Today signaled the closing arguments for what has become an obsession here at the One Day at a Time offices: the Winona Ryder Shoplifting Trial. The one truly disappointing aspect of this charade was that Winona herself never took the stand in her defense, which means we never got a close look at the bottom half of the absolutely gorgeous Donna Karan cream-colored suit she was wearing. In her closing statement, prosecutor Ann Rundle reminded the jury of the Saks security videotape which showed her crouching down to cram loads of delicate designer finery in her bag. Rundle also showed her pop culture savvy by repeating a line from Ryder's film Girl, Interrupted, postulating that Ryder "may have been stealing just for the sheer thrill of seeing if she could get away with it." Well! Defense attorney Mark Geragos would have none of that, and appealed to the jury's sense of logic. "This woman [Ryder] is known for her fashion sense," he said in reference to the accusation that she was snipping off security sensor tags. "Was she going to start a new line of 'Winona Wear' with holes in it?" Then came the slamdunk, when he held up one of the black rhinestone hairbows Ryder purportedly lifted. "Can anyone see Ms. Ryder with this on top of her head?" he asked. "Does that make any sense?" No, it doesn't! (However, we'd wear it in a second if Winona would autograph it for us.)

But it's not just the poor, put-upon Winona who is in dutch with the law: today brought legal trouble for two famous wash-ups, O.J. Simpson and singer Bobby Brown. After a bizarre shouting match between Usher and Brown in a L.A. club last month, the decidedly sinkable Bobby Brown was back in the news today. Early this morning, he was pulled over in a fancy-pantsy suburb of Atlanta, speeding along in his Cadillac Escalade. When the officer asked for Brown's license, the former R&B superstar told the cop, "I don't have an ID, but I'm Bobby Brown." Instead of the cop squealing, "Omigodyou mean Bobby Brown of New Edition? I just love 'Candy Girl'!" he pulled Brown out of the car and discovered a sizable bag of marijuana in his pocket. Things did not improve for the singer of "My Prerogative," when the officer realized Brown had an outstanding warrant for refusing to show up in court on a previous driving infraction. As Casey Kasem likes to say, "The hits just keep on comin'." Meanwhile O.J. Simpson, who is no stranger to the courtroom, had a warrant issued for his arrest today for the attempted murder of a flock of seacows. It seems that back on July 4, Simpson celebrated our nation's holiday by racing his powerboat through Florida's Biscayne Bay, which happens to be occupied by giant, peace-loving herbivores known as manatees. The blubbery mammals are an endangered species, and are apparently often killed by fast-driving acquitted murderers in speedboats. But instead of simply paying off his $65 speeding ticket, he once again pleaded innocent to the charges and was a no-show in court, spurring the judge to issue a bench warrant for his arrest. Unfortunately for celebrity-watchers, the judge will still allow Simpson to pay his fine, robbing us of a lengthy trial and gems of wisdom from lawyer Johnny Cochran, like, "If the race boat don't fly, the sea-cow didn't die."

Whenever President Bush succeeds, we die a little inside. As a result of yesterday's elections, the Republicans took control of the Senate, taking 51 seats vs. the Democrats' 48. In the House, Republicans also retained control, gaining four seats. Unsurprisingly, the fat, cigar-chewing Republicans were gloating like the fat, cigar-chewing pricks they are. "I'm excited to be able to be on offense," said Republican Sen. Trent Lott, who is known for being mercilessly picked on by that sadistic monster, Sen. Joseph Lieberman. Many attribute the Republican win to two factors: 1) President Bush ignoring the war on terrorism and his job as President by campaigning and raising $140 million for GOP contenders, and 2) The Democrats are dumbshits. "There wasn't any unified message," said David Worley, a former Georgia Democratic party chairman. "I think the national leadership did a miserable job of giving a theme to the election." Perhaps they could've taken a tip from one of the few Democratic winners, Governor-elect Ted Kulongoski of Oregon. From what we could tell, the only reason he got elected was because he's a good bowler. And OMIGOD! Winona Ryder was found guilty?!? This is the worst day EVER!

The world remained stunned today after the shocking news of Winona Ryder being found guilty of shoplifting. Though she was cleared of the charge of burglary, the jury returned with a resounding "yes" on her other two charges of felony grand theft and vandalism (for allegedly snipping the security sensors off certain items). Apparently in an attempt to prove she isn't a total asshole, prosecuting attorney Ann Rundle says she will not recommend jail time for the doe-eyed actress, preferring Ryder to pay for her crime against humanity through probation, community service, counseling and paying restitution to Saks. Naturally, this begs the question of why this case wasn't simply settled out of court, instead of being dragged kicking and screaming into the limelight and through the pages of One Day at a Time. A study performed by the TV show Celebrity Justice of similar cases proved that of 17 incidents last year, only Ryder was charged with grand theft and burglary. According to an unnamed prosecutor in the D.A.'s office, "This was all designed to show we can win high-profile cases." He also went on to call the trial "a witch hunt." Okay, we all know Ryder starred in The Scarlet Letter, but can we please stop calling her a "witch"? The poor girl has suffered enough! AND SO HAVE WE!

It's not enough that the Republicans have to take control of the Senate--now they're talking more shit than a Saks' security guard. The New York Times reported today that the GOP has got it good for James M. Jeffords, the senator from Vermont who cost the Republicans control of the Senate last year when he left the party to become an independent. Now that the Republicans are cocks (of the walk), both parties say that Jeffords is itchin' for a lickin'. "We're going Mel Gibson on his ass," said one Republican aide. "We're going to make that pansy traitor wish he'd never been born." At a press conference at the White House, a spokesperson announced they were going to pass a U.N. Resolution to "shoot James Jeffords in the head." The White House expected broad international support. In a phone call with the Times, Senator Jeffords said he was not expecting retribution. "The Senate's a pretty collegial group," he said, crying.

Another sign of the apocalypse: McDonald's Corp. again lowered its earnings forecast for the year and announced it is pulling out of three countries and closing restaurants in about 10 other nations as part of a restructuring aimed at ensuring its continued mission to keep the bewildered herd fat and idle. (We can report with some degree of certainty that the United States is NOT one of the countries the fast-food chain will be pulling out of.) We know. It is very, very upsetting. The fast-food giant also plans to restructure operations in four nations and eliminate up to 600 jobs in order to control costs and reallocate its resources. We hope that you are not fired. But if you are, maybe you can get a job hunting down and killing James Jeffords.

The Associated Press reported today that a surge in American Indian voter turnout helped make the difference in the Senate race in South Dakota and the governor's contest in Oklahoma. (These are both states to the east of here.) It was a show of strength for a group that has rarely gone to the polls in large numbers and has not been much of a political force since the Battle of Little Big Horn. According to the 2000 Census, Indians make up just 1.5 percent of the population (including Burt Reynolds, Sacheen Littlefeather and Leonard Peltier), but they tend to be concentrated in compounds--called reservations--where they have been forced to live, thanks to mean white people. That means their votes can decide close elections, especially because Indians have historically voted Democratic. The GOP has responded by trying to woo the Native American vote with a gift of smallpox-infected blankets and six cases of Wild Turkey.