Hella Bus Blog
- Encourage a healthy constitution by getting young voters more involved in the political process.
- Sit back, relax, and have a sip of some home brewed iced- (liber)tea as you take a minute to Pledge to Vote.
- Get a strong dose of freedom at Gas Works Park during the Family Fourth at Lake Union celebration. You can even register to vote with our summer fellows, who will be doing it big all over the park.
- The increase owes significantly to the 50% cut in state funding towards higher education over the past three years.
- For the first time, the UW board of regents was granted tuition setting authority.
- Interim president Phyllis Wise said on KUOW that half of the revenue raised from tuition will go towards student aid and the other half is aimed towards restoring high demand programs.
- Administrative costs went largely unaddressed in the discussion.
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...
Just days after officially launching his campaign for 2011 Washington state governor, Democratic Congressmen Jay Inslee has taken a powerful stand on what may prove an important issue in the 2012 gubernatorial election. Specifically, Inslee announced that he now supports the legalization of gay marriage.
While he has been a long-time supporter of same-sex civil unions, his stance on gay marriage remained unclear until now. During a rally in Spokane last week Inslee explained his stance on gay marriage stating, “‘I believe that no government…should deny any of my fellow Washingtonians the right to have what I have, which is a stable, committed, meaningful relationship. So I’m going to support the legalization of that equality in the state of Washington.”
Inslee’s stance on the issue contrasts him from that of his opponent, Republican candidate and current Attorney General Rob McKenna who opposes the legalization of gay marriage.
Gay marriage may prove a wedge issue in the 2012 gubernatorial elections, particularly given that for the first time the majority of Americans now support legalizing same-sex marriages. As we have seen in the recent legalization battle in New York and Governor Cuomo, the strong support and prioritization of gay marriage by the governor can play a crucial role in the passage of such a bill. Keep your eyes peeled, gay marriage will likely prove an issue to watch over the ensuing year and a half.
Last July, San Francisco's Commission of Animal Control and Welfare decided that the sale of dogs, cats, hamsters, mice, rats, chinchillas, guinea pigs, birds,snakes and lizards warranted a trip to jail.
The law was justified under the charge that people who purchase pets tend to be more likely to mistreat or neglect their furry/scaly/gooey(?) friends as compared to those who adopt from shelters or rescue groups. I really have no idea if this is true, but it's not surprising that it took place in San Francisco, our nation's supreme bastion of political correctness. They weren't the first though - West Hollywood, CA already carried out a similar ban.
San Francisco's pet ban was suspended last year after it was expanded from cats and dogs to critter with fur or feathers, but now the commission is back at it with a spiffy new name - the Humane Pet Acquisition Proposal. Even though last years proposal was sidelined in large part because of its inclusion of everything from great danes to geckos, the new proposal takes it up even further to include fish. That's right. San Francisco might ban the sale of goldfish for "humane" purposes.
The commissions goal of eliminating impulse buys, and reducing abuse and neglect is admirable, but the implications for SF pet shops potential pet owners that might turn their eye towards the South Bay or Oakland will be fascinating to keep tabs on.
What does 20% mean to you? If you're a UW student, 20% probably makes you think of one thing: your tuition.
There's been a lot of grand-scale harrumphing about the recent budget—the one that included major cuts to social services, education, and more—approved by the legislature, but I'm sure a lot of Hella Bus readers are wondering how that budget will affect them. Well, if you're a UW student, you've probably figured out how you're going to be affected: to return to school this fall, you're going to have to pay almost $2,000 more in tuition than you did last year. The UW's board of regents voted last week to increase tuition fees by 20% to fill the gap left by the cuts to the UW's state funding.
Of course, if you're a student at UW, that's probably not news to you. Tuition increased by 14% each of the previous two years. UW students, to their credit, have been actively involved in the process decision making process. Students wrote letters, testified in front of the Legislature, and staged rallies to contest the cuts. Unfortunately, the cuts remained for a host of reasons.
