Twenty-one-year-old Zach (Dane DeHaan, Place Beyond the Pines) is still feeling the sting of his breakup with Beth (Aubrey Plaza, Parks and Recreation, Safety Not Guaranteed) when she suffers a snake bite and dies. There are so many things they never did, so many things he never said. So, he mopes around in her woolly scarf and hangs out with her chill parents, Geenie (Molly Shannon) and Maury (John C. Reilly). The only thing that could snap him out of this funk is Beth, and then she reappears! She looks and acts the same—at first—so Maury discourages any talk of death, and the romance picks up where it left off before the split, which Beth doesn't remember (she doesn't remember much). As the days pass, though, she starts to become rude, angry, and sexually insatiable. The only thing that can calm her down: smooth jazz.
This morning Henry Rollins, the former Black Flag singer turned LA Weekly columnist, wrote a piece called “Fuck Suicide.” Judging by the title I expected him to tear into depression, or, better yet, yell about our nation’s troubling lack of mental health care, but Rollins didn’t do that. Instead, he set his sights not on suicide, but the victims of suicide, going so far as to say he has "distain" [sic] for those who choose to take their own lives, and he did so while supporting the harmful stigma that depression and suicide are the results of "mistakes you make."
...I simply cannot understand how any parent could kill themselves.
How in the hell could you possibly do that to your children? I don’t care how well adjusted your kid might be — choosing to kill yourself, rather than to be there for that child, is every shade of awful, traumatic and confusing. I think as soon as you have children, you waive your right to take your own life. No matter what mistakes you make in life, it should be your utmost goal not to traumatize your kids. So, you don’t kill yourself.
Let me give you a little help, fucker. First of all, not everyone who kills themselves does so in order to escape a mistake that they've made in their life. And parents who kill themselves as a means to finally escape crippling depression could very well be thinking of their kids when they do it—their conclusion may actually be that their kids are better off without them. Depression is an asshole. It will turn your brain inside out. It will break you and make you feel completely worthless, helpless, and, in the worst cases, better off dead.
I have lived with depression for most of my life. I’m not shy about it, and I have written about my experiences multiple times. I get that whenever there is a high-profile case regarding depression, suicide, or mental health, a lot of people who don't know what they're talking about when it comes to depression suddenly feel the urge to weigh in on the topic, but doing so is actually quite harmful. For several years I neglected to deal with my own suffering because I was convinced that it was something that I was doing wrong. I was being weak, I was being dramatic, it was all. my. fault. I know better now, but while Rollins's words are obviously complete bullshit to me, they could be enough to give someone dealing with depression permission to keep blaming themselves instead of reaching out and getting professional help.
But wait, the piece gets better! No, I mean worse. It gets much worse. Rollins, who says "I am not a doctor," also offers up some keen medical advice:
I KNOW! We are the luckiest freaks in the whole wide weeping world! Or at least I am—it's like this week was totally made for me. Like the universe is catering to my every weird little whim! Practically all of my very favorite junk that ever happens in town is happening this week—well, except for the appearance by RuPaul's Drag Race cutie-patootie-pants Adore Delano, which was supposed to be on Friday, because she had to cancel and rush off to deal with some pretty serious stuff, so we can't even be fucking mad at her about it. That's one big honkin' bummer. (She's rescheduled for, ugh, late January... WE COULD ALL BE DEAD BY THEN!) But everything else? GOLDEN. Appropriately, the magic begins tonight with enormous hair and acid-washed everything. It's Central Cinema's Men of the '80s Sing-Along! Now, you all know I loves me some Central Cinema sing-alongs (the whimsy! The madness! The boozes! The rubbing up against sexy strangers when everyone jumps up and dances drunkenly in the aisles!), and this one is all about the hunks of that long-ago time when crimpers ruled the earth and Prince wasn't half so annoying. George Michael (before he turned into some sort of human mealworm)! Billy Idol (who is exactly the same)! Adam Ant (please don't ask)! It's going to get messy, missy. Wonderfully, deliciously messy. Central Cinema, 8 pm, $10, all ages.
