MONDAY, OCTOBER 8 This week of wounded heroes, poison steroids, and awesome Elizabeth Warren kicks off in Pennsylvania, where former Penn State assistant football coach/current convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky spent his final day before sentencing for 45 counts of child sex abuse denying everything. "In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts," said Sandusky in a taped statement. "My wife has been my only sex partner. That was after marriage." Tomorrow, after tearful testimony from several of Sandusky's victims, a Pennsylvania judge will sentence Sandusky to 30 to 60 years in prison. "Sandusky, 68, would be 98 at his earliest possible release date," reports ABC News. The judge "also determined that Sandusky would be classified as a sexually violent predator, mandating that he register as a sex offender if he is ever released from prison."
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9 In worse news, the week continues in Pakistan, where today a 14-year old girl who championed education for females was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman. "The attack on Malala Yousafzai happened as she sat in a bus preparing to leave the school grounds in Mingora, the main city in the Swat Valley," reports the Guardian. "At least one other girl was also hurt in the attack that a Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, quickly claimed the group was responsible for. He said the teenager's work had been an 'obscenity' that needed to be stopped." Despite serious gunshot wounds to her head and neck, Yousafzai remains alive, and by early next week, she'll be airlifted to Britain for further medical treatment.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 10 In much better news involving a woman fighting for the proper care and handling of other women, the week continues with Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat/Harvard law professor/White House adviser currently gunning for the US Senate seat held by Republican incumbent Scott Brown. During a debate tonight in Springfield, Warren took Brown to task for his anti-woman voting record, delivering an address so eloquent that Last Days must quote it almost in full. "I have no doubt Senator Brown is a good husband and a good father to his daughters, but... what matters here is how Senator Brown votes," said Warren. "So he's gone to Washington and he's had some good votes. But he's had exactly one chance to vote for equal pay for equal work, and he voted no. He had exactly one chance to vote for insurance coverage for birth control and other preventive services for women. He voted no. And he had exactly one chance to vote for a pro-choice woman—from Massachusetts—to the United States Supreme Court, and he voted no. Those are BAD votes for women. The women of Massachusetts need a senator they can count on not some of the time, but all of the time. I want to go to Washington to BE THERE for ALL of our daughters and ALL of our granddaughters. This one really matters. There is a LOT at stake here... And I want to be blunt. We should not be fighting about equal pay for equal work and access to birth control in 2012. These issues were resolved years ago, until the Republicans brought them back." (Icing on the cake: Recent polling has Warren leading Brown by roughly two points.)
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11 The week continues with not one but two stories involving the icky collision of humanity and cookery. Story number one comes from Lynnwood, where a woman stands accused of punishing her 6-year-old son for touching an iPad by burning his hands on the stove. Details come from KIRO, which reports a school counselor at the boy's elementary school noticed his burned hands last month and promptly phoned police. "The boy first said that he hurt himself on the playground, but later said that his mom hurt him on purpose," reports KIRO. "The 6-year-old told police that his mother, Karina Torrescano Hernandez, held his hands over a spiral stove element and then cupped his hands together, pouring salt onto the painful burns." In her defense, the boy's mother denies deliberately burning the child and then literally pouring salt in his wounds, and she maintains that her son must have burned himself while she was sleeping. (It was not clear from KIRO's report whether or how she explained the alleged salting.) Charged with one count of domestic violence and second-degree assault of a child, Ms. Hernandez has been jailed in lieu of $25,000 bail. The boy and his brother have been placed with relatives.
•• Meanwhile in Santa Fe Springs, California, an unlucky employee at a seafood plant for tuna maker Bumble Bee Foods arrived at work to find an even unluckier employee: a 62-year-old man who'd been cooked to death. "California Division of Occupational Safety and Health spokeswoman Erika Monterroza says it's unclear how the man ended up inside a cooking device called a 'steamer machine,'" reports the Associated Press. Operations at the canning facility will be suspended until Monday.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12 Nothing happened today, unless you count the Associated Press story about the man accused of returning used enemas to a drugstore in Florida, which then resold the goods to unsuspecting customers. "Thirty-four-year-old Ronald Eugene Robinson, of Jacksonville, faces federal charges of tampering with consumer products," reports the Associated Press. "If convicted, Robinson faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in a federal prison and a $250,000 fine." P.S.: "Authorities say the customers who purchased the used enemas have been notified."
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13 Speaking of tainted goods, the week continues with some bad news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which today confirmed "another death of a patient injected with a contaminated steroid shot, bringing the number of people killed in a growing outbreak of fungal meningitis to 15," reports the Guardian. "The outbreak has been traced to batches of methylprednisolone acetate—a steroid used commonly to ease back pain—that were prepared by the New England Compounding Center and shipped to 76 clinics in 23 states between July to September." Also today, the CDC upped the number of patients diagnosed with steroid-induced fungal meningitis to 197, at least one of whom has already filed a class-action lawsuit against the New England Compounding Center, alleging the sale of "defective and dangerously contaminated" steroid shots that caused "bodily harm, emotional distress, and other personal injuries."
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14 Nothing happened today, unless you count extreme Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner's history-making plunge from a capsule roughly 24 miles above earth down into the eastern New Mexico desert, where he landed safely after a nine-minute, sound-barrier-breaking AIEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!
Dear readers: Chances are that most of you are already pro marriage equality—which means you are required to do two things: One, vote to approve Referendum 74. Two, talk to someone who's still undecided about marriage equality—maybe it's the elderly owner of your neighborhood bar, maybe it's your aunt living in Eastern Washington. Whoever it is, give 'em a loving earful of why you believe marriage equality is important. Be nice. Speak from the heart. But DO IT. (Also, send hot tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.)