We're observing Slog silence from now until 11 a.m. while we have an editorial meeting, but look—we made an entire paper's worth of stuff for you!
1. In a lengthy piece, BRENDAN KILEY writes about how boring theatrical promotion photographs are. How many people in the world could this "problem" possibly affect? Be specific and show your math.
2a. Is the news team's guide to the mayoral candidates
(a) as flippant as
(b) more flippant than
(c) way more flippant than you feared it would be?
2b. As an exercise in persuasive letter-writing, please compose a 300-word e-mail to news editor DOMINIC HOLDEN explaining how this jokey mock-fest of a guide is unhelpful at best and downright harmful to political discourse at worst. Remember to use your vocabulary words, and try not to be too lecturing in tone!
3. In her column Never Heard of 'Em, in which she reviews music she's never heard before, ANNA MINARD reviews the Clash's The Clash. At what point does she become just a naive idiot sitcom character, like Rose from The Golden Girls or Balki from Perfect Strangers? Has she already passed that point? Support your claim with examples.
4. BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT eats pig head and cow lips in this week's restaurant review. Between this and news intern CALLAN BERRY's recent Slog post about eating foie gras, do you think that The Stranger's food section is trying to gain lucrative page views as a shock-eating contest designed to outrage vegans? Or is there still a single iota of culinary curiosity at play behind these "investigations"?
5. During a long interview with Sean Nelson, music writer DAVE SEGAL does manage to mention that Nelson worked at The Stranger, yet doesn't manage to say that he worked at the paper for 10 years. Does the fact that Nelson picked up a full-time paycheck at The Stranger for a decade change your perception of this piece? Shouldn't it?
6. CHARLES MUDEDE published four pieces in this week's Stranger. How many of those pieces did you read? Use fractions.
I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay. Just days before an expected Supreme Court decision, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski has become the third Republican US senator to come out in support of gay marriage. Back in March, Murkowski said her views were "evolving," making her the rare GOPer to voice support for that controversial theory too.
Not a donut. Speaking at Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate, President Obama called for a renewed effort to reduce the world's nuclear weapon stockpile.
And after all we've done for them. Angry over the US negotiating directly with the Taliban, the Afghan government backed away from peace talks and broke off talks with the US over future military cooperation.
Apparently lacking anything more important to do than pass an unconstitutional bill that has zero chance in the Senate, the Republican controlled US House votes to ban abortions 20 weeks after fertilization. Fuckers.
Pro-Life! Anti-abortion group Ohio Personhood, which is struggling to get an amendment on Ohio's ballot that would define life as starting at conception, is auctioning off assault rifles and ammunition to support its pro-life campaign.
No wonder Republicans are so afraid of voter fraud. A Virginia man has pleaded guilty to voter fraud for forging thousands of names on petitions to qualify Republican Newt Gingrich for the 2012 Virginia presidential primary ballot.
I blame Boeing's labor unions! Orders at the Paris Airshow topped $100 billion after European discount flyer Ryanair finalized an order for 175 Boeing 737-800s worth $15.6 billion. Ryanair is also working on a deal to purchase 200 737 MAX aircraft worth $20 billion. With news like that, no doubt Boeing will be forced to move more jobs out of Washington and into low-wage states.
Just in time for Obamacare. The American Medical Association has voted to officially declare obesity a "disease."
Never shake hands with a Venezuelan. Kimberly-Clark is investing $37 million in Venezuela in order to ease that nation's growing toilet paper shortage.
And yet it takes four decades to build a light rail line. Just weeks after its dramatic collapse, a temporary replacement bridge has opened to I-5 traffic across the Skagit River.
Take that, Seattle Center. New York City has just installed 25 free solar-powered cell phone charging stations in parks and other public spaces.
Small business is the engine that drives our economy. A 20-year-old Seattle woman has been arrested for pimping her 16-year-old friend and another teen through ads placed on Backpage.com.
Because we all know he was buried in cement in the end zone at the Meadowlands. The FBI has ended a search for Jimmy Hoffa's body in a field near Detroit.
