Immigrant detainees outraged by shoddy food, high commissary prices, and the government's failure to reform its "broken"—President Obama's words—immigration system began a second hunger strike on Wednesday at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, which is run by GEO Group, the nation's second largest private prison corporation.
Already, one of the hunger strikers has been placed in solitary confinement, according to a document sent to The Stranger by a paralegal who visited the hunger strikers today.
Solitary confinement is the equivalent of what immigration officials have generally described as "administrative detention" or "administrative segregation." The document (full image) states that Cipriano Rios-Alegria was transferred to a "special management unit."
"Pending investigation for trying to recruit other detainees for hunger strike," it says.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), which contracts with GEO to run the prison, refused to confirm the authenticity of the document, citing privacy concerns. Spokesman Andrew Munoz also declined to clarify—beyond repeatedly referring me to ICE's disciplinary guidelines—whether recruiting others for a hunger strike is an offense that merits investigation or solitary confinement.
Buy Her a Shot Of: “I like to Fernet about it on the regular," Liz says. “Otherwise, lately I’ve been wanting just rum in a hollowed-out pineapple.”
Ask Her to Make You: “The rum and pineapple thing! I’m sorry, we don’t have that here.”
What She’s Doing When She’s Not at the Bar: “Running around Lake Union, observing the crazies in their summer habitat. Enjoying the weather when I can, sweltering in my apartment. Making art. And just working too much.”
Words to Live By: “It is what it is. You are what you it. There are no mistakes." (Tom Robbins)
Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll hasn't recovered from his last plagiarism scandals, and now he's facing a whole new set of plagiarism charges from an old associate. Warren Throckmorton says that early in his career as a celebrity pastor, Driscoll referred to the importance of three different fields—"Gospel, the church, and culture"—in maintaining a healthy church. But now that Driscoll's woes are in the spotlight, Throckmorton has been approached by someone from Driscoll's past:
Driscoll’s formula has been cited by other church planters and authors since then. However, according to a former close colleague, Ron Wheeler, Driscoll lifted those concepts from work Wheeler did while developing the first Acts29 Network church plant in Mt. Vernon, WA — The Gathering. Wheeler was in the room when the Acts29 Network was organized and spent much time with Driscoll in the early days of Mars Hill Church.
Throckmorton posted several examples of similar wording from pieces written by both Wheeler and Driscoll. Additionally, Wheeler says Driscoll called him on the eve of his book's publication to thank him for his uncredited contribution to the book:
As far as the phone conversation, Mark called and basically said “my book Radical Reformission is being released tomorrow and I don’t remember if I asked you or not, but I used your parachurch, fundamentalism and liberalism categories on the gospel/church/culture model. Thanks bro.“
Go read the whole post. And if you care about this issue and want to see it change, I urge you to read Brendan Kiley's new feature about the problems with Mars Hill Church, and why people are protesting at Mars Hill's Bellevue campus this Sunday at 9:30 am. And if you're willing to lend your support to the protesters on Sunday, I'm sure they'd love to have you.
New Orleans jazz/funk/R&B drummer Idris Muhammad (formerly Leo Morris) passed away July 29 at age 74. Cause of death has not been reported.
Blessed with a fluid, nimbly funky style, Muhammad played on several tracks that were sampled by dozens of hiphop and electronic artists, from Nas, Tupac, Beastie Boys, and Eminem, to Moodymann, Roni Size, and Fatboy Slim. Besides releasing key jazz and fusion LPs like Peace and Rhythm, Power of Soul, and Turn This Mutha Out, Muhammad served as a sideman on records by Pharoah Sanders, Ahmad Jamal, Gabor Szabo, Grant Green, and Charles Earland, among many others.
The Times-Picayune/NOLA.com has an obit here.
Here's the AP's eleven word article with the news.
It's also a hashtag.
The Los Angeles Times has more on Obama's frank remarks at a press conference this morning and on the soon-to-be-released Senate investigation into alleged torture of terrorism suspects by CIA agents.
A man was hit by a "grazing" gunshot to the head and told police he and another man were robbed by a group of suspects in Cal Anderson Park early Friday morning.
Police investigating a loud boom in Cal Anderson around 12:55 AM arrived to find people running through the park away from the gunfire in a reported armed robbery incident. After chasing down one of the suspects, police found a male victim conscious and alert inside the park where he was treated by Seattle Fire.
