blog advertising is good for you

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"In the wake of the Arab Spring, U.S. leaders have promised to reverse the United States' long reliance on autocratic, unrepresentative leaders who enrich themselves at the expense of their citizens. There's only one problem: Just as top American officials have been making these lofty promises, new details are emerging of how close family members of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, a major U.S. partner in the Middle East, have grown wealthy. Have they enriched themselves at the expense of regular Palestinians -- and even U.S. taxpayers? Abbas's wealth recently became a source of controversy duringthe investigation of Mohammed Rachid, an economic advisor to the late Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, in a high-profile corruption probe. Last month, Palestinian officials charged Rachid with siphoning off millions of dollars in public funds; his trial is set to begin on June 7.According to a former Palestinian advisor, Abbas holds a grudge against Rachid dating back to the peace talks during the waning days of the Clinton era. In that intense period, Rachid was an advocate of working with Israel to find a solution, while Abbas called diplomacya 'trap that was laid for us.' Abbas also resented Rachid because he was an Iraqi Kurd -- not even a Palestinian -- who had gained Arafat's trust and was part of his inner circle, while Abbas was on the outside looking in. 'There was a huge amount of jealousy,' the former advisor said.With his back up against a wall, Rachid has now fired back at the Palestinian president with claims that Abbas himself has socked away $100 million in ill-gotten gains.In stalking Rachid, whether or not the charges have merit, Abbas may have opened up a Pandora's box. The conspicuous wealth of Abbas's own sons, Yasser and Tarek, has become a source of quiet controversy in Palestinian society since at least 2009, when Reuters first published a series of articles tying the sons to several business deals, including a few that had U.S. taxpayer support." (ForeignPolicy)


"At one point or another for an entire week last November, most of the Israeli establishment showed up at the Bauhaus home in the Rehavia neighborhood of Jerusalem: members of the Cabinet and Knesset, security officials, rabbis, businessmen, journalists, supplicants of all stripes, 'everyone who didn’t want to get in any trouble,' as one participant put it. They stood solemnly around the small stone courtyard with a tent on top, officially mourning, but also studying who else was there, who was whispering to whom. Ehud Barak, the defense minister and, by many accounts, the most vigorous proponent of an Israeli strike against Iran, was there. So was Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister, who then held the key to the current government’s survival. Even an Arab member of the Knesset, Ahmad Tibi, came by later on. The guest registry also included Sheldon Adelson, the ubiquitous gambling magnate, and Ronald Lauder, an heir to the Estée Lauder cosmetics fortune—a pair of American billionaires who, improbably, have also become major Israeli media moguls. The occasion was the shivah, or memorial observance, for a man named Shmuel Ben-Artzi, who had just died at the age of 97. Luminaries like this wouldn’t normally show up to honor a beloved but relatively obscure Israeli poet and educator like Ben-Artzi; few of the guests had even met him. They were there more for his son-in-law: Benjamin 'Bibi' Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel. They had come to the prime minister’s official residence less out of friendship and respect—for Netanyahu is something of a loner, someone who antagonizes even his allies—than for reasons of realpolitik: even back then, before the shakeup that has left him with one of the largest majorities in Israeli history, Netanyahu was all-powerful. Attention had to be paid.But, as is often the case in Israeli politics, it was even more complicated than that: many of the guests had come primarily for Sara Netanyahu, Ben-Artzi’s daughter and Bibi’s wife. Here, too, it was not so much out of love or respect, but fear. Even Bibi couldn’t stray very far, though he had other pressing business—like a memorial service commemorating the 1995 assassination of the Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. So, there he was, at his wife’s insistence, sticking around for the whole week, periodically reading her late father’s poetry aloud to the mourners in a way that elicited pity even from his detractors. 'I have no choice,' lamented one tycoon about his reasons for coming. 'She’s running the show here in Israel. She can make or break anyone.'" (David Margolik/VanityFair)

"One of the sub-themes of the campaign that Republicans have nurtured in recent weeks is the idea that President Obama is a liberal freak who is so freakishly liberal he hates Bill Clinton. Mitt Romney has been lashing Obama as a Clinton-hater in recent weeks, and the meme gained unexpected traction when Clinton, followed by his former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, endorsed a temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts. The apparent new Clintonian Third Way consensus is that we must extend the Bush tax cuts — all of them — for the sake of the economy.'Even Bill Clinton came out for it, before he was against it,' says John Boehner. 'It’s not often in Washington that you get a bipartisan decision,' said Republican whip Kevin McCarthy. 'When you listen to former President Clinton, if you listen to Summers, if you listen to our speaker, if you listen to our leader — they are saying the same thing as the small businesses are across America." Only that radical loon Barack Obama, it seems, would disagree.In fact, Obama, Clinton, and Summers are all in total agreement on the economics, though slightly in disagreement on the politics, and Obama’s political disagreement with Clinton places him to Clinton’s right. Let’s walk through this.All three Democrats, along with the majority of the economics profession, believe in a basic Keynesian framework. When the economy is severely depressed, the government should temporarily run large deficits in order to jack up consumer demand. If you believe in Keynesian economics, then the policy here is perfectly obvious. You want to increase deficits in such a way as to get consumers to spend the most amount of money. That means having the government directly purchase goods and services, and to cut taxes in a way to put money into the hands of people most likely to spend it." (Jonathan Chait/NYMag)


