Monday, December 06, 2010

JFK Still Most Highly-Regarded Former President

Former president John F. Kennedy, Jr. remains the most popular of recent past American presidents, according to a recent Gallup poll, while former President Richard Nixon continues to rank as the least popular.

According to the poll, Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963, enjoys an 85 percent approval rating - up one point from 2006 figures. He bests by 11 points former President Ronald Reagan, who clocked in at second place with a 74 percent rating.

Nixon's approval rating is 29 percent, up one point from his 2006 rating.

The poll, which sampled 1,037 random American adults from Nov. 19-21, 2010, asked Americans the extent to which they approved or disapproved of how nine former presidents handled their jobs while in office -- based on what they know or remember. Gallup initiated the poll in 1990, and Kennedy has consistently come in first.

While the ratings for the most popular and unpopular presidents has remained largely unchanged, the favorability ratings of former Presidents Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Lyndon Johnson have benefitted from the passage of time. Mr. Clinton, jumping eight points to 69 percent, now ranks number three on the list. Presidents Bush and Johnson, each of whom also gained eight points, sit at numbers four and seven, respectively.

Former president Jimmy Carter dropped from third to fifth place among those ranked, to 52 percent favorability - a nine-point drop.

President George W. Bush, who was still in office at the time of the most recent poll and was thus excluded from it, earned a 47 percent rating of approval, which puts him at number eight out of nine former president. With a 51 percent negative rating, he joins Nixon as the only other former president whose retrospective disapproval outweighs his approval rating. (Nixon's rating is much worse than Mr. Bush's: 65 percent remembered him negatively, while just 29 percent remembered him positively.)

A different Gallup poll shows that of the nine former presidents, Presidents Kennedy, Reagan, Ford, Carter, and Clinton enjoy more positive ratings in retrospect than they did (on average) while in office. Presidents Johnson and Nixon have lower approval ratings now than they did during their terms. Both Bush presidents had similar approval ratings both in and out of office.

Aspirin May Help Prevent Cancer Deaths

Study: Aspirin May Help Prevent Cancer Deaths

Aspirin Reduces Risk of Death by About 30% for Lung Cancer, 40% for Colorectal Cancer and 60% for Esophageal Cancer

Dr. Jennifer Ashton reports on a new study in the British Journal Lancet that shows a possible new link between aspirin and a lower rate of deaths from cancer.
Aspirin May Cut Colon Cancer Deaths by 1/3
Study: Aspirin Aids Breast Cancer Defense

(CBS) Aspirin is already known as a wonder drug for heart disease; data released tonight suggests it might even be a life saver for cancer, too, reports CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton.

In a study of 25,570 people in the British journal "Lancet", the number of deaths from cancer was lowered by 21 percent in those who took low dose aspirin for at least five years.

"We were surprised by the extent to which it does reduce the death rate," said Professor Tom Meade of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the study's author.

The numbers over the long term were even more striking: The risk of death after 20 years was reduced by about 10 percent for prostate cancer, 30 percent for lung cancer, 40 percent for colorectal cancer and 60 percent for esophageal cancer.

Which raises the question: Should everyone take low dose aspirin?

Today the American Cancer Society said no; and that quote: "It would be premature to recommend people start taking aspirin specifically to prevent cancer."

That's because low dose aspirin can lead to dangerous internal bleeding.

There are risks and there could be side effects.

So in general, people who should not take aspirin are those who have an allergy to aspirin, are prone to bleeding, already on blood thinners or have liver or stomach problems. They should talk to their doctor.

Still, evidence that it might help fight cancer is intriguing for doctors.

"It's consistent with the hypothesis that an anti-inflammatory agent can prevent cancer," said Dr. Cliff Hudis of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. "It's not the only evidence, but it's the largest body of evidence so far."

Since this study didn't show why aspirin reduced deaths from so many types of cancer, more research still needs to be done.

ELECTABLE does not mean QUALIFIED! Jindal is not electable nor qualified!!

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says Sarah Palin is "absolutely" electable

1. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) gave Sarah Palin's national hopes a boost over the weekend, telling Bloomberg's Al Hunt that he believes it's possible for the former Alaska governor to be elected president.

