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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"THAT White House social secretary Desirée Rogers celebrated her 50th birthday in style the other night with Michelle Obama, presidential ad viser Valerie Jarrett and Chicago businessmen Marko Iglendza and Neal Zucker in a private room at The Source, Wolfgang Puck's restaurant in Washington, DC." (PageSix)



(image via fishbowlNY)

"If it’s Wednesday it must be Michael’s where I lunched with my friend Nazee Moinian. Michael’s was wall-to-wall: Joe Armstrong with Glamour’s Audrey Hepburn-glam editor Cindi Leive; literary agent Esther Newberg and Jeffrey Toobin; Terry Allen Kramer; at the next table Ann Rapp, Somers Farkas, Jackie Rogers, Debbie Bancroft and New York State’s First Lady Michelle Paterson; Hamilton South, Brendan Berger, Bobby Friedman, the beautiful Melania Trump; Michael Clinton, Thia Breen, Peter Price; Boaty Boatwright and the great Stephen Frears; Mickey Ateyah, Lloyd Grove, Keith Kelly .." (NYSocialDiary)

"It was SRO at Michael's today, and although the place was filled to the brim with movers and shakers of every stripe, all eyes were on table one: Today's Hoda Kotb presided over a raucous lunch with a trio of Real Housewives from Bravo's compulsively watchable franchise. Tongues wagged aplenty as the crowd watched the reality TV stars saunter in. First to arrive was Tamra Barney (Orange County) with her husband Simon, followed by NeNe Leakes (Atlanta). Danielle Straub (New Jersey) was, of course, the last to arrive -- all the better to make a grand entrance. The gals have been guest-hosting Today's fourth hour this week, filling in for the vacationing Kathie Lee Gifford. I just had to make my way over to their table to chat with the headline-making Danielle, who just last night precipitated a catfight for the ages on the season finale of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. As faithful fans of the series know, Danielle's former life as a stripper who ran with a bad crowd was chronicled in Cop Without A Badge, written, she says, by an ex-husband more than two decades ago. Since then, Danielle reinvented herself and settled in suburbia hoping to keep the past buried." (FishbowlNY)



(image via jin-ma/AP via NYDailynews)

"Sadly, the past week’s events in Iran are far from unique. I’ve been on the frontlines of more than a few foreign presidential elections involving voter fraud—Serbia, Venezuela, Ukraine—and the telltale signs of widespread abuse are eerily familiar, which I’ll break out below. I’ve also been involved in one election, in Ukraine in 2004, where such massive abuses led to new balloting. Those results seem a pretty powerful precedent, especially given the similar energy and enthusiasm residing with the challenger’s camp. After circumstances like what we have seen this week in Tehran, it is frequently very difficult, if not impossible for beleaguered incumbents to go back to the well more than once. I think Mir Hossein Mousavi would win a revote in a landslide, as Viktor Yushchenko did in Ukraine’s Orange Revolution. Even without the surge that comes when a campaign becomes a movement, Mousavi was already starting from a large base of voters. Let’s be clear: All of the evidence, statistical and otherwise, suggests very strongly to me that there was massive fraud in last Friday’s Iranian presidential election. Here’s why: First and foremost, the widely circulated Washington Post poll of Iranian public opinion conducted between May 11 and May 20, which indicated a 2-to-1 lead for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad three weeks before the June 12 election, is most likely indicative of just the opposite. One can typically assume that any time an incumbent receives less than 50 percent—as Ahmadinejad did in this poll, with 34 percent of Iranians saying they planned to vote for him—the bulk of the undecided and undeclared voters are most likely opponents of the incumbent regime." (Doug Shoen/TheDailyBeast)



