Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Picture Pages, Picture Pages

Radio City Music Hall

Overlooked for Jesus is Magic, Sarah Silverman directs the Academy as to where they can put their Oscar nominating process. (image via perezhilton via wireimage)

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Moby's not a fully-fledged "Manwhore" yet ... but he's drinking milk. (image via fashionweekdaily via patrickmcmullen)

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Better than rejeuvination, lovey! Evo Morales be damned. This is the best fucking glass of distilled Bolivian peasant's blood I've had since OPEC crisis! (image via NYSocialDiary)

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So, should I call you for breakfast? Or, just nudge you? (image via thecobrasnake)

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The heretofore unknown tenth circle of Dante's Inferno involves sinners listening to a Kimberly Stewart DJ'd set over and over for all Eternity. (image via ohnotheydidnt)
A Little of the Old In and Out


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(image via nyreviewofbooks)

In: The Resurgence of Jimmy Carter. Who would have believed that Jimmy Carter, arguably the most tragic failed Presidency in the last quarter century, could rehabilitate himself into an Elder statesman of the floundering Democratic Party with a hot new bestseller outlining a viable roadmap for gaining ground in the electoral red-states and -- for good measure -- the go-to guy for how our foreign policy ought to react vis-a-vis the Hamas victory in the Palestinian Authority elections?

Granted, George Will has a trenchant critique --vivisection? -- today of the Carter approach to dealing with Hamas. We are more interested, though, in the phenomenon of the resurrection of Jimmy Carter rather than in a general critique of the specific procedural remedies he offers. That reversal of fortune is astonishing.

The former President has made it his mission to bring Hamas "to the table." While that remains to be seen, Carter -- if only as an ex-President -- can be useful to his country. Gary Wills in his brilliant essay in the current New York Review of Books writes:

"In his new book, Carter addresses religion and politics together in a way that he has not done before, because he thinks that some Americans, and especially his fellow Baptists, have equated the two in a way that contradicts traditional Baptist beliefs in the autonomy of local churches, in the opposition to domination by religious leaders, and in the fellowship of love without reliance on compulsion, political or otherwise.

"... The marks of this new fundamentalism, according to Carter, are rigidity, self-righteousness, and an eagerness to use compulsion (including political compulsion)."

Whether these formulations --like his Presidency -- are fundamentally naive will ultimately be tested in the crucible of Hamas reaction to his private diplomacy. The years in the wilderness have added to Carter a dimension of dealing with fundamentalism in addition to his human-rights-approach-to-foreign-policy. We'll keep an eye on further developments.

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(image via businessweek)

Out: Dick Parsons. We love us some Dick Parsons. His game is tight; his moves are cool breeze. But the stock price has been stagnant, and Carl Icahn, that tireless gadfly, is gathering steam. Icahn versus Time Warner is heating up. In addition to the bewildering reports of Barry Diller at the margins, Carl Icahn has enlisted Frank Biondi. And they are pressuring Parsons to spin or outright sell off AOL. According to NewYorkBusiness (link via iwantmedia):

"Frank Biondi, former Chief Executive of Viacom Inc., has joined billionaire investor Carl Icahn to lead a proxy fight against Time Warner Inc. Mr. Biondi is joining the Icahn Group, which has been trying to elect new directors to Time Warner�s board and implement a turnaround plan. For months, Mr. Icahn has been calling for Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons to spin off or sell the America Online unit and buy back more stock.

"Mr. Biondi has agreed to serve as chairman and CEO of Time Warner if appointed by the board, according to a statement from the Icahn Group. 'He helped make Universal, Viacom and HBO into the successes they are today,' said Mr. Icahn. 'We are confident he will do the same for HBO�s parent company, Time Warner.'"

Stay tuned.

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(image via ultragrrrl)

In: Ultragrrrl's Def Jam Company Retreat. We quite liked Ultragrrrl's latest blog post. She's been getting remiss in her blogging from the times we drop by and it was a pleasant surprise to realize why. She was on a Def Jam company retreat, brimming with boldfaced names. To wit:

"We got to hear the up and coming singles in hip hop, rock, r&b... whatever we were putting out. The presentations, which lasted about 6 hours, was mostly hosted by LA Reid and Jay Z. It was accented by live performances by people like Damone, Loser, Crisette Michelle, Lionel Richie, and LL Cool J, among about 30 others that you'll all probably hear about endlessly.

"Two highlights of the presentation was hearing the Rhianna single for 'S.O.S.' for the first time. That shit is THE JAM. It's along the lines of Gwen's 'What U Waiting For' and Madonna's 'Hung Up.' The song sample's Soft Cell's version of 'Tainted Love,' and the track moves between new wave and pop hip hop/r&b seamlessly. I managed to get a copy of it to DJ, but I'm 100% positive that I can't spread it out. I have been playing it non-stop at my desk... Jay Z and his boy TyTy A&R'ed it. It's a hit.

"Another highlight was when LA Reid played former Recover singer Dan Keyes' "Discoteque." Flashed up on the massive projector screen was a lanky white boy whose photos hardly showed off how totally gorgeous he is. Instead, he appeared slightly awkward like a Dior Homme model. When the song started blasting through the deafening sound system you could practically see the disbelief on the staff's faces. Once the song was over the room applauded. It was the only track the room applauded for. 'Yup, it's a hit,' said LA Reid, as he laughed in stokedness for how well it was recieved.

"'That was a Rob Stevenson Stolen Transmission...' me, alex, and eric speck woooed 'do you guys know about Rob's new label Stolen Transmission?'

"'wooo!' i said.

"Jay Z found me in the crowd, laughed and nodded at me. 'it's his new label. stolen transmission.'

" we had been officially introduced." More here.

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Out: David Lee Simpson; David "Weave" Roth. We can't bear to listen to the scraggly-ass ex rocker's radio show. Especially after this, via Perezhilton, via Cityrags.

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(via beatsandrants)

In: Dave Chappelle on Oprah. Goddamn it, we forgvie Oprie. Once again you may count us as elect members of the Oprite sect. We wanted to be mad at her for the blurring of truth on Larry King (And you know, of course, that she reversed herself to save the Harpo brand and not out of an alert from her internal moral compass), but how can we? After all, Oprah did tear Frey's ass up -- tore it up! -- for an hour and, worse, for another white knuckler 30 minutes on the Oprah Aftershow on Oxygen (Which, we believe, is viewed by 7 people in Montana).

