Says artist, Stranger Genius, and former Laurelton resident Ellen Forney in the press release: “It seems like every artist in Seattle has either lived in the Laurelton or slept with someone who lived in the Laurelton.”
And I wrote this back in 2004, about my beloved new home, in a Stranger article called "Sexual Real Estate":
It always struck me funny that my apartment building looked just like my junior high school. Then, even in my first few nights there, I realized that the building was similar in more ways than one. I had moved into the Home of the Horny Teenager. More specifically, the Home for Horny Teenage Girls. My almost exclusively female neighbors aren't literally teens—quite the opposite. Most of the women in my building are in their 30s and are extremely creative people: artists, writers, independents. They're also the hottest, craziest, and sexiest women I've ever met. And the LOUDEST. I've never heard so much sex in any apartment in my entire life. From the moans and groans and actual bed frames breaking and crashing onto the floor in the apartment above me to the tantric, mind-blowingly long sessions in the apartment next door, this is one randy establishment...
Will an orgy break out at the opening? I can't promise it, but I wouldn't be surprised by it either. A long list of participating artists, after the jump...
Everything that Danny Westneat said about the GET Program and UW President Michael Young's stupid, stupid characterization of it as a "Ponzi scheme," plus this: GET is not an investment; it is insurance.
Young said the GET program, because it’s a defined-benefit plan (it pledges to pay no matter what happens to the investments), is a ticking time bomb.
That's the whole fucking point!
I've been through this before—as an investment, the GET Program was designed to be very conservative, returning the average inflation rate for college tuition (about 6.5 percent) as opposed the 10 percent-or-so returns one historically gets on the market. But that is okay, because when we pre-paid our daughter's tuition more than a decade ago, we did so knowing that no matter what might happen, she would at the very least have tuition and fees paid for at the best Washington State public university she could get in to.
We weren't buying double-digit returns. We were buying peace of mind. The fact that we got double-digit returns was only due to our feckless legislature and its refusal to raise the revenue necessary to adequately fund higher education.
And to be clear, GET is only potentially "a ticking time bomb" if the legislature once again forces double-digit tuition hikes. As long as tuition rises at the historic inflation rate, GET will remain more than adequately funded. And this is a variable that is entirely within the legislature's control.
Why is this so hard for people to understand? And why is Young so hostile to our state's only tuition program that aids middle class families?
First, Christian radio host Janet Mefford accused Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll of plagiarism. Then, things got weird. Then Mefferd seemed to back down to pro-Driscoll pressure. Now, Slate's Ruth Graham just published some new information:
[Mefferd] says her apology shouldn’t be mistaken for a recanting. “I stand by my allegations of insufficient sourcing, absolutely and unequivocally,” she said by email. “His plagiarism is a very serious ethical and moral breach. Academics and journalists alike have lost their jobs over less than what Mark Driscoll has done.” Mefferd says that “no attorneys were involved in this situation” and that no one at Mars Hill Church, where Driscoll is pastor, suggested she remove the materials.
On Monday, Mars Hill made its first explicit comment on the issue since Driscoll’s original interview. In a corner of its website devoted to the Driscoll book with several paragraphs apparently copied wholesale, the church posted a statement blaming a research assistant for “citation errors”: “During the editing process, content from other published sources were mistaken for research notes.” The head of communications at Mars Hill did not respond to an email and direct messages on Twitter requesting comments from the church or from Driscoll.
Ah, the old blame-the-assistant trick. Oldest gambit in the Good Book. Remember when Jesus blamed the cleansing of the temple on Peter, and everybody had a good laugh about it later on? Good times.
Nathan Hale High School health teacher Annemarie Michaels-Plumpe writes this letter to the editor about a party last Friday, sponsored and covered by The Stranger, celebrating the one-year anniversary of marijuana legalization. Held at Seattle Center, the party was 21 and over, and hidden from public view inside a closed canopy. But Michaels-Plumpe says adults having fun with pot in a somewhat public setting sent a dangerous message to children:
I am writing this letter in response to Ben Livingston’s Stranger article entitled: Antidrug Activists Try to Shut Down Pot Party -Treatment Professionals Say Celebration at Space Needle Is Bad for Children.