BILLIONAIRE ELITIST HYPOCRITE MICHAEL BLOOMBERG IS COMING FOR YER SNACKS, SODAS, AND GUNS! That's the message of a new ad the National Rifle Association will be running in bunch of battleground states. Except, it's not true. But it is funny:
No, Bloomberg does not want to ban guns. Everytown for Gun Safety, the group he's backing with tons of cash, does want to expand background checks, including right here in Washington State. As Dominic reported in June, the group has raised millions from local zillionaires and is going head-to-head at the ballot this fall with an opposite measure that would ban background checks.
Today, the group released a report based on data obtained from the FBI through the Freedom of Information Act that it says shows the following: Federal background checks, which have been in place since 1998, have prevented 40,976 gun sales to people in Washington who were legally prohibited from buying them. That includes 24,028 sales to felons and 6,227 sales to people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors or under domestic violence protection orders. Here's the breakdown:
Everytown says the background checks blocked more gun sales in 2013 than in any previous year. But the same people can still easily purchase guns in private sales or at gun shows, without background checks. That's what I-594 is designed to stop.
A note of caution here: Everytown has been accused of throwing out misleading statistics on school shootings before. Those accusations are credible, in my view, though Kate Downen, a staffer for the group, says they categorically disagree with Politifact's analysis. The data on Washington background checks looks solid to me.
High School Production of Spamalot Canceled Over Gay Content: Howard Sherman clues us into a controversy in Pennsylvania:
It was first reported by the local television station WNEP on July 1 that the [South Williamsport’s Junior Senior High School] principal had canceled plans for a production of the musical Spamalot, slated for the 2014-15 school year. The reason cited, according to drama director Dawn Burch, was the musical’s gay content, which includes a same sex wedding.
The school then denied that the Spamalot cancelation had anything to do with the play's gay content. But Sherman explains that internal documents obtained under Pennsylvania’s Right To Know Law suggest otherwise, including an e-mail that says, outright, "I am not comfortable with Spamalot and its homosexual themes." The school district has yet to respond. (Thanks to Slog tipper DQ for alerting us to this story.)
Ten Bucks Will Get You an Armload of Books: This Saturday, August 23rd, former Capitol Hill brick-and-mortar bookseller Pistil Books, which still exists as an online storefront, will be having an outdoor book sale from 10am to 4 pm. The sale will be located in an alley at 1415 E Union, and there will be around a thousand books selling for one or two dollars.
Ferguson and the Arts: First, you should read this interview about how St. Louis bookstore Left Bank Books (no relation to Seattle's wonderful Left Bank Books) has tried to serve the community of Ferguson. Then you should read this story about art and Ferguson.
Seattle Is On Team Edward: Tickets to the December 4th Edward O. Wilson reading at Town Hall went on sale this morning. They're almost sold out. If you want to see Wilson speak, you had better act now.
Tonight's Must-Read: "Why the MPAA thinks all gay people should be rated 'R'."
Here's another example of why Shogo Ota is one of the best poster designers in town. The five artists in Tag 2.0 must make their stylistically dissimilar sets segue from one to the next, so Shogo has drawn them with one continuous line. See more at tiremanstudio.com.
Ten years ago the Intelligence released their debut album, Boredom and Terror, and instantly asserted themselves as one of Seattle’s best bands. (The group won the Stranger music Genius award in 2011.) Now you have the chance to get a new vinyl copy of B&T through the good graces of In the Red Records, which is reissuing it next week in remastered, gatefold 2XLP form. It includes Let's Toil, a bonus CD that came with the long-out-of-print Narnack Records reissue.
Boredom and Terror hooks you right out of the gate with concise, catchy, caustic garage rock songs that radiate the trenchant, suave dourness of the Fall and Swell Maps. The Intelligence’s garage rock bypasses Nuggets bands’ teenage lust and frustration for a more sardonic, self-deprecating worldview, courtesy of leader and sole constant member Lars Finberg. In a much better world, these weirdly hummable tunes would be sung by millions as they traveled to their dead-end jobs.
The Stranger asked Finberg how he feels about Boredom and Terror, a decade after its creation.
"I haven't seen the physical copy yet, but I am excited to. Erin Sullivan from the A Frames dug up his original art and that was re-photographed with additional pieces that didn't make it into the CD and his wife/Dragnet Records historian Laura Sullivan Cassidy made a photo collage of the band from that era for the color gatefold (members of A Frames, Popular Shapes, Dutchess and the Duke, Dreamsalon, etc.), and it's finally been put together as a double LP as it was originally intended, but I was talked out of. (For good reason, they work better as shorter individual albums.)
