We told you in Loose Lips this week that Joan Didion cancelled her upcoming appearance at Benaroya Hall, due to an "unforeseen personal conflict."
We just got a press release from Seattle Arts and Lectures announcing Joan Didion's replacement. It begins like this:
SEATTLE, WA: Seattle Arts & Lectures’ 2012-2013 Literary Arts Series concludes with Amy Tan on Wednesday, June 5, 7:30pm at Benaroya Hall. Unfortunately the previously scheduled speaker, Joan Didion, unable to make her appearance on June 5th. We are excited to announce Amy Tan as a replacement.
Amy Tan is well known in literary circles for her sensitive and witty exploration of the complexity of mother daughter relationships starting with her debut novel, The Joy Luck Club that was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her theme continued in her equally successful novels from The Kitchen God’s Wife to Saving Fish from Drowning to the Bonesetter’s Daughter. In addition, to her novels Ms. Tan co-produced and wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of the Joy Luck Club. Ms. Tan is also the author of a memoir, The Opposite of Fate, two children’s books, The Moon Lady and Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat and numerous articles for magazines, including The New Yorker, Harper’s Bazaar, and National Geographic.
Stranger Editor Christopher Frizzelle, who was going to interview Didion onstage, will not be interviewing Amy Tan.
Here's something that Pope Francis said today:
The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class!
Um, gee. Thanks, I guess? But maybe keep your unicorn juice to yourself? It's kind of weird to go spilling magical blood on a bunch of people who don't believe in it.
Huh. I guess that explains Cienna:
Idaho remains stuck at the bottom of public education funding, ranking second to last of all states in per-student spending for a third straight year, the U.S. Census Bureau said today.
Idaho spent $6,824 per student in the 2010-11 school year, above only Utah, according to the latest available figures.
Neighboring Washington ranked 30th – up two spots from the previous year – with $9,483 spent per student.
Both Idaho and Washington fall below the national average of $10,560 per student.
Just to bring Washington State's per student spending up to the national average would cost an additional $1.12 billion a year ($2.24 billion per biennium). And in case you think our taxpayers can't afford it, it's important to note that Washington ranks 46th in terms of per student spending as a percentage of per capita income. We're just cheap, pure and simple.
The Pope for once sounds like the founder of his religion...
Rome: Pope Francis has attacked the ''dictatorship'' of the global financial system and warned that the ''cult of money'' is making life a misery for millions.
He said free market capitalism had created a ''tyranny'' and that people were being judged purely by their ability to consume goods.
Money should be made to ''serve'' people, not to ''rule'' them, he said on Thursday, calling for a more ethical banking system and curbs on financial speculation. Countries should impose more control over their economies and not allow ''absolute autonomy'', in order to provide ''for the common good''.
More real talk...
''The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly human goal,'' he told the ambassadors.
The tip for this post came from Lark.
Posted by news intern Ansel Herz
It's been three weeks since May Day, and the reverberations from the day's mayhem continue. At a court hearing last Thursday, two young men accused of throwing rocks at the police were arraigned in King County Superior Court. That evening, Seattle police posted to their website asking for tips from the public on eight suspects, complete with videos that appear to show young men smashing windows with rocks and skateboards.
"I could feel my temper rising as I watched this thing fall apart," KIRO radio host Dave Ross told Mayor Mike McGinn the day after May Day. "Why have they adopted [Seattle] as their playground?" his co-host asked.
"There is a desire to provoke a confrontation with the police, so then they can claim the police overreacted," McGinn said. "This is in fact the objective of the march."
"I speak for the majority of Seattle when I say fuck you all and your stupid white privilege that thinks you can walk around smashing shit up, yelling and throwing shit at the police," wrote one typical Slog commenter.
It's easy to stereotype window-breakers and rock-throwers as spoiled kids throwing tantrums, out with malevolent intentions to mess with the police, and then feel indignant about it. But truth be told, those are lazy, inaccurate assumptions.
Seattle's Low Income Housing Institute is in the running for a $250,000 grant for housing homeless veterans and and assisting the beloved Urban Rest Stop. They're a few thousand votes behind, with nine days left, but they're closing the gap and they need your help to win.
Thank you, Sloggers.
The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner is pushing back against a claim made earlier today by Planned Parenthood and a number of other women's reproductive rights groups that only half of the 10 individual insurance exchange policies currently filed with their office would cover elective abortions.
“I’m not sure where Planned Parenthood got their numbers but of the nine plans filed to be in the exchange, eight are covering abortion and one is a maybe," says Insurance Commissioner spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis. She explains that the one insurance company that's currently not covering abortion—Bridgespan Health Company—is reconsidering their decision.