"Oh, absolutely," Jindal said when asked if he thought Palin is electable. "I think it's up to her to make the case to voters. I think we have several -- and, by the way, I am biased towards governors and those that have run organizations and executives who've had to balance budgets, make tough choices."

Jindal was asked about a recent column by "Morning Joe" co-host and former Florida Republican congressman Joe Scarborough, who wrote that "it's time for the GOP to man up" and acknowledge that Palin is unelectable.

"The same leaders who fret that Sarah Palin could devastate their party in 2012 are too scared to say in public what they all complain about in private," Scarborough wrote late last month.

On the one hand, the fact that Jindal -- who is running for a second term as governor in 2011 -- has unequivocally ruled out a bid for president in 2012 makes it easier for him to be generous about a potential Palin bid. In politics it's always better to be magnanimous than petty, and Jindal's "interested observer" role makes it far easier for him to be big rather than small.

On the other hand, some other high-profile Republicans with potential presidential ambitions have made less charitable comments about a Palin White House bid. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, for instance, was asked by comedian Jimmy Fallon last month about a Palin bid. Christie's less-than-enthusiastic response: "Well, who knows, Jimmy? It's an amazing world."

One potential reason for that difference: Christie has said (half-jokingly) that he wouldn't even consider running for vice president in 2012. Jindal, however, has left the door open to serving as the eventual nominee's running mate or running for president in 2016.

2. Indiana state Sen. Mike Delph is inching toward a primary challenge to Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.).

In a statement posted to his website Friday, Delph directly alluded to a potential run against Lugar, saying he is "increasingly concerned with his actions on my behalf and on behalf of Indiana within the last few years."

Delph went on to speak out against Lugar's support for the DREAM Act, which Delph cast as increasing federal involvement in public schools and supplying amnesty to thousands of illegal immigrants.

"I have neither ruled in nor ruled out any future plans," Delph said, citing his recent reelection to the state Senate. "I continue to pray for Senator Lugar, his staff, our state and our nation in the hopes that we turn back to what made this country great: Faith, Freedom, Family, and a Federal government of limited and enumerated power."

Delph said a decision will be made sometime in 2011 on "any federal opportunities."

In an appearance on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday, Lugar suggested he won't be caught off-guard.

"In the event that someone wants to run, they will at least know that they have a competitor in the field who is well-prepared, both financially, organizationally, and program-wise," he said. "In the past, perhaps, some of our Republican colleagues may have been surprised in the primary."

3. The race to succeed retiring Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is nearing its conclusion, with state Rep. Tom Emmer's (R) camp withdrawing more than 2,500 challenges that were deemed "frivolous" by state election officials.

About 1,000 challenges are expected to be deemed valid by state officials, who will begin reviewing the challenges Wednesday.

But as the number of ballot challenges dwindles, former Sen. Mark Dayton (D) is increasingly looking like a winner. Dayton led by 8,770 votes in the Election Day tally, a number that's expected to change only slightly in the final ballot count.

The state will certify a winner on Dec. 14. Emmer can still file an election contest once the final count is determined, a move that he has not ruled out.

"We're not going away," he told the state GOP central committee over the weekend.

4. Utah Republican Party Chairman Dave Hansen resigned his post on Saturday, and will be heading up what could be a tough re-election bid for Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

Hatch is thought to be vulnerable to a potential primary challenge from Rep. Jason Chaffetz or another tea party candidate, and Hansen's departure signals that the senator is taking no chances.

The state has an unusual nominating process in which an incumbent can win or lose at the state party convention -- a process driven by the more conservative, activist base. That process claimed Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) earlier this year, and Hatch has been in the crosshairs ever since.

"It's certainly not going to be a cakewalk, and (Hatch) knows that. We all know that," Hansen told the Salt Lake Tribune. "But he's been a good U.S. senator and there's ample reasons to have him continue."

Hansen will leave his post in January. He also managed Hatch's 2004 campaign.

5. Republican David Harmer has conceded defeat to Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney in California's 11th District, a month after Election Day and more than a week after the Associated Press called the race in McNerney's favor.

Harmer called McNerney late last week to congratulate him on his win. The final tally showed McNerney taking 115,361 votes to Harmer's 112,439, giving the Democrat a 48 percent to 46.9 percent victory.

"It's hard not to feel as though you have let people down," Harmer told the Contra Costa Times. "But disappointment is different from regret. You never regret playing the game just because you lost." He added that he "has no plans to run for public office again."