According to SPD's Blotter, police arrested a 17-year-old later that morning and booked him into juvenile jail on investigation of robbery.
Several days ago, a bunch of Christians—some of them ex-Mars Hill members—called for a demonstration at Mars Hill Bellevue this Sunday at 9:30 am.
Since then, I've been talking with Seattle Christians about what, exactly, is going on in the church that rose to international fame and now seems to be crashing to the ground with pastor Mark Driscoll's serial scandals and the church's glaring inability to hold him accountable: accusations of plagiarism, quietly spending nearly a quarter of a million dollars to buy one of his books onto the New York Times bestseller list, the circulation of embarrassing old message board posts (that the church has allegedly tried to scrub from the internet because they're too bilious for Driscoll's new spin-friendly, mainstreamed image), money that was supposedly earmarked for a "Global Fund" but never made it to its supposed destinations in India and Ethiopia, and so on, not to mention the proliferation of blogs talking about kangaroo courts, "demon trials," and shunning entire families whose parents are not perceived as loyal enough.
Funnily enough, the story really begins with church bylaws.
Talking about bylaws “will make the average person’s eyeballs roll back in their sockets,” said former Mars Hill elder Paul Petry. “But the bylaws of a church are almost second to scripture. Scripture is openhanded on a lot of things: How do you resolve disputes in the church? How do you have a process for a member to appeal something he thinks is unjust? Who determines how a pastor gets replaced?” Not to mention how thousands of people’s weekly donations are going to be spent and who gets to control the church property. “That,” Petry says, “is what bylaws are for.”
What happened when Driscoll tried to change the bylaws in 2007, consolidating more power in his corner, is the root of the unrest we're seeing today. You can read all about it here. (The strange story wound up being like a sequel to this story I wrote about the church's authoritarian, secretive culture back in 2012.)
As for the protest, another well-respected ex-Mars Hill insider named Rob Smith explained it this way:
We are walking past a wounded man on the road to Jericho—we can’t not stop and help. And Mark is the guy who beat up the wounded man. We were wounded, we’ve been in the place a long time. I’m 56, I’m strong, but we know so many families who’ve gotten into this culture of authoritarianism, and when they leave, they’re stunned. They’re treated as if they’re dead. Shunning is so destructive and so un-Christlike. That keeps me engaged. We can’t just keep walking.
In a related note, I learned this morning that Petry's 19 year-old daughter Eleanor was in a severe bicycle accident. As of this writing, she is in a coma at a hospital, surrounded by friends and family who are praying for her recovery.
Our thoughts and very best wishes are with the Petry family.
Here's some of what Smith had to say about the officer under investigation for writing nearly 80 percent of all tickets for smoking pot this year. (Emphasis added.)
He’s been on for 25 years. He works downtown on a mountain bike. And nobody can hold a candle to him...
So he wrote 80 percent of the tickets. Anybody could of wrote 80 percent of the tickets...He’s just that proactive of an officer. He works, works, works, works. He is respected by his peers and better than that, he is respected by the criminal element, if you will, downtown...
I think it’s a gross overreaction here.
The Times headline makes it sound like he’s been reassigned because of 80% of tickets… this is pertaining to these snarky comments that he probably shouldn’t have put there.
We don’t know how many times they’ve [the people ticketed] been contacted before. They’re making a big deal of the fact that he wrote 63 of these tickets. Well how come more weren’t written? Maybe it’s because the rank and file in this department has no confidence—zero, none—that the city attorney’s office will do anything with ‘em.
Monson chimed in and said he doesn't believe the officer—who the Seattle Times identified as SPD veteran Randy Jokela, nicknamed "The Joker," according to Smith—wrote "an exorbitant amount" of tickets, since he was patrolling 2nd Avenue. "It’s become one of the most dangerous places in the city," Monson claimed. "He is down there on a mountain bike on very steep hills with very crazy criminals. I just think it’s re-damn-diculous…that the Chief of police here in Seattle, she’s going to make her mark by going after this particular case on the police blog. I’m dumbfounded by it, Ron."
Smith responded: "Personally, what I think he should be allowed to do is write a check to his favorite charity, and call it good. Just like the city attorney."
