We had a presidential primary in Washington State this week, and if you're confused as to why this happened at the end of May, when Donald Trump is already the Republican nominee and Washington State already had its Democratic caucuses two months ago—well, you're not alone. So I hauled in the sitting Washington Secretary of State, Republican Kim Wyman, to explain—at 1:59—why we just spent over $11 million in public money on a bunch of voting that doesn’t really change anything. I also tracked down Tina Podlodowski, the Democrat who’s running to replace Wyman this year, and at 10:47 we hear her view. After that, at 22:14, a University of Washington grad student who knows what a warmer earth might look like because it’s happened before, millions of years ago. And finally, at 29:28, the general manager of Seattle’s KPLU radio gives an update on the campaign to save KPLU from being bought up by its competitor, KUOW. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.
The writer and Internet troll-slayer Lindy West is on the show this week to talk about her great and super funny new book, SHRILL: NOTES FROM A LOUD WOMAN. It came out this week and Lindy’s going to be appearing at Town Hall next week, on May 25, as part of her book tour. At 1:37, I talk to Lindy, a former Stranger staffer, about her current life as a loud-and-proud feminist warrior who writes for GQ and The Guardian. We also talk about the path that led her to this new memoir, which in part explores her time at the Stranger and her public argument with Dan Savage over how to talk about fat people. Also discussed: What it’s like to pee on the floor of your Seattle public school classroom as a kid, the too-easiness of being a cruel writer, and whether Lindy West—she of nearly 70,000 Twitter followers—might someday be done with Twitter. After that, at 28:06, some calls to the Blabberphone (206-302-2063!) from people who have things to say about the way I talked to the leader of University of Washington Students for Donald Trump last week, the way a caller to the Blabberphone talked about women’s basketball last week, and the positive aspects of Donald Trump’s May 7 visit to Lynden, Washington. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.
Andi Zeisler, cofounder of Bitch magazine, is coming to Seattle next week to talk about her new book, “We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrl to Cover Girl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement.” At 1:30, I talk to Zeisler about her problems with what she calls “marketplace feminism” and her feelings about Beyonce. After that, at 14:07, four Stranger writers who were at the Donald Trump rally in Lynden, Washington last weekend share scenes from Trumpland that still haunt them. Then, at 23:19, I interview Chevy Swanson, leader of University of Washington Students for Trump. Swanson led a campus rally this week that feature a plywood homage to Trump’s promised wall along the US-Mexico border. Finally, at 35:09, a call to the Blabberphone—206-302-2063!—that makes a very good point. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.
This week, at 1:54, we talk basketball—specifically the local basketball fans who totally lost it when the Seattle City Council didn’t do the exact bidding of a billionaire who wants to bring us a new NBA team. Stranger City Hall reporter Heidi Groover explains what the city council did and didn’t do, and then professional sports explainer Spike Friedman takes us inside the brains of the dudes who took to Twitter to say terrible, terrible things about the all-woman city council majority that voted against the billionaire. Then, at 13:45, we take a radical turn away from basketball-obsessed assholes and talk about a tender, tough subject with Angela Garbes. She recently wrote a powerful personal essay about pregnancy loss. After that, at 25:54, David Rolf, a major leader in Seattle’s fight for a $15 minimum wage, talks about his new book on winning higher wages here and nationally. And finally, at 30:05, your calls to the Blabberphone—206-302-2063!—and my responses. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
Huge news this week: We now have a dedicated phone and PHONE NUMBER for Blabbermouth. A Blabberphone if you will. Here’s the digits: 206-302-2063. Call that number to talk back at people you hear on the show, or to tell me about someone I better haul in and question on the show, or to tell me anything else you think I need to know about. Again that number is: 206-302-2063. Call me! I miss the sound of your voice! As for this week’s guests: At 2:37, I talk about May Day and all the different political philosophies it brings out with Dr. Nick Barr Clingan from the University of Washington’s Comparative History of Ideas program. Then, at 19:42, I interview two Seattle anarchists who will most likely be in the streets on May Day—one of whom was riding light rail built by the big bad state government when we talked. After that, at 44:50 ,Ijeoma Oluo is back on the show to talk about the devastating power of Beyonce’s amazing new visual album, Lemonade. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
No show today, folks. We're too sad about Prince.
