Topic: Cultural sights
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April 15, 2012 at 1:00 PM
PHILADELPHIA – Sports stadiums are a big deal for cities.
They cost a lot of money to build, their teams inspire passion among fans and loathing among rivals, they spur significant revenue among restaurants and other businesses in the vicinity, and they draw traffic like honey draws bees. We know all this well in Seattle.
In Philadelphia on Sunday, I saw the upsides.
March 31, 2012 at 9:54 AM
The Ron Paul campaign calls it “one of the best campaign handouts you will ever find.”
After finding the Ron Paul Family Cookbook (2011 edition, that’s right, there’s more than one edition) on the floor of the Taco Bell Arena after Paul came in third at the Ada Co. caucus in Boise, Idaho, I decided to take it home and give a couple of the recipes a try.
Albeit short, the cookbook is more than just your standard Betty Crocker or Martha Stewart how-to: the 28-page booklet features excerpts from and about the Paul family, capped off with a letter, “The American Dream” by Mrs. Ron Paul. (Given her limited appearances along the campaign trail, this letter is a rare glimpse of Carol Paul.)
The cookbook has six recipes calling for an entire block of cream cheese each and one that uses Velveeta. Perhaps this is Paul’s response to Michelle Obama’s initiative against obesity?
Nonetheless, I set out to make a meal inspired by America, our freedoms and liberties, the gold standard, and abolishing the federal reserve–so naturally I started out with meatloaf.
Not all of the recipes in the booklet come from the Paul family, though they are a large brood. The meatloaf recipe I chose came from Tracee Tollett in Lake Jackson, Texas (one of the cities in Paul’s 14th district).
I was a bit worried because I had never made meatloaf before, but I channeled my inner Paula Deen and did my best. Before I put it in the oven, the two cans of tomato sauce made it look like a bit of a blood bath.
It was a long 75 minutes to wait, but the dish ended up being worth it in the end. I gathered my roommates around to join me in feasting, except for the vegetarian who provided moral support. We all agreed it was quite tasty, and the extra sauce helped to keep the meatloaf moist and added an extra kick of flavor.
But a meal isn’t a meal without dessert, which came in the form of Carol Paul’s brownies.
Unfortunately Mrs. Ron Paul’s brownies weren’t as sweet as this sweet-tooth had hoped. One roommate asked if they were meant to be bittersweet, but the recipe doesn’t say. While they were far from unpalatable, I would recommend jazzing future batches up with some frosting, sprinkles, or berries for a more satisfying indulgence.
Those interested in whipping up some Americana can purchase their own copy of Ron Paul Family Cookbook for a small donation from the campaign website.
March 12, 2012 at 6:30 AM
On the morning of March 5 after I got dressed, I looked at fellow UW Election Eye contributor Ilona Idlis and said, “This totally looks like something a politician would wear, doesn’t it?”
That statement later became eerie as we geared up to cover Rep. Ron Paul’s rally in Sandpoint, Idaho. Photographic evidence below:
I call it the “All-American” look – blue denim jeans, a plaid button-up shirt, and a cozy red sweater. We were both sporting black boots as well.
Fashion is a serious consideration for candidates: one doesn’t want to look too formal, or too casual. It’s hard to go wrong at a rally in the “All-American” piece. I was a bit surprised by Paul’s copycat outfit because he’s not often spotted without a suit and tie.
Coverage focuses more on fashion when women are in the race. In 2008, Sarah Palin faced a scandal when the RNC splurged more than $150,000 on her outfits. Beyond costs, there’s style; women don’t have the fallback suit-and-tie. The fashion police have praised Michele Bachmann for her fresh professional and feminine style, but have scorned Hillary Clinton for her requisite pantsuit as not feminine enough.
Men can have trademark looks too. Exhibit A is Rick Santorum: I’ve not seen so many sweater vests since I last went through my dad’s closet or saw Chandler on “Friends.” Santorum even sported one in the campaign video he sent to the Ada County caucus in Boise on Super Tuesday.
Pundits had a field day with Al Gore and his consultant, Women’s Studies scholar and author Naomi Wolf, in the 2000 election. As a part of her recommendations many speculated that she provided fashion advice and changed his suit colors to earth tones, even though the campaign and others have noted her role was to advise Gore on women’s issues and concerns.
