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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Vote for Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, Even Though He Voted for the Boeing Deal

Posted by on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 6:00 AM

JOE FITZGIBBON, the golden years.
  • JOE FITZGIBBON, in the golden years.

We gave Joe Fitzgibbon, the Democrat from Seattle's 34th District, an adoring endorsement when he ran as a 23-year-old four years ago. But Olympia seems to have sucked the life out of him. It definitely sucked the spine out of him. (Let's not mention what the SECB wanted to suck out of him four years ago.) He admits that voting for Boeing's $9 billion tax break felt "shitty," but he did it anyway. FFS, Joe. His opponent, Brendan Kolding, is running on one idea that makes no sense: Fund private schools with public money in order to save public education. That idea sucks ass. Vote Fitzgibbon.

For The Stranger's full endorsements for the November election, continue reading »

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Interviews With Two Women Who Dated Jian Ghomeshi

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 7:19 PM

The top headline at the CBC news program As It Happens right now:

We speak to a woman—anonymously—who claims she was hit by Jian Ghomeshi

This woman's story is similar to the stories three other women told the Toronto Star, it's hard to listen to, and it's damning: Ghomeshi assaulted her on two occasions, the woman alleges, once in his car and once at his apartment. Both alleged assaults took place roughly ten years ago. The first alleged assault took place in Ghomeshi's car after an impromptu date; he was dropping the woman off when he grabbed her hair "very hard" and pulled her head back. ("It really took me off guard. I don't know precisely, exactly what he was saying. But I am thinking it was something along the lines of, 'Do you like this?' I don't know what I said.") The second alleged assault took place at Jian's house after another impromptu date; this time she alleges he grabbed her hair, pulled her down to floor, and repeatedly struck her in the side of the head with a closed fist. Like the other women who've spoken to the press about being assaulted by Ghomeshi, this woman wishes to remain anonymous.

While that interview was airing on As It Happens—pretty much at the exact same time it was airing—I was interviewing a woman who claims she dated Jian Ghomeshi two years ago. This woman contacted me after reading my first Slog post about Ghomeshi on Monday. In that post I wrote...

[With] four (or five) women telling similar and deeply troubling stories, with Ghomeshi getting at best qualified support from kinky bloggers like Zanin, and with none of his other BDSM sex partners stepping forward to defend Ghomeshi (at least so far), it's hard to see how he comes out on top. Because with the info we have right now this doesn't look like consensual kink. It looks like abuse.

Ghomeshi claimed in his Facebook post on Sunday that while his sexual practices might shock some—he's into roleplay, dominance, submission, and "mild forms of Fifty Shades of Grey"—they were all "mutually agreed upon, consensual, and exciting for both partners." Ghomeshi claimed the Toronto Star story was a hit piece, a smear campaign, a vendetta cooked up by an angry ex and a "freelance writer who was known not to be a fan." But if Ghomeshi only engaged in safe, sane, and consensual BDSM with his partners, if he was a conscientious and consensual kinkster, wouldn't his other exes and other play partners come forward to defend him?

The woman who contacted me said that she was one of Ghomeshi's consensual BDSM play partners and she wanted to defend him.

"I'm 27 years old and don't want to be identified at all but I do want to people to know how thorough our consent talks were," she wrote. "I am very worried about him and would like my story to be among the rest to give people a clearer picture. I'm not sure how to go about this."

I asked her for proof of their relationship and she forwarded texts messages and emails; she also sent a photo of her with Ghomeshi. I asked her for the names and phone numbers of friends she confided in while she was seeing Ghomeshi. She sent names and numbers and I was able to confirm details of her story with her friends. (I asked Ghomeshi to confirm the relationship and haven't heard back.) We spoke today by phone. Here's my interview with her:

Continue reading »


The Song of the Day is "Mourning Bird" by Ahamefule Oluo

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 5:15 PM

This song, released just yesterday, by composer and trumpeter Ahamefule J. Oluo (of Seattle quartet Industrial Revelation, winners of the 2014 Genius Award for Music), and lyricist/singer okanomode. The album, NOW I'M FINE, out December 9th, features music from the experimental pop-opera of the same name and will be released in conjunction with the show's upcoming run at Seattle's On the Boards. Check it out! SUCH SWEET, SWEET MUSIC...

Data Breaker: Bob Moses's House Erotics, Wolf Eyes' Horrorscapes, Digitalism

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 4:30 PM




At first I thought, why is a 66-year-old jazz drummer playing a show at Barboza? But it turns out that Bob Moses is not the guy who kept time with luminaries like Larry Coryell, Gary Burton, Jack DeJohnette's Compost, and Tisziji Muñoz, but rather a young Canadian electronic duo. You'd think these cats would be SEO-savvy enough not to nick the name of a respected musical figure. Anyway, maple-leaf Bob Moses create "Music that will make you want to build a highway through a low-income neighborhood," according to their SoundCloud bio. Funny, but it's more accurate to say that Bob Moses won't wreck your 'hood's integrity as much as they'll set a sultry, smooth mood for you and your significant other to create erotic friction. Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance's understated croons glide over slow- and mid-tempo house rhythms in a manner that should please fans of Matthew Dear and Junior Boys. With Jus Moni and Luxe Canyon. Barboza, 8 pm, $12 adv, 21+...


