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Monday, July 12, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Over the past 18 months, I've certainly offered plenty of criticism (constructive, I hope) of the Obama administration, but I've also sought to support positive policy/decisions/rhetoric when warranted. This is one of those positive pieces, with a focus on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent trip to Poland, Ukraine, and the Caucasus. For purposes here, I want to zero in on her Krakow and Tbilisi stops (a future column will be less kind on her visit to Baku, and I've opined elsewhere on Ukraine). In Krakow, the secretary spoke at the 10th-anniversary meeting of the Community of Democracies. Quite simply, her speech, which focused on the critical role played by civil society in democratic development around the world, was very good. She singled out for criticism the usual suspects - North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, and Belarus -- but she also included Russia (not a given in light of the Administration's reset policy), Egypt (which has received soft treatment despite its increasingly anti-democratic trends), and Ethiopia (where the government has imposed laws restricting NGO activity). In an important rebuff to authoritarian regimes that cry interference in their internal affairs, she explained that American NGOs are permitted to receive funding from sources outside the United States and noted that foreign NGOs are allowed to operate on American soil." (ForeignPolicy)

"Warner Bros and producer Jerry Weintraub have tried long and hard to mount a remake of the 1977 George Burns comedy Oh, God! I'm told Weintraub just pitched the studio a new version of the film, with Hollywood's hottest octogenarian--Betty White,--as the title character. Paul Rudd was pitched for the role of the hapless mortal played by John Denver in the Carl Reiner-directed original." (Deadline)

(image via NYSD)

"A beautiful weekend in New York; hot and sunny but not much humidity. Beautiful storm clouds swarming round throughout the days, with foreasters saying 'violent rainstorms' on their way, but nary a drop in my neighborhood by the East River. No complaints; a big improvement from last week’s furnace temps. I stayed in New York this weekend. On Friday night I hosted a little dinner for Peter Rogers at Le Cirque. Le Cirque is its own summer getaway for us canyon dwellers. Sleek and soigné, the food is so fabulous that everyone was as happy as a perfect summer night." (NYSocialDiary)

"FriendFinder Networks Inc., owner of Penthouse adult magazine, plans to submit a bid for Playboy Enterprises Inc., following a $123 million offer from Playboy’s founder Hugh Hefner. FriendFinder Chief Executive Officer Marc Bell said in an interview the company is 'looking at alternatives' and 'will hopefully have something to announce later today.' Playboy earlier today said that Hefner wants to take the company private, and offered to purchase the shares he doesn’t already own in Playboy, which includes the namesake men’s magazine, merchandise, and television and video content." (Bloomberg)

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