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SAVING METRO (PARTLY)
May 21st, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

seattletransitblog.com

Public transportation is more popular here than ever, with continued ridership growth on King County Metro buses.

These same buses are currently threatened with service cuts of 15 percent or more.

Two different schemes to prevent these cuts have failed. Seattleites are about to face two or three proposals, all of which would restore only some of the threatened cuts.

How did we get to this predicament?

First, the Washington State Legislature failed to act.

Back when sales tax revenues first started to go “pfft,” the state passed a law allowing King County to temporarily add a $20 surcharge to the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET), to make up the difference and help keep transit systems running.

But that temporary authority runs out this year, and the Legislature failed to renew it.

That particular inaction goes back to Rodney Tom’s party switch that gave Republicans control of the state Senate. That body has resolutely refused to pass any transportation package that included any money for Metro Transit, no matter how desperately the rest of Washington needed road improvements (remember the Mount Vernon I-5 bridge collapse?).

Without the state approving the renewal of car tabs for transit, and with sales tax revenue still down sharply since 2008, the county scheduled a special election referendum in April.

It would have combined $60 car tabs and a one-tenth-of-a-percent sales tax increase, to fund both preserved Metro service and road projects in the county.

The referendum was poorly timed and poorly campaigned for, particularly in the suburbs.

(There was also almost no organized opposition, except from the Seattle Times editorial board and one small campaign group led by Eastside conservatives.)

The city approved the proposal, in some districts by huge amounts; but the ‘burbs voted no, defeating the whole thing.

It undoubtedly didn’t help that the ‘burbs have always gotten relatively less Metro service than Seattle, by population and tax revenue.

That’s been the case ever since 1973, when the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (a taxing district formed more than a decade before to clean up Lake Washington) took over the city-owned Seattle Transit System and the private Metropolitan Transit Company. Metro has spent four decades trying to beef up suburban service (especially in recent years), even while in-city and commuter usage has grown.

After the special election’s failure, Metro officials announced a preliminary list of cuts to be made, perhaps as early as September. 550,000 hours of service per year (down from an initial estimate of 600,000) would go away. These would include 69 total routes, and reduced or restructured service on some 80 other routes.

The cuts would be phased in over a one-year period, with “lower hanging fruit” (lower-ridership runs) dying first. Those would include the “Night Owl” runs after 1 a.m.

By the final phase-in of cuts, many familiar routes would disappear. They include #26 to Fremont and Green Lake, #66 to Roosevelt and Northgate, #4 to East Queen Anne, #60 to First Hill and Broadway, and #99 along the waterfront (the bus that replaced the still-mourned Waterfront Streetcar).

But wait! To the rescue, but only of in-city routes, came “Plan C.”

It was an initiative filed by a group called Keep Seattle Moving.

It would raise property taxes within the Seattle city limits (by 22 cents per $1,000 of assessed value), to fund bus service, but only along routes whose service hours are 80 percent within the city limits.

If the initiative made the ballot, and if it then passed, it would have raised $30 million per year for six years. In-town riders would have their service preserved, or in some cases restored. That’s because it wouldn’t have taken effect until after the first round of cuts.

The initiative sponsors officially suspended signature-gathering efforts after Mayor Ed Murray announced “Plan D.”

It’s another city-only plan. It would combine a vehicle license fee and an o.1 percent sales-tax hike. It would preserve some, but not all (and not the first scheduled batch of) bus-service cuts in town. It would have to pass both the City Council and city voters.

But wait! Here come City Councilmembers Nick Licata and Kshama Sawant with “Plan E.”

It would increase taxes on employers and commercial parking operations, replacing the sales-tax part of Murray’s proposal. It would only need the City Council’s approval, so it could be passed before Metro starts cutting routes in town. (Though the first round of cuts would still go through, at least temporarily.)

For the rest of the county: tough darts. More long car commutes, more traffic messes, more impossible-to-get-to jobs in remote office parks, more pollution.

