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Dispatches : Celebrities

Greg Mortenson and CAI Go To Trial Over Three Cups of Tea

ThreeCupsofTeaImage courtesy of Central Asia Institute

The lawsuits started roughly a year ago and they have evolved over time to include new and different plaintiffs, but today will be the first day that lawyers for Greg Mortenson, CAI, David Oliver Relin, and Penguin enter a defense in a courtroom. Judge Sam Haddon of the Federal Courthouse in Great Falls Montana will preside over hearings to decide whether the case over fabrication in Three Cups of Tea should move forward. Four plaintiffs from three states have alleged that Mortenson and company intentionally made up facts in Three Cups of Tea in order to trick people into buying the books and donating to the charity.

The case is the second major event this month related to Mortenson. On April 6, the Montana attorney general kicked him off of the board of CAI and fined him $1 million for using charitable contributions to travel and pay for the promotion of his book. The next financial punishment could be even bigger, as the plaintiffs are asking for a dollar amount that is triple the amount of sales of Three Cups of Tea, plus punitive damages.

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Remembering California Coast Conservator Peter Douglas

PdouglasPeter Douglas    Photo: Courtesy of California Coastal Commission

The next time you find yourself on a stretch of pristine California coastline, you can thank Peter Douglas for what you don't see, such as high-rises or offshore oil-drilling platforms. The 69-year-old, who died April 1, fought hard against coastal development throughout his storied career as an attorney and the director of the California Coastal Commission.

His and the commission's long list of conservation victories includes blocking the Pebble Beach Company from developing a golf course that would have cleared thousands of trees. His work to protect public access led to the development of a number of state parks all along the state's 1,100 miles of coastline. Tomales Bay in Marin County, north of San Francisco and Crystal Cove State Park in Orange County are two examples. 

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Discovery Terminates Bear Grylls

This morning the Hollywood Reporter broke the news that the Discovery Channel has ended its relationship with its beetle-eating megastar Bear Grylls. According to the story, the dispute concerns two unnamed projects that Discovery wanted Grylls to participate in. Discovery issued a terse statement: “Due to a continuing contractual dispute with Bear Grylls, Discovery has terminated all current productions with him."

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Kaenon Sauces Up Its Shades With G-Love

SpecialsauceIn honor of blues rocker Garrett Dutton, a.k.a. G.Love, Kaenon Sunglasses took their classic Burnet shades and blinged them up. The Burnet Special Sauce shades have a tortoise/matte black finish and a white inlaid logo with Kaenon's proprietary SR-91 polarized lenses, for maximum glare reduction and smoky bar cred. The company says that the style was inspired by G-Love's "individual style and his respect for classic blues music." Watch the video homage here

Next up? Maui Jim teams with Justin Bieber?

-Berne Broudy

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A Sad Day In Cycling: The Contador and Armstrong Decisions

Shutterstock_1516194The Dangers of Drugs via Shutterstock, Photographer Julien Tromeur

The cycling world is collectively sighing this morning, some in relief, others in disgust. If you're like me, no matter how you feel about the two big doping stories jamming the cycling airwaves today, the prevailing emotion is simple, overwhelming fatigue.

After literally years of waiting, in the past 72 hours the cycling world received decisions in not one, but two of the highest profile doping inquests running. Last Friday, the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California announced in a short statement that the nearly-two-year investigation into whether Lance Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs was closed and that no charges will be filed. Then this morning, the Court for Arbitration for Sport handed Alberto Contador a two-year ban for his positive test for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France. Contador's ban will be served retroactively, and the Spaniard will lose all results since the doping infraction, including the 2010 Tour de France title.

Though contrasting in many ways, the two decisions offer similar lessons.

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