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Friday, October 10, 2008

Auditor Says SPD Isn't Misusing Obstruction Charges

posted by on October 10 at 4:18 PM

A report just released by Office of Professional Accountability Auditor Kate Pflaumer appears to have cleared the Seattle Police Department of allegations from civil rights groups and attorneys that officers have used obstruction charges to cover for improper or violent arrests.

Pflaumer, who compiled the report at the request of Mayor Greg Nickels, examined "obstruction only" arrests between January 2006 and July 2008 and found "no pattern of abuse" in how officers use obstruction charges.

According to Pflaumer's report, only 16 SPD officers have three or more obstruction arrests, and of the 76 cases Pflaumer examined, only 14 resulted in OPA complaints.

A number of the obstruction charges stemmed from drug arrests—when suspects attempted to swallow drugs or destroy paraphernalia in front of officers—while 24 cases came from interference in an arrest. Seven obstruction cases involved jaywalking.

22 of the 76 cases obstruction cases were dismissed, 18 defendants were given "dispositional continuances," like probation, two defendants were found not guilty and 31 plead or were found guilty. Data on the five other cases was unavailable. According to Pflaumer, no one actually served jail time from an obstruction charge as sentences for convictions were suspended.

Although Pflaumer didn't find a pattern of abuse in her report, there still appears to be a disturbing disparity in the number of obstruction arrests. In the two year time frame Pflaumer examined 51% of the people arrested solely for obstruction were African American while 37.5% were White and 10% were Asian. Two additional arrests were reported as "other."

Mayor Nickels is apparently looking to make the OPA Auditor position a full-time gig—it's currently part-time—and Pflaumer says she'll be moving on from her position sometime next year. Before then, she'll be putting together an annual report as well as a study on the relationships between communities and the police department.

This Week in the News

posted by on October 10 at 3:40 PM


In this week's paper, Jonah Spangenthal-Lee takes a hard look at the "epidemic" of violence in Southeast Seattle...

In the last month alone, there have been at least half a dozen shootings, many of them attributed to rising tensions between rival gangs. As Mayor Greg Nickels trots out his Youth Violence Prevention Initiative—a $9 million program designed to keep kids out of gangs and reduce violence in South and Central Seattle—South Seattle residents like Rachel Risley and Scott Schenk are getting used to the sounds of gunshots and police helicopters outside their home.

... and Dominic Holden talks to one Capitol Hill resident about his vision for the Broadway light-rail station:

Carter Kinnier, a 48-year-old Capitol Hill resident, has an idea. He envisions a new, permanent home for the farmers market, currently a block north of the transit station, which will soon be displaced by an apartment building. Sound Transit expects 14,000 people a day will board light rail at the station—all potential customers.

Meanwhile, on Slog, Dominic dropped in on a group of South Seattle residents who're unhappy that light rail will mean taller buildings; Jonah got the scoop on a probation officer who accused cops of sexually harassing her and was subsequently charged with assault; I wrote a long-ass analysis of the presidential debate; Eli Sanders polled the Slogerati to find out how much they'd donated to Obama's campaign; I wrote about the layoffs that are coming at King County; Dominic tells Catholics what they can do with their moralistic laws; and Eli — along with Paul Constant, David Schmader, and Christopher Frizzelle—liveSlogged the presidential debate.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Something Creepy Is Happening in Tennessee

posted by on October 9 at 1:50 PM

Classes at MTSU (Middle Tennessee State University) have been cancelled for a week and there's a no-fly zone around the school after multiple suspicious fires and e-mail threats. The Special Ops team is sweeping the campus looking for someone and the whole school is under heightened security.

It's all very vague and weird (via

The FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Murfreesboro Police Department, Rutherford County Sheriff's Department, Rutherford County Emergency Management and MTSU Campus Police have been involved in the investigation.

Doors to Peck Hall in Walnut Grove have been locked and signs announcing class cancellation for the remainder of the week have been posted.

Freshman Jessica Caughlins said that she was sitting in biology class when the text message came announcing classes were canceled.

“I’m really scared,” she said. “It’s creepy. I’m going home.”

Jessica sounds like a smart girl.

What the fuck is happening in Tennessee??

(Thanks to Robby for the tip.)

Where's the Bottom?

posted by on October 9 at 12:15 PM


The Heart Breaks

posted by on October 9 at 10:58 AM

Two teenagers asked a couple of Georgetown University students if they were gay. When the students replied that they were gay, the nineteen year-olds informed the gay students that they would be "stoned to death" in their home countries. Then the teenagers proceeded to beat the gay students with a vodka bottle. Now it looks like the two teenagers may be deported back to their home countries, where gay men are stoned but vodka is scarce.

That Baby, those Bus Drivers, the Truck Driver, the Guy With the Fire Extinguisher, All Those Cops, and That Police Helicopter Must Have Provoked That Dog Somehow

posted by on October 9 at 9:53 AM

I've never suggested that other dog breeds don't bite. But have you ever read a story like this one about a poodle or a lab—or even doberman? Do other dogs do this sort of shit?

