Jay-Z ‘Took Rihanna Aside’ to Talk About Rumors of Their AffairRihanna said she used to feel self-conscious about the rumors that she hooked up with Jay-Z, but now just ignores them. Observer prepmaster general David Foxley will now be the person to call to get reservations at the Waverly Inn. Billion-heiress Anna Anisimova slept at her mother’s place on Tuesday, which is a good thing because a 400-pound Venetian chandelier collapsed and fell fifteen feet onto the bed at her own place. Rapper 50 Cent has to pay an undisclosed sum to a Post photographer for knocking him down after he tried to take a photo of him. MSNBC accidentally flashed a graphic of Osama bin Laden as host Chris Matthews was discussing Barack Obama. Robert John Burck, a.k.a. the Naked Cowboy, says he has high-profile investments. DJ AM has invited ex-girlfriend Mandy Moore to hear him spin at Room Service on Friday.
Semel Out at Yahoo, Microsoft In?FINANCE
• Courtenay Semel’s dad, Terry, is out at Yahoo. And Microsoft’s $44.6 billion bid for the company might just be déjà vu. [NYT, Deal Journal/WSJ]
• Recession-has-already-started watch: The economy lost 17,000 jobs in January, the first time since the lovely tech-crash days of 2003 that total payrolls have shrunk. [Reuters via NYT]
• One of the few lucky bankers with a bonus burning a hole in your pocket? Try London restaurant Vivat Bacchus’ new “Bonus Tasting Menu” for a mere £1,000. [DealBook/NYT]
early and often
Bush Says State of the Union Will Mostly Address Economy; Guest List Begs to DifferAre you guys as excited for President George Bush’s State of the Union Address tonight as we are? Hoo-ah! Wait. You realized there still is a president, even though everybody’s busy trying to pick who the next one will be, right? We know, it’s hard to remember. And even though there are primaries tomorrow, tonight belongs to current president George Bush. Early reports say that his address will largely focus on the economy, which is probably what most ordinary citizens are hoping he will talk about. “Expect few surprises and no big initiatives,” says the Associated Press. Housing reform will come up, press secretary Dana Perino says, as well as health care and veteran’s care, alternative energy sources, climate change, faith-based initiatives, and conditional troop withdrawal in Iraq.
But today the list of Presidential guests has been released for the event. These are the people who sit up with Laura Bush in the balcony, who are generally alluded to in the text of the speech (to much unilateral applause). In addition the lovely Bush twins and that sexpot Lynn Cheney, we’ve summarized the guest list for you.
early and often
George and Laura Put Hillary in the Spotlight … and Make a Run for ItSo, 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]
But Does Jerry Like Laura Bush’s Corn?Laura Bush and the First Twins saw Grey Gardens (the twins laughed; mom did not). Paula Abdul was caught on tape sobbing and complaining about her former publicist, Howard Bragman. (She also claimed she doesn’t get drunk or do drugs). Hedge-fund manager Scott Bessent bought the late Pat Kennedy Lawford’s co-op for $12 million. Lindsay Lohan is set to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in 21st-birthday-party sponsorships because of her DUI arrest. A waiter head-butted a hostess at Alison in Bridgehampton. Mischa Barton called Cisco Adler after being rushed to the hospital for an allergic reaction, much to the dismay of her dad. A bunch of female celebrities, including Gabrielle Union and Erika Christensen, posed naked for a book. Michael Bublé tried hooking up with Emily Blunt at a hotel but failed. Red Eye contributor Rachel Marsden had to be escorted out of Fox News headquarters for “bizarre and erratic behavior.”