Meet Will Smith, Newaxeyes' "Elusive Fifth Member"

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 3:30 PM

From the Black Constellation to Eyvind Kang to Newaxeyes, Will Smith is mixing with some of Seattle best musicians.
  • Tyler Coray
  • From the Black Constellation to Eyvind Kang to Newaxeyes, Will Smith is mixing with some of Seattle's best musicians.

Seattle quartet Newaxeyes are one of the city’s most interesting and exciting bands, as I outline in this week’s paper. In that feature, Newaxeyes praise Will Smith, who handles their live sound and produces their recordings. (He worked the boards for Newaxeyes’ debut single, “Assange” / “Church,” which you can hear below.) Beyond these duties, Smith also runs 4th Street Records and Hatchback Recording, the latter a mobile audio company that did sound for the recent Black Constellation event at the Frye Museum featuring Erik Blood, Shabazz Palaces, and OCnotes. Smith also cut a grindcore Christmas album with Newaxeyes guitarist Will Hayes last year. The band members made Smith sound so fascinating, I decided to interview him, too.

Newaxeyes consider you something of a fifth member. Please describe what you do for the band and what you perceive as your role with them, both live and in the studio.
My role is the same live as it is in the studio. I'm there to make sure their equipment behaves and that everything sonically fits together. I don't have any input on the music itself, other than dynamic and spatial balance. I ensure that they are able to play the way they want to play, and that the sounds fit together the way they intend.

Will Hayes says that you and he studied at Cornish under Wayne Horvitz. What did you learn there that you apply to your musical activities now?
I'm actually still studying there until the spring. My time at Cornish has taught me to listen to what a piece of music is asking for, and to try not to project what I think it needs. Wayne taught me a lot of practical arranging and notational skills, and also to be more critical when revising my own work. Lately I've been studying with Eyvind Kang, who has been helping me refine my compositional style as well as my improvisational skills. I'd say the best thing Cornish has given me is a leg up into Seattle's music community.

Do you have an overarching philosophy with regard to audio work, something that guides you through every job or circumstance?
Not in any technical sense, no, but I like to think that my job as an engineer is to express the music as clearly as possible, so that the technology involved achieves transparency.

The music I’ve heard on your Soundcloud is excellent. Do you ever play out?
I perform on occasion, but most of the music on my Soundcloud is stuff I've never played live. Most of the live shows I play are one-off gigs as a cellist.

Can you discuss what the concept is behind Hatchback and what other events besides Black Constellation you’ve recorded? Will there be a physical or digital release of that Frye performance?
Hatchback is a professional location recording service formed by Ben Marx, another Cornish alum, and myself. We provide a studio-quality tracking service in any location. The idea was that we could capture site-specific or one-night-only performances in venues that were not equipped with recording systems, and do it with the same gear and at the same quality as any pro studio. The Black Constellation event was a great test for our new rig, and the results were even better than we we expected. We recently recorded Will Hayes' performance with Ariana Bird, members of the Pendleton House, and Portland/Oakland noise group Cvbe Ov Falsehood at the Chapel Performance Space. I can't comment on the future of the Frye recording until the artists have discussed what they want to do with it.

Newaxeyes say you have a “relationship with Avast [Recording Co.].” Can you elaborate?
My relationship with Avast is that I love mixing in Studio B and try to take every project there if I can. I went there with Eyvind Kang once and was hooked. They have a world-class collection of microphones, great outboard, and great staff.

Newaxeyes play Fri. Oct. 31 at Vermillion and Triple Door at Hypnotikon II Sat. Nov. 15.

Newaxeyes' single is available digitally here and the 12-inch version (180g at 45 rpm) can be pre-ordered here.


Citizenfour: Laura Poitras's Documentary Takes Us into the Hong Kong Hotel Room Where Edward Snowden Changed the World

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 3:30 PM


For a film that largely takes place in a Hong Kong hotel room, Laura Poitras's Citizenfour—a deeply embedded documentary about Edward Snowden's revelations of the US's extensive spying program—is a gut-clenching thriller. It begins with the camera rushing down a black tunnel and Poitras reading from one of the early e-mails Snowden sent her: "At this stage I can offer nothing more than my word. I am a senior government employee in the intelligence community. I hope you understand that contacting you is extremely high risk... This will not be a waste of your time."

