|March 2004 - Week 1|
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Sunday, March 7, 2004
· Martha cooking up battle plan. She is set to hold a teleconference with her attorneys and public relations advisers today to map a strategy to fight her felony convictions and rescue her reputation.
· Steve Martin attacks Gibson's 'Passion.' Steve Martin, the actor and comedian, has launched a biting satirical attack on Mel Gibson and his Hollywood version of the death of Jesus Christ, mocking the film as a piece of money-making showbusiness - and suggesting that he, too, regards it as anti-Semitic.
» 'The Passion' Climbs Past $200 Million. Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" took in $51.4 million in its second weekend to remain the top movie, racing past the $200 million mark in just 12 days.
· What it's really like to work for Trump. Trump is a man of idiosyncrasies not readily apparent on 'The Apprentice.' "You will never see him in his shirtsleeves, even at his desk, said George Ross. "He always wears a jacket." Yes it's true he doesn't drink or smoke, but it's not true that Trump is overwhelmingly phobic about germs and refuses to shake hands.
· "Gilligan's Island" star plans to create radio station. Bumbling Gilligan couldn't figure out how to get off his island 40 years ago, but the actor who played him is starting a radio station in his house.
· Hollywood faces fury as smoking on screen returns to 1950s levels. Their faces might light up the screen, but their actions are causing anti-smoking groups to fume. Some of Hollywood's biggest names, including Catherine Zeta-Jones, Nicole Kidman and Pierce Brosnan, are under fire after research showed that smoking on screen is at its highest for 50 years.
· James Bond 'too tall' to be a spy. James Bond, Britain's most famous fictional secret agent, would be feeling rather shaken and stirred to learn he would be too tall to be a real modern day spy in the country's domestic spy agency.
· The New Billionaires. Once upon a time, the average person blanched at lawyer fees that reached upward of $500 an hour at many of the best firms. But those high hourly fees are chump change compared with what Trial Lawyers, Inc. is raking in these days.
From tobacco settlements to asbestos class action suits, the industry now boasts fees that can range as high as an astounding $30,000 an hour, turning some members of Trial Lawyers, Inc. into overnight billionaires and providing the capital to bankroll new lawsuit ventures in new markets.
· Having Fun with a Wrong Cell Phone Number. An interesting account from a young woman who purchased a cell phone that contained Chris Rock's old phone number - and the celebrities she talked to as a result.
· Martha's Company: Tough Second Act. In the hours after the verdict was announced, the question reverberated from CNBC to the aisles of Kmart: can Martha Stewart Living survive without... Martha Stewart?
· Media Draw Fire for Underage Sex Stings. The TV news report is hard to ignore: An unsuspecting man goes to a house where he allegedly thinks a teenage girl is waiting to have sex with him, but instead he is met by a TV reporter with a camera.
· Teen pregnancy rate has fallen to lowest levels. The teenage pregnancy rate in America, which rose sharply between 1986 and 1991 at an alarming rate, has fallen steadily for a decade with little fanfare, to below any level previously recorded in the US.
· Judge Throws Out Hyatt Heirs' Suit. A judge has dismissed a lawsuit by two young members of the wealthy Pritzker family who said they were cheated out of their inheritance, but the siblings will be allowed to amend the lawsuit and continue their case.
Saturday, March 6, 2004
· NY Times Reporter to Repay Oprah Show for Makeover. A New York Times reporter has been ordered by the newspaper to reimburse "The Oprah Winfrey Show" for renovations done on his New York apartment for a segment of the popular television talk show.
· Court records show Limbaugh was singled out. Prosecutors in Palm Beach County, Fla., who targeted talk show host Rush Limbaugh in a prescription fraud investigation involving the painkiller OxyContin did not seek similar charges against a local judge the Florida Supreme Court involuntarily retired last year after he admitted to an eight-year addiction to the painkiller, records show.
· Filming starts on new 'Batman' movie. A new movie about the origins of the Caped Crusader started filming Thursday in Iceland, with "American Psycho" actor Christian Bale starring as the shadowy vigilante who protects Gotham City from psychotic villains.
· Amish Man With No ID Denied Reentry Into U.S. An Amish man who went to Canada to visit his ailing father is being prevented from reentering the United States to be with his family because he has no photo identification.
