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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"George W. Bush’s decision not to join President Obama at Ground Zero might have had more to do with an evolving game over credit for Osama bin Laden’s death than simply a desire to stay out of the spotlight. The New York Daily News reports that Bush viewed Obama’s Thursday trip to lower Manhattan 'as an Obama victory lap,' according to 'a highly-placed' anonymous person. 'He doesn't feel personally snubbed and appreciates the invitation, but Obama's claiming all the credit and a lot of other people deserve some of it,' the person told the paper. 'Obama gave no credit whatsoever to the intelligence infrastructure the Bush administration set up that is being hailed from the left and right as setting in motion the operation that got Bin Laden. It rubbed Bush the wrong way.'  Bush’s official explanation for turning down the White House’s invitation was that he wanted to keep his post-presidency private ... But a person the Daily News said is familiar with Bush’s thinking argued that a joint appearance would be 'for the benefit of Obama, and Obama withheld credit from people Bush believes deserved it.' Carney said Obama officials 'completely understand that he’s not able to come.'" (Politico)


"The world's demographers this week increased their estimates of the world's population through the coming century. We are now on track to hit 10 billion people by 2100. Today, humanity produces enough food to feed everyone but, because of the way we distribute it, there are still a billion hungry. One doesn't need to be a frothing Malthusian to worry about how we'll all get to eat tomorrow. Current predictions place most of the world's people in Asia, the highest levels of consumption in Europe and North America, and the highest population growth rates in Africa -- where the population could triple over the next 90 years." (ForeignPolicy)


"There are more serious reasons for restraint. There may be force in the president’s argument that such a graphic photo could be a propaganda tool, an incitement to additional violence. Alternatively, it could deter would-be jihadists, who would have to think a little harder when they see the bloodied bodies of Osama's men killed in the firefight in his hideaway, photos obtained by Reuters from a Pakistani security officer and rightly released on Wednesday. The gruesome photographs of Saddam Hussein's dead sons are in the same category. Those calculations apart, I’d find the exultation of exhibiting the vanquished bin Laden to be obscene, ethically not much different from the Tudors, who liked sticking heads and dismembered torsos around London, or the barbarians of al Qaeda. Obama said it well: 'That’s not who we are. We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies.' It's the jihadists who enjoy celebrating death; we prefer to celebrate life." (Harry Evans)


"Yesterday was the famous Hat Luncheon given by the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy in the Conservatory Garden in the Park at 104th Street and Fifth Avenue. Their 29th. Its official name is the Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon. I’ve always referred to it as the hat luncheon because the hats are the hook ... Rain or no rain, they had the biggest attendance ever. Somewhere over 1200. Someone told me recently the first luncheon, the first year, they had a couple dozen stalwarts. Today it’s the hottest ticket of the Spring season in New York. They raised more than $3 million, and because the luncheon was totally underwritten by the Benefit Committee, all of the funds go right into the Park and its maintenance. The luncheon was called to order after the main course by the Women’s Committee President, Gillian Miniter, who gave us the good news. There was an awards presentation to Judith-Ann Corrente. Bob Diamond, Chief Executive of Barclays was the Corporate Chair. Anne Harrison, Julia Koch, Lizzie Tisch, and Virginia Apple were co-chairs. Centerpieces by Andrew, menu by Abigail Kirsch." (NYSocialDiary)


