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Meredith Dobes

Joel Osteen targeted by online hoax

What were the motives?

Joel Osteen, famed evangelist pastor of Lakewood Church, was the target of an Internet hoax that gained attention Monday. A fake website, Twitter account, YouTube and news stories were published and updated with information claiming that Osteen was leaving the church and ceasing his relationship with Christianity.

A fake CNN website, Yahoo website and Drudge Report banner were created for the hoax and released on the YouTube account “ChristianityNews,” which was set up earlier this month.

One of the fake websites used, joelosteenministries.wordpress.com, stated, “In my heart, for a number of years now, I have been questioning the faith, Christianity and whether Jesus Christ is really my, or anyone’s, ‘savior.’”

Another one of the fake sites spelled Osteen’s last name with only one e.

However, no reports of Osteen’s supposed decision were mentioned on his real website, joelosteen.com, or his verified Twitter account.

A message on Osteen’s real Twitter account Tuesday morning said, “It is a false rumor: Pastor Joel is not leaving the church,” which may have drawn more attention to the hoax than originally existed.

Mixed responses were drawn from members of Osteen’s church, some of them wanting affirmation that Osteen was not leaving the church, others proclaiming that they knew it was a hoax.

The man who created the hoax responded in an email to NPR, but he said he wishes to remain anonymous. He said he did not create the hoax to attack Osteen but that he wanted to stage a hypothetical scenario of Osteen’s resignation and “test viral media markets.” He said he also wanted to send a message to Osteen to stop preaching positive messages constantly and start focusing more on serious social issues.

The man put real contact information on his fake version of Osteen’s website, to which he said many people responded after they knew the website was a hoax. He said about 60 percent of the feedback he received was positive.

He said he could get in legal trouble for the hoax, but that he will be prepared for it.

Lone Star College stabbing suspect identified

The Lone Star College stabbing suspect has been identified as student Dylan Quick, 20.

Quick allegedly ran to various buildings at Lone Star College Tuesday, wielding a knife and stabbing multiple people, particularly in the Health and Science Center and technology building. Fourteen people were wounded, and two people were in critical condition.

At least four of the victims were transported by Life Flight to hospitals.

Quick has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Harris County sheriff’s office. Each of these counts carries a $100,000 bond.

A witness told KHOU that Quick aimed for the neck and face of victims as he stabbed them.

Reportedly, students and faculty were able to tackle Quick before police and medical personnel arrived.

Quick is a student at Lone Star College Cy-Fair. He was questioned for six hours Tuesday until about 9 p.m. by the Harris County Homicide Division. He was then taken to the Harris County Jail. He told detectives he was planning the attack and had fantasized about stabbing people since he was a child.

Two of the victims are still in critical condition, and the rest are in good condition or have been released.

Lone Star College administration put the campus on lockdown as soon as they knew about the incident. A text sent out to students said, “Seek shelter now. If away, stay away.”

In January, two people were shot at a different Lone Star College campus. Both victims survived the incident, and one was charged.

NASCAR goes green with E15

NASCAR recently increased its efforts to go green by using a 15 percent ethanol blend of fuel for its cars. The fuel it is now using is a 15 percent ethanol blend, which contains 50 percent more ethanol than the E10 blends usually sold at gas stations.

NASCAR will use the E15 fuel in all of its national racing series. Ethanol is denatured alcohol made from corn, which is supposed to be less harsh on the environment. E85 is an 85 percent ethanol blend of fuel that has existed for years, but NASCAR is still using E15, for now.

The “NASCAR Green” logo will be pained on the infield grass and backstretch wall of the Kansas Speedway to promote NASCAR’s efforts. Also, the start and finish line will be painted green, and a Toyota Camry hybrid will be the race’s pace car.

NASCAR is also on a mission to plant enough trees to offset the carbon emissions from races. According to NASCAR, one tree absorbs a metric ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime, the equivalent of a Spring Cup car driving 500 miles.

Other companies have taken similar measures to help reduce their carbon footprints. For instance, Ford plants a tree for every lap a Ford driver leads in either of its racing series, and UPS partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant over 8,000 trees.

NASCAR’s fuel is supplied by Sunoco, with the ethanol distilled in New York and blended in Pennsylvania, according to USA Today.

Aereo continues to upset broadcasters but win in court

Aereo, a service which uses the free signals from local television stations to collect and stream them to phones and computers of paying subscribers, is being attacked by various television stations.

The stations say they will do whatever it takes to shut Aereo down, even if they have to take their own signals off of the airwaves. The courts have ruled in favor of Aereo twice, even though traditional broadcast stations are concerned that Aereo will turn into something bigger.

