'West Wing' screenwriter and former Al Gore speechwriter Eli Attie and Wonkette's Ken Layne discuss the inscrutability of undecided voters, whether the debates will matter, and what Philip K. Dick has to do with it.
Wall Streeters hope that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's plan for overhauling the U.S. financial system is an April Fools' joke, Goldman head Lloyd Blankfein buys his maid a nice apartment, and someone has a birthday in our roundup of finance, law, media, and real-estate news.
• Esquire reports on how Heath Ledger spent his last days... except the story is not exactly true. Or, um, tasteful. [Vulture]
• Let the deluge begin! Media companies line up to bid for Weather Channel, which is up for auction. [DealBook/NYT]
• Wal-Mart appears to be irritated by Meredith Corporation's creative tactic of selling its magazines, which include Better Homes and Garden and Ladies' Home Journal, at the Dollar Tree store. [Folio]
Back in 2004, when Al Gore threw his weight behind Howard Dean, his endorsement didn't mean so much. But since Al-the-Bore's extreme makeover, in which he magically transformed from a grizzled, depressive also-ran into a Nobel Prize–winning environmentalist and Hollywood darling with a powerful economic voice (he's on the board of Apple and a consultant to Google, among other things), Gore's blessing has become very prized indeed. "Gore is, without question, the biggest 'get' when it comes to the fight for endorsements on the Democratic side," the Washington Post noted earlier this fall, and Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama the other day was barely out of his mouth before pundits started wondering when, or if, the Goreacle might speak.
Bono says that being with Al Gore is like "being with an Irish priest." Mel Gibson supposedly distanced himself from Heath Ledger after Ledger chose to play a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain against Gibson's counsel. Celebs like Sean Penn and Kevin Spacey may like Hugo Chavez because of his drugs.
Though New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has been hogging all of the attention, he's not the only one who's been by flirting with entering the presidential race while coyly denying it (or, as David Remnick rather grossly put it in an editorial in the New Yorker this week, keeping "the interest of the press well fluffed"). As we mentioned back in November, CNN demagogue Lou Dobbs also dipped a toe into the stream, when he published a column on his Website about how a mysterious third-party candidate just may enter the race. The Wall Street Journal checks in with Dobbs today. "I haven't got the personality or nature to be a politician," he told them. Well, that's that, right? But then! A teaser. "I cannot say never." Not even when it involves giving rights to illegal aliens, Lou?
Here we go again. This reminds us: What's Al Gore doing these days?
CNN's Lou Dobbs for President? He Says No, Sort ofWealth of Nation: Comment: The New Yorker [NYer]
Earlier:Lou Dobbs Is Thinking About Running For President???
• Jeff Bercovici wants to know: "What's Regan's price for selling out her country?" After all, if Regan's info on Giuliani is that damaging, shouldn't she divulge it in any case, no matter how much Uncle Murdoch is willing to offer? [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
• Dan Rather's lawyers are getting fed up with CBS nondisclosure agreements. "Who do these guys think they are? The National Security Agency?" [NYO]
• Intrepid Observer reporter spends 45 minutes staring through a window just to see who showed up to a lame Times party. Now that's journalism! [Media Mob/NYO]
Al Gore's Generation Investment Management, the London-based securities firm he runs with former Goldman vet David Blood, is moving its American headquarters up from Washington D.C. to the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park. “It’s just a decision that we’ve taken lately that the very best place for us to be positioned for our clients and our business is New York City,” Peter Knight, the company's president of American operations, tells the Observer. The building is sustainable — it expects to receive certification from the US Green Building Council when it opens in May — making it a natural for the firm, which combines securities analysis with research into issues like climate change. But we have to admit we're a little worried about one thing: Is it going to be good for Gore to be so close to the tempting yet calorific delights of the 'Wichcraft creamery?
Al Gore Moving Into Douglas Durst's One Bryant Park [NYO]
• Al Gore, venture capitalist? The Nobel laureate and Apple board member is taking a hands-on role at Kleiner Perkins, the leading Silicon Valley venture firm. His goal: Save the world. And annoy GE's Jeff Immelt as much as possible. [Fortune]
• Harvard picked Robert S. Kaplan, a former Goldman Sachs vice-chairman, as the new steward for the $35 billion endowment. Something tells us his kids won't have any trouble getting in. [Reuters via NYT]
• A few management consultants with nothing better to do gave the Times its newest buzzword: CEO version 3.0. With the departures of Stan O'Neal, Chuck Prince, and Richard Parsons, it's now time for leaders "who can assemble a team that functions as smoothly as a jazz sextet." Because, as James Cayne showed, the old CEOs were way too bebop. [NYT]
Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, has finished her historical novel, Hart Moor, she told us earlier this week at the Quill Awards. It's scheduled to come out next year. "It's my first historical novel, but I have written 24 books and I've written 12 children's books," she explained. Fergie spent three years on research (she was paid a reported $1.8 million for the book from St. Martin's in 2005, before it had even been started). "It's about my heritage: a redhead," she said. "It's set in 1759." We hear Fergie's been in talks to make it into a movie as well, which is very exciting. The British royal has managed to keep her profile up even after she left the ruling family. She's done a lot for charity work, and she's won children's-book awards. If she makes an Oscar-winning movie, somebody get this lady a Nobel Prize! —Amy Odell