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Streisand Out of Retirement
June 12, 2006

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Barbra Streisand Sings for the Planet

Barbra Streisand is coming out of retirement — again.

By now, it's getting to be old hat.

It seems the announcement happens just about as frequently as an Al Gore doomsday forecast.

Speaking of global warming's nutty professor, Streisand is taking a page from the politician-turned-documentary idol and will sing in hopes of saving the globe. The Dem diva plans on touring the country this fall.

At a retirement announcement back in 2000, Streisand told her fans that she would never concertize again, saying, "I don't like performing. I feel like I'm in a beauty pageant."

For Earth's sake, though, Streisand will evidently take to the stage and croon at 20 concerts in various U.S. cities. Designated proceeds will go to support her pet causes, which include the environment, education and women's health with the Babs bucks being distributed through The Streisand Foundation.

The Streisand Foundation funnels cash to a lot of groups that are well known on the green scene, the Natural Resources Defense Council being a significant one.

"The increasingly urgent need for private citizen support to combat dangerous climate change, along with education and health issues, was the prime reason I decided to tour again," Streisand recently said in a statement. "This will allow me to direct funds and awareness to causes that I care deeply about."

As a participant in the effort to make the United States less dependent on foreign oil, Streisand often preaches about conservation. Back in the Gray Davis days when California was suffering from power blackouts, she issued on her Web site a press release titled "A Call to Conserve."

Streisand wrote, "We must make concrete changes in our lifestyles to help solve this energy crisis and now is the time to do it." She also recommended that folks make some energy sacrifices, including, "Turn up your thermostat to 78 degrees when you're home, and 85 degrees when you're out" and "Use warm or cold water to wash clothes and try to line dry as much as possible."

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I would send out kudos to Streisand for using her celebrity to extol the virtues of conservation, but it seems that her own environmental bell rings hollow.

Streisand and hubby James Brolin occupy an estate that has five homes and a 12,000-square-foot air-conditioned barn. As Peter Schweitzer points out in his book "Do as I Say, Not as I Do," her lawn sprinkling alone at her vast manor racks up a bill of $22,000 a year. (She also reportedly maintains her New York apartment at 42 degrees in order to stockpile her furs.)

Not that long ago Streisand brought a $50 million lawsuit against an environmentalist who had posted pictures of her Malibu digs on his Web site.

I spoke at the time to the defendant, Kenneth Adelman, a retired Silicon Valley businessman and dedicated environmental activist. Adelman was "surprised that Streisand went so far as to go to litigation."

Streisand's site even questioned the purity of Adelman's motives. "Although he purports to have undertaken his photography for environmental reasons, his Web site does not attempt to explain how depicting Ms. Streisand's home together with her name serves any environmental purpose."

However, Adelman explained that the photos provided a record of the coastline for environmental research and advocacy.

An L.A. judge ruled that the pictures did not violate Streisand's privacy and ordered her to pay the defendant's legal fees. According to Adelman's lawyer, Richard Kendall, after the parties were ordered by the court to settle on the amount of the legal fees, Streisand simply refused to pay any amount.

Forced to return to the court, Adelman asked the judge to make the reluctant performer square up. The judge ultimately ordered Streisand to pay $154,000 in attorney fees.

Adelman has now moved on. He's continuing his environmental project, Babs' objections notwithstanding.

It's a pretty safe bet that Adelman won't be buying tickets to Streisand's ecology tour.

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Copyright © 2006
James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
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