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!
On this week’s podcast, Stranger writer Rich Smith gives the inside scoop on a frightening $2 million rebranding effort at the Seattle Public Library that just got halted in its tracks (due in large part to Rich’s reporting). Then author Ari Berman talks about his new book, Give Us the Ballot, which traces the history of the struggle for equal voting rights in this country—a struggle that continues to this day, even here in Washington State. After that, Stranger food writer Angela Garbes brings in the surest sign of fall, the persimmon, and we have a taste. Plus, as always, the music of the amazing Ahamefule J. Oluo!
On this week’s show we corner Washington State Governor Jay Inslee at the Comet Tavern and ask him a few questions. (Like: Hey governor, why is it that Boeing can get an $8.7 billion tax break in a super-quick special session, but we can’t call a special session to get $3 billion for our unconstitutionally underfunded public schools?) Then we come back from the bar and talk to Stranger food writer Angela Garbes about a recent online discussion she got into concerning restaurant racism—when it’s actually a thing, when it’s not, and why you might just get a fork sometimes instead of chopsticks. After which Stranger art critic Jen Graves takes us through Paul Allen’s recent retreat from funding local arts organizations, and how it seems connected to Pivot, the new contemporary art and culture center he’s opening in South Lake Union. Plus, as always, the music of the amazing Ahamefule J. Oluo!
Ballots for the November general election are going to start arriving next week. Are you ready??? We are, almost. We’ve interviewed every damn candidate running for every damn race in preparation for our upcoming Stranger endorsements issue, and in this episode we lift our tired heads off the table long enough to ask: Why the fuck do we elect, in addition to everything else, the Director of the King County Department of Elections? The candidates in that race, Julie Wise and Zack Hudgins, try to give us an answer while also explaining why this particular race is so crazy contentious this year. Finally, we do a brief tour of this fall's very important, very full ballot. Plus! In-between all that we listen to the music of the amazing Ahamefule J. Oluo!
Forty five years ago, an orca named Lolita was captured from Washington State waters and taken to captivity in Florida. Stranger Editor Christopher Frizzelle is on the show this week to explain why Lolita needs to be returned home now, and what he discovered about the amazing culture and brains of Puget Sound orcas as he was reporting this in-depth feature on one killer whale’s plight. (Also discussed: why humans are the worst.) And then we hear from Mark Putnam, director of All Home, about the latest plan to fight homelessness in King County. The last big plan—a “Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness”—obviously didn’t work. What’s his better idea? Putnam explains. Plus the music of Yellow Ostrich and the band Tomtem, which is playing at EMP on Saturday, October 3!
Wow, well, Council Member Kshama Sawant is on the show for the first time this week and it’s an epic interview. Under fire from Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess for allegedly not having accomplished anything, Sawant takes a swing back at her council colleague—or, actually, several swings. We also talk about China, local crime and what to do about it, what Socialism means to Sawant, and whether or not The Stranger is “the corporate media.” It’s a long one, but a good one. Strap in. And then Stranger art critic Jen Graves tells us about a local artist who got an intense, last-minute commission: make a bentwood box as a gift for the Chinese president. Plus the music of Don’t Talk to the Cops, Thunderpussy, and the Theoretics!
Remember that Seattle teachers strike we talked about last week? It seems to be nearing an end, with the 5,000 teachers who were walking the picket lines now back in public school classrooms and preparing to vote on a tentative agreement this Sunday. I check back in with teachers union vice president Phyllis Campano about the details of the tentative agreement. (For the second week in a row, a Seattle School District spokesperson declined to come on the show.) After that, I talk about what to do next to fix our statewide education mess with community organizer Noel Frame. And after that we’ll go from one political mess to another with Stranger political writer Rich Smith, who fills us in on what happened at this week’s Republican debates. Finally, to round it all out, Stranger food writer Angela Garbes tells us what it’s like to eat a sunflower. Plus some songs produced by Steve Fisk, the winner of this year's Stranger Genius Award for music!
For the first time in 30 years, Seattle’s teachers are on strike. That’s 5,000 educators walking the picket lines as more than 50,000 students (and an even larger number of parents) await a fair resolution to this contract dispute. To get a deeper understanding of what the teachers want and where negotiations stand, I speak to teachers union vice president Phyllis Campano. And to learn more about what it’s like to navigate all of this as a public school parent, I talk to Stranger writer Jen Graves, whose child is currently waiting to begin classes at Ingraham High. Come for parent perspective, stay for the mutual rage spiral! Then, because it’s that season again, Jen and Stranger Arts Editor Sean Nelson talk with me about the Stranger Genius Awards, which are happening this Saturday night at the Moore Theatre. But really, we mostly talk about the TRUE nature of genius. Plus the music of Stranger genius nominees Chastity Belt, OC Notes, and Steve Fisk!
Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who claims that Jesus Christ prevents her from issuing gay marriage licenses, is now in jail for contempt of court—and Dan Savage is on the show to talk about why that’s exactly where Kim Davis belongs. We also discuss the trouble-free gay marriage license that my husband and I recently secured in the great state of Montana, where I’ve been for the last few weeks while getting hitched. (Thanks for filling in, Sean Nelson!) Also discussed on this week’s Blabbermouth: what Sydney Brownstone saw when she went out to write a story about the wildfire lands of Eastern Washington, and what Rich Smith thinks I missed in the presidential race while I was off getting a husband. Plus music from the new album by Ahamefule J. Oluo, which you can listen to and buy on Bandcamp!