On his 2011 album Dive, Ghostly International artist Tycho (Scott Hansen) creates pristine, pastel electronic dance music (but not EDM) and Boards of Canada–esque, contemplative reveries for introverted computer programmers. On 2014's Awake, he mostly follows in the same amiable vein, and the sense of sparkly well-being it induces is very agreeable. San Francisco producer/guitarist Christopher Willits has gone from severe minimalist sound design to a brighter, more song-based style of music that seamlessly blends acoustic and electronic elements. However, you can still hear his legacy of microscopic clicks-and-cuts in passages scattered throughout 2006's Surf Boundaries and 2010's Tiger Flower Circle Sun. Fans of Caribou's euphoric, beach-drunk electronic fantasias will especially love the latter record. What we've heard of Willits's forthcoming album, Opening, is beautiful, beatific, Balearic-style chillout funk and neo–new age. As always, Willits's music leads you into the clear light, but not in hokey, simplistic ways. Neptune, 9 pm, $20, all ages. DAVE SEGAL
(Crocodile) It must be said: Louisiana's Kevin Gates is one of the most exciting rappers out, a wounded, noble hustler, equally at home with detail-rich street narratives, for-the-ladies jams, and radio-ready crossover shots. His guttural baritone is as instantly recognizable as Ja Rule's bark or Method Man's heart-of-gold growl, but what sets him apart is a Scarface-like commitment to gangster storytelling and a fantastic crew of producers, elevating each mixtape track to possible hit status. Not to throw the T-word around willy-nilly, but Gates possesses nearly Tupac-esque levels of self-mythologizing, understatedly serene flow, and gritty realism, which is not praise to be thrown lightly. Recent tape Stranger than Fiction demands your undivided attention but in the meantime, catch this dude at the Croc and revel in raw rap talent. KYLE FLECK
The right kind of clashing is far more interesting than the most scrupulous matchy-matching. Brand-new Restaurant Marron, installed in the former Olivar space in the Loveless Building off the north end of Broadway, doesn't match its historic home, and it also doesn't match your idea of an expensive prix-fixe restaurant. The room's locally famous deco murals depict a Pushkin fairy-tale scene, with big chalices and berobed travelers and whole birds on platters held aloft. There's no mead or joints of meat at Restaurant Marron, though; chef/owner Eric Sakai makes highly composed, haute New American food, starting with an entrée plus dessert for $39, with a five-course "petit voyage" at $78 and the carte blanche of eight courses (which the whole table must order) priced as quoted. Wine pairings are $45 or $72. Nor has the low-ceilinged, medieval-rustic-feeling room been outfitted with the usual trappings or tenor of a reverent temple to foodism. Tablecloths are absent, cutlery and plates are mismatched, and dressed-down, chipper servers might announce, "Sun gold tomatoes, the first of the season—yay! Summer's here!" Stainless-steel wire kitchen shelves—out in the open, with the murals showing through—hold sundries and piles of cookbooks. The soundtrack might be vintage French pop music, Nancy Sinatra, or beboppy jazz.
The Marron website promises all-lower-case "inventive cuisine; casual, come-as-you-are setting," and the answer to a dress-code question is just "nope"...
Their music is still spare and minimalist, but Malcolm Pardon and Peder Mannerfelt are moving in a darker direction here. If their previous tracks played like scores to experimental short films, the new record suggests that they're ready to provide soundtracks for widescreen epics with extended battle sequences.
It's the pounding percussion on "Assembly," the second selection, that lends the proceedings a martial feel, though I don't know whether they used live drums, a triggered effect, or a manipulated sample*—and I suspect they may have imbibed a little Led Zeppelin and a lot of Apocalypse Now while constructing the composition, because I hear echoes of "Kashmir" mixed with the muted clatter of a circling helicopter.
* Probably the former (live drums) as the album features a 26-piece orchestra.
Everything you wanted to know about why these trains should scare the shit out of you—the secrecy around them, the proximity to people, the history of explosions, the safety defects of tanker cars old and new, the Seattle firefighters who say we're not prepared, and more:
Pass it on.
(The one thing the documentary doesn't appear to touch on? Climate change. Obviously, using all that oil, either here in the United States or overseas, involves worsening, not mitigating, global warming. For more on the effects of rising global temperatures on Seattle, check out Kelton Sears' awesome animated feature in this week's Seattle Weekly.)
