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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Bernard Madoff, who is serving a 150-year sentence in North Carolina for running a fraud scheme that cost investors billions of dollars, was physically assaulted by another inmate in December, according to three people familiar with the matter. After the attack, Mr. Madoff, who pleaded guilty a year ago and was sent to a federal prison in Butner, N.C., was moved on Dec. 18 to the prison's low-security medical center for treatment. At the time, the Bureau of Prisons said that rumors of an assault were false and that Mr. Madoff suffered from dizziness and hypertension. One of his lawyers, Ira Sorkin, added at the time that Mr. Madoff was experiencing high blood pressure and heart palpitations. Mr. Sorkin declined to comment Wednesday on whether his client was beaten, saying, 'I don't comment on prison conditions or his family. That has been my policy.' Mr. Madoff was treated for a broken nose, fractured ribs and cuts to his head and face, according to a felon currently at Butner serving time on drug charges who was familiar with his condition at the time. The details of the injuries couldn't be independently verified." (WSJ)



"Just days after Sandra Bullock won her first Academy Award, and professed to Barbara Walters how much she loved her husband, biker bad boy Jesse James ('I never knew what it was like for someone to have my back'), reports surfaced that James has, rather, been going behind Bullock's back with a tattoo model who refers to him as the Vanilla Gorilla and wears patent leather pumps to bed. Though not officially confirmed, something unsettling seems afoot: On Wednesday, Bullock bowed out of the upcoming U.K. premiere of The Blind Side, which caused Warner Bros. to cancel the event." (TheDailyBeast)



"The paperback version of Michael Gross’ Rogues' Gallery, a history of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is coming out in the next week or so, and as you can see it is a far juicier cover than the one for the hardback. It probably reflects the author’s sensibility more accurately also. Michael Gross loves research and loves details but mostly he loves the characters in his books. They’re all out of a movie or a novel for this guy who has the perspicacity to dig the tales out from under the rocks that make the characters what they are. This talent (and/or habit) does not endear when it comes to the real-life characters themselves and Michael can really annoy with his reporting. He said diplomatically. Nevertheless, he does have the eye and the ear for the background and the detail and Rogues' Gallery more than annoyed some of the main characters in the story to the point of provoking letters from lawyers and all that." (NYSocialDiary)



"French President Nicolas Sarkozy might want to bid tomorrow on a naughty photo of his wife, Carla Bruni, on the block at the Phillips de Pury auction house in London. The sex-themed sale -- barred to anyone below the age of 18 -- of 221 works includes the 1992 photo Helmut Newton took of the pantsless supermodel, bending over and showing her shapely derriere, valued at up to $7,500. There are also pieces by David Hockney, Matisse, Picasso, Andy Warhol and gay iconographer Tom of Finland." (PageSix)



"How many senior U.S. officials will be branded turncoats or anti-Semites before the Israeli government, AIPAC, and Sen. Joseph Lieberman realize that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a serious mistake in approving an expansion of 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem and that he must correct it—not just for political or diplomatic reasons but in the interests of American and Israeli security? What about Gen. David Petraeus? Will Lieberman and the other lawmakers who have lashed out at President Barack Obama for lashing out at Israel's latest expansionism now add the chief of U.S. Central Command and hero of the surge to their list of irresponsibles?" (Slate)



"We here at PAPER are tickled pink to announce that our very own co-founder Kim Hastreiter will be receiving a Eugenia Sheppard Award at this year's CFDA Fashion Awards in June. The award recognizes fashion journalists 'whose exceptional creativity has shaped fashion visually.' Previous winners have included Robin Givhan, Bruce Weber, Cathy Horyn and Andre Leon Talley. Kim's reaction to the award might best be summed up by the OMG necklace she wore to the announcement of the awards. She says, 'I never expect to win anything so it's surprising but flattering that people would be interested in my sideways take on fashion.' Kim calls herself an enthusiast of creativity, design and rule-breaking. "I think there's amazing talent out there.' This recognition inspires Kim to continue showcasing the great talents of the fashion world in PAPER Magazine and papermag.com. Kim was "discovered' by photographer Bill Cunningham when she was an artist working at a clothing store to make extra money. Cunningham admired her style and suggested her for a job at the SoHo Weekly News. It was there that Kim met David Hershkovits with whom she would launch PAPER Magazine in 1984. PAPER's mission from the start was to shine a light on the under-appreciated talents of the downtown style and art scene." (Papermag)