A bus driver helped save the life of a baby after a pit bull terrier—named locally as 'Asbo'—ran amok yesterday, biting eight people including the 10-month-old child, before being shot dead by police.... Witnesses reported seeing helicopters, police cars, PCSOs and armed officers "running around with guns" in an attempt to catch the pit bull....

Jackie Haggis, a 38-year-old foster carer from Tavistock Crescent, Mitcham, saw the attack from her house a few yards from the scene.

"I Heard a load of noise outside. The noise became louder and turned into screaming and shouting, and I looked out of the window and saw a group of men on the grass outside my window. Then I saw the dog with a baby in its mouth. "It dragged the baby about 60 yards across the green. I seriously panicked and called 999 straight away. The men were trying to hit the dog with a fire extinguisher from a bus and with sticks, but it wouldn't let go.

"Eventually a man came onto the green in a pickup truck and tried to run the dog over but it didn't succeed. Instead the dog turned on another man and to escape he jumped in the back of the pickup truck.

"The dog went berserk and started chasing the man in the truck down the road. It was going absolutely wild." She added one bus driver, who works in the nearby National Express depot, in particular had saved the child's life. "If the bus driver hadn't come to the baby's rescue, it would have certainly been killed. It was absolutely petrifying," she said.

Read the rest of the story here.

Neighbors claim the dog's owner threw the animal out of her house when it "lunged" at one of her own kids—so, yeah, another "bad" pit bull owner, another convenient shield for the breed's apologists to hide behind. But the same logic behind a ban on, say, assault rifles and automatic weapons applies to a ban on pit bulls: the ban isn't intended to keep those weapons/dogs out of the hands/homes of good, responsible gun/dog owners. It's just that the appeal of these weapons/dogs to irresponsible assholes, coupled with the damage these weapons/dogs can do, trumps the right of "good" pit/AK47 owners to possess these asshole dogs/deadly weapons.

Mayor Forever

posted by on October 9 at 7:18 AM

Killing term limits?

Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday secured a fellow billionaire's once-wavering support to change the city's term-limits law, even as other obstacles formed to the politician's attempt to extend his tenure.

On some track, a rapper, I think it's Dr. Dre, describes his situation in the hiphop world as: "...running things like a mayor." Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, the city that birthed hiphop, evidently wants to run things like a dictator.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Headline of the Day, Approximately One Month Late

posted by on October 6 at 11:16 AM

From September:

Japanese murder investigators mistakenly believed sex doll was a corpse


(No, YOU'RE an old meme!)

He Must Have Provoked That Dog Somehow

posted by on October 6 at 9:47 AM

A pit bull kills a two-month old baby in Hawaii—but, hey, at least no one is claiming the dog was otherwise sweet and lovable.

Neighbors described the pit bull that killed a 2-month-old boy early yesterday as a loud and aggressive dog that remained locked up for most of the time in a kennel in the back yard of a Waianae home.... "My grandchildren couldn't go into the back yard because I thought that dog was dangerous," said Vidinha, 68.

The dog also attacked the baby's mother, who is hospitalized in stable condition. A spokesperson for the Humane Society in Hawaii notes that "attacks of this nature give dogs—particularly pit bulls—a negative stereotype." Yeah, isn't it a pity?

Dow Drops Below 10,000

posted by on October 6 at 8:01 AM


The selling on Wall Street began at the opening bell on Monday and only intensified as the morning went on. Shares moves sharply lower as the banking crisis tightened its grip on the global economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell below 10,000 for the first time since 2004 after losing more than 500 points in the first hour. The index has lost more than 1,100 points—or about 10 percent—in slightly more than a week.

Remember when we elected our first CEO president?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Morning News

posted by on October 5 at 7:05 AM

Posted by News Intern Aaron Pickus

Cubs Out: Dodgers sweep the Cubs as the LA team moves on to the National League Championship Series.

Terrorist Obama: GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin highlighted the innovative and constructive side of American politics yesterday when she described Sen. Obama as an "embarrassment" and someone who is"palling around with terrorists."

Husky Shakedown: New University of Washington Athletic Director Scott Woodward dismissed Marie Tuite, senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator.

Break Out the Candles: Thousands of local homes and businesses lost power as winds gusted up to 40 mph.

Victims Awarded: Pierce County jurors give $11.7 million to parents of a 2-year-old boy who drowned while at a day care in 2004.

Cheney the Tree-Hugger: Dick Cheney again displayed his flair for dark, ironic humor while speaking at the White House Conference on North American Wildlife Policy, saying that the conservation of wildlife has been a "high priority" for the Bush Administration.

Al Franken Surges: U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken moves ahead of his opponent, Republican Norm Coleman, in the Minnesota race.

Russians Head for Venezuela: Four Russian warships are on the way to Venezuela for joint naval exercises with the South American nation.