Jake Pearson at the Associated Press reports that a medical examiner found the chokehold is what killed Eric Garner:
Eric Garner, 43, whose videotaped confrontation with police has caused widespread outcry and calls by the Rev. Al Sharpton for federal prosecution, was killed by "the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police," said medical examiner spokeswoman Julie Bolcer.
Let's be clear about what this means: That video shows a homicide in progress.
Hometown pluckers of talent Sub Pop announced today its signing of Seattle MC Porter Ray. To play catch-up, listen to one of Ray's finest free albums, Blk Gld here, while you read Andrew Matson's profile of the man here, then go see him open for his Sub Pop A&R Ishmael Butler and Shabazz Palaces tonight at Neumos, for their Lese Majesty album release show (which you should be at anyway).
Porter is young, lyrically and stylistically gifted and surprisingly tall— all things that will make him a valuable addition to the Sub Pop team. His official label debut is due out next year, but in the meantime, stream another free offering, Fundamentals below. Press release after the jump.
Did you want EVEN MORE DRAMA about city parks funding? Sure, there was an actual shoving match. Then there've been a bunch of dueling editorials on Slog (from yes on Prop 1 to no on Prop 1 to OMG fuck those guys). The whole thing seems like a storyline on Parks and Recreation. Now there's a new twist: Robo-calls.
Goldy over at his blog Horse Sass (why's it called that?) has a video up with a recording of the No on Prop 1 campaign's robo-calls, which he calls "bullshit scare tactics."
The SECB says vote Yes on Prop 1, by the way. And we really wish someone was making a documentary about this whole thing.
UPDATE 1:32 p.m.: Those robo-calls, you'll notice if you click through to Horse Sass, appeared to come from the phone number 911-9111, a made-up number that was perhaps a poor choice on behalf of the no campaign. Because now it looks like SPD is investigating an episode of "caller ID fraud" from that number. From the SPD Blotter:
Dozens of confused Seattle residents have called Seattle police over the last 24 hours after receiving hangup calls, which appeared as if they came from 911.
I am on vacation for another week. But I've invited Dr. Lori Brotto to handle the Savage Love Letters of the Day. Dr. Lori Brotto is a clinical psychologist and sex researcher at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. You can follow her on twitter @DrLoriBrotto, take part in her studies here and hear her chat about cultivating sexual satisfaction here. Dr. Brotto will be answering your questions all week.
I've recently been dating my boyfriend. We met on tinder and talked for a couple months before meeting. When we met we hit it off. He even came on a work trip with me. Afterwards my grandmother passed away and he told me I had been acting different. He gave me an ultimatum about communication and I vowed for 100% communication since. However since then he has hardly communicated with me or even spent time with me. He will see his friends first and then me almost as a second option.
About a month later he claims redundancy. I attempted to do more with him but to no avail until finally we decided a "break" would be best. We agreed on exclusivity and to be friends. It's been 2 weeks since the break. I'm confused on what to do next. I still care about him and want to be with him.
Dr. Brotto's response after the jump...
Okay, so just to let you know... I'M FURIOUS!!! I just got off the phone with a "customer service representative" (psssshht! Right!) who informed me the bouncy house I ordered wouldn't be available for my upcoming party! (Look... you don't need to know why I want a bouncy house. My sex life is my business.)
ANYWAY! I ordered the bouncy house online and paid the deposit, but now they claim my bouncy house isn't in stock! So I was like, "NOT my problem, bouncy house people! YOU promised me a bouncy house... so rent a bouncy house from another bouncy house place and fulfill the bouncy house promise you made to ME, your bouncy house customer!" The customer service person paused and said, "Umm... we're not gonna do that. No bouncy house for you."
NO BOUNCY HOUSE FOR ME???
Nobody... and I mean freaking NOBODY denies me a bouncy house! I'm an entitled US citizen, mother-effers! If a mentally damaged hayseed can buy a gun that his mentally damaged kids use to accidentally kill their mentally damaged siblings, then I should be able to get a bouncy house ON DEMAND. And that, my friends, is the goddamn problem with America today: "Customer service" is a goddamn JOKE, and the only way to get what you want is by somehow cracking their "secret code."
