commented on Late-Night May Day Wrap-Up
I was in the middle of the march last night, taking photos. I am not a protester. I did not see anything which prompted the first arrests. Up to that point the march had been good-humored and festive, though someone did throw a stick at an empty parked police car about 5 minutes before the first arrests--it did no visible damage, and many marchers hooted, and called out to keep marching. I also saw several black-clad marchers use their fingers to write 'love' and hearts in the dust on other parked cars.
The arrests soured the general mood, and several cops, including one in charge of the bikers, completely lost their shit; clearly that officer was scared, shouting shrilly to his command to move or hold or push back--they mostly looked embarassed for him, but there was also some scuffling. By the time they were faced off under the monorail, bike commander was still issuing contadictory orders and cops were having some trouble keeping their lines and groups connected, having moved a bit too far too fast.
At this point somebody threw a fist-size rock from down the street, landing about 5 feet from where i stood next to police lines, behind which they were carrying off several arrestees. (police had already deployed the big cans of mace, with no warning so far as i could see, which cleared the scrum nearest to the arrests.) It didnt hit anyone, but police captured the rock, and it was only 3 or 4 minutes later (i think--should check the time stamps) that police began to let loose the concussion grenades. They did this without issuing any warning; without any attempt to avoid hitting people, and in fact they appeared to be trying to hit people. They did not for instance warn people to leave the area, or warn anyone when they fired grenades or tear gas (they seem to have used at least three distinct munitions) right into concentrations of people; police appeared to want the explosions to come as a surprise, thus putting everyones eyes and ears at substantially greater risk.
The police will no doubt say they were reacting to the thrown rock, but most of the people there had no way to know that anyone had thrown it, and since the police didnt bother to say what they were doing or why, their reaction seemed arbitrary and capricious to most of the crowd, including most of the credentialed press (camera guys at least). It also caused police to lose contact with now-angry protesters who wound through the streets and caused more havoc; screechy-bike commander was yelling at his guys to advance, and to not 'let them get away'. At one point as i knelt on a sidewalk changing batteries, with no one else within 30 feet of me, police rushed up, formed a cordon in front of me, and began screaming at me to move back while physically pushing me up the street. I asked the officer where he would like me to stand; he could not answer. Less than a minute later the group moved two blocks on. Later as i walked up the sidewalk on pine street across from the paramount, several cops formed a loose line up the sidewalk and yelled at us to 'get off the sidewalk'. I said i didnt want to trespass on somebody's private property, and he seems to have been too confused to answer.
My point being that after quite a lot of official statements regarding preparedness, the police response on balance was simply shockingly inept and seemed if not deliberately provocative, then somehow serendipitously perfectly calibrated to cause a bigger problem. I saw some officers behave professionally, and i saw quite a lot of protesters behave with restraint, but there seemed to have been more bad actors on the police side than on the protesting side. Police seem to have used the march as an opportunity to arrest people they had previously identified, and did so in a confrontational and high profile way, as though the public protest itself was the precipitating factor. I watched police tackle a student of mine who was simply walking up pine east of 5; they said he had assaulted an officer. (it didn't happen there, so either it was for an earlier incident or they were making it up.)
I understand that when you join a crowd of people in a rowdy demonstration, you take on risks, but if this is the best the spd can do in spite of experience and preparation, well, wow. That is just a terrible performance.
commented on The Tuesday Morning News
I came to the comments to point out that the girls were arrested for threatening the *victim*, not the rapist, but i see that's been noted. While i'm here though, elizabeth warren didn't seem to be speaking to state voters as a whole--she seemed to be speaking to voters in the republican primary. More of an attempt to short circuit a candidate who might be more viable in the general against a dem, i would venture.
commented on The Only Future Is Living Small
That 420 sq ft apt is hilarious. A perfect example of what comes of inexperienced designers ignoring the accumulated practical lessons of the past, and substituting wishful thinking and a perverse obsession with putting things "away".
commented on The Restaurant Today and in History
The invention of haute cuisine was never about democratizing good food. It was never even really about good food. It was first and foremost about *new* food.
All you need to do to understand this is to go somewhere that still has a genuine and genuinely old tradition of cooking. (america doesn't. Seattle even less so than much of the country.) provided you avoid the sectors emptied out by real poverty and deprivation, you will find ample true examples of democratic good food.
To take java as one example (since i've lived there half a dozen years): even if the tradition doesnt perfectly match my taste--i tend to go more for italian--you can find truly excellent, varied, and complex cuisine at any intersection in any town, and almost any village--for pennies. Where food is being murdered in java is in the big cities (mainly jakarta and surabaya), where fashion and money and too little taste are replacing good, widely affordable food with overpriced, unhealthy slop thats supposed to emulate cosmopolitan offerings.
It is really difficult to take your attacks on decentralized cooking seriously, when it runs so flagrantly contrary to what food actually tastes like. But after that video on chicken fried steak, i guess you arent even public taste enemy number one at the slog, so why do i even bother.
commented on House Drama Queens Finally Pass "Fiscal Cliff" Bill
I was kind of hoping republican intransigence would save us from this 'deal'. Glad to hear my rep wasn't fooled, at least.
But i am afraid that we will be looking back at this day and wishing we had held out for a real deal.
Dec 31, 2012
commented on Why Won't Washington's University Presidents Step Up and Take the Lead on Higher Education Funding?
This is one of the more practical and on-topic suggestions i have seen for a while. As another poster mentioned, the main job of a u prez is considered fundraising... to which tax rates are absolutely apropos. And frankly, they have very little to lose compared to elected politicians on this issue.
Taxes per se have been reviled and vilified for too long. Of course excessive taxes or unfair ones are bad; but there needs to be a concerted effort to aknowledge that taxes can do real good for real people, and are a vital part of our society and everything we collectively hold dear.
I look forward to politicians being able to run on a platform of rational tax increases and allocations, instead of hysterical proclamations about the gov'mt taking YOUR money. ...
Nov 30, 2012
commented on The Ugly History of Cooking
Charles, you're a bit if a riot.
Your main point--that maybe it would be better to leave cooking to the experts, as long as the density is there to support it--might be supportable in a context where the experts actually did produce affordable, nutritious, and delicious food. Saddly, that is nowhere near the case in seattle, nor in most of the (many) parts of america i've lived.
In contrast, it was definitely the case in indonesia--for several years i got my main meals from tante gemuk (the fat lady) on the corner, without having to worry about excess salt or grease or not enough vegetables or, and this is key, that it would be worse than what i could produce myself with minimal effort at home.
The same was true when i lived in japan. Something in between that situation and here obtained when i lived in europe.
So as much as i might be sympathetic to the idealistic impulse, i question the pragmatic reality. Moreover, if one looks at why those other places succeed where america fails in this regard, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that food in america, even taste in america, sucks mainly *because* not enough people eat good food at home. They literally dont know what real food tastes like, and dont cultivate the skilset among the young who might have a talent for it. Contrariwise, ordinary prepared food in indonesia, japan, or europe is better in large part because palates haven't been spoiled by neglect and abuse.
Nov 15, 2012
commented on Jay Inslee vs. Obama
I think it was unfortunate for inslee to swear off raising taxes, though like you i can see why he may have thought he had no choice but to make that promise. Problem is, breaking it will likely destroy his political future, unless he can come up with a voter-supported initiative to raise taxes that he can bow to support.
It does strike me that these two positions on pot and taxes are convenient, though, in that no one will hold it against him to implement stiff taxes on everything related to pot... Too bad that isnt likly to yeild enough revenue on its own.