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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Here is my summary of where we are now: Several times the Bush administration tried to transfer responsibility for security to Iraqi army and police forces, only to see them unable to handle the burden. Now, once again, the Americans are trying to get Iraqi security forces to take over, as most U.S. troops withdraw from Iraqi's cities. Will the Iraqis be able to keep the population relatively secure? To be honest, I don't know, and no one else does. It's a matter of faith. And the leap comes tomorrow. The key issue is whether Iraqi forces will perform any better than they have in the past. U.S. officials, at least in their public comments, say they will. 'I do believe they're ready,' Gen. Raymond Odierno, the top commander in Iraq, said on CNN on Sunday. 'They've been working towards this for a long time. And security remains good. We've seen constant improvement in the security force, we've seen constant improvement in governance. And I believe this is the time for us to move out of the cities and for them to take ultimate responsibility.' But, as he says, it is a matter of belief. Here's a contrary view given to Reuters by Khalil Ibrahim, a leader of a unit in the turned insurgents the Americans call the Sons of Iraq: 'Iran has good relations with our political parties. They run militias. If the U.S. troops complete their withdrawal, Iran will do whatever it wants in Iraq. . . . Also, if the Americans pull out, al Qaeda will return.' Meanwhile, Abu Noor, a college student in Baghdad, told my old colleague Ernesto Londono that, 'We all know the militias are hiding because they know the Americans are inside the cities.' Who is right, Odierno, or Ibrahim and Abu Noor? No one knows." (Thomas Ricks/ForeignPolicy)



(image via travelbig)

"ANNA Kournikova got into a fight Saturday night in Las Vegas after an unidentified woman threw a drink at the tennis ace. Kournikova and her pals were partying at Lavo after attending the Hardbat Classic table tennis tournament when a woman at the next table 'threw a drink at Anna. She felt Anna was invading her space,' our source said. Kournikova 'sprung into action' and starting screaming at the woman and shoving her. 'It was a big fight,' the spy said. The woman was kicked out only after leaving Kournikova with some vicious scratch marks on her neck. Kournikova's rep didn't return calls." (PageSix)



"Last Friday I was quite the busy girl as I hosted a HBO and Belvedere sponsored 'Dinner With Bevy' for the fab actress Sanaa Lathan. It took place in Miami during the American Black Film Festival, and Sanaa brought along her famous pals like director Lee Daniels (can't wait to see his new movie, Precious), actress Gabrielle Union (her dimples are so deep, you can swim in them) and NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade (I wanted him to 'dunk on me' all night). The evening culminated with a rousing sing a long of the late great Michael Jackson's 'Wanna Be Startin' Something'! Momma say momma sa ma macousa, indeed!" (Papermag)



"What a difference a week makes! On Sunday, the New York Times finally reviewed Rogues’ Gallery, Michael Gross’s two-month-old, unauthorized expose about the famous people behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The review came just days after the book began appearing in the New York Public Library system, erasing Mr. Gross’s concerns that the two Manhattan institutions might ignore the book completely. 'I was thrilled,' Mr. Gross told the Observer. Before he received news of the review, Mr. Gross had been left to lament the book’s curious lack of coverage in the New York press. Rumors had circulated as to the reasons for Rogues’ radio silence, with plenty of suspicion cast in the direction of Annette de la Renta, who serves on the Met’s board, and whose attorneys had previously sent 'strongly-worded' letters to the book’s publisher." (Observer)



(image via cnn)

"GRAPEFRUIT heiress Julie Henderson has rebounded from Russell Simmons. After the hip-hop mogul dropped the 23-year-old swimsuit model in favor of 29-year-old model Noemie Lenoir, a spy tells Page Six that Henderson has been cozying up with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. 'They were having a romantic dinner at La Esquina on Wednesday,' a spy tells us. 'They looked cute.'" (PageSix)



"So I'm looking @globalgrind and there's yesterdays news about my x girlfriend julie moving on. That Quarterback is a very very lucky guy ..Just to repeat for the record she is a wonderful sweet person. :-). And the ny post is mean by saying 'I dumped her' mutual decession." (RussellSimmons/Twitter)



"Kazakhstan refuses to let Borat have the last word on its image. The Central Asian republic’s foreign affairs ministry inked a $1.5 million deal with a Washington lobbying firm, according to records recently filed with the Justice Department, with a partial goal of combating the image presented in the blockbuster film 'Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.' 'People look at Borat and think this country is a backwater, that it’s unsophisticated,' said William Nixon, chairman and CEO of Policy Impact Communications. His firm signed the yearlong agreement with Kazakhstan's U.S. ambassador on April 30. A team of a dozen lobbyists registered for the account and is working on the country’s ascension to the World Trade Organization, removing a number of trade restrictions put in place by the United States and improving its image." (TheHill)

(Fern Mallis and Euan Rellie via DPC/NYSocialDiary)



