The week kicks off with a beguiling story originally reported by the Washington Post and subsequently picked up by every news source in the world, all seduced by the irresistible headline, "Lesbians Make Baby Deaf On Purpose." After reading through reams of salacious reportage, most of which fixated on the deaf lezzies' selfishness in creating "designer handicapped babies," Last Days managed to piece together the facts: For years, deaf couple Sharon Duchesneau and Candance McCullough dreamed of having children who shared their experience and "cultural identity" of deafness, from speaking in sign language to attending special schools for the hearing-impaired. After learning that their local sperm bank automatically disqualified donors with congenital hearing loss, the women turned to a deaf male friend, whose seed was planted in Ms. Duchesneau, eventually producing two deaf children: daughter Jehanne, now five, and newborn boy Gauvin. Throughout the media barrage, Duchesneau and McCullough have asserted their belief that deafness is "an identity, not a medical affliction that needs to be fixed." Meanwhile, the couple's behavior has drawn jeers from children's rights advocates across the U.S., from the psychotic, far-right Family Research Council (whose spokesperson denounced the couple's decision to "intentionally give a child a disability" as "incredibly selfish") to the middle-of-the-road National Association for the Deaf, whose leading member, Nancy Rarus, expressed disbelief that "anyone would want to bring a disabled child into the world." Never mind that straight deaf couples happily produce deaf babies without the lowliest news agency batting an eye; in this age of people-pleasing euphemism and dubious identity politics, Duchesneau and McCullough have managed to obliterate the distinction between proud self-acceptance and gross self-indulgence. Here's hoping they pay for their crime by being made to raise two boisterous deaf children who eventually rebel against their lunkheaded parents by sneaking out after curfew to get cochlear implants.


Speaking of extreme measures: Today the Associated Press reported the story of Sue Gadaleta, the woman in Hatfield, Pennsylvania driven to do the unthinkable for $200. Gadaleta's saga began after she cashed a check and received two $100 bills, which she placed in her coat pocket along with a few other bills. "The next morning, I went to get the money, and it wasn't there," Gadaleta told the AP. "A five and a few singles were there, but not the hundreds." Gadaleta searched her house, but found nothing--until she went to the basement, where her usually well-behaved Doberman pinscher Mia had uncharacteristically left a pile of poo on the floor. Bravely examining her find, Gadaleta discovered "this little piece of paper, with a one- zero-zero on it"--and came face-to-face with the dilemma of a lifetime. Gamely choosing commerce over cleanliness, Gadaleta monitored her dog for 24 hours, collecting, washing, and assembling the requisite three-quarters of each bill before placing them in a plastic bag and taking them to the bank, where tellers handed over two clean new bills and sent the soiled remains to the U.S. Treasury.


Today brought the publication of an absolutely horrifying story in the traditionally pulse-free daily Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Written with near-heroic restraint by P-I writer Tom Paulson, today's exposé charted the goings-on at Seattle's Westin Hotel, where yesterday an international audience gathered for the BioDefense Mobilization Conference, sponsored by the Redmond-based biotechnology corporation Genelex. Seeking to "promote a dialogue on bioterror preparedness," the conference found an impressive spokesperson in Sergei Popov, a former bioweapons scientist in the Soviet Union who spoke of bioterror threats far more worrisome than garden-variety anthrax or smallpox. "For a long time I wanted to forget what I had done," Popov told the audience, referring to his decades of work in the Soviet Union, modifying naturally occurring viruses, bacteria, and toxins to improve their lethal power and ease of distribution. Even worse, Popov spoke of the creation of the bacterial pro-virus, which places a virus inside bacteria, so that when people with bacterial illnesses are treated with antibiotics, the virus gets released. (Dear God.) Currently employed by Washington D.C.'s Advanced Biosystems Inc., Popov said his motive for speaking at the conference was "to help people realize just how vast and advanced the threat of bioterrorism is today." Mission accomplished.

··Also: Today in Los Angeles, the district attorney concluded an 18-month investigation by announcing that police officer Tarriel Hopper was justified in shooting and killing Anthony Lee, the 39-year-old ex-Seattle actor gunned down at a Halloween party after jokingly pointing a movie prop gun at investigating police officers. Further "justifying" the LAPD's shooting of Lee (who is--or was--black) was the identification of alcohol and cocaine in his bloodstream. Well, then. Fire away.


Speaking of criminal law enforcement: Today in Washington's own Thurston County, sheriff's deputy Dallas Hogan was arrested and booked into the Thurston County Jail on charges of first-degree kidnapping and first-degree rape. According to the Associated Press, the charges stem from a February 8 traffic stop in a rural area southwest of Olympia, during which Deputy Hogan ticketed the driver and took a 21-year-old female passenger into custody. Then, according to the young woman's police report, Deputy Hogan took her to a secluded area, told her he had a warrant for her arrest (a lie), and offered to let her go if she put out. The woman declined, Deputy Hogan allegedly raped her, and the Thurston County courts will sort out the rest.


Today brings a heartwrenching story from Hot Tipper Jake, who was strolling near 25th and Jackson this afternoon when he saw a sight to crush his soul. "Ahead of me was a guy in his 50s," reports Jake. "Under one arm he had a half rack of bottled beer and a case of ramen. Under the other arm he had a crutch," which he was hobbling along on until he hit a bump, which Jake reports sent the ramen crashing to the ground and the beer crashing down on top of it. "It was," Jake said, "the saddest thing I've ever seen."


Today Last Days received another thrilling Hot Tip, this one from a man named Thol, who was standing in line at the super-depressing ferry-terminal McDonald's when he overheard a mustachioed manager impart the following wisdom to a "poor, frazzled, Moslem-looking customer": "It's not pork, it's SAUSAGE!"


Tonight Last Days had the pleasure of happening upon a network television broadcast of Ridley Scott's estrogen-laced blockbuster Thelma & Louise. Despite its occasional lapses into cartoonishness, Thelma & Louise remains dear to Last Days' heart, thanks primarily to the smart, meticulously scrappy performances of Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, two women who give movie stars a good name. As fans of the film will remember, T&L takes off after Susan Sarandon's Louise--who may or may not have been raped in Texas (she doesn't want to talk about it)--is driven to blast a bullet into the chest of a would-be rapist, who responds to her warnings with a snide "Suck my dick." Unfortunately, the strictures of prime-time television necessitated the changing of the X-rated "suck my dick" to the G-rated "clean my clock"--instantly transforming an ass-kicking feminista road flick into a baffling psychodrama about some crazy bitch who guns down anyone who instructs her to clean a clock.

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