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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Barack Obama has gotten off to a remarkably sure-footed start on foreign policy. There is the pragmatism of his policies on Iraq and Afghanistan, in which he has managed, so far, to square his campaign promises with the advice of his military commanders; the liberalism of his early moves on detainee treatment and nuclear disarmament; and the ambition of his efforts on public diplomacy and Middle East peace. The real measure of his success, however, is the confusion of his enemies. Thus al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, alarmed by Obama’s adroitness in reaching out to Muslims, has had to resort to casting racial epithets at America’s first black president. Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez, on the other hand, has taken a different approach. At the Summit of the Americas last month, a blushing Chávez told Obama 'I want to be your friend,' and gave him a book inscribed: 'For Obama with affection.'" (TheDailyBeast)



(image via thedartmouth)

"On Timothy Geithner’s first day as a Dartmouth freshman, while he was walking across campus on his way to register for classes in the fall of 1979, he heard a man speaking Thai — swearing in Thai, to be precise — from a balcony. Geithner found this amusing, because only a couple of months before, he left his home in Thailand, where his father worked for the Ford Foundation, to move to Hanover, N.H. So he stopped to talk to the man, who turned out to be David Keenan, a Chinese teacher at Dartmouth. The two quickly realized that they had a lot in common; among other things they attended the same schools, about a decade apart, in Bangkok and Delhi. (The cause of Keenan’s swearing, alas, has been lost to history.) Having established a rapport, Keenan then decided to do a little salesmanship. He urged Geithner to take Chinese, the only Asian language that Dartmouth offered at the time. Geithner did, and found that he liked it. Learning another Asian language, he told me recently in his soaring office at the Treasury Department, 'was a nice little piece of continuity for me.' He ended up majoring in government and Asian studies and taught basic Mandarin classes to make some money." (NYTimes)



"Yesterday's noontime event at The Rockefeller University was no lunch, or even a luncheon--rather, it was a wholly educational experience for the hundreds of academics (and handful of social types) on-hand for the institution's 12th annual Women & Science lecture series and meal, sponsored by Roger Vivier. 'I come to this every year, and I can't help but feel a little bit underinformed!' laughed Shoshanna Gruss immediately following the panel discussion between scientists Cori Bargmann, Leslie Vosshall and Eric Kandel .. Alexandra Lebenthal's table fostered a lively recap (of both the aforementioned brain trust and the Real Housewives reunion show) between the crew of Kelly Killoren Bensimon, Gigi Mortimer, Gillian Miniter and Lucy Danziger. Elsewhere around the room, Eliza Reed Bolen, Alexandra Kotur, Samantha Boardman Rosen and Celerie Kemble dined on grilled fish (or chicken) and couscous. 'The food is great,' said Dr. Susan Krysiewicz of the event, which raised over $1 million for research." (Fashionweekdaily)

"This is unreal. My pal Veronica De La Cruz (CNN, TV Guide) is racing against time to get her brother Eric De La Cruz a heart transplant. He lives in Nevada, where there are no places to perform the operation; but he can't go to the nearest out-of-state facility because his insurance is Nevada-only. WOW. She's trying to get as many people as possible to lobby Nevada Senator Harry Reid (here), Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons (here) - while meanwhile seeking donations to actually pay for it (here), because the hospitals WON'T EVEN SEE HER BROTHER WITHOUT EVIDENCE THAT HE CAN PAY. Wow again. The good news is that Veronica has been tireless here - and she has Twitter." (Rachel Sklar/HuffPo)



"'It's about how people respond to change,' says Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner of the third season of his Emmy-winning period piece, now in production for an August bow. And luckily, one change we won't have to respond to is a new showrunner for the series. In January, Weiner inked a two-year, reportedly seven-figure deal to continue going Mad. 'It was really an experience of business at a very high level,' he admits of the contentious negotiations. 'Everybody was worried about [what would happen], but we came to...a compromise. I didn't want to leave, and I don't think they wanted me to leave.' Unfortunately, Weiner's new deal did not come with a clause that brightened his dim view on spoilers. About all he'd admit is that season 3 will still be set in the '60s, the entire cast will be back, and the baby that Betty (January Jones) learned she was carrying in October's finale does, in fact, belong to Don (Jon Hamm). 'For some reason, there was some confusion about it because she was unfaithful,' he allows, 'but it's Don's baby.'" (EW)



"President Obama has cleared the Democratic primary field for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in New York, two Democrats said, asking Rep. Steve Israel not to challenge her in the primary. 'The President doesn't want a messy primary in New York when those resources can better be spent elsewhere,' one New York Democrat said. The move is Obama's clearest steps into the role of leader not just of the country but also of the Democratic Party, and also a sign of the growth of a muscular White House political operation." (Ben Smith/Politico)



"Self-proclaimed 'rock star' for the evening, Betsey Johnson, kept the crowd enthralled with her glowing and personal endorsement of Fern Mallis, the winner of Parsons' first annual AAS Icon Award. In addition to the award-giving, the main event last night was the exhibit featuring the best emerging talent from this year's graduating class from Parsons. Some of the students inspirations that were mentioned ranged from reality-based names like designers Viktor and Rolf, pop star Rihanna, model Omyraha to non-reality-based ideas like reverie and tranquility." (Papermag)



"In broken English, an international journalist asked filmmaker Jane Campion quite simply this morning, 'Why do we have to wait so long for a Jane Campion film?' Campion has only made a few feature films since winning the Palme d’Or for 'The Piano' here in Cannes, sixteen years ago. Today, she returned with 'Bright Star,' a lush look at a young Fanny Brawne and her exhilirating, tortured romance with acclaimed poet John Keats in the early 1800s. 'The real reason is that I have a daughter [and] I was beginning to wonder if she knew she had a mother,' Jane Campion said this morning in Cannes, 'I was determined to have some time with her while she was young.' Pointing to a young woman standing beside the dais, she said, 'Alice is my reason, she’s my best film yet.' Campion gave birth to her daughter the year that she won the Festival's top prize." (IndieWIRE)



"NBC made the most dramatic programming move in recent broadcast history when it decided to replace scripted fare with a Jay Leno talk show weeknights at 10 p.m. this fall. Media people have serious doubts about the move, which will help NBC save millions on program development. 'The Jay Leno Show' is expected to draw a limited audience, with lower ratings than the scripted fare that currently airs in those timeslots. Already media buyers are speculating over how CBS and ABC will counterprogram to draw viewers away from Leno and whether NBC can recover if Leno is a total bust. Perhaps the bigger question longer term is whether the Leno move will help or hurt the rest of NBC’s schedule." (Medialifemagazine)



"After two days of rain, the sun has re-emerged over the Croisette, which has transformed into a catwalk for the gaggles of girls hoping to be discovered. And after being relatively navigable for the beginning of the festival, the palm-studded oceanfront boulevard is now bumper-to-bumper—a waste of horsepower for the various Lamborghinis and Ferraris stuck in traffic, but a perfect way to show them off." (VanityFair)

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