taken—he looks a bit younger than he does on TV, but the pics are copyright 2007, so who knows? Also, for the record, Jack’s official Project Runway bio reveals him to be way more interesting than he’s been so far on the show.)

Thanks to Nick for the heads-up.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving, Mom

posted by on November 22 at 4:20 PM

And Jerry. And you too Dad & Jo, and same to Billy, Eddie & fam, and Laura & Bil & Cody. And a happy thanksgiving to the Allers, Colleen, Donna & Eleanor & Oliver, et al. And happy thanksgiving to everyone at the Keck family estate.

We’re not at the big family gathering as I just can’t face getting on an airplane this week, of all weeks. So we’re up at Mt. Hood, at Timberline Lodge, snowboarding on a glacier… which feels a bit like having BBQ dodo bird for lunch. A lot like, actually. And guess what? There’s no phone reception up here. There is wifi, though, but my email is down. So… we thought we’d send best wishes via Slog. So from Dan, Terry & D.J., happy thanksgiving, everybody!

And, of course, a very happy thanksgiving to Slog readers. And before anyone asks in comments: Why, yes, it is a slow news day. It’s Thanksgiving, you see. Zzzzzz to you too.

Turkey and Peanuts

posted by on November 22 at 2:52 PM

In honor of this week’s interview with Dr. Adolf Von Hasselhoffen, Professor Emeritus at the Sigmund Freud School of Child Psychiatry in Klagenfurt, Austria—regarding Fantagraphic’s Unseen Peanuts exhibit—I bring you:


posted by on November 22 at 2:35 PM

Why are Google’s holiday logos always so terrible? Where’d they disinter the third-rate children’s book illustrator who draws them, and why? (All of these are an improvement, especially the Mondrian one.)


Today’s iteration is only redeemed by the fact that the turkeys are clearly cannibals: suicide food–plus. Time to eat! Cheers to the self-devouring turkey.

Black House

posted by on November 22 at 12:27 PM

The endless president:

Recall MC Rove:

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 22 at 11:00 AM


‘King Corn’ at Grand Illusion

This smart, amiable documentary is about corn: how it’s grown, subsidized, processed, and how it sneaks its way into virtually every food on grocery-store shelves. The reporting is borrowed (with permission) from Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, but the filmmakers can’t be called lazy. They track down former agriculture secretary Earl Butz, allowing him to defend the “cheap food” revolution he led in the 1970s, and even grow an acre of corn themselves. You are what you eat, know thyself, etc.: Don’t miss King Corn. (Grand Illusion, 1403 NE 50th St, 523-3935. 7 and 9 pm, $6–$8.)


For a Results-Spoiling Discussion of Last Night’s Project Runway

posted by on November 22 at 10:09 AM


Proceed to after the jump.

Continue reading "For a Results-Spoiling Discussion of Last Night's Project Runway..." »

A-Five, Six, Seven, Eight!

posted by on November 22 at 9:39 AM


Well well well. The things you learn from reading the Village Voice’s gay star-watcher Michael Musto:

Dan Savage’s The Kid, his book about how he and his boyfriend became parents, is being turned into a musical, and I hear Scott Elliott (The Women, The Threepenny Opera) has inked to direct. That’s one more reason to hope the stagehand strike ends.

Oh. My. God. I’d start out by expressing surprise at learning about such a thing from a gossip columnist on the other side of the country, but I’m used to it. Dan’s a deeply superstitious freak (the time’s we’ve flown together, he’s not only compulsively crossed himself—the four-point Catholic way—but me, too) and given the potential for kaboom that comes with any idea “in development,” he typically plays it safe with reporting anything. Part of this seems to be a semi-legitimate fear of a “jinx” or falling piano or rogue wave or whatever, but another part is the fact that he could probably spend the majority of his day discussing potential projects, and restricting himself to the ones that make it to the finish line is a sensible move.

I still recall fondly the half-decade I spent awaiting the arrival of The Kid movie. It was bring adapted by Showtime or HBO and I couldn’t wait to take six of the world’s biggest bong hits then spend two hours watching professional actors pretend to be my friends. Alas, that project never came to fruition, but Hollywood’s loss is musical theater’s gain, and now I can’t wait to take those aforementioned bong hits (with perhaps a whisper of PCP) and go watch the singing, dancing freaks.

This Week’s Issue of The Stranger Was Brought to You by the Letters M, E, G, A, and N

posted by on November 22 at 8:46 AM


If you’re sitting there having a depressing holiday and you don’t know what to do, you should read Megan Seling’s essay about wintertime depression.

I don’t know why I find comfort in grocery stores at times like this, but I do and I always have. I’ve spent hours under the fluorescent lights at QFC, Haggen, sometimes even Target. Safeway is my favorite because it’s open 24 hours and by 1:00 a.m., no one is really around to ask me if I need help finding anything because, let’s face it, I don’t want to find anything.

She ends up by the magazines and picks up Martha Stewart’s Holiday Cookies, which has 106 recipes in it—suddenly she has 106 things she could do.

By the time I got home, I’d decided I was going to make every single cookie in that fucking magazine.

From there, the piece goes in a bunch of weird, dark directions.

While I sliced rings of Granny Smith apples to set on top of the unbaked globs of sticky dough, I heard whispers in the hallway about “the body” and not letting the wheel of the gurney get caught on a step.

It’s a fantastic piece of writing, and the longest thing Megan’s ever published. And, just to make the rest of us look bad, she also has an article about rock stars’ Thanksgiving memories (“Rock stars live more exciting lives than you”), her Underage column (it begins: “Ska has died how many times now?”) and two Up & Comings (including one that begins: “How so un–punk rock of me to suggest you buy something the day after Thanksgiving”).

Total number of words by Megan in the current issue: 6,428.

Dear Science

posted by on November 22 at 8:20 AM

Well, that explains why the NYT and the Post didn’t focus on cloning. (I was wrong, they did mention cloning.)

However, I was hopped up on the encouraging break through in Oregon last week where scientists successfully cloned embryos using monkey cells. That research indicated cloning could still be done with humans. Excellent.

I was sad that yesterday’s big news (about side-stepping the embryo route) could discourage scientists from pursuing the monkey cloning process with humans—the technique I described in my pro-cloning message below.

I’m not interested in a human-animal hybrid. Yikes. The Island of Dr. Moreau!


And yep, I know the S. Korean human cloning project turned out to be a fraud. I was bummed for months.

The Morning News

posted by on November 22 at 7:48 AM

Former Bush spokesman McClellan: Bush made me lie.

Out of Control: Contraceptive prices spike on college campuses.

Democratic frontrunners: We won’t cross picket line for CBS debate.

Shameless: Bush refuses to condemn Saudi lashing of gang-rape victim.

Yeah, Right: Japanese to kill, “study” 950 whales.

Not Budging: Iranian president refuses to make concessions on nuclear program.

Coming Soon: $100-a-barrel oil prices.

On the Job: Senate Democrats, who will hold pro forma sessions during the holiday to prevent Bush from making recess appointments.

Recipe of the Day: Caramel Pumpkin Custard (Recipe from San Francisco Chronicle; photo from Creative Commons)


Continue reading "The Morning News" »

Good News Josh: You’re Wrong

posted by on November 22 at 7:32 AM

Josh writes:

But the articles don’t even mention how the scientists actually made those controversial embryos. They made them by cloning.

The process for creating embryos to create stem cells worked like this: Cells were taken from a patient and injected into the emptied out nucleus of a donated egg cell. That egg cell then grew into a blastocyst-stage embryo that produced genetically identical stem cells to the original patient. Those stem cells could be used for therapeutic purposes.

That embryo could have also been used to make a clone. Exciting!

Wrong. 100% wrong.

Cloning human being by the process described above—hollowing out and egg, sticking in an adult cell nuclei—proved so impossibly difficult that the South Koreans resorted to fraud after failing hundreds of times at the task.

Every single human embryonic stem cell in existence today was created from a leftover embryo from an in vitro fertilization clinic. How were these embryos made? An egg and sperm met, fell in love and fused to form a zygote. In a dish or in a fallopian tube it’s the same basic idea—no cloning involved.

But, Josh, here’s the silver lining. This new technique, that can reprogram adult cells to become like embyronic stem cells, that is adored by conservative Christians everywhere,could be used for cloning.

In fact, I’d say it’s likely to work if you wanted to create a chimeric human being and has a decent chance of working if you wanted to create man-animal hybrid. So, look up Josh. Your dream has actually just became a bit closer.

And I haven’t even talked about using the four magic genes to make a cancer bomb. What an excellent supervillain weapon!

Keep Your Laws Off My Body. I’m Pro-Cloning.

posted by on November 22 at 12:45 AM

Given the starring role that cloning technology has played in the whole stem cell debate, it’s weird that cloning isn’t even mentioned in yesterday’s accounts of the big news that embryos may no longer be needed to produce stem cells.

Check it out. Here’s yesterday’s NYT:

Two teams of scientists reported yesterday that they had turned human skin cells into what appear to be embryonic stem cells without having to make or destroy an embryo — a feat that could quell the ethical debate troubling the field.

All they had to do, the scientists said, was add four genes. The genes reprogrammed the chromosomes of the skin cells, making the cells into blank slates that should be able to turn into any of the 220 cell types of the human body, be it heart, brain, blood or bone. Until now, the only way to get such human universal cells was to pluck them from a human embryo several days after fertilization, destroying the embryo in the process.

Similarly, from yesterday’s Washington Post:

Until now, only human egg cells and embryos, both difficult to obtain and laden with legal and ethical issues, had the mysterious power to turn ordinary cells into stem cells. And until this summer, the challenge of mimicking that process in the lab seemed almost insurmountable, leading many to wonder whether stem cell research would ever unload its political baggage.

The reports are right to talk about embryos. The act of destroying embryos is definitely one thing that made stem cell research controversial.

But the articles don’t even mention how the scientists actually made those controversial embryos. They made them by cloning.

The process for creating embryos to create stem cells worked like this: Cells were taken from a patient and injected into the emptied out nucleus of a donated egg cell. That egg cell then grew into a blastocyst-stage embryo that produced genetically identical stem cells to the original patient. Those stem cells could be used for therapeutic purposes.

That embryo could have also been used to make a clone. Exciting!

I’m kind of bummed that the excuse to pursue cloning technology has become irrelevant. And just one week after cloning technology scored such a p.r. coup with the monkey cloning story

Now that scientists can create stem cells out of cells without having to go through the cloning step, cloning doesn’t have much going for it.

That sucks. I wanted to see what was going to happen.


I hope yesterday’s big breakthrough in stem cell research doesn’t cause scientists to abandon research into cloning technology or cause a renewed push to outlaw cloning technology.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Seattle Police Department Settles Police Brutality Case

posted by on November 21 at 8:42 PM

According to documents obtained from the Washington State District Court, the Seattle Police Department has settled charges of excessive force and malicious prosecution in the the case of Maikoyo Alley-Barnes, for an undisclosed sum.

Alley-Barnes was arrested in front of the Capitol Hill club the War Room in 2005, after a littering incident escalated into an all-out melee. Alley-Barnes filed a civil case against the officers in 2006, which appears to have finally come to a close earlier today.

More info coming, but likely not until after the holiday.


Nightstand, 2002-2007

posted by on November 21 at 4:35 PM

Nightstand—the column that’s run down the side of The Stranger’s books page for the last four years, written by yours truly—was taken out behind the barn and shot by yours truly last week. Dispatched to that newspaper-column graveyard in the sky. Did it with zero fanfare. Taking its place is something we’re calling (apologies to Dorothy Parker) Constant Reader, written by Paul Constant, who’s long since proven himself a better book critic than me, since he actually reads books, new ones, lots of them, rather than just, like, you know, “reporting” on the contents of old Mary McCarthy novels or the latest New Yorker or whatever.

I decided not to write a goodbye column, because if I were going to write a goodbye column, what would I say? That the only reason Nighstand ever existed is because of Bethany Jean Clement? That she was the editor at Seattle Weekly who let me—editorial intern turned part-time editorial assistant—write a sample column, and then published it, and then said, “Write another one next week—this could be a regular thing”? That she (and also partly the New York Observer) was responsible for its tone, since she had to rewrite lots of those early columns and since everything I wrote was an homage to her writing anyway? That lots of other editors contributed to its five-year run (shout out to Mark D. Fefer!)? That after a while I just ran out of things to say about local lit journals and moribund bookstores and out-of-business book festivals and poets who wear flip-flops to house parties?

Or would I list the Seattle writers I’ve most enjoyed writing about (like Rebecca Brown and Ellen Forney and Stacey Levine and Charles D’Ambrosio and Jonathan Crimmins and Anna Maria Hong and Rebecca Hoogs and Rick Steves)? Or the out-of-town writers I’ve most enjoyed writing about (Peter Matthiessen and George Plimpton and Adrian Nicole LeBlanc and Greil Marcus and Mark Bowden and Jonathan Franzen)? Or the politicians, like the one about Barack Obama and Al Gore visiting Seattle in the same week?

