Why Does Becoming a Mom Mean Potentially Losing Your Job?

I can either stay home with my child or maintain my current career trajectory—and Im one of the lucky ones because I get to actually make a choice.
I can either stay home with my child or maintain my current career trajectory—and I'm one of the lucky ones because I get to actually make a choice. GEORGE PFROMM

My best friend from graduate school and I will both become first-time mothers this year. As a citizen of Ireland, my friend will be able to stay home with her baby for almost a year and then return to her present career path. As an American state employee, I can either stay home with my child or maintain my current career trajectory—and I'm one of the lucky ones because I get to actually make a choice. Irish law includes a "maternity benefit" that pays 80 percent of wages to new mothers during the first 26 weeks after birth, and can begin two weeks before birth if needed. An additional 16 weeks of unpaid leave is optional. In the United States, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act requires that employers grant only 12 weeks of leave to new mothers, and payment of wages during this time is decided state by state…

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Seattle Music Community Stunned by Untimely Death of Darius Minwalla

Darius Minwalla, 1976-2015
Darius Minwalla, 1976-2015. Julian Ochoa

The Seattle music community was shaken yesterday when news began to spread, first by phone calls and text messages, and then across social media, that Darius Minwalla died Wednesday at the age of 39.

The loss was as unexpected as it was untimely, and has left a resounding sense of grief and shock among the many people who knew and loved him. Though Darius had not lived in Seattle for several years, having relocated to Vancouver B.C. in 2008, he remained very much a fixture in the immediate and extended family of Seattle music from his time playing drums in bands (most notably the Posies, but many more besides), working at local clubs and bars, and generally being a warm, hilarious, enthusiastic, magnetic, and beautiful guy.

The cause of Minwalla’s death is still unknown (the results of an autopsy are pending), but we will report the facts as soon as they’re available. From the Facebook page of Darius's bandmate and friend Ken Stringfellow:

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SIFFFilm

Zia Mohajerjasbi's Yesler Terrace Film Screens at SIFF Tomorrow

A still from the twilight of social housing.
A still from the twilight of social housing. Zia Mohajerjasbi

Zia Mohajerjasbi, the winner of the 2009 Genius Award for film and the director of a number of Macklemore's music videos, will present his first major work, Hagereseb, tomorrow as part of SIFF's program "Faces of Yesler Terrace."

Lyrical and filled with the solemn winter light of the Northwest, the film is set in the '90s and concerns the small world and troubles of an Eritrean American boy. He wants to make music, he needs batteries for a synthesizer, he has cultural and generational conflicts with his traditional family, and also his neighborhood is a little rough. This small world within a world that was born from the noblest ideas of the New Deal era is mostly gone. We are now living in a city that has become too expensive for many in the community portrayed in this longish short film.

See other films you should not miss in our guide to SIFF 2015.


The Morning News: Hundreds Protest Olympia Shooting, Shell Loses Oil Train Appeal, Council Incumbents Lose Endorsements

Hundreds of people, many of them Evergreen State College students, marched in Olympia last night.
Hundreds of people, many of them Evergreen State College students, marched in Olympia last night. CHARLES MUDEDE

A White Officer Shot Two Unarmed Black Men Accused of Stealing Beer in Olympia: "Police Chief Ronnie Roberts said the two wounded men weren’t armed with guns or any other weapons at the time of the shooting," the Olympian reports, "but one was accused of attacking the officer with a skateboard before he was shot." The two men are in the hospital.

Hundreds of People Protested the Shooting Last Night, and the Cops Kept a Low Profile: Charles Mudede reports from Olympia: "The general opinion of those speaking out at the park, and later the police station, where the protesters marched to at around 8 p.m., was that the shooting had everything to do with race. Many of the people I talked to were just appalled that so much force was used on such a petty crime; many, both black and white, felt it was the same old, same old."

“What Happened to Those Kids Has to Stop": Those are the words of Olympia attorney Kevin Johnson, who continued: "There was a time in this country when two packs of beer wouldn’t get you shot."

