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Friday, September 23, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Who's to blame for the continued failure of the Middle East peace process? Former President Bill Clintonsaid today that it is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- whose government moved the goalposts upon taking power, and whose rise represents a key reason there has been no Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. Clinton, in a roundtable with bloggers today on the sidelines of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, gave an extensive recounting of the deterioration in the Middle East peace process since he pressed both parties to agree to a final settlement at Camp David in 2000. He said there are two main reasons for the lack of a comprehensive peace today: the reluctance of the Netanyahu administration to accept the terms of the Camp David deal and a demographic shift in Israel that is making the Israeli public less amenable to peace. 'The two great tragedies in modern Middle Eastern politics, which make you wonder if God wants Middle East peace or not, were [Yitzhak] Rabin's assassination and [Ariel] Sharon's stroke,' Clinton said. Sharon had decided he needed to build a new centrist coalition, so he created the Kadima party and gained the support of leaders like Tzipi Livni and Ehud Olmert. He was working toward a consensus for a peace deal before he fell ill, Clinton said. But that effort was scuttled when the Likud party returned to power." (ForeignPolicy)


"The nation’s top military official said Thursday that Pakistan’s spy agency played a direct role in supporting the insurgents who carried out the deadly attack on the American Embassy in Kabul last week. It was the most serious charge that the United States has leveled against Pakistan in the decade that America has been at war in Afghanistan.  In comments that were the first to directly link the spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, with an assault on the United States, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went further than any other American official in blaming the ISI for undermining the American effort in Afghanistan. His remarks were certain to further fray America’s shaky relationship with Pakistan, a nominal ally ... The United States gives Pakistan more than $2 billion in security assistance annually, although this summer the Obama administration decided to suspend or in some cases cancel about a third of that aid this year. Altogether, about $800 million in military aid and equipment could be affected. The suspension was intended to chasten Pakistan for expelling American military trainers this year and to press its army to fight militants more effectively. The decision was made after the Bin Laden raid in Pakistan, where the leader of Al Qaeda had been living comfortably near a top military academy ... Although American military officials believe that the ISI is in many cases directing the Haqqani network to attack United States forces in Afghanistan, they did not go so far as to say on Thursday that the ISI specifically directed the assault on the American Embassy. American military officials did not describe the kind of support they believe the ISI gave the Haqqani network for the embassy attack, and also offered no evidence for their claim. In July 2008, the United States was able to determine that the ISI was behind the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul based on intercepted communications of ISI officers." (NYTimes)    



"On September 11, Carl Colby, a documentary filmmaker and son of the late C.I.A. director William Colby, was in Los Angeles watching the Twin Towers smolder on CNN. He was startled to hear former Secretary of State James Baker say that he believed the unprecedented attack could be directly traced to the dismantling of the C.I.A.’s ability to perform clandestine operations. It was a directive that came after William Colby testified before Senator Frank Church’s 1975 hearings on U.S. intelligence operations. In that post-Watergate era—four of the burglars had been found to have C.I.A. connections—and as Saigon was falling at the end of the Vietnam War, former C.I.A. Saigon station chief Colby’s blunt and controversial recounting of the agency’s more nefarious practices not only brought on Congressional oversight of the C.I.A. for the first time but also ensured Colby’s sacking later that year by President Ford. In an effort to explain his father, Carl Colby’s new documentary, The Man Nobody Knew, which premieres tomorrow, offers a Who’s Who parade of former top-level C.I.A. and government officials as well as some of the most knowledgeable journalists who cover the agency—from Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld to Sy Hersh and David Ignatius. As they opine on the institution and William Colby’s influence, the film gives viewers a true sense of what it is to live a lie day after day and to hobnob at the highest levels in other countries—all while seeking to advance U.S. interests by whatever means necessary." (VanityFair)



"The food, pretty much everyone agreed, was mediocre at best. The location hadn't been cool for years. And unless you were Woody Allen, you would never get a good table. Nonetheless, everybody loved Elaine's. 'Of course I loved Elaine's,' said writer Jay McInerney, as he arrived at the auction of the estate of the late Elaine Kaufman and her eponymous restaurant. 'Elaine's was where you'd go to drink, have fights and make out with someone's girlfriend in the bathroom. I have many happy memories of Elaine's.'  Ever since the famed Upper East Side restaurant closed, soon after Kaufman died in December 2010, many of those who had been frequenting the immortalised venue – Billy Joel sang about it, Woody Allen filmed it – since it opened in the 70s, have had, they said, nowhere to go. 'Elaine's felt like home,' said Broadway composer and lyricist Steven Morris who, along with his friend, Joe Shane, had been a regular since 1994. 'It was somewhere you'd go to lose yourself and find yourself.' 'I used to come with George Saunders,' added PR Laurence Gay. 'I miss it. I miss it a lot.'
On Tuesday, the unlikely setting of Doyle auction house on the Upper East Side took on the clubby feel of Elaine's itself, as regulars, many of whom hadn't seen one another since the restaurant shut, yelped with delight as each familiar face walked in and embraced one another. The whole room sighed with bittersweet sentimentality when familiar lots – the carousel horse that used to be in the restaurant's front window, the lanterns that hung over the bar – came up for bidding.
'Hey, who's in there?' Morris asked of one gentleman who was on his way out. 'Everyone,' was the answer." (Guardian)