And finally, well, why spoil it for you?
Sarah Nicole Prickett has a piece in Vice about what we call each other. Do you say "ladies"? Yeah, she's not into that.
I say "ladies." When I use it, I'm mocking all the things she sees the word as actually signifying, but so what. We share the goal of hoping that everybody will do more than "knowing about 'privilege' and 'slut-shaming' without having the faintest fucking idea how to weaponize privilege or be a slut." If you rail against slut-shaming but haven't tried being a slut, you really might give it a shot; works wonders for the soul.
I don't like Vice. (Hi.) I'm skeeved by the subtitle of her piece, "Hardcore Values," or the testosterone driving her line, "Women kill." Don't tell me to be a badass, motherfucker. (Hey bros! Catfight!)
Still, she points importantly to the fact that mainstream media, as always, sucks: TV shows use "girls" or "wife" in the title, but almost never "women."
And another thing I do want to say: I love the fact that, unlike even five years ago, women are rocking the internet with unapologetic writings just about being women. There's a base level out there of gender conversation and confrontation that feels unprecedented in my adult life.
There are two types of cities that really matter: the world city and the global city. New York City is an example of a world city; Seattle of a global city. The world city is defined by the size and composition of its population; the global city is defined by the extent of its connections to international markets. The world city is what always the global city desires to become. The world city has character; the global city doesn't—in appearance and function, it is to the network of capital accumulation and distribution what a circuit board is to the system of a computer.
During the booming 90s, the cores of world cities were gentrified. In our post-crash times, they are being plutocratized. Only the very rich can afford to live in the centers of NYC, Paris, London, and Hong Kong. As for the upper parts of the middle class, they are moving out of the world city to either suburbs or to global cities. But as all global cities want, one, to become world cities and, two, are caught in the process of gentrification, we can assume plutocratization to also be their terminal point.
During the Capitol Hill Art Walk last week, I saw this hanging in an unmarked studio in the Pound building. Are you the artist or do you know who is?
So, yeah, about this story...
Rachel Maddow on Tuesday night noted that Representative Michael Burgess (R-TX) was a leading member of a House subcommittee focused on public health and biomedical issues. Burgess said Monday he supported the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act because male fetuses pleasure themselves as early as 15-weeks after conception. The bill, which would impose a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, was approved by House Republicans on Tuesday. “It is one thing to be a random Texas congressman, Michael Burgess, saying that we should set laws for everybody in the whole country based on when he thinks fetuses masturbate,” Maddow remarked. “But this guy also is in charge of something. The House Republicans took the fetal masturbation theorist and put him in charge of their Subcommittee on Health.”
I haven't seen the proof. No one has. But for the sake of argument—sigh—let's concede the point: boy fetuses are in there pleasuring themselves. They're rubbing 'em out, one after another. And it's just the boy fetuses because, you know, there aren't any outlets in there where girl fetuses can plug in their itty bitty Hitachi Magic Wands. So! At the same time congressional Republicans are moving to ban abortion because THE BOYS ARE MASTURBATING IN THERE, Republicans in various states are passing laws that require women to submit to medically unnecessary trans-vaginal ultrasounds—against the will of the woman, if necessary, which meets the legal definition of rape. (But whatever! there are boys masturbating in there! Priorities, people!)
So, yeah, if boy fetuses are masturbating in there and we're passing laws requiring doctors to take their pictures... and make videoes... of horny boy fetuses and chaste girl fetuses alike... aren't Republicans in Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Texas basically mandating the production of child porn with their trans-vaginal-ultrasound/rape-that-lady laws? At least half the time?
The low number comes via the Gallup poll, which says exactly 23 percent of Americans think newspapers are worth trusting.
But newspapers don't stand alone. Confidence in television news has also been slipping — it's tied with newspapers this year at 23 percent, which is slightly up from last year's all-time low of 21 percent. Newspapers and television news rank near the bottom of a list of 16 "societal institutions," according to the report. The only institutions television news and newspapers beat out this year are big business, organized labor, health maintenance organizations and Congress. Americans expressed the most confidence in the military, at 76 percent, and small businesses, at 65 percent.
