For Clooney, meeting presidents a family thing
Washington — Actor George Clooney says he still gets a thrill when he meets with President Barack Obama — but to his father that kind of thing is old hat.
Clooney and Obama met on Tuesday to discuss ways of averting a potential civil war in Sudan. They’ve had similar meetings in the past. The first time, Clooney had a photo of him and the president enlarged and sent to his father, journalist Nick Clooney, saying, “Not bad for a kid from Kentucky.”
Clooney told The Associated Press, “My Dad sent me back a picture of him in the Oval Office interviewing Gerald Ford and he’s like, you know, ‘Stand in line, pal!’”
Clooney seemed at home speaking with the president and other Washington officials this week, but said he has no interest in running for office himself.
He does, however, plan to continue traveling to Sudan, where he’s been on an “overloaded plane flying through thunderstorms in the middle of nowhere” and has been spat on by an old woman in a hut.
That was a good thing — his friend told him it was a blessing.
“That’s actually the first time I’ve been spit on and it was a blessing!” Clooney said.
T.I. helps talk down Atlanta jumper
Atlanta — Police got unexpected help talking a suicidal man down from an Atlanta skyscraper on Wednesday when rapper T.I. showed up.
Officer James Polite says the hip-hop star joined the crowd outside the 22-story office building in midtown Wednesday and told officers he wanted to help. Police said the man agreed to come down in exchange for a few minutes face-to-face with T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris.
“I told him it ain’t that bad. It’ll get better, to put the time and effort into making it better,” T.I. said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “I just reminded him know that I know. It looks bad right now, but it can turn around.”
T.I. said he heard about the situation on the radio and drove to the building to help. He recorded a video of himself on a cell phone and rescue workers took it to the man to prove the rapper was really there.
The Atlanta native said the man seemed to be “beat up by life.”
The suicidal man, whose name wasn’t released, was taken to a hospital.
Michael Jackson video set to be released
New York — Michael Jackson’s complete library of videos is being restored and rereleased, as well as a never-released clip for his song “One More Chance.”
The “Michael Jackson’s Vision” boxed set is due out Nov. 22 and includes 4 1/2 hours worth of material, including the full version of “Black or White,” which was cut short after its initial release due to violent imagery and Jackson’s gyrations.
Jackson made a short film for the song “One More Chance,” but it was never released. He was charged with sexual molestation in 2003, right around the time the single was released. He was acquitted in that case.
Other videos include Martin Scorsese-directed “Bad” and his most famous video, “Thriller.”
Jonas Brothers cancel Mexico show
Mexico City — Disney stars the Jonas Brothers have canceled a concert scheduled in the Mexican city of Monterrey because of security concerns.
Concert promoter Live Nation says the Oct. 21 concert was canceled due to “a series of unfortunate events” in Monterrey and out of concern for fans.
Monterrey is Mexico’s richest city and long one of its safest, but a wave of drug violence has shocked residents. More than 400 people have been killed this year in the state of Nuevo Leon, where Monterrey is located.
Gates dedicates United Way learning center
Alexandria, Va. — Microsoft founder Bill Gates has dedicated a new $17 million learning center at United Way Worldwide headquarters that will bear his mother’s name.
Gates said at Wednesday’s event at United Way headquarters that his mother got him thinking about volunteerism at a young age in conversations over the dinner table.
Most of the center’s initial funding came from a $10 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill’s mother, Mary Gates, was a longtime United Way supporter and board member who died in 1994.
The learning center will allow United Way to use high-definition video conference and webcasting technology to train staffers and volunteers at United Way chapters worldwide. Bill Gates Sr. also attended Wednesday’s dedication in Alexandria.
Hip-hop exec charged with gun possession
New York — A rising hip-hop record executive was arrested driving through New York City on Wednesday with a gun loaded with hollow-point bullets in his car, authorities said.
RCA Music Group senior vice president Bryan Leach, who has worked with a roster of rappers including Lil Jon and the bilingual Spanish/English artist Pitbull, didn’t enter a plea at his arraignment on weapons-possession charges.
Leach was pulled over for driving erratically in Manhattan shortly after midnight, prosecutors said. The .380-caliber, semiautomatic pistol was in the car’s central console, the six bullets inside, according to a court complaint.
Hollow-point bullets, which are legal in New York, expand after impact, a feature that can make injuries worse.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Leach has a gun permit. The laws he’s charged with violating concern having a loaded gun outside one’s home or business, among other things.
Leach, 41, runs his own label within RCA’s stable, Polo Grounds Music. Crain’s New York Business named him one of its “rising stars” under 40 in 2007 and cited his role in fostering the Southern-influenced rap style known as crunk.