The lone House race that remains unresolved is in New York's 1st District where Rep. Tim Bishop (D) was leading Republican Randy Altschuler by about 271 votes late last week as a judge reviewed uncounted ballots.

Why would anyone vote for a DEMOCRAT again? They can't do anything when they have The Presidency, Majorities in The Senate and The House of Reps and STILL DO ANYTHING RIGHT! They aren't worth a pot of warm spit!

Why the left is angry at Obama

Dem Rep. Anthony Weiner, who has a real talent for crystallizing liberal anger at Obama into pithy phrases, has just released a statement opening fire on all the talk about a pending "deal" on the tax cuts. It gets at a key reason the left is ticked at Obama:

"Governing is more than a series of transactions. This is a competition of ideas on how we make the country better."

"Middle class Americans need someone to fight for them. They see this deal as punting on 3rd down -- it seems the President is not seeing the value of being on offense."

"Democrats should welcome the chance to tell the American people what we will fight for. We should be standing up for the middle class and extending unemployment insurance for out-of-work Americans. If Republicans want to add to our deficit and defend the interests of billionaires, make them stand up in Congress and tell that to the public loud and clear."

"Deals come after we fight for ideals -- let's do that first."

This is an easy shot for Weiner to take, and it's worth recalling that House Dems punted on their own chance to put the GOP on the spot with a vote on the middle class tax cuts before the election. Still, Weiner is getting at a key point.

Much of the debate about the left and Obama tends to focus on Obama's ideological tendencies -- on the question of whether he's too quick to trade away core liberal priorities because he's at bottom not ideologically in sync with progressives. But one of the key things that angers liberals has nothing to do with ideology. Rather, it's all about Obama's approach to negotiating. The argument is that Obama is too quick to signal that compromise, even at great cost, is his paramount goal. This weakens Dems in negotiations with Republicans and emboldens them to hold out for more than they otherwise might be able to secure.

In other words, the case against Obama is not just about ideology. It's also that his approach is not as hard-headed and pragmatic as it could be. In fairness, if Obama wraps up a deal on the tax cuts quickly, and as a result is able to secure the time necessary to get DADT repealed before the end of the year, you could then argue that his approach turned out to be pretty pragmatic, after all. But that hasn't happened yet.

What Weiner is saying is that there's no practical reason to signal a willingness to deal until you've put up a fight and forced the other side to defend itself. The left's gripe with Obama is as much about the President's sense of what's pragmatic as it is about ideology.

A Sordid, Unethical Tale O.K. for GOP to been sex hounds but not DEMS?

The Department of Justice has ended a criminal investigation without making charges in the case of Senator John Ensign, his mistress and the conveniently doled out political favors.

This puts the senator’s behavior squarely up to the judgment of the Senate Ethics Committee. A decisive report or disciplinary action is called for, since the facts suggest the use of both influence and money to hush up the affair.

Mr. Ensign has denied any wrongdoing. But he eventually had to admit to having an affair with the wife of a longtime staff aide. After the aide discovered what was going on, the senator gave him a strong boost into a lobbying career. Mr. Ensign’s family also plied the aide and his wife with lucrative “gifts.”

An investigation by The Times established that Mr. Ensign asked political backers to find a job for the aide, Douglas Hampton. Payments of $96,000 to the Hamptons also were made by Senator Ensign’s parents, who insist this was a gift, not hush money. Once a lobbying job was secured, Senator Ensign and his chief of staff continued to help Mr. Hampton, advocating his clients’ cases directly with federal agencies.

That should be of particular concern to the Ethics Committee. There are supposedly strong Senate strictures against revolving-door lobbying abuses and quid pro quo dealings. Senator Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the ethics panel, has said only that an inquiry is ongoing. The Senate has a responsibility to the public and to its own reputation not to duck the Ensign affair.

New Clue in Chasen Murder "a real hollywood mystery movie?"

