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Monday, September 19, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Despite what you might think, I don't have much to say about Tom Friedman's column in the Sunday New York Times, where he openly bemoans the disastrous influence of the Israel lobby on U.S. Middle East policy and puts up in bright lights how bad it is for Israel as well. I'm grateful to Glenn Greenwald and Phil Weissfor pointing out that this is the main point that John Mearsheimer and I have been making for some time in our writings about the lobby. But I will say this: Friedman's admission reflects the protracted failure of U.S. policy on the Israel-Palestine issue, going back several decades. That's not news, of course. What has changed in the past few years is that the lobby's operations and its harmful influence are now out in the open for all to see, which makes it almost impossible to make the old arguments that Israel is a 'vital strategic asset' or a country that 'shares our values' with a straight face, or to convince anyone who's not already in agreement. Not after more than forty years of occupation, not after 9/11, not after the 2006 Lebanon War, not after Operation Cast Lead, not after the killings on the Mavi Marmara, and not after PM Netanyahu's repeated acts of contempt toward the U.S. president. The United States has backed Israel no matter what it did because AIPAC and the other groups in the lobby have enormous influence inside the Beltway and use that political muscle to defend Israel whenever its government's policies clash with America's interests." (ForeignPolicy)


"Tony Bennett celebrated his 85th birthday last night with a sold-out concert at The Metropolitan Opera House. Our intrepid associate editor Jill Krementz was there and filed this report along with her photographs: After being introduced by former President Bill Clinton, the legendary singer, dressed in a black Brioni suit, black tie and an orange handkerchief in his breast pocket, sang his heart out. Mr. Bennett was accompanied by his fine quartet, Lee Musiker on piano, Gray Sargent on guitar, Harold Jones on drums and Marshall Wood on bass. Also appearing on stage for several duets with Bennett were Aretha Franklin, Sir Elton John and Alejandro Sanz. It was like being at a rock concert. After every song the audience rose en masse for a standing ovation. Bennett’s newest release, Duets II, featuring the last recording by Amy Winehouse, will be avaialable on Tuesday." (NYSocialDiary)


"To me silence is music and I really found it first in Hastings-on-Hudson, where I parked my S.U.V. in the village parking lot near the train and would take the Metro-North in on a regular basis to Vogue. It just seemed like the right fit to discover a way of living that was not expected of me. To be able to leave the glamorous lanes of fashion shows, and fashion seasons, important cultural evenings, or just dinner with friends in the city and find solace in a place that was so removed from what is a challenging yet exciting life in the chiffon trenches of fashion. I loved Hastings-on-Hudson until the owners decided to increase the rent to $3,200 a month. Then I thought, time to invest. Now I live in Worthington, in a house built in the late 1800s, with four white columns and a circular porch painted a pale pearl gray that I imagined Pauline de Rothschild might have used. It’s from the porch where I can see the yard (I don’t call it a garden), which has become my sanctuary. On one side of the house are redwoods from the ’20s. The previous owners had planted superb Japanese maples. I put in white hydrangea bushes from Rosedale Nurseries last year. There are groupings of rhododendrons and huge shrubs in black regency pots. The centerpiece is a giant copper beech tree, around which I had lights installed to show it off." (Andre leon Talley)


"The battle for the Republican presidential nomination is just heating up. But the choice of running mate is as good as settled, at least if the Beltway buzz is to be believed. Many party insiders feel that the attractions of Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) for the second spot on the ticket are irresistible. 'Right now, he is head and shouders above everybody else,' Florida-based GOP strategist Rick Wilson told The Hill. (Wilson supported Rubio during his 2010 Senate bid, but did not work for the campaign.) Garlands have been hurled Rubio’s way with conspicuous frequency in the past few weeks. 'Rubio has the most important ingredient of any leader: vision,' conservative columnist Cal Thomas wrote." (TheHill)


"Before her big moment there was of course the much-talked about awkward 'surprise' appearance of Charlie Sheen. After Deadline the news that he was to appear protests came from different corners reportedly including Sheen’s ex-producer Chuck Lorre and Warner Bros’ Bruce Rosenblum (whose studio produces Two and a Half Men) among others according to Nellie Andreeva’s Sunday. When I caught up with them at the Governor’s Ball Academy officials indicated there was great sensitivity to the appearance with one top officer telling me it might be too soon for such an appearance but that Fox , the network airing the Emmys this year, thought it was important to have Sheen on so they reluctantly agreed. Warners’ Rosenblum (who is running for TV Academy Chair in November) confirmed to me that he did place a call to Fox Network’s Peter Rice to ensure the appearance would be handled in good taste. 'I just wanted to make sure there was a five second delay in place at the very least', he said. Another officer said they had a contingency plan in place for anything that might have gone wrong, but didn’t tell me exactly what that plan was." (Deadline)

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