Little ditty 'bout President Bush: In an open letter on his official Web site, John Mellencamp and his wife, model Elaine Irwin-Mellencamp, rip into Bush so hard they make the Dixie Chicks look like the president's staunch supporters by contrast. The Mellencamps write: "George W. Bush has lied to us, failed to keep our own borders secure, entered a war under false pretense, endangered lives and created financial chaos ... It is time to take action here in our land, in our own schools, neighborhoods, farms, and businesses. We have been lied to and terrorized by our own government, and it is time to take action. Now is the time to come together." "Ain't that America?" indeed. (JohnMellencamp.com)
Does Matt Lauer have a little Limbaugh problem? The National Enquirer, which broke the news about Rush Limbaugh's Hillbilly Heroin addiction, is now reportedly fixing to publish allegations that "Today" cohost and new papa Lauer did coke back in the '80s. "Matt bought cocaine from me five or six times," a man who claims to be Lauer's former friend and dealer -- and who is said to have passed a lie detector test -- told the tabloid. "He would come to my house, we would do two or three lines of coke together and we would hang out." A "Today" spokesman has labeled the story "pure fiction." And he didn't inhale either. (Rush and Molloy)
Sad happening: Fred Berry, aka Rerun from the '70s favorite "What's Happening!" has hey-hey-heyed for the very last time. The comedian, who was 52, has died at his home in Los Angeles. The cause of death is still under investigation, but Berry's buddies say he had diabetes and had recently had a stroke. He'd also struggled with alcohol and drug addiction in the past, explaining in a 1996 interview, "The stress of success got to me. The fat jokes got to me ... I was empty inside." (N.Y. Daily News)
Play ball!: David Gest's lawyer, Raoul Felder, on Liza Minnelli's move to file for divorce from his client one day after he alleged that she regularly beat him during their 16-month marriage: "If it is an innocuous divorce, fine. If it is anything we don't find acceptable, we have enough stuff to get the entire Yankees and their bullpen a divorce. There is enough there for 18 divorces." (N.Y. Daily News)
Once a bridesmaid, never tired of writing about the bride: Minnelli friend Cindy Adams on Gest's spousal abuse claims: "His court papers say she's addicted to alcohol. Trust me, he's an addict, too. The guy's currently in publicity withdrawal. To David, being without a front page is like Liza without fake eyelashes." (Cindy Adams)
Best of the Rest
Page Six: Robert Downey Jr. said to be contemplating suing Woody Allen for promising him role in film and then canceling at last minute, claiming addiction-fighting actor would be too expensive to insure. Winona Ryder also ticked at revoked promise, said to have been "shocked when she found out she couldn't be in [Allen's as-yet-untitled] movie"; NBC said to be pissed at ABC for ignoring embargo and traipsing all over their Elizabeth Smart exclusive; Hard Rock Hotel & Casino owner Peter Morton throws fundraiser for Gen. Wesley Clark; Carrot Top denies that he's gay, despite reported gay bar sighting, does not, however, deny report that he has "incredibly ripped arms."
Rush and Molloy: Courtney Love said to be in bitter custody battle with Kurt Cobain's mother over Love's 11-year-old daughter, Frances; Courteney Cox's rep on reports that Cox is pregnant, "We're not commenting. When they're ready to announce it, they will"; Adrien Brody and Orlando Bloom said to have competed for the attention of Charlize Theron, who's already seeing "Queen of the Damned" actor Stuart Townsend; Roger Clinton sued after car accident; and Michael Jackson -- challenging the phrase "better late than never" -- finally planning to release 9/11 charity ballad "What More Can I Give."
Boldface Names: Tommy Chong (from prison, where he is serving nine months for conspiring to sell bongs) on Rush Limbaugh: "I feel sorry for Rush. I'm glad I'm not Rush. My vice was pot; you can put it down, it's not addictive at all, though some say it's psychologically addictive. I feel sorry for anybody on heroin. He was on a painkiller called OxyContin that's been called Hillbilly Heroin." Adds that he's not bitter that he's in jail while Limbaugh's in rehab: "Not at all. It's a totally different case. Mine is political, his is medical. Is it unfair? Yes, it is. But I would hate to have Rush Limbaugh change the way they handle addicts. You don't put addicts in jail, you put them in rehab. You put political figures like myself in jail."