David Schmader is off this week.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 15 This week of shotgun bloopers, ex-cults, and Alanis Morissette–themed violence opens with a happy ending of sorts, as Republican fears about voter fraud were confirmed thanks to alleged Republican fraudsters. Today in Harrisonburg, Virginia, a business owner saw a man dumping trash into his recycling bin and, not wanting to incur fines, went to move it, only to discover the lightweight bag was filled with eight completed voter registration forms that had been dumped hours before a 5 p.m. statewide registration deadline. By Friday, the New York Times reports, authorities will have arrested and charged 23-year-old Republican voter registration supervisor Colin Small with 13 counts of destruction of voter registration applications, disclosure of voter registration information, and obstruction of justice. Small was employed by PinPoint, a company contracted by the Republican Party of Virginia to register voters. (It's not just Virginia: Authorities are also investigating Republican registration drives in Florida, "after state elections officials noticed problems with registration forms including false addresses, registrations filed in the names of dead people and registrations on which party affiliations had been changed," notes the NYT.) Some good news: Virginia elections officials report that all eight registration forms were processed despite the trashing.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16 The week continues with this impressive sentence, courtesy of hot tipper Dave: "A man who was shot in the face by his older brother during a pig slaughter over the weekend has died." Details come from CBS News, which reports that the two California brothers were preparing to slaughter a pig for a family feast on Saturday when life went horribly wrong. The older brother approached the pig with a .22 caliber rifle while his younger brother, 28-year-old Koua Vang, stood by, watching. But when the man put the gun to the pig's head and fired, "the pig bucked, and the rifle went backwards, and it went off again a second time," as Officer Chris Trim told CBS. That second shot hit the younger Vang directly in the face and, after several days in critical condition, Vang died. "It's unclear just what happened to the pig, and if the slaughter was successful," reports CBS.
•••Also today, Republican presidential wannabe Mitt Romney responded to a pointed debate question about gender equality in the workplace by proudly stating that he brought "binders full of women" to his governor's cabinet selection process in Massachusetts. Silver lining: His clubfooted response spawned a wave of glorious Amazon.com reviews for the best products in which to Trapper-Keep your ladies.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17 Today the Smoking Gun reports that a Florida man retaliated against his boyfriend's Alanis Morissette obsession earlier this week by picking up a dinner plate and striking him across the face. According to one plain- speaking officer, "I asked the suspect what happened and he stated, 'I hit him in the face.' I asked the suspect if it was because he was listening to Alanis Morissette and the suspect stated, 'That's all that motherfucker listens to.'" Allen Casey, 24, was then promptly arrested on charges of felony domestic battery and booked into the Duval County jail.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18 Hally- hot-damn-lujah, Mormonism will finally get the respect it deserves, now that evangelical pastor Billy Graham has removed the religion from his website's exhaustive list of cults. "The reclassification follows Romney's visit to Graham's mountain home last Thursday," reports the Charlotte Observer. Billy's son Franklin, who now runs the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, then called on all Christians to support Romney's presidential bid: "We are at a profound crossroads," the younger Graham wrote in the association's Decision magazine. "Our secularized society has shaken its fist in God's face and rejected his very name... We must not silence our voices when government clashes with the worship of God." With Mormonism removed from the list, now only Scientology, Unitarianism, Judaism, feminism, Darwinism, socialism, communism, schisms, prisms, and Dadaism survive as the officially hated hell-bound religious cults of evangelicals everywhere.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19 Speaking of eternal fires: "The maker of Banana Boat sunscreen is recalling some of its spray-on products after reports that a handful of people have caught fire after applying the lotion," reports the Daily Mail. Through trial and screamy error, the manufacturers have learned that at least two dozen of the brand's "UltraMist" suntan varieties—including UltraMist Sport, UltraMist Ultra Defense, and UltraMist Kids—ignite like a heathen when exposed to open flame. But don't fret too hard: While more than 20 million bottles of the flammable sunscreen have been sold since 2010, there have been only "five reports of people catching fire after applying the sunscreen in the last year," notes the Daily Mail.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20 The family-themed gun violence continues with this regrettable sentence from the Associated Press: "A woman hosting a Halloween party shined a light for her son to help him shoot what they thought was a skunk but was really his 8-year-old cousin in a black-and-white costume." The trouble began when one partygoer evidently told their host there was a skunk outside, to which the host evidently responded, "Getcher gun!" And so 24-year-old Thomas Grant reportedly grabbed his shotgun while his mother waved a flashlight at a nearby hillside, scanning for skunks. "Grant spotted what he thought was a skunk under a tree and fired," the AP reports, "but then he heard a scream from his cousin." The costumed child was hit in the shoulder, neck, back, and arm, and airlifted to a children's hospital in Pittsburg, where she remains in critical condition. No charges have been filed in the shooting. Our heart goes out to the little girl, who had to learn far too young what it feels like to be objectified for her appearance.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21 Nothing happened today.
Dear readers: Chances are that most of you are already pro marriage equality—which means you are required to do two things: One, vote to approve Referendum 74. Two, talk to someone who's still undecided about marriage equality—maybe it's the elderly owner of your neighborhood bar, maybe it's your aunt living in Eastern Washington. Whoever it is, give 'em a loving earful of why you believe marriage equality is important. Be nice. Speak from the heart. But DO IT. (Also, send hot tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.)