neil hubbard via cousearem.wordpress.com
capitol records via wikipedia
seattle dept. of transportation
…historically the stingiest, most fiscally conservative, most technologically resistant and investment-averse people ever, with the highest percentage of luddites per capita.
Margaret Thatcher’s recent death has sprung off a veritable gusher of reaction, much of it vitriolic.
This is to be expected in regard to the woman who oversaw the brutal decimation of the UK’s “welfare state” and the destruction of its once-mighty industrial base.
The woman who so firmly delivered that nation into the hands of financiers that even the opposition felt it had to conform (becoming the anti-working-class “New Labour”).
The precursor (and intellectual superior) to Reagan (whose regime, as you recall, was also run by “a strong woman”) and an inspirer/co-conspirator in the crimes of Reaganism, crimes whose long term effects still plague this country today.
The friend of despots and state terrorists who never met a dictator she didn’t like (so long as said dictator professed to be anti-Communist).
The inspirer of a wealth of deservedly angry protest music, which helped to transform punk and “postpunk” from an aesthetic niche into a sociopolitical movement, at least in the British Isles.
In her day, and since, some have argued that Thatcher should at least be respected as “a strong woman,” and even as a feminist of sorts.
I would argue that she helped disprove one of the most easily disproven tenets promoted by some feminists, that “Women” are innately the Moral Sex.
And Thatcher helped prove another tenet, that a woman is capable of doing anything. Including very, very bad things.
Thatcher, of course, didn’t do all she did by herself.
She was an active frontwoman for a group of movements with different but similar goals—to defund the poor, to smash organized labor, to redistribute wealth into fewer and fewer hands, to turn the state into the tool of financial speculation, to prop up even more brutal regimes from Chile to South Africa.
And Britain, and the world, are still feeling the ills from them.
via seattle bike blog
The setting: KeyArena, 2:20 on a Wednesday afternoon. The place is filled with 15,000 middle- and high-school students and their adult chaperones. I’m in a staff lounge, preparing to start working on the tear-down crew at the end of this event, watching the on-stage action from a video feed.
From the elaborate stage, event hosts Craig and Marc Kielburger tease an already hyped-up crowd with the promise of a final surprise guest. Then they introduce said guest.
This is followed by the screechingly loudest human noise imaginable, as the young crowd screams in unison.
It is only due to the miracle of modern amplification that local hereos Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (with their full live band) can be heard.
Thus ended the first non-sporting event I’d been to in KeyArena since presidential candidate Barack Obama’s visit in the spring of 2008. That event, like this, was a rousing call to action.
But the Obama rally was a mere toe-tapper compared to the rafters-shaking experience that was We Day, a five-hour celebration of kids getting involved in their communities and in the larger world.
We Day has been staged in cities across Canada for the past six years. This was the first one held south of the border.
Its parent organization, Free the Children, was started by the Kielburger brothers when Craig Kielburger was age 12. Their original intent was to crusade against forced child labor in Pakistan.
Since then, the organization has grown and evolved. It supports activities in 45 countries from Ecuador to India. These include schools, clean-water projects, and cottage industries making craft products. These projects’ overall goal is to “adopt” whole villages, helping create a sustainable infrastructure of education, health, and livelihood.
On the home front, Free the Children works to get kids involved in social change. It encourages kids to raise money and volunteer their time for overseas projects. And it empowers kids to work in their own communities against hunger, abuse, bullying, and dropping out of school.
Every part of Free the Children’s outreach to North American students is about positive empowerment. Burnout, or “compassion fatigue,” has no place in this outfit’s mindset. Everything’s about getting up, getting involved, doing things, speaking out (or, in the case of its forthcoming Day of Silence project, deliberately NOT speaking).
We Day is both a call to action and a celebration for those who’ve already been active. Kids got to go to it by having volunteered for both local and global causes.
