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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"It all sounded so promising. In the early morning hours on Oct. 27, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy emerged from a day of edge-of-their-seats negotiations and announced a historic plan to pull the continent's economy back from the brink of disaster.
The agreement, acceded to by European governments and the Institute of International Finance, had three parts. Investors -- mostly European banks -- would write off half of the face value of the Greek bonds they held, a particularly toxic ingredient in Europe's debt crisis. The banks would raise capital to the tune of 100 billion euros, removing some of the uncertainty over the shaky sovereign government debt on their books. And the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) -- the continent's 625 billion-euro bailout fund -- would be bolstered to 1 trillion euros in order to protect other vulnerable economies from imploding the way Greece's had. The politicians involved patted themselves on the back, and stock exchanges on three continents sharply rallied on the news of a deal, with some European bank stocks leaping by as much as 25 percent in a single day. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for the expectations from last week's summit to come crashing down to Earth, and loudly." (MOHAMED EL-ERIAN)



"China is likely to react sympathetically when Europe approaches it for assistance, directly or indirectly. But if Brussels is to persuade Beijing to make a substantial commitment to Europe, it has to demonstrate more geopolitical competence – and also more independence in managing relations with China. A fundamental mistake European governments have made is to position themselves as geopolitical subsidiaries of the US. These interests are defined by geography. America has to handle Mexico as sensitively as Europe handles Russia. It is striking that Europe does not indulge in ideological grandstanding on democracy and human rights in Russia. All Europe has to do is to treat China as pragmatically as it treats Russia. A few simple symbolic gestures could win significant favour in Beijing. The EU has so far denied China the status of 'market economy', even though it will gain this automatically in 2015 under current World Trade Organisation agreements. This could constrain the EU’s unilateral anti-dumping actions against China. Another possible symbolic gesture is to lift its arms embargo. This does not mean that the EU will begin arms sales to China. That will not happen. But the removal of the embargo would end a humiliating condition imposed on China, and not on Russia." (FT)



"Cobina Wright Jr. was a household name in America in the 1940s not unlike the way Kim Kardashian is a household name today. Although thanks to the bigger hype of cyber media, Ms. Kardashian's fame is worldwide. And, it was a far far different world, still a world of manners and morals. Where the Kardashians move in the groove created by Paris Hilton, Cobina's peers and contemporaries were Brenda Frazier and Gloria Vanderbilt. The similarities between these girls began, as they always do (with few exceptions) in the world of hyper-celebrity with M-O-T-H-E-R. Cobina's mother, aka Cobina Wright Sr. was a very successful stage mother. So successful that she milked a career, first in show business and then in news print, of her own out of her daughter's brief but glittering rise to fame. Cobina's father, who evidently loathed the idea of his daughter's celebrity, was dispensed with." (NYSocialDiary)



"Amanda Seyfried, currently in theaters in Andrew Niccol’s In Time, has been cast as Linda Lovelace in Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s movie about the infamous porn star, Lovelace. Peter Sarsgaard is in negotiations to play her husband Chuck Traynor, the pornographer who coaxed her into becoming an adult film actress. Lovelace went on to appear in Deep Throat, one of the most famous and all-time highest-grossing independent movies. She subsequently quit porn and divorced Traynor. The script is by Andy Belling and W. Merritt Johnson, based on the book The Complete Linda Lovelace by Eric Danville. Partners on the project are Millennium Films, Eclectic Pictures and Untitled Entertainment." (Deadline)



"A senior Senate Democratic aide predicted Tuesday that not a single Republican would vote for the latest jobs package of $50 billion in infrastructure spending combined with a $10 billion national infrastructure bank. Senate Democratic leaders hope to vote Thursday on the jobs bill, but they expect the outcome to follow the same lines as the previous two jobs measures Republicans voted unanimously to block. The first vote was on Obama’s entire plan; the second highlighted aid for emergency responders. Both triggered a couple defections from the Democratic Caucus.
Asked on Tuesday if he was frustrated, Reid responded, 'I’m not frustrated, I’m terribly disappointed.'
... Democratic operatives are quick to note that they never expected to pass the jobs bills through the Senate, adding that the multiple roll calls will put Republicans on the defensive and force them to explain on the 2012 campaign trail why they voted no on measures that poll well with voters. Two of the Democrats’ targets, Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), said they would likely vote against the infrastructure bill because it would raise the income tax. A third, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), said she is reviewing it.  Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) has exasperated Reid by keeping his conference tightly unified throughout the fall’s debate on stimulus spending.  Reid lashed out at Republicans on Tuesday, accusing them of acting 'like puppets' of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) President Grover Norquist, a conservative activist." (TheHill)



"Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards gave wife Patti Hansen a 'proper Keef-style courtship,' including 'drawings in his own blood' and 'being up five days straight.' In Mark Rozzo’s Town & Country cover story, top model Hansen also recalls that Peter Bogdanovich, who directed her in a film, wrote to her parents 'alerting them of Richards’ bad influence.' But while Hansen -- discovered at 16 in 1972 working at her dad’s Staten Island hot dog stand -- calls herself a 'Bible-believing Christian,' she, too, had a dark side. 'It was Champagne, uppers, downers, poppers, all that,' recalls pal Shaun Casey who was known with Hansen in the duo’s modeling days as 'The Golden Girls.' When Hansen met hell-raising Richards on her 23rd birthday at Studio 54, she was already known for 'dropping acid during a shoot on Mohonk Lake,' 'stepping off a plane in transparent shorts with no underwear' and 'knocking a photographer senseless after he got too fresh.' The piece recalls the couple’s nightmarish meet-the-parents scenario when Richards, meeting her folks, smashed his guitar on a table after he felt slighted, “before breaking down in remorseful tears,' as well as his declaration to Mick Jagger the night before the couple’s wedding, 'I ain’t letting the bitch go!' Hansen is credited in the story with 'bringing...no-nonsense stability' to his life. It adds that daughter Theodora’s recent graffiti on a Manhattan church reading, 'T heart A,' was a nod to Richards calling her and sister Alexandra “Little T & A,' referring to the Stones’ hit." (PageSix)



"An alternative title for I Want My MTV: The Uncensored History of the Music Video Revolution could be Drugs and Money. As we learn in Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum’s splendid oral history, music video production fueled a barter economy in which crew members were paid in cocaine. Line producers would make receipts for drug purchases and file them under 'craft services.' ('I would always be able to bury at least a quarter ounce of cocaine in there,' one producer explains.) Cocaine was to the mid-1980s video professional as Adderall or Diet Coke is to the contemporary business executive. (How do you know if a member of Duran Duran tooted too hard during a shoot? He’s likely wearing sunglasses in the video.) But MTV did not live by cocaine alone. Before John Lack (who came up with the idea for the network) could trade a transponder to CNN in exchange for ad time, he was compelled to smoke pot with Ted Turner. On the set of a Van Halen video, midgets — presumably the ones hired to grope a high-heeled lady tied between two stakes — handed out mushrooms. Filming a segment in front of Betsy Ross’ house in Philadelphia, veejay Kevin Seal came up on his tab of LSD on-camera. 'I appeared as though I was having a seizure,' he says, 'like I was about to leave language behind.' As will be evident by now, I Want My MTV is compulsively entertaining, hugely edifying (shocker: some hair-metal bands cheated with extensions and plugs), and occasionally profound." (Time)



"And wasn't it a treat that he brought his trick? Here they are, thanks to Huffington Post, in full glorious costume at Sunday night's Saints and Sinners party at the Standard. And what exactly are Calvin and young Nick dressed as, perchance? Easy one: sinners!" (Michael Musto)

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