Some Confrontation Did Break Out After Midnight: That's according to KIRO, which reports that after a peaceful protest, police later responded to two groups of protesters fighting and then protesters clashed with police.

Meanwhile, in Seattle: Ansel reports that Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole is rejecting a suggestion from the city's Community Police Commission that the Department of Justice mediate a series of forums on how the Seattle Police Department has treated Black-Lives-Matter protesters.

Shell Oil Loses Its Appeal of an Oil Train Project in Skagit County: Shell was appealing a requirement to conduct an environmental-impact statement for its proposed oil-by-rail expansion. The expansion would route six more mile-long oil trains per week through Washington, according to the Washington Environmental Council.

Atlanta got a mostly federally funded rapid-transit system King County voters rejected 45 years ago.
Atlanta got a mostly federally funded rapid-transit system King County voters rejected 45 years ago. Rob Marmion/Shutterstock

"The Most Boneheaded Moment in Seattle History": That's how the Seattle Times' Jon Talton describes King County voters' decision 45 years ago to reject a heavy-rail rapid-transit system that would have been 75 percent funded by the feds. When Seattle didn't take it, Atlanta did. Talton points out that it hasn't prevented Seattle from growing or Atlanta from "choking itself with sprawl," but, damn, it would have been cool.

A WSU Researcher Says Washington's Drought Could Get Worse: The Associated Press reports: "El Nino, an ocean-warming phenomenon, may bring some relief in drought-stricken California, but it's more likely to bring more heat and dryness to the Northwest, researcher Gerrit Hoogenboom said."

This Delivery Driver Says the Minimum Wage Increase Gave Him "Breathing Room": It also helped him get a new job with better tips, writes the worker, Freeman Ryan, in the Guardian. (One quibble: Ryan writes that the "restaurant industry was unable to reĀ­introduce a tip credit into the $15 ordinance, [so] tipped jobs are also rising to $15 an hour." To be clear, Seattle's law allows a tip credit now, but it will be phased out.)

Enjoy your jobs while they last, incumbents.
Enjoy your jobs while they last, incumbents. City of Seattle

In a Flurry of Endorsements This Week, Things Did Not Look Good for City Council Incumbents: The week started with two legislative district Democratic groups endorsing parks activist Michael Maddux and neighborhood council leader Tony Provine over incumbent Jean Godden, and tenant advocate Jon Grant and Long Winters frontman John Roderick over incumbent Tim Burgess. That continued over the rest of the week, as Godden and Burgess failed to pick up any legislative district endorsements. Bruce Harrell, too, failed to get the 60 percent of the votes needed over his main opponent, Tammy Morales, from the 37th Legislative District Democrats covering southeast Seattle, resulting in no endorsement.

The Sierra Club Also Likes Challengers: That group endorsed Burgess in 2011, but went for Roderick this year. They also endorsed Morales over Harrell and Transportation Choices director Rob Johnson over Godden. In two races without incumbents, they endorsed Planned Parenthood organizer Halei Watkins in northern Seattle's District 5 and civil rights attorney Lorena González in a citywide race. They'll endorse in West Seattle's District 1 next week.

Things Were Slightly Better for Sally Bagshaw: Her competitors have only recently emerged, and she got the 43rd's endorsement, but just barely. The 37th favored "no endorsement" over her, but she also picked up the Sierra Club's endorsement.

The Exceptions Were Mike O'Brien and Kshama Sawant: Sawant can't be endorsed by these Democratic groups since she's not a Democrat (she's a socialist). But the two legislative districts that overlap with the council district where she's running—Capitol Hill and the Central District—couldn't muster 60 percent support for one of Sawant's Democratic challengers, instead favoring "no endorsement" or putting off the decision until the general election. It's significant that a Democratic group would skip an endorsement because of substantial support for a non-Democrat, and that's seen as a win for Sawant even if she can't be endorsed by name. O'Brien also picked up endorsements in the legislative districts that overlap with the council district he's running in, covering Ballard and Fremont. (Sawant and O'Brien were both endorsed by the Sierra Club earlier this month.)