There is evidence that favorable community opinion about a drug such as alcohol or marijuana correlates with not only increased use by teens but also an impression among them that the dangers are less than they might be. Allowing for marijuana use as long as the public cannot see its use—such as throwing a party to celebrate the legalization of a drug by using that drug in a large group, in a public place where families gather—is definitely sending a clear message about our community’s opinion on the use of marijuana.
The Yes for SeaTac Prop 1 campaign sent out a press release this afternoon saying that they "fully expect" King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvas to toss out the historic $15 an hour minimum wage initiative at a Friday hearing.
We fully expect the county judge, who previously ordered SeaTac Prop 1 off the ballot and was quickly overruled by the state appeals court, to rule in Alaska Airlines' favor again. If the judge agrees with Alaska Airlines to take away paid sick days, living wages and tip protection for 6,000 people, we intend to file an emergency appeal to the WA Supreme Court on Monday.
Alaska Airlines and other plaintiffs have attacked the initiative with a kitchen sink full of legal arguments, from challenging whether it truly qualified for the ballot to arguing that the Port of Seattle preempts the authority of SeaTac to regulate airport wages to challenging the power of municipalities to regulate wages at all. Darvas already has one poorly reasoned and inevitably overturned pro-Alaska/anti-minimum-wage ruling to her credit, and the plaintiffs have given her plenty of ammunition to deliver another.
So don't fret too much about her ruling. This issue will ultimately be decided by the state Supreme Court.
As to what this court case ultimately means for Seattle, well, it depends on the arguments that she accepts. The only issue likely to impact the effort to pass a minimum wage in Seattle would be the question of whether municipalities have the authority to set a minimum wage. They probably do, but it's not entirely settled law. So if Judge Darvas does not find this issue grounds for tossing out SeaTac Prop 1, then the subsequent legal proceedings might have little legal impact here.
In my next Inhabitant Session, which includes food prepared by Blak of Silent Lambs Project fame, and beats provided by an official black weirdo, OC Notes, will not answer the question of what do with free time but why we find ourselves in the amazing circumstance of that not being the biggest question in our lives. How did free time become something that worries us not because we have lots of it and do not know what to do with it? We instead live in a world that makes free time scarce or a bad thing for financial reasons. This will be my last Inhabitant Session.
Rawstock's Klausterfokken, which describes itself as "a relentlessly entertaining barrage of raw cinematic power [that] will pummel audiences mercilessly with glorious imagery, poignant violence, and erotically-charged comedy...It’s a visual and aural assault that will leave you tenderized and fragile. It’s RAWSTOCK’s gift to Seattle for this Holiday season." Full info here.
What about all-female Led Zeppelin tribute bands? Or The Nerdist podcast?
If you feel pretty good about any or all of these things, join me for today's December Ticket Bonanaza over on Line Out where we're giving away tickets to Metalachi (please click for amazing band photos), Zepparella, and Chris Hardwick!
Official Chinese news outlets say the country's record-breaking air pollution has made Chinese people smarter, funnier, more egalitarian, and, um, better protected from missile attacks.
On Monday the website of the state broadcaster CCTV published a list of five "unexpected benefits" brought by the smog.
It said the haze had unified Chinese people, as they found solidarity in their complaints; equalised them, as both rich and poor people were vulnerable to its effects; enlightened them, as they realised the cost of rapid growth; and "made Chinese people more humorous", as smog-related jokes proliferated on the internet.
It had also helped to educate people, it said. "Our knowledge of meteorology, geography, physics, chemistry and history has progressed."
The Global Times, a nationalist tabloid published by the Communist party's official People's Daily, added one more advantage: the smog could bolster China's military defences by affecting guided missile systems.
"Smog may affect people's health and daily lives. But on the battlefield it can serve as a defensive advantage in military operations," it said. The article buttressed its argument with a list of historical precedents, such as Serbian soldiers burning tyres to impede Nato planes.
Some of the media links are no longer working, but as of this writing, the CCTV page is still up. According to a crappy Google translate, "Even foreigners also joined in the fun, create a 'Beijing cough' of the disease... Haze inspired the Chinese people's sense of humor, humor is a source of strength to overcome the haze."
