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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"According to Woodward, Obama's guidance to his team was clear: 'I want an exit strategy' and 'I'm not doing a long-term nation-building effort' and 'I'm not spending a trillion dollars.' Despite this, it appears from the very detailed narrative that all the options he receives are simply variants of The One Big Option: a large-scale counterinsurgency strategy focused on securing the Afghan population. 'The One Big Option' thematic repeats itself throughout the book. But the book's real argument is more subtle. Woodward's unstated thesis seems to be that the (young, inexperienced) [resident was locked in a battle of wills with a (powerful, politically savvy) military leadership who were consumed by their own singular idea of how to fight this war. And that at the end of this painfully long policy review, Obama just gets outflanked by generals who are hell-bent on having it their way. While this notion may be an attractive to those who are inherently suspicious of the role of the military in the United States' political life and foreign-policy, I found it unpersuasive. The president is the commander-in-chief -- and as such, he is ultimately responsible for U.S. military actions overseas. He not only issues the orders that commit troops, but also frames the national policy that those deployments will support. He owns the policy decision "ends" at the strategic level, but must also understand and approve the broad "ways" by which his strategy will be carried out in the field. Further, he must balance the resources required to carry out these decisions -- the "means" of people, time and dollars that will always remain precious commodities. The military influences that process, often in outsize ways -- but the President owns it. But Woodward's description of the narrow set of options presented to the president by his military commanders rings true. " (Army Lt. Gen. David Barno/ForeignPolicy)


"'Faking It?' crows the headline of a popular news site, followed by 'New Sex Study May Rat You Out.' Oh my. Guess it's time to purchase some sensible charcoal separates, get Gloria Allred on the horn, and prepare for my day in court. The charge? Being a bad feminist, a bad lay, and a bad person. An Indiana University survey published this week in the Journal of Sexual Medicine points to a discrepancy in the number of men who believe their partner orgasmed during their last sexual encounter and the number of women confirming that they did, in fact, climax. In other words, a glaring, prison-yard spotlight has been shone down on the large number of women who fake it. I am one of those women the study implicates: a woman who has, yes, faked an orgasm, and I'm here today to defend myself and anyone else who's ever pulled a fast one on a partner. While pop surveys come and go, a disdain for my fellow co-conspirators that cannot be ignored hums in the background." (TheDailyBeast)



"House Republicans are already examining which Democrats might want to switch parties after Nov. 2 and are mapping out a strategy for how to persuade them to make the leap. Republican aides and lobbyists said there are a handful of Democratic Members whom GOP leaders plan to target, with Member-to-Member conversations beginning immediately after the midterm elections. Incentives for switching sides could include a leadership-level position or seat on a powerful committee such as Appropriations or Ways and Means. 'You are looking for someone who has been there three, four or five terms who has a shot at going up the ladder,' said John Feehery, a GOP strategist who served as communications director to former Speaker Dennis Hastert. 'One who is enticed by a committee chairmanship or one who their districts are so terribly bad that voting for Pelosi would be the end of them.' Democratic Reps. Dan Boren (Okla.), Walt Minnick (Idaho) and Heath Shuler (N.C.) are all on the Republicans’ target list. Reps. Mike McIntyre (N.C.) and Gene Taylor (Miss.) are also considered potential gets." (CQPolitics)


"The Kings of France and their families ate separately while their guests watched, since no one else was at suitable rank to be seated with them. In the mid-20th century long after the Bourbons had departed Versailles, Elsie DeWolfe, aka Lady Mendl gave copious dinner parties at the house in Versailles which she shared with Bessie Marbury before she married Sir Charles Mendl (and continued living there). Lady Mendl was a great one for themes. In summertime there was the party where she arrived for her guests riding a pink elephant, although the menu remained French. In the late 19th century in New York, society dinners were lavish with several courses, several wines, and several hours at table. An invitation to Mrs. Astor’s table meant you were in Society. Her dinner guests were seated at eight o’clock, and were expected to depart at eleven. They dined on gold service while gold epergnes and candelabras adorned the table, amid great sprays of bright red roses. They drank vintage champagne from crystal glasses, and often departed their hostess in a state of major dyspepsia. One society matron a successor to Mrs. Astor, Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish, hated long dinner hours and wasn’t that crazy about eating anyway. She cut her dinners down to an hour max. This was revolutionary." (NYSocialDiary)


"If anyone has questioned Naomi Campbell’s commitment to anything, they need to look long and hard at her 25th anniversary tour with Dolce & Gabbana. Over the course of this fashion season, Campbell has happily signed T-shirts and danced with look-alike models in Gotham, London, and Milan. Her requisite Paris fashion week event was a déjà vu affair, this time attracting an A-list cast of characters. Was it organized? Not outside. By 9 p.m., hundreds of random Parisians attempted to storm the store’s doors until Campbell’s lovely assistant acted as a mediator and plucked a few VIPs from the quaking massses. So despite the mess, Janet Jackson (with five bodyguards), Lenny Kravitz, Pharrell Willams, Dita Von Teese, Patrick Demarchelier, Astrid Munoz, and Sølve Sundsbø made cameos to air kiss Naomi and call it a night. 'It’s been an amazing ride,' said Campbell. 'Dolce and Gabbana are much more than designers to me. I vacation with them, eat dinners with them, and actually love them as human beings.'" (Fashionweekdaily)

"This is news that will probably make Twitter explode: MTV is finalizing a deal to bring back its signature series Punk'd with teen superstar Justin Bieber as the new host. The show's creators/executive producers, original host Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg, are back to executive produce the new installment through their company Katalyst. There has been a lot of chatter about a Punk'd revival since the celebrity hidden-camera show went off the air in 2007 after 4 years and 69 episodes. I hear Bieber was identified as a new host in the summer with talks going on ever since. No premiere date has been set but the new Punk'd has been quietly gearing up for production and will probably launch next year." (Deadline)


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