Scroll down to learn about people, places, things, new music releases, live events, current TV reviews, new movies and movie reviews, interesting things on radio.... All sorts of interesting things that have come our way at Issues since our publication date!
California taking Gay Marriages to Court
California, the city of San Francisco and some of official from that city may soon end up in the courts over the many gay marriages now being officially performed in San Francisco.
Some San Francisco authories claim constituional grounds of "equality" for performing same sex marriages. Some other authorities say the current laws are unconstitutional.
The matter must work its way through the lower courts to the California Supreme court, which in the past has had a liberal tendency and could allow the marriages to stand as well as continue. If that were to happen it would then go to the U.S. courts, where it could be upheld on "states rights" constitutionality, thus setting the stage for a national law or constitutional amendment.
It should be noted that all of the marriages are "civil ceremonies" performed by city sanctioned officials. None are religious nor performed by any church.
People have been coming from other states and even other countries to get married in San Francisco. The most promient being Rosie O'Donnell. The actor-comic-talk show host jumped on a plane from New York to get married in San Francisco to her long time companion as a statement in support of gay rights.
Priest Sex Abuse Report
A survey compiled (and sanctioned by the Nation Review Board, which was comissioned by Catholic Bishops) by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice found that about 4% (over 4,000) of all priests (which totaly neart 110,000 in the U.S.) have received sex abuse allegations. A grand total of over 10,000 abuse allegations in the last 50 years inside the United States were uncovered. This report also faults Bishops with turing the other cheek to these charges and allegations far too often.
Police Had "Probable Cause" Two Years Before Columbine
It was revealled today that authorities, including the school administration and police agencies, had received at least 15 reports about the antics of the two Columbine students who went on a suicidal killing rampage.
These reports included video tapes of the students ranting and raving. Authorities apparently also turned the other cheek on these complaints from other students about the pair.
These complaints could have been enough to obtain search warrants or at least question one or both of the students long before they started killing students and teachers.
Had a search warrant been issued, authorities would have probably found weapons in the bedrooms of the two students, who could have then received counselling and would have made it more difficult for them to engage in their slayings.
Solider Faces Death Penalty For Aiding The Enemy
Army Specialist Ryan Anderson, 26, a member of the National Guard, was arrested earlier this week before being shipped off to Iraq for his tour of duty. Today it was disclosed that the solider, who is a converted Muslim, had approached what he though were Al Queda members (they were actually undercover agents posing as Al Queda members) and provided detailed information on tanks, troop weaknesses and other sensitive information that would have help an enemy take out our troops in Iraq. This action could bring him the death penalty if convicted.
Poison Letter Linked To North Carolina Dissident
A person or group having something to do with truck drivers or related companies may be responsible for the Racin laced letters sent to the U.S. Senate.
Another threat over new regulations for truck driver rest was made using Racin in North Carolina by a yet unknown person or group, who state more Racin can be made with ease and dumped anywhere. Unless the new regulations are removed the threat would supposedly be carried out.
This type of threat is similar to the so-called "unibomber" type of radical, who is generally a white male, maybe with some college or at least has completed high school chemistry, is related to (or is) a truck driver or small company affected by the new regulations and does know how to play traditional politics.
Poison Found In U.S. Senate Building
A white powder identificed as "ricin" was found in the mail room of a senate building and many people were quarentined and decontaminated.
Ricin is easily made from the castor bean plant and is far more deadly than cobra venom. It causes flu or "Ebola" style symptoms when a person gets a serious dose.
Despite new U.S. mail precautions and the Homeland Security Act and task force, this powder still managed to make it into the U.S. Senate offices!
As yet it is unclear who was responsible for this obvious attack. The chances are just as likely it could be a home grown, white bread American angry at government as much as it could be foreign terrorists.
Previously Anthrax was delievered to government offices and that caused a major shake up in the way the U.S. Postal system handles and screens mail (which now seems ineffective) as well as causing the close of certain government offices for months during decontamination.
