blog advertising is good for you

Friday, May 11, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"After the economies of Western nations imploded in late 2008, Chinese leaders began boasting of their nation’s supremacy. Talk spread, not only in China but also across the West, of the advantages of the so-called China model — a vaguely defined combination of authoritarian politics and state-driven capitalism — that was to be the guiding light for this century. But now, with the recent political upheavals, and a growing number of influential voices demanding a resurrection of freer economic policies, it appears that the sense of triumphalism was, at best, premature, and perhaps seriously misguided. Chinese leaders are grappling with a range of uncertainties, from the once-a-decade leadership transition this year that has been marred by a seismic political scandal, to a slowdown of growth in an economy in which deeply entrenched state-owned enterprises and their political patrons have hobbled market forces and private entrepreneurship. 'Many economic problems that we face are actually political problems in disguise, such as the nature of the economy, the nature of the ownership system in the country and groups of vested interests,' said Zhang Ming, a political scientist at Renmin University in Beijing. 'The problems are so serious that they have to be solved now and can no longer be put off.'  On Thursday, China released data that showed its economy was continuing to weaken." (NYTimes)


"Something has gone very wrong with Israel's posture on Iran's nuclear program. While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak lead a confrontational approach -- including dramatic interviews and speeches to U.S. audiences that have convinced many that Israel might soon strike Iran's nuclear facilities -- the former heads of Israel's intelligence agencies have come out publicly against the government's position. First, Meir Dagan -- who headed the Mossad until late 2010 and coordinated Israel's Iran policy -- called an attack on Iran 'the most foolish thing I've heard.' In April, Yuval Diskin -- the previous head of the domestic intelligence service, the Shin Bet -- voiced a scathing and personal critique of Netanyahu and Barak. Diskin questioned not only the leaders' policy, but also their very judgment and capacity to lead, warning against their "messianic" approach to Iran's nuclear program. Given these differences, should the United States -- and Iran -- fear an Israeli strike more, or should they relax as Israel busies itself with internal arguments? Although it may be tempting to think that the Dagan-Diskin campaign lessens the chance of confrontation, in truth it raises two dire possibilities. First, if the former spy chiefs are correct about Netanyahu's and Barak's lack of judgment, this is hardly cause for comfort. If, however, Dagan and Diskin are mistaken and Israeli strategy is in fact calculated and sober, then undermining Israel's credibility -- as they themselves have done -- makes an Israeli strike more likely, not less. The less credible the Israeli threat, the more likely Iran is to try to call an Israeli bluff, and thus the more likely Israel is to try to back up its words with deeds. At the core of the question is how one interprets Israel's confrontational approach to Iran. Some view the Netanyahu-Barak strategy as a deliberate attempt to push the United States and the international community into decisive action, including tough sanctions and the threat of U.S. military action, lest Israel strike unilaterally." (ForeignPolicy)


"US President Barack Obama was cheered by Hollywood donors as he spoke of his declaration of support for gay marriage at a record-breaking fundraiser hosted by George Clooney. 'Obviously, yesterday we made some news,' said the president, prompting applause from guests at the dinner, which took place on a basketball court at Clooney's Los Angeles home ... The $15m (£9m) raised by Thursday night's soiree is a record amount for a single fundraiser, according to the Associated Press news agency. Speaking about his decision to become the first sitting US president to back gay marriage, Mr Obama told guests: "The truth is, it was a logical extension of what America's supposed to be... Are we a country that includes everybody? Does that make us stronger? I believe it does.' Some 150 guests paid $40,000 a ticket to get into the event, which was held to boost Mr Obama's campaign coffers six months before he asks voters for a second term. DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg also addressed the crowd, and recalled Mr Obama's 2008 campaign slogan, 'Yes we can.'" (BBC)
"Whether your notion of celebrity runs to politics, film or executive clout, there was glitter everywhere you looked Thursday night, as George Clooney opened his hillside home to a record-shattering fundraising dinner for his old friend, President Barack Obama, who made his first visit to the Valley since taking the oath of office. DreamWorks Animation chief and mega-Democratic donor Jeffrey Katzenberg was the co-host and Wolfgang Puck was the chef, as 150 Democratic donors made their way up carefully guarded streets to Clooney’s home near Studio City’s Wilacre Park, just off Laurel Canyon Blvd. Some of the celebrities in attendance included Robert Downey, Jr., Barbra Streisand, Tobey Maguire, Eddie Murphy, Jack Black, Billy Crystal , Herb Alpert and Salma Hayek ... Fourteen round tables with 10 people each filled a tent on Clooney's basketball court. At a table in the middle, Maguire sat to the right of Clooney and his girlfriend, Stacy Keibler. Nearby was Diane Von Furstenberg and Barry Diller. Streisand (at a rear table and looking serious throughout, in black beret) sat with her husband James Brolin, according to the pool. Also in attendance were designer Trina Turk, director Rob Reiner, director J.J. Abrams and wife Katie McGrath, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, video game pioneer Skip Paul and his husband Van Fletcher, Summit co-chairman Rob Friedman, producer Nina Jacobson, ICM president Chris Silbermann, Creative Artists Agency partner Bryan Lourd, entrepreneur Lynda Resnick, Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman, Warner Brothers Entertainment CEO Barry Meyer, LACMA's Michael Govan, DNC Southern California finance co-chair John Emerson and E! Entertainment founder Jarl Mohn.
All had paid $40,000 apiece not only to support Obama’s reelection, but also to be part of history—the single richest one-night fundraiser in the history of presidential politics." (THR)


