The Week in Review
MONDAY, DECEMBER 9 This week of illiterate arms, remorseful drunks, and murderous newlyweds kicks off with a pervy blast from the not-too-distant past. Our subject: Bob Filner, the 71-year-old politician who gained notoriety as the mayor of San Diego after he was slathered with accusations of inappropriate conduct and, like a thin, Southern Californian proto–Rob Ford, refused to relinquish his mayoral powers. (Eventually they locked him out of City Hall and he stepped down.) Today brought the legal reckoning for former mayor Filner's misdeeds, which allegedly involved the kissing and groping of nearly 20 women, ranging from a retired navy officer to a great-grandmother volunteering at City Hall. Charged with one felony count of false imprisonment and two misdemeanor counts of battery, Filner was sentenced to three months of home confinement and three years of probation. "When he was mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner waited to be alone with women to kiss, grope, and manhandle them without any witnesses, according to a probation officer's report released after he was sentenced Monday to home confinement," reports the Associated Press. Filner "apologized and told the judge he would try to earn the trust of those he betrayed and recover his integrity—a sharp contrast to his defiant resignation speech nearly four months ago in which he said he was the victim of 'a lynch mob'... The former 10-term congressman cannot seek or hold elected office while on probation and will be monitored by GPS during home confinement, which begins January 1."
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10 Meanwhile in South Africa, President Obama and an array of world leaders gathered in Johannesburg to eulogize Nelson Mandela, only to be totally upstaged by a fake sign-language interpreter, who stood feet from Obama and waved his arms and hands in a nonsensical fashion while the president delivered his eulogy. "Shame on this male so-called interpreter on the stage," wrote deaf South African parliament member Wilma Newhoudt on Twitter during the memorial service. "What is he signing? He knows that the deaf cannot vocally boo him off. Shame on him!" As the week progresses, the fake interpreter—identified as Thamsanqa Jantjie—will confess to being in a dreamlike trance during Obama's speech. Worse, he'll be identified as one of a group of people who allegedly executed two suspected thieves by placing tires around their necks and setting the tires on fire. ("Jantjie never went to trial for the 2003 killings when other suspects did in 2006 because authorities determined he was not mentally fit to stand trial," reports CBC News.)
•• In lighter dishonoring-the-memory-of-Nelson-Mandela news, the week continues with Toto, the 1980s soft-rock band whose all-Caucasian members squirmed along with the rest of the world as their soulful lounge anthem "Africa" was used as a soundtrack for CBS This Morning's coverage of Nelson Mandela's memorial. As Toto's David Paich told the Hollywood Reporter, "As the cowriter of the song, if I had been asked for sync approval, the answer would have been a decline with a recommendation they honor the musicians of South Africa, setting their sights on indigenous repertoire."
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11 The week continues with a legal reckoning for a notorious Northwest villain: Jamie W. Larson, the 50-year-old Federal Way man who made headlines last autumn when he attacked a Sikh cab driver in a drunken rage. "Larson, who seriously injured the man during the vicious beating, apparently believed the Sikh driver to be Muslim," reports Seattlepi.com. "Larson tore out chunks of the man's beard, loosened one of the driver's teeth, and caused internal injuries which saw the Indian immigrant hospitalized for eight days and miss[ing] two months of work. During the attack, Larson shouted hateful comments about Arabs, Persians, and, more generally, Muslims." Which brings us to yesterday's sentencing hearing, where Larson was given three and a half years in prison on federal hate-crime charges. "I have no excuse," said Larson in his letter to the court. "I chose to drink. My actions could have resulted in [the man's] death... An innocent man goes to work to provide for his family, and is savagely beat down for no reason. I feel frustration and am angry at myself. What is wrong with me?"
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12 Speaking of courtroom confessions, today brings some closure to the case of Jordan Linn Graham, the Montana newlywed accused of shoving her new husband off a cliff to his death last summer, who today confessed to shoving her new husband off a cliff to his death last summer. "I just pushed," said Graham today in court, as she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Describing her crime to the court, Graham explained how she and her husband of eight days were hiking through Glacier National Park in July and got into a disagreement. "The newlywed couple was arguing when he grabbed her and she told him, 'Let go,'" reports CNN, summing up Graham's allocution. "She thought he was going to hold her down. She put one hand on his back and another on his shoulder and then pushed him face-first to his death, she told the court." The 22-year-old Graham now faces a sentence between 19.5 years and life in prison, with her sentencing scheduled for March 27.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13 In worse news, the week continues in Centennial, Colorado, where today an armed and disgruntled student took over Arapahoe High School, where he set off an explosive device and opened fire with a shotgun, seriously wounding a fellow student before fatally shooting himself. (Karl Halversen Pierson, 18, "legally purchased the shotgun he used to wound his schoolmate and kill himself," reports the New York Daily News. "He bought the weapon December 6.")
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14 The week continues with an appropriately solemn funeral for Nelson Mandela, whose flag-draped coffin was laid to rest in Qunu, South Africa, in a ceremony free of both fake interpreters and the songs of Toto.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15 The week ends with another dazzling win for the Seattle Seahawks, who clobbered the New York Giants 23–0 in what KIRO identified as "the last road game of the regular season." Go Hawks!