“It’s Aereo today, but it could be something else tomorrow,” Robin Flynn, a senior analyst at SNL Kagan told the New York Times.

Local television stations have collected retransmission fees for years, from cable and satellite operators who picked up their signals and put them back out for subscribers. The stations say they are not able to revert back to their other source of revenue, alone, which is advertising, after having operated with this other source of revenue for so many years.

Aereo does not pay retransmission fees for the signals it acquires, just as antenna users do not. News Corporation, the Walt Disney Company, Comcast, CBS, and Univision sued Aereo last year for copyright infringement, which they failed to win.

Some stations propose airing a light version of programming over the airwaves and a fuller version of programming to cable and satellite providers, in order to avoid providing all of their content for services like Aereo to use.

Other stations, like CBS, propose taking their programming off of airwaves, entirely, but say it will most likely not get to that point.

The New York Times reported that millions of Americans receive their television through antennas only, and that if stations did take their programming off the airwaves, this would negatively impact those people.

'Accidental Racist' causes controversy

“Accidental Racist,” the new Brad Paisley song, featuring LL Cool J, is causing a great divide between the cringing and the advocating.

At the beginning of “Accidental Racist,” Paisley places himself in a t-shirt with a Confederate flag on it, walking into a coffee shop and being judged for what the flag represents. Paisley goes on to say, “I’m proud of where I’m from but not everything we’ve done, and it ain’t like you and me can rewrite history.”

“Accidental Racist’s” message, in a nutshell, is that Paisley is ignorant of other cultures, knowing only of the South. He feels apologetic for this, but at the same time, he is tired of being perceived as a racist because of it. LL Cool J explains that he wishes white men would understand him and what it’s like to be from an urban neighborhood.

The biggest objection to “Accidental Racist” is that the song fails to address the real causes and results of racism in the United States. Paisley does not mention the benefits he still receives in society as a white man, and LL Cool J does not address all of the issues that still affect minorities because of racism and the country’s racist past. “Accidental Racist” plays up stereotypes of a Southern white man and an urban black man, and it fails to address the issue that race is an invented type of categorization.

Others say “Accidental Racist” does an adequate job at pushing for toleration and acceptance of all people. The song meant well and attempted to formulate a fast solution of tolerance for a problem that has plagued the country since its conception.

Paisley defended “Accidental Racist” in a statement, saying, “I just think art has a responsibility to lead the way, and I don’t know the answers, but I feel like asking the question is the first step, and we’re asking the question in a big way. How do I show my Southern pride? What is offensive to you? … We don’t solve anything, but it’s two guys that believe in who they are and where they’re from very honestly having a conversation and trying to reconcile.”

Kamala Harris deemed 'best looking attorney general' by Obama

Kamala Harris, California’s attorney general, is making headlines for comments President Barack Obama made about her appearance at a Democratic National Committee fundraising event in Atherton, California Thursday.

Obama noted Harris’ personality traits that he said make her a great attorney general before praising her looks.

“You have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you’d want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake,” he said. “She also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general in the country.”

The comment generated an uproar of opinions on the Internet, with some commentators saying the comment was sexist and with others saying it was nothing to be upset about.

The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart said the comments were the “God’s honest truth” and that Obama was speaking of Harris in that way because the pair have been friends and have supported each other professionally for years.

Harris gave a speech at last year’s Democratic National Convention, and she is viewed as a potential gubernatorial candidate.

Obama has been under fire before for potentially sexist comments. He recently told a 32-year-old New York lawmaker she didn’t look a day over 23, and he called a female reporter “sweetie” during his 2008 campaign.

The hash tag #KamalaHarris is trending on Twitter with people giving their responses to Obama’s remarks.

Obama’s audience reportedly laughed at his comment, to which he responded, “It’s true. Come on.”

Pizza Hut introduces new pizza with cheese-stuffed bread pocket crust

Pizza Hut’s newest addition to its line of cheese-filled products is the Crazy Cheesy Crust pizza. The new pizza features a crust made entirely out of bread pockets filled with melted cheese.

Chef Wiley Bates III is the executive chef of Pizza Hut, and he spent about 16 months developing this new product, according to Yahoo.

The reason behind his idea may seem simple.

“Consumers always want more cheese,” he said.

The Crazy Cheesy Crust pizza goes on sale today at Pizza Huts around the nation, and it costs $12.99 with one topping. It will feature 16 of the cheese-filled bread pockets, with two pockets per slice. The cheese filling is a five-cheese mix of Asiago, Romano, Fontina, Provolone and mozzarella cheeses.

“It’s always for me – and when I challenge the chefs that help me – staying grounded in consumer insights, staying grounded on what they want,” Bates said.

Bates attended culinary school and worked as a chef in high-end restaurants and hotels before landing the Pizza Hut position.