"John Edwards and Rielle Hunter on line, appropriately enough, for Contemplating the Void at the Guggenheim at around 1pm today. They looked sporty and well-matched. Nobody seemed to be noticing them." (Gawker)



"Here’s a bulletin for you: Anytime a campaign releases a polling memo, it is making an argument, not merely offering survey data for your information. Polling memos aren’t written to make you smarter. This shouldn’t need to be said, of course, but when I see reporters swallowing spin as if it were information — as one Louisiana Gannett reporter did recently in writing about the state’s Senate race — I get very uncomfortable. A number of Democratic polling memos from reputable polling firms have been circulating over the past couple of weeks — two from Anzalone Liszt Research, about the Louisiana Senate race and about Rep. Bobby Bright ’s (D-Ala.) re-election prospects, and one from Harstad Strategic Research about the Colorado Senate race — and readers should understand what’s going on with them. I am not, I must emphasize, challenging the data. These are credible polling firms, and almost every pollster I know has released these kinds of memos in the past. I am only using Anzalone Liszt and Harstad as examples. The purpose of the Louisiana poll memo is to alter the developing narrative that the state’s Senate race is essentially over and that Sen. David Vitter (R) won’t be seriously threatened by Rep. Charlie Melancon (D). The Alabama memo seeks to create a sense of inevitability about Bright’s re-election prospects and undercut GOP challenger Martha Roby’s credibility (and fundraising and buzz). The Colorado memo seeks to rebut polling that shows appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D) trailing in his race and to help him build momentum for his primary and the fall election." (Stuart Rothenberg/ CQPolitics)



"LA Fashion Week kicked off yesterday with a celebration of Gen Art alumni at LA's Roosevelt Hotel to showcase their signature looks. Former Ford model (and current Kanye girlfriend) Amber Rose hosted the event." (Guestofaguest)



"Of the many levers Obama administration officials have installed on the mighty console that is AfPak strategy, the one to which the least attention has been paid is almost certainly the civilian assistance program in Pakistan. If journalists are embedding with USAID operatives in the vast, Taliban-plagued province of Baluchistan, not many of us have heard about it. And yet senior U.S. officials, most prominently Vice President Joe Biden, regularly note that Pakistan, with its 180 million people and nuclear stockpile, matters to the United States far more than Afghanistan. Thanks in no small part to Biden, who pushed legislation to massively increase civilian aid, Congress last fall passed the so-called Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill authorizing the expenditure of $7.5 billion in Pakistan over the next five years. Nowhere else does so much hang on the success or failure of development assistance. And in few other places has the United States spent so much money so thoughtlessly in the past. In The Idea of Pakistan, historian Stephen P. Cohen concludes that decades of U.S. aid strengthened the hand of Pakistan's Army without making it pro-American and had economic consequences no less ambiguous, bolstering elites and self-appointed middlemen. And just as White Houses in the past had given Pakistan's rulers lavish rewards for support in the Cold War, so George W. Bush's administration gave the country's military $10 billion in barely supervised funds in exchange for pledges of support in the war on terror -- pledges that were honored more in the breach than in observance. Bribery is one rationale for foreign aid -- Hans Morgenthau, that pitiless realist, argued that it was the only sound rationale -- but not when the party in question refuses to stay bribed. Bribery, in any case, is no longer enough. The AfPak strategy constitutes a recognition that U.S. national security now depends upon producing internal change in states -- the kind of change development assistance (as opposed to, say, regime change) is designed to bring about." (ForeignPolicy)

"F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote 'that there are no second acts in American lives.' In his particular case poor Scott was right. He died broke and forgotten in his early forties, but at least he expired in his lover’s arms, the beautiful Miss Graham, who went on to become a powerful gossip columnist in Hollywood’s hay day. I thought of second acts the other day when reading an interview of Kimberly Quinn, the Spectator’s ex-publisher who scandalized London a few years ago when it was revealed that alongside selling ads for the most elegant and best British weekly, she was also offering rest and relaxation to the Home Secretary of the time, the third most senior post in the cabinet, the blind minister David Blunkett. As everyone knows by now, Mrs. Quinn was and remains married to the British Vogue editor, who—as the sleaze oozed out—stood by his woman like no self-respecting macho man would." (Takimag)

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