Friday, November 30, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvre

"The U.S.-Pakistan relationship has weathered more than its fair share of crises over the years. The experience has taught each of us -- and our respective governments -- that we have much work to do. Over the last few months, we have made real progress on issues critical to the interests of both of our countries. And we are meeting this week in Washington to carry forward this effort, focusing especially on expanding our economic relations. It is clear to us that trade, investment, and private sector growth are the future of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. The United States remains the largest and most open economy to trade and investment in the world, and Pakistan is a large and emerging market with a growing class of entrepreneurs. Two-way trade between Pakistan and the United States totaled nearly $5 billion in 2011, spurred in part by the preferential access many Pakistani products enjoy under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences Program, which provides preferential market access to 128 countries and territories, including Pakistan. The United States purchases nearly 20 percent of Pakistan's total exports -- more than any other country in the world. Major U.S. companies such as Citicorp, Proctor & Gamble, Boeing, Pepsico, and Coca-Cola are already operating large and growing ventures in Pakistan." (Foreignpolicy)

"Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Marrakech this week, and was there, our Moroccan spies tell us, for a hush-hush wedding of his youngest daughter, Yekaterina. The nuptials were reportedly to take place at the luxe La Mamounia Hotel, which got a $165 million makeover in 2009 and relaunched with a bash that brought out stars Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Salma Hayek. Local reports said the wedding was imminent this month. Then again, there have been reports dating back to 2010 that secretive couple Yekaterina, 26, and Korean boyfriend Yoon Joon-won, 28, were imminently getting hitched. The stories were shot down in April by the groom’s father, retired admiral Yoon Jong-gu, according to a Korean broadcast. Either way, we’re assuming the entertainment at the reception was not Putin’s punk nemeses Pussy Riot. The Kremlin announced yesterday that Putin will visit Turkey next week. He’s postponed several foreign trips recently, and is said to have spent most of the past two months at his suburban residence." (NYPost)

"Wednesday night at Doubles, the private club in the Sherry, Chris Meigher, the owner/publisher of Quest, and Heather Cohane, the magazine's founder, along with DPC hosted a party celebrating the 25th Anniversary issue of the magazine. More than 200 attended, including Mayor Bloomberg and Diana Taylor." (NYSocialDiary)

"Elizabeth Warren is already giving Wall Street executives serious agita. In their mind, the spunky senator-elect from Massachusetts is heading to Washington for one reason only: to destroy them and everything they stand for. 'Looking at her rhetoric on the campaign trail, she seems to take an exception to wealth creation and what banks do,' said one bank executive. 'It’s not really Wall Street she’s against — it’s banks, full stop,' added another. Banks have disliked Warren since her Harvard days, when she agitated against predatory lending, credit card fees, and other bank practices. And as her national profile grew through her work with TARP oversight and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the watchdog agency she helped create, their arm's-length opposition became a full-on war. Banks lobbied to keep her from being nominated to head the CFPB, then poured big donations into the campaign of Scott Brown, her Senate race opponent.After her convincing victory in November, her appointment to the powerful Senate Banking Committee, where she would have actual oversight of the financial sector, is seen by many on Wall Street as a fait accompli." (NYMag)

"Judy Price invited me to a lunch at her Park Avenue apartment yesterday. It was to meet Helene Dubrule, the Directeur General of Hermès Maison. I know Hermès from the ties women automatically give men when they can’t think of anything else and the men know they could always use a good tie.I worked for Mrs. Price for three years beginning in 1997 as editor of Avenue Magazine. She had started it in the mid-'70s, ran it sleekly and profitably until she’d had enough a quarter century later. She was successful as a magazine publisher because is a born saleswoman ('No’ is just the beginning…'), and also because she is a culture maven, intensely interested especially when it comes to art and architecture, ancient and contemporary. And she is knowledgeable. It is commerce. Or maybe 'commerce is all.' The advertorial wasn’t invented by Judy Price but it came into its own because of her. A lot of the top purveyors of of the products of art and culture, both here in the US, and in Europe advertised in Avenue for those reasons. (Although they would probably tell you they just finally gave in to Judy Price’s sales pitch and tactics and signed an advertising contract.) Coincidentally, she sold Avenue in 2001, shortly after Jeff Hirsch and I left to launch the NYSD. She and I have remained friends ever since. Five years ago she created the National Jewelry Institute, with an eye on founding a jewelry museum. She’s also turned our three or four books on the history of jewelry." (NYSocialDiary)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"As the 2012 election fades into the history books, we begin our first look at the 2014 contests for Senate, House and Governor. Let’s start with the Senate, which will be the site of an intense battle for control once again. Before looking ahead at the Republicans’ prospects to gain the six seats they need to win control of the Senate, it is first important — though for Republicans, painful — to look back at the past two Senate cycles. In 2010, Republicans probably threw away three seats when they nominated weak candidates in Colorado, Delaware and Nevada. Then, in the just-concluded election, they threw away, at a minimum, two more seats in Indiana and Missouri (thanks to the disastrous candidacies of Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin). And that’s not counting other Senate races where different Republican candidates might have performed better or even won in Florida, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio and Virginia. So instead of having a tied Senate, or a tiny majority for one side or the other, Republicans are in the unenviable position of needing to levitate out of a deep hole they’ve dug for themselves. Only then can they end Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) six-year (and counting) leadership of the Senate. The 113th Congress is slated to open in early January with Democrats holding a 55-45 edge in the U.S. Senate. (The number includes two independents, Sen.-elect Angus King of Maine and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who will caucus with the Democrats.) This assumes that the composition of the Senate does not change; it’s always possible that a senator will leave office prematurely, perhaps to take another position — for instance, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) might join the Obama administration as secretary of state or defense." (Sabato)