And more people stuck in cars, as potential captive audiences for conservative talk radio, where they can be preached to about Seattle’s evil big-spending ways on such silly luxuries as public transit.

(Updated from a post originally cross-posted with City Living Seattle.)

RANDOM LINKS FOR 12/2/13
Dec 1st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

A long-delayed batch of randomosity (the first in more than a month) begins with the discovery of the newest local “mainstream microbrew.” Underachiever Lager appears to have begun as a promo vehicle for Tacoma designer-casual-wear company Imperial Motion, but is now being rolled out as its own thang in select local bars.

  • The countdown to the possible decimation of King County Metro Transit continues, with professional Seattle-haters in the Legislature officially not giving a damn.
  • Could the Seattle Monorail Project really be brought back from the dead?
  • About eighteen years past due and not a moment too soon, there’s finally a local music show back on local TV. It’s Band in Seattle, and it airs at 11 p.m. Saturdays on the once-mighty KSTW (which hasn’t had any local programming in ages).
  • Dj and promoter Derek Mazzone offers a fond remembrance of Ace Hotel/ARO.Space/Tasty Shows/Rudy’s Barbershop entrepreneur Alex Canderwood.
  • We must also say goodbye to Dee Dee Rainbow, a longtime Meany Middle School art teacher, a fixture at just about every jazz show in the region, and a figure of joy and celebration wherever she went.
  • As has been expected, a mega-developer is buying the old “Fairview Fannie” Seattle Times HQ. The 1930 art deco façade features might be retained.
  • Monica Guzman has seen one of Amazon’s new “webisode” sitcoms and finds it to be a dreary dude-fest with female characters decidedly de-emphasized.
  • Sinan Demirel at Crosscut remembers homeless-housing projects of the past, and ponders whether they contain any lessons for today.
  • Is there really such a thing as “The Seattle ‘No,’” depicted as a passive-aggressive copout response? I’ve certainly had few problems saying a firm “No” to questions just like this one.
  • City Councilmember-elect Kshama Sawant isn’t even in office yet and the carpers, local and national, are already circling.
  • The Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center is in severe financial straits and might not survive.
  • One of my fave hangouts, Bill’s Off Broadway at Pine and Harvard, closes Monday nite. Yep, redevelopment strikes again. The pizza/pasta joint and sports bar has already opened an exile location on Greenwood Avenue, and should be back in the rebuilt corner in 20 months’ time.
  • To the surprise of very few, David Meinert and his partner Jason Lajuenesse are taking over the Comet Tavern.
  • Matt Driscoll at Seattle Weekly describes Boeing’s single, unacceptable, set of take-it-or-leave-it demands for labor givebacks as the “dick move of the week.” But don’t worry; billionaire CEOs have made plenty of dick moves just in the two weeks since then.
  • Lemme get this straight: A local ad agency is trying to convince other ad agencies to make ads here in Wash. state by playing on the image of this as a place where people don’t like being advertised to. Or something like that.
  • KIRO-TV salaciously described the sidewalks surrounding City Hall Park and the Morrison Hotel as “The Most Dangerous Block in Seattle.” A local merchant there begs to differ, and asks that the down n’ out be treated with “your hope, not your contempt.”
  • We’re learning that every time there’s a closed subculture run by leaders who demand total obedience, there’s apt to be child abuse. Latest example: NYC’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/16/13
Jul 15th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • I’ll have my own comments about the big Sub Pop anniversary shindig in a bit. But here’s Charles Peterson’s definitive pic of the event.
  • The next local funky institution to fall victim to overdevelopment: the venerable downtown music club Noc Noc.
  • We already told you of the development scheme that would erase Wallingford’s beloved Chinese restaurant and dive bar Moon Temple. Now it turns out CVS, a pharmacy chain with little presence in this region heretofore, is anchoring the project. A petition has been started.
  • One of those Forbes.com “contributors” describes today’s Pearl Jam as a “mature lifestyle business.”
  • How do artists make it fiscally in today’s Seattle? With great difficulty.
  • The Pike Place Market’s “gum wall” is bigger than it’s supposed to be.
  • At Microsoft today, “radical” reorganizations are almost as frequent as they used to be at Apple. (By the way, here’s what Jean-Louis Gassée, who led Apple during some of that firm’s reorgs, had to say last year about MS’s callous way of picking people to fire.)
  • UW students are planting anti-human-trafficking messages with feminine napkins. The story doesn’t say how the students plan to get the products to the intended recipients.
  • Alaska Airlines doesn’t want the City of SeaTac to impose “living wage” requirements on airport-based workers.
  • Still need a tourist destination for the rest of this summer? Check out Pocatello ID’s “Museum of Clean.”
  • Some extremist nutjob tried to pass off footage of the 2011 Vancouver Canucks fan riot as if it were Miamians protesting the Zimmerman verdict, instead of depicting the peaceful, anti-violence protests here and elsewhere.
  • Mark Sumner at Daily Kos ponders whether humankind’s strive toward a greater future could just putter out.
  • Bob Moser at The American Prospect sees the south turning solidly progressive, but perhaps not for another decade.
  • Some YouTuber has edited all of Terry Gilliam’s animations from Monty Python’s Flying Circus together into four complilations.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/13/13
Jun 12th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via musicruinedmylife.blogspot.ca

