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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Naomi Campbell is refusing to testify at the war crimes trial of former Liberian strongman Charles Taylor about a huge, uncut 'blood diamond' he allegedly gave her in 1997 in South Africa, ABC News will report tonight on 'Nightline.' The excitable supermodel and the genocidal warlord were overnight guests of Nelson Mandela, correspondent Brian Ross reports, as was Mia Farrow, who has campaigned to bring attention to Taylor's diamond-fueled campaign of terror over the Liberian border in Sierra Leone. Farrow tells Ross she learned of the diamond at breakfast: 'Naomi Campbell came down . . . she said during the night some men had knocked on her door and she, half-asleep, had opened the door and it was representatives of President Charles Taylor and that they had given her a huge diamond. And we were like, 'Oh, my gosh.' Ross narrates: 'Prosecutors say Taylor was in South Africa . . . to buy weapons for the Sierra Leone rebels with blood diamonds and that Mia Farrow's information about Campbell helps tie him to the purchase. But Campbell won't cooperate. At a recent Fashion Week appearance to raise money for Haiti, she's shown saying, "I didn't receive a diamond and I'm not going to speak about that.' She then ends the interview by slamming the camera to the floor. Farrow says, 'You don't forget when a girlfriend tells you she was given a huge diamond in the middle of the night . . . There's no doubt in my mind. All I thought was, 'Gosh, what an amazing life Naomi Campbell has. Probably lots of men are always giving her diamonds.' Some 50 victims of the violence in Sierra Leone plan to testify against Taylor in the Hague ..." (PageSix)



"The 45th annual National Magazine Awards – a.k.a the Ellies, the consumer magazine industry’s answer to the Oscars – will be announced on Thursday night at a gala ceremony at Lincoln Center in New York. By about 10:00 p.m., 23 of those freaky industrial-looking elephant trophies will have been doled out inside Alice Tully Hall. The New Yorker and New York magazine – as they seem to every year – lead the field with 10 nominations apiece. And they’ll no doubt win their share. But there are other intriguing sidelines and subplots to this year’s program .. a rough guide to some of the most intriguing 2010 Ellies races -- and few lingering questions .." (TheWrap)



"As the midterms approach and substantial GOP Senate gains seem inevitable, more attention will fall on Connecticut’s soon-to-be-senior senator, Joseph I. Lieberman. That’s because Lieberman, one of two Independents in the Senate, could become a major target of Republicans if they net nine seats in November. If that were to happen — and it’s still a long shot — Lieberman would become either the Democrats’ 50th vote or the Republicans’ 51st for organizing the Senate. Either way, he could decide which party would control the Senate for the last two years of President Barack Obama’s term. Getting to 'plus nine' for Republicans doesn’t look as impossible as it once did. Assuming that the GOP holds all of its own seats, the party would need to win four Democratic open seats (Delaware, North Dakota, Illinois and Indiana) and knock off four Democratic incumbents (Arkansas, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Colorado). The crucial ninth seat would then come from one of four states: California, Connecticut, Washington or Wisconsin, where Democrats either have potentially vulnerable nominees or Republicans have surprisingly interesting candidates of their own. Lieberman certainly would relish the attention of being the 'decider,' and his decision surely would take into consideration whether he plans to seek re-election in 2012, when he will be 70." (CQPolitics)



"A persistent conservative critique of U.S. foreign policy at the moment is that the Obama administration treats U.S. allies more harshly than U.S. adversaries. Obama is allegedly treating Israel worse than Iran, India worse than China, Eastern Europe worse than Russia, etc. Much of this is exaggerated -- the U.S. is not treating Iran better than Israel by any stretch of the imagination. Some of this is an example of Obama's realpolitik-style strategy kicking in more than anything else. Still, the fact that I was able to come up with three examples pretty quickly suggests that maybe conservatives are onto something. What's interesting, however, is that no one mentions Japan in this litany." (Daniel W. Drezner/ForeignPolicy)



"(NYC is) a place where one can rub shoulders with crooks in fine suits—none of those gaudy, double breasted heavy striped ones favored by gangsters of old—as I did last week in the Boom Boom room after dining at the Waverly Inn. The Boom Boom was full of Goldman Sachs people, fresh from being indicted for something everyone but the government has known since a very long time: That Goldman Sachs is to fraud what Paris Hilton is to vulgarity. One thing is for sure. Heads must roll but they won’t. The small fry will get the axe, as is always the case." (Taki Theodoracopulos/Takimag)



"'Who the hell does he think he is? A Black Panther?' An enraged young woman stormed out of The Fillmore at Irving Plaza last night, up in arms over the time it was taking for Snoop Dogg to take the stage. 'He can keep his $60!' It was 12:20 a.m. when said infuriated former fan exited in a frustrated huff, reminding those standing outside that doors were at 9 p.m. Thankfully, I arrived to the show late, but had I been suffering through whatever tired opener was hired, I too would have been pretty pissed. But good things come to those who wait and soon after the woman stormed out, Snoop miraculously appeared on stage amidst marijuana mayhem. Happy four-twenty! Four-twenty-one, rather ... At nearly 2 a.m. Snoop imparted a few words of wisdom (which obviously included smoking weed every day) and bounced. This dude doesn't do encores." (Papermag)



