7/9 Peach Buzz: Atlanta cheating scandal becomes late-night punchline

The Atlanta Public Schools system cheating scandal first exposed by the AJC has become a national story, with all that national exposure entails. Time magazine called it "likely the largest cheating scandal in U.S. history to date," but the story has seeped into the pop-culture side of things, too. "This is a shocking story," Jay Leno said during his "Tonight Show" monologue on Thursday. "Teachers – teachers! – in Atlanta – are accused of altering the students' answers on tests to improve the scores. To raise the scores, they changed the tests. I guess it was pretty hard to catch them. For some reason, nobody could put two and two together." That corny quip got laughs and groans. Leno continued, saying, "You know who gets hurt by something like this? The kids. The kids are the ones who get hurt, because they're never going to learn how to cheat on their own. When they get jobs on Wall Street and become lawyers they're not going to know how to lie and cheat and steal properly. It's a horrible thing."

Nancy Grace to headline fundraiser

"I know that a lot of people hate me and say rotten things about me," Nancy Grace told The Hollywood Reporter, referring to her aggressive coverage of the Casey Anthony trial. The folks at Southwest Christian Care, on the other hand, love her. The faith-based organization, which provides care for medically fragile children and children with special needs, and hospice care for terminally ill patients, has announced Grace will give the keynote speech at its 19th annual dinner and auction. Chick-fil-A founder and chairman Truett Cathy is the event's lead corporate sponsor. "Because all services are provided at no cost to patients or their families, it is very important for the community – and particularly business leaders – to generously support this effort," he said in a statement. The event will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park. Call 770-969-8354, ext. 222 or see www.swchristiancare.org for information.

Celebrity birthdays

Actor-singer Ed Ames is 84. Actor James Hampton is 75. Actor Brian Dennehy is 73. Actor Richard Roundtree is 69. Author Dean Koontz is 66. Actor Chris Cooper is 60. TV personality John Tesh is 59. Country singer David Ball is 58. R&B singer Debbie Sledge (Sister Sledge) is 57. Actor Jimmy Smits is 56. Actress Lisa Banes is 56. Actor Tom Hanks is 55. Singer Marc Almond is 54. Actress Kelly McGillis is 54. Rock singer Jim Kerr (Simple Minds) is 52. Actress-rock singer Courtney Love is 47. Rock musician Frank Bello (Anthrax) is 46. Actor David O'Hara is 46. Rock musician Xavier Muriel (Buckcherry) is 43. Actor Scott Grimes is 40. Actor Enrique Murciano is 38. Musician/producer Jack White is 36. Rock musician Dan Estrin (Hoobastank) is 35. Actor-director Fred Savage is 35. Country musician Pat Allingham is 33. Actress Megan Parlen is 31. R&B singer Kiely Williams is 25. Actor MitchelMusso is 20. Actress Georgie Henley is 16.

Contributing: Rodney Ho, news services