Well. We can't exactly recreate this poll here on Slog, but we can ask the question this way:
Michael Hastings died in a car crash in Los Angeles early this morning. He was 33.
If you don't know, Michael Hastings is the journalist who, two years ago, took down Afghanistan commander and Army General Stanley McChrystal with a single piece in Rolling Stone magazine. He did this by reporting what the general and the jocks on his staff actually said—everything that was not strictly off-record—about the war and about Barack Obama while embedded with them.
Hastings was then attacked by flocks of so-called reporters, including CBS's Lara Logan and others, for breaking tradition and not censoring the impolitic, embarrassing, off-the-cuff remarks that McChrystal made that revealed how he and many in the military establishment actually think. Within days, Obama dismissed McChrystal.
Hastings followed that up with The Operators, a superb book on the war in Afghanistan. He always tried to debunk the myth of another military-media superstar, General David Petraeus—long before Petraeus' affair, rather than his fuck-ups in Iraq, led to his public disgrace. If you read Hastings's writing, you see that he was one of the journalists who bonded with the grunts on the ground, not the generals turned politicians standing behind podiums.
Here he is in his last appearance on MSNBC, still kicking ass and taking names:
"Hastings' hallmark as reporter was his refusal to cozy up to power," Rolling Stone says. We need more reporters like him, not less, which is why this feels very hard to bear.
Did you know Dee Dee Ramone had a brief rap career under the name Dee Dee King? Are you familiar with Lou Reed's rap song "The Original Wrapper"?
I'm having trouble deciding which one is bestworst. Please help me decide.
This morning, Mayor Mike McGinn and Climate Solutions Policy Director KC Golden testified in the US House of Representatives’ Energy and Power Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce on the local impacts of the coal port terminal proposals to expand coal exports to China (a topic I cover extensively over here). Meanwhile, the Bellingham Herald reports this huge setback for environmentalists and politicians, like McGinn, who oppose coal ports in Washington and Oregon:
WASHINGTON - The U.S Army Corps of Engineers will not review the broader climate-change impacts of proposed coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest, an agency official told Congress on Tuesday, June 18.
The much-anticipated decision is a significant victory for the supporters of three coal terminals in Washington and Oregon - including Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point - and a setback for environmentalists and state and local officials who oppose the projects.
... Moyer added that the Corps would not consider the impact of the transportation of coal by rail from mines to the ports on waterways and air quality - something that the governors of Washington and Oregon, environmental groups and Indian tribes had demanded.
Thanks to Slog tipper Jeff.
2. If you're looking for something a little less realistic, Hugo House is hosting a reading titled Girls on Fire. Press materials promise: "Poets Kelly Davio, Jeannine Hall Gailey, Rebecca Loudon, and Tiffany Midge read from new work inspired by fire, fever, apocalypses, and heat." Sold!
3. Dan Smith reads at University Book Store tonight. Monkey Mind is a memoir, but it's not about a surgical mishap involving a monkey and a human switching brains. Instead, it's about anxiety, which is plenty interesting on its own.
4. The readings calendar will tell you about everything else going on tonight.
It is a curious irony that the most thoughtful and readable opinion writer in the relentlessly pro-business/anti-labor Seattle Times is their business columnist, Jon Talton. For example, today's column in which he warns lawmakers against "Sleepwalking into Washington's future":
In Seattle, the City Council refused to fund a study of a light-rail crossing of the Ship Canal. This may seem a clever poke in the eye of Mayor Mike McGinn in an election year, but it fails to show any vision. As Seattle reaches for San Francisco-like densities, it has a Phoenix-style transportation system, albeit with more buses and narrower streets. Density is good. But just fixing the streets isn’t good enough to ensure success. Buses alone won’t move people efficiently or pleasantly in a dense city.