"Lindsay Lohan got her claws out in a confrontation with the Indian model wife of millionaire hotelier Vikram Chatwal, just days after the troubled starlet and Chatwal were spotted kissing at his home in New York. Lohan rudely confronted stunning Priya Sachdev at the Dream Downtown on Wednesday night, saying with obvious disdain, 'You are his wife?' This was followed by a sour face right out of her movie 'Mean Girls,' spies said. Dream owner Chatwal married Sachdev at a lavish seven-day ceremony in 2006, and they later separated. They have a daughter and have remained close. But Chatwal was seen kissing Lohan on photographs posted on the Internet as they cozied up near a window of his New York home a few days ago. A source told us, 'Lindsay had been staying at Vikram’s house and even installed her hairdresser in the baby’s room, but was told to leave before his wife arrived from India with the child a few days ago. His father, Sant Singh, has tried to order Lindsay out numerous times. 'Lindsay found out Vikram was hosting a dinner at the Dream, and turned up with a friend at the hotel’s Electric Room, waiting for him,' the source said. 'That’s when the trouble started. Priya was very dignified, but Lindsay was so rude. She acted as if she’d had no idea Vikram was married, and tried to make it clear that Vikram was her friend. Others had to step in to calm things down.'  Chatwal flew Lohan to town before Fashion Week on his jet, and they’ve been repeatedly spotted partying together. Our source said, 'Vikram’s family worry that Lindsay is bad news and want him to stay away from her.'"(PageSix)


"My friend Leila Heller, the gallerist, formerly most recently of the Upper East Side, has moved down to Chelsea on a ground floor space at 568 West 25th Street, with an inaugural exhibition of 40 photographs: 'Firooz Zahedi: Elizabeth Taylor in Iran.' This happened in 1976 just three years before the fall of the Shah and the emergence of the mullahs. Those were the halcyon days of modern Iran and because of the Shah and the oil business, the world was going to Iran. Among those visitors was Ms. Taylor, and in the company of Mr. Zahedi, now a Los Angeleno who has worked for several of the leading fashion and lifestyle magazines for years. He started his career in the mid-70s with Andy Warhol’s Interview. Leila Heller’s debut has included a luncheon hosted by her old friend Beth DeWoody, and then a cocktail reception followed by a private dinner for the photographer. Of these Party Pictures of Patrick McMullan, the most interesting to me was seeing Liza Todd-Tivey, the only child of Elizabeth and Michael Todd who came to an untimely death in a plane crash. I don’t know Ms. Todd-Tivey and have seen her only once before – in 1975 at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Tennis Tournament in Forest Hills. She was just a kid then but stunning with her father’s countenance and her mother’s coloring and bright eyes." (NYSocialDiary)


"Business Insider announced earlier this week that it had raised a fresh $7 million in venture funding from the likes of IVP and RRE. The site earned investor’s capital by showing impressive growth in terms of both unique visitors and pageviews, even booking a small profit. But a pair of posts from late last night questioned the methods by which the site achieves this enviable traffic.The first came from Ryan McCarthy over at Reuters entitled: “Business Insider, Over-Aggregation, and the Mad Grab for Traffic. It points out that BI frequently takes all the salient facts from a story, adds little to no original reporting, and offers not much beyond a small link in return. It’s the classic argument made against the Huffington Post, that it’s more a of parasite than a publisher." (BetaBeat)

"Looks like that boycott called by hardcore fans didn’t amount to much. Nor were buyers perturbed by some very controversial changes in the 9-disc Blu-ray release of Star Wars: The Complete Saga with 40 hours of extras. Instead, the Complete Saga on Blu-ray release broke global sales records with 1 million units sold and $84 million filling cash registers. It quickly becomes the #1 pre-order and #1 catalog title since the launch of the high-definition format. Needless to say, Lucasfilm Ltd and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment are high-fiving today’s announcement that Star Wars is the bestselling catalog Blu-ray Disc of all time, including 515,000 units sold in North America in its first week alone." (Deadline)

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