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Monday, October 26, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"The U.S. may have less than a half- century left as the dominant global economic power before it will share top billing with China and India, former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew said in an interview. 'The first half of the 21st century, a large part of it, will still be the American,' Lee, 86, said in an interview with the Charlie Rose television show on the PBS network. 'But I believe the second half you’ll have to share top places with China and also with India. Make space for them, too.' Lee was the founder of modern Singapore and the country’s prime minister from 1959 until 1990. He now holds the title of minister mentor in Singapore’s government, whose current prime minister is his son Lee Hsien Loong ...'In 30 years they’ll have an economy, not per capita but in total terms, bigger than the U.S.A.,' and China is now building political and strategic influence to protect its economic growth, Lee said. 'People already treat her differently, because they know that this is going to be a big fellow around the block,' he said. China is handling its growing influence in a 'very pragmatic, almost cold-blooded and clinical fashion,' Lee said." (Bloomberg)



"Lawyers for Jennifer Lopez have sent a cease and desist letter to shut down production of a movie about her life with her first husband, waiter and model Ojani Noa. The film titled, 'How I Married Jennifer Lopez: The J-lo and and Ojani Noa Story,' is meant to be a 'mockumentary,' according to Noa and his producer, Ed Meyer. The film chronicles Noa’s life story as a Cuban immigrant and his ongoing pursuit of Lopez, a la Borat’s pursuit of Pamela Anderson. The film is currently casting, and will start shooting in February. Citing a 2007 injunction against writing about Lopez’s personal life, the letter signed by attorney John Lavely states that the film “constitutes a blatant and malicious violation of my client’s legal rights and undeniably violates the clear command of the Court’s injunction.'" (TheWrap)



"When Angela Merkel was first elected German chancellor in November 2005, the country’s eastern neighbours looked on in anticipation. The pastor’s daughter raised in communist East Germany had pledged to end the cosy rapport forged with Moscow by Gerhard Schröder, her predecessor, and put the interests of central Europe at the heart of her government’s foreign policy. Yet, four years on, as Ms Merkel prepares to take office on Wednesday for a second term, Germany and Russia are engaged in business dealmaking on a scale unimaginable even under the Russophile from whom she took over .. This frenzy of politically sponsored dealmaking – unprecedented in the technology transfers involved and the opportunity for Russian companies to secure prized west European assets – has raised eyebrows in Paris, London and Washington, not to mention Warsaw, Kiev and Prague. So now, as the Atlanticist Free Democratic party swaps seats with the pro-Russian Social Democrats (SPD) to become Ms Merkel’s junior coalition partner, how likely is Germany to revert to the sceptical course the Merkel of 2005 had promised?" (FT)



(image via NYSD)

"...Yesterday in Palm Beach it was an extremely hot autumn day, and Jeffry Picower drowned in the swimming pool of his 17,700-square-foot palatial oceanfront mansion. Mr. Picower, who was sixty-seven last May 5th, was an associate of Bernard Madoff. There was a federal lawsuit filed against him and his wife Barbara (along with their Picower Foundation and other defendents) by the trustee liquidating the Madoff company. Mr. Picower, who is often described as a lawyer and accountant, had such an investment with Mr. Madoff, that over a twenty year period he was able to extract 5 to 7 billion bucks, (depending on your source) from the Madoff 'investment.' After TSHITF, as they say in computer talk, Mr. Picower’s investment seemed more than a little suspicious. Where I come from it sounds like a partnership or some kind of. He claimed he had no idea ... Barbara Picower is said to have been a close friend of Ruth Madoff. It was Barbara Picower who had the money, according to a friend, that put her husband on the map financially in the first place. Now, however, resumably Mrs. Picower herself is still facing the federal lawsuit. Notice how the women get left holding the bag. (And how the public buys that.) Watch." (NYSocialDiary)



"Actor Jude Law has not made any contact with his five-week old baby daughter since she was born, it emerged today. The Hollywood star's fourth child, Sophia, was conceived during a brief fling with aspiring American actress Samantha Burke ... 'It would be great if we can have a friendship and be cordial. Hopefully he'll be a big part of her life and she'll be proud to have him as her father.' Asked if she had received any presents from Jude, who demanded a DNA test a few months ago, the former model admitted: 'No, nothing' ..Burke met the Alfie star in a nightclub while trying to find work as a model in New York last Christmas. She said: 'I instantly knew who he was, but he seemed really funny, he was cracking jokes with people and he included me in that. The next thing I knew I was on the pavement outside, being twirled around — it was a lot of fun. He was funny and very down-to-earth.' After they parted she realised she was four weeks pregnant but did not tell Law straight away, while she got used to the idea. She refuted claims that she's a gold-digger, insisting: 'It really hurt. I have never dated a guy for money. All my ex-boyfriends were just normal guys.' Burke said she had 'not ruled out' moving from where she is now living in Pensacola, Florida, to London to be closer to Law." (Thisislondon)