... Much of today’s prosperity was prepared by the likes of Scoop Jackson. Without public leadership that prepares the state for quality growth, addresses the needs of moving freight and people, adequately funds education and cares for the commons, Seattle and Washington will be at a growing disadvantage against world-class competition. We will feel it first as nicks and bumps. Bigger things will eventually get our attention and maybe break us out of our sleepwalk.
I believe Talton and I are completely on the same page, although I'll say it more bluntly: Washington State is in the process of committing slow-motion economic suicide. It is smart public investment in human and physical infrastructure that builds wealth, not low taxes. And unless we can find the will to fix our revenue structure so as to pay for the investments we need, we will inevitably become a second-rate state.
I am a bisexual woman in my early 30s and am currently in a monogamous relationship with a wonderful woman with whom I am living together. I love her very much and although we have been dating for less than a year, I am pretty convinced that I want to be married to her.
Our sex life is great—quite vanilla (especially compared to the kind of letters you receive) but nonetheless, deeply satisfying. However, there is one problem: sometimes when I am on the edge of getting an orgasm, I think of gay men having sex. Specifically, I think of myself as a gay man f*cking another guy in the ass. And that, without fail, will make me come. I have never thought of myself as a man or have any intentions to be one. I also have no desire to sleep with anyone but her. I recall you mentioned before that we are all free to think of what we like when having sex, but this is really bothering me. Am I cheating on my partner by thinking of something/someone else, other than her, when I am getting laid by her?
Gay Sex Is Hot
My response after the jump...
Last night eight of the nine mayoral candidates showed up at the downtown Seattle Public Library to read from their favorite books. Mayor Mike McGinn read from Joseph Heller's Catch 22, Bruce Harrell from Doris Kearns Goodwin's Lincoln bio Team of Rivals, and Ed Murray from Thomas Merton's essay "Letter to an Innocent Bystander" (which, I should note, is not actually a book).
But by far the most talked about reading of the evening was by Peter Steinbrueck, who chose an excerpt from Charles Chesnutt's 1899 collection of short stories The Conjure Woman:
"I dunno ez hit's wuf w'ile ter tell you dis," he said, at length. "I doan ha'dly 'spec' fer you ter b'lieve it. Does you 'member dat club-footed man w'at hilt de hoss fer you de yuther day w'en you was gittin' out'n de rockaway down ter Mars Archie McMillan's sto'?"
"Yes, I believe I do remember seeing a club-footed man there."
"Did you eber see a club-footed nigger befo' er sence?"
"No, I can't remember that I ever saw a club-footed colored man," I replied, after a moment's reflection.
"You en Mis' Annie would n' wanter b'lieve me, ef I wuz ter 'low dat dat man was oncet a mule?"
But more talked about than his choice of material was Steinbrueck's choice to perform it in full blackvoice, with the exception of one modest edit. KUOW's The Conversation has a clip up online. You can skip to the seven-minute mark and listen to it for yourself. (The Seattle Channel says they'll have video of the full event up online sometime tomorrow.)
So... um... discuss!
This NYTimes article looks at what happens to women who are denied abortions, and how they compare with women who successfully had the abortions they sought, while also delving into a fascinating tangent on Czechoslovakia's abortion panel and the likeability of unwanted children:
When Diana Greene Foster, a demographer and an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco, first began studying women who were turned away from abortion clinics, she was struck by how little data there were. A few clinics kept records, but no one had compiled them nationally. And there was no research on how these women fared over time. What, Foster wondered, were the consequences of having to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term? Did it take a higher psychological or economic toll than having an abortion? Or was the reverse true—did the new baby make up for any social or financial difficulties?
...“The unstated assumption of most new abortion restrictions—mandatory ultrasound viewing, waiting periods, mandated state ‘information,’ ” Foster says, “is that women don’t know what they are doing when they try to terminate a pregnancy. Or they can’t make a decision they won’t regret.” Lost in the controversy, however, is the flip side of the question. What, Foster wondered, could the women who did not have the abortions they sought tell us about the women who did?
