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Friday, March 09, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"For the last two days, Twitter and Facebook have been flooded with posts about Joseph Kony, the Ugandan warlord who gained global infamy through the brutal tactics of his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). But as Michael Wilkerson writes for Foreign Policy, the realities of the group don't necessarily align with the #Kony2012 campaign and its now-viral film. As Wilkerson notes, the northern Ugandan area where the group was once most active is no longer a war zone, the group having fled to the Central African Republic (CAR) and the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Critics argue that even though U.S. Special Forces have now been deployed to the region, simply removing Kony from the fight will not necessarily end hostilities or do anything to help the thousands of child soldiers forced to fight for the group.   No one on either side of the current debate, however, is arguing that the LRA -- which has been operating with near impunity for over 20 years -- is not brutally violent or that Kony is anything but an internationally wanted war criminal. Here, we look at the terrible legacy of the group and its creep from a civil war into a regional terror group. Above, a picture made available on May 24, 2006, shows Kony, one of the world's most wanted men. In 2006, Kony said he was ready for peace with the Ugandan government, but his campaign of violence continued unabated.  " (ForeignPolicy)


"On March 18, 2008, Barack Obama, then the junior senator from Illinois and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, addressed a crowd of supporters at the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia’s boxy shrine to democracy and the Founding Fathers. The speech was a sprawling, profoundly personal examination of race relations in America, prompted by increased media scrutiny of the senator’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, whose outrĂ© politics had precipitated the first real crisis for the Obama campaign. Indeed, it’s probably fair to say that the viability of Obama’s candidacy rested on the speech. Certainly it felt that way at the time, especially for the young volunteers who had flocked to the campaign, among them Sam Graham-Felsen, who was just three years out of Harvard, fresh from a stint writing for The Nation, and now working as Obama’s chief blogger. He caught the address in a campaign office back in Chicago. It was a moment of high drama, with the communications team huddled around a monitor as Obama intoned, in churchy cadences, 'For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, ‘Not this time.’' Graham-Felsen still remembers the scene vividly: 'One of the staffers was a young African-American guy, and he was crying.' This was a heady moment, history unfolding in the present tense, right now, but Graham-Felsen had just the right framework to put around it. 'It felt sort of like The West Wing,' he says. 'Not to cheapen the moment.' President Obama is often credited with inspiring political idealism in young people (at least until the campaign ended and actual governing began). But before Obama there was Aaron Sorkin and President Josiah Bartlet." (VanityFair)


"We have a scandal running in the papers here in New York. By the papers I mean the two tabloids, the Post and the News, about a woman named Anna Gristina who has been accused of running a prostitution business. You’re surprised there was prostitution in New York? You always thought that was against the law, like brokers stealing customers’ accounts (MF Global) and calling it 'vaporizing.' I wondered what Mrs. Gristina should call her thing. Maybe Sorry Wrong Number. Although unlike the boys (and probably some girls too) involved in the vaporizing of $1.6 billion of Other People’s Money over at old MF Global, Mrs. Gristina had to be handcuffed in court ...A lot of us are hypocrites when it comes to sex. Yet the internet is still driven by the pornography. It’s always been called it the oldest profession. This all presumes that Mrs. Gristina is guilty of what she’s been accused of, which is basically involved in the commerce of selling sex. 'Connecting' people is how its termed. She’s in the slammer because they’re afraid she’s going to skip town and run off to Canada. Evidently she’s got a lot of money. Millions maybe. She paid her taxes, no? I hope so. Unless it came from winning the Lottery. It’s too bad it’s come to this. This sort of public/legal thing always seems like such a charade, all things considered. Of course there are a lot of powerful, rich men who pay for sex. Even a lot of poor guys do if they think they can dig up the scratch. Others, of course, don’t; don’t want to, don’t feel like it, have a headache, etc. It sounds pretty consensual, so where's the crime, who's to blame? It confounds. When I lived out in LA, around the bend and just up the hill on Doheny Drive, there lived a lady known (I later found out) as Madam Alex. I’d lived there for quite some time when she moved in to her hillside house overlooking the canyon. I had no idea who she was. I sometimes saw her outside her house when I was walking my dogs up the road. Kind of a stout and uninterested-looking woman, dark hair pinned up around her skull; probably in her early sixties, cotton housecoat covering her, old fluffy blue slippers on her feet. She almost shuffled when she walked. I could tell by her manner that she wasn’t friendly in a neighborly sense at least ... Almost every day following as I did that canine regimen of mine because there was an actual sidewalk on that part of the road, I’d see really beautiful young women drive up to the house. They were all knock-outs; Jackie Smith types." (NYSocialDiary)


"Mind you, I’ve had some bad fights outside the dojo, two of which took place where people are sent to pay their dues to society—I won the first and tied the second after we both collapsed with fatigue—but both times we shook hands afterward. I’ve walked away from more fights than I can remember. In one egregious case the Greek who insulted me was too weak and small to hit. He had a grievance with me because of a woman, natch. Another time long ago Andrew Parker Bowles, ex-husband of Camilla, said something to me in a nightclub about me being in the Fourth Division. I answered in football parlance about perhaps being in the Third. I am glad I didn’t take it any further. I also regret not saying that unlike him, I don’t rent my wife out to the Prince of Wales. Fighting has consequences. If one must fight, the best way to go about it is to hit first and keep hitting until the enemy lies prostrate. But in all my years I have only hit first once. It was in a Paris nightclub, over a girl naturally. I became a friend of the victim and apologized to him for close to fifty years until his death, and I still feel ashamed. Getting hit is not like in the movies. A proper punch breaks the jaw, knocks out teeth, and causes concussion. A judo slam on the pavement can cause death if the head makes first contact. Cowardly thugs fight. Walking away is the best policy, and brave men do it all the time." (Taki Theodoracopulos)

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