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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"This past September, as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sat down in Washington to dine with U.S. President Barack Obama, a barely noticed event took place in Ramallah. With little fanfare, the 13th Palestinian Authority (PA) government, headed by Salam Fayyad, issued its one-year countdown to independence. This brief and understated document is likely to prove far more significant for the future of Palestine than the White House dinner and reflects nothing short of a revolutionary new approach to Palestinian statehood. For nearly a century, 'armed struggle' was the dominant leitmotif of the Palestinian nationalist movement. This strategy was supplemented and ostensibly replaced by peace negotiations after the Oslo accords of 1993. The newest approach, adopted by Prime Minister Fayyad, a U.S.-educated former International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist, signifies the rise of a third and highly pragmatic form of Palestinian nationalism. Fayyad's strategy is one of self-reliance and self-empowerment; his focus is on providing good government, economic opportunity, and law and order for the Palestinians -- and security for Israel by extension -- and so removing whatever pretexts may exist for Israel's continued occupation of the Palestinian territories. Fayyad's aim is to make the process of institution building transformative for Palestinians, thereby instilling a sense that statehood is inevitable. Elegant in its simplicity and seemingly unassailable in its reasonableness, this third way -- dubbed 'Fayyadism' by some Western observers -- has nevertheless precipitated serious opposition." (ForeignAffairs)




"It had been such a good week for Nick Denton. Writers and editors from his network of sites had flown in from around the country and been put up on Gawker's dime, in preparation for the 2011 relaunch of the site that launched the blogger age. After team dinners and other partying, the bloggers streamed into Gawker's Elizabeth Street offices for presentations on Freedom of Information Act requests and the use of high-quality photos and video, all key to Gawker's rethink, expected in the first week of the new year. Mr. Denton, the company's founder, had laid out his case for the new scoop-based approach in an impressive 3,000-word 'manifesto for 2011,' which was still reverberating around the web. To cap it all off on Friday night, Mr. Denton hosted the company holiday party at Double Crown, a restaurant on the Bowery with Southeast Asian fare by way of the British Empire. Unlike Gawker blowouts in the past, the guest list was strictly limited to current staff and significant others. The Observer was allowed in on two conditions: that we observe some set rules on attribution, and that we leave after two hours, before anyone got too drunk."(Observer)

"At The Wednesday Michael’s lunch: Mayor Joe (Armstrong) entertaining George Farias; Jack Myers and Andrew McClean; Becca Cason Thrash; Lisa Linden with Patrick and Mary Murphy; Joan Gelman (another Finchie who responded to yesterday’s Diary) and Sandy Pearl; Jonathan Wald (exec producer of the new Piers Morgan Tonight). Around the room: Jim Abernathy, Kay Koplovitz, Alexander Julian, David Adler, Harold Ford Jr., Betty Lederman, David Corvo (Dateline NBC), David Sanford (WSJ); Jack Higgins, Chris Taylor; Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Michael Kramer, and Andy Bergman; Jonathan Dolgen, Denise Tanzman; Jeff Zucker with CNBC Squawk Box’s Joe Kernen; Charles Stevenson with this writer; Men’s Health’s Dave Zinczenko, Marc Victor, Bill Stanton. And at table one: Dan Rather, Tom Tuggle, and Eliot Spitzer. Michael’s was jumping." (NySocialDiary)


"Last night we had an incredibly hard Quickfire. I really felt for the cheftestants because what they had to do was very difficult in the time they had. Frenching all those lamb chops is really difficult and it has to be done really perfectly. Turning the artichokes — those are things you have to do with precision and anytime there’s speed involved, the precision suffers. It was really striking a balance between the precision and the clock, which is always an issue on our show. The clock is their worst enemy. They knew the faster they got done, the more the time they’d have to cook and that’s what they’d be judged on, but if they took too long, they were never going to get to cook, and so on." (Padma Lakshmi/Popwatch)

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