It's definitely worth your time.
Okay, my heart wasn't "broken" because I wasn't really in love because I was only 13. His name was Jason, we held hands once, talked on the phone a few times, and we never kissed. It lasted one week in 7th grade (Monday through Friday, not even the weekend) and I don't remember why we stopped "dating" (read: stopped awkwardly standing next to each other in the hallway between classes). Still, when it was "over," I was crushed and I listened to Janet Jackson sing "Again" every day and night for days, thinking "Yes, Janet, YES. Thank you. You know exactly how it feels."
Overall everything about this memory (and middle school, for that matter) feels so, so insignificant, but that was also the first time in my life I purposefully turned to music with therapeutic intent, which is actually not at all insignificant. It's kind of sweet and awesome.
In the book section this week, we pit brother against brother for your amusement: Bill Savage reviews Dan Savage's new book, and Dan Savage reviews Bill Savage's new book. If Dan's review of Chicago by Day and Night didn't convince you to give the book a try, you should watch this interview with Bill and his co-author Paul Durica. They talk about the not-very-subtly disguised references to prostitution in the Chicago 1892 World's Fair guidebook, and the different kinds of elaborate cons that could befall visitors to the Fair:
History nerds, and fans of Erik Larson's great Devil in the White City, should definitely check this book out.
Yeah, sure, today's revised state revenue and caseload forecasts bring feuding Republican and Democratic lawmakers $321 million closer to cutting a deal on a new state budget before the current one expires at the end of the month. But this slightly rosier revenue outlook—equivalent to about one percent of the $32 billion two-year budget—isn't the only reason we'll likely avoid a devastating government shutdown.
The buzz among some Olympia lobbyists is that a contingent of the senate's so-called "Majority Coalition Caucus" (you know, Republicans) have an international junket booked (I'm hearing China or Russia), scheduled to leave on or before July 1. It's a perk of the office that these lawmakers would be loath to give up, and so there would be extra pressure to strike a deal before scheduled departure.
I've attempted to confirm, but those who would know have yet to get back to me. But either way, yeah, after five-plus months of bullshit, expect a budget deal relatively soon.
Idaho Republican Party leaders are calling on the state Legislature to invalidate local city ordinances that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation - like the one Coeur d’Alene passed after an emotional community debate just two weeks ago.
Six Idaho cities have passed such non-discrimination ordinances in the past year and a half, and a seventh, Idaho Falls, is looking into one now; the Idaho GOP wants them halted.
I'm trying to picture the kind of a person who wakes up in the morning and says to himself, "Today's the day! I'm finally gonna take a stand against those anti-discrimination laws!" How do you think that thought and not realize how monstrous your behavior is?
Professional attention-seeker and onstage ranter Michelle Shocked has announced she will return to San Francisco to play a free concert on Sunday, June 30th — the closing night of S.F. Pride festivities. Adding to the already bizzarre and controversial setup, Shocked's concert will coincide with a press blitz/egotrip coordinated across the SF Examiner and SF Weekly.
While many, including ourselves, hoped Shocked's dubious relevance would fade once her tour was cancelled and the retweets died out, the alt-folk singer thrust herself back into limelight late last week. She took to Twitter on Friday to announce the free concert, the SF Weekly exclusive, a treasured spot in the 2013 Pride Guide spread and a forthcoming opinion piece in the Examiner.
Here's something non-spoiler-y: According to the LA Times, Warner Bros. is distributing religious Man of Steel resource packs to pastors who want to include lessons from Man of Steel in their sermons. You can see what those lessons entail at the Man of Steel Ministry Resource site.
Now. If you're looking for a spoiler-free review of Man of Steel, you can find my review right here. After the trailer, I'm going to be talking about the climax of Man of Steel. Let me repeat: You should assume that everything after the trailer is made out of spoilers. (I'll get back to that ministry thing after the jump, too.)
This news is a few days old, but: When the economically and politically bruised Greek government announced it would shut down the country's equivalent of the BBC, the journalists and technicians didn't walk away. They took over.
