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Monday, February 08, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Richard Holbrooke, the special representative for the issue formerly known as Af-Pak will visit Georgia 'shortly,' with plans to finalize the deployment of Georgian troops to Afghanistan. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg revealed that Holbrooke will go to Georgia while traveling in Tbilisi Friday. Sources said the current thinking is that the visit will occur toward the end of February. So what will Holbrooke be doing there? Well, in addition to possibly discussing Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili's offer to allow his country to become a supply route to Afghanistan, which Steinberg reportedly said was a Pentagon matter, Georgian sources tell The Cable that Holbrooke will be putting the final touches on the plan to deploy Georgian troops to Afghanistan in March. In Georgia, they are calling it the 'Holbrooke Brigade,' according to a source close to the Georgian government. The plan is for 750 Georgian troops to be deployed in Helmand province at the personal request of Gen. David Petraeus, the source said, who was impressed with their effectiveness along the Iranian border during operations in Iraq. According to the current plan, they will be under U.S. command and supplementing 350 Georgian troops already in country as part of the International Security Assistance Force." (TheCable/ForeignPolicy)



"Howard (Stern) gave Sarah (Silverman) some more plugs and said that her book (The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee) is coming out in April. He took a few more phone calls for her after that. One guy said that he saw Sarah at some event he was at and she was smoking pot with a guy from the TV show 'Northern Exposure.' Sarah said she loves to smoke pot. She said that she doesn't drink so she smokes pot instead. Sarah said she actually has a prescription for medical marijuana. She said she's pretty sure she wouldn't get arrested for having it on her ... Ralph (Cirella) said that he had some of the weed that Sarah had and it was in a piece of candy or something. He said he's never been as high as he got on that stuff. Sarah said that it was Bonbons that she had that time." (Marksfriggin)



(image via JH/NYSD)

"Last Tuesday night HBO celebrated the premiere of another vital documentary, THE BLACK LIST: Part III, a film by photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders (best known for his straight-forward, large-format portraits), and journalist Elvis Mitchell, which airs tonight on HBO. The documentary features right-on filmed portraits of successful and influential African-Americans in all fields including Whoopi Goldberg, John Legend, model, Beverly Johnson, Reverend Al Sharpton, Actor Lee Daniels, Educator and CEO of the United Negro College Fund, Dr. Michael Lomax, and Faye Wattleton – whose many honors include serving as the first Black President of Planned Parenthood (Her Great-Grandmother, whom she knew, was a slave.)" (NYSocialDiary)



"Reporting on the entertainment business is one of the most bewildering tasks in journalism: no one talks, or people want a favor first, or they suddenly become very curious about the reporter’s ideas for a screenplay — and even then the unburdening is selective, always with an eye toward concealing the truth. Perhaps the only more distasteful task in the industry is slaving away at a 627-page biography of a celebrity who has mastered these kinds of games, and Peter Biskind must at least be commended for pushing through to completion on 'Star,' his unlovely but ultimately satisfying book about Warren Beatty ... We open on a scene that Beatty must recall fondly: a summertime dinner in 1959, at the power restaurant La Scala on Little Santa Monica in Beverly Hills. ­Beatty, 22, has a perch in town by virtue of his position as Shirley Mac­Laine’s brother but few acting credits to his name. He is dining with Jane Fonda — in his first icky aside in a book teeming with them, Biskind lingers over her competence at a sex act wherein she became 'like a python' — but Beatty’s attention wanders when he peeps Joan Collins, 26, at another table. Soon he’s ringing Collins incessantly from the Chateau Marmont, demanding a date. They glide to Casa Escobar for margaritas, exchange astrological signs and hit the sheets. Oh, boy, do they hit those sheets. 'He was insatiable,' Collins has said. 'Three, four, five times a day, every day, was not unusual for him. I felt like an oyster in a slot machine.'" (Vanessa Grigoriades/NYTimes)



