All posts by Larry Buford

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, and author of Book/CD titled "Things Are Gettin' Outta Hand" (Steuben Pub.) www.amazon.com. He writes Human Interest articles and entertainment reviews for various newspapers across the country. He is also an editor, and provides services for press releases, interviews, business letters, resumes, etc. A native Detroiter, he is a former Motown songwriter.
the interview (logo-poster)

John Banzhaf: Sony – Fight Fire with Fire Using Good Guy Hackers

the interview (logo-poster)

*Washington, D.C. – Now that Sony has agreed not to release “The Interview” because of threats from hackers, some have suggested that one way to defeat this novel form of censorship would be for Sony to skip theaters and release the movie directly to the public, either through its own distribution channels or by using existing distributions systems such as Netflix, Amazon, HBO, etc.

But it’s highly unlikely that, even if Netflix, Amazon, or HBO were courageous enough to risk a similar hacker attack from the GOP [Guardians of Peace], Sony would cooperate.

Ironically, instead of fighting the hackers, Sony seems to be going after other innocent companies, sending warning letters – which most legal scholars think are pure bluff – to web sites releasing Sony’s secret information, or apparently going into the hacking business themselves with DDoS (distributed denial of service) and index poisoning (deliberately corrupting Sony files people are trying to download) attacks to limit the distribution of its intellectual property and embarrassing confidential information.

“But there’s a better way to strike back against this forced censorship – fight fire with fire,” says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who was recently credited with helping to inspire hacker terminology after he learned hacking at MIT even before there was an Internet or any personal computers.

“White hats – hackers who try to serve the public interest, and who generally abhor censorship – could fight back by making the movie available on line for anyone who wanted to see it, thereby thwarting the GOP’s efforts at preventing its release by using Internet-based threats, suggests Banzhaf.

There probably are at least rough cuts if not final versions of the film already available to knowledgeable hackers, and putting them up on untraceable servers so that anyone who wished could download them would defeat this extortion by using good hackers to undercut unscrupulous ones.

“It seems clear that if pirated copies of the movie are made available to people in China or other nearby countries, they will quickly find their way into North Korea, which appears to be what its dictator was so afraid of,” suggests Banzhaf. There would be a wonderful irony if a plot based upon hacking and unauthorized disclosure was defeated by more hacking and more unauthorized disclosure, says Banzhaf.

Sony would hardly be in a position to complain if its movie is made widely available for free on the Internet if they are never going to release it.

Indeed, one can almost argue that this strategy, under these unique circumstances, involves “Fair Use” under copyright law, says Banzhaf, an expert in copyright law who was the first person even to get copyright protection for computer programs.

john banzhaf

JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)

2000 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052, USA
http://banzhaf.net / @profbanzhaf

operation gratitude

Operation Gratitude Announces ‘New Recruit’ Care Package Program

Operation Gratitude 2

Los Angeles, CA  – Operation Gratitude is excited to announce the launch of its “New Recruit” Care Package program to thank our newest members of the Military for stepping forward and devoting the next several years of their lives in service to our nation. Upon Graduation from “Boot Camp,” each New Recruit is handed a unique package of goodies from Operation Gratitude in a new custom-designed box.

The New Recruit Care Package Program is already in full swing at both Marine Corps Recruiting Depots in San Diego and Parris Island, and at the Navy’s Great Lakes Recruit Training Command in Illinois. The organization expects to bring the Army and Air Force training centers on board in 2015.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive:

“We are excited and honored to start this program at Recruit Training Command. Operation Gratitude lets the nation’s newest Sailors know that someone is always thinking about them. These care packages show the Sailors that they are part of the Navy family and the country is proud of them for their decision to serve.” -Capt. Doug Pfeifle (pictured below) commanding officer of Recruit Training Command (RTC) in Great Lakes, IL.

operation gratitude

 

“Greetings! I am a Private who just recently graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. On the last week of boot camp, each of us received one of your packages, and I wanted to let you know that they were very much appreciated. Receiving those packages helped make us feel human again, and that reminder of our nation’s support boosted our morale. Thank you very much for your generosity. Semper Fidelis.” – Pvt K.J.

“I am a new Marine Mom. My son graduated MCRD as a Private on Nov 7. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the Care Package you sent him. We were not allowed to send things to him so him receiving this care package, I know made his day. I had tears in my eyes reading your mission statement. Thank you, Thank you! He wore the knitted beanie all the way home.” -M.B.H., Texas

In addition to an assortment of snacks, hygiene, entertainment and hand-made items, each Care Package includes a “Loved One Medallion,” a specially designed Operation Gratitude keepsake for the New Recruit to share with a special family member or friend. The Medallion thanks loved ones for their support, and lets them know that the American people stand “hand in hand” with them.

