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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Israel does and should have a strong interest to be represented at the nuclear summit at the highest level. First, the subject of nuclear terrorism is of special interest, indeed of utmost concern, to Israel. Of all acts of terrorism, nuclear terrorism is the most existential threat to Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent a great deal of his writing career on the cause of combating terrorism, so the subject is close to his own heart. Second, by merely participating in the summit Israel is granted with certain legitimacy or credit for its responsible nuclear conduct. Given Israel's non-NPT status, this is a unique opportunity for Israel to be recognized and identified among the world's 'good guys' in nuclear affairs--a significant and prudent player in this delicate arena. Furthermore, when Israel was invited to the nuclear summit, its American organizers assured their Israeli colleagues that the United States would not allow other invitees to use the forum as a 'nuclear ambush' against Israel due to its non-NPT status and its opacity policy. Although the organizers have no control over what other states will say, they have control over the wording of the final statement. That statement was cautiously drafted in consultation with Israeli officials to prevent any embarrassment on Israel's part. Indeed, for months there was a commitment that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would head the Israeli delegation to the summit. His last minute stunning decision not to attend the summit, apparently after being told that a number of Arab leaders might raise the issue of Israel's nuclear policy opacity and NPT non-status--a sort of Arab ritual at international forums--is unfortunate, and indeed regrettable." (ForeignPolicy)



"Howard (Stern) said the other day he was going through his answering machine and heard a message from Andy Dick. Howard said Andy has had his troubles with drugs and all of that. Howard said he hasn't had Andy on the show in a while and he left him a message saying he wanted to be invited on the show. Howard said he found that kind of strange. He said he wanted to call him back and tell him to come in anytime. He said they don't solicit people to come on the show. Howard said Gary gave him a piece of tape where a woman called 9-1-1 and said that some lunatic had entered her house. It turns out it was Andy Dick. He said that Andy was wandering around a neighborhood and thought it was his son's home or something. Howard played the audio of the 9-1-1 call and this woman is complaining that there's an intruder in her house. She said he just walked in and he wasn't trying to hurt them or anything. The husband brought him outside and it appeared he was on something. The woman said she could hear the man shouting and he had just walked right into her house. She said the guy was wasted and he was completely loony. The woman said that the man thought his son lived there. She said the man was white and looked like he was a rich white man. He had glasses on and was wearing slacks. Then she says that the man was walking to another house. Howard said he felt bad because no one recognized Andy." (Marksfriggin)



"That chart is, for news organizations seeking to tame their commenters, perhaps the best evidence yet that adding a few obstacles for those seeking the leave their mark on a web page can actually lead to more comments. And better ones, too. That chart tracks the number of comments left by month on the Gawker Media blog empire, Nick Denton’s collection of themed sites (Gawker, Gizmodo, Deadspin, et al.). It covers September 2005 to the present. See that big dip on the right? That’s when Gawker implemented a new, stricter commenting system, in which trusted commenters get preferred access to readers and the unknown hoi polloi have to audition for an audience. (We wrote about it at the time; in an internal memo, Denton wrote about 'taking back the site from some commenters who thought they were in charge' and said 'we’ll be able to encourage the kind of discussion that *we* want — not one that is dominated merely by the most prolific of our commenters. It’s our party; we get to decide who comes.'" (NeimanLab via Paidcontent)



"So Hollywood and the press haven’t lost their love affair with the Obama administration, at least judging by the guest list for the upcoming White House Correspondents Association dinner on May 1. It’s all about Hollywood couples at this year’s event, where Glamour’s Cindi Leive will break bread with Jessica Alba and husband Cash Warren, who will be seated next to Jason Wu, no stranger to the White House, thanks to First Lady Michelle Obama. Time magazine has invited Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw and Michelle Pfeiffer and David E. Kelley, and Vanity Fair’s table will have Tom and Kathy Freston, John and Elaine Mellencamp, film producer Jerry Weintraub ... The magazine also scored Google chief executive officer Eric Schmidt. And considering his new movie 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' is on its way to theaters, it makes sense Michael Douglas would be seated at Fortune’s table, with banking analyst Meredith Whitney, who presumably won’t be asking Douglas to repeat 'Greed is good' over and over. The guest list isn’t totally predictable, though: GQ’s Washington correspondent Ana Maria Cox is bringing Rhett Miller, lead singer of the Old 97s." (WWD)



