Money Matters - Simplified


Dr. Phil regrets making Spears statement

Los Angeles -- U.S. television personality Dr. Phil McGraw said, if he had to do it all over again, he wouldn't have spoken publicly about Britney Spears' mental state.

McGraw came under fire after he visited Spears at the request of her family, while she was hospitalized for a psychological evaluation earlier this month, then issued a statement about her condition and announced plans to do a Spears-themed episode of his "Dr. Phil" show.

"Was it helpful to the situation? Regrettably, no. It was not, and I have to acknowledge that and I do," USA Today said McGraw told the audience at a taping of an episode set to air Monday. "I definitely think if I had it to do over again, I probably wouldn't make any statement at all. Period."

Copyright 2008 by U

Salman Rushdie to speak at Emory U.

Decatur, Ga. -- Indian-British author Salman Rushdie is scheduled to give a lecture called "Autobiography and the Novel" at Emory University in Georgia next month.

The literary talk is open to the public Feb. 10 in Glenn Memorial Auditorium on the college's main campus near Decatur, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

"The lecture will be an examination of how the lives of writers intertwine with their work, and in what ways, if at all, the life can be said to be the best explanation of that work," Rushdie said in a statement.

The author began a five-year writer-in-residence program at Emory last spring, the Journal-Constitution said.

Rushdie became famous when he was forced to go into hiding for a decade after he was condemned to death in 1989 by the former Iranian spiritual leader Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini for his book "The Satanic Verses."

Magazine won't honor Grant after all

Washington -- The magazine Radio & Records Inc. has decided not to honor conservative U.S. radio personality Bob Grant with a lifetime achievement award as planned.

The trade publication was set to bestow its 2008 Lifetime Industry Achievement Award on Grant, 78, in Washington in March, the Washington Times reported.

However, the Los Angeles-based magazine announced this week it had decided against giving him the award because of racial statements he has made in the past.

"R&R is sensitive to the diversity of our community and does not want the presentation of an award to Mr. Grant to imply our endorsement of past comments by him that contradict our values and the respect we have for all members of our community," Radio & Records said in a statement posted on its Web site.

McCain, Obama win kids' primary election

New York -- U.S. presidential hopefuls John McCain and Barack Obama were the winners of Nickelodeon's first kids' primary election, the cable network said Friday.

Children nationwide cast their votes online. McCain received 24 percent of the Republican vote and Obama received 46 percent of the Democratic vote.

Nickelodeon said almost 80,000 votes were cast in the kids' primary election.

"What better way to explain to kids how the primary system works than to actually hold a primary for them?" Linda Ellerbee, host and executive producer of Nick News, said in a statement. "This year we have given kids a voice early on and allowed them to become part of the election process from the very beginning. I am thrilled to see that so many kids have come out to exercise their right to vote."

Pioneer cancer researcher Folkman dies

Boston -- Dr. Judah Folkman, the Boston researcher who discovered that the growth of tumors could be halted by cutting off their blood supply, has died at the age of 74.

Folkman, director of the vascular research program at Children's Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School, suffered an apparent heart attack Monday night, The Boston Globe reported.

While scientists took a long time to accept Folkman's work, his research has now led to a new generation of anti-cancer drugs, the report said. Pharmaceutical companies are testing angiogenesis inhibitors that have been proved to extend the lives of patients with advanced cancers.

Folkman was known for his modesty and was reluctant to claim credit for a cancer "cure."

"We never use the word 'cure' because it is far away," Folkman said not long before his death. "It may be that patients will have little tiny cancers that lie dormant for a long time."

Paris Hilton headed to Harvard

Cambridge, Mass. -- Heiress and Hollywood red-carpet fixture Paris Hilton has been named Harvard Lampoon's "Woman of the Year."

Hilton is slated to accept the award and speak publicly to Harvard University's student body at a large public ceremony in the middle of Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass., Feb. 6, said Regent Releasing, the studio behind her new big-screen comedy "The Hottie and the Nottie," which opens nationwide Feb. 8.

Founded in 1876, Harvard University's Harvard Lampoon is the world's oldest continuously published humor magazine.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International.

Cancer claims noted ghostwriter Janos

Brentwood, Calif. -- Noted ghostwriter Lee Janos, who co-wrote famed test pilot Chuck Yeager's autobiography, has died of cancer in Brentwood, Calif., at the age of 74.

In addition to helping the famous fighter pilot from West Virginia pen his autobiography, which sold more than a million hardcover copies, Janos worked as a speech writer for then-U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Los Angeles Times said Sunday.

One literary work Janos worked on diligently but which never went to print was an autobiography of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. In a 1993 interview, Janos said he had simply lost his motivation despite the wealth of stories from the noted magazine mogul.

"I just ran out of gas," Janos said of the project. "It really wasn't that his life wasn't fascinating. God knows it was. But I just couldn't afford to stay on the project. … When you lose your enthusiasm, you're just typewriting."

Ray says accessibility key to her success

New York -- U.S. culinary superstar Rachel Ray attributes her success and popularity to the fact the average person can easily replicate her cooking style.

Ray said her TV series "Tasty Travels" and her numerous cookbooks have universal appeal, the New York Post reported Sunday.

"I think the brand and the shows are successful because they're very accessible," Ray said in a recent interview with the Post. "Everyone can look at anything in the magazines or books or TV shows and know that they can do it themselves. So it's that level of comfort."

Along with her books and Food Network series, Ray has started the magazine "Every Day with Rachael Ray" and has her own line of bedding and cookware.

The 39-year-old, who has had no formal culinary training, told the Post her favorite thing about food is the limitless knowledge the culinary world can offer.

Sir Edmund Hillary to have state funeral

Auckland, New Zealand -- A state funeral will be held for Sir Edmund Hillary, the New Zealander who gained international fame by being the first to climb Mount Everest.

In a statement, his family indicated such a funeral was appropriate because it is "recognizing the impact (Hillary) has on all New Zealanders." Hillary died of a heart attack Friday, New Zealand time, in Auckland. He was 88.

"I have just heard they have accepted the offer of a state funeral," a spokesman for acting Prime Minister Michael Cullen told the New Zealand Herald.

A date for the funeral would probably be determined during the weekend.

Hillary died in an Auckland hospital, where he was admitted Monday, his wife, June, said in the statement.

"He remained in good spirits until the end," she said.

New Orleans preserves Mardi Gras tribes

New Orleans -- New Orleans is seeking to preserve Mardi Gras Indian tribes -- mostly black groups who don American-Indian apparel -- that were scattered by Hurricane Katrina.

The tribes, which number about 60, are mostly made up of African-Americans who adopt American-Indian culture and dress in traditional apparel for Mardi Gras as a way of paying tribute to Chickasaw, Choctaw and other tribes that offered refuge to runaway slaves, USA Today reported Friday.

Jordan Hirsch, executive director of Sweet Home New Orleans, an organization that has sought to restore the city's culture after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said about 100 of the estimated 300 tribe members in New Orleans left the city after the storm, while 100 others were displaced within the city.