Seattle public libraries will be closed next Monday. Edward Palm/Getty Images



Columbus Day originated as a St. Patrick's day for Italians. They should have picked a better mascot because look how that worked out.


Hooray for volunteers cleaning up sidewalk overgrowth! Compensation for City work is paid by taxpayers so send the bill to everyone reading this, I guess.


@1 how benevolent of those corporations to give us two choices


"But Portugal just unveiled a plan to build a rail line from Porto to Lisbon (approximately the same distance as Seattle to Portland), and they’re expecting to get it done within the decade."

Rail service already exists between Lisbon and Porto, including a pretty fast express train. I don't know where this "get it done within the decade is coming" from. The linked article notes "It will take some patience," because "For the last (and shortest) section to Lisbon, however, details are scarce and it was mentioned that it 'should only be built later.'"


Buoy is no Gritty. Be more like Gritty.


Blue Monday.

You hear about many forest fires being caused by dry lightning, and now you hear about them also being caused by power transformers and aged power lines. I recently heard that well over 60% of wildfires are caused by careless humans – which is depressing. There are the accidental fires that in most cases make me respond with an “oh you stupid jerk.” Then there are the deliberate fires. To think that any number of the assholery out there is waiting for the temperature to hit 90 degrees so that they can head up into the forests with a box of matches? I think I could support bringing back the medieval practice of being drawn and quartered. Such pain and sorrow and horror they inflict on people and animals alike.

When exactly did the world get so sick?

Much applause and much praise for any effort – either by public servants or by volunteers – to spruce up a neighborhood. Any neighborhood that spruces itself up is a neighborhood that cares about itself. I make no distinction between a median or a sidewalk. And yeah, the median has something to do with car traffic (like slowing it down), but caring for it isn’t anti-pedestrian, is it?

I realize now that I won’t live to see high speed rail from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Damn. Sure was fun thinking I could board a train in LA and be in SF in two hours! Hell, you could go to San Francisco for dinner! But the tiniest little segment of it (65 miles) between Merced and Fresno – which remains uncompleted - has exploded the budget costing more than almost all the LGV systems in France (Paris to Marseille, 482 miles, in 3 hours!). Cost overruns, lawyers, lawyers, lawyers, budget padding, syphoning, and corruption have all contributed to its loss of support. Maybe someday? Fuck, one wonders if remarkable engineering feats, like, say, the Panama Canal, would ever, ever get done today. BTW, the only reason ever to go to Merced or Fresno would be to take the short train ride. Best wishes on the Seattle-Portland run. Remember to appoint a benevolent dictator to oversee the project and get it done and be ready to do some physical harm to those who would milk it profusely to line their own pockets because there’s a lot of that going around.

Who would have thought that silly little gimmick record from 1962 would still be catching fancies? The Criterion Channel is featuring a bunch of old Universal Studios horror this month. I’m going to have to get a little high to take it all in though. It’s camp, but very dated.

I have the new “Interview” series in my queue. Frankly, not a huge fan of the genre, and I probably was the only gay man in Seattle who didn’t like the film. I knew better than to bring that up at a party.


@3 Indigenous cultures also held slaves, massacred each other and in general were just as flawed as every other culture throughout time. I don't think Columbus was a great guy but indigenous people's day is just virtue signaling.


@4: Agreed. Better to have Marconi or Enrico Fermi. I hear Knights of Columbus now and go, "Say what?"


Road maintenance (including medians) is the responsibility of the city. Keeping sidewalks and parking strips clear is the responsibility of the adjoining property owner. Slog piously complains about that every time we have a snowstorm.


@11 Where do you get the notion I hate First Nation's people? I'm just pointing out they are no better or worse than other cultures so if are going to continue to have this standard of judging historical events using today's standards they fare no better than ole Chris.

Regarding the pedestrian that was killed it should also be pointed out the car was apparently fleeing one of the four shootings that occurred in the U district over the weekend. I'm curious to know how Matt thinks the vision zero policy is going to prevent pedestrians being struck by vehicles fleeing the scene of a crime?


meant @15 on that last one


@20 isn’t that the history of every “conquered” people? Are you seriously saying this never happened prior to Columbus? Have you met the Aztecs?