The Opposite Is True for the Chamber, Though: The Chamber of Commerce's political arm endorsed Harrell, Burgess, and Bagshaw this week. Godden couldn't convince them either, though, and they favored Johnson. The group didn't endorse in O'Brien's race and favored Sawant challenger Urban League president Pamela Banks. In West Seattle, they endorsed King County Council legislative aide Shannon Braddock; in the citywide race without an incumbent, they picked González, and they didn't endorse in north Seattle.

P.S. Did Anyone See This Joel Connelly Tweet? Oh, Jean.


Jesus Fucking Christ, Look at This Baby Porcupine: Right here. It is so cute. It's called a "porcupette."


CityNews

Anti-Eviction Activist (and City Council Candidate) Josh Farris Is Being Evicted

Josh Farris is a city council candidate and housing activist who was part of a group that blocked the eviction of a disabled veteran last year.
Josh Farris is a city council candidate and housing activist who was part of a group that blocked the eviction of a disabled veteran last year. Courtesy of Josh Farris

This is terrible personal news that may also be the best thing that’s happened to Josh Farris’ campaign so far—and he seems to know it.

Farris, who is challenging city council member Bruce Harrell in southeast Seattle's District 2, is getting evicted from his North Beacon Hill one-bedroom apartment at the end of the month. This afternoon, he'll turn that bad news into a press conference and protest to draw attention to his campaign platform.

"Arguably Seattle's most active anti-eviction organizer runs for City Council in poorest district against rich landlord during housing crisis," Farris writes in a text message action alert and a post on his Facebook event page (he's talking about Harrell, by the way, with the "rich landlord" reference.) "And now faces greed and political based eviction in 10 days. Calls for tenant rights, rent control, and affordable housing now."

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Blabbermouth: Our Week-in-Review Podcast Has Feelings About the "Wreck of the Kulluk," Hillary Clinton, and More!

Blabbermouth: Episode six of our Stranger week-in-review podcast.
Blabbermouth: Episode seven of our Stranger week-in-review podcast. BrAt82/Shutterstock

Well, the big protests against Shell Oil happened. They were successful in getting attention around the world, but they didn't cause the global oil company to scrap its Arctic drilling plans and yank its Polar Pioneer drilling rig out of Seattle's port. So what does a company like Shell pay attention to?

I put the question to McKenzie Funk, who has been following Shell closely for a long time and wrote "The Wreck of the Kulluk," a gripping New York Times Magazine exploration of what went wrong the last time Shell used Seattle as a homeport for its Arctic drilling pursuits. (Funk also wrote this more recent piece on Shell's visions for our planet's future.)

Ijeoma Oluo is on the show as well this week, and talks about the latest on the Somali remittance crisis (including Mayor Ed Murray's recent conversation about the crisis with John Kerry). And Charles Mudede and Sean Nelson are back to tell us what we should see at SIFF this weekend—and through the rest of the festival. Oh, and Charles has a heartwarming lesson / film recommendation to share in honor of Memorial Day. Really.

Plus the music of Jenn Ghetto and her project S, which plays at the Sasquatch music festival this weekend!

(PS: WE'RE NOW ON iTUNES!)



Blabbermouth May 15, 2015

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Guest Editorial: A Plan for Encouraging More Immigrant Voting in Seattle

Contrary to what you may have heard, the largest May Day march was this one—the rally for immigrant rights. Dana Laurent and David Perez, two members of Mayor Ed Murrays Immigrant Rights Voting Taskforce, say there are concrete ways to improve immigrant voting in Seattle. (Though they dismiss former Mayor Mike McGinns suggestion that we give non-citizens the right to vote as unrealistic at this time.)
Contrary to what you may have heard, the largest May Day march was this one—the rally for immigrant rights. Dana Laurent and David Perez, two members of Mayor Ed Murray's Immigrant Rights Voting Taskforce, say there are some concrete ways to improve troubling immigrant voting rates in Seattle. (Though they dismiss former Mayor Mike McGinn's suggestion that we give non-citizens the right to vote, describing it as unrealistic at the moment.) Alex Garland

In spite of what many media outlets tried to have you believe about May Day, the largest May Day march was a peaceful rally on behalf of immigrant rights this year. Immigrant rights activists have been marching since 2006 across the nation, chanting “Si, se puede!” and calling for equal treatment. For us, this chant harkens to the most fundamental right of all: the right to vote.