That's right. Just laugh your wheezes away!
Please remember this the next time a government starts grumbling about whether an independent press is more trouble than it's worth.
Yesterday, Netherlands-based private spaceflight project Mars One announced the companies it hopes will build the technology necessary for the first private mission to Mars. Lockheed Martin and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. were awarded contracts to study and develop a Mars lander and a data link satellite, respectively, for a 2018 exploratory mission. If that mission is successful, Mars One hopes to begin a human colony on Mars by 2025. The lander and satellite would each test concepts and technologies needed to sustain human life on another planet.
I had kind of given up hope that I'd see a human on Mars in my lifetime. If they pull this off, it'll be the greatest reality TV show in history.
Originally posted July 29,1010
I am a man who has been in an open marriage for 10 years. My wife dates men on her own, and I get to enjoy the occasional threesome with her and one of her partners. (We had no luck dating women or couples.) The problem is, she is clearly more interested in "her" dates than in "ours," probably because the hotter guys are more interested in her alone than in us together. My wife is GGG, but it is hard for her to persuasively feign interest in the guys who are interested in us both. And it is frankly depressing to watch her go through the motions with one of "ours."
Does being GGG require her to be a good actress, or does it require me to pretend that I believe her when she claims she enjoys the three-ways we have together?
Is This A Silly Problem?
My response after the jump...
According to a new report in Mother Jones, at least 194 children have been killed with guns in the one year since the Sandy Hook massacre. But that number, based on media accounts, appears to far underestimate the carnage. A new study of pediatric health records estimates that guns (mostly handguns) kill more than 500 children and teens each year, with as many as 7,500 more injured.
It's not like we can't do anything about this. We just don't.
MIAMI (AP) — Prosecutors say they will not file domestic violence charges against George Zimmerman after his girlfriend said in a sworn statement she did not want to pursue the case.
Call me crazy, but I suspect this isn't the last we'll hear from old George Zimmerman.
Canada's postal service will phase out door-to-door delivery over the next five years. Citing the rise of digital communications and a projected loss of CAD$1 billion by 2020, Canada Post today outlined a series of actions that it would take to streamline its organization and reduce losses. In particular, cutting out direct to-door delivery — which is currently only used to service one-third of Canadian households — will "provide significant savings," Canada Post says. Mail will still be delivered to community, grouped, lobby, and rural mailboxes, which make up how the remaining two-thirds of Canadian households receive their mail.
The cuts will put somewhere between six and eight thousand Canadian postal employees out of work. Man, this is depressing. You're supposed to be our sensible, stable older sister, Canada! Don't you foresee a time in which a national delivery network might be a valuable thing to have? Can't you do a better job at this being-a-country thing than us? If we don't have you to look up to, Canada, who will provide an example for us?
There are three larger structural changes he's trumpeting today: First, he's hiring two deputy mayors—one with an external, community focus and one with an internal, city government focus. Second, he's bringing the position of budget director back inside the mayor's office. And he's also creating a new department, called the "Office of Policy and Innovation," full of people serving as in-house policy consultants.
The new "executive leadership team":
Deputy Mayor, external: Hyeok Kim
Interim Deputy Mayor, internal: Andrea Riniker
Budget Director: Ben Noble
Director of the Office of Policy and Innovation: Robert Feldstein
Communications Director: Jeff Reading
Lead hires in the new Office of Policy and Innovation:
Deputy Director: Mike Fong
Transit and Transportation: Andrew Glass Hastings
Organizational Effectiveness: Steve Lee
Police Chief Search and Police Reform: Tina Podlodowski
Waterfront and Seawall: Jared Smith
The mayor also announced new department heads, including a replacement for Julie Nelson, whose firing we reported this morning. Three are permanent, two are interim:
Another reason that I was mad at the protester who was pretending to be a snotty, anti-poor tech guy: The world is full of snotty tech guys who are blatantly, unrepentantly anti-poor already. Valleywag's Sam Biddle introduced the world to AngelHack CEO Greg Gopman this morning. Gopman published a (public, but now deleted) Facebook post complaining about the poor people in downtown San Francisco:
Just got back to SF. I've traveled around the world and I gotta say there is nothing more grotesque than walking down market st in San Francisco. Why the heart of our city has to be overrun by crazy, homeless, drug dealers, dropouts, and trash I have no clue. Each time I pass it my love affair with SF dies a little...The difference is in other cosmopolitan cities, the lower part of society keep to themselves. They sell small trinkets, beg coyly, stay quiet, and generally stay out of your way. They realize it's a privilege to be in the civilized part of town and view themselves as guests. And that's okay....You can preach compassion, equality, and be the biggest lover in the world, but there is an area of town for degenerates and an area of town for the working class. There is nothing positive gained from having them so close to us. It's a burden and a liability having them so close to us. Believe me, if they added the smallest iota of value I'd consider thinking different, but the crazy toothless lady who kicks everyone that gets too close to her cardboard box hasn't made anyone's life better in a while.