As many have noted, the city of St. Louis has long been plagued by racism. The police killing of Michael Brown and the subsequent protests, however, took place in Ferguson, a once affluent suburb of 21,000. The town, and the situation it’s currently embroiled in, is emblematic of the shifting demographics of American suburbs, and it should be seen as a cautionary tale.
According to a report from the Brookings Institute, the number of our nation's suburban neighborhoods in which 20 percent of residents live below the federal poverty level ($23,492 for a family of four in 2012) "more than doubled between 2000 and 2008-2012." Unsurprisingly, there are often also racial and class components. "Like Ferguson, many of these changing suburban communities are home to out-of-step power structures, where the leadership class, including the police force, does not reflect the rapid demographic changes that have reshaped these places," the report says.
Since the 1980s, many once-strong black communities in the areas surrounding St. Louis were systematically debased and in some cases residents were forced out. Kinloch, once a "vibrant, self-sustaining, middle-class community of thousands in north St. Louis County" was essentially razed in the 1980s under the auspices of an airport runway extension. The extension never happened, but the residents of Kinloch had largely been displaced to municipalities where "historic laws had long forbidden black citizens from owning land." Many were displaced to Ferguson.
The Seattle International Beerfest is upon us once again, with Fisher Pavilion becoming a celebration of, in the organizers' words, "rare, hard-to-find, exotic beers"—hundreds of them—from Friday, August 22, through Sunday, August 24. Though hot weather isn't necessarily the best for drinking imperial stouts, big IPAs, barleywines, and strong ales, the heavy beers are in abundance and come recommended (and Beerfest at least offers them in mercifully small four-ounce pours).
This year, a handful of American brewers are bringing the most interesting selections to the table: Louisville, Kentucky's Against the Grain, whose bottles aren't frequently seen up here, is supplying 70K, a behemoth 13.1 percent imperial milk stout
After attending one of Central Cinema's monthly 1980s music-video sing-alongs, I was so inspired by the swooshing spectacle of fashion wonderments, I combed the internet's vast collection of vintage music-video gems and captured the most appetizing looks, culling interview guidance from superstar Jason Miller (of JamWasMovin' Productions, who hosts, curates, and generally keeps the sing-alongs fun as all heck). Please enjoy these top 10 hit fashion moments, from Madonna's rhinestones to Paul Stanley's brittle perm, and remember: More is more.
Scandal's "The Warrior" occurs in a futuristic sci-fi dystopia outfitted with dry ice, industrialness, and flesh-colored leotards. In her fiercest style moment, frontwoman Patty Smyth wears kimono sleeves inlaid with red and yellow sashes, which recall bike handlebar streamers, which recall the potent joy of freedom. Also, she has eye shadow on her chin and her hair is upside down.
Worth noting: The weirdly intense lyric "Your eyes touch me physically."
My boyfriend had surgery for phimosis a year ago and while it solved the pain problem he now has total loss of penile sensation and a neurological/physiological disconnect. Another botched circumcision. He can still get erections in response to stimuli and he can ejaculate because there isn't anything wrong with his balls or prostate, but he has completely lost all feeling in his actual cock. (He's not diabetic, doesn't have blood pressure issues, is in shape, and doesn't have erectile dysfunction.) The urologist said either the feeling will come back or it won't, but at this point it probably won't. (Note that it does no good to say, "Why did you let your urologist perform a circumcision when there were a number of alternatives to try first?") While online research mostly just yields results along the line of "YOU NEED MORE SURGERY!" or "BUY VIAGRA ONLINE!", the actual research we've found suggests that if feeling hasn't returned after a year it most likely isn't coming back.
I brought all this up with my doctor and her response was, "Oh, God. That's horrible!" I agree but that isn't helpful. So do you have any suggestions? The only plus from all of this is that he no longer has any pain from the phimosis.
Nasty Urologist Maims Business
"I've had a few of these," said actor Paul Eenhoorn, shaking his wine glass and grinning as he joined David Schmader on the stage at the Frye for last night's Genius Awards film showcase. "So..."
