Mar 12th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Garance Franke-Ruta at the Atlantic wishes U.S. feminist demonstrators had more dignified, less confrontational visual icons under which they could march. Symbols like “Columbia,” the historic female representation of the nation/continent/hemisphere. Of course, there’s this little matter about how this icon is now best known as a movie-studio logo—now owned by Sony….
  • Are the Sonics Back Yet? (Day 63): No. But Chris Hansen is taking names for a “priority ticket” waiting list.
  • Do you wanna believe Knute Berger, who mourns the pending loss of certain local architectural landmarks to developers and their megabucks lawyers? Or David Moser at Citytank, who believes higher-density urban neighborhoods are the only way to keep lower-income folk from being shoved out to costly, car-dependent suburbs?
  • Richard McIver, 1942-2013: The 12-year Seattle City Council vet, who was the lone “token black” on the district-less council, was a regular champion for civil-rights issues and for neighborhoods the city often took for granted. And he made a great foil for Grant Cogswell.
  • Military officials don’t like a proposal in the state legislature to let “payday loan” companies trot out even more predatory lending products (which are often, but not solely, aimed at troops and their families).
  • Yep, police still don’t want police reforms. But they insist it’s a “labor issue.”
  • The Center School can again teach its “Citizenship and Social Justice” class. But the school district has imposed vague, unspecified restrictions on how it can be taught.
  • Meanwhile, Ta-Nehishi Coates wants to remind you that even “good people” can turn out to be racists.
  • Fret not, Tiffany Willis claims: America is irreversably “becoming more liberal.”
  • Cord Jefferson at Gawker believes when journalism is only open to people who don’t need a paycheck, only people who already have money will be journalists; and, possibly, only stories of interest to people who already have money will be reported.
Mar 6th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey


  • Some clever Brits have devised “Scarfolk,” a blog of made-up historical artifacts from a fictional (and dreary as hell) English town. Along the way, they have a lot of fun with ’60s-’70s UK graphic design.
  • An “alternative taxidermy” artist from Tacoma will appear on a reality-TV show on Thursday evening.
  • Also on Thursday, a Belltown boudoir-photography studio’s holding a “donate a bra” night to help clothe the needy.
  • The next big Seattle Schools scandal: alleged racial double standards in student discipline.
  • The secret ingredient of Seattle hiphop just might be Pho.
  • Local stoners might want to drag out their right-wing grandparents’ “Get US Out of the UN” signs.
  • Another year, another threat of no Fourth of July fireworks unless big donations pour in.
  • Perhaps 60 Everett Herald print/distro workers will lose their jobs as Sound Publishing (which already has its own Everett printing plant) takes over the paper.
  • The Atlantic, supposedly one of the “success stories” of legacy print media in the Internet age, is not above asking writers to work for free.
  • Staged readings from Lolita are in hot water in Russia, thanks to the Putin regime’s calculated drive to demonize liberals and Westerners “for the benefit of a poorer, older, more rural voter base.” Hmm, that sounds familiar….
  • It’s a “golden age for corporate profits.” Just not for the rest of us.
  • Get ready for North Pole ship crossings, thanks to that climate change that billionaires pay Republicans to claim doesn’t exist.
  • Australia’s “multiethnic” TV channel goes to the lands surrounding the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and finds tales of horror and survival.
  • Peggy Orenstein notes that the “Disney Princess” characters, and their counterparts in other fictional universes, aren’t really about waiting for a prince as they are about vanity and shopping:

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.

Mar 4th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey


Former Seattle Times staffer Glenn Nelson has thoughts of his own about the paper’s pending online paywall (or, as he calls it, its “digital tin cup”).

Nelson mentions how, following his Times years, he served in several “subscription-model Internet startups.”

At those places, Nelson kept fretting that the Times would suddenly wake up and smell the digital coffee, then trot out online products based on the vast manpower the paper had (at the time) in sports, entertainment, food, and business coverage, and in photojournalism. (Nelson doesn’t think a better Times local-news site would have mattered, because “general news already was being rendered a commodity on the Internet.”)