"The 15-nation (United Nations Security Council) has barred a note-taker from the U.N. secretary-general's press office from attending the council's consultations, and asked the U.N. reduce the number of experts it sends to Security Council meetings. At the same time, U.N. diplomats not serving in the council have been prevented from entering the council's inner sanctums to await the council's decisions. The changes underway come as the United States and other big powers have expressed growing disquiet that the details of the council's closed-door sessions are too-frequently leaked to reporters. Taken together, their actions could result in the strongest setback to transparency in the council's actions in years, according to some U.N. officials and council diplomats. The steps have been implemented as the council moves from its landmark conference room with its iconic horseshoe table to a temporary suite of rooms in the U.N. basement. The move has also restricted the press's access to a cordoned section -- dubbed the 'play pen' by one U.N. official -- with no chance to buttonhole U.N. diplomats exiting the chambers. The arrangement was to remain in place until the renovation of the U.N.'s glass-and-marble headquarters is completed in three years. The whole process has been shrouded in secrecy, and diplomats have provided varying accounts of who's ultimately responsible for specific changes. But some of the 10 non-permanent members of the council said say they were unaware of some of the most restrictive measures -- for instance, who made the decision to bar diplomats from using the Security Council lounge, a privilege that non-members held in the previous council suite. But they suspect the council's five permanent members, the United States, Russia, Britain, China, and France, are behind it." (ForeignPolicy)



"On teaching a leadership class with Stedman Graham at Northwestern University in 1999: 'I was Stedman's guest the evening (Henry) Kissinger spoke to their class,' recalled Fran Johns, a Chicago businesswoman. 'Kissinger had come as a favor for Oprah" (Politico)



(image via NYSD)

"This is Katherine Kingsley at lunch this past Friday. Some readers may remember that I covered a book party last week for Katherine (nom de plume 'Kate Kingsley' since there is already a published author by first name), at the Soho House Library ... Since she’s lived in New York among the so-called elite, I asked her what it was like transferring from Chapin to an English school at that young age. She hated it. The English boarding school had different learning priorities. It was all girls, very sheltered and navigating exclusively in a sea of other pre-teenage girls. British women of the upperclass and their ilk have the reputation for being groomed to 'finding a man' and at all costs to their relationships with other women. Katherine says it starts in those early age boarding schools (where the girls and boys often go away at age seven). Then at the next level of schooling, everything changes, and immediately, and for the better. Much better. English girls at the outset of their teenage years move into the world of their parents and even their grandparents. The generations mix on a social level. Katherine said it was not unusual to go to a party where there might be three generations of guests. Therefore, these young English girls become more 'sophisticated' more quickly." (NYSocialDiary)



"Since I have no reason to believe that Benjamin Netanyahu is bluffing about his readiness to attack the nuclear facilities of Iran, I find his recent behavior incomprehensible. In the wake of an Israeli attack, terrible things will almost certainly happen. There will be another war with Hezbollah, whose missiles will this time reach Tel Aviv. The Iranians may themselves respond directly with force. The price of oil will explode, afflicting ordinary people everywhere with the consequences of Israel’s strike, and provoking a new revulsion against Israel, and also against the United States. And the only ally that Israel will have in that disordered and dangerous hour will be the United States. Otherwise it will be friendless. The American government will likely be infuriated by the attack, but there is a formidable tradition of American solidarity with Israel, all bickerings aside, that may mitigate its fury. Strategically speaking, therefore, Israel’s relationship with the United States should be of supreme importance to its government." (Leon Wieseltier/TNR)



"The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presented an evening with 'Saturday Night Live' last night at The Pierre. Stars of the hilarious comedy show–Andy Samberg, Kristen Wiig, and Fred Armisen attended the event ...and of course, the beloved moderator of the evening–Jimmy Fallon." (Guerstofaguest)

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