But Eenhoorn was merry—his Australian accent only made him sound merrier—and remarkably candid with only the occasional ramble. He answered a question about what kind of roles he's performed in the past with a story about how he once started smoking again while on an acting job in Perth. He and Schmader discussed his recent work, including This Is Martin Bonner and Land Ho!, and his mastery of minimalism.
"It's all internal," Eenhoorn said. He favors screen acting to stage acting because the camera can get close to your face and show an actor's internal work in a way that a theater audience never can. As for his technique for internal work? "I try to get into the worst possible things I can get into," he said, "just to keep my center alive."
Among those things: gambling. Eenhoorn had been struggling with gambling when he was cast as the sad-sack, no-luck guy working with soon-to-be-released prisoners in Martin Bonner. "So I had this gambling addiction and they flew me to Reno," he said. "It made the film better because I was depressed I'd never come back from Reno—that I was done."
But he did make it back, alive and (at least last night) with an impish gleam in his eye.
On Monday, Congressman Dave Reichert (R, 8th District) took the Ice Bucket Challenge, the summer's hottest amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-related internet trend.
For both of you who've avoided reading about this trend yet, I think it goes like this: Someone challenges you to dump a bucket of ice on your head and videotape it. Then you do it and you don't have to donate money to the ALS Association to help find a cure for the neurodegeneritive disease commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. But if you don't do it, then you do have to donate to charity? Or maybe you dump the bucket and donate to charity? Whatever the fuck, it appears to be working. This morning, the ALS Association announced that it has received $41.8 million in donations since July 29. As The New York Times reports:
More than 739,000 new donors have given money to the association. That’s more than double the $19.4 million in total contributions the association received during the year that ended Jan. 31, 2013, according to a filing with the Internal Revenue Service.
So, like I said, Congressman Reichert took the challenge earlier this week:
(If you watched the video to the very end, you'll know that Reichert finished with a challenge to Seattle's 12th Man, which means Reichert either hates charity or doesn't know that the 12th Man is fictional.)
Recently, Reichert's congressional democratic challenger Jason Ritchie released a statement about Reichert's feel-good public drenching:
While I commend Rep. Reichert for joining in this cause, and for getting his hair drenched in the process, it is important for the voters to recognize that Rep. Reichert voted to cut BILLIONS of dollars from research funding to the National Institute of Health, the largest source of ALS funding in the world.
Rep. Reichert voted to pass HR 5652 - Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012. This resulted in $1.6 billion of cuts to the NIH and defunded valuable research programs that could have been used to find treatments or a cure to ALS.
I have called Reichert's office for comment because I think it is funny.
Hinkle's decision comes after four different Florida state judges struck down the gay marriage ban. The state's attorney general, under freakazoid question-dodger extraordinaire Governor Rick Scott, had appealed each of those rulings.
A federal judge on Thursday ruled Florida's gay-marriage ban unconstitutional and ordered the state to recognize marriages legally performed elsewhere. U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, however, immediately stayed his order until after the appeals process is completed.
“When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination,” Hinkle wrote. “Observers who are not now of age will wonder just how those views could have been held.”
Do you have any specific inspirations for the format of Triggering Town Review? An elementary school variety show? The Osmond Show?
Both of those, of course, as well as the Nature Theater of Oklahoma from the end of Kafa's Amerika. What I originally proposed to Tree Swenson, the executive director of Hugo House, was a weekly live show, a variety show in the sense that it showcases many talents in a loose frame. She wisely suggested that we do one show instead, which was an improvement on the idea. Perhaps if it goes well this weekend we'll put together future Triggering Town Reviews periodically. It's like putting together a book of poems, sorting through the imagination to find ideas and stories and feelings that counter and compliment each other, corralling the idle and restless mind towards a temporary understanding. But not as boring as that makes it sounds. I like the rigor of a performance, the give and take with an audience, the pacing, the physical human dimension of it. I hope the show captures the agility and delight of conversation with cast members like Sarah Galvin and Willie Fitzgerald, that it makes the impression on the audience that these smart and creative minds make in real life. So basically the Osmonds.
You've assembled an eclectic mix of talent for the lineup. How did you choose the performers? How did you ask the people you selected?