Quite simply, that sucks. Everyone, including the regents, seems to appreciate that fact. "None of us like this," said regent Sally Jewell. Some students pointed to the fact that the UW's regents are successful and mostly wealthy folks unlike the students who would be most affected by the cuts, but it's safe to say that the regents care about the UW and its students. Most of them got to where they are because of their UW education.
That doesn't change the fact that an extra $2,000 in tuition makes for a large financial burden for lots of folks. But the school's in a tough place right now—on the same day that the regents approved the tuition increase, they also announced that UW staff would be laid off.
If there's any silver lining to all this (and even if you squint, a silver lining is hard to see), it's that the regents are using the new revenue to increase financial aid and restore programs that had been eliminated in earlier rounds of cuts (the U has had to drop a lot of courses from its curriculum recently due to revenue decreases). The regents do want to put the 20% towards programs that will benefit undergrads.
The increased emphasis on financial aid will help low-income students continue to afford the U (although the competition will surely increase for this money), but many students may find themselves in the perilous netherworld in between qualifying for financial aid, and being able to afford the new tuition rates. Check out some student perspectives on the cuts here.
Conor McLean, president of the Associated Students of UW, put it best: "The best form of financial aid is low tuition." Higher ed exists in a broad ecosystem of cuts to public funding, but it represents a particularly impactful result of state budget cuts. More barriers to access to higher ed does no one any good. Let's hope that this state of ours can figure out a way to get tuition back to where it was. Or lower.
A coalition of students headed up by UW's BARK Against Budget Cuts are continuing to build momentum in order to influence budget discussions in the coming years. Find out what they're up to and get involved.
We're a little behind on this one, but if you haven't seen these photos of Basset Hounds running - please indulge:
Courtesy of 2011 Summer Fellows Alec Stannard and Amber Rose Jimenez -
At the Bus, we take your health very seriously. Here’s our prescription for a fantastic 4th of July weekend:
Freedom, fellows and fireworks—does it get any better than this?
BAM. It just did.
First person to name this Washington Bus board member wins a signed copy of the photo:
The Alaskan Way Viaduct. Apparently about to collapse at any moment.
Chances are, if you follow Seattle politics in the slightest
you dream about process you've heard a lot about the tunnel. Ever since (and partly because) Mike McGinn was elected mayor, the tunnel has been the most talked-about and controversial issue in Seattle politics. The mayor has made blocking the tunnel the highest priority of his administration. That political effort spawned a referendum that will appear on Seattle ballots for the August 16th primary, and you're going to hear a lot about the initiative and the tunnel itself. You will also probably be confused, because a lot of stuff has already happened and you might have missed some of it (or you might have shut off from hyperbolic overload).
Now we realize that the last thing Seattle needs is another news outlet speaking exclusively in tunnel, so we're offering a thorough overview for those unfamiliar or to catch you up to speed - and from here on out, we pinky swear not to obsess over it. So, with no further ado, here is Hella Bus's official Story of the Tunnel:
The tunnel story starts at 10:54 A.M. on February 28, 2001. It was at that time that
I was in my sixth grade science class thinking about dinosaurs the Nisqually earthquake struck Puget Sound. The tremblor didn't cause too much damage to the area, but an inspection of the Alaskan Way Viaduct revealed that the highway wouldn't be able to withstand a more significant bad vibration. Seattleites and their officials, terrified about the prospect of a collapsing concrete pancake of death (and blithely unaware of its potential as a cult horror film), started to debate ways to replace the viaduct.
Why does this matter? Replacing the viaduct is an opportunity to make dramatic, positive changes to Seattle's city plan. After all, the viaduct is - objectively - an ugly, intimidating waste of space. It creates an uncomfortable and unfortunate barrier between Downtown and the waterfront—nobody wants to go for a stroll in a bunker. (Semi-tangential note—the City is entertaining lots of awesome ideas for what to do with the space when the viaduct comes down.)
