Rihanna and Chris Brown in December: How times (and appearances) have changed.
Rihanna and Chris Brown in December: How times (and appearances) have changed. (By Evan Agostini -- Associated Press)
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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Rest in Peace, Socks

End of another White House pet's era: Socks, former cat of Bill Clinton, was euthanized yesterday morning.

Socks's caretaker, Betty Currie, broke the news to our colleague Al Kamen yesterday afternoon. The cat had been suffering from jaw cancer and seemed unable to get up after collapsing in his litter box yesterday morning.

"He wouldn't eat for two days," Currie told "This morning, when I got up, he didn't get up [too] like he normally would." Given the cat's deteriorating condition, Currie consulted a vet, who agreed that it was probably time to put Socks to sleep.

The Clintons adopted Socks for their daughter, Chelsea, while Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas, and brought him to the White House in 1993. The black-and-white kitty was a familiar sight throughout the Clinton administration -- in which Currie served as the president's personal secretary -- and had been living with Currie in Hollywood, Md., since Clinton left office in 2001.

In a joint statement, Bill and Hillary Clinton said Socks had brought their family much happiness, and thanked "our good friend, Betty Currie, for taking such loving care of Socks for so many years."

Socks would have turned 20 this spring. Currie said she plans to have the former First Pet cremated.

Leak of Photo Irks Police

If you had access to the month's most speculated-upon photograph, would you leak it? Someone did: The photo in question is, allegedly, a police snapshot of a bruised and beaten Rihanna, and now the Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the unauthorized release of it.

The close-up head shot, posted Thursday on, shows a woman's face -- obviously swollen -- with welts above each eyebrow and marks on her cheeks and around her lips. The woman appears to have a left-shoulder tattoo of Roman numerals, similar to one sported by the 21-year-old pop star from Barbados.

TMZ, a blog-style Web site about celebrities, did not say how it obtained the picture. For its part, the LAPD declined to confirm the photo's origin -- a statement said the image "has the appearance" of one taken during a domestic violence investigation -- but wasted no time in launching an internal investigation Thursday night. Officers are asking the public for help in finding the person who leaked it, calling its release "serious misconduct, with penalties up to and including termination."

If authentic, the photo was likely taken on Feb. 8, when R&B singer Chris Brown, 19, was arrested and booked on suspicion of making felony criminal threats to an as-yet-not-officially-identified woman. An anonymous source told the Associated Press that the alleged attack victim was, in fact, Rihanna, rumored to have been Brown's girlfriend at the time. The source said some of the injuries shown in the photo -- specifically the marks on the woman's forehead -- were consistent with injuries Rihanna is said to have sustained in the alleged attack.

Rihanna's father, Ronald Fenty, told Us magazine he had mixed feelings: "It's good and it's bad to see the picture because there's other people who were thinking differently, that [Rihanna's injuries] may not be that bad, just a little spank or a little thing."

Meanwhile, prosecutors have requested more information before deciding how to charge Brown. Police said he could face domestic abuse charges.

End Quote

"I haven't told anyone this, but . . . all the acceptance speeches are going to be sung. There will be some interpretive dance behind them, and I really think it will be beautiful and touching." -- Hugh Jackman, host of tomorrow night's 81st Academy Awards ceremony, joking about the telecast's mysterious "new format" (the producers have kept generally mum).

-- Marissa Newhall, from staff, wire and Web reports

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