After a few e-mail exchanges, Snowden (who was signing his e-mails "citizenfour") tells Poitras to meet him in the restaurant of a Hong Kong hotel. He will be playing with a Rubik's Cube, they will have a scripted exchange, and she will follow him. Minutes later, she's turned on her camera and we all get to watch as he shows her and journalist Glenn Greenwald exactly how the US government is "building the biggest weapon for oppression in the history of mankind."

It's a truth so big, the public still hasn't fully digested it...


State Representative Roger Freeman, 48, Has Died

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 3:16 PM

RIP, Representative Roger Freeman.
  • Washington State Legislature
  • RIP, Representative Freeman.
Freshman Federal Way legislator Roger Freeman (D-30) passed away this morning following a yearlong battle with cancer, according to various sources. He was elected a state representative in 2012, after serving on the Federal Way City Council and spending 18 years as a public defender. State senator Tracy Eide, from Federal Way's 30th Legislative District, confirms early reports of Freeman's passing and issued her own statement.

The 30th district has lost an outstanding young man," writes Eide. "Rep. Freeman was not only a smart and effective legislator but an example to everyone who had the privilege of working with him. He tackled tough problems without blinking and he faced stressful challenges without ever losing the positive, can-do attitude we came to count on from him."

Governor Jay Inselee issued a statement as well, saying "Roger came to the state Legislature with a passion for serving his community and advocating for the most vulnerable, particularly children and children with disabilities. He was fully committed to his work despite the battle he faced against cancer, and was one of the most professional, eloquent and kind-hearted legislators I've had the pleasure of working with." Inslee and Eide both offer condolences to Freeman's family.

Freeman leaves behind a wife and two children. His name is on this fall's ballot; if he wins the election, his position would be filled by an appointment, made jointly by the 30th LD Democrats and the King and Pierce County Councils.

Newaxeyes' Warped Perspectives on Music, Information, and Millennials

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 2:15 PM


The combined age of Seattle foursome Newaxeyes is 100. Yes, they're Millennials—but the good kind, the kind that form an innovative band, perhaps this city's soon-to-be best, if things continue as they have in the 16 months they've been together.

"What you might call a 'Millennial perspective' deeply informs the conceptual aspect of our work, in that we interact heavily with information as a concept," says synthesist/bassist/sample-wrangler Jordan Rundle, at 23 the youngest member of the band. "We like to interact with the idea that all information is fundamentally the same. You derive your own significance to it. That comes out of the fact that we're heavily sample based; we appropriate wildly different sources from all over the musical spectrum and the conceptual spectrum."

Along with guitarists Will Hayes and Tyler Coray and synthesist/beatmaker/floppy-disk manipulator Bret Gardin, Newaxeyes purvey an omnidirectional approach...



"I'm going to stand up for fucking Christians."

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 2:13 PM


At an In-N-Out Burger in California, a man carrying a bible had been holding the door open for customers all day. Because reasons. When the staff declined to thank him for this strange behavior, the man had a screaming meltdown that was caught on a customer's cell phone.

Jesus is Lord and fuck this country?

SL Letter of the Day: Help For CLIT, Thanks From WTBO

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 2:03 PM

I read Can't Let It Transpire's letter to you about her problems with clitoral stimulation, and would really really love to be able to give her my thoughts, as a woman who has experienced what she's experiencing, if you'd be willing to pass them on.

I'm 11 years older than CLIT, and direct clitoral stimulation has always been painful to me. At her age I found it too difficult to tell partners that what was going on wasn't getting my rocks off. (And Dr. Herbenick is totally right: boys at that age tend to just rummage roughly and hope something will work!) Over the course of my twenties I slowly discovered that treating the clitoral hood like a foreskin (moving it up and down without actually touch the clit directly) works much better for me. It wasn't until my late twenties that I discovered all the nerve endings that run down along both sides of the vulva (the fat penguin-like diagram of a clitoris explains these well) and stimulating them can work too. Maybe the same things will work for CLIT.

I didn't have my first orgasm with a partner until I was 25, and my first one with a male partner wasn't until I was 27! I'd hate for CLIT to have to wait that long too just because of lack of information. I highly recommend the Jimmyjane Form 2 vibrator for the kind of stimulation that works for those of us who can't take it directly on the clit. It's expensive, but nothing does it better! And I recommend she just cheerily explains this little oddity of her body to her boyfriend (and any potential future partners)—my sex life is a thousand times better for it.

I feel your pain (literally), CLIT, but I hope this helps!

Came Later In Time 2

Thanks for sharing, CLIT2. Bonus letter about another recent SLLTOD... after the jump...

Continue reading »

Need to File a Complaint About the Seattle Police? Go to the 18th Floor of the Pacific Building Downtown

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 1:43 PM

OPA Director Pierce Murphy shows off the big new logo on the wall as you come in.
  • Ansel Herz
  • Office of Professional Accountability Director Pierce Murphy shows off the big new logo on the wall of the agency's brand new location: 720 3rd Ave., 18th Floor.

The Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) has moved out of its old split office (which was partly at SPD headquarters, partly in the city's Municipal Tower) and into a brand new office on the 18th floor of a tall building on Third Avenue! And they want you to know about it, and to feel free to stop by any time to talk about police misconduct, which OPA staff are charged with investigating.

"We want to project independence," OPA Director Pierce Murphy explained to a small group of officials and reporters who were shown around the new digs this morning. "We're not siding with anybody. That was the idea of getting away from the police building. We're trying to be publicly accessible."

Murphy also said he wants to get to the point where police officers feel welcome walking in to talk with his staff—something he felt he accomplished in Boise, Idaho while dealing with the troubled police department there. At the ground floor, there's a Top Pot donuts next to the entrance (INSERT COP JOKE HERE) and Murphy's corner office looks out over Third Avenue, facing north.

"I think it's a very good first step," said Community Police Commission Executive Director Fé Lopez. She added that education and outreach will be key so that people in the community know where to come when they have complaints. The address is 720 3rd Ave., 18th Floor. You can also file a complaint online or over the phone.


What Are You Doing Today? What Are You Doing Tonight?

Posted by and on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Relax, its just a butt
  • See if you can spot the butt

Party at Cairo: Tonight, the multidisciplinary hive of indie arts and crafts is having a thing, with art by nine artists, a performance by the Awesome Witch of Rad and a slideshow by a guy named Doug Newman. Thanks, Doug!

Valerie Plame: Wait... who was that again? Many hundred of thousands of news cycles ago, Plame was the CIA operative that got outed in 2003. Now, believe it or not, she's become a spy novelist and is reading at Town Hall tonight.

Free Jazz in the Key of Noir: Or I guess free jazz is never in the key of anything? The Wally Shoup Quartet hits Vito's tonight.

Cognac Tasting: Taste it tonight.

Thrash Revivalists Power Trip: Plan to pummel you unpolitely at El Corazon, in support of Eyehategod.

All Hallow's Eve's Eve's Eve: Celebrate at the Lo-Fi with the pitch-black experimental doom of Caligula Cartel and Witches Titties.

Bob Moses' Erotic-City House Tunes: Are all yours at Barboza.

Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should: "Smells Like Teen Spirit" Dubstep Remix

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 12:12 PM

This dubstep mix of Nirvana's Top 40 hit, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," was made by RIOT 87; the pair are self described as "Serbia's top duo experts of explosive EDM!" I thought dubstep was only a thing for like a minute, or maybe like a WEEK and everyone hated it. Has dubstep turned into some kinda bro/fist-pump thing in Europe now? [It's been that kind of thing in America for three or four years now. —ed.] When it comes to Europe's dodgy taste, I'm often confounded.

Also, this WTF "party" mix of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (slightly NSFW pic).

Savage Love: Inanimate Objections

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 11:30 AM

  • Joe Newton
My son is 15 going on 16, and he's been experimenting with masturbation. At the moment, I pretty much just think fine, whatever, he's a teenager, there's very little I can do about it. So long as he doesn't get porn-obsessed and start letting his grades slip, it's fine. The issue is that, a few months ago, his younger sister found one of her tampons in the garbage, and it was covered with poop. She brought it up to me and my wife, and we didn't think much of it—until a couple of months ago, when my wife discovered, again, a used, shitty tampon in the garbage. We had a talk with our son and told him that we understand he is maturing sexually and we don't care how he explores his sexuality. However, we also don't want to find shitty tampons or whatever else in the garbage. Then, a couple of days ago, we were going to bed and we heard a noise coming from his bathroom. We checked it out and found his toothbrush in the sink, butt-end being rinsed with the water running full blast for who knows how long (he was downstairs). We asked him why he was doing that, and he said the cat had pissed on his toothbrush. We think his story is bullshit, as although the cat does piss on the floor, the cat has never peed on a counter before. We are fine with him exploring his sexuality, but at the same time, we don't want to find tidbits of what he's doing out in the open. As I've explained to him, he needs to do a better job of hiding it, because if a friend had come over and found a shitty tampon in the garbage can, what would they think? However, it looks like shaming him to hide it better might be the only way. What are your thoughts on this? Are we in the wrong here?

Perplexed Over Progeny's Sexuality

You haven't found any more shit-covered tampons in the trash since you spoke to your son about it months ago, POPS, so either he's doing a better job...