In return, they got to spend a day out from school among kids bused in from all over the state. They got gift bags containing motion-powered light up plastic wristbands (donated by Microsoft, one of the event’s local sponsors). They got to partake of an extravaganza of entertainment and exhortation, of high-energy rally speeches alternating with live music and video segments of kids making a difference.
I worked on a part of the setup and teardown crew, and found a highly efficient organization behind it. Perhaps no recent event at the Key had needed so much stuff placed in so many places throughout the building. Besides the huge main stage (with two video walls) on the arena’s south end, a secondary stage with a video floor was set up on the north end. A gift bag was placed on every seat in the auditorium. Booths selling T-shirts and giving away promotional flyers were set up along all the concourses. Some lounges and luxury suites were reconfigured to welcome event staff, volunteers, adult supporters, and sponsors. Ground-floor dressing rooms had to be spiffed up at least a little for all the celebrity guests.
Those guests included Sonics legend Gary Payton, Mia Farrow (Payton Place meets Peyton Place!), Martin Sheen (delivering a rousing secular sermon about making a difference), MC Hammer, Martin Luther King III, Nelly Furtado, and local breakdance stars the Massive Monkees.
The most enthusiastically-received of the announced guests, “Dreamgirls” star Jennifer Hudson, performed two high-energy song and dance numbers.
But even Hudson couldn’t raise louder screams than Macklemore, wearing a replica Sonics jersey embossed with the slogan BRING ‘EM BACK. (A men’s pro basketball team bearing that name may indeed show up in KeyArena later this year.)
But this day was not about sports fandom, despite the presence of Payton, Magic Johnson, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and several of his star players including Russell Wilson.
What We Day was all about was getting involved in things bigger than sports, things bigger than yourself.
And having a raucously good time while doing so.
(Cross-posted with City Living.)
david rosen, west seattle herald
washington dept. of natural resources via kxly-tv spokane
No, today’s princess is not about romance: it’s more about entitlement. I call it “girlz power” because when you see that “z” (as in Bratz, Moxie Girlz, Ty Girlz, Disney Girlz) you know you’ve got trouble. Girlz power sells self-absorption as the equivalent of self confidence and tells girls that female empowerment, identity, independence should be expressed through narcissism and commercialism.
So it has come to this. The Seattle Times, unable (just as most all metro dailies are unable) to survive on shrinking print-ad volume and meager online-ad revenue, is resorting to the “paywall.”
Starting some time in mid-March, full access to the Times website will be restricted to paid subscribers.
Print subscribers will get full online access. Online-only subscriptions will be available at $3.99 per week (following an initial discount). That’s higher than the Sunday-only print subscription price, at least within King County. This is undoubtedly devised to prop up the paper’s print numbers, particularly on ad-flyer-heavy Sunday.
In announcing the paywall on Sunday, Times executive editor David Boardman wrote that the money’s needed “to support quality journalism.” The essay’s comment thread, natch, is full of wags snarking that “quality journalism” is worth paying for but the Seattle Times isn’t.
Even more than some metro dailies, the Seattle Times has painted itself into this corner, over many years.
It’s held to a bland, institutional ethic and aesthetic; even as its average reader became older, squarer, and whiter than the metro area’s overall demographic.
Its editorials hewed as close to a GOP party line as the Blethen family dared, in a solid-Blue city.
Faced with ever-declining revenues, it chose not to “reinvent” itself. Instead it became an ever-smaller version of its same-old same-old.
One issue this past month hit a new low of 22 pages (the bare minimum under its current design).
If there’s anything I’ve learned in my many years of studying the media, it’s that if you want to be “supported,” you’ve got to make people actively want to support you.
A thin assortment of lifeless stories about the ritual dances of politicians and corporate press releases ain’t gonna accomplish that.
(Meanwhile, one national commentator claims paywalls aren’t really working so well for non-national, non-business-centric papers.)
Wash. state’s still got America’s most regressive tax system.
And nobody this year seems to be even trying to do anything about it.