No Cabinet Agreement: President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai have failed to follow up their power-sharing agreement with the formation of a cabinet.

Good Citizen: An uploaded news post by a "citizen" journalist on CNN's website this Friday falsely reported Apple CEO Steve Jobs suffered a heart attack. In an inspiring example of the rationality and stability of our capitalist economy, Apple stock fell $9 billion before the rumor was debunked.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Morning News

posted by on October 4 at 9:30 AM

Posted by News Intern Aaron Pickus

Marriage Obama-meter: Barack and Michelle celebrate the 16th friggin' year of their traditional marriage.

California Bailin': Anybody got $7 billion for California?

Lactose Intolerant in China: Another great reason to not drink milk.

Opportunity Knox: King County Superior Court Judge Mike Heavey joins the battle over Amanda "I'm in an Italian Prison" Knox.

Dictator Games: Kim Jong Il, 66, discovers peek-a-boo.

Illegal Immigration: Lawless penguins deported from Brazil.

Victory for Victims: The Washington Supreme Court rules in favor of domestic violence victims who skip out on work to, you know, heal.

Bush the Problem Solver: Our government has cut its funding for supplying contraceptives to one of the biggest providers in Africa.

US-India Civilian Nuclear Deal: The new deal will likely lead to a large increase in US arms sales to India.

PKK Kills 15: 15 Turkish soldiers and 23 Kurdish rebels were killed in a battle near the Turkey-Iraq border.

Friday, October 3, 2008

State Sues Republicans Over Pro-Rossi Mailers

posted by on October 3 at 1:49 PM

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit against the state Republican Party this morning for allegedly violating campaign rules. The party used over $150,000 from a soft money account, which is prohibited from promoting specific candidates, to send three mailers encouraging voters to support Dino Rossi, the Public Disclosure Commission found last week.

The Washington State Republican Party, if found guilty, faces civil penalties in King County Superior Court of up to $10,000 for each of the three violations and liability for court fees.

Earlier this week, state Democrats called for AG Rob McKenna, a Republican, to hire independent counsel in the case to avoid an apparent conflict of interest. Luke Esser, chair of the Washington State Republican Party, worked with McKenna on the King County Council and at the AG’s office.

“Rob McKenna has known Luke since college,” says AG spokeswoman Janelle Guthrie. So, she says, “Attorney General McKenna has screened himself from this case and delegated attorney general decision making capability to his chief deputy, Brian Moran."

It will be a long time before the party’s lawyers see a judge: The case isn’t schedule for a hearing in King County Superior Court until March 2010.

In the meantime, the AGs office believes the Republican party will stop sending those sorts of campaign mailers. The party sent a statement to the AG’s office today, saying it “will not be making membership communications that are similar in kind to those that are the subject of the pending dispute … for the balance of the election cycle.”

Guthrie says that if the party does continue, “we are prepared to immediately request an injunction.”

The Morning News

posted by on October 3 at 8:22 AM

Biden Wins: Post-debate poll shows Biden won 51-36. Respondents also said that Biden was more qualified to be president (87 percent) than to Palin (46 percent).

Recession, Here We Come: Labor Department announces employers cut 159,000 jobs in September.

The reduction in payrolls was much sharper than the 100,000 cuts economists were forecasting. They expected the jobless rate to be unchanged.

It marked the ninth straight month that the economy has lost jobs. The drop underscores fallout from a long slump in the housing market and a dangerous credit crunch that intensified last month throwing Wall Street — and the economy — into chaos. So far this year, 760,000 jobs have disappeared.

"The economy is now sliding down the slippery slope of recession," said economist Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics.

Motoring: McCain terminates Michigan campaign—stops running ads, pulls paid staff to Wisconsin, Florida and Ohio.

Swing Low, Sweet Stage Coach: Wells Fargo will buy Wachovia for $15.1 billion.

Today's Debate: House squabbles over bailout bill. The key provision are here. Stocks jump in anticipation it will pass.

Good Call: Nokia releases the Tube, a touch-screen phone compatible with any network.

Bad Call: American-owned Skype allowed Chinese government access to text conversations.

"We may never know whether some of those people whose conversations were logged have gone to jail or have had their lives ruined in various ways as a result of this," said Rebecca MacKinnon, an Internet expert at Hong Kong University.

Boo Hoo: WaMu will tell employees whether they keep jobs by December 1. Some will stay, some will work through a transition, and some will be laid off.

Chained Melody: Federal panel will decide if music downloads are under priced.

Putting Its Foot Down: State rules that pedicures by live carp are illegal, because you can’t sanitize a fish.

Putting Its Hand Out: California needs $7 billion federal loan after being locked out of credit market for 10 days. Needs funding for education, law enforcement, and health care.

Pulling Its Stake Up: Nickelsville moved to Discovery Park, perhaps thinking it was federal land, only to get a 72-hour eviction notice from the city to move its pink tent city.