Win Two V.I.P. Tickets to Bump! with Ben and Bunny

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Ben and Bunny
  • Ben and Bunny

Happy Halloweek, dearest ‘mos and ‘mo-adjacents! Who (and/or what) are you going to be? Well, you better figure it out fast, bub, because the Grand Prize for the best costume at Bump! on Thursday is $1,000, and lord knows you need the money. (OBAMA!) Now, if you didn’t just fall out of a turnip tree, you’ll know that Bump! has been the big gay Halloween do since dirt was in diapers. (Oh the memories! I wish I could remember…) As I mention in today's Homosexual Agenda, this year’s event is hosted by none others than our own incomparable Ben DeLaCreme and NYC’s fabulously foulmouthed drag legend, The Lady Bunny. There will of course be a glamorous V.I.P. room hosted by the mesmerizing Markos sisters for all your needs, and there shall be sets by DJs Superthreat (Nark + Amoania) and Jimi Jaxon. And the very best part of all? YOU’RE GOING TO WIN TWO V.I.P. TICKETS MAYBE! (That’s a $150 value, by the way. Cha-ching!) That's right! You shall hob the nobs of drag royalty! You shall drink like an alcoholic flounder! You shall dance like no one is watching (except Lady Bunny, and she's totally going to make fun of you)! You know the drill…simply retwat the following tweetering by 12 PM Thursday, and your name shall be thrown into a rusty old bucket, from whence a lucky winner shall be selected at random by the spooky fingers of fate!

Ghouls and gals, start your tweetering! Ben, Bunny and I can't wait to see you there.

Mormon Misson Destroys Mormon Kid's Faith

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 10:51 AM

After isolating him at the Mission Training Center for months—no phone calls, no visits, no access to the Internet—the Mormon Church sent teenage "elder" Greg Hawkins to the Philippines for two years, where he lived in vermin-infested living quarters, used non-flushing toilets, and gradually lost his faith. Bullying a poor Mormon convert into giving the Mormon Church 10% of his meager income caused Hawkins to doubt his faith:

In order to be baptized a Mormon, you must commit to tithing. To Mormons, tithing means giving the Church ten percent of your gross income for the rest of your life. Ed had a wife and four children. And he made the equivalent of $177 a month—working 84 hours a week.

My missionary companion just couldn’t understand Ed’s reluctance and was convinced that we needed to work on Ed’s faith. He needed faith to see that if he just gave $18 of that income to the Church every month, the Lord would provide him with blessings. And blessings would help see him through these troubled times. After all, Jesus told the parable of the widow’s mite. “How selfish could Ed possibly be?” he asked me one night while we were having dinner at McDonald’s.

Hawkins returned from the Philippines full of doubt but fluent in Tagalog.

[Then] I ran across a YouTube video of David Fitzgerald giving his talk “The Heretic’s Guide to Mormonism.” I recall reeling in my chair after watching the video. He must have been lying. Surely the things he said weren’t true. I had to research this. Against the council of my church leaders, I took my studies to the internet to prove him wrong. He wasn’t.

Hawkins isn't a Mormon anymore.

Continue reading »


Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 10:30 AM


On May 29, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary climbed to the top of Mount Everest. Umm... hello? NOT IMPRESSED. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to step on the moon. Umm... hello? NOT IMPRESSED. On December 25, 1990, Tim John Berners-Lee successfully set up a communication between an HTTP client and server—thereby ushering in the internet age (and eventually an even greater discovery, internet porn). Umm... hello? NOT IMPRESSED.

As you can see, I am a person that is easily not impressed. Why? Because I watch television all the time, duh. People on TV are always doing amazing things...


Axe Body Spray Kindly Asks Users to Stop Reeking of Axe Body Spray

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 9:30 AM

A new ad campaign aimed at curbing use of Axe Body Spray, tweeted by Axe Body Spray:



When was the last time a company publicly implored customers to use less of its product? The nearest precedent I can think of is when Super Size Me compelled McDonald's to admit that customers shouldn't eat its products exclusively. Whatever the case, thank you, Slog Tipper Jake, who suggested an Axe-inspired campaign to curb heroin overdoses: "Say Smack When You Shoot Smack!"

The Morning News: Challenge to Charter Schools Goes Before Washington State Supreme Court

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 8:58 AM

Would voters have approved charter schools in TK if theyd known they might be competing for taxpayer money with our already under-funeded public schools?
  • Would voters have approved charter schools in 2012 if they'd known they might be competing for taxpayer money with under-funded public schools?

State Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Charter Schools: "If citizens knew how charter schools would be competing for dollars with traditional public schools,"
argued the attorney for the anti-charter coalition, "they might not have voted for the charter law in 2012."

Donors Pour $2.4 Million into Eastside State Senate Race: Which is a disgusting amount of money. The Kirkland area has been plastered with a thick layer of TV and print campaign advertisements for the campaigns of Democrat Matt Isenhower and Republican Andy Hill.

Speaking of Voting... Don't forget to send your ballot in! It should have arrived in the mail by now. The Secretary of State's office says 10.6 percent of ballots have already been turned in. Don't know who to vote for? Consult the SECB.

  • Mayor's Office

Mayor Ed Murray's Gender Pay Equity Budget Proposal: For a guy who campaigned hard on closing the pay gap between men and women, this is weak sauce.

Teen Threatened to "Shoot Up" Kitsap School: While Marysville continues to recover from last week's shooting, police arrested a high schooler near Poulsbo after another student overheard him talking about a "kill list."