"Poland's Internal Security Agency announced Nov. 20 that it had arrested  'Brunon K,' a chemistry professor at the Agricultural University in Krakow who allegedly planned to attack the lower house of the Polish parliament. The arrest came Nov. 9, just two days before Warsaw's annual Independence Day parade, which authorities believe could have been another target. During the arrest, authorities seized ammonium nitrate fertilizer, high-powered, military-grade explosive RDX and other bomb-making equipment. They also seized several hundred rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest and a pistol. Presumably, the suspect in question is Dr. Brunon Kwiecien, who has published multiple chemistry papers at the Agricultural University in Krakow, according to a Polish academic directory. Kwiecien openly espoused anti-government views and accused the Polish government and the European Commission of tyranny. Specifically, he condemned the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which has angered Internet freedom activists in Europe. Kwiecien is also a self-proclaimed supporter of Norwegian ultranationalist terrorist Anders Breivik, who conducted a successful lone wolf attack in Oslo in 2011. Indeed, tactically Kwiecien's plot against the Polish government resembled Breivik's in many ways. But his was only the latest, certainly not the last, thwarted terrorist attack in Europe, where similar plots can be expected as the economic and political situation continues to worsen." (STRATFOR)

"Time Warner has made it official: former NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker will be the new president of CNN Worldwide, replacing outgoing president Jim Walton. Zucker will take the reins in January. We gave the rundown on Zucker’s background earlier this week. The short version: he was a news prodigy at NBC, fumbled when he took over entertainment, but had success with the company’s cable channels as CEO. He left when Comcast acquired NBCU last year, and is most recently the EP of syndicated talker 'Katie.' Zucker will be based in New York, a stark departure for the channel, which has its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. In a note to CNN staffers, Turner Broadcasting chairman Phil Kent wrote: 'I picked Jeff because of his extensive experience and track record in broadcast and cable news, his passion for the news business and his strong belief, which I share, that the best days of CNN lie ahead if we create news programming on each of our platforms that delivers on the core values of the CNN brand: accuracy, immediacy and offering all perspectives through great reporting, analysis, explanation and presentation.'" (TVNewser)

"First, the Wednesday Michael’s lunch. The holiday decorations are up, adding a certain something to the vibe. A big crowd; all kinds of business going on. You can see how all kinds of business can be conducted at these tables and no one will overhear. Because everyone is talking. That’s media, no? In the backroom Peggy Siegal had organized a luncheon for Omar Sy, one of the stars of The Intouchables (2011), the French comedy-drama that was a huge hit in France (it has also made a big splash in the US). It’s a Weinstein Company picture and Harvey Weinstein and Omare Sy were present. Someone told me Malcolm Gladwell was among the guests too. At another table Lord Weidenfeld was lunching with Marie Brenner, Meryl Tisch, Jessica and Drew Guff, Peggy Noonan, Carol Saper, Sascha Havlicek. I was told they were all there to discuss the extraordinary international dialogue that is at the core of Lord Weidenfeld’s foundation based at Oxford:" (NYSocialDiary)

"Odds are, at some point in your life you will have to break bread with someone you don't like.
Maybe you're a Real Housewife who wasn't invited to a perfume launch party that all of the other Real Housewives were invited to, so you have to have lunch with Ramona in an empty Italian restaurant at 4 p.m. on a Thursday because you're 'not about drama.' Maybe you're in bread breaking karate-type competition and the only other competitor is your nemesis. Awkward lunches can happen for lots of reasons. Yesterday, the White House announced that former Massachusetts governor and Twilight Team Edwardian Mitt Romney will meet with President Obama in a private dining room for lunch today. Press will not be allowed. Nor (I'm guessing) cell phones at the table, if Obama is anything like my dad. These two have so much to talk about that they might as well not say anything, because where do you even begin? You begin with Gawker's Guide to Awkward Lunches." (Gawker)

"In an interview with Betabeat last night, infamous revenge porn peddler Hunter Moore shed some light on what his new smut submission site, HunterMoore.TV, will look like. Mr. Moore, who rose to prominence with the now-defunct revenge porn site IsAnyoneUp, intends to port all of the old content over from the original site onto the new one. 'I have nerds for days,' Mr. Moore, in New York to serve community service following a violent incident, told Betabeat last night in a Lower East Side bar. “I have nerds on nerds. I have so many secret servers. I got shit in Switzerland, Australia, Canada. All that stuff’s accessible, it’s just on a different domain.' He added that any content that had been legally questionable before will be gone. 'All these people that thought they were safe: nah, it’s all gonna be back,'  he added. Perhaps even more terrifying is the newest feature planned for HunterMoore.TV. The submission form, which previously included fields like the person’s name, links to social media profiles and a place to upload photos, will have a new field: address. Scorned lovers who submit photos of their exes for revenge can now also enable others to physically stalk them by including their addresses along with the photos. HunterMoore.TV will then display the photos on a map. Mr. Moore says he’s not liable for these sorts of privacy violations because it’s all user-submitted content. He reasons that he’s protected under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which states that websites are immune from legal responsibility for content submitted by others." (Observer)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"On Tuesday, a Palestinian medical team cranked open the West Bank grave of former Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, took samples of his remains, and handed the evidence over to European experts to determine whether Arafat was poisoned -- by Israel, the theory goes -- before his death in 2004. 'This will bring closure,' Arafat's widow observed, "We will know the truth about why he died.' But that answer won't come for at least another three months, according to Palestinian medical officials. And even then, the results could very well be inconclusive. Polonium-210, which a Swiss lab detected on Arafat's clothing this summer, decomposes quickly. And if the long history of exhuming world leaders is any guide, the macabre exercise rarely proves the conspiracy theorists right. Here are seven of the most famous examples .." (ForeignPolicy)