State Supreme Court: Rules police may destroy property in a drug raid without liability for damage—even if they find no drugs.

Kingston Trio: Founder, Nick Reynolds, dead at 75.

Troubled Water: Washington and eight other states sue EPA over ruling that allows pollution.

In Case You Missed It: Last night's VP debate.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Morning News

posted by on October 2 at 8:04 AM

The Surge That Isn’t Working: Unemployment rate hits seven-year high.

The Stock Market: Dow and S & P take morning dive in reaction to tight credit and unemployment rates.

The Senate: Passes bailout bill, with 74 votes in favor, including McCain and Obama. Heads for vote in the House, where passage is less certain.

Boom: Bus driver hears explosion in downtown Seattle parking garage, bomb squad deployed.

Gloom: NYPD officer who gave orders to use a Taser on a man, who subsequently fell to his death, commits suicide.

Gamer: Nintendo announces new DS handheld gaming console. For $179 you get dual cameras, music playback, and a pony.

Bomber: Suicide bomber kills 19 and injures 50 people in Baghdad.

Soldier: Pleads guilty to role in killing four Iraqi prisoners—bound, blindfolded, shot, and dumped in ditch. Gets only eight months in prison.

March of Nickels: Nickelsville moving to Discovery Park.

Nickels and Dimes: WaMu CEO refuses $11.6 million severance package.

Ankles and Crimes: State requires Level-3 sex offenders released from prison to wear tracking bracelets. Estimates about 200 will wear them at any given time.

Tonight! Watch the ladies of Slog (and Eli Sanders) duke it out over the VP debate. And to get you in the mood, please enjoy this flashback to Admiral Stockdale’s bumbling appearance at the VP debate in 1992:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Morning News

posted by on October 1 at 8:05 AM

Zero Down: Revised bailout bill heads to floor vote in Senate tonight. Obama and McCain to return to D.C.

First Question: Can Americans even pass the new citizenship test?

Second Delay: Bailout web traffic slows House web site.

Third Coming: Bloomberg reverses previous position--seeks to scrap mayoral term limits in New York to stay and help economy.

Bond Fire: Cities cut out of bond markets can’t pay for projects.

Sick Pay: Medicare reverses policy—refuses to reimburse hospitals for medical errors.

No Parachute: WaMu creditors may try to seize $16.5 million severance package from ousted CEO.

Where Rubber Meets Monroe: Thief pepper-sprays armored car driver, steals a sack of cash, and escapes on an inner tube down Woods Creek.

Building a Defense: Rossi denies influencing builders association to support his campaign. Says he had called to mediate a dispute, and then the group just happened to spend millions on an anti-Gregoire ads.

Building a Case: UW sues Northern Trust Bank for failing to return $1.4 billion investment when requested on Sept 17. While the bank lollygagged, the university’s investment lost $7.5 million.

Oh, Girl: Disneyland double books Miley Ray Cyrus’s 16th birthday party and Gay Days this weekend. Responds with plans to kick the gays out at 5 p.m. and send them over to California Adventure.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

She Must Have Provoked That Dog Somehow

posted by on September 30 at 8:46 AM

Pit bulls—they're so good with children!

Pit Bulls can be safe with kids despite what all the articles of pit bull attacks suggest.

Using common sense, watching your dogs behaviour, and keeping an eye on all interactions between kids and your pit bull will go a long way to preventing any possible accidents or problems.

And finally, Pit Bulls love kids and the two make a perfect combination. High energy wired up kid + high energy wired up Pit Bull = loads of fun and laughter for all involved. :o)

Just make sure your high-energy, wired-up kid doesn't bump your high-energy, wired-up pit bull, okay?

katya.jpgA 5-year-old girl attacked by a pit bull in a family friend's backyard in Simi Valley has died, authorities said Monday....

Katya's mother Katia Todesco said she and her daughter were visiting a friend who was taking care of the pit bull Tuesday. The little girl and the friend's 13-year-old daughter were playing in the backyard when the 5-year-old bumped into the dog, then was mauled. Her mother heard screams and came outside to find the dog latched on to her daughter.

"It was a horrible attack," Todesco said Monday. "With my own hands I was pulling the dog's jaw."

UPDATE: Sounds like pit bulls are popular dogs in Ventura County...

It was only the second time a dog has killed a Ventura County resident in Jenks' 36-year career with the county, she said. The only other time Jenks could recall was in the mid-1990s, when a family's pit bull bit and killed an infant in the living room of an east county home, she said.

On the night Katya was attacked, a different pit bull killed another dog on Lysander Avenue in Simi Valley, and yet another pit bull bit a woman on her legs on Ballard Street, Jenks said. Both dogs were taken to the animal shelter, and the owner of one immediately agreed to have it destroyed. Simi Valley police did not report any of the attacks to the media.