These sites, had they been created, would have blown away any indie-startup competition.

But they never showed up.

Meanwhile, news-biz pundit Alan D. Mutter dissects why many people under the age of 45 don’t like print newspapers. It’s because they’re just too inconvenient to have around.

Mutter quotes venture-capital exec Mary Meeker as claiming…

…that young people don’t want to own CDs, haul around books, buy cars, carry cash, do their own chores, or be committed to a full-time job. Instead, they use their smartphones to buy, borrow, or steal media; rent shared cars at home and book shared rooms when they travel; hire people to buy groceries or cut the grass; and use apps from Starbucks and Target to pay for lattes and redeem coupons. Many of the digital natives even prefer short-term gigs that allow them to arrange their work around their life, rather than arrange their life around their work.

Actually, many younger (and older) adults would like full time jobs if there were any around to be gotten. But that’s beside the point here.

More important is Mutter’s observation that…

…The warmed-over digital fare offered by the typical newspaper falls well short of the expectations of two whole generations of consumers who are not only empowered by technology but also damn well sure of how to get what they want.

Feb 25th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

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.)

Jan 29th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

chris lynch, seattlest (2010)

Seattle Weekly now has new owners and a new office in Pioneer Square, not far from where the paper had begun way back in ’75.

And it’s going to have a new publisher and a new editor. Those guys announced their respective departures just after Sound Publishing took over the title.

I’ve sent in my application to be the Weekly‘s next editor.

I told them they shouldn’t consider me if they just wanted someone to supervise more shrinkage, with the occasional formal nod to “social media” and online platforms.

But if they wanted someone who would fight to make the Weekly matter to this city again, I’d be their person.

David Brewster’s original Weekly team vowed to bring us, as one of their ad slogans put it, “the news that actually matters.”

That goal can be revived.

The Weekly can be a lot more than just another freebie collection of entertainment listings and medical-pot ads.

It can be the “grownup” alternative to the Stranger; the seriously progressive alternative to the Seattle Times; the street-wise alternative to KUOW.

Think of the pre-cutback versions of Willamette Week and the NY Observer. Papers that treated their entire cities, and everything that occurred within them, as their “beat.”

Imagine a news/opinion organization that makes the right kind of noise, that afflicts the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, that answers the questions and questions the answers.

Not just another formulaic “alt weekly” but a full service forum where anything can be discussed and there’s always something new.

That’s what I want to help create.

It would be far easier to create that entity from the Weekly‘s existing staff, circulation, and ad accounts.

But if not, then a startup.

People ask what I want to really do with my life. That’s it.

Jan 25th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

the aurora kmart in 2002

  • Seattle’s last Kmart store, at 130th and Aurora, has lost its lease and is closing. It first opened in 1968 as a branch of White Front, the long-defunct California chain that begat Toys “R” Us.
  • Daniel B. Wood at the Christian Science Monitor asks whether Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner is “too high-tech for its own good.”
  • Do we want the Arboretum’s “ramps to nowhere,” the only surviving legacy of the rightfully-halted R.H. Thompson Expressway project of the early 1970s, to be removed? I say no.
  • Could legal “pirate” (quasi-unlicensed) radio be coming to Seattle?
  • How to guarantee a huge turnout at a city hearing: make it about making the rules for legal pot sales.
  • R.I.P. Mary Shirley, who with her ex- Microsoft exec hubby was a major art collector and Seattle Art Museum donor.
  • Local blue-eyed-rap star Macklemore has one devout anti-fan in Brandon Sodenberg (“safe-as-fuck, liberal meme-rap”).
  • In case you’d forgotten, the Chihuly Museum people promised a kids’ playground and a gallery space for other Northwest artists, in exchange for taking up a huge chunk of Seattle Center land. Neither is anywhere in sight.
  • In “boring” news, the big waterfront tunnel digging machine got some small but significant damage during testing in Japan.
  • Janie Stilgoe at The Guardian says the days of “content” web sites scrambling to game Google’s search results through “search engine optimization” are over. Google’s revamped its algorithms specifically to discourage it. Instead, Stilgoe says web sites (including news sites) should embrace “content marketing,” whatever that is.
  • And let’s end it for today with a scenic tour past some “Faded Motels of the Rust Belt.”

