Union urges NYC cops to boycott the...


Union urges NYC cops to boycott the Boss

There will be plenty of police on hand for tonight's opening of Bruce Springsteen's 10-concert stand at Madison Square Garden.

But the officers not on duty are being urged by their union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, to boycott the concert and not attend on their own.

A Springsteen song inspired by last year's police slaying of the unarmed West African immigrant Amadou Diallo, 22, has prompted a call for a boycott of his concerts by the police union. The four officers involved in the shooting were acquitted of murder in February.

Springsteen's unrecorded and unreleased song, first performed in Atlanta a week ago, opens with the words "41 shots, 41 shots" -- the number of bullets fired at Diallo and includes the line, "You can get killed just for living in your American skin."

No, to gentler 'Shaft'

Samuel L. Jackson said he was the cat who wouldn't cop out.

Jackson and director John Singleton said the studio wanted to soften the lead character in the new movie "Shaft."

Richard Roundtree reprises his role of John Shaft, a hip New York detective known for his hot temper, cool style and womanizing ways while Jackson plays his nephew, also a hip New York detective named John Shaft.

But Jackson wanted no part of a kinder, gentler Shaft.

In the end, Singleton agreed to cut much of the sex from the movie, he told the Los Angeles Daily News, but kept the violent action sequences.

Helen Thomas, write on

While she may be missing from the White House press corps, Helen Thomas, 79, has no plans to retire.

She told reporters in Athens, Ohio, Saturday that she was considering offers to cover the 2000 presidential election

Thomas quit her job with United Press International -- where she'd worked for 57 years -- a day after the company was sold to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's News World Communications Inc., the parent company of the Washington Times.

Speaking at Ohio University's commencemente ceremonies, Thomas urged graduates to "work for a peaceful resolution of age-old conflicts, particularly now in the killing fields of Africa and elsewhere, and some sanity at home against rampant violence."

Raising concerns

A hunt in which Prince Charles and his sons William and Harry will participate is to be investigated after claims it is rearing foxes to kill, Britain's Masters of Foxhounds Association said.

An animal protection group, quoted by the BBC, said it had evidence that the Royal Beaufort Hunt in Gloucestershire in southwest England, was feeding fox cubs inside specially built shelters.

Such practices are banned under rules that say a fox should only be hunted in "his wild and natural state."

Just a bit loud

Fans of British heavy metalheads Motorhead may love their music loud, but the racket the band made in the hallway of a Denver hotel at 4:30 a.m. Friday received a less-than-enthusiastic response.

Mikkey Dee and two members of the English band's entourage were arrested after a disturbance at a Holiday Inn in downtown Denver. A guest at the hotel called security after he was awakened by pounding on his door and screaming outside.

It seems the band closed the bar at 2 a.m. then "I think they forgot which room they were in," a hotel spokeswoman said.

Thumbs up

The decision by the the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to rename its film center after the late film critic Gene Siskel has received two thumbs up from Roger Ebert, his former TV partner and sometimes verbal opponent.

Ebert is leading a $5 million campaign to pay for new facilities at the center.

"Art Institute," Ebert said.

Siskel died last year at age 53 from complications following surgery to remove a growth from his brain.

Today's birthdays

Banker David Rockefeller is 85.

Actress Uta Hagen is 81.

Former President Bush is 76.

Singer Vic Damone is 72.

Actor-singer Jim Nabors is 70.

Jazz musician Chick Corea is 59.

Sportscaster Marv Albert is 59.

Rock musician Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick) is 49.

Country singer-musician Junior Brown is 48.

Singer-songwriter Rocky Burnette is 47.

Actor Timothy Busfield is 43.

Actress Jenilee Harrison is 41.

Rock musician John Linnell (They Might Be Giants) is 41.

Rapper Grandmaster Dee (Whodini) is 38.

Blues musician Kenny Wayne Shepherd is 23.

Actor Wil Horneff is 21.

Singer Robyn is 21.

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