“Fuller House” — The Netflix Revival of “Full House”

Coming this Friday, February 26th, Fuller House! The Netflix spin- off of the popular television sitcom, Full House, about a father and his three daughters, who has to call his friends to come and help raise them after his wife dies in a car accident. In this spin off, DJ, the eldest daughter, moves back to her childhood home after her husband dies and calls her sister, Stephanie, and best friend, Kimmy, to help her raise her three boys. DJ, Stephanie, and Kimmy have to come together to raise DJ’s sons who are 13, 7, and a newborn, as well as Kimmy’s daughter, who is also 13. They are bringing back the family favorite television show in a Netflix- style release. Sure to bring fans crawling, the fan hype has already started with people nationwide talking about it, with only a few simple trailers and teasers from the cast: the hype is monumental. All in all, it is going to be one of, if not the largest, viewed show of the year.

Trailer can be viewed on Youtube

teaser

Harper Lee Dead at age 89

imageHarper Lee, the author of one of America’s most famous classics, “To Kill A Mockingbird”, has died at the age of 89. Lee was born in the year 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama and had just put out her second novel “Go Set a Watchman.” She had won awards such as the Pulitzer Prize as well as the Presidential Medal Of Freedom. Publishing company HarperCollins released an official statement. The statement made by Michael Morrison, the president and publisher HarperCollins US General Books Group and Canada says, “The world knows Harper Lee was a brilliant writer but what many don’t know is that she was an extraordinary woman of great joyfulness, humility and kindness.” He later adds onto the statement saying that “She lived her life the way she wanted to—in private—surrounded by books and the people who loved her. I will always cherish the time I spent with her.”

Torture is Actually Torture

This cartoon isn't wrong.

This cartoon isn’t wrong.

President Obama released a plan on February 23rd to close Guantanamo Bay which, although a promising gesture, doesn’t go nearly far enough to expiate the unethical treatment of its prisoners. From a fiscal point of view, his plan makes sense. We would initially spend up to $475 million to upgrade an existing prison and in exchange, we would save as much as $85 million annually. Unfortunately, Obama’s plan has generated much controversy among the Republican-dominated congress, and furthermore doesn’t end the practice which made Guantanamo so famous– waterboarding. In fact, according to Obama’s statements about his plan, he intends to use “all legal tools to deal with the remaining detainees”. These “legal tools” known broadly as “enhanced interrogation”, include: mild violence, cramped confinement for up to 18 hours, forced nudity, stress positions, and waterboarding, etc. 

Not only are these methods of enhanced interrogation blatantly inhumane and torturous, they are also sometimes used on those whose guilt is ambiguous. Most of what we know about enhanced interrogation has been gleaned from the 10% of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s CIA report on that has been released. It confirmed that at least 26 detainees were wrongfully held. In one particularly egregious instance, an intellectually challenged man was detained for use as leverage. While those myopic enough to support enhanced interrogation may attempt to dismiss the report as leftist, the committee that authored it was majority Republican. In fact, the majority party’s delegation included future 2016 presidential candidate Marco Rubio, amongst other prominent Republicans.

Startlingly, enhanced interrogation is actually an awful way of gathering intelligence. According to the CIA report, no actionable intelligence was gleaned from enhanced interrogation, in fact, it actually elicited many false confessions. HIG– or High Value Detainee Interrogation Group– is a government research program comprised of FBI, CIA, and Pentagon officials, which released a peer-reviewed study demonstrating that controlling interrogation strategies– such as torture– are ineffective at producing credible intelligence. In contrast, the same study found that “supportive” rapport-building techniques produce veritable intelligence at a superior rate. While proponents of enhanced interrogation may scramble to find morsels of useful information gleaned from torture, the argument is a non sequitur. Whether or not torture has ever produced actionable intelligence is irrelevant if other–more moral– methods produce equal or, in this case, superior results. In my research for this article, I could find no peer-reviewed study to promulgate the ubiquitous notion that torture is more effective than other means of interrogation and several to prove the opposite.

Despite the obvious immorality of enhanced interrogation, it is disgustingly ambiguous whether it is illegal in our country. Legally, torture is defined as “an act committed by a person… intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering”. Severe mental pain or suffering is constituted by a series of vague standards, which allow the government to dodge questions of legality behind the ambiguity of the law. In contrast to our own government’s moral cowardice, waterboarding is denounced as torture by reputed international bodies such as the Red Cross and the European Court of Human Rights.

