HELLA BUS BLOG
Your source for all Bus-landian culture and happenings.
Courtesy of 2011 Summer Fellow Omar "King of Illustrator" Mozo
Votebot and her trusty entourage of Summer Fellows are hitting the streets yet again this weekend, chatting with young voters like you who can't wait to register and pledge to vote. We're making voting sexier than ever at a whopping SEVEN different events this weekend all over the city. Really, it's almost impossible to avoid us.
So if you're planning on attending West Seattle Summer Fest, the University District Farmer's Market, the Seafair Pirate's Landing, the International District's Dragon-Fest, Urban Craft Uprising at Seattle Center, Ballard Seafood Fest, or just planning on going outside your house, keep your eyes peeled for that beautiful glint of silver cardboard that lets you know - the Votebot approacheth. And remember the eternal words:
It looks at opportunity, privilege, and structural inequality in our school systems and the alarming link to incarceration of young folks. Their central questions include: what is the opportunity gap? What is the school to prison pipeline? What causes these phenomena?
Smart, timely, and important information and insight. Strap on your earphones and give it a listen!
It's time to start the countdown folks. One of the summers hottest events, Capitol Hill Block Party, is only two weeks away. That's just 14 days until you can rock out to the likes of TV On The Radio, Ghostland Observatory, and Explosions In Sky (can you rock out to Explosions In The Sky?). This year, CHBP has added an unprecedented third day to the festivities and is coming at you with four stages. The lineup is bigger and better than ever before and the Bus will be out in the sun registering voters, and empowering youth as always.
Over the coming two weeks, I will be giving you the lowdown on some of the lesser known Block Party acts (maybe an interview or two thrown in there). Today we have electronic artist Baths, known as Will Wiesenfeld to some, of Los Angeles. Wisenfield burst onto the scene last year with his impeccable debut album Cerulean, and has graced stages across the United States including the venerable Low End Theory weekly show in LA. Similar to artists like Toro Y Moi and Washed Out (featured in this weeks Gabe's Picks), Baths has been pegged into a number of genres in the electronic realm, but his eclectic sound really transcends any genre. More so than the aforementioned artists, Baths uses an extremely unique blend of unorthodox samples (scissor snaps and rustling blankets) to his chilled out, hip hop influenced sound. While I find it highly questionable to compare any beatsmith to the great J Dilla, The Guardian's Paul Lester stated that the Baths sound reminded him of "J Dilla playing around with the Pavement and Prince catalogues", a fairly apt description. Baths will be playing at the Vera Stage at 10:45 on Saturday night, and while he's up against heavy competition with TV On The Radio (one of my favorite live shows) playing in the same times slot, I would highly recommend checking out the young Angeleno.
Faithful Hella Bus readers - I'm going to admit something I'm not proud of.
I spent a year waitressing at a local retirement home. I loved my job, particularly because of the funny, loving retired people I fed lunch and dinner to almost every day. But here's where the job gets less fun: even while working full time, I did not have paid sick leave.
Because of that, I distinctly remember two days where I went into work quite sick, just because I was worried about paying my rent and didn't feel like I could afford to take the time off. I knew that I was putting the elderly people I served at risk, especially since they are more vulnerable to illness than the general population, but I felt I had no other option.
No one should have to choose between paying their rent and keeping people healthy. Luckily, a bill will soon be voted on by the Seattle City Council that would require all employers in Seattle to provide five days of paid sick leave to their employees per year. At a public hearing last night at Seattle City Hall, supporters overwhelmingly outnumbered opponents to the bill, with members of countless organizations showing their support for the bill. It was a beautiful sight.
In our city, young people are disproportionately represented in the service industry, often without paid sick days or health insurance. Passing this bill would be a victory for human rights for all the residents in our city, but for young people in particular.
Courtesy of 2011 Summer Fellow Hannah Dean!
How closely have you been
stalking keeping decidedly non-creepy tabs on the adventures of the 2011 summer fellows? Test your Fellows knowledge by correctly completing the sentence below:
The summer fellows spent their fourth of July weekend...
a.) grilling tofu dogs and binge-eating apple pie while singing an original rendition of "God Bless America."
b.) redecorating the Washington Bus office in a Paul Revere theme.
c.) pledging amazing young people to vote across Seattle while getting our sunburns and patriotism on!
If you answered c, go buy yourself a trophy - you deserve it! The summer fellows were out and about this weekend, canvassing the Cal Anderson Independence Day Picnic on Saturday, followed by the Zombie Walk in Fremont! On Sunday, we made an appearance at the Wooden Boat Festival at Lake Union, and on Monday we made our way to Gas Works park for the Family Fourth at Lake Union, all the while accompanied by the newest and most enthusiastic member of the Bus family, Uncle Sam Vote Bot!
