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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"United States will be trapped in Afghanistan for many costly years to come. It is a good bet that President Obama will have most of the 105,000 U.S. troops expected there by the end of summer, still in that sorry country by the next presidential election, and probably even five years from now. By that time, whoever is president will face such public demands for withdrawal that the fiasco will end, finally—for Americans at least. It’s not at all clear whether President Obama fathoms this nightmare or is cynically sidestepping the issue through November 2012. Sure, I want to be wrong, and I want our efforts to succeed. The Taliban and al Qaeda Muslim terrorists there are monsters, crazed and dangerous. But we face two problems that can’t be swept aside or minimized: The bad guys are far better motivated, and fight far better than the Afghans that Washington is trying to help. Our guys in Kabul—President Hamid Karzai and friends—are deeply corrupt, ineffective, and of at least two minds in both needing and hating America. However good U.S. and NATO troops become at fighting this insurgency, they won’t and can’t be good enough to overcome these two Mount Everests. This conclusion is painfully evident, but we are blocked from seeing it sharply for several reasons." (LesGelb/TheDailyBeast)



"Anna Scott Carter is a tiny woman married to a very large man. This is true in terms of physical proportions-Ms. Carter is petite, with thin, unpainted lips, an upturned little nose and small brown eyes-and social ones. While Graydon Carter's sails of white hair and the gold buttons on his bespoke suits lead his torso into every room, Ms. Carter's features are entirely unobtrusive; she tends to dress in creams and whites, with heels that are utilitarian, intended to raise her small frame rather than make noise or elicit compliments. And while her husband enjoys recognition for the steady cast of characters he directs through his magazine and Manhattan restaurants, Ms. Carter remains inconspicuous ... Ms. Carter quickly became the queen to Mr. Carter's kingdom, his partner socially and professionally-helping to oversee the Waverly Inn and later managing the Monkey Bar-and counteracting his occasional shortcomings. Friends say that where Mr. Carter can seem distracted, Ms. Carter is listening intently; where he may come off haughty, she is humble; and when he seems inaccessible, she is quick to make a connection. 'She is young and she's beautiful and she's English and she's poised. That's what she does for his image,' said one Upper East Side hostess. 'If one tends to be a bit intimidated by Graydon, she is right there with a smile on her face. They walk into a room side by side, and she never stands in front of him or behind him, which in a way is very telling of their relationship. She never gets into trouble.'" (Observer)



(image via mediabistro)

"Yesterday was the Wednesdays-it’s-Michael’s lunch. The likely suspects at Table 1: Gerry Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield, Andry Bergman and Michael Kramer. On the reservations list, around the room: Kris Fuchs with Joan Tisch, Gerry Byrne with David Melancon and Joseph Sutherland; Kathy Lacey, Tony Hoyt, Steven Stolman, Cathy Graham, Tom Shaffer, Kirk de Gooyer, Micky Ateyeh with Steve Russo (FAB); Barbara Cirkva and Dan Rangone, David Corvo of Dateline NBC, Nick Verbitsky, Sarabeth Shrager, Brooke Hayward, Rob Weisbach, Chris Meigher, David Chase with Morris Levy, Randy Jones with Richard Bradley." (NYSocialDiary)



"British journo Piers Morgan will start his takeover of Larry King's CNN show in October, sources tell Page Six. The former newspaper editor has a deal to host an hourlong interview program which will start in the fall four days a week as CNN phases King out. He's also negotiated with NBC to stay on the America's Got Talent judging panel, but is quitting the UK's 'Britain's Got Talent.' One source said, 'Morgan's UK interview shows, including one where former Prime Minister Gordon Brown broke down in tears, impressed CNN bosses. Morgan's show will be prerecorded in New York so he can work 'round his other TV commitments.' CNN said in a statement: 'We don't comment on speculation. Rumors that we are close to signing a deal for a Larry King replacement are untrue ... Larry is a beloved member of the team, and he will continue to be part of the CNN family into the future.'" (PageSix)