"We definitely got our numbers from [the commission]," counters Jennifer Allen, Public Policy Director for Planned Parenthood Votes NW. "Perhaps, based on public scrutiny or interest from legislators, those numbers have changed. But we definitely got our numbers from them.”
The confusion could also stem, in part, from insurance companies that are filing new insurance policy bids both within and outside of Washington's exchange. Marquis promised to send over breakdown of all the various policies soon so I can eyeball them for myself.
Regardless, the state legislator should still pass the Reproductive Parity Act to ensure that insurance policies cover abortion, because the number of filed policies (and whether or not they cover elective abortions) could still change: the deadline to submit policy bids is July 31, after which the insurance commission reviews the rates and punts the plans over to the federal insurance exchange program to determine whether they’re qualified to be sold inside the exchange starting on October 1, 2014.
AppleInsider makes a very good point about Tim Cook's appearance before a Senate panel to defend Apple from charges of tax evasion yesterday:
Though some such as U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) portrayed Apple's tax strategy as "unique," at least in scope, the tax shelter practice known by attorneys as the "Double Irish" is also utilized by tech companies Google and Yahoo.
Google has moved foreign profits through Ireland and the Netherlands, allowing to avoid about $2 billion in income taxes a year, according to Bloomberg. But unlike Apple, which manages its Irish subsidiary in the U.S., Google goes one step further and manages its Irish branch through Bermuda — a British territory that has no corporate income tax.
Yahoo, too, is said to deposit its profits in an Irish subsidiary. Like Apple, Yahoo says its Irish arm is not a tax resident to avoid corporate income taxes. But Yahoo also employs a strategy similar to Google and claims its tax residency offshore, in the Cayman Islands.
Apple is not unique in this. They just have gotten more attention because everyone knows they're sitting on an unthinkably huge pile of money. But does any of this matter? After the chummy way John McCain ended the Apple tax investigation yesterday...
...I'd be shocked to learn that anything is going to change.
A veterinarian at an emergency clinic recently told my partner that roughly one-third of the pets in crisis he sees nowadays suffer from marijuana poisoning. Komo's reporting seems to support this anecdotal evidence:
Dr. Jennifer Waldrop, critical care specialist at the ACCES clinics in Seattle and Renton, said known cases of toxic reactions to marijuana have increased from two in 2009 to 35 in 2012. And, those are only the cases where vets are certain the dogs ate marijuana. Waldrop said there are many more mysterious toxicity cases where pot could be the culprit.
Waldrop said the increase in dogs eating pot can be attributed to the rise in marijuana use, both medical and recreational. She also said more people are reporting their dogs eating pot now that marijuana use is legal and less stigmatized.
If your pet starts twitching, drooling copiously, vomiting, or, you know, falls into a coma, take them to a vet immediately. Especially it you've got marijuana lying around the house.
From this week's I, Anonymous:
I'm a donation chute that has gained consciousness, and I've got a confession to make: I don't support a nonprofit or a local thrift store at all, even though I often use the word "donation." All this time, I've been taking your clothing and immediately shipping it overseas, only to positively impact my pocketbook. I won't even supply you with a tax receipt, because guess what—you're not actually supporting a business that is a legitimate nonprofit or that makes a difference locally. How do you avoid me? It's simple: Either donate in person at a local establishment, or make sure that you recognize a donation chute as belonging to an organization that's an actual nonprofit. Chances are if you are putting a "donation" into a chute like me, with a name you've never heard of, it's a for-profit company. I usually hang out at gas stations (because, you know, most things reputable go down in gas-station parking lots). So now you know.
Read about others' surprise/lack of surprise/bemusement/fury (and express your own) in the comments.
I'm currently reading his new book, My Beloved Brontosaurus, and it's delightful! Switek's enthusiasm is irrepressible as he explores our collective relationship with dinosaurs and the disparity between actual science and public perception. He writes about his own life-long obsession and notes important discoveries and shifts in understanding. It's a fun read from a kindred spirit.
You can get tickets for his Town Hall appearance here! See you there!
Jose Canseco, who has been accused by both of his ex-wives of domestic violence in the past, was approached by police officers in Las Vegas as part of a rape investigation, according to Canseco's Twitter feed. How did Canseco respond? By tweeting the name of the woman Canseco says has accused him of rape, along with what he claimed to be a photo of her and her phone number. The tweets—there were two clusters of them—have since been deleted, but BuzzFeed has screen captures of them (with the name and personal information redacted).
