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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"President Obama called Mr. Franken to congratulate him on Tuesday, aides said, and he issued a statement saying he looked forward to working with the senator-elect 'to build a new foundation for growth and prosperity by lowering health care costs and investing in the kind of clean energy jobs and industries that will help America lead in the 21st century.' Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, signed Mr. Franken’s election certificate early Tuesday evening. Senate Democrats said they would like to seat Mr. Franken as quickly as next week, giving the party a crucial vote as it moves to difficult debates over topics like climate change and health care. Democrats had held some committee posts for Mr. Franken, potentially including the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that is in the middle of drafting a health care overhaul. With 60 votes (including those of two independents) now most likely aligned with the Democrats, the party could avoid filibusters .. The race was not the only long standoff in Senate history, nor was it the longest. Among others, the 1974 race between John A. Durkin and Louis C. Wyman left the Senate seat from New Hampshire in doubt for 10 months. The election was finally resolved when the seat was declared vacant and a special election was held, declaring Mr. Durkin, a Democrat, the winner in September 1975." (NYTimes)



" A private funeral for Charlie's Angels star Farrah Fawcett began Tuesday afternoon at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. Fawcett's longtime companion, Ryan O'Neal, walked among pallbearers with the casket covered in yellow and orange flowers. Her friend Alana Stewart and Angels co-star Kate Jackson arrived early before the hearse, which was accompanied by 10 motorcycle officers. Fawcett and O'Neal's son, 24-year-old Redmond, who has been in jail since April 5 on drug charges, also was in attendance. Redmond was allowed to be released for three hours and wear street clothes. Also in attendance were Fawcett's father, James; Ghostbusters star Ernie Hudson; model Cheryl Tiegs; Fawcett's ex-husband Lee Majors; sisters Jackie and Joan Collins; and hairstylist Jose Eber." (TheWrap)



"Cinephiles collected at the DGA Theater in New York last night for the 20th Anniversary screening of Spike Lee’s groundbreaking 'Do The Right Thing.' The film, which tells the story of a racial conflict that erupts in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, on a hot summer day in 1987, has been celebrated over the past two decades by film industry experts, including the American Film Institute, who heralded the movie as one of the 100 greatest films of all time. Among the guests in attendance were cast members from the film, including Samuel L. Jackson, Danny Aiello, John Tuturro, Ruby Dee, and Rosie Perez." (Guestofaguest)



(Michael Mann via imdb)

"Perhaps you loved some of Mann’s movies—I was crazy about The Insider—but he typically doesn’t deliver at the box office. At least not in the context of what he’s been spending. Many people enjoyed his biggest hit, the 2004 thriller Collateral, but it barely got to $100 million. None of his other films—including Ali, Miami Vice, and Heat—have come close. Artistic merit aside, Mann is a costly proposition in more ways than one. I was talking to a couple of veteran crew members recently about which directors are the biggest nightmares on set. In such conversations, three big names always come up: James Cameron, Transformers director Michael Bay, and Michael Mann. But one of these is not like the others. 'With Michael Bay, you have the opportunity to break out, so he’s a pain in the butt but you have the potential for a big upside,' says an executive who knows from experience. 'With Michael Mann, you’re lucky if he breaks even. And you’re raked over the coals in the process. What part of that is a prudent decision?'" (TheDailyBeast)

"Down at Michael’s Arlene Dahl and Jane Powell, two of MGM’s stars of yore were lunching with friends at the big round table in the bay. Elsewhere Tom Guinzberg, long the head of Viking, was lunching with Arnold Scaasi; Simon & Schuster’s editor Alice Mayhew was lunching with an author, and Mort Janklow’s partner Lynn Nesbit was lunching nearby. At the table next to ours (I was with Brooke Hayward and Alex Hitz), Tina Brown was lunching with Catie Marron, of The New York Public Library Board of Trustees. After she’d finished her lunch, Lynn Nesbit joined us and inevitably the conversation turned to books and the books business which is way off right now. One very famous editor claims that this is the worst he’s seen publishing in his now long lifetime. People aren’t buying books." (NYSocialDiary)



"According to Nielsen nationals, Monday saw TLC’s 'Jon and Kate Plus 8' score network record ratings (4.9 rating/14 share in adults 18-49, 10.61 million viewers overall) to stand as the week’s No. 1 program in 18-49. And the week was capped by Sunday’s 'BET Awards' (4.5/13 in 18-49, 10.65m), which drew roughly 60% more viewers than the show’s previous high in 2006 (6.64 million). The kudocast, featuring numerous tributes to Michael Jackson by performers and honorees, was the week’s No. 2 primetime program in 18-49, No. 3 in total viewers and No. 1 in persons 12-34 (5.2/17). In total viewers, it ranks No. 1 among all cable telecasts for the calendar year .. And HBO has reason to be pleased with the premiere of 'Hung' (1.4/4 in 18-49, 2.83m), which became the net’s most-watched series preem in two years. It bowed behind the hot 'True Blood,' which hit another high in some categories (2.0/5, 3.73m)." (Variety)