Everyone in Seattle understands the opportunity that viaduct replacement creates, and each replacement option drew supporters who thought that their choice would best advance their waterfront vision. Eventually, three options emerged (and they are listed in no particular order here). The first option was to simply tear down the viaduct. The second option was to tear down the viaduct and replace it with another elevated highway of equal or larger capacity. The third option was to build a cut-and-cover tunnel—a shallow tunnel created by tearing up the street, digging underneath, and covering it up with a surface that can be built on (visualize the part of I-5 that goes under the Washington State Convention Center in Downtown Seattle).
After lengthy debate and several false starts, the Seattle City Council eventually chose to hold a referendum on viaduct replacement, which was held in March 2007 as a special election. Seattleites promptly rejected both the cut-and-cover tunnel and the new elevated highway. Shit. City and state officials went back to the drawing board. Eventually, folks (especially former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels) came up with a deep bore tunnel. That construction process would use what a layperson might call a "giant power drill" to dig a freeway tunnel hundreds of feet under the waterfront.
Local and state officials, like Governor Christine Gregoire and Nickels, eventually coalesced around the plan, but strong opposition abounded. Anti-tunnel folks found their leader in Mike McGinn, who eventually was elected mayor due in part to his staunch anti-tunnel advocacy (which briefly, and controversially, was recanted during the latter stages of the general election).
That brings us up to the present day and the current tunnel status quo: the City and the State have reached agreements to construct the tunnel despite McGinn's best efforts, which include putting final approval for the tunnel on the ballot this August during the primary. Referendum 1 (as the tunnel referendum is titled) will ask voters whether or not they approve of the City Council moving forward with the tunnel contracts, all of which have been signed and approved by the City. The cliffs notes version: if the vote is for the "Yes" option, then the pro-tunnel folks (represented in the campaign by Let's Move Forward) claim victory. If the vote is for the "No" option, then the anti-tunnel folks (represented by Protect Seattle Now) will do an endzone dance.
The question posed in the referendum sounds like a big deal, but it may not be. The contracts have all been signed, as noted above, and a contract is a contract- it would be difficult for the City to withdraw from agreements already in place with the State and contractors. If the City were to actually renege on the agreements they made with engineers, surveyors, and builders, then they'd probably be in for a whole boatload of lawsuits. Still, if the Referendum comes down overwhelmingly No, then we might see some real changes in the status quo. The City Council would have to think about the ramifications of broad-based public opposition to the tunnel and potential legal challenges from the anti-tunnel folks, who aren't exactly shy to mobilize.
So that's where the battle lines lie. I honestly have no idea who has an advantage right now: the pro-tunnel folks have formidable support from the traditional political establishment and most of our elected officials, but Seattle voters did vote down the original proposals for viaduct replacement. Stay tuned for the next episode... it's coming your way this August.
...that's the tuition hike facing University of Washington student's this year - the largest in the university's history. Whoah.
Suffice to say, nobody's happy.
We'll be following up with more extensive coverage, but here are some Bullet Points:
We'll be discussing it in depth next week, hit us up if you want to share your perspective!
Hello all, and - after a year's hiatus - welcome back to Gabe's Picks!
Over the past 11 months, we have witnessed the rapid ascendence of the Odd Future crew, Weezy F. Baby's release from Rikers, Kanye's infatuation with ballet, the rise in popularity of dubstep (womp womp anyone?), and Lil' B release an album titled "I'm Gay" (he's not). Detox was given another release date... and predictably was delayed again.
This week, I'm not going to focus on new music music, but instead will highlight a few artists that have been in constant rotation for my past year sans Hella Bus. Attending school in Southern California gave me the opportunity to hear a ton of great tunes, as well as see shows in LA (not easy without a car as I'm sure Dan the Transportation Man would lament). Having heard so much new music and seen so many shows, there is absolutely no way I could write a comprehensive 'best of' list of the past year, but screw it - it's worth a try.
