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George W. Bush

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The Nine Media Lives of Tina Brown

Tina Brown
Tina Brown signed a deal to develop story ideas and shows for HBO. Donny Deutsch celebrated his 50th-birthday party at the Jazz at Lincoln Center with lobster tail and foie gras. Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman are having trouble yachting around on their Caribbean honeymoon because there's a massive fuel strike on St. Barts. (Weinstein's friends also sent him a lot of video congratulations on the day of his wedding.) Lydia Hearst is mad that her name is being attached to Darfur awareness events without her permission. Gay activist Allen Roskoff keeps George Bush toilet paper at his Jane Street apartment.

Rupert's Fingers Already Closing Around the Heart of the ‘Journal’

MEDIA • Rupert Murdoch won't officially take over the Journal until tomorrow, but he's already dipped his tentacles deep into the paper. Rumor has it the Journal will dismiss two or three dozen people, to be replaced with Rupe's cronies, and then go on a hiring spree. Oh, and apparently Murdoch briefly considered dropping "Wall Street" from the title. Tells you something about where the paper's headed. [NYT] • Sadly, Jane Pratt won't actually be starring in a reality-TV show titled American Ugly, as we reported yesterday. C'mon Jane, don't you love us? [Mixed Media/Portfolio] • New York Post "Metro" editor Dan Colarusso, whom Col Allan praised as "a quintessential New Yorker," walked out of the newsroom and quit yesterday. No word on why, but seems pretty quintessential to us. [Runnin' Scared/VV]

Donna Karan Accepts Cougarhood

Donna
Fifty-five-year-old Donna Karan's boy toy is 30-year-old model J.J. Biasucci. Ethan Hawke allegedly started dating "secret" girlfriend (his former nanny!) Ryan Shawhughes before he was divorced from Uma Thurman. Steve Martin played the banjo and read funny poems at the Cutting Room. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin shared a happy dinner at BLT Fish. Eighty-eight-year-old Manhattan district attorney Robert Morgenthau may step down from his post, which would allow Governor Spitzer to appoint Cyrus Vance Jr. Michael Kors served mini-cheeseburgers at his store opening in Soho. Madonna kicked 25 yoga students out of a studio at the Reebok Sports Club on Columbus so she could practice by herself. Howard Stern is annoyed at Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner for bringing paparazzi to his Upper West Side block.

Giuliani and the Manhattan Institute: The New George Bush and Straussianism?

George and Rudy

Today's Observer story on Rudy Giuliani peeks into his intimate relationship with the conservative Manhattan Institute. Last year, they report, at an Institute award ceremony, Giuliani credited them with masterminding a huge portion of his platform.
“If there was kind of like a charge of plagiarism for political programs, I’d probably be in a lot of trouble because I think we plagiarized most of them, if not all of them, from the pages of the [Institute publication] City Journal and from the thinking and analysis of the Manhattan Institute.”
The Observer suggests that this is a unique scenario, where a candidate's "policy dossier is built nearly from scratch on the theories of academics." “I can’t imagine any other instance or any on the horizon where a think tank has that direct an influence,” author Tom Wolfe told the Observer. He may be right about a think tank in specific terms, but in general this story looks familiar. We can't help but recall a time not long after our last president was elected when journalists began pointing out how strongly George Bush and his team were influenced by the thinking of German Jewish political philosopher Leo Strauss.

Gucci Would Prefer a More Flattering Cut

FASHION • The Gucci family is up in arms over Ridley Scott’s biopic. They fear he’ll focus on the family scandals. You know, instead of making a movie about all the boring stuff. [British Vogue] • Helmut Lang is opening a pop-up shop in the meatpacking district. Just what we need, another fabulous place to spend our money while we are drunk. [Fashion Informer] • Kaiser Karl rocked the U.K. with a Chanel fashion show. [WWD]

Margherita Missoni to Abandon New York

Margherita
At last night's Snowflake Ball to benefit UNICEF, we asked everyone awkward questions about the future to prepare them for their holidays with nosy Aunt Susan. DavidLaurenBush, are you getting engaged? ("I don't know!" laughed the Lauren half of the socialite organism). Maggie Betts, will your dad, Roland, have a job for his BFF George Bush when he retires the presidency? ("I don't think he'll need one," said Maggie, who was arm in arm with Barbara Bush herself. "But I think my dad will give him anything he wants!"). When we got to Margherita Missoni, we couldn't think of anything tough to ask her, so we threw her a softball. What do you love about New York City? "I'm not in love with New York right now," she said. "I'm thinking of moving back to Europe." Oh, no! Is it because they shut down SocialiteRank.com? We'll try to write about you more, we promise! "I'm not sure if I'll go back to Italy. Maybe London or Paris. I long to be back in Europe," Missoni explained. "I've been in New York four years. I miss my family and everything. I wasn't born in America, and I loved it — it was great when I first came here. But after four years it's like…" Missoni didn't finish her sentence. She said she preferred how everything in Europe is close together, but we weren't listening anymore. All we could think of was, with Margherita gone, there will only be 49 other top-tier socialites for us to care about! —Amy Odell

