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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"The assassins who killed Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh at a five-star Dubai hotel in January made one mistake: their work was too perfect. The hit team took elaborate steps to make the Hamas military commander's cause of death appear natural. His body was found lying in bed unclothed, his pants folded neatly over a chair and a bottle of heart medicine on the nightstand beside him. There were no bruises on the corpse, and no sign of a struggle in the room. The door was even chain-locked from inside. But the scene was so immaculate that when Dubai police finally entered the room, after his wife complained she couldn't reach him on his cell phone, 'they were struck by how neat everything was,' in the words of a foreign law-enforcement official who is close to the investigation, and provided fresh details to NEWSWEEK on condition of anonymity. 'It made them suspicious.'" (Michael Isikoff)



(image via JH/NYSD)

"Victoria Duffy is hanging onto her free rent as long as possible. According to the pre-nup she signed in 1996, she had to vamoose from estranged hubby Dennis Hopper's Venice, Calif., compound by today, 60 days after divorce papers were filed. But Duffy argued that the guest house she's holed up in is so far from Hopper's house, it's almost like she's already gone. Hopper's lawyer, Joe Mannis, said all of Duffy's other requests to the court were denied, but she won't have to move until the next hearing on April 5. Courtroom kibitzers are baffled as to why Duffy persists in hanging on at the compound while Hopper has a court order keeping her away from his death-bed. A friend of Hopper tells us negotiations are under way for a final financial settlement. Another source said Duffy, who loves star-studded parties, was ostracized on Oscar weekend: 'Victoria was really ticked off she wasn't invited anywhere this year.'" (PageSix)



"After the break Howard came right back and said that they were going to get to the second contestant, Loredana Jolie Ferriolo. They had a clip of the announcer talking about some of the stuff she did with Tiger (Woods)... Loredana said that she went out with Tiger for two years or so. She said she met him at a night club. Howard asked if she was with some matchmaking company when she met. Loredana said she met Tiger through that service. Howard asked how much it cost to get matched up with her. She said it was $15,000 ... Loredana said Tiger would bring other women into bed too. She said that he would bring women from other countries into bed. Howard asked for more details on that. Loredana said that Tiger would be in a business suit and he wouldn't bang the other girls in front of her. She said that he'd wear the whole suit with the tie and all. Then the girls would get it on in front of him and he liked the whole show ...Howard said Rachel (Uchitel) wanted to be there today but she wasn't able to due to some kind of settlement she had.
" (Marksfriggin)



"In a great old episode of The West Wing, the president's chief of staff, Leo McGarry, is schmoozing up a politician the White House wants to win over. After their chat, McGarry puts the ultimate power move on the pol: he casually ushers the dazzled man into the Oval Office, where the president is waiting to greet him like a dear friend. The allure of the Oval Office drop-in isn't lost on Rahm Emanuel, the real-life White House chief of staff. Not long after Barack Obama took office, Emanuel staged a McGarry maneuver of his own. Hoping to make good on his campaign promise of a kinder Washington, Obama was looking for influential Republicans he could team up with. There weren't many obvious choices in the House. But there was one in the Senate: Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Emanuel invited Graham to the White House for a one-on-one about national-security issues (the senator is a former military prosecutor who sits on the Armed Services and Homeland Security committees). After their chat, Rahm ushered Graham into the Oval Office, where Obama was waiting to greet him like a dear friend ... Since then, Emanuel and Obama have invited Graham back several times." (Newsweek)



"Pete Doherty, a man who's had a well-publicized dalliance or two with some of fashion's favorite faces, was playing a gig to celebrate the refurbishment of the Joseph store on Paris' Avenue Montaigne. The singer, who accessorized his look with some Chanel pins, hasn't lost his onstage charisma. 'I definitely see it: He looks so boyish, and he's such a romantic. All his songs are about a girl,' said Tatiana Santo Domingo, who had squeezed near the front with friends Eugenie Niarchos and Julia Restoin-Roitfeld. 'Although you should take him home and put him in the bath first," came a reply. Also appreciative was Suzy Menkes, standing smack-dab in front with a big smile on her face. 'He was splendid,' she said. (Apparently, the International Herald Tribune fashion critic has been bitten by the live-music bug and is even thinking of hitting the festivals. 'I asked her to come to Burning Man with me this year, and she said she would come if my grandmother did,' Margherita Missoni revealed. 'Well, my grandmother said yes!') After the concert, Doherty and co. moved upstairs. 'We're going up for some cocktails, cakes, and guitar,' his pal Irina Lazareanu said. 'My three favorite things.'" (Style)



"Um Nour escorted me into the club, past men in black dinner jackets at the front door. Syrians owned the club, paid off the Syrian police when necessary, and called them in when there was trouble. Most of the clientele were Iraqis. The room was vast and dark, with spotlights trained on the dance stage. A live band played somewhere in the gloom behind the stage, making conversation almost impossible. There were at least a hundred tables. Most of the customers sat in small groups near the stage, drinking watered arrack and Johnnie Walker, sipping in the low haze of smoke from apple-infused tobacco in bubbling water pipes. Family groups sat farther back: mothers, fathers, and young daughters. Single women in their 20s and 30s had claimed seats in the darkest places, the better to survey the room. Um Nour picked a table near the back entrance, secured our spot, and gestured to the ladies' restroom. We had gotten past the Syrian owners, but I would have to fit in with the mostly Iraqi clientele. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of the Iraqi exiles in Syria had turned to the sex trade for survival." (ForeignPolicy)



