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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson and Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. met last week for the first time. They were at the Manhattan apartment of Sir Martin Sorrell, head of the big WPP advertising firm, and they were there for a dinner on the night of April 6. Mr. Sulzberger approached Mr. Thomson and introduced himself. The two spoke for a few minutes. They laughed a couple of times, chatted and 'then sat down, as all the guests were seated for a small dinner to honor courageous journalists from two continents,' Mr. Thomson told The Observer. And that’s all about that night that they seem to agree on. An old-fashioned, honest-to-God press war is unfolding in our town, revitalizing the local media scene after months of torpor. In a few weeks, on April 26, The Journal will begin its clearest attack on The Times ever, right in its own backyard. The conversation between Mr. Thomson and Mr. Sulzberger was bound to be fraught. Only weeks earlier, Mr. Thomson sniped to New York magazine that The Times was vulnerable in part because Mr. Sulzberger was in charge." (Observer)



"Our reach and our need for constant security – the need to constantly test the loyalty of foreign governments and of our own citizens – in order to ensure that our nuclear monopoly, then our superiority, was protected with a massive, massive, secrecy program: this is different from the accretion of executive power that has occurred in the past. We have experienced all kinds of executive incursions before, but never on this scale -- and never with the driving motive of fear. When we taught children to duck and cover, we developed an atmosphere of fear and the militarism of the presidency went forth at a tremendous rate. After previous wars, we never considered the President a Commander-in-Chief. The Constitution says the President is commander in chief of the military. At the time of the Constitution, standing armies were not popular during peacetime. But now we are told that he is our commander in chief, commander in chief of the nation. We’re constantly told we’re electing a commander-in-chief and we have to obey our commander-in-chief. When I wrote an Op-Ed in The New York Times saying, 'I’m a civilian, he’s not my commander in chief,' I got the most extraordinarily angry letters, saying 'If he’s not your commander in chief, you’re not an American, get out of this country.'" (Garry Wills/BrennanCenterblog)



"Selita Ebanks has insisted that she will not appear on another reality show following her stint on The Celebrity Apprentice. The Victoria's Secret model was the fifth star to be fired from the NBC programme on Sunday night, after ending up in the boardroom alongside teammates Holly Robinson Peete and Maria Kanellis. Speaking to reporters after her exit, she said: 'I've gotten all the reality I need out of my system' ... Ebanks had led Team Tenacity to victory as project manager for the previous week's challenge, and admitted that it 'felt good' to hand a check for $20,000 to her charity Shine on Sierra Leone." (DigitalSpy)



"Conservative scold Laura Ingraham attended a party at George Will's house last night, and Joe Biden was there. Instead of stabbing him with an oyster fork, she took a photo and posted it to Facebook. Her fans are disappointed. How could a true patriot like Ingraham, who regularly subs for Bill O'Reilly on Fox News when he's busy rubbing deep-fried balls of mashed chickpeas all over terrified interns in the shower, stand there and smile next to a terrorist like Biden? It's almost as though her angry, thuggish rhetoric about the corrupt and malevolent hacks in the White House who are destroying America because they hate white people is part of some carefully constructed narrative designed to excite and engage viewers, who watch advertisements between segments! And then she hangs out with these people when the cameras aren't on. Shameful. Anyway, some of Ingraham's Facebook friends were upset ..." (Gawker)



"There are so many side meetings at the Nuclear Security Summit today, it's hard to keep track. Each country is managing a more than full schedule of appointments and making changes to those schedules on a constant basis. Sometimes meetings run over time and someone gets insulted. Such was the case today with the scheduled meeting between South African President Jacob Zuma and UAE Shekh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Apparently, Abdullah's meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy ran long, leaving Zuma and his considerable entourage waiting in the hallway outside the meeting rooms in the first floor of the convention center. Most of the credentialed media sits in a gigantic media hub far away from the meeting rooms where the real action takes place. But your humble Cable guy is parked right outside the doors of the meeting rooms (to the chagrin of many delegations) and witnessed the scuffle between Zuma's people and the UAE information minister. 'You can't just keep him standing here in the corridor,' Zuma's aide told the UAE representative, 'It's not done.' The UAE guy asked Zuma to wait just one more minute. But when the Signapore delegation arrived for its meeting with Abdullah, which was scheduled after Zuma's, the South Africa delegation turned around and walked away, in quite a huff." (ForeignPolicy)



"There were plenty of scantily clad models at last night's Tribeca Ball, but not necessarily of the fashion variety. While most of the students at the New York Academy of Art's annual fundraiser merely showed their work, others were busy making it—hence the models—and for extra fun, guests were invited to insert themselves into a tableau vivant of Manet's Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe for a photo op. Helena Christensen, no stranger to baring flesh, took a moment on her way in to recall the time she sat for Francesco Clemente. 'He did a watercolor portrait of my face, and I looked eerily like my mom.' Posing for Irving Penn, she added, was like having an old-fashioned portrait done. 'He would get you in a position that you kept for so long that your muscles ended up trembling—and that's when he shot it, when you were literally about to collapse,' Christensen said. Then she was off, joining the likes of Parker Posey, the Richards sisters, and Beatrix Ost (the German artist who inspired the Olsen twins' latest collection) for a haphazard tour of the school's five floors of artist studios." (Style)