"After three days of sporadic fighting in and around Goma, the capital of North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the city fell to the M23 rebel movement last Monday night, November 19. The following Thursday morning, the military spokesman of the M23, Col. Vianney Kazarama, was standing at an intersection in central Goma, addressing a group of young men. Government troops were said to be in the hills planning a counteroffensive, and United Nations peacekeepers, who had attacked the M23 forces with helicopter gunships before fleeing, were nearby, awaiting new orders. Kazarama didn't care, he said. He was thinking ahead. The M23 was going to create a better future not just for Goma but for all of Congo, he told the young men, and it needed their help. We have to go to Bukavu!' said Kazarama, referring to the capital of South Kivu province, some 60 miles south, and the presumed next step in the M23's march, 'and on to Kinshasa!' Kinshasa, the country's capital, is a rather more ambitious goal, lying some 1,000 miles west across a dense mass of jungle. Kazarama then repeated what has become his favorite refrain since his group burst onto the world stage last week, calling on the president of Congo to step down. 'Joseph Kabila must leave the country!' he said. Then he promised the young men that the M23, which officially formed in April, would provide them all with jobs. Some cheered. Others looked on skeptically. As he left, Kazarama, a tall man in forest camouflage, spotted my notebook and shook my hand. 'Bonjour, ca va, ca va,' he said in his choppy French. He got into a waiting SUV, and the spectators who'd followed him gathered around me. Like M23, they badly wanted to be heard. They were smart, articulate, and, for the most part, they told me, unemployed. 'If they have this mission, all Congolese must be behind them, because what the colonel is saying is true," one young man said. 'People are suffering. We are living without food. We are ready to fight to Kinshasa.' A street vendor pushed his way through the crowd and lifted up a clutch of fake leather belts that he sells. 'The president wants me to pay a surtax on these,' he said. 'What kind of life are we leading? Tell him to quit his job and leave the population alone.' At the sound of Kabila's name, someone shouted mwongo sana -- 'big liar' in Swahili. Then 'mwizi sana' -- big thief." (Foreignpolicy)

"President Obama and Mitt Romney will meet for a private lunch at the White House on Thursday — their first meeting since the election. The administration announced the meeting on Wednesday and noted it will be closed to the press. Romney will also meet with his vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Thursday, a Ryan aide has confirmed to The Hill. The Romney and Obama sit-down comes amid a heated battle between Democrats and Republicans over the upcoming fiscal cliff. Following his overwhelming election victory, Obama said he wanted to meet with Romney to discuss how he could work with the GOP nominee and Republican Party leaders on the economic challenges facing the country. And during the White House briefing on Wednesday, press secretary Jay Carney said that there are 'aspects' of Romney's record that Obama believes can be 'very helpful,' including his management of the Olympics. 'I don't have an agenda for the lunch,' Carney said, adding that only the two men will be in the room. He did say they'll discuss ways of 'making the federal government more efficient.' 'I'm sure it will be a useful discussion,' he said." (TheHill)

"Rumors about former NBC Universal head Jeff Zucker taking over as head of CNN Worldwide started almost as soon as current president Jim Walton announced this summer that he would be stepping down at the end of the year. Now sources tell multiple news outlets that the deal is nearly done and we should expect an announcement about Zucker's new role as early as this week. If Zucker is in fact abandoning his position as executive producer of Katie, Katie Couric's daytime talk show, he'll be facing a Herculean task at CNN. While the company as a whole is poised to have its most profitable year ever, its flagship network in the U.S. has been sagging in the ratings. To stay competitive, Zucker will have to forge a new identity for CNN that's something more than 'not MSNBC or Fox News.' 'They don't want to be Fox and they don't want to be MSNBC. Fine. But 'neither nor' is not an identity,' media critic Jay Rosen told the New York Times, echoing the criticisms many have for the middle-of-the-road network." (NYMag)

"Demi Moore is back in the arms of another much younger man after splitting with husband Ashton Kutcher, Page Six can exclusively reveal. Sources tell us that Moore, 50, has been quietly spending time with Vito Schnabel, the dapper art dealer son of star painter Julian, who, at 26, is about half her age. Moore and Schnabel first got cozy, we hear, as guests at Naomi Campbell’s over-the-top 50th birthday party earlier this month for billionaire boyfriend Vladimir Doronin in Jodhpur, India. 'They were dancing and grinding all over each other, openly, in front of other guests,' said a spy who attended the bacchanal at the majestic Mehrangarh Fort where Diana Ross performed and partygoers included models Kate Moss, Eva Herzigova and Karolina Kurkova. Since the bash in early November, a source tells us the 'wildly age-inappropriate pair' have been 'quietly spending time together.' Like Moore, the handsome junior Schnabel is no stranger to May-December romances. The cougar tamer reportedly dated Elle Macpherson when the Aussie model was 44 and he was just 21. He’s also reportedly dated nine-years-older Liv Tyler. And Schnabel’s dad, Julian, 60, has just gotten engaged to May Andersen, 30, the ex-model-turned-assistant director at the trendy Hole Gallery." (PageSix)

"Late last month, The Millbrook Hunt held its annual Hunt ball. Founded in the 1890s, The Millbrook Hunt is widely acknowledged as one of the premier equestrian organizations in North America and has been a fixture for over 100 years. The presence of the Millbrook Hunt supports and enhances the character and atmosphere of the area and helps to maintain the overall quality of life and historic traditions of the region. The Hunt sponsors equestrian-related events, including trail rides, hunter paces, hunter trials and hound and puppy shows, many of which are open to the entire community. The Hunt also maintains riding trails at its own expense. A most important benefit of the Millbrook Hunt has been to strengthen the concept of 'open space' in the greater Millbrook area and it plays a vital role in supporting land conservation and stewardship and the preservation of wildlife habitats. The equestrian traditions of Millbrook are a critical element in the broad effort to contain development in the the countryside, thereby maintaining the rural and agrarian spirit which is a foundation of the community." (NYSocialDiary)