Just days before publicist Ronni Chasen was gunned down in Los Angeles, another woman driving in the same neighborhood was threatened by a gunman under eerily similar circumstances, according to an exclusive email obtained by The Daily Beast’s Ann Louise Bardach. Plus new details on Chasen’s personal life, her will, and other crimes that may be connected to her death, including:

• An exclusive email obtained by The Daily Beast reports a woman driving in the same neighborhood a week earlier was threatened through her window by a gunman under similar circumstances.
• Just 10 days after Chasen’s killing, an L.A. man barely survived a near identical murder attempt, shot multiple times through the passenger side of his car at 12:50 a.m., virtually the same hour as Chasen’s murder.
• Despite hope that Chasen had a new will in her safe deposit box that might shed light on her killing, her brother, along with the police, found no new will.
• Experts say the killer did not have to be an expert marksman or professional hit man, contrary to reports.
• More details on her personal life, including being the lover of PR impresario Warren Cowan and even dating Larry King.
• Chasen was unconcerned about her safety and was looking toward the future—including plans for plastic surgery.

The end for Ronni Chasen had the requisite elements of Hollywood film noir: a hail of bullets, a tony Beverly Hills address, a swell car, an unsuspecting blonde, and a storyline that made no sense.

A half-hour after leaving the premiere party for Burlesque just past midnight on Nov. 16, the veteran publicist was dead.

On Whittier Drive, just south of Sunset Boulevard, Chasen’s newly leased black Mercedes E350 struck a lamppost with such force that the concrete pole was hurled to the ground. In seconds, Chasen’s luxe-loaded coupe enfolded her like a black metal shroud. Her shoulder length blond hair, expertly coiffed and weave-dyed every few weeks, flopped forward. But it was her navy-blue designer suit jacket, riddled with bullets and awash in her blood, that betrayed the horrific, lonesome death of Ronni Sue Chasen.

It has become an article of faith, fueled by police sources and a leaked preliminary autopsy finding, that Chasen’s murder was the work of a professional hit man. Reportedly, five closely woven 9 mm hollow-point bullets, which do more internal damage, were blasted through the right passenger window. One police source speculated that the first two bullets struck her right shoulder—prompting Chasen to turn toward the shooter, leading to the three frontal chest bullets.

A week before the murder, an unsettlingly chilling incident occurred just blocks from where Chasen was killed, prompting a resident to alert some of her neighbors by email. The source and residents requested anonymity. The email reads:

“Hi ladies, something that I wanted to warn you about in our hood...Over the weekend, a neighbor told me that last week she was driving down Benedict Cyn and an African American guy with a shirt tied on his head—gang garb—was driving crazy behind her, cutting off drivers, then pulled up next to her at the Tower [Road] stop light and, with window rolled down, smiled at her while he pointed a gun at her. She ignored him and drove on. When they reached the Will Rogers Park, just after Sunset, he did a u-turn at high speed into oncoming traffic.

Is Chasen’s Killer Still Out There?My neighbor wanted me to know this because her friend had told her that there has been a string of shootings and car jackings happening within the last 2 months in the vicinity between Coldwater and Benedict.”

(According to one neighbor, the woman later said her assailant could have been Latino.)

A few details to those unfamiliar with Beverly Hills geography. Tower Road is just north of Sunset Boulevard, and the Will Rogers Park, a small triangular green patch made tabloid-famous by the arrest of George Michael in its restroom, borders the south side of Sunset, facing the venerable Beverly Hills Hotel.

On the night of Chasen’s murder, among the first to dial 911, at 12:28 a.m., reporting gunshots were residents living near Sunset and Benedict, as well as two blocks further west, toward Roxbury Drive, along with residents on Whittier.

Then, just 10 days after Chasen’s killing, a 53-year-old Covina man barely survived a near identical murder attempt, shot multiple times through the passenger side of his car at 12:50 a.m., virtually the same hour as Chasen’s murder.

Ronni Chasen had taken Sunset all the way. “She drove real slow, just like an old lady,” said a friend, “although she was often distracted with phone calls.” And while Chasen could be imperious, “road rage was not her thing.”

The Strip is legendary for its night life, neon, shops, and nightclubs, along with a healthy sprinkling of hookers, addicts, and drug dealers, especially after midnight. Cruising Sunset has long been popular with tourists, lowlifes, and gang-bangers.

Michael Baden, chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police, has his doubts about the professional assassin theory. “Automatic weapons are readily available and 9 mm bullets can be purchased just about anywhere,” he said. “You do not have to be a professional to pull this off. It could have been a hit man, but it also could be a gang guy. Within 5 or 10 feet, you don’t have to be such a pro. It’s no big deal to pierce the glass [of a car].”