I asked some of the smartest and funniest people I knew in Seattle if they had the inclination or spare time to collaborate on some kind of performance, and enough said yes to put the show together. Having mostly finished a third book of poems, and being 40 and having a kid, I wanted to learn some other ways of writing and making art, what it was like to collaborate, to see up close how other people work with their imaginations. I asked some peers like Jane Wong and Eddie Kim and some good writers just out of college or grad school like Sasha LaPointe and Emily Stoner. Younger and older, struggling and comfortable, avant garde and conventional. Some are close friends, like Kary Wayson and Sam Watts, but others are just writers and performers I admired but didn't know, like the playwright Spike Friedman and the stand-up comedian Brett Hamil. Sam Watts and I started in January, very slowly, working up some general gestures and motifs and rules, and then we spent a few months of evenings getting together with different groups of writers at the Hairstream hair salon in Stumbletown and trying to crack each other up. I wrote it all down, and sifted it all into a script which we've been woodshedding for a few months. Sam asked some of his musician friends and we ended up with two of my favorite singer/songwriters in town, Kevin Murphy and Jon Pontrello, of The Moondoggies, doing individual sets in addition to Sam's outfit, Ghosts I've Met.
Rich Smith edited the physical program, which sounds like it's going to be an anthology of sorts including the new material for the show. Did the book and the show develop side-by-side? Did the one influence the other?
Last night's protestors had one pressing question of their own: Can parents, students, and citizens trust the district to adequately handle student complaints of sexual assault and sexual harassment?
"Over two fucking sodas," says a witness who caught the incident, which occurred on Tuesday, on camera. Twenty-three-year-old Kajieme Powell, who is alleged to have stolen a few drinks and pastries from a nearby store, reportedly had a history of mental illness. This video, released by the police, is not easy to watch:
This man needed help. He had a knife, but he also, clearly, had an illness. After watching the video, Vox's Amanda Taub said, "I keep thinking about the times when I have called 911 because I have encountered a mentally ill person in public who seems unsafe. I don't know how I would live with it if this had been the result." There has to have been a way that police could have protected Kajieme Powell rather than killed him.
This Bloomberg story by John Lauerman and Jennifer Surane about sexual assault and hook-up culture on college campuses contains the worst two paragraphs I've read all day:
Some men feel that too much responsibility for preventing sexual assault has been put on their shoulders, said Chris Herries, a senior at Stanford University. While everyone condemns sexual assault, there seems to be an assumption among female students that they shouldn’t have to protect themselves by avoiding drunkenness and other risky behaviors, he said.
“Do I deserve to have my bike stolen if I leave it unlocked on the quad?” Herries, 22, said. “We have to encourage people not to take on undue risk.”
Here's a tip: Comparing women to objects is never OK. And men should feel an immense amount of responsibility about sexual assault. Because men commit the vast majority of sexual assaults. Not 51 percent. Not 70 percent. The article says "about 99 percent of rapes are committed by men." Men* don't need excuses to rape, or to objectify women. Men will make up excuses to explain why they sexually assault women. If every woman on earth became a teetotaler overnight, if every woman in America wore burqas, if every woman stayed inside from dusk through dawn, men would still sexually assault women. Our culture is broken, and until men take responsibility for their actions, it will remain broken. Stop whining, grow up, and help solve the problem. Help make your brothers and friends and sons understand that this kind of behavior is not acceptable, and stop making excuses for rapists. Be a man.
* First person to write "not all men" in the comments gets a digital slap upside the motherfucking head.
Fifty-four-year-old Richard Dilbert has lived at Nickelsville since the camp's creation in 2008 and he's been involved in every one of Nickelsville's relocations since then. Are the Nickelodeons, as the tent camp's residents call themselves, excited about the move or tired of having to relocate yet again?
"Right now, just kind of weary," he says. "Nickelsville has been trying to work with the city to try to get some land for a more permanent site. I know they got it, and we know they got it, but they’re just not opening up that opportunity."
In June, the Committee to End Homelessness in King County recommended "increasing support and public education" for what it calls Interim Survival Mechanisms, "including encampments and car camping that create pathways to housing." Now, Nickelsville residents are hoping the committee will act on and implement those recommendations.
Last year, the Seattle City Council rejected legislation that would have legalized and regulated tent camps in a 5-4 vote.
Representatives of Nickelsville told me they recently met with Seattle Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim to talk about the impending move. They said she was supportive.
