The Wall Street Journal's Thomas Frank, he of the book "What's the Matter with Kansas?," eviscerates in tomorrow's paper that infamous Times rich-people reporter Alex Kuczynski. Kuczynski, herself quite wealthy, published a mostly shameless account of renting a poorer woman's uterus in the Nov. 30 Times Magazine. Frank is unsparing:
Gloria Vanderbilt's youngest son has been using his mother as a foil since he appeared on the Tonight Show with her at age three. Anderson Cooper more recently brought his mother onto CNN to passive-aggressively scold him on Mother's Day and to provide the silver fox some sensible, embarrassing advice on the occasion of his 40th birthday. So when Cooper recently declined to invite his mother on a holiday trip to Egypt — "No! I wasn't going to take my mom," he told a befuddled David Letterman — she was ruthless in her revenge. You might not acknowledge that's what's going on, Anderson, but it's plain as day to the rest of us. (We're speaking of the revenge, of course.) Video after the jump
The other day, professional gaffe machine and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell accidentally leaned into an open mic and said, regarding Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano's appointment to head the Department of Homeland Security, "Janet's perfect for the job, because for that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. Perfect. She can devote, literally, 19, 20 hours a day to it." Uh oh! Big mistake, Ed. You are guilty of singleism. Campbell Brown and Gail Collins are not happy!
New York Times official rich person-in-residence, plastic surgery addict, and orgy enthusiast Alex Kuczynski has a long, long, torturous story in the Sunday Magazine about her recent experience with a surrogate mother. Would you like to know how stressful and terrible it is to pay another woman to bring your child to term? No, probably not, but here you go.
So Smilin' Joe Biden doesn't get to live in Delaware anymore (we're sure he's so bummed about not getting to live in Delaware anymore) because he's our smiley new Vice President. He will go live in a scary observatory like a mad scientist. That's where we make the Vice President live! Anyway. This means Biden can't be Senator-for-life from Delaware anymore. They still have some other guy in the Senate but apparently the "law" says we need to give Delaware two Senators. The new one was supposed to be Beau Biden, Joe's son (above, right, with evil lobbyist brother Hunter), but apparently the governor has instead named some guy named "Ted Kaufman." Of course, Beau is in Iraq right now, so he can still get the seat when he comes back for the election in 2010. [The Fix]
Pamela "Atlas" Geller Oshry is a conservative blogger previously notable only for having vlogged in a bikini, once, and for being totally obsessed with mustachioed former UN ambassador John Bolton. Today, she announced that Barack Hussein Obama is not, as previously reported, the son of Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., but rather the illegitimate son of Malcolm Little, a.k.a. El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, a.k.a. Malcolm X. Yes, she is serious. Honestly? It is too much work to comb through her insanely long and convoluted post in order to write some sort of summary, so we'll just post some random excerpt from her fascinating investigation:
Shock! Barack Obama's Aunt Zeituni, described lovingly in his memoir Dreams From My Father, lives in Boston "in modest circumstances," according to the Times of London. Zeituni Onyango lives in public housing in South Boston, and tells the Times she is praying for Obama. She's even donated money to his campaign! It's not clear whether the Obama campaign or the candidate know she's in Boston, though her unwillingness to speak to reporters until after the 4th suggests that someone knows, right? Onyango is Obama's father's half-sister. The Times also tracked Obama's mysterious "Uncle Omar" to Boston, where used to run a convenience store. Then he was evicted and now they don't seem to know where he is. Obama's many, many relatives on his father's side are of great interest to the British press, for some reason. Back in August, the Telegraph reported that Italian Vanity Fair found Obama's half-brother living in obscurity in Kenya. Why does the British press care so much? What does it matter? It is kind of sad, yes, that many of Barack Obama's distant relatives live in poverty. This is perhaps why he is such a wealth-redistributing socialist? Once Obama is elected, of course, he will seize Joe the Plumber's mansion and use it to house his many, many illegal immigrant relatives.
Despite the economic meltdown, and despite having its debt downgraded to junk status, the New York Times Company does not plan any more layoffs, Times editor Bill Keller told staff. There had been rumors of a 20 percent headcount reduction, but according to Keller's prepared remarks, as presented by the Observer, the paper thinks it can get by with some extreme belt-tightening. "There will be no luxuries and little comfort," Keller said rather darkly in the midst of a sugary pep-talk. That still doesn't explain how the Times Company will pay the half-a-billion dollars it has coming due over the next couple of years.
Hey we've reached the insane "Hillary Clinton killed Vince Foster and she's a lesbian" stage of wild far-right delusion. You heard that Barack Obama had an affair and crazy Michelle Obama shipped the mistress to an island somewhere, right? Hey, did you know Obama's real father was a communist? It's true, because some blogs found some photos of a naked lady that they are pretty sure is Ann Dunham, Barack Obama's mother, and they used brilliant CSI-style photo analysis to determine that the photos were taken by Communist "Frank," Obama's mentor. This is all proof that Obama is a secret commie.