You know she's going to get David Chappelle to reveal his innermost demons about why he went apeshit and had to flee over to some Muslim brother's crash pad in South Africa --! -- instead of finishing out his contract at Comedy Central and collecting $50 million.

Oprah, The Corsair loves you again.
Clooney's Oscar Surprise

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(image via msnbc via warnerbros)

There are, unfotunately, precious few surprises among the nominations. One surpise, however, is the amount of nominations Good Night and Good Luck garnered. Yes, it was a fantastic film, and, yes, it does deserve the attention, but wow: 6 nods. (Note to the nascent Weinstein Company: Next go-round, case the festivals for all the cerebral, "ethics in journalism-ish" drama) It's really just George Clooney's world and we just live in it.

Also, according to Entertainment Weekly: "...It was a big morning for George Clooney, who earned multiple nominations for directing and cowriting Good Night and playing a supporting role in Syriana."

One major disappointment, however, was the exclusion of David Cronenberg. Imagine if he had been nominated for History of Violence. The ultra-creepy -- but always interesting -- Cronenberg has major issues with Paul Haggis over the use of the name "Crash." Imagine, though, the dramatic buildup that could have happened with both vying for the position? Jon Stewart just missed comedic gold (And ectomorphic Paul Haggis narrowly missed a "private history of violence seminar" with Cronenberg's thundering left hook at Graydon Carter's swishy Oscar party.)

(A considerable pause) It is also quite surprising how obvious many of the categories are as foregone conclusions. There will be little anticipation come Oscar time, we are afraid. For example, of course Philip Seymour Hoffman will win Best Actor; and, for that matter, of course Brokeback Mountain will win Best Picture. That goes without saying. This is because they were so clearly the best performance and best film of the year respectively, but it leaves, for the viewer, little buildup or climactic release.

Here are some other "predictions" of the somewhat obvious:

Best Actress
Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

Best Supporting Actor
George Clooney, Syriana

Best Supporting Actress
Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener

Best Director
Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain

Best Adapted Screenplay
Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, Brokeback Mountain

Best Original Screenplay
Noah Baumbach, The Squid and the Whale

Animated Feature
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride

Documentary Feature
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Now -- question: Does Marc Cuban get on stage if the Enron documentary wins? If he does it may be the only surprising moment of the evening.
The State of the Union Drinking Game


We expect to see a "kinder, gentler" SOTU Adress tonight. There will be no spinning of the "axis of evil," or, for that matter generous heapings of "yellow cake," but you can expect loving closeups of Martha-Ann Alito, and, no doubt, quick breakaways to Ted Kennedy's barely concealed looks of contempt. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)

When Potus ascends the dais to deliver the State of the Union flanked by the Vice President and Speaker of the House, you should have your "adult beverage" firmly in hand. What else can one do but hoist a tall glass of the fiery spirits in these days of soaring energy prices, unending war and -- lest we forget -- Congressional corruption? There are other Drinking Games, of course (Averted Gaze), but we invite you to try ours in all its studied wantonness:

Half Shot:
--The word "Freedom" is mentioned.

One drink in the event of:
--Tight closeup on Mrs. Alito, sitting next to the First Lady
--The President Mentions "Health Care," or "Seniors"
--The President mentions "Illegal Immigration"
--Both Chambers of Congress erupt into applause, interrupting the flow of rhetoric
--Mention of the heroism of Ariel Sharon


Two Drinks If:
--Mention of Historic Palestinian election
--Menion of New Orleans
--Appeals the the people of Iran (as opposed to Abudinejad)

Pound it if:
--The President congratulates Justice Alito

If you follow the rules then, if god is on your side, you will be blessedly unconscious by the time Governor Kaine of Virginia delivers the Democratic response. It is sure to be a magnum of chloroform.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Picture Pages, Picture Pages ...

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Ryan Philippe, at the SAG, glorious in his wrath. (image via wireimage)

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"Chill, Penelope. Hear me out: If it's a plant, I'm pretty sure we can roll that badboy up and smoke it." (image via justjared)

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Where's the fucking bar at? (image via wireimage)

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From back-to-back Grammy's to double fisted "Bay Breeze": Show business has not been kind to the 90s talent known -- quixotically -- as "Coolio." (image via thecobrasnake)

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Terry Hatcher and George Clooney discuss, amiably, whose making breakfast tomorrow morning. (image via wireimage)
RoVak: Pols "Unquenchable Demand for Pork"

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Pigs: Be afraid; be very afraid. (image via CNN)

On the face of things that headline could be construed as vaguely "porny." Robert Novak, pork, unquenchable desires -- and whatnot. Allow us to put things into proper perspective. Robert Novak's obfuscations on the unquenchable demand for pork refer to naught else but sweet lobbyist ass, the kind that puts out for both parties. Now then, according to our favorite Dickensian villain, Robert Novak, or, as we like to call him, "RoVak":

"Senators John McCain and Tom Coburn may force their colleagues to make an up-or-down public decision on proposals such as tucking $2 million for a public park in San Francisco into the nation's massive military spending bill. Last Dec. 20, this bit of pork was passed by Congress without debate and without a vote in the final version of the Defense Appropriations Act."

(A considerable pause; the sucking of teeth) All this talk of "tucking" --and -- "this piece of pork." (Averted Gaze) We continue, once more, undeterred:

"McCain and Coburn last Wednesday proposed a revolutionary change in the way Congress has done more and more of its business over the last two decades. They announced their intention to 'challenge' future earmarks as a violation of Senate rules. That would have meant a roll call vote on each of the 15,268 special spending items in 2005 (nearly a fourfold increase over the previous decade) that individual members quietly slipped into massive bills in the dead of the night."