For the foreign-born population in Seattle, the number of eligible voters who turn out to vote is dismally low, often about 20 percent less than the overall voter population in Seattle. In 2013, close to 58 percent of eligible voters turned in ballots in Seattle—but less than 33 percent of eligible immigrant voters turned in a ballot.

Why are immigrants who are otherwise eligible to vote participating in our democracy at about half the rate of the overall population?

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Hundreds in Olympia Protest Shooting of Two Unarmed Black Males; Cops Keep a Low Profile

Protesters at Woodruff Park in Olympia.
Protesters at Woodruff Park in Olympia. Charles Mudede

A large crowd of people (yes, mostly students but also remarkably diverse), gathered at 6 p.m. this evening, at Woodruff Park, to protest the shooting of two black males by a white police officer, Ryan Donald. The incident happened last night, after Andre Thompson, 24, and his stepbrother, Bryson Chaplin, 21, allegedly attempted to steal beer from a Safeway. The officer's story, as relayed by the Olympia police department, is basically this: He spotted the suspects, he confronted them, he was attacked, he shot one, both fled into the woods, and, after a moment, returned for more. He shot the other at that point.

The general opinion of those speaking out at the park, and later the police station, where the protesters marched to at around 8 pm, was that the shooting had everything to do with race. Many of the people I talked to were just appalled that so much force was used on such a petty crime; many, both black and white, felt it was the same old, same old. Some, like Talib, a black American originally from New Jersey, thought the whole thing would be forgotten by the morning. "There have been protests about this and no one showed up," he said. "But now it's in your town, people show up. You have to care about this shit all the time. Not only when it's on your town."

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CrimeNews

Protest Against Olympia Police Shooting Is Planned For 6 PM This Evening

These flyers are everywhere in Olympia, according to one Evergreen College student.
These flyers are "everywhere" in Olympia, according to one Evergreen College student. Allana Cummings

Reached by phone, an Evergreen College student said these flyers, for a 6 p.m. protest at Woodruff Park, are "everywhere."

Charles has described what happened: An Olympia police officer shot two unarmed black men early this morning who were "suspected of stealing beer."

The police chief, in a press conference today, said one of the men assaulted the officer. He also said he believes race was not a factor in the incident. One of the men—they're stepbrothers—is in critical condition in the hospital. NBC News has the latest, including audio of the officer's communications with a dispatcher. The officer, who is white, "was put on administrative leave pending an internal investigation and a separate probe by the Critical Incident Team, a cooperative of investigators from five local law enforcement agencies under supervision of the Thurston County Sheriff's Office."

The results of those investigations will be turned over to Thurston County prosecuting attorney Jon Tunheim. Tunheim said under state law, "If we were to determine that an officer's use of force did not meet a reasonableness standard, but the officer was acting in good faith and without malice... the statute would prevent us from filing a criminal charge."

We'll have more, from Olympia, later on Slog. Here in Seattle, meanwhile:


Today is a National Day of Action to protest police killings of black women.


Savage Love: Car Talk

savage-click.jpg
JOE NEWTON

Yesterday, I found my 5-year-old son putting things up his butt in the bath. This isn't the first time—and it's not just a "Hey! There's a hole here! Let's put things in there!" kind of thing. The little dude was rocking quite the stiffy while he did it. I'm well aware of how sexual kids can be (I freaking was!), although I wasn't quite expecting to be catching him exploring anal at this young age. I want to avoid a trip to the emergency room to extract a toy car or whatever else from his rear end, and I don't want to see him damage himself…

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Bartender Crush: Michal at Queen City Grill

BT-Crush-Gola-Edit-2.jpg
Brooklyn Benjestorf

Name: Michal

Where: Queen City Grill

Buy Him A Shot Of: Cheap tequila.

