Andrea Peyser needs Al Sharpton's help. The Post columnist has been doing her sneering best to try to pump some racial tension into the trial of three cops accused of murdering Sean Bell. Lately, though, Peyser sounds more frustrated than incendiary: "This was supposed to be a case about racist cops shooting a black man for no good reason," she recently complained. Where is Reverend Sharpton to make an inflammatory stand when you need him?
Disney World, that's where!
Maureen Dowd says she did not mistake a Times of London columnist for Michelle Obama. Ted Kennedy may or may not have had Graydon Carter spike a story about an illegitimate child of JFK. Tommy Hilfiger is getting married to former model Dee Ocleppo. Rosie O'Donnell stopped drinking because she was getting too fat. Jerry Seinfeld said he's not going to return to TV because he's "old, rich, and tired."
Before he became the mayor of America, Rudy Giuliani was the dark, petty, vindictive, small-minded, and possibly racist mayor of New York, GQ reminds us in their February issue's "Oral History of Giuliani's Temper," in which mostly the usual suspects (Ed Koch, Al Sharpton, Jerry Hauer) share stories of tangling with Rudy at his well, rudest. "He has this streak, Rudy, where he looks for unnecessary confrontations," retired NYPD chief Louis Anemone says. "Is he overcompensating? I sure as hell don’t know. But I worked with men, I worked with real men, and they didn’t have to do that." Ouch. With Giuliani melting in the polls lately, the takedown doesn't seem as urgent as it must have however many months ago they conceived of it, and there's not a lot of new stuff, but it is a nice little walk down memory lane. All of the great incidents are here: Amadou Diallo, Giuliani's role in the 1992 police riots, the scandal with the Brooklyn Museum, Abner Louima. Basically, it's like a big, juicy gossip sesh, made all the more fun for the fact that Giuliani is probably pretty steamed up about it, since, as lawyer Marcia Paul puts it, "one wonders more than anything else whether the man has a sense of humor."
Al Sharpton's financial records were subpoenaed by the FBI yesterday, reports the Daily News. The Feds are looking into whether Sharpton lied to obtain (and then misuse) federally matching funds during his oddball 2004 presidential race. They are also investigating allegations of tax fraud. You'll recall that State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo also called attention to the Reverend's lax tax habits in October. We're interested to see what all of this scrutiny turns up (a dead body? Swiss bank accounts? Four hundred pounds of pomade?), but what really delighted us about this story was the official comment from Sharpton's lawyer, Michael Hardy:
"I can't think of a time when the Rev. Sharpton wasn't under investigation," he said.
What's that sucking sound? Oh, right — that's the Ghost of Christmas Present siphoning all feeling but holiday cheer out of the city. It's December, people, and you know what that means. Company holiday parties! This is the week the season kicks into high gear, and so we're reintroducing our Office-Party Patrol feature. Last year, we had dedicated partygoer Julia Allison crash company booze fests, but now she is too booby and famous, so we're doing it ourselves. If we can't get into a party, we'll accost the drunkest person we see leaving it and find out everything you're missing. In today's premier installment, we take you to the ever-evolving Sunshine Sachs PR party and the ever-devolving CollegeHumor.com fête — and we rank each one for food, drink, venue, debauchery, and exclusivity. Who won? Don't be silly people — at office holiday parties, nobody wins.
Ethan Hawke is dating the woman who used to be his kids' nanny. Mayor Bloomberg hit Joey Pantoliano with his car. Former Condé Nast chairman Steve Florio is still in the hospital despite having suffered a stroke two weeks ago. Former Sopranos star Aida Turturro left Stereo the other night after finding out that the stagehands' strike was over. Fergie took the stage twenty minutes late at a Wilhelmina party because of a wardrobe malfunction. A fourteen-acre property in Southampton is going on sale for $59 million.
Is it possible? Is Andrew Cuomo doing something admirable? Even though he's political allies with Al Sharpton, the attorney general is calling out the Reverend for failing to file financial statements with the A.G.'s Charity Bureau. In New York, Sharpton is so influential that he generally does what he wants without any kind of criticism or scrutiny (heard anybody talking about Tawana Brawley lately?). But his National Action Network has failed to file statements for years, keeping its income, salaries, and expenses a secret from the government. Sharpton blames an electrical fire in the charity's offices in 2003, which destroyed many records, but if Cuomo pursues this with the righteous zeal which he's lately been trying to make his trademark, we hope to learn a little bit more about the enigma that is Al Sharpton. After tilting at some windmills, Cuomo's finally found a tabloid-worthy target that is interesting and politically risky. Somebody give his PR people a raise!
Andy vs. (P)al In Lax-Tax Probe [NYP]
Bill O'Reilly's comments on his radio show about that time he dined at Sylvia's with Al Sharpton, as noted by Media Matters, caused such a furor earlier this week that last night CNN was prompted to ask:"Is Bill O'Reilly Comment on Race an Imus Moment?" Today, the rage faded a little, not because of O'Reilly's impassioned defense of himself but because it was so obvious from the tape that he was genuinely surprised by the fact that black people are just as civilized as white people. "Imus' 'nappy-headed hos' remark was clear-cut, shocking racism with a hefty dash of sexism to chase," wrote Rachel Sklar of Eat the Press. "O'Reilly's comments were ignorant as hell and betrayed so preconceived notions, that's for sure, but if you read his comments in full, they read like 'clueless white guy' rather than 'deliberate racist.'" But is it something more than cluelessness?
Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have had a difficult relationship over the years — at times a bitterly difficult one — and it's about to get even more complex. This week, Sharpton will go into direct competition with Jackson, his theoretical mentor and occasional father figure, by opening a branch of his civil-rights advocacy group, National Action Network, in Jackson's hometown of Chicago, where the elder activist's own civil-rights advocacy group, the Rainbow/PUSH coalition, is headquartered. "There is a demand in that market, and we're answering that demand," Sharpton told New York, innocently. "Every generation does its own thing. Growth of the movement is a good thing." A Chicago press conference to announce the new National Action Network chapter is planned for Wednesday, and neither Jackson nor anyone from Rainbow/PUSH is on the list of scheduled speakers. But someone interesting is: the Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr., Barack Obama's pastor. (He's the guy who once titled a speech "Audacity to Hope," giving Obama book ideas.) While it's unclear if Wright is sidestepping his fellow Chicago clergyman to ally with Sharpton, his daughter, Jeri Wright, definitely is. She'll be running Sharpton's new outpost. She gave Jackson a heads-up earlier this week, she said, and he wasn't upset: "He said, 'Whatever I can do to help, just let me know.'" —Geoffrey GrayRelated:Rev Vs. Rev [NYM]
• As if last night's man-made horrors weren't enough, here's one from Mother Nature: A tornado touched down in Islip Terrace, uprooting trees and ripping up a law office, as two storms pummeled Long Island at the same time. [WNBC]
• Some Wall Street Journal employees answer phones by drawling "News Corporation" in an Australian accent. [NYT]
• Congress is refusing to pass a "routine resolution" honoring the New York Archdiocese because it mentions scandal-tainted Cardinal Edward Egan by name. Honorable, we guess. Remind us why Congress is honoring archdioceses in the first place? [NYP]
• Al Sharpton, who led the drive to get Don Imus fired, will have no problem with his nemesis' return to the airwaves: "He has a right to make a living." So does the Rev, who clearly needs new material. [amNY]
• And mazel tov to Mark Malkoff, who visited every Starbucks in Manhattan — there are 171 — in 24 hours. Bad news: Dude's an "aspiring filmmaker" and, naturally, filmed the journey. [NYDN]