Cindy McCain is the saddest figure in this miserable election. Seriously, we feel real sympathy for this woman, rich and brittle and Obama-smearing though she may be. We read the Ariel Levy story. She's got a distant, temperamental, emotionally abusive husband she never sees (until election season!) and she can't even develop a painkiller addiction in peace without the press jumping all over it (because her family certainly didn't notice or care). So it's cruel, really, that the National Enquirer is jumping all over the various obvious easily disproved lies she's told on the campaign trail about meeting Mother Theresa and visiting her husband's Vietnamese hospital bed. You can click to read the story, though you won't learn anything you didn't learn from the Levy profile and the New York Times piece on her sad life.
Boy, Christopher Buckley's life sucks, he revealed in the Sunday Times to Sheryl Gay Stolberg. His dad and mom died. And oh, also, all the blogs and the New York Post reported on the son he had out of wedlock with his former book publicist and how Wm F. Buckley excluded this child from his will. And then Buckley endorsed Barack Obama and the National Review fired him! All this happened after his dad, who was kind of a famous asshole, died, and maybe now Chris Buckley is trying to be less of an asshole? As he says:
A website called View Their Views has put its esteemed, one-month old reputation for YouTube-embedding excellence on the line to bring you some breaking investigative news or false-flag smears or whatever about John McCain's eldest biological daughter, Sidney. Exposed as a showbiz Democrat and "rebellious... boundary pusher" in the Times last year, Sidney supposedly had a baby at the age of 20 or 21 and gave it up for adoption. Of course she wasn't married at the time, so now McCain doesn't want anything to do with the granddaughter, and ignores her desperate calls every Christmas Eve to all 43 of his houses. That could be because she isn't real, except as a Democratic hit piece, or as a supposed Democratic hit piece that makes us pity GOTCHA smear victim John McCain. But it could also be because she is real and the Republican ticket is already too full of obscure sons, daughters, half-siblings, adopted kids and love children to handle another. McCain probably can't keep track of them or even remember their names, so here's a nice list of the more prominent ones:
Conservative thinkin' guy William F. Buckley left his huge fortune almost entirely to his son, novelist Christopher Buckley. The rest went to Chris Buckley's two children with his wife. None of it went to Chris Buckley's third child, who he fathered with his former publicist. That child, 7-year-old Johnathan, suffers from ADHD. Buckley pays $3k a month to the mother, Irina Woelfle. Woelfle would maybe like that amount raised a bit, because now Chris Buckley has like tens of millions of dollars! But rascally old William F. Buckley made sure, on his death bed, to deny this illegitimate grandchild a dime of his fortune. He called him out by name in the will!
Andrew Sullivan, wow. Just wow. The gay British conservative who over the course of a decade went from proud publisher of racist pseudo-science just for a larf to virulent Obama supporter has spent a month obsessing over everything Sarah Palin has ever said and done and even maybe done. So. He's written some stuff on the bizarre circumstances of the birth of Trig Palin. He defends it (reasonably in our estimation) by arguing that Palin's pro-life position and the politicization of her familial circumstances (special needs kids, son in Iraq, family on stage at convention) makes inquiry into her pregnancy relevant. Sullivan sent this crazy email to the McCain campaign, asking for comment:
Governor Sarah Palin is, according to the Anchorage Daily News, "stonewalling" the investigation into allegations that she abused her power by firing the Alaska public safety commissioner. They also say Palin's lawyer is threatening to sic the secret service on the Alaska legislature's investigator. ABC reports that Alaska state senator Hollis French is now fast-tracking his investigation into the scandal, dubbed "Troopergate." But in MORE IMPORTANT NEWS: the guy Sarah Palin maybe had an affair with (it seems like she probably didn't?), her husband's former business partner, filed an emergency motion yesterday to have his divorce records sealed. The motion was denied! Hooray! [Alaska Trial Court Cases via Andrew Sullivan, who has become a madman.]
The Daily Show did one of their patented "public figures contradicting themselves on tape" routines last night, and this time they had a wealth of material. It was all related to Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for Vice President. She is by all sane accounts inexperienced. Also she has a bit of family drama with her unwed teen daughter being all pregnant and stuff! This, obviously, is "off-limits" because everyone has declared it "off-limits" to talk about children that way. Unless those children are, like, related to famous people and on TV sometimes! Then their parents are nimrods. Just click through for Bill O'Reilly to explain it all.
See, aw, now I think that is sort of cute. I didn't know people got tattoos on their digits, but apparently some AP photographer did and zoomed in on the "Bristol" tat on Levi Johnston's ring finger, and now the Huffington Post deems this somehow newsworthy, probably because it provides irrefutable evidence against the scurrilous rumor Levi was not ready for a lifetime commitment to the knocked-up daughter of the Republican vice presidential nominee. He already made one! Which brings me to: are the Pregos of Palingrad just revealing the media to be the "real" rednecks as my colleague Sheila put it because we are actually all, deep down, kind of trashy? You'll note that media attention has shifted from the "decidedly Alaskan" aspects of the Palin Family White Trash Suite Of Signifiers to focus on three more familiar, Kid Rockian elements of their inimitable Red American charm.