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This Week on the Blabbermouth Podcast: Some Reasons to Hope

Episode 79 takes a call from a really bummed out listener and then offers advice for keeping your head in the Trump resistance game from Dan Savage, Sydney Brownstone, Zach Silk, and Rich Smith.
Episode 79 takes a call from a really bummed out listener and then offers advice for keeping your head in the Trump resistance game from Dan Savage, Sydney Brownstone, Zach Silk, and Rich Smith. Ramon Dompor

After last week’s show we got a call from Robert. He’s 25 years old and feels pretty pessimistic about the future these days. So on this week’s show we try to give Robert some reasons to hope. (Or, failing that, some sense that the left, the country, and the planet are not irrevocably doomed in the age of Trump.)

First up: Dan Savage and Sydney Brownstone, who talk about how to snatch optimism from the jaws of despondency.

Next: Zach Silk, a liberal political operative who really, truly believes the left has a chance to make big political gains under a Trump presidency.

And finally: Rich Smith talks to me about my current hope against hope, which is that the Electoral College will save us on December 19th. Come on, Electoral College!


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Intelligence Agencies: Russia Was Trying To Help Trump Win Election

And it worked. Washington Post:

The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.... “It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.” ... The CIA shared its latest assessment with key senators in a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill last week, in which agency officials cited a growing body of intelligence from multiple sources. Agency briefers told the senators it was now “quite clear” that electing Trump was Russia’s goal, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.


American intelligence agencies have concluded with “high confidence” that Russia acted covertly in the latter stages of the presidential campaign to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances and promote Donald J. Trump, according to senior administration officials. They based that conclusion, in part, on another finding—which they say was also reached with high confidence—that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks. In the months before the election, it was largely documents from Democratic Party systems that were leaked to the public. Intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russians gave the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks.

Trump's statement:


The Twitter:

So, yeah. Re-upping our cover from a couple of weeks ago:

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Last-Minute Plans: 139 Free, Cheap & Easy Things To Do in Seattle This Weekend: December 9-11, 2016

Celebrate the holiday season with pets this weekend at the 5th Annual Howlidays in Pioneer Square—or other events including the Merry Mutts and Meows adoption event, a Howliday Party with Santa, and a dog-friendly Holiday Storytime at Elliott Bay.
Celebrate the holiday season with pets this weekend at the 5th Annual Howlidays in Pioneer Square—or other events including the Merry Mutts and Meows adoption event, a Howliday Party with Santa, and a dog-friendly Holiday Storytime at Elliott Bay. Downtown Seattle Association

There's snow on the ground and rain in the forecast, but there are still plenty of events happening in Seattle this weekend that won't cost you more than $10 and don't require any advance planning. We've rounded them all up below, including Fantagraphics' 40th anniversary celebrations, the Last Dance V2 Farewell Performance Party, the Georgetown Art Attack, Green Lake Pathway of Lights, and the Winter Feast Holiday Bazaar. For more (pricier) options this weekend or to make plans for the coming weeks, check out our Things To Do calendar, where you'll find our critics' movie recommendations for this weekend and plenty of holiday-themed events.

recommended Get all this and more on the free Stranger Things To Do mobile app—available now on the App Store and Google Play. recommended

1. Ambient Vigil Luminary Fundraiser for Ghost Ship Oakland Fire
Mokedo invites our intersectional communities to join together for a few hours to remember each other and raise funds for those affected by the fire in Oakland this past weekend. There will be a safe vigil space to gather and honor loved ones with ambient sounds, a silent art auction, and LED luminaries that will be brought to the Volunteer Park Conservatory on Saturday to continue the vigil. This event will be all ages and free, but donations that will go directly to the YouCaring fund for those affected are highly suggested.
(Beacon Hill, free)

2. Ari Banias, Bill Carty, & Stacey Tran
I can't recommend Ari Banias's collection of poetry, Anybody, highly enough...

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Trump to Tap WA Congresswoman and Oil Drilling Advocate Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Interior Secretary

An aide to Donald Trump leaked this morning that the President-elect will pick Washington Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, an outspoken abortion opponent and oil-drilling enthusiast, to run the Department of the Interior. McMorris Rodgers is the most recent addition to his Cabinet of Deplorables. As Secretary of the Interior, she would be in charge of the management and conservation of federal lands, national parks, and natural resources, and would administer programs relating to Native American tribes. McMorris Rodgers did not respond to calls for comment.