"I watched Steve Jobs' iPhone 4.0 presentation. He's at risk of becoming a caricature of himself. Every feature is described with superlatives, as if a plumber lifted the back of the commode, delineated the inner-workings and pronounced them not only revolutionary, but emotionally satisfying, decreeing that users would truly love the operation of the toilet. Except for a few jokes when he put up fake ads to demonstrate iAd, Jobs was so serious as to establish a divide between himself and his audience. And this is death in the Internet age, if you're not willing to come down off your pedestal and ingratiate yourself with the hoi polloi, you're at risk of ridicule. But that does not mean the content of Steve's presentation was worthless. Watch how they integrate multitasking into the iPhone. It truly transcends any previous implementation. Makes so much sense, is so simple, that only Apple could come up with it." (LefsetzLetter)



"I was born in Blue Island, Illinois, but I moved to Vegas with my mother when I was six months old. My buddies and I grew up in the casinos. We worked in casinos. We were the 'Entourage' kids growing up -- pretty much doing our thing in Vegas. I got my writing start by writing people’s essays for money in college and high school. I would charge $300 to write 10 pages in one night, and I was booked solid for years. There’s a buddy of mine who now works with me on 'CSI' -- Dustin Lee Abraham. We were both competing in high school forensics -- speech, not forensics medicine -- and I used to write his monologues. And he won a lot of tournaments. He beat me to Hollywood and began to take meetings and perform in front of people with these monologues I’d written for him in college. Meanwhile, I was in a terrible job as a tram host at the Mirage. I rode the tram back and forth from the Mirage to Treasure Island for $8 an hour on the graveyard shift. I didn’t like my boss; my boss didn’t like me. Then one day an agent at William Morris -- her name was Jenny Delaney -- called me up at work and said, I’m Dustin’s agent; I’ve heard some of the monologues you’ve written -- have you ever had any thoughts about writing a screenplay?" (TheWrap)



"Last Saturday we headed to dinner at Carol and Earle Mack’s dazzling waterfront house. Earle was our former Ambassador to Finland, before that Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the New York State Council on the Arts, and now serves as Chairman Emeritus ... Next night we had a tiny cozy dinner for Sunny and Lily Marlborough, aka Duke and Duchess. They were just back from the Dominican Republic Fanjul Sugar golf tournament that Sunny won along with Michel de Bourbon. Another sleepy quiet weekend, what can I say?" (Hillary Geary Ross/PalmBeachSocialDiary)



"Last year, China became a net importer of coal on an annual basis for the first time since reliable records have existed. Including both thermal coal, used to fire power plants, and coking coal, used for steelmaking, Beijing bought 104m tonnes of the commodity, compared with net exports of as much as 80m tonnes in 2003. The shift is helping to revive the coal industry. After decades of being marginalised in the developed world, coal is being buoyed by the requirements of China and India on top of already huge imports elsewhere in Asia, including Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. The speed of the upturn in demand has surprised many and the industry is not best placed to cope. Bottlenecks in exporting countries will hamper its ability to deliver. But while those may be resolved over time, the fundamental change wrought by China and others will be with us for longer. The mining industry has being awaiting this new 'China moment' to profit from a rise in prices. In interviews, mining executives, consultants, analysts and traders say China will need to buy significant amounts of coking coal from overseas from now on and probably also thermal coal. Marius Kloppers, chief executive at BHP Billiton, the world’s largest miner, says he recalls how the company almost a decade ago sent executives to Chinese coal mines to gauge when demand there was likely to overwhelm indigenous supplies. 'We have been waiting for this moment to happen,' he says. 'While we are not sure that 2010 will be an exact repeat of 2009, we do expect the trend towards imports in this product to continue.' The effects, on the industry but also on moves to curb carbon emissions, will be widespread.
"(FT)



"Free news is now a political issue. Gordon Brown, the British prime minister who, in an uphill fight to stay in 10 Downing Street, is searching for any issue that might catch electoral fire, is opposing Rupert Murdoch’s plan to put up a paywall around the websites of his British newspapers. There are obvious political virtues in this position. The electorate surely prefers free to paid, and it surely prefers the Internet to newspapers. In many respects it’s a breakthrough position, one which no politician has yet quite exploited or understood. The Internet, and easy and free access to it, is probably as vital to people as health care and getting the trains to run on time. What’s more, Rupert Murdoch is an ideal bad guy. Curiously, no politician in the UK or US has ever been truly able to capitalize on how unsympathetic Murdoch is." (Michael Wolff/Newser)



"Former president Bill Clinton accepted a $1 million check to benefit Haitian earthquake victims Tuesday night at the Pierre Hotel from CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg. Tory Burch and Andrew Rosen, chief executive officer of Theory/Helmut Lang, helped hand over the donation, which stemmed from sales of Fashion For Haiti T-shirts. With the financial infusion from the CFDA, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund aims to build on its efforts to provide more solar-powered flashlights for practical and protective purposes to the many Haitians who are now homeless and living in camps. Undaunted by the fact that 85 percent of the country's population that did not have electricity before the Jan. 12 earthquake, Clinton said his aim is to make Haiti the first wireless country. Having had his own boots on the ground multiple times in the past few months, Clinton described sleeping in a tent one night three weeks ago with members of the U.S. Army." (WWD)

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