Sep 24th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

from smelllikedirt.wordpress.com

  • Seattle’s rotting produce and other food waste goes to a composting plant in Everett. Our newest export: stink.
  • If, as the Times‘ Danny Westneat claims, Microsoft no longer needs over $100 million instate tax breaks, does the Times still need its own state tax breaks?
  • As the last beams at the old Boeing Plant #2 come down, Jon Talton notes that the old Boeing corporate culture is also now mostly gone, replaced by Jack Welch-style cost cutters and bean counters.
  • Local essayist Seth Kolloen compares the early years of Pearl Jam to the Kemp/Payton era Sonics. At least we still have Vedder & company.
  • Descendents of Capt. William Clark (of “Lewis and…”) built a symbolic canoe for a southwest Wash. tribe, to replace one the captain stole way back when.
  • A few right wing writers and pundits have identified the biggest force restraining their corporate masters from getting everything they want. It’s democracy. Therefore, to these guys democracy is something icky that must be done away with.
  • A few handy comparisons between right-wing fantasyland and reality.
  • You’ll have to listen instead of getting to read, but here’s an argument for the premise that punk rock was invented by Jews.
  • Sara Horowitz sees a new “middle class poverty” in which everybody’s treated as (and as badly as) freelancers, and envisions a “jobs plan for the post-cubicle economy.”
Sep 11th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

scene from antiwar protest downtown, march 2003

After all the recycled bluster about the police and the firefighters and especially the troops, about the valiant politicians and the flag waving celebrities, about the need to never forget the horrible day which begat the horrible decade of the endless wars and the mass intimidation and the institutionalized fear mongering and the ugly racism and the corruption of democracy, what more is to be said?

Quite a bit.

We can remember the World Trade Center’s Seattle architect, Minoru Yamasaki (1912-1986). His local works include Puget Sound Plaza, Rainier Square, the Pacific Science Center, and the IBM Building (based on his early WTC design work).

Yamasaki didn’t live to see the towers attacked. But he knew the consequences of war-inspired fear and prejudice.

It was only the intercession of an early employer, and the fact that he was working in the northeast at the time, that got him exempted from the WWII internment of western Americans of Japanese ancestry.

We can remember the opportunities for international cooperation to build a safer world. And how those opportunities were deliberately quashed by the Bush-Cheney regime.

We can remember the Patriot Act, the TSA, the “total information awareness” domestic eavesdropping scheme, the media’s ignoring of an initially strong antiwar movement, and all the big and little ways the regime waged war on its own citizens.

We can remember the Americans troops still in harm’s way in Afghanistan and, yes, in Iraq. And those who didn’t make it back. And those who are back home but seriously harmed physically and psychologically, and who have received insufficient care.

We can remember the thousands of Iraqis and Afghanis who had nothing to do with the original attacks but died in the ensuing wars and occupations.

We can remember we still need exit strategies from both occupations, strategies that will protect Iraqis and Afghanis of all sexes and ethnicities.

We can remember the terrible damage wrought on the U.S. budget by war spending, combined with the millionaires’ tax cuts and the rest of the neocon economic misadventure.

And remembering all that, we can say, yes, “never again.”

Never again will we be manipulated by fear, either by foreign civilians or by our own leaders.

Never again will we let peace and reason be treated as dirty words.

Never again will we invade first and ask questions later.

Never again will we strike against entire nations over the horrendous crimes of a few dozen individuals (most of whom had never lived in either invaded nation).

Never again will we allow fear of “Islamic” fundamentalist repression to become an excuse for “Christian” fundamentalist repression.

Never again will we sacrifice our freedoms under the excuse of protecting them.