via huffington post

Jan 9th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via jim linderman on tumblr

  • Dear Bellevue Police: People have sex. Sometimes the people who have sex are co-workers. Deal with it.
  • You missed the suddenly announced closing night at Cafe Venus and the Mars Bar. It’s been around at least 16 years (the space, in a lovely old Eastlake Ave. apartment building, was the Storeroom Tavern previously). It hosted countless bands. It was cooler than all get out. Its status has been in doubt, like the statuses of so many cool spaces, for several years now.
  • C.B. Hall at Crosscut reminds us that real “bus rapid transit” isn’t like Metro’s “RapidRide.” The real thing has its own lanes, for one thing.
  • The Seattle Times couldn’t possibly be buying Seattle Weekly. That makes about as much sense as HP buying Compaq (oh wait, that actually happened).
  • Shelby Scates, 1932-2013: It’s not just that we’re losing some of the great local journalists of our time, but that there’s no means to develop worthy successors.
  • A 2007 anti-Iraq-war protest at the Port of Tacoma led to six arrests. Now the case is finally going to court.
  • As the Legislative session nears, Brendan Williams at Publicola pleads for state Democrats to stop talking like diluted Republicans.
  • We’re Number Five! (In terms of lousy traffic.)
  • How did Vancouver’s economy do during the soon-to-end Hockey Lockout II? Not that badly.
  • Newsweek refugee Andrew Sullivan’s new site won’t have ads. P-I refugee Monika Guzman agrees with the strategy. Guzman claims online ads earn too little money these days, and many sites that try too hard to attract ad revenue turn into useless “click whores.” But the problem then becomes attracting enough readers who like you enough to support your site by other means (pledge drives, merch/book sales, etc.).
  • Hamilton Nolan at Gawker insists that real journalism means writing about someone(s) other than your own narcissistic self.
  • “Intercity bus and rail ridership up, as car and air travel remain flat.”
  • Folks luuuvvv those big online college courses. As long as they don’t have to pay for ’em.
  • Frank Schaeffer isn’t the first pundit to note the geographical coincidence between today’s “red states” and yesteryear’s “slave states.” Nor will be be the last.
  • In Iceland, like in France at one time, kids can only be named from names on an approved list. One 15-year-old girl is trying to fight that.
  • The college football post-season was mostly a dud. But here’s one “highlight.” It’s the weird one-point safety Kansas State committed after blocking an Oregon point-after-touchdown.
Nov 13th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

Onetime P-I cartoonist Ramon "Ray" Collins, to be featured in the documentary Bezango, WA

