Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hackers pirate PBS website, post fake story about Tupac still alive

Online hackers have pirated the PBS website and posted a false story claiming the rapper Tupac Shakur -- who has been dead for almost 15 years -- is alive and living in New Zealand.

The group -- called The Lulz Boat -- also posted what it said were passwords of journalists, login information for the PBS series "Frontline" and sensitive information about PBS stations.

The Lulz Boat claims it was "less than impressed" after watching the network's program "WikiSecrets" and "decided to sail our Lulz Boat over the PBS servers for further... perusing."

The "WikiSecrets" documentary, which aired last week on the PBS show "Frontline," talked to U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning's father and close friends.

Manning, a military intelligence analyst, is suspected of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents that ended up on the WikiLeaks website -- one of the largest leaks of classified material in U.S. history.

In a message linked to from their Twitter account, The Lulz Boat taunted PBS.

"Anyway, say hello to the insides of the PBS servers, folks. They best watch where they're sailing next time," the group said.

PBS acknowledged the hack early Monday morning.

Teresa Gorman, who works in social media and online engagement for the PBS program "NewsHour," published a stream of Twitter messages Monday morning in response to comments about the fake story.

"Thanks for your concern guys - we are aware there is more than the Tupac story being hacked right now," she tweeted.

She said she did not want to comment further to CNN.

The fake Tupac story claims the rapper was "alive and well in a small resort in New Zealand," citing "locals." It goes on to say a small town there -- unnamed due to security risks -- also housed the late rapper Biggie Smalls for years.

In addition to posting the Tupac story, The Lulz Boat also created a page -- within the pbs.org address -- that says "ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO LULZSEC." The title of the page is "FREE BRADLEY MANNING. (expletive) FRONTLINE!"

The group's bio states, "We are LulzSec, a small team of 80-year-old men and people who smoke on webcam. Right?"

The Lulz Boat also claimed it was not Anonymous, a hacker collective globally infamous for disrupting the websites of MasterCard, Visa and PayPal in December after the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on unrelated sexual assault charges.

A slogan under a "LulzSec" banner online reads, "Laughing at your security since 2011!"

Thursday, May 26, 2011

MSNBC’s Ed Schultz suspended after calling Laura Ingraham a ‘right wing slut’

Ed Schultz has been suspended from MSNBC for calling conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham a "right wing slut" on his syndicated radio show.

Schultz opened his primetime MSNBC show on Wednesday apologizing to Ingraham, MSNBC, his family and viewers.

"It doesn't matter that I was on radio ad-libbing," Schultz said of his comments the day before. "What I said was terribly vile."

Schultz met with MSNBC management earlier in the day on Wednesday, and said he offered to take himself off the air indefinitely and without pay. The network said the suspension would be one week.

"I have embarrassed my family," he added, before turning the show over to substitute host Thomas Roberts. "I have embarrassed this company. The only way I can prove my sincerity in all of this is if I never use those words again. You have my word I won't."

Schultz said that he tried--unsuccessfully--to reach Ingraham to apologize personally.

Network brass released this statement before Schultz went on the air: "MSNBC management met with Ed Schultz this afternoon and accepted his offer to take one week of unpaid leave for the remarks he made yesterday on his radio program. Ed will address these remarks on his show tonight, and immediately following begin his leave. Remarks of this nature are unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

The "Ed Show" host joined MSNBC in 2009, taking over Keith Olbermann's 10 p.m. slot after Olbermann -- no stranger to network suspensions -- left the cable channel earlier this year.

In this case, Olbermann sided with MSNBC. "There is no excuse for any political commentator calling any woman a 'slut,'" he wrote on Twitter, "least of all Laura [Ingraham]."

Later, Olbermann challenged a tweeted defense of Schultz's remark with this: "Bullsh*t -- would you be OK with Beck saying that about Maddow?"

Watch Schultz's full, on-air apology here:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gabourey Sidibe’s Elle Magazine Cover: Why Was Her Skin Lightened?

Gabourey Sidibe appears on the cover of the October 2010 issue of Elle magazine. The feature regards her as one of the mag’s favorite 25-something entertainers. But while the title is something to be proud of, it seems the cover isn’t.

Elle magazine is under fire for allegedly lightening the skin of the actress.

Of course, they are denying this, saying:

“We have four separate covers this month and Gabby’s cover was not retouched any more or less than the others.”

Editor-in-chief Robbie Myers said,

“It sort of boils down to this: at a photo shoot, in a studio, that is a fashion shoot, that’s glamorous, the lighting is different. The photography is different than a red carpet shot from a paparazzi.”

