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Monday, April 27, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



(Amb. Al-Sabah and Secretary Hillary Clinton via WashSocialDiary)

"I’d heard that Ambassador Al-Sabah, and particularly his blond wife, Rima Al-Sabah, had a gift for entertaining – not to mention the ways and means. I’d been to a few receptions at the embassy, and while they were beautiful and bountiful there was also a sense of everyone in town having been invited. Well, everyone in town was not invited to the Al-Sabah’s fifth annual gala of the Kuwait-American Foundation, this year – on Earth Day - in support of Conservation International and honoring Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Leonardo DiCaprio. Only 144 people were included at the black-tie affair, in a town where 300 or more is typical." (NYSocialDiary)



(image via flypaperblog)

"I've known Mike Tyson for 15 years. Or at least I thought I did. James Toback's mindbending documentary reveals the vulnerability and madness that nobody's ever seen. Mike Tyson and I have known each other almost 15 years, and whenever we see each other we always make a point to try to chop it up. I remember meeting him at the pool of the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas—he’s always been a cool dude to me, a real cat. But then I saw this film, and it made me realize that no matter how well you think you know someone, you can’t ever really know how raw it gets. I really identify with Mike and what he went through—being a celebrity, and I’m on a millionth of the magnitude of someone who could be heavyweight champion—it’s insanity, the people coming at you, and the feeling that you can do whatever you want. You are just trying to hold onto everything, but it's real madness." (IceT/TheDailyBeast)



"Nobody could do a slow burn like Bea Arthur, the hilarious comic actress who was the anything but tranquilizin' right-on Maude and later the witheringly sarcastic Dorothy on The Golden Girls. With her wicked wit, Bea pushed envelopes while making audiences think and scream with laughter at the same time. Only a talent as strong as Bea could survive both the rotten movie of Mame--which she told me she only took part in because her husband at the time was the director and he made her do it--and The Star Wars Holiday Special, the worst two hours ever seen on TV, in which Bea sang a bizarre Brechtian song with some space aliens. (She never told me why she did that one.)" (Musto)



(image via dailymail)

"IF YOU think the credit crunch has got you in a pickle, spare a tear for Richard Branson. The Virgin tycoon has lost an eye-watering (USD $2.9 billion) in the last year-the equivalent of (USD $250,083) an HOUR. Branson, 58, is among Britain's 1,000 wealthiest people who have lost a combined $226.3 billion, according to The Sunday Times Rich List. The mega-wealthy have seen their fortunes battered by plunging stock markets and High Street sales ... Harrods owner MOHAMED AL FAYED, 76, also bucked the trend as his fortune swelled (USD $138.7 million) to (USD $949.3 million) .. In showbiz, Harry Potter star DANIEL RADCLIFFE, 19, saw his fortune soar 50 per cent to (USD $43.8 million), making him the 12th richest under-30." (Newsoftheworld)

"THANKS to Madonna's high-powered pals, she isn't recovering from her injuries alone. Madge, who recently got tossed from her horse in the Hamptons, has reunited with her Brazilian man-candy, Jesus Luz, and insiders are crediting her friends in the fashion world for it. Marc Jacobs 'wrote a letter of support for Jesus' work permit' to allow him to stay in the country, said our source. 'Marc campaigned for Jesus, saying he is highly talented and a necessity to the label.' Last week, Women's Wear Daily reported Dolce & Gabbana's fall-winter menswear campaign will feature Luz. Our tipster said, 'All these fashion lines are hiring Jesus as a favor to Madonna.'" (PageSix)

"(I)n the case of Barack Obama, who will mark his 100-day milestone on Wednesday, the benchmark is being treated with unusual significance. As the first new president in eight years, the first African-American president ever, and a president called upon from the start to manage both a deep recession and two wars, his every move has been guaranteed an intense level of attention — and comparisons to FDR are more direct than most new presidents face. Obama has in some ways invited even more of those comparisons with his multifaceted bursts of legislative, regulatory, diplomatic and rhetorical activity unrivaled since the New Deal dawned in the spring of 1933. He’s persuaded Congress to spend more than a quarter-trillion dollars trying to jump-start the economy. On his own authority he’s altered federal rules in areas ranging from stem cell research to the treatment of suspected terrorists. He’s launched efforts to help strapped homeowners refinance their mortgages, sweep 'toxic assets' off bank balance sheets and shore up consumer credit markets. He’s set a timetable for ending the occupation of Iraq and set about recasting the American image in the world. And whenever there’s been a lull, he’s given a speech or news conference designed to drive his agenda ahead. 'One of the questions left lingering from the campaign was how bold will he be? There was tension between his language of conciliation and the substance of his agenda,' said William A. Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who was an adviser to President Bill Clinton. 'Now we know, if he has to choose between audacity and conciliation, he’ll choose audacity. And he’ll accept a greater measure of division as a result.'" (CQPolitics)