For example! Many of you say you'd love to watch HBO—but you refuse to purchase an entire cable package. For years, we've had to pay scads of money for disgusting channels (looking at you, TLC) featuring disgusting programs (looking at you, Duck Dynasty) that we'd never, ever watch. Happily, however, things may be starting to change...
Realizing many of their customers are ditching cable to haphazardly find shows on Netflix or torrent sites, some cable companies are quietly adding packages, allowing you to order HBO and basic internet service alone. But obviously, they still want you to pay a buttload of money, so they're not going to volunteer the information. (Bastards!!)
That's why I was psyched to see Geoffrey A. Fowler's article for the Wall Street Journal, "The Secret Code for Getting HBO Without Cable TV," in which he figured out the "code" (or package names) you can drop to score these sweet deals. For example, with Comcast, if you only want internet, a few basic channels, and HBO, then you order the "Internet Plus" package. Likewise, with Time Warner Cable, you would request "Starter TV+HBO and an Internet Plan." With AT&T U-verse, you ask for "HBO Internet Plus," while with Verizon FiOS, you have to order the mind-numbingly wordy "50/25 Mbps + Local News and Sports + HBO (or Showtime)" package.
Naturally, your helpful "customer service agent" will try to confuse you into purchasing a more expensive package—but, as Fowler says, just keep asking for "internet and HBO." Eventually, you'll annoy them into acquiescence. Now, if you'll excuse me, this article has inspired me to call the bouncy house company back and get the bouncy house I deserve! Here's the secret code I'm gonna use: "If you get me the bouncy house, I'll let you have sex in it, too... okay?!?"
Happy Birthday, Adam Durtiz! Today the Counting Crows frontman celebrates his 50th anniversary by appearing on the cover of AARP:
Which is right up there with the time Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan posed on the cover of Paws Chicago:
Both are magazine covers I never would've predicted in a million years. But which cover is best? And what's next? Liam Gallagher on the cover of Advanced Carp Fishing?
This week: Two unions that filed their own preschool initiative and got it on the November ballot are now suing the City of Seattle over the way it will appear on that ballot, they announced at a press conference yesterday afternoon. As you hopefully recall, the city is going to put a pilot version of a potential universal pre-K plan on the ballot this fall, too. The union initiative, I-107, mandates an increase in child-care and pre-K workers' salaries and the creation of a training institute to centralize training for those workers. The city's plan funds a three-year experiment of offering subsidized preschool for up to 2,000 Seattle kids, funded by a property tax.
The city council decided that the two plans are two ballot measures on the same issue, and that therefore they legally must be presented to voters as an either-or choice; you couldn't vote yes on both of them. The initiative backers, a campaign calling themselves Yes for Early Success, think that's insane. And after filing an ethics complaint against the city in late June, they've now sued to get the two measures separated on the ballot so voters can vote up or down on each of them. (PDF of the lawsuit here.)
Yes for Early Success's lawyer, Claire Tonry, called the city's move "unprecedented interference with Seattle's 100-year-old initiative process," saying that by offering voters a limited choice, the city is preventing the 30,000 voters who signed the initiative from exercising their right to vote on it. They're asking the court to make clear that the two measures are "entirely compatible" and can be offered to voters as two separate choices, and to make sure voter pamphlet language on the two measures is "unbiased."
I-107's backers say the initiative would address the high turnover of early education teachers and child care workers, by improving pay and offering high-quality, streamlined training, and that it has little to do with the small-scale pilot program the city's putting to voters. The city, led by Council President Tim Burgess and Mayor Ed Murray, has said their hands are tied, that the law says the two measures are not compatible and must compete. Now, in a hearing on August 12, we'll find out what a judge thinks.
Inviting Don Harper and Carol Fisher to write an op-ed is like inviting a climate-change denier. You can do it, but don’t be surprised when they start making shit up. Thankfully, the good folks at The Stranger have allowed me to come in and correct the record with things that Don and Carol don’t seem to care about: facts.
First, let’s talk about your right to vote. While I am sure Mayor Murray would gladly appoint city council members, you and I will continue to vote for (and against) them with the passage of Proposition 1. City government will operate almost exactly as it does now, but with stable revenue for parks, an essential service.
The big difference: a citizen oversight committee (already part of a passed ordinance—aka law) that will work with the city council, the parks board, and the mayor’s office in providing advice to and oversight of the parks department. As The Stranger so eloquently stated: "This is how the democratic process works: We elect leaders who set taxes and build budgets and fund infrastructure, and when they fuck it up, we vote them out."
