Today Eastside hot spot the Bellevue Regional Library received a visit from none other than former Red Cross President, 1996 First Lady wannabe, and Viagra beneficiary Elizabeth Dole, who swung by the branch in the afternoon with her "presidential exploratory committee" to express her support for mandatory safety locks on guns, a ban on "cop killer" bullets, and greater spending on the national defense budget. Earlier in the day, Liddy lit up the chi-chi Seattle club the Ruins, where nearly 100 patrons forked out $500 each to eat scrambled eggs and potatoes and listen to the Lidster hold forth on expanding trade with China and paying more respect to teachers; over lunch, Liddy met with Bill Gates to commend Microsoft on its creation of pornography-filtering software. And by the end of the week, Lady Liddy will have dropped her fence-sitting "exploratory committee" lingo and formalized her bid for the 2000 presidency.
· · Speaking of losing battles, a tip jar-stealing slimeball was foiled tonight in Belltown through a combination of courage and community effort. The incident occurred at the rumored-to-be absolutely delicious Second Ave Pizza, where a Gore-Tex wearing white man snagged the tip jar — only to be chased down the street by pizza maker/store co-owner Susan Robb, who, eyewitnesses report, moved with impressive speed and dexterity considering her platform mini-boots. Luckily our culprit was a klutz as well as a slimeball, and promptly tripped and fell to the pavement, where he was pounced on and pinned by a fearless U.S. West employee, who announced, "I place you under citizen's arrest!" The police were called, the tip money was returned, and the slimeball was hauled off to the clink.

In a surprisingly sane move, today the House of Representatives voted down a bill that would have urged national, state, and local leaders to "call the people they serve to observe a day of fasting, solemn prayer, and humiliation before God." Sponsored by Idaho Rep. Helen Chenoweth — an admitted adulteress who knows a thing or two about humiliation before God — the non-binding resolution (and horrifying mingling of church and state) was designed to help heal America in the wake of chronic school shootings and murderous hate crimes against blacks and gays. However, the well-meaning but Constitution-mocking proposal fell six votes short of the necessary two-thirds support (with all Washington state Republicans voting "yes" and all Washington state Democrats voting "no"), and will now die a fast, solemn, and humiliating death.

Today: Proof that girls are just as horrible and violent as boys. Virginia police reported the shocking, coma-inducing beating of a 25-year-old mother of two by two teenage girls in Woodbridge, VA. The Associated Press reports that Natalie Giles Davis was on her way to a church function with her family when she got into a verbal altercation with two teenage girls, whose parked car was blocking her way. The girls promptly attacked Davis, knocking her to the ground and pounding, stomping, and kicking her head on the sidewalk. Both girls were arrested and charged with aggravated malicious wounding; Davis remains in critical condition in a coma, on life support.
· · Meanwhile, in our own neck of the woods, one pissy young lady worked out her own misplaced rage in the aisles of the Swedish particle-board emporium IKEA. The 20-something lass was strolling with her boyfriend through the home storage department, when she spotted an older woman coming from the opposite direction wearing sunglasses. "Wearing sunglasses in stores is STUPID!" announced our rude anti-heroine — provoking the glasses-wearing lady to wheel her cart around to defend her (perhaps medically dictated) fashion statement. But before the woman could speak a word on her behalf, Furious Girl began bitching her out so ferociously that our Last Days Hot Tipper fled to the lighting department. And although no heads were bashed and no comas induced, such acts of violent rudeness must not go unreported. As our former editor Emily White would've said, "That girl needs to go to manners school."

We always knew there was something creepy behind that smile: Today the state attorney general reached a $62,500 settlement with mattress retailer Sleep Country USA — known for their hard-sell television ads starring the relentlessly cheery Sunny Kobe Cook — over the company's deceptive advertising practices, reports The Seattle Times. Among the company's hustles: claiming prices were the lowest in history when they were actually only the lowest in the past year, advertising "bargain prices" on luxury mattresses being sold at full price, and describing mattresses still being manufactured as "discontinued." In agreeing to pay the settlement, Sleep Country USA admits no wrongdoing, and insists many of the problems arose from semantics. For example, Sleep Country defines a discontinued mattress as one it does not intend to sell anymore, not one that is no longer being manufactured. Ha, ha! Pay up, weasels.

Perhaps you've noticed that although it is technically summer, the weather has been totally fucking miserable and rainy and cold. But not every place on earth has been cursed with an arctic summer: Russia and other countries in the former Soviet Union are currently suffering through the hottest summer since 1953 — a phenomenon that has led to a record number of drownings, reports the Associated Press. Throughout June, in Russia, the Ukraine, and Belarus (where air conditioners and fans are almost non-existent), temperatures consistently topped 90 degrees, leaving locals to cool their roasting selves in largely unsupervised lakes and ponds. Unfortunately, a large number of these impromptu swimmers are also drunk, and officials claim that up to 50 percent of 150 people who have drowned in Moscow lakes since the beginning of June were smashed.
· · Speaking of getting drunk and wet, here's a heartwarming tale of gay and lesbian bonding from the Seattle Eagle. As many of you are no doubt aware, the Eagle boldly devotes the first Friday of every month entirely to pee, and for the most part, the waterplay remains strictly homocentric. But tonight two brave souls crossed the gulf that separates fags and dykes on a glistening bridge of piss. The communion began when the fella downed a couple of beers and let loose a yellow arc onto his lady friend, who promptly returned the favor by whizzing through a sani-cup onto the guy's shaved head. Men may be from Mars and women from Venus, but urine is universal.
· · Oh yeah: Today there were a couple of earthquakes.

Two weeks ago we reported a vicious crow attack that occurred on First Hill. Since then, we have been deluged with reports of similar attacks occurring all over the city. One man — a clinical research associate at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center — wrote of being assaulted by a fearless crow on his way to work; another reported being stalked by a gang of mean-looking crows near the Hi-Spot Cafe in Madrona, only to suffer a classic dive-bomb attack by an unrelated crow later in the week in the Ravenna woods area. What can be done about this avian menace? For advice, Last Days contacted Ben Jacklet, The Stranger's resident crow expert, who reiterated that crow nesting season is in full swing, and warned that few animals are as territorial and protective of their young as the crow. "Crows are truly fearless," said Jacklet. "They work in packs and will take on animals many times their size without a second thought." Our advice for avoiding crow attacks: Stay inside until November, reading the collected works of Jane Austen and Gore Vidal. Trust us.

Today was Independence Day, and a lot of people got drunk and watched a lot of shit get blown up. God Bless America. You've got Hot Tips and I want them. E-mail or call the 24-hour Hot Tips Hotline at 323-7101 ext. 3113.