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Thursday, March 01, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"When North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died late last year, analysts had no clear idea what the accession of his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, might mean for the Hermit Kingdom. On Feb. 29 this leap year -- appropriately enough -- we got an initial hint, when Pyongyang agreed to suspend work at the state-of-the-art uranium-enrichment plant at Yongbyon that it had suddenly revealed to a visiting U.S. nuclear scientist in November 2010, to halt nuclear and missile tests, and to allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency back into the country after a six-year absence. The new deal with the United States, concluded in exchange for 240,000 tons of food aid, will not eradicate the North Korean threat. It augurs well, however, for Kim Jong Un's foreign-policy smarts and will be seen internationally as a diplomatic victory for U.S. President Barack Obama. The deal is no permanent solution because Pyongyang retains enough plutonium for four to 12 atomic bombs (with so many unknown variables, a more exact calculation is impossible). It is also presumed to be capable of producing more weapons using highly enriched uranium (HEU) at hidden facilities. North Korea has rebuffed Washington's demands to reveal the full scale of its enrichment program, but the 2,000-centrifuge uranium-enrichment plant at Yongbyon -- whose size and sophistication left visiting Stanford University professor Siegfried Hecker 'stunned' in 2010 -- was capable of producing a weapon's worth of HEU every year. Pyongyang has now relinquished that potential production. North Korea's agreement to suspend nuclear and missile tests is also significant. Its two nuclear tests and three tests of medium-range ballistic missiles have all failed to one degree or another, so military leaders presumably want to conduct more to get the technology right. Kim will have less power to resist such military demands. Luckily for him, his father authorized negotiations with the United States that began shortly before the elder Kim's death in late December. After a hiatus for mourning, the talks resumed in February before producing this leap day's agreement." (ForeignPolicy)




"John Bull -- the British equivalent of Uncle Sam -- was prominently featured on British armed forces recruiting posters during World War I, pointing a finger and asking, 'Who’s absent? -- Is it you?' In the case of the Virginia primary, he who is absent is Rick Santorum. And it’s going to cost him, big time, on Super Tuesday. Because only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are on the Virginia ballot, Romney -- who we expect to sweep the Old Dominion -- starts off with a big lead on Super Tuesday courtesy of Virginia. That built-in advantage will make it exceedingly difficult for Santorum to finish the day with more delegates than Romney. In fact, we expect Romney to win more delegates on Super Tuesday than Rick Santorum, probably many more. Being that this is the Crystal Ball, we’re fearlessly -- and, to be sure, recklessly in at least some instances -- projecting these 11 contests (10 Super Tuesday states plus Washington on March 3) as well as delegate totals for all four candidates. Do we expect these numbers to be exact? Of course not. Projecting delegates, as we have noted before, is something of a fool’s errand, especially because some of these states are non-binding caucuses (making their events little more than beauty contests). Our intention here is not to give a precise accounting of the specific -- and often very confusing -- delegate allocation rules or quibble about a delegate here or a superdelegate there. We’ll leave that to the lawyers in the unlikely case of a contested convention. Rather, we want to provide you, our readers, with a rough guesstimate of how the next 11 contests will turn out and where the candidates will stand in the aftermath of Super Tuesday. A map showing our predicted winners in the 11 upcoming contests is above (three of the caucuses, Alaska, North Dakota and Washington, are too close to call)." (SabatosCrystalBall)


"I went down to Michael’s for lunch with Michael Gross the prolific author/ biographer whose work can often raise the hackles of some of the higher and mightier (or those who regard themselves thusly). Michael has a natural inclination to controversy, provided by his journalistic as well as cultural interests, and a tabloidalist’s nose for the news. His most recent book 'Unreal Estate' about real estate in what he calls the Platinum Triangle of Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Holmby Hills, has been on the Los Angeles Times best-seller list for 13 weeks now. I wrote about it here. It’s riveting not only because of the stories Michael has mined about the occupants of the palaces in these neighborhoods but because it’s in the most exotic metropolis on the North American continent to live in. Meanwhile HBO has picked up the rights to 'Unreal Estate.' Michael’s was its Wednesdays full-up. Around the corner from us, Dan Rather and friend; next door: Peter Brown and guest, and on the other side, Jason Binn. Around the room: Jackie Leo with Steve Kroft ..." (NYSocialDiary)


"Fortunately I am not one of the newly unemployed. But if I found myself jobless and needing to earn a few bucks, there are lots of ways to get back in the game. If one is really desperate, offering to volunteer in the sort of establishment one would like to work is a good way to let the boss know you are a solid worker and a decent soul. Solid workers and decent souls seem to be dying breeds.
One must remember that there is no job too small. I am not a maid, but I like to serve others and to clean. If I had to start over and move downstairs so to speak, I’d aim to one day become the head maid. I am serious. If I had to choose another profession I would be a maid or a personal assistant. I have the skills, and I like to think I have the humility. Surely some of you will think this is rubbish and that I have been spoiled all my life. In part, this is true. But every now and then I get down on my hands and knees to clean one toilet or another. Sometimes the bowl is my own. Other times it belongs to someone else. I do this because I prefer a clean loo to a filthy one. I also do it out of respect for the owner and the next visitor. Most importantly, I do it to remind myself that despite the fact that a nice Polish lady cleans my john once a week, I am not above the task." (Mandolyna Theodoracopulos)


"It was a night of firsts for Anthony Vaccarello. There was the new shoe collaboration with Giuseppe Zanotti, which debuted on his runway. There was Karlie Kloss, who staged a catwalk comeback at his show after a much blogged-about absence from New York, London, and Milan. And—maybe most memorably—there was Caviar Kaspia. Zanotti hosted a dinner for Vaccarello there, and the designer's supermodel posse—Kloss, Anja Rubik, and Arizona Muse—all turned up in looks from the new collection. Kanye West was in the house, too. The slinky, deconstructed dress Karlie wore didn't leave much room for caviar-smothered potato, but the girl was game. Picnic table feasts of blue crabs with Old Bay seasoning are a family tradition at her grandmother's Chesapeake Bay home, she reported." (Style)



"Republican fund-raiser Georgette Mosbacher is considering running for the Senate seat left vacant by outgoing Olympia Snowe of Maine, who announced her retirement on Tuesday after 33 years. Sources close to Mosbacher, who is also CEO of cosmetics company Borghese and was once married to Robert Mosbacher, the secretary of commerce under George H.W. Bush, is seeking counsel from several high- ranking GOP members. “Georgette has been approached by several high-ranking Republicans arguing that she could put $10 million or more together quickly and make a race out of it,” said GOP campaign consultant Ed Rollins, who has engineered strategy for Ronald Reagan, Mike Huckabee and Michele Bachmann. Rollins also explained that Mosbacher 'spent a lot of time in Maine' when her then husband served as a campaign chair for Bush’s presidential campaign. The redheaded Mosbacher, who has in the past thrown her muscle behind John McCain and Mitt Romney, would face a few hurdles — including having to establish residency in Maine by the March 15 signature-filing deadline for potential candidates. Sources say she’s 'seriously thinking about it' — and has already started looking at houses in the state." (PageSix)

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