The Fastbacks, the “Seattle Scene’s” most enduring band (and one of its most loveable), recorded lots of great cover songs (originally by the Raspberries, the Sweet, and even Sesame Street!) in addition to their many originals. Some of these were buried on “tribute” compilation CDs. Here’s a list of 17 such tunes, and a slightly longer but still incomplete list.

Elsewhere in randomosity:

  • According to Richard Metzger, the greatest document of Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles musical career is a concert doc filmed in Seattle—in the acoustically notorious Kingdome, even.
  • David Meinert’s growing restaurant empire will include the successor to Capitol Hill’s legendary dive bar the Canterbury.
  • Time to restart the neo-Sonics rumor mill again. Now, Chris Hansen and co. are reportedly negotiating for an expansion franchise.
  • The state’s thinking of authorizing private pot smoking clubs. I only ask that they be ventilated in such a way as to keep that weed stink off the streets.
  • The Republican-stalled Legislature still hasn’t saved King County Metro Transit. But, on the Seattle-only transit front, Mayor McGinn still plans to invest in a new downtown streetcar line. This probably means the mourned Waterfront Streetcar will remain dead for the foreseeable future.
  • Meanwhile, the second Monorail Initiative tell-all book is out. It’s called Rise Above It All. It’s written and self-published by Dick Falkenbury, the ultimate political outsider and co-instigator of the plan that would have had trains on grade-separated tracks, roughly where the RapidRide C/D bus goes now.
  • MTV’s playing music videos (remember them?) again. But just for half a day, on the Fourth of July.
  • A woman at the big video-game industry confab Tweeted® a complaint about the lack of female starring characters in new video games. Cue the bigoted trollbots in 5, 4, 3….
  • R.I.P. Arturo Vega, associate of the Ramones for their entire band-career and designer of the group’s “All American” logo (still worn on T shirts by people who weren’t alive when the band was together).
  • Steven Spielberg sez the reign of action mega-blockbusters (and of the big Hollywood studios!) is only a few box-office flops away from being over. Then he says audiences can expect really high prices for the privilege of seeing a movie in a theater (yes, even higher than they are now).
  • Robert Reich sez we could have full employment, even in an age of robotized manufacturing and other techno-”innovations,” if we only had the political will to make it so.
  • A UK pundit with the appropriate name of Tom Chatfield agrees with me that society, far from becoming “post literate,” is actually more dependent upon written language than ever. And he ponders whether it’s a good thing:

There is no such thing as a private language. We speak in order to be heard, we write in order to be read. But words also speak through us and, sometimes, are as much a dissolution as an assertion of our identity.

