Stephen Baldwin feels the love at the White House, gets a tongue lashing from brother Billy

After dealing with the highs and lows of “The Celebrity Apprentice,” it seems that Stephen Baldwin, cncs_08_0428_mh_0126.jpgeveryone’s favorite Upper Grandview evangelical, can handle whatever curve balls the good Lord throws his way. And in the last day, he got a couple. First, he was invited by his friends at the White House down to D.C. to help celebrate National Volunteer Week.

Baldwin was selected to be a kind of “cultural advisor” to the Bush administration over a year ago (I kid you not), and he joined singer Michael W. Smith and other members of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, USA Freedom Corps, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington, and the Corporation for National and Community Service for the festivities. Among other things, the event promoted the creation of a new online toolkit designed to help get kids involved in volunteering.

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But not everyone is such a big fan of Stevie B’s activism. Chief among his recent critics: brother Billy Baldwin (a former Bedford resident), who has been especially critical of the younger Baldwin’s anti-gay stance. In a recent interview with Out magazine (via AHN), Billy lashed out. The quotes are after the break …

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Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie hot for Halloween (as opposed to any other time)

brangelina.jpgFor those among the celebrity-obsessed seeking to be a star for a day, the hot costumes this Halloween are of power couple Brad Pitt and former Sneden’s Landing resident Angelina Jolie.

US Weekly cites a Captain Morgan/Kelton Research survey of 600 Americans, who rate Brangelina as this year’s most popular celebrity inspiration for holiday get-ups. Presumably, couples who dress up this way will spend the night arguing with each other over who’s more good-looking. Blech.

Other couples popular in the poll were Britney Spears and Kevin Federline; Chappaqua residents Bill and Hillary Clinton; recent Pelham dweller Tom Cruise and wife Katie Holmes; David Beckham and Posh Spice; and George W. and Laura Bush.

Among the late-night TV show hosts, New Rochelle native Jay Leno beat out North Salem resident David Letterman, among others — just like in the ratings. I’d prefer Letterman as a costume or as a talk show host, myself.

(AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Bush to Woodruff: Congratulations on staying alive

tjndc5-5eg6e2r05n8tazo841r_layout.jpgIt’s months too late and more than a little disingenuous, but still, President Bush has finally acknowledged that our injured soldiers aren’t exactly getting the best quality of treatment. Late last week he gave a press conference addressing the results of a panel created to look into the mess at Walter Reed, et al. And while there’s absolutely nothing funny about the whole situation, I couldn’t help grinning a bit at this Gawker headline:

Ayn Rand, Our President: Plucky Bob Woodruff Celebrated For Not Dying

The reference being to a part of the Prez’s speech in which he applauded the Lower Hudson Valley’s own Bob Woodruff, a Rye resident and ABC reporter, for overcoming injuries he sustained during an IED attack in Iraq.

“Congratulations on the will to recover,” Bush said. While the new strategy for soldier healthcare wasn’t revealed, judging by that comment, I’m guessing Bush will be pushing some hybrid of “The Secret” and Dr. Phil.

( Mark Vergari / InTown Magazine )

George Bush talks about Obama’s ‘sleek, hairless pecs’ and Karl Rove proves he’s better at political machinations than he is at improv comedy

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I don’t know what was more awkward…listening to George W. Bush talk about Barack Obama’s “sleek, hairless pecs glistening in the surfâ€? or watching Karl Rove transform into MC Rove and dance with NBC’s David Gregory and Ken Strickland. Ah, the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner truly didn’t disappoint this year. Let’s start with Rove.

After an evening of awards and tributes, it was time for the evening’s entertainment. Improv comedians Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood provided the yuks. First the duo had NBC anchor Brian Williams (who is truly funny) and a woman participate in a scene where they made various sound effects as the comics acted out a scenario. That was followed by Sherwood going into the audience and pulling Karl Rove on to the stage with him. Rove danced. He rapped. He made an awkward joke about Patrick Fitzgerald (the prosecutor who investigated him in the Valerie Plame leak investigation). There’s no adequate way to describe it. Just watch.

