- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 10, 2000

Ironic investing

"It seems that Dana Giacchetto, financial adviser to the stars, was probably running some sort of simple scamster scheme. Stars from Cameron Diaz and Matt Damon to Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck gave Mr. Giacchetto their money and he, in turn, used it to pay his rent and nightclub tabs.

"Which were very high because, it seems, he lived in a spiffy Manhattan loft and spent lots of time at nightclubs with his glam clients. It was, however, time well spent. The [Securities and Exchange Commission] estimates that during the past year, he managed 305 portfolios with a total value of more than $100 million.

"What were these people thinking? …

"Mr. Giacchetto's chief talent was schmoozing, not investing. So why would Hollywood stars, located as they are in a country with a fully developed mutual fund industry, give Mr. G. money to invest?

"Well, one of the major rules of investing is to invest in what you know. And Hollywood knows schmoozing. Why bother putting one's money in oil, or technology, or gold, or dot-coms? If investing in schmoozing is not an exercise in irony, what could it be?

"Neither the federal grand jury nor the SEC is into irony and Mr. G. is facing prison time and fines."

from "False Prophets," in Friday's Wall Street Journal

Clueless mandarins

"Just eight years ago, the conventional wisdom holds, the GOP's mean-spirited extremists descended upon Houston for a hate-fest that rivaled the Nuremberg rallies.

"But today, Republicans have suddenly become soft, cuddly champions of education and minorities. Conservatives, of course, have known all along that this media spin is a sham. It's the clueless liberal mandarins of the press club set who have watched as bewildered bystanders while conservative policies improved the lives of millions of Americans during the past few years… .

"What escapes these liberals is the fact that conservative policies have done far more to improve the lives of our nation's minorities and children than any of the symbolic schemes that have come from the left during the Great Society or the Clinton years… .

"Liberals … have been left spinning lies and weaving excuses for the harm their failed policies have wrought on our schools and our inner cities.

"It's almost too bad for Republicans that they didn't spend the last eight years engaging in some of Bill Clinton's finger-waving philandering, Al Sharpton's pompous race-baiting, or the [National Education Association's] watering-down of educational standards; if they had, they might not have to spend so much time salvaging their image this year."

Scott Rubush, writing on "Conventional Wisdom: The Press Doesn't Have It," Aug. 3 in Frontpage magazine at www.frontpage.com

A tidier party

"The man at the top of the ticket, George W. Bush, is beginning to seem more formidable.

"He is still awkward at the podium He delivered his big speech fretfully, with his eyebrows tangled up in each other and his smallish features eyes, nose, mouth compressed together in the middle of his face.

"The words on the page were more eloquent than the orator was able to make them. And yet the awkwardness was almost part of the package. His best moments were the humble ones; indeed, humility was at the heart of his most important theme that it was time for the baby boom generation to grow up and behave responsibly, especially when it comes to difficult issues like Social Security and Medicare… .

"As usual, the polls and focus groups showed a favorable reaction to the newcomer; the glow will, no doubt, fade in the heat of the campaign. But even if George W. Bush is not able to sustain his current popularity, he has done a clever thing. He has married his own belated maturation to his generation's and to his region's… .

"And, just as the Governor of Texas has transformed himself from a rebellious party lout into Prescott Bush's compassionate, civil grandson, so the Republican Party may have found its natural place in the political spectrum still fairly conservative, but calmer and more concerned with tidiness than the Democrats are."

Joe Klein, writing on "Grand New Party" in the Aug. 14 issue of the New Yorker.

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