  • Turns out the heroine from Brave isn’t the only female character in cartoons (and toys) to have been “tarted up” in recent years. Just look what they’ve done to Strawberry Shortcake!

ebay photos, via thestir.cafemom.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/2/13
Jun 2nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

joshua trujillo, seattlepi.com

  • There was a remembrance in Cowen Park marking one year since the Cafe Racer tragedy.
  • Unlike some of the “radicals” fighting against low wages at fast-food joints, I actually patronize fast-food joints. And I want the fine people who prepare my meals to be properly compensated for the fine work they do.
  • The FBI investigated the song “Louie Louie” for two whole years, only to find a simple love lyric made unintelligible.
  • Will legal pot in our society lead, invariably, to corporate pot?
  • To Microsoft’s regret, it just can’t get people to say “Let’s Bing it.”
  • Our ol’ pal Gillian Gaar reports the “Welcome to Aberdeen: Come As You Are” sign might come down.
  • Who, besides “out o’ sight, out o’ mind” NIMBYs, benefits from the suburbanization of poverty?
  • A Cheerios commercial features a nice interracial family. The usual dorks and trolls respond as you’d predict.
  • Lawrence Lessig would like a Democratic Party that’s less beholden to corporate funders.
  • Texas: future Democratic stronghold?
  • Some people will miss making fun of Michelle Bachmann. I won’t.
  • The Chicago Sun-Times, once billed as “Chicago’s Picture Newspaper,” is firing all its photographers.
  • No, Ms. magazine, the 10 most important things American women could not do before the 1970s wold probably really include more important things than “read Ms. magazine.”
  • Istanbul was Constantinople. Now it’s a battleground of democracy vs. shady dealmaking.
  • WikiLeaks dude Julian Assange sees today’s Google as an increasingly reactionary gang of government-butt kissers.
  • Let’s close with a haunting look at a run down (but still open!) tourist site, the Flintstones theme park in Arizona.

messynessychic.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/16/13
May 15th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Maureen Johnson asks for an end to stereotypical “For Women” book covers. Huff Post readers have added Photoshopped gender-bender cover versions for famous novels.
  • Is Wash. state really the least-cussing, cleanest-speaking place in the nation? And who the stinkin’ heck cares?
  • Cheers to the 400-ish people who showed up and spoke out in favor of preserving transit in King County. For some reason I thought we should have been past this need by now.
  • Rebecca Mead at the New Yorker wrote a bizarre essay sorta based on Amanda Knox’s memoir. Matt Briggs gives it a cut-up pastiche alteration, only slightly less comprehensible than the original. (As for me, my news diet is still like the old Gulf gasoline brand—No-Nox.)
  • The leading producer of Cinemax’s “skinemax” softcore shows was denied a mortgage on “moral reasons.” By one of the top housing-bubble and foreclosure-mania perpetrators. Yeah, like they know anything about morals.…
  • As the female/male ratio in China continues to decline, Chinese women factory workers are gaining more workplace clout.
  • In the grand tradition of the fake postmodernist essay generator, there are now “SEO text generators” that automatically create awful self-help and how-to Web pages, crafted to appear high on Google’s search results. Only the perpetrators of these textbots are completely serious about it. Which makes their output even funnier.
  • Item: Paul Allen just sold a 1953 abstract painting by Barnett Newman for $43.8 million. Comment: Did the buyers think they were getting the original negative to the film The Thin Blue Line?

wikipedia via king5.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/9/13
May 9th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • We’ve got to save Metro Transit from the devastating cuts that have decimated Snohomish and Pierce counties’ transit systems. There’s a public forum about it on Tuesday, 5/14, 3 p.m. at Union Station. (Despite the unfortunate, pseudo-snarky tone of the hereby-linked article at KOMO’s SeattlePulp.com, its message is important.)
  • While upscale NIMBYs fight to keep those dirty non-upscale people out of their “clean” neighborhoods via attacks on “aPodments” (the only affordable, non-subsidized housing being built in town these days), the building of mass-produced “exclusive” luxury apartment towers continues unabated.
  • Seattle Weekly Shrinkage Watch: Restaurant reviewer Hanna Raskin (with whom I appeared last year at a MOHAI/Seattle Public Library “History Cafe” panel) has quit, rather than accept a lower-paying job as a “food and drink editor.” Back in the Weekly’s heyday, restaurant reviews were more prominent than any other “culture” category, accounting for almost a quarter of the paper’s cover stories. Now, they might or might not be part of the paper at all. (The Weekly’s also fired its music editor Chris Kornelis.)
  • Meanwhile, the Weekly’s onetime sister paper the Village Voice is down to 20 editorial staffers. Its two top editors received orders from on top to cut five of those positions. Instead, they quit.
  • Amitai Etzioni at the Atlantic claims “the liberal narrative,” which he defines as support for big-government paternalism, “is broken.” No, it isn’t. It’s government itself that’s broken, and only the “liberal narrative” has the means to fix it.
  • Jeanne Cooper, 1919-2013: The dowager “Duchess” of The Young and the Restless had played the same role for just short of 40 years. Before that she’d been in countless westerns and dramas (The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, etc. etc.). Her three kids include L.A. Law/Psych star Corbin Bernsen.
  • In not-at-all-surprising news, YouTube will add paid-subscription channels.
  • Let’s close on a happy note (on the 80th anniversary of Hedy Lamarr’s breakthrough film Ecstasy) with Hysterical Literature, a video project by photographer Clayton Cubitt. In each segment a woman reads from a favorite book while, out of camera range, a second woman gives her a Hitachi Magic Wand vibrator treatment. (NSFWhatever.)

via criminalwisdom.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 4/3/13
Apr 3rd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

david rosen, west seattle herald

  • All the local mainstream media today believed you all were really really interested in the slow seaborne arrival of Bertha the boring machine.
  • As you know, I normally loathe the term “world class,” particularly when used to describe something someone wants to impose on Seattle. But this might be the exception: Stunning Seattle, a project to festoon the city with “world class murals.”
  • In my last Random Links post I neglected to mention the deaths of two longtime local politicos, campaign operative extraordinaire Blair Butterworth and former Seattle City Councilmember Cheryl Chow. Both, in their own ways, helped the cause of progress in the state and the city.
  • Newspaper Shrinkage Watch: Starting June 1, the Aberdeen Daily World will now only print three days a week (Tue/Thu/Sat). Publishers promise they won’t fire any more reporters when they make this move.
  • Art Thiel’s got a great piece in Seattle Business about the new Husky Stadium, and how the UW managed to get it built without state tax dollars. Among the tricks: The U sent out the construction bids at the nadir of the late 2000s real-estate slump, and got a cash windfall from the new Pac-12 Network.
  • Paul Rosenberg at Alternet ponders whether “rational decision making” has become too unpopular in this country—not among the faux-populist teabaggers but among “the elites.”
  • Every week, more ultra-rare film and TV material shows up online and within the film/video trading circuit. And for almost 10 years now, Film Threat‘s Phil Hall has kept track of it at his column “The Bootleg Files.”
  • Fujifilm won’t make motion picture film any more.
  • Intel’s supposedly working on an online-based alternative to cable TV. It probably won’t cost any less, though, because the big cable channels will want to collect the same “carriage fees” per subscriber.
  • Meanwhile, Variety lists Microsoft and Amazon among the other companies “that pose the biggest threat to pay TV.”
  • I’ll believe Leno is really being shown the door this time when I see it, and perhaps not even then. Supposedly it’ll be next February.
  • Good news for everybody who hates those horrible, deliberately badly-written, how-to and self-help articles clogging up the top of various Google search results. Web-pundit Steve Floyd now proclaims that “search engine optimization” or “SEO,” that mystical pseudo-science of crafting useless web pages in order to game the search engines, “is dead.”
  • The “Harlem Shake,” that 15-seconds-of-fame online video “meme,” was largely crafted and publicized by corporations.
  • Allen Clifton at ForwardProgressives.com has assembled a handy series of compelling arguments you can use on your right-wing relatives.
  • Finally, some beautiful, haunting images of Greek prostitutes by photojournalist Myrto Papadopoulos. They’re shown as regular (albeit beautiful) folks just trying to make it in a lousy economy.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 3/4/13
Mar 4th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via vintageseattle.org and capitolhillseattle.com