Indeed, one person could have done the crime solo without a driver, Baden said, say if both cars stopped at the red light at Sunset and Whittier. “At this close range, [it] does not require superb marksmanship. You open your window and shoot.” He noted that, typically, “the pros aim for the head—not the chest.” Based on the leaked reports, he said, “a schlemiel could have done this.”

Another argument against the sharpshooter hit man theory is that a seasoned hired gun would likely use a silencer rather than alert an entire neighborhood—which was case with Chasen.

Neither Los Angeles County Coroner, Dr. “Lucky” Lakshmanan, who worked for Baden for years in New York, nor his spokesman, Ed Winter, would comment on the case.

Film producer Lili Fini Zanuck, a longtime Chasen friend and client, said that if the conventional wisdom that Chasen was a targeted hit is true, it wouldn’t stem from a movie deal gone bad. “We don’t kill each other in the movie business,” she said. “Not only do we not kill each other, we don’t sue each other—except to settle quickly. That’s why this case makes no sense.”

Unless Chasen was a mistaken target.


Veronica Cohen was born 64 years ago and raised near the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. She had married once briefly in her early 20s, keeping just her ex’s name, Chasen, according to a friend. In many ways, she was her finest production: leading a fiercely acquisitive yet reasonably contented life—its hours and minutes packed with work, friends, events, parties, swag, and periodic romances.

“The good news is that Ronni didn’t see it coming,” said Martha Smilgis, Chasen’s close friend since 1979, a former reporter for Time and People, and a co-executor of her 1994 will. “She had no idea, and that makes me feel better about the whole thing,” she said. “Ronni was really organized, almost programmed. She was fearless and very smart, and if, for a minute, she had any idea she was being followed or was going to be hit, she would have ducked into the driveway of Beverly Hills Hotel. And she would not have been calling her office minutes before [at 12:22 a.m.] with a to-do list.”

Zanuck echoed Smilgis: “If Ronni had a whiff or a suspicion that she had trouble brewing in her life, she would have had [Hollywood security expert] Gavin de Becker on it…in a heartbeat.”

After the initial shock, the search was on for a new will, one Chasen had drafted in 2006. Then there were the numerous codicils made to the initial 1994 will, all drafted by attorney Jim Murphy of Cox, Castle and Nicholson.

In September, during a hike in Franklin Park, Chasen told Smilgis that there was a new will and that she was still co-executor. And then the two shared a laugh about discussing such things.

In a bid to resolve the matter and all manner of speculation, Chasen’s brother, Larry Cohen, a filmmaker and screenwriter, opened her safe deposit box at her bank late last week, accompanied by detectives from the Beverly Hills Police Department. “Larry did it all very kosher,” said a studio executive, who requested anonymity. “He asked the cops to go with him, and there was no will in the box. There was some very good jewelry in there—and that was about it—and they left it there.”

The same friend dismissed the rumors that gambling debts or a possible bankruptcy of her elder brother were somehow connected to her death.

Three of Chasen’s closest friends say they never heard her refer to her brother as having any gambling or bankruptcy issue. “She would have told me—nor do I believe she would she have covered for him,” said the studio executive. “I truly doubt it.” The rumor is further potholed by the fact that her brother was not her legal heir.

“Larry was much older and more fragile. They had their issues, like all siblings, and she didn’t always get on with all of his wives,” said a leading Hollywood player. “But she defended him always, even pitched his projects around town. I must have read six of his scripts that she gave me.”

Indeed, Chasen was fraught with worry when Cohen underwent heart surgery a few years back. In a brief conversation, Cohen said he disavowed and “had no idea” about the many published reports about his sister and himself.

One Chasen friend described Cohen as appearing “broken and bereft” by his sister’s death. Another noted that he has worked closely with the police from the beginning.

After learning the news, Larry Cohen told friends that he was convinced the murder was “random.”

