Obama’s Iraq Trip: Political Quagmire?John McCain is making hay of Barack Obama not having been to Iraq since 2006, when the Democrat made his only visit. (Can you blame him? It’s last on our list of places to go.)
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Duncan Hunter Just Can’t Let Ahmadinejad Thing GoCalifornia state representative Duncan Hunter was on Fox last night, and he’s still got his knickers all in a twist about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Columbia last week. Late last week, he introduced legislation that proposes cutting Columbia’s access to federal funding (the university received $458 million in ‘05) in order to punish them for hosting an adversary of America. Basically, Hunter postulates that Ahmadinejad’s appearance at Columbia, and the attention surrounding it — the discussion, the blogs, the numerous tabloid covers — might have given the wee Iranian Heidi Montag Disease, the recently identified condition in which a minor character is plucked from obscurity and elevated by a bored and restless culture to a level of fame far greater than their original stature ever warranted. Except, you know, Hunter doesn’t exactly mention the condition by name (maybe because Heidi is a constituent?) Anyway! Hunter’s bill does not, unfortunately, call for an end to The Hills.
Tony Bennett Marries Down … in AgeRenée Zellweger bought an employee at Saks Fifth Avenue in Southampton a pair of Manolos the two had been eyeing together. Top Chef gay-bashing victim Josie Smith-Malave spoke at a fund-raiser for potential mayoral candidate and current city comptroller William Thompson. Kaz Bayati, the owner of Persian eatery Persepolis, claims his quote in support of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in AM New York was taken out of context. Anna Anisimova finds it strange that people care how much money she spends on Hamptons rentals. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has scheduled a meeting with Angelia Jolie to discuss “global diplomacy,” and he’ll write about it on his blog. Tony Bennett officially ended his marriage to Sandra Grant Bennett and married the younger Susan Crow, though Grant is still bitter she didn’t marry Joe DiMaggio instead.
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Lee Bollinger Is Having the Best Week Ever
Only just yesterday morning, Columbia University president Lee Bollinger was about as popular as Alger Hiss during the Red Scare. His decision to invite Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak during the annual World Leaders Forum was criticized everywhere: In newspaper editorials, by presidential hopefuls, not to mention all the students and protesters who hung around Morningside Heights, handing out flyers saying things like, “Bollinger, too bad bin Laden is not available.”
But since he laid his verbal smackdown on Ahmadinejad, boy has he bounced back! Immediately after the debate ended yesterday afternoon, Columbia’s student newspaper, the Spectator reported the university was being “flooded with calls to congratulate Columbia on the Ahmadinejad invitation talk about a change of heart.” Seriously! It continued this morning.
it just happened
Live-Blogging AhmadinejadWell, well, well. Columbia University president Lee Bollinger has just begun introducing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He is talking about the “genius of free speech” and “knowing thy enemies” which is awkward, because, you know, the dude is sitting right there. We’ll live-blog from here. We expect fireworks, so tune in.
2 p.m.: “Mr. President you exhibit all the signs of a cruel and petty dictator,” Bollinger says. He goes on to ask about treating gays, women, and dissidents with censorship and inequality. He’s really getting up some momentum. The audience rewards him with mild applause.
2:03 p.m.: Bollinger brings up the Holocaust-denial stuff. Wow, we’re really getting into the name-calling stuff. Ahmadinejad is “brazen,” “absurd,” and “naïve.” “The truth is, the Holocaust is the most-documented event in human history,” Bollinger says. “Will you cease this outrage?” We kind of wish he would speak slower. If we can’t keep up with this, how on earth will Ahmadinejad, who needs a translator?