While it’s a side note to the real political goings-on — policies, speeches, campaigns, and debates — wearing the wrong thing could impact a candidate’s message to voters. Who could forget that American flag lapel pin debate in 2008?
At this point in the Republican Party presidential race, those still standing will be rolling up their sleeves — figuratively and literally — for the next round of primaries.
February 26, 2012 at 7:00 AM
OLYMPIA — Walking into The Spar Café, which sits seven blocks from the State Capitol and is renowned among locals, is a bit like stepping into an Old Western movie.
The bar stretches deep into the restaurant, curving to reveal billiards tables and a jukebox at the back. Wood panels sequester the booths and a latticework of curved iron bars arches over the tables. Glass and metal finials decorate the structure. The high ceilings drip with potted plants and amber chandeliers. Paintings of Americana and sepia photographs populate every wall.
One expects to see a cowboy swagger past.
Instead, when I arrived on Presidents’ Day earlier this week, The Spar was bustling with a breakfast rush. Almost every booth had an occupant and the old-timey clock above the entrance was shy of 11. Waiters and bartenders burst from the kitchen with heaping plates of omelets and hash browns.
I thought surely I’d find the place abuzz with grizzled lawmakers discussing the Republican presidential contest, the new borders of the 10th congressional district, or the looming gubernatorial campaign. After all, only a few blocks away “Occupiers” were rehearsing a Die-in/Sing-in at Sylvester Park and the Capitol was engulfed by activists.
But no. Almost none of The Spar’s customers sported the tell-tale garb of a politico. No power pant suits, pinstripes, or lapel flag pins to be seen. Most appeared to be locals of various stripes, enjoying a hearty meal on a quiet holiday.
Founded in 1935, The Spar began by catering to the everyman, providing the loggers and the longshoremen a place to smoke, drink and gamble after a long day at the ports. While the workers reveled at the bar, politicians were rumored to strike deals in the restaurant’s smoking room.
Nowadays, The Spar is a much more family affair. There’s no gambling or smoking — that I saw at least — and any humidors and secret meeting rooms have been replaced with welcoming tables and chairs. Even the restaurant’s family ownership has changed hands to McMenamins’ chain of pubs and breweries.
Despite the changing times, The Spar has maintained facets of its frontier atmosphere. The saloon-esque back bar is still stocked with boxes of fat cigars and a wooden Indian perches atop the shelves. Any lucky wanderer can enjoy a locally brewed beer, like the light and fruity Ruby, as early as 7 A.M.
He — or the many shes who come through the doors these days — can even have a signature milkshake flavored with the artisan ale.
February 8, 2012 at 11:00 AM
MANITOU SPRINGS — It was the calm before the Santorum storm.
On a chilly Tuesday afternoon with snow flurries swirling, just hours before Rick Santorum’s surprising win in the Colorado Republican Party caucuses, we followed the example of a number of former U.S. presidents, including Teddy Roosevelt.
We went to the Colorado mountains and Manitou Springs for a pause from the impending caucus craziness.
Squint while standing on the town’s main street, Manitou Avenue, and you could be in a Spaghetti Western. Or Roslyn, WA. Our team’s Colorado native, Jason Gilmore, keyed us in to this serene mountain town that he’s been visiting since he was “knee high to a grasshopper.” It’s one of his favorite places.
It was easy to see why.
Snuggled near Pikes Peak west of Colorado Springs, this historic resort spot is famous for its restorative springs, proximity to the Garden of the Gods, memorable shops such as a charming Penny Arcade, and independent people.
Over hot beverages at Marika’s Coffeehouse, A.V. Crofts and I met one of them, Alan Delwiche, for a conversation about his hometown and the local political scene. Delwiche, whose son Aaron is an alum of the UW Department of Communication, is active in local Democratic Party politics.
Delwiche moved to Manitou Springs in 1982, and has seen the town bounce back from a decade of neglect in the 1970s. Ironically, this neglect meant that many of the historic buildings still stand, as they were not leveled for new construction in the 1960s and ’70s, while many were in neighboring Colorado Springs.
Back then, “it had a sort of Bohemian flavor,” Delwiche says. Today, Manitou Springs has emerged as a bluish dot in an otherwise red sea in the greater Colorado Springs area.