Now, people are calling for Canseco to be kicked off of Twitter for posting the personal information of a woman whom he believes has accused him of rape. I used to follow Canseco on Twitter because he was kind of funny, but his propensity to angrily publish the personal information of whatever woman he's obsessing over—and he's done this on multiple occasions—was way too creepy for my tastes.
Like it says up there in large print, a new Pearl Buck novel is going to be published this fall:
The manuscript was stumbled upon in a storage unit in Texas and returned to the Buck family in December in exchange for a small fee, said Jane Friedman, the chief executive of Open Road Integrated Media, the publisher.
Buck, the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, is believed to have completed the manuscript for the book, “The Eternal Wonder,” shortly before she died of cancer in 1973, said her son Edgar S. Walsh, who manages her literary estate.
I'm willing to bet that most Americans now know Buck best as an Oprah's Book Club-approved author. Many of these sorts of posthumous manuscripts are unpublished for a reason, but this one, at least, sounds like a complete manuscript, which increases its chances of at least being readable.
(Thanks to Slog tipper—and big Buck fan—Cienna.)
After reading about this NYC speakeasy hidden in a water tower...
Mr. Austin located a suitable water tower by scouring Buildings Department records for violations with egregious scaffold fines. That can indicate a neglectful landlord, he said, which meant it might be a vacant building ripe for adopting as one’s own.
One Saturday night last month, 12 guests squeezed through the trap door into the space. “The great thing about the upright bass is how it got up here,” said Dirby Luongo, one of Mr. Austin’s collaborators who played the doorman. “It’s like a ship in a bottle.”
... the first thing I thought of was Bigger Thomas using a water tower for shelter in Native Son. Whether your situation is as frivolous as a speakeasy or as dire as a fugitive, the water towers of NYC can be a shelter—but only temporarily.
Hey Ladies, you better be prepared, because you know, accidents will happen:
A group backed by Right to Life of Michigan has been approved to circulate petitions seeking a new state law prohibiting health insurance companies from covering elective abortion procedures.
The ballot committee No Taxes for Abortion Insurance wants to require women to purchase optional riders to cover abortion, even in cases of rape or incest.
... Asked by a reporter how women could be expected to purchase abortion insurance in preparation of being raped, [Right to Life Michigan president Barbara] Listing responded: "Nobody plans to have an accident in a car accident, nobody plans to have their homes flooded. You have to buy extra insurance for those two."
Of course, nobody plans to to get cancer either (and most states require auto insurance), but why let logic get in the way of public health policy?
So yeah, if you're a teenage girl who gets pregnant after being raped by her uncle, and you didn't buy that rape and incest rider on your health insurance, well, that's what you get for not planning ahead.
The opening line of a story on the SIFF premiere by the Seattle Times' Nicole Brodeur:
You look at director Lynn Shelton and think, “Why is she behind the camera?” Girl's a stunner.
Brodeur was called out for her comment by Seattle's Reel Grrls, and a short conversation ensued.
Thanks for fighting the good fight, Reel Grrls.
The 300,000 women hoping to purchase affordable insurance coverage through Washington state's insurance exchange when the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented next year had better choose wisely: Only half of the 10 insurance exchange plans currently filed with the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner elect to fully cover abortion costs.
Why, you ask? Because our state legislator—lead by that dissembling fink Senator Rodney Tom (Who the fuck knows?, Medina)—has failed to pass the Reproductive Parity Act, which would ensure that all insurance plans covering maternity care are also required to cover abortion costs. (Even though the bill already passed in the House and has the votes to pass in the Senate, on paper at least.)
“The future that we've been warning legislators about is coming true," says Planned Parenthood Votes NW Public Policy Director Jennifer Allen. "It’s our understanding that the number of plans—10—that’s all the plans that will be available on the exchange. That’s it.”
I have a call into the state insurance commission to confirm; I'll update this post when I hear back.
“Because of the barriers to abortion coverage that were put into the Affordable Care Act by anti-women’s health extremists, carriers face business decisions about abortion coverage that will affect their bottom lines,” said Elaine Rose, CEO of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, in a press release. “This news makes it crystal clear that in order for Washington women to not lose the coverage they have today for all of their legal pregnancy options, the legislature needs step up and pass the Reproductive Parity Act now." Which they could totally do now, during the special session.
Planned Parenthood and other women's reproductive rights groups note that only five exchange plans filed with the state insurance commission will include the voluntary termination of a pregnancy, four plans will completely exclude abortion, and one plan will cover abortion only in instances of rape, incest, or serious endangerment to the health of the mother.