250 Die in Muslim Stampeed
Each year millions of Muslims make a pilgrimage (hajj) to Saudi Arabia, part of which is the "stoning of Satan" and each year people die during the stampeed created by this ritual, which comes on the first day of Eid al-Adha (the "Feast of Sacrifice"). Large crowds come because all Muslims are encourged to this pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime if they are able to make the trip to Mecca. Some make the trip over and over on a yearly basis.
This year some people were stoning the letters USA and calling America Satan.
Top Mulsim clerics (leaders) told the pilgrims that acts of terrorism and shedding of Muslim blood was un-Islamic.
Federal Judge Rules Against Part Of Patriot Law
A Federal Judge in Los Angeles rules that portions of the "Patriot Act" are unconstituional because law counselling and advise given to foreign agents can be grounds for fine and imprisonment. This places a burden on those who work with lawful foreign groups, which can include, in extreme situations, American Jews providing certain types of information to groups in Israel on in the test case heard, information given to Kurdish groups. Wrestling Death Teen Release
A 16 year old boy was released from a "life sentence" today. A court ruled his conviction was wrong due to failure to provide proper metal testing for the then 12 year old boy who killed a 6 year old girl (through the use of wresteling moves on the girl that he leared by emulated what he saw on TV wresteling shows).
The boy (and the mother of the dead victim) has agreed to a plea bargain in the new case in which he will have one year of house arrest at home, followed by 10 years probation, counselling and community service.
The then 12 year old boy was convicted under a Florida law that allowed for life imprisonment of minors who were found guilty of killing someone. That law has been challenged and this boys particular case was thrown out due to technicalities.
'Captain Kangaroo' Dies
Bob Keeshan who played the famous childhood icon 'Captain Kangaroo' on CBS television for years and years died from a long illness in Vermont at the age of 76.
Keeshan started his TV career as Clarabell the clown on the Howdie-Doodie for the first two years of that classic show.
Captain Kangaroo was such an icon and classic that it was kept on TV despite slowly lowered ratings as the newest generation of children were not tuning in as widely as those from the 50's, 60's and 70's.
European Mars Mission Confirms Water
While NASA had already published reports on the presence of water on Mars, the current European orbiting observation probe has confirmed it with hi resolution photos and other observations showing molecules rising from the surface.
The latest NASA landing vehicle recently suffered problems after performing flawlessly for more than a week. The Europen landing mission never got going. Another NASA landing probe is due to touch down next week on the other side of the planet.
President Bush has set an adgenda for the U.S to put men on Mars in this century. Russia, which is also capable for making such a trip, has indicated now is not the time for them to undertake such a goal.
Private Tourist Jet Crashes In The Red Sea
A Boeing 737 jet owned by a private tour company crashed just after take-off from a resort city in Egypt. Officials say the plane, which just arrived from Italy and was on-route to Cairo and then due to go to Paris, France. Almost all of those on board were French tourists. It is believed the plane had a mechanical malfunction that was noticed right after take-off. The plane was attempting to land when it crashed into the Red Sea. All are beleived dead in the crash. No terrorism is suspected.
Bandwidth Problme Keeps Issues Off-Line
Yeah, we ran out of bandwidth just before the end of last year. Since you have to buy bandwidth on a yearly basis and our problems started just a few days before the end of the year we opted to stay dark the last few days of 2003 and correct the problem for the new year so it won't happen again!
In an effort to head off the bandwidth problem we disabled a lot of image files, but it was too little too late...
For more information see our article on bandwidth in this issue as this problem can strike anyone who gets too many hits in a given period of time!
North American Record Cold Spell
All across the "New England" area from New York into New Hampshire, Massachusettes and New Jersey, record cold temperatures are being logged and we are right in the middle of it!
Last night as we passes a local bank the temperature was -9 here at the Issues office in Troy, NY. A few blocks away over the Hudson River (which is now almost 90% iced) winds were travelling at over 30 mph and generating an even greater wind chill in the minus figures, even in daytime!