WALTERS 'GETS' THE BUSHES
Barbara Walters has snagged the first sit-down interview with President Bush since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Walters' interview with the president and first lady Laura Bush will air next Wednesday on the ABC News program, "20/20." The interview is scheduled to take place at the White House next Tuesday. "We can sit down and talk about anything we want," Walters told The New York Daily News. "We have also asked our viewers to e-mail us if they have any specific questions." Walters said she expects to go over such issues as the war in Afghanistan, Iraq and how the Bush family has personally handled the events of Sept. 11.
WITH A BADGE AND A GUN AND EVERYTHNG?
NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal knows what he wants to be when he grows up -- a lawman. "My goal is to eventually run for sheriff," O'Neal told reporters who cover his Los Angeles Lakers. Shaq said he would like to enforce the law in Louisiana or Florida. He played collage ball at Louisiana State University. Before joining the Lakers, O'Neal played for the Orlando Magic. He still has a mansion in Florida. He probably won't be running in any bad guys for a few more years, since he is under contract to lay down the law on the basketball court for the Lakers through 2006. But he has already begun his training, working with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "In the role of sheriff," said the big fella, "you really don't need police experience, because it's like a political position. However, if I'm going to do it and be with the troops and get respect from the troops, I want to do what the troops have done."
SURELY, SOME TEAM COULD USE A 'BIG' MAN
Charles Barkley has acknowledged that he is thinking about lacing up the sneakers and going back to work as an NBA forward, perhaps teaming up with his old pal Michael Jordan on the Washington Wizards. Barkley told HBO's Real Sports Thursday he knows he needs to get in better shape if he's going to play again. After all, despite losing some weight lately, Barkley still carries 290 pounds -- that he will admit to. "I miss playing," said Sir Charles. "I feel bad Michael is struggling and I think I could help him, but I need to lose another 25 pounds before I could help him." Barkley -- who currently works as an analyst for TNT's NBA telecasts -- couldn't hurt the Wizards. They're 4-10 this season, and even Jordan himself says the team stinks.
GLOVER WILL LEAD ANTI-AIDS EVENT
"Lethal Weapon" star Danny Glover heads the list of celebrities and activists scheduled to be on hand Saturday for a news conference in Los Angeles to announce the launch of the Black Media Task Force in AIDS, billed as an unprecedented initiative to increase coverage of AIDS in black media outlets. Former California congressman Ron Dellums is also scheduled to appear at the event at the Science Center in downtown L.A. Following the news conference, the Science Center will open "Heroes in the Struggle" -- a photo exhibit honoring 20 black leaders in the fight against AIDS. Saturday is World AIDS Day.
ARETHA DEMANDS TABLOID R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Aretha Franklin has filed a $50-million lawsuit against American Media Inc., accusing the company's Star tabloid magazine of defaming her by reporting that she abuses alcohol. The December 2000 story carried the headline: "Aretha Franklin Drinking Herself into the Grave." It claimed that the First Lady of Soul had canceled several concerts because of an alcohol problem that threatened to derail her career and ruin her health. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, accuses the Star of making the story up. The suit alleges that the article negatively affected Franklin's "ability to pursue her chosen profession."
JUDGE DISMISSES 'HARDBALL' SUIT
A federal judge in Chicago has thrown out a lawsuit by a Little League coach who claimed that the recent Keanu Reeves movie, "Hardball," defamed him. Reeve's character starts out as a low life -- drinking, scalping tickets and generally behaving irresponsibly. He finds redemption when he coaches an inner city Little League team. The movie was based on "Hardball: A Season in the Projects," by securities trader Robert Muzikowski. His defamation suit, seeking $11 million in damages from defendants, including Paramount Pictures, claimed the movie depicted him unfairly. The judge ruled that the character Reeves played in the movie was not necessarily Muzikowski.
UPI DAILY QUESTION NO. 215
Here's today's question: "Are you making plans to move anytime soon?" Put MOVE in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 210 (AWAKEN)
Last week we asked what time you awaken ... a kind of Part Two to an earlier question about your sleep habits. Here is a sampling of responses: WW asks what the word "bedtime" actually means. WW, I get your drift. Fran, who seldom answers surveys, says she gets up about 7:30 in the morning. Fran, thanks for being a part of our survey. Buddy is among the many who say that being on the computer can keep him up all night, or at least most of it. I was surprised at the number of people who don't go to bed until after two in the morning. Several voiced a concern that has been a crusade for me. Why don't people understand that if you go to bed at three or four in the morning, and get your needed sleep, and are happy with the arrangement, that it's your business. Plus, no matter how hard you try to explain, they still call you on the phone at 10 a.m., thinking they have waited long enough. I once asked a friend when he got up. "Six," he said. "OK, I'll call you at three tomorrow morning!" "But THREE is the middle of the night for me," he retorted. "TEN is the middle of the night for me," I reminded him. GBA.