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Friday, April 02, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Tiger Woods has got a million problems -- and one of them is that he's out $10 million. That's reportedly the amount he paid mistress No. 1, Rachel Uchitel, to keep quiet right as the scandal broke. Uchitel was outed by the National Enquirer as having an affair with Woods in November. A week later, Woods crashed his car into a fire hydrant in his neighborhood, allegedly after his wife, Elin, confronted him about the story and the affair after finding text messages from Uchitel on his phone. In the day after the stories of Tiger's cheating came out, Uchitel hired power attorney Gloria Allred and threatened to hold a press conference, which was cancelled at the last minute. Reports came out that Tiger had paid her off -- anywhere from $2 million to $5 million, to keep quiet. Now, TMZ.com reports that figure was much higher -- $10 million." (NYPost)



"The US test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic Trident missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads from Saudi territory during a joint military exercise last week, a Western military official reported late Wednesday, March 31. A US defense spokesman denied the Trident's launch, Wednesday, April 1, but Saudi security sources stand by the report. debkafile's military sources report this was the first time in Middle East military history that a nuclear-capable missile was fired from the oil kingdom toward the Persian Gulf and Iranian shores. It came in response to Saudi and Gulf Arab concerns over America's failure to halt Iran's evolving nuclear weapon program ... The official did not reveal the location of the test, the type of submarine used, whether it was successful - or even the scale of US and Saudi strength taking part in the joint exercise. Our sources report they must have been American since Saudi Arabia does not have the units or radar systems for operating multiple-headed ballistic missiles. Regardless of the location - Saudi waters off the Red Sea or its Persian Gulf bases - the drill would have brought the Trident close to the Iranian coastline, either on the Persian Gulf or Arabian Sea. This demonstration by the Obama administration aimed at showing Saudi and Gulf Arab rulers they are now protected by an American nuclear umbrella against an Iranian nuclear attack." (DEBKAfile)



"In the U.S., 11,750 allegations of child sex abuse have so far featured in actions settled by archdioceses (in Los Angeles for $660 million and in Boston for $100 million), but some dioceses have gone into bankruptcy and some claimants want Vatican accountability—two reasons to sue the pope in person. But in 2005, a test case in Texas failed because the Vatican sought and obtained the intercession of President George W. Bush, who agreed to claim sovereign (i.e., head of state) immunity on the pope’s behalf. Bush lawyer John B. Bellinger III certified that Pope Benedict XVI was immune from suit 'as the head of a foreign state.' The third Mr. Bellinger is notorious for his defense of Guantanamo and Bush administration torture policies, and his opinion on papal immunity is even more questionable. It hinges on the assumption that the Vatican or its metaphysical emanation, the Holy See, is a state. But the Papal States were extinguished by invasion in 1870 and the Vatican was created by fascist Italy in 1929 when Benito Mussolini endowed this tiny enclave—0.17 of a square mile containing 900 Catholic bureaucrats—with 'sovereignty in the international field... in conformity with its traditions and the exigencies of its mission in the world.' The notion that statehood can be created by another country’s unilateral declaration is risible. If it weren’t, Iran could make Qom a state overnight and the U.K. could launch the city of Canterbury on to the international stage by the same process. But it did not take long for Catholic countries to support the pretentions of the Holy See, sending ambassadors and receiving Papal Nuncios in return. Even the U.K. maintains an apostolic mission that, until 2005, was always filled by British Catholics." (TheDailyBeast)



"And in case you didn't know, the entertainment business is full of shit. Endless meetings with castles built in the air which collapse as soon as you walk out the door. Although it takes you a few years to realize this. And somehow I found myself in Lionel Conway's office on Sunset Boulevard back in the mid-eighties. Oh, he'll never remember. But back then anybody in the film business could get a meeting with anybody in the music business. The thought of getting your track in a film ... And Lionel's talking to me and my sidekick like we're legit, like we're really gonna pay to put any of his songs in a movie, and then...he insists on playing us something. This is a fate worse than death. Sitting there silently as a publisher, an act, any purveyor plays you music. They want you to jump up and down, do cartwheels, tell them the track is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and you just want to leave. The funny thing is, most people say the music IS the greatest thing since sliced bread, the two parties bullshitting each other over the desk. That's STILL the entertainment business." (LefsetzLetter)



