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Monday, February 15, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"The very concept of public opinion in highly secretive Saudi Arabia is almost an oxymoron. Hard data are difficult to come by, and even rarer is information about controversial and strategically critical current issues: views about military action against Iran, corruption and the state of civil liberties within the kingdom, religious extremism and al Qaeda, and donations to other mujahideen. Yet I was able to obtain exactly this kind of data by working with the new Princeton, N.J.-based firm Pechter Middle East Polls and an established regional survey team. The results are eye-opening. A third of the Saudi public would approve a U.S. military strike against Iran's nuclear program, and a fourth is even willing to say it would support an Israeli operation. A solid majority of Saudis want local elections, which have been postponed for two years. Solid majorities also say that corruption and religious extremism are serious problems in their country. At the same time, 36 percent call it "an Islamic duty" to donate funds to "armed mujahideen fighting in various places around the world," but only about half that percentage voices support for al Qaeda. Most intriguing of all, however, is that none of these hot-button issues ranks very high on the public's agenda compared with economic concerns." (ForeignPolicy)



"Allegedly impregnated his porn star mistress twice, both times when his wife was also pregnant, according to an interview with the woman set to air Monday. Joslyn James, the star of such adult classics as Big Breasted Nurses and My Sex Teacher #12, said her lengthy and steamy affair with Tiger Woods always involved unprotected sex. Using protection 'was never talked about,' the actress told U.S. television show Inside Edition. 'It was never protected.' James, 32, who carried on an affair with Woods from 2006 to 2009, said she miscarried in her first pregnancy at about the same time his wife, Elin Nordegren, gave birth to daughter Sam Alexis on June 18, 2007." (FoxNews)



"Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) will announce this afternoon that he will not seek re-election in 2010. The news is a big loss for Democrats, opening up a very competitive seat in what's shaping up to be a tough cycle for Democrats. Bayh had over $13 million ready to wage a re-election campaign against former Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), and Democrats had already begun to portray Coats as a Washington lobbyist who abandoned Indiana. But Bayh will deny that his decision is due to fears of losing his seat. 'My decision was not motivated by political concern,' Bayh will say, according to prepared remarks of his announcement 'Even in the current challenging environment, I am confident in my prospects for re-election.'" (TheHill)



"The weekend seems to have gone so quickly! Saturday found us all nursing the most harrowing of hangovers but we managed to drag ourselves the the Alexander Wang show ... We missed out on parties that night and opted for a lovely dinner and some chilled drinks in Brooklyn which was a nice change from the bustle of the fashion pack and a good way to clear my head for studio the next day. Before I got started I managed to squeeze into the DKNY show, where I sat with model Poppy Delevigne and Mad Men actress Alison Brie who were both lovely ... I was sad to miss the Peter Jensen show as I ended up working late, especially as I heard Nina Persson from The Cardigans performed!" (Little Boots/Papermag)



"Barack Obama’s ambitions to pass ground-breaking laws on healthcare and climate change have so far come to nothing. A second economic stimulus had seemed to be moving forward, but also now looks in trouble. Democrats occupy the White House and have big majorities in Congress, yet cannot get anything done. Why the paralysis? Partly because the country views all these initiatives with suspicion. But one key factor is an anomalous institutional constraint: the Senate’s filibuster rule, which turns the Democrats’ 59-41 majority in the upper house into a de facto minority. Liberal commentators view this rule with splenetic fury, and one can see why. It makes America ungovernable, they say. We should get rid of it. The interesting thing is that they could. Contrary to the belief of many Americans, the filibuster rule – which requires 60 senators to support 'cloture,' thus bringing a measure under consideration to a vote – is not in the constitution. Getting rid of it does not require a constitutional amendment, which is a demanding process. The Senate could do this at its own initiative. Not only that, it could do it by simple majority vote. Like most things on Capitol Hill, the process would be somewhat convoluted. A different Senate rule says that a supermajority in the chamber is needed to change Senate rules. Democrats would first have to revoke that rule, before moving on to the filibuster rule. The question is whether the change to the rule about changing rules would itself be constitutional, if it were passed only by a simple majority. The answer is that it would be." (FT)



"Alexander Wang proved his clout on Saturday by packing his show to maximum capacity even though it was nowhere near Bryant Park. Wang returned to a quirky venue he's used before, Pier 49. Despite the inconvenient location, every major editor and hipster-socialite showed up. From industry royalty Anna Wintour and Diane von Furstenberg to fashion darlings Caroline Sieber and Julia Restoin Roitfeld, the event was filled with tastemakers. So full, in fact, that the poor souls in the standing room (a.k.a. me) could barely glimpse the models zig-zag the non-traditional runway. I did, however, catch sight of Tavi, the teen fashion blogger who began covering Fashion Week when she was only 13." (VanityFair)