While Don and Carol state that the “traditional process [of funding parks] allows us a periodic vote on the collection of taxes and the allocations of funds to specified projects and programs,” the facts are different. The traditional process is funding essential services by way of the general fund. The mayor proposes a budget, and the council evaluates and amends that budget as necessary. Programs in parks have never been funded by “periodic votes”—except in the sense that we vote periodically for the city council and mayor. Which we will still do when Prop. 1 passes. Levy lid lifts for park acquisition and development are new—one in 2000, one in 2008. That’s it.
Funding maintenance, community center hours, and programming from the general fund (the actual traditional process) used to work. Then came 2001 and Tim Eyman’s Initiative 747, which gutted the ability for local governments to have stable funding. Combined with Tim Eyman’s Initiative 695—which is what led to the transit funding crisis we are now in—local governments have since been in a position wherein revenue cannot keep up with inflation.
And who gets screwed? Poor people. Because while folks like Don Harper and Carol Fisher apparently have the time and resources to self-fund their parks and community centers, low-income workers in South Park, Lake City, and Northgate don’t. Instead, they have suffered cuts that they don’t have the ability to buy back with either dollars or sweat equity.
Let’s hear it for the cinematic asshole. The last couple decades of filmmaking-by-committee has all but banished the lovable rogue from the blockbuster lexicon. International audiences, conventional wisdom goes, can’t understand heroes and villains unless they’re clearly delineated as such. (Don’t believe me? Consider the total lack of a Han Solo character in the Star Wars prequels for the clearest example that the adorable-bastard heart of adventure films has stopped beating.) A good part of the reason why Guardians of the Galaxy is being so warmly embraced by critics, I’d wager, is the fact that the entire team of heroes in the film are, as one character in the trailer describes them, “a bunch of a-holes.” And you know what? That’s exactly what we like to see in our blockbusters.
After a brief prologue, Guardians opens on Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, a self-described outlaw from Earth who’s spent his entire adult life stealing and fucking and getting into fights. Pratt has the kind of easy charm that allows audiences to accept his characters’ uncomfortable actions—double-crossing, loving alien women and leaving them, demanding that people call him “Star-Lord”—with no trouble at all. Quill’s development was arrested in his early teens, but we still root for him, even as he’s arrested and sent to space prison in the movie’s early scenes. The other protagonists in Guardians are a-holes, too: a deadly assassin named Gamora (Zoe Saldana, not given very much to do), a wrathful brawler called Drax (Dave Bautista, who handles his wooden dialogue with a wooden delivery that somehow double-reverse works in a satisfying way), a tree-man named Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), and a raccoon-looking creature named Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper with a whole lot of working-class charm). Though Pratt is the heart of the movie, the two most intriguing characters are Groot and Rocket, a pair of digitally created actors who together form a perfect cinematic duo; Rocket is the Wolverine-like badass with a heart full of darkness and a mouth full of salty quips, and Groot is the innocent with muscle, the Lennie to Rocket’s George. Every scene they’re in sparkles, and they’re happily in most of the movie.
In an effort to figure out what, exactly, this Seafair is, The Stranger would like to attend one of these Lake Washington "log boom" parties we've been hearing about.
Will you and your boat be tied up to the log boom this Saturday? Can Cienna Madrid stop by to see what all the fuss is about? (And by "stop by," we mean: Do you also have a smaller boat—dinghy? Is that what you call it?—that can come to shore, pick Cienna up, transport her to your boat party in the manner to which she's accustomed, and then get her back to shore on time so we don't have to call the police on your asses?)
If this is you, please e-mail us now, put CRASH MY LOG BOOM PARTY in the subject line, let us know how to reach you, and tell us why your log boom party will be the best!
(Originally posted yesterday and moved up because we're still looking.)
Are you a musician living in the Northwest who is 21 years old or younger? Then you should enter Sound Off!, the EMP's annual battle of the bands!
Sound Off! is so much more than a competition, though. Yes, one band does win (prizes include gear, studio time, and a slot at next year's Bumbershoot!), but all 12 semifinalists get a professional photo shoot and get to attend a Q&A panel where local music-industry professionals answer whatever questions you might have. And because the local music community supports Sound Off!, usually the bands will get some press (including The Stranger!) and radio airplay leading up to the shows. It's more about camaraderie than competition—it's a great way to get experience and form relationships with other local bands and musicians.
