Brad Pitt -- June 12, 2005

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It's easy to be cynical about celebrities and their causes. But before you snicker consider this: In the last year, evening news broadcasts devoted just over 5,000 minutes to foreign coverage -- but only 50 on Africa, less than 1 percent. But when Brad Pitt sat down for an interview with Diane Sawyer broadcast this past week, he got about as much network coverage for Africa as it got all year on nightly news shows. Who did it help more -- him or his cause? That's for you to decide. Here's more of what Pitt had to say about it.

Brad Pitt: "I understand celebrity's a currency and, no, I'm not going to cash that chip in unless I have to. As I say, I'm not comfortable necessarily doing this. I just feel like it's got to be done.

"On the first trip, my first few days, I found these scenes so daunting, complex in their horror, and the end of human existence in some way. And it's not until little by little I began understanding how we could change this-- We can change this.

"I have to say this: For me, the humanitarian argument is enough. There's no argument. And meeting these people, and having a woman who's worried about the kid she's going to leave behind cause she's ravaged with AIDS, and saying, 'Please get the drugs,' we just don't understand these kind of predicaments.

"We're talking about 11 million orphans. We're talking about families, entire work forces, the cream of the crop, gone. Great minds, gone. And these kids are left alone, these 11 million kids, predicted to be 25 million in five years. It's unfathomable. What does that mean? I can't picture that.

"What we've got to understand now: This is not just a cause. This is an emergency. It's not necessarily making our papers or our news, but this is a wildfire.

"I believe that we should be leading this plan -- as the richest country in the world, as the superpower that we are, that we should be leading this fight. And we should be sending our president, President Bush, on a wave of support to say this is something we're going to take the reins on and bring the rest of the industrialized countries with us."

Funnies

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno:

Leno: "Howard Dean [is] causing controversy again -- or as he's now called, Dr. Dean and Mr. Hyde. In a speech yesterday in San Francisco, he lashed out at Republicans, saying the Republicans all look the same, behave the same, and are a white Christian party. Apparently, it's not as diverse as his home state of Vermont."

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:

Stewart: "In practical terms, Mr. Prime Minister, what are you looking for?"

British Prime Minister Tony Blair [on tape]: "With respect to the African commission report, we set out a figure of the doubling of aid, and $25 billion extra is effectively what that would mean."

Stewart: "Boom. $25 billion. The call is out. Mr. President, what do you think?"

President Bush [on tape]: "I'm pleased to announce the United States will provide approximately $674 million."

Stewart: "OK. $674 million. Not only is that less than 3 percent of what Blair was looking for, it will also be paid out in increments of $6.74 a year for the next 100 million years."

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno:

Leno: "On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled against the use of medical marijuana. Of course, this came as a big shock to marijuana advocates, who showed up to argue the case -- today."

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