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Friday, November 18, 2011

Media Whore D'Oeuvres



"The Cable has obtained the document at the center of the 'memo-gate' controversy, sent allegedly from the highest echelons of Pakistani's civilian leadership to Adm. Michael Mullen in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden. The memo offered to reshape Pakistan's national security leadership, cleaning house of elements within the powerful military and intelligence agencies that have supported Islamic radicals and the Taliban, drastically altering Pakistani foreign policy -- and requesting U.S. help to avoid a military coup. The Cable confirmed that the memo is authentic and that it was received by Mullen. The Pakistani Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani -- the rumored author of the memo -- has offered to resign over what has become a full-fledged scandal in Islamabad. The Cable spoke this evening to the man at the center of the controversy and the conduit of the memo, Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz. 'Civilians cannot withstand much more of the hard pressure being delivered from the Army to succumb to wholesale changes,' reads the memo, sent to Mullen via an unidentified U.S. interlocutor by Ijaz. 'If civilians are forced from power, Pakistan becomes a sanctuary for UBL's [Osama bin Laden's] legacy and potentially the platform for far more rapid spread of al Qaeda's brand of fanaticism and terror. A unique window of opportunity exists for the civilians to gain the upper hand over army and intelligence directorates due to their complicity in the UBL matter.'" (ForeignPolicy)

"Why should Pakistan's smart, hard-working ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani have to resignfor doing his job? After all, if as has been asserted, he was involved in getting a back-channel note passed from Pakistan's president to Admiral Mike Mullen when Mullen was chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, isn't that what ambassadors do for their bosses? Yes, it's embarrassing if the note offered to reshuffle the leaders of Pakistan's military and intelligence services in exchange for U.S. assistance in quashing a potential coup. And yes, it's even more embarrassing that Mullen's staff asserts he more or less totally ignored the note. But let's be honest, isn't the real problem here that a message that was supposed to be on the down-low was found out? (And doesn't that suggest the real mistake was channeling the note through a Pakistani-American businessman who couldn't keep his mouth shut?) On a deeper level, doesn't the entire incident simply further confirm the fact long-acknowledged by Pakistan hands (and anyone else who's paying attention) that this country seems to be emulating the Chinese model in Hong Kong: one country, two systems? Given the depth, history and tensions associated with the divides between that country's civilian political establishment and its military-intelligence establishment, isn't the truth about Pakistan that is one of the world's true schizo-states?" (ForeignPolicy)



"Arianna Huffington is standing by AOL chief Tim Armstrong. Despite reports that the AOLHuffington Post union isn’t working, Huffington told us he isn’t going anywhere. 'Tim is very committed to the company,' she said at HuffPo co-founder Kenneth Lerer’s home for the one-year anniversary reception of PureWow.com. She also shot down chatter that Armstrong, a Republican, has his eye on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s seat when she runs for reelection next year. 'Kirsten was in our office last week,'" (PageSix)

"People always ask me 'is there a society today?' Answer: Yes. Where is it? It’s here. In the store. You think I’m kidding? Society today is about shopping. The other day I got an invitation to a brunch for a young woman who has gone into the clothes designing/ manufacturing business. Someone is giving her a luncheon at a private club here. The invitation also stated that I could have a look at her line (pictures were enclosed) at the luncheon. Just by chance.  When I was in the schmatte business an eon ago, I used to look at that stuff and decide whether or not it would walk out of the store. Now when it’s put before me I can’t help having a quick look at the stuff (much more quickly). And I am reminded how glad I am to be out of that business. (Because I don’t know anymore.) No small irony that a lifetime and a career later, as a social reporter/chronicler, I am confronted with the schmatte again. And they call it a party. Shoe store openings or social ladies luncheon. The latter I won’t be attending, but I have no doubt that a lot of women whom you’ve seen many times on the NYSD, will be there. And looking at the schmattes, and thinking about what they’ll wear in St. Barth’s or Palm Beach, or Aspen, or Harbor Island in the coming months. So, there I am at Stuart Weitzman’s grand opening reception hosted by Quest’s Elizabeth Meigher and Cornelia Guest." (NYSocialDiary)

"I had a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious week—so good, it took a weekend in Connecticut to recover from it. Let’s begin with the Norman Mailer benefit gala. The Mailer Center is an extraordinary achievement only four years following the great man’s death. Larry Schiller, the human battery behind it, has turned Mailer’s Cape Cod house into a young writers’ colony, handing out scholarships and shelter and giving out prizes and 16-month-long fellowships to keep their literary ambitions alive. (Thirty-two Mailer fellowships and 225 writers have received scholarships to date.) Dylan Jones of GQ magazine is also a big sponsor, Taki being a tiny one. This year they had Bill Clinton handing out a prize for distinguished biography to Cliff Richard, who looked awful upon getting up onstage to receive it. I saw him not too long ago at Wimbledon trying a sing-along, and never have I seen a man deteriorate more rapidly ... I filled my table with swells and other such birds and creatures. I had my son and his constant sweetheart Saskia de Rothschild at my table, Michael Mailer with a blonde that could convert Boy George overnight, that wonderful actress Lois Chiles (who played Jordan in 1974’s The Great Gatsby and who is as ladylike as Jordan was without the superficiality), and Hungarian hotel tycoon Andre Balazs with a German Fräulein of Aryan looks and mien. What else can I say but Wunderbar? The party continued downtown at Balazs’s Boom Boom Room, a place where Nero would have felt right at home. My hangover was still hovering a couple days later when me, the wife, and Reinaldo Herrera were driven north by a descendant of those who discovered the Northwest Passage—Wilbur and Clark, was it?—or such was the impression he gave. One year ago, on our way to and back from Graydon Carter’s Connecticut home, we spent the better part of the weekend in the car. It took six hours to go, seven to come back. This time it was an hour and thirty minutes to go and the exact same to return. The difference was that last year Reinaldo Herrera issued Magellan-like instructions which turned out to be the wrong town in the wrong state. This time the directions were perfect." (Takimag)

"CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves this afternoon addressed what went down with Charlie Sheen on the CBS hit Two and a Half Men earlier this year by issuing this easily-understandable two-word assessment: 'Shit happens.' Featured in conversation at the Hollywood Radio and Television Society Newsmaker Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Moonves elaborated that what happened to the show was 'unfortunate' and 'wasn’t fun. There’s no good when there are lawyers involved with a television show.' But he is encouraged to find that Men’s ratings are up from what they were a year ago with Ashton Kutcher having replaced Sheen in the cast." (Deadline)



"'Republicans are calling for President Obama to jump into the deficit-reduction talks gripping Washington, reflecting the widespread view that the congressional supercommittee is now headed for a failure. Lawmakers and congressional aides familiar with the deliberations say the talks have reached a hard impasse, with Republicans locked in an internal struggle over whether to agree to higher tax hikes to cut a deal.It’s hard to see us getting a deal unless he comes in at the last minute,' Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) said of Obama, who is on a nine-day trip to the Pacific and not scheduled to return to Washington until Sunday. 'We’re in the two-minute drill and closing in on a ‘Hail Mary’ and the quarterback is on the sidelines. Unless the leadership, including the president, steps in and saves this thing, I think the consensus is, in terms of coming up with a credible package, all is lost,' Coats added. There was a surprising lack of urgency on Capitol Hill Thursday as members of the supercommittee talked past one another. Some lawmakers not on the super-panel shrugged at the inaction, saying they were planning to go home for the Thanksgiving recess and noting they don’t have to vote on any deal until next month." (TheHill)

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