The Week in Review
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11 This week of dry mouth, marauding meteors, and a 1,000-ton overflowing toilet on the high seas kicks off at the Vatican, where today Pope Benedict XVI took time out of his busy ignoring-the-Catholic-Church's-epidemic-of-sex-crimes-against-children-committed-by-priests schedule to announce his forthcoming resignation. Citing a "lack of strength of mind and body" as the reason behind the first voluntary papal resignation in almost 700 years, the 85-year-old former Hitler Youth is nevertheless taking pains to live out his post-papal days in the indictment-free style to which he has become accustomed. "Pope Benedict's decision to live in the Vatican after he resigns will provide him with security and privacy," reports Reuters. "It will also offer legal protection from any attempt to prosecute him in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world, Church sources and legal experts say." For the final word, we turn to John Patrick Shanley, who writes in the New York Times: "Pope Benedict XVI quit. Good. He was utterly bereft of charm, tone-deaf, and a protector of priests who abused children."
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12 The week continues in Washington, DC, where today President Barack Obama delivered the first State of the Union address of his second presidential term, a negligibly historic event that will be remembered for nothing so much as the Republican rebuttal. The rebuttal was delivered by wanna-be GOP presidential hopeful Senator Marco Rubio, who looked a lot like a man who had eaten a very strong, very dry marijuana brownie, the effects of which steadily presented themselves throughout his 18-minute speech. "As the up-and-coming senator attempted to counter the president's message, he appeared to grow increasingly uncomfortable, wiping his mouth and licking his lips on a number of occasions," writes the Huffington Post. "Apparently unable to wait until the end of his address to satiate his thirst, Rubio reached for his small bottle of Poland Spring water mid-speech." Thus came the cottonmouth-quenching water sip heard round the world, a small but unnerving bit of behavior that all but invited speculation on its deeper-level causation. (For example, does attempting to rebut the State of the Union address with failed Romney talking points while keeping a straight face cause one to burn from the inside?) But ultimately, it was simply a matter of too many words and not enough spit, a perfectly human miscalculation that just happens to look super weird if you're a politician attempting to give a persuasive speech on TV. (Confidential to Marco Rubio: Invest in some beta-blockers, even if your fellow Catholics say they murder baby betas.)
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13 Speaking of abruptly ended careers: The week continues with Christopher Dorner, the 33-year-old former Los Angeles police officer/ex–navy reservist who commenced his campaign of deadly mayhem back on February 3, when he fatally shot the daughter and future son-in-law of a former LAPD captain who'd testified about Dorner before a disciplinary board. Then the killer cop became a cop killer, fatally shooting a Riverside police officer (and seriously wounding his partner) before fleeing into the San Bernardino National Forest and instigating a California manhunt that lasted until yesterday, when Dorner was cornered by San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department deputies, one of whom Dorner fatally shot before killing himself. Condolences to the family and friends of the victims, and here's hoping Christopher Dorner spends eternity in hell rimming Joseph Ratzinger.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14 In sexier news, the week continues with Valentine's Day, which we'll celebrate with the creeptastic tale of the parody video produced by the Tea Party–affiliated group FreedomWorks, in which one FreedomWorks staffer wearing a panda suit simulates cunnilingus on another staffer wearing a Hillary Clinton mask. Details come from Mother Jones, which reports that the would-be promotional video was created for the 2012 FreedomWorks conference, FreePAC, under the supervision of Adam Brandon, FreedomWorks' executive vice president. "In one segment of the film, according to a former official who saw it, Brandon is seen waking from a nap at his desk," reports Mother Jones. "In what appears to be a dream or a nightmare, he wanders down a hallway and spots a giant panda on its knees with its head in the lap of a seated Hillary Clinton and apparently performing oral sex on the then–secretary of state. Two female interns at FreedomWorks were recruited to play the panda and Clinton." All was well until the video was screened for the full staff, several members of which had deep problems with a promotional video that required female interns to simulate sex. "How was that not some form of sexual harassment?" said a former FreedomWorks official to Mother Jones. "And there were going to be thousands of Christian conservatives at this [conference]. This was a terrible lack of judgment." And so the video was pulled, and now FreedomWorks is contending that the whole thing never happened. In an e-mail to the Washington Post, Adam Brandon said he was "not going to dignify" the Mother Jones article with a response, while FreedomWorks spokeswoman Jackie Bodnar called the allegations "unsourced, baseless, and intentionally harmful accusations made by disgruntled former employees." Dear disgruntled former employees: It is time to get this nonexistent video on the internet. Do your best.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15 In more terrifying news, the week continues in Russia, where today a meteor exploded over the Ural Mountains, unleashing a sonic boom that shattered thousands of windows and injured more than a thousand people. "Many of the injured were cut by flying glass as they flocked to windows to see what caused the intense flash of light," reports the Associated Press, which specifies that the exploding meteor shattered over a million square feet of glass but killed no one.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16 In even more terrifying news, the week continues in the waste-drenched hallways of the Carnival Cruise ship Triumph, the disabled cruise ship that spent the majority of the week trying to get itself hauled from the Gulf of Mexico to the Alabama Cruise Terminal while the entire world winced at reports of the electricity-free ship's overflowing toilets and halls sloshing with urine and feces. "It runs down the walls from one floor to the next," passenger Larry Poret told CNN. "It's running out of somebody's bathroom out into the hallway all the way across." Late Thursday, the Triumph was finally towed into the Port of Mobile; by early Friday, the 4,200 passengers and crew had finished disembarking. "The cruise line said it would give each passenger $500, a free flight home, a full refund for their trip and for most expenses on board, as well as a credit for another cruise," reports CNN.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 17 Nothing happened today.