Or what about that one about Goldie Hawn? Or the time I interviewed Proust? Or the time I went to Elliott Bay Book Company at midnight to find out who was lining up to buy Bill Clinton’s memoir? Or the one a week after that about Clinton’s appearance at a Costco? Or the inside reporting from the Elliott Bay Book Company staff party? Or the boozy Grove/Atlantic dinner? Or the Camus book group in the south end? Or the random postcard from Portland? Or the odd column about a New York book party, The Great Gatsby, and cocaine?

OK, enough with the archives. The first Constant Reader appeared last week and it was about Norman Mailer (“The publishing industry excels at necrophilia…”). This week, it’s about hack novelists. Next week, it will be about airport bookstores, where 30% of all books are purchased. Constant goes into an airport bookstore and asks for a recommendation and the bookstore employee replies, “I’m not much of a reader.”

New Hampshire Sets its Primary Date

posted by on November 21 at 4:24 PM

It’s the news everyone in the political world has been expecting for some time: New Hampshire will hold its primary on January 8, just five days after the Iowa Caucuses on January 3.

Among other things, this means that the candidate who wins Iowa (where Clinton, Edwards, and Obama are currently in a statistical dead heat) will head straight into New Hampshire with that winning momentum. It also means his or her opponents won’t have much time to try to change the subject and rise above the post-Iowa noise.

This Wednesday at the Movies

posted by on November 21 at 4:19 PM

First, some news:

Fifteen docs have been chosen for the 2008 Oscar shortlist. Nice to see Rape of Europa on there—maybe we’ll finally get a Seattle theatrical run?—but local favorite King of Kong has been eliminated.

The roof of Grand Illusion Cinema needs some repairs and I have been warned that the theater “may abruptly close for the installation and repairs ANYTIME in the next month.” The proprietors also tell me that they’ll let me know as soon as they know what dates will be affected, so check the Slog for updates. (Hopefully not during the Katharine Hepburn series that starts Friday, hmm, Guerren?)

And finally, enjoy Brian De Palma giving props to Flanders and Iraq in Fragments. Via The Chicago Reader’s On Film blog.

All the big releases this week are coming out today to catch Thanksgiving moviegoers.

In On Screen, these include Margot at the Wedding (Andrew Wright: “To watch it is to see a filmmaker at the absolute top of his game, even if this particular game probably shouldn’t be topped”), Enchanted (Lindy West: “A smart, sparkly, self-aware lampoon of every silly Disney cliché, Enchanted manages to make fun of princesses without being a total dick about it”),
I’m Not There (Chas Bowie: It’s “suggestive, not instructive; poetic, not prosaic. It is also, I strongly feel after only one viewing, one of the smartest, most innovative, and most beautiful films of this era”).

I'm Not There

Plus (keep scrolling), August Rush (Megan Seling: “actually a charming little film about a musical prodigy”), This Christmas (Eric Grandy: “Happy birthday, Jesus! Do you like ‘dramadies’?”), Hitman (Andrew Wright: “Featuring a multitude of squib hits and a far better than necessary performance by Timothy Olyphant in a prime Deadwood smolder, it’s rooted firmly on the positive side of good and dumb”), and The Mist (Bradley Steinbacher: “Frank Darabont can’t help but fumble the big scares”).

For the Limited Run breakdown, you’re gonna have to wait till Friday. If you want to plan ahead, Get Out.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on November 21 at 4:13 PM

I like meat as much as the next guy, but holy shit… Even I would draw the line at this:



Anyway, happy Thanksgiving! Thanks to Stranger photo pool contributor dan10things.

Mother Pus Bucket!

posted by on November 21 at 4:09 PM

How is it fucking possible that a company* can have an online “renew my account”—my PAID account—feature that they clearly have never actually tried. Seriously. How is it possible?



Let’s see what’s wrong here:
1! - “Renewing your online membership has never been easier!” - This is total bullshit, and I’ll prove it.
2! - “… click “enter” below!” - First, too enthusiastic. Second, raise your hand if you see an “enter” button. Right.
3! - See all those “Please enter…” lines? Those are errors, because I’ve already submitted the form as instructed. Couple funny things about those errors: One, they don’t look like errors. It took me a little while to realize they were there, and that they were responsible for my getting the same form back after clicking entersubmit. Two, they refer to fields that DON’T FUCKING EXIST IN THIS FORM, making it quite difficult to do as requested.
4! - I and most sane people tend to reflexively say no to any sentence that begins, “I’d like to receive e-mails regarding…” In this case, though, I’m confused. E-mails regarding my account? Well, it seems like I’d want those, right? “Your account information has recently been sold to terrorists,” for example, or, “Your account is now piping all data through your Facebook profile,” or more realistically, “Your account is about to auto-renew.” If that’s what they mean, this option shouldn’t even be available. They probably mean spam.

It’s really #3 that makes this the worst form in history. I’m trying to give them money and it’s impossible. Have they seriously not tried this feature before? Obviously they have not, and for this they should be slapped about the face and neck continuously for 6 days with a sock filled with duck fat.

Happy Thanksgiving!


* I’m not naming the company/service, not because I want to spare them the extreme humiliation of getting what-for on Slog, but because I want to spare myself from similar feelings should I reveal what it is that I was trying to renew. Feel free to speculate.

U-Save Oil, Not the Neighborhood

posted by on November 21 at 3:30 PM

62-year-old Don Erickson stands to make a tidy profit by selling his small house on Crown Hill. Developers to the north and south have made offers to buy the property, zoned for commercial development, but he’s holding out for a higher bid. However, owners of Seattle’s iconic U-Save Oil, now under the 76 Station franchise, seem to have made other plans for the land on Holman Rd NW, between 13th Ave NW and 14th Ave NW.

Mark Wolf, who inherited the U-Save and three surrounding buildings when his father passed away earlier this year, announced intentions last week to raze all the buildings in the parcel. Neighbors and employees on the block were blindsided by the news, which came in yellow Land Use Action signs, stuck in the parking strip. The signs indicate plans to replace the existing structures with a four-story mixed-use development, comprising 100 residential units, six “live-work” units, and 110 underground parking spaces.

The shaded stuff is headed for the heavens. Erickson’s house is the top unshaded property on the right side


This is a how it looks to a satellite:


“I had to call after they put the signs up. It’s kind of a bummer,” says one of the employees on the block who asked not to be named. “My livelihood rests on this place as long as I can stay here.”

Erickson, a retired diesel mechanic, says he’d heard rumors that the existing building may be demolished months ago, but he thought, “I’ve known these people all my life—I don’t think they’d do that. Then the father passes away and the kid just sells it.”

Erickson said he plans to attend an early design guidance meeting at 6:30 p.m. on December 10th in Ballard High School. There, Wolf and the designers, Driscoll Architects, may confirm rumors that development could begin by next year.

In fact, that meeting may be the only way to hear any detail of Wolf’s plan. When I called to him this morning to inquire about his goals for the project, he was irritated I was asking—refusing to discuss the development and protesting his name being printed. Well, this isn’t exactly in print, Mark. And you are listed as the official contact. More after the jump.

Continue reading "U-Save Oil, Not the Neighborhood" »

Slow Train Slog

posted by on November 21 at 2:13 PM

Testing my Clearwire modem on the train from Seattle to Portland. It’s spotty but it’s better than nothing.
Photo-0068.jpg That’s Eric Grandy’s hand and paper.

Happy Misogynistic Thanksgiving!

posted by on November 21 at 1:37 PM

Because what says “thanks” like turning your turkey into a headless woman before cutting it up?


Via Shakes.

Re: Kill Whitey

posted by on November 21 at 1:12 PM

Remember this?

Minnesota Woman Shoots Rare Albino Deer on Opening Day of Hunting Season.

According to an email from Slog tipper Mark, Its Royal Chalkiness has apparently been reincarnated in Rhinelander, Wisconsin:

A once in many lifetimes experience! I saw this lil’ feller run out in front of a car— thought it was a lost baby goat. Stopped to get it, and WOW!! A real Albino Whitetail Deer. Just hours old, but doing fine. No Momma deer around. Another car nearly hit it in front of me …


Guess they’re not so rare after all. Or maybe this one has been reincarnated and will grow up to hunt that woman down in her nursing home and gnaw her neck off.

Let The Joyous News…Yadda, Yadda.

posted by on November 21 at 12:55 PM

Earlier this week, very old little people everywhere rejoiced possibly as all of the, like, four surviving Munchkins from the original “Wizard of Oz” cast finally got what they had coming to them. And it sure as hell wasn’t this.

Who comes up with this shit? I ask you.

Oh! The Humanity! (Or: Trust Authority, I Dare You.)

posted by on November 21 at 12:10 PM

If you are fond of dogs, decency, sanity, and/or you are easily flustered by unmitigated human evil, I warn you: do not, not, NOT watch THIS. EVER.

Thank you, Poe. I think. Jesus fucking Christ.

The Absolute Slave

posted by on November 21 at 12:09 PM

What’s missing in this image?
The chain:

Let’s give the Princess Leia/Jabba the Hutt dynamic some thought. What is the meaning of this situation? To grasp the meaning, we must isolate the slave, Leia. We must remove her from the story. What is she in actuality? Her blood is royal. She holds a high position in the galactic society. So, her being a slave amounts to the ultimate shame. She has fallen from the very top to the very bottom of things. But could it happen any other way? A great person must have a great fall. How can you be great if your fall is not so great? To fall just part of the way down the social hierarchy is poor for a person of high standing. Even The Bible is aware of this fact: The fall, like the rise (or the return), must be total—the king/queen must become a slave, must become all that he/she is not.

Imagine if Princess Leia had fallen to the middle of the galactic society. Picture her selling robot parts in a small shop, haggling over prices, shaking hands when deals are struck. This fate is too shameful for her or any noble. No, all the way down she must go. The best for her is to be a slave, a zero, a chained body. An absolute power deserves nothing less than the absolute shame of being a powerless slave.


The Naked and the Dead

posted by on November 21 at 12:04 PM

Two postcards from the world of tough guys:


Two people stopped to try to help 26-year-old Ardonas Gilbert, who was running naked along the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 on Monday night, but he allegedly cursed at them and punched them, Delaware State Police said.

Gilbert then ran into traffic, causing three separate accidents as motorists tried to avoid him, police said. No one was seriously injured.

His MySpace page says he’s a straight Muslim barber and “proud parent.” He had a song on the page, but it was “deleted by the [presumably embarrassed] artist.”


Norman Mailer had a straightforward recipe for cooking a steak, the novelist Geoff Nicholson once told me.

Mailer would throw the steak in a pan with some butter, and turn the heat up to high. When the smoke detector in the house went off, it was time to flip the thing over.

I have tried this. It scares the hell out of pets and children, but it works quite well.

His MySpace page says he’s a single Aquarius. He also had a song on the page, and it was also “deleted by the artist.”

But if you follow the “view band profile” link, you will see that the artist is the [presumably embarrassed] Lou Reed.

Hot New Video Game

posted by on November 21 at 12:00 PM


It’s called Duel Love—and, uh, there’s not much to it. Basically you get to wipe beads of sweat off of hot Anime girly-boys lounging in a hot Anime sauna. With your finger. BlogBlog has the pedo details. YouTube has the demo video…

Bush-Bashing Bridge Champs Escape Punishment

posted by on November 21 at 11:56 AM

It’s a victory for free speech and American values.

The United States Bridge Federation has dropped its effort to punish six members of the women’s championship bridge team for holding up a sign that said “We did not vote for Bush” during an awards ceremony last month in Shanghai.

In exchange, the women have agreed to a statement recognizing the federation’s right to request that bridge teams representing the country refrain from using awards ceremonies for anything other than accepting medals. “I feel vindicated,” said Jill Levin, one of the players.

Jan Martel, the president of the federation, said the agreement ended an affair that had become “divisive” and “polarizing.”

What was divisive and polarizing, of course, was the federations attempts to punish the women—banning them from all bridge competitions for a year, followed by a one-year probationary period, followed by 200 hours of “community service.” Oh, and the federation also demand that the women reveal “which member had come up with the idea for the sign.” All that’s off the table—but at least one of the women doesn’t trust the federation.

Ms. Greenberg, winner of six world championships, said she wanted to talk to her lawyer, Norman Siegel, the former director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, before accepting the agreement.

“A stipulation of this agreement is that both the U.S.B.F. and the team will not take legal action against each other,” she said.

“Although I’m not vindictive and have no intention at this moment of suing,” she continued, “I don’t want to lose my right to sue in the future if, one, they do some harm to me that I’m not currently aware of or, two, that they feel free to write in their bulletin anything they want about me.”

Rapping Groundhog Wants You to Consider a Career in Health Care

posted by on November 21 at 11:12 AM

Meanwhile, The Philadelphia Inquirer wonders if the video is the stupidest use of taxpayers’ money—$4,157, to be exact—in the history of the world.

Go, G-Hog. (And thank you, MetaFilter.)

