New Year’s Resolutions for the Best New Yorkers
A publicist for model Annabel Vartanian claims that the model fainted at a La Perla party because "she wore herself out," not because she has an eating disorder. Kim Cattrall is donating all the furs she wore in the Sex and the City movie to PETA, which in turn will give them to charity. Cindy Adams is taking credit for breaking Enquirer's John Edwards–is–having–an–affair story. East Village landmark dive bars Sophie's and Mona's are both going up for sale after the holidays. Police commish Ray Kelly says he won't make a decision about running for mayor until after the presidential scrum plays out. Donald Trump will be David Letterman's first guest back when he goes live on January 2. Model Selita Ebanks, who may have been dating James Blake, was at a Knicks game with Giants lineman Osi Umenyira.
Instead of emulating former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali's rope-a-dope strategy and letting his opponents tire themselves out in contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, the former New York mayor has had to start swinging hard in those states. That's because Giuliani is behind in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, polls show. So while Ali's strategy enabled him to unseat heavyweight champ George Foreman in 1974, it won't help Giuliani win next year's Republican presidential nomination.He's buying more ads in New Hampshire and hoping to shorten Romney's thirteen-point lead, but staying quiet about it because he doesn't want to look vulnerable if he can't pull it off. This whole story made us realize that we should be reading USA Today more frequently. Not for the political analysis, really, but more for the writing. That Muhammad Ali metaphor was practically Shakespearean! Giuliani shifts tactics, goes on offensive [USAT] Update: According to one poll, Giuliani has even lost his lead in Florida.
“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.
"I remember back to the 1970s and early 1980s, Iranian Mullahs took American hostages and they held the American hostages for 444 days. And they released the American hostages in one hour. That should tell us a lot about these Islamic terrorists we're facing. The one hour in which they released them was the one hour in which Ronald Reagan was taking the oath of office as president of the United States. The best way you deal with dictators, the best way you deal with tyrants and terrorists is you stand up to them, you don't back down. I'm Rudy Giuliani, and I approve this message."Simple, effective message, right? It would be if it weren't backward. As the Chicago Tribune points out, in 1981 "the United States freed the hostages by begrudgingly signing the Algiers Accords, which required the United States to pledge 'that it is, and from now on, will be the policy of the United States not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal affairs.'" Which is, as we understand it, exactly the opposite of Rudy "Never take the military option off the table" Giuliani's stance. Click above to see watch the short ad, and look closely. Did they digitally remake those hostage photos into 3-D? Wowza. Giuliani TV Ad Questioned [Chicago Tribune via NYO]
Mayor Bloomberg calls the oatmeal-raisin cookies served up at Gracie Mansion “addictive,” an opinion not shared by Giuliani, who didn't care for the in-house baker's sweets. [NYDN] Fresh owner Eric Tevrow pleaded guilty to pocketing more than $1 million in sales and payroll taxes from his restaurants. [NYP] Tickets for Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s tribute dinner at next year’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival have already sold out, despite being $500 a pop. Naturally, scalpers are already reselling them on eBay. [NYP]
MEDIA • Viacom screws over its army of freelancers by rolling back benefit programs drastically. Merry Christmas! [MixedMedia/Portfolio] • The Washington Post is sending veteran reporter and inveterate partier Keith Richburg to town to take over the paper's New York bureau. He's well known for throwing parties with, get this, as many as 30 people! Will Manhattan will be able to handle it? [NYO] • No holiday party at Time Inc. or the New York Times. Suckas! [Radar]
MEDIA • The New Republic pulled back on its long-embattled "Baghdad Diarist" series, admitting they could no longer stand behind the author, an army private serving in Iraq. Meanwhile, The National Review suffered its own Middle Eastern credibility scandal and struck back in a novel way: "As one of our sources put it: 'The Arab tendency to lie and exaggerate about enemies is alive and well among pro-American Lebanese Christians as much as it is with the likes of Hamas.'" Yikes. [NYT Mixed Media/Portfolio] • Big layoffs ahead at NBC News? "There are going to be firings very soon — everybody is terrified," according to a "former network insider," who claims tens of millions in cuts will happen in the next two weeks. [Jossip] • New NBC programming honcho Ben Silverman is looking to clear up a conflict of interest and cash in on his old production company, which Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter to Rupe, is buying for around $200 million. Not bad for a guy who built his career on stealing foreign shows like The Office and Ugly Betty and then repackaging them for the U.S. [NYP]
