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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"America's special relationship with the United Kingdom began at conception. We were born as a nation of British stock and despite periodic tensions and the occasional war, we have built and deepened the relationship until it has become one of the closest on the planet. But being a special relationship and being especially important are two different things and it may be that another special relationship is brewing that in the 21st century could transcend that with Britain.That said, Brits can take comfort. This newly ascendant relationship remains within the extended family of their former colonies. Currently, President Obama is on his first official visit to Australia. So far, during his stay, he has sent several clear messages that America's almost always warm relationship with our cousins down under is getting warmer and is being seen by this White House as strategically more important than ever. His interactions with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard have been characterized as especially warm. He has described America's shifting focus to the Asia-Pacific region that is increasingly be presented as the centerpiece of this administration's foreign policy. And, backing up his assertion that the region is 'of huge strategic importance to us', the President and Gillard have announced a new defense deal that will establish a U.S. military presence in Darwin and will deepen and enhance cooperation between the two nations' air forces." (ForeignPolicy)



"After the failure of the 1973 Geneva Peace Conference, the Israeli diplomat Abba Eban sighed that 'The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.' In recent years, the same could be said of Americans. Two months ago, the U.S. marked the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Sadly, we commemorated a tragedy without celebrating much triumph. The post-9/11 moment was an unheralded instance of national -- even global -- unity. The Bush administration could have used it for almost anything. And, to be fair, it did. The nation burned trillions of dollars in two wars and a budget-busting round of tax cuts. The president told us to go shopping, and the Federal Reserve held interest rates at extraordinarily low levels. The result? Deficits and a credit bubble. That was missed opportunity No. 1. Three years ago, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. fell. The ensuing financial crisis dwarfed anything seen since the Great Depression. But there was, for the U.S., one silver lining. In a world of risk, the markets deemed us dependable. The real yield on five and seven-year Treasuries is, even today, negative. Investors will literally pay us to keep their money safe. For a country with more than $2 trillion in unmet infrastructure needs, this is a remarkable opportunity. But it gets better. Weak global demand means raw materials are cheap. And the bursting of the housing bubble means unemployment in the construction sector is high. We can borrow at a bargain, buy at a bargain and ease the unemployment crisis in the hardest-hit sector of our economy, all while making desperately needed investments in our future competitiveness and quality of life." (Ezra Klein)



"I went down to Michael’s for their Wednesday lunch. I go to Michael’s for a couple of reasons (if I haven’t told you before). It draws such a cross-section of media and media related people that it offers the possibility of something to talk about if I don’t have anything else for the daily Diary. I also like the look of the place. It’s light and soothing and the art enhances and adds another dimension to the creativity of the place. In the room: Bob Friedman with David Carey; Joe Armstrong with Mort Janklow; Da Boyz, Della Femina, Bergman, Kramer, Imber; Geraldine Laybourne, Mel Karmazin with Alan Grubman; Fern Mallis, Vernon Jordon; Alex Hitz with Nikki Haskell; Ellin Delsener, Tony Hoyt, Lucianne Goldberg, Diane Clehane, Beverly Camhe (with Jeremy Weisen and Mary Clemente), Jon Meacham; Lynn Nesbit with Mercedes Bass; Gerry Byrne, Tom Brokaw ... Last night in New York. The French Heritage Society held their annual Gala Dinner Dance 'Celebrating the Royal Families of Fontainebleau' at the Metropolitan Club." (NYSocialDiary)



"Sharon Stone confirmed that she is set to play the mother of Linda Lovelace in Lovelace, a biopic about the porn star from Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Amanda Seyfried is already aboard to play Lovelace, one of the most famous adult film stars whose Deep Throat is the genre’s most iconic movie and one of the all-time highest-grossing indie films. The script centers on Lovelace’s relationship with her husband Chuck Traynor, who steered her into the business; she subsequently quit porn and divorced Traynor. Peter Sarsgaard is in negotiations for the husband." (Deadline)



"Suggest to Ralph McDaniels that he was an instrumental part of New York's hip-hop culture, and his warm smile will give way to a humble laugh. But don't let his charm fool you. He's a visionary and a caretaker, a man who not only produced and directed the first rap videos but who also created the first outlet for them—and invented the shout-out, too. In the late '80s and early '90s, Whodini's 'Five Minutes of Funk' served as the opening theme for Video Music Box, a show on WNYC hosted by the man known as 'Uncle Ralph.' Back then, kids who grew up with a TV and a love of hip-hop would run home from school so as not to miss a beat of the latest clips by Smif-N-Wessun or Raekwon. McDaniels was born in Bed-Stuy to Trinidadian parents; later on, the family moved to Queens, which McDaniels says had a lot to do with his success. 'Basements, man' he explains. 'That's why brothers from Queens have been so successful. We have space in the basement to figure it all out in. Basements are creative zones in Queens.' McDaniels attended Bayside High School, played football, and DJ'd the after-parties to all the games. He developed a rep for "having a box in hand at all times' and went from LaGuardia Community College to the New York Institute of Technology. But his work in the TV business—at Manhattan Cable, at the former Metromedia Channel, and finally at WNYC—prepared him best." (VillageVoice)


"I went back to the transcript of the interview I did with (White house Chief of Staff Bill) Daley on Oct. 25 in order to explain what those responsibilities are. Sitting in his West Wing corner office that day, I began by asking: 'What is it that you do?' He chuckled and began an explanation that involved a certain amount of 'alphabet soup,' the language that is second nature to those who work in the White House. 'It’s a combination of managing the people who run different pieces of the actual White House,' Daley said. 'The NEC [National Economic Council] , the DPC [Domestic Policy Council], the communications operation, the outreach operation, which includes, in this setup, the OPE [Office of Public Engagement], Valerie’s [Valerie Jarrett’s] shop, which is intergovernmental affairs, the constituent groups, all of that sort of outreach. So it’s partly the management of the functioning of all the different departments, the link at the very senior level to the agencies, the Cabinet people, the heads of agencies and departments that the president has appointed.Then, there’s to a degree — and this is where it shifts depending on the president — [being] somewhat of a political adviser and giving judgment on things, questions that come before [the president]. I give everything from my two cents’ worth on national security if he cares to hear it, because I sit in on all the briefings.'" (Politico)

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