MONDAY, AUGUST 25 This week of punitive poles, judicial jujitsu, and honest-to-god good news kicks off with a terrible scene in Arizona, where today a vacationing family from New Jersey visited the Bullets and Burgers gun range in White Hills. "Bullets and Burgers is part of a tourism niche offering packages costing up to $1,000 to shoot different high-powered weapons," reports CNN, noting the venue's popularity for "bachelorette parties, birthdays, and weddings events." For today's visiting family, the venue provided the perfect opportunity for their 9-year-old daughter to learn to shoot an Uzi submachine gun. Tasked with the instruction: Charles Vacca, a 39-year-old man who soon learned his own lesson about giving a 9-year-old an Uzi. "Vacca was standing next to the girl... when she pulled the trigger and the recoil sent the gun over her head," reports the Associated Press. At least four shots from the errantly recoiling Uzi struck the instructor, who was rushed to a hospital and soon pronounced dead. And so one little girl gets an eternally haunting answer to the question "What did you do on your summer vacation?"

•• Also today, police said a kindergarten student in Pennsylvania brought a loaded .22 revolver to school in his backpack, and Bill and Melinda Gates donated $1 million to the campaign for Initiative 594, which would expand background checks on gun sales in Washington State.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 26 In better news, the week continues at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago, where today the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals made delightful mincemeat of Wisconsin's and Indiana's arguments in support of banning same-sex marriage. Today's star: Judge Richard Posner, a moderate conservative Reagan appointee who couldn't hide his disbelief and disdain for the flimsiness of the anti-gay-marriage arguments. As Slate's Mark Joseph Stern writes, "While lawyers for Wisconsin and Indiana attempted to defend their state's marriage bans, Posner issued a series of withering bench slaps that unmasked anti-gay arguments as the silly nonsense that they are." Simply quoting Posner's questions and declarations and asides can't capture how bracingly Posner forced lawyers for Wisconsin and Indiana to admit that their claims that same-sex marriage harms families, hurts kids, and damages society are built on nothing but bullshit. To hear recordings of Posner in action, visit

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27 Nothing happened today, unless you count the woman in Colorado who attempted to text while driving and wound up impaled by a metal pole. As Denver's KUSA-TV reports, "[Christina Jahnz] says she was texting and driving when she hit a pole that went through her car, piercing her thigh and buttocks." "I was running late for a business meeting, so I did a voice text," said Jahnz to KUSA. "I looked down to make sure it was all right. The next thing I knew... there was white powder from the air bags deployed." It was then Jahnz realized she'd struck a guardrail pole, which came through the front of her truck to impale her butt region and continue into the back of her seat. "Firefighters had to saw off the front and back end of the pole to get the woman out," reports KUSA, adding that Jahnz's post-impalement medical treatment involved innumerable stitches. "I lost count of the stitches after 40," Jahnz told KUSA. "They stitched me up inside too. I'm truly a miracle."

THURSDAY, AUGUST 28 In better news, the week continues with a heartening development in the National Football League, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announcing, as ESPN reports, "a sweeping domestic violence initiative under its personal conduct policy that calls for a six-game suspension for a first offense and a lifetime ban from the league for a second offense." Further details from Goodell's letter, as obtained by ESPN: "[The policy] applies to all incidents involving physical force, not just domestic violence; applies to all NFL personnel, not just players; and is not retroactive; everyone starts with [a] clean slate." Good work, NFL. Full speed ahead.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 29 In much, much worse news, the week continues with Sher Kung, the kickass ACLU lawyer (and new mom) who was killed this morning while biking to work in downtown Seattle. For the full story, see Dominic Holden's piece.

•• Meanwhile, another week, another fresh embarrassment for Seattle's antigay, woman-hating megachurch, Mars Hill. At the center of the latest brouhaha: the ongoing "leaks" to secular media about the inner workings of the church. As Mars Hill's newly formed board of elders wrote in a letter today, "Pray that the watching non-Christian world would not be given the opportunity to discredit not only our church but the very gospel of Jesus: Pray that Jesus will be glorified through all of this." As Joel Connelly writes at, "The letter seemed to carry a triple message: Keep the faith, keep quiet and we will take care of it." As Connelly also notes: "The faithful at Mars Hill have been asked to take much on faith. They raised $2 million over and above tithing in order to put on an August 'Jesus Festival' at Marymoor Park. It was touted by Driscoll as late as February, but then quietly scrubbed. In a March mea culpa, Driscoll confessed to using church money to hire a consulting firm to create illusory sales of his book Real Marriage in order to get it on the New York Times bestseller list." Confidential to Jesus: Sorry about the shittiness of some of your followers. The best people always attract their fair share of creeps. Stay strong.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 30 Meanwhile, the week continues with Bumbershoot, Seattle's annual festival of music, comedy, and visual art, which finagled its best lineup in years—the Replacements! Wu-Tang Clan! Every alterna-comedian you'd ever hope to see (including Elvis Costello)!—only to be met by chilly gray weather and sporadically spitting rain. Still, Bumbershoot shouldn't take it personally, as it's been the season of cursed festivals, from Monday's temporarily rained-out Burning Man to tomorrow's canceled-due-to-"extreme weather" Electric Zoo Music Festival.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 31 The week ends with the online dissemination of nude photographs stolen from the phones, computers, and cloud storage of an array of female celebrities—a virtual assault that will inspire numerous people who should know better to crack wise along the lines of "If you don't want nude photos stolen from your computer, don't put nude photos on your computer!" This duncery will inspire its own righteously sardonic backlash, along the lines of "If you don't want your baby molested, don't have a baby!" and this whole crappy mess is dealt with by God in this week's New Column! recommended

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