All genres of music are welcome; the only rule is you have to be 21 or younger and a resident of the Northwest (Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, or Idaho). Get all the details and apply online at empmuseum.org/soundoff. The deadline is November 3. Good luck!
The US's job market continues to grow: "U.S. employers extended their solid hiring into July by adding 209,000 jobs. It was the sixth straight month of job growth above 200,000, evidence that businesses are gradually shedding the caution that had marked the 5-year-old recovery." The unemployment rate, which is artificially low to begin with, as it does not include the huge number of citizens who are unemployed because they are serving time in the US's massive prison system (a prison system whose population exploded around the middle of the '70s), rose from 6.1 percent to 6.2 percent. An increase in people looking for work is seen as the reason for the rise. The graph of the US's job losses and gains since 2008 shows that Obama has regained all of the jobs lost in the crash that began under Bush...
The government jobs report explained in five charts. http://t.co/RpD6mtzLvf pic.twitter.com/zaWjuUDNSZ
— The Upshot (@UpshotNYT) August 1, 2014
The shameful cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)?They have put heavy pressure on food banks.
Republicans (of all people) block a bill that would fund Israel's war machine: "In the end, the Senate couldn’t even agree to deliver emergency aid to one of the United States’ closest allies. A last-ditch effort to deliver aid to Israel during its war with Hamas died on the Senate floor, as Republicans blocked the proposal over concerns that it would increase the debt." Later in the story: “Our number one ally — at least in my mind — is under attack. If this isn’t an emergency I don’t know anything that is...” A Democrat said this, not a Republican.
The 72-hour truce only lasted for two hours: Israel blames Hamas. But is Hamas that unified? Is everything really Hamas? Is Hamas that much in control of the situation in Gaza? It seems no effort is ever made to see if this or that attack was committed by any other organization than Hamas—an organization that I do not support, by the way. And the conflict is called: Israel's war with Hamas. And yet the great majority of the dead in this war are civilians.
One finding of a study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is that overdraft fees usually cost more than the item that caused the overdraft: "Large banks have generally charged a $34 penalty when people overdraw their debit-card accounts, even though most of the purchases involved were for less than $24."
That yellow cab:
Clean-up work under way after deadly gas pipeline explosions in Taiwan's city of Kaohsiung http://t.co/aeGgYYLOU0 pic.twitter.com/4ivZMsMfZB
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) August 1, 2014
Some progress appears in the blackest of Africa: "Uganda's Constitutional Court has annulled tough anti-gay legislation signed into law in February. It ruled that the bill was passed by MPs in December without the requisite quorum and was therefore illegal." In my opinion, the anti-homosexual law, like the current Ebola nightmare in West African, has its roots in Europe's colonization of Africa. Both cultural and natural catastrophes can be traced back to the 19th-century metropolises of England and France. History is what matters.
Who is the richest person in your state? Find out here! And, yes, ours is still Bill Gates.
Science creates see-through mice: The good thing is that they are dead.
Seeing that I do not have the freedom to elect people who could really challenge things like American militarism, I tried to enjoy my other freedom (my great American freedom), which is the freedom to buy things I do not need: I could only eat one chip.
Goodnight forever to the great makeup artist Dick Smith...
RIP Dick Smith (1922-2014) To say he was a giant in his field is an understatement. He cast a monumental shadow. pic.twitter.com/XigA8j0Yz8
— Travis Louie (@travislouie) July 31, 2014
Them were a '60s beat group from Ireland, perhaps most notable for their frontman Van Morrison and penning the '60s rock standards "Gloria" and "I Can Only Give You Everything." After Van Morrison split in 1966, the remnants of the group moved to the US and recorded a handful of albums and a clutch of 45s. Well, I just recently picked up a copy of the first Them US-only album, Now And "Them", and found one of the tracks, "Walking in the Queen's Garden," to be an exceptional standout! Dig, them dual guitars... HUBBA BUBBA!!
Sadly, the rest of the album kinda lacks. There's filler—NO ONE needs a garage band's square take on a supper-club song like "Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out." However, about half the other tracks are good; the psych freak-out "Square Room" is great, and their stab at John Mayall's "I'm Your Witch Doctor" rates!