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 21 at 11:00 AM


Bing Wright at James Harris Gallery

Roses are an iffy subject, lost to associations. But there is something otherworldly about Bing Wright’s white roses in almost unbearably soft grayscale backgrounds. These roses are redeemed, new, and about to die, separated from their vases and plunked facedown or present only in the form of scattered petals. Wright’s style is both classical and conceptual (he’s also a modernist, after his parents, Seattle modern-art supercollectors Virginia and Bagley Wright); it’s a perfect match for the impeccable James Harris Gallery. (James Harris Gallery, 309-A Third Ave S, 903-6220. 11 am–5 pm, free.)


O They Will Know We Are Christians…

posted by on November 21 at 10:39 AM

…minister getting arrested on charges of forcible rape.

Investigators say the 23 year old minister used the same tactics each time he approached women off Parkway and Motel Drives.

Once he lured them into his car, police say at least 4 women were raped while the suspect held a butcher knife to their necks…. Monday Ireland was charged with 4 felony counts of forcible rape with special circumstances. He could face additional punishment since there are multiple victims and he used a dangerous weapon.

The report say that Ireland is already a registered sex offender, but doesn’t mention what his previous convictions were for.

Where Everything Is Peripheral

posted by on November 21 at 10:22 AM


Seattle artists Thom Heileson and Wyndel Hunt have teamed up at SOIL to create an environment in which buildings—and sounds—stretch to the point of disappearance.

The piece is titled Free Dissociation, and it combines sound by Hunt with Heileson’s imagery, especially of construction sites around the city.

By the time Heileson’s photographs make it to the screen, their surroundings have been washed out. The hollow, half-built buildings themselves are almost unintelligible as they float by, on the wave of Hunt’s heavy drone composition.

With projections on three sides, there’s the sense of constantly missing something that’s being projected right in front of you.

The first section of the installation is different. The images are more abstracted, the sounds are sharper, and the whole thing is synced up so they flash together, sort of like the high-art version of a trailer for a summer blockbuster. It’s the watery “film” that follows that’s worth waiting for.


SOIL is open noon-5 Thursdays to Sundays, and the show, also including an interactive laser installation by Iole Alessandrini, is up through November 30.

More Rudy vs. New York

posted by on November 21 at 10:21 AM

His latest campaign ad:

Today in Campaign Statements

posted by on November 21 at 10:15 AM

Clinton weighs in on the Saudi gang-rape vicitm:

In 1995, I went to Beijing and said, ‘It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and for the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights.’ We have made some progress since then. But we have not made enough. The latest example is the punishment of 200 lashes that a Saudi Arabian court has given to a victim — the victim — of a gang rape. This is an outrage. The Bush administration has refused to condemn the sentence and said it will not protest an internal Saudi decision. I urge President Bush to call on King Abdullah to cancel the ruling and drop all charges against this woman. As President I will once again make human rights an American priority around the world.

She also is threatening not to attend the next debate if CBS workers go on strike:

The workers at CBS News have been without a contract for close to two and a half years. It is my hope that both sides will reach an agreement that results in a secure contract for the workers at CBS News but let me be clear:

I will honor the picket line if the workers at CBS News decide to strike.

America’s unions are the backbone of America’s middle class and I will always stand with America’s working men and women in the fight to ensure that they are able to earn a fair wage.

Meanwhile, Obama has a statement out on the shortages at food banks:

As Americans gather with family and friends and reflect on what we’re thankful for, let’s all do our part to help the growing number of people who have no place to go for a meal on Thanksgiving – or any other day.

As a result of rising costs on everything from health care to gasoline, more and more Americans can’t afford to put food on the table. At the same time, pantries are being stretched thin as a result of reduced donations and cuts in government assistance. A report released last week showed that the number of Americans without food security grew by 300,000 from 2005 to 2006. That is unacceptable in this country, of all countries.

To help address this, we need to stand up to the special interests, bring Republicans and Democrats together, and pass the Farm Bill immediately. And while we’re at it, let’s strengthen the Emergency Food Assistance Program, the Food Stamp Program and the Commodity Supplemental Food Programs and launch additional anti-hunger initiatives to help ensure that no American goes hungry.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I’ll be visiting the New Horizons food pantry in Manchester, New Hampshire. And I encourage all Americans to do what they can every day to help those in need – because the best way to show our gratitude for what we have is by doing our part for those who have less.

End of the Glut: December 5, 2008

posted by on November 21 at 9:52 AM

Special to everyone going to Art Basel Miami Beach this December: you’re fine. (Naturally, I’m missing this year’s fair.)

Next year (the year I’m likely to go back), forget about it.

By William Powhida, of course.

(Forgive the crass sales label — or maybe it’s just right.)

Bellevue Arts Museum Financial Officer Finally Charged

posted by on November 21 at 9:12 AM

…with 38 counts of theft for allegedly embezzling $300,000 from the museum.

No Forgive For Amanda

posted by on November 21 at 8:08 AM

The headline yells: “Freed Meredith Suspect Will Never Forgive Knox.” But what African number one really said is:

“I do not think I will ever be able to forgive Amanda. I ask myself: why did Amanda draw me into this? I was trying to help that girl out with some work.”
African number one is not sure if he has the moral strength and length of life to forgive Amanda for pulling an old American trick on him.

African number one is not only free but has great taste in sweaters:
wmeredith620a.jpg However, African number one showed no taste when he named his bar La chic.

As for African number two:

To borrow some words from the British: Some mothers have ‘em.

This is a Facebook picture of Giorgio Armani standing with the man some mothers happen to have. xinsrc_0921104201012656315197.jpg

And for last, the Grant Cogswell connection:

After reading media reports of the [Meredith Kercher] murder, a Roman witness contacted Perugia police to report having received an SMS reading: “For me, tonight or tomorrow, Meredith dies.”

The message was sent on October 31 - the eve of the murder and Halloween - the day that Italian television was due to broadcast an episode of the medical soap opera Grey’s Anatomy in which the main character, Dr. Meredith Grey, nearly dies in a ferry accident.

None of the suspects in the Kercher case was linked to the SMS.


Wasn’t Cogswell in that episode of Grey’s Anatomy? I believe he played a fireman.

This Is How It’s Done, Venus.

posted by on November 21 at 8:00 AM

You wait until folks have voted and then you get behind the wheel shit-faced drunk.

Cloutier apologizes, wins mayor’s race

Two hours after Vallejo Councilman Gary Cloutier issued an apology today for his weekend public intoxication arrest in Palm Springs, election officials declared him the “unofficial” winner in the city’s tight mayoral race.

At a morning press conference before more than 100 people at City Hall in downtown Vallejo, Cloutier delivered a short statement that he was sorry for being drunk in public, calling it a “foolish mistake” and stressing he takes the issue seriously….

The 45-year-old Cloutier, who has served on the council since 1999, was arrested early Sunday after officers found him sitting alone in the driver’s seat of a friend’s Cadillac in Palm Springs. Police said he was clearly intoxicated, and was pulling out of his parking spot when stopped. He was not, however, charged with an attempted DUI.

The Morning News

posted by on November 21 at 7:28 AM

Breaking all Records: Greenhouse-gas emissions by industrialized nations.

Stable: New York subway fares, despite need for repairs and chronic overcrowding.

Shrinking: Clinton’s lead in New Hampshire.

All-American: Jets fans defend hallowed tradition of harassing female fans.

In France: Government may soon slash subsidies for ethanol.

In the Majority: Whites take over New Orleans City Council in Katrina’s latest demographic impact.

Ha, Just Kidding: US military asks wounded soldiers to return signing bonuses.

Overstated: UN estimates of HIV cases worldwide.

Unsurprising: Britney had sex at 14.

The Wonders of Science: Stem cell researchers create embryonic stem cells from skin cells.

Freakin’ Out: Airlines, preparing for millions of holiday travelers.

Recipe of the Day: Pumpkin Stuffed with Vegetable Stew (recipe and photo via Epicurious/Gourmet)

Continue reading "The Morning News" »

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Orwellian Future Here Now Alert

posted by on November 20 at 7:33 PM

I realize that my very status as a Slogger, of however dubious origins, makes my Luddite Union Card a bit suspect, but my dislike of online social networks like Facebook and Myspace is proving to be prescient. Hey, you kids out there: sit down and listen up.

The usual conversation (at places like my employer-who-pays-me, Northwestern University) is about how students who use Facebook or Myspace post things about themselves that are stupid, counterproductive or legally actionable. Someday, we say, you’ll be applying for a job and they’ll Google you, and do you really want that picture of your exploits at the Gamma Delta Iota house online for all to see?

Nonetheless, such indiscretions, however stupid, are at least intentional. Hey, you want the world to see your prowess with a beer bong or your sports team’s hazing rituals or your tits, rock and roll. You’re an adult, and we cannot stop you.

But how would you feel about someone else deciding what to reveal about you? Do you want some computer program providing the world with information about what you do?

That’s what the wonderful world of online buying and selling is coming to. (And what is Facebook but the selling and buying of reputations?) It seems that Facebook has arrangements with various and sundry providers of other internet goods and services to AUTOMATICALLY reveal the purchases of their customers on their Facebook profiles. Like, you know, all the shit you buy online without thinking twice about it, like movie tickets on Fandango, would be posted on your page without you actually deciding to do so.

The revelation of such innocuous information is always the wedge that leads to more personal information being commonly available. You might not care if all of your friends know you went to see Beowulf on Friday night, but do you want that information automatically posted to your Facebook website without your consent?

No? Tough shit. Facebook apparently has automatic buy-ins to such postings, and it’s as big a bitch as Grendel’s Mother to opt out. As is so often the case with matters of privacy and the internet and government indifference to our rights, Aravosis at Americablog is all over it.

Support the Troops—But Only So Long as They’re Troops

posted by on November 20 at 6:10 PM

Badly wounded U.S. soldiers are being ordered to return their signing bonuses to the Pentagon—because they’re wounded, you see, and can’t be soldiers anymore, so the government didn’t get its money worth.

Read it and weep.

Via Sullivan.


posted by on November 20 at 5:50 PM

Small, but getting bigger.

Sugar’s Down — Is Pony Up?

posted by on November 20 at 5:43 PM


The building that formerly housed Sugar has been there forever and it’s got a long and sordid history. Marcus and the gang behind Pony—the temporary bar/installation in the former Cha Cha/Bimbo’s space on Pine—created a gay bar that looks like its been there forever and seems to have a long and sordid history.

The building Pony’s in is about to come down, of course, and the space Sugar’s in is about to open up. Is anyone thinking what I’m thinking?

No one has been able to make a club work in the space that housed Sugar—and the Easy, et al—for very long. It seems to me that most have failed because they were at war with what that space is, with how that space feels. Club owners have tried to create bars in Sugar’s space that were clean & classy & often gay in an upscale, do-your-crunches, dance-shirtless way.

It seems to me that Marcus, if he could get his hands on Sugar’s space, could do something with it that plays to the location and the space’s strengths—something that embraces the space’s awkward and sleazy feel, something that lets the space be the dark and dirty hole it wants to be, something that reeks of poppers and sweat and pinball.

Something, you know, like Pony.

Now It’s Really Official

posted by on November 20 at 4:10 PM


Re: Bearophobic? Moi?

posted by on November 20 at 3:44 PM

Commenter Michael Strangeways, who doesn’t approve of my taste in men, sent this one in. It’s a picture of a “pinkberry boy” that Strangeways approves of—and he was annoyed that I hadn’t shared it with everyone on Slog. So here goes:


You’re welcome, Michael.

Today in Line Out

posted by on November 20 at 3:25 PM

Why Kurt Killed Himself: Sam Machkovech’s tired of rock writers who think they know.

David Schmader Loves Aretha: And you can too.

Of Montreal’s T-Mobile Commercial: In case you missed it.

Vera Wins MySpace’s Impact Award (You Know, Probably)
: It will be officially announced Monday.

Springsteen’s Comin’ to Town: March 29 at the KeyArena.

Today in Music News: Universal pulls the plug on NIN remix website, Neil Young Diamond was inspired by a Kennedy, and more.

Tour Diary: Arthur & Yu check in from Baltimore.

Loose Joints: New disco night at Moe debuts tonight.

No Hits, Just Beat Box: Blake Lewis should reinvent a genre besides 2080.

Tonight in Music: Band of Horses and Taj Mahal (again) and In the Round with Robb Benson.

Cello, How Are You?: A freelance cellist records all-cello Jawbox tribute album.


Cafe Minnie’s Killed By Smoking Ban

posted by on November 20 at 3:08 PM

Today, Cafe Minnie’s—Belltown’s greasiest 24-hour greasy spoon—shut down for good. Minnie’s owner attributes a massive massive drop off in business over the last year to Seattle’s indoor smoking ban.

Which of Seattle’s 24-hour haunts will be the next to go?

Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Funky Fake Marriage

posted by on November 20 at 3:07 PM


The good folks at The Smoking Gun explore the dramatically rich story surrounding the restraining order filed by Bill Nye against a woman who may have been his wife for a few minutes. Key components: The Purpose-Driven Life, alleged emotional cruelty, and two bottles of mystery solvent. Enjoy.

What’s Next For the Fun Forest?

posted by on November 20 at 2:44 PM

Today, the City Council’s Parks Committee will be voting on whether to recommend the couil cut a deal with the Seattle Center Fun Forest’s current operators. The deal would lower the amusement park’s rent in exchange for ending their lease in 2009. The current lease expires in 2014.