But here Gabourey is in Harper’s BAZAAR (below), another high-fashion, “glamourous” magazine, and her skin color looks as it naturally would.

The other three covers that Myers speaks of feature actresses Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried, and reality show star, author and fashion designer Lauren Conrad – all white women with, as expected, petite bodies.

It should be noted as well that while the other three girls received a full body shot for their cover photos (see below), Gabourey scored only a close-up – from her bosom to her hairline (which, by the way, may be rocking the worst-looking weave known to man).

While the other three ladies strike a sassy pose – frail arms, tiny waists, and trendy outfits center stage – Gaboure

y is awkwardly squeezed into her frame, shortchanging the rest of her curves.

What should we complain about first?

That she didn’t receive the same treatment in terms of hair, styling or make-up?

That her skin has, without a doubt, been lightened despite Elle’s denial?

Or that her body type didn’t receive as much shine as the rest?

And lastly, it’s obvious that we should be disappointed, but should we really be surprised?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Teachers in trouble after honoring O.J. Simpson, Dennis Rodman and RuPaul for Black History Month

LOS ANGELES - Three Los Angeles elementary school teachers accused of giving children portraits of O.J. Simpson, Dennis Rodman and RuPaul to carry in a Black History Month parade have been removed from their classrooms, a school district spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Children from other classes at the school displayed photos of more appropriate black role models, such as Nelson Mandela, Harriet Tubman and President Obama, Los Angeles Unified School District spokeswoman Gayle Pollard-Terry said.

The incident occurred Friday at Wadsworth Avenue Elementary School in South Los Angeles, where the student body is more than 90 percent Latino.

District Superintendent Ramon Cortines placed the teachers - all white men who teach first, second and fourth grades - on administrative leave on Tuesday while an investigation is conducted, Pollard-Terry said.

"The superintendent will not let anyone make a mockery out of Black History Month," she said.

The issue was brought to district officials' attention by the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People after the organization received a complaint early Monday, chapter President Leon Jenkins said.

Jenkins said he felt the teachers acted in concert to mock black heroes and children's innocence.

"These are not the people we want our young people to emulate or believe these people represent the best of the African-American community," Jenkins said. "It's hard for the NAACP to believe this was a mistake."

Simpson, a former American football star, is serving a nine-year prison sentence for robbery and kidnapping. He was famously acquitted in 1995 of murdering his ex-wife and her friend.

RuPaul is a drag queen performer. Rodman, a former basketball star, has gained notoriety for bad boy behavior on and off the basketball court.

Some parents at the school on Wednesday said the issue was overblown.

Sharon Tinson, who has two daughters at the school and attended Friday's celebration, said she had been surprised to see Simpson displayed in the parade. But she noted that Simpson, like Rodman, was a great athlete before falling from grace. RuPaul simply has an alternative lifestyle, she added.

She noted the event also included a tribute to pop singer Michael Jackson, who has also had a checkered career.

"I kind of laughed at it," Tinson said. "I wasn't offended."

Gabriel Blackson, whose son attends the school, said he also took a larger view of the ruckus.

"These guys were heroes before. People make mistakes," he said. "I think they show kids they can be somebody, to push them to be somebody."

Jenkins said he is calling for the teachers to be fired.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jeremy Tyler's Israeli experience thus far a failure

On Sunday, the New York Times's Pete Thamel filed a dispatch from Haifa, Israel. Why was a college sports reporter filing from Haifa? Thamel was checking in on Jeremy Tyler, the 18-year-old uber-prospect who, in the wake of Brandon Jennings's now-viewed-as-successful European experiment, decided to forgo his senior year of high school and play overseas for Maccabi Haifa.

Thamel reports that Tyler's decision is at this point -- which, to be fair, is very early in the process -- not only regrettable but disastrous. Tyler is clearly immature and distracted by the potential of NBA riches, which he apparently considers a sure thing. His coaches and teammates do not like him. He is struggling to see minutes on the court. And if things keep getting worse, Tyler's NBA draft status is likely to keep falling. These early returns are not promising. A key graph:

His coach calls him lazy and out of shape. The team captain says he is soft. His teammates say he needs to learn to shut up and show up on time. He has no friends on the team. In extensive interviews with Tyler, his teammates, coaches, his father and advisers, the consensus is that he is so naïve and immature that he has no idea how naïve and immature he is. So enamored with his vast potential, Tyler has not developed the work ethic necessary to tap it.