Philip W. Eaton wrote an editorial for the Seattle Times in October that was very similar in spirit to this internet rant. The thing I don't understand is that the people who complain about having to see homeless people—and that is exactly what these internet rants are, they're people who are upset that they have to lay their eyes on poor people—are usually the same people who don't want to pay more in taxes. How are you supposed to "remove" these people from the streets if you're not willing to fund the programs that will help them? Do you want to wall off the poor into their own ghettos, or make it illegal for them to exist in downtown areas? Both those "solutions" would result in a very different America than the one we were born into. If we all agreed to put a significant portion of our taxes toward "solving" the homeless "problem," we could make a significant dent in homeless populations. But we as a society have decided that low taxes are our priority. This is a direct result of that decision.
A 3.5 billion-year-old freshwater lake on Mars, now dry, may have been an ecosystem where life could thrive, according to an analysis of data collected by NASA’s Curiosity rover.Mars has become for humans (or the human imagination) something like the plot we find in the 80s horror/noir movie Angel Heart. Every new discovery—it once had water, it once had lakes, it once had a rich atmosphere—has the aspect of a clue to a crime, a murder that was committed by the very person investigating the case. Is what's happening here (the anthropogenic extinction of animal after animal; climate change; the depletion of the ozone) what happened on Mars?
Though Mars is now cold, rocky and sterile, it was once warmer and wetter. The lake that may have fostered microbial life is now the crater where the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Curiosity landed in 2012, according to six papers presented at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco and published online in the journal Science.
When Sofie Knijff asks children in remote areas of Mali and Greenland to dress up as whatever they want to be when they grow up, the props are just a prompt to train their focus. The kids don't smile in these portraits.
Knijff calls her series Translations, referring to the doubleness between and within the pictures: child and adult, present and future, reality and fiction, portrait and landscape, individual and type.
Like Knijff, the Seattle photographer Eirik Johnson traveled to a faraway place—Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost city in the United States—to take double portraits. He went in the summer of 2010, creating images that sparkle with color, shot under the midnight sun. Then he went back, in winter 2012, to the same places, during the few hours of daylight, completely blanketed in snow, "like a positive erasure," he says.
Updated at 12:18 with confirmation.
Sources at city hall say that the much-lauded director of the city's Office for Civil Rights, Julie Nelson, is getting canned by the incoming mayor. Mayor-elect Ed Murray is throwing a big press conference right now to announce new staff, and we'll soon learn who her replacement is.
Yes, new mayors always fire and hire people. But Nelson in particular has worked on many of the big social justice wins at city hall in the last few years—she and her office worked to ban discrimination against job seekers with criminal records; she's the co-chair of the city's task force on gender pay equity, convened after the city discovered in July that, on average, it was paying women less than men.
When I talked to her this summer regarding that pay gap, she said she'd worked for the city for 23 years. We've requested comment from Nelson and Murray, and we'll update this post when we hear more.
UPDATE AT 12:18 PM: Nelson confirms that Murray fired her in an e-mail to her staff. It's posted after the jump. Her replacement will be Patricia Lally, who is currently a civil rights lawyer in the US attorney’s office in Seattle and is a past president of the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington.
UPDATE AT 1:47 PM: Jeff Reading, Murray's brand-new communications director, offers the following:
Mayor-elect Murray definitely appreciates her public service and the change is no reflection on her fine work. The issue of civil rights has been central to the Mayor-elect’s career as an elected official and will continue to be central to him as Mayor, and he’s very excited to work with Patty Lally—who is another very respected voice on civil rights issues—in that regard.