"Sometimes, a man's home is more than just his castle -- it's also his museum. Such is the case for Arnold and Pam Lehman, who, this past Thursday, opened their Brooklyn Heights home and private art collection in order to play hosts to a gala benefitting Canteen magazine. Founded three years ago by Stephen Pierson and Sean Finney, Canteen is a biannual journal of literature and arts that explores how writers and artists -- even chefs, glasswalkers, and CIA agents -- do what they do. Canteen also operates CanTEEN, a writing program in Harlem for underprivileged youth ... Under the watchful gaze of a Kehinde Wiley portrait presiding over the living room, authors Justin D. Taylor and Porochista Khakpour worked with portable typewriters and index cards, serving as literary fortune tellers to the gala's attendees, who included Bjork and artist Matthew Barney, author Stephen Elliott, Daniel Power, Nancy Stephens, Pulitzer-prize nominated playwright Gina Gionfriddo, photographer Susan Meiselas, Nina Collins, Alan Miller, Gigantic magazine founders Rozalia Jovanovic and Ann DeWitt, artist Vincent Como, and Stephanie Berger." (Papermag)



"Liz (Cheney) arrived alone at the Washington, D.C., Marriott Hotel, while her sister, Mary, spirited their father through a side door and up to a room on the eighth floor, his undisclosed location, a short walk from the main stage. With 45 minutes until showtime, Liz met them in the room, where she practiced her speech in front of her father. The message: The president is dangerous and unwise, a fact even her 9-year-old daughter can plainly see, but conservatives are now resurgent, a righteous minority on the rise. 'They’ll try to attack us, and they’ll play dirty,' she warned. 'They’ll try to silence us … President Obama, you will never silence us.' Her father was pleased and proud. It had been a long and fruitful year for the Cheneys, whose ubiquity on the national scene had surprised members of both parties. By the end of the Bush administration, Dick Cheney had become one of the least popular politicians in America (approval rating: 13 percent), and it was expected that once out of office he would, as he put it, 'go fishing' and wait for history to prove him right or wrong. But it quickly became clear that Dick couldn’t sit on his hands—and neither could Liz. She has spent nearly every day since her father’s departure from the White House attempting to extricate him from the jaws of infamy by turning current events into a referendum on his policies." (NYMag)



"WebNewser is covering the We Media conference in Miami where author and media critic Michael Wolff took part in a Q&A on the current state and future of media, including the role of cable news. 'No one has ever successfully been able to compete with FOX,' said Wolff. 'CNN just lied down and said They're bad people, we're good people. That's a bad way to build an audience." WebNewser has more on Wolff's colorful comments, including his tear into the family that owns The New York Times calling them, 'The stupidest people who have ever walked the Earth'" (TVNewser)



"World media leaders, facing falling revenues in crucial markets like the U.S. and Europe, will gather in Abu Dhabi this week, hoping to tap the oil-rich emirate's ambitions of becoming a global media hub. The United Arab Emirates' capital, which plans to spend more than $100 billion to diversify its largely oil-reliant economy, will host the inaugural Abu Dhabi Media Summit from Tuesday evening. Industry giants such as Google Inc., Warner Brothers and Publicis Groupe have all signed up to debate how they can explore media opportunities in new growth markets ... Media companies, battered by falling advertising revenues at home, have recently shown fresh interest in the Middle East, attracted by the region's large and growing youth population, its strong economic growth prospects and its relatively undeveloped media. The region's media industry, which was worth an estimated $10 billion in 2007, is expected to grow at roughly 12-15% each year, according to consulting firm A.T. Kearney. Although that's slower than the 19% annual growth clocked up in recent years, it's still twice as fast as China's expected growth and compares with 4% annual growth in the U.S., the consultancy said. 'Why are the world's biggest media companies coming to one of the most closed media markets?' said Jim Krane, author of City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism and a former journalist based in the U.A.E. with the Associated Press. "It's because that's where the money is.'" (WSJ)



"But now (Tinsley) Mortimer, 33, wants to be something more (or less, depending on how you feel about it). She'll be starring in a reality-TV show called High Society, a somewhat misleading title given that her on-screen costars include a woman with a habit of using the N-word in public, and a party boy who was recently in the tabloids for stealing a woman's handbag at a Lower East Side nightclub. Even Mortimer admits that the title doesn't quite fit. 'High Society is the name of a TV show, you know what I mean?' she says, sitting at a bar near her building. 'We're not saying we're taking you into country clubs. Clearly we're not doing that.' Clearly." (TheDailyBeast)



"I want to believe in pendulums. Obviously, political tides do change. I’m just not entirely sure how, precisely, they swing or whether the swings can be considered regular, back and forth to the same place, in the way a pendulum implies. The history of political tides might look more like a sailboat tacking in a certain direction; you hope that the arc of history actually does bend toward justice. But who knows? A year ago, it seemed we had reached the end of the pendulum swing to the right that had begun in 1980. The public seemed open to government activism–at the very least, open to the idea that governance was necessary. If you believe, as Ronald Reagan said in his 1981 inaugural address, that 'government is not the solution to our problems,' you tend not to pay much attention to governing, and sooner or later you wind up with the head of the International Arabian Horse Association running FEMA. George W. Bush seemed the ultimate bankruptcy of a movement that was never very far-sighted to begin with (indeed, it was militantly short-sighted), a philosophy plausible only to times of peace and prosperity, and thumpingly callous even then. I would like to believe that 2008 was a political hinge-point, as 1932 and 1980 were." (Joe Klein)

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