Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Guantanamo Resort

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The U.S. military operates a beachfront site at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility where military personnel and their families can vacation. The resort offers air-conditioned suites, surfing, boat rides, a golf course, a bowling alley and even a gift shop. One T-shirt for sale reads, “The Taliban Towers at Guantanamo Bay, the Caribbean’s Newest 5-star Resort.” News of the facility was not widely reported until a British lawyer who represents 28 of the nearly 300 detainees at Guantanamo described it to London’s Daily Mail in May.

The Continuing Crisis
Police in Fort Myers, Fla., were called to Royal Palm Exceptional School in April and wound up arresting an 8-year-old boy for punching his female teacher in the face. “He gets very upset, and he loves to hit,” said the boy’s grandmother, Dorothy Williams, when interviewed by WBBH-TV. Williams then chided the teacher, saying, “If he was overpowering her that much, I feel like she shouldn’t be in that line of work.”

One of the Internet’s more successful Web sites (10 million page views a month, and $500,000 in ads from companies such as Verizon, McDonald’s and General Motors) is a site that simply reports on what celebrities’ babies are wearing. Apparently, so many mothers are obsessed with mimicking those clothing choices for their own tots that it’s a booming business. A May Wall Street Journal article said that a photo posted to that Web site can incite a nationwide run on what the latest celeb baby is wearing.

Bright Ideas
Most Convoluted Business Plan: Adolfo Martinez, 33, and Mark Anderson, 26, were indicted for fraud in Las Cruces, N.M., in April, accused of passing forged checks. Their plan was to use the checks to buy Domino’s pizzas, and then have one of the men put on a Pizza Hut shirt and resell the pizzas, by the slice, in a local park or at local businesses (even though the pizzas were still being carried around in the Domino’s boxes).

Triumph International, the Japanese women’s underwear company, released its latest publicity-seeking creation in May: the solar-powered bra, with enough exposed panels to power an iPod or cell phone. Other Triumph specials include a baseball bra, with mitt-shaped cups, and a heated bra, which comes with microwavable gel pads to warm the cups.

First Things First
(1) A supervisor at the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services told a Billings Gazette reporter in March that some of his employees were complaining that new computers delivered to the office lacked games like solitaire, hearts and Minesweeper. Allegedly, they said it wasn’t fair that employees with older computers still had the games.

(2) The traffic commander of the Rusafah district in Baghdad told his officers in April to start enforcing the country’s seat-belt laws. The fine is the equivalent of about $12.50.

News of the Tacky
The leader of the conservative Liberal Party in the Australian state of Western Australia said in April that he would not resign from his position, even though an accusation against him was true: At a staff meeting in December 2005, a female colleague said that when she got out of her chair, he playfully moved over and sniffed it.

Least Competent People
(1) Cameron Fritzson, 20, landed in the hospital in critical condition in May after he first scaled an outer, 10-foot fence at an electrical substation in Pembroke Pines, Fla., and then scaled the main electrical tower, where his arm brushed against a live wire. Police said Fritzson was after a parakeet’s nest at the top so that he could sell the eggs to a pet store for about $20 each. (2) In May, 16 people in Hilton Head, S.C., were undergoing treatment for potentially having rabies after being exposed to a baby raccoon later discovered to be rabid. While some of the 16 had merely cuddled it, an unknown number apparently could not resist kissing the wild animal on the lips.

Instant Karma
(1) A 31-year-old man was hospitalized in critical condition in Salt Lake City after being hit by multiple cars. The man ran into traffic to avoid paying for a taxi ride he had just taken (March). (2) A 25-year-old man, pursued by police after he tried to run down his girlfriend with his car, fled on foot across Interstate 45 near Houston, but was struck and killed by cars (February). (3) Two men who stole a kayak and went joy riding on Moon Lake near New Port Richey, Fla., drowned when the boat capsized (March).

2008 Chuck Shepherd