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Monday, February 22, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Yet there is one extremely consequential area where Obama has done just about everything a liberal could ask for--but done it so quietly that almost no one, including most liberals, has noticed. Obama’s three Republican predecessors were all committed to weakening or even destroying the country’s regulatory apparatus: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the other agencies that are supposed to protect workers and consumers by regulating business practices. Now Obama is seeking to rebuild these battered institutions. In doing so, he isn’t simply improving the effectiveness of various government offices or making scattered progress on a few issues; he is resuscitating an entire philosophy of government with roots in the Progressive era of the early twentieth century. Taken as a whole, Obama’s revival of these agencies is arguably the most significant accomplishment of his first year in office." (John Judis/TNR)



(image via NYSD)

"Not for the first time and not for the last, the most talked about person in Washington is Sally Quinn, who is married to Ben Bradlee, with whom she has a son, Quinn Bradlee, who is engaged to be married to Pary Williamson who, as it happens, is pregnant. The Washington wedding, which was supposed to be in the autumn, recently got moved by Sally up to April 10, which is the same day Ben’s granddaughter, Greta Bradlee, long-ago set the date for her wedding in California. According to Sally, the same date mess was a mere scheduling mistake and mostly Ben’s fault and they weren’t planning to attend the California wedding, anyway. The only one of those excuses believed by Bradlee intimates is that Sally never planned to go to California. I’m not revealing Bradlee secrets; they were published last week in what sometimes seems like Sally Quinn’s personal newsletter, The Washington Post, where Ben once reigned as the nation’s fiercest and most famous editor." (WashingtonSocialDiary)



"So now we have Vladimir Nabokov’s posthumous opus, The Original of Laura, with two subtitles, '(Dying Is Fun)' and 'A novel in fragments,' neither chosen by the author. It is the book Nabokov was working on, some of it in the hospital, during his last time on earth. As was his habit, he wrote on 3 x 5 inch index cards, reaching 138, and corresponding to, as has been estimated, forty-five pages of print. Otherwise put, nowhere near a finished novel." (John Simon/TheNewCriterion)



"Traffic had slowed to a crawl in Baghdad's Azamiyah district as drivers stopped to ogle the president. It was April 2003, and Saddam Hussein cheerily greeted his subjects as a few bodyguards tried to keep the crowd at bay. Someone handed Saddam a bewildered baby, which he hoisted up in the air a few times and handed back. When he reached a white sedan, Saddam climbed onto the hood to survey the sea of loyalists. Not long after—possibly that same day, just a few miles away from where Saddam went on his celebratory walk—U.S. Marines in Baghdad tore down a 40-foot-tall bronze statue of the Iraqi dictator. At the time, American intelligence officers didn't know whether Saddam had survived a hailstorm of 2,000-pound bombs and Tomahawk missiles fired at the beginning of the war. When grainy footage of the Butcher of Baghdad's last promenade surfaced 10 days later, most analysts were preoccupied with determining whether it was authentic. Nobody was particularly worried about the guy next to the dictator, a heavyset man in a brown striped shirt and sunglasses. He wasn't anyone on the deck of playing cards depicting the regime's 55 most-wanted members, and the coalition troops had much bigger priorities than hunting down bodyguards. It would be months before anyone realized that this man was the key to capturing Saddam Hussein. His identity was classified, but those on his trail would take to calling him 'Fat Man.'" (Slate)



"'There’s a joke they used to tell in Franco’s Spain: two guys in bar. First guy says to the other, “What do you think of Generalissimo Franco?' Second guy looks around nervously to see if anyone is listening, then says to the guy, 'Follow me.' They leave the bar, walk down a deserted alley. The second guy finally stops, looks around again to see if they were followed, then whispers to the first guy: 'I like him.' I thought of it Saturday while listening to—brace yourselves—Glenn Beck, giving the keynote at the Conservative Political Action Conference. I’ve not been a fan of Beck’s. (Rather the opposite, in fact, while conceding that he is at least a very talented demagogue.) But there was something refreshing in his fundamental message, to wit, We have seen the enemy, and it is us. Or at least, Not just us. Using a personal trope—Beck is recovering alcoholic—he likened the Republican Party’s big-spending habit to the appetite of a drinker who can’t stop himself." (Chris Buckley/TheDailyBeast)



"The focus on Harvey Weinstein recently has been his heavy-handed Oscar lobbying for Inglourious Basterds and his uphill battle to reclaim the Miramax name and film library. But the behind-the-scenes restructuring effort continues for The Weinstein Co, and I've learned it has finalized a new DVD distribution deal with Sony’s Worldwide Acquisitions unit. TWC and Dimension releases will release through Sony’s DVD distribution pipeline. The structure is somewhat similar to the Summit DVD distribution deal with Universal, or Lionsgate’s deal with Fox, except those two companies handle their own DVD marketing campaigns." (NikkiFinke/Deadline)

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