· Martha Stewart to report to probation officer. Martha Stewart was ordered to report to a probation officer on Monday after being convicted of all four counts she faced in her obstruction of justice trial.
» N.Y. Affiliate Pulls Martha Stewart Show. Martha Stewart's syndicated television show, "Martha Stewart Living," is being pulled from CBS's New York affiliate following the domestic maven's stock conviction.
» Stewart's Defense Team Gambled and Lost. Facing a stock scandal that threatened to shatter Martha Stewart's carefully tended reputation and enormous fortune, her defense team made three high-stakes gambles: They let the case go to trial, kept Stewart off the witness stand and put on a defense that took less time than one of her syndicated cooking shows.
· Man says he went to Toledo to confess. Robert Franklin Matlock claimed he wanted to confess to Detroit police that he killed his live-in girlfriend with a hammer, but says Detroit police didn't have time.
· A message from Martha gets quick wording change after verdict. Within an hour of the verdict, her message on marthatalks.com changed from "I continue to take comfort in knowing that I have done nothing wrong and that I have the enduring support of my family and friends" - To - "I continue to take comfort in knowing that I have the confidence and enduring support of my family and friends."
· Two Networks Bungle Stewart Verdict. In the chaotic rush to report the Martha Stewart verdict live on television Friday, CNBC and MSNBC at first reported Stewart was not guilty on some of the four charges against her in the insider trading case. The jury convicted Stewart on all of the charges.
» Rosie O’Donnell on the verdict. “This is unbelievable,” O'Donnell said in a statement released through her publicist. “I am outraged and beside myself. This is a travesty. Shame on the federal government.”
» Martha's Net Worth Drops $85 Million. Her fortunes aren't likely to improve upon the market's opening next week. Shares in her namesake firm Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia closed down 23% at $10.86 after Stewart was convicted on all four counts.
· McDonald's To Give Away $15 Million In Settlement. McDonald's Instant Prize Giveaway, which runs Friday through Sunday, follows a scheme that defrauded McDonald's and its customers. An employee at a marketing firm hired by McDonald's rigged some previous contests and gave the winning game pieces to friends.
· Scientists behaving badly. Ethics committee provides details of thousands of papers published in medical journals every year, finds a wide range of unethical activity - from attempted bribery - to potential medical malpractice.
· Willis to be Kutcher's best man? As if it isn't strange enough that they appear together for photo ops, IMDB.com reports that Demi Moore and her boytoy lover Ashton Kutcher have agreed that ex-husband Bruce Willis should be the best man at their upcoming wedding.
· Phony Beer Distributor Steals Business Signs. Police say the thief is very convincing, telling the stores the signs needed to be taken down for cleaning or replaced with different ones. He took signs worth between $200 and $1,000.
· Did a Comet Trigger The Great Chicago Fire? Perhaps it was not Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicking over a lantern that sparked the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed the downtown area and claimed 300 lives.
· Mother, child reunite six years after kidnapping. The mother of a 6-year-old girl who allegedly was kidnapped at 10 days old rejoiced as she was reunited with her daughter, said a Pennsylvania lawmaker who helped bring about the reunion.
Friday, March 5, 2004
· Martha Stewart: Now a convicted felon. A verdict has been reached in the Martha Stewart trial - GUILTY ON ALL FOUR COUNTS. She is now a convicted felon who faces up to 20 years of a Federal prison. Martha's sentencing will begin on June 10th.
Stewart, 62, was charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements.
» USA TODAY: Stewart convicted of four felonies. Martha Stewart was convicted of all four felony charges against her, as a jury rejected her argument that she had no direct knowledge of insider trading and decided she had acted to cover up the trades.
» AP NEWS: Martha Stewart Convicted. Martha Stewart was convicted Friday of obstructing justice and lying to the government about a superbly timed stock sale, a devastating verdict that probably means prison for the woman who epitomizes meticulous homemaking and gracious living.
» Peter Bacanovic GUILTY on 4 of 5 charges. Bacanovic, 41, had been charged with making false statements, making and using false documents, conspiracy, perjury and obstruction of justice – with a maximum prison term of 25 years.
» Trading Halted on Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Trading in shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia was halted Friday - with the stock up nearly 20% - as jurors decided that the company's founder was guilty of all four charges in the stock-trading case against her.