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Before that, George W. Bush delivered a genuinely funny speech. This line in particular had the audience cracking up for a good 60 seconds:

tjndc5-5e4lfjndywl1fddcl9cn_layout.jpg<blockquote><div>Well, where should I start? A year ago, my approval rating was in the 30s, my nominee for the Supreme Court had just withdrawn, and my vice president had shot someone. Ah, those were the good old days.</div></blockquote>

More Bush-at-the-“Laugh Factory” after the break, including, I promise, his vaguely homoerotic musings about Obama’s “hairless pecs.â€?
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A standing ovation for Bob Woodruff at the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner

tjndc5-5e4ldqkrv7l16qwvv9cn_layout.jpgRye’s Woodruff, the former anchor of World News Tonight, presented the David Bloom Award at the event in D.C. last night. He was joined onstage by Bloom’s three young daughters. Bloom, an NBC correspondent and close friend of Woodruff’s, died in Iraq in 2003. The award, in its second year, honors “excellence in enterprise reporting.� This year’s recipients were Fox News journalists Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig, who were kidnapped in Gaza last year. Centanni accepted the award and thanked the many Fox News journalists and executives who helped secure his release.

Woodruff won the award last year, just weeks after being injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq. He was unable to accept. At last evening’s event, the ABC journalist, who released a book about his recovery (co-authored with his wife Lee) last month, received a lengthy standing ovation from the crowd, which included the top names in news and politics (the president, the first lady, Karl Rove, Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer, etc.)

Later, when the president spoke, he singled out Woodruff and David Bloom’s three daughters.

<blockquote><div>I’m very happy one person who could not be here last year is here tonight and that’s Bob Woodruff. Bob, we know it hasn’t been easy. We admire you all the more for what you’ve overcome. And what you’re still overcoming. And Ava and Christine and Nicole Bloom. Many of us knew your dad. And I know life is hard without him. He was such a fine guy. But one thing we’ve all seen this evening is he has really fine daughters and I know he’d be really proud of you.</div></blockquote>

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Today in Westchester Billionaires Abroad News:

tjndc5-5dc0au589d58jclp8ma_layout.jpgWith his mother, Charlotte, 98, by his side, yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg (who owns an estate in Armonk) dedicated a new emergency medical service station in Jerusalem to his father. Bloomberg declined to say how much money he donated to the facility—but they are renaming it after his late father, so it probably wasn’t pennies. In his speech, Bloomberg joked, “This is a special time in the relationship between Israel and the United States – and I’m not talking about the fact Leonardo DiCaprio is dating Israeli model Bar Refaeli,” the mayor said, according to The NY Post. Actually, the two split awhile back, still, point taken, Mr. Mayor. Today, Bloomberg is heading next door to Jordan, to meet with King Abdullah II. Let’s hope, there’s less fanfare then there was last year when President Bush—and I—visited Jordan (though not together).

Meanwhile, in Davos, Switzerland, Hungarian-born, Westchester-dwelling billionaire— and outspoken Bush-critic—George Soros, told the crowd, “America needs to follow the policies it has introduced in Germany. We have to go through a certain de-Nazification tjndc5-5cpc9e3joma173lpkncu_layout.jpgprocess.” The mogul, who is a Holocaust survivor, was talking about the country’s mistakes in Iraq and how some nations have a tendency not to examine their errors (such as Turkey and Japan). Whereas Germany rejected its Nazi-era past. The comments stirred outrage from conservative critics. The New York Post ran an article calling Soros, “A fan Obama doesn’t Needâ€? (how did Barack Obama get dragged into this?) Soros spokesman Michael Vachon told Page Six: “There is nothing unpatriotic about demanding accountability from the president. Those responsible for taking America into this needless war should do us all a favor and retire from public office.”

And in a cosmic, Westchester-billionaire-twist, Soros is traveling today to Liberia with Queen Noor of Jordan. That’s right, one of our billionaires is chilling with King in Amman; the other is spending time with his stepmother.

Update: Michael Vachon, the Soros spokesman quoted in The Post, emailed a fuller explanation of his boss’s statement in Davos.

<blockquote><div>Mr. Soros certainly does not equate the United States Government with the Nazi regime. But I think most Americans would agree that we need to hold the Bush Administration accountable for its failed policies in Iraq–policies that have resulted in the tragic death of thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. There is nothing unpatriotic about demanding accountability from the President. Those responsible for taking America into this needless war should do us all a favor and retire from public office.

</div></blockquote>

(AP Photos/Sebastian Scheiner & Manish Swarup)

George of Arabia

Adventures in Jordan part 2

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As I mentioned earlier, our president made a hastily planned trip to Jordan last week to meet with Nouri al-Maliki, the embattled Prime Minister of Iraq (really, is there any other kind?). His staff had to do some serious spin control the night he arrived in order to explain why Maliki had decided to snub him and cancel a meeting planned for that evening (apparently he was excited to see Casino Royale while Bush only wanted to see Happy Feet).

Condoleezza Rice was by his side for the trip, and seeing her in person, I can definitively say she is the best-looking Secretary of State since at least Henry Kissinger.

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