Saitama, Japan - The situation came to mind this weekend as the UFC 144 (Mixed martial Arts) was held in Saitama, Japan, just north of Tokyo and close to where the tsunami occurred, which hit last March.
My first thought was, did UFC contestants and the media attending from all over the world, have second thoughts about attending the still radioactive area.
Read more about Japan and how the radiation is still affecting the animals HERE.
Many are under the illusion that the dangers have passed, but experts say it could take another 10-20 years before it is safe in the immediate area of the meltdown. Not a very bright prospect for the residents of Japan and the many animals who are still wandering near the plant.
I must admit, I will not be going anywhere near Japan, for a very long time.
Equal rights to all, has finally happened in America, President Obama announced today "Same sex couples should be able to get married."
No matter how we tried to dance around it, deep down within everyone, the truth is, all people should be allowed to enjoy the love from one another, the same rights that heterosexuals enjoy, no matter what sex you are.
States can choose to allow it or not, but human rights are not a choice, equal rights are human rights and all must be treated the same. America's history shows that has not happened before.
And North Carolina has clearly made that choice, when they passed this amendment yesterday:
"Marriage between one man and one women is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid in this state" So there, we have control of it, you can't have any.... Does this seem fair, equal rights to all, non discriminating? Not really. Future history will tell that NC has made a mistake in not giving the same rights to all it's citizens.
North Carolina's opposition to this move by the President is mainly because they say they want to keep the sanctity of marriage, which is nothing to wave a flag about. One in three heterosexual marriages end in divorce now, and the wording of this amendment will outlaw common law relationships along with gay ones.
By not allowing gays to marry, we are clearly discriminating against them.
Economy and jobs was the highlight for the election, however that has changed now after Obama's statement.
You can bet that same sex marriage will be a big part of the election.
It was the right thing to do and about time.
Recent polls show that over 70% Republicans are against same sex marriage, but it's over 60% in favour with the Democrats.
Will this issue, human rights, make a difference in the election of the President in November 2012? You bet.
Mitt Romney the Republican nominee for President has already disclosed his position, he 'only supports marriage between a man and a women.'
I'm married, and don't understand the fear that this creates for some people. It's always the way it has been, but we are evolving all the time, and correct things, that are just not right, and fair. It's clearly time to make this right.
This will be the turning point for either leader in the upcoming election.
I never thought I would see a black man in the White House in my lifetime, and I never thought I would hear a sitting President support same-sex marriage. I believe this will be the right decision for Obama, failing that, it will treat all Americans equally. That is step in the right direction. And many families, men and women will realize, their right are important, because the President of the United States of America, clearly said it is. It’s a great day in American history, for all, including the LGBT groups. “no football spikes here.”
Albany, New York - In a rather 'obscene' decision the New York Court of Appeals ruled that 'simply viewing' child porn without any other involment is not against the law in New York State.
MSNBC reports, "The decision rests on whether accessing and viewing something on the Internet is the same as possessing it, and whether possessing it means you had to procure it. In essence, the court said no to the first question and yes to the second."
This all started back in 2007 when college professor James D. Kent was charged and convicted with possession of child pornography, and sentenced to three years in prison in 2009. He appealed to the supreme court and they dismissed one count of promoting a sexual performance of a child, and just one of the many counts of possession of child pornography, all other counts were upheld. Prior to his prison term he was an assistant professor of public administration at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY.
Basically the Judges ruled that other people may have had access to his work computer and therefore he did not procure the pictures nor have possession of them, but I find that very troubling.
It's not clear to me what the court has said. In any event this does set a presedent for future cases involving child pornography in New York State. It's not clear if the prosecution will appeal this ruling further.
One good thing, Kents activities, are still considered a Federal crime.
Norfolk, Virginia - Is there a coverup at the Virginian-Pilot newspaper, as two of their off-duty reporters (Marjon Rostami, Dave Foster) may have been caught up in a racially motivated beating, surrounded by five young black youths throwing a brick through their car window.
The beating was so bad that the reporters were off work for a week while they recovered, and have now taken a leave of absense due to death threats against them, and they are in fear.
When the crime occured two weeks ago last Saturday, the Editor, Denis Finley of the Virginian-Pilot, felt it was not news, therefore did not cover it in their newspaper. I think he is having second thoughts now, that this has gained National and International attention.
