CRIMINAL REFERRAL GOOD FOR BUSINESS?
When Congressional investigators finally threw up their hands and asked the Justice Department to determine whether Martha Stewart had lied to Congress about possible insider trading, the development seemed to be good for business at the taste-maker's company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. On Tuesday, the same day as Rep. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin, R-La., said that he and other members of Congress were "deeply skeptical" as to whether Stewart was telling them the truth, stock in her company rose almost 17 percent, closing at $9.05. Stewart consistently refused to appear on Capitol Hill to testify about her sale of 4,000 shares of ImClone Systems on Dec. 27 -- one day before the Food and Drug Administration rejected the company's application to market a drug for treating cancer. Although Justice is still looking into the affair, Tauzin made it clear that Congress is finished trying to get to the bottom of the deal. The price of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia shares is still down more than 50 percent since the first news accounts of the ImClone deal in June.
REEVE DOCTOR: NOT SO FAST
The news that Christopher Reeve has regained some movement and sensation -- 7 years after a horseback riding accident left him paralyzed from the neck down -- caused quite a bit of excitement Tuesday. But Reeve's doctor is cautioning his patient not to get too excited about the prospects that he might one day step out of his wheelchair. Although Dr. John McDonald knows of no precedent for the degree of recovery Reeve has experienced, he also knows that it's impossible to say whether the "Superman" star will actually walk again. "Personally, I have never seen it," said McDonald, who is medical director of the Spinal Cord Injury Program at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. However, McDonald said Reeve's progress means that "very few people" will now say that a more complete recovery for Reeve is impossible.
LOOKING INTO RYDER'S PAST
Prosecutors in Los Angeles want the judge in the Winona Ryder shoplifting case to look at evidence that the actress had a history of "prior acts" before she was arrested last December and charged with stealing $4,800 worth of clothes and other merchandise in Beverly Hills. Prosecutors made the request in a motion filed under seal, so details are a closely held secret. There is no court record that Ryder had ever been charged, let alone convicted, in the past. The motion was filed under California law allowing evidence of past criminal activity to be admitted, to help prosecutors prove facts in criminal cases. The Oscar-nominated star of "Little Women" and "Girl, Interrupted" is scheduled to have a hearing Thursday for the judge in the case to set a trial date. However, a postponement is expected since her lawyer, Mark Geragos, has a scheduling conflict. Geragos argues that Ryder is being unfairly singled out for prosecution and that the charges against her simply arose out of a misunderstanding.
TOM GREEN EXPLAINS DRINKING GAG
Tom Green was back on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" Monday for the first time since he got drunk on the air -- downing more than half a dozen shots of Jägermeister. He sounded almost penitent as he told Leno he has no memory of throwing up in the limo that the show arranged to carry him home after the spectacle on June 26. "I feel the need to redeem myself since the last time I was here, Jay," said Green. He said his friends had told him he "puked in the car." The admission contradicts the official story Green's publicist put out in June -- that the 70-proof liqueur hadn't made Green sick at all. Explaining his attempted joke in June, Green said he got the idea after watching videotapes of "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" -- featuring people like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra downing cocktails on the set with Carson.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 413
Today's question is: "Do you think the World Trade Center towers in NYC should be rebuilt? Put WTC in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 408 (TERROR)
Last week we asked your memories about the events of one year ago. I wish we had the space to print them all. But in the days since I asked the question, it occurred to me that on this anniversary the airwaves and the wire services are going to be overflowing with tributes and remembrances. So, I elected to draw out one reply and print it. It turned out to be a great story.
It's from a reader who is identified only as PD342: "The morning that the WTC was attacked, I was at school teaching. Another teacher came into the room and casually announced that she had heard that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. I thought that she was just talking but not really knowing anything actually, until I turned on the television that happened to be in the room. I was shocked when I saw what she was talking about.
"I immediately ran to the elementary side of the school to get on the pay phone to call my family in New York because my brother-in-law worked at the WTC. I could not get through and my brain played different scenarios of death and destruction. I prayed for the safe return of Bob to his family because his wife and young son needed him.
"Thankfully, he was able to get to a phone and call my sister, telling her that he thought that a bomb had hit (the building). When she asked for more info from him the line went dead. Thankfully, he got out safely and when he got home immediately went to church to thank God that he survived. Many of his friends were not that lucky. When I got home my sister had left a message on my phone stating that Bob was safe." So, my thanks to all who responded.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE: With today's column, we discontinue the notation "GBA" at the bottom. For the past year, I've put "GBA" (God Bless America) at the bottom of this column. Now it's time to move on ... but the thought will still be there. GBA!