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Laura Bush to Host ‘Today’!

The First Lady–for–a–little–while–longer will make a very special appearance on the 'Today' show next week.

Dr. Laura: Basically, It Is Silda's Fault That Her Husband Cavorted With Whores

 Dr. Laura
The Today show invited noted moralist Dr. Laura Schlessinger on to promote her book Stop Whining and Start Living and to discuss Eliot Spitzer's sex scandal this morning. But they seemed surprised when, predictably, she acted Dr. Laura–ish: “When the wife does not focus in on the needs and the feelings, sexually, personally, to make him feel like a man, to make him feel like a success, to make him feel like her hero, he’s very susceptible to the charm of some other woman making him feel what he needs,” Schlessinger said. Today hostesses Meredith Viera, Ann Curry, and Hoda Kotb stared at her. There was palpable silence. It was awkward, even for us at home. Finally, Viera managed to speak: “You’re saying the women should feel guilty that they somehow drove the man to cheat?” she asked. “The cheating was his decision to repair what’s damaged and to feed himself where he’s starving,” Schlessinger explained. “But, yes, I hold women responsible for tossing out perfectly good men by not treating them with the love and kindness and respect and attention they need.” Right, because Spitzer was clearly a perfectly good man. Jezebel has video if you'd like to give yourself that nice, midday outraged feeling. Dr. Laura: Women share blame for cheating men [MSNBC]

Alessandra Stanley Misses Katie Couric's Clickety Heels

Katie Couric
The Times has had some great moments in cattiness: Caryn James weird takedown of Angelina Jolie ("While visiting orphans in Africa; did she think viewers wouldn’t spot her cat’s-eye makeup and heavily glossed lips?"); Maureen Dowd's Hillzilla column; in fact most of Maureen Dowd's columns about women. But Alessandra Stanley's 2005 categorization of Katie Couric's Today show persona as a "downright scary" is one of the greats. "America's girl next door has morphed into the mercurial diva down the hall," Stanley wrote. "At the first sound of her peremptory voice and clickety stiletto heels, people dart behind doors and douse the lights." But like a woman that loves a man even though he treats her bad, two years on, Stanley is still missing the frisson, the danger, the excitement brought by La Couric. "Changes on Today have smoothed out some of the more interesting quirks," she writes in her column about the pastel dullness of lady-friendly TV shows like Today and The View. "Ms. Vieira, who replaced Katie Couric more than a year ago, is pleasant but bland, and not forceful enough to dim the ascendance of Ms. Curry, who was passed over for the top co-host job but seems determined to play the role anyway." Aha! We think we see the healing beginning. Could Anne Curry be the television dominatrix Alessandra needs to hurt her so good? Morning TV Veers From News to Frills [NYT] Previously: 'Today' Seeks Yesterday's Glory [NYT]

Padma: When in Doubt, Suck Face With Salman

Padma Lakshmi
A prankster made lewd comments to Ann Curry and Matt Lauer during a media conference call between TV writers and the Today anchors. Banker Rafael Follieri, boyfriend of Anne Hathaway, flew commercial from Atlanta to New York despite supposedly owning a private jet. Padma Lakshmi was overheard telling someone she still was "still trying to work the secret to a great relationship out" hours before she made out with Salman Rushdie at Bungalow 8. (Rushdie also almost fell asleep during a play at the Guggenheim on Saturday.) Ivanka Trump couldn't get into East Village dive Black and White because she didn't have an I.D. The smoking hot ex–First Lady of France, Cecilia Sarkozy, is coming to visit New York with her kid.

New Katie Couric Unauthorized Bio Slings Mud, Curry

Katie Couric
Katie Couric just can't get a break – the embattled CBS Evening News anchor doesn't have to just struggle with sagging ratings, now she also has to deal with a new hatchet job by celebrity unauthorized biographer Ed Klein. The Daily News unearthed a few nuggets from Katie: The Real Story today, and it ain't pretty. Klein claims (quoting, as always, anonymous sources) that Katie's marriage to late husband Jay Monahan was basically over well before he succumbed to colon cancer in 1998 — and that she's subsequently painted a happy portrait of their relationship to strategically position herself as a struggling widow. Not to butt in further, but relationships during illness are complicated, difficult, and private. This accusation seems like a low blow even for Klein, whose similar books about Hillary Clinton and the Kennedys were best-sellers. The author also claimed that Couric was jealous of co-presenter Ann Curry and tried to get in the way of her advancement. Which is funny, because we always thought the only thing getting in Curry's way was her own inability to complete a sentence. Talk About Katie Hatin' [NYDN] Related: Alas Poor Couric [NYM]

The Continuing Education of Mrs. Ross Continues

Courtney Sale Ross, founder of the Ross School in the Hamptons and the new Ross Global Academy charter school in the Tweed Courthouse, is not the easiest person to work for (as Phoebe Eaton reports in this week's New York.) Construction on Ann Curry's townhouse on West 71st Street has led to four lawsuits from angry neighbors. Bruce Willis got a make-out session with Courtney Love on his 52nd birthday. Michael Jackson is in talks to build a 50-foot robotic replica of himself in — where else? — Vegas. Governor Eliot Spitzer is liberal with the compliments. Former Studio 54 busboy and current Nobu managing partner Richie Notar will run Ian Schrager's Asian fusion restaurant in the Gramercy Park Hotel. The former chef at 44 used to serve Calvin Klein McDonald's French fries for lunch, and Klein was none the wiser.