"'You know, I was getting dressed to come over here tonight, and I realized that I was here 15 years ago, at the Gotham Awards, and I remember that because it was the first time—it was right before Good Will Hunting came out,' Matt Damon told the crowd at the I.F.P. Gotham Awards on Monday, where he received a career tribute. 'And it was, like, the first moment my life got really surreal, because Calvin Klein gave me a suit. For free. And that was the first time that ever happened . . . the first moment my life got really surreal,' he said. The ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street officially kicked off the movie-awards season, specifically awards for independent film. This year’s nominees included Beasts of the Southern Wild, Your Sister’s Sister, Moonrise Kingdom, and Silver Linings Playbook. Getting indie films made is not easy, and some of the nominees told us their secrets for getting their projects off the ground." (VanityFair)


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"It was Tuesday morning in Phnom Penh when Barack Obama decided to dispatch Hillary Clinton to the Middle East to try to help defuse the mounting conflict in Gaza. Clinton had been traveling at Obama’s side on his swing through Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia—but now duty called, and she was off to Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Cairo. So peripatetic has Clinton been as secretary of State that it seemed perversely fitting that what was billed as her final foreign trip with her boss would be cut short this way. And while news of cease-fire talks in Gaza came hours before she touched down in the region, the sequence of events was a vivid reminder of the stature that Clinton has gained in the job: For the past four years, she has been Obama’s go-to gal in any global crisis. Clinton’s impending departure, in other words, presents the president with a massive pair of pumps to fill—and a domestic political skirmish far less bloody than, but nearly as bloody-minded as, the one in the Mideast. At the center of this conflagration is U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, one of the prime candidates to replace Clinton, and a series of Sunday-show appearances she made after the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, in which she declined to call it a terrorist incident but instead deemed it a 'spontaneous' protest that had been 'hijacked' by 'clusters of extremists.' For this, Rice is being flayed by John McCain, who has called her 'not … very bright' and 'not qualified' to be secretary of State, and pledged to do 'everything in my power' to block her from the post, as well as being denounced by 97 House Republicans, who in a letter to Obama declared that Rice’s 'misleading statements' about Benghazi 'caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world.' Beyond the spectacle of gratuitous spleen-venting, does any of this Republican fulmination matter in the least—or, as the headline of a recent Maureen Dowd column in the Times put it, 'Is Rice Cooked?'" (John Heilmann)

"Now that the post-election blaming and bloodletting has mostly subsided, the Republican foreign-policy establishment is doing what it inevitably does in the wake of electoral disappointment -- starting to regroup. This week, many of the leading lights of Republican foreign policy are gathering at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. for a forum titled, 'The Price of Greatness: The Next Four Years of Foreign Policy.' The conference is hosted by the Foreign Policy Initiative, a neoconservative think tank that is essentially the love child of the earlier Project for the New American Century, the conservative assemblage that, before it disappeared from the map, was a primary cheerleader for invading Iraq. One need not be clairvoyant to guess the primary themes of the conference. Speakers like Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl will decry sequestration, the automatic budget cuts scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 2, 2012, as hobbling the U.S. military, but they will almost certainly fail to mention that military spending has doubled over the last decade. Likewise, conservative commentators Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan will wring their hands over what President Barack Obama's reelection means for the millions of people around the world waiting to be liberated by American troops. And featured speaker Bernard-Henri Lévy will decry U.S. inaction in Syria. (We know that Republicans are in regrouping mode when they invite French intellectuals as speakers rather than simply dismissing them 'cheese-eating surrender monkeys.') Despite the stirring rhetoric, most of the speakers will miss the real threat to Republican foreign-policy dominance: a very thin bench for 2016." (Foreignpolicy)

"Cold and sunny in New York, the first day after the Thanksgiving weekend. Toni Goodale invited me to a cocktail reception and 'app demonstration' that she was hosting with her husband James, for Richard Mason, the South African-born novelist whose latest best seller is 'History of a Pleasure Seeker.' A blurb from the Seattle Times on the back of the paperback which the Goodales were giving their guests last night, says it all: “Just try to resist ... A Continental Downton Abbey plus sex, with a dash of Dangerous Liaisons tossed in.' (Coincidentally, Dan Stevens, one of the Downton Abbey stars who is currently appearing on Broadway in 'The Heiress,' is featured on the app, and was there last night.) The Goodales are very active in literary circles in New York, and are major fund-raisers and supporters of Paris Review and PEN. Jim Goodale is a leading First Amendment lawyer who has represented the New York Times in every one of its cases that went to the Supreme Court, including the Pentagon Papers. He’s also one of those New Yorkers active in many projects, committees and institutions. For several years he even had a Sunday television talk show, 'Digital Age.' All that’s a very small part of his awesome CV, however (  Toni Goodale has long been active in fundraising for PEN and numerous other organizations and philanthropies in New York. Like her husband she is a New Yorker who gets a lot done all the time. The couple also raised a family, and are now enjoying the gift of grandchildren.  The Goodales both have welcoming personalities. Their guests always have a good time. Among them are writers – biographers, novelists, media people, as well as executives, diplomats, lawyers, public relations consultants, editors, publishers, political figures and the occasional banker or billionaire. As a social milieu, it is a gathering of people, many who are prominent in their fields, who like conversation and all matters of public life that are reflected in their host and hostess. And it’s always fun." (NYSocialDiary)