  • The old Club Broadway disco on Capitol Hill, previously a Masonic Scottish Rite Cathedral, was torn down ages ago, leaving only a “stairway to nowhere.” Surprisingly, given all the other re-development activity nearby, the lot’s going to stay vacant for the foreseeable future.
  • How do you honestly talk about the humanities in high school, when one parent’s complaint means you can’t say anything about “racism and social justice”?
  • Meanwhile, Knute Berger has a great piece at Seattle magazine about our fair city’s unfair past; specifically, explicit racial discrimination in housing. It existed openly and legally (with contractual “covenants” binding home buyers to never resell to blacks, Hispanics, Asians, or even Jews) as late as 1968. Berger notes that…

In 1964, Seattle voters soundly defeated an “open housing” ordinance that would have let anyone live anywhere. It lost by more than 2-to-1.

  • You know how Amazon’s now building three 50-story towers on the Toyota of Seattle, King Theater, and Sixth Avenue Motor Inn blocks. But word just got out that the e-tail giant has options to buy three nearby blocks from the Clise family, who’ve owned the lots since the 1930s. One of these houses the Hurricane Cafe, which for 19 years has carried on the 24-hour dining tradition of the legendary Dog House that preceded it (without, alas, the previous joint’s class).
  • Jon Talton wishes Boeing execs would go on an “apology tour” to their workers, the Puget Sound area, and their shareholders, expressing their sorriness over pretty much everything they’ve done this past decade.
  • In where-are-they-now? news, ex-Nirvana drummer Chad Channing is back with a new band, Before Cars.
  • Gonzaga men’s basketball: #1 in the nation. UW men’s basketball: don’t ask.
  • A Republican apologizes for something! It’s for claiming that bicycles pollute just like cars.
  • Pot as a business model goes over well in Yakima.
  • There are two pending death-penalty cases in King County. They’re both now on hold.
  • Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon asks, “Did the Internet kill Girls Gone Wild?” The answer, for good or ill, is no. Joe Francis, founder of the public-nudity video label, is simply going into bankruptcy protection to weasel out of money he owes to a Vegas casino magnate. It’s a personal matter, not directly related to the company.
  • Morrissey is still a self-righteous egomaniac, but at least he’s a morally consistent self-righteous egomaniac.
  • An LA record-store chain is selling its own digitized versions of out-of-print LPs for download. The company claims it’s legal (it sets aside a portion of each sale into an escrow account, to be sent to copyright claimants if they ask). But is it right?
RANDOM LINKS FOR 1/22/13
Jan 22nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