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With One Move, Vietgone Critiques American Culture in a Way I’ve Never Quite Seen Before

(L-R) Huong (Amy Kim Waschke) and her daughter (Tong). High on Huongs hilarious list of complaints: the way Americans treat their vegetables.
High on Huong's list of complaints: The way Americans treat their vegetables. Navid Baraty

Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone, playing at Seattle Repertory Theatre through January 1, is a love story within a love story during wartime. Quang (James Ryen) is a cocky pilot in the South Vietnamese Army. When Saigon falls, he winds up in an American refugee camp with Tong (Jeena Yi), a skeptic of true love who's constantly trying to fight back the advances of weepy men. She’s a self-described “bitch,” he’s a self-described “asshole,” and they’d be perfect for each other if not for their current relationship statuses—he's got a wife and kids back home, and she may or may not be engaged…

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Savage Love Letter of the Day: Hand Jive


I'm a 29 year old CIS female dating a 55-year-old handsome amazing guy for the last 2.5 years. The first year, our sex life was amazing and GGG- he had more sexual vigor than any man my own age. We'd have passionate sex whenever we saw each other, often 3-4 times in a night. Fast forward nearly 2 years later and we live together, our sex life now goes like this: intercourse for 5 minutes, 8 if I'm lucky, and then he stops intercourse to tell me how much he loves me (every time), cuddles me and 5 minutes later asks for a handjob. He's obsessed with handjobs and it's obliterated the amount of sex we have. While he is incredibly giving sexually and makes sure I get off every time, the amount of actual dick I get has dramatically decreased. I'm in the best shape of my life, beautiful and have a tight vagina, so what gives? Whenever I bring up this issue, he acts like he's being shamed for something he enjoys. He recently asked me to marry him and I cannot for the life of me commit to a life where I'm only getting 5-8 minutes of dick.

Again, what gives?

Silver Fox is a Handjob Fiend

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Ohio's GOP Uses Bestiality Ban To Prevent Cleveland From Raising the Minimum Wage

Zoos and high wages are banned in Ohio.
Zoos and high wages are banned in Ohio.

The struggle between cities governed by progressive politicians and state institutions run by rural representatives took a strange turn in Ohio when, to prevent Cleveland from raising the minimum wage to $15, GOP state senators attached to a bill concerning a ban on bestiality a ban on raising the minimum wage in cities. The bill also included something concerning pet stores and another thing that gave wireless companies more power to place antennas without interference from a community.

But the question we must ask is: Why are so many rural representatives so concerned about what happens in the city? The small town or barns they represent can keep their low wages. That's fine with the city. What has a rural representative got to gain from managing the affairs of a city? In fact, by their own reasoning, a small town with low wages should attract business from expensive cities. So, why this insistence by rural representatives on low wages in cities? The fact that it makes no sense exposes the fact that low wages are not really about keeping costs low. The economic answer to low wages is, yes, strong but inadequate. The left needs to come to terms with this inadequacy, otherwise we will continue to fight the same, very limited battle with these politicians who use rural votes to keep the very rich in power.

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Dear Academy, You Know How You Rarely Give Oscars to Black Film Artists?


Moonlight is your chance to make things right.

Barry Jenkins's second feature film, Moonlight, was certainly the best film of 2016. And it arrived at the right moment. Just as the white nationalist Donald Trump was elected, many theaters around the United States screened a film about a young and gay black American dealing with poverty, crackheads, and bullies. The story is very simple, but it manages to be profoundly poetic. If the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wants to send Trump's America (and indeed Trump's World) a strong message about what it means to be a flesh-and-blood American, then it should nominate Moonlight in all of these categories. Black filmmakers are rarely represented at the Oscars. This shouldn't be that hard.

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The Best Theater, Dance, and Comedy Events in Seattle This Winter

The Three Yells: Giselle Deconstruct is a hypnotizing and super-creepy display of powerful feminist #squadgoals, and will be at the Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center from January 6–7.
The Three Yells: Giselle Deconstruct is a "hypnotizing and super-creepy display of powerful feminist #squadgoals," and will be at the Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center from January 6–7. Tim Summers

Find a complete list of theater, dance, and comedy events in Seattle this winter on our Things To Do calendar, or check out our other picks for the best things to do in Seattle this winter from Seattle Art and Performance.

recommended Get all this and more on the free Stranger Things To Do mobile app—available now on the App Store and Google Play. recommended


12th Avenue Arts
Savage in Limbo (Dec 11): Five 32-year-olds, including a virgin, a broken couple, a failed nun, and an obsessive barkeep, hope to change their lives in this staged reading of the tragicomedy by John Patrick Shanley.