"The world over, well-educated young women are choosing different pathways — in their careers and their lives — than their older peers. This is particularly striking among young Arab women, a group thought to be more embedded in — and confined by — traditional values and cultural restrictions. Last month, as delegates to the Second Arab Women's Leadership Forum in Dubai, we participated in a focus group of young professional women in their late twenties and early thirties. The conversation was thoughtful, candid and emotionally charged. These young women from Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates work for the likes of PepsiCo and Emirati Airlines. They're kicking over the traces in two ways. Many are moving away from the secluded, family-bound lives of their mothers. And they're also questioning — and rebelling against — the rigid structures of conventional corporate careers. This was a big surprise. It turned out that the attitudes voiced by these young professionals were remarkably similar to Gen Y conversations we've had in other parts of the world." (Bloomberg)



"An invitation to a Vanity Fair dinner is not a bad one to have, though the very thought of having to communicate with famous and fabulous people makes me twitchy. Hollywood types really only like powerful people, and few of them are capable of polite conversation with individuals they don’t know. The conversation usually goes something like this: 'Hello, I’m Mandolyna…' At this point the star usually produces an awkward smile, and walks away. But this night was going to be different, I said to myself. I was going to inquire and flatter the stars into a little dialogue ... But just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, Tom Ford took my hand in both of his, and looked me in the eyes as if I were the only woman in the world he wanted to go to bed with. My persistence was really paying off now. This was the first time I have ever been fully acknowledged by a famous person. More nervous chatter flew out of my mouth, something about how my dinner companions had all seen the movie multiple times, and how I would go see it again and again. He smiled, all the while looking deeply into my eyes. Like heroin, one sniff, and I was hooked … The fuss over Ford is definitely merited. He must be a zen master. His grace and beauty alone make him a megastar." (Mandolyna Theodoracopulos/Takimag)



"Harvard professor, hedge-fund millionaire, and 'court historian for the imperial American hard right' Niall Ferguson is leaving his wife for a feminist filmmaker he met at the Time 100 party. Sex! Scandal! Murderous Muslim clerics! This story has it all. Ferguson (whose career highs include defending colonialism and parlaying books about the Rothschild dynasty into a lucrative Rothschild-endorsed hedge fund career) is divorcing his wife of sixteen years, former editor and Condé Nasty Susan Douglas, reports The Daily Mail. Niall's new lovah: Somali-born filmmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali. After meeting at a party for Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World, Niall and Ayaan launched into the most glamorously snobby, geopolitically thrilling forbidden love since Cleopatra and both Roman triumvirates .." (Gawker via DailyMail)



"With a hodgepodge of treaties and projects, such as the International Law Enforcement Academy and the Merida Initiative, Obama is continuing the policies of his predecessors, spending millions to integrate the region's military, policy, intelligence and even, through Patriot Act-like legislation, judicial systems. This is best thought of as an effort to enlarge the radius of Plan Colombia to create a unified, supra-national counterinsurgent infrastructure. Since there is 'fusion' among Latin American terrorists and criminals, goes a typical argument in a recent issue of the Pentagon's Joint Force Quarterly, 'countering the threat will require fusion on our part.' At the same time, schemes like the Mesoamerican Integration and Development Project are using World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank financing to synchronize the highway, communication and energy networks of Mexico, Central America and Colombia, blending the North American and Central American free-trade treaties and, eventually, the pending Colombian Free Trade Agreement into a seamless whole. Thomas Shannon, Bush's top envoy to Latin America and Obama's ambassador to Brazil, called these initiatives 'armoring NAFTA.'" (TheNation)