"The plan for the night was first to a booksigning at Archivia, and then the Central Park Conservancy’s 'Taste of Summer' at the Bethesda Fountain off East 72nd Street. There was also another book-related party (I’ve been telling you, books and booksignings are often the new hot parties in town). I had tentative plans to attend this one: Taschen Publishers’ reception for Harry Benson to celebrate his new limited edition book. Last night’s party was the spectacular version of a New York booksigning. Held at 107 Greene Street downtown, it featured an exhibition and sale of both famous and never-before-seen photographic Harry Benson prints; an interview with Harry by Reuel Golden, the Taschen author and editor, and Harry signing this special edition – 'personalize copies of this historic book' is how the invitation read. All this while The Tribute String Quartet performed their Beatles Tribute ...Harry has published several important photobooks as collectors of his work know. This one, however, is even a cut above. The publishers are sending Harry and his wife Gigi on a world tour to publicize it. The airfare alone (for two, no less) tells you everything about this book. Sensational. The Beatles; On the Road 1964-1966. Harry Benson, Taschen." (NYSocialDiary)


"Anderson Cooper gained a lot from his mentor Gordon Parks, but not his Jaguar. 'Gordon had this Jaguar convertible that my brother and I loved,' Cooper told us Tuesday night at the Gordon Parks Centennial Gala. 'He would always say to us, ‘Well, you can have it when I die.’ But at his funeral there were 100 people my age that had been promised that car. We realized that was his line to everyone.” Parks photographed Cooper’s mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, for Life magazine in the 1950s, kicking off a long, intimate relationship between the pioneering lensman/movie director and Vanderbilt. Cooper hosted the gala at the Museum of Modern Art, where HBO co-president Richard Plepler, Annie Leibovitz and Alicia Keys were honored. Though Keys wasn’t there, Clive Davis accepted her award on her behalf. Anna Wintour, Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld, Sarah Jessica Parker, Russell Simmons, Josh Groban, Carine Roitfeld and former Sen. Christopher Dodd also attended." (PageSix)



"'Gordon Parks was cool before I even knew what cool was,' said master of ceremonies Anderson Cooper at last night's Gordon Parks Centennial Gala at the MoMA. 'He was the first journalist I knew. I wanted to be Gordon Parks and I still do, but I'm too dorky to even get close.' The TV man wasn't the only boldfacer gushing about the photographer and filmmaker, who died in 2006. In the crowd were event chair Karl Lagerfeld, Sarah Jessica Parker, John Legend, Carine Roitfeld, and Clive Davis. Annie Leibovitz, who was honored with a Gordon Parks Award, told Style.com: "He was eminent in Life magazine and that was where any photographer would aspire to work. I think in my lifetime I had one cover of Life and it was Meryl Streep, actually, so I am pretty lucky to be here tonight.'" (Style)


"Yesterday evening, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves made a series of angry posts on Twitter taking issue with a blog post written by the New York Times’ Paul Krugman criticizing Estonia’s economic performance. Many who saw the Twitter spat doubted the account actually belonged to Mr. Ilves, but The Politicker reached out to the Estonian government and received confirmation and a statement from the man himself. 'Yes I send my own tweets,' Mr. Ilves said. 'It was a sincere and immediate defense of the major and often difficult efforts of Estonia to deal with the economic crisis and to stick to the rules adopted in the European Union.'Estonia has a budget surplus despite coping with the European Union’s austerity measures that have been unpopular in other Eurozone countries. Mr. Krugman’s blog post argued Estonia shouldn’t be seen as an austerity success story because Estonia’s GDP dropped significantly in 2008 before climbing about halfway back to previous levels starting in 2009. 'Since Estonia has suddenly become the poster child for austerity defenders — they’re on the euro and they’re booming! — I thought it might be useful to have a picture of what we’re talking about,' Mr. Krugman wrote. 'So, a terrible — Depression-level — slump, followed by a significant but still incomplete recovery. Better than no recovery at all, obviously — but this is what passes for economic triumph?' Mr. Ilves responded with eight Tweets yesterday calling Mr. Krugman uninformed, 'smug, overbearing & patronizing.'" (Observer)


"It was just one more small step for TV Everywhere. HBO Go will now be available on yet another tablet, the Kindle Fire, through eight out of the top 10 pay TV services in the U.S. And it was just one more incremental move for HBO, as the premium cable company — the leading edge of parent Time Warner’s effort to move the traditional pay TV model into the IP-device world — re-establishes itself as television’s most relevant programming brand. Yes, HBO is just as important to the evolution of the television business as it was a decade ago, just for different reasons. Instead of bucking the TV establishment with groundbreaking shows, the subscriber-supported service, which still touts an industry-leading 29 million customers, is now carrying the establishment on its back.As traditional TV’s most proliferate brand — available on Xbox 360 game consoles, iPads, Roku set-tops and now Android tablets like Kindle Fire, through a consensus roster of pay TV operators — the fate of HBO Go is the fate of TV Everywhere ... Certainly, a number of media industry pundits have pondered what HBO isn’t anymore. In April, media writer Michael Wolff explained in The Guardian that in the post-Sopranos era, the network is no longer the 'sine qua non of the modern television generation,” i.e. those who are “upwardly mobile, zeitgeisty with-it, and media savvy.'Wolff’s essay followed a March New York Observer story headlined, Is HBO’s Luck Starting to Run Out? The Observer also pondered just how special HBO is anymore, competing in a business in which other cable programmers, from AMC to Showtime, have developed their own Emmy-winning, cinematic-quality adult programs, driven by sharp, independent creative voices.I’ll concede that HBO has lost something in terms of cultural weight and artistic merit — it’ll never be 2004 again, a year in which critically beloved achievements like David Milch’s Deadwood, David Simon’s The Wire and Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm all filled out HBO Sunday night schedules already anchored by still-running hits The Sopranos and Sex and the City." (Paidcontent)

No comments: