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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



(image via nowpublic)

"'What pushed me into this work,' says (Rebecca Kamate), speaking softly in a mixture of Swahili and hesitant French, 'is that I am also one who was raped.' This happened a decade ago; the rapists were from the now-defunct militia of a local warlord backed by Uganda. 'Their main purpose was to kill my husband. They took everything. They cut up his body like you would cut up meat, with knives. He was alive. They began cutting off his fingers. Then they cut off his sex. They opened his stomach and took out his intestines. When they poked his heart, he died. They were holding a gun to my head.' She fought her captors, and shows a scar across the left side of her face that was the result. 'They ordered me to collect all his body parts and to lie on top of them and there they raped me—twelve soldiers. I lost consciousness. Then I heard someone cry out in the next room and I realized they were raping my daughters.'" (NYRB)



"While Obama kicks back over beers with Gates and Crowley, his health-care plan is falling apart. Maybe he should invite the original triangulator, Bill Clinton, to the Hill to save the day. While 48 percent of Americans tell the Gallup poll they don’t understand the health-care debate (and the other 52 percent are probably lying), the White House is preparing for the Beer Summit on Thursday night. Harvard Professor Skip Gates, we are told, will be drinking Red Stripe or Beck’s, while Sgt. James Crowley, the Cambridge cop who arrested him, will be ordering up Blue Moon. The president himself will imbibe a cold Budweiser. Perhaps, like Roosevelt when he mixed one of his famed 'dirty martinis' for Winston Churchill, Obama will fix the drinks himself .. If Obama has lost his customary ability to synthesize, perhaps he should turn for help to that great ol’ explainer William Jefferson Clinton. This administration’s determination not to make the last Democrat’s mistakes on health care has been overlearned by Obama and his advisers. Because the received wisdom about Hillarycare is that it was killed by the unilateral arrogance with which it was handed down to Congress, Obama has gone too far in letting warring committees turn his key campaign promise into roadkill." (Tina Brown)



"I arrived to shoot the hit HLN show Issues With Jane Velez-Mitchell yesterday and found Mary Jo Buttafuoco in the makeup chair! She was doing the show too, talking about her new book, Getting It Through My Thick Skull. (I was there to talk about Sarah Palin's weird demonization of Hollywood, though the land of glittery illusion seems definitely where she belongs.)" (Musto)



"Last night, celebs and movie stars congregated first at Loews 19th St for a screening of 'Adam,' a movie starring Hugh Dancy as a gifted young man struggling with Asberger’s Syndrome and Rose Byrne as his unlikely partner. Other familiar faces included designers Charlotte Ronson and Zac Posen, aging actress Olympia Dukakis, and Wintour spawn Bee Shaffer. The cabal then moved a couple blocks northeast for an afterparty at the Gramercy Park Hotel. The Cinema Society, headed by Andrew Saffir, hosted the event in conjuction with esteemed suitmakers the Brooks Brothers." (Guestofaguest)

"MICHELLE Obama and the girls will do Martha's Vineyard a week earlier than Himself. They'll stay at Caroline Kennedy's." (CindyAdams)



"Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a special advance screening of Dear Lemon Lima, a sweetly spun tale of a young girl’s pursuit of love, acceptance and friendship in the isolated beauty of Fairbanks, Alaska. The film is part of the now-familiar tradition of Cinema Tuesdays, a monthly series hosted by Nike Sportswear and curated by Flux, celebrating avant-garde film at The Montalb├ín. After the movie, the talented young cast joined writer/director Suzi Yoonessi onstage for a quick Q&A session, where their amicable rapport refuted the stereotype of movie sets rife with tension and inflated ego. The night kept the theme of confectionary dulcitude going with an upstairs afterparty ..." (Papermag)



"John Cheever wrote some of the greatest short stories of the 20th century. On Thursday evening, at 6 pm, there will be a discussion of his life and work. The participants will be Susan Cheever, Brett Anthony Johnson, who heads the creative writing department at Harvard, Blake Bailey, Cheever’s biographer, and Max Rudin, the publisher of the Library of America. The event is free and open to the public and is at the Farragut Monument, Madison Avenue at 25th Street. If the weather is nice, it will be outside. If it’s raining, there will be a tent." (NYSocialDiary/Jill Krementz)



