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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Near the beginning of her big foreign-policy speech at the Council of Foreign Relations, Hillary Clinton took a shot at the 'balance of power.' It may have been a good concept in the 20th century, she explained, when we faced the Soviet Union, but it’s outmoded today. That spoke volumes. George W. Bush’s foreign policy was all about the balance of power. As he saw it, there were bad guys (terrorists and their state sponsors) and good guys (us and our allies). The goal was to isolate, if not eliminate, the former and strengthen the latter. He wasn’t seeking a balance of power in the sense of equal power between America and its enemies. But no country ever does. He was seeking the kind of 'balance' you want in your bank account, a positive one. As Condoleezza Rice liked to say, 'A balance of power that favors freedom.'" (Peter Beinart/TheDailyBeast)

"Six months into the job, Hillary Clinton set out today to raise her profile and rebut Beltway chatter that the U.S. secretary of state has been somewhat eclipsed by the international star power of President Barack Obama, her former Democratic primary rival, and that big-name envoys such as Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell are taking the lead on the most pressing U.S. foreign-policy challenges. Holbrooke, buttonholed shortly after Clinton's speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, vigorously dismissed such talk as nothing but a "journalistic construct." He said that Clinton was deep in the weeds with him on formulating U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan and noted that the two of them had earlier this week spent 30 minutes with David Lipton, a Larry Summers aide who was being sent to Pakistan to do an economic assessment. He argued that the fact that several former cabinet-level officials work for Clinton is a sign of her strength, and pointed out how, regarding his own portfolio, Clinton had spoken extensively in her remarks and in the subsequent question-and-answer session about such intricacies as the agricultural component of U.S. Af-Pak policy. The presence of Holbrooke, Mitchell, climate change envoy Todd Stern, newly transferred to the National Security Council Middle East strategist Dennis Ross, Policy Planning chief Anne-Marie Slaughter, her deputy Derek Chollet, and former Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, plus a couple hundred other of Washington's foreign-policy elite, demonstrated the speech's perceived importance." (ForeignPolicy)



"In the eyes of her considerable public, Oprah Winfrey can do no wrong. Ratings are a different matter. "Oprah" can do less well when fewer of those viewers tune in. And the show is doing less well these days, having just pulled its lowest ratings since its debut in 1986, averaging a 3.2 household rating for the week ended July 5. For sure it was an off week. There was the July 4 holiday weekend, when folks were outside, and it was also a week in which viewers were flocking to cable news for coverage of Michael Jackson's death. Further, there was Wimbledon tennis, which preempted 'Oprah' in several markets. The show has also been in repeats. But while those factors may have hurt ratings, the show appears to be suffering from a touch of viewer malaise. Ratings have actually been sliding for months. The prior week, 'Oprah' had a 3.6 rating, equaling its previous all-time low about a year earlier." (Medialifemagazine)



"The balmy evening of Wednesday, July 15, saw an unusual crowd at the Diane von Furstenberg store on Washington Street, gathered to celebrate the release of Gloria Vanderbilt’s newest literary endeavor: Obsession: An Erotic Tale. Upper East Siders who may not have ventured below 14th Street since the JFK administration, together with Meatpacking District regulars, hobbled out of limos and zoomed up on Vespas, respectively, to congratulate Ms. Vanderbilt. 'They really re-did this area very nicely,' one older woman remarked, leaning on her ivory cane. 'She is the most beautiful, and most creative, and most youthful, and most alive person' cooed Ms. Furstenberg, clad in a short teal dress, about her 85-year-old friend, who could have easily been mistaken for 60. Ms. Vanderbilt, signed (free!) books for guests and posed for pictures. She wore a massive clear circular ring, a sheer yellow and white floral jacket, and gold sandals." (Observer)



"The 61st Primetime Emmy award nominations were announced Thursday morning, and 'Mad Men'; looks set to relive history as drama champ, while '30 Rock' is still TV's comedy darling. 'Mad Men,' on AMC, was joined by 'Dexter,' 'Big Love,' 'Damages,' 'Lost,' 'Breaking Bad' and 'House' as drama nominees. 'Mad Men's' 16 nominations were the most this year for any drama. NBC's '30 Rock,' which won the top comedy honor last year, hauled in a comedy-record 22 nominations -- leading all shows -- and was joined by 'Family Guy,' 'Entourage,' 'Flight of the Conchords,' 'How I Met Your Mother,' 'The Office' and 'Weeds' as top laffer nominees." (TheWrap)



"How do I keep a man? Well, I can only speak from experience because I'm not a doctor, just a woman that knows what she wants. To lay out my history with Ice, we have been married for 8 years and still going strong. We met in California on a movie set and have been inseparable ever since. Now we live in NY and at the moment we don't have any kids together. Everybody says relationships get boring, but it doesn't have to be that way, its entirely up to the both of you. As for me, I totally remember the feeling when I first fell in love with Ice.
The conversations, the kissing, the touching, the joking, the politeness, the feeling of always wanting to be near each other. Take that reminiscing and apply it to where your relationship is now. It is important to rekindle the moments. I always like our 'Date Nights.' Always set aside a day out of each week and do something fun together and then end the night in love making or just plain HOT SEX! Ice and I also like Sundays, that's our 'Movie Night' where I get cute for him and he appreciates the effort (men do notice..they're just not always verbal). Ice and I work all day together on the set of his show 'Law and Order,' because I have an office there. But as soon as we get home, I'll change into a skimpy outfit like booty shorts and heels because it changes the mood from being business oriented." ("Coco"/GlobalGrind)