"About eight years ago, Tyra Banks and André Leon Talley lunched at La Goulue to discuss her idea of starting a new reality TV modeling competition, 'America’s Next Top Model,' and she wanted him to be on it. 'At that point, I said no because it was the beginning. I was thinking I wanted to see where it goes,' Talley said. But 13 seasons — 'cycles' in Top Model parlance — later, the Vogue editor at large softened to the idea. So when Banks asked him once again to come on board as a judge for cycle 14, which premieres March 10 on The CW, it was an easy sell. 'I’ve seen the success of Tyra in many facets of her life,' said Talley, who first met Banks backstage at an Yves Saint Laurent show when she was 16. “So I felt maybe I could contribute something to it that had not been on the show. I just felt that it was a way to step out of the box and associate myself with a very important American success story, a very important brand — Tyra Banks.' Though he’d never watched Top Model, he had 'no hesitations at all.' Nor did his Vogue boss, Anna Wintour. 'Her reaction,' said Talley, 'was, ‘Fine, André. Just let me know when you’re going to do it and how it’s going.’” (WWD)



"The last few days have reminded me of the speculative attacks on sterling and the Italian lira in September 1992. Europe’s finance ministers and central bankers at the time reacted with anger and incomprehension. Sterling’s central parity in the exchange rate mechanism was as unsustainable then as Greek public finances or Spanish wages are today. Today’s financial markets correctly perceive the eurozone as not addressing the imbalances. They are confused by shifting signals from Germany and France about a bail-out. Investors have concluded that the probability of a contagious default is rising. They are right. What has not changed since the 1992 crisis is that European policymakers and their economic advisers still lack a basic understanding of how financial markets react to policies or, in this case, to a lack of policies. At the moment, it is totally unclear what would happen should one eurozone country become unable to refinance its debt. I suspect there will be a bail-out, but I am no longer as certain as I once was." (FT)



"After weeks of flirting, Fox and Conan O'Brien are about to take their relationship to the next level. Nobody from the network or Team Coco will talk about it openly, but it's clear both camps have begun doing their respective due diligence as they try to figure out how a deal might be hammered out to bring O'Brien to Fox. Given the desire to get a show launched by January at the latest, industry insiders believe it's now a matter of days or weeks (not months) before formal conversations begin. To make Conan on Fox a reality, however, everyone involved will have to eschew the dynamics of past network deals for late-night talent. This dance won't be about a big star demanding monster amounts of money for his services (CBS-Letterman), nor will it be a case of a network rolling the dice on a largely unproven figure in the hope that the investment will eventually pay off (ABC-Kimmel). Instead, if Coco is to find a home on Fox, both parties need to act as if they're launching a business together -- with shared risk and mutual reward. That means managing expectations, committing to a long-term plan and figuring out a way to ensure nobody gets soaked if the whole venture simply doesn't click with viewers. It will also require a greenlight from News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch, who last week made it clear that he's very open to the idea." (TheWrap)



"Lame. Killed classic rock overnight. We need some younger acts with something to prove. What kind of crazy fucked up world do we live in where the game is better than the music. And this game ain't that good. Bring back Janet's tit. Or at least Kenny Chesney or Tim and Faith. How about that onside kick! More excitement than The Who! (Excuse typos. I'm on my CrackBerry!)" (Lefetzletter)



"Friends, readers, you'll never GUESS where I was last night. Well, let me just t-ELLE you (and at that, I'll can it with the puns).The stars and the less-starry alike came out for a cause last night at the GUESS By Marciano and Elle magazine cocktail benefiting the Susan G. Komen For the Cure foundation. Hosted by Elle's creative director Joe Zee and the über talented actress/producer Eliza Dushku, the guest list included the likes of Chaske Spencer, Mark Indelicato, Rick Fox, Tinsley Mortimer, The City's Olivia Palermo, Whitney Port, and Roxy Olin, as well as The Real Housewives' Ramona Singer, Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen (whom I might go so far as to call a real housewife as well, but that's a different story). Guests schmoozed at the tightly packed GUESS store in Soho, sipped on Ultimat cocktails, and shopped to the sweet sounds of DJs Jamie Biden and Theodora Richards." (Papermag)

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