MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 This week of awful anniversaries, college football–related castration attempts, and mercifully reincarcerated celebrities kicks off today with—what else?—a heartbreaking story from Iraq. Today's principals: Omar Mora and Yance Gray, two of the writers behind "The War as We Saw It," the controversial op-ed composed by seven U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq and published in the New York Times on August 19. "To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched," wrote the soldiers. Despite their skepticism about their present mission, they remained committed: "We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through." This promise will prove false for a number of the essay's authors. While working on the article, one of the writers—Staff Sergeant Jeremy Murphy—suffered a nonfatal gunshot wound to the head. Today in Baghdad, the aforementioned Sergeant Mora and Staff Sergeant Gray were killed when the five-ton cargo truck they were riding in overturned. Despite the rising death count, the soldiers' editorial continues to stir shit up. Today in Washington, Senator Chuck Hagel challenged General David Petraeus's testimony on the military's progress in Iraq by citing the soldiers' essay. "Are we going to dismiss those seven NCOs?" asked Senator Hagel of the sunny-side-up Petraeus. "Are they ignorant? They laid out a pretty different scenario, general, from what you're laying out today." RIP, Sergeant Mora and Staff Sergeant Gray.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11 Nothing happened today, unless you count the sixth anniversary of 9/11, made extra-spooky by its landing on a Tuesday for the first time since the attacks, and kept perpetually tragic by the ongoing military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan. Family members of deployed U.S. soldiers: We know you're exhausted, but please, consider marching on Washington. You're the only people the psychos in charge might be required to listen to.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 In much lighter news, the week continues with the aforementioned college football–related castration attempt, from the wilds of Oklahoma. That's where police say 32-year-old Brian Thomas walked into Henry Hudson's Pub in Oklahoma City on June 17 wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the logo of the University of Texas Longhorns. The problem: Thomas was in the heart of Oklahoma Sooner country, with the implicit insult of Thomas's Longhorns tee allegedly driving 53-year old Allen Beckett—a church deacon, federal auditor, and rabid Sooners fan—to grab Thomas by his nuts and violently yank down. The Associated Press reports Beckett's alleged yank resulted in Thomas's near-castration (what's a "near-castration"? a bloody dangle?), creating a wound that required 60 stitches. While Thomas recuperates, Beckett faces aggravated assault charges that could land him in prison for up to five years.
•• In worse news: Today a disabled man in Mission, Texas, was stung by over 1,000 bees. As the Valley Morning Star reports, firefighters arrived to find 57-year-old Paul Lee Campton—a disabled man who uses a walker—covered in bees. "They were on him head to toe," said fire chief Elias Saldivar, whose men suffered plentiful stings of their own while rescuing Campton. Tomorrow, today's bee attack will prove fatal, as Campton is pronounced dead at Mission Regional Medical Center. RIP, unlucky man.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 Today brings the long-awaited commencement of the criminal proceedings against Warren Jeffs, the 51-year-old leader and alleged almighty prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who's facing trial on two counts of rape as an accomplice after allegedly using his church authority to coerce the marriage of a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin. Details come from the Associated Press, which identifies today's star witness as Jane Doe IV, aka the nameless alleged victim herself. Now 21, the woman told the court of the vast influence Jeffs held over her life: "The prophet was a God to us. He was God on Earth." Ms. Doe IV testified that she was acting to preserve her eternal salvation when she obeyed Jeffs's command to marry her cousin at age 14, after which she followed Jeffs's counsel to submit to her husband "mind, body, and soul." For his commands and counsel, Jeffs now stands trial as an accomplice to rape, an emotionally satisfying but legally slippery charge that's up for grabs. On one side: Jane Doe IV, who'll testify tomorrow how her husband instructed her it was "time for you to be a wife and do your duty," after which she attempted suicide. On the other: Jeffs's defense attorney Tara Isaacson, who'll counter with an onslaught of contradictory evidence and mitigating factors, including photos of the 14-year-old Jane Doe IV smiling beside her new groom and regular reminders that the state of Utah allows 14-year-old girls to legally consent to sex. "What did Warren Jeffs have to do with what was going on in her bedroom?" Isaacson will ask on Friday. "Did he even know she was being forced to have sex against her will?" The trial is expected to continue through next week. If convicted of the charges, Jeffs could spend the rest of his life in prison. Stay tuned.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 Nothing happened today, unless you count the smashing bash hosted by the Seattle Public Library for The Stranger's 2007 Genius Awards. This bash is covered in full on page 31. Here, we'll just extend hearty congratulations to all of this year's Geniuses, and a grudging thank you to Dewar's.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 The week continues with the cable-only broadcast of the Creative Arts Emmys, the lesser, freakier awards honoring stuff like Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List for Outstanding Reality Program. As media-savvy citizens are aware, Kathy Griffin accepted her Emmy with the greatest speech in American history (suck it, "I have a dream" and Lincoln's second inaugural address). "A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award," said Ms. Griffin. "I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. So, all I can say is, 'Suck it, Jesus.' This award is my god now." In a tragic blow to democracy and the advancement of the species, Griffin's speech—characterized by E! executives as "offensive remarks"—will be censored from tonight's E! telecast. Screw E!; viva Kathy Griffin.
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