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Rush to Appear on 'Jay Leno Show'

James Hirsen By Tuesday, 22 September 2009 09:10 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Supreme Court May Decide Fate of 'Redskins' Name
2. John Travolta May Testify in Extortion Trial
3. Celebrity Civil War Over Israel
4. Dr. Phil Guests Confess to Shoplifting
5. Rush Limbaugh to Drive Green on ‘Jay Leno Show’


1. Supreme Court May Decide Fate of 'Redskins' Name

The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court are being asked to decide whether the Washington Redskins' team name should be changed to conform to political correctness.

A group of Native Americans, via their attorneys, have filed a petition for certiorari, a legal document that is filed with the High Court and requests a review of a decision of a lower court.

The Native American organization claims that the name “Redskins” is a disparaging term. The goal of the group is to have the Redskins trademark canceled. The team has had a valid trademark for the name since 1967.

The U.S. Court of Appeals denied the group's claim on procedural grounds, based on the timeliness of the filing. The issue of whether or not the trademark is offensive or bigoted was not dealt with.

The Native American group's lawyers claim that the law explicitly allows cancellations of trademarks “at any time” and cite a 2001 ruling by a federal appellate court in the Third Circuit in Marshak v. Treadwell, in which now Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito sat on the lower court and wrote that trademark cancellation claims are not time-barred.

In addition to the importance of the name to team tradition, the “Redskins” brand is worth millions of dollars in sales.

It is unlikely that the Supreme Court will take up the petition before the year’s end, so Redskins fans probably won’t have to worry about the team’s name and logo for the rest of the NFL season.

2. John Travolta May Testify in Extortion Trial

John Travolta has been grieving behind closed doors ever since the untimely and tragic death of his 16-year-old son, Jett, in January 2009.

But a trial that is set to start in the Bahamas may require the actor to engage in an activity that he will most likely find abhorrent. Travolta may be required to testify about one of the most painful episodes in his life, the loss of his son.

The last thing a grieving parent ever wants to do is relive the terrible details of his or her child’s death.

However, Travolta and his wife, actress Kelly Preston, were purportedly victimized by an alleged extortion plot, which is the subject of the trial. Travolta had filed an extortion complaint, and thus Bahamian law requires to him testify in person.

Tarino Lightbourne, a paramedic, and Pleasant Bridgewater, a former Bahamian senator and current attorney, face criminal charges of conspiring to extort $25 million from Travolta. The two allegedly demanded money for a document relating to Jett's care. Both have pleaded not guilty.

On the morning of Jan. 2, 2009, Jett suffered a seizure at his family's island vacation home. Lightbourne and a partner were the first paramedics to arrive at the scene.

The two attempted to render CPR to Jett and apparently took him part of the way to the hospital. They were met by another ambulance driver who brought Jett the rest of the way to the destination. The young teen was pronounced dead at the hospital later that morning.

Bahamian authorities claim that Lightbourne's lawyer, Pleasant Bridgewater, called an attorney for Travolta and said her client wanted to sell a document to the Travolta family. The paper in question was a one-page "refusal to transport" form that Travolta allegedly signed. Such a document would waive responsibility of the ambulance crew if a patient declined to be brought to a hospital.

No doubt lots of prayers are going out to Travolta and his family to find the strength they need during these difficult times.

3. Celebrity Civil War Over Israel

On one side you have Jane Fonda, Danny Glover David Byrne, Julie Christie and Viggo Mortensen. On the other you have Jerry Seinfeld, Seth Rogen, Robert Duvall, Halle Berry, Sacha Baron Cohen, Lisa Kudrow and Lenny Kravitz.

At issue is the nation of Israel, its policies in Gaza, and the Toronto Film Festival.

Fonda, Glover, and other celebs published a protest and boycott letter alleging that the Toronto fest had become an agent of the "Israeli propaganda machine."

A Canadian documentary filmmaker, John Greyson, withdrew his film from the festival because, according to Greyson, the event's sister-city relationship with Tel Aviv was an implicit endorsement of “the smiling face of Israeli apartheid.”

These sentiments are the same as those of the American and European left and are prevalent in celebrity circles, where condemning Israeli policies have become trendy.