Occasionally, as in the case of Rudolph Giuliani during this past week, the sudden appearance of not one but two juicy investigations overwhelms the system's capacity to absorb and regurgitate. But when the nation's news executives decided which of two highly embarrassing Giuliani stories to feature, nearly all of them made the wrong choice. While they lavished enormous attention upon a Politico story dealing with adultery and bureaucracy, they should be devoting at least as much time to yet another in the long series of Wayne Barrett scoops in the Village Voice, because this one involves business and terrorism.Conason is right. Barrett is a little obsessed and maybe does push pins into dolls of Giuliani every night, but his reporting is accurate, smart, and in this case, important. Conason even comes up with ten questions that reporters can ask Giuliani about his Qatar connections so they don't have to read the whole Voice story. So readers, go read the article. And Conason, thanks for giving us a bloggily self-referential way to assuage our own guilt. Giuliani's Terrorist Ties [Salon] Rudy's Ties to a Terror Sheikh [VV]
If you watched last night's Republican CNN/YouTube debate, you were probably struck by the awkwardness of the exchange between retired Brigadier General Keith Kerr, who is gay, and the candidates. Kerr's YouTube submission asked about why gays can't openly serve in the military, and after a few answers (including one where Mitt Romney assholicly contradicted his previous statements once again), debate moderator Anderson Cooper brought Kerr out from the audience to see whether he felt satisfied. He didn't (though seeing Romney get booed and look so uncomfortable must have made him a little happy), and combined with audience boos and applause, the whole thing made for some strange political theater. Almost instantaneously, a whole slew of blogs researched Kerr and discovered that he is on the gay-rights steering committee of Hillary Clinton's campaign. Many accused Clinton of inserting a plant into the audience (a common charge these days), which the Clinton camp denies. But it seems to be the viral story of the morning, which has got to make Rudy and Mitt feel better, as their early-debate bickering has been universally panned in the papers. Click above to watch the awkwardness unfold, and be sure to pay close attention to the untold disaster of last night's broadcast: the size of Anderson Cooper's collar. Gay YouTube General a Hillary Plant – So What? [Outside the Beltway]
MEDIA • Jeff Bercovici wants to know: "What's Regan's price for selling out her country?" After all, if Regan's info on Giuliani is that damaging, shouldn't she divulge it in any case, no matter how much Uncle Murdoch is willing to offer? [Mixed Media/Portfolio] • Dan Rather's lawyers are getting fed up with CBS nondisclosure agreements. "Who do these guys think they are? The National Security Agency?" [NYO] • Intrepid Observer reporter spends 45 minutes staring through a window just to see who showed up to a lame Times party. Now that's journalism! [Media Mob/NYO]
I find it curious that American voters may have to choose between two New Yorkers and it has received little, if no attention, from the coastal media. Maybe they think the rest of us won't notice. Maybe they don't care whether the rest of us notice. After all, New York is the Center of Everything (followed at a respectful distance by the District of Columbia and a great distance by everyone else), so the rest of us should be glad that someone from New York would be sitting in the Oval Office.Okay, first of all, stop projecting. And second of all, fuck you.
FINANCE • Stan O'Neal wasn't invited to a big Merrill Lynch reunion party thrown by Evelyn Juan, the son of a Merrill founder. Guess Stan will just have to drink himself to sleep in his board-provided office. [DealBreaker] • Goldman's unbelievable success is forcing all the other top banks to dig deep into the honey pot and pay out a record-setting $38 billion in bonuses, despite losing $74 billion in market value. Goldman, of course, accounts for almost half of the bonus pool. Let's just say it's good to be Goldman. [Deal Journal/WSJ, Bloomberg] • Steve Schwarzman spared no expense for his son's wedding and the tab ran to $150,000, including a $20,000 BBQ supper, $7,000 for drinks, and $50,000 to rent an entire hotel and keep the riffraff out. Still pales in comparison to Schwarzman's $3 million birthday bash. [NYP]