Sep 5th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

  • At Grist.org, Claire Thompson looks wistfully at south Seattle’s prized yet delicate ethnic/religious/class diversity, and wonders how it can survive.
  • There was a big political science convention in town this past week. (An odd phrase, considering the number of politicians these days who officially hate regular ol’ science.) Anyhoo, Peter Steinbrueck spoke to the gathering about how this country needs more regional decision-making bodies to plan metro-wide futures.
  • The head of Belltown’s Matt Talbot Center, a Christian alcohol/drug recovery center, was arrested and is on suicide watch, for “investigation of attempted rape” of a 10 year old boy. Let’s spare the snark and focus on the tragedy for now.
  • The head of the Seattle police union apparently believes diversity, tolerance, and common human decency are somehow anti-American. This is not going to turn out well. In fact, it already hasn’t.
  • Don’t look for a lot more living wage jobs any time soon. At least not from corporate America.
  • Eric L. Wattree believes the nation’s #1 problem isn’t the economy (as putrid as it is), but “the Republican sabotage of America.”
  • Finally, here’s a brief peek at Nicholson Baker’s novel House of Holes; specifically at the orgasm sound-effect words and phrases therein.
Aug 31st, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

619 western's exterior during the 'artgasm' festival, 2002

  • We begin with the end of a 27-year tradition. The 619 Western Building artists will hold their actual, for-real-this-time, final First Thursday art show tonight. Like the previous one, it will actually occur in the south parking lot outside the building.
  • The feds want to protect Bellevue-based T-Mobile USA from AT&T’s planned takeover.
  • Port Townsend town leaders are getting a federal grant to start a privately run, tourist-oriented passenger ferry from Seattle. Rides are expected to go at $20-$25 a ticket.
  • Tacoma doesn’t want any more big box chain stores for the time being.
  • Employment in Puget Sound country? Rising up to mediocre. In the rest of the state? Still putrid.
  • Those “tea party” scream-bots love to interrupt Democratic politicians’ town halls. But when they’re elected, they don’t like to hold any fully public meetings of their own.
  • That “Latino gang problem” in south King County, mentioned in yesterday’s Random Links? Keegan Hamilton at Seattle Weekly says it’s way overblown.
  • Howard Schultz’s crusade to get CEOs to stop giving to politicians seems to be working. If, by working, you mean cutting off money to Democrats, while the super-PACs giving to Republicans get ever super-er.
  • The HP tablet device became so popular at really cheap close-out prices, that HP’s getting more made—to be sold at the same near-total-loss price. This is politely known as dot-com economics at work.
  • Just when we got excited that JC Penney was coming back to downtown Seattle, the company has to pull one of the ultimate all-time product FAILs. Yep, we’re talking about the girls’ shirt bearing the slogan “I’m too pretty to do homework, so my brother has do it for me.”
  • Glenn Greenwald describes the “war on terror” as “the decade’s biggest scam.” Considering all the other scams competing for that title, that’s saying something.
  • What sounds weirder—Al Jazeera’s claim that Dennis Kucinich tried to help Gaddafi stay in power, or the associated claim that Kucinich’s partner in the scheme was a top ex-Bush aide?
  • We end with the end of a 42-year tradition. All My Children taped its last network episode Wednesday.
Aug 30th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

  • Judy Lightfoot offers a thorough history of Metro Transit’s downtown Ride Free Area (originally marketed as the “Magic Carpet Zone”), which several powerful people believe is an idea whose time has gone. (I don’t.)
  • Sierra magazine calls the UW America’s “greenest” college.
  • Portland school officials campaigned directly for a school construction bond measure. That kind of campaigning is illegal there. The proverbial poo is a-flyin’.
  • The right-wing Heritage Foundation calls Jim McDermott Washington’s least liberal Democratic congressperson. Their calculating is a little flawed.
  • As an argument against that ranking, consider McDermott’s latest crusade, to make electronics companies prove they’re not buying “conflict metals” from brutal African warlords.
  • Correction to yesterday’s Random Links: Turns out the Wash. state legislature’s ethnic-minority percentage isn’t 6.6 percent but 6.8 percent.
  • Next year’s state budget battles are already underway. A public-employee union chief insists the state shouldn’t embark on a big transportation master plan without restoring some of the recent deep cuts to other vital services.
  • King County’s searching for “true solutions” to endemic Latino gang violence, particularly in the southern ‘burbs.
  • Could Shoreline extend its city limits into the next county?
  • The conservative but “hip” Mars Hill Church is on the road to becoming its own national denomination. (Though it’s not using that specific word.)
  • Bill O’Reilly’s Neanderthal attitude towards women isn’t just reflected in his on-air rants against contraception, but in his personal campaign of vengeance against his estranged wife and her new man.
  • Not only do politicians and the Supreme Court mistakenly treat corporations as people, but marketing analysts see brands “becoming human.”
  • The dumb “rapist as rebel hero” meme has spread from L.A. hiphop to open mic comedy nights.
Aug 29th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

