Dear readers: As all of you in Seattle know, this was a week of sudden death and tragedy, which you can read about in depth in this week's feature and in short in Wednesday's item. In the spirit of celebrating the lives that were taken rather than letting the actions of one unmedicated man devour all the goodness in the world, Last Days will devote this week's column to nothing but good news.
MONDAY, MAY 28 Last Days' Insistent Good News Week kicks off in the past, specifically 1983, the glorious year that brought us the first flight of the space shuttle Challenger, the final episode of M*A*S*H, and a still-black and happy Michael Jackson performing a moonwalk-enhanced "Billie Jean" on the Motown 25 TV special and dazzling all humanity (except the breakdancers from whom he pinched his moves). But for many, 1983 will forever be a year best remembered for a sexy welder in a rent-neck sweatshirt gyrating beneath a bucket of water, thanks to Flashdance, the music-videoish film directed by Adrian Lyne, cowritten by Joe Eszterhas, and featuring a blockbuster theme song by Irene Cara, which, on this day in 1983, hit the top spot on the US singles chart—where it will deservingly remain for a month and a half. Deep thanks to Ms. Cara for taking her passion and making it happen.
TUESDAY, MAY 29 Speaking of good or at least not-bad news, the week continues in Washington, DC, where today President Obama took time out of his busy straight-marriage-destroying-and-kill-list-assembling schedule to bestow the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Bob Dylan, Toni Morrison, and 11 other people cited for their heroic words and deeds. As Reuters reports, the awards ceremony for the nation's top civilian honor took place in a suitably packed White House: Along with Dylan and Morrison, honorees included Israeli president Shimon Peres, former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, labor activist Dolores Huerta, discrimination-busting Justice Department official of the 1960s John Doar, University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt, smallpox eradicator William Foege, Japanese American internment resister Gordon Hirabayashi, astronaut and former senator John Glenn, retired Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens, Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, and Jan Karski, an "officer in the Polish underground who carried his eyewitness account of Nazi atrocities to the outside world." Congrats to all.
•• Also: Happy birthday to Annette Bening, the American actress who is almost always great. (For a refresher course, proceed immediately to 1990's The Grifters, now available on Netflix streaming.)
WEDNESDAY, MAY 30 The week continues with the worst day in Seattle since the Blue House massacre, as today a mentally ill man visited the Roosevelt area's Cafe Racer and opened fire with two semiautomatic handguns, fatally shooting four people and leaving another in critical condition. The well-armed man then got himself to First Hill, where he fatally shot another person before getting himself to West Seattle, where he fatally shot himself. The heartbreaking particulars of all this horror are covered in depth starting on page 12, leaving Last Days to cover a personal angle, introduced by Hot Tipper David: "I know that [today]'s shooting at Cafe Racer will be in next week's Last Days, and I wanted to contact you before you publish. If you don't already know this, the family of Cafe Racer is one of the most talented, intelligent, loving, and most welcoming groups of misfits that's ever graced the earth. No one deserves this experience, of course. But this couldn't have hit a more spectacular group of humans. Please, please, please express in your article the unbelievable amount of love that exists between us all and make that the focus of your report if you would." Dear Hot Tipper David: Your wish is my command.
THURSDAY, MAY 31 In better news, the week continues in Boston, where today the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that denying benefits to married gay couples is unconstitutional. At issue: the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law enacted in 1996 that defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman. Regarding today's ruling: "In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel said the 1996 law deprives gay couples of the rights and privileges granted to heterosexual couples," reports the Associated Press. "The court didn't rule on the law's more politically combustible provision—that states without same-sex marriage cannot be forced to recognize gay unions performed in states where it's legal. It also wasn't asked to address whether gay couples have a constitutional right to marry." Legal experts predict today's ruling will propel the case all the way to the Supreme Court, where it belongs. Hurry.
FRIDAY, JUNE 1 Meanwhile in Florida, today a judge revoked the bail of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood-watch volunteer charged with the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin. As Reuters reports, the bail revocation follows prosecutors' accusations that Zimmerman lied about being penniless (when, prosecutors said, he'd actually received more than $200,000 in "legal defense" donations) and that Zimmerman failed to turn over all his valid passports. The 28-year-old Zimmerman was given 48 hours to surrender himself to the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.
SATURDAY, JUNE 2 Nothing happened today, unless you count some ridiculous drug-and-alcohol-and-baby shenanigans in Phoenix. Details come from Reuters, which reports the saga commenced late last night, when 19-year-old Catalina Clouser and her boyfriend were allegedly smoking pot in a park before they decided to drive to the store for beer. Along for the ride: Ms. Clouser's 5-week-old son, who was resting peacefully in a portable car seat. En route to the beer store, the trio was pulled over by police, who arrested the boyfriend on suspicion of driving under the influence, after which Clouser was allegedly so upset that she drove to a friend's house and "admittedly smoked one or two additional bowls of marijuana," as Phoenix police spokesman James Holmes told Reuters. Which brings us to today, when, just after midnight, Clouser allegedly drove home from her friend's house without realizing she'd left her baby in a safety seat on the roof of the car. "The baby fell off the car in the middle of an intersection and was found unharmed and strapped into the seat," reports Reuters. Clouser "was booked into jail on child abuse and aggravated assault charges. The infant was taken to a local hospital as a precaution and is in the custody of state Child Protective Services."
SUNDAY, JUNE 3 Nothing happened today, unless you count George Zimmerman surrendering himself to Florida authorities, after which he was booked into jail.
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