I have a confession. Writing xoNews and focusing on the world around me in a way I hadn’t before is making me feel so appreciative for what I have. Particularly, I feel saddened and horrified about journalist James Foley, who was tragically beheaded by the terrorist group ISIS earlier this week. I mentioned the story in the headlines for the Wednesday edition, but because the information was released so late in the day, I couldn’t give the story its due justice. As promised, I have more details for you today.
I’ve been reading the comments and one thing I’ve noticed is that several people mentioned that they appreciated stories that weren’t covered in the mainstream media. So for this edition, I’ve included a story that wasn’t covered as extensively in the American press as it was in the European press. Curious? Read on.
The Horrific Death of James Foley
James Foley, an American journalist, was beheaded by terrorist organization ISIS. On August 19th, they released a video of his death on YouTube, who removed the video shortly thereafter. In the video, a masked ISIS fighter declares that the death of Foley is in relation for the US airstrikes against the terrorist organization. Then Foley says:
I call on my friends, family and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the U.S. government. For what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality. My message to my beloved parents: Save me some dignity and don’t accept any meager compensation for my death from the same people who effectively hit the last nail in my coffin with their recent aerial campaign in Iraq.
Foley then addresses his brother, who is in the Air Force, and concludes by saying,
I guess all in all, I wish I wasn’t American.
These statements may have been prepared for Foley by his captors. Foley’s decapitated body is shown shortly thereafter before cutting to black. A few seconds later, another clip is shown and the ISIS fighter is standing with another American journalist, Steven Sotloff. He says, “The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision.” So far, nothing regarding Sotloff’s death or another video has been reported.
So, what lead up to this? In 2012, Foley was arrested in Syria along with his translator. The translator was released, but Foley was ultimately handed over to ISIS, who demanded $132 million ransom for his release. In June, the US sent in Special Operations to try to rescue Foley, but the mission failed and they were unable to locate him. There are also reports that ISIS was willing to release Foley in exchange for other prisoners, but the US would not relent to the terrorist organization’s demands. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters, "We do not make concessions to terrorists. That includes we do not pay ransoms.” It should be noted that European countries do sometimes pay terrorist ransoms and exchange prisoners to rescue their people.
Murder in Bali
Trigger Warning: The following story is graphic and may be upsetting to some readers.
Last week, the body of Oak Park, Illinois resident, Sheila von Weise-Mack, 62, who formerly worked for Ted Kennedy, was found stuffed in a suitcase on the island of Bali. Her daughter, Heather Mack, 19, and Mack's boyfriend Tommy Schaeffer, 21, are suspects in her death.
Mack and Schaeffer were on vacation with her mother in Bali, staying at the luxurious St. Regis resort. According to a taxi driver and hotel workers, Mack and Schaeffer hailed a cab and placed three pieces of luggage in the vehicle. Then they went back into the hotel and ditched the cab. Two hours later, the taxi driver went inside the hotel to find out what was going on, and the employees searched Mack and Schaeffer’s room, but it was empty. The driver and a hotel worker then went to get a piece of luggage from the trunk and discovered blood on it. The police were called and the couple was then found at another hotel several miles away.
Schafer and Mack have been detained. It was also announced this week that Mack is two months pregnant. Indonesian authorities say she is receiving proper medical care in Bali, although she has complained about the conditions.
So what could cause a daughter to murder her own mother? They apparently had a tumultuous relationship and it has been reported that the police had been called to the home where mother and daughter lived 86 times in the past 10 years. Sheila von Weise-Mack was the wife of composer and musician James L. Mack, who died in Greece in 2006. His estate was paid $500,000 from a lawsuit settled three years ago, which was supposed to go to his daughter, but a judge allowed Mrs. Weise-Mack to keep the money for herself, as the estate’s sole beneficiary.
NFL Cheerleader Scandal
The Oakland Raiders are worth $10 billion and pay their top players millions of dollars a year, so why do the Raiderettes (their cheerleaders) get paid only $9 per hour, which is minimum wage in the state of California? Sadly, this is a salary increase from $5 per hour from previous seasons. So, how was that legal?
In June, two Raiderettes sued the league for fair pay. The NFL responded to the suit by saying that the state labor code doesn’t apply: “Because the California Supreme Court found that players cannot bring antitrust claims against their teams, the NFL, therefore, is immune from state labor laws." In January, a separate suit was filed against the team itself and without settling, the team increased the Raiderettes' pay to minimum wage.
But this lawsuit isn’t just about wages. The Raiderettes have been subjected to unfair treatment and expectations. For example, they are paid their entire salary the end of the season, are fined for minor infractions such as gaining 5 pounds, and the team requires them to participate in unpaid charity appearances. The Raiderettes are also not paid for practice time. Whether the suit will result in more money or more respect by the NFL is yet to be seen.
DEA Places Restrictions On Most Commonly Prescribed Painkiller
In an effort to curb abuse of the most widely prescribed and one of the most abused painkillers, Hydrocodone (AKA Vicodin), the DEA has placed restrictions on prescriptions.
So, what’s going to change? Currently, your doctor is permitted to write you a prescription for the drug or call into the pharmacy with refills. But in 45 days, Hydrocodone will be classified as a Schedule II drug (it’s currently a Schedule III drug). By changing the classification, the government is saying the drug now has a higher potential for abuse than they originally believed it to have. Doctors will no longer be able to call in the prescription or allow any refills, so an entirely new prescription will be needed. While the change encourages more responsible prescribing, the laws for restricting similar opioid drugs, such as Oxycodone, have lead to increases in heroin use.
• Virginia is for lovers, but only if they’re heterosexual. The Supreme Court blocked the start of same-sex marriages in the state. Nineteen states currently allow same-sex marriages.
• But, there’s good news for same-sex couples in Florida. A Federal Judge ruled Florida’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional and the state must recognize same-sex couples that have been married in other states.
• Remember Ethan Couch, the Texas teenager who drove drunk, killed four pedestrians and was sentenced to rehab and 10 years probation because he suffered form “affluenza?” His father, Fred Couch, was arrested for impersonating a police officer on August 19th in Texas.