“We hope the recruits get two things from receiving these packages,” said Angel Cuevas, Director of Operations for Operation Gratitude. “First, we hope it lifts their morale. Second, we want them to know someone, somewhere cares. This is the generosity of the American public. We are supporting their mission wherever it takes them, and we don’t want them to be alone.”

The distribution of all New Recruit Care Packages is handled directly with the Military training centers. Just as with all of our care package programs, every American can support the New Recruit Packages by organizing collection drives, writing letters, hand-crafting scarves, hats and bracelets, or contributing financially.

About Operation Gratitude: Operation Gratitude annually sends more than 100,000 care packages filled with snacks, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, plus personal letters of appreciation, to New Recruits, Veterans, First Responders, Wounded Warriors, Care Givers and to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed overseas. Its mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of our active duty and veteran communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for all Americans to express their appreciation to members of our military. Each package contains donated product valued at $75-$100 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped 1,179,765 Care Packages. For more information please visit the website at www.operationgratitude.com.

John Banzhaf

John Banzhaf: Good Reasons for No Indictment in Cop-Choke Death

John Banzhaf

John Banzhaf

*WASHINGTON, D.C. – Although many find it inexplicable that police officer Daniel Pantaleo, clearly shown on a videotape using a choke hold which is prohibited by police policy, was not indicted even though the resulting death of Eric Garner was determined to be a “homicide,” there are at least two legal reasons why criminal charges may not be warranted, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

First, although many commentators are stating that the officer used an “illegal” tactic or hold, that conclusion is not correct. A practice may be prohibited by N.Y.C Police policy, and therefor open officers who violate the policy to departmental discipline, yet without “more,” not be a violation of any criminal statute, notes Banzhaf.

For instance, some police departments require officers, for the primary purpose of uniformity and interchangeability, to use only a certain type of ammunition in their service sidearms. If Officer X uses a different form of ammunition, he has violated police policy and may be disciplined (e.g., docked pay), but he cannot be arrested and tried for a crime. If he shoots someone in the line of duty, he is not automatically guilty of a crime simply because he used unapproved ammunition. However, he may be guilty of a crime if under all the facts and circumstances, there is something “more” suggesting that his action in shooting in the line of duty was “reckless.”

To convict the officer of the easiest charge to prove – second-degree manslaughter – Section 125.15 requires a showing that the defendant acted “recklessly.” While some choke holds can cause death, such results apparently are somewhat rare, and seem to occur primarily when using the bar-arm hold or the carotid hold, neither of which appears from the video to have been used here.

Moreover, although the N.Y.C. Police Department, like other police around the country, has prohibited the use of choke holds by its officers, many police forces do not prohibit them.

“It would be difficult to prove – especially to prove beyond a reasonable doubt – that any tactic or maneuver still in use by many police departments falls within the narrow category of “reckless” behavior, says Banzhaf, noting that Tasers and the PIT maneuver (to stop escaping cars) have caused deaths, but are still in wide use, and therefor are not necessarily considered to be “reckless.”

For any indictment to succeed, the prosecutor must also prove that the defendant caused the death of another. Here, although the official cause of death does list “compression of neck (chokehold),” it also lists “compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police,” and Garner’s acute and chronic bronchial asthma, obesity and hypertensive cardiovascular disease were contributing factors, the medical examiner determined.

Since the videotape appears to show one or more other officers on top of Gardner and contributing to the “compression of chest and prone positioning,” it may be difficult to isolate the effect and contribution of Garner’s choke hold as a factor in causing the death, especially beyond a reasonable doubt.

Thus, while many might see today’s decision as just another outrage following the events in Ferguson, and hold it up as proof that even cop-cams might not be effective, there arguably are legal reasons why the grand jury may have refused to indict this cop for homicide.

 

JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
2000 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052, USA
http://banzhaf.net / @profbanzhaf

Tamron Hall Sneaks a Peek

Hey Tamron! They’re Modeling the Pullover – Miss Hall Sneaks a Peek

Tamron Hall Sneaks a Peek

Tamron Hall Sneaks a Peek

*Hmm, what’s MSNBC’s Tamron Hall looking at?

On her ‘Born in the USA’ series she featured Morehouse College alum Anthony Moultry II – owner and designer of Chicer Collegiate.

As Moultry introduced his model and described the pullover and cost, Hall said (right on cue), “It’s a good price and it’s got a good story ‘behind’ it,” as she turned to look at the model’s behind!

Get it? Ha, ha! :)

All in a day’s work Tamron…all in a day’s work!

jimmy & david ruffin

The Ruffin Brothers: Jimmy & David

Jimmy Ruffin ('What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted')

Jimmy Ruffin (‘What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted’)

*Okay…right off the bat, for those who don’t know, glissando is the musical term for sliding your hand up and down the piano keys. Why I chose the term for this article…keep reading. This is a tribute to Jimmy Ruffin (‘What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted’) who passed away on November 17th.