The Morning News

posted by on September 30 at 8:01 AM

Another Shot: Senate to tweak bailout bill to appease Republicans, plans to vote tomorrow.

Open Up: Dow opens to 200-point jump. S & P, NASDAQ both gain.

Insurance Up: Obama and McCain call to increase deposit insurance to $250,000.

Bob Young: Slaps Rossi campaign for deceptive ad.

City Budget: Nickels proposes budget that would: cut administrative jobs, add police, provide homeless services, spend $9.2 million on anti-violence measures for youth, and raise parking meter fees 50-cents an hour.

Water: One killed and nine injured in boat collision on Lake Tapps.

Fire: Justice department appoints special prosecutor, orders criminal investigation of Alberto Gonzales for firing US attorneys. Report accuses White House of blockading previous investigations.

Earth: Pirates holding ship of the cost of Somalia want money and a happy planet. “We consider sea bandits those who illegally fish in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas.”

Aired: NAACP raises grievances of more racial profiling.

An African-American senior at Garfield High School says Seattle police singled him out as he and a group of white friends were walking on Capitol Hill one night, telling him he'd never amount to anything and wasn't welcome in that neighborhood.

A probation counselor with King County Superior Court tearfully recalls how a black teen she'd just accompanied on a back-to-school shopping trip was stopped by police for jaywalking and accused of stealing the clothes they had just bought.

Stampede: 147 killed in India on pilgrimage to temple.

EU: Sends 300 observers to begin patrols in Georgia.

Housing: Prices in July down 16 percent from previous year.

Drinking: Ladies nights remain legal in New York, judge rules. Man called free drinks and waiving cover charges for women discrimination against men. He had recently sued Columbia University over its women’s studies program.

This Ought to Work: After lying to the press and avoiding reporters, the discordant duo accuses media of shoddy journalism.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mm, Mm, Good

posted by on September 29 at 3:45 PM


Guess what was the only stock in the S&P 500 to gain today...

The S&P 500 retreated 106.59 points to 1,106.42, as only one company gained, Campbell Soup Co.

No shit.

via Wonkette, via Gruber

What Caused WaMu's Collapse?

posted by on September 29 at 10:24 AM

It wasn't bad loans, deregulation, poor management, or the credit crisis. It was WaMu's commitment to a diverse workforce. So here's hoping all the folks that pulled their money out of WaMu in the weeks leading up to the collapse put their money in safe racist, sexist, homophobic banks.

Via Queerty.

The Sadies

posted by on September 29 at 10:22 AM

How on earth did I miss this story: "Zookeeper who reared Knut found dead."

It's the saddest story.

THE zookeeper who hand-reared Knut the polar bear at Berlin Zoo has been found dead at his home.

Thomas Doerflein, 44, was found dead on Monday. Authorities have yet to rule on the cause of death, but a police spokesman said there was no reason to suspect suicide or foul play.

Berlin Zoo confirmed Mr Doerflein was still employed but would not comment on reports that t he had been suffering from a serious illness.

Even here, in the realm of Knut's fame, happiness cannot be found.

Reflection Eternal

posted by on September 29 at 8:00 AM

From Seattle Times:

The Morning News

posted by on September 29 at 7:44 AM

House Payment: Compromise bailout bill heads to Congress. House slated to vote today.

All sides had to surrender something. The administration had to accept limits on executive pay and tougher oversight; Democrats had to sacrifice a push to allow bankruptcy judges to rewrite mortgages; and Republicans fell short in their effort to require that the federal government insure, rather than buy, the bad debt. … The deal would also restrict gold-plated farewells for executives of companies that sell devalued assets to the Treasury Department.

Bank Buyout: Citigroup buys Wachovia Corporation, as orchestrated by government, for $2.2 billion. Citigroup will absorb $42 billion in losses; FDIC to swallow the rest.

Stock Plummet: Dow Jones drops 300 points in first half hour of trading.

Burning Book: Novel about the wives of Muhammad may have sparked arson of publisher's house.

Failed State: McCain campaign conceding in Washington State.

Gay Bar: Washington State Bar Association unanimously votes to support same-sex marriage.

Speed Boat: Seventeen-year-old motor-boat driver plows into sailboat on Lake Washington, killing woman onboard.

Chemical Bothers: Potentially cancerous toxin found in South Park neighborhood. Residents advised to avoid dirt.

Gallup Poll: Obama takes eight-point lead. Third time his campaign held such a wide advantage. Meanwhile, 58 percent of Americans disapproved of McCain's handling of Wall Street, and they thought he lost Friday's debate.

Off of Africa: Somali pirates hold crew of massive Ukranian vessel loaded with tanks and weapons hostage in a “hot part of the ship.” One dead.

Not Kidding: Nebraska may repeal safe-haven law for abandoned minors. Sixteen kids—approximately half state’s population—abandoned since July.

Red Hawk Down: Medical helicopter crashes in D.C. suburb. Four on board killed, car-crash victim survives.

