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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Divisions in the Democratic coalition have burst into view, endangering both President Obama and his party colleagues in Congress as November’s election nears. Fissures have opened over everything from tax policy and former President Bill Clinton’s off-message comments to recriminations following the party’s fiasco in the Wisconsin recall, which some say should have been avoided. Democrats disagree over the wisdom of Obama’s attacks on Republican Mitt Romney’s private equity background at Bain Capital and are split over the proposed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada’s vast oil sands. The divides are opening just as Republicans appear more unified, which underlines the danger for Democrats and highlights an abrupt reversal in the two major parties’ fortunes. Just a few months ago, Republicans were absorbed in a bitter primary battle, and mutual attacks among GOP hopefuls filled the airwaves.  But last week’s news that Romney and the Republicans had outperformed Obama and the Democrats in May fundraising suggested the party of the right was coalescing, as did news of weekly strategy calls between Romney’s campaign and GOP leadership. Wisconsin, where GOP Gov. Scott Walker trounced a recall effort last week, exposed tensions between Washington Democrats, including the president, and the labor movement. Many in Washington thought the recall was a bad idea from the start, something reflected in Obama’s reluctance to get involved at any level beyond his Twitter feed. The lack of effort added to disillusionment among union activists already unhappy with the low priority the White House had accorded to issues such as 'card check' that they hold dear. After the result, liberals formed a circular firing squad." (TheHill)


"Something ugly is happening in the Sahel, the vast stretch of desert in the Western Sahara. In March, an Islamist group known as Ansar Dine, fighting alongside Tuareg insurgents, ousted the hapless Malian army from the northern half of the country -- the desert half -- and proclaimed the independent state of Azawad. Now, Ansar Dine has imposed the same medieval version of Sharia law practiced by al-Shabaab in Somalia, or the Taliban during their rule over Afghanistan. 'Women are now forced to wear full, face-covering veils,' according to one recent account. 'Music is banned from the radio. Cigarettes are snatched from the mouths of pedestrians.' An Ansar Dine spokesman described al Qaeda as 'our Islamic brothers.' So should America start worrying about yet another haven for Islamist terrorists? Intelligence officials have been speculating for years about links between Sahelian tribes and the group known as al Qaeda in the Maghreb, or AQIM. Azawad looks like the realization of their worst nightmares. AQIM could treat Azawad as a host site, just as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has done with southern Yemen. And with the recent killing of Abu Yahya al-Libi, al Qaeda's No. 2, American officials have begun to think that the locus of jihadi activity may increasingly shift away from the Afghan-Pakistani border to the Persian Gulf and to North Africa. Azawad, in short, could be the next destination for the armed drones which have become the Obama administration's weapon of choice in the war on terror. This would be a terrible idea." (Foreignpolicy)



"Sally Quinn wrote a fun piece in Sunday’s Washington Post titled 'Sally Quinn Announces The End of Power in Washington.' As her jumping off point, she recounted how she and her husband, the now legendary editor-in-chief of the Wash Post, Ben Bradlee went to the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner a few weeks ago, and 'found (themselves) sandwiched between the Kardashians and Newt and Callista Gingrich. She described them all as 'heavily made up and smiling for the cameras, the reality TV family and the political couple ... swarmed over by the paparazzi screaming and shouting the celebrities’ names to make them look towards the cameras for that million dollar photograph ' ... Quinn’s piece made it sound like everything had fallen apart socially with the Obama Administration. This is a common complaint among Washingtonians – the Obamas do not mix, as a rule, with many members of the community but prefer the company of a small group of friends from Chicago. But George and Laura Bush kept a fairly quiet private social calendar and were always off to Texas first chance they got. When the Clintons were in the White House, Ms. Quinn carried on about how terrible and tacky they were. Ironically, the same Clintons were later criticized for all the people they hosted at the White House (remember the business about who slept in the Lincoln Bedroom?). Nevertheless, there is more than a kernel of truth to Quinn’s main complaint. However, that’s the social world today everywhere, even New in York. There is a dearth of hostesses-with-the mostest-ses staging dinner parties with tables surrounded by powerful, influential people with interesting, insightful or clever things to say. Yes, those people still exist but The Money is the only name of the game these days. Not that it wasn’t always a major factor. However, as a result, there really isn’t much wit or even conversation, let alone wisdom, floating around." (NYSocialDiary)


"The first thing I thought when I saw Rodney Dickson's painting's was...Man, he sure uses lots of paint. I never imagined that oil paint could behave in such a way." (ArtIsTalking)

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