Adrain Chesser is not just a photographer, he's an envisioner. What he makes, he wants to make happen. And the people he photographs want something to happen; they're in a moment of longing, desiring, rewriting the old stories.
Several years ago, when Chesser had to break the news to friends that he was HIV-positive, he took their portraits right then and there, as part of their process together, as a community. Despite the delicacy of the moments, nobody wanted to stop him. For a later series, he returned to his Pentecostal Floridian home turf, but to a campground that serves now as a queer safe space—the kind of space he needed growing up but never had.
He began to create small campgrounds of his own with friends. He'd get a crew together, of maybe 10 or 12 people, and go out into the wilderness. These small worlds—seen in photographs, some staged, some candid—are marked by rituals, but the rituals are not performances. They enact ways of living that diverge from the cruelty, competition, greed, waste, despair, and materialism the mainstream calls "normal" life.
This work is called The Return.
The subjects in The Return are predominately not Indigenous. Most carry European ancestry. And most come in one form or another from the disenfranchised margins of mainstream America. Most are poor, some are queer, some are trans-gendered, some are hermits and some are politically radical. All believe that major shifts are needed in the way modern society interacts with the natural world. And all are willing pioneers, stepping off into uncertain terrain searching for something lost generations ago. Perhaps poetically, those attempting to live these ideals could be viewed as a rainbow tribe. In their search they struggle to be released from old ways of being. Cars, soda pop, cell phones and cigarettes follow them. Convenience has a magnetic power. Addictions, cravings, and desires are hard to break. These pioneer's seek a new way in the world, while still learning to let go of the old. These are uncommon Heroes shedding layer by layer the learned domestication of the dominator culture.”
Those are the words of Timothy White Eagle, Chesser's collaborator. White Eagle lives in Seattle; Chesser has moved to Portland. I wrote about their extraordinary lives last year. (Steven Miller, another sometime collaborator, recently showed at Vermillion.)
The Return is now becoming a book. On Kickstarter, where it has just one day left in its campaign, you can reserve a copy for $50. The book will be printed in spring. The project hit its original funding goal, but that accounted for only half the actual cost of printing, so Chesser's throwing in free signed prints to try to break even. Want to buy art this holiday season? These photographs get under my skin. I find myself having all kinds of reactions to this alternative world—excitement, jealousy, suspicion, curiosity. On top of that, they're flat gorgeous, of course. It's hard to ask for more than all that from a body of artwork. See what it does to you.
Look! It's another sci-fi movie starring Tom Cruise:
I don't wish Tom Cruise would retire. I just wish Tom Cruise would do something different, is all. This INTENSE LEADING MAN schtick is beyond tired. We're now in the third decade of Tom Cruise willing himself into an action hero mode, and everything about his acting style has become so aggressive that it's off-putting. Sometimes a director can use Cruise to his best ability—Brad Bird's Mission: Impossible movie was incredibly entertaining because it didn't force Cruise to even try anything outside his comfort zone—but for the most part, his movies are highly generic. He's got such an iron-fisted control over every aspect of the movie-making process at this point that Cruise overrides most directors and forces them to put his will up on the screen. Cruise movies are always about so-called perfect men, doing things perfectly. Who, outside of Ayn Rand, thinks that's an entertaining film? And how much more money does Tom Cruise need?
I'd love to see Cruise, at age 51, try something new. Something smaller. Something about a perfect man who finally failed. Something where he plays a small-town loser who thinks he's the greatest man alive. Something where he has to come to term with his flaws, in a small supporting role. Something where he doesn't have to pretend to care about wooing a love interest. Why does he have to keep doing the same thing over and over? How does he get himself out of bed to make the same movie every morning? In that respect, this trailer for Edge of Tomorrow maybe represents Tom Cruise's life better than most roles: He's stuck in a time loop of his own devising, acting out blurry action scenes over and over again for some unknown purpose.
