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Friday, December 09, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres
"At least 18 people were killed in violence over the weekend before election day. Voter rolls were not audited because the electoral commission ran out of time. On the day itself, ballots in some places never arrived. In others voters’ names were not on the lists. Some polling stations were burned down and poll workers attacked. In more than one town in North Kivu province, soldiers in uniform or plain clothes bullied voters into voting for Mr Kabila or filled out the ballots themselves, sometimes voting dozens of times. In Equateur province, in the west, a local election official went into hiding after the governor pressed him to change the results, which put the main opposition candidate, Etienne Tshisekedi, in the lead. Mr Tshisekedi and the rest of the opposition have cried fraud. Daniel Ngoy Mulunda, head of the electoral commission, a pastor who is a friend of Mr Kabila’s, announced partial results that put the incumbent well in the lead with almost no detail about where his numbers came from. The African Union and South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, said there was almost nothing wrong. If, as is likely, Mr Mulunda declares Mr Kabila the winner, uprisings may break out in parts of Congo. 'If Kabila returns to power he’ll have to walk over our dead bodies,' said Palmer Kabeya, one of Mr Tshisekedi’s backers outside the 78-year-old candidate’s party headquarters in Kinshasa. The dozens of young men around him agreed. Most were unemployed: less than 10% of Congo’s working-age people in a population of 66m (the UN guesses) have formal jobs. All said they were ready to die if they felt their votes were not allowed to count." (TheEconomist)

"I went down to Michael’s to have lunch with Caroline Weber, the author of Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution. Caroline is French literature professor up at Columbia University. She is one of those people who has vast curiosity as well as knowledge about her subject. French. History. Fashion. Politics ... So this was what the conversation was around yesterday at Table 8 in Michael’s. The place was very busy; full tables everywhere. About halfway through our lunch, Steve Millington, the restaurant’s General Manager/Bon Vivant did something I’d never seen him do before. He took a small stool, placed it in the middle of the front room, and with a mike in his hand, and a glass of champagne, he tapped on the glass and asked everyone in the room to be quiet for a moment. It worked. We all looked over and up at Steve who told us that today (yesterday), they were marking a special occasion. Which was: 'today (yesterday) was the 1000th visit of David Patrick Columbia to Michael’s.' What??!! Now Steve loves a good joke, and wondered why he’d decided to make that joke then, in the middle of lunch! A thousand; that’s a lotta visits. Even sounds like Too Much. Then he asked everyone to raise their glasses and drink their champagne. And they did." (NYSocialDiary)
"Warner Bros’ Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows has been tracking really big in recent weeks despite the box office slump. So it’s no surprise that the latest MovieTickets poll finds that over 40% of the 6,700 moviegoing poll participants who are buying tickets this holiday season are most excited to see that sequel. Here are the stats: Which movie are you most excited to see this holiday season? Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Warner Bros) – 40.9% The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Sony) – 26.1% Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (Paramount) – 20.6% New Year’s Eve (Warner Bros) – 12.4% " (Deadline)
"Womanizing Salman Rushdie proposed marriage to stunning Michelle Barish just two days after she split with billionaire Steve Tisch. The literary lothario, whose dating and dumping of socialite Devorah Rose made headlines last week, has been besotted with beautiful Barish for years, sources tell us. Rushdie, who was dating Barish until March, was distraught when we revealed she was dating “Forrest Gump” producer Tisch, whose family owns the Giants and Loews Hotels. Tisch and Barish, the soon to be ex-wife of entrepreneur Chris Barish, were set up by friends in August. Tisch threw her a birthday party at the Gramercy Park Hotel on Nov 29. Despite Barish telling us that Tisch was “the most amazing man I’ve ever met,” they ended their relationship the night of the party, according to The Daily’s Richard Johnson. We’re told that Rushdie showed up to Michelle’s party uninvited, was “very emotional” to see her with Tisch, and “left many of the guests feeling uncomfortable.' Upon learning she and Tisch had split, Rushdie wasted no time in asking the flame-haired beauty to be wife No. 5. A source told us, 'Salman is besotted. He asked her within 48 hours of her breakup to marry him. He even has a ring.' Rushdie didn’t get back to us." (PageSix)
"I have breast cancer. A week ago, I had breast cancer, and the week before that, and the week before that. Maybe five, eight, even ten years ago, the first bad cell split inside me, secretly. But I didn't know. This is how I arrived at knowing." (Xeni Jardin)


"Gay Republican groups are fuming at Rick Perry over a pair of incidents they say reflect deep-seated hostility toward gay and lesbian Americans and disrespect for those who serve in the military. Perry supporters maintain that the controversial television ad and press statement are consistent with Perry’s own deeply held beliefs. But they also acknowledge the underlying political calculation behind what gay groups claim is a cynical late-game ploy to sway evangelicals and social conservatives in Iowa ahead of the Jan. 3 caucuses.They certainly are showing desperation. We’re seeing the end times of the Perry campaign,' said Jimmy LaSalvia, co-founder of GOProud, a group representing gay Republicans. 'This is a strategy that plays to a very, very small minority — playing to the cheap seats is what it is.' The uproar started on Tuesday, when Perry responded to President Obama’s move to direct U.S. diplomats and foreign aid workers to prioritize human rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. 'Promoting special rights for gays in foreign countries is not in America's interests and not worth a dime of taxpayers' money,' Perry said in a statement, calling homosexuality 'a lifestyle many Americas of faith find so deeply objectionable.'" (TheHill)


"Christmas at the Yale Club! There was one not-white guy there - his name was, and I’m not kidding, Jamie Knuckles. Notice the neon lights on the ceiling, the stained glass and the balconies…Sadly, I accidentally deleted the pic of the performers: Bud Maltin and the Metropolitan Music Group, who jammed soft jazz, Christmas tunes and light rock throughout the eve. Happily, I tweeted out a pic which you can find here. It’s worth it!" (Paula Froelich)

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