President Ahmadinejad calls the shortlist an "act of oppression" because his favorite guy wasn't chosen. Also cut from the list? Open critics of how the regime handled the 2009 protests. (Surprise, surprise.)
Among those approved for the June ballot are Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, prominent lawmaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati and Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf — all top Khamenei loyalists. Former chief of the Revolutionary Guards Mohsen Rezaei and a little known former minister, Mohammad Gharazi, have also been approved.
Only two of are considered pro-reform figures: Former top nuclear negotiator Hasan Rowhani and former first vice president Mohammad Reza Aref, but neither have yet gained any strong following among moderates and liberals after years of crackdowns by authorities.
Most hope for an opposition revival had rested with former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was not approved by the Guardian Council after hardliner complaints. Rafsanjani had openly [criticized] the heavy-handed tactics used to crush protests in 2009 following the disputed re-election of Ahmadinejad.
The ruling dealt a serious blow to Ahmadinejad’s hopes of having a loyalist succeed him. He can’t run in the June 14 ballot due to term limits under Iran’s constitution.
Depressing. But who knows what subversion lurks in the hearts of (outwardly obedient) Iranian politicians? A clever Dubcek might wiggle his way into the presidency.
In southeastern London, a soldier was killed by two men who were later shot by police. The Prime Minister says the attacks were likely terrorism. The BBC has set up a breaking news page about the incident with live video and more information.
Politico says that Republicans are already arguing over whether the disaster relief for Oklahoma should be offset with budget cuts elsewhere.
“Finding some way to offset is not the priority,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of Senate GOP leadership who opposed the $50.5 billion Sandy aid package at the beginning of the year. “Meeting the known and immediate needs as quickly as possible is the priority.”
The calls for swift funding from Congress comes as a key Oklahoma Republican, Sen. Tom Coburn, is renewing his long-standing call that any disaster relief funds should be fully offset, potentially putting him in the awkward spot of opposing an emergency aid package for his home state...
When this vote comes, it's going to be a real shitshow for the Republicans. Some of them (like, presumably, Senator Blunt) are only for giving money to red states. Others want lengthy budget discussions before they agree to anything. This could be the event that winds up being the historical example that people will one day use to illustrate the decade of the do-nothing Congress.
Full festival guide here, two recommended picks for today below.
Every day, someone tells me, "Wm.™ Steven Hump-Me? You got it EEEEEEEASY. All you do is sit around on your spectacular honey-baked ham and watch TV! I call that EEEEEEEASY." Well, it's not so EEEEEEEASY! I thought this TV-criticizing gig would be the EEEEEEEASiest job in the world—until I discovered there's a considerable amount of typing involved! As it turns out, the pearls of wisdom shooting from my mouth don't automatically land on the page—unless, we're talking about my other "pearls of wisdom." I actually have to type them or hire an intern to type them for me. Not easy when all I have to offer for payment are "pearls of wisdom." (I'll let you guess which "pearls" I'm talking about.)
Typing is especially a "p" in the "a" when it comes to television stuff. For example, the ABC show starring Sarah Chalke called How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life). That took me, like, 10 minutes to type! And I had to look up how to spell Sarah Chalke's name! Fuck YOU, Sarah Chalke! And fuck How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life), too!
HOWEVER! Since How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)—
UGGNNHHH!—just got canceled, I should be happy I never have to type How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life) again, right? Well, I'M NOT. Because just after ABC said it canceled How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life), it announced it's picking up Joss Whedon's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.—which just took me 20 minutes to type! Not only did I have to look up Joss Whedon's name (Fuck YOU, Joss Whedon and your hard-to-spell "special snowflake" name!), but the constant CAP LETTER PERIOD CAP LETTER PERIOD CAP LETTER PERIOD DRIVES ME INSAAAAAAAANE!! (Fuck YOU, too, M*A*S*H!)
ThinkProgress.org grimly illustrates what happens when state and local municipalities lose revenue and have to slash vital services, like law enforcement, primarily at the expense of vulnerable populations, like women and children.
Last August, a woman in Josephine County called 911 and pleaded with dispatchers to send police—“my ex-boyfriend is trying to break into my house. I’m not letting him in but he’s like, tried to break down the door and he’s tried to break into one of the windows.” The woman had good reason to be afraid of this man, as she told the dispatcher on the other side of the phone, this same abusive ex had put her in the hospital just a few weeks before. But the dispatcher has no one to send. Because the local sheriff’s department recently lost millions in federal funds, it laid off 23 of its 29 deputies and limited their availability to eight hours on Mondays through Fridays. The woman’s call to 911 took place on a Saturday.