Of course, as one teammate reminds Thamel, Tyler has been a pro for less than 100 days, and he's done so in a foreign country with few friends at an unusually early age. He deserves some slackThis time last year, people were raising similar questions about Brandon Jennings (though those questions had far more to do with ability and playing time than attitude). Still, while Tyler's situation is unique among hoopsters, he's not the first 18-year-old to enter the workforce. He's not even the first 18-year-old to enter high-level sports; by age 18, top-level soccer prospects are being thrust into intense club matches. 18 isn't old, but it's old enough to know when to shut up.

Anyway, Jennings's situation worked out, and there's no reason Tyler's can't either. So let's avoid extrapolating Tyler's situation into an indictment of the European option for recruits. For now, it's just an indictment of Jeremy Tyler, and things aren't looking good.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Students Upset, Teacher Sorry Over Assignment

October 29, 2009



A local college teacher who asked students to draw a black man with a noose around his neck awaited word Oct. 28 on how he could be disciplined.

Los Angeles Trade Technical College teacher Bill Robles could be disciplined in various ways if officials found that Robles gave the homework assignment with malicious intent, but the primary option is to ask him to undergo sensitivity training, college President Roland “Chip” Chapdelaine said. 

Based on his initial review, Chapdelaine said he did not think Robles gave the assignment with malicious intent.

“He gave an assignment that was probably insensitive,” Chapdelaine said Oct. 26, adding he had to reserve final judgment until he conducted a full review.

Final decisions would not be disclosed, however, since the situation is a personnel matter, said Chapdelaine, who did not respond to an e-mail by presstime on Oct. 28 to confirm if an ultimate recommendation had been made.

Robles wouldn’t have to take training but only be recommended to do so, Chapdelaine said Oct. 26.

Although there are different levels, the training generally involves dialogue, exposure, understanding and discussion with people from different ethnic groups, Chapdelaine said, adding he could not speculate on future discipline.

Camelle Williams and other African American students walked out of class Sept. 16 because Robles passed out an image of a black man standing in his bare feet, pointing to the floor with one hand and holding a noose around his neck with the other.

Students in the Drawing II and Drawing III classes were given a different assignment the same day — a picture of a home, students said — but Williams still filed a complaint after talking to Robles.

“He was defending himself the whole time. He didn’t say he was sorry,” said Williams, who recently went before the L.A. Community College District’s board of trustees about the incident.

“He didn’t even acknowledge the noose,” she added.

Robles said he doesn’t remember exactly what he said that day but did not intentionally give the assignment as a racist gesture or to offend anyone. He added that he never associated the photo with any racist themes.

“In retrospect, I see it was an error in judgment,” Robles said.

Black students had an uproar over the image, he said, “and I can see their side of it, but I’m totally devoid of any of those (racist) feelings.”

“I did it in total innocence,” he added. 

[Home page of Bill Robles’ Web site, which highlights his work as a courtroom sketch artist.]

Home page of Bill Robles’ Web site, which highlights his work as a courtroom sketch artist.
Robles, a longtime courtroom sketch artist, has worked at Trade Tech for roughly 20 years.

Chapdelaine said he did not know of any other complaints filed against Robles in the past.

Robles said he picked the assignment — originally something he drew based on photos he saw many years ago in a magazine — because he felt students could apply drawing principles they learned in class with it. Students, he said, were complaining about not wanting to do certain assignments, so Robles said he wanted to give them an assignment that would be “stimulus” to the students. 

Robles said he never gave the assignment to students before. Chapdelaine and Williams, in separate interviews, said he did.

Raymond Baptist, a visual communications student who saw the illustration before it was passed out, refused to draw it.

“It was kind of shocking to me,” Baptist said. “He’s not even being considerate of people’s feelings.”

Virtually all the black students — about five in a room of roughly 30 — walked into a neighboring lab and told another teacher about the incident, according to some students.

“Everybody just came in mad, basically,” Baptist said.

Robles added that the picture — which he said was an intriguing pose and photo of Trinidadian artist and performer Geoffrey Holder — was considered a piece of art several years ago, wasn’t considered offensive, and appeared in a magazine.

Baptist said that doesn’t change his opinion about the photo “because people saw it for what it was … especially black students.”

“We see a black person with a rope around their neck,” he added. 

School officials held meetings, including one with Robles. An administration official also visited the class to evaluate Robles because of the incident, and not for a usual review, Chapdelaine said.  