The new location's address is 1001 S. Dearborn St, across from the northbound onramp for I-5. Dilbert said it's on a slight incline, which, if you've ever gone camping, you know is far from ideal. According to the Low Income Housing Institute, which is facilitating the move, the site will hold 40 people. Coho Real Estate has offered the land for six months, with the possibility of an additional six-month extension.
The term "vagina," as we learned earlier this year, is transphobic because its use is potentially dysphoria-inducing in trans men. And there's no excuse for using the term "vagina" when "more neutral language" is available to us—terms like "internal genitalia" and "front hole." The Nation covered the controversy:
[Some] online feminists have even deemed the word “vagina” problematic. In January, the actress and activist Martha Plimpton tweeted about a benefit for Texas abortion funds called “A Night of a Thousand Vaginas,” sponsored by A Is For, a reproductive rights organization she’s involved with. Plimpton was surprised when some offended Internet feminists urged people to stay away, arguing that emphasizing “vaginas” hurts trans men who don’t want their reproductive organs coded as female. “Given the constant genital policing, you can’t expect trans folks to feel included by an event title focused on a policed, binary genital,” tweeted @DrJaneChi, an abortion and transgender health provider. (She mentioned “internal genitals” as an alternative.) When Plimpton insisted that she would continue to say “vagina,” her feed filled up with indignation. “So you’re really committed to doubling down on using a term that you’ve been told many times is exclusionary & harmful?” asked one self-described intersectional feminist blogger.
Which brings us to this from Eva Gantz at the Good Men Project:
“Gay Men Draw Vaginas,” a project that—you guessed it—has gay men draw vaginas, has taken the internet by storm. Co-creators Shannon O’Malley and Keith Wilson have curated a collection of incredibly diverse portrayals of the ways that gay men conceive of a vagina, ranging from the realistic to the abstract. The Advocate proclaimed it, “the feel-good book project of the year," and nearly every popular sex and culture website has presented the project as fun, illuminating, and amusing. But beneath the surface of light humor, the underlying message of the project is troubling.
What's troubling about "Gay Men Draw Vaginas"? First, there's "the implicit assumption that gay men will find vulvas/vaginas ludicrous or mystifying." But Gantz's primary objection to "Gay Men Draw Vaginas" is this:
(Crocodile) Dexterously verbose, Afro-centric boom-bap heads coming up in the ridiculously fertile L.A. rap scene of the mid-’90s, Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel have made some of the most fully realized records ever to emerge from the post-backpacker underground. Though they’ve released a scant three albums as Blackalicious since their official recorded debut 21 years ago, each one has maintained their rep as hiphop purists, prizing technical virtuosity and craftsmanship above scene-hopping and trend-setting. Their sound combines Native Tongues-influenced wordplay and an omnivorous, densely populated aural palette, with beats equal parts Paul’s Boutique, Gil Scott-Heron, and DJ Shadow. And Gift of Gab’s mic technique remains a powerful force, a barrage of alliteration and complexly inter-locking rhymes spit in a voice brilliantly straddling the line between cartoonish and vicious. They’ve got a new album slated for a fall release: prepare your minds. KYLE FLECK
See event info »
New York transplant Jaymz Nylon is one of the city’s most prominent house-music lifers. He’s been feeding the Seattle and internet faithful highly nutritious mixes via his Adult Selections series (up to 78 at press time) and lately he’s been bringing his passion for deep, soulful house into the club realm with the Passage night at Kremwerk. If you’re into house’s myriad subsets and offshoots, Nylon is one of the most knowledgeable DJs to guide you through its groove-heavy, buttery labyrinths. Bonus: His sweltering 1993 single as Ofunwa, “It All Begins Here,” still sounds vital. Guest DJ Erin O’Connor grabbed my attention with her über-funky house mix laid down at a recent Emerald City Brunch. Check it out at soundcloud.com/eoconnor. With Joey Webb and Vagabond Superstar. Kremwerk, 8 pm, $5, 21+. DAVE SEGAL
Read the rest of Data Breaker here »
There are two great pieces you should read today about women's health and equality. Both of them are from Think Progress because in my opinion, that outlet does the best job at consistently covering women-specific news issues on a national scale.