How did Seattle’s public schools become alarmingly re-segregated in recent years? Sean Riley, a Seattle public school teacher and the author of an amazing feature in this week’s Stranger, is on the show to explain. At 1:37, Sean talks about all that's changed between the time he attended integrated Seattle public schools as a student and today, when he teaches in a mostly white public school in Magnolia. After that, at 13:16, writer Marti Jonjak is on to talk about her McSweeney’s project, “Inside Witness.” It’s a regular column that’s in the process of exploring the 2013 shooting at the Central District bar Twilight Exit from multiple perspectives—including her own perspective as someone who watched the shooting occur. Then, at 24:29, Stranger calendar editor Jamie Slater is back to tell us what to do this weekend. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
This week we’re going to focus on two things: weed and campus protest. First, the campus protest. Up at Western Washington University in Bellingham, a group that’s calling itself the Student Assembly for Power and Liberation is issuing sweeping demands for change at the well-known liberal arts college. There’s a lot of concern, however, that the students' demands run counter to principles of free speech and academic freedom. At 1:41, I talk to a Western Washington University student who’s part of the Assembly for Power and Liberation. Then, at 20:08, I share the university administration’s response to the students' demands. After all that, at 21:38, former Stranger staffer David Schmader, who wrote the beloved and long-running column Last Days, is on to talk about his great new book, WEED: THE USER’S GUIDE, which came out this week. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
Bernie Sanders won the Washington State Democratic Caucuses big-time on Saturday, and now there’s a debate underway about whether our state's Democratic superdelegates—who mostly support Hillary Clinton—should switch their allegiances. The fight has gotten so big that the Socialist Alternative Party is now involved, and at 2:12, Socialist Alternative spokesperson Philip Locker tells me why. Then, at 15:38, Stranger art critic Jen Graves is on to talk about what happens when fickle art world donors suddenly change their minds. Finally, at 28:26, Jamie Slater from the Stranger’s calendar team helps you last-minute plan your weekend. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
The Washington State Democratic Caucuses are here! When are they? Where are they? And how does one actually caucus? At 1:22, Jaxxon Ravens, Chair of the state Democratic Party, walks you through it all. Then, at 17:20, Chelsea Clinton is on the show to answer some questions and make a closing argument for Hillary Clinton. After that, at 26:17, State Senator Pramila Jayapal answers some questions and then makes a closing argument for Bernie Sanders. Listen closely, choose wisely, at good luck at your caucus site! (Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.)
The biggest thing to happen in Seattle this week is actually happening this weekend: A new light rail extension is opening, and it’ll connect downtown, Capitol Hill, and the University District! It’s gonna be A-mazing. So I’ve devoted the entirety of Blabbermouth to light rail this week. First, at 1:18, Stranger editor Christopher Frizzelle will tell us what it was like to get a special early ride on the new line. After that, at 11:46, King County Executive Dow Constantine—who also chairs the Sound Transit board—will catch us up on the history of public votes and wonky plans that got us to this point, and he’ll also remind us where light rail is going next (assuming we all vote for Sound Transit 3 this fall, as we should). Then, at 21:43, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray—also on the Sound Transit board—answers the question: Who’s likely to bring us more federal funds for light rail, Bernie or Hillary? Finally, at 25:36, Stranger food writer Angela Garbes talks about all there is to eat around the Othello station. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
Is Donald Trump a fascist yet? At 2:22, I haul local fascism expert David Neiwert back onto the show for a ruling. After that, at 9:48, new Seattle City Council Member Lorena Gonzalez is on to discuss the Seattle Police Department’s shooting of Che Taylor and the vastly different narratives about the shooting that are coming from the SPD and Taylor’s family. Council Member Gonzalez also weighs in on a troubled Seattle homeless encampment called “The Jungle” and $1 million dollars in new state money that may result in a giant, razor-wire-topped fence around the area. Then, at 25:11, Reuven Carlyle, who represents Seattle in the state senate, offers his view on the fence. Gonzalez has compared it to right-wing dreams of putting a giant wall along the US-Mexico border, and Carlyle responds to that critique. Plus a remembrance of longtime Stranger Art Director Aaron Huffman and, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.