Where will we turn up next?!
Sighting at the legendary Piazzo San Busso:
Authored by the illustrious 2011 Summer Fellows Rosalie Wilmot and David Reyes
Since prohibition was instituted in the jazzy 1920s*, liquor laws have been a hot topic for our country. This election year in Washington is no different. Before you all hit the polls, let’s consider how liquor privatization could affect the Evergreen state.
I-1183, the initiative on this year’s docket supporting liquor privatization, is a slightly amended follow-up to I-1100, which was defeated last year. With privatization on the ballot once again, we’re here to provide all you beautiful young voters with the wisdom your brains have been yearning for.**
There’s a lot of information flying around about this topic, so we’ve conveniently organized it for you in a support/opposition dialogue. This is a heated debate, so if the two sides seem at odds, it’s probably because they are.
Issue #1 - Money for the State:
What Supporters Say: “Private liquor stores will give almost a fifth of their revenue back to the state, creating a new source of revenue.” Stores would be required to give 17% of revenue from annual liquor sales back to the state, on top of a hefty licensing fee. In addition, the state will be freed from the expenses of running a business, such as the $35 million spent annually on employees and benefits, leases, and utilities of the state's 373 existing locations. However, with the loss of markup revenue for the state, liquor sales would need to increase substantially in order to parallel current income from state-run liquor stores.
Issue #2 - Prices:
Support: “Liquor will be cheaper, since the price will be determined by the free market.” The 51% state markup will be eliminated, which means cheaper prices for consumers. Additionally, competition amongst Costco, Safeway and other large grocery chains will lead to lower costs for liquor.
Opposition: “Liquor could get even more expensive.” The current 51% markup will be gone, but this won’t stop Costco, QFC, or Safeway from creating their own markup, which could raise exponentially higher without regulation.
Issue #3 - Size Limitations:
Support: “More stores will be able to sell liquor.” There are approximately 1,500 stores in WA that fit the parameters set forth in I-1183. That’s 1,100 more locations than now.
Opposition: “The stores selling liquor will be less convenient and unequally distributed.” If a store wants to sell liquor in this fine state, it will need to take up at least 10,000 square feet, so corner groceries and gas stations are out. For communities and neighborhoods without large grocery retailers, buying liquor could require a long car ride to the store.
Issue #4 - Who benefits from this initiative?
Support: “This bill benefits the consumer.” By putting liquor on the free market and taking it out of state control, liquor becomes like any other consumer product. Through supply and demand, consumers will have control of the state liquor market.
Opposition: “This bill only benefits big business.” If Washington privatizes liquor, larger retailers could create a monopoly on its distribution and sale, which means many micro-breweries and local spirit producers could be bullied out of the current market. In addition, the revenue from privatized liquor sales will go to large grocery stores chains, instead of being used by the state to fund social services like it is now.
Support: “If liquor is privatized, retailers selling alcohol to minors will be fined double what they are now.” With the state out of a position of direct control, stores will need to demonstrate to state regulators that they are up to snuff before receiving licenses. Communities will be able to give input before stores enter the area and most importantly, license suspension penalties would be twice as strong as current fines.
Opposition: “Privatization means easier access to liquor for minors.” While state liquor stores are currently carefully regulated to make sure they don’t sell to minors, keeping that same level of regulation when the number of stores more than triples would be impossible. This means easier access to liquor for Washington youth.
Liquor privatization in the Evergreen State is a complex issue that we can’t be understood from just one amazing blog post. If you’d like to delve a little deeper into the issue, here are a few related articles:
-the Washington State liquor store locator iPhone app
-background on I-1100
As the general election gets closer, the conversation about this initiative will only get louder***. Now, you have the tools to join it. So get in there! And tell them the Washington Bus sent you.
Hi Skagit County!
Tell me, how do you feel about 48 million tons of coal being shuttled through your county every year?
Not great? Here's some info on a forum in Mt. Vernon to discuss the issue - make your voice heard!
The Coal Hard Truth Forum
Learn more about protecting Skagit county from twenty 1.5 mile long coal trains per day!
When: Thursday, July 7, 7:00 pm
Where: Lincoln Theater, 712 South First St, Mount Vernon, WA 98273
What are our risks if Peabody Coal (largest coal company in the world) and SSA Marine are allowed to transport up to 48 million of tons of coal through Skagit county to send to China via Cherry Point just north of Bellingham? Join with fellow community members on July 7 and be informed about some of the long term negative and destructive impacts this proposal could have on our entire region.
