MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20 This week of dubious port deals, war-vet violence, and interspecies amour kicks off today with not one but two instances of outrage done relatively right. Case number one comes from Vienna, where today the controversial British "historian" David Irving was sentenced to three years in prison for denying the Holocaust. In most parts of the civilized world, casting doubt on the existence of Adolf Hitler's six-million-plus slaughterfest is considered exceedingly stupid; in Austria, the birthplace of Hitler, it's a stone-cold crime, as David Irving learned the hard way. During his one-day trial, the Associated Press reports, Irving admitted the error of his ways, attributing his change of heart to "new information" about top Nazi officials that emerged in the early 1990s, and expressing his sorrow "for all the innocent people who died during the Second World War." Acknowledging Irving's felicitously timed apology, as well as his arrest in Austria last November (when Irving was scheduled to speak at a neo-Nazi rally), the Austrian court limited Irving's incarceration to a mere 3 of a possible 10 years. Does the verdict represent a tragedy of free speech or a triumph of karma? Who knows, but David Irving will have plenty of time to mull it over. (Having already aced denying the Holocaust, perhaps Irving will have similar success denying the existence of jailhouse rape.
•• Meanwhile in London: This week Mayor Ken Livingstone will receive an anti-anti-Semitic slap of his own, when the three-person Adjudication Panel for England finds him guilty of "bringing his office into disrepute." Mayor Livingstone's offense: insistently comparing a Jewish reporter from the Evening Standard to a Nazi concentration camp guard. Mayor Livingstone's punishment: a four-week suspension from his mayoral post and responsibility for all legal fees incurred during the panel proceedings. Best of luck to suspended Mayor Livingstone—who, according to the Evening Standard, continues to insist he did nothing objectionable, much less actionable—and congratulations to both Austria and England for exacting revenge over cultural offenses via adjudication panels and courts of law, rather than murderous bat-wielding street mobs.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21 Clearly jealous of the attention lavished on Dick Cheney following the vice president's shooting of an elderly man in the face, today President Bush sought to reestablish himself as America's premier dangerous idiot, vowing to veto any attempt—Republican, Democrat, or otherwise—to block a $6.8 million deal that would hand control of six key U.S. ports over to the Middle Eastern company Dubai Ports World. Hubbub over the ports deal will stink up much of the rest of the week, with both Republicans and Democrats lining up to blast Dubya's brain-dead rationalizations—"I really don't understand why it's okay for a British company to operate our ports, but not a company from the Middle East," said Bush, for real—as well as his in-your-face veto threat. But today Last Days is content to savor this rare moment of bipartisan harmony. (When both the right and left are horrified by George W. Bush, things can't be all bad.)
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22 Today Last Days turns to the ongoing experiment in horror that is Iraq. First up is a question, which has been polluting as many American skulls as the goddamned "My Humps": After however many years spent risking their lives in an ever-more-dubious war, for an ever-more-criminal commander in chief, to the distress of an ever-more-vocal (but still not vocal enough) antiwar citizenry, what's going to happen to U.S. soldiers after they return? Today the Associated Press offered one deeply disturbing answer, in the form of a report on Spc. Brandon Bare, the 19-year-old Fort Lewis–based machine-gunner who returned from Iraq with inner-ear injuries and anger-management problems, the latter of which are alleged to have led the young soldier to stab his wife 71 times with a variety of knives and a meat cleaver. According to the AP, Bare's 18-year-old wife, Nabila, was found brutally murdered in the couple's kitchen on July 12; soon after, Bare was charged with premeditated murder and indecent acts related to the mutilation of his wife's remains. Upon his return from Iraq, Bare reportedly sought treatment for combat stress and anger management. If convicted of killing his wife, Bare faces the possibility of life in prison.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23 The week continues with a made-for Last Days news report forwarded by Hot Tipper Liam Moriarty, a real-life media professional who felt a "solemn responsibility" to alert Last Days to the case of Jason Tapken, the 24-year-old convicted child molester in McMinnville, Oregon, whose probation was revoked and replaced with an 18-year prison sentence after Tapken was found to have made sweet, sweet love to his family's rottweiler-mix dog. Details come from the Associated Press, which reports Tapken had been on probation since August, after serving a sentence for attempted first-degree rape and attempted first-degree sexual penetration with a foreign object involving a young girl. Appearing this week before Judge Ronald Stone, Tapken reportedly "sobbed and begged for mercy" over his bestial slip-up, but found no solace from Judge Stone, who accused Tapken of banging the dog because no children were available, then sentenced him to the better part of two decades behind bars.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24 Speaking of beautiful endings: Today brought an end to the life of Don Knotts, the comedic actor who made a career of playing quivering bug-eyed freaks, from Andy Griffith's dork-with-a-heart-of-gold sidekick Barney Fife to Three's Company's ascotted horndog Mr. Furley, raising the art of comedic self-abasement to an unprecedented high. RIP, Mr. Knotts.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25 Nothing happened today, unless you count whatever planning and strategizing was undertaken by Kevin Collins, the 22-year-old Michigan man who'll make headlines tomorrow by fatally shooting two people in a Detroit church before fatally shooting himself. (Why do these crazy motherfuckers always do the "shoot other people" part first?)
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26 As reality TV has made clear, few things instill a sense of narcotic self-contentment like witnessing the suffering of others. In the spirit of bestowing such contentment on our beloved readers, Last Days ends the week with this rich and vaguely nacho-cheese-scented Hot Tip from perennial Hot Tipper Jake. "I was on a Jet Blue flight from Orlando, Florida, to New York's JFK," writes Jake. "Everything was fine until the final descent, when a kid at the back of the plane vomited." Even worse, Jake reports, this icky bit of unpleasantness triggered a chain reaction, with at least three more fliers inspired to take part in Jet Blue's impromptu Pukepalooza. Was it the result of booze? Bad food? Excessive empathy? "I don't know," says Jake. "But everyone seated south of the Puke Belt had to wait for cleanup to deplane. And it was a stinky landing."
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