Monday, September 27, 2004

A Little of the Old In and Out

In: Money in Politics. In ye olden days, it was the large corporations -- and, of course, the investment bankers on Wall Street, the Silicon Valley execs and Hollywood -- that prowled K Street with unsigned checkbooks at the ready in search of eager and available pols. Now, interestingly enough, TheHill has two stories today on smaller donations, and how they are making their mark on the political landscape of the Left, one:

"Something New, the DNC committee charged with this initiative, held its first event at Acropolis nightclub in Washington in June 2003. The group has held eight subsequent events and raised $1.7 million � which is barely a sliver of the $202 million raised by the DNC overall.

"But while its financial stake has been relatively small this cycle, the group has tapped into an eager network of young supporters with more disposable income than their parents� generation. And these political neophytes are eager to get involved.'These are people who have never been asked' to give money, said Justin Paschal, an aide to DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe, who founded Something New. 'We are taking the party to them.'�

And, two, on the deleterious effects of smaller donations on the insurgent Nader campaign (The Corsair softly chuckles):

"Ralph Nader, the independent presidential candidate, is raising far less money this year than he did in 2000, and his campaign is spending more than it is taking in. That could make it difficult for him to remain visible on the homestretch of the race to the White House.The campaign�s Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings for August show that Nader had raised less than half the money he had amassed in the same period in 2000.

The candidate spent more money in August than was donated to his campaign, leaving the Nader for President 2004 committee with less than $10,000 cash on hand on Aug. 31. His general-election committee had $56,000 cash on hand. At the same point in 2000, Nader had more than $500,000 in reserve."

The Corsair takes a long slow sip of Chateau Margeaux with a twinkle in his eyes.

Out: Tommy Hilfiger. Although The Corsair is not in the habit of giving any stock advice out, now might be -- or might not be -- a good time to load up on Hilfiger shares, whch are down, as, according to Reuters:

"Shares of Tommy Hilfiger Corp. (NYSE:TOM - news) fell as much as 26 percent on Monday after a federal grand jury subpoenaed documents on commissions paid to a foreign subsidiary of the clothing maker.

"The investigation focuses on whether the commission rate was appropriate, the company said in a news release late on Friday.

"'We expect Tommy Hilfiger shares to ... remain under pressure until more clarity on the investigation is available,' Noelle Grainger, analyst at J.P. Morgan Securities, said in a research note. Grainger rates the stock 'underweight.'

"Analysts said that since the investigation focuses on payments between a U.S. and non-U.S. subsidiary, the focus may be whether Tommy Hilfiger was reaping an unfair tax benefit.

"A Tommy Hilfiger spokeswoman declined comment."

"... The stock, which was the biggest loser in percentage terms on the NYSE, hit a 14-month low of $9.75 earlier in the session."

On Hilfiger, according to the snarky and eternally interesting Geofrey Deeny of FashionwireDaily, who wrote, archly, during Fashion Week:

"On Thursday evening, Tommy Hilfiger received a standing ovation in a packed Bryant Park tent led by a rat pack of hip hop giants and hot movie stars, as the Europeans in the audience shook their heads with wonder. That's not to say the collection was in anyway a bad one, just that it was utterly formulaic and devoid of fashion news.

"In a word, the Hilfiger 2005 spring-summer collection reminded one of the sort of fashion one would expect to see in trade fairs like CPD in Frankfurt or the old Sehm in Paris. Take the opening look, a navy and white sailor's knit tube dress worn by Naomi Campbell. It was an admirable, though essentially prosaic passage, yet the crowd reacted as if they were witnessing the second coming of Coco Chanel."

"... It's notable that ever since Hilfiger's financial backers Lawrence Stroll and Silas Chou began spreading their luxury bets by buying control of the house of Michael Kors and the historic UK brand Asprey, Tommy has steadily moved his signature line up-market. Where previously his shows focused on New England, this season they looked to Portofino, Monaco and Capri."

P Diddy's rarified view from inside the Bryant Park tents was different, as he told the Miami Herald at the time, "'That was Tommy at his best,' said Combs, who isn't holding a preview of his spring 2005 collection this year." Then again, when does Diddy insult anyone who might become a future business ally?

In: The Kobe Transcripts. TheSmokingGun has posted the Kobe transcripts, unedited. This is the cross examination of Detective Winters, who interviewed the alleged victim the morning after. Draw your own conclusions as to whether this was a set up or not. An interesting aside, though: the police took down Kobe's data -- his address, drivers license, social secutrity number -- which are all redacted in the documents (the detectives said they would not give that information out), but the document actually releases his cell phone number -- which the detectives never actually preambled by saying that they would not give it out. Is that how legealese works?

Out: Leo DiCaprio, Dumped. According to

"BRAZILIAN bombshell Gisele Bundchen has reportedly dumped Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio because she is fed up waiting for the Gangs of New York star to pop to the question.

"Gisele, 24, who has been dating 26-year-old Leo for four years, left the couple's Los Angeles home and flew to New York where she is being 'comforted' by Pearl Harbour actor Josh Hartnett, The Sun reports today.

"'It�s definitely over. Gisele got fed up waiting for Leo to pop the question. She loves him but no longer sees him as the man she will marry,' a source told the British tabloid.

"'The whole experience has been traumatic,' the source said.

"The South American beauty apparently became 'very close' to Josh after meeting him at a party thrown by hip designer Marc Jacobs in New York."

In: Topic A With Tina Brown. The Corsair is so easy to impress, as he loves pub-li-city (as's Mr. Mickey says) any way he can get it. Tina Brown read his snarky little email on air, and that, to be frank, was kind of cool. The Corsair likes publicity, all you media readers out there -- it makes us feel all tingly and self-important.

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