Wow, that was a week. Donald Trump is on the march to becoming the Republican nominee for president. Hillary Clinton is looking more and more likely to be the Democratic nominee, but Bernie Sanders is still fighting hard. There’s talk of an historic split within the Republican party, and also feelings of epic schadenfreude (not to mention genuine terror) about Trump’s ascendancy. Let’s take a moment, breath deeply, and look at something with a lot more pure, joyous hope involved: a local candidate, Danni Askini, who’s running to be the first openly transgender member of the Washington State Legislature. At 1:36 I talk to Dani about her reasons for getting into the race for Seattle's open 43rd District state house seat. Then, at 12:13, I finally get a voice from the local Hillary Clinton campaign on the show to make the case for Hillary ahead of the March 26 Washington State Democratic caucuses. That voice: State Senator Marko Liias. After that, at22:55, David Spring of Washington for Bernie Sanders is back on the show to offer his very energetic rebuttal. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
Have you heard? There’s a presidential election underway in America! And here in Washington State, almost exactly one month from now, Democrats will be choosing between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in our precinct caucuses. To get up to speed on Washington’s particularly weird caucus and primary plans, I talk quickly, at the 2:09 minute mark, to David Ammons, spokesperson for the Washington State Secretary of State. Then, at 7:25, I hear from the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaigns about why they think you should be caucusing for their candidate on March 26. (And how to figure out where the fuck your caucus site is.) After that, I talk to Stranger visual art critic Jen Graves at 18:59 about the Frye Art Museum’s controversial plan to turn its First Hill parking lot into a fancy high-rise apartment tower. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
This Week on Blabbermouth: An all-arts episode with guest host Sean Nelson. That’swhatshesaid director Hatlo talks about the show’s refusal to cease or desist, despite several demands that they do both, and Stranger art critic Jen Graves talks about the many layers of complexity on view at the Kehinde Wiley show at SAM. Eli Sanders will be back next week!
This week, Arts & Music Editor Sean Nelson fills in for Eli Sanders, who is gearing up for the release of his book, While the City Sleeps. (Don’t forget to check out his reading Web Feb 3 at Town Hall.) In the meantime, we blabber with Megan Brown, author of a report that details the music industry’s impact on Seattle’s economy—spoiler: there’s lots of money, but it’s not going to musicians (1:33) and Stranger staffer Rich Smith stops by to reflect on what a private library and a cat café might mean about our fair city (16:36).
Here’s something I wouldn’t have known if it wasn’t my job to know: We have an election coming up! I’m not talking about the November presidential election, I’m talking about an election much sooner than that, the February 9 “Special Election” in Seattle. You had no idea, right? Don’t worry, on this week’s show at the 1:15 minute mark, Greg Wong, president of a group called Schools First, will explain the two—just two!—school levy votes we’ll be casting on ballots that are going to be arriving in our mailboxes… right about now. After that, at 15:22, Seattle Times reporter and Pacific Northwest earthquake expert Sandi Doughton is on to talk about that false earthquake alarm you may have seen going around on Facebook this week (or even on The Stranger’s blog, Slog). You know, the thing about the seafloor off the Pacific Northwest coast allegedly dropping suddenly and spelling doom and all that? It was scary, but it was not true. Sandi will explain what happened. And then at 28:14, Spike Friedman will be back on so that we can have a wake for the Seattle Seahawks and their dashed Superbowl hopes. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
It's the end of another big week and we’ll be talking, of course, about one of the biggest things that happened: the death of David Bowie at the age of 69. We’ll discuss his life, his work, and his enduring enigma with Stranger Arts and Music Editor Sean Nelson. Then, since the Seahawks won last week and are still in the playoffs (hooray!), sports writer Spike Friedman will be back to catch us up on how we beat the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday, and why we're going to demolish the Carolina Panthers this Sunday. After that, writer Matt Baume is on to talk about the giant, ugly scar that Interstate 5 cuts through downtown Seattle and the beautiful, park-covered lid that a local architect wants to put over it. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo! (Whose incredible show, Now I’m Fine, is playing in New York City right now and just got a RAVE review in the New York Times! If you’re in the vicinity, get tickets immediately!)