"Howard (Stern) started the show talking about how he feels like the kid from Two and a Half Men and denounce the show. Howard said the son on the show is 18 now and he's found religion. Howard said he has denounced the show. He said that the kid is against it and says that he wants them to fire him. Howard said the guy is making 8.5 million a year on that show and he wants to be fired. Howard said he has no idea how hard it is to get work in show business. Howard said anyone who works on that show ends up going crazy. Howard said Charlie Sheen is old enough to know better but this kid doesn't know. Howard said this kid grew up in show business. He said he lucked out at a young age. Howard said Jon Cryer is so normal and he gets show business. He said he knows how to milk it now. Howard said he's going to milk it for all it's worth. Howard said the guy is talented too. He said it turns out he's the one who carries that show anyway. Howard said the kid who went berserk is so stupid. Robin said she didn't know they could hear it. Howard said everyone was sending it to him yesterday. Howard read about the kid, Angus Jones, and how he found this church and then came out against the show. Howard read about how God told him personally that he wanted him to get it together so he started reading the bible. Howard said he found a church with an all black congregation. Howard read that Angus had a friend tell him about the church. Howard said they shouldn't fire this kid. He said he doesn't know what he's talking about. He said he should just go on and read his dumb lines. Howard said he's getting $8.5 million to do the show. Howard said last week he was in scenes with Miley Cyrus. He's very lucky. Howard said he hopes that someone is watching his money. He said he'll end up donating it to the church." (Marksfriggin)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Mideast conflicts have a nasty habit of occurring all at once. And while all eyes have been on Gaza and Israel this past week, several major diplomatic and military developments have occurred on the Syrian front -- some of which may prove decisive to the end game of a 20-month old crisis. The rebels are winning. The insurgents on the ground in Syria appear to be winning more and more territory and confiscating more and more high-grade materiel from President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Just as Operation Pillar of Defense was kicking off over Gaza on Nov. 14, the Free Syrian Army took the entire city of al-Bukamal along the Iraqi border, where they also sacked two major airbases, giving the opposition a strong military foothold in Syria's easternmost province, a vital smuggling route for weapons. The rebels then claimed a massive victory on the night of Nov. 18, sacking the Syrian Army's 46th Regiment, 15 miles west of Aleppo, after a 50 day-long siege. The real score, though, was in confiscated materiel: Rebels made off with tanks, armored vehicles, Type-63 multiple rocket launchers, artillery shells, howitzers, mortars, and even SA-16 surface-to-air missiles. Gen. Ahmed al-Faj of the Joint Command, a consortium of different rebel battalions, told the Associated Press: 'There has never been a battle before with this much booty.' (For a seemingly comprehensive video accounting of the rebel haul, check out Brown Moses's blog.)" (ForeignPolicy)

"The excitement that drove the discovery of 'emerging markets' in the 1980s and the easy money that turbocharged growth during the booming 2000s are over. The most hyped countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, and China -- are all slowing sharply, taking the average growth rate in the developing world back to the old normal of about 5 percent. Today's global economy is all about moderate, uneven growth, with stars emerging in previously underappreciated nations. Forget about the BRICs -- these seven countries are the real breakout nations to watch ... (Turkey)  The next two members of the club of trillion-dollar economies will be large Muslim democracies -- Indonesia and Turkey. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has brought to his country both economic orthodoxy, taming the hyperinflation that raged when he took office in 2003, and normalcy, opening up opportunities for pious Muslims who had been shut out of plum jobs by the previous secular regimes. This was tantamount to welcoming the majority into the commercial mainstream, and Turkey has prospered ever since, riding the success of its surging auto exports and the boom in the financial services sector. ... (Nigeria) In a country plagued for years by corrupt leaders, President Goodluck Jonathan has committed himself to reform, encouraging investment in Nigerian agriculture, oil and natural gas, and, most importantly, electrical power. For now, the whole country generates only as much electricity as some small towns in England, and this lack of a reliable power supply has made Nigeria one of the world's most expensive markets for operating a business. But the key in a place like Nigeria is that it doesn't take much to grow from a very low base, given its per capita income of just $1,500. The landmark change from bad to good leadership, now focused on improving basic infrastructure and boosting investment, may be enough to make Nigeria among the world's fastest-growing economies over the next five years -- and in the process make it the largest economy on the African continent." (ForeignPolicy)

"I had two Thanksgivings. There was an old-fashioned, traditional one at the home of Gayfryd and Saul Steinberg where we were 27, seated knee-to-knee at one long table. Gayfryd is an excellent cook and she prepares for this day with a gusto that is reflected in the organization and the delicious menu. Her friend David Monn also prepared a ham, the recipe he learned from his grandmother back in Pennsylvania when he was a kid. The Steinberg dinner table was entirely family except for this writer and David Monn, the creator of spectacular event decors here in New York and a great friend of our hostess. She shares with him a mutual enthusiasm for what can be created by one’s hand, and the wonder it produces for everyone else. Although on this day, the family residence was adorned only by the enthusiasm of the guests and the table of plenty. There were spouses, brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren, great—grandchildren from age 8 to age 90 (Gayfryd’s father). Gayfryd opened the dinner with some words of gratitude that we could all be there and partake of this beautiful meal, as well as a strong reminder of the loss and disaster in communities nearby. The menu was traditional, turkey, ham, sweet potato, mashed potatoes, baby Brussels sprout, stuffing, cranberry, gravy and white or red (for the grown-ups). After the main course and seconds, the desserts were presented, four cakes, a red velvet, an orange, a vanilla, a chocolate; and pies: pecan, apple, lemon meringue and blueberry. I left the Steinbergs about four and came home for a tryptophanic snooze. At seven I put on a suit and tie and went to the Four Seasons to dine with Herb and Jeanne Siegel, Herb’s son Bill and Herb’s sister Audrey Sabol and her daughter, NYSD’s Blair Sabol. The Four Seasons is a modern tradition for a lot of New Yorkers who prefer dining out on the big day. People dress a little more formally for the Four Seasons than most would at home." (NYSocialDiary)

