MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18 This week of surreal stabbings, curious disinfectant privileges, and allegedly illegal cow movement kicks off with a hideous hit-and-run from the streets of Fircrest, Washington. That's where 66-year-old Sandy Johnston was pedaling her bicycle through an intersection yesterday morning when she was struck by a car, whose driver only stopped long enough to drag her body to the side of the road before speeding away. Further details come from the Associated Press, which reports the unconscious Ms. Johnston was found by a jogger, then sped by paramedics to Tacoma General Hospital, where she was treated for multiple fractures and cuts. As for the still-at-large driver: Pierce County Sheriff spokesman Ed Troyer says car parts at the scene apparently came off a maroon Mercedes-Benz, and a trail of blood confirms the driver's dragging of the victim from the road to the shoulder. If you have any information about the identity of today's ambivalent villain, call Crime Stoppers at 253-591-5959.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19 Speaking of bloody horror: The week continues with an update on the largest beef recall in U.S. history. As beef buffs will remember and vegetarians will remind us, on Sunday the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the recall of 143 million pounds of beef products from Westland/Hallmark Meat Company in Chino, California, after the Humane Society released undercover video showing crippled and sick animals being forced into the slaughterhouse. According to federal regulations, such "downed" cattle are forbidden from entering the food supply, as their weakened immune systems and tendency to wallow in feces ups the risk of contamination from E. coli, salmonella, and mad cow disease. According to ABC News, the undercover video caught workers kicking, shocking, and otherwise abusing animals that were apparently too sick or injured to walk into the slaughterhouse. Now come the arrests: Pen manager Daniel Navarro has been charged with five felony counts of animal abuse and three misdemeanor counts of illegal movement of a nonambulatory animal, for which he faces up to five years and eight months in prison. Stay tuned and God bless a country where a man can get jail time for improper cow movement.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20 Speaking of disgusting: Today brings a beguiling and brown Metro mystery from Hot Tipper Shelby: "Tonight, I was riding a very packed #49 bus from downtown to Broadway. Upon boarding, I was overcome by the smell of poo. I sat down, checked my shoes, and found nothing. I noticed a guy next to me checking his shoes, also. I looked up just in time to see the guy across from me reach down the back of his pants, pull his hand out, and smell it. He then jumps up and runs off the bus. Just as the doors close and the bus starts moving, we all notice he left behind the most vile smear of whatever he found in his pants. Word reaches the driver and he pulls over, doors closed, to wait for a supervisor to show up. So there we are, all huddled together on a crowded bus for 10 minutes. The supervisor finally shows up, sprays some Lysol on the mess, and leaves. This leaves one big question in my head: Are Metro drivers not allowed to carry their own Lysol?"

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21 The week continues with the mind-bendingly weird story disseminated by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and countless other local media outlets, establishing the mind-bendingly weird fact that the 29-year-old man found fatally stabbed in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood late last night is the same 29-year-old man who was temporarily identified as a "person of interest" in the fatal stabbing of Shannon Harps in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood on New Year's Eve. As the P-I reports, 29-year-old William Ball—a convicted felon with a long history of violence against women—was held briefly by police in connection with the murder of the Sierra Club's Harps. After DNA evidence exonerated him, Ball was back on the street, living a non-newsworthy life until just before midnight last night, when he was found in a pool of blood in a Greenwood driveway, with a single stab wound in his chest and some of his dislodged teeth scattered nearby. Police are unsure if Ball was killed where he was found or dumped after his stabbing at another location, and have yet to arrest any suspects.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22 It's the question that's danced across the brain of countless hopeful Americans: Will being elected president—or even just securing the Democratic nomination—get Barack Obama shot? Today, the question was taken up by the Associated Press, which tracked a widespread concern tempered with cautious optimism.

"You can't have lived through the civil-rights movement and know something about the history of African Americans in this country and not be a little concerned," said Edna Medford, a history professor at Washington D.C.'s Howard University, to the AP. "But African Americans are more concerned that Obama get the opportunity to do the best he can. If he wins, most of us believe the country would do for him what it would do for any president, that he will be as well protected as any of them." Still, there's no denying the lessons of history: "People who want to bring drastic change bring a certain fear among those who don't want change," said Sherry Miles, 45, of Madison Heights, Virginia. "You look back at our history, and all of the people who tried to bring about change were killed or threatened." A final bit of perspective is provided by Bryan Monroe, Chicago-based editorial director for Ebony magazine, who told the AP that the risk faced by Obama "is in the back of people's minds," but that their worries are often superseded by excitement that he could win. Monroe says their number one question is: "Could this really happen in our lifetime?"

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23 "Had enough nasty Metro stories this month?" writes Hot Tipper Angela, who wisely fails to wait for a reply. "Today as I was riding the crowded #49 bus downtown, I heard a strange crunching noise and thought I saw the woman across the aisle spit something onto the floor. I kept watching only to see her chow down several handfuls of sunflower seeds and spit out large, bird-shit-looking blobs of the ground-up remnants down the interior bus wall and onto the floor. She was so enthusiastic about this that the unfortunate guy sitting next to her had to shake flying bits of it off his clothing. When I confronted her about it, she just rolled her eyes like she couldn't imagine how it could bother anyone and said, 'Don't worry about it!' I've never been so glad to not be one of the people who has to clean out Metro's buses." (At least until she read Tuesday's item, no doubt.)

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24 Nothing happened today, unless you count the Academy Awards. This year's winners: foreigners, the Coen brothers, and Jon Stewart. This year's losers: everyone forced to listen to all three nominated songs from Enchanted. recommended

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