Robles apologized to students several days later. The school also apologized in a letter “on behalf of the Arts Trades and Fashion Department” and the administration “for the lack of sensitivity in the Visual Communication assignment…” 

Williams said she didn’t accept Robles’ apology, but wants him fired, noting that she doesn’t have a personal problem with him. She said the situation should not be tolerated because racism shouldn’t be tolerated anywhere.

“He is only a symptom to a much bigger problem,” she said, also alleging that racism exists at the school.

Robles reiterated he is not racist, adding he would not have passed out the assignment if he was.

“I don’t know why somebody would want to tarnish a career spending all (these) 40 years with something like this,” he said, reiterating it was false that he meant to offend anyone.

“You’re worried about your 40 years. I’m worried about my 400 years (of slavery),” Williams said as a response. 

Later, Robles added, “In retrospect, I’ve had a sensitivity awakening.”

He said he was in “lala land” because he just didn’t think in racist terms when he saw the drawing, but is now more aware.

Nana Gyamfi, a lawyer and co-founder of L.A-based Human Rights Advocacy contacted by Williams, said she would help Williams get the word out about the situation.

People have the right to speak out, Gyamfi said.

“The damage has occurred,” she added, “whether the intent is there or not.”

Bottom Line: Assignment is a hanging offense

 By BETTY PLEASANT, Contributing Editor

An art teacher who gave his Los Angeles Trade-Technical College students a racially offensive classroom assignment received a slap on the wrist, but the president of the college may lose his job over it.

Bill Robles, a veteran courthouse illustrator and teacher in Trade-Tech’s Visual Communications Department, gave each of his students in his drawing class a picture of two caricatured Black men pulling a noose around their necks and, as homework, instructed them to draw the figure of the man on the left in the picture.

The class of 30 students was outraged by the assignment to the point that none of the students drew the picture and the five African-Americans in the class walked out on the spot.

Reyna Mendez, one of the offended students, said the picture was totally inappropriate and she asked Robles why he would present a picture like that for them to draw.

Mendez, who is writing a story about the incident for the college newspaper, said Robles told her he wanted to show the “gesture” depicted in that picture so the class could learn to draw gestures. Finding that to be an unsatisfactory reply, “I told him there are a lot of other pictures he could have used to show us how to draw gestures,” Mendez said.

Camelle Williams, a visual communications major who grew up in Long Beach but resides with her grandmother in South L.A., was so incensed by Robles’ picture that she spearheaded a protest against him which culminated in a confrontation with the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees last week.

Robles, an elderly man believed to be in his 70s, was immediately challenged by Williams about his assignment when he gave it last month. “He began to unapologetically defend himself by saying, ‘In all the years I have been teaching, I never had one complaint about this assignment,” Williams said.

“Even after all the African-American students walked out in protest, it was the remaining students who had to explain to him how offensive this is to all races, not only to African-Americans.”

Williams reported Robles’ actions to the college administration, including the president, Roland Chapdelaine, who promised a thorough investigation of the matter and swift discipline to follow, if warranted. Robles’ offense occurred on Sept. 16 and by the end of the month, the investigation appeared complete and Chapdelaine informed Williams that he would recommend sensitivity training for Robles and he would put in his permanent file a reprimand for not having a syllabus for his class.

Williams found Chapdelaine’s recommended “discipline” to be unacceptable, since a reprimand for Robles’ failure to have a syllabus did, in no way, address his offense, so she marshaled her fellow students and took the issue over Chapdelaine’s head — to the board of trustees, which met at Pierce College Oct. 21.

The meeting hall was packed, as most of the people went to express to the board their concerns about a farm and an equestrian center at Pierce College. Williams and her “Robles’ picture” item was listed last on the agenda. But when she spoke, things changed.

First of all, when Jimmy DeVance and other Robles students, distributed Robles’ picture to the crowd gathered for the meeting, the people reacted with horror and stunned disbelief. Although they went there to support a farm and a horse facility, they immediately found something else to champion — the removal of whomever is responsible for this abomination they saw before them.
Williams spoke movingly to the board about what Robles had done and what Chapdelaine had failed to do. After she finished, the board turned to Chapdelaine — who was present because the board was scheduled to vote on the extension of his one-year contract to head Trade-Tech — and asked him to give an account of himself with respect to the Robles incident.

Chapdelaine said his investigation showed that the adverse student reaction to
Robles’ use of the picture was “split” and that, in affect, it didn’t seem to be that big of a deal. He said, however, he would have a full report on the matter on Monday.

When the time came later on in the afternoon for the board of trustees to vote on extending Chapdelaine’s contract, it voted “no.”