The former First Lady's feathers have been ruffled. An advertisement supporting same-sex marriage used a clip of Laura Bush without her permission, and she is very upset. The soundbite captured by Respect for Marriage Coalition is from a 2010 interview on CNN's Larry King Live, where Mrs. Bush said, "When couples are committed they ought to have, I think, the same rights that everyone has."
Last night Michelle Obama unveiled this year's White House Christmas decorations and the first family lit the National Christmas Tree. It's no Rockefeller Center, but it's something! In honor of the holiday season taking over the country's most prestigious domicile here's a look at how 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, has looked over the years.
George W. Bush, fresh off of his personal killing of Osama bin Laden with a golden six-shooter for which he deserves all credit, has finally commented in public about the dead Al Qaeda leader. The old galoot was booked at "a conference of hedge fund managers in Las Vegas" on Wednesday, and while he and the other thousand hookers were putting on their faces for the night, he was able to spare a few quotes.
Break out the Cristal. Mr. Sean Combs turns 40 today. Perhaps he'll get together later to celebrate with Bethenny Frankel of the Real Housewives of New York: She's turning 39. Others blowing out candles today: Matthew McConaughey is turning 40. Kathy Griffin is turning 49. Laura Bush is 63. Survivor host Jeff Probst turns 47. Author Charles Frazier is turning 59. Playwright Jon Robin Baitz is 48. Literary agent Andrew Wylie is turning 62. Publishing industry honcho Jonathan Galassi is 60. Anne Sweeney, the president of Disney/ABC president, is turning 51. Ralph Macchio of Karate Kid fame is 48. And Trishelle from The Real World is 30.
• Laura Bush either received $1.5 million for her memoir or $3.5-5 million, depending on who you believe. Either way, it's a lot less than Hillary Clinton's $8 million advance for Living History. [NYP, WSJ]
• Chris Matthews is not running for Senate, according to his brother. [P'ticker]
• A new buyer has emerged for TV Guide. The movie studio Lionsgate is picking up the cable network and website for $255 million. [AP]
• Senior Village Voice staffers are taking 10-15 percent pay cuts. [DW]
• Another reason kids can't find Iraq on a map: Foreign-related news coverage by the three major networks fell to a record low during 2008. [IPS]
• Those ads on the front-page of the Times run $75K on weekdays. [NYP]
• Ogilvy & Mather is cutting 10 percent of its staff today. [AdAge]
• CBS's Lara Logan gave birth to a son. [FBDC]
• Scribner won the non-race to publish Laura Bush's memoir. [AP]
• The Times is now selling ads on the front page of the paper. [NYT]
• Movie ticket sales totaled $9.6 bil. in 2008, down 1 percent from '07. [NYT]
• Is HuffPo worth $200 million? Not so much, says Simon Dumenco. [AdAge]
• Publishing companies are cutting perks, in case you haven't heard. [NYT]
• Howard Kurtz profiles Liz Claman, who left CNBC for Fox. [WaPo]
• Michael Phelps will now be pitching Mazdas in China. [Bloomberg]
• Marley & Me was No. 1 at the box office for a second week. [THR]
• Conservative radio is expecting a big boost once Obama takes office. Also, Fred Thompson, not Rudy Giuliani, will take over Bill O'Reilly's slot. [NYT]
• Publishers don't seem to be very interested in Laura Bush's memoir. [NYer]
• After a three-day blackout, China has unblocked the Times' website. [NYT]
• Is Chris Matthews running for office or sticking with NBC? [THR]
• The AP's list of top 10 news stories of 2008. [AP]
• Politico's list of the top 10 media blunders of 2008. [Politico]
• A list of the biggest media losers of 2008. [Business Sheet]
So in light of the inevitable squeeze on cosmetic enhancement spending, how's everyone's favorite diminutive derm Patricia Wexler doing? Just fine, she tells Wowowow: Not only are her patients still coming in for treatments, they "feel it is critical to keep up appearances right now," although some are cheeky enough to ask for discounts, which, just so you know, will certainly not be granted. But, more importantly, Pat is thrilled about Obama's new presidency for the obvious reason: Democrats have more tasteful surgery!