Below is a list of the best shows I have witnessed since last June. There's a bunch of hella good music in here, and their presence on the post gives them the official Gabe Meier seal of approval. Over the coming week, I'll be delivering some of my favorite albums, songs, and artists direct to your digital door. Without further ado, here are the some of the best live sets around:
1.) Sleigh Bells @ Sasquatch Music Festival
When the Sasquatch schedule was first released, I was disheartened to see that Sleigh Bells was only scheduled for a 30 minute set. After seeing videos of their performance at the MTV Woody Awards, and hearing rave reviews from across the interwebs, the Brooklyn duo was at the top of my list of bands to see at Squatch. While the duo of Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller only graced the stage for half an hour, I don't know how much more of their blistering set I could take. Faced with a wall of strobe lights and speakers in the dance tent, the Sasquatch crowd moshed, crowdsurfed, and collectively lost its mind from the opening (Black Sabbath's "Ironman") to the final thrash of Erdman's guitar ("Infinity Guitars"), the duo dominated the stage, and put on the best live set I've seen in recent memory.
2.) Major Lazer @ Sasquatch Music Festival 2011
The DJ duo of Diplo and Switch, together Major Lazer, were the final act scheduled for the dance tent, and the second to last act of the entire festival. Following dubstep maestro Skrillex's torrid set, Switch and Diplo took the stage in front of a crowd ready to get down, but also fearing the end of an incredible weekend. The two DJ's started off the set with their classic dancehall sound, but by 15 minutes in, they were blasting Flux Pavillion's remix of DJ Fresh's "Gold Dust", and feeding a dubstep hungry crowd with a few Rusko and Skrillex bangers. Diplo and Switch knew exactly what to play, and constantly switched the tempo of the show, going from hip hop (Rick Ross's "BMF") to reggae to their own classic hits ("Percolate" and "Hold The Line"), all while hypeman Skerrit Bwoy daggered. While its hard to list a DJ set this high on the list, the fluidity and song choice in the Major Lazer set, along with Skerrit Bwoy's antics, made the show seem like much more than a standard EDM show.
3.) Murs @ Paid Dues Festival 2011
Heading into Paid Dues, I was most excited to see Black Star perform their self titled album, but also more than ready to finally see the enigma Lil' B in the flesh, one of my favorite artists Blu, and Houston legend Bun B. Murs has always been one of my favorite artists, but his music never came across to me as if it would translate well to a live show. Boy was I wrong. Murs not only put on the best set at his own festival, but also probably the funnest hip hop show I've ever been to. Bringing genuine emotion and enthusiasm, Murs displayed his diverse discography (say that 10 times fast) in a set that went 45 minutes over its allotted time. Highlights included the touching "First Love Blues", "Everything", and a remix he did with the Italian electro house duo Crookers called "To Protect and Entertain" (the older hip hop crowd didn't seem to appreciate that one as much).
4.) Glitch Mob @ Claremont Colleges
Performing on the second floor of a parking garage, glitch hop masters Glitch Mob brought an energy, and force that I never expected to witness when I first arrived on my quiet college campus. From the start of the show ("Animus Vox") to the rawkus finish (a remix of "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes), the trio brought the bass in a venue that was literally shaking from start to finish. The crowd was entirely made up of college students, and the energy and intensity was evident. Utilizing laptops, Lemur MIDI controllers, and drums, edIT, Boreta, and Ooah delivered their signature glitch sound with a vengeance in a show that could hardly be called a DJ set.
5.) Blue Scholars @ Claremont Colleges
Since I first saw Geo and Sabzi throw down at Bumbershoot 2006 or '07 (the Kanye year), I have seen them perform at all sorts of different venues across the Northwest. When I heard they were performing at an auditorium on my campus, I was excited, but not expecting anything more than their standard set. The show opened with The XX's "Intro" (or as Geo and Sabzi have dubbed it "Lumiere), one of my favorite songs of all time, and Geo wading his way through the small crowd and climbing onto stage to finish his verse. The show was in California, but you wouldn't have known it with every Seattle kid at the Claremont Colleges singing along at the tops of their lungs. A few weeks ago, I was at the Cinemotropolis release show at Neumos, and while the Scholars put on another sublime performance, it wasn't even close to as fun as the show in Claremont. The intimacy of a show by a group like the Scholars in a burning hot ballroom, in front of 200 or so adoring college kids cannot be matched.
