Saturday, March 15, 2003

Chick's remarks ruffle feathers

Nashville, Tenn. -- The Dixie Chicks are drawing criticism from country music fans for remarks singer Natalie Maines made about President Bush during a recent performance in London.

Maines told the audience earlier this week, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."

Angry phone calls flooded Nashville radio station WKDF-FM on Thursday, some demanding a boycott of the Texas trio's music.

The group's three members released a statement saying they've been overseas for several weeks and "the anti-American sentiment that has unfolded here is astounding. While we support our troops, there is nothing more frightening than the notion of going to war with Iraq and the prospect of all the innocent lives that will be lost."

Pneumonia hospitalizes Cash

Nashville, Tenn. -- Johnny Cash is being treated at a Nashville hospital for pneumonia, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The 71-year-old singer, who was admitted Monday to Baptist Hospital, is in stable condition, said Melissa Cantrell.

"He has a slight case of pneumonia and we expect to release him soon," she said.

Cash's manager, Lou Robin, said the singer is expected to be released sometime early next week.

Cash, who has scored dozens of hits including "I Walk the Line" and "A Boy Named Sue," suffers from autonomic neuropathy, a disease of the nervous system that makes him susceptible to pneumonia. Robin said Cash was diagnosed with the disease about 15 months ago.

Court rules on Paltrow stalker

Los Angeles -- A state appellate court ruled an Ohio man held in mental institutions since being convicted of stalking actress Gwyneth Paltrow was wrongly denied a hearing on his bid for placement in a conditional release program.

The three-justice 2nd District Court of Appeal panel decision, released this week, reversed Superior Court Judge Robert P. O'Neill's earlier ruling in the case of Dante Michael Soiu.

The justices said O'Neill erred in denying the 52-year-old's application without first holding an evidentiary hearing. The appeals court has ordered a hearing.

Soiu sent hundreds of letters, e-mails and packages to the 30-year-old actress and showed up at her parents' home, authorities said.

Paltrow testified during Soiu's trial that she was "very fearful" of him.

Soiu was convicted Dec. 14, 2000, of stalking her and sent to a high-security mental facility after O'Neill determined he was insane.