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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Uber-blogger Arianna Huffington is a star at these gatherings and is always in great demand for her views on how to improve the state of the world. On Saturday, she was in such demand that she had to cut short her contribution to a panel discussion on U.S. politics. The reason: She had to catch her helicopter to Zurich. The creator of the Huffington Post website left her fellow panellists, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R., Fla.) , Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D., N.Y.) and Harvard’s Kennedy School commentator David Gergen in midstream with a cheery wave. " (WSJ)



"The past few weeks have been bad ones for the old Arab order. It started with Egypt, once the dynamic, uncontested leader of the Arab world, whose foreign policy now often amounts to an appendix tacked onto American mediation in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. A New Year’s Day bombing at a church in Alexandria has laid bare what most Egyptians already know: Years of stagnation have solved none of Egypt’s problems and may have created new ones — a Christian-Muslim divide, for one. Last week, Lebanon found itself on familiar ground. Yet another iteration of a six-year crisis over who will rule the country paralyzed an already feeble government. Lebanese were anxious but not distraught: During the crisis, they have spent more months without a functioning government than with one, and have survived. Sudan was on the brink of partition, as black Africans in the south were voting for independence from their Arab rulers in the north, with whom they have fought two of history’s bloodiest civil wars. Iraq is not quite the old order, but even there, the legions who follow the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr — marginalized, edgy and determined to inherit the country — poured into the streets of a sacred city to welcome back their leader, who soon made clear that he would be a force with which American allies in Iraq would have to reckon. Most recently and most spectacularly, Tunisia was swept up in protests over joblessness, corruption and too many years under one of the heaviest hands in the Arab world, forcing a dictator to flee and electrifying the Arab world." (NYTimes)


"When I'm at a restaurant with a sommelier I trust, I often ask him to pick something for me. Sommeliers are on the front lines, tasting every day, seeking out treasures, and they certainly know their own lists better than I do. Unlike my collector friends, who tend to search out the classics—the known commodities—the soms have their palates primed for what's new. They are looking for the next great region, the next great maker. Twice in the past month, two of my favorite soms have picked Cornas, a red wine made with Syrah grapes in France's northern Rhône. In both cases, I liked the wine very much. Moreover, I've recently heard several young winemakers express their admiration for Thierry Allemand, the rising star of Cornas. Is Cornas finally having its moment? Some 10 years ago I found myself clinging to the base of a vine in the Les Ruchets vineyard, high above the town of Cornas, and the serpentine Rhône River just beyond, trying to not to slide downhill. My luggage had been lost somewhere between New York and Marseilles, with the result that for the third day in a row I was wearing Gucci loafers, which didn't provide the best purchase on the steep, rocky hillside as I attempted to assist Jean-Luc Colombo and his crew harvesting Syrah grapes. I could well understand why many of these vineyards, too steep for a tractor, had been abandoned in the early part of the 20th century." (Jay McInerney)

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