Brilliant. McCain, when all is said and done (excepting his being on the wrong side of gay marriage), may be regardes as one of the greatest Senate strategists -- Naval Academy training? -- of all time; more:

"Arizona's McCain, a lonely voice in the Senate battling the bipartisan taste for pork, was joined last year by newly elected Tom Coburn, the flinty obstetrician from Muskogee, Okla. Even their combined voices probably would not have been heard were it not for the Jack Abramoff lobbyist scandal. Now, the unquenchable demand for pork by politicians that consumed $27 billion last year could be endangered."

Brava. (The Corsair hoists a Tour D'argent 1885 Burgundy to The Senator)

RoVak on "The Other White Meat"
A Little of the Old In and Out

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Coffee, tea, or me? (image via hellomagazine)

In: Athina Roussel nee Onaissis Turns 21. It was at the outset a dark Greek Tragedy with lots of money involved that slowly metamorphosed into a modern romance with an estranged father, JLo and a dashing Brazillian horseman rounding out the cast of supporting characters. Such is the life of Christina Roussel Onassis, the richest young lady in the world. On Sunday she turned 21, and the Third Act begins; enter: Her Trust Fund's Angry Administrators, AKA The Chorus. According to Hello!Magazine:

"One might assume that since she took possession of the vast Onassis fortune on her 18th birthday, Athina Roussel was a woman free of financial worries. Three years later, the pretty brunette's legal headaches are continuing, however. Under rules set out by Aristotle Onassis, who built the empire, his granddaughter should have taken control of his charitable foundation when she turned 21 on January 29 this year, but the fund's administrators are currently doing all in their power to prevent her. They say that since she knows little of the country's culture, she is unfit to take charge of the fund, which would give her an influential role in Greek public life."

We predict a glorious international courtroom battle for those billions. More here.

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(image via ziyue)

Out: "Big Momma's House." Damn this shit to Hell. (The Corsair expectorates into the blogosphere angrily) How could America, the greatest nation in the history of the world, allow this to happen? "Big Momma's House" was, sadly, the number one film in the country, bringing in $28 million of disposable -- and we do mean disposable -- cash to Fox. According to Defamer via the AP:

"People like the Big Momma character, pure and simple. She�s funny, she�s sassy, but it�s a guy underneath there,' Snyder said."

Think of all the studio-homeless films coming out of The Dance in Park City, and this -- this! -- barels into, no doubt, a triquel. (Averted Gaze)

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(image via yahoo.movies)

In: Larry David. This sucky season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" notwithstanding, we adore Larry David. We, quite frankly, would have preferred that he, not Jon Stewart, host the Oscars. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) We didn't quite have the "gatekeeper" juice to make that happen, though. Check us out, perhaps, in another couple of years.

Cindy Adams serves up this delicious quote that only makes David's Croesean wealth and Horatio Alger-ish rags to riches story more "Movie-of-the Week" than ever. Witness: "Super-rich Larry David on his poor, early stand-up comic days: 'I'd fill empty juice containers with pennies until I saved enough to buy Chef Boyardee beefaroni at the Hell's Kitchen deli.'"

As the professional wrestler "Dusty" Rhodes used to riff, "I've wined and dined with Kings and Queens, and I've lain in the gutter eating pork and beans .."

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(image via NYTCO)

Out: A CBS-CNN Collabo? While this is a not inconceiveable possibility: a) CBS already has a "cable channel" in buzzy online presence CBSNews.com, and, b) Would CNN brass be as into this prestige-proposition with, say Katie Couric as anchor (Diane Sawyer might be a better fit, though)? According to ths provocative piece in Mediaweek, though:

"A successful launch of CW could very well presage a momentous transformation in how co-parents Time Warner and CBS Corp. gather and disseminate news. According to sources in both camps, CNN and CBS have never quite closed the door on the idea of merging their news operations, although the last formal talks were dissolved in 2003, thanks in large part to the financial distractions posed by Time Warner�s struggling AOL.

"Now that the companies have sidled closer to each other, many observers expect merger talks to resume. 'Some kind of combination is inevitable,' said Hal Vogel, principal of Vogel Capital Management. 'The cost of having far-flung bureaus is way too high for any one organization to take on alone.' Financial considerations aside, the affinities between CNN and CBS are inarguable. CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein served more than 20 years at CBS News before joining the cable news net in November 2004, so he knows the operation inside and out. And like CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves, Klein has been searching for the formula that will propel his news organization into first place. 'CBS clearly has been looking for a cable presence for awhile,' said Prof. Robert Thompson, director, Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University. 'If the evening news does finally die, it would hasten a lot of things�but I don�t think it will happen in the short term.'"

Neither do we. As has been said exhaustively, CBSNews.com is their cable station. As we go further down the digital highway -- foot on the accelerator -- ad revenues will grow; CBSNews.com will be the premiere online destination for the up-to-the-minute Internationalist news connoisseur.

Still, considering the intriguing links between CBS News' 60 Minutes -- borrowing, say, Bob Simon and Christianne Amanpour for reports -- this is, as we said, a not an inconceiveable development. Just unlikely in the short end of things. More here.

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Diane von Furstenberg's iconic branch print. (image via fashionweekdaily)

In: Prints and Patterns of Fashion. As jet-setting eyes avert their jaded gazes from the action on the slopes of Davos and Sundance and prepare to fix their reptilian attention on the emaciated honeys at Seventh on Sixth (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment), Fashionweekdaily reminds us, briskly:

"... For the fall 2006 shows at Olympus Fashion Week, to take place February 3-10, 7th on Sixth executive director Fern Mallis and her executive team worked with its branding and communications agency, ink&co, to engage five prominent New York designers�Carmen Marc Valvo, Diane von Furstenberg, Milly by Michelle Smith, Tibi�s Amy Smilovic, and Heatherette designers Richie Rich and Traver Raines�to create graphic identities for the Tents and all the event materials involved.

"The designers were asked to select a fabric print�and in some cases, multiple prints�that they will be using in their upcoming fall show. A total of eight prints were submitted, and those designs will cover everything from program covers and credentials, to street banners, t-shirts, and signage. Tibi�s design features a rainbow; Milly, floral and lantern prints, and an additional black-and-white graphic. Heatherette shows off its flower power; Carmen Marc Valvo has selected two abstract floral prints; and Diane von Furstenberg will use the opportunity to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its iconic branch print."

