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Friday, October 21, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"For Barack Obama and his national security team, the simultaneous fall of Sirte and the death of Muammar al-Qaddafi provide an important punctuation mark in their successful initiative to support Libyan rebels and bring an end to an odious dictatorship. The political benefits that accrue to the president at home will be modest. Domestic issues command the attention of American voters. What's more, the president's Republican opponents don't want to talk foreign-policy very much. And with good reason. The president's record is for the most part too good to take issue with. The president came into office promising to get the United States out of a disliked war in Iraq and has kept the promise. He came in promising to shift the focus to Afghanistan and finishing the business of decapitating al Qaeda. He did both. Bin Laden is dead. And we are committed to coming home from Afghanistan, too. While the administration's response to the first stirrings of rebellion in the Middle East -- in Iran -- was muddled and late, the overall approach has been constructive and the Libya chapter will stand out as a gamble that worked. Restoring relations with our European allies, engineering the 'pivot' in priorities to Asia cited by Secretary of State Clinton, and the recognition of the growing importance of dealing with emerging powers are all additional positive developments that are a credit to the president and his team. But more important than any political benefits that accrue to the president as a result of this successful outcome to the Libya effort is that it brings into focus an important shift in U.S. national security strategy, a doctrine that stands alongside Clinton's 'pivot' as one of the signature contributions of Obama and his security policymakers. Indeed, although I am reluctant to throw around the term 'doctrine' because it has become devalued through overuse, I believe it puts into focus what can and should be identified as the Obama Doctrine." (David Rothkoff)



"With Arab despots toppling at an unprecedented pace since January, a range of options for the final curtain have been tested, with Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, typically, making the most dramatic exit with his gory death on Thursday. 'Qaddafism was a kind of cult,' Juan Cole, a University of Michigan history professor, said in describing the last stand in Colonel Qaddafi’s hometown, Surt, as the act of fanatics. 'They drank the Kool-Aid, and they were determined to die. It is their truth against the evil world.' Even before the uprisings, of course, Saddam Hussein had vowed to fight to the death. But the Iraqi strongman ended up hiding underground, in a six-foot spider hole, and was eventually hanged in 2006 after a trial, however predetermined the outcome. Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, the first president who was forced out by popular outrage this year, back in January, chose exile in Saudi Arabia, where the ruling family will take virtually any Muslim.(Remember Idi Amin of Uganda?) But it is a difficult option for someone accustomed to being the center of attention; Mr. Ben Ali has not been heard from since.       " (NYTimes)


"Legendary music producer Rick Rubin is out at Columbia Records, amid a culture clash at the Sony Music label between the suits and the creatives, sources tell us -- but he may land on his feet at Warner Music Group. The grizzly-bearded Columbia co-chairman, the co-founder of Def Jam who discovered the Beastie Boys, has been missing at the label 'for months,' sources say, and he’ll be out officially in the next few weeks, before his contract expires in January. A feud has erupted between Rubin and co-chairman Steve Barnett, a business-minded executive, over who can take credit for the label’s biggest success, Adele, who sold more than 3 million records, and who should be blamed for disappointing sales of BeyoncĂ©’s album '4,' in the eyes of new boss, Sony CEO Doug Morris. Rick has made it clear he hates the culture there,' one source said. “Steve is pushing him out the door. Steve wants everyone to know that he signed Adele, and Rick only produced a handful of tracks on the album.' Meanwhile, spies say Warner Music honcho Lyor Cohen was “all over” Rubin, who arrived in shorts and bare feet to a Def Jam reunion last Friday at the New York Public Library. Cohen, long a friend of Rubin, may pitch him a new production deal or an imprint. Rubin is currently producing Linkin Park and Kid Rock albums for Warner, and this didn’t sit well with Sony, which pays him millions to create hits for Columbia. Cohen declined to comment on any specific conversations with Rubin, described as 'the most important producer of the last 20 years,' but told us, 'We would be lucky to get him.' A music industry source added, “Rick Rubin is one of the greatest producers on the planet, he’s a creative genius. The mistake Sony/Columbia made was hiring him to be an executive. It’s like taking the Porsche to the dry cleaners.'" (PageSix)




"I went down to Michael’s to lunch. Midtown didn’t seem as frenetic as Wednesday. Michael’s was busy. In the bay the 'Harpies' were holding their every-other-monthly lunch. About eight or nine of them. I saw Barbara Walters, Maury Pearl, Jennifer Isham, Lisa Caputo, Cynthia McFadden, Nora Ephron, Beth Kseniak, Liz Smith and Peggy Siegal. All at the same table. And all of those girls can talk up a storm; all by nature of their professions as well as personalities, full of information. There was a lot of cross-table stuff going on. You know it’s interesting just from watching them talk to each other (I was trying to be subtle). No doubt some interesting tidbits were being passed around with the Cobb Salad and the Gravlax. The difference in the atmosphere of these particular round tables, between a group of ladies meeting for a social lunch, is palpable. Even different from the male version – the Della Femina / Imbers / Bergman / Kramer / Greenfield Gang. There it looks like the guys are having a good time and maybe a few laughs. Away from the desk or the office. Of course all I am telling is from observing, not attending, so you could say I don’t know what I’m talking about anyway. All of those girls at Table One live by deadlines and air times. They’re going round the clock, and some of them almost never sleep, or so it would seem.  They’ve been having this lunch for years. The first year they had their one and only male guest: George Clooney (he’d made a picture with J. Lo – remember that clunker?) The next one is their annual Christmas lunch on December 19th where they re-gift presents they’ve received and do not want. It’s the kind of thing you might imagine a harpie would do, no? They also bring great books to read and give them out to each other." (NYSocialDiary)



"Lindsay Lohan spent last weekend pursuing the lead singer of Foster the People. On Saturday, LiLo followed the hip band to West Hollywood’s Beverly Lounge, was seen lurking around frontman Mark Foster and tried to crash the band’s table. A spy said, 'Mark turned his back every time Lindsay came to the table to talk. He did not want to be associated with her.' The band did mingle with celebs including Nicky Hilton, Michael Bay and Dane Cook." (PageSix)

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