So I sat down to vote last night—Stranger Election Control Board endorsements nearby, of course—and discovered that I, like so many other Americans (who are residents of King County), had been touched by the plague of excessively sticky election envelopes.
As King County Elections explained in a recent e-mail to the media:
“We’re grateful that our voters let us know early about this problem and called us for instructions so they could get their ballots in,” said Sherril Huff, King County Elections Director. “Excessive heat or rain may have played a role in this, but we also learned that one of our vendors used a new sealant on the envelopes that likely contributed to the problem.”
Voters should carefully open the envelope or, if needed, slit the envelope open on the top. Then use a small amount of tape to reseal the envelope. If the envelope is damaged, voters may download and print a replacement envelope. Voters may also call Elections at 206-296-VOTE (8683) with questions or concerns.
A handful of voters have also complained about the taste of the sealant on the envelopes. To avoid tasting the sealant, the Elections Department advised voters to use a moist sponge instead of licking the envelope, or use a small amount of tape if needed.
King County Elections has already taken steps to ensure that the envelopes for the next election will use a different sealant to avoid further problems.
Phew. There are more than 1.1 million King County primary ballots out there, and as of July 25 only about 100,000 of them had been returned. The official "turnout forecast" is set at 38 percent, though it's not clear whether that forecast factored in the sealant situation.
Cinerama to Renovate, Again? The investment company, Vulcan, owned by our city's prince, Paul Allen, announced today that its palace to the art of moving pictures, Cinerama, will be closed starting on August 4th "for some exciting renovations." Their plan, we are told, is to reopen "later this year." However, the details of this curious project have yet to be communicated to the public.
Hugo House Announces Lit Series Lineup: Mona Simpson, Dorothea Lasky, Dean Young, Sheila Heti, and Jess Walter will be taking part in the Hugo House's 2014-15 literary series. The lit series, if you don't know, brings three authors and a musical act together to produce new work on a theme. This year's musical acts include the Drop Shadows and poet Ed Skoog, and themes include "The Parent Trap" and "Rough Day." This series represents the debut of novelist Peter Mountford as Hugo House's new event curator; looks like he's off to a great start.
Israeli Hip Hop Opera Cancelled at Edinburgh Fringe Festival Due to Gaza Protests: Because the Incubator Theatre receives money from the Israeli government, Scottish demonstrators targeted its production The City, which was scheduled to run at the Edinburgh festival. "The logistics of policing and stewarding the protest around The Reid Hall—and the effect of the disturbance on Underbelly and other venues' other shows—make it untenable for the show to continue," said a theater spokesperson. On one hand, it's too bad—the Incubator Theatre is just trying to do a show. On the other hand, blood is blood and death is more urgent than a curtain call.
Phonies: The recent publication of three uncollected J.D. Salinger stories is "unfortunate."
Hijuelos Rides Again: A new Oscar Hijuelos novel will be published posthumously. It sounds interesting:
The book, an intensively researched 859-page historical novel about the friendship between Mark Twain and the Welsh explorer Henry Morton Stanley, was a departure for Mr. Hijuelos, who is best known for chronicling the lives of immigrants.
The Slow Demise of Movies Filmed on Film: How Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Judd Apatow, and JJ Abrams teamed up to save film from extinction...for now.
Bad News for John Spider-Man Smith: A woman's passport renewal was refused because her newly adopted middle name, "Skywalker," amounts to copyright infringement, the BBC reports.
Speaking of Copyrights... A new lawsuit is trying to free the song "Happy Birthday" from the clutches of Warner/Chappell Music, which collects royalties every time "Happy Birthday" is used in media.
Very Important Pot Poll: Now that pot is legal in Seattle, we’re finding it strewn around the sidewalk on our way to work.
After pleading guilty to federal arson charges in May, Musab Masmari today was sentenced to a decade in prison for setting fire to Neighbours nightclub during a packed 2014 New Years party attended by some 700 people.
No lives were lost in the arson, but the sentencing judge, Ricardo S. Martinez, said that “but for the actions of some very quick thinking folks, we could have had a very serious tragedy.”
US Attorney Jenny Durkan described Masmari as "motivated by ignorance and intolerance," and she said today's sentencing "sent a clear message: this conduct cannot be tolerated."
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