kentaro lemoto @tokyo, via daily kos

  • Hey McDonnell Douglas Boeing, how’s that whole foreign outsourcing thing working for ya?
  • Add to the endlessly growing list of cool places disappearing: the Alki Tavern, where bikers once held drunken brawls in front of a spectacular Elliott Bay view. Yep, the real estate’s going for luxury condos. Damn.
  • Already gone before we could say goodbye: Costa’s Opa, Fremont’s anchor Greek eatery for 32 years. The villain in this story is the same as the one in the Queen Anne Easy Street Records disappearance: unChaste Bank.
  • The NY Times has officially “discovered” Pike/Pine. Does that mean the place is, you know, “over”?
  • City bureaucrats still don’t want meals for the homeless to be served, you know, where the homeless are.
  • There might be nothing sicker, and sadder, than allegations of sexual harassment at King County’s sex crimes unit.
  • Not every Catholic priest does horrible things to boys. At least one’s been caught dealing meth and having sex with (adult) cross-dressers.
  • Atari has faced “Game Over” before. But this time, its fate is in the hands of obscure holding companies and hedge funds.
  • Last week’s Saturday Night Live tribute to the tropes of (clothed dialogue scenes in) ’70s softcore movies definitely qualifies as a “10 to 1″ sketch, the edgier or just odd stuff often snuck in at the show’s end.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/20/12
Aug 19th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

slate.com

  • The images used to sell prog-rock LPs are often more intriguing than the noodle-y music itself.
  • Jonah Keri at the ESPN/McSweeney’s site Grantland lists 27 notable things about Felix Hernandez’s perfect game. That’s one item for each out.
  • And here are some clips and GIFs of Hernandez’s feat, and a video compiling all his 27 consecutive outs.
  • When Metro Transit dumps the downtown “ride free area” next month, ride times and congestion could get significantly longer/worse. That’s in addition to the impact on people of all economic castes getting around in the city’s center.
  • Tuition at Washington’s major colleges and universities more than doubled over the past 20 years, while average incomes stayed flat.…
  • …while state-government employment dropped by more than 15,000 people this past year.
  • Bill Maher says outright that “voter ID laws are racist;” while a Republican Senate candidate in Missouri suggests repealing the Voter Rights Act.
  • Unknown artists spent a lot of time creating a big installation piece using stuff found inside an abandoned Detroit church.
  • Tony Scott, 1944-2012: The director of Top Gun died from a depression-inspired suicide, just like too many of our real-life troops.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/16/12
May 15th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

The recession has claimed another victim, the Betsey Johnson boutique on Fifth Avenue.

  • King County Exec Dow Constantine was caught with an email revealing he’d had an affair with a co-worker. At a press conference, “No Drama Dow” (who has an unmarried live-in partner) quietly admitted the indiscretion.
  • The city and county could announce they’re signing off on the Sodo arena plan as early as today.
  • KOMO’s Ken Schram insists that the poor (and everybody else) should still get to buy things with cash.
  • A community activist group says light rail has accelerated the gentrification of the Rainier Valley, making the mixed-race neighborhood a lot paler.
  • Video footage helps a May Day protester escape prosecution.
  • The wages of not supporting the iPhone: T-Mobile USA‘s laying off another 900 workers.
  • First it was nuns. Now the right-wing Catholic bishops are harassing the Girl Scouts. (Make your own joke about how everybody knows they prefer boys.)
  • ‘Future of News’ Dept.: A spokescritter for Rupert Murdoch’s iPad news app The Daily (no relation to the infinitely more distinguished UW Daily) insists the online newspaper is on the road to profitability.
  • Even with health insurance, medical care is getting prohibitively expensive.
  • America’s real first gay president? Buchanan.
  • Michael Lind at Salon asks, “Why do conservatives hate freedom?”…
  • …while “MinistryOfTruth” at Daily Kos makes brutal accusations toward your sterotypical teabag conservative:

I don’t think you do love America. At least, not as much as you hate everyone in America who isn’t exactly like you.