» Martha Stewart's statement. "Dear Friends: I am obviously distressed by the jury’s verdict but I continue to take comfort in knowing that I have done nothing wrong and that I have the enduring support of my family and friends."
According to judicial experts, Martha Stewart's June 10 sentencing will result in a minimum 16 months prison time, and as much as 15-20 years in Federal prison based on receiving the four guilty counts.
There is no word yet whether Stewart's company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, will survive this ordeal - nor whether it will now change its name to Martha Stewart Prison Living. # # # #
· Girls Given Sentences for Lying about Sexual Assault. Three 12-year-old girls whose lies put an innocent man in jail for eight months pleaded guilty Thursday and were sentenced to Juvenile Hall and community service.
· Singer Jessica Simpson Prompts Arrests At WalMart. Store managers knew Jessica Simpson would attract a crowd. But when their original estimate of 400 to 500 youngsters ballooned to 6,000 store officials called police.
· Stern Feels Bush-Whacked End Is Near. Howard Stern says the end of his career is closer than the two years left on his contract. "I know that it's over for me," Stern said. "I have been really good at predicting my career and I know when I'm outmatched. It's over for me as a broadcaster. I'm checkmated. All they gotta do is fine us and then we're gone. And there's nothing we can do about it."
· Editor Arnold: He's nothing if not flexible. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will announce Saturday in Columbus, Ohio — where he's presiding over Arnold Fitness Weekend — that he's the new executive editor of Muscle & Fitness and Flex magazines. Both are owned by American Media Inc., publishers of The National Enquirer, Star and other magazines.
· Janet Jackson to host ‘Saturday Night Live.’ She may not be ready for prime time just yet, but Janet Jackson has been booked on NBC’s ”Saturday Night Live” next month, her first planned network TV performance since baring her breast at the Super Bowl.
· ISP Sues Marketer of Bob Vila Web Site. An Internet service provider sued the operator and online marketer of the BobVila.com home improvement Web site for allegedly violating a new federal anti-spam law by sending out e-mail ads for Bob Vila's "Home Again Newsletter" to recipients who had specifically requested to be removed from that e-mail list.
· New AP Poll shows Nader can be spoiler once again. President Bush and John Kerry are virtually tied, while independent Ralph Nader has captured enough support to affect the outcome in the race for the presidency.
· Judge resigns over online racial remarks. A Virginia judge has resigned after the disclosure of racially charged remarks he wrote in an Internet chat room, including statements suggesting that blacks have a biological tendency toward violence.
· Giuliani defends Bush's use of 9/11 images. Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who won worldwide acclaim for his handling of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that devastated his city, said Thursday that using images from that day in campaign ads for President Bush is both "appropriate" and "relevant."
· U. of Colorado Overhauls Recruiting Guidelines. Colorado announced sweeping changes to its scandal-ridden football program, barring recruits from visiting bars and private parties and putting them under the close supervision of parents and coaches.
· Los Angeles D.A. Slams Celeb Lawyers. District Attorney Steve Cooley, re-elected as chief of the nation's largest district attorney's office, aired one of his pet peeves: lawyers who exploit celebrity criminal cases to advance their own public profiles.
· Lawmaker arrested for drunken driving after attending anti-DWI ceremony. A lawmaker was charged with drunken driving, hours after attending a bill-signing ceremony to highlight the state's newest effort to crack down on DWI offenders.
Thursday, March 4, 2004
· Scott Peterson introduced to jury pool. Nearly 100 potential jurors in Scott Peterson's double-murder trial began answering questionnaires Thursday about their views on the death penalty and their personal experiences, such as whether they had ever had an affair.
· Stewart Jurors Focus on SEC Attorney Testimony. The Martha Stewart jury is seeking to review a considerable amount of evidence from the trial, including testimony of the young brokerage assistant who handled her sale of ImClone Systems stock.
· Schwarzenegger clout continues to mount. Less than four months after taking office, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is rivaling Ronald Reagan's power and popularity in a state long comfortable with celebrity politicians.
· Jurors to fill out surveys as Laci Peterson murder trial begins. Potential jurors in the Laci Peterson murder trial in Redwood City, California, will be answering some very personal questions today.