In conclusion, Obama’s plan to close Guantanamo Bay has needlessly stirred partisan controversy in spite of its reluctance to permanently end state-sanctioned torture in our country. Instead, the proposal attempts to exculpate the government by removing it from the facility that has come to symbolize its sins. While it may be fiscally responsible, and relatively safe, to move detainees elsewhere, it doesn’t prevent the greater evil: torture. To reiterate, enhanced interrogation is torture, and torture is–at least based on the evidence available– extremely ineffective at producing actionable intelligence and inhumane in the extreme. It is fair to assume that torture might stop if detainees were sent to a U.S facility, but it is imperative that we explicitly prevent such revenge-driven, cruel, and ineffective practices from being continued in the future.

The Cost of Pablo’s Gospel

Kanye West. Not many can draw as much attention to themselves as this hip-hop revolutionary from the south-side of Chicago.

His most recent trip to the spotlight is centered around his latest album, “The Life of Pablo”, the name of which was only finalized days before its released, after being changed multiple times. Kanye’s self-worship concerning the album made appearances on Twitter, although this would lead to conflict with artist Wiz Khalifa and ex-girlfriend, Amber Rose, Further bolstering his outlandish reputation, he stressed this “revolutionary” project would be considered gospel. Seeing as how he has equated himself with a deity in the past, going as far as titling his last album “Yeezus,” this claim did not come as a surprise to critics.

West at TLOP's live release at Madison Square Garden

West at TLOP’s live release at Madison Square Garden

West had announced the release of TLOP to be February 11th. However, as the day arrived, it was discovered that the album would not initially be electronically released. Kanye’s desire to continually revolutionize the world of hip-hop inspired him to release the project live, putting together a visual presentation in Madison Square Garden, a move that costed millions. The album was eventually released exclusively through TIDAL, a subscription based music streaming service owned by the artists themselves and was recently bought by Jay-Z’s Project Panther. But popularity and widespread use of the service has been growing only gradually, potentially limiting the profit he could make, which resulted in his announcement that he is currently $53 million in debt. Kanye’s taste for exclusivity has undoubtedly been a major contribution to this predicament he finds himself in.

The Life of Pablo's Cover Art

The Life of Pablo’s Cover Art

All this being said, critics cannot argue against the artistry of “The Life of Pablo.” Kanye has reverted back to utilizing the same autotuned sound he used on “808s and Heartbreak.” West has also made use of more simple styles of production, an aberration in his typical over the top sound.

The evolution of Kanye West continues to progress. Hopefully, it doesn’t end up costing Yeezy too much in the future.

Kim Jong-un the Solution to Missed Senate Votes?

Kim Jong-un (N. Korea)Since the 2016 presidential campaign trail began for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, the two senators had notably been absent on Capitol Hill lately, having missed the third highest and highest number of U.S. Senate votes in 2015, respectively. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid found Rubio’s attendance so lacking that he went so far as to suggest that the Senate resign his seat. The heavy lack of attendance to the Capitol was surprisingly interrupted by, surprisingly, North Korea’s current leader, Kim Jong-un.

A vote on the sanctioning of North Korea and its current dictator yanked Cruz and Rubio off the campaign trail and onto the Senate floor on Wednesday. When asked why he diverted from his campaign trail to vote on this issue, Cruz replied that, “the national security threat is serious.” Rubio’s aide, Alex Burgos, made an extra effort to wave off reporters as his boss entered the Senate Wednesday evening. When asked why he wanted to vote, Rubio, while entering the Senate floor, replied, “it’s an important issue.”
Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz

The legislation on the North Korea issue is obviously important to national security, and if the two Senators had to pick something to eventually vote for, this one is definitely one of the more important ones. However, one factor as to why the two decided to come back, is to avoid looking weak. A presidential candidate should look strong on matters of national security, and an opposing senator in the race could have attacked in an upcoming debate or on the campaign trail for not voting on an important matter of national security. There’s nothing wrong with this—strategy is obviously needed in a presidential election. However, it’s the duty of a U.S. Senator to vote on these issues, whether it affects their poll numbers or not.

