MONDAY, AUGUST 13 This week of spewed lies, spanked weasels, and old-school Russian bullshit kicks off in the United States of America, where tonight brought the network TV premiere of a reality show so grotesque, its very premise inspired a coalition of Nobel Peace Prize–winners to condemn it. The show: Stars Earn Stripes, a reality series in which various celebrities—including boxer Laila Ali, actor Dean Cain, former boy-bander Nick Lachey, and Sarah Palin's husband Todd—are paired with US military personnel in order to, as the NBC website proclaims, "execute complicated missions inspired by real military exercises." The indignant Nobel recipients: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Guatemalan indigenous-rights activist Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Iranian human-rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, former East Timor president José Ramos-Horta, and five others, all of whom signed their names to an open letter calling on NBC to stop airing a show whose content, they say, glorifies war and armed violence. According to the Stars Earn Stripes website, the show "pays homage to the men and women who serve in the US armed forces and our first-responder services." But, according to the letter sent by pissed-off Archbishop Tutu et al., "this program pays homage to no one anywhere," and instead tries to "somehow sanitize war by likening it to an athletic competition."
TUESDAY, AUGUST 14 The week continues with another goddamn shooting in another goddamn movie theater—but don't worry, this one is hilarious, or at least not history-makingly tragic. Our setting: the Century 14 movie theater in Sparks, Nevada, where this evening a gun-packing man was trying to enjoy The Bourne Legacy when he accidentally shot himself in the butt. The cause of the shooting: The man's run-of-the-mill shifting in his seat, which caused his fully licensed weapon to fall out of his pocket and discharge. After the blast, the man "immediately got up, apologized to those around him, and left the theater before police arrived," reports the Reno Gazette-Journal. "He later was found at a Reno hospital where he was being treated for a wound not considered life-threatening."
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15 In much worse news: Today some lunatic with a gun entered the Washington, DC, headquarters of the conservative Christian group the Family Research Council, where the armed man shot a security guard before being wrestled to the ground by the same security guard, who escaped with non-life-threatening injuries. Later today, the FBI will identify the alleged shooter as Floyd Lee Corkins II, a 28-year-old Virginia man who worked as a volunteer at the DC Center for the LGBT Community and reportedly made statements opposing the Family Research Council's policies before opening fire. He's now being held on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, while the FBI and the Metropolitan Police Department work together "to determine motive/intent and whether a hate crime/terrorism nexus exists," as the FBI's Jacqueline Maguire told CNN. And while it must be acknowledged that the allegedly Christian Family Research Council is so strenuously anti-gay that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the FRC an official hate group—for supporting Uganda's "kill the gays" bill and spreading pernicious lies about homosexuality (such as gays are the cause of all pedophilia and unfettered child rape is the ultimate goal of the gay rights movement)—it must also be acknowledged that shooting someone for what they believe is worse.
•• In much better news: Today the Mariners' Felix Hernandez pitched the 23rd perfect game in baseball history, and the first ever by a Seattle Mariner. Congratulations to Mr. Hernandez and his many rapturous fans.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 16 Nothing happened today, unless you count the exposure of GOP vice-presidential hopeful Paul Ryan as a habitual liar, when this week he was busted for not one but two big, easily disproved falsehoods. The first involves President Obama's stimulus program, which Congressman Ryan widely denounced as a waste while touting his rejection of stimulus funds. "I did not request any stimulus money," said Congressman Ryan in 2010. "I never asked for stimulus," said Ryan again this week. Which brings us to today, when Paul Ryan acknowledged that he did indeed request millions of dollars from a stimulus spending program. Tomorrow, the political website Daily Kos will unveil a video juxtaposing Paul Ryan's heartfelt testimony about President Obama shutting down a GM plant in his hometown in 2009 with news reports on the plant's closing in 2008, during the presidency of George W. Bush. Paul Ryan's craptastic couple of days will be capped by the publication of a Rolling Stone editorial by Tom Morello, singer and guitarist for the band Rage Against the Machine, which Ryan recently named as his favorite band. "Paul Ryan's love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades," Morello writes.
•• Speaking of spanked weasels, today also brings an update on Andrew Shirvell, the lawyer whose creepy campaign against a gay college student led to his firing from the Michigan Attorney General's Office in 2010. Soon after, the subject of Shirvell's creepy campaign—University of Michigan student Chris Armstrong, whom Shirvell widely accused of enticing minors with alcohol and recruiting people to homosexuality—sued Shirvell for defamation and emotional distress, with Armstrong's attorney stating the lawsuit would be dropped if Shirvell apologized. Which brings us to today, when a Michigan jury ordered Andrew Shirvell to pay Chris Armstrong $4.5 million in damages. "[Armstrong's attorney] said the jury couldn't make him apologize," reports the AP, "so the money was the only answer."
FRIDAY, AUGUST 17 The week continues in Russia, which today cemented its reputation as the place human rights go to die by sentencing the three members of Pussy Riot—a female punk band that staged a musical protest against Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral—to two years in jail. "Judge Marina Syrova convicted the women of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, saying they had 'crudely undermined social order,'" reports the BBC. "The judge then... hand[ed] down 'two years deprivation of liberty in a penal colony' for each defendant." As Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova said before her sentencing, "Our imprisonment serves as a clear and unambiguous sign that freedom is being taken away from the entire country."
SATURDAY, AUGUST 18 Nothing happened today (unless you count Hempfest).
SUN AUG 19 Nothing happened today either (unless you count Hempfest or Missouri Rep. Todd Akin's career-ruining proclamations on the inability of rape to result in pregnancy.)
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