@11, @21: Renaming Columbus Day for the victims of his acts reminds us he “discovered” a place where humans had already lived for thousands of years, and whose lives were by and large impacted very negatively (if not ended outright) by his “discovery” of them.


@24: Buzzwords much?

Note that calling it Columbus Day for the European “discoverer” of the Americas also slights the Vikings, who temporarily settled in what we now call Greenland, and during their time there, interacted with at least one indigenous American nation.


"...I'm just pointing out they are no better or worse than other cultures "

Oh. Of course you are! Today is Tu Quoque Fallacy Day at Slog!

When the usual straw men won't do you have go to the Appeal to Hypocrisy! When you can not defend your stupid racist position then Tu Quote is for you!

Yes, you too can utilize this one simple trick and make a false equivalence inside your accusation of hypocrisy so the central premise remains un-argued and derailed! And you win!

"Appeal to hypocrisy" is not an argument. It's the "I know you are, but what am I" of the internet. And it's stupid as fuck. And of course DistrictDipShit uses it regularly.

First off, Indigenous Genocide did't begin or end with Columbus. Nobody has ever claimed it did.

Genocide of indigenous people was of course the official POLICY of North American governments until, oh, about 1930 or so. So you can fuck right off with that derail. I don't vote in the Iroquois League or Cheyenne Nation. I vote as a US citizen. And our responsibility is to right the wrongs of US policies, you stupid shit stain.

Converting Columbia Day doesn't magically erase genocide and nobody claimed it did. But it is one tiny little thing we can do make sure Indigenous people are still part of our cultural conversation instead of some asshole Italian rapist and serial killer that got his ass lost on a boat.

Indigenous People's day is a tiny step to help prevent the virtual erasure of indigenous people from the modern narrative and policy discussion. To at least allow idiginous people a place in our culture. The ones we didn't genocide.


@16 Even in his own time, Columbus was seen as unreasonably violent and cruel. You have to be a total shitshow to be out of line in 1500.

@26 The Vikings made it to Newfoundland temporarily. They never really left Greenland.


@22 my bad, I didn't realize there were parameters you could set on humans atrocities to determine which we could ignore. If you want to educate the rest of the class on those guidelines it would probably help for future discussions. I also think it's comical you don't think First Nations people would have behaved any differently would the roles have been reversed.

@25 no one is looking the other way Garb, the point is if you want to judge history by today's standards do it equally and do it in context. Bill Maher had a great segment on presentism the other day and just how dumb it is...


So Slog is open on indigenous people’s day, but closed on thanksgiving?

Be the change you want to see, brah.


@21: “ Have you met the Aztecs?”

No one now living has ever met “the Aztecs,” because of a chain of events started by Columbus.


@33 yes I see. It all makes sense now. Changing Columbus Day into Indigenous people's day was totally the right call. Don't ever let questions or criticisms dissuade you of your moral superiority. I hope it's not too drafty up on your perch but I guess you can always wrap yourself in your cloak of righteousness to keep warm.

@29 nice to see the real Professor show his true colors every now and then. The emasculated version is so boring.


@24, using "woke" as a pejorative is modern dog-whistle racism in a nutshell.


At its basic level, all being "woke" is is practicing common courtesy. That's why it confounds conservatives.

I blame their mothers. It's not natural for a woman to be a Republican. I also blame their mothers for the obsession with poop that conservative men have. I shudder to think what Republican toilet training must consist of.


@37 Touche'.

Yet other tribes that were being butchered by the Aztecs probably did not shed too many tears especially since some of them helped take them down.

Do what makes you feel good about yourself on Oct 10th but this notion that replacing Columbus Day (a day mind you that Italians have adopted to celebrate their culture and who themselves were heaving discriminated against in the past) is anything more than political posturing seems far fetched.


@42 No, what I objected to the other day was comparing flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard to be the same as Nazis rounding up people. It’s not even close and I stand by that statement. You and your buddies tried to change that to a debate on calling republicans facists. You are entitled to do that and I have to pearls to clutch but the analogy was then and still is gross.