(image via patrickmcmullen via nysd)

"Hollywood wives, Life in the last lane. Last Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, actor/director/photographer/art collector Dennis Hopper got a restraining order or two or more against his wife Victoria, which basically allows the man who is reportedly dying of cancer, to die in peace. Evidently Mrs. Hopper was one to stir things up. Dynasty as a reality show without the cameras. I’m always amazed at the way people go about destroying their marriages (or relationships). It usually has to do with The Money, no matter the level. The Hopper marriage is notable on several levels. She’s his fifth. She was a woman in her twenties when she married a very famous and financially well-fixed movie star who was thirty years older. If you were looking at this from a purely psycho-sociological point of view, what would you think? Maybe you’d think that neither party indicated particularly good judgment. Ahh, but don’t forget the Key Words: Hollywood Famous, Rich Alter Kocker; Younger, Beautiful, Fresh as Spring, Youth Redux; appetite. They should serve to remind that most often we don’t exercise good judgment when there’s something we want from another. And there you have a lot of modern marriages today." (NYSocialDiary)



"Vladimir and Julia Restoin Roitfeld haven’t always been this close. But they’re getting closer. In 2008, little brother Vlad, 25, moved his collection of mid-century-modern-style furniture from Los Angeles, where he went to college and worked in the movie business long enough to know it wasn’t for him, to New York. Big sister Julia, 29, has lived here since moving from their hometown of Paris back in 2004 to study. On a chilly Saturday morning in January, we meet up at Vlad’s apartment, located in a Beaux Arts building on a particularly dignified and youthless tranche of the Upper East Side, near the park. Both had just gotten back from post-Christmas trips. She was in Mexico with her model boyfriend; he was in India with his Italian fashion-editor girlfriend. Soon Vlad, who’s started a business, called Feedback Ltd., which creates highly publicized pop-up art galleries, will be off to help set up the next one, in Milan, in collaboration with another well-connected young man, Andy Valmorbida. It will open during Italian Fashion Week, sponsored by Giorgio Armani, and like the three he’s had in New York, it will kick off with a celebrity-stocked party. Julia, meanwhile, has her own traveling to do, since her boyfriend lives in London and the clients of her small art-direction company are around the world. At the moment, the siblings are the perfect social totems for the city’s downtown mutual-appreciation society of fashion expats, arty party strivers, and heirs to fortunes, who read haut-y social fashion magazines like V (Julia’s close to its editor, Stephen Gan) and The Last Magazine (Julia used to date its co-editor, Magnus Berger) and the hipster shelter website the Selby (which has featured Julia’s London Terrace apartment.) They all, like Julia, miss the Beatrice Inn. ('It was such a nice, chill hangout.')" (NYMag)



"WHAT: PAPER and Camper host the Camper Toðer with Campana flagship store opening hosted/DJ-ed by Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. WHEN: Feb. 13, 2010. WHERE: 635 Madison Ave. WHO: ... Kelly Osbourne, DJ Miriam Pemberton, Alison Brie, Lynn Yaeger." (Papermag)



"It's all coming together for the Flatiron District's Ace Hotel: a buzzy restaurant, an underground club, a fragrant coffee shop, and, as of last night, some hotly anticipated retail in the form of an Opening Ceremony boutique. Friends of owners Carol Lim and Humberto Leon oohed and aahed on their way into dinner at the hotel's Breslin restaurant ... We're kind of nerds,' Leon admitted—the kind of nerds, that is, that prefer Margiela feather pens and velvet espadrilles to standard hotel-shop offerings. The evening (which also celebrated the opening of the Ace's No. 8a boutique) wasn't all about cool merch, though. After midnight, Solange Knowles performed with the Dirty Projectors in the hotel's downstairs party space, and the dinner at the Breslin gave an intimate group of the store's fans the opportunity to table-hop and chat over buttery biscuits and suckling pig. Terence Koh talked about collaborating with Jeff Koons at the New Museum, while Michael Stipe shared an analysis of Lady Gaga's music ("'Five hooks in one song!') with P.S.1 director Klaus Biesenbach. Kirsten Dunst said she wasn't in the mood for shopping, but hoped Leon might give her the pair of vintage sunglasses she'd tried on in the shop." (Style)

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