With no deputies available, the 911 dispatcher transferred the woman to the state police—but they would not come rescue the woman either. In the words of the state police dispatcher, “I don’t have anybody to send out there. You know, obviously, if he comes inside the residence and assaults you, can you ask him to go away? Do you know if he’s intoxicated or anything?”
The woman's ex-boyfriend later plead guilty to kidnapping, assault, and sex abuse.
Josephine County, the county where this woman lives, is overwhelmingly conservative; its voters have twice rejected property tax levies to fund more law enforcement (the most recent vote was held yesterday). ThinkProgress notes that after the first round of cuts, law enforcement sent out a press release encouraging victims of domestic violence to move, noting that they would no longer be safe in Josephine County. But what's one woman being raped by her ex-boyfriend if it saves homeowners a few bucks every year, right?
Hat tip to Robert for shitting in my morning coffee.
A post on Craigslist says they're looking for "young sexy calendar girls for the new Hempfest calendar" who are "between the ages of 18-21 and want to get paid up to $50 an hour."
I know that Hempfest is a volunteer operation, but that's terrible money for young sexy calendar girls—and where are the young sexy Hempfest calendar boys? Hempfest should do better. Hempfest would do better than this, right? That's why I doubt this is the Hempfest people at all. At least, I hope it's not them. For what it's worth, young sexy calendar models who are 18, 19, and 20 may be young and sexy, but they can't legally smoke pot. E-mails to the advertiser and Hempfest personnel have not yet been returned.
UPDATE at 11:50 PM: Hempfest director of operations Sharon Whitson confirms my suspicions: Hempfest isn't behind this ad. Which means someone is apparently trying to use Hempfest's name to lure young sexy girls.
This could potentially be a huge deal:
Get ready for Kindle Worlds, a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games. With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries, with licenses for more Worlds on the way.
The Kindle Worlds Self-Service Submission Platform will launch soon and enable you to submit your original works for publication.
I gave a talk a while ago at Nerd Nite suggesting that the publishing platform of the future would find some way to incorporate fan fiction into the platform. I also said that genre publishing platforms should encourage fan fiction by publishing the best stuff as canon and paying the author for the work. This is a smart way for Amazon to tap into a huge publishing ecosystem that already exists and is barely tolerated by the publishing industry. Maybe more importantly, it's yet another opportunity that traditional publishing has squandered.
I hope you will celebrate accordingly.
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!
In an effort to make The Stranger more interactive, this new feature provides sample questions to better facilitate discussion about The Stranger in book groups, elementary-school classrooms, church groups, and improvisation workshops. The theme for this week's questions is "authorial intent."
1. KELLY O interviews the Insane Clown Posse (ICP) in the music section. Ms. O has covered ICP many times for The Stranger in the last few years. Do you believe she is a secret ICP fan? Do you think she thinly disguises her ICP love as disdain? If you were to investigate Ms. O's medicine cabinet, do you believe you'd find a half-used, tearstained tube of greasepaint?
2. In the feature, GOLDY explains that children are shooting other children, in order to demonstrate his belief that gun control is necessary. Do you believe Goldy's humorous tone in this article is:
(a) Too inappropriate,
(b) Just inappropriate enough, or
(c) Barely inappropriate at all?
3. In his drinking column, CHARLES MUDEDE writes about a bar owned by "a Jamaican immigrant... and his partner, a regular American." What the fuck do you think Mudede is getting at here? Do you believe he's trolling us with this "regular American" shit? Why or why not? Does he even know if he's trolling anymore?
4. In his review of The Hangover, Part III, PAUL CONSTANT seems to be unaware that the movie is a comedy. What sort of traumatic experience do you believe Constant had in his childhood that left him completely humorless and unable to enjoy pleasurable experiences without churning out some turgid, dull, disapproving prose in response? Please be as explicit as possible.
5a. In his review of Saint Genet's performance piece Shoot, in which a man was actually shot, BRENDAN KILEY suggests that the outlaw aspects of the performance prove how edgy Saint Genet's art is. Do you believe that it was by accident that Kiley repeatedly failed to type the word "boring" in reference to Saint Genet's violent artwork, or does he actually think that this kind of Fight Club–ish, little-boy-fantasy thing is interesting?
5b. On a scale of 1 to 10, how hypocritical is it that the issue of The Stranger that features an antigun screed from Goldy also features
Kiley's glorification of gun violence? Remember to show your work!