"Hillary Clinton continued to bat away questions about a presidential run at the New York Women’s Foundation’s Celebrating Women breakfast. The secretary of state, who was honored at the event, gave a lengthy speech, but when asked if she would run, didn’t answer, we’re told. But she did poke fun at the fascination with her minimally styled and made-up look. Opening her speech, she said, 'I’m pleased that I got a chance to see my friend, Speaker Chris Quinn, looking so sharp and fashionable. Not that I pay any attention to that, as you know.' Praising the work of the foundation, Clinton also made an emotional tribute to her late mother, Dorothy Rodham. She said, 'Even though we are living in a world of virtual reality, nothing substitutes for personal relationships. Nothing can replace that caring from one person passed on to another and another and another. I learned this lesson very early from my mother, and since we are approaching Mother’s Day, I’ve been thinking about her a lot, since I lost her last November. And I was always struck at how, despite a life that was much more difficult than anything I’ve ever experienced — abandonment and abuse and just really unfortunate kinds of early experiences — my mother had a resilience and a commitment to her family that she worked hard on every single day. And I often wondered...how could it be that you would be abandoned by your young parents and given responsibility at the age of 8 to get on a train in Chicago with your 6-year-old sister and take her all by yourself to California to live with your paternal grandparents? How do you emerge from that emotional turmoil . . . that still today too many children are placed into? . . . I remember asking my mother, ‘How did you do this? How did you really survive without being paralyzed or embittered, being able to find from somewhere within the love that you shared and gave to others?’ And I’ll never forget what she said. She said, ‘At critical points in my life, somebody showed me kindness, somebody gave me help.’" (P6)


"This past Tuesday night, at the Greenwich Village home of Anne Hearst McInerney and Jay McInerney, oenophiles and literary folk alike celebrated the publication of Jay’s new wine tome, 'THE JUICE: Vinous Veritas' (Knopf, publishers). The evening was co-hosted by Robert Thomson of The Wall Street Journal. More than 100 attended, starting off the evening with a glass of bubbly Pol Roger Brut Champagne and graduating to McInerney’s expertly selected wines including a 2010 Droin Chablis "Vaillons" Premier Cru. Among the gatherers: Brooke Shields, A.M. Homes, Dirk Wittenborn, Will Cotton with Rose Dergan, Ross Bleckner, Nicole Miller, Robert Wilson, Laurie Durning Waters, SNL’s Jim Signorelli, Griffin Dunne, Sharon Bush...  Judith Giuliani ... The book, a collection of the author’s pieces (now a feature in the Wall Street Journal) 'provides a master class in the almost infinite varieties of wine and the people, places all over the world, from the past to the present.' Chefs, sommeliers and 'juice' aficionados from New York’s top restaurants and wineries were there to toast their fellow wine enthusiast including Jerusha Frost of The Lion, The Lambs Club’s Jordan Lari, JeanGeorges’s Bernard Sun, and wine experts Beaver Truax, Aldo Sohm, and Daniel Johnnes." (NYSocialDiary)


"My friend Edward Jay Epstein has written a quickie book about Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s little problem last year here in the Bagel. Epstein reiterates the disgraced ex-IMF chief’s suspicions that his political enemies set him up. Epstein does not agree; he simply states Dominique’s case. I was delighted when the frog was busted, and it wasn’t simple Schadenfreude, either. (I am neither English nor that Greek.) DSK was simply a man wearing a suicide vest waiting to explode. The word had been out for years. He was so arrogant, it never entered his mind that teaming up with a global prostitution ring could be leaked to the public. But as a hooker-stripper named Jade testified, 'I did not sleep with Dominique Strauss-Kahn simply for pleasure. First of all he is old. And stout.' Was DSK arrogant enough to believe those girls were sleeping with him for his looks? Has he looked in a mirror lately? Are some men deluded enough to think they’re princes rather than frogs? Not poor little Taki. When I was young and OK-looking I used hookers nonstop, but I wouldn’t go near them now. I feel too sorry for the girls to have to put up with my old bones. DSK is too intelligent to fool himself to such a degree but not smart enough to stay away from the one thing he never managed to attract with his mental skills: Women. Sure, he used his three wives to get ahead—and he was one step away from the Elysée—but he was never a girl-puller. He’s vulnerable, easy prey, and a sucker where women are concerned. Did DSK really believe no money was exchanged during les soirées libertine at hotels in Washington, Paris, and Lille? If he didn’t pay the ladies, he was being used by others. DSK has given men who love women a very bad name. Shame on him." (Taki)


"HBO has greenlit weekly newsmagazine 'Vice,' which it has been developing through a partnership with the budding multimedia brand of the same name. Longtime HBO personality Bill Maher will exec produce with Vice founder Shane Smith and Vice chief creative officer Eddy Moretti. CNN's Fareed Zakaria will serve as consultant. 'Vice has emerged as a premier new media brand through a savvy combination of irreverence, smarts and fearlessness,' said HBO programming prexy Michael Lombardo. 'We are excited to offer a forum for their groundbreaking style of news coverage and look forward to a show that's like nothing else on TV.' The new program will showcase a mix of stories from around the globe. Already in consideration for air are stories on Taliban child suicide bombers, North Korean slave labor camps, New York's underground voodoo heroin clinics, Somalian pirates and Satanic dentists in the Pacific Northwest ... Former Viacom CEO Tom Freston, who oversaw the evolution of MTV, is an advisor to Vice." (Variety)

No comments: