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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Pakistan has proved to be a very dangerous country for both ISI and CIA officers. Because of this environment, it is necessary for intelligence officers to have security — especially when they are conducting meetings with terrorist sources — and for security officers to protect American officials. Due to the heavy security demands in high-threat countries like Pakistan, the U.S. government has been forced to rely on contract security officers like Davis. It is important to recognize, however, that the Davis case is not really the cause of the current tensions between the Americans and Pakistanis. There are far deeper issues causing the rift. Pakistan has been a very dangerous place for American diplomats and intelligence officers for many years now. Since September 2001 there have been 13 attacks against U.S. diplomatic missions and motorcades as well as hotels and restaurants frequented by Americans who were in Pakistan on official business. Militants responsible for the attack on the Islamabad Marriott in September 2008 referred to the hotel as a “nest of spies.” At least 10 Americans in Pakistan on official business have been killed as a result of these attacks, and many more have been wounded. Militants in Pakistan have also specifically targeted the CIA. This was clearly illustrated by a December 2009 attack against the CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan, in which the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), led by Hakeemullah Mehsud, used a Jordanian suicide operative to devastating effect. The CIA thought the operative had been turned and was working for Jordanian intelligence to collect intelligence on al Qaeda leaders hiding in Pakistan. The attack killed four CIA officers and three CIA security contractors. Additionally, in March 2008, four FBI special agents were injured in a bomb attack as they ate at an Italian restaurant in Islamabad. Pakistani intelligence and security agencies have been targeted with far more vigor than the Americans. This is due not only to the fact that they are seen as cooperating with the United States but also because there are more of them and their facilities are relatively soft targets compared to U.S. diplomatic facilities in Pakistan." (STRATFOR)


"I just love it when the random celebrity turns up at Michael’s for lunch. It’s always entertaining to watch the usual suspects try to simultaneously network and star gaze. Today’s out-of-left-field appearances represented both new and old Hollywood (just like this year’s Oscars but without James Franco‘s near comatose involvement). For fans of eighties screen gems like the original Batman and Beetlejuice, there was Michael Keaton ... Spotted: Blake Lively and Vivi Nevo. When this unlikely duo showed up without a reservation, things got a lot more interesting. (One pesky paparazzo seemingly transfixed by the sight of the actress stationed himself outside of the window overlooking the dining room for the entire lunch and refused to move no matter how many times he was asked to leave) We’re more intrigued by Vivi, who, we hear is an Israeli-born venture capitalist and was once engaged to the Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi." (FishbowlNY)


"The Michael’s Wednesday crowd had some interesting characters filling the bright and wide dining room with the beautiful Hockneys presiding both the north and sound sides of the front room ... Only one table over from me, the tall and lithesome Blake Lively was lunching with the lively Vivi Nevo. Everybody knows who Ms. Lively is. Not so Mr. Nevo who is one of those men famous to the famous if not so famous himself. He is known in the media talk as an 'Israeli venture capitalist' although he pops up all over the world and in New York not infrequently – this was not his first visit ... Sitting with Ms. Lively, in intense conversation, an observer might have imagined the energetic Mr. N to be an agent selling her on a new project. Right across the way from them, Michael Keaton was lunching with director Barry Levinson. Michael McCarty told me that Keaton is a frequent habituĆ© of Michael’s Santa Monica as well ... Behind Lively and Nevo were Freddie Gershon and Linda Janklow. Beyond L and N, Terry Kramer, up briefly from Palm Beach, was lunching with Francine LeFrak and Margo McNabb Nederlander; and beyond them Charlie Rose was deep in conversation with Stacey Snider, CEO of Universal Pictures; and to their right, Stan Shuman ... I was lunching with Robert Pounder, former professor of archeology at Vassar." (NYSocialDiary)


"One traveling circus leaves New York, another moves right in. Even with a significant portion of the city's fashion crowd in Europe, Armory Arts Week's kickoff openings were buzzy. At fordPROJECT, curator Neville Wakefield unveiled a group show, Involuntary, for a crowd that included Rachel Weisz, ChloĆ« Sevigny, and Leelee Sobieski. Heavy on multimedia installations, the exhibition features a hyper-slow-motion video of Wakefield's girlfriend, Olympia Scarry, in mid-yawn, not to mention works by Ryan McGinley, Kaari Upson, and other youthful art-world stars. At the show's after-party at the Surrey hotel, Wakefield explained that the shockingly checkered past of the gallery's building at 57 West 57th Street—'written in blood and sex and violence and haunting'—helped him, if not viewers, process the idea of emotions beyond control." (Style)


"It was bizarre, say students—even for a professor who gets off (excuse the pun) on controversy. On Feb. 21, after a lecture on sexual arousal, students in Northwestern University psychology Professor J. Michael Bailey’s human-sexuality course were given the option to stay for a guest presentation. Most were used to these sessions: With topics like 'The Gay Guys Panel' (gay men talking about their sex lives) and Q&A sessions with transgender performers, the optional add-ons were part of what made Bailey’s class one of the most popular on campus. But this particular lecture was, shall we say, different. Led by a man whose website describes him as a 'psychic detective and ghost hunter,' it was called 'Networking for Kinky People,' and began with a towel placed neatly on the auditorium stage. Next, a woman took her clothes off, and—with an audience of around 100—lay down on her back, legs spread. As students moved forward from the theater’s back seats, for a closer view, 'The girl grabbed the mic,' says Sean Lavery, a Northwestern freshman. 'She explained that she had a fetish for being watched by large crowds while having an orgasm.' No, the girl involved was not a student. Yes, she was over 21, we’re told—and the guy stimulating her was introduced as her boyfriend. 'It was a committed couple who did the demonstration, and it happened at the end of the class,' says Ken Melvoin-Berg, the guest speaker, who helps operate a tour company called Weird Chicago that offers sex tours." (TheDailyBeast)

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