But at that point, I'd only read part one. All five together are pretty astounding. Add to that the videos, PDFs of reports on shelter conditions, and all the Internet discussions, and the story is generally sticking around like a nightmare that won't shake off. Which in this case I take to be a good thing.
If you only read one story before the end of 2013, please make it this one.
I especially love the way Elliott's approach—tight focus on Dasani herself—cuts off at the knees criticisms of Dasani's parents for having too many children, being on drugs, et cetera.
Because Dasani is the focus of the story. She exists. This is her life. This is what she's up against. This is who is coming of age.
The piece is also a stunning damnation not just of gentrification, but of the way the conditions on either side of the gentrification process have become so extreme: artisanal absolutely everything versus dead babies and sexual assault and rats. It's not just Brooklyn; when Dasani's family moves shelters into Harlem, it's the same stark difference all over again.
At 9:26 p.m., Chanel and her children board the last van just before it pulls away. An hour later, the van approaches their new residence.
They are in Harlem.
Of the 152 shelters where Dasani’s family could have landed, they have somehow wound up at a six-story brick building on West 145th Street.
It feels different here. The block is awash in streetlights and teeming with pedestrians. There are fewer trees. But in other ways, Harlem is like Fort Greene. Nearby is a new bistro called Mountain Bird that offers a foie gras soup and a shrimp-bisque mac and cheese.
Remind anyone of anywhere around here?
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. GOLDY is apparently a grown man. He's been writing for well over a decade now, and the various personal anecdotes he cannot refrain from spilling throughout his writing would indicate that he's been on this earth for at least four, maybe five decades. Why, then, would a man who's so firmly entrenched in midlife write a news story with the headline "Fuck the State" that accuses state legislators of terrorism? In another "news" story in this very issue, Goldy complains about the price of fast food. Explain in a brief essay exactly what is wrong with Goldy. Examples of a useful diagnosis include: He's suffered an embolism that has impaired his judgment, he recently lived through a personal loss that inspired him to act irresponsibly as an attention-getting measure, or the name "Goldy" is simply a pseudonym that is passed from Stranger writer to Stranger writer, with the most recent owner of the sobriquet being a teenage boy.
2. Speaking of teenagers, DAVID SCHMADER wastes nearly a thousand words on Morrissey's new autobiography, ultimately concluding that perhaps Morrissey is not very bright. Rather than appearing in the music section, where this kind of puerile diatribe is the norm, it's instead published in the books section. If you can, identify any literary merit in Schmader's review. Use a microscope if necessary.
3. DOMINIC HOLDEN crows about the end of the Seattle City Council as we know it. Unfortunately, the city council is still going to be around in its current iteration for two more years, which means that Holden is essentially burning a bridge before he crosses it. Imagine if you were to hold an "intervention" of sorts for Mr. Holden. Which of his self-destructive behaviors would you bring up first?
4. Did you read CHARLES MUDEDE's article about Black Weirdos? Why?
5. In the theater section, CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE gleefully rips apart 5th Avenue Theatre's staging of Oliver! This "review" is as pretentious as it is wrongheaded, failing to appreciate the play's deft use of child actors and its willingness to choose crowd-pleasing over the too-theatrical. Similarly, in the chow section, BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT denounces a sandwich-and-teriyaki shop on the grounds that it is merely good enough for the neighborhood in which it exists. Shouldn't The Stranger utilize a positive worldview and encourage the city's arts and business communities instead of constantly running them down? (Submit your answer to this question as a comment on any article on The Stranger's website.)
We interrupt Slog silence to bring you this MASSIVELY EXCITING update/opportunity!
As you know by now, Seattle’s very best hometown heroes—that’s Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pearl Jam, and The Stranger’s elf-powered blog, Slog—have joined forces this holiday season to raise money for YouthCare’s Orion Center. The question is: Whose fans will do the most to help homeless youth right here in Seattle? And look! IT’S WORKING!
TOTAL $$$ RAISED SO FAR FOR THE ORION CENTER: $62,082.41
• Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fans have donated: $29,838.14
• Pearl Jam fans: $23,048.27
• Slog fans: $ 8,321.00
And Seattlish fans are still donating: $875.00 so far!
THIS IS JUST AWESOME. M&RL are back in the lead, and in the middle of a three-night stand at KeyArena... hometown power! Suddenly, I feel like a Dick's cheeseburger.
