NEWS The lone bright spot in last week's debacle of an issue was the welcome tininess of the paper's news section. This week finds things returned to their miserable standards: ELI SANDERS squawks about Republican chicanery, ERICA C. BARNETT scribbles about transportation or taxes or something, and—speaking of scribbling—DAN SAVAGE, who I assume does the vast majority of his "writing" with crayons, implores the nation's leading newspapers to print obscenities in their headlines. Yep, you read that right: Mr. Savage wants to drag every publication into the cesspool in which The Stranger so proudly wallows.PLUS: In the Hall, In Other News, and Police Beat

SHORT FEATURE Secret Knocks and PasswordsHow quaint: BRENDAN KILEY, who apparently believes himself to be the second coming of my dear friend Wilfrid Sheed, offers some surprisingly readable tripe on a newly sprouted "speakeasy" in Seattle. It's a decent read, if you have time to squander.

FEATURE Topography of Terror: Tacoma Mall!Having yet to meet a tragedy he hasn't been driven to giggle at, CHARLES MUDEDE levels his special brand of incomprehensible waxing at last week's shooting at the Tacoma Mall. Mr. Mudede, your seat in hell is waiting.

GENERAL COMMENTS And speaking of Wilfrid Sheed: My compatriot and drinking crony once described Albert Camus's novel The Stranger as a "prophetic masterpiece about cool and honesty and all the other postwar surplus." One assumes he wouldn't be nearly as kind to The Stranger publication.