The Zika Virus

Aedes Mosquito

Aedes Mosquito

There is a virus going around, and it quickly gained infamy for the immense amount of people who became infected by the virus. The Zika virus was first isolated in The Zika forest, In Uganda, a rhesus monkey in 1947 was found having this virus and it was found later in humans in 1954. The Zika virus is spreading far and at a high rate. The virus outbreak has occurred in many places like South America, Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Pacific Islands, and Cape Verde. People travelling to these places are sometimes coming back with the virus could cause more outbreaks happen at different places. There already are alerts for people travelling to these places. These alerts are to restrict the spread of the virus. Brazil had a major outbreak in May 2015. People traveling there are on high alert. This virus is causing many people emotional and physical suffering.

The transmission of this virus has many mediums of getting to people. The main way is through mosquitoes. Mosquitoes spread this disease when drinking the blood of infected people. These mosquitoes are called Aedes mosquitoes, and they are aggressive daytime biters. Another way of being transmitted is sexual activities. Since the virus stays longer in semen than blood. The illness from this virus is usually mild with symptoms lasting for many days. People don’t get so sick enough that they would choose to go to hospitals. States are starting to get Zika virus cases, and Texas hospitals are developing quick Zika virus detection tests.

A Baby with an undersized head.

A Baby with an undersized head.

There are many symptoms that form from the virus. The most common symptoms of the Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, muscle pain, red eyes, loss of appetite, vomiting, chills, sweating, fatigue, and headache. Fevers around 101.3 degrees and swelling of small joints in fingers and feet. Inflammation in the surface of the eye causing conjunctivitis. This causes stickiness and pain. The rash creates red spots to form and generally they are clumped together in one place. They don’t leave any long term marks and heals when the virus heals as well. This virus can cause more issues for pregnant women. The mothers can give birth to babies with birth defects called microcephaly. This causes babies to have much smaller heads than expected. This happens when the brain doesn’t develop properly during pregnancy. The Zika virus would first infect to the pregnant woman and then it would be passed down to her fetus. When the Zika virus goes through the placental barrier then the development is at risk. The small head could cause brain damage to the babies either during or after pregnancy. This causes people emotional pain when they see their child going through this.
Treatments for this virus are not cures, and there are no vaccines for people. To treat the symptoms get plenty of rest. Drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration. Take medicine like Tylenol to help with the fever and the pain. Aspirin shouldn’t be taken. Also if required, talk to your doctor for any more additional medicine. To prevent the transmission of the virus make sure to spray yourselves with EPA insect repellent. Also try to wear long sleeve shirts and long pants. When going to sleep, the CDC recommends getting a bed net to prevent mosquitoes from biting you in your sleep. The Zika virus may be difficult for some people to tolerate, but people shouldn’t just give up on trying to go against the virus.

Deadpool Turns Worried Parents Against Divided Fanbase

Deadpool is the most risque of Marvel films yet.

Deadpool stars Ryan Reynolds and is getting attention for its violence and obscenity.

Deadpool, the long anticipated film starring Ryan Reynolds, was banned in China due to extreme violence and obscenity. For Fox, economically speaking, it would have been very expensive to cut scenes and remake the film in order to meet the demands of the Chinese market. 

Before its release, it was unknown how the rating of the film would affect the box office overall. What was known, however, was that Disney, who bought Marvel in 2009, was taking a huge gamble. But given that Deadpool is a character geared toward more mature readers, (it features mature themes like abuse, sex, and extreme violence and goriness) the rating has turned worried parents against their enthusiastic kids who want to see it. Many underage children have seen PG-13 movies, but not many are permitted to see rated- R movies, so it was unclear how the film would be received upon opening.

But, Deadpool grossed 152.2 million dollars over the four day opening holiday weekend and has a strong chance of being the highest grossing Marvel movie ever produced. Judging by the numbers, the rating did not negatively impact ticket sales and may have even been a benefit. 

 

Should we have family meetings at Village School?


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Recently, there has been some… hostility here at Village.  And yes, after Credit Boards it seems to be getting better, but we all can clearly sense that Village is not as friendly as it used to be and certainly not as much as it used to be!

