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Friday, August 07, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"(Secretary Hillary) Clinton also is not shying away from addressing the horrors unfolding in Zimbabwe. And she’s taking up an age-old unpopular issue of rape as a crime of war in eastern Congo. Nigeria is yet to come—a country the State Department has called 'probably the most important in Africa.' (Read: It’s our fifth-largest oil supplier.) And to round out the itinerary, she’s stopping in Angola, Liberia, and Cape Verde. This is an aggressive agenda for the secretary of State, who could use such a trip to bolster approval ratings, but in a way it’s uncontroversial foreign policy that pays lip service to Africa’s woes without having to do much but promise American money for intractable far-away problems—malaria, AIDS, global poverty. This on a continent where most people nearly deify the Clintons, and almost all American presidents. (Even George W. Bush was popular here.) But she’s taking on controversial issues and desperate problems without easy solutions. Two examples: Somalia and Congo." (TheDailyBeast)



"Oscar nominee Queen Latifah has gone to New York's hottest weekly lesbian party twice in a row, accompanied by sizzling dishes of womanhood, according to Page Six. The singer/actress/whatever's official stance has always been that she doesn't care if people think she's gay, so that works out just fine! But Queenie, maybe next week you can bring Missy Elliott?" (Musto)



(image via guestofaguest via patrickmcmullen)

"Yesterday on the other coast, 'G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra' premiered at Grauman’s historic Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. In addition to Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller, Ciara, Aubrey O’Day, Jenna Dewan and Marlon Wayans; Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag showed with a copy of the Playboy featuring Heidi’s naked spread. There are really no words left to comment on those two, so we’ll just leave you with this shot of them smooching over her latest 'business' venture. Amazing." (Guestofaguest)



"It's August, and the capital is clearing out as many Washingtonians head for vacation. And Congress is no exception. Foreign Policy has obtained a list of planned Congressional delegations -- or CODELs for short -- over the August recess. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) plans to lead a delegation including his friends Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), and Susan Collins (R-ME), on what looks to be a gritty, six-country, seven-day tour of post-war zones and forward operating bases, including Libya, Kuwait, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iceland. One sign the trip is tough? No spouses signed up to come along. Similarly, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is scheduled to lead a no-frills CODEL including Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), to Amman, Jordan; Islamabad, Pakistan; and Kabul, Afghanistan, where they will be observing Afghanistan's presidential elections. [UPDATE: A Kerry spokesman e-mails: 'Kerry's travel to Pakistan and Afghanistan was canceled on Wednesday. He's now not going anywhere over recess.'] But for every workhorse CODEL such as McCain's or Kerry's, there are those that look to rival Club Med. For instance, there will be no flak jackets required for Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) when he leads a large congressional delegation on an around-the-world trip to Ireland, Switzerland, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, and Canada. And the trip looks to be more spouse-friendly .." (ForeignPolicy)



"LEONARDO DiCaprio has a type he likes. On the heels of his breakup with Israeli model Bar Refaeli, the star was spotted enjoying the company of Refaeli's fellow Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, Anne Vyalitsyna, in Ibiza, Spain. (He's also been linked to the Pussycat Dolls' Ashley Roberts.) Refaeli was recently partying in St. Tropez with Brazilian playboy Ricardo Mansur, and then in Berlin with Israeli gambling tycoon Teddy Sagi." (PageSix)



"One Sunday afternoon in Lagos, a man leapt out into Akin Adesola, the main street on Victoria Island, and flagged down my car. He yanked open the door, swung into the front passenger seat and barked 'drive.' Anger radiated from him like heat. He wore no uniform and carried no gun, but desperation imbued him with an iron authority. All the pent-up frustrations of the megacity seemed to flow through him like an electric current. He whipped out a tattered paper and jabbed his finger at a list of violations – I had failed to stop at a white line. He said I had better pay the fine now or go to the station where his superior would be less inclined to leniency. 'What makes you think you can come to my country and break our laws?' he spat. His eyes bulged and beads of sweat glistened on his shaven head. He stared through the windshield at the passing cars. 'I should not be out here directing traffic,' he said. 'I am a graduate.' A hostage in my own car, I groped for the most obvious response to this piece of news. 'What subject?' I asked. 'Psychology.' 'So you know Freud?' 'Yes!' he said. 'The founding father!' My captor had cracked a smile. The mask slipped. We talked for another 20 minutes and I learnt his name was Olabode – Ola for short. He let me go, gave me his mobile number and waved me on, smiling. As I pulled away, he resumed his vigil from a kiosk on the central reservation, waiting for another chance. Such encounters are the stuff of everyday life in Lagos, a city defined by hustle." (FT)



"Budd Schulberg was born a 'Hollywood Prince,' the son of Paramount studio chief B.P. Schulberg. Witnessing Hollywood's highs, lows, and excesses throughout his father's topsy-turvy career, he moved on to become a novelist and screenwriter. In the mogul Sammy Glick, hero of his seminal Hollywood novel, What Makes Sammy Run? (1941), Schulberg created an American icon. At the end of World War II, after serving in John Ford's OSS/Navy film unit in Europe, Captain Ford put him in charge of gathering and presenting photographic evidence used in the Nuremberg Trial in 1945-46. His screenplays include On the Waterfront (1954), winning him an Academy Award, and A Face in the Crowd (1957)." (NYSocialDiary)



"To the Democratic grass roots, (Howard Dean) not just another public figure; he’s a folk hero, a reputation he earned with his early opposition to the Iraq war and enhanced during his four-year run as D.N.C. chairman, when he stood with grass-roots activists and weathered the enmity of the party’s Washington establishment. So if there’s anyone who can hold the hand of progressives and coax them into accepting compromise with the Blue Dogs, it’s probably Dean. Dean’s appetite for compromise ends the instant a public option is taken off the table. So he’s happy to blast the bipartisan alternative that members of the Senate Finance Committee are drafting at a snail’s pace—a plan that would utilize nonprofit cooperatives instead of a government-run insurance option. 'The compromise that’s being proposed by these six senators is destructive, foolish and would be a very bad bill,' he said, stressing that he wants the Senate to adopt the plan already approved by the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee. And he’s willing to write off any further outreach to Republicans—'The Republicans are interested in using this as a wedge to hurt Obama. Last time I looked, that didn’t come under the heading of serious public policy'—and to declare, 'We’re going to this inside the Democratic Party.'" (PolitickerNY)

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