"Anarchy" in the NW
In the midst of the revelry during Seattle’s pre-Pride Saturday night celebrations came a startling sight: five or so police cars driving an angry mob up Pine St. past 10th Avenue. There seems to be some confusion as to why this mob formed, and why they smashed up windows at the Broadway American Apparel and at a Ferrari dealership. Some reports say it was a flash mob that got out of hand. Others have been more inflammatory.
For a frozen-in-time look at how the story evolved, just look at KOMO 4’s preliminary report from the morning after next to the more recently updated version. Let’s compare the first sentences:
Hours after the event in question (posted 8:49 AM on Sunday), KOMO reported it thus: “Hundreds of anarchists create overnight havoc on Capitol Hill”
By the next morning, KOMO’s language changed to “Noisy mob creates havoc on Capitol Hill”
So what really went on that night? Did hundreds of anarchists flood the street and make their political opinions heard, as the first article stated? Or did KOMO adjust their story to fit a more detailed picture emerging from the internet?
First reports of an issue tend to be somewhat limited in scope, as their goal is to get information out quickly, rather than accurately. Over the weekend, new facts were discovered and KOMO changed the story to match them (you might also recognize the tendency towards sensationalism). By looking at the full scope of what the internet has to offer, we can see that the equation is pretty much this:
First Report + Time = Full story
As best I can tell, the gathering was inspired by this anti-corporate post on a Seattle community website calling for a midnight flash mob to celebrate Pride “with creation, rather than consumption”. Somewhere along the line, though, things turned ugly.
At midnight, the flashmob formed and started partying in the streets. Police cars showed up, and the demonstration took on a distinctly anti-establishment air. According to one bystander on The Stranger's blog (appropriately titled Slog), two men darted from the crowd and lifted up a police barricade, and it seems like that’s when the proverbial poo-poo hit the fan.
Along the way, the crowd busted windows at several local businesses and chanted some anti-police sentiment, before quietly dispersing.
Capitol Hill Seattle is reporting that the one arrest from the night was a transgender activist by the name of Maurice Schwenkler. (It should be noted that Schwenkler pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor back in 2009 for smashing windows at the Colorado Democratic Party headquarters.) So it does appear that anarchists- or at least “anarchists”- had something to do with the demonstration.
Though a popular anarchist message board claimed that the riot carried an anti-commercialization message throughout, reddit.com user potatolicious (who says he was walking through the crowd on his way home that night) begs to differ.
“While I was craning my neck and looking around a masked guy came up (bandana on face), pulled his handgun out of his pocket (9mm? Didn't get a good look) and told me ‘It's the cops against the people, man! I'm gonna get me a pig when it all goes down.’”
Adds potatolicious, “these anarchists couldn't [care less] about any issue except...lynching cops.”
So in brief summary, about thirty “anarchists” smashed windows, following a crowd of about 200 partiers.
As all the facts began to come in and we learned that the riot wasn’t as widespread as was first assumed, Komo’s narrative transformed ever so slightly; you can look at the two articles side by side and very clearly see the difference in word choice. It’s an interesting little case study that shows how impermanent and organically changing the news is, especially in this day and age.
Quick personal introductions to some of the brilliant, interesting, and really, really ridiculously good-looking writers who will populate the world of Hella Bus with all the political and cultural news you require this summer. More to come!
Born and raised in Seattle, I am in an incoming senior at Whitman College where I major in politics with a particular interest in race and ethnic studies. I enjoy reading fashion magazines, watching crime shows, listening to hip-hop, and snacking. Usually all at the same time.
Last August, I left for Southern California to pursue higher education at a little place called Pitzer College, not knowing if I would ever return to the city I’ve called home my entire life. With the added experience of living in a waterless desert, I have now returned to the city by the sea to resume my post as writer, photographer, and documenter of all things music and art. I love public transportation issues, and am a huge proponent of protecting basic civil liberties for all citizens.
