, May 15 (UPI) -- COURAGEOUS CARTER CONFRONTS CUBA'S CASTRO
It's impossible to imagine how much courage it must have taken for former President Jimmy Carter to tell a live national radio and TV audience in Cuba they need to turn toward democracy. Additionally, when Carter told Cubans about a fledgling pro-democracy movement in their midst, Fidel Castro was in the front row. The event is still difficult to fathom ... one of the most popular former presidents in history spilling the beans about a little-known democracy movement bent on getting rid of a dictatorship while the man they want to topple from office is sitting listening to the speech. Well, Castro must not have been too upset, after all he took Carter to an all-star baseball game later in the day and even had his guest throw out the first pitch.
SENATOR BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN? COULD BE
There's a move afoot in his native New Jersey to convince mega-rocker Bruce Springsteen to run for the U.S. Senate. The political expert who managed the successful gubernatorial campaign in Minnesota of wrestler-turned-politician Gov. Jesse Ventura says Springsteen is right for the job. Doug Friedline is spearheading the drive in the Garden State to put Springsteen's name on the ballot. After all, if a wrestler who was only marginally known can become governor, why can't one of the best-known entertainers in the world become a member of the Senate? In spite of all the things that a "Springsteen For Governor" campaign would have going for it, the Chronicle News Service says that one thing it doesn't have -- at least so far -- is a candidate. Springsteen continues to show little interest in the idea.
DEATH OF SINGER'S DAD RE-INVESTIGATED
Police in Oklahoma City say they are re-opening an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of the father of singer Toby Keith. Hubert Covel was killed in March when his truck crossed a median on an Interstate highway south of the Oklahoma capital city. Local media are reporting that it was first thought that Covel may have suffered a heart attack that caused him to lose control of his vehicle. His truck eventually slammed head-on into a charter bus. Now court records show that a woman has come forward saying that a collision between her vehicle and Covel's sparked the accident. Jeannie Sparlin, 29, says in an affidavit that her pickup truck collided with Covel's truck, sending it out of control. She then left the scene of the accident.
PARTON AND RAMBO ... FOR THE FIRST TIME
Two country music legends have recorded their first duet. CMT says that Dolly Parton and Dottie Rambo recorded a track called "Stand by the River." It will appear on Rambo's newest gospel album, to be released later this year. Additionally, the pair filmed a music video version of the song. It will be used in a special on PAX TV. The program will be filmed before a live audience at Nashville's venerable Ryman Auditorium. The broadcast will be called "More Than the Music Live: An All-Star Tribute to Dottie Rambo." Barbara Mandrell has been asked to be the host of the show. Parton and Rambo have been friends since the '60s.
ACCIDENTAL TOURISTS GET $5 ROUNDTRIPS
The "accident" didn't last very long ... only 45 minutes. But during that time a lot of extremely lucky travelers, who could not believe their eyes, got $5 roundtrips on United Airlines. The reason, says the carrier, is that its computer goofed. The company told media Tuesday that it's not sure how many people snapped up the "too good to be true" bargains, but the $5 tickets will be honored. And the trips were not just for short hops. Even some transcontinental flights to popular destinations such as Los Angeles and San Francisco were included. The glitch developed when a computer program that was supposed to give customers a $5 discount suddenly started giving out $5 fares. It's not the first time this has happened to United and other airlines. With the rise of computer on-line reservations where no human being is present, it will likely continue to happen ... occasionally.
POPE JOHN-PAUL II: I'M HERE TO STAY
The pope celebrates his 82nd birthday this week. And, according to Vatican Radio, he has no intentions of letting age or physical problems cause him to step down. Amid turmoil in the American church over abuse allegations and worldwide liberalization of religious dogma in general, the Polish-born pontiff says he will continue to serve as long as he has the strength. He made the comments during a general audience in St. Peter's Square, where he received best wishes and birthday cards from thousands of tourists in Rome. In spite of his deteriorating physical condition -- which includes Parkinson's disease and major joint problems -- John-Paul is about to embark on yet another trip, this time to Azerbaijan and Bulgaria. He will be on the road for five days. By the way, President Bush says he wants to meet with the pope this summer.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 333
In light of the statement by the pope and recent surveys about church attendance, here's today question ... not about dogma, but a simple question: "How often do you attend church, synagogue, mosque, temple? Is your frequency of worship much different than it has been in the past?" Put WORSHIP in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org. And, if you don't want your name mentioned (though we always use abbreviations or nicknames) please note that.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 328 (HORSE)
When Seattle Slew died last week we asked your feelings about horses and horse racing. From a sampling of e-mail, here are some of your replies: cricketn is among those who doesn't bet on horses nor has any real affinity for the animals but was amazed that Slew sired 1,000 offspring. (Busy boy). Pam S is among those who feel that betting on any kind of animal races is close to abuse and will never bet on an animal. Nigel has placed only one bet on a horse race. He won $140 and decided to quit while he was ahead. On the other hand, Tish -- who once worked at a fairgrounds -- placed a bet and LOST. Among those who do bet occasionally, the average bet has been about $20. Peggy says that some people are so good at betting they use it as an income. keke lives only 15 minutes from Arlington Race Track and has won several trifectas, one for $5,000. (keke, wish I could do that well at bingo). TOMORROW: Your thoughts on classical music. GBA.