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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Diners at Tao were treated to metal detectors and a slew of armed security guards when Israeli President Shimon Peres came in Sunday night with a table of six. Hours before denouncing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the UN General Assembly yesterday, Peres took over the Midtown restaurant, blocking off East 58th Street. A source told us: 'The entire block was sealed off. Security used a metal detector when guests walked in, and all were extremely cooperative. Peres took over one table with his guests, while security took over six other tables surrounding him.' Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and four family members went to the Flamboyan Theater on Suffolk Street to see 'The Bcam/Macbeth,' a production of 'Macbeth' so blood-soaked that his security tried to stand backstage to check if the guns used as props were real. Meanwhile, the presence of the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, has stopped traffic on East 72nd Street between Madison and Fifth with his fleet of cars. One angry resident told us: 'His new residence has no less than 10 to 12 double-parked cars, 24 hours a day, every day for the past two weeks.' Security on the scene told us the Moroccan ambassador to the United Nations, Ahmed Snoussi, lives next door to Al Thani and is also in town to attend the General Assembly. Meanwhile, French First Lady Carla Bruni stopped traffic by turning up at the United Nations yesterday to listen to her husband, Nicolas Sarkozy, speak -- a day after she reportedly met with Sarkozy's ex-wife, Cecilia Attias, for brunch at the Carlyle Hotel." (PageSix)



"Last week, the Obama administration unveiled a massive new US-Saudi arms deal. In the days since, the proposed package--which still needs congressional approval--has received relatively little attention from the press and foreign policy pundits (one exception, I should note, is my boss at Eurasia Group, Ian Bremmer). That in itself is surprising, as the deal is striking on at least three counts. The first is its sheer size. At $60 billion, the sale--which would include 84 F-15 fighter planes, 70 Apache attack helicopters, 72 Blackhawk troop-transport helicopters, and 36 Little Bird surveillance copters--would dwarf any previous US arms deal ever. It's particularly striking in a year when US weapons sales worldwide are down 9 percent. Second is the fact that, so far at least, the Israeli government--which has often and understandably sought to block arms transactions with Arab states in the past (and just this weekend objected to a new Russian sale of cruise missiles to Syria), has yet to utter a peep of protest." (TheAtlantic)



"THAT secretive money manager Jeffrey Epstein -- who is past his legal problems with teenage masseuses -- is said to be handling the billions of some oil-rich emirs in Arabia, plus Naomi Campbell's boyfriend, Vlad Doronin." (PageSix)



"This weekend, Sarah Palin again played footsie with a 2012 presidential run. Maybe she will, maybe she won’t. But either way, the GOP nomination battle will take place in her shadow. It’s her party now. And as Delaware’s Mike Castle can attest, Republicans who don’t understand that increasingly find themselves out of a job. George McGovern would understand. When parties lose power, pundits generally expect them to move to the center. But they don’t, at least not at first. Instead, recent history suggests that defeated parties become more extreme. The Republicans nominated a relative moderate, Richard Nixon, in 1960, and lost a squeaker; four years later, they nominated the arch-conservative Barry Goldwater. In 1980, the voters turned out a moderate Democrat, President Jimmy Carter, and four years later, Democrats nominated his more liberal vice president, Walter Mondale. And most significant of all, for the purposes of analogy, is what happened between 1968 and 1972, when a centrist, Hubert Humphrey, lost a close race, and Democrats responded by nominating McGovern, the most left-leaning candidate ever to seek the presidency." (PeterBeinert/TheDailybeast)



"Last night I went over to the New York Public Library in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue for the President’s Council Fall Dinner. Invitations to Library dinners and luncheons are at the top of my list. They draw a specific cross section of the city’s cultural, philanthropic and business leaders, and at the events, the writers do the talking. These gatherings are, in a very real way, catering to the elite of the city, and therefore have an elitist quality to them. Somehow, however, this is how elitism can be a strength and a blessing. The guests last night were treated to a discussion, really a Q&A, between Jon Meacham and Ron Chernow. Mr Meacham is the former editor-in-chief of Newsweek and has written several books including a biography of Andrew Jackson, and is currently working on a biography of Thomas Jefferson." (NySocialDiary)



"After the surge, which I compared to Hitler’s Battle of the Bulge – good headlines, lousy results – I sold my equity in (The American Conservative magazine) to the editors for one dollar and became an elder statesman. (An elderly figure wandering the world like the Flying Dutchman on my yacht, looking for a woman willing to die for me. Just kidding.) Looking back, it was a brave if expensive effort to make Americans see reason, but we got nowhere. Many friends disagreed with what we were trying to do. I have remained on good terms with them because although results show that I was right to try, the game isn’t over yet. But the forecast is not good. For example: Did the French efforts in Indochina end up in disaster or not? What about the Dutch in Indonesia? The British and the Russians in Afghanistan? Or the Americans in Vietnam? Military power in foreign, hostile lands simply does not work. Military power used in self defense, however, always does. Think 1776 in a certain British colony in the new world, think of Greece in 1821, and even world war two. So to recapitulate. When I looked at the first edition of the magazine I launched, I read my first column. It was all about Ayn Rand. I quoted her saying that 'One man’s need is not another man’s obligation.' Bush believed that Iraqis wanted freedom from Saddam. He obliged and they got chaos, death and destruction instead. Rand I, Bush 0." (Taki Theodoracopulos)



(Mr. Mickey, Fernando Santangelo, Angelo Pitillo and Jeremy Scott via Caroline Torem Craig)

"Mr. Mickey and his fabulous philanthropic friends got together at Screaming Mimi's this weekend for the Celebrity Sidewalk Sale, a vintage designer clothing sale we'll be holding regularly with all of the proceeds going to Citta. In the past, we've rebuilt a school destroyed by a cyclone, built a library, a women's health center, and, with this latest sale, we're working on building a school in Jaisalmer, India. Well, Mrs. Ricardo, we raised 5,150 clams and we're planning another sale in December in a second fund-raising push to reach our final goal of $13,000." (Papermag)



"Can Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who was denied renomination by Alaska Republicans, win as a write-in candidate in November? Obviously, it’s a long shot, as is any write-in campaign, but is it impossible? I start off skeptical, but I’m not sure. For anyone who doesn’t know about Alaska politics, let’s just say that at one time it was mind-bogglingly weird. Partisan attachment in the state was remarkably weak, with voters even electing the Alaska Independence Party nominee, former Republican Gov. Walter Hickel, as governor in 1990. n some levels, Alaska is your archetypically Republican state. It hasn’t voted for a Democrat for president since 1964, hasn’t sent a Democrat to the House since 1972 and, until Mark Begich was elected narrowly in 2008, hadn’t sent a Democrat to the Senate since 1974. Gov. Sean Parnell (R), who was elected lieutenant governor but ascended to the state’s top job when Sarah Palin (R) resigned, is a clear favorite to win in November. But in other ways, Alaska can still surprise you." (Stuart Rothenberg/CQPolitics)

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