MONDAY, DECEMBER 12 This week of busted cops and famous dead folks (RIP, Christopher Hitchens and Vaclav Havel; rot in hell, Kim Jong-il; hurry up, pope) kicks off with Mitt Romney, the still-living politi-bot with impeccable hair, a hair-trigger temper, and dreams of being the first Mormon president (or at least the 2012 Republican nominee). Today's Romney saga comes from New Hampshire, where this morning Mitt was campaigning at the Chez Vachon restaurant in Manchester when he plopped himself down at a table with two men in their 60s, one of whom was wearing a "Vietnam Veteran" hat. Hoping for a pro-vet photo-op, Romney was instead handed his slippery ass on a platter. As Politico's Reid Epstein reports, "Bob Garon, 63, of Epsom, N.H., asked Romney if he, as president, would seek to overturn New Hampshire's law legalizing gay marriage. Romney gave his standard response affirming his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Garon, who is gay and was seated with his husband, Bob Lemire, then said to Romney: 'It's good to know how you feel, that you do not believe everyone is entitled to their constitutional rights.'" Garon's words immediately brought out Bitchy Mitt, Romney's furiously smiling alter ego, who put the troublesome gay vet in his place: "Actually, I think at the time the Constitution was written, marriage was between a man and a woman and I don't believe the Supreme Court has changed that." (About Romney's barely latent rage-monkeyism: Powerful Mormon men are unused to being critiqued or corrected, residing within a religion that gives earthly men spiritual infallibility, and they never, ever apologize. See 1978, when the church's blatantly racist practice of barring blacks from church leadership, while accepting their full tithes, was overturned not with an acknowledgment of righting a wrong, but with a bunch of white men claiming to have received a revelation from God that blacks are okay now.) As for today's New Hampshire hubbub, it was ultimately less about the continued creepiness of Mitt Romney than the towering awesomeness of Bob Garon, the gay Vietnam vet who told reporters he was a political independent who married his husband in June. "In New Hampshire, where it's legal," said Garon, "unless Mitt Romney gets elected." Garon's final read on Romney's political chances: "The guy ain't going to make it. You can't trust him. I can see it in his eyes."
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13 In much better news, the week continues with a 2012 holiday trend that will warm your porn-stained heart. Known as "layaway angels," they are not hookers who work for free, but anonymous donors who visit stores' layaway departments to pay off strangers' outstanding bills. For those born after the any-broke-ass-fool-can-get-a-credit-card-or-twelve era: "Layaway" is a retro concept brought back after the recent failure of the any-broke-ass-fool-can-get-a-credit-card-or-twelve era, in which customers put a desired item on hold and pay it off incrementally, taking possession of the item when paid in full. At the forefront of the new layaway craze: Walmart and K-Mart, two chains that have seen visits from layaway angels at stores nationwide. Details on local angels comes from KIRO, which reports a woman walked into the Yelm Walmart yesterday with $5,000 cash and asked if she could pay the bills of single moms with toys on layaway for Christmas, which she did. Is this a coordinated PR move from the much-maligned 1 percent or just unaffiliated blessed folks sharing their blessings? Whatever the case, hurrah.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14 In much worse news, today a 41-year-old woman in Manhattan was boarding an elevator in the lobby of a 25-story Madison Avenue office building when the elevator suddenly shot upward, wedging the woman between the elevator and the shaft wall and fatally mangling her in front of two people already onboard the elevator. "The two survivors were taken to New York University Hospital, where they were treated for trauma," reports the New York Daily News. In a shocking twist, today's item is but the week's first New York elevator tragedy. Condolences to all.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15 In stupider news, the week continues with the ridiculous saga of Greg Davis, aka the mayor of Southaven, Tennessee, who today interrupted his mayoring of the state's third-largest city to publicly announce his homosexuality. Driving the revelation: a bundle of receipts, provided by Mayor Davis to state auditors and obtained by the Memphis newspaper the Commercial Appeal. As the CA reports, these receipts allegedly document how Davis "had the city pay for wide-ranging expenses including thousands of dollars worth of liquor, expensive dinners at a local restaurant, and a visit to an adult store catering to gay men while on a recruitment trip to Canada." Never mind the pricey booze and food—what drove Mayor Davis to today's announcement was, apparently, a $67 charge at Priape, a Toronto store described by its website as "Canada's premier gay lifestyle store and sex shop." Addressing the press this afternoon at his Southaven home, Mayor Davis—a Republican who ran for Congress on a conservative family-values platform in 2008 (and lost)—laid it out clearly: "Over the last few years... I came to the realization that I am gay... The only apology I would make to my supporters if they are upset is the fact that I was not honest enough with myself to be honest with them. But I have lived my life in public service for 20-plus years, and in order for me to remain sane and move on, I have got to start being honest about who I am."
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16 Nothing happened today, unless you count the findings of the Department of Justice's nine-month investigation of the Seattle Police Department, summed up at a press conference by US Attorney Jenny Durkan: "There is reasonable cause to believe that the Seattle Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of unnecessary force in violation of the US Constitution—both by the officers themselves and by the lack of policies and supervision within the department." For the full, amazing story, see page 11.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 17 Today brings another goddamned elevator tragedy in New York, this one in an apartment building in Brooklyn, where a 73-year-old woman was returning to her fifth-floor apartment after a grocery-store run when horror struck. As CNN reports, "When the elevator arrived at the fifth floor, a man—dressed as an exterminator—sprayed her with an unidentified liquid, set her afire, and then fled, police said. Authorities responding to a 911 call of a fire found the woman's body inside the elevator. She was pronounced dead at the scene." Tomorrow will bring the arrest of 47-year-old Jerome Isaac on charges of murder and arson in the death of 73-year-old Deloris Gillespie. As MSNBC reports, Isaac allegedly "told police he set her on fire because he was angry that she owed him $2,000."
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 18 In much better news, today saw the exit of the last convoy of American troops from Iraq, bringing an official end to the $800 billion war that spanned nine years, saw 4,500 US casualties and 100,000 Iraqi casualties, and involved service from 1.5 million Americans. Thanks especially to those combat veterans who address head-on their almost mandatory bouts with PTSD.
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