  • Those of us who were looking forward to that separatist, elitist Burning Man institution’s imminent demise are outta luck. A nonprofit is being formed to take over future annual festivals. Among other effects, it means those who go there this year for the first time will get to annoy everybody back in their hometowns in subsequent years, with sermons about how much more “pure” the festival used to be.
  • Ex-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld held a book signing in Tacoma. Antiwar activists, including the widow of a Ft. Lewis soldier who committed suicide, tried to disrupt the proceedings and got roughed up.
  • Can something really be done to stop drug selling in Belltown? I say, it’s not likely as long as the First Avenue glamour-bar scene keeps attracting so many affluent drug buyers.
  • Ain’t them Sounders something? Well, yes they are.
  • Despite the elimination of state tax breaks for filmmakers, one production is underway on the Eastside—a horrific true-life drama.
  • As Wash. state’s government payroll gets smaller, it’s also getting whiter. Gov. Gregoire’s response: more “staff reviews” and talk about the importance of diversity.
  • Gay marriage—here next year?
  • For reasons I won’t get into, I witnessed the closure of the (high level) West Seattle Bridge late Saturday night. Sadly, it wasn’t due to road work, but to a jumper, who eventually “succeeded.”
  • Gawker’s unsupported rant that Seattle was “a very annoying place” has made Seattlest’s “Seattle stereotyping hall of shame.”
  • Qaddafi, Gadaffi, Gadhafi, however you transliterate the name—he lived the typical dictator’s opulence amid public squalor. And his son and daughter-in-law were grotesquely brutal to the household staff, in ways unimaginable outside of a Japanese gore movie.
  • Megabucks campaign financing just continues to get bigger and more corrupt. But you knew that.
  • And Republicans increasingly bind themselves around an anti-science, anti-thinking ideology. But you already knew that.
  • Ad Age lists some lessons from past recessions, for those businesses that still need to sell tangible products to U.S. consumers.
  • I keep getting asked about this, so for the record: The L.A.-based chain In-N-Out Burger is not, repeat NOT, opening in Bellevue. Not this year, not next year. It was just an Eastside food blog’s April Fool’s gag. Need proof? Just look at the link in the story for “View renderings of the new restaurant here.”
Aug 27th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

from alleewillis.com

  • The Martin Luther King Memorial in DC will not be dedicated this weekend as scheduled, due of course to the hurricane. That gives more time for critics to bash the whole thing—for being designed and built in China (allegedly by unpaid labor); for being backed by big corporate interests King might have protested against; and for generally depicting King as a “dreamer,” not the rabble rouser and afflicter of the comfortable he really was.
  • Veterans’ activists allege the suicide of a Ft. Lewis soldier a few weeks ago should be considered murder, committed by a military that utterly fails to tend to Iraq vets’ post-traumatic and other disorders.
  • Campagne, the longtime upscale Pike Place Market restaurant that’s produced the annual Post Alley Bastille Day fetes, will now be called “Marché.” I guess it’s OK since that outfit a couple blocks away isn’t using the word anymore.
  • The Boeing 787 was officially approved for passenger travel, more than three years behind schedule.
  • Erica C. Barnett asks why the $400,000 the City contributes toward Metro Transit’s potentially doomed Ride Free Area couldn’t instead be used to buy automatic ticket-selling machines. Because that’s not free downtown transit for the people who need it, that’s why!
  • In other transportation news, the Sightline Institute has the good news that young adults are driving a lot less these days.
  • MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan has a new name for the billionaires and their cronies grifting from the rest of us for their own needless gain—”corporate communism.”
  • Was your favorite American-made electric guitar built with endangered imported wood?
Aug 23rd, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

