MONDAY, MARCH 3 This week of avian arson, prescription tripping, and the death of the American conservative movement kicks off in Western Washington, where authorities are warning residents to be aware of a hot new scam. "The scam, which has resurfaced in the West Sound area, has a person calling county residents to inform them that they have failed to appear for jury duty and that a warrant will be, or has been, issued for their arrest," reports the Seattle Times. "When the victims say no notice was received about impending jury duty, the caller tells victims they are responsible for appearing for jury duty whether or not there was notice, and that to avoid arrest, they must pay, by credit card, to get the warrant to be 'lifted' or 'quashed.' One victim paid $1,000." With similar phone scams reportedly happening around the country, the Times helpfully reminds citizens that any and all actual communications regarding jury duty are sent in writing.
TUESDAY, MARCH 4 In better news, the week continues with LSD, that chemical hallmark of every good liberal-arts education and the only thing on earth that made Grateful Dead shows even temporarily palatable, which may be en route to a resurgence as a mainstream therapeutic aid. Details come from the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, which today published results from the first controlled trial of the hallucinogen in more than 40 years, undertaken in Switzerland on 12 patients with soon-to-be terminal illnesses, all of whom appeared to derive tangible psychological benefit from tripping in the face of death. "Their anxiety went down and stayed down," Dr. Peter Gasser told the New York Times, specifying each session of acid-enhanced talk therapy lasted about eight hours and regularly involved tearful revelations and a diminished fear of death (several passed away within a year). "We want to break these substances out of the mold of the counterculture and bring them back to the lab as part of a psychedelic renaissance," Rick Doblin, executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, said to the NYT. Will the deathbed trip become a routine part of end-of-life care, or will the mystical secrets of LSD remain accessible only to those brave enough to approach the weird guy hanging out on the street around the corner from the college? Stay tuned.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5 Meanwhile in London, a bird carrying a lit cigarette has been blamed for setting a building on fire. Details come from London Fire Brigade investigator Matt Cullen, who examined the scene of tonight's fire and shared his findings with the BBC. "When we got up into the roof, we were baffled, as there were no obvious ignition sources... We believe that one of the birds picked up a cigarette butt that was still smoldering and dropped it into the nest, causing it to catch fire and set the roof alight." The "smoking gun," as Cullen put it, was found when investigators discovered a partially burned bird's nest. The blaze damaged about a fifth of the building's roof and forced the evacuation of nine people. The bird appears to have escaped unharmed.
THURSDAY, MARCH 6 The week continues back in the Pacific Northwest, with an update on the saga of Mark Zmuda, the vice principal at Eastside Catholic School who was fired after legally marrying his same-sex partner (and whose firing inspired some amazingly heartening protest from equality-appreciating Catholic school students). The latest development: Zmuda's lawsuit, which will be filed tomorrow against Eastside Catholic and the Seattle Archdiocese, accuses the organizations of discrimination and wrongful termination. "According to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by KING 5, in January 2013, then school president Sister Mary Tracy asked Zmuda if he was gay. When he said 'yes,' Tracy asked him not to bring his same-sex partner to any school-related events. Zmuda agreed." All was fine until school administrators learned of Zmuda's July 2013 wedding to his long-term boyfriend. Upon learning of the marriage, which is legal under Washington State law, "[Sister Mary Tracy] told him the school would pay for a 'commitment ceremony' if Zmuda got a divorce," reports KING 5, citing the lawsuit. "When Zmuda refused to get a divorce, he was fired." As an armchair barrister and Law & Order: Original Recipe scholar, Last Days would like to point out the school's morally hypocritical (and, according to the suit, perhaps legally iffy) offer of a problem-solving divorce. (They're willing to overlook the sin of divorce so long as it dissipates a gay marriage?) Whatever the case: "Attorneys for the school and the Archdiocese of Seattle have already drafted a motion for dismissal of the lawsuit, saying Zmuda knew that his same-sex marriage goes against teachings of the Catholic Church," KING 5 reports. "The dismissal cites state law that provides religious schools with immunity from civil claims. The motion to dismiss alleges that the school is not required to acknowledge Zmuda's marriage and that he is prohibited from suing." Whatever. Go Zmuda.
FRIDAY, MARCH 7 The week continues with a story out of Florida, where police say a family of four wound up in the hospital after eating LSD-laced meat they'd bought at Walmart. Details come from the Smoking Gun, reporting that the hubbub went down earlier this week in Tampa, where 24-year-old Ronnie Morales had enjoyed a dinner of bottom round steak with his girlfriend and her two young daughters until the family began experiencing hallucinations, dizziness, rapid heart rates, and difficulty breathing, for which the entire family was hospitalized. Bonus: Morales's 31-year-old girlfriend, Jennifer Rosado, was nine months pregnant, and, after doctors at the hospital induced labor, she got to live the dream of giving birth while tripping. The mom and her healthy baby boy were released from the hospital yesterday, investigators found traces of LSD on the leftover meat and packaging, and Walmart pulled all related meat from its shelves and turned it over to police for testing. Next week, a review of the surveillance video will not reveal any evidence of suspicious activity in the Walmart meat department, keeping the incident shrouded in mystery.
SATURDAY, MARCH 8 Nothing happened today, unless you count the final day of the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC, where the best and brightest of the Tea Party conservatives—including Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Sarah Palin—gathered to celebrate conservative thought. Among the glittering diamonds reported by People for the American Way: Representative Paul Ryan suggesting that parents who take advantage of programs offering meals to hungry children don't really care about their kids, Oliver North imploring the GOP to fight marriage equality with the same passion as it fought slavery, Michael Medved blasting the idea that any state in America has ever banned gay marriage as "a liberal lie," and a photograph of a showcase panel on minority outreach playing to a largely empty room.
SUNDAY, MARCH 9 Nothing happened today, unless you count all the things that happened that we don't have room to report.
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