The name of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden is being kicked around again this year for consideration as Time magazine's person of the year. The New York Daily News reported Thursday on the newsweekly's first-ever public forum on the process that Time editors use when they decide who is deserving of the title. Managing editor Jim Kelly said bin Laden is once again under consideration this year -- and was only passed up in favor of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani last year because many of Time's editors thought bin Laden was dead. ABC News correspondent John Miller said he thought Time "missed the boat" by not naming bin Laden last year. When President George W. Bush's name came up, New York State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer argued against it. "Bush has not been proactive," said Spitzer, "and he's been unsuccessfully reactive." Time's Washington bureau chief, Michael Duffy, did not seem sold on Bush as person of the year, but he did point out that the president has "expanded the powers of the presidency in a way we haven't seen in 20, 25 years." The list of possible candidates for person of the year discussed at the forum included rocker-TV star Ozzy Osbourne, "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling and a "Midwesterner" cover shared by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and rapper Eminem, said the paper.
SHANIA OR FAITH?
Some folks say there are two kinds of country music fans -- Faith Hill people or Shania Twain people. But both singers discourage that kind of thinking, preferring to acknowledge that they're just two different people and there's plenty of room in the world for both of them. They talked about the subject in interviews with "Access Hollywood," scheduled to run Thursday in most U.S. TV markets. "We both understand everything and have a lot in common there," said Twain. "We can appreciate what each other has to do and what we've been through ... I always thought Faith was under-rated vocally because of her beauty ... She is such a beautiful girl she really could have been a movie star based on her beauty alone but she is a beautiful singer." Hill said she doesn't compare herself to Twain "like everyone else on the planet does." Hill said her music is radically different from Twain's. "I mean, she sold a gazillion bazillion records! And I've done really well myself."
'HIP KID HOP' RIDES AGAIN
Scholastic, one of the leading publishers of books for juvenile readers, has announced plans to release new books by Grammy-winner Shaggy and singer-songwriter Kevi -- the newest entries in the company's Hip Kid Hop series of Read & Rap-A-Long children¹s books packaged with CD singles. The initial releases, "And the Winner Is" and "Think Again" -- written and performed by LL Cool J and Doug E. Fresh, respectively -- were launched in September. Shaggy's upcoming project is called "Hope." Kevi has come up with a book-CD called "Don't Talk to Strangers." Hip Kid Hop was the brainchild of Karyn Rachtman, music supervisor on such Hollywood movies as "Bulworth," "Reality Bites," "Clueless" and "The Rugrats Movie." The books are 32 pages, and the CDs contain the song version of the story performed by the hip-hop artists themselves -- followed by a music-only track that lets kids read and rap along on their own.
HONORS FOR NBC ENTERTAINMENT BOSS
NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker and his wife Caryn will receive the 2002 Spirit of Hope Award at The Help Group's 6th Annual Teddy Bear Ball in Beverly Hills on Dec. 8. NBC stars will play central roles in the event. Rob Lowe ("The West Wing") will emcee. Lisa Kudrow ("Friends") will present the award. Dennis Farina and Jean Smart ("In-Laws") will get in on the festivities as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. And Vanessa Lengies ("American Dreams") will perform with The Help Group's Children's Choir. The Help Group -- founded in 1975 -- serves young people with special needs related to autism, Asperger's Disorder, learning disabilities, emotional development, mental retardation, abuse and neglect. "Jeff and Caryn are extremely committed to children's causes and have a very special place in their hearts for the children of The Help Group," said Help Group President and Chief Executive Officer Barbara Firestone. The Teddy Bear Ball is a black tie gala that features a silent auction and a live auction conducted by Andrea Fiuczynski, President of Christie's auction house.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 464
Here's today's question: "From the moment your feet first hit the floor when you get out of bed in the morning to the moment you sit down for work or in the classroom, how many minutes have elapsed?" Put COMMUTE in the subject line and send to email@example.com via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 459 (SPACE)
Last week we asked whether you'd like to be shot into space and visit the International Space Station. From a rather random dip into the e-mail inbox, here are the results of the survey:
Would love to go into space ... 15 percent.
Would rather stay home ... 85 percent.
JonH in San Diego may have put it best: "I'm too busy trying to get my problems here on Earth straightened out to have time to fix anything in space." TOMORROW: Are you a bookworm? GBA