Governor David Paterson was just sworn in and gave his first address as head of the state. And boy, was he excited. It was hard not to get giddy for him, even though he took about ten minutes to introduce everybody that came to see the event (Hillary Clinton! Chuck Schumer! The governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts! (The last of whom is also black!) Mayor Bloomberg! Paterson's stepdaughter! Yaaaaay!). Every dignitary in the audience seemed to be wearing at least one piece of ridiculous green flair, which added a comical air to the proceedings. Paterson allowed himself only one swipe at Spitzer, saying: "[My wife] Michelle and I have a different kind of marriage," before pausing for laughs. His speech was centered upon the theme of moving forward "in spite of obstacles and regardless of circumstance." He also challenged party leaders to work together on issues, unlike in the past. To close his speech, he couldn't resist a moment of triumph. "Let me reintroduce myself," he shouted. "I am David Paterson, and I am the governor of New York State." We wondered whether it was too much, but then, as the standing ovation stretched toward two minutes long, we realized it wasn't. This guy is going to be fun.
Bruce Willis yelled, "I've abandoned my son!" four times while dining at Freemans with an exotic dancer the other night, then did shots with the bartender. Mick Jagger, Q-Tip, and Leonardo DiCaprio were all hanging out at Upstairs on Monday night. Kathleen Turner's Crimes of the Heart castmates can't tell if she's drunk or just tired. The Observer's Spencer Morgan "bitch slapped" Men's Vogue writer Hudson Morgan at the Beatrice Inn, but they made up soon after. Matthew McConaughey's chest is at the top of In Touch Weekly's list of Top Ten hot chests. Jason Bateman and Ricky Schroder are not working on a screenplay of Silver Spoons, although that would be awesome.
• How did Judith Regan's high-level lawyers let her bat-shit-crazy legal complaint get through? Oh that's right, she's Judith Regan. [Legal Pad/Fortune]
• CBS finally got around to filing their motion to dismiss Dan Rather's suit. The network claims they are "mystified" by Rather's "bizarre allegations," and that the lawsuit amounts to a "regrettable attempt by plaintiff Dan Rather to remain in the public eye, and to settle old scores and perceived slights, based on an array of far-fetched allegations." [NYO]
• Karl Rove signed on to become a regular contributor to Newsweek. Maybe they should consider changing their slogan to "fair and balanced"? [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
Chuck Schumer is bearing bad news. So bad that it affects you personally. Yeah, you, the one with the family of four who lives in New York (side note: What, are you crazy?). See, our senior senator just discovered that the United States is paying way more for the Iraq war than we thought: If we stay the course, he says, the nation's costs will exceed $3.5 trillion. Schumer, along with other senators and representatives, have released the report "War at Any Price? The Total Economic Costs of the War," which totals the real national costs of the war (hint: It's more than double what the Bush administration would like you to think). And $55 billion of that has already been spent by New York taxpayers alone. You, with that family of four? By the end of 2008 you'll have already paid $21,000. Chuck Schumer wants you to see it in those highly personal terms, and for you to get upset. His office sent out a press release about it, even. $21,000 is a lot of money. That's like a year of private elementary-school education for one of your children! Gone out the window, to someone who needs an armor-plated Humvee in Kirkuk in order to survive potential IED attacks.
Wait, now we're confused. What are we supposed to care about again?