After a recent general meeting, Steve talked about and addressed the problem. Later that day, I think we could all tell that tensions were lowered. About a week later, we were all much better but there still seems to be hostility. How can we fix this? I interviewed Steve, our principal, and he shared good words of wisdom, “Mostly, I think talking things out is a good move”, he said. But he also admitted that though it sometimes works, you can’t hit things when they are hot, because that might end up blowing up in your face and exacerbating a situation.

So it seems true that the best way to solve problems is to talk them out, but how can we do this in a productive, effective way? Well, family meetings, so to speak, held once a week or every other week might be the answer. In these meetings, we can talk to each other in a non-hostile, friendly environment, and explain what school, teacher, student or even family matters is making us stressed and agitated.

While someone might argue that these meetings would just be a bunch of people yelling at each other and fighting, if we organize it well and go into it with the mindset that we are going to solve our problems rather than just make new ones, then everyone will be able to stay calm and communicate effectively. Communication is key in order for a functioning family to work, and at the end of the day that is all what we really are, a family.

What if the issues we are dealing with are private ones? “Sometimes the issues involve private items and so they can’t really be discussed in a big forum, but I think in a place like this we can get closer to private than in a bigger school,” Steve told me.  We all know each other, we should be able to help each other not only with in- school problems but with possible home or other personal issues. People here should be happy and able to learn, without having to burden Lisa with every problem we have with someone. When we have a problem with someone, the best way to deal with it is not to tell everyone else, but address the person in question, and tell them what is wrong, whether it is about something that happened during lunch or during class. The communication skills that we learn during these meetings could carry over into these smaller, one-on-one interactions and later in life.

While the whole school is obviously never going to be perfect and there will always be people that don’t like each other, we should never use the word “hate” when talking about a classmate– we should all be able to tolerate each other. At the end of the day, we are all in the same school and  in close proximity to each other. The more tension there is, the worse it is going to get. So, if we don’t want to hinder our ability to earn credit in our classes, we should all just sit down and have mellow conversations about what is bothering us. And, if your behavior (directly or indirectly) is being addressed, try to take that feedback and use it constructively to make better choices later on.

So how might this all work?  One way is to only have the students who are having issues come in to talk, but Steve said by not meeting with everyone, “I’m punishing [the students without issues] by depriving them of not knowing what’s going on in the school.” Whether you agree with the whole concept of having a meeting with everyone involved, one can understand where Steve is coming from; he wants everyone to know that if there is indeed a problem, it should be shared and solved, not ignored. Some students may even think that not being invited to the meeting means that they are the ones being talked about. It seems best then, if we were to have bi-weekly or even monthly meetings in which everyone is invited and everyone- the involved and not involved- can voice their opinions and give suggestions.

Looking to Village School history can help guide us when it comes to these issues.  Steve himself has been here for about 20 years, and has been principal for 15. When we discussed whether or not there have ever been meetings like this in the past, he said that through the years, from meetings, and reforms to the school, he is proud to say he is a part of the Village School community. But 20 years ago, he wasn’t even sure he wanted to work here.  I think that this really says a lot about the power that meetings can have on the school culture. From just 15 minutes of talking about what is wrong and how it can be fixed, Steve was able to help transform the school into something that we can all agree is really great.

At the end of the day, we have to coexist because none of us want to have to leave the school because of something someone did or something we did, because as we all know and say often, we really are all here for a reason and this school has helped each and every one of us. If we are aware of our faults, then we can try to work on them and make changes. That way, we can all focus on what really matters here, doing well academically and giving ourselves the opportunity to go somewhere in life.  That is, after all, the ultimate goal of school, and yes, this is a real school.

 

Album Review: Bring Me The Horizon’s, “Sempiternal”

BMTH_SempiternalBring Me The Horizon is a band from Sheffield, UK.  The band has five members: lead vocalist Oliver Sykes, lead guitarist Lee Malia, bassist Matt Kean, drummer Matt Nicholls, and keyboardist Jordan Fish.  Bring Me The Horizon is known for originally being categorized in the genre known as Deathcore. Deathcore has either been upgraded (or downgraded, depending on who you ask) to a mixed genre that is known as Electronic Metalcore. As their sound has evolved, they have found success with each new release, causing each album to be better than the last. They are a band that has one of the most dedicated fan bases to date. Sempiternal was released in 2013,  and followed three previous studio albums and an EP.  On each album, Oliver Sykes’ technique continues to improve and the band’s execution and lyrics show growth and maturity.