“Fine dining or otherwise, the application is still the same,” he said. “I am still trying to make that customer excited and happy.”

The new pizza contains 390 calories and 20 grams of fat per slice.

The pizza looks similar to the Crown Crust pizza which the company released solely in the Middle East. It features a pizza surrounded by mini-cheeseburgers. Pizza Hut has also released pizzas in Japan and Thailand will hot dog-stuffed crusts, according to NBC.

The Crazy Cheesy Crust pizza was developed solely for the American market.

Skylar Diggins leads Notre Dame to Final Four

Skylar Diggins led Notre Dame to beat Duke Tuesday night, earning the team a place in the NCAA women’s Final Four.

Diggins scored 24 points in the game, bringing the final score to 87-76. After the game, Diggins won the regional’s Most Outstanding Player award.

The win was the 30th consecutive game for Notre Dame, which is a school record. This will be the team’s third consecutive year in the Final Four.

In addition to Diggins’ 24 points, she finished with nine assists, five steals and five rebounds.

“She is the driving force,” Notre Dame Coach Muffet McGraw told ESPN. “She is the attitude, the mindset, the relentless attitude, the drive to the best. And she’s got everybody on board.”

Some team members are used to nothing less than being a part of the Final Four, but Diggins was on the team as a freshman when the team lost in the Sweet 16 to Oklahoma.

According to ESPN, Diggins’ determination is the reason Duke’s season is now over.

New to the team, Jewell Loyd credits Diggins with being very accessible.

“I’m not afraid of her – most people think she’s such an icon, you can’t really talk to her,” she said. “No, she’s not. She’s a sister. She’s kind. She helps me all the time. That’s something you can’t just create. It’s there from the get-go.”

Duke led Tuesday’s game in the first half, and McGraw let the team know how badly they were playing, by the high standards that were set for them. Obviously, the team turned the game around.

“I really believe that if we play like we know we can play, if we string together 40 good minutes, we’ll have the opportunity to get a national championship again,” Diggins said.

Holly Sonders to be 44th female on Golf Digest cover

Holly Sonders of the Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” will be featured on the cover of Golf Digest’s May fitness issue. The 35-page magazine will focus on how people can get in the best physical shape possible for golf.

Sonders played golf at Michigan State before she began her broadcast career. She has worked for the Big Ten Network and KATV in Little Rock, Ark.

Sonders is also featured on the Golf Channel’s “School of Golf” segments. Sonders told Golf Digest she would “tee it up from like 6,400 to 6,500 yards. I’d be about a 3- or a 4-handicap.”

Sonders said fitness is more important to her than keeping her golf skills up because she has no meniscus and has scoliosis. She works out four times a week and does 500 abdominal exercises three times a week.

Some say Sonders’ role in the public eye of the golf world objectifies her and plays up her femininity.

“I dress the way I dress because style is very important to me,” Sonders said. “I love being a girl. You can be a pit-bull competitor. You can want to kick people’s asses in every sport, but you can still be feminine and still be sexy.”

Sonders is the 44th woman to be placed on the magazine’s cover, though John Liebhart of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication wrote that the magazine has a predominately male focus.

“There is no … opposition to women, friends and children,” he said. “In Golf Digest, they simply barely exist at all.”

The fitness issue will also feature Rickie Fowler, Mark Wahlberg and Jason Dufner.

Yankees lose season opener to Red Sox

Is it because of their lineup?

The Yankees lost 8-2 Monday in their season opening against their rivals, the Boston Red Sox. How could this be? Many blame their lineup.

The New York Yankees were expected to not do so well after their performance in spring training, and these predictions came true Monday with their defeat.

According to the New York Times, fans began leaving during the seventh inning because of the score and the weather. Cold wind and rain left seats empty and trash strewn across the field.

Yankee Vernon Wells commented on the situation, saying, “At the end, it was ugly out, on the field and off. I don’t blame them for heading home a little early.”

The season opener had the largest audience in five years for the Yankees. The stadium was filled to 49,514 seats, and the game began in sunshine and 62 degree weather. The storm coincided with the progression of struggling of the Yankees’ offense.

The game resulted in the Yankees losing an opening day home game for the first time since 1982, and ending their record streak of hitting a home run on opining day for the past 14 years.

The Yankees had just two players from last year’s opening lineup and six new players.

Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez, Yankees’ star players, are out with injuries.

Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia was behind at the start, and the Yankees had very little opportunity to catch up to the Red Sox.

Sabathia commented on the situation, saying, “Anytime you’re missing those guys, you’re talking about some of the best players in the game – it’s going to be a little bit different. But we know what we have to do and who’s not here. That’s not an excuse. We’ve had injuries last year and the year before.”