"Cosmo’s Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles hosted 'The Cosmo 100,' New York’s 100 most influential woman, for lunch at Michael’s last Monday. Guests dined on the 'Cosmo Cobb,' which will be remain on the menu for the remainder of the month with proceeds going to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Guests included: Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Westfeldt, Ali Wentworth, Jessica Seinfeld, Lauren Bush Lauren, Gayle King, Sally Hershberger, Petra Nemcova, Diane von Furstenburg, Laura Mercier, Rebecca Minkoff, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Carol Alt, Sallie Krawcheck, Val Demings, Meryl Poster, Wendy Finerman, Gillian Flynn, Jane Greene, Brooke Garber Neidich, Thelma Golden, Celerie Kemble, Katie Lee, Nicole Miller, Elizabeth Peyton, and Deborah Roberts. Also at the event, in their first public outing since last week’s election, were New Hampshire Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan and Reps.-elect Tulsi Gabbard (HI), Elizabeth Esty (CT) and Grace Meng (NY)." (NYSocialDiary)

"Why is it that adultery can ruin a man’s career but rarely a woman’s, at least in so-called civilized countries? (In Saudi Arabia an adulterous woman is stoned to death.) An American diplomat slated to become the next ambassador to Iraq, Brett McGurk, lost his chance because of an affair with a reporter who is now his wife. Why is it suddenly criminal to sleep with the opposite sex?" (Taki Theodoracopoulos)

"Meet the one woman who successfully took down Chris Brown (on Twitter, that is): Jenny Johnson. With her acerbic -- and hilarious -- tweets, the former TV news producer known on the Twittersphere as @JennyJohnsonHi5 has amassed a following of over 300,000, catching Hollywood's eye in the process. When the Houston-based funny gal is not skewering the controversial rapper, Kim Kardashian or her own stepkids, the self-proclaimed "asshole and owner of 2 dogs" is working on a book of essays and a TV pilot based on her "twisted sense of humor." Back in May, Johnson talked to us about how she got her start on Twitter, her forthcoming TV pilot and why she's really, really not a fan of Chris Brown ... You have a few different celebrities that you seem to go after more than others, including Chris Brown and Kim Kardashian. What's your online relationship with them like? Do they ever respond to your tweets? I'm not a fan of Chris Brown's for obvious reasons. Hello, he beat up a girl. And he was so unapologetic about it and then continued to do things that were inappropriate -- like throwing chairs or saying homophobic things to nightclub bouncers. He keeps telling people to 'get over it.' How do you get over it? Seriously? I saw [a tweet to Brown] that said something like, 'Why don't I beat the shit out of your mother and then threeyears later we'll just forget about it.' I didn't write that but I thought it was really funny." (Papermag)

"I am delighted to announce I have tumbled on some good luck. A friend, a local with a thirty year foothold on this glorious island I like to call home, well he tipped me off on the sudden availability of a certain dwelling. A cottage, is how it was described, on a lane I had never heard of. It took a few passes and u-turns to even find the street. And then the little house, like a fallen diamond earring, its luster gummed from the dusty path and its brilliance obscured with tangled overgrowth, the interior dulled from years of encrustations from the previous tenant, an antisocial type, who moved home to live with his mother. I have relocated a dozen times this past month. Many options flew my way but each was the wrong sized bowl of porridge and again and again I plunged the possessions back into my car and moved my tawdry sideshow along. An unexpected lowlight was the gorgeous roof dwelling, where I had my hammock delivered, and did spend a few nights before discovering I could not stay. For one thing the property was a construction site, and for another it was infested with rats. A highlight was a week at the Sugarloaf Lodge, a few Keys north, where I reveled in a hugely comfortable room frozen in the 1950s. With its view of the mysterious mangrove islands and sunsets and crocodile sized iguanas with scaly crests and fingers like scimitars, I could happily have lived there for the rest of my life. But hotel life gets pricey. And then my friend wrote me and tipped me off about the cottage." (ChristinaOxenberg)

"Bill Clinton was spotted Thanksgiving weekend at The Lambs Club on Saturday evening with a couple of friends. He was seen enjoying a glass of red wine in a corner banquette and chatted up chef Geoffrey Zakarian. A spy told Page Six that 'Clinton looked radiant and very fit in a tailored blazer.' Secret Service agents were standing by as the former president, who just had drinks, later greeted other guests dining in the restaurant. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had traveled to Israel to help strike the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip ahead of Thanksgiving before returning to the United States." (PageSix)

"The billionaire’s building. The opening shots of Park Avenue: Money, Power and The American Dream show the famed avenue in all its moneyed glory: idling Mercedes, impeccably coiffed society women and stern limestone facades with white-gloved doormen stationed outside like sentries. It is a vision so lofty that it is almost otherworldly—can the vast majority of Americans even conjure this up as the apex of the American dream, let alone attain it? It’s a question that director Alex Gibney revisits repeatedly in his documentary about the growing gulf between the rich and poor and how that gulf has been widened by the political manipulations of the country’s wealthiest citizens. The press release about the film, bashed by The Observer in a previous post, was indeed misleading, but only in what it represented the film to be about: the two Park Avenues. This is not a story about the low or lowly classes. Nor is it really a story about 740 Park, the Upper East Side, the South Bronx or even New York. Those things just happen to be convenient physical touchstones. This is a story about the richest of the rich, as it were, the residents of 740 Park—a building that is home to more billionaires than any other building in New York—and how they have managed to claim a larger and larger share of the nation’s wealth, or as Mr. Gibney puts it in his opening voice-over, how they have enjoyed 'unprecedented prosperity from a system they increasingly control.' As Michael Gross, the author of 740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building, which Mr. Gibney bought the rights to, wrote us earlier this fall: 'we’re both more interested in the perps than the vics.' (Mr. Gross also acted as an adviser on the film and is interviewed extensively alongside New Yorker scribe Jane Mayer, Yale professor Jacob Hacker and Bruce Bartlett, a historian and adviser to presidents Reagan and H.W. Bush, among others.)" (Observer)