George and Laura Put Hillary in the Spotlight … and Make a Run for It

Laura and Hillary

So, what are we to make of George (and Laura) Bush’s gushing praise of Hillary Clinton yesterday? First of all, great timing — the president went chivalrous just as Hillary premiered her first negative ad decrying “the Republican attack machine.” The word of the day appeared to be “pressure,” for some reason: “There is no question that Senator Clinton understands pressure better than any of the candidates,” said George vaguely, with Laura adding, vis-à-vis the value of the First Lady experience, “You certainly know what it’s like … You know the pressure there is.” The pressure they’re talking about must be the inexorable force of the Republican hot air propelling Clinton, for about two years now, toward the nomination. We've all heard the theory: The GOP gambit is to visibly tremble before Hillary as the Only Formidable Opponent until August 29, 2008, after which the real beatdown begins. But you know what? We ourselves have trotted out this line enough times. Today, what comes across in Bush’s bumbling praise is a certain exhaustion with his own job, and the self-abasement required to get and to keep it. When Bush says that Clinton understands “the klieg lights,” he’s not being facetious or feigning fear. He’s simply betraying relief he’ll never have to do this crap again. —Michael Idov Bushes Hail Hill [NY Post] Clinton Takes On ‘Republican Attack Machine’ [NYT]

Chuck Schumer: Bringing Iraq Gloom to Your Door

Doomer
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]

Michael Mukasey: A.G. Confirmation Not So Easy Squeezy After All

Michael Mukasey
Are things looking less rosy for Michael Mukasey, the man who was meant to finally give conservatives an orgasm? The seemingly spotless Bush nominee for U.S. Attorney General has run into a couple of hurdles in the last week during Senate confirmation hearings. The first one is torture: Mukasey told senators that he didn't know whether "waterboarding," the practice of simulating the act of drowning so that a prisoner will divulge information, was unlawful or not. "It turned away from an easy confirmation," a high-ranking Democrat told the Daily News. The second hurdle is presidential candidate Chris Dodd. The Connecticut senator has announced that he will vote against Mukasey's confirmation, largely because the former judge and prosecutor has said that the president might be above certain presidential statutes. "That is about as basic as it gets," Dodd later said. "You must obey the law. Everyone must." Marc Cooper at the Huffington Post points out that once Dodd turned against him, the other Democratic presidential candidates have been forced to turn their thumbs down, too. Torture, as the old saying goes, is not an easy issue to get behind. Mukasey, what happened? You were our hometown boy. Don't make us pull a Rudy and turn against our own kind! Dodd Sets Pace on Dunking Mukasey [HuffPo] Michael Mukasey's AG Confirmation in Doubt [NYDN]

Jimmy Carter Makes Us Feel Like Losers

Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter has a new title on his Nobel- and Grammy-studded résumé: movie star. But the other night at a screening of The Man From the Plains, Jonathan Demme’s new documentary about the former president, Carter was still adjusting to being a leading man. "I’m waiting to see whether I’m going to be a villain or a hero," he joked. Making the movie, he said, made him empathize with the plight of reality-TV stars. "Demme intruded in my life sixteen hours a day, week after week," Carter said. "When I got up in the morning, he was there with two or three cameras; when I walked down the corridors, he was there in front and back with two or three cameras. He would excuse me on occasion — always when I went to the restroom." The movie followed Carter on the book tour for his controversial Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, the 25th book he’s written during his activist post-presidency. Right! That doesn't make us feel lazy or anything! So, does he have any advice about what the current president might do once he leaves the White House? "I’d be a poor adviser for someone who wants to 'replenish the coffers,'" he said. Snap!—Janelle Nanos

Who Do You Like?

It Happened This Week
As Indian summer continued its extended run last week, some of the most popular kids in town found themselves getting the cold shoulder. A federal lawsuit charged Bloomberg LP discriminates against pregnant women, and BMOC Mike Bloomberg promptly reminded us that he no longer runs his namesake company. (Later in the week, a little red in the face, he admitted he regularly talks to senior executives there.) Onetime Most Likely to Succeed Barack Obama fell 33 points behind Hillary Clinton in the latest presidential poll.

