MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13 This week of hilarious birdshot, horrifying commercials, and deadly Islamic idiocy kicked off today with an impressive gang bust in Seattle's own University District. Details come from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which reports the arrest of six key members of the East African Posse, a gang comprising naturalized citizens from Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea that's allegedly been terrorizing students in the U-District for years. The recent arrests—announced this morning at a press conference held by officials from the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Seattle Police Department—are the culmination of "Operation Endgame," a six-month investigation that also netted $70,000 in cash, 800 grams of cocaine, and a stockpile of high-powered weaponry. With the arrested gangbangers facing a variety of federal drug charges (with more arrests scheduled to come), the U-District is close to safe once more, except for the perennial threat of verbal and olfactory assault from the 'hood's legendary alterna-hobos.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14 Just in time for Valentine's Day, today Harry Whittington, the 78-year-old man who was shot in the face by Vice President Dick Cheney last Saturday, suffered a birdshot-induced heart attack. According to the Associated Press, Whittington's nonfatal cardiac arrest was the result of an embedded birdshot pellet moving into his heart. According to doctors, Whittington stands a perfectly good chance of recovering and living a healthy life, despite the heart attack and the 6 to 200 birdshot pellets still floating around inside his body.
••Meanwhile, as late-night comedians had a field day mocking the VP's shotgun debacle, the Seattle Times posed a pertinent question: Why is Dick Cheney shooting an elderly man in the face so funny? For an answer, the Times turned to Lawrence Mintz, director of the Art Gliner Center for Humor Studies at the University of Maryland, who explained the comedic value of Cheney's friendly fire most eloquently. "You start with a person in a position of power and authority who screws up," said Mintz. "That's funny. That he's a Republican who strongly supports gun rights and the National Rifle Association adds another layer of humor. There is also the humorous irony that if the situation were reversed—if Whittington had accidentally shot Cheney—the Secret Service would've plugged him." In closing, Mintz posited that all humor would be lost if Cheney's shooting victim died or was gravely wounded (although the prospect of Dick Cheney being convicted of involuntary manslaughter is a delight unto itself).
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15 Speaking of our stupid government: Today an 11-member congressional committee—composed entirely of Republicans, no less—released a report blasting the Bush administration's inexcusably inept handling of Hurricane Katrina, which killed over 1,300 people, displaced nearly 2 million others, and caused more than $150 billion in damages. (May America never forget those 72 hours of waiting during which New Orleans was left to sink into a desperation contemporary First Worlders are never supposed to know.) Effectively preempting accusations of partisan henpecking, Democrats refused to participate in the research and writing of the report; lucky for everyone but Dubya and his idiot appointees, the GOP came out swinging. "This crisis was not only predictable, it was predicted," read the Republican report, which denounced the "clearly detached" Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff as well as the "clueless and negligent" ex-FEMA head Michael Brown. "If this is what happens when we have advance warning, we shudder to imagine the consequences when we do not. Four and a half years after 9/11, America is still not ready for prime time."
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16 The week continues with the saga of Terence Braxton, the 28-year-old gym teacher in Pensacola, Florida, who today turned himself in to local authorities after being charged with taking bribes from his middle-school students. As school officials told the Associated Press, Braxton repeatedly allowed students to sit out of his gym class if they paid him $1 a day—an ingenious racket that allegedly netted the gym teacher thousands of dollars before driving him to resign after the school's principal got wise to the scam. With his entrepreneurial and altruistic endeavors squashed, Braxton now faces charges of criminal bribery and, if convicted, the threat of a permanently revoked teaching license.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17 In much worse news, today brought a devastating mudslide to the Philippines, where virtually all of the roughly 1,800 residents of the farming village of Guinsaugon were lost and many presumed dead beneath 30 feet of muck. Despite today's vast human tragedy, a frightening number of the world's citizens insisted on remaining upset over some stupid fucking cartoons.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18 Speaking of which: Today Muslim fury over those allegedly blasphemous cartoon depictions of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad rose to a tragically ridiculous peak, with a deadly rampage by furious Muslims in Nigeria. As the Associated Press reports, thousands of Muslim rioters armed with machetes and iron rods swarmed through the city of Maiduguri, expressing their fury over those aforementioned Muhammad cartoons by burning Christian churches, looting shops owned by Nigerian Christians, and beating numerous Christians to death on the street. An Associated Press reporter watched while a group of Muslims "threw a tire around a man, poured gas on him and set him ablaze"; other witnesses told of the three children and one priest among the at least 15 people killed during the Muslim murder spree. As for those cartoons: One of the most contentious offerings depicts Muhammad's turban as a bomb—an image that infuriated Muslims with its suggestion of an inherent connection between Islam and violence. Congratulations to the brilliant Muslims who realized the best way to object to accusations of violence is to beat innocent people to death in the street.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19 Speaking of offensive cartoons: For the past several weeks, Last Days has been awaiting the opportunity to hold forth on a contemporary advertising phenomenon which upsets us so thoroughly we've been repeatedly driven to obliterate all recollection of it from our mind. However, thanks to Hot Tipper Natalie, we're finally being forced to drag this banished horror into the light. "Dear Last Days," writes Natalie. "I wanted to draw your attention to a truly horrific television commercial. The ad is for Dairy Queen, and it features two cartoon shrimp floating in the ocean. The 'husband' shrimp is eating from a DQ container which he says contains popcorn. He offers some to his shrimp wife, who eats a handful and begins screaming. 'That's not popcorn!—it's popcorn SHRIMP!' The wife then asks her husband, 'Have you seen the kids?' after which both husband and wife begin screaming frantically. As a vegetarian and mother of one," concludes Natalie, "I don't think I need to explain what I find so disturbing about this ad." Dear Natalie: Thank you for writing, and you're right—we require no explanation as to why Dairy Queen's lighthearted foray into incestuous cannibalism is so disturbing to you or anyone else with a pulse. Dear Dairy Queen: Congratulations on stealing the "most disgusting TV commercial in history" title away from Mucinex. Dear everyone else: Following in the footsteps of the Islamic clerics offering $1 million for the murder of the Muhammad-drawing cartoonists, Last Days will pay $40,000 to whomever brings us the head of the Dairy Queen.
Next week, Last Days comes to you live from America's wang—Florida! Send Hot Tips and marlin-fishing pointers to email@example.com.