White Klan Up: Anti-immigrant, racist party gains ground, winning almost one-third of the vote, in Austria’s election.

The Surge in General: Thirty-two killed in Baghdad bombings on Sunday. Militants agitated for month of Ramadan.

Your Weekend Sucked: And it's all our fault.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Man Arrested In Maple Leaf Shooting to be Released

posted by on September 26 at 4:17 PM

The 19-year-old man arrested following Wednesday night's shooting in Maple Leaf will be released as police continue to investigate the case.

The 19-year-old man, who is an art and design student in Seattle, is suspected of shooting a 21-year-old man outside of the North Manor apartment complex in the 9700 block of 5th Ave NE just before 7pm Wednesday night. Police recovered a rifle at the scene.

According to the Seattle Times, the shooting may have stemmed from a car prowl. A 2001 Toyota Camry is registered to the 19-year-old man.


posted by on September 26 at 2:15 PM

No one at the Stranger—judging from the lack of posts about the subject—really seems to give a flying fuck about Nickelsville. This despite the fact that we may all be homeless soon.


The Danger is Clear

posted by on September 26 at 1:29 PM

Did you see this? It's great.

Someone turn on the bat signal. We need help.

Inside WaMu

posted by on September 26 at 11:27 AM


Philip1, who works in the Washington Mutual tower downtown, says his first instant message of the day came from a co-worker:


All the Washington Mutual employees received an email announcing the buyout last night2, giving people time to freak out in the privacy of their own homes before coming to work.

"Most everybody's been resigned for weeks that something like this would happen," Philip says. "Some people are working, others are slacking off, people taking extra-long coffee breaks together, joking around."

The most popular jokes in the Washington Mutual tower this morning:

As people arrived: "Welcome to J.P. Chase!"

Intermittently, as people pass each other: "It feels good working here!" and "I like this new office!"

Regarding a branding campaign—"fair, caring, human, dynamic, and driven!"—that Washington Mutual employees had beaten into their skulls a few years ago: "Do we still have to 'live the brand'?"

Philip, who works as a low-level compliance analyst, says he wouldn't mind being laid off. "But some of the older people," he says, "are looking pretty nervous. I haven't seen anybody crying. Not in my department."

The only material difference in the office, Philip says, is that they finally took down a portrait of Kerry Killinger—Washington Mutual's CEO, ousted earlier this month—and replaced it with a picture of an abacus.

"None of us," he says, "have any idea what's going to happen."

1Not his real name.

2 Full text of the "we've just been bought out but don't you worry!" email below the jump.

Continue reading "Inside WaMu" »

The Morning News

posted by on September 26 at 7:47 AM

All Your Banks Are Belong To Us: WaMu seized, sold to JPMorgan

Breakdown: Republicans stall bailout plan. McCain watches from the sidelines, awaits the cold embrace of death.

The Show Must Go On: Mississippi governor says he expects Obama/McCain debate to go on as originally planned. If McCain doesn't show, Obama say he'lll explain how to fix economy, Iraq, etc. and will try out stand-up material he's been working on.

Extremism: Israeli settlers start blowing shit up.

AT&T Is the New R.J. Reynolds: Cell phone execs refuse to testify before congress.

“A Scheme to Conceal From the Public”: "Uncle Ted" Stevens' trial gets underway.

Don't Be So Defensive: Congress slashes DARPA's budget by $130 million.

It'll Be Rubble By Then: Viaduct plan won't be in place until after the election.

Stupid Idea of the Day: PETA asks Ben & Jerry's to dump cows, switch to breast milk.

Game Over: Douchebag anti-video-game activist/attorney gets disbarred.

Grampa gets owned by ELLEN!

Bonus: I'd bet tonight's debate goes something like this.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The End of WaMu: Collapse and Purchase in Parts

posted by on September 25 at 6:30 PM

UPDATED at 10:20p:
The New York Times has a fantastic article up on the collapse.

The Seattle Times deserves credit for getting the story right before just about anyone else.

UPDATED at 6:30p:

Washington Mutual was seized by Federal regulators. JP Morgan Chase bought up the retail bank parts of WaMu. Customers should have a "seamless transition" (for some of the reasons I speculated about below.) Washington Mutual, as a company, is no more.

This was the largest failure of a bank in US history.

Don't panic. Your deposits--up to $100,000 per person--are insured.

It's everywhere. I like Bloomberg better than Rupert Murdoch, so:

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the third- biggest U.S. bank by assets, agreed to acquire the deposits of Washington Mutual Inc. as the thrift was seized by regulators in the biggest bank failure in U.S. history.

JPMorgan will pay $1.9 billion, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said in a statement today. It won't acquire liabilities including claims by equity, subordinated and senior debt holders, the FDIC said....

WaMu was the second-biggest provider of option ARMs, behind Wachovia, with $54 billion held in its portfolio in the first quarter, according to Inside Mortgage Finance. Of the $230 billion in loans secured by real estate at the end of the second quarter, $16.9 billion were subprime mortgages. WaMu, which ranked sixth among U.S. mortgage companies last year, was the 11th-biggest subprime lender in 2006, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.