'Hidden Costs' Double Price Of Two Wars, Democrats Say [WP]
• Incoming Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes may well spin off the company's huge cable unit, but a sale of Time Inc. looks unlikely since the small potential proceeds (and big tax penalty) would little benefit a company of Time Warner's size. [NYT]
• Times editorial-page editor Andy Rosenthal calls all executive editors, including Bill Keller and his own father, crazy. Sweet. [Radar]
• Rupert Murdoch is confirming to all his friends he plans to bring in Times of London editor Robert Thomson to become the Journal's publisher as part of an "Aussie invasion" in the first few months of next year. [Guardian via Media Mob/NYO]
• The nation's largest mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial, almost out of credit. Oh. No. [NYP]
• Recent hedge-fund woes look far from contained — they've even inspired a country song. [DealBook/NYT]
• Chuck Schumer's bright new plan for taxing private equity: raise taxes on all partnerships, not just big firms like Blackstone. How Democratic. [Reuters via DealBook/NYT]
• While A.G. Andrew Cuomo was investigating him, Eliot Spitzer gagged two aides by quickly designating them "special counsels" — which bestowed lawyer-client privilege on their internal chats. Clever, and ever so slightly nauseating. [NYP]
The latest great debate over federalism is being waged over an unlikely group: rich folks taking $2,500 chartered whirlybirds to the Hamptons. Noise from their choppers has been driving people batty all along the LIE, and, as we noted earlier, Chuck Schumer has started calling for federal oversight of the increasingly crowded route. And now the helicopter people are fighting back. Todd Rome — the president of Blue Star Jets, which handles nearly all NYC-to-Hamptons helicopter charters — will publish an op-ed in Sunday's Times, predictably fuming about Schumer overreach; instead of the "complicated and costly" federal involvement, he proposes that helicopter operators dampen the din voluntarily. (Blue Star is in a uniquely safe position here, because it books choppers but doesn't operate them.) "To regulate helicopter noises would also be bad for the economy," Rome helpfully adds. It's unclear how some of the smaller companies can afford the new technology needed by Rome's plan, but, hey — perhaps the same customers who shell out two grand to shave 45 minutes off their Friday commute will be happy to absorb the costs.
Earlier: Who's Choppering to the Hamptons? Rich Families
Chuck Schumer launched another one of his constituent-pleasing crusades this week: He wants the FAA to regulate the flight paths of rent-a-chopper services that whisk the city's plutocracy to the Hamptons on the weekends. They'd be restricted to "noise-abatement routes" along freeways and over the water, leaving Long Islanders feeling a bit less like they're living in a suburban Apocalypse Now. But are Hamptons-bound helicopters really such a problem? Increasingly so, as it turns out. This year, Blue Star Jets, which books for the area's six operators and their 35 helicopters, reports a 15 percent increase in chartered traffic to the beach; it expects to have booked 500 trips by the end of the summer. Even worse, with the average trip costing about $2,500, the passengers are the sorts of people used to getting what they want. "People will come with eight steamer trunks like they're boarding the Titanic," says pilot Charles Humphries. "Then we have to explain to them that they can either take their friends or their bags."
After college, Chuck Schumer picked a girl over a scholarship. 50 Cent is really rich. Gay activists don't like John Travolta in the Hairspray movie because he's a Scientologist, not because of his performance. Brian Grazer is getting divorced. Eliot Spitzer banged his head on the trunk of his car. Rufus Wainwright defends Anderson Cooper's lifestyle and choice of gym. Maggie Gyllenhaal might come to Broadway as Nellie in South Pacific. Kevin Spacey partied at Lotus. Lily Allen put on a bad show at the Roseland Ballroom, then she hung out with Josh Hartnett. At Graydon Carter and Anna Wintour's party for Nicholas Coleridge's A Much Married Man, Ron Perelman thought the book was about him.
• Eliot Spitzer doesn't just want DNA samples from all convicts and parolees. He also wants automatic HIV tests for all rape suspects, in a bill that's dividing Albany, where some Democrats see testing "by virtue of indictment" as a slippery slope. [NYT]
• Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is quickly turning into a tiny local version of Tom DeLay: First came the strategic purge of a community board, now he's in hot water for accepting a free cruise on Queen Mary 2 after lobbying Cunard to dock the ship in Red Hook. [NYP]
• Accounting assistant could be a pretty lucrative job, provided you're ready to (a) steal and (b) go to jail. Eileen Koranteng, for instance, parlayed said gig at Riverdale Country School into both a $500,000 windfall and fifteen years behind bars if convicted.