· Learn about what you can do to stop this coal export proposal!
Spread the word on Facebook!
P.S. Be sure to sign the petition that says NO COAL EXPORTS out of Washington!
July 4th is known for a lot of things: independence, soaring eagles, crudely fashioned explosives in the hands of untrained children drunk on pyromania. Well folks, time to add another to the list: hacking.
Today’s internet is a lot of things, including a battlefield. But it's a battlefield like none we've ever seen - impossibly far-flung and populated by anonymous cells that with a little knowledge can undermine the most sophisticated security systems around. Anonymous hackers and groups dedicated to bringing down/screwing with established security systems are squaring off with whichever corporate/government interests happen to be the next target. In typical internet fashion, every individual has its own agenda (or none at all). Objectives can range from directed activism to merely chaos for its own sake (anarchy).
Some high-profile hacks on July 4th brought hacking firmly into the mainstream spotlight.
Among the victims: Fox News, Sony, Apple Computers, and the State of Arizona. One website dedicated to tech news attributes the various hackings to the “skeleton crews” many companies left behind to man security during the recent holiday weekend.
Sometime between midnight and 3AM Pacific Time 4th of July morning, the Twitter account of Fox News Politics (twitter.com/foxnewspolitics) was infiltrated. The hackers then altered the twitter account to display a series of messages proclaiming Barack Obama’s death.
#america was confused early Monday morning by "reports" of their leader's #assassination.
Almost immediately, a group calling themselves The Script Kiddies claimed responsibility for the messages. Student journalist Adam Peck conducted an interview with a representative of the group. Peck describes their take, “the selection of Fox News as a target seems to have less to do with their politics as it does with the fact that they represent corporate America.”
This anti-corporate thread ties together a growing movement known as AntiSec (short for AntiSecurity). Often referred to by less web-savvy media sources as merely ‘Anonymous’, the AntiSec movement is a loose confederation of several different groups – of which the group Anonymous is only one member. Generally, they use various computer techniques in order to disrupt or discredit organizations for any number of reasons (generally major corporate or government institutions). Due to the elusive and often illicit nature of their activities very few of these AntiSec groups have any real public face or known organization (or indeed, often seem to actually have very little identifiable organization). As a result, the actions committed under the AntiSec umbrella vary greatly. Basically, they defy most familiar structures or labels so although the titles exist, don't assume that all who identify with them engage in similar practices or have similar intentions.
There have been occasional appearances by people claiming to represent one group or another. The prominent AntiSec-linked group LulzSec recently took credit for infiltrating Sony Pictures’ user accounts leading to a massive, three month outage of the online gaming service PlayStation Network.
Other AntiSec groups, more strongly identified with the political aims of the movement, have carried out operations on government websites. Most recently, hackers affiliated with AntiSec launched an attack on the Arizona police department. They infiltrated police databases, posting conversations and other confidential information through freely accessible channels. A representative for the group explained that the hacking was in opposition to “SB1070 [the recent measure which enacted strict methods for determining illegal immigrants] and the racist Arizona police state”.
The group who hacked Fox News’ twitter, however, seems to be taking the route of politics by pranking. Even their name, “Script Kiddies”, is a tongue-in-cheek reference: in the internet world, script kiddies are those who use prewritten computer scripts and exploits for their own purposes (in that world, those who can't write their own code are like).
There’s an old cartoon that seems especially apt here:
(Via the New Yorker)
The anonymity and the open nature of the internet has given its users an unprecedented level of access to the world consciousness. The AntiSec movement is a direct result of this freedom. Though some members have been arrested in connection with it, it continues as strong as ever. As long as corporations and governments keep a large presence on the World Wide Web there will be those who break their security, either for the greater good or just for the heck of it. Everything is vulnerable, including the world's most powerful government and corporate interests, so it will be hugely important to follow how these conflicts unfold in the future.
The past few weeks have seen a flurry of new hip hop releases from some of the best local and national artists including Shabazz Palaces, Dom Kennedy, Curren$y, Kendrick Lamar, Grieves, and Kung Foo Grip. We've also been gifted with new releases from indie stalwarts Cut Copy, Washed Out, and Digitalism. Taking a little break from my "Best Of" lists, here's a dip into the fresh waters of new music that are worthy candidates to soundtrack to your summer escapades.