"Troops are out in Iran this week, but in many cases the crowds have grown so large that the security forces are standing back and letting them swarm silently and peacefully through the boulevards -- just like in 1978. Chants of Allah-o-akbar, God is great, reverberate from rooftops at night, expressing popular revulsion against the dictatorial regime -- just like 1978. The government has assaulted university campuses and shut down the opposition's offices, but these and other crackdowns have only sparked further protest -- just like 1978. Are we witnessing a repeat of the Islamic Revolution that brought down the monarchy 30 years ago? If so, it would be wonderful irony. It would mean that the children of the revolution -- the large majority of the population that was born and raised under revolutionary institutions, that went to schools purged for Islamic purity and was fed Islamically-correct television and radio -- had devoured the system that nurtured them. The irony of the situation is not lost on the protesters themselves. In their text messages from the streets and their phone calls overseas, the Iranian opposition exhibits tremendous self-awareness. They speculate constantly about whether the Islamic revolution is coming full circle." (ForeignPolicy)



"'I think I'm high on all the good energy I've been part of during the last few days,' shared an excited Isabel Toledo at the Indochine lunch Kim Hastreiter and David Hershkovits threw in honor of the designer and her husband, Ruben Toledo. For nine months, the couple has been tirelessly working to complete Toledo's exhibit at FIT that finally opened yesterday. 'We're used to doing everything ourselves,' said Ruben. 'But then suddenly we had to work with publicists and publishers and make sure that every credit of every dress was correct and in place. So for everything to be finally in the museum is a joy--and a relief.' And the couple celebrated their accomplishment in style with the help of the Paper family. The annual gathering brought out the likes of Narciso Rodriguez, Tatum O'Neal, Iris Apfel, Doo-Ri Chung, Sally Singer, Mark Holgate, and Nicole Miller." (Fashionweekdaily)


"Pernod Ricard SA’s Martell says Chinese buyers cleaned the cognac house out of L’Or at $3,600 per bottle, suggesting some of Asia’s richest consumers are shrugging off the financial crisis. L’Or, French for 'gold,' was introduced in China at the end of last year, and some of the blend’s brandies date from 1871. It has a hand-worked, gilt-trimmed crystal bottle, as well as a Chinese waiting list for several years’ upcoming vintages. 'If you want to be taken seriously in Asia, you really need this kind of product,' Jean-Etienne Gourgues, Pernod’s commercial director for cognac and champagne, said last week at Martell’s chateau. 'It gives your brand the necessary cachet.' Distillers are relying on the Chinese as the economy shrinks in the U.S., where wholesalers are cutting their inventories of spirits and a 1990s hip-hop fad for cognac has withered. At rival LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, China has surpassed the U.S. as the company’s biggest cognac market." (Bloomberg)



"One book getting a lot of buzz behind the scenes in New York literary circles lately is Michael Gross‘ exposé about the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogues’ Gallery. It’s generating a lot of behind the scenes discussion because, well, it’s not getting a lot of in-front-of-the-scenes discussion, and the suspicion is that Gross has a powerful enemy. For example, there’s this story by Jesse Kornbluth on the Huffington Post detailing how one of the Met’s most powerful patrons, trustee Annette de la Renta, wife of fashion icon Oscar de la Renta, had her attorneys send 'one of those letters that you can tell is chilling merely by looking at the thickness of the stationery' to Gross’ publisher, Random House. The letter 'demanded the book be removed from circulation and corrected,” and If Random House failed to do so, the letter said, 'You will act at your peril.'" (MobyLives)



"As tens of thousands of Iranian protesters take to the streets in defiance of the government in Tehran, officials in Washington are debating whether President Obama’s response to Iran’s disputed election has been too muted. Mr. Obama is coming under increased pressure from Republicans and other conservatives who say he should take a more visible stance in support of the protesters. Even while supporting the president’s approach, senior members of the administration, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, would like to strike a stronger tone in support of the protesters, administration officials said. Other White House officials have counseled a more cautious approach, saying harsh criticism of the government or endorsement of the protests could have the paradoxical effect of discrediting the protesters and making them seem as if they were led by Americans." (NYTimes)

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