Filmmaker blasts Bush

Beverly Hills, Calif. -- Michael Moore, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker and political activist, accused President Bush of exploiting the public's fears after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to launch what Moore called an unnecessary war against Iraq.

"This is all a cover and what's so outrageous about all of this is that this man, George W. Bush, would use the deaths of Sept. 11 ... as a cover for his right-wing agenda," Moore said Thursday night as he accepted the Eleanor Roosevelt Freedom of Speech Award from the Southern California chapter of Americans for Democratic Action, a liberal activist group.

The activist from Flint, Mich., is up for best documentary at Sunday's Academy Awards for "Bowling for Columbine," which explores America's gun culture.

Moore also is the author of the best-selling book "Stupid White Men ... And Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation," which criticizes American politicians for favoring corporate wealth over public well-being.

Liz Taylor leaves spotlight

New York -- Elizabeth Taylor is giving up show business for good, saying raising money to fight AIDS is more important to her than acting.

Taylor said when she goes to the Academy Awards Sunday, in honor of the ceremony's 75th anniversary, it will be her last entertainment appearance.

"At the end of the broadcast, all the past winners are going to walk across the stage. So that will be my swan song on the stage," she told "Access Hollywood" this week. "I've retired from acting; it doesn't really interest me much anymore. It seems kind of superficial because now my life is AIDS, not acting."

Dog all that's left after J.Lo

New York -- A chocolate Labrador retriever named Buster is one of the few things Cris Judd has left from his brief marriage to Jennifer Lopez.

The dog was a gift from Lopez to Judd, her second husband, to whom she was married for nine months. She and the choreographer split up in June, and Lopez, 32, is now engaged to her "Jersey Girl" and "Gigli" co-star, Ben Affleck.

Judd, 33, acknowledges that it's difficult seeing Lopez and Affleck's highly publicized romance.

"It's always awkward," said Judd, the recent winner on the reality series "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" on ABC. "I mean, how would you feel if you saw your wife with some guy on the TV every day?"

Memphis fetes musical roots

Memphis, Tenn. -- Sheryl Crow, ZZ Top, Jerry Lee Lewis and LL Cool J are among the headliners scheduled for the Beale Street Music Festival.

The May 2-4 festival along the Memphis riverfront will feature more than 60 acts, including Willie Nelson, Nappy Roots, Susan Tedeschi and Steve Winwood, promoters said this week.

The outdoor show is one of the main events of the monthlong Memphis in May International Festival. "This is the 'Year of the Blues,"' said George Hunt, who designed the concert's promotional poster. "And I think that this festival will give you that kind of feel where this music really came from."


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