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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Mali has experienced perhaps the most significant external repercussions from the downfall of the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Stratfor has discussed the impact of the conflict in Libya on the wider region since international intervention began in March 2011. Instability in Libya due to that country's deep internal fault lines meant that re-establishing a government would prove difficult. As we pointed out, that instability could spread to neighboring countries as weapons and combatants flowed outward from Libya. Reports now indicate that thousands of armed Tuareg tribesmen who previously served in Gadhafi's military have returned home to Mali. The influx of this large number of well-armed and well-trained fighters, led by a former Libyan army colonel, has re-energized the long-simmering Tuareg insurgency against the Malian government. These Tuareg insurgents have formed a new group, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). In mid-January, they began a military campaign to free three northern Mali regions from Bamako's control. The government of Mali has claimed that the MNLA is aligned with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). MNLA, however, has strongly denied any link to the group and said it will serve as a bulwark against AQIM. Given the U.S. and European interest in preventing the strengthening of AQIM, both sides have considerable incentive to take their respective positions. These developments make it an opportune time to examine the MNLA, their current offensive and the potential implications for Mali and the region." (STRATFOR)


"Hollywood power Democrats came together to support President Obama’s reelection campaign at an exclusive LA fundraiser hosted by Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos and his wife, Nicole Avant, at their Beverly Hills home.  Tuesday’s event brought together an impressive assortment of power players even as Tinseltown is up-in-arms over the White House not taking a tough stance against digital piracy.  Among the 20 to 25 guests were Haim Saban, Steve Bing, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Harvey Weinstein, as well as guest-of-honor Michelle Obama.
Saban’s presence particularly had politicos reading their tea leaves: In the last election, Saban backed Hillary Clinton. Last May, the media mogul hinted he would not continue to donate to Obama and criticized the president for not visiting Israel ... Despite being one of the most generous Democrat donors, Saban — who also invited Nancy Pelosi to speak at a dinner Monday at his Beverly Hills home — was also reportedly being eyed by Mitt Romney’s campaign last fall as a potential donor. 'There were the most important Democratic donors on the West Coast,' said a source about the Sarandos event, adding that it was a coup to get the players together amid the backdrop of the Stop Online Piracy and Protect IP acts’ loss of support on Capitol Hill. 'Obama came down on the side of Silicon Valley, rather than Hollywood,' said the source. 'And that still has to be worked out.'" (PageSix)


"The moon over Miami was a blue moon for Newt, a bad moon rising for Gingrich. This moon’s shine was all for Mitt Romney, illuminating a moon river that seems set to eventually carry Romney to the Republican presidential nomination. But how fast is 'eventually?' In this roller coaster race, no one should pretend to know the end point of the ride. There are some powerful examples of candidates who started losing with some frequency once their nominations seemed all but assured. For example, President Gerald Ford looked like he had vanquished the challenge from Ronald Reagan once he had won the Iowa caucuses and primaries in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Florida and Illinois. Then came March 23 and Reagan’s surprise victory in North Carolina, which started a see-saw battle that led all the way to the floor of the 1976 Kansas City convention. Four years later, President Jimmy Carter thought he had iced Ted Kennedy after winning the Iowa caucuses and then primaries in New Hampshire, Vermont, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Illinois. (In that stretch, the only primary Kennedy won was on March 4 in his home state of Massachusetts.) But on March 25, Kennedy shocked Carter by winning New York and Connecticut, and all told, Kennedy won 10 primaries and 37.1% of Democratic primary votes cast. Can Newt be Romney’s Reagan or Kennedy? What will Ron Paul’s effect be, particularly in upcoming caucuses? And what of Rick Santorum, the forgotten man? He got more votes in Florida than Paul, after all. First, let’s take a quick look back at why Florida turned out the way it did." (SabatosCrystalBall)


"Today is the 89th birthday of Liz Smith. Broadway's 'Natural Blonde.' She got off the bus here from Texas I think in 1949 when she was about 26. Little did she know one day she’d own. Hardly could she have imagined that 63 years later she would still be working it daily (five days a week),and now on the internet on Wowowow.com as well as in papers across the nation. I’ve been a fan of hers since before I knew I was reading her – when I was reading the Cholly Knickerbocker column in the Daily Journal-American – one of the two Hearst papers here in New York. The 'real' Cholly who had the byline was Igor (Ghighi) Cassini (brother of Oleg) ... When she had her 80th birthday she asked her readers and friends who might be thinking of sending her a gift, to send the money to the city for the Mayor’s Fund to help the citizens of New York. The fund received more than a quarter million dollars. Liz was so surprised by the outpouring of generosity from so many people that she realized she could do that more often and do more good. Her charitable support has been frequent and widely distributed although Literacy Partners, which she founded with Parker Ladd and Arnold Scaasi, and the New York Landmarks Conservancy which has an annual tribute to New York Living Landmarks at a dinner which Liz emcees." (NYSocialDiary)


"President Obama is eyeing Arizona as one of the few Republican states he might flip in November, but to do that he might need the help of its brightest star: former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D). Whether Giffords will lend her considerable clout to the president’s reelection campaign remains an open — and exceedingly delicate — question. Giffords resigned her House seat last week, a little over a year after she suffered a gunshot wound to the head while speaking to constituents. She has vowed to return to public service after recuperating more from her injuries, and that could include a future run for office in Arizona. Democrats in Arizona say there is no doubt that if Giffords became involved in Obama’s campaign, she could boost his chances of capturing a state that gave its 10 electoral votes to favorite son Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008. McCain won it comfortably, by 8.5 points. 'Gabby Giffords campaigning with anybody could help. Anybody,' said Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), who heads the House Democrats’ campaign arm.Yet with Giffords headed back to Houston to continue her rehabilitation, it’s a topic the Obama campaign is unlikely to broach with her and her husband, Mark Kelly, for several months." (TheHill)


"MSNBC anchors Lawrence O’Donnell and Tamron Hall have a romance spicing up off set. The single 'Last Word' host, 60, has been quietly dating the pretty midday anchor and rising star at the network for months. The duo have kept their relationship low-profile in the studio but have been spotted canoodling at downtown haunts. O’Donnell, a “West Wing” producer who has a daughter with ex-wife Kathryn Harrold, was linked to actress Kerry Washington in 2008. MSNBC declined to comment." (PageSix)

Lord Patten

"But back to more pleasant subjects, such as welcoming Charles Moore to the Concussion Club. He wrote about getting knocked out in his Spectator Notes three issues ago. It feels dreamlike, as if everything is in slow motion. I’ve been concussed about five times, once severely when a guy called Wilson from the British karate team made contact with my chin and the back of my head made contact with the hard wooden floor. Apparently I began discussing Vietnam with Sensei Enoeda, the head instructor who bent over to check me out. 'Take a break' was all he said. Charles asked whether death feels like getting knocked out does. I sure hope so. Being choked out in judo is downright pleasant and there’s no hangover. If your opponent has a tight grip on your Adam’s apple and you decide to tough it out and not tap out, you will pass out and feel no pain. Five seconds later you will have oxygen again and come back feeling like a million bucks—well, a million drachmas, anyway. Welcome to the club, Charles. It’s quite an exclusive one, especially nowadays with all that health and safety bulls—t. Speaking of safety, Lord Patten tells us that Rupert Murdoch shredded his book in order to curry favor with the Chinese leadership." (Taki)

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