· Lifestyle of the Richie and famous. Lionel Richie's wife, who is seeking spousal support from the pop star as their divorce case proceeds, has told a Los Angeles judge that the couple regularly spent more than $300,000 a month.
· Spielberg Dodges 'Passion' Controversy. Declaring himself "too smart to answer a question like that," Steven Spielberg on Wednesday deftly sidestepped the controversy surrounding fellow filmmaker Mel Gibson's box office smash, "The Passion of the Christ," which has been accused of anti-semitism.
· Scientist says new treatments could let humans live for centuries. Humans could live for hundreds of years as scientists develop treatments to "cure" old age like any other disease, a US researcher said on Thursday.
· Teacher resigns after taping unruly student to his desk. A teacher in southeast Missouri resigned last month after duct-taping a misbehaving seventh-grader to his desk and covering his mouth with tape, the district's superintendent said.
· NBC's Couric Defends Interview With Blair. Even though she finds his actions "repugnant," NBC's Katie Couric defended giving prime-time exposure to former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair, the serial fabricator who brought down the paper's top editors.
· Sex Defense Used in Manslaughter Case. A woman charged with causing a fatal car crash in 1999 says that she couldn't have been behind the wheel because she was performing a sex act on the driver at the time.
· Fat Can Hit Women In The Wallet. Being fat may hurt your income - if you're a highly educated woman. Obese women who are highly educated earn about 30 percent less - a difference of at least $5,000 a year - than normal-weight or even plump women, the study found.
· Woman's heart cut out on Valentine's Day. A 20-year-old woman who turned down her boyfriend's marriage proposal on Valentine's Day was found killed, her heart cut out of her body, according to her family and the police.
Wednesday, March 3, 2004
· Stripper Convicted of Murder for Stabbing Husband 193 Times. A Houston jury on Wednesday convicted a woman of murder for stabbing her husband 193 times, rejecting her claim of self-defense after suffering years of spousal abuse.
· Martha Jury to Begin Deliberations Today. A federal prosecutor made a final argument that Martha Stewart should be convicted of lying about a stock sale, telling jurors that sometimes "smart people do dumb things."
» Judge Instructs Jurors To Be Fair, Impartial. The federal judge in the case gave the jury a lengthy batch of instructions, telling the panel to consider the stock fraud case with "complete fairness and impartiality."
· Bryant's Accuser Is Ordered to Testify. The woman who accused Kobe Bryant of rape will face detailed questions about her sex life when she testifies in a closed hearing in three weeks, a judge has ruled.
· CBS Hopeful Sitcom 'Raymond' Will Return. CBS President Leslie Moonves said he's guardedly optimistic that his most popular comedy, "Everybody Loves Raymond," will return next season - but he's discussed a spinoff just in case.
· Jacko reportedly in wacky detox procedure. Michael Jackson is holed up in an Aspen hideaway and being treated for "a longtime addiction to alcohol and painkillers" by a controversial Central American herbalist, a bombshell new report says.
· Rarest Silver Dollar Discovered in Box. America's rarest silver dollar — and possibly its most famous stolen coin — was discovered in a box with filled with miscellaneous coins by a Maine librarian who wasn't even a collector.
· IRS Allows Tax Deduction For Weight-Loss. The Internal Revenue Service allows taxpayers who are forced to spend thousands of dollars because of obesity to deduct expenses for approved weight-loss drugs, nutritional counseling, and surgeries.
· Disney Quietly Removes Statue Inspired By Janet Jackson. The Walt Disney Co. has quietly shelved a life-size statue of Mickey Mouse inspired by singer Janet Jackson, who was roundly criticized for a risque Super Bowl halftime performance.
· N.Y. Gay-Marriage Mayor Charged With 19 Counts. The village's mayor was charged Tuesday with 19 criminal counts for performing weddings for gay couples, an act of defiance that thrust the small community into the national debate over same-sex marriage.
· McDonald's Phasing Out Supersize Fries, Drinks. The hamburger giant has started phasing out its trademark Supersize fries and drinks in its U.S. restaurants as part of an effort to simplify its menu and give customers choices that support a balanced lifestyle, a company spokesman said.
· Town for sale on Internet. Potential bidders were flocking to an Internet auction house for the chance to buy a property - an entire California town, in fact, that could be theirs for just $600,000.