Sweet; we're so there. The full story here.
Naomi and The Prince of Dubai

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.. Positively fucky. (image via pub.tv2)

Shady royalty, it seems, are back in style for supermodels (In Oman, they prefer high class hookers). We've followed Naomi, one of the great beauties of our age, through the pages of Vogue, all up in Usher's business, between Robbie Williams' sweaty sheets, proximate to San Francisco's ex-Mayor "Downtown" Willie Brown, and -- as a partial recap -- with seedy Klum-impregnator, Flavio Briatore. (Averted Gaze)

God help us: We love this crazy, high-octaine, gizmo-tossing bitch. Now, according to those intrepid Page Sixxies:

"MAN-eating catwalk queen Naomi Campbell has another victim in her claws: the Prince of Dubai. The two are vacationing in Sweden and last week stayed at the Grand Hotel, the most expensive place in Stockholm. On Wednesday night the two were snapped by paparazzi at the Plaza Club after 'they had had a lot of drinks,' said our spy."

And afterwards, we imagine (in the quiet of our souls), lots of rough, open-hand slapping sex.
Corsair Exclusive! Filibustering John Kerry ... Awkward!

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Tilting at windmills? (image via georgetown.library)

Senator John Kerry is not ... the most nimble man in the world ("who among us does not like Nascar"). But then, the Democratic Party is boffo about bookish geeks (think -- Dukakis, aka "Big Geeky"). And, anyhoo, the tall, goofy Senatorial thing -- with the hair; always the inscrutable Senate hair -- is very George Washingtonian; and it did, after all, snag him a rich "SugarMommy" (which, come to think of it, can only be properly construed as distinctly Madisonian). The newly-designed Wonkette site -- very sweet -- reports, gingerly:

"Last week, when Senator John F. Kerry issued a vocal call for a filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito, Jr. � going so far as to blog about it � many Democrats and Republicans had the same reaction: 'What the hell is he thinking?'"

Uhm, a guess -- 2008? Further:

"The fact that Senator Kerry issued this clarion call to arms from Switzerland, of all places, didn�t exactly help."

But it is in character, n'est-ce pas? Think -- leisurely windsurfing during the campaign of your life. Besides, the Verbier powder is Monster. Moreover:

"As White House press secretary Scott McClellan put it, 'Even for a senator, it takes some pretty serious yodeling to call for a filibuster from a five-star ski resort in the Swiss Alps.' As the New York Times aptly summarized matters, 'Democrats cringed and Republicans jeered at the awkwardness of his gesture, which almost no one in the Senate expects to succeed.'"

But success is relative. If, by success, the Old Gray Lady means stopping Alito, well: That's not going to happen. But if by success you mean: Will energize the Progressive wing, then, er: you know --? (Lilting teenage tone)

More here.
Chappy Morris Engaged to Melissa Stanley!

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(image via NYSocialDiary)

When Old Money becomes affianced, well, we take notice. Because, you know, there are not too many people who can roll with the sobriquet "Chappy" and survive prep school with their lunchmonies intact. Although we are tight with the weed guy on 125th who calls himself, quixotically, "Pooky." ("skunky," we offer, would be the more accurate characterization of his aromatic product) But ... that's another story altogether, involving newer, crisper money than those ancient Morrises.

But --as they say -- congrats to "Chappy" Morris, and "Brookie," and whomever else rocks those leisurely nicknames of yesteryear that bring a smile to our Armagnac stained lips. According to our favorite social chronicler David Patrick Columbia in the necessary NYSocialDiary:

"Chappy Morris, New York society's most perennial bachelor (and I'm not exaggerating) is about to surprise his very wide world and announce his engagement to Melissa Stanley, the young lady he's been squiring around town (and elsewhere) for a few years now. Chappy, who is 56 is from a very old New York family (think Morrisania in the Bronx, think Gouverneur Morris, signer of the Declaration of Independence) is the child of a perennial bachelor who married later in life to Chappy's mother Edna who became one of the great doyennes of society. In fact, the same engagement ring that Chappy's father gave his mother has now engaged Melissa Stanley. What their specific plans are I cannot tell you since I�m not even supposed to know what I've told you. But they are a lovely couple and congratulations and best wishes are in order!"

Yes, best wishes to all. More, fresh -- June 2008 -- Corsair gossip here.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Picture Pages, Picture Pages ...

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Serena, not Venus, shows us the curvature of "Uranus." (image via justjared)

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Yes, Bryant Gumbell can get rather boorish on the subject of his purported penis girth (Averted Gaze), but one arch, knowing glance from Hillary Quinlan says -- sotto voce -- "Naught else but simple bullshit." (image via wireimage)

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Jesica Simpson in the throes of existential angest over handbags in this pure, Kierkegaardian "Either/Or" situation (She picked the brown one). (image via ohnotheydidnt)

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Two days later, the luckless pedestrian noticed a burning, chafing sensation where Tommy Lee's lips had touched his cheek. (image via wireimage)

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Cinema Taradiso. (image via wireimage)

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Still from Quentin Tarrantino's Unfinished Project #75. (image via thecobrasnake)
Davos Watch

The World Economic Forum concluded today. Former President Bill Clinton reiterated his wife's Centrist position that we should not withdraw troops from Iraq prematurely. Further, he mentioned Climate change as the world's biggest worry (Greater than rogue nuclear weopons -- Russian, North Korean or Pakistani -- in the hands of a terrorist?!) As we nurse our wretched hangover in New York City, trolling the web and blogosphere for Davosian tidbits we found this, from the AP (Which, fascinatingly, beat Jason Calacanis to blog Davos):

"I spotted the Massachusetts senator, John Kerry, at a discussion about modernizing Islam and we got to talking as we filed out of the hall.

"'You know,' I told the failed Democratic presidential candidate, 'you could really make this whole Davos event by telling me you plan to run again.'

"Kerry edged away from me and my brandished digital audio recorder, starting to mumble something about how an answer would come 'somewhere down the line.'

"Before Kerry finished his sentence, the space between us was occupied by the formidable Teresa Heinz Kerry, who had a very specific timetable for what sounded like a possible joint venture.

"'We'll know by the end of the year.'

