The Battle for Congress

Cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder wants to overthrow booze heir Edgar Bronfman as World Jewish Congress chief. Two openly gay members of the state assembly refuse to sponsor a gay-marriage bill out of fear of alienating Speaker Sheldon Silver. Senator Chuck Schumer spent a year writing his book and used Al Gore as a consultant. Victoria Beckham won't convert to Scientology, because it's too expensive. Lindsay, Paris, and Britney were all no-shows at Scott Storch's birthday party last month, but Derek Jeter and Ludacris were there.

R&B singer Mario serenaded Miss Universe Zuleyka Jerris Rivera Mendoza at a club last week. Isaiah Washington doesn't hate gays; he hates people. The Village Voice is having trouble filling its media-columnist spot. Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel went snowboarding together in Utah. Carmen Electra is fine with rumors that she's hooking up with Joan Jett. Paul Verhoeven's upcoming WWII drama, Black Box, may actually be more offensive than Showgirls. Palm Beach firefighters are up in arms over a cost-saving detergent switch. Top Vandella Martha Reeves is now a Detroit city councilwoman. Serial dumper Anne Heche may be dating co-star James Tupper. Schools chancellor Joel Klein had a better table at Elios than did Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo. Mystery writer Lawrence Block wrote a non-smut "smut book" back in 1964 that is getting rereleased. Liz Smith thinks Cameron Diaz should go back to being blonde.