UPDATE: Kerry Dougherty of The Virginian-Pilot tried real hard to apologize, to no avail, “We made a mistake, That’s all it took for those who detest the “liberal mainstream media” to work themselves into a lather. They assumed that political correctness caused The Pilot to engage in a cover-up of an explosive, race-based crime in Norfolk.” You can read the whole Op-Ed CLICK HERE
Should skin color of people being assaulted, determine whether it is news or not? According to Editor Finley, "it was just a minor street fight." And how long has he been in news reporting? Finley indicated he did not 'know' what happened, but then isn't that what newspapers find out, the facts, they seek out the facts and the story no matter what is the skin color of the assailants or victims.
He blew it, Finley could have stood tall and said he did the right thing, and wasn't pressured to hide the story, but he took the easy way out. Like they say, it's not about lying, it's about the 'coverup.' We Hope Editor Finley knows that now, he may have some time to think about it if they get rid of him, he's NOT covering important news.
Here's the memo-editorial Denis Finley wrote trying to explain his misgivings, CLICK HERE.
Another take on the "story" in his own paper, and it was revealed, finally in an Op-Ed CLICK HERE.
Big question, why is Fox News covering this terrible assault, and yet it appears none of the main stream media have said a word about it? If the roles had been reversed, and it was a gang of white people throwing a brick through the window of a black couple, would this have been newsworthy? Bernie Goldberg and Bill O'Reilly ponder the dilemma.
Sanford, Florida - Sanford City Council has now reversed their previous decision of "no confidence" in the case of Police Chief Bill Lee who stepped down a month ago after the killer of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman was not arrested on February 26/2012.
Zimmerman was since granted bond on Friday and walked free on bail of $150,000 on Sunday night, with GPS tracking and his whereabouts are unknown, but he may be permitted to live outside the State of Florida for security reasons.
The City Council met Monday night and voted 3-2 not to accept is resignation after he had stepped down due to the handling of the Martin case. But it appears now that maybe, I say maybe they did make the correct decision, based on the bail hearing last Friday.
The lead investigator who took the stand Friday said that he had no idea who threw the first punch, or who chased who, to cause the deadly outcome. Zimmerman has entered a plea of 'not guilty' and has waived attending the indictment. His lawyer Mark O'Mara has said this is quite common, especially in murder cases where the defendant does not appear at his indictment hearing, and can post a plea without personally attending.
Seminole County, Florida - George Zimmerman walked out of jail at midnight a free man on $150,000 bond and for safety reasons his location is unknown.
He is charged with 2nd degree murder of Trayvon Martin back on February 26/2012, he has claimed he is innocent and using the 'Stand your ground' law in Florida, which he says his life was in danger, and he feared for his life.
He walked through the nornal release door at the jail, and left in a normal car with an unknown man carrying his belongings. The media who were camped out in front of the door, were checked for credentials before his release and there is concern for his safety, since he was wearing a bullet proof vest for his protection.
He is required to wear a GPS tracking device, must report to police every three days, curfew from 7p.m.-6a.m., and have no contact with the Martin family. He is also not allowed to have access to alcohol or firearms, and has requested to live outside the State of Florida due to safety concerns.
New York - Although not the biggest NHL suspension ever, Raffi Torres of Phoenix Coyotes gets a 25 game suspension for a late hit on Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa. The most recent multiple game suspension in the NHL was, 30 games back in Dec/2007 to Chris Simon of the New York Islanders when he forced his skate into another players foot.
This was clearly the longest suspension handed down by NHL Vice-President disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan this year, since he has taken over all disciplinary actions for the league.
The incident occurred in Tuesday night in game 3 when Torres jumped into unsuspecting Hossa near center ice and he was taken off on a stretcher. Hossa has not played since the incident and it is still unknown if he will return this year.
Torres who is well known for his aggressive play has a lengthy suspension record and will lose $21,341.46 in salary for every game he misses this year and next. He will not be allowed to play in any exhibition games next season, and will not return until late fall 2013. Missing exhibition games does not count towards his 25 game suspension.
Sanford, Florida - Judge Kenneth Lester Jr has granted $150,000 bond to George Zimmerman charged with 2nd degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin. He will be required to wear GPS monitoring, and may be allowed to reside outside the State of Florida.