"Russia will give preferential treatment to its partners, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said April 21. In an example of the benefits of partnership with Moscow, Russia cut the price it charges Ukraine for natural gas by nearly 30 percent. In doing so, Moscow is signaling its displeasure to Belarus. It is also signaling the Europeans that cooperation has its benefits — something that could have serious repercussions in an already-fraying Europe. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said April 21 that Russia will give 'preferential treatment' to countries that are partners of Russia in practice, not just in rhetoric. Medvedev cited Ukraine, which just reached a natural gas agreement with Russia, as an example of a country that deserves such treatment. Medvedev said the agreements reached by Moscow and Kiev are 'a genuine step' in the Russo-Ukrainian partnership. 'If we are talking about other countries,' he added, “we need to look and see to what extent their actions are in proportion with the results which are obtained' ... When Medvedev spoke of 'other countries,' he likely had Belarus in mind. On April 20, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed frustration with Russia in his State of the Nation speech, saying that Russia was 'strangling' Belarus economically, to the point of threatening the smaller country’s survival. While Belarus and Russia are actually quite close politically, Lukashenko has been known for his rhetorical flares against Russia and flirtations with the European Union. Moscow’s response is not meant solely for Belarus, however; Russia already enjoys an economic stranglehold on Belarus via the three-party customs union, which also includes the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan. The European Union, which gets about a quarter of its energy supplies from Russia, is the other intended recipient of this message." (STRATFOR)



"Fergie—as she called herself during tea—truly considers this film, about the early life of Queen Victoria, one of her greatest achievements. The movie also explores Victoria’s epic love story with handsome Prince Albert, who won her heart and who stood by her side as she went on to become England’s longest-reigning monarch. For Fergie, it truly was a labor of love. It allowed her to befriend the legendary director Martin Scorsese, also a producer of the film. With a script by Academy Award winner Julian Fellowes in place, a talented director in Jean-Marc VallĂ©e on board, and a first-rate cast assembled, the Duchess eventually took a backseat. She said, 'I certainly helped as much as I could with castles, palaces—that was my input.' (That, and her insistence that her daughter Beatrice, the fifth great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, have a cameo in the film’s opening scene.) The Duchess stressed accuracy. 'I had to honor my core values,' she said, 'and I had to honor my mother-in-law that it be so.' Since her former mother-in-law is the most famous queen in the world, Queen Elizabeth II, who, in 2015, will surpass Queen Victoria as the longest-serving British monarch, G.W. saw the perfect opportunity to begin a brief inquisition .." (George Wayne/VanityFair)



"Yesterday was the New York Public Library’s annual Spring Luncheon, held in the Celeste Bartos Forum. The theme for this particular luncheon is always literary, obviously, and yesterday’s program featured William Shawcross, the author of the biography of The Queen Mother, The Official Biography (Knopf), interviewed by Amanda Foreman, author of Georgianna, Duchess of Devonshire ... At my table the conversation on one side was about books and on the other about politics and Wall Street – because of the testimony in Washington and the latest news on Goldman Sachs and John Paulson, etc. What is interesting to me was that such conversation is coming to the fore. The financials, the politicians, and Wall Street have been on the minds of many, including many prominent and socially active New Yorkers for more than a year, for obvious reasons, but rarely talked about at luncheon or dinner tables such as this. That is changing. The opinions seem to run the gamut of political points of view mainly about Mr. Obama’s choices and leadership which get low marks and not-so-low marks depending on the way people voted. I tend to keep my political/partisan opinions to myself for the most part because I am not one of those Left/Right-Repub/Democrat believers. The terms 'liberal' and 'conservative' have been turned inside out, dumbed down and blasphemed into excuses for the know-nothings among us, and there are a lot of those. I still believe in the essence of the term used succinctly by our Founders: We, the People." (NYSocialDiary)



"Remember this couple? They surprised family and friends by having an impromptu wedding on Diane von Furstenberg's Harbour Island estate over Easter, giving friends only 48 hours notice to hop on a plane and attend. Well, the (gorgeous, stunning) wedding pictures have been published on Facebook, and we can totally understand why they'd skip the stuffy NYC affair and tie the knot in the Bahamas." (Guestofaguest)



"This is the California Dream. And we're all dreamers. Glenn Frey's a dreamer. Don Henley and Joe Walsh too. From Michigan, Texas and New Jersey respectively. They all came to L.A. To express themselves, to make it. And making it used to be so different. The best and the brightest went into music. A world where victory meant you were beholden to no one, where you got all the pussy you could handle and had more than enough money to pay for drugs and the whims of your imagination. They call those people bankers today. Wall Streeters have the money. Sure, an athlete can make twenty mil a year for a while, but then he flames out. A musician? He's making bupkes in comparison. And then there's Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, the Google twins. They're the rock stars of today. On sheer wit not only are their enterprises raining coin, they're in each and every one of our homes, they permeate our lifestyle." (LefsetzLetter)



"Yesterday, Sarah Silverman participated in a chat in Deadspin’s comments section. The chat was the culmination of 'Deadspin Comedy Week,' a series of pieces designed to generate buzz for Silverman’s new book, 'The Bedwetter.' Although Deadspin is a sports blog, they appeared to be fully behind Silverman’s new book. There were excerpts, guest posts by other comedians, and banner ads prominently displaying her visage. But the highlight of the campaign was going to be a chat at the end of the week. Silverman, the notoriously abrasive comedian, was going to go head to head with Deadspin’s commenters, notoriously abrasive in their own right. Much like Silverman’s show, the chat had the potential to be racist, homophobic, and very entertaining. It didn’t turn out that way ...Silverman’s perceived disinterest in the chat angered Daulerio. According to him, the 'Comedy Week' had been discussed for months. Silverman’s editor David Hirshey also happened to be a Deadspin contributor, and he facilitated the partnership (Daulerio was quick to point out that Hirshey wasn’t part of the contingent responsible for prepping Sarah on the ways of Gawker commenting). The payoff was supposed to be the chat between Silverman and Deadspin’s commenters. Silverman would receive some buzz for her book, and Deadspin would have something entertaining to throw on its site. Only the first part happened." (Mediaite)

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