  • Juan Cole does something that a lot of pundits do, to my dismay. He posts a list of the “Top Ten Myths About the Libya War.” But he never quotes or cites these memes he’s denouncing. Who actually claimed Gaddafi was a “progressive,” or that he would not have massacred more of his own people given the chance? Cole only sources one of the assertions he puts down, quoting Alexander Cockburn as saying the war would end badly and Libya could get broken up at its end.
  • Here’s the full text of Dennis Kucinich’s Hempfest speech calling for “a new activism in the United States.”
  • Is it culturally insensitive to call a young boys’ sports league “midget football?”
  • Much of Capitol Hill, including big swaths of Broadway and Pike/Pine, were rendered powerless by an electrical blackout Monday afternoon/evening. It lasted just long enough to mess up the commute home and close bars during happy hour.
  • A Seattle U. report claims the South Lake Union developments have generated all the jobs they were predicted to generate back in the early 2000s, and a little more.
  • The state’s now making the sellers of toys, cosmetics, and baby products reveal when their products contain any harmful chemicals.
  • Mercer Island (sort of) street theater, part 2: Lefties put up a huge bare-butt balloon near Seward Park, with the caption SHARED SACRIFICE MY ASS. It was hoisted within view of Paul Allen’s M.I. compound.
  • In case you wondered, the Elwha Dam will be dismantled, not imploded.
  • Is this what we’ve descended to, a guy (author-essayist Sam Harris) pleading with America’s rich to put their money behind something, anything, more noble than their own selves?
  • Hollywood scholar Matthias Stork has a name for loud, frenetic, disjointed action movies. He calls them “chaos cinema.” And he doesn’t like it:

It’s a shotgun aesthetic, firing a wide swath of sensationalistic technique that tears the old classical filmmaking style to bits.… It doesn’t matter where you are, and it barely matters if you know what’s happening onscreen. The new action films are fast, florid, volatile audiovisual war zones.

  • R.I.P. Jack Layton, leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, who’d led his left-of-center bloc’s recent push to become that country’s Official Opposition (i.e., #2 in number of Parliament seats). That was in May. In July he stepped down from the NDP, announcing he had cancer. Layton was a fighter for workers, for the homeless, for the environment, and for preserving Canada’s superior health care system.
Aug 22nd, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

The cowriter (with Mike Stoller) of countless hits for Elvis, Peggy Lee, Ben E. King, Shirley Bassey, Big Mama Thornton, Bill Haley, the Drifters, the Coasters etc. died 34 years to the week after Presley’s own death.

While Leiber and Stoller hadn’t many new hits after their ’50s-’60s heyday, their older songs remained alive in the oldies canon, as well as in the general culture.

Alice Walker wrote an oft-reprinted 1983 essay lauding Thornton’s version of “Hound Dog” as superior to Presley’s (an opinion with which Leiber agreed).

Twenty years ago, the Broadway revue Smokey Joe’s Cafe mixed slick-sanitized renditions of 40 Leiber/Stoller oldies within a fab-’50s nostalgia theme.

In the early 2000s, Leiber was an outspoken co-plaintiff in the record industry’s lawsuits to shut down online file sharing.

And, of course, there was the Leiber/Stoller tribute episode of American Idol this past May with guest star Lady Gaga.

Aug 21st, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

OK, so Seattle is one of America’s most predominantly caucasian big cities.

But it’s not nearly as totally white as some people seem to think it is.