Some advice:

If you have an account at WaMu, it's wise to go online and print out your current statement. If you don't have online access to your account, you can go to an ATM and get a "mini-statement" printout for free. You almost certainly won't need this documentation, but it cannot hurt to have it.

And a bit of gratitude:
I've always had a positive experience when banking at WaMu. The tellers have been good, the ATMs generally low-fee and the locations convenient (even when I'm visiting the East coast or the Midwest.)

So, thank you to all the employees at WaMu. My heart goes out to all of you who are about to suffer because of the irresponsible few at the top.

One of the ugliest aspects of deregulation is the most irresponsible (but profitable in the short term) could outcompete the responsible for promotions. Thanks to all of you in WaMu's management who refused to go along with this gambit and have seen your careers suffer for it.

Continue reading "The End of WaMu: Collapse and Purchase in Parts" »

Moses Lake Decides Not to Ban Face-Biting Monster Dogs

posted by on September 25 at 4:54 PM

The Moses Lake City Council took no action Wednesday on a proposed ordinance to ban pit bulls in the city.

The council decided to form a committee of dog owners and other residents to find a compromise.

The Columbia Basin Herald reports that a pit bull that mauled a 6-year-old boy Sept. 12 will be killed. Police cited the owner for keeping a vicious dog, having a dog at large and not having a pet license.

More on a local push for a pit bull ban here.

Seattle's Own Hooverville

posted by on September 25 at 3:25 PM


In the wake of John McCain saying that "the fundamentals of our economy are still strong" and all the world pointing out that Herbert Hoover said nearly the same thing on Black Thursday in 1929, Bar Exam went to Seattle's own Hooverville-the-bar this week. Found all around Hooverville-the-bar (which has $10 pitchers of Rainier and free peanuts): evidence of Seattle's burgeoning homeless problem (which is looking to have increased a lot more than 15 percent over the last few months). The shabby camper-encampment under the West Seattle Bridge seemed especially sad until I came across the shelter for men 50 and older.

Now we've got our own official non-bar Hooverville: Nickelsville. Here's a little more in the P-I. The homeless living in the pink tents in South Seattle are being evicted by the city at 5 p.m. today. More from Nickelsville after the jump.

Continue reading "Seattle's Own Hooverville" »

Let My People Adopt

posted by on September 25 at 11:39 AM

Chicago Tribune:

[Findings] by a nonpartisan adoption group being released Thursday conclude that gays and lesbians are an important resource for children awaiting adoption. There is near "universal professional consensus" that these applicants should be judged on their qualifications, not sexual orientation.

"The pool of potential adoptive parents must be expanded to keep pace with the growing number of kids in foster care who are legally free for adoption," stated the report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, which is based in New York.

Currently, about 129,000 U.S. children are in foster care, many of whom are older, have special needs and face grim prospects for finding a loving, permanent home.

Children like the ones being abandoned at hospitals in Nebraska. That state recently passed a "safe haven law" that allows parents to abandon children they can't care for at hospitals without fear of prosecution. Safe haven laws were designed to save the lives of infants and newborns; instead of stuffing your newborn in a trash at prom, you can drop it off at a hospital, no questions asked. But Nebraska's law, unlike similar laws in other states, has no age limit. Nebraska's safe-haven law went into effect in July and so far 11 children between the ages of 1 and 17 have been left at hospitals.

Back to the Chicago Tribune story...

Besides the emotional hardships, a national ban on gay adoptions could add $87 million to $130 million to foster care system expenditures each year, the report said, citing previous research. Not only would children who are removed from gay and lesbian homes be placed in group or institutional care, which is more costly, the state would incur the costs of recruiting and training new foster parents, researchers found.

Utah currently only allows married heterosexuals to adopt. And people who hate children succeeded in putting a ban on adoptions by single gay people or same-sex couples on the ballot in Arkansas. It's expected to pass by a wide margin. The state of Florida, which has fought hard to retain its ban on adoptions by same-sex couples, saw its first adoption by a gay couple last week, when a judge ruled that the state's ban on adoptions by gay couples was unconstitutional. From the Miami Herald (via Towleroad)...

"The two men have fostered more than 30 children since DCF accepted their application nine years ago, from a 2-day-old newborn to a 17-year-old. Still, there was something missing. The little boy who had come to their home in 2001 wanted a real father, Smith said. Not a foster dad.... At the doctor's office, at the grocery store, at an airline ticket counter, the boy seemed to visibly deflate every time a stranger asked Smith, 'Is that your son?' Smith said.... The 12-year-old boy's teacher testified the couple were among the most involved and nurturing parents in her class. 'I must confess,' she told a judge, 'the first year I had him, knowing he was of gay parents, I looked for things, and I found nothing.'"