"(L)ast night in New York there was a book party for Jodi Della Femina and her new book 'By Invitation Only' at the Vera Wang boutique in the Hotel Carlyle building on Madison Avenue and 77th Street. Invitation to what, you might ask? Well, the party was at the Vera Wang boutique. I got there in the second hour when a lot of the early birds had left but there was still a big gang in attendance including a lot of Della Femina – Jerry and Judy (Licht), sister Jessie and brother, JT, baby daughter Maggie Kim, husband John Kim as well as their older little ones, Annabel and Charlie, and lots of friends, including: Betsey Johnson, Rachel Roy, Kelly Bensimon, Olivia Palermo and Johannes Huebl .."(NYSocialDiary)



(image via dvice)

"It would seem like a splitting of hairs, but then so much of copyright and trademark law is just that. Cablevision came up with a system allowing its customers to record TV shows, as they might with a DVR, but store them remotely on a Cablevision server. TV networks, which are generally opposed to all things DVR, objected and filed a lawsuit, arguing that Cablevision's remote DVR storage system violated their copyright protection of the shows they produce--and in a way that a TiVo device or similar home DVR device does not. The networks, including CNN, CBS and Fox Networks Group, along with the Motion Picture Association of America, won the first round in federal court but then lost on appeal, when last August the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned the lower court's decision. Yesterday the networks lost again when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case." (Medialifemagazine)



"The 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival opened Monday night with a smattering of ambitious, dissonant and indeed 'big' ideas .. The leaders in public service, business, science, the arts and media swarming the Aspen Meadows campus number almost 200. Their audience, almost 2,000. Among their ranks are U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who this morning will discuss the American criminal justice system with Bishop T.D. Jakes. This afternoon, Google CEO Eric Schmidt is due to talk about the state of the American economy with NPR’s Kai Rysdall. Representatives from the Obama White House are appearing throughout the week, beginning with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, who appears in a public interview Wednesday. Later that day, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will sit down with PBS’s Charlie Rose. (Duncan’s predecessor, Margaret Spellings, is to discuss education policy on Saturday.) Attorney General Eric Holder is due for an event Thursday afternoon, along with former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and James Baker. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg talks about Obama’s Middle East policy on Friday morning. Bush-era officials are in on the act, as well. Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff appears throughout the week and discusses counterinsurgency tactics on Thursday. His former White House colleague, Bush press secretary Dana Perino, is due on stage Thursday night for some comic relief along with comedians Lewis Black, D.L. Hughley and Larry Wilmore. The legendary architect Frank Gehry will speak Friday evening. Saturday, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan will sit for an interview with Aspen Institute CEO Walter Isaacson." (AspenDailyNews)



"In the late 1990s, as ambassador to France, I spent much of my time singing the praises of American capitalism. But back at home the system was changing. A booming stock market sent executive compensation soaring, but with very little accountability for performance. Deregulation, an easy monetary policy and media-driven hype about new information technologies created essentially 'free money' and astronomic stock valuations. Speculation created the dot.com bubble and, in due course, brought about the collapse of much larger companies, with tragic results. The results were usually the same. Management and directors collected hundreds of millions in bonuses and stock sales while tens of thousands of employees saw their jobs and their savings lost. Hundreds of thousands of stockholders were ruined. These events struck at the very heart of the most basic requirements of market capitalism: transparency and fairness. In addition, the media treated finance like show business, creating stars out of executives and touting wealth as the sole standard of success. And neither the Securities and Exchange Commission, nor the Federal Reserve, nor the Congress, nor the administrations wanted the music to stop or tried to slow it down." (Felix Rohatyn/NYT, June 28)



"Had James Moroney read Chris Anderson’s new book, 'Free: The Future of a Radical Price' (Hyperion; $26.99), Amazon’s offer might not have seemed quite so surprising. Anderson is the editor of Wired and the author of the 2006 best-seller 'The Long Tail,' and 'Free' is essentially an extended elaboration of Stewart Brand’s famous declaration that 'information wants to be free.' The digital age, Anderson argues, is exerting an inexorable downward pressure on the prices of all things 'made of ideas.' Anderson does not consider this a passing trend. Rather, he seems to think of it as an iron law: 'In the digital realm you can try to keep Free at bay with laws and locks, but eventually the force of economic gravity will win.' To musicians who believe that their music is being pirated, Anderson is blunt. They should stop complaining, and capitalize on the added exposure that piracy provides by making money through touring, merchandise sales, and 'yes, the sale of some of [their] music to people who still want CDs or prefer to buy their music online.' To the Dallas Morning News, he would say the same thing. Newspapers need to accept that content is never again going to be worth what they want it to be worth, and reinvent their business. 'Out of the bloodbath will come a new role for professional journalists ..'" (MalcolmGladwell/TheNewYorker)

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