Well, a private consultant—working with ex-theme park executives and developers—says he’s been courting the Center for a year, and wants to build a new amusement park at the site. The consultant, John Sutherland—who previously worked on a failed $100 million Lakewood theme park project, and started a mountain bike center in Snoqualmie Pass—says one of his top priorities, if he gets the site, is to incorporate a skatepark into the Fun Forest.

The city’s been struggling to relocate the SeaSk8 skatepark—which used to sit just east of the Center—and neither skaters nor Seattle Center festival promoters are happy with the Pavilion site near Key Arena, which the council chose in August.

Richard Conlin, who’s on the parks committee, says he doesn’t want to revisit the SeaSk8 relocation process unless skaters are willing to enter the fray. Ryan Barth, chair of the Parks Department’s Skate Park Advisory Committee (SPAC) says SPAC is more than willing to restart the relocation process if it means skaters get a bigger and less expensive site. The Pavilion site is estimated to cost $2.9 million for 8,500 square feet of skateable space.

Lowering Fares Is Not the Answer

posted by on November 20 at 2:37 PM

King County Metro is getting ready to raise bus fares. So what better time for the Seattle Times to call for, um, lowering bus fares? Here’s my summary oftheir argument:

Lowering fares will make it easier for more people to ride the bus. The more people ride the bus, the less congested the roads will be for everybody. (Note that they only think this applies to buses, not light rail.) Hence, lowering fares (and expanding the Ride Free Zone) will make the roads work better.

The first problem with the Times’ plan is that most people choose to ride or not ride the bus based on convenience, not cost. (A quarter here or there doesn’t deter anybody, ridership studies show.) The second is that by starving Metro of revenues, a fare-lowering plan would actually render Metro unable to buy the buses it needs to serve new passengers. So the crowded, unpleasant experience of riding Metro now would be an even more crowded, more unpleasant experience tomorrow.

I’m guessing the Seattle Times editorial board knows this. People who support adding vast numbers of riders to the bus system while cutting the revenues that would make the bus system able to serve those riders are people, like the members of the Times editorial board, who don’t ride the bus. For them, crowding more of us onto buses is a win-win; they can say they support transit, while heavier transit use by other people makes it easier for them to drive to work alone. Those of us who actually do ride the bus on a daily basis know that Metro needs more revenues, not less, if they’re going to make the system better.

Last week, I sat down with Metro general manager Kevin Desmond in his office overlooking Occidental Park. He’d called me in response to a column I wrote two weeks ago calling for the creation of a transit riders’ union to lobby elected officials on behalf of Metro riders. While he acknowledged many of the conditions I complained about—crowding, passengers with hygiene issues, security problems, unreliable buses—are real, he contended that Metro is making progress.

“We’re coming off a period of very little investment,” Desmond said. “We had four years of doing nothing [thanks to depressed revenues during the recession] just as ridership was booming.” Indeed, ridership has gone up 14 percent in 2007 alone. Job growth, worsening traffic, and increased concern about pollution and global warming have pushed more and more people onto public transit. As a result, the number of buses that are overcrowded—essentially, buses where people can’t find a seat—has more than doubled since 2002. Metro anticipates some relief early next year, when 22 new buses will come online. Right now, though, the improvements are minor. “People are going to have to be patient. The buses are going to be crowded for a little longer,” Desmond said. “Once we get new buses we’ll be able to really strike at the peak (rush) hours.”

Although you wouldn’t know it to read the Times’ editorial, Metro hasn’t raised fares since 2001. Peak fares remain $1.50; off-peak fares, $1.25. Those numbers will go up in March, to $1.75 and $1.50, respectively. Desmond says Metro needs the extra revenue to pay for higher operating and fuel costs (which have tripled in the last six years), and to operate and maintain all the new buses funded by Transit Now. “It’s like building an extension onto your house,” Desmond says. “You build the extension but then you have additional costs, like heating and maintenance. Transit now was the expansion. The fare increase makes the program whole.”

In addition to adding more buses, Desmond says that Metro hopes to speed up service by adopting a new all-purpose fare card, called Orca, that will apply to Sound Transit, the ferry system, and all bus systems in the region; by allowing riders to buy tickets from vending machines at transit hubs like Northgate; and potentially by allowing people to board and scan their fare cards at all three doors, so riders don’t have to queue up at the front end of the bus.

Metro also plans to beef up security on and around buses, adding 25 more transit cops to the 47 already in place. That won’t make much of a dent in the overall system—with 1,100 buses in the system, it’ll be hard for 72 cops to keep track of all of them—but it’s a start. Metro’s also adding between 140 and 160 bus cameras to the 110 already in place by the middle of next year. Cameras, Desmond says, gives Metro “a better ability to deter things. The fact that cameras are on the buses says, if you mess up, Big Brother’s watching.”

All of that seems like good news to me. Complaining about the bus system, as I frequently do, is pointless if we aren’t willing to help improve it. The challenge will be holding King County’s feet to the fire to make sure they approve the funding Metro needs to make those and other improvements—instead of catering to folks like the Seattle Times editorial board, who wouldn’t know the inside of a bus if it walked up and peed on them.

Something Happening

posted by on November 20 at 2:07 PM

There’s an event tonight at Lawrimore Project that involves a fashion show, a clothing store, a movie premiere by a couple of unheard-of Seattle-by-way-of-Iowa artists, and some things called “Zones,” which I believe involve drinks and conversation.

Here’s the film trailer.

I do not know exactly what is going to happen.

It starts at 7, costs 5 bucks, the film plays at 9, and the party continues until midnight.

So Long, Fun Forest

posted by on November 20 at 1:15 PM

The Emptiest Place on Earth is closing in late 2009—I’m surprised one of the Seattle-born-and-breds hasn’t posted the news.

Toad in the Hole

posted by on November 20 at 1:14 PM

Every Friday for almost a year, This Week on Drugs has endeavored to inform you of the most significant drug-related developments and shocking tragedies. But, alas, our caffeine-addled mind occasionally leaves a glaring omission. Last week was one of those times, when we failed to report a most egregious example of an innocent victim riddled in the drug war’s crossfire.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 21-year-old man has been accused of using a toad to get high.

Clay County sheriff’s deputies said David Theiss, of Kansas City, possessed a Colorado River toad with the intention of using it as a hallucinogenic.

Experts said it’s possible to lick the toad’s venom glands to achieve psychedelic effects.

Most pet stores don’t sell the Colorado River toad because the venom can sicken humans and kill household animals.

A toad, ladies and gentlemen, was minding its amphibusiness – eating flies, hopping, being generally gross – when this joneser came along and slobbered all over it. I mean, get that man some better drugs. Adding insult to injury…

The toad is in custody at a police crime lab.


In more predictable news, chicken-shit Democrats have provided college aid for murderers but not for toad-lickers.

A Gigantic Breakthrough in Stem Cell Research

posted by on November 20 at 12:45 PM

(Image from Takahashi et al., Induction of Pluripotent Cell form Adult Human Fibroblasts by Defined Factors, Cell (2007), doi:10.1016/j.cell.2007.11.019)

Okay. Now I believe.

Two groups working independently—Dr. Yamanaka’s lab in Japan and Dr. Thomson’s Lab in Wisconsin—have converted human cells into embryonic stem cell-like cells. This tremendous accomplishment is on par with the initial creation of human embryonic stem cells about ten years ago, the completion of the human genome project and development of gene knockdown technology.

With this trick, skin cells can be converted into embryonic stem cell-like cells that can become any cell type in the body, including difficult to acquire human heart and brain cells.

I’ve written about this technique rather skeptically in the past. All of the previous work was with mouse cells. Now with two groups independently showing it works also with human cells, I’m pretty convinced. Yes, these two papers are pretty sloppy. The Thompson one reads like it was written over the weekend and the Yamanaka paper has a few glaring flaws. Still, the evidence has tipped in this case.

If you want a more detailed scientific breakdown of what these groups did, keep reading here. Else, what this all means is after the jump.

Continue reading "A Gigantic Breakthrough in Stem Cell Research" »

And the Obama Campaign’s Response…

posted by on November 20 at 12:38 PM

As predicted, very quick:

Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld have spent time in the White House and travelled to many countries as well, but along with Hillary Clinton they led us into the worst foreign policy disaster in a generation and are now giving George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran. The real choice in this election is between conventional Washington thinking that prizes posture and positioning, or real change that puts judgment and honesty first.

Not In A Thousand Years

posted by on November 20 at 12:37 PM

Under goes Ian Smith:
Ian_Smith.jpg I have always wanted to spit on your face; now I can only spit on your grave. You, and you alone, made Mugabe possible. He is your brother.

A Hit on Obama’s Experience

posted by on November 20 at 12:30 PM

The Clinton campaign is calling reporters’ attention to this line (bolded below) in a speech that Clinton delivered today:

I have traveled the world on behalf of our country - first in the White House with my husband and now as a Senator. I’ve met with countless world leaders and know many of them personally. I went to Beijing in 1995 and stood up to the Chinese government on human rights and women’s rights. I have fought for our men and women in uniform to make sure they have the equipment they need in battle and are treated with dignity when they return home.

I believe I have the right kind of experience to be the next President. With a war and a tough economy, we need a President ready on Day One to bring our troops home from Iraq and to handle all of our other tough challenges.

Now voters will judge whether living in a foreign country at the age of 10 prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges the next President will face. I think we need a President with more experience than that. Someone the rest of the world knows, looks up to, and has confidence in. I don’t think this is the time for on the job training on our economy or on foreign policy.

I offer my credentials, my experience, and qualifications which I think uniquely equip me to be prepared to hit the ground running on Day One. And I offer the experience of being battle tested in the political wars here at home. For 15 years, I have been the object of the Republican attack machine and I’m still here.

I predict it won’t be long before Obama hits back at this. As we’ve been seeing on many issues in the last week, the Democratic campaigns are going overboard to hit back hard at every charge, lest their candidate be tagged as this year’s John Kerry.

The Shame

posted by on November 20 at 12:24 PM

My dream letter has come true!

Mr. Mudede,

Halfway through your article titled Miseducation I was prepared to forgive you for being mistaken or ignorant. Now that I’m through, however, all I can express is disgust at what you seem to understand and endorse. Though if your ideas are any reflection on The Stranger’s general readership, at least they will not propagate but simply fester in minds already rotting… which is a small consolation.

There are a lot of things wrong with your article, but the founding idea from which all the rest spring is your animosity toward the individual person. I find it hard to believe that someone could actually endorse anti-individualism, which is why I say you only seem to understand what you’re writing about. What does anyone have left in the end if not himself? What do you, personally, have left? What does anyone have a right to if not himself? What is so damned horrifying about entertainment for kids which endorses doing things you like, even if other people don’t like them too? I don’t feel bad for those 200 kids, I feel bad for your kid, who is bound to grow up feeling guilty for doing what he wants because he thinks another guy’s wants are more important.

Shame on you for endorsing Karl Marx, shame on you endorsing a large-scale theft of private property that doesn’t belong to you, and shame on you for endorsing anti-individualism, as though there is anything better in the world than living for one’s self.

James Newport

Let me repeat:

The individual that High School Musical worships is the most nihilistic human being history has ever produced. Because this type of person has no content or history and because s/he absorbs everything s/he encounters into the nothingness of consumer comforts, this person is a perfect onion, a vegetable of pure layers. This thing that dances and sings and expresses its emptiness without thought or worry, this thing that is so stupid that it doesn’t even know how to be bored—this thing is killing our planet.

Bearophobic? Moi?

posted by on November 20 at 12:18 PM

I am not, as Michael Strangeways states in this comments thread, “bearophobic.” I’m not attracted to bears, but I’m certainly not afraid of bears. I actually spent a week at the beach this summer cavorting with a couple of confirmed bears. And really, Michael, how often do post “revolting pictures of half naked, hairless youth with pale skin and pinkberry nipples that he posts”? Not nearly often enough—so this one’s for you, Mr. Strangeways…


More to come.

Sugar Nightclub Closing

posted by on November 20 at 11:58 AM

Following Monday morning’s shooting at Capitol Hill’s Sugar nightclub—and a subsequent action against the club by Mayor Greg Nickels’ office—the club appears to be closing. We’ve received several e-mails from promoters who’ve canceled upcoming events because of the club’s closure.

I’ve got a call out to the club and I’ll update when I’ve got more info.


I just received a copy of an email sent to employees by the owner:

I met with an attorney who handled the Larry’s and Mr. Lucky’s closures. From our conversations, and I will sleep on this, but I think I will close the business tomorrow and put it up for sale. I don’t have the money to run Sugar at half speed while the city and liquor board try to close me down not to mention the lawsuits from the persons injured coming down the pike. I am so sorry for the patrons who were shot. I can’t bear the thought of someone getting seriously hurt or dying at Sugar.

I also am very sorry to have to tell you this. I know you count on this money and I truly apologize for it having to stop.

Unfortunately I find it hard to talk on the phone right now. I will get one more payroll out.

Please keep me posted on the guy in the hospital or if they catch the killer.