Enter Sarah Lippek, who offers “a few words on the purported whiteness of my hometown:”

If you do not see people of color on your block, at your job, or in your schools, it is decidedly NOT because Seattle’s population is too white. It’s because your block, your job, and your school are actively maintaining racial segregation.

Lippek then explains our town’s history of restrictive “racial covenants” in real estate contracts. From there, she relates that while minorities aren’t legally forbidden from owning homes in large parts of the city any more, the legacy continues:

These boundaries were drawn by racist law, and are enforced by income inequity, imprisonment and disenfranchisement, the property-tax based education system, the drug war, repressive police strategies – and by white peoples’ continued willful blindness to the very existence of people of color in the city.

Aug 18th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

1983 ad from vintagecomputing.com

  • Hewlett Packard’s spinning off or selling its PC hardware business, and shutting down its smartphone and tablet lines altogether. The hereby linked article doesn’t mention HP’s printers, or their worth-their-weight-in-gold ink cartridges.
  • Krist Novoselic’s staging an all-star Nevermind tribute show on Sept. 20, during the breakthrough Nirvana album’s 20th anniversary week. It’ll be a fundraiser for Susie Tennant, a longtime local music industry fixture who’s going through some nasty cancer treatments.
  • Sarah Ann Lloyd at Seattlest’s take on the state’s drive to make bars pay thousands in back “opportunity to dance” taxes, which the bars had never heard of before: It’s a vague ordinance, open to too-wide interpretation.
  • As we’ve already reported, the County Council’s compromise to save Metro Transit includes dumping the downtown Ride Free Area, starting in Oct. 2012. Real Change’s Timothy Harris alleges Metro management was in on “this opportunistic attack on the poor,” in order to “get the visible poor off the bus.”
  • Stephen H. Dunphy at Crosscut claims there are “two economies” in the Seattle area, (1) high-tech and (2) everything else. Guess which one’s actually working?
  • If you’re in that stagnant second economy, you might consider retraining in a new field. If so, you might think of this as absolutely the wrong time to slash community college funding.
  • Casino losses have funded something important. It’s the Tulalip Tribes’ new $19 million cultural heritage center.
  • In non-tunnel road news, construction of the new 520 bridge is set to start next year, even though the state doesn’t have the money to build anything on the bridge’s Seattle end.
  • There are (relatively) little guys in the gasoline business. They’re the station owners, trapped in unequal marriages with their franchisor/suppliers. One such case has resulted in 17 ex-Arco stations in Tacoma and environs and a bitter legal dispute between a multi-station franchisee and BP.
  • Can ex-UW president Mark Emmert, now running the NCAA, actually do anything to stem big-money corruption in college sports?
  • Bill Clinton now claims to be a vegan. Does that mean he’s going to become as annoyingly sanctimonious as the rest of ’em?
  • Someone’s found a use for print newspapers! It involves stealing them in bulk for the purpose of “extreme couponing.”
  • Here comes the backlash against Standard & Poor’s, about three years late.
  • According to the “hacktivists” at Anonymous, a defense contractor and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce got together to infiltrate and sabotage progressives in online social networks. One scheme involved fake a Facebook profile using the real name of a Maxim model.
  • R.I.P. Gualtiero Jacopetti, creator of the original Mondo Cane and many of the “shockumentary” films that followed it.
  • Elsewhere in filmland, here’s an essay praising Chinese underground cinema as real independent cinema. No official support. No submissions to state censorship committees. No theatrical or above-ground video releases. No commercial potential. No careerist ambition. No bosses except Art herself.
  • Here’s a Vegas hotel implosion story with a difference—the 27-story tower has never been opened.
Aug 16th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