"Kerry said one more thing, laughed sheepishly and was swallowed by the crowd."

Run along, Kerry. See, The Corsair loves this kind of stuff. A place like Davos presents a million opportunities to catch the powerful and ambitious with their pants down. It is a literal Bonfire of the Vanities. More serious, from Marketwatch:

"...The world's 'fat cats,' as Bono called his fellow delegates, could hardly take their mind off the increasing likelihood of a short-term energy shock.

"Various doom scenarios were evoked at the summit, from terrorist attacks by local fundamentalist groups on Saudi oil infrastructure to Nigerian rebels preventing the country from exporting its oil.

"'If past supply shocks are any guide for the future, a meaningful supply disruption could drive oil prices to over $100 a barrel,' William Browder, chief executive of Russian fund Hermitage Capital Management, told MarketWatch in an interview.

"His worries were echoed at numerous conferences but also in private conversations in the corridors of the conference center.

"'My main concern this year at Davos is without a doubt energy prices. In the medium and long term, I'm not so worried because we can increase investment and do other things, but there's not much we can do about a short-term supply shock from Iran for instance,' Egypt Finance Minister Youssuf Boutros-Ghali said in an interview."
Bobcat Goldthwait Sets off a Rocket in Celebration at Selling "Stay"

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(image via indiewire)

Jimmy Kimmel Show Director Bobcat Godthwait finally sold the buzzy sleeper hit "Stay," to Roadside Pictures. How does a raunchy comedian celebrate? With rockets and a fur jockstrap. WowReport, who last time around lit up Sundance with "Inside Deep Throat," WOW producer Thairin Smothers chats on the phone with WOW intern Tasha Goldthwait, whose father's film Stay, was just sold. Below is a trancription (Podcast here):

"Thairin Smothers: (Excited) -- You sold Stay?

"Tasha: Sold. And it's going to be Worldwide...

"Thairin: Great. Who'd you guys sell it to?

Tasha: Uh, Roadside/Goldwyn?

"Thairin: Roadside .. Roadside and Goldwyn. Oh, that's cool. Is you're Dad excited? Ohmigod that's been his ... congratulations ... tell your Dad congratulations ...

"Tasha: I will tell him. Yes. He's very excited; (he's) been very emotional.

"Thairin: Is he? What do you mean?

"Tasha: ... He cried a few times

"Thairin: Did he? That's sweet. And ... in the excitement of it. Where'd you find out? Where were you?

"Tasha: We were actually at our house in which the whole cast and crew was staying -- a pretty big house, but not big enough for 15 people. And then we let off a rocket outside our house.

What kind of rocket?

--A rocket that someone bought outside of Las Vegas.

(Laughter) Was it like a huge fireworks explosion?

"Tasha: Yeah, like fireworks were up ion the air and everything ... (laugfhter) so that's what happened.

"Thairin: Right on. So, that, like, kind of expresses how your dad probably really feels, right?

"Tasha: Yeah; (skeptically) He's he's been walking around a fur jockstrap for the past few days. Just to give you a feel of what's been going on around here.

"Thairin:(laughter) Really: where's the fur jockstrap from?

"Tasha: $19.99 on Main Street!

"Thairin: Nuh uh, at Sundance?

"Tasha: Yeah. They have a bunch of them."

Congratulations, Bobcat. We predicted this. Now, let's hope tonight "Stay" wins the big 'un.

More here.
A Little of the Old In and Out

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(image via bradpittfan)

In: Brad Pitt, International Man of Mystery. They say a good woman can change her man profoundly; she can give him direction where once he was aimless. Until now, Brad Pitt has been a sort of Hollywood good ole boy-- a kindhearted, amiable Hollywood dunce with pretty boy good looks despite his sometimes dodgy film choices. As the taller half of the collabo "Brangelina," however (Insert gratuitous moist, hott, monkeysex sounds here), Brad Pitt is another kettle of fish entirely; he's gone Internationalist; he bestrides the planet like a jet-setting colossus.

Today, after a meeting with Kofi Annan, he is expected -- so the buzz goes -- to become, at some point soon, a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, like his ... Babymomma.

And, If the Sundance buzz is true (We'll find out tonight), Brad Pitt may also not inconceiveably win Best Documentary (He produced God Grew Tired of Us, the buzztastic doc on South Africa's Lost Boys in New York).

When -- pray tell -- did Brad Pitt become such an International Man of Mystery?

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Assboy. (image via sunnewsonline)

Out: Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo. Matt Moore of the AP gave us this sharp gem. Obasanjo, the perennial candiate (Of the multinational oil party, in essence, while the general populace struggles on the scraps in poverty), is amending the fragile Nigerian Constitution so that he can run ... again. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) And, of course, the fact that geopolitical scum like he have no sense of tact or grace is a given. According to the AP (via washingtonpost):

"Bill Gates, who co-founded Microsoft and makes more money than any other American __ or anyone else on earth, it seems __ said his Gates Foundation would increase by three fold to $900 million the amount of money for tuberculosis research, including new vaccines, advice and brochures and expanding access to the latest treatments.

"But Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who says Africa will benefit muchly from the donation, wasn't shy about asking for more.

"'We like round figures in Africa,' he said, with a sly smile. 'Couldn't you give us a billion?'"

Jesus H. Christ, what balls!

"Gates grinned and laughed along with those at the press conference. But he never did answer."

Nor should he have had to. But he got a nice little lesson in African politics.

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(image via datelinehollywood)

In: Picking Sundance. Tonight the winners at Sundance will be chosen. Ever experimental, the gang at Bloggingsundance report, cleverly:

"Can a computer pick films that are likely to win at Sundance better than a human can? Deconstructing Sundance analyzed a variety of factors around Sundance films over the past decade to create a computer program that would pick the films which would do best (and worst) at Sundance. Factors considered included specific words used in film reviews. Golden words include: academic, dialogue, girl, focus, journey and sex. Kiss of death words? Africa, emotional, beautiful, inspired, riveting, sexy and subtitles. Also considered were which critics consistently pick winners - or losers. Also, even though Sundance highly promotes digital, films shot on digital only have a 19% chance of winning. We thought it might be fun to see how the computer program stacks up against a real person who has seen many of the films and heard the buzz on the ground, and see who does better."