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Miss Sloane Is a Political Thriller for People Who Hate Politics


For the rest of her life, Jessica Chastain is going to be on-screen making the tough calls and approving her employees’ vacation requests. In Zero Dark Thirty, The Martian, and now Miss Sloane, she has proved that she’s extremely capable of acting capable—sometimes confident, sometimes cold, but always in charge.

Director John Madden’s Miss Sloane is a political thriller about a lobbyist (Chastain) who abandons her spot at a prestigious right-wing firm (where they plant goofy protesters at the Occupy marches to undermine the cause) so she can help the Brady Campaign pass a groundbreaking gun-control law. The bill would make sure that bad guys can’t buy guns. How, you ask? Don’t ask. Don’t dwell on the politics in the movie at all. They don’t matter. Lull yourself into complacency by staring at Chastain’s bold red lipstick and listening to the assertive clacking of her high heels.

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Office Christmas Party Is a Surprisingly Fun Time


There is nothing more depressing than a bad office Christmas party. The music is schmaltzy, the eggnog has a skin growing on it, and Walt from marketing starts getting reeeeal enthusiastic about getting you into the copy room. But a good office Christmas party gives everyone the chance to let their hair down, to show off a saucy side their buttoned-up workday personas don’t allow for. As evidenced by the title, Office Christmas Party is not a particularly imaginative movie, but it does place some incredibly charismatic TV actors in a new setting, giving them a chance to improvise and earn a hefty paycheck in the process.

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Ira Glass: We're Seeing "Things We Have Not Seen Before in Our Lifetimes"


Have people been asking Ira Glass, host of WBEZ's This American Life, to make sense of the recent election for them?

"Thank God, no," he said by phone the other day. "I feel like I have no special insight at all."

But if insight is to be found anywhere, it is likely to emerge from This American Life's meticulous synthesizing of American voices. For 21 years, Glass and his team have gathered stories from across the country, and he brings a special one-man show to Benaroya Hall on Sunday, January 29. Armed with an iPad and a media library, he'll mix a multimedia presentation on the fly with stories that "people in our audience have never seen or heard of."

And, he added, "of course I'll be talking about the election."

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Dr. Marion Nestle, Food Policy Wonk Extraordinaire, on Soda Taxes, Eating Local, and Eating What You Like

Bill Hayes
I was recently invited to a breakfast featuring Dr. Marion Nestle, one of the nation’s leading experts on nutrition and author of Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning). She was in Seattle on her way to Barrow, Alaska to give a talk on type 2 diabetes in Native American populations, and was stopping to visit her fellow soda tax proponents at Healthy Food America (HFA), which is headquartered in Seattle. Kind of ironic, in light of how poorly such taxes have done here, but they do have a lot to celebrate elsewhere. San Francisco, Oakland, Alameda, Boulder, and Chicago’s Cook County all passed HFA-backed soda taxes in the last election cycle.

In a shifting sea of experts and studies, she’s probably one of the most trustworthy authorities on what is and isn’t good for you, so I jumped at the chance to pick her brain. While it wasn’t exactly a Moses on Mount Sinai experience, with ten neat rules for healthy eating handed down on tablets, that was actually her point: As much as we’d like to believe there’s a magic formula for healthy eating, there ain’t. Also, public health is super important and has major implications for social justice, which is something we could all stand to remind ourselves of more often.

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Guest Editorial: Seattle Must Pass Move-In Fee Reform to Protect the City's Most Vulnerable Renters

The author, Marit Knutson, is a nurse and former property manager who says the city should require landlords to offer tenants payment plans for their move-in fees.
The author, Marit Knutson, is a nurse and former property manager who says the city should require landlords to offer payment plans for move-in fees. The Stranger

As a nurse and former property manager, I understand how good health depends on stable housing. Even though housing is a human right, many of my patients are unable to access housing because of the high move-in fees landlords often require upfront. The Seattle City Council must pass move-in fee reform legislation without any exemptions for landlords so housing in Seattle can be more accessible.

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