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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"One thing is clear: the U.S. military, according to my sources, currently has no interest in a preventive strike. 'The idea that we'll attack with Israel is remote, so you can take that off your list of options,' former Centcom commander Joe Hoar told me. Nor will the United States join an Israeli attack once it starts, the senior U.S. planner said. 'We know there are senior Iranians egging for a fight with us, particularly in their Navy,' a retired Centcom officer added. 'And we'll give them one if they want one, but we're not going to go piling in simply because the Israelis want us to.'That puts the military shoulder to shoulder with the president. Obama and the military may have clashed on other issues, like the Afghan surge, but when it comes to Iran, they are speaking with one voice: They don't want Iran to get a nuclear weapon, they don't want Israel to start a war over it, and they don't believe an Israeli attack should automatically trigger U.S. intervention. But, if they are to avoid becoming part of Israel's plans, they first need to know what those plans are. Three high-level U.S. military and intelligence sources have told me that Centcom has identified three options for Israel should it decide to take preventive military action against Iran. The first and most predictable option calls for a massed Israeli Air Force bombing campaign targeting key Iranian nuclear sites. Such an assault would be coupled with strikes from submarine-launched cruise missiles and Israeli-based medium-range Jericho II and long-range Jericho III missiles, according to a highly placed U.S. military officer. The attack may well be preceded by -- or coupled with -- a coordinated cyber and electronic warfare attack." (ForeignPolicy)


"Earlier this year, Clinton inadvertently helped the Romney campaign, causing some consternation at Obama's campaign headquarters, after he said that Romney had a 'sterling' business career at a time when the president’s team was trying to rip his credentials as an executive. At the same time, Clinton suggested that it might be problematic for the Obama campaign to slam Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, the private equity firm. 'I don’t think we ought to get into the position where we say this is bad work,' Clinton told CNN. 'This is good work.'  But observers have credited Clinton in recent days with helping to boost the Obama campaign at time when the president needed it most. Tobe Berkovitz, a professor at Boston University who specializes in political communication, acknowledged that Clinton is one contributing factor for Obama’s rise in the polls, in addition to a lackluster convention for Romney coupled with repeated gaffes including his now infamous 47 percent line.  But he said that Clinton was able to lend Obama some credibility by extending the 'positive halo' surrounding Clinton. 'It certainly doesn’t hurt with the base and with swing and undecided voters when the most charismatic and most popular politician around is aggressively supporting the president,' Berkovitz said. 'He connects with voters in a way that Obama doesn’t.'" (TheHill)


"Clinton — whose popularity has moved up steadily almost every year since the end of his scandal-ridden presidency — is a uniquely effective messenger. 'There’s a testimony that Clinton and only Clinton can give, which is: ‘I know how to build an economy that works, and this president is doing the right things,’' Begala said. 'It allows the debate to be eight years of Democratic economics, which is exactly the stuff that President Obama is trying to enact, versus eight years of Republican economics, which is exactly the stuff that Romney wants to go back to.' And the Obama campaign isn’t pretending otherwise. The Obama ad that featured a laid back Clinton chatting about helping the middle class — building up to 'that’s what happened when I was president' — has already aired almost 16,000 times in its first month on the air, making it the most-run spot of the campaign, Bloomberg News reported Thursday. The Obama campaign has been eager to use Clinton on additional stops after his post-convention swing through Florida, and the planning is underway for where those will be for after the New Hampshire trip next week." (Politico)


"Former Gov. David Paterson and his wife, Michelle Paige Paterson, have separated after 19 years of marriage, Page Six can exclusively reveal. Paterson’s rep, Sean Darcy, confirmed to us yesterday that the couple — who both admitted to past affairs when he took office — have parted ways, adding that their decision is 'mutual and amicable' but giving no further comment on the breakup. A source close to the ex-pol told Page Six that the two had actually been 'separated for some months' and that Paterson, 58, had moved out of the Harlem home he shared with Michelle, 51. They have not formally filed for divorce. Spies have recently noticed Paterson out and about at various social events around town. 'He’s been charming and flirtatious' with the fairer sex, a source said, adding that the ex-gov has been spotted 'passing along his private number' to a few ladies ... Earlier this year, The Post revealed that Michelle was shopping a tell-all to publishers about her life in the public eye and that it would detail some of the couple’s past marital struggles. Paterson has weathered accusations of extramarital affairs, which he’s strongly denied. A source close to the couple insists there’s no third party involved with their split. The Post reported in 2010 that Paterson was spotted kissing the neck of a woman at a New Jersey steakhouse and that he was caught in an encounter with a woman in a closet at the Albany governor’s mansion. The reports were strongly shot down by Paterson’s reps at the time." (PageSix)


"Ten years ago this week I put my money down and The American Conservative magazine was born. They say that owning a yacht is like sitting under a shower tearing up hundred-dollar bills. Owning an opinion magazine based in Washington, DC is like sitting in a dull hotel room throwing thousand-dollar bills to the fire. A boat will at least get you some attention from the fairer sex—if it’s large and vulgar enough, that is—whereas a political fortnightly might attract some bores with lotsa dandruff on their collars, but that’s about it. For starters, Washington is as boring a town as they come. A large percentage of the people who work there might be women, but they certainly don’t line the bars at night looking for horny Greeks. After millions spent, there were a couple ladies to speak of—both Southern belles—who had nothing to do with the magazine. I had two partners, Pat Buchanan and Scott McConnell, both of whom I treated equally by giving them the same amount of shares free of charge as I gave myself. It was not the smartest of moves, but I’m an impulsive sort of character and much too impatient to think things out. Pat Buchanan had run for president three times and is still Mr. Conservative as far as I’m concerned. McConnell was the editor, and I had trouble with him from the beginning, as I tend to go for the jugular at times, whereas he prefers the friendly persuasion approach to politics. Pat, Scott, and I held a press conference in the National Press Club building in Washington for the launch, where I realized from the word go how deeply mistrusted and loathed is anyone who describes himself as a paleoconservative." (Taki Theodoracopoulos)