The first has to deal with my favorite party topic and/or first date ice breaker, abortion. It turns out that a majority of Americans can't correctly answer a set of five basic survey questions about abortion—like, whether or not it's legal in the U.S. during the first trimester or whether it causes a greater risk for cancer or mental illness. But here's the most surprising part, in my opinion:
The authors found that the people who live in blue states are no more likely to be well-informed about abortion than the people who live in red states.
... The researchers who conducted the study say their results point to serious shortcomings in our education policy. They conclude that “men and women making sexual and reproductive health decisions may not be well informed about the relative safety and consequences of their choices, highlighting a need for the provision of better, more comprehensive and evidence-based sexual and reproductive health education.” That conclusion is supported by previous research suggesting we need to start sex ed much earlier than high school.
Here's the full study conducted by the University of Cincinnati researchers, along with the percentage of respondents who answered each question correctly. I encourage you to go check it out.
In other lady news, yesterday Think Progress posted an interesting story about airports in several conservative states like Kentucky, Texas, and Ohio, that are blocking a women's rights group called Ultraviolet from buying ads that highlight how badly these states treat their female residents.:
[The ads are] “designed to elevate issues like paycheck fairness, minimum wage increases, and paid family leave and to expose the ongoing attacks on women’s health and economic security,” Karin Roland, campaign director at Ultra Violet, told ThinkProgress. “The goal is to shame and pressure candidates with industries that rely on tourism to make them champions for these causes.”
But despite this political goal, the group insists that the ads themselves are merely fact-based. “Women being discriminated against and the facts…aren’t issue advertising,” Roland said. “It’s just reality for women.”
That’s not how the airports view them. Spokespeople from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, Port Columbus International Airport in Ohio, and Louisville International Airport in Kentucky all confirmed that the airports had rejected the ads, offering very similar explanations: they were rejected for being political, violating guidelines.
The beauty of this campaign is that it's a win either way: Airports can place the ads, as one in Florida did, or they get bad press for blocking the ads (which are, by the way, absolutely lovely).
The Huffington Post is running a campaign through journalism crowdfunding site Beacon to raise $40,000 to pay a reporter in Ferguson. They're calling it the Ferguson Fellowship, and their first Fellow is a citizen reporter named Mariah Stewart. According to the Beacon page:
With your support, Mariah will learn the intricacies of public records requests. She’ll use those skills to investigate the funding sources and uses of military gear in St. Louis County, follow efforts to reform police procedures aimed at curbing abuse and monitor the ongoing activity of local police and their unfolding relationship with the local community. To enable this, we’re aiming to crowdfund at least $40,000 for 12 months of coverage plus benefits. After the first year, we’ll continue the fellowship if interest remains.
OK. But on May 7th, New York Times reporter Leslie Kaufman reported on Huffington Post owner AOL's bad first quarter. How bad was it? The first quarter was so bad that AOL didn't even make ten million dollars in profits! Kaufman writes, "AOL said that its profit dropped to $9.3 million, or 11 cents a share, from $25.9 million a year earlier." I mean, it's not a loss or anything, but that's fifteen million dollars in profit that AOL didn't make! Do you know how much that hurts? AOL's market cap is currently well over three billion dollars. BILLION.
The Huffington Post is exploiting a young aspiring journalist, and hiding their exploitation behind a feel-good, faux-charitable campaign. Forty thousand dollars is nothing to AOL. Last year, the CEO of AOL took a nearly fifty percent pay cut. After the cut, his salary was still six and a half million dollars. Arianna Huffington reportedly earned $21 million when she sold the Huffington Post to AOL. If having a reporter on the ground in Ferguson matters so much to them, surely they could scrape together the cash by themselves? For years, the Huffington Post has been under fire for blithely aggregating content from reporters who actually do work. Now they've asking you to foot the bill for journalism, and disguising their greed as charity. This is fucking disgusting.
Twenty-One Former Mars Hill Pastors File Formal Charges Against Mark Driscoll: In a letter sent last week to Mars Hill leadership, 21 former Mars Hill pastors allege a pattern of abusive and intimidating behavior by Pastor Mark Driscoll, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The charges include:
October 2011—Mark said in a meeting that he did not want a certain staff elder (who was not slim) to take on a certain prominent leadership role because “his fat ass is not the image we want for our church.”