For example, last January rocker Annie Lennox led a group that included Ken Livingstone, Bianca Jagger George Galloway and Alexei Sayle and called for an end to the “slaughter and systematic murder” of Arabs in Gaza.

Former high-powered Hollywood agent Dan Adler created a response advertisement to denounce the aforementioned protest letter.

Celebrities, including Seinfeld, Rogen, Duvall, Berry, Cohen, Kudrow and Kravitz, signed on in droves. But a host of execs and filmmakers, including Ron Meyer, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Sherry Lansing, Neal Moritz, Jonathan Glickman, Nina Jacobson, Darren Star, Nathan Kahane, Gail Berman and Ed Zwick, also signed on.

“The world always had anti-Semites,” Hollywood financier Haim Saban told the Los Angeles Times in an e-mail exchange. “It has now and always will, but the people of Israel always have, and always will live and prosper. Sorry Jew haters. You lose.”

Fonda has apparently felt the pressure. She posted on her blog and in The Huffington Post that she had not read everything that was in the document she signed.

“It was the outcry that ensued that caused me to study it more carefully,” Fonda said. “It was then that I saw that there were parts of it that I did not agree with . . .”

“Some of the words in the protest letter did not come from my heart words that are unnecessarily inflammatory: The simplistic depiction of Tel Aviv as a city ‘built on destroyed Palestinian villages,’ for instance, and the omission of any mention of Hamas' eight-month-long rocket and mortar attacks on the town of Sderot and the western Negev to which Israel was responding when it launched its war on Gaza.” the actress added. “By neglecting to do this the letter allowed good people to close their ears and their hearts.”

Fonda may have just made herself into a persona non grata in Hollywood, something that even her posing with the Viet Cong couldn't accomplish.

4. Dr. Phil Guests Confess to Shoplifting

Syndicated television psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw may inadvertently be assisting federal prosecutors.

McGraw had a San Marcos, Calif., couple on as guests, and the relaxed atmosphere of the show, along with the good doctor’s beguiling manner, had his guests announcing on national TV that they’d been fencing stolen property.

Thanks to some boasting by 34-year-old Matthew Eaton and his 26-year-old wife Laura on an episode of "Dr. Phil," it was revealed that the couple procured a cool $100,000 by stealing toys and selling them on eBay.

And if that weren’t enough, the couple also showed a video of a three-day shoplifting spree in which they brought along their three children for what Matthew called "easy money."

Federal agents were watching, and as a result the Secret Service and San Diego Regional Fraud Task Force later searched the Eaton’s home and seized the alleged stolen items.

The Eatons were arrested, and each was charged with one count of conspiracy to transport stolen property in interstate commerce. If convicted, each could be sent to prison for more than three years.

Despite prosecutors having the TV confession, video and physical evidence, the Eatons have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

5. Rush Limbaugh to Drive Green on ‘Jay Leno Show’

Jay Leno needs to keep the good ratings going for his new NBC prime-time show.

Now it looks like the jokemeister has found just the supercharge he needs in talk-radio show icon Rush Limbaugh.

Rush is set to make a guest appearance on the “Jay Leno Show” and will participate in a spot called the “Green Car Challenge.”

Interestingly, the segment has an additional element that should have publicists drooling. This Thursday, the Leno audience will have the chance to watch Rush put the pedal to the metal in an electric Ford Focus. He’ll be driving fast and furious-style around a custom-built track right next to Leno's studio.

Limbaugh will be trying to beat the track times of Bob Costas, Al Michaels and Drew Barrymore, who have agreed to be “Green Car Challenge” participants as well.

Getting Rush on the show in this way is a win-win idea.

The broadcast veteran may not be particularly fond of hybrid or electric cars, but he’s a naturally competitive guy and is generally jazzed about companies that turn down bailout money as in this case, Ford.

Producers of the new Leno show should get a lot of mileage out of a conservative driving a green mobile.

And the network may even weave in some powerful product placement, which should result in a lot of folks giving the car company mega ditto shout-outs in the form of Ford purchases.

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Supreme Court May Decide Fate of 'Redskins' Name 2. John Travolta May Testify in Extortion Trial 3. Celebrity Civil War Over Israel 4. Dr. Phil Guests Confess to Shoplifting 5. Rush Limbaugh to Drive Green on Jay Leno...
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 09:10 PM
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