Protesters Disrupt Downtown Celebration of NAFTA: That acronym stands for the North American Free Trade Agreement, which turned 20 years old this year. “All of you have an investment in wanting to believe that NAFTA has been successful," said one of the demonstrators. "My question for you is how the fuck do you sleep at night?”

You Owe It to Your Family to Listen to This: Dr. Atul Gawande speaks with KUOW about mortality and how we—doctors and families—deal with death.

This video of a woman walking through New York City for a day, and being catcalled more than 100 times, has racked up five million views in a day. The anti-street harassment group behind the video is called Hollaback. Check them out:

Columbia Center Is Our Finger of God

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 8:14 AM

Our Church Steeple
  • CM
  • Our Church Steeple

Last week, I was in a downtown room with Knute Berger, a local veteran journalist and Crosscut's "chief Northwest native." The reason for us being in this room was to prepare for a big Town Hall event coordinated by Ampersand, a journal that recently published our thoughts on density. When it comes to opinions relating to the city of Seattle, Berger and I have many disagreements, one of which is the Columbia Center. He is a very low no; I'm a very high yes. But his deep no would surely be lifted to a yes if he just read 7 pages (65 to 72) of the first and most famous book, Swann's Way, of Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. (I will always remain faithful to Scott Moncrieff's English translation of A la recherche du temps perdu—Terence Kilmartin did more harm than justice to Moncrieff's language.)

In those few pages, Berger will find beautiful passages that concern the steeple of the cathedral that grounds the fictional town of Combray. Our tower is equivalent to that steeple. But whereas the steeple represents the power of the church in the medieval times (it was built in the 11th century, according to the narrator, who shares the same name with the author, Marcel), our tower represents the power of the market in our economic age. What must not be forgotten is that the city is the proper home of the market. The business of a town is to begin with business. Any Marxist who tells you otherwise is not worth his salt or your time. They are lying to you and themselves. Capitalism is nothing but the unification of the castle and the town, the king and die Bürger.

Despite representing very different social institutions from very different periods, the steeple and tower still serve the same human function. They center us, and unify the variety of spaces and doings of the city we are in. With the Columbia Center, you know not only where you are but that you are with many others who too are centered by this tower. Proust:

It was always to the steeple that one must return, always it which dominated everything else, summing up the houses with an unexpected pinnacle, raised before me like the Finger of God, Whose Body might have been concealed below among the crowd of human bodies...
Lose the tower, and we lose all of this.

Vote "Maintained" (Or Whatever the Hell You Want) on Tim Eyman's Waste-of-Space Advisory Votes

Posted by on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 6:00 AM

  • ES

This shit again. The state offers a little explainer note about advisory votes: "Advisory votes are non-binding. The results will not change the law." Wait, what? Why do we vote on them, then? Two words: Tim Eyman. The ghost of one of his shitty initiatives forces shit like this onto your ballot. Number 8 says pot doesn't get special agricultural tax breaks and number 9 gives tribes the same tax status as any other government when they want to buy property. Okay. Vote maintained (or whatever the hell you want, doesn't matter) on both, go eat some spicy Thai food, and pick up a fresh roll of Tim Eyman toilet paper on the way home.

For The Stranger's full endorsements for the November election, continue reading »

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

NASA Rocket Carrying Supplies to ISS Explodes On Takeoff

Posted by on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 6:02 PM

My first reaction: Why are NASA rockets carrying supplies to ISIS? Oh, wait: International Space Station, not Islamic State In Iraq. Derp. The view from the press stand after the jump...

Continue reading »

Today's Song of the Day Is Grace Jones' "Slave to the Rhythm"

Posted by on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 5:02 PM


Every death is the end of the whole world. When you die, everything else dies. There is no end that is not essentially an apocalypse. Even an old woman slowly expiring on a bed beside a small window with a view a lake and autumn clouds is like an asteroid tearing through space toward the planet with a slim layer (as slim as the skin of an apple) of life. We are in the world and are all of the world at once.

In general, the moment of personal annihilation, which is always the end of the universe, is imagined in two ways: one, as the beginning of the afterlife; two, as the beginning of nothingness. But the former is not really the beginning of anything. If death is nothingness, then a life that has expired never was. Only the living know what death is. Those who are buried or cremated do not not only know they are dead, but also don’t know they were ever alive. When one dies, the nothingness before birth fuses with the nothingness after passing to form one complete and permanent nothingness. ("The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.")

But what if, for a moment after death, we float about the air like a shimmering bubble of consciousness. We do not doubt the nonexistence of an eternal afterlife, but what if there’s a brief afterlife? Imagine that the biological and energy-intensive processes (the movement of the blood, the burning of food, the breathing of air, the building and breaking of ATP) that generate the states of mind suddenly stops — but, for reasons that are not supernatural but chemical or bioenergetic, the mind doesn’t go down with the body but instead slips out of the bones and flesh and now finds itself being blown this way and that by whatever breezes happen to be around. Imagine this is what happens between life and death, a bubble of fading consciousness.