Among the picks? Kim Voynar, the computer and The Corsair all pick the Brad Pitt produced "God Grew Tired of Us" for Best Documentary; for Best Dramatic Competition, though, only The Corsair picks Bob Goldwait's Stay (Kim is split between Quinceanera and Stephanie Daley, and the computer picked Come Early Morning). We'll see who wins. More picks here.

SCOTUS O'CONNOR

(image via washingtonpost)

Out: Senator Arlen Specter. We are loathe to go swooping down on Arlen Specter, giving him the backhand, partially because he has health issues. (A considerable pause) Also, he is in a terrible position; untenable, really. As Senator from the Great State of Pennsylvania, he represents the rigorously anti-abortion Philadelphia suburbs -- a key now to achieving the Presidency -- and he is for a woman's right to chose, and, worse still, he is a Republican.

So -- How did this man ever get elected in Pennsylvania? How does he, moreover, keep getting reelected, being Pro-Choice from said State?

Mostly through tightropwalking, dear reader. But, of late, the Conservative wing of the Repblican Party has been, strategically, muscling him. Really tearing his ass up, so to speak. It worked. After a flood of phone calls to his office last year threatening him that if he uses his ranking Judiciary position to keep a pro-lifer from getting a seat on the Supreme Court .... And ... Spector got the message. He behaved; you saw him turn on Kennedy, didn't ya?

But, of course, men and women of principle cannot ever respect someone that -- for lack of a better word -- who ... "flip-flops." (Makes Manichean hand-gesture) From our favorite Dickensian villain, Robert Novak:

"Sen. Arlen Specter, an unyielding Republican advocate of abortion rights, last Monday addressed more than 100 anti-abortion protesters from his state of Pennsylvania who had just participated in Washington's 33rd annual March for Life.

"To the dismay of pro-life activists, Specter insisted on attending a reception for the marchers at the Capitol Hill Club. Before Specter arrived, he was lavishly praised by Pennsylvania's anti-abortion Republican Sen. Rick Santorum. Specter's performance as Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, said Santorum, 'was wonderful and very, very key to Judge [Samuel] Alito's confirmation' for the Supreme Court.

" Santorum, facing a tough re-election challenge, was criticized by his conservative base when he supported Specter's renomination in 2004. Pro-lifers at the reception did not object to Santorum's remarks, but several left the room when Specter began to speak. Specter declared he would not be there as a U.S. senator were it not for Santorum."

Nice strategem, Ex Lax: The Pro-Lifers hate you; so, now, do the Pro-Choicers. (Averted Gaze) If it weren't for Santorum, you might have had another term, Senator soon-to-be-a-private-citizen. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)

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(image via informativos)

In: The Taking of Sex.com. The brilliant Michael Gross appears in the pages of Playboy's February 2006 issue with his gripping story The Taking of Sex.com. It is his first long-form, non-travel magazine piece in nearly five years.

"Sex dot com, which was sold about ten days ago for $14 million, was perhaps the most valuable address on the World Wide Web. Its story is the child of Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Catch Me If You Can and the Road Runner Wile E. Coyote cartoons. See how the site became a gold mine during the dot-com boom, then watch as the party implodes in a swirl of swinging, speed, spending and, ultimately, rancorous litigation between the two genuises, a geek and a grifter, fighting to control it. The Google Guys they are not!"

We're so there.
Kanye and Pam Anderson?

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(image via stephaniesyjuco)

She's a little bit country, and he's a little bit rock and soul; she's a little bit Canadian, and he's got a little Motown in his soul .... According to Gatecrasher:

"They'd make the oddest celebrity couple since Quentin Tarantino and Shar Jackson, but reports keep coming in about the hot new 'friendship' between Pam Anderson and Kanye West.

"'The pair first got together Jan. 12 at the Miau House Studios in Los Angeles. They were being photographed for the first issue of Atlanta Peach magazine, an upcoming cousin of Ocean Drive."

There are so many "Atlanta Peach" agles we could go at this with, but ... it would be low hanging comedic fruit.

"'Kanye got cozy with Pam, taking off his shirt and flirting for the camera,' says an on-set snitch. 'There were definitely sparks.'

"And former Daily News gossip Marc Malkin says they were later spotted 'all over each other,' and 'making out all night,' at the Hollywood hot spot Teddy's.

"Atlanta Peach - and the sizzling photo spread that started it all - will hit the stands in April."

So there.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Picture Pages, Picture Pages ...

David Guest and Da Brat?!

Da-vid Gest, plus Da-Brat, equals Da-sgusting. (image via justjared via X17agency.com)

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Two Sundancers in search for a robust multivitamin. (image via indiewire)

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Natalie Portman, bar none, the hottest little-boy-looking piece of ass in the world. (image via ohnotheydidnt)

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1970's Alberta Dairy Queen chic is the new black. (image via thecobrasnake)
A Little of the Old In and Out

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(image via businessweek)

In: Bill and Melinda Gates. The eradication of disease in the Third World is, elegantly, becoming a sort of side theme of Davos: the ultimate playground of the wealthy and powerful. There is a fetching symmetry to that. Last year's dramatic-Davos moment came when Sharon Stone raised $1.4 million in 5 minutes for anti-malarial bednets for Tanzania. Now, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed greatly towards the eradication of TB. According to Forbes:

"Bill Gates said Friday his charitable foundation will boost its funding for tuberculosis eradication from its current level of $300 million to $900 million during the next decade. The effort is part of a larger campaign against tuberculosis announced at the World Economic Forum.
"The disease killed 1.6 million people last year. The announcement came as Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, British treasury chief Gordon Brown and Gates called for help to treat 50 million people and prevent 14 million tuberculosis deaths worldwide over the next decade.

"'This is a very tough disease,' the Microsoft Corp. chairman and co-founder said. 'It is going to take all of us - private sector, the pharmaceutical companies, philanthropy and governments in countries that have the disease - to participate as well.' The Global Plan to Stop Tuberculosis was formed by the Stop Tuberculosis Partnership, a group of 400 organizations. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation already has given $300 million to help fight the disease. Britain also said Friday it would commit $74 million to fight tuberculosis in India."