May 8, 2012—In a meeting of the Full Council convened to vote on the slate of nominees for the new board of advisors and accountability, Mark was explaining to the elders that under the newly revised bylaws, the Full Council would have the right to review any changes by the board. One elder corrected Mark with his own understanding that the new bylaws, in fact, allow the board to make decisions without running it by the Full Council. Mark’s response to that elder was bullying, with some elders present recalling language to the effect of: “I don’t give a shit what you think. I’m trying to be nice to you guys by asking your opinion. In reality, we don’t need your vote to make this decision. This is what we’re doing.”
Summer 2012—Domineering and arrogant—In an all-MEDCOM [Media & Communications team] meeting discussing his displeasure over the way the team had been marketing R12, Mark said, “You think you’re the Resurgence. But, you’re not the brand. I’m the brand!”
Seattle Public Schools to Review Sexual Harassment Policies: The school district will review how it handles sexual harassment complaints, it was announced at yesterday’s school board meeting, according to the Seattle Times. The decision comes in light of an alleged sexual assault in 2012 that took place during a Garfield High School field trip, and complaints by the alleged victim’s family that the district failed to investigate promptly and that it mishandled the case. The family has filed a Title IX complaint with the US Department of Education, accusing the district of discriminating against their daughter.
Jason Cao, a transport policy scholar at the University of Minnesota, has conducted a short but tidy study that demonstrates just what good public transit can mean to a person's life. His findings, in a word: satisfaction. Cao focused his research on the Hiawatha light rail line in Minneapolis (lately called the Blue line instead).... Cao sent questionnaires to households in the Hiawatha corridor. Respondents rated the quality of transit in their area (namely, service quality and accessibility) as well as the quality of their lives (how satisfied they were). To form points of comparison, Cao sent the same survey to residents of four other corridors: two in urban areas with transit but no light rail, and two in suburbs with similar demographics but no transit. What he found spoke to the power of living along the rails. People in the Hiawatha corridor had higher ratings on questions related to the quality of their lives compared to people in the other four corridors. These were items like "In most ways my life is close to my ideal" and "The conditions of my life are excellent." In short, they were satisfied with their lives.
Living near fixed-rail transit doesn't just make you happier—it also helps maintain property values during recessions. So why do so many suburbanites hate light rail so much? Do they like being miserable? Do they like seeing their property values tank during recessions?
First, Uber announced they'd hired on President Obama's former campaign manager and then White House advisor, David Plouffe, as what they're calling a "senior vice president of policy and strategy." Plouffe and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick cleared up what that means in interviews with Politico:
Plouffe, 47, will be one of the top few executives at the booming transportation disruptor, in charge of global branding, communications and policy—as [CEO Travis] Kalanick put it, Uber’s “campaign manager.”
“City Councils are voting on Uber all the time, and we have state legislatures voting on us, on the regular,” Kalanick said. “And there are even some referendums.” [...]
Plouffe, who has been advising major technology and communications companies since leaving the West Wing after Obama’s reelection, said in an interview that the new job is analogous to his role as Obama’s 2008 campaign manager and then White House senior adviser.
“We’ll be trying to change the point of view of established politicians, and there’s a lot of resistance coming from people who want to protect the status quo,” Plouffe said, adding that he’ll be working with a lot of young people and “helping see the light about progress and change.”
Also this week came news that Uber has launched an experimental service, just in Washington, DC, called "Corner Store." What's Corner Store? Uber explains in a blog post:
No need to race to the store after a long day at the office—now you can request allergy medicine, diapers, toothpaste and over 100 other items through the Uber app. This limited-time-only experiment will run for a few weeks—but the more you love it, the more likely it will last.
It's been pointed out that by potentially adding grocery and drugstore delivery, they're basically taking on Amazon and Google.
Not only that, they also got added as a transportation option in United Airlines' mobile app, getting themselves an in at airports (long the sole domain of taxis and limos), alongside a host of integration deals with other apps—designed, as Ryan Lawler at Tech Crunch puts it, to be "able to offer a seamless end-to-end experience for diners, or travelers, or even just people who are going on a date with someone new."
At this point, I'm getting kind of freaked out by seamlessness. I have a nagging suspicion that seams might be really important. That we're going to miss all the seams. But hey, it's The Future. Smooth and seamless as expensive no-panty-line underwear, and with delivery Q-tips and ice cream bars to boot. Guess it's not all bad?
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