Sincerely, George

SPD says they’re not aware of any deaths related to the Sugar shooting.

Notes from the Prayer Warrior

posted by on November 20 at 11:34 AM



Dear Prayer Warrior,

The radio station, KKLA has requested an interview with me at 5:30 PM today. I believe you can listen on Anyway, they wanted to discuss the Microsoft story, and want it to be aired during rush hour in LA. Please pray for this interview, and for the listeners’ hearts, that they may be able to hear the truth.

Pastor Hutch

The Baron, the Pillow, and the Wardrobe

posted by on November 20 at 11:31 AM

Today, that mysterious fourth suspect in the Amanda Knox case was arrested on a train in Germany. According to Newsweek:

The detained man is 21-year-old Rudy Hermann Guede, an immigrant from the Ivory Coast who authorities say has spent most of his life in Italy. According to investigators, Guede’s blood-soaked fingerprints were found on a pillowcase in Kercher’s bedroom…

Known locally as “the baron,” Guede was said to be a fixture among the foreign student population, and police say he has a criminal record for selling drugs—something that allowed them to match his prints with those in the house. Locals also say he was a regular client at Lumumba’s club, Le Chic. The Italian press reported that Guede disappeared in the days following Kercher’s murder, telling friends, “I’m going dancing in Milan.”

Now about Kercher’s wardrobe (if you’re squeamish, you might want to skip this):

As police hunted for Guede early this week, they continued to release further details about the gruesome sexual torture and murder. Police now say that “unequivocal proof” shows that Kercher did not die on her bed, as was previously thought, but was forced to kneel in front of a closet in her bedroom as she was sexually assaulted and her throat was cut. Police hypothesize that her body was then dragged across the room, where it was found under the flowered duvet from her bed. Investigators also said that both Knox and Sollecito made reference to “the wardrobe” in their initial interrogations, and that those statements were “psychologically significant,” since Kercher’s body was found across the room. The fatal stab wound, say police, was in fact inflicted in front of the closet. A coroner’s report says that Kercher was probably conscious in the two hours that it took for her to bleed to death, but that the nature of her injuries made it impossible for her to call for help.

Jesus. The full story—with mug shots of Guede—is here.

UPDATE: The Congolese suspect has been released from police custody.

Dept. of Better Late Than Never

posted by on November 20 at 11:18 AM

Now Scott McLellan tells us. In a leaked excerpt from his upcoming memoir, he writes that he lied to the press about the roles of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby in the CIA leak case. Who told him to? Sounds like he’s pointing at President Bush, among others:

The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

There was one problem. It was not true.

I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the Vice President, the President’s chief of staff, and the President himself.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 20 at 11:00 AM

Puerto Rican Food

La Isla at La Isla

Start with the empanadas—they’re perfect. Then get a papa, a smooth mixture of onions, garlic, and gooey mozzarella stuffed into a potato. Then have a little ensalada de Jason, with fresh greens and mango tossed in tangy garlic vinaigrette. Now you’re ready for the pastelon, “a Puerto Rican lasagna with layers of sweet plantains and cheese” ($13.99 for tofu, $14.99 for beef). It’s sweet and savory, perfectly baked in a little dish just for you. (La Isla, 2320 NW Market St, 789-0516. 11:30 am–midnight.)


The Pummeling Brian Williams Deserves

posted by on November 20 at 10:18 AM

The NBC anchor describes marriage as “under attack” today in an intro to a puff piece about Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th wedding anniversary.

Marriage is under attack? Says who, Brian? Pat Robertson? The corpulent ghost of Jerry Falwell? Glenn Greenwald at Salon, Queerty, and Good As You slap Williams around for embracing and promoting anti-gay, right-wing rhetoric.

It Couldn’t Happen Here

posted by on November 20 at 10:00 AM


A rich & famous pro-athlete makes a promotional visit to a bookstore—a gay bookstore in London, in the middle of London’s gayest neighborhood, to sign his new calendar for his gay fans.

England Rugby Star Turns Out For Gay Fans

Gay rugby fans turned out in force to meet and greet England rugby player Ben Cohen yesterday.

The 29-year-old former Northampton Saints winger chose Prowler in Soho to hold a signing for his new calendar, which commemorates his 2007-2008 testimonial year….

When asked what they thought of a straight sports star courting his gay fanbase in this way, Prowler shoppers were very positive about the move.

“I think it’s fantastic. For a sportsman to do this for gay fans, I think is brilliant and many more should follow. As society gets more and more tolerant, more sports stars should come out and support us—because we support them,” said rugby fan Paul from Brighton, who was at the signing.

In Case You Missed This Yesterday

posted by on November 20 at 9:54 AM

The Washington State Democratic Party has hit Republican Congressman Dave Reichert with a complaint to the Federal Elections Commission over Reichert’s Bellevue fundraiser with President Bush earlier this year:

The Washington State Democratic Party today filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission regarding serious violations of election law by Congressman Dave Reichert.

On August 27, 2007, President Bush held a $1,000 a head fundraiser in Bellevue on behalf of Congressman Reichert, the proceeds of which were supposed to be placed into a special joint account that would then be divided between the Reichert campaign and the Washington State Republican Party. Instead, much of the money appears to have been deposited directly in Congressman Reichert’s campaign account, a serious violation of FEC rules. The Reichert campaign has also failed to refund at least one contribution in excess of the $4,600 campaign contribution limit for individual donors.

“One of two things is going on here: either Dave Reichert and his campaign staff are incompetent or they initiated a deliberate effort to mislead the public about their disastrous fundraising in recent months,” Washington State Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz said.

Because of these gross campaign finance and reporting violations, the amount actually raised at the fundraiser continues to be mystery. The Reichert campaign initially told the press that more than $500,000 had been raised at the event. After filing their third quarter FEC fundraising report in October, a Reichert spokesman claimed the event has raised $230,000 for Congressman Reichert. After much speculation into the accuracy of these numbers, that figure was then claimed to be $185,000. None of those numbers, however, appear in the Reichert filing, which states that the joint fundraiser raised $135,000.

The Reichert campaign also misled the public by claiming to have raised more money in the third quarter than Democratic challenger Darcy Burner. Days later, as their FEC filing came under scrutiny, Reichert chief of staff Mike Shields admitted that the campaign had actually raised less in the third quarter than Burner, despite the benefit of a fundraising visit from the president […]

Youth Pastor Watch

posted by on November 20 at 9:51 AM


A man accused of sexually assaulting a child he met at church in Longmont—a case that resulted in a deadlocked jury last week—was arrested over the weekend at a Lafayette church.

Officers pulled Peter Kim, 40, over just before 7 p.m. Saturday on South Boulder Road as he left Flatirons Community Church. The Longmont man was arrested on suspicion of violating the terms of his bond by being around minors other than his own children…. Lafayette police Cmdr. Mark Battersby said dispatchers got a call from an attorney about Kim being in the church service, at 400 South Boulder Road, sitting next to children.

Kim is expected to be tried again in April following last week’s mistrial in Boulder County District Court. He is charged with sexual assault on a child by someone in position of trust after prosecutors say he had a sexual relationship between January 2001 and January 2004 with a minor he met at Longmont’s Central Presbyterian Church, where he was a youth pastor.

Kim has a previous misdemeanor conviction for havinga relationship with a teen he met while working with children at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church about 10 years ago.

One day a vegetarian youth pastor is going to molest an underage pit bull on a Metro bus full of people in wheelchairs driving over the Alaskan Way Viaduct during a wind storm that knocks Greg Nickels off his fixed-gear bicycle and sends “notice of proposed land use action” signs flying off recently-announced condo conversions all over town and then we’ll be able to call it quits here at Slog. Until that story breaks…

“That Sinking Feeling”

posted by on November 20 at 9:37 AM

Sent to I, Anonymous, ruined my breakfast. Enjoy!

So I suppose you think you’re pretty cool, man. Must be pretty smug. No cops were called, no permanent 86s were given out, your wife knows nothing… but you better bet your unwiped ass you’re not in the clear. You played coy, pretending that you didn’t know what was going on as our security was holding you outside, away from the concert inside… but you knew why, and we knew you did it. You never denied what you did, until your wife came outside to get you, you sick bastard… then you denied everything up and down. Stand-up gentleman you are, buddy. You didn’t look like a sink pooper, but looks can be deceiving. You shit in my bar’s men’s room sink… and I had to clean it up. I’ve never formally met you, pal, but you have made an enemy. A fierce and dangerous enemy. You don’t know what I look like… but I know you, and you can rest assured you are being hunted at this very moment. You didn’t even use toilet paper, you sick fuck. You’ll get yours, sink pooper.

Good Question

posted by on November 20 at 9:10 AM

The parents of a murdered gay man submitted this question for the upcoming GOP YouTube debate:

Rudy, Mitt, Mike, Fred, et all, are competing with each other to see who can be the most gay-bashingest GOP candidate of all, with Rudy and Mitt, the frontrunners, flip-flopping that extra mile to compensate for their past support of gay rights. Here’s hoping the debate moderators lay this question on ‘em. Even if the GOPers dodge the question, which they doubtless will, I’d like to see the looks on the candidates’ faces when they hear the phrase “misguided religious teaching,” a phrase we Americans don’t hear often enough.

Via HuffPo.

Someone Is Exploiting Anti-Mormon Prejudice

posted by on November 20 at 8:11 AM

And it appears to be that Morman douche running for president.

Shortly after reports of Romney being targeted in a push poll emerged, the firm making the calls was identified as Western Wats, which is based in Utah and has a number of Romney campaign contributors on the payroll. Western Wats was founded by Ron Lindorf who has ties to the business school at the Mormon-owned Brigham Young University, Romney’s alma mater.

$400,000 Blowjob

posted by on November 20 at 7:31 AM

Bob Allen—the GOP state rep in Florida that was arrested after offering an undercover cop $20 and a blowjob in a public toilet—was convicted of solicitation last week, sentenced to six month’s probation and fined $250. Allen has now resigned from the Florida state house, much to the delight of his GOP colleagues, and a special election has to be held to pick his replacement. And guess what? It’s going to cost the state $400,000 to hold that special election. “That’s one expensive blowjob,” says Towleroad.

Well, technically no one got blown—so I’d describe it as one expensive bloverture.

But knowing how much it would cost to replace Allen, the GOP might have helped to reestablish its fiscal-conservative bona fides by encouraging Allen to serve out the rest of his term, a la Larry Craig.

The Morning News

posted by on November 20 at 7:22 AM

Approved: City Council leaves mayor’s budget mostly intact.

Foiled: School massacre plot in Germany.

Ultimatum: Philadelphia tells Boy Scouts to stop discriminating against gays or forfeit free rent.

On the Rise: US contracts to controversial companies, including Blackwater and former Halliburton subsidiary KBR.

In Decline: US stocks, which fell 1.65 percent on fears over credit crisis fallout.

In Somalia: The worst humanitarian crisis in Africa continues.

In Iowa: Top Democratic contenders in close battle.

Justice at Last: Infamous Khmer Rouge jailer to face trial.

Yawn: Another day, another megachurch sex scandal.

Just Tase ‘em, Bro!: So says Fox News host Brian Kilmead about protesters who disrupt political events.

Too fat: New Zealand bars overweight woman from immigrating.

Recipe of the Day: Pioneer Woman Dressing (recipe and photo via The Pioneer Woman Cooks!)


Continue reading "The Morning News" »

Barack on Top

posted by on November 20 at 7:13 AM

Obama outpolling Clinton for the first time in Iowa

Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) draws support from 30 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa, compared with 26 percent for Clinton and 22 percent for former senator John Edwards (N.C.). New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson received 11 percent. The results are only marginally different from a Post-ABC poll in late July, but in a state likely to set the tone for the rest of the nominating process, there are significant signs of progress for Obama—and harbingers of concern for Clinton.

The factors that have made Clinton the clear national front-runner—including her overwhelming leads on the issues of the Iraq war and health care, a widespread sense that she is the Democrats’ most electable candidate, and her strong support among women—do not appear to be translating on the ground in Iowa, where campaigning is already fierce and television ads have been running for months.

Monday, November 19, 2007

God’s Latest Invention

posted by on November 19 at 6:56 PM

We just received a press release from someone in Suwanee, Georgia. Hilariously, the apostrophes and TM’s all turned into weird characters (God doesn’t understand smart quotes or recognize trademarks, guys!). The press release (bold not mine):

Is prayer important at your church?

Finally, there is a tool for churches to encourage people to pray, worship, serve and connect with God beyond the Sunday service.

Introducing Prayer Toolbarô

Prayer Toolbarô enables churches to publish messages that display in peopleís web browser anytime they go online. If your church uses bulletins, web sites, email or podcasts to spread the Godís Word, than you owe it to yourself to investigate this new technology to connect people to God through you.

What it can do for your church is huge. What it can do for His people is eternal.
Here’s what the Prayer Toolbarô looks like:


Poor Mrs. Sims. I hope Ron’s doing okay.

Hey Lindy,

posted by on November 19 at 5:27 PM

A friend recently forwarded me the BEST SPAM EVER. Ready?


