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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Once you get a chance to talk to West Palm Beach, Florida native Whitney Cunningham, who placed seventh on the eighth cycle of the popular reality TV series America’s Next Top Model, you begin to understand what host Tyra Banks meant when she described her as the “full package.”

First of all, she is confident and headstrong, which is a must on these kinds of shows, almost as much as it is to take a beautiful modelesque picture. Second, she turns that confidence into drive. She has been receiving steady work as a model since leaving the show, and still believes that her goal of being the first woman to wear a size ten dress on the cover of Vogue is in reach. Third, and probably most important to television viewers, she obliterates the age-old model stereotype that to be pretty and photograph well, one must also be vapid and without a thought. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Cunningham also dreams of becoming a writer, and is working toward dual goals: a model who can express herself like no other model before her.

Cunningham recently sat down with Wikinews reporter Mike Halterman in an impassioned interview, taking hours to field questions from the reporter as well as from fans of America’s Next Top Model. Always in high spirits, Cunningham shows that she is a distinct personality who has carved her own niche in the Top Model history books. At the same time, she exhibits a joie de vivre that is oddly reminiscent of earlier Top Model fan favorite Toccara Jones, who showed America just how to be “big, black, beautiful and loving it.” However, Cunningham is quick to remind everyone that she isn’t big at all; she is simply a regular woman.

This is the first in a series of interviews with America’s Next Top Model contestants. Interviews will be published sporadically.

Contents

  • 1 Whitney’s beginnings, and looking back
  • 2 Impact Top Model has on society
  • 3 Whitney’s views on production and editing
  • 4 Whitney takes more fan questions
  • 5 Where Whitney is today
  • 6 Source

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

WikiLeaks has released a mass of “secret” material from the United States’ involvement in Afghanistan in the five years from 2004 to 2009.

The material was scrutinised in co-operation with the main stream newspapers The Guardian and The New York Times, and the German magazine Der Spiegel, who cross-referenced the leaked documents with published material to check the veracity of the material.

The material makes explicit the accusation that the Taliban is receiving support including man portable anti-aircraft missiles from Iran, and Pakistan. However, despite being condemned by the authorities in the United States, commentators have said that nothing in the released material would come as a surprise to anyone who has been following the war.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Jokela High School in Tuusula, Finland, scene of the Jokela school shooting, has recommenced classes. Earlier this month, student Pekka-Eric Auvinen, 18, fatally wounded eight people with his handgun before turning the weapon on himself in the country’s worst ever school shooting. He died later in hospital, having never regained consciousness.

All last week repair teams have been working to eradicate all traces of the event, with large numbers of bullet holes in walls and doors being filled in, broken windows and torn blinds being replaced, and total renovation of one corridor which Auvinen had attempted to set fire to.

Students had previously been permitted into the school last week, in order to collect belongings left behind as they rushed to evacuate the school. On Monday, the school’s 450 pupils began to attend temporary facilities set up at nearby Tuusula Primary School as well as the local church.

Tuusula spokeswoman Heidi Hagman told reporters yesterday that at first school days would be considerably shortened, adding “Today the students will spend time getting used to the renovated and repaired school area.

“Students and teachers are getting support from Red Cross crisis workers and psychologists during the first days of school.”

Esa Ukkola, head of education in Tuusula, spoke to reporters about the fact that students had been shown around the renovated school. “We need to show there is nobody lurking in the cupboards any more. We’re trying to have as normal a school day as possible. There are dozens of extra people to ensure we can do everything in small enough groups.”

The shooting has prompted public anger in Finland at the media attention directed to it, with a feeling that it undermines the placid reputation of the country. People have questioned the decision of a survey last month to designate Finland as the world’s “most livable country”. Psycho-social service manager Anna Cantell-Forsbom from nearby Vantaa has spoken out about her view that the shooting was mainly caused by a lack of psychiatric care available to the Finnish youth and therefore did not reflect on Finnish society. The shooting has also prompted a move by the Finnish government to raise the legal age for gun ownership from 15 years to 18 years.

Finland is expected to set up a commission of inquiry this week to investigate the murders. The government will set aside resources for the ministry of social affairs, health and education as well as the local municipality for the investigation. Meanwhile, local authorities have shown a four-year response plan to the government, asking for five million Euro to fund it. Half will go towards therapy and occupational guidance for affected residents, while the other half would go to school guidance counsellors, psychologists, school healthcare personnel and other experts. The ultimate goal of the plan is the complete recovery of those adversely affected by the shooting.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Massachusetts-based First Amendment rights lawyer Marc Randazza is defending a controversial parody website which satirizes American political commentator Glenn Beck. The website was created in September by a man from Florida named Isaac Eiland-Hall, and it asserts Beck uses questionable tactics “to spread lies and misinformation”.