"The return of Nigeria's long-absent President Umaru Yar'Adua to the capital city of Abuja in late February has thrown the West African country into a dangerous existential crisis. The president is still apparently incapacitated, but his cadres are certainly not -- and they are doing all they can to remain in power. Yar'Adua's henchmen now threaten not only the constitutional succession process, which had placed provisional powers in the hands of Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, but also Nigeria's very stability. Ethnic violence in the city of Jos broke out in early March amid the current governance vacuum, leaving hundreds dead; worse could follow if the political stalemate isn't resolved soon. The stakes for the country's 150 million people couldn't be higher. Yar'Adua's inner circle has shown itself quite adept at spreading falsehoods -- misinforming and misleading Nigerians into mass violence if necessary -- to preserve its hold on power. Since the crisis began, the presidency has been framed as if it were a rotating office, traded every eight years between the supposedly Christian South and Muslim North. Yar'Adua's cabal has used this idea to whip up primordial sentiment, persuading the country and the international community of an invented North-South chasm and concealing a selfish agenda under the aegis of preventing a Muslim vs. Christian religious divide. It is a clever ruse to prevent Jonathan (who is from the South) from succeeding Yar'Adua (who hails from the North)." (ForeignPolicy)



"Passover may mean this week’s party schedule has slowed significantly, but New Yorkers still had a reason to celebrate last night—namely, New York. New York magazine’s launch of the new book My First New York: Early Adventures in the Big City brought out quintessential Gotham types Parker Posey, Dan Rather, and Chuck Close, along with slews of media folk and ubiquitous NYC party presence Patrick McMullan, who captured le tout on film with shouts of 'What’s your name, big boy?' and 'Stunning, stunning, stunning!' 'When I was on a soap opera, there was a homeless man in Chelsea who I would see like every night,' (Parker) Posey said of an early New York memory. 'And I don’t know how he did this, but he watched me on the soap—I always wondered how he saw me at 2:00 on CBS. He called me Soap Opera. If you keep the ball in the air, you’re making stories with everyone you meet. People make characters of themselves.' The book of the hour, which includes more memories by the likes of Diane von Furstenberg, Liza Minelli, Mary Boone, Yogi Berra, Graydon Carter, Naomi Campbell, Mike Myers, and more, was right at home at the Paramount Hotel’s Library Bar, where stacks of graffiti’ed books lined the shelf above the bar. New York EIC Adam Moss mingled with the crowds while attendees snacked on chicken and shrimp skewers—the usual song and dance .." (Fashionweekdaily)



(image via JH/NYSD)

"About six I went down to the Javits Center on 34th Street and 11th Avenue for cocktails at the East Side House Settlement’s 11th Annual Gala Preview of the 2010 New York International Auto Show. The Javits, if you’ve never been, is massive and a perfect venue for this show which was mobbed even in Preview. Someone told me this was the only charity benefit in New York where the husbands are dragging their wives along rather than vice versa. I’m not so sure the wives were under duress. Most of the women I saw were ogling the fabulous cars as intensely as the men. Whatever, there were more than a thousand guests at last night’s preview. The evening, which included a Benefactor dinner beginning about 8:30, was chaired by Philip L. Yang and Joan P. Young. Media sponsor of the gala was New York Magazine. Benefit committee was chaired by Kipton Cronkite, Paige Ethington Hardy and Fe Fendi. They raised more than $500,000. Proceeds go to support college scholarships and technology education for the residents of Mott Haven in the South Bronx." (NYSocvialDiary)



"NBC's 'Meet the Press' was the most watched public affairs show this past Sunday morning as well as for the first quarter of 2010. 'MTP' marked hit 50 consecutive quarters at #1 in Total Viewers, something that hasn't happened since at least 1980. In Q1, NBC averaged 3.53 million Total Viewers, CBS' 'Face the Nation' averaged 2.98 million, ABC's 'This Week,' which was without a permanent anchor for the quarter, averaged 2.57 million, and 'FOX News Sunday' averaged 1.25 million. This week, 'MTP' was the only program to see an increase in Total Viewers week-to-week. CBS and NBC were both up in the demo. 'Fox News Sunday' drew an additional 2.86 million viewers (726K demo) via cable replays. Cable and network rebroadcasts of 'MTP' drew an additional 1.08 million viewers." (TVNewser)



"As rain beat down on the tarpaulin homes of thousands of Haitians on Wednesday, delegates to a Manhattan donor conference pledged US$9.9 billion to rebuild homes, schools and official buildings in the nation. The total sum comprises some $5.3bn over the next 18 months, topping the $3.8bn Haitian officials requested from the international community to repair the seismic devastation wrought on their Caribbean nation on January 12. The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, lauded the pledge as 'international solidarity in action' and called for 'wholesale national renewal' in Haiti while stressing the need for its notoriously corrupt government to start delivering to a long-suffering population. Commentators dubbed the philanthropic parley the 'Bill and Hillary conference', with the podium dominated by the A-list couple of politics: the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and her husband, the UN special envoy to Haiti and former president, Bill Clinton." (TheNational)

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