Here's a video interview with the Smith and his partner. It's heartbreaking. And note that the state of Florida placed thirty three foster children in Smith's home—thirty three children—and then the state of Florida went to court and argued that these men were unfit to adopt the children the state placed in their home.

The Morning News

posted by on September 25 at 7:55 AM

All In a Day's Work: Obama smacks down McCain for trying to dodge debate, urges Congress to support NASA.

And the Doomsday Clock Ticks Closer To Midnight: Nuclear inspectors barred from North Korean reactor site.

This Is Exactly How Red Dawn Started:
Venezuela and China sign massive oil deal.

Dirty: Olympic Committee probing underage Chinese gymnasts.

Republicans: Bush goes prime-time to talk about the economic shit-hole we're in, Cindy McCain shows up for Seattle fundraiser after all.

Probably Not Republicans: Seattle groups helping homeless register to vote.

But Did He Have a Hung Jury? Oklahoma judge disbarred for using penis pump in court.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Damned Pit Bulls

posted by on September 24 at 2:11 PM

And now it's official:

Pilgrim Congregational Church will open its doors to dogs and cats, parrots and parakeets, and any other animal people want to bring to a blessing of the animals at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 5.

One exception—no pit bulls. The church’s insurance policy won’t let them through the door because of their reputation, deserved or not, for being aggressive.

“It’s unfortunate, we didn’t want to have any restrictions,” said Alana Snyder, a church member. “We’re thinking of ways of getting people into the church and Weymouth is a community focused on dogs.”

Don't know how they got that reputation. In other pit bull news: pit bulls running loose kill two dogs in Pennsylvania; police dog attacked by pair of pit bulls in British Columbia; pit bulls attack wheelchair-bound man and his three year-old son in Tennessee; pregnant woman in Maine upset that her two pit bulls were put to sleep after escaping from her home and attacking a neighbor's dog; pit bull in Florida shot to death after it attacks an elderly man, his granddaughter, and a police officer; woman's new pit bull attacks her three year-old son in New Zealand, ripping large chunk of flesh from the boy's arm.

Last word to an animal control officer in New Zealand:

"No animal control officers trust pit bulls. They're not like other dogs. I'm not sure why people get dogs like this. I mean, what is the need for a dog like that? They were specifically bred for fighting other dogs. When you get a pit bull biting, it's a lot more severe. Because their jaws are so powerful, they actually take a chunk out. Other breeds will take a nip then run off."


What He Said, Too

posted by on September 24 at 12:01 PM

Man, I can't remember the last time I was actually proud of Congress.

More, please.

The Morning News

posted by on September 24 at 7:46 AM

Surrender: Dems give up, allow 25-year ban on offshore drilling to expire.

Investmentigation: FBI probing collapsed investment firms for fraud.

The Jury's Still Out
: No charges yet in Palin email-password-guessing-not-hacking case.

Grand Ol' Party Crashers: State Dems sue to block Rossi's deceptive "GOP Party" ballot branding.

Palouse News You Can Use: WSU offers guaranteed admission to state's top high school grads. Meanwhile, the school's provost is put on indefinite leave.

Mindless Sport: Former NFL players are literally giving their brains to science.

Bus vs. Circus Elephant: Bus Wins.

Hearts and Minds: What the hell is a Human Terrain Team? Find out here.

Dumping Ground: Tired of Your Punk-Ass 15-Year-Old? Abandon them at a Nebraska hospital or fire station. It's perfectly legal.

Prolonging Armageddon: Large Hadron Collider shut down for a year.

Buy More Stamps If You Love America Postal service to announce $2.5 billion loss.

We're Next:
As arctic ice melts, polar bears resorting to cannibalism.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What She Said

posted by on September 23 at 9:19 PM

Except when she said "lockbox."

Urine Isn't Actually Harmful

posted by on September 23 at 5:27 PM

It's sterile. Still...

A Castle Rock Middle School student is accused of urinating in a teacher's drink container.... The 13-year-old was arrested and held in juvenile detention for investigation of placing a harmful substance in a container designed for human consumption.

...gross. When I was in the 10th grade me and a friend stole a teacher's car. Well, moved it. Never got caught.

If We Cease to Believe It Will Fall Down

posted by on September 23 at 1:18 PM

I can't read about our tanking economy without this Monty Python skit coming to mind...

Those Pants Must Have Provoked That Dog Somehow

posted by on September 23 at 8:30 AM

A political candidate out knocking on doors encounters a pit bull running loose...

“I didn’t have a chance to be scared because it was more of a surprise,” he said. “The dog just came out of nowhere, lunging down there and it was almost airborne moving at me and that quick it latched around the pants and kind of ripped around the whole pants.”

Says the pit bull owner...

The owner of the dog, who was not identified, said the dog didn’t attack Dahlberg, but admitted the dog ripped the pants of the former Duluth city councilor.

Thanks to Slog tipper Starfire.