Clinton's Party Guru Also Likes Ladies

Bill Clinton buddy Amed Kahn threw a party at Tenjune for Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim's son that consisted of 30 models and five guys. Greenhouse, New York's first-ever "green" nightclub, gets an eco-preview tonight in Paris. Tory Burch and Lance Armstrong amicably broke up because they lived too far apart from one another. Sean Penn, John McEnroe, and Lance Armstrong hung out at the Soho House bar. Artist Geoffrey Raymond's latest Wall Street–inspired work depicts Maria Bartiromo as the Virgin Mary. The New York City Partnership power breakfast caused so much commotion outside the American Express headquarters that many CEOs had to walk a few blocks just to get in. Alex Rodriguez and his wife are expecting another kid.

Dan Rather Is Considering Subpoena for Bushes 41 and 43

Dan Rather
Darth Rather choked back tears today during an emotional interview with "Q&A Café" host Carol Joynt, saying "You've never met anybody who had more respect for the presidency than I do." But when Joynt asked him whether he'd like to subpoena George Bush as a witness in his lawsuit against CBS, he said he'd "like to not answer the question." Joynt took his response, and his knowing look, to mean that he's strongly considering the possibility. Rather also got teary when he talked about family members and close associates who said he shouldn't file the suit. And, he insisted, the whole thing wasn't born out of resentment. "I'm not angry," he said. "I'm not bitter." We're betting, though, that he's at least a little bit salty about the way Katie Couric last night called out his reporting in the National Guard story that got him in trouble. "There were things in there that were quite egregious in terms of how it was reported," she told the National Press Club. "And sloppy work is sloppy work … They did not dot their I's and cross their T's when it came to that story … And our job is to get right." Which probably comes as a surprise to Rather, who thought Couric's job was to take the news and "dumb it down" and "tart it up." Couric Weighs in on Iraq, Rather [Yeas and Nays/San Francisco Examiner] Rather Chokes Up, and Hunkers Down [Yeas and Nays/San Francisco Examiner]

Thinking Big

It Happened this Week
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s request to lay a wreath at ground zero was the unlikeliest wish in a week of ambitious schemes. Hillary Clinton took a second swing at universal health care, laying out a $110 billion program. Rudy Giuliani crossed the pond to London to rub shoulders with Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, and Gordon Brown, then suggested that Israel join nato. Dan Rather sued CBS for $70 million.

The Plaza Turns 100

The Plaza Hotel turns 100 on October 1, and she's having a birthday party. MTV nixed having the stars of The Hills go to the Gossip Girl premiere party at Tenjune. On NY1's Wiseguys, Ed Koch and Al D'Amato berated lefty Mark Green over MoveOn.org's "General Betray Us" ad. Alina Shriver, sister-in-law of Maria and wife of Anthony Kennedy, just debuted a clothing line. A Pontiac had to be removed from the stage of 50 Cent's concert at Hammerstein Ballroom because it had gas in the tank. Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, and Violet played in Sheep Meadow. Eartha Kitt, better known as Catwoman, says she's 80 but still "burning."

Hillary's Health 2.0: Expect Big, Expensive Things

Hillary Clinton
When any other Democratic candidate announces a health-care reform plan, it’s a thoroughly wonkish moment in the campaign. When Hillary announces hers, as she will today, it’s high drama: See, she’s tackled the subject once before, as First Lady, and destroyed the congressional Democratic majority in the process. The plan Clinton is set to propose this time centers on the “individual mandate,” which sounds totally empowering but is actually a Clintonian way of saying health insurance will be a requirement akin to auto insurance. Instead of tearing down the existing system, the plan expands it in every direction. The companies now offering health care to their employees will be able to simply continue to do so; those that don’t will have to either start or chip in toward a federal health-care kitty. The remaining uninsured get a tax credit to buy coverage, and the criticism you’ll hear from every Republican for the next thirteen months (oh, God) is that this two-step transaction is somehow limiting and invasive.

President Bush and His Toy Car

20070731golfcart2_sm.jpg
The front page of yesterday's Times offered a photo of President Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown merrily golf-carting around Camp David. We glanced at the shot, amused by the cowboy president's attempt to do his squinty-eyed tough-guy look while piloting a conveyance most often used on the manicured fairways of Shinnecock or in the retirement communities of Boca. We were about to flip the page when we noticed something: A placard on the front of the vehicle labels it "Golf Cart One." We chuckled to ourselves, and we thought that it's sort of the perfect presidential vehicle for this particular commander-in- chief, for his underpowered golf cart of a presidency. Then we got worried; were we being unfair? Perhaps this isn't Bush obnoxious frat-boy humor ("I'm the president, and it's my golf cart, so it's Golf Cart One. Heh heh heh.") but rather a longstanding tradition. So we asked President Clinton's spokesman. Did that administration, too, call the presidential scooter "Golf Cart One"? The e-mailed reply came late in the day: "Nope." Good.