  • I don’t often plug Kickstarter fundraising projects here. But there’s one I fully believe in. It’s Bezango, WA, a feature documentary by Ron Austin and Louise Amandes about Northwest cartoonists past and present. It’ll have everybody from David Horsey to Ellen Forney. It should be a blast.
  • It’s been a few days since the last Random Links, I know. No, I haven’t been dancing the liberal’s victory dance all this time. I’ve been working on another National Novel Writing Month novel. This one should be great. I’ve got a scene in which an electronics nerd compares a sexy woman to a freshly soldered joint. (Really.) (That part might not make the eventual final cut, though.)
  • Remember, Seattle parks users: the owls are not what they seem.
  • A nice Wikipedia contributor explains Seattle’s street layout. (This will be on your exam.)
  • Don’t send too many Tweets® from a Husky football game, or the UW will accuse you of being an unlicensed media outlet.
  • Andy Warhol’s studio submitted a proposal to paint the Tacoma Dome’s roof all floral-y. Now, it might finally appear.
  • RIP Tristan Devin, 32. The Capitol Hill cafe owner and comedian was also the director of the “People’s Republic of Komedy,” staging group bills all over town and promoting a standup revival. Among the topics of his own act were his long struggles with depression and experiences in therapy.
  • Bryan Johnson has retired after 53 years at KOMO radio and TV. On the radio side, he’d announced both the death of JFK and the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Transferred to the TV side, he became a sort-of local Mike Wallace. In his booming baritone, he asked the tough questions, he made the snarky comments, he delivered the gloom-n’-doom “analysis.” His official last piece was an in-studio commentary on whether the feds would act to prevent pot legalization here.
  • Some Occupy ____ activists have an idea that might just actually benefit people. It’s called “Rolling Jubilee.” Under this scheme, a donation-funded nonprofit would buy up unpayable consumer debt at pennies on the dollar, just like collection agencies do. But the nonprofit would then cancel, instead of try to collect, those debts.
  • Google allegedly now makes more ad revenue than all U.S. magazines and newspapers combined.
  • Is selling out to commercials now the only viable business model for indie rock bands?
Oct 8th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


  • Did the U.S. Air Force really think up plans for a supersonic flying saucer in the 1950s? And would it have been practical (i.e., would it fly)?
  • What does it mean to be “indie rock royalty” these days? It means you can play Radio City Music Hall and still have to share a studio apartment. Speaking of which….
  • KEXP’s pledge-drive playlist of the most important records of the past 40 years is essentially a canon of “indie” music classics, plus a few “mainstream” mentors. Nevermind predictably tops the listener survey. The list is top-heavy with the Pixies, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., New Order, Arcade Fire, etc. etc. The list’s only surprise is its paucity of female artists. The top woman-fronted act, the Pretenders, appears at spot #51.
  • A HuffPost blogger disparages Vancouver as “No Fun City,” a place where nightlife is essentially nonexistent. I can recall ages ago when I looked up to Van as having the bars and live-music venues Seattle could only dream of having. Since then, Seattle has vastly changed while Van has, if anything, become more moribund.
  • The Olympic Peninsula’s northwest tip has no teen vampires, but it is an ideal spot to measure climate change with solid empirical data.
  • Even “underground food market” dining operations (one-night-only food courts) have to have health permits.
  • Nintendo’s next game machine will be a tablet. It will also stream video content to TVs. It could be big.
  • Amazon’s paying a cool billion to buy the Paul Allen-owned buildings it occupies in South Lake Union.
  • Stalking and harassing apartment residents is no way to sell cable TV.
  • Seattle’s next would-be mega-developers? The Bill Pierre car-selling family.
  • Can the waterfront tunnel be built without massive city subsidies (that the city really doesn’t want to pay)?
  • Stranger staffer Kelly O tells a San Francisco website “12 Things You Should Know About Seattle.” These things include (too much) pot, (endangered) graffiti murals, and (yummy) street hot dogs.
  • White cops shooting at nonwhite civilians with little or no true justification: it’s not just happening here.
  • I had a boring and/or miserable time in the Boy Scouts. But, as we’re all learning, it could have been worse. Much, much worse.
  • CNN contributor Simon Hooper asks if we can finally get over Beatles (and James Bond) nostalgia now.
  • A self-described “middle aged punk” gives forth a back-in-my-day-sonny lament, nostalgizing about getting beaten up by jocks.
  • Don’t look now, but Walmart workers are trying to organize.
  • Having solved all of the world’s other problems, 60 Minutes sics its fangs on the designer-eyeglass-frame monopoly.
  • Today in right-wing sleaze, two GOP senators are asking defense contractors to fire thousands of people just to make Obama look bad; while Arizona is suppressing the votes of up to 200,000 Latino-descent citizens in the name of “cracking down on illegals.” Also, a Legislative candidate in Arkansas says parents should be allowed to put “rebellious children” to death.
  • The University of Idaho’s getting the world’s biggest collection of historic opium pipes. Hey, you gotta have something to do out there.
  • Forbes contributor Steve Cooper believes content-based websites could make more money by directly selling stuff on their sites, instead of running low-profit ads for other companies selling stuff. That biz model might work for sites focused on entertainment or lifestyle topics (music, food, bridal, travel, etc.). For local newspapers’ sites, it’d be a tougher fit.
  • Don’t look now, but rain (remember that?) might finally appear locally later this week.
Sep 23rd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