I’m glad you have a voice at the table and I’m equally glad you are telling your truth but the notion of judging historical figures by todays standards is a fools errand. Everyone that existed in the 1400s, including indigenous peoples, were awful in todays society. Playing up what one culture did while ignoring flaws in other cultures does nothing to advance any reconciliation or understanding.


@29 -- other than
a wee bit of spittle
Brilliant take-down

"isn't it funny how the self-described 'woke' faux-liberals go silent as soon as reason and objective reality are thrown in their face?"

brilliant Projection


@44 So, using your logic, we can forget about celebrating Independence Day (the 4th of July) because of all of the horrible things done by people in the United States. Forget Thanksgiving -- both sides were terrible. Labor Day sucks -- think of the corrupt labor unions. Same with Veterans Day and Memorial Day -- America has been on the wrong side of too many wars.

You have completely missed the point of the holiday. It replaces Columbus Day. The idea that "everyone would do it, if given the chance" is complete bullshit. As @30 pointed out, even in his own time, Columbus was seen as unreasonably violent and cruel. Having a holiday based on such a horrible man is a terrible idea.

In contrast, having a holiday named after an oppressed people is quite reasonable. Of course some of those oppressed people were oppressors themselves. So fucking what? You are making bullshit strawman arguments. No one is saying they were all saints (there is a different holiday for that). By naming it after the people who lived here before Columbus fucked them up, we honor a people. It is like Nordic parades in Ballard. There have been plenty of terrible, oppressive Scandinavians through the ages -- it isn't about that. It is about celebrating a people and their culture.


@2 -- "Proper management would certainly have prevented this [Bolt Creek Fire]"

Not likely. Without a doubt, one of the problems with most of our forests is that fire suppression policies have created unnatural, fire prone areas. But this is primarily a problem to the east of the crest. In these dry areas you will see plenty of plants that usually don't grow there. Instead of big pine trees with minimal brush in between them, you have bushes and smaller trees that are usually found in wetter climates. When they encounter dry, hot weather over the course of the summer, all it takes is a lightening strike (which happens often) and the forest burns much too hot. Controlled burns are a very good way to get the forests in a more natural, fire resistant state.

But on the west side, where there is a lot more rain, fires are less frequent. The forest is actually much more like it would be without the fire suppression policies. Lightening is common, but it is usually accompanies by lots of rain. Several inches are common. The large amounts of biomass (moss, ferns, etc.) soak up the rain, and prevent the fire from spreading rapidly. Over the summer, there were dozens of little fires on the west side of the Cascades. None grew as big as Bolt Creek.

Because the Bolt Creek fire was different. A day or two before the fire, the area experienced very dry, hot and strong winds. These came from the east. The air gets dryer and hotter as it flows down the west side of the mountain. It was essentially like a blow drier. These winds are rare, and happen once or twice a year (if that). These types of winds do not come with storms or lightening. Thus you had a natural event (very hot, dry and strong winds) at the same time as an unnatural event (somebody caused a fire). This is what caused the fire to get so big, so fast. The winds continued for about a day after the fire started, and then shifted (and essentially ended). That is why the fire has come under control. It hasn't grown much since then, even though it has been unusually dry.

The best way to prevent fires like this one is to prevent people from starting fires at particular times. As it turns out, there was a red flag warning for that area, and the rest of the western Cascades. These red flag warnings are rare, and should set off alarm bells with everyone in the region. In this case, it was largely ignored.


@41: I don’t know why you keep assuming renaming Columbus Day for the victims of his actions has anything to do with anyone’s feelings. Victors write the history books, but we should try understanding history from the perspective of the victims as well, hence Indigenous People’s Day.

“….a day mind you that Italians have adopted to celebrate their culture….”

Yes, Italian-Americans imitated Irish-Americans, who have St. Patrick’s Day for quiet, deeply-respectful celebration of their culture ;-) But Columbus sailed for Spain, not Italy, because in his time, “Italy” was a geographical term, not a political one. (Spain itself had just recently been unified as well, of course.) Columbus was from Genoa, in the north of Italy, whereas most Italian-Americans’ ancestors came from the south of Italy. So, yes, challenging the name of Columbus Day might have additional benefits as well.

(Irish-Americans drink beer on St. Patrick’s Day, a practice they adopted from German-Americans; Old Country Irish drank whiskey.)

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