(image via DPC via NYSocialDiary)

"I left the Frick about eight, in a hurry to get down to the Four Seasons Restaurant where another major museum in New York was having its event. The Guggenheim was hosting a 'Summer Celebration' to honor the 50th anniversaries of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Four Seasons Restaurant (and the Seagram’s Building). The evening was a benefit for the Architecture and Design programs at the Guggenheim.
The dinner’s program included a 'conversation among Richard Armstrong, the Gugg’s Director, Phyllis Lambert, the daughter of Samuel Bronfman of Seagrams for whom Mies van der Rohe designed the building, and Martin Filler, architecture critic and author." (NYSocialDiary)



"House defense appropriators on Thursday defied a veto threat from President Obama on funding the F-22 fighter jet and ignored several other cuts the administration proposed to high-profile Pentagon programs. The defense-spending panel not only decided to keep Lockheed Martin's F-22 fighter jet program alive — despite a personal promise by the president to veto any defense bill containing more funds — but went ahead with funding for a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which also provoked an Obama veto threat. They also poured money into the now- defunct presidential helicopter program, which Obama said he doesn’t want. Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the chairman of the Appropriations Defense subcommittee, acknowledged the veto threat, and said if Congress does not have the votes to override the veto on the F-22, 'We'll back down on the damn thing.'" (TheHill)



"DreamWorks Studios has at last secured the financing it needs to get its production slate up and running. Partners in the new venture—Steven Spielberg, Stacey Snider and Indian billionaire Anil Ambani—announced Wednesday night that the studio will have $825 million of initial funding. DreamWorks will have a four-person board consisting of Spielberg, Snider, Reliance's Amitabh Jhunjhunwala and Alan Levine, entertainment adviser to JPMorgan and former CEO of Sony Pictures. While the new company has been quietly functional since November last year, it can only now move some of its properties off the development drawing board and into production. 'This venture with Reliance opens a new door to our future,' said Spielberg." (THR)



"Tomorrow, Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani will deliver the Friday sermon in Tehran--the most important pulpit for policy and polemic in Iran. The former president and speaker of the parliament has been a regular on the Friday circuit over the past 30 years, but has been eerily absent for more than two months. More crucially, though the reformist cleric has met with families of those arrested in recent weeks (an important symbolic act), his words since the controversial elections of June 12 have been characteristically ambiguous. This Friday is his hour of reckoning. Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mohammad Khatami have both announced that they will also attend the prayer, and have invited their supporters to do the same. The day has the potential of becoming yet another massive show of force by the opposition. For at least four years, Rafsanjani has been unhappy about Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's inordinate power, the direction of the country, and Ahmadinejad's demagoguery--particularly spurred by his sharp attacks against the Rafsanjani family." (TNR)



"A prominent AIDS advocacy group filed a petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court today alleging that county public health officials have failed to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in the pornographic film industry. The petition, filed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, asks the court to order the county public health department to enforce regulations that require condom use in adult film production or take other 'reasonable steps' to stem the spread of disease. The legal action comes one month after the disclosure that an adult film actress tested positive for HIV and county health officials released data that 18 HIV cases and more than 3,700 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have been reported since 2004 by the Adult Industry Medical Foundation, a San Fernando Valley-based clinic. Clinic officials said the HIV cases did not involve active performers. County officials declined to provide any details about those cases and said little investigation was done into them. 'We're the porn capital of the world and it's clear that the county has no intention of making these sets safer or of protecting the rest of the community from the diseases that are being spread in the production of these films,' said Michael Weinstein, president and chief executive of the L.A.-based Aids Healthcare Foundation. 'You cannot conduct public health in a fashion where you won't speak publicly about an issue.'" (LATimes)



"Music, wine and song were in the air at Vanity Fair’s 4 Times Square offices Tuesday afternoon to celebrate Graydon Carter’s 60th birthday. Vanity Fair deputy editor and classically trained pianist Doug Stumpf played 'My Favorite Things' on an electric keyboard, while staffers sang lyrics written by contributing editor David Kamp, 'My Graydonish Things.' Lyrics included: 'Mid-cent’ry modern and books by O’Hara/ Pear liquer poured by Reinaldo Herrera/Mac and cheese garnished with truffle shay-vings/These are a few of my Graydonish Things…' Collegue Matt Tyrnauer hailed Kamp’s songwriting as 'charmingly goofy' on his Twitter Tuesday night." (WWD via Gawker)



"Proenza Schouler's Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have had a busy summer: Not only did they stage a Resort extravaganza—complete with a performance by Kembra Pfahler of the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black and a video installation featuring Kalup Linzy—during Pitti Uomo in Florence, but they were simultaneously editing A Magazine." (Style)

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