"'I love Marnie, her sweetness and her wit. I wanted to build her character,' screenwriter Abi Morgan says of Oona Chaplin’s role on the BBC’s phenomenally successful series The Hour, which begins its second season this month. Morgan, who wrote the films The Iron Lady and Shame as well as the TV movie Sex Traffic, is as passionate about Chaplin herself. She describes the 26-year-old actor, who has also appeared on the series Game of Thrones and Sherlock—and, yes, she is Charlie’s granddaughter—as 'very Spanish, exotic; she arrives on set in a whirl, but is very focused and still on-screen. There is a gear change that travels across her face.' The Hour tells the coming-of-age story of television journalism in the mid-50s—an era in which ruthless sexual politics confronted any woman hoping to begin a career. In the first season, Marnie remained a domestic trophy wife to husband Hector Madden (played by Dominic West), but Season Two poses challenges to her marriage and her husband’s fidelity, leaving her ready to break out into a new world where it is no longer satisfying to just be married to a successful man. Chaplin describes her character’s transition thus: 'Marnie has been elegantly aloof from all the seedy, gangster-y goings-on of the first series, but she makes the transition from the old world to the new. Marnie is not a natural independent woman, but she dives in and becomes part of the competition.' Chaplin is thrilled to play a woman for whom 'the power balance of a relationship shifts. And there is such a shortage of beautiful female parts, but you read Abi’s work and she is so good for women.'" (VanityFair)

"I was intending to do a little reminding research on the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving when I accidentally came upon an essay about Louis XIV, The Sun King. Thanksgiving always evokes childhood memories for me. The little David growing up in almost meager circumstances in a little New England town where it was bare cold and grey this time of year, Louis’ way of life was something to celebrate, and be thankful for.ronically, all these years later big David reads that and laughs, amused by the absurdity. Abundance, I’ve come to see, tends to dull gratitude in us, and before you know it, greed is lapping on our shores. Of course, that was Louis’ ace – the absurdity of abundance. With it, long did he reign. Growing up in Massachusetts in the past mid-century, we were inculcated in school about the Pilgrims and Plymouth Rock and John Alden and Priscilla Mullins and 'Speak for yourself John…' I loved all of it. Hardship in living circumstances was not unfamiliar to many of us, and in the stories we read (or were read) about it, the Pilgrims’ voyage and settlement was admirable and enviably brave. In school we made posters and collages of the Thanksgiving symbols -- the hat, the musket, the turkey, Squanto the Indian, Miles Standish, and the First Thanksgiving (so glad to have survived the long voyage to freedom) at what I imagined to be one large picnic table. Even a child could understand the pluck and the gratitude. Of course all these years later (and information absorbed) I see how simple and misleading and even absurd it was to teach many of these 'stories' to ten year olds who naturally trusted in everything they were told. I also recall my family members – eight or ten of us – crowded around the dining room table which had extended by two pieces, and the abundance before us and, despite our own hardship, taking it for granted." (NYSocialDiary)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr announced a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas during a Nov. 21 news conference in Cairo. The cease-fire is expected to begin at 9 p.m. local time. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told U.S. President Barack Obama that he is willing to give the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire a chance. This cessation of violence is likely highly tenuous. Israel will only agree to a truce if it has guarantees from Egypt -- overseen by the United States -- that the Palestinian arsenal of Fajr-5 long-range rockets will be neutralized and that measures will be taken to prevent future weapons transfers to Gaza. It remains to be seen what details surface on this core Israeli demand, especially given its incompatability with Hamas' demand for the blockade on Gaza to be lifted. There is also the outstanding issue of Iran, which Israel has pointed to as the center of gravity in the conflict. The Fajr-5 rockets are Iranian-made, and Iran facilitated the movement of those weapons into Gaza. Iran may have an interest in prolonging the conflict and could try to use militant levers in Gaza to derail the truce. Israel must also contend with the broader dilemma of future Iranian attempts to smuggle advanced weaponry into Gaza. This is where Egyptian cooperation with Israel on border security becomes crucial." (STRATFOR)

"Public polls took a beating from Republicans this year, most of whom insisted they were inflating Obama’s numbers to discourage GOP voters. But in the end, many of the public polls showed a very tight race nationally, although some of public surveys did show Romney leading in the final weeks of the campaign. And Messina isn’t letting the pollsters off easy. 'Most of the public polls you were seeing were completely ridiculous,' Messina said. 'A bunch of polling is broken in the country.' With the data-heavy operation, Messina said the campaign could consistently see where the public polls were going wrong. The campaign calculated the early vote split within 1 percentage point and the Florida results with .2 percentage points, Messina said. He pointed most squarely to the lack of cellphone users included in most public polls. Federal regulations prohibited using an automated dialer to contact cellphone users for polling. Instead, a live person must dial and talk to the potential voter being polled and that makes conducting polls with cellphone users more expensive.
As a result, many public polls leave cellphone users out of their samples. Messina said the growing popularity of cellphones as the only point of contact for young voters and minorities left key constituencies for Obama out of the polls and skewed the numbers for Romney in some samples.
'Cellphone usage has changed the industry,' Messina said." (Politico)

