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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"So with 40 days to go, we’re moving several toss-up states in the president’s direction. Our changes push Obama over the magic 270 mark, but we are not calling the race. First, the debates are yet to come. There is at least the possibility that, if Romney fares particularly well or Obama does poorly, the drift of this contest could change. Second, other events — international (a crisis) or domestic (dramatically poor economic numbers) — could theoretically occur to re-write the narrative of the race. So caution is always in order with almost six weeks to go, yet President Obama clearly leads at the moment. These rating changes move five of our eight toss-up states into Obama’s column, giving him 290 electoral votes to Mitt Romney’s 206, with Colorado, Florida and New Hampshire as toss-ups (42 votes). Obviously, Romney needs to turn some of the blue on this map to red, or this race will be over. And much of Obama’s territory is unavailable to him: the states won by both Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004 add up to 242 electoral votes on this map. Other than Wisconsin, Romney appears to have little chance of winning any of the other Gore/Kerry states. And the Badger State, despite Paul Ryan’s presence on the ticket, appears to be moving away from him as well. Provided Romney wins the three toss-ups, he will then need to pry another 22 electoral votes from Obama. And that will be difficult: Of all the states at least leaning toward Obama in our ratings, the president’s smallest polling lead, based on the RealClearPolitics average from mid-day on Wednesday, was four points in Iowa." (SabataosCrystallBall)


"One interesting meeting of this year’s United Nations General Assembly took place at the Mark Hotel, where Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met with Myanmar President U Thein Sein for a long discussion. The Nobel laureate, who lived under house arrest for 15 years and is the Myanmar opposition leader, met Sein for two hours at the Upper East Side hotel’s restaurant this week and was seen smiling as she left. The meeting raised optimism about the future of a country under military rule for half a century. Suu Kyi has said she had only met with Sein, a former general, a few times, and while praising his help to recognize her party the National League for Democracy, she said the move to democracy was fragile." (PageSix)


"Also this past Monday night the American Theatre Wing honored the Redgrave Family at its annual gala at the Plaza Hotel. The evening honored the Redgrave family's six generations of outstanding work and invaluable contributions to the theatre. The evening also honored Theodore Chapin, Executive Director of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization and for his work as chairman of the American Theatre Wing. The Redgrave family has been on the forefront of the creative arts for more than a century. Six generations of Redgraves and their spouses have included such celebrated artists as Michael Redgrave, Rachel Kempson, Vanessa Redgrave, Lynn Redgrave, Corin Redgrave, Natasha Richardson, Liam Neeson, Franco Nero, Joely Richardson, Jemma Redgrave, director Carlo Nero, and photographer Annabel Clark." (NYSocialDiary)


"As part of its 'Intoxication Nation' series, 'a crazy land where Charlie Sheen is the mayor and Courtney Love is the sheriff" (according to actress Kristen Johnston, who's a recovered alcoholic) ABC's '20/20' warned viewers it would show them 'what the kids are doing.'  This, according to the conventions of television, could not be good. The only question really, was the degree of plausible depravity. Vodka-soaked tampons? Check. Eyeball shots? Check. Gobbling booze-infused Gummi Bears because they want to live in crazy land all the time? Check. Once upon a time, Nirvana's 'Smells like Teen Spirit' demanded the world entertain us; now, according to '20/20,' this generation of kids have found their entertainment in Katy Perry: they want to smell like minibars.  The horror. And it's all the alcohol industry's fault. As Koren Zailckas, the author of Smashed, a memoir of her blacked-out teen and college years, tells ABC: 'I think the alcohol industry knows what the scientific community knows: the younger you are when you have your first drink, the more likely you are to become an alcoholic later on down the road.' To which Chris Cuomo of '20/20' responded, 'The Distilled Spirits Council of the United (DISCUS) States denies Zailckas accusations and told '20/20' underage drinking is at historic lows but that's the industry talking. The CDC says any decrease is insignificant." This was accompanied by an on-air image of the DISCUS statement—but it passes by so fast you'd find it hard to see the line 'according to U.S. Government data…' So, intrepid citizen journalists, do you think there might be a gap between Katy Perry's anthem for doomed American youth ('It's a blacked-out blur/But I'm pretty sure it ruled') and the statistics? Let's Google!" (TheAwl)


"Paramount is a wee bit nervous over Tom Cruise’s coming 'Jack Reacher' movie. The studio is worried that unending, negative Scientology publicity — accelerated by the Katie Holmes divorce — could finally do him in. There are even suggestions that Tom will have to choose between his religion or his career! (The Hollywood Reporter has a fascinating take on all this.)" (Liz Smith/NYSocialDiary)


"Tom Cruise was in a state because he didn’t have a girl. 'Can you believe my sister can’t even get me a girlfriend?' he said to David Miscavige, the chief of the Church of Scientology International, as Miscavige joined him and Cruise’s sister Lee Anne DeVette at the opening of the Madrid Scientology center, in September 2004. Mike Rinder, the founding director of Scientology International and former head of the Office of Special Affairs, claims that the star had just said the same thing to him minutes before as they waited for Miscavige, who is referred to by Scientology honchos as C.O.B., chairman of the board. Miscavige, according to Rinder and Marty Rathbun, Scientology’s former inspector general and No. 2, prided himself on being able to produce with a snap of his fingers anything Cruise desired, as well as to remove whatever he considered to be obstacles in the star’s life, such as his last wife, Nicole Kidman, and his last girlfriend, Penélope Cruz. (Rinder and Rathbun are part of a group of former high-ranking dissidents no longer connected to the organization. They and the other sources in this article, virtually all of them on the record, have been dismissed by Scientology as disgruntled apostates and worse. A lawyer for Miscavige refers to Rathbun and Rinder as 'a dynamic duo of lunatic venom and untrustworthy bile' and denies that the incident above ever took place. Tom Cruise and David Miscavige declined to be interviewed by Vanity Fair.) According to several of these on-the-record sources, Scientology more and more came to be whatever Miscavige said it was, and both Kidman and Cruz had been found wanting in their embrace of the organization and therefore unsuitable for the highly prized Cruise—Kidman especially. They say the church had determined that Kidman was its most dangerous type of enemy, a Suppressive Person (S.P.), who could threaten the spiritual well-being of Cruise and the two children the couple had adopted during their 10-year marriage. Cruise sued for divorce, and the children—Bella, then eight, and Connor, then six—were reportedly given a course in identifying Suppressive Persons. As Penélope Cruz became Cruise’s new love interest, she took her own set of courses, but, the sources say, she soon ran afoul of Miscavige, who dismissed her as a mere 'dilettante' when it was learned that she was unwilling to forsake her Buddhist beliefs. Cruise post-Cruz was apparently tired of having these ecclesiastical pillow fights interfere with his sex life: he needed a devout Scientologist to sleep with.Thus began an elaborate auditioning process, the sources say, to find him a drop-dead-beautiful true believer to share his life, someone who would not object to having the mercurial Miscavige as a powerful presence in the relationship. Miscavige’s wife, Shelly, was put in charge of the top-secret project, they tell me, and the ruse was to call in actresses from the organization’s rolls, tell them they were being given the honor of auditioning for a new training film, and then ask them some curious questions, such as: What do you think of Tom Cruise?" (VanityFair)


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