Dear Ladies or Gentlemen,

We learned from the internet that you are in the market for mold, this happens to coincide with our business activities.

I literally have no idea how I’m supposed to respond to this information.

Private to Jen Graves

posted by on November 19 at 4:40 PM

Dear Ms. Graves,

There are creators and there are critics. You are a fine critic.

But your morning attempt at creativity – to suggest I cheered the demise of a concrete box because I was high – showed a dearth of originality. A drug policy writer smoking pot—pray tell, how did you conjure such a jab? The last time someone fancied that an original criticism was in 2001. In the Seattle Weekly. In a letter to the editor, no less.

May the record show that I almost never smoke pot. The last time I tried was months ago, when two bong hits got me so high I could no longer play Mario Kart and had to go lay down. And people who say pot’s not a drug can suck my balls.

But back to the point. The concrete box is a blight, better replaced by something useful. Your defense of the windowless, one-story parking garage, covered in chipping paint and a consortium of mildew reads as follows: “It is the only thing within 30 blocks that speaks the same damn language as the sculpture.” But to borrow words of Dirk Calloway, with friends like these, who needs friends? Right, Wake? (Wake understood that, because we speak the same language.) Here is Wake’s linguistic neighbor.


I would have responded earlier, Ms. Graves, but while you were tapping out a soliloquy defending the temple of decay, I was talking to Martin Selig—who is determined to create even at the expense of paying basic utilities. Although I am unable to make good on his light bill, I told him I was happy to see the building go.

“What, you don’t like my parking garage?” asked Selig.

No, Mr. Selig. It is a covered parking lot with one of the most spectacular views in all of Seattle but the concrete walls are blind to its location’s splendor.

“That’s why we’re trying to do something there,” Selig says. Godspeed, Martin!

In closing, Ms. Graves, you wrote pot should be outlawed. While you’re at it, consider petitioning to annex Hawaii and Alaska to the 48 states or to declare the Bald Eagle our national bird.

The Mayor Vs. Sugar

posted by on November 19 at 4:33 PM

No, this isn’t a post about Nickels’ dietary restrictions. Following this morning’s shooting inside the nightclub Sugar, Mayor Greg Nickels issued a press release calling for “swift action on Sugar’s liquor license.”

Mayor Greg Nickels intends to ask the Washington State Liquor Control Board to take swift action on the license of Sugar Nightclub. The request could include either revocation of the license or emergency suspension.

I’m waiting to hear back from the liquor board on whether they’ll follow up on the Mayor’s request.

“Girls always hee-hawed at me and even men did in the federal john!”

posted by on November 19 at 4:01 PM

“Well, now I shriek at them, because I took Megadik
for 5 months and now my shaft is hugely greater than civil.”

me: i love my spam folder.
“If your girl cannot be satisfied with your weewee, you have to turn it into a schlong!”

Meagan: My favorite was “Beat her womb with your new enlarged rod.”
my womb!
that’s a baby’s house.

me: “Your new increased penis will be all women’s dream”
“Set your lassie on fire with your new giant rod!”
it makes me so sad to delete them.

Meagan: “good news for your phallus!”

me: “Large muscular rods make women go totallly wild!”

Meagan: i’m perfectly happy with the size of my penis, you know.

me: my penis is already XXXXXL

Meagan: you couldn’t even measure it with 6 rulers.

me: that sounds like a disability.
u r disabled

Meagan: bad news, Big Pun.

me: OH GOD
“Get ready to hear her happy moaning as you thrust your new big dick into her wet box!”
“Your baby-maker needs to be bigger in order to perform its functions well.”

Meagan: wow
your lady is lucky
that’s all i know

me: “Have you ever felt a kiss of a womb? With your new big rod you’ll feel it!”

Meagan: PLEASE
i don’t want your rod to poke my shit.

me: “There are no losers among the possessors of long dicks. Now you can be one of them!”

Meagan: that’s true
that is why all women are losers.

me: “Rupture her appendix with your mighty x-treme dong!”

Meagan: puncture her lung with your major phallus
tear her esophagus with your artificially enlarged wee wee

me: impregnate her liver with your burrito grande

Meagan: use your sizzling steak strip to fill her fajita

me: use your mouth to eat a tamale

Meagan: have sex with your girlfriend by inserting your penis into her vagina

me: that’s just good marketing.

Today on Line Out

posted by on November 19 at 3:45 PM

Shitty Show: Madlib’s Flow Gets Backed Up

Massline Transit: Blue Scholar’s “Joe Metro”

Like Monty Python…on ACID!: Blitzen Trapper’s “Wild Mountain Nation”

Tonight: White Magic, Band of Horses

Today in Music: Of Montreal Do the Impossible, Blake Lewis “Invents” a Genre, Deerhunter Take a Break, and more…

The Year Pop Punk Broke: Megan Seling on One Nine Nine Four

That’s Not What I Heard…: The Gossip Post New Song, “8th Wonder”

DUSSELDORF!: Of Montreal’s Mobile Phone Commercial

FutureSchmuck/MouthSounds: Blake Lewis’ Newly Invented Genre

Shitty Show, pt 2: No, Seriously, Madlib Stunk

Will the Plunder of University Museums Come to the Northwest?

posted by on November 19 at 3:43 PM

Today’s Inside Higher Education has a piece about the University of Oregon’s controversial decision this summer to make the university museum answer to the university fundraising department. The logic? Unclear.

But in light of several attempts lately by universities to sell off artworks to pay for financial deficits in non-art departments, the U of O’s decision has professors in an uproar.

More broadly, the shift in structure underscores a question that’s been raised as a number of college leaders have raided their art museums to raise funds in recent years: To what degree is a college art museum considered central to an academic mission, and to what extent is it seen primarily as a financial asset?

The U of O’s University Senate has submitted a request to the provost that the provost’s office resume control of the museum once a permanent executive director is hired. (An interim director is at the reins now.) Let’s hope that happens.


posted by on November 19 at 3:09 PM

This has already been discussed by a million other people (including Eli), but Clinton’s line—used a couple weeks ago and then again last week at the debate—that goes “They’re not attacking me because I’m a woman, they’re attacking me because I’m ahead,” well, that’s just genius. It’s been echoing in my head the last couple days, and I only recently figured out why: Because it sounds like something Bill Clinton would’ve said. It sounds Clintonian. Man, what I wouldn’t give for president whose speeches sounded Clintonian again. An articulate president. Can you imagine?

I picture the scene at home in Westchester County. Bill Clinton is in the shower, lathering up with Irish Spring, singing to himself. Hillary is leaning into the bathroom mirror, putting on lipstick.

BILL CLINTON (calling out over the steamed glass door): They’re not attacking you because you’re a woman, sweetheart. They’re attacking you because you’re winning!

HILLARY (stops, looks at him): That’s good. Can I use that?

Of course, that’s how the original line went—because I’m winning. By the time of last week’s debate, that line had been edited (by Hillary? by an aide?) to because I’m ahead. Also brilliant. The alliteration with winning is just a little too much, emphasizes too much that she’s out to win, etc. Someone on the campaign can really write.

Imagine Microwave Oven Accidents at your Office, but with Plutonium

posted by on November 19 at 2:40 PM

Ever since high school, one of my guilty pleasures is to read the Nuclear Regulator Commission’s Operating Experience Summaries. Every workplace dealing with significant amounts of radioactive material must report any accidents that could result in injury. The best are compiled and archived.

Something about the combination of ordinary foolishness, incredibly dangerous substances, absurdly convoluted environments and the disgusted passive voice of the anonymous governmental authors—as if written by the love child of Charles Mudede and A. Birch Steen—leads me to giggles.

Two examples are after the jump…

Continue reading "Imagine Microwave Oven Accidents at your Office, but with Plutonium" »

O They Will Know We Are Christians…

posted by on November 19 at 2:11 PM

…but our sister-in-law-bangin’ sex scandals.

The 80-year-old leader of a suburban Atlanta megachurch is at the center of a sex scandal of biblical dimensions: He slept with his brother’s wife and fathered a child by her. Members of Archbishop Earl Paulk’s family stood at the pulpit of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit at Chapel Hill Harvester Church a few Sundays ago and revealed the secret exposed by a recent court-ordered paternity test.

In truth, this is not the first—or even the second—sex scandal to engulf Paulk and the independent, charismatic church. But this time, he could be in trouble with the law for lying under oath about the affair.

The living proof of that lie is 34-year-old D.E. Paulk, who for years was known publicly as Earl Paulk’s nephew…. D.E. Paulk said he did not learn the secret of his parentage until the paternity test. “I was disappointed, and I was surprised,” he said.

A judge ordered the test at the request of the Cobb County district attorney’s office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which are investigating Earl Paulk for possible perjury and false-swearing charges stemming from a lawsuit.

The archbishop, his brother and the church are being sued by former church employee Mona Brewer, who says Earl Paulk manipulated her into an affair from 1989 to 2003 by telling her it was her only path to salvation. Earl Paulk admitted to the affair in front of the church last January.

In a 2006 deposition stemming from the lawsuit, the archbishop said under oath that the only woman he had ever had sex with outside of his marriage was Brewer. But the paternity test said otherwise.

Thanks to Slog tipper Will.

The Romney Press Conference

posted by on November 19 at 1:55 PM


I drove out to Sea-Tac this morning to attend Mitt Romney’s press conference, which kicked off his brief swing through the area. Romney will visit Microsoft today and this evening will attend a $1,000-per-person (and $2,300-per-photo) fundraiser at the Medina home of Wayne Perry, the CEO of Edge Wireless.

I’ll write more about Romney, his press conference, and his Washington visit in this week’s Stranger. But for now, here’s the question I asked at the brief press conference (thanks, by the way, for all your suggestions), along with Romney’s answer.

First, some set-up: The press conference was held at an arrival gate for private jets near the airport. Romney had just landed in a Citation X.


Which brought to mind this recent article from the New York Daily News:

Rudy Giuliani is jetting around the country wooing Bible-thumping conservatives, but his plane is often provided by a king of Sin City.

The Republican presidential hopeful anted up more than $122,000 last summer alone for jets traceable to casino kingpin Sheldon Adelson, whose Las Vegas Sands empire has made him the third-richest American, a Daily News review of campaign records shows.

I asked Romney what he thought of Giuliani’s private jet provider, and I asked who provided the jet Romney flew in on. Romney’s response:

The rules are that we have to pay the full charter rate if we’re using a private aircraft. I would presume that Rudy Giuliani is doing that… I honestly don’t know where he’s chartering his aircraft from, I’m not sure that’s as big a concern, no particular concern from me on that front.

But I can tell you in my own case that I’m chartering aircraft from a charter service. It’s a regular charter service that provides these kinds of aircraft to anybody who’s willing to pay the price it takes. And, it aint cheap.

I don’t have time right now to fact-check Romney on his private jet provider, but I believe any lay fact-checker out there can do it using the tail numbers on the plane pictured above (N967QS).

And, you know, I’m not saying this was the most scintillating question asked at the press conference. But a number of other reporters had already asked about trade, immigration, Huckabee, flip-flops, and so on, so I thought I’d throw out an oddball.

Plus, I have a minor fascination with private campaign jets. I’ve never been on a private jet (Keck is always using The Stranger’s, so when I travel for the paper it’s strictly commercial) but I hear they’re pretty cushy. Which makes me wonder: Do we need to update our sense of how hard it is for these candidates to be out on the campaign trail?

No doubt the trail is grueling, but if you’re zipping from here to there in a private jet (as all the major candidates are)—well, it seems, at the very least, like a lovely way to unwind between events.

Photos by Ryan S. Jackson

What He Said…

posted by on November 19 at 1:49 PM

Clark Williams-Derry on density at the Daily Score, the Sightline Institutes’ blog…

Every so often, we get criticized for being too fixated on fostering compact neighborhoods. “Density goes against what the housing market wants,” say some—ignoring the fact that most downtown housing developments around these parts get snapped up pretty quickly. Or, “Density is driving up the cost of middle-class housing,” which is simply backwards—density is a response to high housing prices, not a cause.

So we think there are plenty of good reasons for policymakers to be favorably disposed to fostering more housing close to downtown. But the following chart illustrates another key reason: Living in a dense neighborhood has less impact on the climate.


The chart was taken from this awesome 2006 article in the Journal of Urban Planning and Development, on the total climate and energy impacts of city vs. suburban living in Toronto, Ontario. The basic finding—living in a dense urban neighborhood cuts your GHG emissions by about 60 percent. Obviously, it’s just one study, for one city. But the authors took a fairly comprehensive look at energy use, and their findings are generally consistent with just about every other piece of literature I’ve seen on the subject. Really, this is just another piece of evidence adding to a fairly solid academic consensus: denser neighborhoods mean less climate warming emissions.

It’s a great point, one that can’t be made too often—particularly around here. People that want to do something about climate change are not allowed to bitch about dense urban development in Seattle. If you think climate change is a threat, embrace dense development. If you can’t do the latter you need to shut the fuck up about the former.

Don’t dig density? You’re not green. Period.