via yowpyowp.blogspot.com

Having finally gotten the Boomerang cable channel, I’ve become re-acquainted with the early Hanna-Barbera cartoon shows (Huck, Yogi, Quick Draw, ‘Stones, Top Cat, Jetsons, Jonny Quest). They didn’t have fluid movement but they had great visual composition. They had pleasing character designs and cool semi-abstract backgrounds. They had funny dialogue. Then the company got too big and everything went downhill. This B.C.-based blogger explains it all thoroughly, including the links between the Jetsons look and the Space Needle (hint: ours came first).

  • Chris Ballew’s jaunty li’l song from the J.P. Patches memorial celebration is now a video.
  • Seattle’s Capitol Hill was rated America’s eighth “hippest” neighborhood in one of those questionable magazine surveys.
  • Good (media) news, for once: the Village Voice Media chain of papers, including Seattle Weekly, was “taken private” in a management-led buyout. This might mean actual newspaper people in charge again. And Backpage.com, VVM’s oft-criticized sex ad website, will not be part of the new Voice Media Group.
  • We’ve long snarked at TV shows that were set in Seattle but made in L.A. or Vancouver. Now, though, it turns out it’s the L.A. production community that’s worried about “runaway” shows. Of all the new hour-long dramas on the five broadcast networks, all but two are being shot somewhere else. Even one show about young actors trying to make it in Hollywood is filmed in Toronto.
  • Take out the highly GOP-biased Rasmussen poll, and Obama’s currently ahead (at least slightly) in every so-called swing state.
  • The Obama campaign released a fun little online commercial showing how campaigns take opponents’ statements out of context—using real sliced-and-diced Romney quites.
  • Romney’s son admits his dad cheats and laughs about it, then says “that’s what we need in the White House.”
  • What happens when a Koch Bros.-funded super PAC tries to stage a pro-Wall St. rally? It gets infiltrated by “satirical” anti-Wall St. activists in suits and dresses.
Sep 10th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

the impossible project via engadget.com

  • Now you can turn images on your smartphone into real Polaroid®-like instant film photos! (Or you could, if the Kickstarter money gets raised.)
  • KIRO-TV has now posted the entire J.P. Patches/Chris Wedes memorial celebration, including the parts cut for time from the telecast version. And here’s the band Aaiiee’s song “Boris S. Wort,” as heard during the event.
  • Good news, sports fans: Looks like the Seattle City Council has reached a revised pact to get the Sonics arena going, with some developer-contributed cash toward transportation improvements. Now all we need is a team or two to come up for sale.
  • Meanwhile at Crosscut, longshoremen’s union leader John Persak reiterates the line that we can only have either a new arena or a working seaport. I’ve already called this BS, so I won’t do so again.
  • Rain! Eureka! The Crops Are Saaaaved! (Oops, maybe not.)
  • The Wall St. Journal has a major piece about the Hanford cleanup megaproject. The Dept. of Energy is slowing down construction, while it and various other parties argue whether the current design will work at keeping highly toxic radioactive gunk out of any potential contact with the ecosystem.
  • The Slut Walk might not be “redefining feminism” (as the hereby linked Linda Thomas story suggests), but it and similar protests are helping redefine the range of “acceptable” looks/attitudes among those trying to persuade.
  • Some parents don’t like the fact that the Seattle Public Schools are accepting advertising again. Their means of protest: an ad.
  • NIMBY-ism gone tricky: A Montlake neighborhood group doesn’t want walking/bike lanes on any new 520 bridge.
  • Digital media advertising grew in the first half of this year. But print media advertising fell more than digital grew. A lot more.
  • Toys “R” Us will sell its own branded Android tablet.
  • “We all live in a narco submarine….”
  • Third-world forced prostitution is just as tragic when it involves men.
Aug 2nd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

