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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



(image via slate)

"After igniting a nearly 500-point surge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average with details of the Obama administration's bank rescue plan on Monday, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner roiled currency markets in quite a different way Wednesday with remarks about China's call to replace the dollar with a new global reserve currency. During an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Geithner appeared receptive to a proposal from People's Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan to change the basic role of U.S. currency, saying, "as I understand his proposal, it's a proposal designed to increase the use of the IMF's special drawing rights. And we're actually quite open to that suggestion.' Oops. The seemingly inocuous remarks were interpreted as an endorsement of a system linked to International Monetary Fund's basket of currencies consisting of the Euro, Japanese yen, pound sterling, and the dollar. Within minutes, Bloomberg reported the dollar had fallen 1.3 percent against the Euro, as skittish traders sensed a possible power shift toward developing nations and a reduction in the dollar's share of global currency reserves. It was left to former Clinton administration deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman to bail out his colleague." (CQPolitics)

"Oh, God. Please tell me I have a brain tumor & this is all just a side effect from the chemo." (Facebook Update: Paul Johnson Calderon)



"Kate Moss had an unexpected passenger in her car as she made her way home from The Groucho Club last night. A cheeky passer-by decided to jump into the back seat next to her, much to Kate's utter shock." (Thisislondon)

".. (A)t the time of the Great Depression, there were all kinds of convincing reasons why Americans did not want to take on the burden of a worldwide rescue. Sending more money to Europe was seen as pouring money down the drain, and after all, Europeans had fought the world war that had been the root cause of the financial mess. Economically, helping Europe would have made a great deal of sense from a long-term perspective, but politically it was a non-starter with no short-term payoff. In the middle of the current financial crisis, a deep-pocketed China faces the same dilemma: swallow its pique and help save the same countries that got us into this situation, or look to its own short-term interests first. Today, there are increasing demands that China contribute more to internationally coordinated rescue packages through a reformed International Monetary Fund (IMF). China is also one of the few economies still growing in 2009, though most economists have reduced their estimates of growth rates. Finally, China and the United States are the only countries that are large enough, and have sufficiently well-ordered government finances, to launch major efforts at fiscal stimulation. Beijing's leaders might feel like they have already taken their best shot .. Today there may be plenty of reasons why the Chinese will be tempted to pull back from their engagement with the world economy, and the external political logic sounds very much like the U.S. case of 1931." (ForeignPolicy)

".. (A)cross town to the East Village Cinemas, in fact, where Theodora Richards joined pal Jamie Burke and fellow rocker types to take in Raw Power Redux, a documentary depicting a photo shoot in which Iggy Pop dons leather pants and noir lipstick while photographer Mick Rock convinces him to shake, gyrate, and otherwise preen. 'It's only 17 minutes long,' joked Richards of the film, 'So I think we can handle it.' The most welcome cameo appearance came courtesy of Lou Reed. 'I know you want to get to the afterparty, but there is another film showing after this one,' he pleaded." (Fashionweekdaily)

"Nicole Kidman will star in Woody Allen's next film, joining the already announced cast of Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Freida Pinto and Naomi Watts. The as-yet-untitled film is produced by Letty Aronson, Steve Tenenbaum and Jaume Roures. It is financed by Mediapro, the Spain-based company that also funded 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona.'" (Variety)



(image via nysocialdiary)

" I went down to Michael’s to lunch with JH and our Washington correspondent Carol Joynt and her son Spencer, who’ve been up in New England this week visiting colleges. Michael’s was its Wednesday busy. Former Senator Bill Bradley was there, as was Kerry Kennedy lunching with Jim Wolfensohn, former head of the World Bank. Norman Pearlstine with Steve Rubenstein; Susan Silver with a very studious looking lady said to be a former Miss Israel. Designer/retailer Jackie Rogers with Ann Rapp." (NYSocialDiary)

"THAT Stella McCartney and Discovery Communications president and CEO David Zaslav will be honored at the National Resources Defense Council's benefit at 583 Park Ave. on Monday. The gala will be hosted by Leo DiCaprio, Graydon and Anna Carter, and Lorne and Alice Michaels." (PageSix)