Chasen named four co-executors in her 1994 will, including her brother and pal Smilgis. Aside from a half-dozen charities, Chasen left the bulk of her estimated $6 million estate to her sweet-natured niece, Melissa Cohen, Larry’s daughter.
(Chasen had been a shrewd longterm player of the stock market and had done very well investing in platinum.) At the same time, she pointedly excluded Melissa’s sister, Jill Gatsby, whom friends say was not part of Chasen’s life. The excluded niece has an uncanny and pretty resemblance to her aunt and posted a YouTube video of her singing a song she wrote about Chasen a week after her death.

More than a dozen interviews with Chasen’s close friends, colleagues and clients make clear that there were two Ronni Chasens—with an array of personalities and a singular gift for compartmentalizing parts of her life. There was the Ronni for close friends and clients, “generous, loving, all heart, an irresistible, gurgling laugh, and great jokes” and another for folks that didn’t matter quite so much, notably rivals and some collaborators.

An obsessive micromanager, she was a tough taskmaster. “I have five minutes for you,” she snapped at a colleague at Rogers and Cowan. “Go!” she commanded. “She was the cheapest! Always looking for bargains,” said another rival.

Certainly, much of her top drawer lifestyle and bling came from barter, industry perks, favors, or the generous swag handed out to publicists.

“She was not cheap about what she wore,” countered one colleague. “Whenever I went to Neimans and Saks—before Barneys—Ronni was there buying the best and most expensive.”

While Beverly Hills Police Chief David Snowden has kept mum, his family has not been as discreet. One pal of Chasen’s, while getting a touch-up at “the Botox place that everybody goes to,” found herself sitting next to his wife. Mrs. Snowden soon lamented that everything in the Chasen case that’s been reported is wrong. “The press have it all wrong,” she said. “That story about the guys on motorcycles, the cameras at the stoplight, all of it—it’s all wrong. They don’t know what they’re talking about.”

It is a commonly heard lament. Contrary to published reports, Chasen’s two-bedroom, three-bath condo on Wilshire was on a high floor, spacious with stunning mountain views—and some superb pieces of furniture and art, including an antique Chinese cabinet, a small Picasso, and a Joseph Albers piece, along with high-quality antiques like a Secretariat desk. Sometimes she borrowed nice pieces from dealer friends for a few months. In her bedroom was another French desk, and a huge master bathroom along with immense and well-organized closets, crammed with designer clothes, all carefully bagged. (On Saturday, a Los Angeles TV station reported the condo had recently been burglarized.)

Every two years, Chasen leased a new luxury sedan—either a Jaguar or Mercedes. When she showed her new vehicle to Smilgis a few months ago, her friend warned her against it. “‘That car is a target,’ I told her. ‘You’ll be a blonde in a black Mercedes.’”


Chasen had a unique talent for doing business and having the occasional love affair with the men she worked for, and thereafter remaining close friends. For someone in the blab business, she could be remarkably discreet.

She was briefly engaged to the composer John Williams (of Star Wars and the Boston Pops) in the late 1970s. Williams was the first of many film score composers she would represent—a niche that she monopolized—including Hans Zimmer and Diane Warren, along with many of the clients in the stable of Gorfane, Schwartz.

Nor was she averse to being “the other woman” in the lives of several men of an advanced age who lacked good looks but wielded power and wealth. The savvy but rotund Warren Cowan was Chasen’s mentor—and lover. “Everyone knew she had a long-term affair with Warren [whose wives included the actress Barbara Rush],” said a former colleague, “and he paid her very well and gave her an unlimited expense account. Oh God, yes! Warren paid for her apartment, her hair, her car, those Neiman clothes.” And they remained friends until the end. Chasen “sat next to him, holding his hand” at Cedars-Sinai Hospital during his final weeks in 2008, the former colleague added, “with the wife in the room.”

After Cowan, according to several of her friends, Jim Robinson, the car tycoon and founder of Morgan Creek Productions, was another important relationship in her life, beginning in 1988 when she represented his company. For several years, she had an intense relationship with a New York media mogul, also married, that dissolved about five years ago. More recently, she was interested in a businessman who lived in Palm Springs. “She specialized in rich men,” quipped a friend.

Still, there were plenty of others she dated casually, from Jeff Price, a younger, handsome tennis pro in Santa Barbara, to a few dates with talk show host Larry King, who was “not her type,” according to a confidante. “Remember, Ronni was very pretty when she was young,” said Smilgis, adding that although Chasen was little more than 5 feet tall, she had been a soap opera actress and a glove model. “And she looked really good for her age and took very good care of herself.”

