Blabbermouth Podcast: The Alabama Upset and What's Next for the #MeToo Movement

Episode 129 talks about the lessons of the historic Alabama upset, the future of the #MeToo movement, whether there are any gray areas in sexual harassment, and the suddenly viral short story, Cat Person.
Episode 129 talks about the historic Alabama Senate race result, the future of the #MeToo movement, whether gray areas exist in sexual harassment, and the suddenly viral short story, "Cat Person." Above, some of Trump's accusers. Monica Schipper / Getty Images

This is our last episode of the year—we’ll be back in your earbuds on January 3!—so we gave you a little extra in this one. Settle in.

First: Dan Savage, Eli Sanders, and Rich Smith look into the historic victory for Democrat Doug Jones in deep red Alabama. What does it mean for the left as we all barrel toward the 2018 midterms? And what do the Alabama exit polls tell us about the kind of Democratic coalition it takes to win tough races?

Second: Sydney Brownstone is back to talk about how much credit the #MeToo movement deserves for the stunning Alabama result. Along the way, Sydney also gets into a fascinating back-and-forth with Dan over whether there are any “gray areas” in workplace sexual harassment and what, exactly, a boss should do if she wants to have a respectful, consensual, non-coercive relationship with a subordinate. Don't miss this conversation.

Finally: Rich Smith takes us through “Cat Person,” the short story that did something short stories never do. It went viral. Bigly. Plus...

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Trump Administration Bans Seven Words from Budget

If you banned seven words from Trumps vocabulary hed be mute.
If you banned seven words from Trump's vocabulary he'd be mute. Nate Gowdy

This is what happens when a country elects a dictator. Via the Washington Post:

The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases — including “fetus” and “transgender” — in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden words are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

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Great Zimbabwe a Star In Star Wars: The Last Jedi?

Living like Zimbabweans from back in the day...
Living like Zimbabweans from back in the day...

Even the Irish were called savages. The English hated their lumpy butter, their love of cow blood, and their misshapen clothes. The Irish were wild from bone to white skin. The English were civilized from white skin to bone. The only thing that could reduce Irish barbarism was constant exposure to English ways. Not surprisingly, when the English arrived in Africa, all they found were savages. These people were also wild, but from bone to black skin.

History is like a radio station that has the hits of the day on heavy rotation. One of those hits goes like this: If a person is on land you really, really want, that person must be a savage. But sometimes this popular tune skips. The skipping is caused by a practice or custom or achievement that reveals the humanity of the savage. In the case of the black Africans the English encountered in Southern Africa, that skip was the Great Zimbabwe ruins.

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Ballard Business Group Wants to Flood the City With Homeless Encampment Complaints

City officials removed this encampment in Sodo in March.
City officials removed this encampment in Sodo in March. HG

In a private group on Facebook, a Ballard business organization is making a pitch to business owners in the neighborhood: Let's crowdsource outrage to get rid of homeless encampments.

A post in the group called Ballard Business Owners, written by Ballard Alliance executive director Mike Stewart, asks "business owners and residents in Ballard" to join an email list. When "an illegal encampment is identified," the Ballard Alliance will send out a description and photo of the encampment to members of the list, who are encouraged to file a report with the City of Seattle's Find It, Fix It app. The idea, basically, is to flood the city with complaints so they'll shut down areas where the homeless congregate. The Ballard Alliance did not post the same call on its public Facebook page.

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Discomfort, Fear, The Occult: An Interview with Seattle Avant Metal Band Eye of Nix, Who Released a New LP Today

Eye of Nix
Eye of Nix Seer Productions

It took a whole lot of loss, pain and growth for local outfit Eye of Nix to make Black Somnia their second full-length record of avant-garde metal. In anticipation of the album's release, The Stranger spoke with Lead singer Joy Von Spain, who said Eye of Nix faced “some sort of hurdle with each step towards finishing the record.” In the two years since the dropped their debut, Moros, the five-piece changed bassists and drummers. As if a 40 percent member turnover wasn’t challenging enough, one of Von Spain’s friends passed away while she was recording Black Somnia in Portland with renowned producer Billy Anderson (Swans, Melvins, Jawbreaker).

Clearing those hurdles resulted in a distinctive and rewarding record. Black Somnia, which came out today, delivers meditative and morose sludge in the vein of seminal “thinking man’s metal” pioneers Neurosis, but takes the style in new and unfamiliar directions. Interesting samples add atmosphere and an overall uneasy sonic mood commensurates with Von Spain’s lyrical meditations on fear and discomfort. Occasional harmonized vocals and synthesizer melodies slice through the record’s gloom. The result is a mature musical journey with a surprisingly varied emotional palate.

Check out the full interview with Von Spain below.