This comes on the heels of another Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation offering, namely, microloans to Pakistan and Tanzanians (via a $5.5 million grant to the Aga Khan Foundation). Bravo.

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(image via timeinc)

Out: Tyrants. The Corsair abhors Tyrants. They are planetary fungi; our blood boils thinking about their continued existence. We were born, you see, in Amin's Uganda, so our abhorrence might actually be congenital (Fot further reference, See: African Dictator Chic). Although, to be honest, it wasn't until college, studying Sophocles's wise Oedipus Tyrannus that we came to understand the inherent madness in a man making himself -- essentially, Existentially -- the state ("L'etat, c'est moi").

The dreamlike character of Oedipus Tyrannus as he presides and dramatically collapses over the plague ridden Thebes, like Duchamps' Nude Descending a Staircase, when read, in Attic Greek (those clashing consonants!), is the greatest work of poltical philosophy on the subject of tyrants of all time (With the possible exception -- possibly, maybe -- of Xenophon's dark gleaming gem, The Cyropaedia: On The Education of Cyrus). Now, combine the subjects of Tyranny and Journalism, and, you can imagine, we were a bit of a sucker for Parade's Ranking of Tyrants (link via Romenesko):

"If you missed last Sunday's Parade: Omar al-Bashir of Sudan wears the winner's laurel again, followed by Kim Jong Il of North Korea, Than Shwe of Burma, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (up from No. 9 last year) and -- with a bullet -- Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan (up from 15).

"You can imagine the barstool debates this might ignite: 'How can you say Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea [No. 10] is worse than Boungnang Vorachith of Laos [No. 19]? Gimme a break, pal!'

"But that's the sport of it. America loves the linear certainty of lists and rankings, whether it's U.S. News doing colleges or VH1 doing the 50 most awesomely bad songs of all time or despots committing atrocities.

"'These are subjective,' cautions Wallechinsky, who says he considers data provided by governments and human rights entities. He doesn't run numbers through a computer (number of people tortured, elections denied), but nonetheless serves as a one-man Bowl Championship Series-like ranking service for the planet's most heinous. We debriefed him by phone from his home in Santa Monica, Calif.:

"Q. So how do you figure that King Mswati III of Swaziland (No. 12) is only one unit of evil worse than Isayas Afewerki of Eritrea (No. 13)?

"A. Afewerki is a worse person. He's more of a thug. But he has less control of his people than Mswati does.

"Q. Any potential 'hot' dictators we should keep an eye on for next year's rankings?

"A. Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia [No. 18]. He keeps getting worse. If his police keep arresting and shooting people, he's definitely gonna be someone to watch.

"Q. Do dictators ever call to complain about their rankings?

"A. A lot of these governments have PR firms, so I hear from them. I always get letters from Saudi and Chinese apologists.

"So fucking brilliant; so much better than just silently stewing, impotent, about global injustice. More here.

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(image via webforum)

In: What Color is Your Badge? All men and women, in the United States, are equal in the eyes of the blind justice; but, all badges, however, in Davos, are far from equal. Justin Fox of Fortune reports:

"The gradations of status at the World Economic Forum are many. There are the legions of worker bees conscripted by the WEF to work the conference: usually supersmart, superambitious young people vastly overqualified for what they spend much of their time doing: running incessant errands, holding the hands of conference participants, and passing microphones around meeting rooms. Someone described them to me as the equivalent of Congressional staffers, and that sounds about right.

"Their badges come in various shades of blue.

"Then there are the working press, who get to attend some WEF events but not the really interesting ones. Their badges are orange. Then there are security people, aides to really important participants (less important ones, such as Congresspeople and run-of-the-mill CEOs, don't get to bring staff), and various other categories with badges in various different shades.

"It's among those who possess the white badges bespeaking full Davoliciousness, though, that the status game gets really interesting.

"... That's who generally tops the status food chain here: Bill Gates, plus whichever really important government officials deign to show up. President Bush is not a Davos kind of guy (unlike his predecessor, who is scheduled to speak Saturday), and Condi Rice decided to videophone in her contribution Thursday, much to the relief of the WEF staffers who would have had to find hotel rooms for her massive entourage if she'd made the trip, so the big political stars have been new German chancellor Angela Merkel, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. (I'm sure I'm missing a few others.)

"In a nice reflection of how our world now works, though, the biggest stars of all here this year are Angelina Jolie, in her function as a UN goodwill ambassador, and Brad Pitt, who I presume is wearing one of those spouse badges that doesn't say what he does for a living. I haven't come across them yet, but news of sightings Thursday shot through the Davos community and the global media. Bill Gates, whatever. Brangelina, now that's something interesting."

The full article here.

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(image via lyceefrancaisdevastanger)

Out: The Obnoxious Fragility of Winona Rider. While we cannot fail to note that, yes, Winona Rider is hott -- the saucer-wide eyes, the waifish physique, the big juggs -- her incessant crying is not. Remotely. Interesting. (The Corsair sips a mulled claret) According to our favorite superhero gossip duo, Rush and Molloy:

"Winona Ryder broke down in tears as she remembered co-star Chris Penn at the Sundance premiere of 'The Darwin Awards.' 'He was an amazing person, and hilarious,' she said. '[He was] not just Sean Penn's little brother.'"

Okay, understandable. But then, from Premiere's recent Keanu Reeves blowjob:

"Francis Ford Coppola: For one point during Dracula, [the cast] were all living in my house in the Napa Valley. They were all running around and living there like a bunch of my kids, you know. And one time, I came down to the kitchen, and there was Keanu, in a T-shirt, having just gotten up. He was eating a donut with a beer. It was so cute because my own son who wasn't around anymore -- I'd seen him do that, you know. So it's an image I always remember.

"Keanu Reeves: It was great to be in that environment: going for a run in the morning, looking at the stars at night, going into Francis's research library, spending time with him. You know, watching Tom Waits sing 'Waltzing Matilda' to Winona at the piano, Winona crying. It was a beautiful life. Les enfants du paradis."