Anyway! If you donate right away, you could win a pair of three-day passes to the 2014 Capitol Hill Block Party PLUS two nights at the Hotel Monaco! Are you getting this?! That’s you and your bestie seeing every damn band that plays, then resting your sunburned heads on the cushy pillows of a top-rated Seattle hotel. Just donate by noon on Friday, December 13 (any amount counts!), then forward your receipt and tell us in 100 words or less why you want to party at the Block Party and what you're going to do in your hotel room after. The best reason wins! The winner will be announced Friday afternoon on Slog! Donate to the Orion Center right now!
Seattlish fans can go here to give and make a note that it's pro-Seattlish/anti-Dan-Savage! The fans that raise the most for the Orion Center by December 24th WIN the title of the Best Fans of the Best Band or Best Blog in the Universe Forever!
And give at least $25 to the Orion Center, then forward us your receipt and your commenter handle, and we'll give you a commenter tag on Slog that says SLOG FAN, MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS FAN, or PEARL JAM FAN! Your choice!
Four illustrators envision what Washington, D.C. would look like if its height restriction is removed—Congress is in the midst of debating the issue. The Washington Monument and the White House disappear, essentially. But more folks can afford to live there?
Hmm. How's that density working in keeping other American cities affordable these days?
H/t to the great Kriston Capps of Architect magazine.
The Whole World Is Making Unofficial Sign Language at Him Now: Reuters reports on the scandal of the day: "A fake sign language interpreter took to the stage during a mass memorial for anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, gesticulating gibberish before a global audience of millions and outraging deaf people across the world." Here he goes—with an inset of an actual interpreter to compare and contrast!
Make a movie about this guy!!
"yup, i can sign language"
*gives you the finger, elephant nose, jerkoff motion*
"great you are hired!"
— Dana Bell (@danacbell) December 11, 2013
Fox News: Breathless and scandalized by president Obama taking a selfie at Mandela's service.
Can Republicans Swallow? That's what folks are wondering about the GOP-controlled House accepting a bipartisan $85 billion budget. While it undoes $63 billion in sequester cuts, it also reduces the deficit by $23 billion without tax increases. But now that he's made a deal with Senator Patty Murray, GOP Representative Paul Ryan is struggling to sell the budget to his Tea Party caucus. The House will reportedly vote tomorrow.
Time Person of the Year: It's Pope Francis. That's a superficial choice, though; Francis hasn't reformed any of the hateful Catholic doctrines that poison international affairs, just talked about wholesome stuff. Shoulda been Edward Snowden, who's taken risks to actually make the world a better place.
Any Chief Is Good as Long as It's Nobody We Know: That's the argument for hiring a new chief from outside the Seattle Police Department, regardless of interim chief Jim Pugel's performance.
Obamacare Enrollment: More than doubled in November, compared to the previous month, but with only 365,000 folks total, it's still far behind the 800,000 target.
Tunnel Obstruction: An old locomotive? A metal beam? A gigantic unstable boulder? They still donut what to do.
Forget smartwatches—smartrings are the new thing now. An Indiegogo campaign for a product called the "Smarty Ring" has hit its funding goal. Smarty Ring is a 13mm-wide stainless steel ring with an LED screen, Bluetooth 4.0, and an accompanying smartphone app. The ring pairs with a smartphone and acts as a remote control and notification receiver.
The ring supposedly has a 24-hour battery life. Here's video:
Now join me in a thought experiment:
At its core, the rule bans banks from trading for their own gain. The practice, known as proprietary trading, is one of Wall Street’s most lucrative — and riskiest — activities.
Supporters of the Volcker Rule, the brainchild of Paul A. Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman and adviser to President Obama, said it would help prevent the buildup of the kinds of risky positions that nearly sank Wall Street in 2008. And they argued that, to help prevent future bailouts of Wall Street, large banks that enjoy forms of taxpayer backing should not use customers’ money to make bets on the direction of stocks and bonds.
In other words: The rule tries to prevent large banks from gambling with your deposits in ways that end up crashing the economy—leading to huge bank bailouts using your tax dollars. Makes sense. But there are loopholes.