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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"It is August 2010, which is the month when the last U.S. combat troops are scheduled to leave Iraq. It is therefore time to take stock of the situation in Iraq, which has changed places with Afghanistan as the forgotten war. This is all the more important since 50,000 troops will remain in Iraq, and while they may not be considered combat troops, a great deal of combat power remains embedded with them. So we are far from the end of the war in Iraq. The question is whether the departure of the last combat units is a significant milestone and, if it is, what it signifies. The United States invaded Iraq in 2003 with three goals: The first was the destruction of the Iraqi army, the second was the destruction of the Baathist regime and the third was the replacement of that regime with a stable, pro-American government in Baghdad. The first two goals were achieved within weeks. Seven years later, however, Iraq still does not yet have a stable government, let alone a pro-American government. The lack of that government is what puts the current strategy in jeopardy. The fundamental flaw of the invasion of Iraq was not in its execution but in the political expectations that were put in place." (STRATFOR)



"President Barack Obama raised $1 million for House Democrats at a Monday night fundraiser backed by the Hollywood elite. The cost to attend the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event, hosted at the Los Angeles home of West Wing and ER producer John Wells, was $2,500 per person. But co-hosts including J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg, Kate Capshaw, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Barbra Streisand paid $30,400 per couple. According to pool reports, Obama spoke to the crowd for about half an hour. He said that keeping Congress in Democratic hands will be 'my focus over the next several months" and hailed Democratic lawmakers for helping to "deliver the most progressive legislative agenda. I hope you understand why we're here tonight. It's not to take a picture with the president,' he said. 'We're here to make sure those who took the tough votes are rewarded.' Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) were among the lawmakers at the event. Others included California Reps. Howard Berman, Brad Sherman, Barbara Lee, Joe Baca, Laura Richardson, Judy Chu and John Garamendi." (CQPolitics)



"The president is furiously backtracking; Republicans are clawing over each other to demonize Muslims; Democrats are dead silent. It’s time to face reality. Whether or not the 'ground zero' mosque ever gets built, the political debate is over. Decency lost. So almost nine years after September 11, we need to confront a few painful truths. First, while the military and counterintelligence aspects of the struggle against al Qaeda will likely last long into the future, the 'war of ideas' is over. America has thrown in the towel. Remember when George W. Bush and his neoconservative allies used to say that the 'war on terror' was a struggle on behalf of Muslims, decent folks who wanted nothing more than to live free like you and me? Remember when Karen Hughes paid millions to produce glitzy videos of Muslim Americans testifying about how free they were to practice their religion in the USA? Remember Bush’s second inaugural, when he said 'America's ideal of freedom' is 'sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran?'" (Peter Beinart)



"Robert and Michelle King are the married writing-producing team that created and run the CBS drama series The Good Wife. The show averaged more than 13 million viewers each week and reeled in 9 Emmy nominations for its breakout first season. It also landed the Kings a writing nomination for their work on the pilot along with their production of the CBS Productions series nominated for top drama opposite Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Lost, and True Blood. The couple spoke with Ray Richmond for Deadline Hollywood about their Emmy chances and how they feel about the 'procedural' label .." (Deadline)



"This season more people are watching HBO's 'Entourage' on a delay than are watching the program live. And it's not the only show seeing big time-shifted audiences. A new study conducted by International Communications Research for Comcast, the country's largest cable provider, finds that 62 percent of respondents have time-shifted television shows in some way, whether by using a DVR, watching online or watching video on demand. And they're doing it more often. Sixty percent of respondents said they are time-shifting more now than they did a year ago, and 84 percent said they are doing it more than three years ago, including 50 percent who say they're doing it 'significantly more.' The survey also finds that 60 percent of respondents say they own a DVR. According to Nielsen, 37 percent of households own DVRs. The Comcast survey suggests that time shifting may be even more rampant than already believed. Last season, the Tuesday edition of 'American Idol' was the most-time-shifted show on television, drawing an additional 5.6 million total viewers per episode." (Medialifemagazine)



"As of this writing, they have given the last rites to Zsa Zsa Gabor before she left the hospital on Sunday, returning to her home in Bel Air. One of the most famous blondes of the 20th century is in her mid-nineties, the exact year somewhat clouded early on in the saga. I met Zsa Zsa in 1980 in Beverly Hills. She was a friend of our mutual friend Lady Sarah Churchill. Sarah first met Zsa Zsa when she went to Blenheim to stay with Sarah’s father Bert, the 10th Duke of Marlborough. Sarah was a big party giver out there, and Zsa Zsa was a frequent guest. Sarah often prepared the food for her dinner parties (with the total attentiveness of her Jamaican maid). She was quite proud of her culinary talents. Zsa Zsa, on the contrary, always complained to her friend, her hostess, briefly in her Hungarian accent, 'Dahling, the food is terrible. You need a good cook.' On the surface both women liked each other for the most superficial reasons. Zsa Zsa, to Sarah, was very funny and clever. Sarah to Zsa, cuisine aside, was a duke’s daughter ... and a Vanderbilt heiress." (NYSocialDiary)



"USA and TNT are both having nice summers. But where it matters most, USA is still ahead despite anything you may have read to the contrary. TNT PR has been showing off their powers of 'The Force' by playing Jedi mind tricks on the media: 'these are not the numbers you’re looking for,' and at least to some degree it has worked! Impressive. Most impressive. Indeed, TNT has the summer’s two most-watched shows overall: Rizolli & Isles and The Closer. But with advertising coveted adults 18-49, USA has three shows: Royal Pains, Burn Notice, and newcomer Covert Affairs that all come out ahead of Rizzoli & Isles and The Closer despite having fewer total viewers. USA’s dramas perform even better among adults 18-34 where its best performer in that group (Burn Notice) averages more than twice as many viewers 18-34 as TNT’s best drama in that category (The Closer)." (TVBytheNumbers)



"George Soros -- the Hungarian-born hedge funder worth $14 billion -- marked his 80th birthday Saturday under a tent at his Southampton estate with 350 friends. Danish chef Bo Bech flew over from Copenhagen to feed the likes of diplomat Richard Holbrooke, Washingon Post heiress Lally Weymouth, Chicago socialite Sugar Rautbord, billionaire Wilbur Ross and his society scrivener wife Hilary Geary. Soros, who was surrounded by his five offspring, told the crowd: 'I am a philanthropist. Some maybe think I'm a philanderer. My philosophy is very simple. I like to make a lot of money, so I can give away a lot of money.'" (PageSix)



"Just in case you haven’t heard, Tommy Hilfiger is about to embark on a huge fall season filled with tomes, galas, and 25th anniversary toasts. But pourquoi wait for Fashion Week for the revelry? The celebrations began late last week, when the brand hosted their casual summer cocktails at the Gramercy Park Hotel. The designer himself was missing from all the action, but Prabal Gurung, Eddie Borgo, Jim Moore, Sessilee Lopez, an expecting Alexis Bryan Morgan, Erin Kaplan, and the artsy duo of Richard Phillips and Josephine Meckseper enjoyed champagne, mini lobster rolls, and tiny truffle ravioli." (Fashionweekdaily)

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