Religion, The Arts, Monorail

Religion

Media-maniacal Rabbi Daniel Lapin of Mercer Island–based Toward Tradition (see "Meet the Lapin Brothers") and humility-challenged Pastor Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond (who claims to have bullied Microsoft into withdrawing support this year for the state gay-rights bill) would like you to know, first of all, that they're really close friends, and isn't that cool given all their differences (race, religion, hobbies, etc.)? And second, that homosexuality is pretty much a death knell for civilization, with the end coming not immediately but inevitably if we don't do something. In a joint communiqué posted on the far-righteous Toward Tradition Web site, they write: "It is hard, if not impossible, to think of a society for whom rampant homosexuality was not a symptom of impending extinction." The reason for their invocation of such nonsense is the fact that "the senior rabbi of one of Seattle's largest Reform congregations attacked us in a local newspaper for our opposition to homosexual marriage." That would be Rabbi Daniel Weiner of Temple De Hirsch Sinai, in an op-ed in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer May 3, and "attacked" doesn't really do justice to his refined fusillade: "There is poignant irony in that this kind of hate speech emanates from a rabbi and an African American minister, leaders of historically powerless, minority communities who were oppressed, enslaved and attacked based upon a dehumanizing rationale similar to the one they wield against the gay community," wrote Weiner. Undaunted, Hutcherson told

KIRO-TV on Friday, May 6, that he has more in store for Microsoft, now that the company has said it will support the gay-rights measure next time around, although Hutcherson isn't saying what. Perhaps that threatened boycott of Redmond products? It's going to be costly to change operating systems and replace Office applications. CHUCK TAYLOR

The Arts

A locally bred musical, The Light in the Piazza, bagged 11 Tony nominations this week, including one for Intiman Theatre artistic director Bartlett Sher. Piazza premiered at Intiman in 2003. When it debuted on Broadway last month, the romantic chamber musical received mostly warm reviews. But a sweep of the Tonys is far from guaranteed. The show's biggest competitor—with 14 nominations—is the hit Monty Python's Spamalot, a goofy musical adaptation of the 1975 movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. ("Run away! Run away!") The Tonys will be televised June 5 on CBS. LYNN JACOBSON

Monorail

The sudden disappearance of its lead partner, the one expected to do most of the heavy lifting, means nothing, Cascadia Monorail President Pat Flaherty told the Seattle Monorail Project board last week. "We don't have any concerns or doubts," said the Fluor executive after its monorail bid partner, Washington Group International, termed the project an unacceptable financial risk. (This from an experienced transit-design company that recently announced a 32 percent spike in net income and $1.5 billion in new contracts during the first quarter of 2005.) Fluor now takes over as sole lead of the $1.6 billion monorail bid and reassured the sometimes-clueless board (one member couldn't even get WGI's name right) that, having built airports and toll roads, it could certainly build a monorail–how complicated could it be? Fluor officials especially talked up a 62-mile heavy railway under construction through the Netherlands and Belgium. The implication to the public was that Fluor was building the high-speed line. "We do heavy civil engineering," Flaherty said. But Fluor is the program manager of a consortium called Infraspeed that is building the line. It's the other members and contractors who handle construction and engineering duties—similar to what WGI was likely to do in Seattle. When asked if his firm was truly qualified to be the sole lead on SMP, Flaherty said he'd leave that up to the agency to determine–as it officially, and undoubtedly favorably, will do shortly. RICK ANDERSON

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