"I knew Brooke Astor for more than a quarter of a century. She had approached me after a New York Public Library trustees meeting and complimented me lavishly on one of my books. She asked a few trenchant questions. Then she said, 'Would you care to come for tea?' Would I? Of course I would. After that there followed invitations to grand lunches and coveted dinners, small gatherings, and 'just us two' ones. Soon I discovered that the private Mrs. Astor was a maverick. At a dinner party she gave for Schuyler Chapin, when he had just become commissioner of cultural affairs for New York City, he stood and said, 'I can never understand how I, who never went to college, am now commissioner of cultural affairs.' At which point Brooke piped up, 'Well, Schuyler, neither can we.' At library meetings of the nominating committee, Brooke exhibited what my mother used to call 'steel under velvet.' At one such meeting, the name came up of a vastly wealthy person, who I doubt had ever read a book. Everyone seemed dazzled by the money, but when it got to Brooke she said, 'I understand perfectly why this person would benefit the library monetarily. If you wish to elect him to the board, that’s fine with me. I have only one caveat, I would have to resign.' Over the years, Brooke voted against two other wealthy men as well, one because when she and her beloved Vartan Gregorian had gone to his office to ask for a library contribution, he sat with his feet on the desk and never rose to greet them. The second she later told me in private, 'Because he smokes cigars in the elevator'—they then lived in the same building—'and uses four-letter words.'" (TheDailyBeast)



"In the style-obsessed auditoriums that play host to the world’s fashion weeks, when someone mentions a 'star designer' they are not usually referring to an architect. If Rem Koolhaas, for example, who has done as much as anyone to craft Prada’s retail image, were to attend Prada’s show, he would go largely unremarked. If James Carpenter, responsible for the image renovation of Gucci’s stores under creative director Frida Giannini, were to sit front and centre at Gucci, it wouldn’t cause a stir. But this week in Paris, when Peter Marino walks into the Chanel show – and the Dior show, and the Céline show, and the Louis Vuitton show (all brands for which he has created stores) – flashbulbs will go off, people will call his name and photographs of him in the front row will go viral on the internet .. It is possible to see Marino’s entire career as a flight from the middle: from the middle class, which he was born into and earned his way out of; from the middle market, where he never works; from middle America, which would look at him in wonder ...I have known Marino a few years now; we see each other at fashion shows, or the openings of stores he has created, or sometimes at the dinner table of the designer Azzedine Alaïa. He is always very loud and very entertaining and makes everyone laugh, playing his part to the hilt. But while there are a lot of reasons for him to have Lunch with the FT – an exhibition in Paris of Marino’s first original bronzes (€160,000 each; he has, he tells me, sold 10 already); his recent winning of a commission for a spa and retail complex in Beirut ahead of Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster; the fact that he is the only fashion world player, as far as I know, who is able to work for rival brands, such as Chanel, Dior and Armani, all at the same time – the really interesting thing about Peter Marino is how his extraordinary appearance works to burnish, or tarnish, his cv." (FT)



"If you're a porn star and you learn that a bunch of other porn stars have a bad STD, what you want to know right away is if you've fucked any of those people. This August, a syphilis outbreak plunged the San Fernando Valley's multibillion dollar porn industry into chaos, and any information about the origins and extent of the scourge was maddeningly sparse. So when the porn gossip blogger Mike South confirmed the identity of the outbreak's 'patient zero' as a porn star who'd covered up his positive syphilis test, the relief was palpable among performers who could now at least roughly gauge their own exposure. It was another scoop in the long career of Mike South, the gonzo king of porn gossip. With sometimes questionable tactics but undeniable perseverance, Mike South has done more than any one person to expose the dark side of the porn industry he loves. South, 54 years old, is a small-time porn producer and actor, but his unfiltered personality and reporting chops have made his gossip blog, Mikesouth.com (NSFW), a must-read in the smut industry. For more than a decade, South has churned out a pungent mix of rumors, rants and essays, sprinkled with the occasional gallery of girls from the amateur porn sites—Southern Bukkake is his biggest—he runs to pay the bills. If, as Ron Jeremy has said, the porn industry is like a family, Mike South is the know-it-all uncle you'd avoid at reunions if he wasn't right so much of the time. 'Anyone with any amount of influence in the industry reads Mike South,' said Alec Helmy, owner of the porn industry trade publication Xbiz.' He is the king of porn gossip today.' Though South won't say how many pageviews he gets per day, he says it's 'in the thousands.' A major scoop can bring in tens of thousands of pageviews. A large part of what makes South such a phenomenon is his fearless—some would say reckless—railing against the entrenched institutions and figureheads of the adult industry. The porn industry sometimes seems to combine the oversized egos of Hollywood with the inscrutable power structures of organized crime. Mike South Hulk-smashes through it all with an anarchic distrust of all concentrated power and a Wikileaks-style taste for radical transparency. He's a self-styled defender of porn's powerless and self-described 'gun-totin' Libertarian.' 'When somebody mistreats the talent, or somebody does something scummy, that's a story and that's why a lot of people within the industry turn to my blog because it is a mirror on them,' South said. 'It lets the industry take a look at itself and sometimes say, ‘Well maybe there are some things we need to change, or maybe we do need to reign that person in.'" (Gawker)

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