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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Although I have refrained from responding to gratuitous and incorrect analyses of my foreign policy, I feel compelled to comment on Walter Russell Mead's cover story ('The Carter Syndrome,' January/February 2010), which the editors apparently accepted without checking the author's facts or giving me a chance to comment. I won't criticize or correct his cute and erroneous oversimplistic distortions of presidential biographies and history except when he refers specifically to me. I resent Mead's use of such phrases as 'in the worst scenario, turn him [Obama] into a new Jimmy Carter,' 'weakness and indecision,' and 'incoherence and reversals' to describe my service. An especially aggravating error is his claiming, 'by the end of his tenure he was supporting the resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, increasing the defense budget, and laying the groundwork for an expanded U.S. presence in the Middle East.' None of these were late decisions based on a tardy realization of my earlier errors and misjudgments." (Jimmy Carter/ ForeignPolicy)



"Walter Russell Mead's appraisal of President Barack Obama's foreign policy was gratuitously titled 'The Carter Syndrome' even though it contained no analysis of President Jimmy Carter's foreign policy. Nonetheless, its message was that in 'the worst scenario" Obama could turn out to be like Carter, whose presidency Mead associates with "weakness and indecision.' Since Mead provides no examples, here are a few geopolitical accomplishments of Carter's four years .." (Zbigniew Brzezinski /ForeignPolicy)



"It's an honor that President Jimmy Carter chose to respond to my article with an impassioned and eloquent defense of his presidential stewardship. I cast my first presidential ballot for Carter's re-election in 1980 and continue to regard him with great respect. I am also a great admirer of Zbigniew Brzezinski; reviewing one of his recent books, I wrote that 'no statesman of his generation is in his league' when it comes to the study of U.S. foreign policy against the background of the deeper movements of world history. That said, my recent Foreign Policy article was not really about Carter or his administration. It was about the current U.S. president and the intellectual, cultural, and political challenges he faces, so the treatment of past presidents was necessarily less detailed and nuanced. In that context, I referred to some of the difficulties that Carter encountered in managing the U.S. relationship with the Soviet Union. I have attended meetings at which high-ranking officials from both the Soviet Union and the Carter administration have clearly stated that Carter's support for human rights was seen from the Soviet side as a repudiation of détente and a return to Cold War hostility -- and that, especially in the beginning, Carter did not fully grasp the tension between his two goals of détente with the Soviets and the promotion of human rights." (Walter Russell Meade/ForeignPolicy)



"Jersey Shore is already so incredibly obvious that the jokes about it are just too easy and often unfunny. How does the porn movie based on the show measure up? It is both terrible and amazing." (Gawker)



"Like many Americans, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has been forced to work two jobs to get through tough times. Emanuel’s main job is serving as President Barack Obama’s not-so-mild-mannered point man on the renewed, possibly quixotic final push for health care reform. But in his spare time, the White House chief of staff and his allies have sought to defend Emanuel against a growing chorus of critics who blame him for nearly everything that has gone wrong in Obama’s first year. One of the more surprising details to emerge from this back and forth is that Emanuel’s allies are letting it be known around town that he never wanted to make it the administration’s top priority for Year One. That may come as a surprise to Democrats on the Hill who’ve been lobbied relentlessly by Emanuel to get a bill done — and fast." (Politico)



"Latin American and Caribbean nations backed Argentina's claim of sovereignty to the Falkland Islands on Monday in a growing dispute with Britain over plans to drill for oil off the islands in the Atlantic. At the Rio Group summit of 32 countries hosted by Mexico, Argentina presented a statement quoting Mexican President Felipe Calderon as saying that 'the heads of state represented here reaffirm their support for the legitimate rights of the republic of Argentina in the sovereignty dispute with Great Britain.' Calderon did not speak directly about the matter. Britain and Argentina have long disputed sovereignty of the Falkland Islands -- known as Las Malvinas in Latin America -- and fought a war over them in 1982. The issue had been relatively calm until a British oil exploration company recently announced drilling plans there." (BusinessWeek)



"'Keeping Up with the Kardashians' has smashed another ratings record at E! Despite airing opposite the Olympics, the fourth season finale of the reality soap opera drew 4.8 million viewers Sunday at 10 p.m., making it the most-watched telecast in the network’s history, according to Nielsen. It also broke network records for biggest telecast in a number of key demographics, including adults 18-34 and 18-49. Overall, the 10-episode fourth season of 'Kardashians' now stands as the most-watched series in E! history. (Sorry, 'The Anna Nicole Show.') It averaged 3.7 million viewers this season, more than doubling its season three numbers." (TheWrap)



(image via Jill Krementz via NYSD)

"...(Y)esterday in New York was the day that parents learned whether or not their four and five year old sons and daughters were accepted in the private kindergarten of their choice. This is no small matter in the lives of the rich. Their children’s schools are badges of not only their prosperity, but their successes. Furthermore, these kindergartens are highly selective besides being highly expensive ($15,000 - $25,000 annually). And of course there is a pecking order as to which is the best and which is the ... least ... best school. A kid – a toddler, even – can start off on the wrong foot in life when he doesn’t get accepted at Episcopal. Where a child is accepted or not accepted is a mark for or against the parents’ standing in the community. Something money can’t buy. As in: Not Too Big to Fail. I wondered, reading Mr. Sorkin’s list of players in Too Big To Fail, whether or not some of those names were mamas and papas of a little one who did or didn’t make the grade (cut the mustard) yesterday." (NYSocialDiary)



"Being the president’s wife apparently has its perks. Sources confirm to me exclusively that First Lady Michelle Obama has invited the cast of Glee to perform at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday, April 5 — and, barring any last-minute glitches, they’re gonna do it! Rumor has it Mrs. O and her daughters are big fans of the show." (Michael Ausiello/PopWatch)



"Kehinde Wiley's homoerotic portraiture generally romanticizes the unknown: street-cast African American kids honorably putting in their time as a menacing other. But for a PUMA commission celebrating the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Wiley depicts athletes at the height of visibility (and homophilia): soccer stars Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon, John Mensah of Ghana and Emmanuel Eboué of Ivory Coast. Legends of Unity—a series featuring group and individual portraits of the three players, and a documentary—stopped at Deitch Projects' Wooster Street space last weekend. The New York showing is part of a multi-country tour of the exhibition, which kicked off in Berlin earlier this month and will end in South Africa in June. 'So much of what I wanted to do with this project was get away from the televisual notions of disease, war, famine that we are sort of constantly bombarded with in regards to looking at Africa,' said Wiley in an interview Friday afternoon at Deitch. "And here is a chance to provide not just some sort of cheesy political correcting, but rather something that is, I think, more indicative of a type of honest engagement with the process of what I had been doing for years in America and having that transposed to Africa.'" (Interviewmagazine)

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