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A Generous Amazon Life Hack for the Holiday Season

YouTuber Rob Bliss came up with a brilliant way to use Amazon, the company we all love to hate, to give something back this holiday season. He simply used his Prime Now app to order goods like shoes and socks for homeless folks, and directed the company where to deliver them.

Of course, he could have just walked into a local business and then delivered the goods himself, but that would require actual human interaction. Happy holidays!

Week in Weed: Walmart’s Weed-Themed Christmas Tree, "Looping" Pot Shops Get Busted, and Gifts for Your Stoner Buds

Seasons Greens care of Walmart
Season's Greens courtesy of Walmart

Season’s Greetings! Weed had a brief moment of holiday glory when Walmart decided to sell a Christmas tree made up of fake cannabis leaves. They’ve since pulled the ad online but apparently, they are still selling their weed-leaf shaped cookie cutter, so breathe easy—and read on for more holiday gift recommendations for the stoner in your life (or, you)!

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Last-Minute Plans: 128 Free, Cheap & Easy Things To Do in Seattle This Weekend: Dec 15-17, 2017

On Sunday afternoon, see a team of carvers create fanciful ice sculptures at the Center Ice Spectacle.
On Sunday afternoon, see a team of carvers create fanciful ice sculptures at the Center Ice Spectacle. Seattle Center / Facebook

Panicking because you haven't yet made plans for the weekend and you're short on cash? Don't worry—below, find all of your options for last-minute entertainment that won't cost more than $10. You already know about all the holiday pop-up markets and gift bazaars, but there are plenty of other great things happening, ranging from the Christmas Ships Parade of Boats Night to Someday We'll All Be Free: A Conversation about Abolition, and from free horse-drawn carriage rides in Occidental Park to the Royal Room's holiday sing-along. For even more options, check out our complete Things To Do calendar.

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

1. Creatura House Grand Opening
This new shop by former Roq La Rue owner Kirsten Anderson will offer "high end, glamorous, earthy things for your home sanctuary," incorporating mystical, punk, and witchy themes, alongside art shows. The name of the gallery refers to their aesthetic, but also to their support for Creatura Wildlife Projects, a nonprofit. Their first exhibit will be by Peter Ferguson, appropriately titled I'll Line My Nest With Your Bones.
(Capitol Hill, free)

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Four New Restaurants, Two Grand Re-Openings, and More Seattle Food News You Can Use: Dec 15, 2017 Edition

Glazed doughnuts from the new cafe Tempesta in Belltown.
The owners of Orfeo bring yeasty goodness and damn fine coffee to Belltown in the form of Tempesta, a new doughnut shop next door. Tempesta // Facebook

This week brought a burst of welcome news for Seattle's food scene, like the opening of new doughnut and coffee shop Tempesta and a second life for The Saint, which is now living la vie en rose after its hiatus. Below, we've gathered that along with all the best things to do this weekend, including Serafina & Cicchetti's holiday bazaar, Raised Doughnut's pop-up shop, and Revel's seven-year-anniversary party (complete with a free after-party featuring suckling pig nachos and a dumpling-eating contest). For more things to do, check out our complete food & drink calendar and our ultimate guide to where to eat out on Christmas and New Year's Eve.

The "hyperlocal" fast-casual salad bar chain opens a new location in Bellevue.

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Seattle's Directors of Transportation and Civil Rights Both Resign

Outgoing SDOT director Scott Kubly
Outgoing SDOT director Scott Kubly Ansel Herz

More Ed Murray appointees pack their bags.

Durkan announced today that Seattle Department of Transportation director Scott Kubly has resigned. SDOT deputy director Goran Sparrman will serve in the interim as Durkan's team conducts a national search to find Kubly's replacement. Sparrman previously served as transportation director in Bellevue.

“I want to thank Scott for his service to Seattle and wish him well as he pursues new opportunities. In a time of unprecedented growth, Scott set the stage for a significant increase in multi-modal investments in our city, which will have an impact for decades to come," Durkan said in a statement. "With a number of significant projects in the pipeline, the next leader must be well positioned to deliver on investments, improve bus service, effectively implement light rail expansion, and prioritize our maintenance backlog."

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The Humans Is a Wrenching Play You Should See, and It Closes After This Weekend

‘The Humans’ is 90 minutes long with no intermission and fantastic performances.
‘The Humans’ is 90 minutes long with no intermission and fantastic performances. JULIETA CERVANTES

Everything people love and hate about plays is perfectly exemplified by Stephen Karam's The Humans, which was a hit on and off Broadway and opened at the Seattle Rep last week. On the plus side: It's an intimate, insightful, involving piece of domestic drama, a textbook for accurate and eloquent stage design, and a showcase for fantastic performances by the entire ensemble cast, led by Pamela Reed, Richard Thomas, and a standout Therese Plaehn.

