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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army has abducted more than 697 people in a largely unreported campaign in the Central African Republic and northern Congo over the past 18 months, a rights group said Wednesday. Human Rights Watch said nearly one-third of those abducted were children, many of whom are being forced to serve as soldiers and kill other children or are being used for sex by the group's fighters. During the abduction campaign, the LRA killed anyone who tried to escape, walked too slowly, or was unable to bear the heavy loads they were forced to carry, Human Rights Watch found in a month-long investigation in the region that ended Aug. 11." (WSJ)



"Arab governments have been basking in the glow of all the attention focused on them recently in relation to their concerns about Iran. It seems that hardly a day goes by without some new article touting Arab government support for a U.S. attack on Iran, the latest by Jeffrey Goldberg in his new Atlantic piece. For governments which have been literally begging the United States to end Israel's occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territory in exchange for full normalization with Israel, having your opinion being considered on something - on anything - by the policy elite in the United States should be cause for celebration. Unfortunately, the glow is turning to sunburn as all the latest hype on Arab support for a U.S. attack on Iran misses the true nature of Arab government concerns about Iran's regional dominance. There are three points to remember concerning Arab - Iranian relations ..." (ForeignPolicy)



"George (Takei) said it's actually a good time to (start a private bank). He said back in 1981 they started out with about 75 million. He said He didn't have to do that all himself back then. Howard asked how much He had to put in. George said it was more than half a million but less than a million. Howard asked about the board and who they have on that. George told Howard how they came up with the money back then and things like that. Howard asked George if He could live off of the dividends. George said He has a nice pension so he could live off of that. Howard asked if he lost that could he live off of the bank thing. George said he could make some good money doing that. He said it's more than 100,000 a year. He said he really shouldn't be speaking like this. He said they have stockholders who might get upset about that. Howard said George has 'Fuck you money.' George said he doesn't speak like that but, yes, he does." (Marksfriggin)



"For the chattering classes on Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Mount Desert Island, and Southampton, Wednesday was a good summer news day—Desiree Rogers found a job. For months the high-profile former White House social secretary, who was bounced last winter when two social wannabes crashed the Obamas’ first White House state dinner, has been on the prowl. Rogers has been utilizing her Rolodex, networking furiously and turning up at trendy New York restaurants in her signature Louboutin stilettos in an effort to find work. She made no secret of her arduous search, relentlessly pursuing A-list New Yorkers and employing her social connections for a tip, a boost, a contact. (The media world is a small enclave, and word quickly spread that Desiree was avidly available.) Several people made calls and gave high-powered dinners in her honor. Richard Plepler, the co-president of HBO who had become friendly with Rogers during her brief White House stint, gathered a collection of interesting folks. 'She’s a great connector in the various worlds of politics, business, and culture,' he says. 'Very few people can move comfortably in all those areas. She can ...'" (TheDailyBeast)



"It was not one of the busier (madhouse) Wednesday Michael's lunch but nevertheless a good sampling of the diversity that is so familiar with itself. Publishing, both book and print, television, literary agents, public relations honchos, authors, reporters, network executives. Hollywood people like it because it feels like an 'industry' spot, the likes of which you do find in LA. Such as: Peter Maroney and Patricia Duff, Gerry Byrne and Mike Scotti, Linda Wells of Allure, Peter Brown, David Carey, President of Hearst, Deb Shriver, the Hearst ExecVP of publicity and public relations; Nancy Cardone of Marie Claire ... Euan Rellie, Gil Schwartz; Pamela Keogh, the Jackie, Audrey and Marilyn cultural biographer; Jonathan Wald and Katherine Rosman, who recently published If You Knew Suzy about her relationship with her mother and her mother’s fatal illness. And, my lunch partner, the erstwhile yet still redoubtable cultural/political/financial pundit of the New York Observer's 'Midas Watch,' Michael Thomas." (NYSocialDiary)



"'I don’t think you should go with CNN,' Larry Garrison says into his cell phone as he paces across a hotel lobby near his home in Westlake Village, California. 'I’d like to team up with you.' He’s talking to John Muldowney, a 78-year-old retired propane inspector from Manheim, Pennsylvania, who thinks that he and his wife might have found Natalee Holloway’s remains while snorkeling off the coast of Aruba. The story involves blood and tragedy, but also the opportunity to go on television, and Garrison, who has one of the most unusual—and controversial—jobs in the TV business, exists to make that happen. 'I want to make sure you don’t have your day of glory and then everyone forgets about you,' Garrison continues, his eyes gleaming. 'I’ll be there for you.' There is no single term that fully captures what Garrison does for a living, although it involves a lot of time spent cajoling people over the phone. He’s sometimes called a fixer, a story broker, or—his preference—an independent television producer and consultant, but all the titles mean the same thing: Garrison gets paid to bring tabloid stories to TV news programs. Missing toddlers, murdered coeds, septuplets, serial killers—an endless parade of freaks and victims is marched through the studio sets of Dateline NBC, 20/20, Good Morning America, Inside Edition, and countless other shows, all to satisfy viewers’ seemingly insatiable appetite for real-life tears and melodrama." (TheAtlantic)