More Text Graffiti, Please

posted by on November 19 at 1:39 PM


I Am an Awful Driver and I Blame It On Having to Pay for Driver’s Ed

posted by on November 19 at 1:04 PM

As noted in the Morning News today, the Seattle PI reported today that the high cost of driver’s education classes is keeping poorer kids from learning how to drive.

I am a prime example of this.

In Massachusetts, there haven’t been driver’s ed classes in public schools for a very long time, and in the rich suburb that I grew up in (where they now make people pay over $200 a year to send their kids on the school bus), nickel and diming was the only reality. There was one driving school in town, and it cost a whopping $450 to attend. Since I was the child of a single parent who was already buying her own car, I had no extra money to pay for the classes. So I went to the town next door, the poorest town in Massachusetts, and went with a significantly cheaper school, where the curriculum mostly consisted of watching old VHS that depicted graphic car accidents. The teacher, on the first day, gave us the answer sheet to the state’s written driving test.

Later, he was indicted for selling crack cocaine on the street right outside the classroom.

Needless to say, I didn’t learn to drive from him, and I got my license when I turned 18 and it was no longer mandatory for me to have a driver’s ed certificate.

I am a horrible driver. People are scared to be in cars with me. This might result from a lack of practice (I’ve only ever owned one car, and I only owned it for two months before it got wrecked), but if I had learned driver’s ed in school, I would have at least gotten an education, and I would be less at risk for killing someone every time I drive. If driving is mandatory in your community (i.e. there is no reliable public transportation), then driver’s ed should be taught in the schools for free.

Dear Science and Me

posted by on November 19 at 1:03 PM

Global-warming pessimist Jonathan Golob, AKA Dear Science, talked with me last week about the failure of roads and transit, the future of transportation in this region, and whether we should all just give up and buy SUVs and a heavily fortified home in the suburbs. Listen to the latest Dear Science Podcast here.

Postpartum Politics

posted by on November 19 at 12:58 PM

The View’s resident Republican, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, might endorse Hillary Clinton—and apparently all it took was a note of congratulations from Clinton regarding the recent birth of Hasselbeck’s son.

What’s Going on at Langston Hughes?

posted by on November 19 at 12:37 PM

From our inbox this morning (abridged):

I am a small business owner of Café Vega on 19th and Yesler in Seattle’s Central Area. I have lived in Seattle for 16 years and am proud to live in and help build economic development in the neighborhood.

As an African American man and a parent of two young children of color, I know the importance of cultural institutions that reinforce positive images of our communities. One of the most pivotal institutions for my family for creating this type of space has been the Langston Hughes Performing Art Center.

Over the past few years, I have proudly watched the programs at Langston grow and felt comfort that, just two blocks from my café, something wonderful was happening. We’ve seen plays, dance, film, and music that cannot be found anywhere in this town. The synergy of being located near a vibrant performing arts center strengthens my hope and faith in our rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.

In the past few days I learned that Artistic Director Jacqueline Moscou — the woman who has spearheaded Langston’s transition from a recreation center into a major civic arts organization — has been unceremoniously removed from her position. Moscou, a well-known actor, director, and community leader, led the institution and development of the groundbreaking arts programming that has emerged in recent years.

The marquee at Langston now reads “ Dinah Was Cancelled - for more information call (206) 684-7241.” The number you call is not Langston Hughes. What’s going on at Langston? Has this organization abandoned its commitment to the arts? There was no announcement and no statement to the community regarding the future of Langston’s arts programs.

I attended a meeting of the center’s advisory council meeting last night expecting to hear some discussion related to this matter. There was none. The advisory council did, however take my name and ask me to sell tickets to their annual fundraiser. No mention was even made of her position, although the council is still touting her as a “renowned artistic director” in the fundraising materials they were handing out last night. With no artistic director and no vision for Langston’s future as an arts organization what would I be raising funds for?

Please ask Langston Hughes to explain why they dismissed their artistic director and help tell the community what has happened at their arts organization.

Thank you,

Andre Helmstetter
Owner, Café Vega
Central Area resident

Well, The Dinah Washington story was cancelled because the leading actress injured herself during the run, no controversy there. (And the phone number is to Seattle Park and Recreation, which runs Langston Hughes.)

But as for Ms. Moscou? The receptionist at Langston Hughes said nobody there was available to talk, but that Ms. Moscou is “on administrative leave” and “that’s all I know.”

I imagine we’ll know soon enough—I called Mr. Helmstetter’s cafe, where a harried-sounding woman said Helmstetter was on vacation, but that she’d already fielded a few calls from reporters.

Overheard in the Office

posted by on November 19 at 12:33 PM

Brad Steinbacher (putting two pennies on the top of a coworker’s cubicle wall): “Here’s my two cents.”

Sorry, No HIV Vaccine

posted by on November 19 at 12:24 PM

But we do have a new drug that will make your eyelashes longer.

Burning Kindles

posted by on November 19 at 11:54 AM

So Amazon just unveiled their reader, called a Kindle. I know that the conventional wisdom holds that ‘people will never be able to stop reading books and screens will never replace the tactile pleasure of paper and blah blah blah,’ but that’s bullshit, really. I think that within the next ten years, a significant portion of America will do their reading on some sort of an e-book reading device. Whether that device is the Kindle remains to be seen—it’s surely not going to be the Sony Reader, at least in its current incarnation—but the Kindle is maybe the first device that appears to do the important things that an e-reader will need to do. With newspaper, blog, and magazine subscriptions, and the ability to get books no matter where you are, it looks like it’s got the kind of functions that could make the Kindle the iPod of readers.

There are problems, of course: unlike iPods, there’s no way to download the books that you already own. The library will always be a competitor, too, and it appears that, with Kindle, there’s no way to get free books, though documents can be uploaded via e-mail for a fee. Still, this is the first e-reader that a lot of people, not just Segway-happy tech freaks, will use. Once Amazon allows the (public domain) classics to be freely downloaded to the Kindle, and once they lower the price (four hundred bucks!), the Kindle could become that kind of catchy device that borders on the ubiquitous.

It’s That Time of the Year Again

posted by on November 19 at 11:48 AM

The Wall Street Journal has the scoop on the dangerous world of teen booty shaking.


Look for Charles Mudede’s coverage of the growing “freak-dance” phenomenon in his upcoming article, “Is Freak Dancing Too White?”

Photo by lrjanes via Flickr

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 19 at 11:00 AM


White Magic at Nectar

Mira Billotte’s psychedelic folk band White Magic make albums that are full of prayers. The god she is praying to is unspecified, but it doesn’t matter. Her voice—heavy and thick and dramatic and revelatory—would appeal to any deity. When I listen to last year’s Dat Rosa Mel Apibus, all I can think of is the color purple. I hope there’s a fog machine going when they play, and I hope they bring the sitar. With local folk wackjob PWRFL Power and Johanna Kunin. (Nectar Lounge, 412 N 36th St, 632-2020. 8 pm, $8 adv, 21+.)


Youth Pastor Watch

posted by on November 19 at 10:56 AM


An Assembly of God youth pastor in Gans faces a felony charge in Sequoyah County District Court after investigators reported he made sexual remarks to a 14-year-old girl in his congregation, according to court documents.

Spencer Tally, 21, was charged Oct. 30 with making lewd or indecent proposals to a child younger than 16.

In a sworn affidavit requesting Tally’s arrest on probable cause, Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Deputy Cindy Smith describes incidents that apparently began when the girl attended a church luncheon and told Tally about unwelcome remarks made while she was on the phone with her boyfriend.

Tally told her no one had the right to ask her to perform such acts, the girl said. However, she also said Tally made several unwanted remarks to her in June phone calls, including asking her to perform oral sex for his birthday.

How Your Holiday Shopping This Year Will Help the Homeless Find Jobs and Places to Live

posted by on November 19 at 10:44 AM

Strangercrombie, our annual online holiday charity auction, is coming right up, with its great gift packages, feeling of do-gooder warmth, and photographs of people who are more naked than clothed:


In the past, all the Strangercrombie proceeds have gone to Northwest Harvest, which is great and all, but we thought it would be nice to start picking new causes each year and spread the generosity (your generosity) around.

This year, we chose FareStart.

(And for those kindhearted Slog commentors who worried that switching causes would screw up Northwest Harvest’s life: We talked about it, they’re cool with it, we’re all still friends. Plus, Northwest Harvest is a pretty big organization and FareStart is a comparatively small one. But it’s sweet of you to be concerned.)

And what’s for sale for this year’s Strangercromie?

• A several-course dinner for 10, cooked in your own kitchen by ace chef Ethan Stowell of Tavolàta and Union.

• A giant motherfucking 50-inch plasma-screen television.

• A salmon-fishing expedition with Stranger publisher and blood-sport enthusiast Tim Keck.

• And, um, karaoke with beatboxing marvel and American Idol superstar Blake Lewis.

• A “Chris Crocker Tells You What’s Wrong with You” Package, for which Chris Crocker will give you what-for over the phone and mail you a pair of his underwear.

And lots, lots more. So much more, it’s making me a little woozy.

Strangercrombie: Redistributing your wealth since 2002.


They Found His Body

posted by on November 19 at 10:36 AM

The latest in the Tony Harris story, according to the cover of today’s Seattle P-I:

The search for a missing former Washington State University basketball star ended Sunday when his body was found in the city of Formosa in Brazil, according to Brazilian news accounts.

Harris was found in a vacant lot with an electrical cord tied around his neck, Brazilian media reported…

He phoned his wife, Lori Harris, of Kent, Nov. 2 from Brazil, and said he feared for his life and had been hearing rumors involving himself.

Harris also told her that if he didn’t leave right away, he would not make it out of the country. His team was holding Harris’ passport.

Just checked the P-I’s website for updates—they’re good about updates—and according to an Associated Press story posted at 8:15 am, authorities in Sao Paolo are thinking suicide might the cause of death. And the instrument has gone from being an electrical cord to being a shoelace.

The spokesman, Norton Luiz, says the shoelace from one of his sneakers was around his neck when the body was found yesterday at the base of a tree, as if it fell from the branches. He also says police are not ruling out homicide.

An anonymous tip led police to find the body in a wooded area at an Army training ground near the town of Formosa, about 50 miles from the capital of Brasilia.


(At 9:55 am, the Seattle Times reported that AP story.)

Pit Bulls: The Stabbing Stage

posted by on November 19 at 10:35 AM

This one’s for you,” wrote Savage, forwarding me the story of the Minnesota woman who stabbed a pit bull that burst into her home and fatally attacked her cat.

The funny thing is that I’d already encountered another attacking-pit-bull-gets-stabbed story and dismissed it, thinking I’d give the pit-bulls-can’t-seem-to-stop-attacking-people-and-their-pets beat a rest for a while.

But two pit-bull-stabbing stories was too rich to ignore. What’s more, while searching for the original pit-bull-attack story, I found two more. All four stories involve attacking pit bulls and occured this month in the United States.

To those who’ll express their boredom of this subject in the comments: Doesn’t the fact that there are enough attacking-pit-bull stories to bore you tell you something?

Morning News: Late Edition

posted by on November 19 at 10:32 AM

I’m getting morning news up late because certain editors spaced their morning news duties this morning…

On Capitol Hill: Three shot inside Sugar nightclub.

In Bangladesh: Death toll from Thursday’s cyclone tops 3,100.

Musharref: Challenges to reelection rejected.

Meanwhile: 80 dead in Pakistan clashes.

Uh, Yay?: Iraq attacks fall to February 2006 levels.

“Worthless”? Iranian president calls for ending longtime practice of trading oil in dollars.

Mysterious: Bush’s Middle East peace conference, with details sketchy and date rapidly approaching.

Paranoid: Obama thinks the Clintons had a secret 20-year plan.

Banned: Plastic bags in San Francisco.

Classy: Gun owners stock up on bullets to celebrate National Ammo Day.

Katha Pollitt v. Maureen Dowd: Pollitt 1, Dowd 0.

$500: What you’ll pay for driver’s ed.

Recipe of the Day: Apple-Chestnut Soup with Parsley Croutons (Recipe and photo via Chow)


Continue reading "Morning News: Late Edition" »

Dominic Holden, Are You High?

posted by on November 19 at 10:31 AM

Dominic Holden, you’re completely wrong when you say:

The best thing about the Olympic Sculpture Park is Wake—graceful and industrial. The worst thing about the Olympic Sculpture Park is the concrete warehouse right behind Wake—a “historical site.”

The concrete warehouse is terrific. It is perfect. It is the only thing within 30 blocks that speaks the same damn language as the sculpture.

And you are rooting for some glassy high-rise architecture as a backdrop for the sculpture?

Pot should be outlawed.

That Saudi Rape Victim Sentenced to 200 Lashes After Being Raped?

posted by on November 19 at 10:21 AM

There were actually two rape victims in that case—and both were jailed and whipped.

The young woman’s offense was in meeting a former boyfriend, whom she had asked to return pictures he had of her because she was about to marry another man. The couple was sitting in a car when a group of seven men kidnapped them and raped them both, lawyers in the case told Arab News, a Saudi newspaper.

The woman and the former boyfriend were originally sentenced to 90 lashes each for being together in private, while the attackers received sentences ranging from 10 months to five years in prison, and 80 to 1,000 lashes each.