It’s the first Blabbermouth of 2016! Happy New Year! This week we’re talking about 14-term Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott’s decision to retire, and to do that we check in with the ONE local politician who’s definitely not gunning for McDermott’s open seat: State Senator Reuven Carlyle. After that, Danny Askini from the Gender Justice League is on the show to discuss bathroom panic in Olympia. It seems Republicans are freaking out about a new state rule that allows transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. Next, sports expert Spike Friedman tells me how to jump on the Seahawks bandwagon like a boss (and what names to shout to get a high-five from the dude next to me at a bar). And finally, Charles Mudede will talk about the Vanilla ISIS Crisis—those white militants who took over a federal facility in Oregon—and what it all means. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
This is our last Blabbermouth of 2015—see you in the New Year!—and it’s a great one, full of year-end reflections, current issues, and even one Proustian moment. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is on the show to talk about what he sees as his biggest accomplishment of the year, his biggest bit of unfinished business for 2015, and why he recently refused to sign a city council bill to let drivers for ridehailing apps unionize. After that, Stranger Arts and Music Editor Sean Nelson will be on to talk about the agony and the ecstasy of end-of-year list. (He just made a bunch of them himself.) And then Stranger film editor Charles Mudede will be on the show to talk about an interesting exhibit that’s up now at the Northwest African American Museum called Black Hanford, as well as a new movie—you might have heard of it—called Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
If there was ever a week to remind us that who we elect to national office matters a whole hell of a lot, this was one. And if you live here in Seattle, you probably know that the guy who speaks for you in the US House of Representatives is Jim McDermott—a Democrat who’s been Seattle’s voice in DC for the last 26 years. Well, for the first time in a long time McDermott has a serious challenger for his seat: Brady Walkinshaw, the state representative from Seattle’s Capitol Hill, who announced last week that he’s going to try to unseat McDermott in 2016. We’ll talk to both McDermott and Walkinshaw today, and then we’ll talk to The Stranger’s Heidi Groover about why you should be paying attention to a bunch of semi-obscure Sound Transit maps right now. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
There’s a LOT we have to talk about this week. Bertha, our giant tunnel drilling machine, is about to start back up at the end of the month, which means we all need to brush up on why the fuck Bertha’s been taking so long to dig one tunnel. Stranger Bertha expert Sydney Brownstone is here to help. After that, we’ll talk fascism—and whether it’s an accurate description of Donald’s Trump’s political philosophy—with local journalist David Neiwert. Then, because World AIDS Day was this week, Stranger art critic Jen Graves is back to tell us about a must-see exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum. It’s called Art AIDS America. And finally, Charles Mudede weighs in on the stingy pours that our northern neighbors in Vancouver, BC are serving in their bars—and what it says about them and us. Plus, as always, the music of the amazing Ahamefule J. Oluo!
It’s the end of a long and upsetting week globally, so let’s pause from that for a moment—not to ignore it, but just to take a pause—and focus on some things here in Seattle. That extremely close city council race is STILL GOING over in West Seattle. Last week we talked to candidate Lisa Herbold, who at the time was behind by just a few votes. This week we talk to candidate Shannon Braddock who’s now behind by just a few votes and is getting ready to start "chasing ballots." After that I talk to Stranger art critic Jen Graves, who has big news about that iconic installation of spiraling cars at the downtown Seattle Art Museum. (Spoiler: it’s going to be disappearing soon, and Jen’s thrilled.) And after that, Stranger food writer Angela Garbes will be back on the show to talk about easy Thanksgiving recipes and coping strategies. Plus, as always, the music of the amazing Ahamefule J. Oluo!
This week’s show begins with a brief check-in with Lisa Herbold, one of two candidates in a verrrry close Seattle City Council race that’s still going strong ten days after the election. Herbold currently trails opponent Shannon Braddock (who couldn’t come on the show) by just six votes. After that, University of Washington geomorphologist David Montgomery and biologist Anne Bikle are on to talk about an invisible cycle of “eating, dying, and pooping” that is much older than humanity and much more important to the survival of humanity that most people realize. This invisible cycle is fueled by microbes, and Montgomery and Bikle have just published a book that explores a hidden world of microbes that extends from the soil that grows our plants to the soil that lines our colons. It’s called “The Hidden Half of Nature.” Then Ijeoma Oluo comes back on the show to talk about her refusal to review the movie Suffragette in The Stranger, and the huge online response her refusal has generated. Plus, as always, the music of the amazing Ahamefule J. Oluo!
We had a big local election this week—plus statewide votes on some important issues—so we brought in four people to tell us what the results say about our political future. First up: Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant, who appears to have won her race in Seattle’s 3rd District against challenger Pamela Banks. Sawant tells us why it’s a kind of “revolution” to have a socialist elected to another term in this city. Then we hear from three political consultants: Christian Sinderman, the guy behind many of the “establishment” candidates who appear to have won; John Wyble, the guy behind many of this year’s “insurgent” challengers; and Sandeep Kaushik, who has some feelings about the “Move Seattle” and “Honest Elections” measures, and who also claims he can win ANY vote if you give him $1.4 million, a crayon, and photocopy of his own ass. Plus, as always, the music of the amazing Ahamefule J. Oluo!