February 5, 2012 at 6:30 AM
LAS VEGAS — Media and punditry buzz over Sheldon Adelson hit a crescendo this week. Time, then, for us to get an insider’s view of the impact of this multi-billionaire casino mogul and entrepreneur — literally.
We did, thanks to a UW alum in the desert.
We decided to go to a place that has received a great deal of attention: the Dr. Miriam & Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus (AEC), where the highest-profile Republican caucus in the state was held last night, after other caucus sites were closed, for citizens whose religious faith precluded them from caucusing during Saturday daytime.
What we found was not Adelson, but a Jewish community centerpiece.
UW Election Eye colleagues David Domke, A. V. Crofts and I drove north from downtown, to an area of gated communities and tan, Spanish-style buildings. This had manicured written all over it, and I questioned if we would be able to enter the campus. Recollections of my own time at a Jewish Day School in Bellevue told me to expect a protective fence.
And we found one, a tall, strong fence, with a security guard in front of it. With a school logo on his jacket, the guard asked to see our credentials. He crosschecked the schedule of visits — the three of us knew we weren’t on it, and we braced ourselves to be summarily dismissed. Not finding our name, the guard called into the school to check if someone there was expecting us. That was going to be another no-go, we knew.
“We have about a 30 percent chance of getting into this place,” Domke said. I thought this was wildly optimistic.
Soon an employee emerged from behind the fence and curtly told us that we did not have an appointment, and informed us in no uncertain terms that we would not be entering — unless we wanted to return for the public caucus.
Domke asked if there was any possible way to talk to someone else. The guard mentioned a name and said we could call her. He did not offer a phone number, but I had it. Domke dialed, and while he did, I snuck away to snap whatever photos I could of the elusive school. We would be leaving in about 60 seconds, I figured, so I’d get what I could.
Moving along the tall shrubbery, I caught glimpses of the buildings inside. A glass dome, artfully flanked by palm trees, marked the school’s entrance. In front of the doors, twin metal doves arched their wings skyward atop an outdoor statue. As I contorted to try to get the best photo angle of the flying Israeli flag, Domke called me over.
We were going in.
It turns out that the school’s Director of Development is a 1997 University of Washington graduate. When we agreed to focus on the school and not the caucus, she agreed to give us 10 minutes, but with no quotes on the record.
She ended up giving us 45 minutes, a tour, and a recorded interview.
February 4, 2012 at 6:21 PM
LAS VEGAS – When we exit the Summerlin Parkway in Las Vegas on to North Rancho Drive, at first the shops and scenery reflect the outskirts of any number of U.S. cities: an enormous Walgreens, a corner 7-11, a Burger King. But towering above the standard signs there is one that stands out: “Dos Hermanas Supermarcado.” I hit the accelerator across two lanes for a hasty entrance into the parking lot. Where there are supermarcados there are bound to be good Mexican restaurants.
What I want is exactly what we find: La Choza #2 Mexican Restaurant. Choza translates as “hut” in English. Bingo. Forget the food palaces like Ricardo’s down near the neon Miracle Mile with their peach margaritas; I want a hole-in-the-wall with bottomless iced horchata. We enter La Choza #2 to the tinkle of bells on the door and are greeted in Spanish. Futbol blares on one of the two flat screen televisions against the turquoise walls, the other one airs a telenovela.
The latest census data puts the Latino and Hispanic population of Nevada as just over 26%, so it’s no shock that we’ve stumbled upon a strip mall that along with La Choza #2 and Dos Hermanas Supermarcado, includes Guadeloupe Medical Center, Botanica La Magnifica, and Rancho Dental. Much attention is given from both sides of the political aisle to the Latino Vote, and the Las Vegas Sun reports that the four GOP candidates have distinct engagement strategies with the Latino and Hispanic community. While Mitt Romney captured the Latino vote in Florida, the Latino community in Florida and the Latino community in Nevada could not be more distinct.
Differences aside, La Choza #2 has food to tempt anyone’s taste buds. As I finish my $8 plate of chili rellenos, the glowing yellow jukebox kicks in at an ear-shattering decibel, sending our waitress racing for the volume button. It’s hard to believe that we are a few short miles miles from high-rise hotels where the top suites can set you back as much as $40,000 a night.
