Krossphoto_2This just in! 

Britney Spears checked-in to rehab at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads in the Caribbean island of Antigua. News sources are reporting that she refused to stay, however, and ultimately checked-out less than twenty-four hours later and returned home – bald!

Nicole Ritchie has been charged with driving under the influence. With a prior DUI conviction, Richie is facing mandatory custody time, as well as possibly being in violation of probation on the old case if she admits to the new one. Purported statements made (while Ms. Richie was detained) that she took Vicodin and smoked marijuana before driving will likely result in video footage of her reporting to a private jail.

Anna Nicole Smith’s will names lawyer, companion, and potential "baby daddy" Howard K. Stern as executor. Drafted prior to Dannielynn’s birth and Daniel’s death, the 2001 document indicates that Anna only had a son and does not financially provide for her five month old daughter. Where she’ll be buried, paternity, the exact value of her estate, and how high Access Hollywood’s ratings will soar covering this saga, are just some of the tough issues surrounding this case.

Shielded pass an avalanche of boos from a pack of non-admirers, security had to cancel an autograph session for Paris Hilton after lipsticks and packs of cigarettes started being hurled at her.  The latest Newsweek cover girl with no discernible talent (who is also, allegedly, contributing to the demise of young women everywhere) was in Austria attending the Vienna Opera Ball, Austria’s society event of the year.

In one of the areas still devastated by damage from Hurricane Katrina, two men were murdered and a third man was critically wounded in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward.  The February 15th killings were the latest in a round of bloodshed that has rocked a city struggling to rebuild itself and the tourism industry it so desperately needs.

This is the second Mardi Gras being celebrated in the French Quarter since Katrina blew into town on August 29, 2005. Flooding 80 percent of the city and killing 1,300 people, this woman has wreaked more havoc than Naomi Campbell, Foxy Brown, and Omarosa combined. As revelers get their party on in the MIA and NYC, and the Internet buzzes on about who’s walking around Au natural or releasing the next Hollywood celebrity sex tape, local law enforcement estimates indicate that as many as 26 people have been killed in New Orleans just within the first 45 days of 2007.

Having survived broken levees, a new wave of storms, and seeming indifference from a nation consumed with ingesting bad Peter Pan peanut butter while picking their next American Idol, many folks from Louisiana aren’t feeling very united with the grand ole U.S. of A. right about now. And yet the steady stream of parades scheduled up to Fat Tuesday next week continue, as thousands of homes still sit damaged and abandoned…

As less than half of the pre-storm population of 480,000 have returned to the land of crawfish and legendary jazz…

As people who have returned home are overwhelmed — by the crime, lack of planning, abundant red tape, housing shortages, and questionable leadership…

As public transportation remains essentially unchanged for an entire year with only 17 percent of pre-Katrina buses in operation…

As more than half of the public schools and nearly 70 percent of child-care centers in Orleans parish remain closed, and limited hospital emergency rooms are at capacity.

As the president I voted for asks for a surge in troop levels in Iraq, while despair deepens and dangerous conditions remain in Darfur.

As the stock market surpasses 13,000 while black teenage employment numbers remain stagnant.

As Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy and Forest Whitaker make Oscar history in their respective acting roles.

As Hillary and Barrack go head to head for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

As Black History Month limps to an end.

Excuse me, there’s breaking news to report!

E! Online is posting that Lindsay Lohan’s Wonderful Rehabilitation Center days are over. The actress "has finished her stay and will continue the program as an outpatient," rep Leslie Sloane said in a statement.  "She is taking it one day at a time, as she is in it for the long time. She asks that [we] respect her privacy."

For a moment, I was actually starting to drift away from what’s really important.  My apologies!

Former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kevin Ross is a writer and political commentator.

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