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Eric Gioia

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Hungry for Dollars

grocery store
Last week, we chided City Councilman Eric Gioia for realizing the difficulty of eating nutritious meals on a budget of $28 a week. Gioia, following in the footsteps of Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski, ate only what he could buy with food stamps to advocate increased funding for the program. A week's worth of ramen and off-brand white bread can make anyone cranky, and Councilman Gioia's office took issue with our treatment of his efforts. We also heard from Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, who joined Gioia's diet last week. Their words are after the jump.

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City Politician's Epiphany: Poor People Don't Eat Well

Eric Gioia
It's day two of Queens city councilman Eric Gioia's "I will live a week on $28 in groceries" stunt, and, frankly, we're beginning to lose the plot a little. Is the purpose of the exercise to highlight the plight of the underclass — $28 is the average nationwide food-stamp allotment — a Morgan Spurlock–esque endurance contest, or for the out-of-touch politician to Learn a Valuable Lesson? The Daily News followed Gioia on his grocery run to Food Dynasty in Queens; their priceless lead photo depicts the councilman regarding a pack of franks with a mix of puzzlement and mild disgust. "I usually shop at Whole Food or online at FreshDirect," Gioia blurted out to the paper. "I don't even look at the cost, I look for the brand I like, and I buy it."

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Pinkberry Isn’t Yogurt, Suit Claims; Yankee Stadium Gets Latino at Last

A lawsuit filed against Pinkberry claims the chain isn’t actually serving yogurt but some kind of powdered mix. [Defamer] Zagat surveyors, asked to rate the nation’s fast-food options, declare Wendy’s the No. 1 burger, Outback Steakhouse top full-service restaurant, and Panera Bread Co. the top fast-food outlet overall. [MSNBC] Yankee Stadium finally wakes up to its massive Latino customer base and starts serving foods like empanadas and papas rellenas. [NYT]

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It's Goya For Gioia

20070510heds_small.jpg • Queens Councilman Eric Gioia is living his own version of Supersize Me: as an awareness-raising stunt, he will spend one week on a $28 food budget (the average food-stamp allotment). His strategy: lots of peanut butter and beans. [NYDN] • So, what do we know about the Fort Dix Six? Three of them belonged to an Albanian family (more of a clan, we suppose, with 200 members in the U.S. alone) that owns roofing businesses in New York and New Jersey. The other two, a Palestinian and a Turk, lived in Philly; the sixth man, a self-described Kosovar sniper, remains a mystery. [NYT] • Just as Murdoch's Dow Jones–related news presence was waning, the mogul comes up with a doozy of an announcement: He will take News Corp. carbon-neutral. For instance, 24 will use biodiesel generators to film its deranged right-wing torture fantasies. No, seriously. [NYP] • Rudy Giuliani won't comment on Pope Benedict XVI's statement that all politicians who support abortion rights should be excommunicated from the Catholic Church. Which is probably a good idea: Given Rudy's recent record, not much good comes from his commenting on, well, anything. [amNY] • And, the city's about to stop its insanely popular subway-themed condom and lubricant giveaway because "it is unclear whether the condoms are reaching target groups." The Health Department hasn't ruled out launching a different brand. We suggest the "Old Times Square" theme. [Kaiser Network]

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Robert De Niro Lives the Good Life

Robert De Niro closed on Harvey Weinstein's ex-wife's CPW apartment for $21 million; Grace Hightower bought him a Rolls. Hillary lost eighteen pounds, threw a party at the Roxy. Tom Ford had margaritas in London with VF's Elizabeth Saltzman and filmmaker Chris Weitz. A former Playmate Alice Denham shtupped many fifties and sixties Village figures including Norman Mailer, James Dean, and Philip Roth, who didn't want to talk about her book. Latest Bachelor Prince Lorenzo Borghese went to party, hit on women. Mick Jagger gets caviar facials. Yusuf Islam, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, may or may not be able to get into the U.S. to promote his new album. Queens councilman Eric Gioia will throw party in Manhattan. Alex Kuczynski had plastic surgery, wrote about it, pissed people off. Nora Ephron went to a play, wore a scarf. Brandon Davis bounced a check; other family members sold their homes. Moby, Lisa Ling, others partied at a store opening. Janet Jackson's boyfriend says it's her label's fault her album tanked. Mel Gibson's movie is coming out, so he's visiting synagogues and making Jewish friends. Leo DiCaprio, his mom, his grandmother, and his girlfriend flew from Paris to Rome on a private plane. New Yorker film critic Anthony Lane gave a "master class" in the Condé Nast auditorium, made jokes that presumably were funnier in person than on the page. Zach Braff writes thank-you notes on an antique typewriter.

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