On the minus side: It's a play that throws its lasso around everything wrong in America in 2017, forcing the characters to groan under the weight of their designation as symbols of the long, slow death of the lie of the American dream.

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The 10 Most Unforgettable Viral Videos of 2017

This happened, and it went viral.

Pretty much everybody has a camera on their phones these days, so all manner of videos hit the internet at a rapid, rather relentless rate. Of course, there are always those super special, unforgettable ones that are so outrageous, funny, bizarre or appalling, they stick with us long after we watched them, living on forever in our collective consciousness—or until we forget about the latest one in favor of the next unbelievable viral sensation...

Maybe you've seen all of the videos included on this list of favorites—WATCH THEM AGAIN. Maybe you haven't—WATCH THEM FOR THE FIRST TIME. I will guarantee your entertainment for a minimum of 5 minutes, or until your attention is caught by some other damn thing.

A note: We did not include YouTube's No. 1 most viral video, a man in a full-body oyster suit performing on a Thailand show called The Mask Singer, 'cause that shit's just weird. Click the link if you are compelled to see it...

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Billionaire Entrepreneur Elon Musk Thinks Public Transportation Sucks

Just the kind of animal we are...
Just the kind of animal we are... Charles Mudede

Don't you get it? We are supposed to hate public transportation, and for one good reason: if you are in a bus or train, then you are not in a car. It is that simple. Every ride you take on a bus or train appears on the left-hand side (debit side) of the auto industry's big book of gains and losses. Car manufactures have expended an enormous amount of human brain-power to make the most irrational mode of transportation as comfortable as possible. It is indeed a living room on four wheels. The development of all other forms of transportation, however, has been arrested or neglected. Some of our sidewalks are being reclaimed by nature. Our bike networks are primitive. If the deepest pockets dominate a society, and the auto makers and dealers have a good number of such pockets, then very little effort is needed to understand why the experience of riding public trains and buses is often a major "pain in the ass."

As we well know in Seattle, the budgets of bus operations are repeatedly threatened with cuts. It takes ages to make progress and improvements on light rail infrastructure. And because these rational forms of transportation are cheaper, they are used by the poorest members of our society. But many do not blame American poverty on an economic system that cruelly imposes scarcity on goods, services, and money. They lazily blame public transportation. The car promises to seal them from the inconvenient facts of capitalism.

And so, at the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference in Long Beach, California, celebrated entrepreneur, futurist, and electric car manufacturer Elon Musk (he is almost my countryman) said exactly what our society wants all Americans to say about public transportation:

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Savage Love Letter of the Day: On Dating — And Dumping — Someone With Depression


Originally published November 27, 2013.

I recently ended a relationship that lasted a year and five months. While I loved this woman, for much of the relationship she was, to varying degrees, depressed. I tried to be as helpful and patient as possible, with the hope and expectation that she would get better. I got her into counseling. We went to couples counseling together. She got on medication. I encouraged her to eat well (I cooked her many healthy meals) and exercise daily (which she was never able to do). I tried to get her out into nature. I tried to listen and practice strong communication skills. I encouraged her to explore the benefits of a fulfilling and GGG relationship, but our sex life faltered because of the depression and her low libido. I kept helping and waiting, but she was simply unable to assert herself to make healthy changes (both physical and mental). I felt trapped dating someone who couldn't take control of her life, and the patterns kept repeating. I eventually ended the relationship, which was the right decision for me, but she was crushed. I'm hoping we can be friends in the future. Do you have any advice for dating someone with depression? Can relationships and depression work? I found it to be soul-crushing.

Serious About Depression

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Inbox Jukebox: A Weekly Shortlist of Good New Music. Hanna Benn, Steve Reich, WEEED, and More

Ex-Pollens member Hanna Benn channels singer/songwriter deities Linda Perhacs and Vashti Bunyan on her new single.
Ex-Pollens member Hanna Benn channels singer/songwriter deities Linda Perhacs and Vashti Bunyan on her new single.

Hanna Benn, "Unfastened" (This Is Meru). Former Pollens vocalist/guitarist Hanna Benn moved from Seattle to New York a couple of years ago, which was a huge loss to the local music community. But at least we can feast on the fruits of her relocation and creative battery-recharging in the Big Apple. For example, "Unfastened," an orchestral ballad of steely fragility and insular beauty. Old mofos like me will think of gently psychedelic folkies like Linda Perhacs and Vashti Bunyan for comparisons; younger mofos may flash to Julianna Barwick and Ian William Craig. Not to say that "Unfastened" is blatantly derivative of any of those fine artists; rather, it wafts in the same exalted air as their best works. (The lyrics come from a poem titled "Boneless Bird" by Melanie Noel from her 2013 volume, The Monarchs.) Looking forward to hearing the rest of Benn's album, DIVIDE, which comes out January 19.

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