... It always ends with Winona crying. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)
DavosWatch: HamasTalk

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(image via washingtonpost)

Senator McCain, speaking on torture at Davos, says, interestingly (via TheGuardian):

"'What I was concerned about and continue to be concerned about is interrogation methods,' McCain, R-Ariz., told The Associated Press on the sidelines of the forum.

"'Now, if they want to keep them in Guantanamo or Des Moines, Iowa, that's not a critical issue to me. What is critical is that we adhere to treaties that we are signatories to and observe basic human rights and obey the law that we just passed concerning cruel and inhumane and degrading treatment.''"

No doubt, What the Hamas win in the Palestinian Authority elections yesterday means to stability in the region is the question all the heavyweights in Davos, Switzerland are asking themselves. And, what's more, what appears to be the disintegration of Fatah, the moderate --perceived on the Muslim street as: puppetish -- Third Way. (Furrowed brow of concern) Amidst the deteriorating situation in the territories, the FT reports:

"A financial crisis will push the Palestinian territories into chaos in a matter of days if Israel and international donors cut financial ties with the Palestinian Authority following the surprise election win by Hamas, James Wolfensohn, the international community's special envoy to the region, warned on Friday.

"'The crunch time is next week,' said Mr Wolfensohn, the former head of the World Bank. 'The Palestinians are basically bankrupt.' He said there was no money to pay salaries of Palestinian security forces or civil servants. 'If you do not have the money to pay 135,000 Palestinians you are going to have chaos.'"

"European diplomats on Thursday indicated that the EU could maintain its role as the PA�s biggest donor if Hamas desisted from acts of violence."

Enter: Iran; Ahmadinejad, ironically, banned Beethoven today (Was there any musical genius more into the service of Universal Brotherhood than Ludwig Van?). Cash rich from the recent spike in oil prices, they are in the perfect position to give comfort the terrorist organization. Does this mean now that Ehud Olmert, in the grip of an campaign against the disgustingly opportunistic "Bibi" Netanyahu (Averted Gaze), falls back into an adversarial Sharon-Arafat deathroll with Hamas? Clearly, there can be no negotiations with Hamas unless they relinquish their adolescent refusal to recognize that which is already a reality, namely-- the state of Israel. But something tells The Corsair that Iran won't let Hamas pursue the road to peace. Still, curiously, a recent poll shows that half of Israeli's are willing to at least talk -- if not negotiate -- with Hamas. Could this provide political wiggle room for the perhaps overly idealistic Labor bloc?

There is one smidgeon of good news to come out of this -- that Hamas actually participated in a democratic election, and that the election went off without significant glitches. The two stated goals, by the way, of Hamas are: 1) To eliminiate the state of Israel, and, 2) To replace Israel with Islamic Law, not democracy. Nice, right? So, cynically, marginal headway has been made against the second tenet of Hamas if they are participating in a democratic election. Perhaps that will be History's judgement of the meager accomplishments of the presently useless Mahmoud Abbas -- he brought Hamas to the table. And now he can exit stage left.

Now it is Condi Rice's turn on the stage of the Middle East theater. But Rice operates in the worst of all possible political situations vis-a-vis gaining concessions from either side. Iran's smarmy President Ahmadinejad --doesn't that low-grade piece of ass smirkof his just make you want to reach into the teevee and paste him one? -- will, no doubt, extend the olive branch of friendship to the leadership of Hamas. The insertion of Ahmadinejad, a man already in the thick of international opprobrium over his stated goal to acquire nuclear technology, into the mix may, not inconceivably, be the proximate cause of a unilateral strike by Israel.

Israel is in a volatile campaign season (Israeli elections are notoriously volatile; switching momentum and direction virtually overnight, as the security situation changes); any pressure exerted from the United States on Prime Minister Ehud Ohlmert directly, in this moment of Israeli exigency, will be perceived as sheer puppetry and, without fail, be exploited by that slimy hawk Benjamin Netanyahu. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)

So, in fine, Secretary Rice's hands are tied in direct negotiations with Israel until after their elections take place and diplomatic candor is once again restored. And yet, while not interfering in Israeli's internal politics (Which any issued ultimatum would be perceived as), we must somehow -- somehow -- lead Hamas in the direction of negotiation with Israel, a nation that it has pledged to destroy, against Iran, who will, no doubt, come carrying blank checks and emotional appeals to Islamic brotherhood at the ready. (After a considerable pause ..) Hamas now has to chose between Israel and Iran; and, no doubt, we can see where the momentum is now, no? We certainly don't envy Dr. Rice's position.

But back to Davos, kids. According to the Washington Post:

"A scheduled discussion of the elections at the elite forum was titled 'A turning point for Palestinian statehood?' _ but few at the somber gathering seemed to expect such an outcome anytime soon, given the rise of a group that has been dedicated to Israel's destruction and is widely considered, in Israel and the West, to be a terrorist organization.

"Former U.S. peace negotiator Aaron Miller said Palestinian attitudes reflected 'the power of the weak, which is a very formidable power. (It's) the power ... to assume that 'Since we're under Israeli military occupation, we're the weakest party, we can acquiesce to just about any form of behavior including terror and violence.'

"'I see no way, given the circumstances that exist on the ground, that Israel and the Palestinians can negotiate a conflict-ending agreement' anytime soon, said Miller, a public policy scholar with the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars."
Viv Westwood Offers to Dress Angela Merkel

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(image via pubtv2)

The Sassy Vivienne Westwood, a woman so cool that she was allowed to smoke in the offices of Paper Magazine, is making the no-nonsense Chancellor of Germany a fashionable offer. According to British Vogue:

"VIVIENNE WESTWOOD has offered to dress the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose conservative style has often seen her compared to Margaret Thatcher. 'If Mrs. Merkel wants to wear Westwood, I can promise that I will design clothes for her that will make her look chic, refined and influential,' the 65-year-old designer told Stern. 'For me, Thatcher has always been one of the world's best-dressed people. Her politics were appalling, but her look gave her incredible presence.'"

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Picture Pages, Picture Pages ...

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On second thought, Maybe there were frogs in his hair after all? (image via justjared)

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Hilbilly looking DJs get all the skanks. (image via thecobrasnake)

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Winona's Wider. (image via wireimage)