sobadsogood.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 4/18/12
Apr 18th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

alliance for pioneer square via seattlepi.com

  • An artistic ad poster, promoting the native American cause “Honor the Treaties,” was wheat-pasted in multiple copies all over a series of artists’ murals in Pioneer Square. The “Honor” campaign didn’t do it, and neither did the poster’s original artist. It was PosterGiant, the city’s leading poster putter-uppers.
  • Congress just might kill off “Boeing’s bank.”
  • One idea to save journalism is the concept of a nonprofit news website. Several of these are already up in scattered spots around the country. But the IRS is taking its own sweet time processing some of their applications for official nonprofit status.
  • Here’s King County Metro’s current plan for bus changes effective September. A few new routes would be added, but a lot of key current routes would be reduced or dropped.
  • You’ve only got 44 more days to enjoy your state liquor stores.
  • This story speculating about potential “robot prostitutes” reminds me of (1) that whole “dildonics” nonsense in the 1990s, and (2) Westworld. Remember: Nothing can possibly go wrong….
RANDOM LINKS FOR 3/10/12
Mar 9th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

american institute of architects—seattle

  • If we must get rid of High School Memorial Stadium at Seattle Center, it ought to be replaced by a municipal “back yard,” not yet another municipal “front lawn.” Consider this while perusing some architects’ proposal to turn the site into a “Seattle Jelly Bean.”
  • Back from the dead like a James Bond villain, it’s the Wash. state film tax-break program! Resurrected by the Legislature, just before the end of the regular session. Will this mean at least a few “set in Seattle” movies might actually, you know, be made here?
  • We’ve said that one possible fiscal end game for the Seattle Times could involve it becoming subsidized by local business bigwigs, either directly or via vanity ads. Here’s an example of the latter: Boeing’s in-house magazine Frontiers, which will now be a monthly ad insert in the Times.
  • Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy #1: Mr. Bellevue Square just lost another anti-public-transit crusade.
  • Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy #2: Professional faux-populist power monger Tim Eyman just lost another anti-common-sense crusade.
  • “Tukwila now has the most diverse school district in the nation.”
  • Here’s another tribute to art director extraordinaire Dale Yarger, by my fellow Fantagraphics refugee Robert Boyd.
  • Elaine Blair at the NY Review of Books compares single-male characters in novels (deathly afraid of being spurned and belittled by women) to the male authors of these novels (deathly afraid of being spurned and belittled by women readers).
  • Arts activist Scott Walters takes aim at the so-called “progressive” nonprofit arts community, in which a few big institutions grab most of the funding and expect the rest of us to wait for the wealth to “trickle down.”
  • Here’s a wake-up call to all the defeatist lefties I know who still believe, as one friend once wrote, that “Fox News is the most popular TV channel.” In reality, “Jon Stewart Crushes Fox News in the 2011 Ratings.” (Yet still, this aging, shrinking audience is the only audience today’s Republican Party bothers with!)
  • A long, cute infographic compares Apples® to apples.
A FEW MORE CLUES
Dec 11th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

Besides my current contract job deep within the belly of the publishing beast (now on week 12 of what was to have been 7.5 weeks), I’m coming off of a horrid and still undiagnosed chest thang that had me coughing and hacking like hell.

So I’ve been spending most of my non-working hours resting, not preparing blog posts.

Here are some random links I’ve been saving up.

  • “Metronatural,” Seattle’s second dumbest tourism slogan (after “The Emerald City”), may be on the way out.
  • The 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair approaches. The Seattle Channel’s ready with a handy video retrospective.
  • Eric Scigliano goes to the once lily white suburbs of south King County to check out the ethnic variety that’s settled in there, as well as the recessionary troubles.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders has proposed a constitutional amendment to get corporate megabucks out of American politics. Nobody expects the proposal to move an inch in the megabucks-owned Congress. The alternate route would be a new “constitutional convention,” which could put up such an amendment for passage by state legislatures (which are also more or less megabucks-owned).
  • The Wall Street banksters own so many politicians that nobody dares to officially investigate all their funny-money nonsense.
  • Local music mainstay Jesse Sykes complains there’s too much music out these days. Jake Uitti responds by accusing Sykes of having a “fold city” mentality. Uitti defines that as…

A state of being defined by lack, self-oppression and ultimately the judgment of others.

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