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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Rwandan President Paul Kagame is living in luxury during the United Nations General Assembly, staying in the $16,000-per-night presidential suite at the Mandarin Oriental. Kagame’s rooms have 'panoramic views of Central Park, the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline,' says the hotel’s Web site. Rwanda’s average annual income last year was $1,150, according to the World Bank. Kagame, whose reps didn’t get back to us, is one of many world leaders with spending sprees on their UN agendas, despite the dismal global economic climate ... Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri was dining at Harry Cipriani, as were dignitaries from Nigeria. 'They have the Secret Service scout the area and then call up giving a fake American name like ‘Wilson,’' a spy said. Argentina President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner hit town after a Parisian shopping spree, during which she reportedly bought 20 pairs of Louboutins at $5,500 a pair.  Palestinians, including President Mahmoud Abbas -- whose room is a more modest $3,000-a-night -- are holing up at the UN Millennium, as are Egyptian chiefs, sources said. 'Security is unbelievable,' said a spy. “There are bomb-sniffing dogs and an ‘iron ring’ surrounding the hotel.'" (PageSix)



"Three of my lunch partners — there were five at table — had just come from 'A Celebration of Life' memorial service at Temple Emanu-el for Casey Ribicoff who had died almost a month ago to the day, at age 89. She would have been 90 on December 5th. Until she became ill with bronchial problems several months ago, Casey got around town daily. She had a big presence, sometimes like those girls who are (used to be) surrounded by bunch of boys at the school dance. She'd lunch at Michael's, dine at Donohue's or La Grenouille; shopped at Ralph Rucci where she acquired the costume that made her one of the most stylish ladies in New York. She was a bit of an x-ray type like those girls of her day who practically starved themselves down to a size one. Although I never saw Casey push away the food on her dinner plate, and she liked a good burger with all the trimmings. She liked her Ketel One too, and her caviar. And her Marlboros ... I don't doubt that all members of her family and her husbands and her birth family knew her well the way we all do in our personal lives. She was outgoing, and friendly by nature. They also knew her history of development. All of us have a History of Development. New York women like Casey Ribicoff can have especially interesting ones, because they are often shrewdly conscious, and develop by their natural ambition which in turn makes them creative. Like a novel. Or a movie. Oh, and Casey even knew Meyer Lansky the Godfather of them all, from her days in Miami. She knew him rather well. I remember her telling about the modest apartment he lived in with his wife. She liked him. A movie; that life." (NYSocialDiary)



"We are a little obsessed with yachts, simply because they are floating piles of burning f-you money, the most astounding sort of consumption. When "Eclipse" was completed in 2009, everyone said, "wow, that's a big boat!" But then earlier this year, we noted that two even bigger boats were being built in Germany (including "Topaz" and another) and, oh no! Now it's time for the Monaco Yacht Show. MORE BIG BOATS." (Choire Sicha)


"CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves touted the company's disciplined approach to programming costs Tuesday at the Goldman Sachs 20th annual Communacopia Conference. Drawing contrast to the increased investments the Eye's broadcast rivals Fox and NBC are making on their fall schedule, Moonves noted the network doesn't have to spend as much to maintain its ratings, citing the introduction of just five new series this fall. 'We're very disciplined,' he said. 'We haven't overspent. It's about quality, not quantity.' He referenced the big bets Fox is putting down this fall on 'The X Factor' and 'Terra Nova' to make its fourth-quarter viewership on closer level to the dominance the network achieves from January through May with 'American Idol.' Moonves also referred to the additional $300 million NBC's new parent company, Comcast Corp., pledged to put into primetime development -- an investment he deemed wise. 'They're in fourth place, they have to rebuild,' he said of the Peacock. 'It's a very smart thing to do.'" (Variety)


"Vice President Biden has been unleashed on the campaign trail, he said Tuesday night, telling a crowd at a Chicago fundraiser 'we are going to win this race.' Biden joins President Obama in the new phase of the 2012 reelection campaign, targeting Republicans in Congress while batting down unflattering reports from a new book. Addressing the 200 people gathered at the fundraiser, Biden appeared to be in his classic, convivial form, saying, "The president said, 'Look, Joe, just go be Joe.' So he let me loose.' The vice president paid a visit to the campaign's headquarters in downtown Chicago, where he said he 'noticed four of my eight top people from my campaign are now in the headquarters, so I am all in.' In a clear rebuke of Ron Suskin's new book, which reportedly portrays a president indecisive during the early days of his administration amid the economic collapse, Biden said of Obama: 'He stepped up. He didn’t hesitate.'" (TheHill)


"The liberal mood today is very much like that of Jimmy Stewart at the beginning of It’s A Wonderful Life. The economy stinks, nothing in our life is going right, and that special person turns out not to be so special after all. One odd, recurring strand of the current liberal funk is a pining away for Hillary Clinton. More than one down-in-the-dumps liberal has expressed the stray thought that, if only Democrats had nominated that other candidate, she’d surely have stood up to those Republicans, rolled up her sleeves, and pushed through a populist economic agenda. Maybe, they should just hurl this presidency over the bridge …As it happens, like Jimmy Stewart, we have a guardian angel to show us the folly of this choice. His name is Mark Penn. As Clinton’s chief political advisor, Penn’s career has been characterized by two traits, neither recommending him to the role of political architect of a liberal alternate-fantasy administration. Penn is a fervent proponent of the belief that Democrats must abhor economic populism, or even moderate economic liberalism, and embrace small-government nostrums. Second, he habitually runs roughshod over any data that stands in the way of him urging his preferred vision. Penn has a regular column in the Huffington Post, in which he treats readers to a glimpse of the strategic thinking that he would have brought to bear under a Hillary Clinton administration. Unlike Clarence the angel, Penn is not consciously setting about to show us the horrifying consequences of this alternative path. That, however, is precisely the effect. So Penn has spent the Obama administration urging Obama to pivot to deficit reduction and give up on health-care reform. Penn’s idée fixe is that the Democratic Party’s fate hinges upon currying favor with the rich." (NYMag)

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