"Just when it seemed there were no corners of the media world left for the celebrity-industrial complex to colonize, Twitter has gone celebrity-crazy. As early adopters like Kevin Smith, Greg Grunberg, Lily Allen, LeVar Burton and of course, the First Couple of Twitterdom, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, have racked up followers, their tweets have created a new kind of aura: accessible, yet protected by the boundaries of cyberspace. These stars understand the potential of the new medium to promote themselves without seeming self-promotional. Fans, meanwhile, are scrambling to figure out which celebrities are worth following, helped by sites like Celebritytweet.com and feature articles like '25 Twitter Must-Follows.' As BeBe Lerner, a publicist at ID-PR, put it, 'Based on the amount of media attention they have received in the past few weeks, it seems like Twitter got a publicist.'" (TheWrap)



"WHEN it comes to getting tongue-tied, Joaquin Phoenix can't hold a candle to actress-turned-madcap rocker Juliette Lewis. On Friday night, during Lewis' concert at South by Southwest, she forgot the lyrics to 'YMCA.' 'She was really sweaty and needed a cheat sheet to sing the words,' an audience member said. But she found a way to distract attention from her mistake. 'Juliette started tongue-kissing Justin Tranter,' the cross-dressing lead singer of Semi-Precious Weapons, who was also onstage. We're told she ended the set by screaming, 'I just made out with the blond male Grace Jones!'" (PageSix)



"Members of APrivateClub gathered at the Library at the Hudson Hotel last night at the Hudson Hotel to celebrate the launch of 'American Hotel Stories' published by Assouline. Partygoers sipped on Absolut cocktails and mingled while others played pool and flipped through the new hotel bible. A Private Club’s popularity seems to be growing with the ever-changing Facebook layouts and exclusive features the site gives its selected members. The evening’s guests included Jules Kirby, Lydia Hearst, Stephanie Wei, David Karp, David Chines, APC founder Justin Belmont, Jack Bryan, Vanessa Bokaemper, Teddy Van Buren, Kristian Laliberte, Andrew Cedotal, Sam Lynch, Nick Hunt, Chris Brady, Michael Gogel, Carter Cramer, Charlotte Chapman, and Sean Stevens." (Guestofaguest)

"European Union hopes for a new era in relations with the US were thrown into chaos on Wednesday when the holder of the EU presidency condemned American remedies for the global recession as 'the road to hell.' Barely a week before Barack Obama is due to arrive in Europe on his first official visit as US president, Mirek Topolanek, the Czech Republic’s prime minister, put the 27-nation EU on a collision course with Washington. His attack compounded the confusion that has engulfed EU policy after the Czech leader lost a no-confidence vote in the country’s parliament on Tuesday, forcing him to offer his government’s resignation midway through its six-month EU presidency. Mr Topolanek said EU leaders had been disturbed at a summit in Brussels last week to hear calls from Tim Geithner, the US Treasury secretary, for more aggressive policies to fight the global downturn. 'The US Treasury secretary talks about permanent action and we, at our spring council, were quite alarmed at that ... The US is repeating mistakes from the 1930s, such as wide-ranging stimuluses, protectionist tendencies and appeals, the Buy American campaign, and so on,' he told a European parliament session in Strasbourg. 'All these steps, their combination and their permanency, are the road to hell.'" (FT)

"Raunchy radio star Howard Stern has -- believe it or not -- copped to being a student of Transcendental Meditation for years. That doesn't explain why he feels the need to run a mini-radio empire based on people who make bad decisions in life. Still, every morning -- at 4 am -- and night he clears his head and meditates. Stern credits the practice with helping him quit smoking and achieve his goals in radio." (Kenneth Cole AWEARNESS)

"Like basketball? There was Mr. Obama sitting courtside recently alongside astonished fans at the Verizon Center as he cheered on the Chicago Bulls in a losing battle against the Washington Wizards. Enjoy the performing arts? The Obamas have been to the Kennedy Center twice, once to see the Alvin Ailey dance troupe — with daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7 — and once for a musical tribute to Senator Edward M. Kennedy. How about a tasty meal? The Obamas have enjoyed white-tablecloth dining at Equinox, Bobby Van’s Steakhouse, B. Smith’s and Georgia Brown’s, and street-corner casual at Ben’s Chili Bowl and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. They have gone to parent-teacher conferences, school sporting events and visited working-class and gentrifying communities that have rarely served as stomping grounds for American presidents and first ladies — speaking to students at a charter school in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, and worshiping in a black church, among other activities. (The president and friends also tossed a basketball around at a city-run recreation center.) 'Everywhere you go, you’re wondering whether or not you’ll run into them,' said Washington’s mayor, Adrian M. Fenty, who has lunched with the president and first lady." (NYTimes)

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