• Chuck Schumer has Lyme disease! The senator is receiving treatments after he was bitten by a deer tick in the Hudson Valley. In an odd coincidence — this is not a joke — he's proposed a $100 million research grant to study the disease. [WNBC]
• And in a first that doesn't bode well for the future of the Postal Service, Saks Fifth Avenue's shoe department got its own Zip Code: 10222-SHOE. Nice PR move, but we're not sure Saks is ready to embrace the yo-mama-so-fat- she-has-her-own-Zip-Code jokes. [amNY]
• New Jersey governor Jon Corzine has acknowledged giving "large gifts" to union boss Carla Katz, whom he dated shortly before running for the office. How large? Well, the words "tuition bills" and "mortgage forgiveness" come up. [NYP]
• The city is on what the News gleefully terms "pervert alert," as a whopping 64 sex offenders who had claimed to be living in NYC housing projects turn out to be unaccounted for. (Giving cops a bogus address is a misdemeanor in itself.) [NYDN]
• RightRides, a ride-home service for women who'd rather not walk alone at night in troubled neighborhoods, is giving volunteers camcorders to film their walks; eerie first-person views of deserted streets are intended as evidence but accidentally double as compelling video art. [MetroNY]
• We knew Chuck Schumer was a bit of a compulsive camera hog, but we had no idea why: Turns out the senator's Rosebud is a triumphant quiz-show TV appearance in 1967, wherein 16-year-old Chuck helped his James Madison team defeat Flushing High. [NYT]
• And it's on: White Castle versus Mayor Bloomberg! The slider chain, as well as its buddies Wendy's and Quiznos, are pulling all nutritional info from their menus in defiance of the new NYC law mandating just the opposite. The reason is, supposedly, lack of space, and we're far too classy for a rat-as-ingredient joke. Or are we? [All Headline News]
• That was fast: Spitzer has earned the epithet "tyrannical" for the first — and probably not the last — time in his gubernatorial tenure. Apparently, the Spitz now tours fellow Democrats' districts to individually rip the legislators for reneging on the comptroller deal. [NYDN]
• Late policeman Cesar Borja became the human face of the post-9/11 illnesses befalling first responders. The Times bursts that heroic bubble today by reporting that Borja wasn't even a second responder; he never rushed to the site on 9/11 and simply picked up a few shifts there, in December 2001, for overtime pay. [NYT]
• The president, meantime, can't keep his mitts off another hero — Wesley Autrey, our bunny-hat-sporting subway savior; weeks after his cameo at the State of the Union, he is back at the White House for some sort of George Bush Cares About Black People shindig. (Among other invitees: Charlie Rangel.) [NYP]
• Chuck Schumer, Christine Quinn, and Hillary Clinton pile on Clipper Equity, threatening to block its Starrett City purchase unless they see an ironclad pledge to keep the complex's 6,000 units affordable. Turns out Clipper "doesn't have a written plan" for its $1.3 billion impulse buy. [amNY]
• And get ready for actual snow, if you remember what the stuff is; a few inches of it are expected this afternoon. But don't get too excited: This bit of real winter will quickly be replaced by that post-millennial stand-in — freezing rain — by tomorrow morning. [4 Weather Plus]
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, and so did Holtsville Hal on Long Island. But the only weather marmot residing in New York City — Staten Island Chuck — woke up, saw no shadow, and thus allows us to confidently predict spring will come early for our fair (if, granted, soon to be inundated) city. The good people at Gothamist provide the picture we've been looking for, and it reminds us — in case we've forgotten — that Brooklyn Chuck will never miss a chance for a photo op.
Early Spring, Says Staten Island Chuck [Gothamist]
Chuck Schumer's favorite Chinese restaurant in Washington was closed for a private party — his Positively American book party — Tuesday night, and Bernie Sanders, the Brooklyn-born Socialist senator from Vermont, was impressed. "This is a historic night," Sanders said, picking string beans straight from the buffet and chatting with Jerry Nadler, the West Side's man in the House of Representatives. "I've been coming here for years and I've never seen it shut down, but they shut it down for Schumer. He has reached the top. He has shut down the Hunan Dynasty."
In Factory Girl, Sienna Miller and Hayden Christensen might have engaged in not-so-simulated sex on camera. (Also, Diddy doesn't want anyone taking pictures of him with Miller. Also, all Sienna's partying is merely PR for Factory Girl.) The house that Graydon Carter threw scaffolding outside of yesterday? Harvey Weinstein's. (Graydon's also having a tough time selling his new documentary, Chicago 10.) Chuck Schumer has imaginary friends. Former Paramount exec Gail Berman and former ABC exec Lloyd Braun are starting their own production company. Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is going to bare all onstage in a London play.