The woman’s sentence was subsequently upped to 200 lashes after she appealed her sentence.

The Real Money Issue

posted by on November 19 at 10:21 AM

While Modern Art Notes worried over LA MOCA’s announcement/decision to place a Louis Vuitton boutique in the center of Takashi Murakami’s retrospective at the museum, and LAT critic Christopher Knight, known for getting tough on institutions, praised the cleverness of the store in art-historical terms, Jori Finkel of the New York Times was thinking bigger.

She was wondering why the exhibition itself (at a nonprofit museum) was funded by three powerful private dealers who sell Murakami’s art out in the real world—for real prices, not the chump change of handbags.

And why one of the dealers, Blum & Poe, chartered a jet so that a particular artwork made it into the show.

The story Finkel wrote is evenhanded, but there are damning moments, and one comes about halfway through the piece.

The worst case, most interviewed agreed, would be for a museum to accept money from a gallery to stage a show of new or available work that the gallery could essentially sell straight off the museum walls. … (O)nly a handful of the 90-plus works in the Murakami exhibition are for sale, most prominently the “Oval Buddha” sculpture, offered by Blum & Poe.

Oval Buddha is the newest work in the show, the 19-foot platinum and aluminum sculpture that Blum & Poe chartered a jet for. Add to this that the commercial gallery is also underwriting the exhibition, and the situation starts to stink.

But as Finkel explains, the museums she includes in her story—most prominently (but certainly not only) the Guggenheim (with its Richard Prince retrospective) and LA MOCA—solicited the ethically shaky support of these private dealers.

It’s a fascinating read about the state of the world of art today.

Does the compromised context change the way we see Murakami’s commercially minded art? If Knight had known the full story about the show’s funding when he wrote his review, would it have altered passages like this one, or simply underscored them?:

The show is unambiguously titled “© Murakami.” The copyright symbol reads as a defiant, paradoxical assertion that the artist — not the private collector or public museum — retains perpetual ownership of the art-idea. That’s something we need to hear, especially as the mindless hand-wringing over today’s art market escalates faster than most stock portfolios.

In capitalist society, art objects are a species of money, not a consumable commodity (as they’re often mistakenly purported to be). Art is a medium of exchange, but artists establish its enduring value — not some hedge-fund gazillionaire with a shopping list.

The claim gets reasserted in the show’s newest work, recently completed and never before exhibited (although anticipated in a small figure drawn at the bottom of the mural-size Gero Tan painting). A Buddha-like self-portrait of Murakami is seated atop a lotus, riding on the back of a mythical beast, like Elizabeth “Cleopatra” Taylor entering Rome astride a colossal Sphinx.

Formed in aluminum and more than 18 feet tall, the silvery sculpture is covered in platinum leaf. It’s the world’s biggest bowling trophy — an Oscar®™ the artist awards to himself.

Oh, and one other thing I’ll say because MAN didn’t: Why didn’t the LAT get this story?

What’s Your Walk Score?

posted by on November 19 at 10:05 AM

Wanna find out if your neighborhood is dense and walkable? Enter your address at and get your neighborhood’s Walk Score. My ‘hood—dense, walkable Capitol Hill—only got 71 out of 100, or a C. Tough grader, that

Fuck ‘Em

posted by on November 19 at 9:56 AM

Echoes of the Stranger’s Urban Archipelago manifesto: John at Americablog points to—rather delightedly—a story in today’s Washington Post about which regions in the country are going to suffer most from the effects of global warming. Surprise! It’s the South. And guess what? John doesn’t give a shit.

We’ve written before about how the South has a reputation for electing far-right Neanderthal politicians who don’t care about much beyond God, gays and guns (embracing the former and the latter, and bashing the guy in the middle). And we’ve written about how the South’s biggest problems, like poverty, have little to do with God, gays, guns or the Republican (or far-right Democratic) politicians they elect. It’s therefore funny, yet again, that the conservative South is shooting itself in the foot by siding with politicians (that would be Republicans) who deny the existence of global warming. Why? Because according to a new study, America’s South will be among the world’s regions worst hit by the impact of global warming on local agriculture.

Our region—struggling to be more environmentally responsible—actually stands to benefit from the effects of climate change. Hm… climate change hurts the South and helps the North…


…maybe those leaf blowers and plastic bags and Hummers aren’t so bad after all. Shame about Mexico, though. Lovely people down there. Hope more of ‘em move North.

Mitt Romney Comes to Town

posted by on November 19 at 9:19 AM

The parade of Republicans continues. Last week it was Mike Huckabee. Today it’s Mitt Romney.

I’m headed to a Romney press event later this morning. Got a question for the former Massachusetts governor? Put it in the comments and maybe I’ll ask it for you.

Chuck Norris Approved

posted by on November 19 at 9:10 AM

Mike Huckabee’s first television ad, which he hopes is a knockout:

Postcard from Costa Rica

posted by on November 19 at 9:01 AM

(Ok, I got back from Costa Rica a week ago, but you know how slow the mail is from these lesser countries.)




And the rest!


Shooting at Sugar

posted by on November 19 at 8:58 AM

Just after 1:30 AM, three people were shot inside of Capitol Hill’s Sugar nightclub.

Seattle Police Department spokesman Mark Jamieson says that a “disturbance” in the nightclub led to the shooting.

The three victims—two men and one woman—apparently did not know the shooter, who fled the scene before police arrived.

One of the male victims was shot in the abdomen and was undergoing surgery earlier this morning. The other male victim was shot in the wrist, and the woman was hit in leg.

Last March, another fight inside the nightclub ended in a shooting several blocks away.

Meeting The Press: My First Time on the Campaign Trail

posted by on November 19 at 8:50 AM

Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

The Sound Transit bus stopped in Bellevue and I got out near the Westin, where Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was about to give a speech to the party faithful and, before that, spend some time with a few reporters—myself included, to my surprise.

This was last Thursday. It was my first press conference during a presidential campaign, and I approached it with a sort of fanboy enthusiasm. Covering presidential campaigns is a subject that has been given an ugly glamor by campaign trail diaries like Tim Crouse’s “The Boys On The Bus” or Matt Taibbi’s “Spanking The Donkey;” a sexy downward spiral decried by people who continue to go back to do it again and again.

I found myself pacing outside the doors of a second-floor Westin meeting room waiting for the press conference to begin, making some nervous jokes while speaking with David Postman of The Seattle Times, who assured me that so long as I had a tape recorder I’d be fine. I pictured myself stumbling over a question, my hands shaking, trying to recover but babbling madly at Huckabee as I was discreetly tasered by a Republican operative and dragged from the room. There would almost certainly be a subsequent YouTube video that would haunt me for the rest of my professional life.

We were led in, Huckabee sitting behind an imposing table. There is absolutely no oxygen in the room at a presidential candidate press conference, even one that has a relatively small attendance like the one I was at on Thursday. The time to ask your question generally comes during the microsecond of silence that arrives just after the candidate ends a thought; if you hesitate for a moment, someone else will fill that silence—either the candidate himself or another reporter. If, like I was, you’re in the presence of three veteran political reporters who have the preparation for that brief moment hardwired into their very souls, you’re pretty much doomed in trying to get in a question.

Which I was. Every time my mouth opened to ask the grinning Southerner a question, Postman or Neil Modie of the PI would get there a second faster. My journalistic kung fu was totally unprepared for this environment. But I did get to watch an interesting scene unfold.

Continue reading "Meeting The Press: My First Time on the Campaign Trail" »

The 13th Man

posted by on November 19 at 8:45 AM


Seattle painter J Garcia was in the endzone at Qwest Field today painting during the game.




The intersection between art and football is often overlooked because… there isn’t one. Leroy Neiman pretty much cornered the market on this stuff, for better or worse. We mostly leave sports imagery to photographers and the micro-fine focus they’re capable of. Here we have more of a drive-by than an intersection, but it works well in capturing a stylized blur, a feeling of action and color that reaches beyond the moment depicted.


Who Are These People?

posted by on November 19 at 8:30 AM

From Sunday’s Seattle TImes:

What’s the Christmas Gift Show? It’s for shoppers who consider shopping the day after Thanksgiving a late start.

It’s for hard-core Christmas shoppers who will pay the $14 entry fee to check out the 450 vendors selling jewelry, cosmetics, paintings, toys and holiday decorations. (Never mind that malls and department stores sit just two blocks away.)

What kind of person—besides a totally hard-core Christmas shopper—buys a $14 ticket to go shopping? What kind of psychosis prompts people to wait in long lines outside a convention center to buy those tickets to go shopping? And what were the people that bought those tickets buying inside the Convention Center? Scented candles. South Park Christmas ornaments. Knit scarves. Beef jerky. Crap—crap you can buy anywhere.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Stop Biting

posted by on November 18 at 9:00 PM


This mobile billboard/diorama was parked at the Capitol Hill Jack in the Box this afternoon. Couldn’t figure out the concept at all, but it’s our own fault for not copyrighting our shit.

Told ya so

posted by on November 18 at 8:31 PM

Seahawks win! Cedric Benson’s best two runs of the year happened in the first few minutes, and after that it was all Seahawks.

Nonetheless, it was pretty pleasant. The folks up in the very last row were very nice to the nephew and myself. The yahoos in front of us who were drinking smuggled-in plastic bottles of some variety of fortified wine didn’t get too profane until some braver souls in the next section started a bit of a verbal fisticuff (a ‘“word-i-cuff” I guess) with a bulky mustachioed Bears fan. Then I learned that we were at “Motherfucking Qwest field, man!”). No actual punches were thrown, this being the very polite Pacific Northwest.

But man, it was loud. This whole 12th man thing really works, as the Bears were taken out of a couple of potential good drives by false start penalties. If I recall, I had the over-under on False Start Penalties at 3.5, and I oughta be working in Vegas, since it came in at 4, so I’d had most of you on the hook. What impressed me, though, was not just the penalties, but when they happened: three out of four were in the fourth quarter, when the game was actually on the line. The fans made the most noise when it would matter most.

So, have fun winning the NFC Worst and then good luck in the playoffs. See you next year at Safeco…

Offered Without Comment

posted by on November 18 at 5:32 PM


I ran into this at Pacific Place Mall today. Uh… gee. There’s really not much you can say about something like this, is there?

I will offer this comment, however, about Restoration Hardware, which is in the background of this shot. Man, every last thing in that store—from the chunky crystal lamps to the bathroom fixtures to the plush robes—is just vulgar. Anyway, back that Jimi Hendrix nutcracker. That’s just… well, I’m not going to say. I wonder how long before we’re treated to a Kurt Cobain nutcracker.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 18 at 11:00 AM


‘Metropolis’ at SIFF Cinema at McCaw Hall

Cinema has two gigantic cities: One is called Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott; the other is called Metropolis, directed by Fritz Lang. The difference between these mighty cities? Metropolis happens before what Henri Lefebvre calls the “urban revolution.” Blade Runner happens long after it’s over. The citizens in Metropolis are ready to fight for their urban rights; the inhabitants of Blade Runner are too tired to fight. Metropolis marks the birth of who we are now. (SIFF Cinema at McCaw Hall; see Movie Times, page 88, for details.)


Judgment Day for someone…

posted by on November 18 at 10:08 AM

Jeez, the local team already beat the Bears. For the superstitious, a bad sign: but a sign, like all signs, that is ambiguous. Does this mean that all the Bear-beating mojo of the area has been used up, and Chicago will crunch the Seahawks? Or does it mean that the Pacific Northwest is on an anti-Ursine roll, and Chicago’s Bears are next on the menu?

I predict that the Bears are gonna lose, but not because of the lack of quality quarterbacking, but due to no running game worthy of the name. If Adrian Peterson (ours, not the Minnesota rookie of the year candidate) gets the ball ten or more times, then we’ll know Lovie Smith has given up on first-round bust Cedric Benson, whose primary move isn’t the cut-back across the grain, it’s pouting his way to the bench after gaining 2.6 yards on second and eight. (Right now, Walter Payton is gaining more yards than Benson just by spinning in his grave.)

If it’s a low-scoring game, though, the Bears have a slim chance named Devin Hester. But Holmgren is too smart to kick to Hester.

So, from the very last row, I will watch and listen with the nephew. Won’t bring the laptop for live-slogging, as that would interfere with the beer I’ll need to endure this debacle.

Morning News

posted by on November 18 at 9:13 AM

posted by news intern Brian Slodysko

Pakistan’s arsenal: Secret U.S. program funded security for Pakistani nukes.

Malpractice: Whistleblower precipitates lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies alleging illegal sales practices, deceptive accounting draining Medicare of dollars.

Trickle down economics: Mortgage foreclosure crisis evicting renters for landlord misdeeds.

Competing with the West: Industrializing nations vying for space travel technology.

And justice for all: Hundreds convicted by faulty FBI forensic test still await their day in court.

Snake oil salesman: Multi-millionaire U.S. fugitive operates medical scam from Hungary.

Iraq: U.S. soldiers accused of shooting six civilians.

“Not prime time worthy”: Seahawks’ chance to settle the score.