I drain my horchata and we pay the bill.
January 18, 2012 at 1:25 PM
COLUMBIA — The state Capitol building here symbolizes the contradictions that define South Carolina.
Even more prominent are the anchors to the grounds. The Confederate flag — which flew atop the Capitol and was moved in 2000 due to pressure — and a statue of Strom Thurmond, U.S. Senator for 47 years and longtime proponent of segregation, welcome people to the North and South entrances of the Capitol, while an African American History Monument lies on the East side of the grounds. This latter monument is the first of its kind on state capitol grounds anywhere in the United States.
Further complicating the Capitol story is the recently added name “Essie Mae” to a list of Thurmond’s children, a daughter he fathered with his family’s African American maid. For this addition, the number of children chiseled in stone on the monument had to be changed from four to five.
Inside the Capitol I spoke with former American History high school teacher of 27 years and 10-year Tour Coordinator for the Capitol, Heyward Stuckey. (He was prompt and proud to point out that his first name is shared with a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Heyward Jr.)
When asked about the flag controversy, Stuckey noted that the Confederate flag that flew on the Capitol dome 1962 to 2000 was the Confederate Navy Flag — the version often connected to neo-Nazi groups. In 2000 the flag was removed from the dome, and a different version of the flag, the Confederate Battle Flag, was positioned about 50 yards from the front steps of the Capitol.
Stuckey said the flag was a “hateful symbol to many,” but he quickly moved to another angle on the flag. He said, “You can’t pick the war you want to be in…[the flag represents] the courage and fortitude of soldiers.” He added that South Carolina lost the highest percentage of men in the Civil War, roughly a third of the draftable population, age 20 to 55. “It wiped out a whole generation,” he said.
His words hung out there, floating down the front steps to a George Washington statue honoring an American Founding Father and over to the Declaration of Secession that began the Civil War. Both too are chiseled in stone.
January 16, 2012 at 5:00 AM
Late yesterday morning, as we were heading out of Columbia after finishing church at First Baptist, and on the way to see Santorum in Florence, we saw something a bit rarer in these rather reddish parts of the country: a giant photo of Obama and his logo pasted to a tall sign.
We had to investigate, and a couple of us popped out to talk to the folks working behind the counter.
As you might imagine, one of them, Khalad Hirabi, likes Barack Obama. Indeed, he likes Obama so much, in fact, that he and his business partners named a string of convenience stores after the president. He says that it has been a “boost to business.”
“People come here because they like the name,” he says, but also because they like our personality. (more…)
January 15, 2012 at 9:51 AM
It is Sanctity of Human Life Day in America. And it is political.
This day gained presidential recognition from President Ronald Reagan by proclamation in 1984 when he occupied the White House. For Christian conservatives, it is a darn near high holy day. In my book with colleague Kevin Coe The God Strategy: How Religion Became A Political Weapon in America, we track how Republican presidents have issued official presidential proclamations commemorating it annually (here is George W. Bush’a final one in 2009).
Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama did not and have not issued such proclamations. Undoubtedly they see life as precious, even sacred. But the overt tie of the proclamation to opposition to abortion rights since its origins has led Republicans to embrace the act while Democrats have avoided it. As a further indication of the merger of religion and politics, this proclamation could be issued to commorate any day of the week. But it is issued on a Sunday by Republican presidents.
In its stead, Clinton proclaimed a Religious Freedom Day in 1994 and every subsequent January of his presidency, George W. Bush and Obama followed suit. President Obama issued his version of this proclamation two days ago.
Today at First Baptist Church Of Columbia — the founding church of the Southern Baptist Convention — the sanctity of life day was emphasized. We attended Sunday school adult education classes and worship services. In the class I attended the focus was on an old Testament passage dealing with murder, justice, and mercy. The discussion focused on a contemporary American culture that had, the participants claimed, lost sensitivity to humanity, personal relationships, and God. The room was packed.
The sanctuary holds 3500 and has an awe-inspiring choir. Barack Obama spoke there during the Democratic Party primary in South Carolina in 2008. Today Newt Gingrich’s sisters were there.
We’ll have more up soon on a our visit to First Baptist, including a conversation with the Gingrich sisters, and more photos. Now we’re on our way on a sunny South Carolina day to see Santorum in Florence…