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Thursday, September 01, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"All threats have two basic components: intent and capability. Al Qaeda’s leaders have threatened to conduct an attack more terrible than 9/11 for nearly a decade now, and the threats continue. Here’s what Ayman al-Zawahiri, now al Qaeda’s No. 1, said to his followers on Aug. 15, 2011, in a message released on the internet via as-Sahab media: 'Seek to attack America that has killed the Imam of the Mujahideen and threw his corpse in the sea and then imprisoned his women and children. Seek to attack her so history can say that a criminal state had spread corruption on earth and Allah sent her his servants who made her a lesson for others and left her as a memory.' The stated intent of al Qaeda and the rest of the jihadist movement is, and has been, to strike the United States as hard and as often as possible. It logically follows, then, that al Qaeda would strike the United States on Sept. 11 — or any other day — if possible. With intent thus established, now we need to focus on capability. One of the primary considerations regarding al Qaeda’s capability to strike the United States is the state of the jihadist movement itself. The efforts of the U.S. government and its allies against the core al Qaeda group, which is based in Pakistan, have left it badly damaged and have greatly curtailed its operational ability, especially its ability to conduct transnational attacks. In January we forecast that we believed the al Qaeda core was going to be marginalized on the physical battlefield in 2011 and that it would also struggle to remain relevant on the ideological battlefield. Indeed, it has been our assessment for several years now that al Qaeda does not pose a strategic threat to the United States." (STRATFOR)



"Many of the wealthy, influential and powerful people on Vanity Fair’s 2011 'New Establishment' list are West Coast wunderkinder more likely to sport hoodies and backpacks than suits and ties. For a second year in a row, the magazine gives top billing to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for proving that his social network is more than just a passing fad. Dominating the top 10 are a number of tech upstarts: Square’s Jack Dorsey, who had a hand in creating Twitter; Zynga’s Mark Pincus; and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.  Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook, entered the list for the first time at No. 4, while Netflix honcho Reed Hastings makes a huge leap from No. 90 last year to No. 7, thanks to his frequent name checks on media earnings calls. The tech guys share the north end of Vanity Fair’s top 50 with a host of venture capitalists who back them, including: Marc Andreessen, Ben Horowitz, Jim Breyer at Accel Partners, Mark Moritz at Sequoia Capital and Reid Hoffman at Greylock Partners. This year, the magazine shunted most of the old-school media moguls onto a separate list -- 'The Powers That Be' -- headed by Steve Jobs. That list also includes Disney CEO Bob Iger, Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes and News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch. (News Corp. owns The Post.) Both the new and old establishment skew heavily toward men. Monster pop sensation Lady Gaga is the highest-ranking female, in ninth place, thanks to her influence on both fashion and music spheres." (NYPost)


"It’s been very sunny and hot, with the bluest of blue skies above and the greenest of green mountains around me. It does not get any better than this. The farmers have cut their grass and packed it for the winter’s feed, soon the cows will be coming down from the hills, and the Swiss franc will continue going through the roof. Life is now so expensive in Switzerland, even the rich are starting to complain. Sixty greenbacks for a grilled cheese in a top hotel’s terrace is a bit steep unless one has access to the Gaddafi sovereign wealth fund, which I am sure some Swiss bankers do. Still, I know worse places to be: the Hamptons during Labor Day weekend ..." (Taki Theodoracoupulos)


"Over the last few months, AMC's golden-child image has taken a beating in the press: In rapid succession, the ascendant cable network's higher-ups have been battered by allegations that they wanted to cut costs (and cast!) from Mad Men; that they dumped Frank Darabont, the soul behind the soulless zombies on The Walking Dead, when he wouldn't agree to budget changes; and that they were seeking a speedy and unsatisfactory end to Breaking Bad. Having transformed itself from a sleepy channel that aired old movies to a programming powerhouse virtually overnight, the network suddenly seemed unable to deal with its success, particularly the high costs often associated with hit shows. 'They were doing so much right, and then they seemed to blow it by doing the little things wrong,' one Hollywood vet says. So has the place that claims only 'story matters' turned into the place where only the bottom line matters? Or was all this drama the by-product of a relatively young network desperately trying to make the increasingly impossible economics of high-quality scripted TV make sense? Vulture decided to investigate just what in the name of Sterling Cooper is going on." (NYMag)


"It’s not the first time the president has moved to counter-program the Republican presidential field. After the influential Ames straw poll last month, Obama's bus tour rolled into Iowa the following Monday, leading to complaints from Republicans about the political overtones of the taxpayer-funded trip." (TheHill)


"New York's John Heilemann spoke to MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell last night about the scheduling conflict heard 'round the world, when President Obama announced he'd address a joint session of Congress on the same night as the True Blood season finale next GOP presidential debate set for Wednesday. For a while, it looked like Obama wouldn't blink, but he eventually moved his speech to Thursday, which, Heilemann says, wouldn't have been the outcome if the situation were reversed. 'Democrats would probably have rolled over and granted the Republican president the night,' he said. 'They don't play politics with the same relentless hardball attitude [as Republicans],' adding that this whole thing is a giant pissing contest. 'Does anybody really think there's a chance that there's going to be any way for these two parties to come together and pass any legislation that will actually help the economy? I think not.'" (NYMag)

1 comment:

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The writer is totally fair, and there's no doubt.