"Obama's 'Kissinger' revealed itself first when his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton went to China and declared that bringing up the unpleasantness of Chinese human rights violations would serve no useful purpose and detract from the importance of finding common ground with Beijing on various international concerns ranging from trade to climate change to North Korean nuclear weaponry (this from a woman who once went to China to protest its discriminatory policies toward women). Our hearts may have wanted to protest the suppression of freedoms, say a word for Tibet, complain about the treatment of Uighurs, but the Administration decided it needed China for other things of more immediate concern to us. That has since been followed by a retreat from our previous confrontational approach toward Sudan where Obama now envisions a more positive policy of engagement with a government whose president has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for atrocities in Darfur. There is no bottom-line conclusion here: in a presidency that is so young, one cannot know whether the soft line taken toward China, Sudan, Russia, and other violators of human liberties will in the end dominate Mr. Obama's foreign policy decisions. But neither can the early signs be ignored. For the moment, it appears, Henry Kissinger is back." (TheAtlantic)



"Saturday night, the Sonnabend Gallery opened the new solo show by artist Clifford Ross. Ross is known for his enormous landscape photographs, as well as his Hurricane series. Calvin Klein, Lou Reed, Kevin Bacon and Patti LuPone were among those strolling through the gallery." (Guestofaguest)



"The Bush family’s fourth-generation standard-bearer, Jeb's son George P., talks exclusively with the Daily Beast about his new deployment overseas—and plots his political future in Texas. Even though we just trudged out of the last Bush era, everyone wants to know when George P. Bush, Jeb Bush’s eldest son and the family’s fourth-generation standard-bearer, is going to run for something. But P., as he’s known, has bigger things on his mind. He’s thinking about parachuting onto the frontlines of his uncle’s War on Terror. Lt. Junior Grade Bush, 33, joined the Navy Reserve in 2007 as an intelligence officer. The Navy recently told him, like thousands of others, that the two ongoing wars required him to go active-duty overseas, potentially in Iraq or Afghanistan. 'It’s been communicated to me that it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when,' Bush told The Daily Beast. 'It’s just a matter of time.'" (TheDailyBeast)



"Lars von Trier’s 'Antichrist' finally got a chance to disturb the American moviegoing audience this weekend, and while it managed consistent sell-outs in New York City, its overall six-market debut fell somewhat below expectations. According to estimates provided by Rentrak today, the IFC Films release - starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a disturbed couple (to put it mildly) working out some issues at a cabin in the woods - grossed $73,500 from its six screens, averaging $12,500. For a challenging and foreign-made film that’s certainly not for everyone, that’s not a bad number. However, ever since its Cannes debut this past May, the film has been the source of considerable debate and discussion, and one might have figured there would be more curiosity in its U.S. theatrical release." (IndieWIRE)



"Sensing that victory in the race for Virginia governor is slipping away, Democrats at the national level are laying the groundwork to blame a loss in a key swing state on a weak candidate who ran a poor campaign that failed to fully embrace President Obama until days before the election. Senior administration officials have expressed frustration with how Democrat R. Creigh Deeds has handled his campaign for governor, refusing early offers of strategic advice and failing to reach out to several key constituencies that helped Obama win Virginia in 2008, they say. Democratic strategists said that over the summer, Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) offered Deeds advice on winning a statewide election. Among other things, Kaine, who is also chairman of the Democratic National Committee, told Deeds that he should lay out more of his own vision and stop attacking Republican Robert F. McDonnell so ferociously. But Deeds did not embrace the advice, according to a national Democratic strategist. A senior administration official said Deeds badly erred on several fronts, including not doing a better job of coordinating with the White House." (WashPo)



"It's rather comforting to know that Oren Peli, writer and director of the improbable cultural marvel Paranormal Activity (currently terrifying audiences across the country), gets scared from time to time. 'The movie that really got to me was The Exorcist,' said Mr. Peli on Thursday evening, sitting low in his chair in the Paramount Pictures' Times Square offices. The 39-year-old was clad in a leather jacket and was sitting alongside the film's producer, Jason Blum, 40. He looked a little weary—answering hundreds of questions from reporters all day can do that. The tall glass of soda on the table in front of him hadn't been touched. 'I like things that get under your skin,' he said. 'A movie that starts in a normal setting and then very slowly and deliberately gets to where it is going.' This also happens to describes Paranormal Activity, which uses billowing bed sheets, drifting shadows and slamming doors to create a slow-burning atmosphere of terror." (Observer)



"Not only did Netanyahu get Obama to back down on a settlement freeze as a precondition to talks, but he also got Abbas to agree to quash the Goldstone report that alleged war crimes against Israel for its attacks on Gaza. Why would Netanyahu care whether such a report moved forward in the U.N. system? Israel has never paid attention to the United Nations, and any meaningful condemnation of Israel in the international organization has consistently met a U.S. veto. Netanyahu knew that if Abbas's representative in Geneva didn't put forward the Goldstone report, this decision could be exploited to expand the gap between Hamas and Fatah at a critical juncture. He is well aware of each Palestinian party's distrust for the other and of their ongoing struggle to solidify their positions as rulers of their respective fiefdoms in the West Bank and Gaza. At the same time, in an unprecedented move, Netanyahu approved the release of 20 female Palestinian political prisoners in exchange for a videotape of one captured Israeli soldier. It may have seemed like a lousy deal, but not if you understand Netanyahu's intention: strengthening Hamas's hand against Fatah. Indeed, Netanyahu has successfully played Fatah against Hamas, and vice versa, over the past few months, all while knowing that his U.S. counterpart is far too consumed with domestic politics to get involved in the Palestinian question beyond a photo opportunity." (ForeignPolicy)

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