MONDAY, MAY 10 This week of burned epidermises, heroic Heimlich maneuvers, and the ongoing horror that is the Deepwater Horizon oil spill kicks off in Washington, D.C., where today President Obama announced his selection of Elena Kagan to replace retiring justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. If confirmed, the 50-year-old Kagan will become the fourth female Supreme in U.S. history and the third on the bench right now. She'll also have to give up her Obama-appointed post as solicitor general of the United States, with Washington governor Chris Gregoire among the names of possible replacement appointees. Nebulous congrats to Nominee Kagan and Governor Gregoire, and shame on the Obama administration for ignoring our Facebook campaign "Betty White to Replace Justice Stevens (Please)."
TUESDAY, MAY 11 The week continues in Portugal, where today the pope will finally claim a modicum of responsibility in the Catholic Church's ongoing clerical-sex-abuse/ conspiracy-to-hide-clerical-sex-abuse scandals. After months of blaming the sex/conspiracy scandals on everyone from Jews to gays to Satan, today the 83-year-old Pope Benedict XVI admitted the scandal "is born from the sins within the church. The church needs to profoundly relearn penitence, accept purification, learn forgiveness—but also justice. Forgiveness cannot substitute justice." Congratulations to the pope's speechwriter, whose good work will be ruined the day after tomorrow, when the pope stands before 500,000 people in Fátima, Portugal, and condemns same-sex marriage as "among the most insidious and dangerous challenges" to society. Strong words from a man in charge of the world's foremost child-rape factories, but there you have it.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12 Today we turn to the fascinating family drama playing out in Port Angeles, Washington, where a 39-year-old father is on trial for assault after allegedly branding his teenage sons. Details come from KIRO, which reports today's court proceedings featured video footage of father Mark Seamands using a homemade branding iron to burn the letters "SK"—for "Seamands Kids"—into his 13- and 15-year-old sons' chest and arm, respectively. According to the testimony of a family friend who was present at the brandings, both boys were eager to get branded and happy afterward. "They hugged," testified Denny Secord. "It was a family thing." Calling bullshit: the branded boys' mother, Alison Davis, ex-wife of Seamands, who told KIRO, "I think it's child abuse in every way, shape, and form." Jury deliberations begin tomorrow; if found guilty of assault, Seamands could face a year in prison.
THURSDAY, MAY 13 The week continues with the debut and, one hopes, finale of Seattle's most pathetic indecent-liberties taker. Details come from the Seattle Times, which situates the saga in the lobby of a downtown Seattle hotel, where just before midnight tonight a woman was minding her own business when she was allegedly groped by a shitfaced man. As the victim told police, she was standing at the front desk of a hotel at Sixth Avenue and Pike Street when a man approached and put his arm around her shoulders, then reached between her legs. Our violated lady rightfully clobbered the man, who fled the scene before being apprehended and arrested for investigation of indecent liberties. And oh yeah: "The suspect was extremely intoxicated and initially told officers that he thought the victim was his girlfriend," reports the Times. "He also claimed that his girlfriend was staying with him at the hotel, but when asked where she was, the man reportedly admitted that he did not have a girlfriend. He also admitted that he lived at home with his mother." The alleged indecent libertarian remains held in King County Jail.
FRIDAY, MAY 14 Speaking of creepy menaces: Today brings a necessary update in the saga of Shandy Cobane, the Seattle detective caught on video stomping an innocent bystander while threatening to "beat the fucking Mexican piss" out of him. One freaky subplot of the saga concerns Q13 News' refusal to air the cop-stomping footage, and the day before yesterday, in the latest development in this ongoing freaky subplot, Q13 news director Steve Kraycik resigned "under rising criticism that he failed to air a police brutality video for three weeks after it was filmed—and then [tried] to prevent other stations from running the video—to preserve the station's relationship with police sources," as Dominic Holden reported on Slog, the Stranger's blog. Speaking of police: Today, interim Seattle police chief John Diaz announced the expansion of the investigation into police misconduct during the April 17 beating. "This entire incident is going to be torn apart," said Diaz at press conference. "Every officer who was there, their conduct is being reviewed." (For new information on Q13's handling of the video, see page 13.) Also speaking of police: Today in Gig Harbor, 49-year-old Pierce County deputy Allen Myron fatally shot his mother- and father-in-law before fatally shooting himself. Condolences to all.
SATURDAY, MAY 15 Speaking of depressing news: The week continues with the mandatory update on the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, in which an untold but undisputedly humongous amount of oil continues to be pumped into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening livelihoods across the southern coast of the U.S. and perhaps ruining everything forever. This week's fittingly awful update comes from the New York Times, which sent reporter Susan Saulny to New Orleans to investigate "What's that stink?" "From the French Quarter to New Orleans East, people here have been complaining about a tinge to the air that is unsettling even by local standards," writes Saulny. "Many suspect that it has something to do with the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which has already leaked millions of gallons of crude about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The authorities involved in the cleanup of the fallen Deepwater Horizon oil rig have been burning oil on the surface of the gulf and using chemical dispersants around the leak. Could New Orleans possibly be smelling that, from more than 100 miles away?" As numerous residents told Saulny, yes, yes, and yes—even though consensus on the qualities of the stink remains elusive. "It's a kind of a sewage smell," said restaurant worker Diana Mecera. "It is very distinctly oil," said store owner Steven Payne. "It's chemical, and I'm trying not to think about it," said karate teacher Raymond Dillon. Creepy twist: According to daily tests of air quality, the stinky air is allegedly safe. "We can't say the complaints of the odors are not valid," said Jeff J. Dauzat, a scientist with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, to the NYT. "But just because you're smelling it doesn't mean it's at a harmful level. It may be unpleasant to hang out outside, but will it kill you? No."
SUNDAY, MAY 16 The week ends with a well-earned uplifting story. The setting: an elementary-school lunchroom on Whidbey Island, where Broad View Elementary second-grader Calvin Whelpley was enjoying a corn dog until a chunk got lodged in his throat. To the rescue: custodian Ron Dunphy, who immediately applied the Heimlich maneuver, forcing a wad of corn dog out of the boy's windpipe and onto the cafeteria floor. Regarding his heroic Heimlich: "I had never performed it before, especially on a little second-grader," Dunphy told the Whidbey News-Times. "[But] you see it on TV constantly." Congratulations to Custodian Dunphy, who's rightly been showered with gratitude from Calvin's mother, Cyndi Whelpley, and the Oak Harbor School Board.
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