j.p. at the pike place market centennial, 2007

  • J.P. Patches (sometimes also known as Chris Wedes), the beloved former local kid-vid star, has announced he has terminal cancer and will retire from public appearances in the next year.
  • For a time on Monday, the deal to save King County Metro transit with a car tab surcharge seemed in trouble. But enough Republican County Council members eventually came through. Yay!
  • Speaking of which, you know Metro’s Route #48? The long route that goes almost all over Seattle except downtown? The Bus Chick blog relates the route’s hidden history. It was the result of a ’60s community drive to bring more bus service to the Central District, particularly directly from there to the UW.
  • A book collector and an author claim storied frontier bank robber Butch Cassidy wasn’t killed in Bolivia but retired quietly to eastern Washington, where he lived until 1937. (Thankfully, that was long before the awful cartoon show that stole his name.)
  • Speaking of cartoons, Renton police believe they’ve identified, and have disciplined the officer who allegedly posted those web animations critical of the department.
  • The lady from suburban Detroit who got in trouble with her town council for having a vegetable garden in her front yard? She was in Seattle recently, and has some intriguing thoughts about what makes our city different from hers.
  • SeaTimes writer Jon Talton really doesn’t like that Washington Mutual’s execs won’t get prosecuted for their role in the housing-bubble fiasco.
  • Adventures in intellectual property: A heretofore obscure provision in the 1978 copyright law means recording artists can start reclaiming their rights to works from that era, away from the once mighty record labels, providing they give two years’ notice about it. Of course, the record labels interpret this part of the law far differently.
  • Warren Buffett wants folks in his tax bracket to pay more taxes. Which will happen as soon as folks in his tax bracket no longer control the election process.
Aug 14th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

2005 fremont solstice parade goers at the lenin statue

  • The Lenin statue in Fremont is privately owned, and is for sale. But nobody apparently wants to buy it.
  • Minorities: Bellevue’s got a lot more of ’em these days, sez the Census. Seattle’s got a lot fewer.
  • Art Thiel wants you to know the big Husky Stadium rebuild, to begin this winter, involves no taxpayer funds. Just private donations and bond issues to be repaid out of UW Athletics income.
  • Ex-State Rep Brendan Williams wants Washington state’s progressives to “get some backbone” about preserving vital services in the state budget.
  • Starbucks boss and Sonics seller Howard Schultz’s latest big idea: Big election-campaign donors like him should vow to boycott funding election campaigns. Of course, if Democratic donors like Schultz are the only ones doing the boycotting….
  • There’s a plan to create a “Jimi Hendrix Park,” next to the African American Museum at the old Coleman School. It would be the fifth Hendrix memorial of one type or another (not counting the Experience Music Project, which parted ways with the Hendrix heirs during its development). Cobain still has just that one unofficial park bench in Viretta Park and a city-limits sign in Aberdeen.
  • Rolling Stone put out a reader poll declaring the top punk acts of all time. The list put Green Day on top and included not a single female. FlavorWire has come to the side of justice with its own in-house listing of “15 Essential Women Punk Icons.” The NW’s own Kathleen Hanna, Beth Ditto, and Sleater-Kinney are on it, as is onetime Seattleite Courtney Love.
  • Many, many indie-label CDs were in a warehouse that burned during the London lootings. Some labels might not survive the blow.
  • Mike Elgan at Cult of Mac sez Apple’s invented all the big things it’s going to invent for a while. We’ve heard this one before.
  • And for those of you heading back into the working life (you lucky stiffs, you), take heed Peter Toohey’s thoughts (partly inspired by the late David Foster Wallace) on “the thrill of boredom:”

Boredom should not be abused, exploited, ignored, sneered at, rejected or talked down to as a product of laziness or of an idle, uninventive and boring mind. It’s there to help, and its advice should be welcomed and acted upon.

