MONDAY, JUNE 5 This week of medical progress, exploded foes, and hope-bestowing political failures kicks off today with a long-awaited legal battle in Maryland. On one side: Albert Snyder, the grieving father who hoped to bury his son—20-year-old Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder, who died in Iraq on March 3—in a respectful military ceremony. On the other: the driven freaks of Westboro Baptist Church, who righteously believe that U.S. military deaths in Iraq are God's punishment for America's tolerance of gays, and who drove from Topeka, Kansas, to Westminster, Maryland, to picket Snyder's funeral with their typical assortment of breathtakingly offensive signage. (Among the recent delights: "Thank God for IEDs"—in celebration of the improvised explosive devices that continue to kill U.S. troops in Iraq—and the eternal "God Hates Fags.") Fans of imaginative bigotry undoubtedly recall Westboro Baptist's 1998 picketing of the funeral of the fatally gay-bashed Matthew Shepard, where Rev. Fred Phelps deployed the immortal protest slogan "FAG MATT BURNS IN HELL." Still, nothing prepared Last Days for the conceptual leap taken by Phelps and his followers in pinning the very real deaths of Americans in Iraq to the United States' deeply conditional tolerance of gays (by which Phelps means the nation's failure to round up homosexuals and gas them). The aforementioned grieving father can't fucking believe it either: Today Albert Snyder filed a lawsuit against Westboro Baptist, claiming the church's protest of his son's funeral was an invasion of privacy, for which he's owed unspecified damages. Considering Maryland's recent passage of a law prohibiting funeral protests (which went into effect after the Snyder memorial) and President Bush's even more recent signing of the Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act (which sets fierce distance requirements between protesters and national cemeteries), it seems Albert Snyder has a good chance of winning his case. Last Days looks forward to watching a legally chastised Westboro Baptist attempt to pay its penalty in loose teeth, rickety outhouses, and pre-fucked goats.

TUESDAY, JUNE 6 Speaking of fantastically vanquished foes: Today brought a wonderfully humiliating failure to Tim Eyman, as Washington's most notorious for-profit initiative promoter (and most pretentious for-pleasure Darth Vader impersonator) failed to gather enough signatures to qualify his anti-gay-rights referendum for the November ballot. Created to overturn the state legislature's recent extension of housing, employment, insurance, and credit protections to gays and lesbians, Eyman's Referendum 65 was horrific by design, and got worse as Eyman tried to sell the measure to the state's evangelical Christians as a protection against gay marriage—a blatantly shifty maneuver that nevertheless seemed to guarantee the referendum's spot on the ballot. (If Eyman couldn't get the necessary 112,440 signatures by exploiting the state's 5,000 gay-hating evangelical churches, he'd have to be a bigger idiot than we ever imagined.) As it turns out, Eyman is a bigger idiot than we ever imagined. Referendum 65 came up a whopping 7,000 signatures short, evangelical church leaders raced to distance themselves from its humiliated creator, and Darth Eyman sank back down into the muck. Tomorrow will bring another instance of gay-friendly triumph, as the U.S. Senate rejects a Constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage. Last Days is aware that both instances of alleged triumph hinge simply on forbidding bigots a legal means of oppression, but these days we take triumph where we find it.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7 The week continues with the 21st-century soldier's tale of Ehren Watada, the Fort Lewis–based U.S. Army lieutenant who first made waves back in January, when the Associated Press reports Watada wrote a letter to his command in the army's first Stryker Brigade Combat Team, expressing his reservations about participating in the Iraq war. Two months later, Watada resubmitted his resignation request, and last month, Watada learned his request was denied, setting him on the road to his first deployment to Iraq. Today, the 28-year-old Watada took his struggle to the next level, via a prerecorded statement played at a morning news conference. "My moral and legal obligation is to the Constitution and not those who would issue unlawful orders," said the taped Watada. "Although I have tried to resign out of protest, I am forced to participate in a war that is manifestly illegal. As the order to take part in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must as an officer of honor and integrity refuse that order." Perhaps you're wondering: Rather than refuse to deploy, couldn't Watada simply conscientiously object? No, unfortunately. "In order to qualify as a conscientious objector you have to be opposed to war in any form," said Watada's lawyer Eric A. Seitz to the AP. "[Watada] is not. He's just opposed to this war." Watada remains at Fort Lewis while refusing his deployment, with his refusal putting him at risk of court martial and an extended prison sentence. For now, he's standing his ground. "The wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people with only limited accountability is not only a terrible moral injustice but a contradiction to the army's own Law of Land Warfare," said Watada. "My participation would make me party to war crimes." Stay tuned.

THURSDAY, JUNE 8 Nothing happened today, unless you count the FDA's approval of a vaccine for cervical cancer (much to the chagrin of conservative Christians, who value HPV-related cancers as reasonable wages of sin) or the successful execution of al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (thanks to a pair of 500-pound bombs dropped on his safe house in the Iraqi province of Diyala).

FRIDAY, JUNE 9 Nothing happened today, unless you count the wealth of editorializing over both of yesterday's events. Choice quote on the HPV/cervical-cancer vaccine (the efficacy of which is contingent on early administration): "I personally object to vaccinating children against a disease that is 100 percent preventable with proper sexual behavior," said Leslee Unruh, president of the dazzlingly named Abstinence Clearinghouse. Best subsidiary claims regarding the al-Zarqawi hit: After the bombing, al-Zarqawi remained alive while U.S. forces allegedly beat him. (Addressing these claims, military officials will grudgingly confirm the former and vehemently deny the latter.)

SATURDAY, JUNE 10 Nothing happened today, unless you count the devouring of countless bull testicles at the annual Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed in Eagle, Idaho.

SUNDAY, JUNE 11 The week ends with a significant statistic, as world-box-office receipts confirmed the trouncing of The Passion of the Christ's $623 million global take by The Da Vinci Code's $642 million and counting, suggesting that more of the world's citizens are entertained by the idea of a murderously diabolical Catholic Church than by the idea of the son of God dying for our sins. Which seems fair.

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