"The News of the World had been running a series about Prince William and Prince Harry—stories containing so much verbatim detail that Palace officials realized that someone had been listening to the princes’ voice mails. A brief investigation by Scotland Yard was conducted, and a version of the truth came out. Yes, the newspaper conceded, one of its reporters, with the help of a private investigator, had been responsible. No one in authority had known a thing. The reporter and the investigator served brief prison terms. The editor of the newspaper, Andy Coulson, resigned. 'If you’re talking about illegal tapping by a private investigator,' Murdoch himself maintained, 'that is not part of our culture anywhere in the world, least of all in Britain.' End of story. But it wasn’t the end of the story. In time, politicians, business leaders, actors and actresses, prominent athletes, and society figures began to think again about curious incidents involving their own voice-mail messages. The deeper they looked, the more suspicious they became. Lawsuits were filed, which yielded further information. The police, it turned out, had known from the start that phone hacking by the News of the World was much more prevalent than they had let on. Indeed, notes seized from the private investigator had revealed that upwards of 4,000 people may have been victimized by the newspaper. Rather than the work of a rogue reporter, phone hacking seemed to have been endemic at the paper, abetted by editors all the way up the chain of command." (Graydon Carter/ Vanity Fair)


"It's showtime for broadcast pilots as screenings at the networks are kicking off. Today was Day 1 of screenings at ABC, Fox and the CW and Day 4 for CBS, which started on Friday. NBC starts its viewing tomorrow. There were a couple of standouts today. At ABC, it seems to be the Mark Gordon-produced procedural IDENTITY starring Angela Bassett as the head of a unit fighting identity-related crime, which got rave reviews. While not getting the same level of enthusiastic response, several other ABC pilots had solid showings: dramas CHARLIE'S ANGELS, which is considered a lock, POE, said to be a favorite of ABC chief Paul Lee (though some are concerned that it is essentially a 1840s Castle with a supernatural twist), and comedy SMOTHERED, while reaction to Chris Moynihan's comedy MAN UP was mixed. It was a ho-hum first screening day at Fox, with comedy I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER doing OK, drama ALCATRAZ getting mixed reaction, mostly because of its sci-fi content, and comedy TAGGED not faring well. At the CW, the rise of HART OF DIXIE continued with a great screening as the small town medical drama starring Rachel Bilson looks like a sure thing for the fall schedule along with Kevin Williamson's The Secret Circle, which is yet to be screened." (Deadline)


"Talk about corruption. (The Gaddafi family) ... have stolen billions, have used Libyan oil wealth for their hookers, yachts, private jets, and palaces around the globe, yet until recently Western bankers genuflected in front of this scumbag and our leaders permitted the arch-thief and murderer to pitch his tent anywhere he felt like in Europe and America. Such are the joys of our fear and greed. Conceived by hookers with a dose of syphilis, the brood of eight has had it their way for far too long. One’s a rapist and woman-beater, the other bought 7% of Juventus Football Club thinking he could get on the team—he’s Central Park Sunday-afternoon caliber—yet another is a torturer and killer, while the so-called civilized one is a braggart, a consummate coke-sniffer, the Goebbels of his father’s regime without the German’s charm ... Let’s blow up the Gaddafis and be done with it" (Taki)


"I’ve been seeing more and more of Mistress Dee, mainly joining in on her sessions with clients, working as her sidekick, or an assistant of sorts. A couple days ago she invited me to work a 'double Domme' session with her, for a new client--some guy flying in from Austin on business. She said she was meeting him for dinner uptown, but that I would join them later on, at his hotel. 'I’ll text you with specific instructions later,' she said down the phone, 'but keep the whole evening free. Look hot but respectable. No leather.' OK, whatever you say. I got a text from the Mistress at 7pm, saying to meet her in the bathroom of X restaurant in one hour. I was sort of confused about why I needed to meet her in the bathroom, but agreed. I never really question what Dee tells me to do or why. I just figure she knows best, and there’s no use in pretending I’m not still totally naive to these types of situations. Also, as I’ve previously mentioned, Dee possesses this weird, God-like power that makes it hard not to trust and fear her simultaneously. It’s hard to put your finger on..." (Karley)


"Fortune has released its annual Fortune 500 list today, and for the second year in a row, the Wal-Mart empire tops the list, earning profits of over $16 billion last year. So yes, people really do like shopping for tubs of vaseline, tires, frozen pizzas, band-aids and beer all in one place..." (FishbowlNY)

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