Ask Him To Make You A: "Patronessy, mulled wine in the winter and sangria in the summer, or whatever makes you happy," Michal says.

What He's Doing When He's Not At The Bar: "I have a small catering company called Gola's Kitchen and when I'm not preparing food for events, I'm usually camping."

Words To Live By: "Everything I like is immoral, illegal, or fattening."


The Sacrifice Is a Film About the End of the World

Clumsy expectations and misunderstandings smashing into reality.
Clumsy expectations and misunderstandings smashing into reality.

It helps, when watching the stunning catharsis of The Sacrifice, to know that the director Andrei Tarkovsky made it while in exile from the Soviet Union—and was dying, but didn't realize it yet. The film feels like a final gesture, trembling in the gap between the immediate and the cosmic. Whatever Tarkovsky's balletically long shots are watching—an old man and his son on the seaside, or a wife slowly clacking her way across a wood floor with barely concealed scorn, or a servant trembling at the certainty that they're all about to die in a nuclear holocaust—they radiate both grandiosity and humility, mourning and loving…

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Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano Sings into the Chasm Between Electronic Dance and Down-Tempo Trance

None shall pass! Yukimi Nagano protects her bandmates.
None shall pass! Yukimi Nagano protects her bandmates. MARCO VAN RIJT

Those venturing to the bluffs of the Gorge for Sasquatch! in time for Little Dragon's set on Friday night will find the Swedish four-piece patrolling the borderline between electronic dance and down-tempo trance-jams. To one side are fiery lakes of club bass and tightly kicked beats. To the other, the placid Sea of Sade (pronounced shar-day), where glacial funk floats in smooth waves of R&B. Little Dragon's fourth full-length, Nabuma Rubberband, was nominated for a Grammy in the best dance/electronic album category this year. Vocalist Yukimi Nagano is a cosmic siren…

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SL Letter of the Day: Send the Flowers

Originally posted on October 16, 2013.

I'm a gay man in a happy and open marriage. I routinely seek the services of an erotic masseur, a man with whom I have a great client/service-provider relationship. I found out when booking my next massage with him that he was recently in a car accident with his long-term partner, who died in the hospital. Normally, I'd send flowers and a card. However, due to the nature of our working relationship, I don't want to extend myself in ways that could be uncomfortable for him. I wouldn't want to put him in the position of having to explain who I am if the card I sent was read by someone else. Any advice would be appreciated.

Wants To Be Respectful

My response after the jump...

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Dear Sasquatch!: No, You’re Not High, the Bassist from Bear on Fire Really Is Christopher Mintz-Plasse from Superbad

Bear on Fire play the Sasquatch! Yeti Stage on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Bear on Fire play the Sasquatch! Yeti Stage on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Attention Sasquatch!-goers: Bear on Fire are a Los Angeles–based sextet whose alt-blues hints at golden-era ’70s melodic rock. They just released their debut album, Velicata Back. They are playing Saturday, May 23, at 1 p.m. on the Yeti Stage. If you arrive (or wake up) in time to catch their set, you may recognize Bear on Fire’s bassist and not fully understand why. This is why: He is Christopher Mintz-Plasse (you can call him Chris), the actor who played McLovin in the movie Superbad. In fairness, he has played other roles, as well. He spoke from his home in Los Angeles.

Have you listened to much Christopher Cross? It’s pure 1970s glory. I think you guys could cover the shit out of his song “Sailing.”

I’ve heard of him, oh yeah. I’ll see what the band thinks. I know “Sailing.” [He sings the chorus. I join him. We sing “Sailing” together.]…

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