Guantanamo Bay–Shut it down

Recent headlines surrounding hunger strikes at Guantanamo Bay have drawn national attention to the controversial facility. Reports have stated that hundreds of prisoners have staged over a two month long hunger strike.

Through mostly an unmotivated legal system and minimal evidence, detainees have been protesting treatment and human rights violations, many of which have been imprisoned indefinitely with no clear hope of ever being released.

What is further concerning is how the US military lied to reporters about the severity of the hungry strike, according to a CBS News source.

While we hear reports of Gitmo closing its doors, we also hear reports of renovations, including chapels and recreation buildings. According to various sources, the United States Pentagon is preparing to sink hundreds of millions of dollars into the facility making it more robust than temporary.

Presently, Gitmo prisoners have surprising comforts such as video games, movies, flat screen tvs in many rooms, and an outdoor recreation field roughly half the size of a football field that prisoners have access to 22hrs a day. While I am all for the humane treatment of prisoners of war (which these men almost are), I am not for the delayed politics barricading the way to getting these men to a timely trial. These prisoners are not on a hunger strike because it makes them feel good. They are on a strike because they are desperate for attention. They are desperate for rights. And being its our money that is being spent to hold them in limbo while they play video games, I think we should listen.

Its time to convict or set free these prisoners. We must remember that even though they are prisoners, they are human. It is neither beneficial for them or to the people of the United States to keep these men in a state of waiting. Force feeding these men bottles of Ensure through feeding tubes inserted into their nostrils to keep them alive during this hunger strike is absurd.

I guess we will just half to see how long the madness lasts before somebody decides to make a needed change.

Spain’s Modern Robin Hood Criticises Austerity

Spain’s Modern Robin Hood Criticises Austerity.

This is an astoundingly real situation. I feel terrible for the Spaniards and Greeks affected by these measures. Sometimes it takes brave individuals at the grass roots level like Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo to change a dire situation. Though what he is doing seems wrong (stealing and looting), the motives behind his actions are sincere and compassionate. He is trying to help the people being left behind.

A Life in 7 minutes

I just saw a video entitled “This is My Story” that really touched me, and wanted to share it with you all.

I happened to stumble upon this video while trying to check my email and was struck by the capacity and sadness of it. The teenager in the video, Ben Breedlove, is telling the story of his life with a dangerous heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart has trouble pumping blood.

He tells his story through flashcards.

The video has no sound, and shows Ben smiling at times and somber at others, depending on which flashcard he is holding up. The greatest sadness and weight of this video is felt knowing that the young Ben has now since passed. The video was posted by him on December 18th and he passed away of a heart attack due to his condition on December 25th, Christmas.

In the video he describes the feeling of death three times. In two of the instances Ben tells us that he had an overwhelming feeling of happiness and “peace.” A bright light descending on him both times, and the second time him more entering a dream state or in between death and life experience.

Ben’s brush with death was so transforming for him that he tells us it was “the best feeling” and he “didn’t want to leave that place.”

That he wished he “never woke up.”

Ben’s experiences prepared him for where he was going. He was ready for it. He had been given a gift to have seen that place before going there. A gift that gave him strength, content, and hope for the last of his days.

I tell this story for two reasons: 1) the sense of security and peace that his visions give me regarding my own life and ultimate destination, 2) and for wanting to spread his story to you.

We all hear about these stories where people recount transcending the worlds of life and death, but they never seem to get old for us. Why is that?

I’ll tell you why: Because we are all curious. Ben’s video hasn’t gone viral for no reason. It’s gone viral because we want to know what it’s like, hear someone else tell us. To confirm it for us. His video is a reminder of the other world that we will all someday come to know.

Ben’s experiences were a gift for him, and now they are a gift for us.

Follow the link to check out the video:  “This is my story” by Ben Breedlove

Cold Mountain—Charles Frazier

Cold Mountain (novel)

Image via Wikipedia

I couldn’t be more disappointed by this book. I bought it on the grounds of reading the first couple pages, which I deemed magnificent, and then read 150 more pages to find the novel was quite the opposite.

One word for this novel: BORING.

I hate to say that, but whoa is this book slow. I was really hoping this book would knock me off my feet, especially considering it had one a National Book Award, which in hindsight is completely absurd and scary, but it more just put me to sleep. Each time I picked it up I prayed it would get better, but page after page the plot was nonexistent and the narrative was consumed by useless details.

I’ll give Frazier a star for his ability to describe scenery, but beyond that, there’s nothing else this book offers. It’s literally a story of a man wandering through the woods in the mountains of North Carolina. Come on Frazier! You can do better than that!

Unless you like reading about flowers, trees, streams, grass, and entirely pointless events, don’t read this book.

Sorry. I was pulling for it, but it let me down.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Picture from IMDb.com

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is the fourth installment to the Mission Impossible series. Ethan Hunt and his team (Jeremy RennerSimon Pegg, and Paula Patton) are covert and disavowed IMF agents endeavoring to stop a nuclear attack on the United States.

From the beginning it is an action packed technological marvel that maintains its pace throughout the movie.

Ghost Protocol features all the explosions and drama that we would expect from an action movie, along with displays of our world’s technological advancements, such as: gloves that suction to glass, screens that mimic real life, pay phones that turn into IMF portals, and a BMW i8, all that aid Ethan Hunt and his team in trying to prevent a nuclear war.

IMDb gives Ghost Protocol a 7.9 out of 10. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 93% Fresh Certified.

My vote is a 7 out of 10. I like the new technological spy tricks used and much of the filming shots; Ghost Protocol has some awesome camera angles, especially in Dubai when Tom Cruise is hanging out of the Burj Khalifa Tower and a sandstorm is looming in the distance.

However, much of this movie is like any other action movie we have seen recently, with a very typical and cliché plot line: Terrorists have hijacked nuclear codes and are threatening to blow up America. The same ole plot (terrorists threatening America) but with a twist, now the terrorists really do have weapons of mass destruction, but the terrorists aren’t Arabs. How ironic!

For this plot typicalness and similarity to many other present day action movies, I had to knock down Ghost Protocol’s rating. Though I enjoyed the action sequences and inventive camera angles, the writers could have been more original.

TAC Campaign 20th Anniversary Video

I had a powerful video forwarded to me yesterday by my cousin that I think would be prudent for all of us to see, especially during the holidays when so many of us will be traveling and enjoying time with our families.

This video was put together by TAC (Transport Accident Commission), which began airing videos like this one in 1989. Arguably, because of the videos, the number of accidents related to drinking and driving have been substantially reduced.

This video hits a note for me because a couple years ago I had a step sister killed by someone under the influence. She had been walking home from work one day when a drunk driver veered off the road and hit her. It was a horrible tragedy. It tore the family up for a long time.

I’m not trying to be depressing on Christmas Eve, but we all sometimes need to be reminded of the effects our actions have on others.

I know we all want to have fun and make memories, but if you are going to drink, stay where you are or have someone else drive you home. It’s not worth hurting/killing someone. The last thing we all want is something tragic to happen around the holidays.

So if you’ve found your way to this site, and haven’t seen the video, then watch it.