The Week in Review
MONDAY, OCTOBER 3 The week begins with what could be the end of us all: Avian flu, the burgeoning pandemic-to-be, was addressed today at a Safeco Field forum by King County Executive Ron Sims. Speaking to a group of 60 local business leaders—including representatives from Starbucks, Boeing, and QFC—Sims urged immediate preparations for a flu epidemic that could put a third of the local work force out of commission and, without proper planning, devastate the local economy. Details come from the Seattle Times, which reports that public health officials have been on high alert since an avian-flu virus started spreading through Asia, Russia, and most recently Eastern Europe; should the virus mutate into a form that's easily passed from human to human (a development officials classify as not "if" but "when"), the flu would quickly spread worldwide. As for the threat to the Northwest, local health officials say a mutated flu virus could infect as many as 1.2 million people in the first six weeks, with a possible 57,000 citizens requiring hospitalization and up to 2,700 local flu victims meeting their makers. "This is a mass-casualty situation that could last for weeks," said Dr. Jeff Duchin, director of communicable-disease control for Public Health–Seattle & King County. "No one is prepared for this." Which brings us back to today's Safeco Field forum, designed to enlist a coalition of business leaders to help prep Seattle for a pandemic that could seriously hobble civic life as we know it. Preeminent among the business-related concerns: containing the spread of disease among workers, with business owners urged to plan ahead with preemptive sick leaves for symptomatic employees, strategic job-sharing and telecommuting for quarantined workers, and, last but not least, grief counseling for those left behind. In case you haven't realized it yet, this is some majorly terrifying shit, and it will only become more so as the week wears on, climaxing with Saturday's Fox News report bearing the headline, "Pres. Bush's Plan Shows U.S. Not Ready for Bird Flu." (When even the Dubya-butt-suckers at Fox have to admit the president is in trouble, things are bad.) For now, don't panic, and wash your hands.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4 Today the rest of the civilized world lined up to point and laugh at Seattle, whose city council voted yesterday to saddle our city with some of the strictest adult-entertainment regulations to be found on the books of any supposedly major city in the U.S. Specifically requested by Mayor Greg Nickels, the new restrictions require dancers to remain at least four feet from patrons, sounding the death knell for lap dances and seriously impinging on dancers' earning abilities. (Under the new regime, strip clubs must maintain at least parking-garage levels of brightness at all times, and customers are forbidden from folding money into dancers' G-strings, and must instead place tips in a communal tip jar—sexy!) According to the mayor's office, the new restrictions were needed to prevent a would-be porno renaissance following the federal strike-down of Seattle's 17-year moratorium on new strip clubs. But according to Doris Nicastro, wise local blogger and mother of former City Council Member Judy, the new rules are nothing but sexist red tape. "Imagine if the issue threatened the loss of over 550 male jobs at the same pay rate," posits Nicastro, who bills herself as "one pissed-off old lady" on her blog. "Mayor Nickels would be demanding tax breaks, subsidies—'May we offer you an $18 million walkway, would a trolley help?' Ah, but these are only women's jobs, and bad women at that, doing unsavory activities and being well paid for it." Cheers to Doris Nicastro, whose inspired ramblings can be read at reddoris.blogspot.com. Jeers to the stupid new strip laws, which cast Seattle as an island of primness in the otherwise sexy Northwest.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5 The week continues with a day of narrow escapes, starting with the attempted abduction at knifepoint of a 12-year-old boy this morning in South Seattle. Details come from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: After getting on the wrong bus, the boy was walking to school when a fortysomething man in a pickup truck pulled up and said the boy's mom had sent him to take him to school. When the boy refused, the driver—described as a dark-skinned black man with a scar near the right side of his mouth—came at the boy with a knife, which the boy dodged before running to freedom. Less than 12 hours later, a second abduction attempt was made on a second South Seattle kid—a 13-year-old boy, who also escaped the overtures of a creep (this one in a van) by running in the opposite direction. But there was nowhere to run for the day's third escape artist, the gauzy Irish songstress Enya, who survived a recent break-in at her "fortress-like" castle south of Dublin by retreating to her panic room. Details come from The Independent: After discovering an intruder had breached her castle's defenses, the 44-year-old intonation expert fled to the aforementioned panic room and activated a button that summoned police, who unfortunately arrived only after the intruder tied up Enya's maid, stole some of Enya's stuff, and fled the castle. Cheers to all of today's escapees, particularly Enya, who, having survived her frightening break-in, can be executed on live television as God intends.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6 Nothing happened today, unless you count the humongous, three-pronged pot bust that claimed nearly 3,000 pot plants at commercial growing locations in North Tukwila, East Renton, and Central Auburn.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7 Today brought a fascinating question, posed by a headline in the Seattle Times: "Did local vice cops cross the line?" For an answer, we read the story, which detailed the questionable maneuvers undertaken by Lynnwood police during an undercover investigation into a suspected massage-parlor prostitution ring, including one officer's receipt of a full-body shampoo, complete with genital and anal touching, as well as his two return visits for massages-with-masturbation. As for the question of "crossing the line": If vice cops can't get handjobs on the taxpayers' dime, the terrorists have won.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8 After a good several weeks of beating the shit out of the United States, today God decided to spread the shit around a bit, delivering a 7.6-magnitude earthquake to Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan, killing at least 30,000 people.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9 This week of restricted strippers and horny vice ends on a fittingly salacious note with an encounter related by Hot Tipper Lewis, who was jogging on the Burke-Gilman Trail between the UW and Fremont when he noticed a middle-aged woman walking on the trail ahead of him. "She seemed to be talking to herself," writes Lewis. "Not a strange thing in the cell-phone era, but as I passed her, I noticed she didn't have a phone, but was in fact talking to me." As he got closer, Lewis saw the woman turn her head, then heard her mutter, "Suck your dick?" "I had no idea that prostitution was alive and well so close to UW," writes Lewis. "I was kind of hurt, however—she obviously concluded that I wasn't a serious runner, but was merely posing as an athlete to purchase dubious oral pleasures. Plus, who runs with money?"
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