· Roy Horn Able to Walk Again. Five months after he was mauled by a tiger, illusionist Roy Horn of "Siegfried & Roy" was able to walk again with the help of a wheeled walking aid, a spokeswoman for the duo said Tuesday.
Tuesday, March 2, 2004
· Kobe Accuser's Lawyer Denies Sex Allegation. The attorney for the alleged victim in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case on Tuesday denied defense claims that she had sex with another man the morning after her encounter with the NBA star.
· Bonds got steroids, feds were told. San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds, New York Yankees stars Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield and three other major league baseball players received steroids from a Burlingame nutritional supplement lab, federal investigators were told.
· Prosecutors Paint Martha Stewart as Liar. Martha Stewart chose to "lie, conceal and cover up" the truth about a suspicious stock sale that led to her federal conspiracy trial, prosecutors said in closing arguments on Monday.
» Defense calls case a 'house of cards.' In closing arguments in the Martha Stewart trial Monday, the defense lawyer for Stewart's former broker and co-defendant Peter Bacanovic said the prosecution's case was a house of cards.
· Charlize Theron recalls night her mom shot her father. Charlize Theron, who won the Best Actress Oscar as a serial-killer in Monster, had a real-life brush with bloody death - when she heard her mother shoot her father dead.
· Witness Says Williams Cursed At Driver Before Raising Gun. Jayson Williams cursed at a van driver before raising a shotgun, snapping it shut while holding it in one hand, before it fired a fatal shot in his bedroom, according to the first eyewitness to testify in the retired NBA star's manslaughter trial.
· Former Foes Schwarzenegger, Davis Appear on 'Tonight Show.' Politics made for particularly strange bedfellows Monday night as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the man he helped drive from office turned up on Leno's "Tonight Show" to trade quips and campaign for a $15 billion state budget bailout measure.
· Key win for Kobe's defense team. In a move defense attorneys say will help them exonerate Kobe Bryant, the trial judge Monday ordered prosecutors to turn over two pairs of underwear belonging to the woman who has accused the NBA star of rape.
· With Lent here, 'Passion' poised for more. After opening with an astonishing $125.2 million over five days, Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" is positioned to get even bigger as the Lenten Season leads up to Easter on April 11.
· More Michael Jackson Documents Released. Investigators in the Michael Jackson child molestation case have seized about 100 pages of phone records, videos of the pop star, and a DVD of a party at his Neverland Ranch, according to court documents.
Word of The Day by WordThink
Solicitous [so·lic·i·tous] adj. 1. Marked by or given to anxious care and often hovering attentiveness. 2. Extremely careful; meticulous: "solicitous in matters of behavior." 3. Anxious or concerned: "a solicitous parent."
· Man Sues Dick Clark for Age Discrimination. A 76-year-old game show producer sued Dick Clark (search) Monday, alleging the 74-year-old Clark called him a "dinosaur" and refused to hire him because of his age.
· NASA to Announce 'Significant Findings' of Water on Mars Tuesday. NASA will hold a press conference Tuesday to announce "significant findings" about water on Mars based on evidence from its Opportunity Mars rover.
Monday, March 1, 2004
» Peter Jackson Honored for 'Rings' Finale. If fantasy was considered a second-class genre in Hollywood, "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson elevated it to first class - not that he thought that was necessary.
» Oscar Red Carpet Is Nod to Old Hollywood. Glamour. Glamour. More Glamour. The red carpet fashions at Sunday's Academy Awards were a throwback to Oscars past as stars wore sophisticated and classy gowns, such as Naomi Watts' stunning nude-colored Versace dress.
Word of The Day by WordThink
Eclectic [e·clec·tic] adj. 1. Composed of elements drawn from various sources 2. Not following any one system, but selecting and using what are considered the best elements of all systems. "An eclectic taste in music; an eclectic approach to managing the business.
· Still No Answers in Spalding Gray Case. Nearly two months after actor-writer Spalding Gray walked out of his Manhattan apartment and disappeared, his wife holds out hope that he will return unharmed.
· Stewart Prosecutors Prepare Closing Arguments. Their most serious charge cast aside by a federal judge, prosecutors will zero in Monday on their accusation that Martha Stewart and her stockbroker cooked up a cover story for a 2001 stock sale.