google earth via rhizome.org

  • Clement Valla at Rhizome.org finds beauty and “the universal texture” within the mistakes of Google Earth’s 3D geographical simulations.
  • The musicians’ union would like to create “sustainable” opportunities for local club bands (i.e., gigs with decent pay). Considering how fiscally precarious so many bars and clubs are, this may be a challenge.
  • Amy Rolph at SeattlePI.com, trolling for weird items on Amazon to laff at, found a CD of “lullaby renditions of Nirvana songs.” Rolph calls the electronically-rendered music “creepy.” I call it more like a failed attempt to update the shtick of Raymond Scott’s old Soothing Sounds for Baby LPs.
  • It’s not that “oldies” music is selling more these days. It’s that present-day music is selling less.
  • When classic films meet know-nothing online reviewers, magic happens.
  • Apple has again become the world’s #1 personal-computer maker, if you count iPads as computers.
  • At last, a new job in this town that doesn’t require programming experience. It’s the making of fake poop, to demonstrate new third-world toilet designs for the Gates Foundation.
  • Steven Rosenfeld at AlterNet believes today’s Republicans are “a truly toxic aberration,” an outfit that can only win elections by voter-suppression and other dirty tricks.
  • The “future of news” gurus have long claimed that media companies only needed to hustle for all the web hits they could get, and ad revenue would naturally follow. That’s turning out to not be the case; especially with tablet and smartphone users.
  • Here’s one Russian guy’s idea of how humans could live forever, for just $50 billion in startup costs:
  1. First, invent remote-controlled, humanoid robots.
  2. The next generation of the robots would contain transplanted human brains.
  3. By the year 2045, people’s memories and personalities would be transferred as software into robotic brains. (As we always say with stories like this, “Nothing can possibly go wrong….”)
Jul 10th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

makela steward via rainiervalley.komo.com

Welcome to all our kind readers who still have Internet connections after “Malware Monday.” In today’s randomosity:

  • Let’s congratulate the Seattle woman who just became Ms. Plus Size America.
  • The Tacoma Art Museum is getting a big collection of “western American art,” and a big new building addition to put it in.
  • Wash. state’s wine biz has become big enough for the Gallo empire to move in on it, buying up Covey Run and Columbia Winery. I remember, of course, the late ’70s days when Gallo was radical America’s favorite brand-to-hate, a status later taken by Nike and later still by Wal-Mart.
  • Another sometimes-radical-hated company, Apple, said it will stop submitting its products for “green electronics certification.”
  • Ex-Posie Ken Stringfellow has done a lot since his last solo CD in 2004, including abandoning the States to become a free man in Paris. Now he’s finally getting another set of music out, incluidng a duet with comedian Margaret Cho. Title: Danzig in the Moonlight.
  • One fifth of all “adult fiction” physical books sold in the U.S. this past spring were Fifty Shades of Grey (the submission-porn story set in Seattle by a British author) or one of its sequels.
  • Underwater oil-exploration teams have found the lost city of Atlantis in the North Sea, if you believe the U.K. tabloid Daily Mail (which you really shouldn’t).
  • As banking-behemoth blunders spread to the Brits, one analyst notes that, within the industry, “it had become acceptable or perhaps even encouraged to provide false information.”
  • David Carr summarizes recent developments in the newspaper biz, and, as you might expect, sees a biz whose troubles just keep getting worse.
  • Romney (hearts) the Koch Bros., those campaign-funny-money far-right oil/chemical/paper-towel barons who occasionally claim to be “libertarian” (as in, you know, protecting the “freedom” of mega-corps to control everything and ruin the planet).
  • Extreme heat, like they’ve had everywhere in the contiguous states except here, is lousy for the fish.
  • And finally, local-politics site extraordinaire PubliCola is back! Yaaaayy!
Jun 17th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

ford 'seattle-ite xxi' car display at the world's fair; uw special collections via edmonds beacon