The website created by Eiland-Hall is located at the domain name “www.GlennBeckRapedAndMurderedAYoungGirlIn1990.com”. Its premise is derived from a joke statement made by Gilbert Gottfried about fellow comedian Bob Saget. The joke was first applied to Beck on the Internet discussion community Fark. It then became popular on Internet social media sites including Reddit and Digg, and was the subject of a Google bomb, a technique where individuals link phrases in order to artificially change Google search results.

Eiland-Hall saw the discussion on Fark, and created a website about it. The website asserts it does not believe the rumors to be true, and states: “But we think Glenn Beck definitely uses tactics like this to spread lies and misinformation.” In an interview with Ars Technica, he said the website was “using Beck’s tactics against him”. The website was created on September 1, and by September 3 attorneys for Beck’s company Mercury Radio Arts took action. Beck’s lawyers sent letters to the domain name registrar where they referred to the domain name itself as “defamatory”, but they failed to get the site removed.

Even an imbecile would look at this Web site and know that it’s a parody.

Beck filed a formal complaint with the Switzerland-based agency of the United Nations, the World Intellectual Property Organization. Beck alleged that the website’s usage is libelous, bad faith, and could befuddle potential consumers. Beck’s complaint was filed under the process called the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. The policy allows trademark owners to begin an administrative action by complaining that a certain domain registration is in “bad faith”. A lawyer for Beck declined to provide a comment to the Boston Herald, however a source told the newspaper that Beck’s complaint with the site is primarily a “trademark issue”.

Randazza established an attorney-client relationship with Eiland-Hall after his client received threatening letters from attorneys representing Beck. He then sent an email to Beck’s attorneys, and pointed out inconsistencies between their client’s recent actions and his prior public statements in support of the First Amendment. Randazza wrote a reply to the World Intellectual Property Organization, and contends that the website is “protected political speech”, because it is “satirical political humor”. Randazza stated that “Even an imbecile would look at this Web site and know that it’s a parody.” In his legal brief, Randazza compared the website to other Internet memes, such as “All your base are belong to us” and video parodies of the German film Downfall.

It’s not often that I would recommend reading a World Intellectual Property Organization legal brief for its entertainment value, but today is going to be an exception.

“We are here because Mr. Beck wants Respondent’s website shut down. He wants it shut down because Respondent’s website makes a poignant and accurate satirical critique of Mr. Beck by parodying Beck’s very rhetorical style,” wrote Randazza in the brief. The brief also commented on Beck’s style of reporting, and pointed out a controversial statement made by Beck when he interviewed a Muslim member of the United States Congress. Beck said to Representative Keith Ellison: “I like Muslims, I’ve been to mosques. … And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview because what I feel like saying is, sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.” According to the Citizen Media Law Project, the website’s joke premise takes advantage of “a perceived similarity between Beck’s rhetorical style and the Gottfried routine”.

Public interest attorney Paul Levy told Ars Technica that if a statement in a website’s domain name were both false and “stated with actual malice”, it is possible it could be considered defamatory. The First Post reported that Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Corynne McSherry gave an analysis asserting that though the domain name of the website is “pretty dramatic”, it constituted “pure political criticism and there’s nothing wrong with that”. McSherry and Levy both agreed that the action of Beck to take the matter to the World Intellectual Property Organization was probably a tactic to determine the identity of the website’s owner.

Andy Carvin of National Public Radio wrote that Randazza’s legal brief was amusing, commenting: “It’s not often that I would recommend reading a World Intellectual Property Organization legal brief for its entertainment value, but today is going to be an exception.” Nate Anderson of Ars Technica commented “In any event, the WIPO battle promises to be entertaining, and there’s even a bit of serious purpose mixed in with the frivolity. Just how far can WIPO go in using its domain dispute system to address Internet spats?”. Domain Name Wire wrote that “…when someone who has created a bitingly satirical web site works with his lawyer to put pen to the paper, the end result can be quite amusing.”