It was a phenomenon happening right before our very eyes. Detroit was trippin’ because we were getting all this great stuff firsthand (Motown and Aretha Franklin [go get her book ‘Respect’]). Among so many things, at the beginning of 1965 The Temptations hit with ‘My Girl’ and the lead singer David Ruffin’s brother, Jimmy, had a song called ‘As Long As There Is L-O-V-E Love’ at the end of the year. Both songs were written/co-written by Smokey Robinson. The Ruffin brothers epitomized brotherhood through their artistry, and represented upfront what Motown was all about behind the scenes – family.

Jimmy & David Cover

Oh yes, there were others like Joe Stubbs and Levi Stubbs – Joe a lead singer with The Falcons and The Contours; Levi with the Four Tops. There was also (brothers) Brian and Eddie Holland of the famous Holland/Dozier/Holland hit songwriting team – and many other Motowners who were related. Hell, the company was founded by Berry Gordy and practically run by his family! It was definitely a family affair throughout!

But there was something special about the Ruffin brothers’ voices – separately or together as demonstrated in their 1970 duo album ‘I Am My Brother’s Keeper.’ There was that sincere earthiness (‘The Things We Have To Do;’ ‘Lo And Behold’). Before we knew much about them, when we first heard them on record in the early ‘60’s it was easy to think that because David had the huskier, more dominant voice that he was the eldest; but Jimmy’s voice and delivery on ‘Brother’s Keeper’ seemed to convey a ‘big brother’ presence. Yes, David had the fire, spontaneity and impulsiveness, but Jimmy had the assuring stability (steadfastness) of an elder (by five years) looking after the younger. On their cover of Ben E. King’s ‘Stand By Me,’ Jimmy sings ‘If you’re ever in trouble…David just look over your shoulder…you’re gonna find me standing right there.’ Jimmy had a warmth and patience in his voice, while David had that urgency (gotta have it now) like any typical younger brother anxious and chomping at the bit – out to prove himself.

I first met Jimmy at David’s house – there on Parkside off Seven Mile Road (yeah the mile before Eminem’s Eight Mile). We were all upstairs in an alcove equipped with a bar and music sound system. There was a door that led to the master bedroom, so we had access to both. I was there trying to shop some songs I had written. This was back in 1978. We were having fun. Jimmy and David were being brothers – not stars. David was going in and out of his bedroom closet with different electric razors for Jimmy to try. Finally Jimmy said he liked one of them. I remember thinking: Black guys using electric razors? They both had very smooth skin that looked as if a conventional razor blade had never touched.

david ruffin

David Ruffin

In a corner of the room was a small table with a photo of a guy in a military uniform. I asked who he was. They said it was their brother Quincy. I started thinking ‘Oh another brother…does he sing too?’ Quincy wrote a book called ‘Mississippi Tears.’

We were having fun and as I started naming some of their tunes that were my favorites, I said something like ‘You guys should have a patent on the hums.’ They said ‘What?’ I said ‘Like David’s hum on the intro to ‘I Wish It Would Rain,’ and Jimmy’s on ‘Maria,’ and ‘Our Favorite Melody.’ They laughed…we started talking about who had the better hum. David relented and said Jimmy had the better hum. He said, ‘Jimmy hums like he smells something.’ We all laughed at that!

Okay, as I promised in my opening: the glissando intro to Jimmy’s song ‘Our Favorite Melody (1972), and David’s intro to ‘You Can Come Right Back To Me’ (1971) are the same.

Compare:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9Gx-qO-KOs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGds7ztQK5w

But after the intro you get a picture of the two distinct personalities of the great Ruffin brothers – Jimmy and David. RIP Jimmy Ruffin. Thank you for one of the greatest Motown songs ever: ‘What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted.’ The songs referenced are on YouTube.

Below, check out Jimmy doing “Broken Hearted” and David performing with the Temptations on “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.”


Luther Waters, sisters and pastor

Dr. Luther Waters: Man of Many Colors

Luther Waters, sisters and pastor

*Los Angeles – Educator, Dr. Luther Waters delivered a thought-provoking sermon November 16th titled ‘Divine Nature Applied’ at Agape Christian Fellowship.

Pictured above (L – R) are Dr. Waters, his sisters Julia, Maxine, and Pastor Edward L. Haygood.

The siblings, known as The Waters, have been stalwarts in the music industry for years along with their brother Oren who was not present.

They’ve sung back-up for everyone from Patti LaBelle, to Neil Diamond, to Ray Charles among so many others. To the delight of fans, a previously released album they recorded in the ‘80’s titled ‘Watercolors’ has just recently been re-issued.

The Waters have also received the distinguished Ella Voice Award earlier this year. (Photo by Larry Buford)