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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"On May 27th, more than a month into the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, Barack Obama strode to the podium in the East Room of the White House. For weeks, the administration had been insisting that BP alone was to blame for the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf – and the ongoing failure to stop the massive leak. 'They have the technical expertise to plug the hole,' White House spokesman Robert Gibbs had said only six days earlier. 'It is their responsibility.' The president, Gibbs added, lacked the authority to play anything more than a supervisory role – a curious line of argument from an administration that has reserved the right to assassinate American citizens abroad and has nationalized much of the auto industry. 'If BP is not accomplishing the task, can you just federalize it?' a reporter asked. 'No,' Gibbs replied. Now, however, the president was suddenly standing up to take command of the cleanup effort. 'In case you were wondering who's responsible,' Obama told the nation, 'I take responsibility.' Sounding chastened, he acknowledged that his administration had failed to adequately reform the Minerals Management Service, the scandal-ridden federal agency that for years had essentially allowed the oil industry to self-regulate. "There wasn't sufficient urgency," the president said." (Tim Dickinson/RollingStone)



"My studio sources tell me that Sony's kid-friendly Karate Kid reboot of the '80s hit film now starring Will Smith's son and Jackie Chan will be #1 this weekend with at least $52M. That's almost twice what the studio was predicting. 'The crazy thing is we might be a little low,' one amazed exec told me. Eleven-year-old Jaden led the pic to $19M today, and broke the June Gloom that descended over domestic box office this summer. Expectedly, Fox's film action version of the 80's hit TV series The A-Team will finish #2. But it only made $9.5M today and will be lucky to get to $27M for the weekend. That's embarrassing for what was supposed to be the start of another franchise and a nailbiter between the two opening movies. It turned out not even close. 'A pretty spectacular win,' one Sony exec exulted tonight. It's ironic, isn't it: the reboot succeeds, and the TV series-to-film doesn't. And yet Hollywood keeps embracing these unoriginal movie ideas.(Deadline)



"A war among nations will erupt at precisely 4 pm, South Africa time, on Friday, June 11th. This war will last exactly 31 days, ending on July 11th. As experts in global geopolitics and security, STRATFOR knows it’s normally difficult to so definitively predict the duration of a global struggle. In this instance, however, we’re talking about the FIFA World Cup. The climactic battle in this world war – the final match - will be witnessed by an estimated one billion people watching on TV, computers and mobile devices." (Stratfor)



"The Observer hosted an event tonight at the 21 Club to commemorate this year's Power 100 list, which recognizes the city's most influential players in the real estate industry. The few hundred people in attendance included No. 1 Stephen Ross of the Related Companies and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. 'We are thrilled that all of you are here,' Kyle Pope, editor of the Observer, told the crowd. 'We know what a difficult year it's been in commercial real estate.' Mayor Bloomberg said he didn't mind dropping from No. 4 in 2009 to No. 9, but joked to Observer publisher Jared Kushner to be wary of building inspectors at the paper's office tomorrow." (Observer)



"'So, did you eat the in-flight meal, then?' I cheekily ask Michael Pollan, mainly because he looks fresher and rosier and happier than any 55-year-old has a right to after 13 hours on a non-stop flight from San Francisco. The writer is in England to talk about his new book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. Nearly all of Pollan’s rules ('eat slowly, eat well-grown food from healthy soils') are routinely broken by the junk served to paying hostages trapped behind tray tables and wired like battery chickens to the dictates of the flight schedule. Feed NOW. Watch godawful movie NOW. Get drunk on 15 per cent Tempranillo NOW (but only so much that it will help you to snooze so the crew can have a giggle in the galley while chowing down). Pollan owns up to ordering the Vegetarian Special, which, he says, was in a beetrooty way 'not too bad'. We agree that at least this got him out of being stuck with the supremely depressing Seasonal Salad, which is not much of either: usually ancient leavings from the school of suicidal cucumber keeping company with leaves wilted in grief at having been torn from the life support plastic bags in which, as Pollan explains in his 2006 book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, inert gases have unnaturally prolonged their existence." (FT)

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