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LOS ANGELES --- Fuel prices have grounded an unexpected frequent-flyer: Diddy.

Sean "Diddy" Combs complained about the "too high" price of gas and pleaded for free oil from his "Saudi Arabia brothers and sisters" in a YouTube video posted Wednesday. The hip-hop mogul said he is now flying on commercial airlines instead of in private jets, which Mr. Combs said had previously cost him $200,000 and up for a round trip between New York and Los Angeles.

"I'm actually flying commercial," Mr. Diddy said before walking onto an airplane and sitting in a first-class seat and flashing his boarding pass to the camera. "That's how high gas prices are. I'm at the gate right now. This is really happening, proof gas prices are too high. Tell whoever the next president is we need to bring gas prices down."

NFL kickoff performer wants Super Bowl gig

NEW YORK --- Like the NFL teams beginning their new seasons, Usher is hoping to go all the way to the Super Bowl.

The R&B singer will perform the season's kickoff concert Thursday in New York's Columbus Circle along with Keith Urban and Natasha Bedingfield . The 3 p.m. concert will be held just before the season opener, when the Washington Redskins take on the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

Usher is aiming for the big game in February. The Super Bowl is one of the most sought-after gigs in music.

"I don't think it's too early to consider it," said Usher, speaking from Atlanta. "Certainly being associated with the organization makes that a lot more possible. There have been conversations for a lot of years about me being part of a performance at a Super Bowl."

Obama's use of song shocks Brooks & Dunn

NASHVILLE, Tenn. --- The two most surprised people in America after Barack Obama 's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention might have been the two men who sang Only in America , the song that played after his speech.

President Bush used the same Brooks & Dunn hit during his 2004 re-election campaign. The country duo have been big Bush supporters.

They didn't know the Democrats were going to use the song Thursday. Kix Brooks , who co-wrote Only in America , called the development "ironic."

He said it's "very flattering to know our song crossed parties and potentially inspires all Americans."

In other news

KAL PENN, who starred in the Harold and Kumar movies, is campaigning for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama this weekend at college campuses in North Carolina.


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Paine plans furloughs, salary cuts, layoffs

Paine College President George C. Bradley on Friday announced the college will implement furlough days, salary reductions and layoffs to save $2.4 million over the next fiscal year.
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