But a good deal of her dating was more social than romantic. “She had not had sex for two years,” said a confidante, who often stayed at her condo. “I know that.” And when Oscar campaign season began, she was too busy. Still, over the holidays, Chasen had hoped to go to Aspen, where she hoped to spend time with the tycoons on the slopes.

Self-improvement and physical enhancement were always on Chasen’s agenda. She had had two hip replacements—one for an injury after a spill at a L.A. mall years ago, the other earlier this year—both at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.

She had more skin lotions than a cosmetic store, observed a friend, “and more hairbrushes than Vidal Sassoon.” Everything had to be perfect. And while not a plastic surgery addict, like many in her set, she had some work done on her nose and eyes (by Beverly Hills’ finest, Frank Kamer, according to a friend), along with periodic skin plumpers and wrinkle vanishers. Next on her agenda was breast reduction surgery, noted a friend, who cited the procedure as proof that Chasen had plans to live for years to come.

Dying was simply not on Chasen’s agenda: she had places to go, people to meet, and all manner of expectations.

I'm still amazed by people being famous for what...?

Bristol Palin’s Learning Curve by Lindsey Boerma National Journal

Bristol Palin's latest Facebook response to critics: “Accusing me of hypocrisy is by now, an old canard.”
When they’re not cutting up ABC’s dance floor, Bristol Palin seems to have a hard time keeping her feet out of her mouth.

On the heels (pun intended) of Palin’s remark on Dancing with the Stars last week wishing “a big middle finger to all the people out there who hate my mom and hate me,” another questionable comment from former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s eldest daughter is making headlines.

After being dubbed MSNBC host Keith Olbermann’s signature “Worst Person in the World” on Countdown earlier this week for her appearance in a Candie’s abstinence PSA despite being a young, unwed mother, Bristol—or a spokesperson (note use of the word “canard,” an unusual world choice for a member of the text-message generation)—published a Facebook post Thursday in response that more than 2,000 people have since “liked.”

“Accusing me of hypocrisy is by now, an old canard,” she wrote of Olbermann’s remarks. “Mr. Olbermann fails to understand that in order to have credibility as a spokesperson, it sometimes takes a person who has made mistakes.”

But Palin’s handling of her “mistake”—the teen pregnancy of her now two-year-old son Tripp announced in 2008, when John McCain’s appointment of her mother as presidential running mate thrust her private life into the spotlight—has been somewhat inconsistent.

In an interview with Fox News last year, Palin referred to contemporary expectations of teen abstinence as “unrealistic.” Three months later, she signed on with the Candie’s Foundation as a paid spokesperson for abstinence. Now, reference to the whole ordeal as a “mistake” could pose concerns.

Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association, said Palin’s terminology wasn’t ideal, and, in this case, would better be described as an “opportunity.”

“We don’t call it a mistake so much as what is the behavior that will result in the best health outcome,” she said. “If she believes it’s a mistake, she can call it that, but we have to remember, this is a young woman who has been through a lot, who has been cast into the public sphere through a decision that she made and that because of her mom’s public profile, has been prematurely thrust into the public eye, and she is using that opportunity so that young people can learn from her.

“I find it hypocritical that people like Olbermann are condemning the messenger because they’re ideologically opposed to the message,” Huber continued. “It’s not hypocritical; it’s called maturity. And admitting that ‘I should have made a healthier decision’ and encouraging others to learn from my mistakes rather than from their own is, I think, refreshingly honest, and the research shows it’s effective.”

On Friday, radio hosts Bob and Mark on Anchorage's KWHL framed the question around how the young mother would discuss her abstinence campaign with her grown son: “How will you reconcile with Tripp when he gets old enough to look at the clippings and the public service announcements where you’re telling people, you know, ‘Wear condoms, if you can be abstinent be abstinent’… how do you reconcile with him: ‘Look-- you weren’t a mistake?’”

Palin responded, “I don’t even think I’m going to need to have a conversation like that with Tripp. He knows he’s the love of my life, and he happened to me for a reason.”

But Palin didn’t keep the interview completely G-rated. The hosts floated the idea that Olbermann’s recent criticisms of Palin made him “a dick.”

Palin laughed, “I agree with you.”