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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Immediately following the declaration of a cease-fire in Gaza, Egypt was plunged into a massive domestic crisis. Mohammed Morsi, elected in the first presidential election after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, passed a decree that would essentially neuter the independent judiciary by placing his executive powers above the high court and proposed changes to the constitution that would institutionalize the Muslim Brotherhood's power. Following the decree, Morsi's political opponents launched massive demonstrations that threw Egypt into domestic instability and uncertainty. In the case of most countries, this would not be a matter of international note. But Egypt is not just another country. It is the largest Arab country and one that has been the traditional center of the Arab world. Equally important, if Egypt's domestic changes translate into shifts in its foreign policy, it could affect the regional balance of power for decades to come. The Arab Spring was seen by some observers to be a largely secular movement aimed at establishing constitutional democracy. The problem with this theory was that while the demonstrators might have had the strength to force an election, it was not certain that the secular constitutionalists would win it. They didn't. Morsi is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and while there were numerous claims that he was a moderate member, it was simply not understood that he was a man of conviction and honor and that his membership in the Brotherhood was not casual or frivolous. His intention was to strengthen the role of Islam in Egypt and the control of the Muslim Brotherhood over the various arms of state. His rhetoric, speed and degree of Islamism might have been less extreme than others, but his intent was clear. The move on the judiciary signaled his intent to begin consolidating power." (Stratfor)



"Vogue editor Anna Wintour has long been rumored to be angling for an ambassador job, and on Monday Bloomberg started up the speculation again, reporting the Obama administration is considering Wintour for a post in London or possibly Paris. But she's got competition: Obama's campaign finance chair Matthew Barzun, who has already served as ambassador to Sweden, is reportedly in the running for the U.K. job, while Marc Lasry, a managing partner at Avenue Capital Management, reportedly 'covets' the French job. A Vogue spokesman says Wintour, who was one of Obama's most high-profile fundraisers in the 2012 campaign, is 'very happy with her current job.' Louis Susman, an Obama fundraiser and former Citigroup executive, is the current ambassador to the Court of St. James. Charles Rivkin, a fundraiser and former head of the Jim Henson Company, is ambassador to France. Neither is expected to stay for a second term. Wintour, through a friend, has denied any interest in ambassador jobs in the past." (NYMag)



"I went down to Amaranth on East 62nd between Madison and Fifth for lunch with a friend. It’s not a regular haunt for me although it is for many friends. The cuisine is Mediterranean and sometimes you can get the feeling that so are a lot of the customers, as well as the staff. It is very popular, from lunchtime right through the later dinner time. It is a favorite of Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni when they are in New York. Yesterday, the Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy was lunching there – unrecognized by almost all to the point where when some guests learned of his table they mistook one of his guests for him. It is one of those New York watering holes where the decibel level climbs with the Sun and stays on with the Moon. Yesterday was no exception. Packed and noisy with the clatter of conversations. The food is excellent with most of the lunch items under $25. I started out the evening at La Grenouille which was closed for business yesterday because they were celebrating the 50th Anniversary. La Grenouille opened on December 19, 1962, in the middle of a snowstorm, by Giselle and Charles Masson. Charles Masson had first come to America in 1939 to work under Henri SoulĂ© in the French Pavilion of the World’s Fair in New York. Later SoulĂ© opened Le Pavilion in Manhattan on 57th Street and Park Avenue in the Ritz Tower, creating the primo French restaurant in New York. Charles Masson eventually became its maitre d’." (NYSocialDiary)


"Demi Moore will be at the side of new, younger man, Vito Schnabel, at Art Basel in Miami, we hear. Speculation’s been running high as to whether ex-Mrs. Ashton Kutcher will hit Basel after we revealed that Moore, 50, and Julian Schnabel’s art-dealer son, 26, have been an item since dirty dancing at Naomi Campbell’s India bash for Vladimir Doronin last month. On Thursday, Schnabel’s throwing his annual Dom Perignon party with Alex Dellal and Stavros Niarchos at the W South Beach club Wall." (PageSix)





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