Though it isn’t their most recent album ( That’s the Spirit was released in 2015), Sempiternal serves as Bring Me The Horizon’s all-around most diverse record, with softer to heavier songs. This album is the first with Sykes singing. The opening track ‘Can You Feel My Heart’ is arguably their most experimental track they’ve done over the span of their career. Sykes’ vocals were almost Linkin Park-esque, sounding like he was both singing and screaming at the same time, which is of what most of the album consists. His voice soars through the chorus with intensity and passion. To add to it all, the glitchy vocals throughout that whole song adds another layer, as do the harmonies and the many electronic parts.

There are more experimental songs similar to this song such as ‘Sleepwalking’. In it, crazy, clean, and screamed vocals combine with melodic electronic elements and little breaks of soft singing, showcasing Sykes’ maturing vocals. There are also songs to please their fans of their previous albums.

The album features some memorable but really provocative, anti-religion lyrics in this such as, “And when you die, the only kingdom you’ll see is two foot wide and six foot deep.”  These lyrics are screamed on a track called “The House Of Wolves,” a song that has a very memorable breakdown after that line is delivered. Some other parts in a track called “Go To Hell For Heaven’s Sake” seem to mock and really question the hypocrisy of Christianity in lines like, “I’m burning down every bridge we make/ I’ll watch you choke on the hearts you break/I’m bleeding out every word you said/Go to hell for heaven’s sake.” 

These lines mock God and Jesus and the lies the Bible imposes on us as well as the sheer hypocrisy of thinking they (God/Jesus) are above mistakes. It was put very bluntly and quite sarcastically in the song (one of my personal favorites) “Crooked Young” when he screeches the lyrics, “Believe in the one/ Hallelujah, well I’m saved/
Just a dozen steps and 28 days/It’s a miracle, I’ll be born again/As the Lord as my Shepherd I will find a way,”which makes a stark contrast to the lyrics at the end of this song when he screams,“Hallelujah/ I say it’s a miracle, thank you Jesus/ Hallelujah, I say/ — your faith, — your faith.”

Overall, Bring Me The Horizon has really outdone themselves with this album. It’s diverse, it’s heavy, and it’s all over the place. Sempiternal is their best and most mature album to date in all aspects. I’d give this album a solid 10/10.

 

Feel the Bern

Bernie Sanders has promised his supporters tons of free things, which our country should be excited for. This man has promised us the world: free college, free money, free everything! At first, I didn’t think he even knew what the word “free” meant. I thought the man was a complete fool until I heard an interview FOX News conducted, in hopes to stump him regarding where he’d get all the money for the “free life” he plans to give Americans, should he become President. But, when he was asked about his economic policies, he responded with unbelievably incredible answers.

The Future $100 BillAs it turns out, Bernie Sanders is an economic genius! He has revolutionary ideas about ways to fund his plans. His first response was amazing. “Well, the first way that we can get money is obvious, we can just print hundreds of times more dollars than we do now. This has caused inflation in other countries in the past, but we have a foolproof way of preventing an economic meltdown.” I was surprised. Then, his next idea was the most intelligent thing I’d heard from any of the 2016 presidential candidates, the most outstanding improvement to our economy ever proposed, “The foolproof way to do this is to use less paper. If we use less paper, we’ll still be printing the same amount of paper, just more money. We can use thinner paper, smaller bills, who wants to have those big, hard-to-fit bills in their wallet anyway?” Revolutionary. Feel the Bern.

It is clear that a revolution is looming on the horizon. Bernie Sanders is the modern George Washingtonson. His genius is unrivaled, his economic and social ideas unparalleled. Unemployment will no longer be a bad thing, because jobs won’t be necessary to make money and live healthily. Motivation will no longer be required. The poor will no longer be poor. The rich will no longer have salaries thousands of times higher than that of the middle class. Bernie Sanders will turn America into the most amazing and prosperous place in the universe. There will be no more war, no more suffering. Poverty will be eliminated along with homelessness.

FEEL. THE. BERN.