Aug 6th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

  • Our ol’ pal David Goldstein floats the idea that Metro Transit perhaps should be broken up, with Seattle resuming authority over in-city bus routes (including funding authority), intercity routes given over to Sound Transit, and King County keeping the rest of the system. (Seattle ran its own bus routes before Metro was formed in the early 1970s.)
  • Meanwhile, Jason Kambitsis at Wired.com believes transit is a civil rights issue. It allows lower-income people to get to work and other places without the relative huge expense of car ownership.
  • Another bicyclist was struck by another hit-and-run driver in Seattle. Fortunately, this victim will live.
  • In what might be a grandstanding move but is still welcome, state Attorney General (and gubernatorial candidate) Rob McKenna is lashing out about what he calls Bank of America’s shoddy foreclosure practices
  • …and the Washington Mutual execs who steered the state’s last homegrown big bank into the heart of the mortgage-bubble disaster won’t be prosecuted.
  • The Mariners have finally gotten rid of designated hitter Jack Cust, whose very name invokes what M’s fans have done a lot of this year.
  • The young City of SeaTac finally got its first big protest march (by and for hotel workers).
  • Would the Midwestern funny-money fiddlers who now run Boeing really ruin the company’s whole quality reputation and value chain just to stick it to Wash. state? Maybe.
  • When inappropriate quasi-racist comments about Obama will be made, Fox News will make them.
  • Another slice of the media biz that’s in apparently inexorable fiscal decline: cable porn. The Gawker.com story about this, naturally, can’t stop repeating the word “shrinkage.”
  • To end on a fun note, here are some cool pictures of old cassette tapes.
Aug 4th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

pride parade viewers at the big popsicle

(A relatively long edition this time, bear with.)

  • So, who’s responsible for the giant Popsicle art piece (an instant popular hit!) at Martin Selig’s Fourth and Blanchard Building? It’s Mrs. Selig.
  • Architecture critic Lawrence W. Cheek sees the Amazon.com campus in South Lake Union as “sleek, stiff, anonymous modern boxes, impeccably executed, with rarely a whiff of whimsy or personality.”
  • Wright Runstad, the real estate developer who’s got the lease on most of the old Beacon Hill hospital building (where Amazon.com was headquartered until recently) have proposed a deal with King County. The county would move its juvie court and jail up the hill (paying rent to WR), while selling WR the current juvie campus south of Seattle U (nine eminently developable acres).
  • UW computer science researchers are trying to write an algorithm to generate “that’s what she said” jokes.
  • Some anonymous person posted crude web-animations snarking about fictionalized versions of Renton police personnel. Renton police want to find and jail whoever did it; thus proving themselves eminently worthy of such ridicule.
  • Without illegal immigrants, say buh-bye to Wash. state agriculture.
  • Local composer David Hahn pleas for an end to the decimation of arts funding.
  • Family and friends of the slain native carver John T. Williams have finished a memorial totem pole. The 32-foot carving is supposed to be installed in Seattle Center. Sometime.
  • White artists in South Africa are now depicting themselves as outsiders.
  • Bad Ads #1: When fashion magazines and their advertisers depict 10-12 year old girls looking “sexy,” are they really promoting anorexia?
  • Bad Ads #2: Did the London Olympics promoters who used the Clash’s “London Calling” in a commercial even listen to the song first?
  • Do violent deaths really rise during Republican presidencies? One author claims so.
  • Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has a new advisor. It’s Robert Bork, the onetime Supreme Court nominee. Bork, you might recall, hates porn, birth control, feminism, the Civil Rights Act, and free speech. Romney, you might recall, is billing himself as the sane alternative to the other Republicans who want to be President.
  • Economist Umair Haque, whom I’ll say more about next week in this space, believes declining consumer spending isn’t part of the problem, it’s part of the solution.
  • For two consecutive years, a suburban Minnesota high school’s idea of homecoming-week fun was to have white kids dressing up like stereotypes of black kids. Somebody finally sued.
  • There’s another political move to negate your online rights. As usual, the excuse is “protecting children.”
  • Contrary to prior announcements, Jerry Lewis will not make a cameo final appearance at this year’s muscular dystrophy telethon (itself no longer a true telethon, just a really long special). Perhaps that means the show can finally stop depicting “Jerry’s Kids” as pitiful waif victims, and instead depict ordinary, fully extant boys and girls (and men and women) who simply have a medical condition.
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