"(W)hat has emerged after the crisis is, as I argued last week , an even worse financial system than the one with which we began. The survivors are an oligopoly of 'too-big-and-interconnected-to-fail' financial behemoths. They are the winners not because they are necessarily the best businesses, but because they are the best supported. It takes no imagination to realise what these institutions might now do, given the incentives for risk-taking. So what is to be done? The characteristic, but futile, response is to move the regulatory deckchairs on the deck of the Titanic. Recent proposals from the US Treasury fall partly into this category. But the financial system had to be rescued from its own mismanagement of risk. This is not going to be changed by external supervision. It is going to be changed only by fixing incentives. The starting point has to be with 'too big to fail'. We need a credible system for winding up even huge financial institutions. The most attractive proposals are for 'good banks', in which unsecured creditors become shareholders. That would be easier if, as President Barack Obama has proposed, and Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, has argued, a regulated institution has to produce a plan for an orderly wind-down of its activities." (Martin Wolf/FT)



"Politico is the Web site (and accompanying newspaper) launched by two former Washington Post reporters to cover the 2008 presidential campaign, and which, with 100 or so staffers, is defying all reason and expectations by continuing to prosper beyond the election season. Not only is it, in its way, a direct manifestation of Crichton’s observation about flaccid and dumbed-down news, but it is also something rather close to one of those sinister and unstoppable forces in a Crichton novel: more information than you want to know, as well as more than you probably should know and can know, altering the very metabolic rate of the people who supply it and of those who become habituated to trying to know it. CNN changed the nature of politics and political reporting by compressing the time it took for something to happen, for it to become widely known, and for newsmakers and the public to react to it (i.e., the news cycle) to half a day—whereas the newspaper news cycle, from next-day publication to day-after reaction, was 48 hours, and network television’s news cycle, from one day’s evening news to the next day’s evening news, was 24 hours. Politico brings the news cycle down to about 15 or 20 minutes." (Michael Wolff/Vanity Fair)



"In the beginning, circa 2002, there was Gizmodo, a Web site with news and reviews of mobile phones, digital cameras other electronic toys that became the foundation of the Gawker network of Web sites. In 2004, Gizmodo’s founder, Peter Rojas, left to start a rival gadget blog, Engadget, which was later acquired by AOL. Ever since, the two sites have slugged it out, profitably competing for scoops and a growing audience of obsessed gearheads. In the process, similar gadget sites have sprouted like weeds around the Web. (The New York Times has its own site, Gadgetwise.) Now Mr. Rojas, and his former colleague at Engadget, Ryan Block, have defected from that world, where teams of reporters are paid to write the material, and created yet another new gadget site that will lean heavily on users to provide information and reviews. Their new site, called GDGT, will open to visitors on Wednesday. It differs from Engadget or Gizmodo by aspiring to be a gadget-oriented social network. Users of the site can create profiles and specify which consumer electronics devices they have, had or want to buy. Then they can talk about those devices with other owners, discuss new trends and tips, and decide how and when to replace them." (NYTimes)

"Rolling though picture-perfect hills and fields of maize and barley towards Wembury House, Devon, for the annual Hanbury cricket match. At times it’s a scene from a ‘50s film of a long-ago England, beautiful, tranquil and law-abiding, with glimpses of broad greens, riverside walks and winding country lanes. But then comes the announcement in an English I can hardly comprehend, however hard I try, apologizing about a diversion because of hay on the tracks. 'Hay on the tracks?' I ask incredulously .. Tom Naylor-Leyland is a brilliant pianist of country and rhythm and blues. He plays and sings like the pro that he is, and is a hell of a wicket-keeper to boot. The evening finished around 7.30 in the morning and at 11 both Harry Worcester and Timmy were in my room ordering me to the cricket pitch .. Timmy, who mumbles his words like no other, said something about his daughter Rosie expecting twin boys and that she will marry David sometime this summer. I happened to be sitting next to David, whose full name is David Rocksavage, Marquess of Cholmondeley, pronounced Chumley for any foreign-born Spectator readers. David is the person who walks backwards in front of the Queen during the Opening of Parliament, but last Saturday night he was one of the few who walked straight." (Takimag)

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