But imagine this shimmering breeze-blown bubble of consciousness not only has an afterimage of memories once contained in the soft and fatty circuits of the brain (which has, by the way, the consistency of butter at room temperature) but also the state of the senses (olfactory, visual, cutaneous, auditory) near to or exactly at the moment of detachment. Now further imagine that a piece of music you were listening to at the moment of your body’s destruction doesn’t stop but reverberates through the fading flickers and flashes of this floating consciousness. If we can imagine this happening in the twilight zone between life and death, then we can recognize the importance of spending the last moments of life listening to a beloved tune.

For me, such a tune would be Grace Jones’ "Slave to the Rhythm." As my consciousness rises on a sudden swell of sun-heated air (I imagine the world, my world, ending on a sunny day), as my body begins its long journey back to rock, as I remember the life that I’m leaving once and for all, I would want to hear this tune not only for the formidable go-go beat, the bold French horns (like bright and towering clouds on the horizon), the big sound of Trevor Horn’s masterful production, the eternally catchy riffs of J.J. Belle’s rhythm guitar, and Jones’s commanding voice (we must, she commands, accept the basic fact of life, accept that it has no direction, no meaning—it is only about the rhythms of work, of biology, the emotions, the solar system), but to hear these words echoed over and over as my mind and memories fade in the brightening air: "Don’t cry, it’s only the rhythm.”

Local Vodka Company Dicül Facing "Corporate Bullying"

Posted by on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 5:01 PM


David Pierre-Louis, owner of Lucid cocktail lounge in the U District, has been trying to get his own brand of spiced vodka, Dicül, trademarked since November 2013. But he’s been thwarted by Diageo, a London-based multinational company that is “the world’s largest producer of spirits,” according to Wikipedia. The gist of the problem is that the Diageo company Dickel, a Tennessee-based whiskey manufacturer, thinks the name "Dicül" is too similar to its brand.

“I’ve been consulting with my attorneys, trying to find a happy medium in regards to what they are allowing us what to do with our business,” Pierre-Louis says. “[The case is] stagnating just a little bit, but it’s costing me money just to continue fighting it. The mark’s completely different. Diageo really doesn’t have a leg to stand on, but they have the financial means to keep pushing me and try to smoke me out of the situation.”

It seems like Diageo is underestimating people’s ability to distinguish between two different kinds of drinks. “Sure,” Pierre-Louis concurs. “Mine is a spiced vodka and theirs is a whiskey. Mine is brown—I mean, it’s an infusion, but the labeling, the vision behind it, Dicül, the name of my lounge spelled backward” are all different. “At the moment, I’m in the midst of transferring distillers, switching from my old distiller in Woodinville. As I’m trying to decide who to go with, I need to be extra careful with that because it puts whoever I’m working with in a position where it makes it difficult for them to take me on as a private label.”

Diageo and Dicül have been going back and forth on this issue for almost a year. Pierre-Louis says that Diageo wants him to cease production. “We’ve requested that they submit their point of discovery—why they think we’re a threat to their brand.” He's been mulling over a name change, too, because mounting attorney fees have become burdensome. “I’m thinking about fighting this on my own," Pierre-Louis says, "based on the principle that it’s a completely different brand, a completely different product. It’s pronounced completely different. Dicül has an umlaut on the ‘u.’ It’s a completely different name.

“This is another example of a big corporation trying to smoke small people out,” Pierre-Louis continues. (See Bethany Jean Clement's recent post on Our/Seattle Vodka for a similar scenario.) “It’s the 1 percent trying to control and dominate the industry in regards to craft. It makes it difficult for us to do what we’re doing when somebody’s always trying to bully you.”

The last time Pierre-Louis heard from Diageo’s attorney was last week. “We’re waiting to hear back with regard to what their point of discovery was so we can make our response to them.”

I’ve contacted Dickel about this matter and will update the post if/when they respond.

SL Letter of the Day: As One Is Wont to Do

Posted by on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Originally posted on December 12, 2012.

At a dinner party, a straight man put a question to my boyfriend and me. He assumed that we, being gay men, would have an answer for him. We did not, Dan, and so we turn to you. What happens to one if one has to fart while one is wearing a butt plug?

Gays Are Simply Stumped, Yes And Sincerely So

My response after the jump...

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How Mayor Ed Murray Is Stumbling on Gender Pay Equity

Posted by on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 4:15 PM

MAYOR ED MURRAY Has a less than impressive commitment to gender pay equity at city hall.
  • Kelly O
  • MAYOR ED MURRAY has a less than impressive commitment to gender pay equity at city hall.
"The Mayor’s Proposed Budget does not include new funding for the City’s work on gender equity; the work will continue to be funded by the prior $1.4 million appropriation in 2014."