"About 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of New Delhi, along a rutted dirt track through fields of corn and barley, lies an empty plot of land where a power plant was supposed to have stood, pumping electricity to alleviate blackouts in India’s capital. Instead, there are rows of freshly planted saplings, two rusting corrugated metal sheds and a sign on one of them reading, 'Reliance Energy Generation Ltd.' The plant is four years late and a victim of a corporate feud between India’s richest resident billionaires, Mukesh Ambani, 52, and his brother Anil, 50. The two split the Reliance group in 2005 following a fight for control, three years after their father and the company’s founder, Dhirubhai Ambani, died without leaving a will. The conflict has persisted with a legal spat over supply of gas from Mukesh’s company that Anil’s plant needs. 'The loser is not just the brothers, but the whole country,' said Walter Rossini, who manages $283 million in an India fund at Aletti Gestielle in Milan. Power shortages impede development in India as more than 400 million lack electricity and supply falls short of peak demand by 16.6 percent, the World Bank said in June." (Bloomberg)



"I am only guessing here, but the memorial show for artist Dash Snow on display at Deitch Projects on Grand Street is as likely as not to be remembered as a send-off to the youth craze that has seized the art world this decade. More legend than man, and dead at 27, Dash Snow’s trajectory as an artist was self-destructive, and the destruction was abrupt: On July 13, he died in New York City of a heroin overdose. The elliptical show devoted to the theme of Dash Snow includes artwork from his friends and family—T-shirts, flowers, messages straight from the heart—and lots of photography. You could be forgiven for having missed him: Snow first appeared in New York around 1997 as part of a street-graffiti team working under the tag of SACER." (Observer)



"When it comes to U.S.-China policy, Washington is broadly separated into two camps: the functionalists and the strategists. And as the two countries have met in Washington this week, the internal debate has begun to unfold. U.S. President Barack Obama told his counterparts that Washington and Beijing should be 'partners'; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wrote a joint op-ed in the Wall Street Journal calling for broad 'strategic level discussions.' Make no mistake: The functionalists are winning. The functionalists tend to be economists and those concerned with the U.S.-China economic relationship. The United States and China are so economically intertwined, the functionalists argue, that they ought to be strategic partners as well. Win-win cooperation -- not zero-sum competition -- is a very achievable goal. Barriers between the two countries are transactional, and any tensions are usually due to mere misunderstanding. Yes, there are profound disagreements, but fix the practical problems, and many obstacles toward a fruitful partnership will eventually melt away. In fact, they will have to melt away -- out of necessity on both sides. As Clinton and Geithner put it, quoting a Chinese proverb, 'When you are in a common boat, you need to cross the river peacefully.' Strategists, however, don't see quite such a rosy picture. For them, the U.S.-China relationship is one of strategic competition -- an irreversible rivalry already well under way." (ForeignPolicy)



"Howard Stern and Tom Bergeron, host of 'Dancing With the Stars,' are teaming up for a riveting project Friday on Sirius XM radio: a tribute to the Three Stooges featuring long-lost interviews Bergeron conducted with Moe Howard and Larry Fine in the 1970s. Howard and Fine were two of the original Stooges. Bergeron was a teenage radio host and major Stooges fan. Stern has always revered the Stooges, whose films he watched with his father, Ben. On Friday's special, 2 p.m. on Sirius Ch. 101, Stern calls them "the greatest comedians who ever lived.' The Stern bits, which go back years and include Billy West doing his Larry impersonations, are entertaining. But the heart of this special is Bergeron's presentation of the interviews, which he dug out of storage on reel-to-reel tapes after he mentioned them to Stern." (NYDailyNews)

"Democrats giddy with possibilities only six months ago now confront a perilous 2010 landscape signaled by troublesome signs of President Barack Obama’s political mortality, the plunging popularity of many governors and rising disquiet among many vulnerable House Democrats. The issue advantage has shifted as well, with Democrats facing the brunt of criticism about the pace of stimulus package spending, anxiety over rising unemployment rates and widespread uneasiness over the twin pillars of Obama’s legislative agenda: his cap-and-trade approach to climate change and the emerging health care bill. Bolstered by historical trends that work in the GOP’s favor — midterm elections are typically hostile to the party in power — and the prospect of the first election in a decade without former President George W. Bush either on the ballot or in office, Republicans find themselves on the offensive for the first time since 2004. None of this is to say that the Democratic congressional majorities are in serious jeopardy. The GOP has suffered some significant setbacks, ranging from headline-grabbing personal indiscretions to Sen. Arlen Specter’s party switch, and it continues to be plagued by an inability to present its own new ideas." (Politico)

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