(Kerry Washington via fashionweekdaily via patrickmcmullen)

"'I haven't worn a lot of Chanel, but every time I do, it leaves a big impression,' said Debra Messing at last night's Chanel dinner to celebrate the Tribeca Film Festival. 'I never feel more like a lady!' She wasn't the only dame in sight at the Odeon, which drew the most beauties New York has seen ensemble in months, from starlets like Alexis Bledel to campaign faces Angela Lindvall and Heidi Mount. 'I just came from work,' said Poppy Delevigne, eschewing the step-and-repeat to be greeted by anxious photogs lingering in the entryway. 'I'm tired, but a cocktail will help!' Many of the actors on hand -- like Adrien Brody, Melissa Leo and Molly Shannon -- had been so publicity blitzed that a cozy meal among chicsters was essentially required. 'I have three movies coming out this year,' explained a resplendent Kerry Washington. 'But it's all good!'" (Fashionweekdaily)



"Chelsy Davy has turned to an older man to get over Prince Harry - a 33-year-old property boss called Dan Philipson. The new man has form, having previously dated model and socialite Poppy Delevigne. Chelsy paraded Dan around for the first time on Friday during a night out at Raffles nightclub in Chelsea. The new couple were out with four of Chelsy's female pals." (Thisislondon)



"Is Rudy Giuliani running for governor or not? With Governor Paterson looking increasingly ineffective in his job, Giuliani is back on the attack, making the sorts of clamorous policy declarations that have him sounding an awful lot like a candidate. Yet he isn’t a candidate, and won’t even say if he’s seriously considering a run. Nobody has ever doubted Giuliani’s need for attention, but some Republican insiders say that there’s a strategy behind the coy indecisiveness. He has to lull the Democrats into thinking he’s not going to run, so they don’t dump Paterson and put Andrew Cuomo up instead, who would be a lot harder to beat. In the polls, Giuliani leads Paterson by 27 points but trails Cuomo by 14—not an insurmountable margin but a portent of a grueling battle." (NYMag)

"Still in Paris, with plans to go to Iceland." (David Lynch/Twitter)



"Since the beginning of March, CNN has fallen behind both the longtime ratings leader, Fox News Channel, which, as the voice of disaffected conservatives, again has an imposing lead, and the upstart MSNBC, which has tried to mirror Fox’s success by steering to the left. CNN has even dipped behind its sister network HLN (formerly Headline News) on many occasions. Since the beginning of 2009, CNN has finished fourth in prime time among the cable news networks on 35 out of 84 weeknights. The development raises an obvious question: With its rivals stoking prime time with high-octane political opinion and rant, can CNN compete effectively with a formula of news delivered more or less straight? Executives of competitors and even some of CNN’s own staff members say recent trends suggest the answer may be no. 'The people who watch these channels are news junkies,' said Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC. 'They’ve already had access to the headlines all day long on the Internet. In prime time you’ve got to stand out and make a splash.'" (Bill Carter/NYTimes)

"When rapturous Germans tore down the Berlin Wall 20 years ago it symbolized far more than the overcoming of an arbitrary boundary. It began an intellectual cycle that saw all divisions, geographic and otherwise, as surmountable; that referred to 'realism' and 'pragmatism' only as pejoratives; and that invoked the humanism of Isaiah Berlin or the appeasement of Hitler at Munich to launch one international intervention after the next. In this way, the armed liberalism and the democracy-promoting neoconservatism of the 1990s shared the same universalist aspirations. But alas, when a fear of Munich leads to overreach the result is Vietnam—or in the current case, Iraq. And thus began the rehabilitation of realism, and with it another intellectual cycle. 'Realist' is now a mark of respect, 'neocon' a term of derision. The Vietnam analogy has vanquished that of Munich. Thomas Hobbes, who extolled the moral benefits of fear and saw anarchy as the chief threat to society, has elbowed out Isaiah Berlin as the philosopher of the present cycle. The focus now is less on universal ideals than particular distinctions, from ethnicity to culture to religion. Those who pointed this out a decade ago were sneered at for being 'fatalists' or 'determinists.' Now they are applauded as 'pragmatists.' And this is the key insight of the past two decades—that there are worse things in the world than extreme tyranny, and in Iraq we brought them about ourselves." (ForeignPolicy)

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