MONDAY, JULY 9 This week of accidental patricide, warp-speed divorce, and hideous American monsters kicks off in Lakewood, where today a woman went for a jog and wound up viciously attacked by raccoons. Details come from the Tacoma News Tribune, which identifies today's intrepid jogger as 28-year-old Michaela Lee, who was on her way home from a jog in Fort Steilacoom Park when her dog got away from her and chased two raccoons up a tree. When Lee caught up to her dog, several other raccoons emerged from a bush and started scratching her legs. When Lee tried to run away, the raccoons ran after her, chasing her roughly 75 feet before knocking her to the ground. "They were on top of me, just biting my arms and legs and sides," said Lee to the News Tribune. "I was just trying not to let them get to my face." Hero of the day: Ms. Lee's dog, Madison, a 6-year-old American dingo whose barks and snarls helped drive the attacking raccoons away. As for Lee: She was left with many scratches and a dozen-plus puncture wounds, which required skin staples, injected antibiotics, and a full round of rabies vaccinations. But she's not going to let today's hubbub deter her from her dog-walking, nature-loving fitness regime. As she told the News Tribune, "I got some bear mace."
TUESDAY, JULY 10 The week continues with the impressively swift resolution of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes's marriage, via a warp-speed divorce settlement described today by TMZ as "extremely detailed and outlin[ing] a course of conduct for years to come." Among the alleged details of yesterday's settlement, according to TMZ: Primary physical custody of the couple's 6-year-old daughter, Suri, goes to Holmes, with Cruise given "significant custodial time" and agreeing to restrictions on the discussion of "religion, including Scientology" until Suri gets older.
•• Speaking of the sanctity of marriage, today the Episcopal Church became, as CNN reports, "the largest US denomination to officially sanction same-sex relationships," approving a three-year trial of a same-sex blessing service called "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant." Hurrah.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 11 In worse news, the week continues with one of America's actual monsters: Nancy Grace, the hawk-faced harpy who routinely makes a carnival show out of what seem to be reckless insinuations of guilt on her cable news show. As the New York Daily News reminds us, back in 2006, Grace welcomed grieving mother Melinda Duckett onto her HLN show, then grilled the 21-year-old about her failure to properly help police after the disappearance of her 2-year-old son. Not long after the broadcast, Ms. Duckett fatally shot herself in the head, with her family crediting the suicide in part to Duckett's on-screen humiliation by Grace. This week splashes more blood onto Grace's hands, courtesy of Toni Medrano, a 29-year-old woman facing two counts of manslaughter in the death of her 3-week-old son, whom she allegedly rolled onto and fatally crushed after allegedly drinking the better part of a fifth of vodka. In the world of Nancy Grace, Medrano became "vodka mom," whom Grace lambasted at length on television. "Did mommy booze it up and kill her baby?" asked Grace. "Why no murder charges?" Grace also devoted a portion of her show to showing exactly how many full glasses of vodka are in a fifth. Last Days would take the time to explain to Grace that she knows very well "why no murder charges" (zero intent and what looks like a surplus of reckless indifference); however, Medrano provided her own retort to Grace's trial-by-television on Saturday, when she poured a flammable liquid over herself in her mother's backyard and fatally set herself on fire. Confirming the death this week, St. Paul Park police chief Michael Monahan told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that Medrano was "despondent and suicidal over personal issues," with Medrano's mother telling Fox 9 News that the mass media taunting by Grace "broke [her daughter's] spirit in the worst way." Certainly, a woman who allegedly drinks herself into a stupor in the presence of her newborn has plenty of problems beyond the bleating of callous news harpies—but it couldn't have helped. Roast in hell, Nancy Grace.
THURSDAY, JULY 12 Speaking of American monsters, the week continues with officials at Penn State, whose rottenness was further confirmed by Louis Freeh, the former FBI director who today issued a report claiming "Penn State leaders covered up assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's child sexual abuse for years, disregarding the welfare of his young victims to save the reputation of the school," Reuters reports. Here's but one infuriating quote from a report littered with them: "Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State," writes Freeh, identifying these "most senior leaders" as president Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz, late head football coach Joe Paterno, and athletic director Tim Curley. "The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized." (Attorneys for Spanier, Schultz, and Curley have denied the allegations in the Freeh report, with Spanier's attorney stating: "At no time in his 16 years as president of Penn State was Dr. Spanier told of any incident involving Jerry Sandusky that described child abuse, sexual misconduct, or criminality of any nature.")
FRIDAY, JULY 13 In lighter news, the week continues with a beguiling case of alleged reality-TV name-dropping and podiatric deception in Georgia, where earlier this week a young woman accepted a man's offer to participate in a prank for America's Funniest Home Videos and reportedly wound up getting her foot sucked in the middle of Walmart. Details come from the Smoking Gun, which says that the scene played out this past Tuesday in Columbia County, where an 18-year-old woman was shopping at Walmart when a middle-aged man—identified as 43-year-old Joey Leaphart—approached and asked about her feet. "After asking the teen if her toenails were painted, Leaphart said, 'I know this sounds crazy, but have you ever heard of America's Funniest Home Videos?'" reports the Smoking Gun, citing the Columbia County Sheriff's report. "When the unemployed woman said she had heard of the show, the man replied that he would pay for her purchases (up to $100) if she agreed to cooperate with a 'prank.'" The teen reluctantly agreed, and soon after found herself being mouth-attacked by the man, who allegedly began sucking on her big toe. "The woman, investigators reported, 'immediately screams at him to stop, and to leave,'" reports the Smoking Gun. "Cops have classified the July 10 incident as a misdemeanor simple battery involving 'hands/feet/teeth.'"
SATURDAY, JULY 14 Nothing happened today, unless you count a teachable moment out of Salem, Indiana, where today police shared details about the 3-year-old boy who seized a loaded handgun and accidentally shot his father to death. Details come from Reuters, which identifies the mistakenly slain man as 33-year-old Michael Payless, who was reportedly watching television with two of his other children last night when the 3-year-old boy found the gun nearby. "The child accidentally discharged the loaded handgun," confirmed the Indiana State Police via statement today. "Michael A. Payless was pronounced dead at the scene." The moral: Guns don't kill people. Kids kill people. Use birth control.
SUNDAY, JULY 15 Nothing happened today.
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