Writing for Adweek, Eriq Gardner pointed out the comparison made by Randazza’s legal brief between the website’s parody nature itself and the statement made by Beck to Congressman Ellison, noting: “this case also makes a political point”. Jack Bremer wrote in The First Post that the attempts by Beck’s lawyers to argue that the website’s domain name is itself defamatory “looks like a first in cyber law”. Rick Sawyer of Bostonist characterized Randazza’s legal brief as “Hillarious!”, and called the attorney “among the North Shore’s most hilarious legal writers”.

[Glenn Beck] did the one thing guaranteed to garner the greatest amount of publicity for the site…

The FOX News-critical site FoxNewsBoycott.com likened the legal conflict between Beck and the site to the Streisand effect, a phenomenon where an individual’s attempt to censor material on the Internet in turn proves to make the material itself more public. “Glenn Beck is experiencing the Streisand Effect first hand,” wrote FoxNewsBoycott.com. John Cook of Gawker.com also compared Beck’s actions to the Streisand effect: “Now Glenn Beck’s trying to shut down their web site, ensuring that people will write about it.” Jeffrey Weiss of Politics Daily wrote that by taking legal action, Beck “did the one thing guaranteed to garner the greatest amount of publicity for the site”. Techdirt described Beck’s legal action as “not particularly smart”, and noted: “Beck would have been better off just ignoring it. Instead, in legitimizing it by trying to take it down, many more people become aware of the meme — and may start calling attention to situations where Beck (and others) make use of such tactics.” The blog Hot Air noted the issue could gain attention if it becomes a test case for the First Amendment: “If this becomes a First Amendment test case, the smear’s going to be covered far and wide…”

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

An object that fell through the roof of a New Jersey home in January was not a meteorite, according to Jeremy Delaney, a geologist at Rutgers University. Instead, it appears the object was space junk or orbital debris.

“Basically, it’s a piece of stainless steel. There’s huge amounts of material that have been left by the various space programs of the world,” said Delaney.

The meteorite shaped object was not from a naturally occurring substance and had a silver like reflection. It weighed about the same as a small can of soup, 13 ounces (about 370 grams), but was no bigger than a golf ball.

Earlier during the incident, scientists from Rutgers examined the object visually along with police who were at the scene, and determined it was a meteorite. But further tests by geologists confirmed that it was not a meteorite, but probably a metal piece from a rocket or satellite. They had earlier thought it was made of iron.

“That’s the nature of science. If the conclusion from the test says it’s not a meteorite, then it’s not a meteorite. We have to move forward,” said Srinivasan Nageswaran, a member of the family that found the object.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Workers in a Nepalese local government office have gone on strike in protest against actions made by Matrika Yadav, the minister for Forest and Soil Conservation.

Yadav caused controversy after locking up Dandu Raj Ghimire, a local development officer in a toilet. Protesters said that this action was an “inhumane and objectionable act.”

Ghimire had been accused by Yadav of illegally operating a mine, and Yadav said that he locked the official up to show him what it is like to be stuck in ‘foul conditions’. The official was locked in the toilet for ninety minutes.

The strike, which is taking place across the whole of Nepal, was organized by the Local Level Employees Organisation. Four thousand local government employees are involved in the strike.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

A suicide bomber detonated herself Saturday aboard a minibus heading to Ladies beach in Ku?adasi, an Aegean Sea resort town, killing at least four people, private NTV television said. Three of the victims were foreign tourists, a doctor who treated the casualties said.

Three foreign tourists were among the dead and five foreign tourists were critically injured in the explosion, a doctor at Ku?adasi State Hospital said. He spoke on condition of anonymity. The five injured tourists were transferred to Izmir for treatment, the doctor added. According to some sources, there are five injured British tourists.

NTV television said a female suicide bomber carried out the attack on the bus, which was heading to a nearby beach. Kurdish rebels in the past have used female suicide bombers.

The explosion ripped off the roof of the white minibus.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but Kurdish rebels have recently carried out bomb attacks in Aegean resort towns.

Earlier this month, a bomb hidden in a soda can wounded 21 people, including three foreign tourists, in the Aegean coastal town of Çe?me. On April 30, a bomb in a cassette player killed a police officer and left four others wounded in Ku?adasi.

A Kurdish guerrilla group that called itself the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons Organization or TAK claimed credit for both attacks and vowed to maintain attacks against tourist areas.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

On Thursday, Chester Bennington, lead singer of US rock band Linkin Park, died in his home in Los Angeles at the age of 41. The Los Angeles county coroner confirmed Bennington’s death; reportedly it was being investigated as a possible suicide.

A two-time Grammy award winner with the band, Chester Bennington joined Linkin Park when he was 23. Also featuring rapper Mike Shinoda, Linkin Park released their first album, Hybrid Theory, in 2000. The band went on to release six more albums featuring Bennington’s voice, including One More Light, which was released this year. The band was scheduled to go on a tour for One More Light, but it has been canceled.

Their song Crawling, from Hybrid Theory, won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. The band was also nominated for Best Rock Album and Best New Artist. A year after releasing Meteora, Linkin Park collaborated with rapper Jay-Z for the Collision Course EP in 2004 whose single Numb/Encore won a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Meteora has sold more than 27 million copies, which featured the hit song Numb.

In his statement, Warner Bros. Records CEO Cameron Strang said, “Chester Bennington was an artist of extraordinary talent and charisma, and a human being with a huge heart and a caring soul.” The Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said, “We have lost a truly dynamic member of the music community”.

In 2013, Bennington performed at the MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert, whose aim was to aid addiction treatment. Born on March 20, 1976 in Phoenix, Arizona, to a nurse and a police detective, Bennington recounted being abused in his childhood, molested by an older friend over the course of several years starting when he was seven or eight. In a 2008 interview with Kerrang!, he said, “It destroyed my self-confidence […] Like most people, I was too afraid to say anything. I didn’t want people to think I was gay or that I was lying. It was a horrible experience.”

In an interview with Noisecreep in 2009, he said, “I don’t have a problem with people knowing that I had a drinking problem. That’s who I am, and I’m kind of lucky in a lot of ways because I get to do something about it.” Of the band’s Grammy-winning song Crawling, Bennington said the song was “about feeling like I had no control over myself in terms of drugs and alcohol.”

His first marriage ended in a divorce, and he said, “I knew that I had a drinking problem, a drug problem, and that parts of my personal life were crazy, but I didn’t realise how much that was affecting the people around me until I got a good dose of ‘Here’s-what-you’re-really-like.'” In 2011, he told The Guardian, “When I was young, getting beaten up and pretty much raped was no fun. No one wants that to happen to you and honestly, I don’t remember when it started […] My God, no wonder I became a drug addict. No wonder I just went completely insane for a little while.”

Bennington died on the day his singer friend Chris Cornell would have turned 53. Cornell hanged himself earlier this year. After Cornell’s death, Bennington said, “I can’t imagine a world without you in it.”

Bennington is survived by his six children and his wife, Talinda Bentley, whom he married in 2006.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Fears of contaminated bone and skin grafts are being felt by unsuspecting patients following the revelation that funeral homes may have been looting corpses.

Janet Evans of Marion Ohio was told by her surgeon, “The bone grafts you got might have been contaminated”. She reacted with shock, “I was flabbergasted because I didn’t even know what he was talking about. I didn’t know I got a bone graft until I got this call. I just thought they put in screws and rods.”

The body of Alistair Cooke, the former host of “Masterpiece Theatre,” was supposedly looted along with more than 1,000 others, according to two law enforcement officials close to the case. The tissue taken was typically skin, bone and tendon, which was then sold for use in procedures such as dental implants and hip replacements. According to authorities, millions of dollars were made by selling the body parts to companies for use in operations done at hospitals and clinics in the United States and Canada.

A New Jersey company, Biomedical Tissue Services, has reportedly been taking body parts from funeral homes across Brooklyn, New York. According to ABC News, they set up rooms like a “surgical suite.” After they took the bones, they replaced them with PVC pipe. This was purportedly done by stealth, without approval of the deceased person or the next of kin. 1,077 bodies were involved, say prosecuters.

Investagators say a former dentist, Michael Mastromarino, is behind the operation. Biomedical was considered one of the “hottest procurement companies in the country,” raking in close to $5 million. Eventually, people became worried: “Can the donors be trusted?” A tissue processing company called LifeCell answered no, and issued a recall on all their tissue.

Cooke’s daughter, Susan Cooke Kittredge, said, “To know his bones were sold was one thing, but to see him standing truncated before me is another entirely.” Now thousands of people around the country are receiving letters warning that they should be tested for infectious diseases like HIV or hepatitis. On February 23, the Brooklyn District Attorney indicted Mastromarino and three others. They are charged with 122 felony counts, including forgery and bodysnatching.