I'm a freshly-minted college graduate. I am also crazy, because for some reason I want to get into journalism and fiction writing, which are dying and poverty-inducing professions respectively. This quixotic quest for clippings started when I was the go-to Hella Bus guy last summer. I combat my existential crisis by playing bass, working part time as The Stranger's Unpaid Intern, and hanging out with Mitch Hedberg.
I’ve been the youngest volunteer in the room since my first Bus experience way back in 2008, and my time with Hella Bus is no exception. A rising high school senior with a summer birthday, I am the only Bus intern who won’t be able to vote come November. Despite this bitterly ageist setback, I’ve done my best to become an involved member of my local community. When I’m not sitting in the dark writing about local happenings or out in the sun experiencing them, I can be found watching and relentlessly making fun of bad movies, skiing (yes, even in the summer, what’s good), and biking.
Ever bake a cake, and leave out a key ingredient - sugar perhaps? Tastes terrible (Probably. I'm an insanely good baker). Or forget to add tapioca/flour/your thickener of choice to a fruit pie and end up with a soupy mess? (Again, I'm purely trying to imagine the problems that a lesser baker might encounter).
You see, oven-based neglect is not dissimilar to the predominant discourse on transportation today - it's missing a key ingredient:
When we talk about transportation we nearly always talk about sustainability, but transportation is also a social and economic justice issue.
For a timely example, see this Monday's front-page New York Times article about transportation. It turns out that Europe is on the forefront of establishing "more environmentally friendly modes of transportation." It's a lovely article, but focuses solely on environmental issues without drawing out the broader affects of public transportation.
So what's the problem? Well, when we make transportation a narrow issue, we get back a narrow demographic engaged in the discussion. If we want to reel in a broader range of voices into the discussion of transportation policy, we need to acknowledge the broader role it plays in our life (see the Sightline institute for a great fusion of human and environmental approaches to transportation).
The ability to move yourself from one place to another is one of the baseline requirements of participation in our society. You must be able to transport yourself from your house to your work, to school, to the store, to the doctor, to leisure activities (like baking camp*).
Even when we look at large-scale decision-making around transportation and development, it doesn't take long to spot the effects on the individual.
If we collectively decide that we're going to build car-focused infrastructure, then we're saying that the price of participation in our society is at least $8,500 per year on average (the cost of operating a car).*
If we collectively decide to require developers to build a set minimum of parking spaces with each new building, we're pushing the cost of development up, and ultimately, the cost that all of us pay for housing or at the store.
If we collectively decide that we want to maintain low housing density in our cities, we're pushing up the price of housing (via supply and demand), and making our cities unaffordable for all but the very wealthy.
If we collectively make a decision to underfund Metro, who does it hurt most? The people who count on it as an affordable mode of transportation.
Don't get me wrong--the environmental aspects of transportation are huge. I love the fact that bicycling, bussing and walking are great for the environment, for health (I'm pretty convinced that the cure for our current obesity epidemic is to stop driving), for fun, for stress relief, and on and on...
But when the discussion is framed primarily around sustainability and skirts over the day to day human impact, a whole range of voices - most often those most directly affected by declining public transit - are pushed to the margins.
So just as a sugarless cake is only enjoyed by a small slice of folks (just kidding, no one eats sugarless cake), so too does a purely environmental discussion of transportation leave out important issues and voices. Those of us interested in funding public transportation would do well to open more avenues into public discourse by looking at it as a social and economic justice issue as well.
*Is there such a thing? Not that I need it. I'll refer you to my earlier comment about how really, really ridiculously good at baking I am.
*A little comparison shopping: Four full-cost, peak hour fares on Metro ($2.50), every day, 365 days per year, would come out to $3,650/year. I'm not sure what the yearly cost of biking is, but say you ride a really, really extremely nice bike for your commuting pleasure--a $1,500 bike for example. The bike lasts for 3 years, so that's $500/year. Throw in a generous $500/year for repairs, accessories, and of course spandex! Because spandex is essential to biking! That's only $1,000/year. And all that walking costs you is the price of a comfortable pair of kicks.