That's a line from the Seattle City Council's staff memo about Mayor Ed Murray's proposed 2015-2016 budget, which the council is reviewing these days. It just keeps sticking out to me, since Murray liked to trash talk rival Mike McGinn on women's issues during the 2013 mayoral campaign.

Remember last summer, when the city's report on a 10 percent gender pay gap at city hall came out, and all of a sudden the mayor's race was awash in promises to fix the problem? Murray loved to dig at McGinn for somehow being responsible for that pay gap (example one, example two), even though it was clearly the result of decades of structural sexism. (They also battled over other issues related to women's health and equality, like domestic-violence funding.)

And sure, Murray's next budget does have some money set aside for city work on pay equity—but it's all just leftover money from the $1.4 million appropriated in McGinn's last budget as mayor. McGinn did that before his advisory task force had even started their meetings, because it was clear that whatever the outcome of new studies and an in-depth review of the pay gap, the solutions would cost money.*

I'm not the only one calling Murray out. At one of last week's budget meetings, Council Member Jean Godden, who's championed pay equity as her big priority, said she was "a bit disturbed about the fact that we don't seem to have any additional funding" other than what was set aside more than a year ago. Yes, this money will continue to pay three employees who work on pay equity and a handful of consultants. That's rad. But, she noted, there's nothing to address the issue of parental leave for city employees, which is Godden's newest big agenda item in the push for workplace equity. The council central staffer discussing this portion of the budget, Patricia Lee, said she thought it was because the consultant's studies weren't done yet. But two studies, one on "gender and race pay equity" and one on paid parental leave at the city, are due to be completed by the end of this year. What happens to those policy recommendations, which will undoubtedly have costs associated with them?

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Fast-Food Workers Make $20 an Hour in Denmark

Posted by on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 2:53 PM


On a recent afternoon, Hampus Elofsson ended his 40-hour workweek at a Burger King and prepared for a movie and beer with friends. He had paid his rent and all his bills, stashed away some savings, yet still had money for nights out. That is because he earns the equivalent of $20 an hour—the base wage for fast-food workers throughout Denmark and two and a half times what many fast-food workers earn in the United States. “You can make a decent living here working in fast food,” said Mr. Elofsson, 24. “You don’t have to struggle to get by.”

With an eye to workers like Mr. Elofsson, some American labor activists and liberal scholars are posing a provocative question: If Danish chains can pay $20 an hour, why can’t those in the United States pay the $15 an hour that many fast-food workers have been clamoring for? “We see from Denmark that it’s possible to run a profitable fast-food business while paying workers these kinds of wages,” said John Schmitt, an economist at the Center for Economic Policy Research, a liberal think tank in Washington.

American fast-food workers should be out there demanding $25 an hour—but, hey, I'm willing to settle for $20, the same wage Danish fast-food workers make. But it can't happen here because...

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Glenn Beck Traded His Relevance for Wealth

Posted by on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Yeah, youre about five years too late.
A lot of people laughed when Glenn Beck left Fox News (or was pushed from Fox News, depending on who you ask) to start his own media empire. Glenn Beck is laughing now. Michael J. Mooney wrote a profile of Beck for the November issue of D Magazine, and it's kind of a victory lap for Beck.

Mooney informs us that Beck's website probably has somewhere around 300,000 subscribers who pay around a hundred bucks a year for digital access to Beck. Beck's Huffington Post rip-off The Blaze is more read than Gawker. He owns "a movie studio, a clothing company, and his own [publishing] imprint." Mooney continues, "All told, he has about 300 employees, and tallying his various endeavors, Forbes put his 2013 income at $90 million—more than Oprah." The article is full of all sorts of humanizing details about Beck—he loves Orson Welles and Walt Disney; his mother drowned in Puget Sound, an apparent suicide—but it's mostly an excuse for Beck to flaunt his success in the world's face.

Except your definition of "success" may vary. Sure, Beck is financially well-off; he'll never want for another creature comfort for as long as he lives. But I'm willing to bet that his influence will never again reach those heady days back at the beginning of the Obama administration, back when he had a regular show on Fox News and the media freaked out over everything he ever said. Sure, he's got a third of a million die-hard fans who put money in his pocket all year long. And sure he's behind a website that gets passed around the internet like one of those shitty e-mails about how Obama is really a demon from the fourth pit of hell. And maybe in the future one of his media properties—a book or a movie, say—will achieve mass-media popularity.

But nothing Beck says matters now the way it did back in the early days of his national fame. His eerie influence over America is gone, and he'll never have that kind of influence again. Not even the money he's pulling in—a drop in the bucket, compared to, say, the Waltons and the Koches—will allow him to win back the audience that he's lost. Surely an Orson Welles fan will understand that you can never buy Rosebud back—once that moment is gone, it's gone forever. Glenn Beck's laughter sounds more than a little bit hollow to me.































Monday, October 27, 2014

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