George Zimmerman was involved in an incident almost two months ago when he was a self appointed neighborhood watch captain and followed Trayvon Martin who he determined was "suspicious." It turned out he happened to be a black male wearing a hoodie, heading home from the store unarmed. Zimmerman was armed and somehow a confrontation ensued and Trayvon was shot dead.
Zimmerman will have several restrictions if he is able to make the bond, GPS monitoring, he must report to authorities every three days, no contact with the Martin family, no possession of firearms and no use of controlled substances other than prescribed medication.
The affidavit presented by the state was the determining factor since it is unknown who actually started the fight that lead to Martin's death. Testimony was revealed in the bond hearing the gunshot that killed Trayvon Martin was at close range. The affidavit indicated that Zimmerman "followed" Martin after he was told by 911 operators not to do so, but it was unclear in the court today how the investigator came to that conclusion.
The state had requested a bond of $1 million and his lawyer Mark O'Mara also requested that his client be allowed to reside outside of the State of Florida, for his own security. Zimmerman's passport has been turned over to the police, and he must not have any contact with the Martin family.
It will be a few days before Zimmerman is allowed to leave the jail, if the bond it met.
George Zimmerman took the stand today at his bond hearing, and right off the top he said, "I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son, I did not know how old he was, I thought he was a little bit younger than I am, and I did not know if he was armed or not."
The reason he never apologized earlier, he said "is because I was advised by my lawyers not to respond." Martin family lawyer Benjamin Crump countered with, "It was a self serving apology in order to get bail, nine days after his arrest."
Fort Lauderdale, Florida - There seems to be a sense from the prosecution affidavit that George Zimmerman is guilty, and yet all evidence has not been disclosed. In the affidavit summary that was released yesterday, (that was written by investigators) they said Zimmerman was 'following' Trayvon after the police dispatcher told him not to do so, to which he replied, "OK."
Even the Special Prosecutor's Statement from Angela B. Cory, had the feel that she was seeking justice for Trayvon, when I have always understood the prosecutor is there to search for justice, whether it is for the defendent or the victim.
The fact that Zimmerman was following Trayvon after the police told him not to, is a serious point of contention, and should be dealt with in court. I'm no lawyer, but I'm not sure if the affidavid is considered eveidence in a court of law, and by saying "Zimmerman was following Trayvon after being told not to," is a very important fact in my mind.
The affadavit actually says "When the police dispatcher realized Zimmerman was pursuing Martin, he instructed Zimmerman not to do that and that the responding officer would meet him. Zimmerman disregarded the police dispatcher and continued to follow Martin who was trying to return to his home." That is evidence for court, not evidence here, who says Zimmerman continued to follow Trayvon, because Zimmerman is saying he did not?
The Prosecution and many others have said they don't want this case to be tried in the media, but then they put out into the public information like this that appears to defend Trayvon's position.
His first appearance today was just to plead not guilty, and is being held in protective custody. The next step may be a hearing before a judge to address his bond and then a judge will rule on his 'Stand your Ground' defence. If the judge gives him immunity for that, basically it will not go to trial.
Sanford, Florida - It's been 45 days since Trayvon Martin, a 17 year-old young man was killed by George Zimmerman, arrested then released, and has now been arrested and charged with second degree murder.
The Florida Special prosecutor Angela Corey made the announcement today and answered questions but would not give any further information about Zimmerman's whereabouts or any evidence that brought her to this conclusion. She was appointed by the Governor Rick Scott of Florida to investigate this killing about three weeks ago, and she is prepared to protect the citizens of Florida, and if convicted, Zimmerman could get life in prison.
Corey would not answer any questions about the "Stand your ground" law and how this would affect the charges against Zimmerman since he is claiming he was only protecting himself against deadly force.
It appears that the "Stand your ground" law can be applied at his first court appearance, and it will be up to the judge to give him immunity prior to going to trial, but that is highly unlikely.
After the announcement Reverend Al Sharpton met with the family and said, "We don't want anybody high fiving tonight, there's no victory here, there's no winners here, they've lost their son. This is not about gloating, this is about persuing justice.
What's the next step?
Zimmerman will appear before a court and request a bond, which is unlikly. He will then be asked to take a plea, and his new lawyer announced today, Marc O'Mara will proceed to another hearing in the future. At some point down the line, a judge will decide if Zimmerman has immunity because of his claim of using the "Stand your ground" defence.