Good news for penises. Today the American Academy of Pediatrics formally revoked its support of routine newborn circumcision, saying the medical benefits are not sufficient to recommend the procedure, reports Reuters. In a groundbreaking six-page policy statement, the academy (made up of 55,000 primary care physicians in the U.S. and Canada) debunks the "medical reasons" for the ancient ritual, and recommends for the first time that analgesics be administered before circumcisions are performed, citing new research indicating that infants suffer pain when the foreskin is removed (eureka!).
··· Good news for pushers & potheads. Today a new bill came before the state House Appropriations Committee seeking softer sentences for drug-related crimes. If passed, House Bill 1006 would free judges from stiff mandatory sentences for drug offenders, and give judges the freedom to split prison sentences between jail time and time in treatment programs, reports The Seattle Times. The reasons behind the freakishly liberal (and surprisingly popular) bill are, for the most part, financial: at an estimated cost of $23,000 per inmate per year, the current drug-sentencing laws are costing the state about $92 million a year. Said the bill's author, State Rep. Ida Ballasiotes (R-Bellevue), "We should save our prison space for our most violent offenders, and these aren't them."

Peril at the Airport. Today's Seattle P-I featured an uncharacteristically ass-kicking report on the shameful state of affairs at Sea-Tac Airport's parking garages. From January 1997 through the middle of 1998, 1,677 felony crimes have been reported at the airport, with the most heinous of them -- countless burglaries, one rape, and a near-fatal shooting -- occurring in the woefully under-protected parking garages. Responding to public outcry, port officials issued assurances that garage patrons were being protected by frequent patrols and security cameras, but documents obtained by the P-I revealed that no cameras were ever installed in the area, while documents from a pending lawsuit show that a police officer is present less than 20 percent of the time.
··· Speaking of unfortunate facts: Today legendary pop vocalist Dusty Springfield died of breast cancer at her west-of-London home at age 59. Husky-voiced Dusty was best known for her string of '60s pop hits (including "I Only Want To Be With You" and "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me") and her album Dusty in Memphis, the sexiest record ever made by a honky. ('80s teens will remember Dusty from her smash duet with the Pet Shop Boys, while '90s teens will remember "Son of a Preacher Man" from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.) Dusty Springfield will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York later this month.

Finally, a Seattle windstorm worth fearing. After years of hyped-to-the-heavens windstorms that never were, today Western Washington was blasted with gusts that ranged from 60 to 100 mph and totally fucked shit up, causing power outages in 110,000 homes, the closing of the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, and one fatality: Walter Taylor of Marysville, killed when a falling tree hit the roof of his station wagon.
··· Also: Tonight Monica Lewinsky opened her big, glossy, Presidential-penis-sucking lips to Barbara Walters on 20/20. For nearly two hours, the giddy Miss L. and goading crone Barbara (both laboring under near-Kabuki levels of makeup) gossiped about what it's like to (almost) get lucky with the Prez. Viewers were punished with idiotic revelations (Monica describing her mooning of the President as "a small, subtle, flirtatious gesture -- that's me!") but rewarded with the definitive Portrait of a Slut. Giggling, blushing, and shamelessly gloating, the pathologically adulterous Monica forever exhausted all sympathy by exploiting herself like a master pimp (for free, no less). Speaking of moolah: 50 bucks says Lewinsky will bare all in Playboy by 2001.

Today in Alabama, two men were charged with the brutal beating-and-burning death of 39-year-old Sylacauga resident Billy Jack Gaither. The charges came after the men confessed to the February 19 killing, admitting they plotted and carried out the murder of Gaither because he was a homosexual. News of the murder shocked the nation, but equally shocking to Gaither's parents was news of Gaither's homosexuality, which Billy Jack had kept hidden from his deeply religious mother and father throughout the decades he had lived with and cared for them. (Well, semi-hidden: according to the New York Times, Billy Jack's room was decorated with pink chiffon curtains and a large collection of Scarlett O'Hara figurines.) While Gaither's parents work to reconcile themselves with their son's terrible murder (and ascent into gay martyrdom), jurors will soon have to decide the fate of Gaither's killers. While Alabama does not have a hate-crime law, Gaither's killers could face capital charges based on evidence of premeditation, conspiracy, and possibly kidnapping.

Great game, sorry ending: Tonight the Sonics played their most thrilling game of the season against the newly Dennis Rodman-enhanced L.A. Lakers, unfortunately losing in the final seconds after a failed last-minute three-pointer by Hersey Hawkins. For insight into the exotic world of pro basketball, Last Days consulted Darlene, a professional bookkeeper and bloodthirsty Sonics fan. "They played really, really well, and their defense is good, but their shooting percentage is way low. I could shoot more free throws than them!" said the post-menopausal mother of three. Considering the causes of the Sonics' failure, Darlene grew darkly reflective and posited the theory that the Sonics' slump is the result of a voodoo curse placed on the team by jilted former coach George Karl. "It's like there's an invisible cover over the hoop when the Sonics shoot, a layer of Saran Wrap preventing the shots from going in...."

It's been just over two weeks since the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period when Catholics remind themselves of their impending deaths by giving up something they love. Today Last Days checked in with Meg, a Catholic in Wallingford commemorating the Lenten season with the double-whammy sacrifice of no drinking and no pot smoking. How's it going? "Great!" says the former three-times-a-week drinker and daily pot smoker. Her senses are sharper, her concentration is better, and while she finds certain things almost unbearable without intoxicants (network television, blind dates), for the most part her life has been greatly enhanced by her sobriety. "But that might be because I've started doing Tae-bo." Despite the benefits, Meg is counting the days until Easter, when she will get drunker than an off-duty Bellevue police officer and more stoned than Cheech plus Chong.

R.I.P. Stanley Kubrick. The virtuoso American filmmaker died suddenly today of natural causes in his home outside of London. The innovative and influential Kubrick will be eternally worshipped for his films 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Dr. Strangelove, and Paths of Glory, and for that scene in Full Metal Jacket where everyone beats up Vincent D'Onofrio with bars of soap wrapped in towels. And while it's sad that Kubrick is so suddenly dead, at least we can look forward to a bunch of cool retrospectives of his work. Kubrick's final film, Eyes Wide Shut, starring Mr. and Mrs. Nicole Kidman, is scheduled for U.S. release on July 16.

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