"Ratings for the past two events on CBS -- the Greenbrier Classic and the Bridgestone -- have declined as much as 68 percent from the events held the same weeks a year ago, when (Tiger) Woods won them both. During his 13-year reign over the sport, Woods drove up the value of television contracts to as high as the four-year, $850 million deal that expired after the 2006 season, an increase CBS President Sean McManus termed 'inflated.' With the PGA Tour’s current contracts with CBS and NBC set to run out in 2012, that value may soon deflate. The tour’s contract with Comcast Corp.’s Golf Channel expires in 2021. 'This is a business, and right now the networks are nervous,' Brad Adgate, research director at Horizon Media, a New York-based advertising company, said in a telephone interview. Negotiations on new contracts likely won’t begin in earnest until next year. McManus said he will keep a close eye on Woods, the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking and the sport’s most valuable commodity." (Bloomberg)



"I've learned that Lifetime formally notified Disney's ABC Studios that prominent TV and film producer Mark Gordon six weeks ago used the word 'ni**er' twice during a table read of the pilot for the Army Wives spinoff. He did it in front of cast and crew -- including two African-American actresses, pilot lead Gabrielle Union and Army Wives series regular Wendy Davis. 'Lifetime took all appropriate steps and notified the studio that this is a situation that needs to be dealt with,' an executive tells me. In turn, a ABC exec informs me, 'it was dealt with appropriately. I can't go beyond that.' Gordon issued this statement to me: 'I feel terrible about this. It was a stupid lapse in judgment. I didn’t meant [sic] to offend anyone, and I’ve apologized to everyone involved.' Gordon, who is white, has a deal with ABC Studios. He not only is executive producer of Army Wives and one of ABC Studios' busiest TV producers, but also executive producer of the series Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice with African American showrunner Shonda Rhimes." (Deadline)



"When we discuss threats along the U.S./Mexico border with sources and customers, or when we write an analysis on topics such as violence and improvised explosive devices along the border, a certain topic inevitably pops up: Hezbollah. We frequently hear concerns from U.S. and Mexican government sources about the Iranian and Hezbollah network in Latin America. They fear that Iran would use Hezbollah to strike targets in the Western Hemisphere and even inside the United States if the United States or Israel were to conduct a military strike against Tehran’s nuclear program. Such concerns are expressed not only by our sources and are relayed not only to us. Nearly every time tensions increase between the United States and Iran, the media report that the Hezbollah threat to the United States is growing. Iran also has a vested interest in playing up the danger posed by Hezbollah and its other militant proxies as it tries to dissuade the United States and Israel from attacking its nuclear facilities. A close look at Hezbollah reveals a potent capacity to conduct terrorist attacks. The group is certainly more capable and could be far more dangerous than al Qaeda. An examination also reveals that Hezbollah has a robust presence in Latin America and that it uses its network there to smuggle people into the United States, where it has long maintained a presence." (STRATFOR)



"(Heiress Sara) Bronfman sensed a connection between the Dalai Lama's teachings and her training. 'The way he looks at things is very scientific and very much in line with the philosophy of NXIVM,' she told the host. 'I said, Well, that kind of sounds like what we do! And I thought, Maybe I could introduce myself, and bring him here and introduce him to Keith. Because I think Keith is a scientist and also a great philosopher.' Ms. Bronfman was referring to NXIVM founder Keith Raniere, a bespectacled 49-year-old with graying, shoulder-length hair. Mr. Raniere, who goes by the moniker Vanguard, bills himself as a "leader in human potential development" and has trademarked a philosophy he calls the Rational Inquiry Method. He is what you would get, said one former associate, 'if David Koresh and Bernie Madoff had a child.' Over the past seven years, Mr. Raniere has earned the devotion of Sara Bronfman and her sister Clare. In that time, according to his former girlfriend and financial adviser Babara Bouchey, Mr. Raniere has also squandered more than $100 million of the Bronfman liquor fortune, destabilizing one of New York's most prominent business and social dynasties." (Observer)

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