On Tuesday, it was announced that ERT – the Greek equivalent of the BBC – would be closed down by Antonis Samaras' coalition government after 87 years of operation, the latest in a line of austerity measures after the country was bailed out in 2010. The "sudden death" of the national public broadcaster – which was largely state-funded, with Greek households paying a fee through their electricity bills – took with it some 2,600 jobs; journalists, technicians, artists – everyone it usually takes to run an array of nationwide TV and radio stations. There were plans to replace it with a new public broadcast company called NERIT, but with a hugely reduced number of staff.
However, its closure was far from the end of the story for ERT. Soon after the announcement was made at around 6PM, the redundant workers returned to their former place of work, took control of the company's broadcast frequencies and began transmitting their own programmes.
The government responded by trying to pull the plug on the now-volunteer journalism project, and the broadcasters played hide-and-seek with transmission signals. Meanwhile, thousands reportedly amassed at the station, radical leftists and conservatives alike, to express their support.
By the morning, the workers had won a few important technical battles, but the signal was still unstable and they had to regularly change the analogue and digital frequencies to keep on broadcasting. Worse still, armed police had begun trekking up the mountains around Athens to switch off ERT's antennas.
The European Broadcasters Union announced its support for ERT and gave it a satellite TV channel to broadcast worldwide.
Then Greece tried diplomatic intervention with Israel to shut ERT down:
Officials in Athens confirmed that Greece's ambassador to Israel, Spyros Lambrinis, had held talks with the Israeli government after it became clear that RRsat, a privately-owned local company and subcontractor of the EBU, was continuing to transmit ERT via its uplink facilities in Greece...
"He made no demands as such but, yes, it is a rather unpleasant situation," added the official who contacted the ambassador before speaking to the Guardian.
Now it looks like a Greek court has ordered the restoration of ERT's signal, but there's uncertainty about the staffing and future of the station.
The upshot: Greek journalists working for free while the Greek government burned diplomatic capital to stop them.
It's a mad world.
... I'd rock a pair of Dad legs in public:
An image going viral on Sina Weibo—the Chinese equivalent of Twitter—purports to promote 'hairy stockings'.
The picture shows a pair of legs hairy from thigh to ankle but non-hairy feet—leaving the gender of the subject open to debate.
''Super sexy, summertime anti-pervert full-leg-of-hair stockings, essential for young girls going out,'' the post reads, according to trend watcher ChinaSMACK.
I'd rock these aggressively hairy stockings, not because I have a problem staring at my (often unshaven) legs, but because I've never been able to resist being a spectacle.
Imagine how much fun life would be if this trend took off: Bus seats next to you would stay vacant, bridesmaids photos would be forever ruined, TSA agents would temper their pat downs. Just think of how angry, indignant, and offended strangers would be, being forced to stare at all those lady Dad legs in public. The horror!
Curtsies to Emily for the tip.
Saying that “it’s important we start early,” Sen. Claire McCaskill on Tuesday endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in one of the first major moves of the 2016 cycle....McCaskill backed President Barack Obama over Clinton in the 2008 cycle, something she acknowledged in the statement.
Holy shit. Clinton doesn't even have a campaign yet, and she's already getting endorsements. Like it or not, you're going to start seeing 2016 stories popping up everywhere very soon. Speaking of which, Politico also ran a story this morning theorizing that Bill Clinton is trying to reposition himself as a speaker on issues "that historically have been a natural province of first ladies." If Bill Clinton intentionally takes himself out of politics, that's probably the best sign yet that Hillary Clinton is going to run for office.
* The answer to the question in the headline is obviously no. According to just about every evangelical Christian in the country, Jesus Christ has already agreed to endorse whichever Republican winds up being the 2016 presidential candidate, because that's always how that works.
Don't order any hummus on your way home from the Gun Show.
I first saw this on Slog commenter Baconcat's Twitter feed, and it's glorious:
Semi-related: Am I crazy, or is John Oliver a really good Daily Show host?