Kung Foo Grip - Capitalize EP
Last January, I watched MC's Greg Cypher and Eff is H, collectively Kung Foo Grip, grace the Vera Project stage at Parliament. The duo brought a raw energy to the stage that I hadn't seen in the sometimes monotonous Seattle hip hop scene for a long time. Since Parliament, the duo has grown in popularity and critical acclaim, opened for Blue Scholars at the Cinematropolis release party, and are slated to play a short set at this years Capitol Hill Block Party. In celebration of our nations birthday, the two MC's dropped the Capitalize EP featuring contributions from Camila and Ray Dalton, Lurrell Low, and Cloud Nice representative Taysean (who's doing big things as part of Helluvastate). The EP is a far more cohesive project than the groups previous releases, and highlights Greg Cypher and Eff Is H's progression as MC's. Buy or download the EP off of Bandcamp, and check out my favorite track from the project below.
Kendrick Lamar - Section 80
Every week, a new hyped hip hop album is released, and almost every week, I am disappointed by the lack of creativity in the choice of beats, lyrical content, and song concepts. For every excellent Big K.R.I.T. release we get, it feels like we get 10 releases filled with repetitive Lex Luger beats, and uninspired swag rap from the likes of Big Sean, Wiz Khalifa, and Mac Miller. Unfortunately, there are very few hip hop artists who I am genuinely excited to hear new material from anymore. Luckily, one of those few is Kendrick Lamar, South Central Los Angeles rapper, and owner of one of the rawest, and most impressive albums of the year. Featuring jazz heavy, minimalist production from his in-house production team (Digit+Phonics) as well as J. Cole, Terrace Martin, Tommy Black, Wyldlife, and THC, Lamar seamlessly flows about life in South Central, his family, and an array of other topics that is rarely seen on a debut album. Section 80 is out now and is available at your local record store.
Washed Out - Within And Without
Straying from hip hop for a minute (gasp!), we have the debut full length from Washed Out aka Ernest Green who's music has been assigned to multiple made up genres including chillwave, and what Pitchfork likes to call "bedroom synthpop". Similar in style to artists like Toro Y Moi (who's Under The Pines is easily one of the best albums of the year) and Neon Indian, Greene's music is extremely hard to describe, but evokes the feeling of being in a dream like state with sparse vocals over lo-fi instrumentation with a slight hip hop influence. Instead of me attempting to spit out faux music critic babble, just give Within And Without a quick listen and judge Mr. Greene's tunes for yourself.
Badda-Bing-Badda-Boom, guess who just got an exclusive look at Google+. Yes fine sir and/or madam, the answer is me. Today is my (and now in turn your) lucky day cause we get to see what Google has cooked up for its new social media platform. Google’s new social network, dubbed Google+, combines a bit of Facebook, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, and Skype- spitting out a fantastical mass of google-ness. (Aka Facebook + Tumblr + StumbleUpon + Skype = Google+ doing some pretty sweet addition). Google has decided to take a different fork in the road than many platforms, aiming for a one-stop-shop experience that allows both the "internet you" and "real life you" to coexist like never before.
Google+ approaches friending differently than its social media counterparts with the introduction of Circles. Google says: don’t just amass friends in one great big pile - categorize them and keep their pretty faces stored in a light blue loop. Only the user knows how their friends are sorted, and only the user can decide who is worthy of your deeply personal soliloquies and who only gets to see your latest obsession with pictures of running basset hounds. AKA you can control who can see what's in your profile.
Take this new Circle and throw a multi-person video chat & texting convo at it. BAM you have now achieved what Google has coined Hangouts and Huddles. The only question left is do you want to Hang & Huddle, or Huddle & Hang? Oh Google, you are such a tease (also a tad creepy).
Google+ continues to differentiate itself from other social media platforms with my totes fav part of this alternate Internet universe -- Sparks. Think of it as a StumbleTumble, where an endless amount of cool things you are interested in exist. Yes, I just said that Google+ will provide you with an endless amount of cool things, and I don't regret it.
Runner up to Sparks as my fav Google+ feature is Instant Upload, which makes all those pretty pictures on that expensive phone you just bought magically appear online in a private album. Meaning you can share every moment of your life online, like right this second, without creating a whole new horror story about spending the last 12 hours uploading last nights pics. Win.
Suffice to say If Google+ adds anything more it might just push Google over the edge from taking over the Internet, to taking over the world. It will be interesting to see how other platforms (ahem, Facebook, ahem) respond to this new medium. Google+ takes a slightly different, and more customizable approach to Social Networking, but with an increase in overall content some users might be turned off by the sheer volume. Time will tell how it all shakes out.
Addendum: Facebook just partnered with Skype to add it's own video feature. And the game is afoot...