"A pair of NBC Universal digital properties both enjoyed record traffic surges this past May, driven in part by interest in the BP oil spill and the volatile stock market. First off, MSNBC.com—a joint venture between NBCU and Microsoft—delivered a record 154 million total video streams in May, a healthy surge a 59 percent versus last year. That up tick in video usage occurred as many users logged on to view news clips tracking the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as well as numerous Today show videos and the new daily recap show Today in 2 Minutes. Meanwhile, CNBC.com reached an audience zenith in May as well; per comScore, the site attracted over six million unique visitors for the first time who generated 326 million page views, also a record. Those figures are miles from just a few years ago, when CNBC.com struggled to reach 1.5 million unique users (according to Nielsen Online). CNBC.com’s reach boost was driven in part by Wall Street’s May 6, meltdown, which resulted in the site’s biggest traffic hour ever." (Mediaweek)



"Last night, John Mayer announced via Twitter that he was playing a secret concert at the Village Underground at 3 am for only 10 dollars. But the surprises didn't stop there! After his concert, he stopped and sang 'Billie Jean' with a fan outside the bar.- Warning: It's sort of a lot of falsetto." (Guestofaguest)



"The Taliban scored another minor victory June 15 when Haji Abdul Jabar, the governor of Arghandab district, just north of Kandahar, was killed, along with his son, Kaduz, and a bodyguard, when his car was hit by a remote-controlled improvised explosive device. Jabar would appear to be just the latest of the dozens of local officials the Taliban has murdered -- but not to me. Two months ago, I spent a week in the district, much of that time in the company of the DG, as he is known. My article on Arghandab will appear this Sunday in the New York Times Magazine. What the article cannot reflect is the devastating effect the DG's death will have on Arghandab's people and on the rickety structure of local government painstakingly built by Afghan and U.S. officials there." (James Traub/ForeignPolicy)



"Howard (Stern) started the show talking about how He was listening to some clips of Wolfie going to Comic-Con and doing some interviews. Gary said the one He was at was in Philly. The main one was in San Diego. Howard said there are a lot of nerds at these things. Howard said there are nerds that like comics and a lot of celebrities who charge money to be seen. Howard said Gary (Dell'Abate) was watching some of it and a woman wanted to see Christopher Knight and had to negotiate to get in to see him. Howard said it's the same thing with Captain Kirk to get in to see him. He charges a fortune. Howard said to some people it's their life to get to see these people. He'd feel weird charging people to see him though. Howard said there are plenty of people who will pay but it's just sad. Robin said that they have everything at these conventions now. She said that it's huge. Howard said He used to get why Kirk would charge people but now he's been on some hit TV shows and made a ton of money but he's still charging outrageous prices. Howard said there are certain things you don't want to get into. He said He has to talk to (William)Shatner about it." (Marksfriggin)



"Sting At The Hollywood Bowl. This was done all wrong, too last century. Bottom line, today you've got to promote a show. JT and Carole King had it right. Do the intimate performance first, and then tour on the ultimate recorded product thereafter. If Sting had made the album/DVD first, and had done a deal with PBS for pledge break viewing, this tour would have sold out. Instead, he's overcharging on the let-down of the end of the Police reunion and most people just don't care. But the show was fantastic. Last time I saw Mr. Sumner was at the Greek, back in '93, just after 'Ten Summoner's Tales'. What a great album. Playable throughout, over and over again. But live, Sting was somewhat boring. I felt no need to go again. But last night, when the orchestra zipped into the intro to 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You', my heart started to palpitate, I rushed from the concourse to the venue, I didn't want to miss a second. When done right, music has the power to lift your spirits, make you rise above the bullshit into a land of euphoria, where you love life and hate no one, where you feel like your body is being endlessly bathed in hot oils, where the petty disturbances of life disappear." (LefsetzLetter)

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