Questions raised about moderator's impartiality
New York - PBS journalist Gwen Ifill, moderator of the upcoming vice presidential debate, dismissed conservative questions about her impartiality because she is writing a book that includes material on Barack Obama.
Ifill said Wednesday that she hasn't even written her chapter on Obama for the book "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama," which is to be published by Doubleday on Jan. 20, 2009, the day a new president is inaugurated.
"I've got a pretty long track record covering politics and news, so I'm not particularly worried that one-day blog chatter is going to destroy my reputation," Ifill said. "The proof is in the pudding. They can watch the debate tomorrow night and make their own decisions about whether or not I've done my job."
The day before the Joe Biden-Sarah Palin debate, columnist Michelle Malkin wrote in the New York Post about Ifill's book, saying, "She's so far in the tank for the Democratic presidential candidate, her oxygen delivery line is running out."
Celebs getting out the vote
New York - How do you get kids to vote? Just say no.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, Tobey Maguire, Eva Longoria Parker and other stars are using reverse psychology to get young people into voting booths on election day.
In a new public service announcement that hit YouTube and other online outlets Wednesday, DiCaprio says: "Please - just don't vote." Others echo his plea: "Don't vote."
But the stars soon twist the message: Voting is a civic duty and the only way to effect change.
"I mean, seriously, ... after this whole video - if you're not gonna vote, I don't even know what to say. ... You know you have to vote," says DiCaprio, who produced the PSA.
Also appearing: Ellen DeGeneres, Forest Whitaker, Dustin Hoffman, Demi Moore, Sarah Silverman, Jonah Hill, Ashton Kutcher, Courteney Cox, Laura Linney, Natalie Portman, Jamie Foxx, Usher, Kyra Sedgwick and will.i.am.
Rapper kicks off voter registration tour
Atlanta - Bow Wow once thought that politics was only for "old folks," but the 21-year-old platinum-selling rapper said he's had a change of heart and wants other young people to vote.
"I used to think going to the mall and hollering at girls (was) more important," he said. "But in reality, we are in a different time now. My focus now is to take it a step further to make a change and vote."
On Wednesday he kicked off a 15-city tour urging people to register for the Nov. 4 general election. He and about 50 followers spent most of the day walking more than two miles from downtown Atlanta to nearby colleges.
Bow Wow, whose real name is Shad Moss, said he felt compelled to act after seeing the financial struggles of his family and friends but he's not promoting any specific candidates.
Several other hip-hop artists are also pushing for fans to vote, including moguls Russell Simmons and P. Diddy and Atlanta rappers Young Jeezy and T.I.
Separately, rapper and music mogul Jay-Z is set to spend this weekend urging his fans to register to vote and then to vote for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. He'll perform a free show in Detroit on Saturday and one in Miami on Sunday.
Women's shelter cuts Bernhard after bad joke
Boston - A women's shelter on Wednesday cut headliner Sandra Bernhard from its annual benefit after she said Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin would be gang-raped if she ever visited New York.
Bernhard's made the remarks last month during her one-woman show in Washington before Palin visited New York to campaign. Bernhard said Palin would be "gang-raped by my big black brothers" during a diatribe in which she also criticized Palin for opposing abortion rights.
Many guests at Rosie's Place, a Boston shelter, have been victims of violence, public relations director Leemarie Mosca said.
"In light of our mission, we don't think violence against women is a laughing matter," she said.
Mosca said the shelter expected to book a replacement before the Oct. 16 luncheon "Funny Women ... Serious Business."
No Phish tale: Jam band announces shows
Montpelier, Vt. - Those reunion rumors weren't just cut bait: Four years after disbanding, the time seems right to Phish.
The Vermont-bred foursome on Wednesday announced three concert dates next March in Hampton, Va., a longtime favorite venue for the band and its fiercely loyal fans. Other 2009 dates will be announced later, according to a notice posted on the band's Web site.
Ambrosia Healy, a spokeswoman for the band, confirmed in a news release the dates of March 6, March 7 and March 8, 2009, at the Hampton Coliseum. She said band members weren't available for interviews Wednesday.
After a more than 20-year run that saw its audience build from a few people in Burlington, Vt., bars to a Grateful Dead-like cult following, Phish called it quits in 2004. Though their fans continued to pack stadiums around the country that year, it was clear that fatigue and personal problems began to subtly erode the band's intricate and demanding live sound.