  • In the revived Baffler, self described “anthropologist and anarchist” David Graeber has a long “salvo” of an essay that starts out by asking some of the questions a lot of folks have asked during the World’s Fair semicentennial: Where the heck are the flying cars, missions to Mars, or other techno-wonders we were promised back then? Graeber smoothly segues from that into a more general modern malaise, in which nothing seems to be getting better except info-tech—and that’s turned us all into serfs to bureaucracy, even in our private lives. His answer: a more egalitarian economy. (I know, easier to say than to make.)
  • Online Media Shrinkage Watch: The combo of Crosscut and Publicola turned out to be more of a springtime fling than a marriage. Crosscut’s cutting back. Not just on its new hires (Publicola founders and city hall insider reporters Josh Feit and Erica Barnett), but the site’s existing staff and freelance budgets. Three big funding sources are expiring around the same time. Crosscut founder David Brewster says a new funding scheme (and a reorganization, with Brewster stepping back from full hands-on management of the site) is on the way. And Feit’s talking about restarting Publicola with his own new reorg. Weezell see….
  • As Wash. state’s privatized booze biz rolls on, could people actually start drinking less?
  • Attendance at Occupy Seattle’s “general assembly” meetings has plummeted. Is the organization fading away? If it does, its range of causes has not and will not go away. Tactics change. Goals remain. Eyes on the Prize and all that.
  • While the alpha-male hustlers running most all of America’s tech companies (and the equally estrogen-lacking tech journalists and bloggers) weren’t noticing, Internet usage has become majority female. So are the usages of GPS, e-book readers, Skype, text messaging, mobile-phone voice usage, and more.
  • The Waterfront Streetcar might or might not run again. If it does, it won’t be for at least seven years.
Jun 2nd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

  • More remembrances of the Cafe Racer shooting victims come from the blog of Georgetown bar 9 Lb. Hammer and from 14-year-old Sam David, whose parents Marlow Harris and Jo David curate Racer’s “Official Bad Art Museum of Art” permanent exhibit.
  • Memorials and benefit shows for the surviving victim and the families of the deceased victims continue to be scheduled and put together at a rapid pace. They include a service at St. Mark’s and a jazz jam outside the cafe, both on Sunday evening.
  • What the 1 Percent do in their free time: Ex-Microsoft bigwig Nathan Myhrvold has got his own whole newly-created cooking genre. It’s called “Modernist Cuisine,” and it’s got a professional staff, a huge six-volume manual, plus a best-of cookbook for home use.
  • The several people who’ve left SeattlePI.com in the past year have, to a person, declined to comment on the understaffed “online newspaper” or why they left it. Until now. Cartoonist-columnist David Horsey, now syndicated thru the L.A. Times, has written a “future of news” piece in which he mentions his ex-employer, and implies that that site has become a “click whore.”
  • The reason news sites behave so desperately to gain every single “page view” is that ad revenues per page view are low and getting lower. Meanwhile, Michael Wolff says any fiscal hope for ad-supported content sites is about to implode and soon. The immediate culprit, according to Wolff, is Facebook, with its vast “inventory” of spaces and its investor expectations. But he claims that even without Facebook leading a race to the bottom,

…the value of digital ads decreases every quarter, a consequence of their simultaneous ineffectiveness and efficiency. The nature of people’s behavior on the Web and of how they interact with advertising, as well as the character of those ads themselves and their inability to command real attention, has meant a marked decline in advertising’s impact.…

I don’t know anyone in the ad-Web business who isn’t engaged in a relentless, demoralizing, no-exit operation to realign costs with falling per-user revenues, or who isn’t manically inflating traffic to compensate for ever-lower per-user value.

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