MONDAY, OCTOBER 20 As all cognizant humans with internet connections are aware, we are living through a season of ridiculous strife, including but not limited to: the spread of Ebola, fresh U.S. military actions in the Middle East coupled with morally reprehensible failures toward veterans back home, endless gun violence (including an unofficial open season on unarmed African-Americans), and brawling wads of drunken Palins. So it is with pleasure that Last Days commences this week’s column with the legitimately good news that Sleater-Kinney—the best American punk band ever to exist, which released a series of six exceptional albums from 1996 to 2005 before going on official hiatus in 2006—is getting back together, and they’re bringing cures for Ebola, gun violence, political strife, and drunken Palins with them! Just kidding, but for real: The return of Sleater-Kinney can only be seen as cause for celebration, and Last Days will be carefully making sure we don’t die before January 20, when the band’s new album, No Cities to Love, is released on Sub Pop. The album is available for pre-order now, and here’s hoping the forthcoming months of adulatory press combine with co-guitarist/co-singer Carrie Brownstein’s Portlandia popularity to create a world in which Sleater-Kinney has an album at the top of the Billboard charts. In the meantime, those as-yet unfamiliar with the music of Sleater-Kinney should go to their preferred online music vendors and download an introductory sampler of the songs “One More Hour,” “Burn, Don’t Freeze!,” “Ironclad,” “Sympathy,” “What’s Mine Is Yours,” and “Good Things.”
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21 In worse news, the week continued with ISIS, the Islamic militant group responsible for those horrific beheading videos, which today branched out from beheadings by posting a video online showing an allegedly adulterous young Syrian woman being stoned to death by a group of men that includes her father. “As a cleric rants and accuses her of adultery, the woman begs for forgiveness from her father, who is too busy tying a rope around her neck to hear her desperate pleas,” reports the New York Post, whose Leonard Greene watched the video. “When he finally acknowledges her, it is to tell her not to call him Father...As she crouches in the pit, the veiled woman can be heard praying as she is pummeled with rocks until she is still.” As the Post reports, the five-minute video—found on ISIS-affiliated social media sites—is believed to have been filmed in the city of Hama, and reportedly features a cleric telling the young woman she should be “content and happy” as her stoning comes at the behest of God. So there’s that.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22 In better news that still involves a ton of badness, the week continues in U.S. federal court, where today four former Blackwater security guards were found guilty of the 2007 shootings of more than 30 Iraqis in Baghdad. “The State Department had hired Blackwater to protect American diplomats in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, and elsewhere in the country,” reports the Associated Press. “The shootings on Sept. 16, 2007, caused an international uproar over the role of defense contractors in urban warfare.” As for today: “The federal jury found Nicholas Slatten guilty of first-degree murder,” reports the AP, noting the conviction could get Slatten life in prison. “The three other guards—Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard—were found guilty of multiple counts of voluntary manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and gun violations.” All four former Blackwater guards were ordered immediately to jail while awaiting sentencing.
>>Meanwhile in Clearwater, Florida, today brought an early-morning argument between two roommates, a man and a woman, with the latter allegedly setting the former on fire because he threw out some of her food. Details come from Bay News 9, which identifies the alleged fire-starter as 33-year-old Melissa Sellers, and her alleged victim as 42-year-old Carlos Ortiz Jr. “According to Ortiz’s friend and witness, Ines Causevic, Sellers was angry at Ortiz because he had thrown out her spaghetti and meatballs,” reports Bay News 9. “The two had been drinking, and Sellers doused Ortiz’s upper body with nail polish remover and set him on fire.” Ortiz remains in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital with burns to his face, chest, and shoulders, Sellers was arrested and charged with aggravated battery.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23 Nothing happened today, unless you count the arrival of Ebola in New York City (attached to a doctor who’d worked with Ebola patients in Guinea), the $100 million donation made by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to help the worldwide fight against Ebola, or the partial solar eclipse.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24 In worse news, something happened today, in Marysville, Washington, where this morning a freshman brought a gun to the cafeteria of Marysville-Pilchuck High School and started shooting his fellow students, killing one and seriously injuring four others before killing himself. Details on the wounded students come from CNN: “Two girls are in the intensive care unit at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, and two boys are in ICU at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Providence spokeswoman Erin Al-Wazan said. Three are ‘very critically ill’ with ‘very serious’ injuries, she said. One is in serious condition.” As for the shooter: Students identified him as Jaylen Fryberg, a popular student who’d recently been named as the freshman homecoming prince. For his killing and suicide, Fryberg is believed to have used a Beretta .40-caliber handgun owned by his father. As for motive: “I have no idea what his motive was because yesterday at football practice, he was all fine, talking ....having a good time,” said Fryberg’s classmate Jordan Luton to CNN, describing the shooting victims as “[Fryberg’s] friends, so it wasn’t just random.” Stay tuned.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25 Nothing happened today, unless you count the humongous windstorm that left 50,000 Pacific Northwesterners without power.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26 Nothing happened today either, unless you count the winning game of football played by the Seattle Seahawks.
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