"On Wednesday, November 14, 2012, Max Mara and the Associates Committee of The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) hosted the annual Fall Party at The Four Seasons Restaurant in New York. The lavish evening was Co-Chaired by Hayley Bloomingdale, Joanna Baker de Neufville, Emilia Fanjul Pfeifler and Cynthia Smith with Honorary Chairman Maria Giulia Maramotti of Max Mara. The glamorous evening included cocktails, dinner, and dancing for a high-profile crowd from the fashion, music, arts, philanthropy, and New York society spheres. Associates Committee Chairman Shoshanna Gruss welcomed more than 365 guests. During dinner Nina Pickett, Administrator of the MSKCC Department of Pediactrics spoke to the importance of the Pediatric Family Housing Endowment’s work for child cancer patients and their families, followed by an auction led by Sotheby’s auctioneer Jamie Niven." (NYSocialDiary)

"'I'm so nervous, but I'm at the same time so excited,' said R. Kelly, in a black tuxedo jacket and sunglasses, holding an unlit cigar in his red-leather-gloved hand. Before a theater of journalists and friends, he was about to unveil the first installments since 2007 of his serialized R&B opera, Trapped in the Closet. (Read our A to Z guide to the series here.) 'Five long years, I had to save up my money, dollar by dollar,' he joked. Trapped in the Closet is an alien, and I'm an astronaut. Now let's get this ball on the road." The lights dimmed and the camera came up on a Chicago skyline. Someone in the back yelled: 'Cathy! Rufus!' The audience was shown into a book-lined study, something out of 'Masterpiece Theater,' where Kelly's narrator summed up the story thus far: 'Everybody's got a closet.' We won't go much further to spoil the narrative developments before they become available to the public (this Friday on IFC). There are two new characters, both played by Kelly, named Dr. William T. Perry and Beano. There's another reference to En Vogue. Just as notable are the musical developments. Reality show-style confessional scenes occasion a rock guitar version of the "Trapped" theme; Pimp Lucius sings over a funky "Theme from 'Shaft'" pastiche; a chase scene is soundtracked by an uptempo disco beat." (Papermag)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Obama’s over-the-top defense of Rice was surprising, particularly in contrast to the president’s relative indifference in accepting the resignation of CIA chief David Petraeus, one of the most capable public servants. And it was disappointing, because McCain, even if wrong on the particulars, is right about Rice. She is ill-equipped to be the nation’s top diplomat for reasons that have little to do with Libya. Even in a town that rewards sharp elbows and brusque personalities, Rice has managed to make an impressive array of enemies — on Capitol Hill, in Foggy Bottom and abroad. Particularly in comparison with the other person often mentioned for the job, Sen. John Kerry, she can be a most undiplomatic diplomat, and there likely aren’t enough Republican or Democratic votes in the Senate to confirm her. Back when she was an assistant secretary of state during the Clinton administration, she appalled colleagues by flipping her middle finger at Richard Holbrooke during a meeting with senior staff at the State Department, according to witnesses. Colleagues talk of shouting matches and insults. Among those she has insulted is the woman she would replace at State. Rice was one of the first former Clinton administration officials to defect to Obama’s primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. Rice condemned Clinton’s Iraq and Iran positions, asking for an 'explanation of how and why she got those critical judgments wrong.'Clinton got a measure of revenge in 2010 after she worked out a deal with the Russian foreign minister on a package of Iran sanctions to be adopted by the U.N. Security Council. The White House wanted Rice to make the announcement (part of a campaign to increase her profile that included high-visibility foreign trips and TV appearances), but a Clinton aide got Kerry to ask Clinton about the matter during an unrelated Senate hearing. Rice’s put-down of Clinton was tame compared with her portrayal of McCain during 2008, which no doubt contributes to McCain’s hostility toward her today." (Dana Millbank)

"Nanette Vonnegut, daughter of Slaughterhouse Five author Kurt, wrote a letter to Harper’s to correct a parenthetical assertion in the October New Books column that she was once married to mustachioed talk show host Geraldo Rivera. She was not, but her sister was. 'I HAVE NEVER, EVER REMOTELY BEEN MARRIED TO GERALDO RIVERA!' writes Ms. Vonnegut, who has been married to Scott Prior for thirty years. However, it is easy to see the source of the confusion. Ms. Vonnegut’s sister Edith was once married to Mr. Rivera 'for about one minute.' So it is easy to see how book reviewer Joshua Cohen could have gotten confused. At any rate, Harper’s notes that Ms. Vonnegut is correct. She was never married to Mr. Rivera. They regret the error." (Observer)

"Last night at the British Consulate-General on East 51st Street, Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra of Kent attended a reception for the NGO Sightsavers, to launch its new $1 million River Blindness Elimination Appeal for Africa. More than 50 guests attended, including many prominent business people. The funds raised will be used to prevent more than 7 million people in West Africa from going blind from the Neglected Tropical Disease river blindness. 120 million are at risk of river blindness, which robs individuals of their sight and causes a lifetime of disability and suffering. Adrian Poffley, President of Sightsavers (USA) said that 'This disease of neglected people could – and should – be consigned to medical history.' Princess Alexandra, who is a first cousin of The Queen, is President of Sightsavers, delivered the best wishes for The Appeal from Her Majesty who has been Patron of Sightsavers for more than six decades. There are 39 million blind people in the world. Eighty percent of all blindness can be prevented or cured. Since its founding, Sightsavers has supported 216 million treatments for blinding and potentially blinding conditions, and have carried out more than 7.8 million operations to restore sight. River blindness (Onchocerciasis) is endemic in 37 countries, 30 of which are in Africa and account for more than 99 per cent of cases. 37 million people are infected. More than 300,000 have gone blind." (NYSocialDiary)

"Friday evening was spent going back in time as yet another camera crew sat me comfortably and asked me about the Club Kid era and specifically the murder of Angel Melendez by Michael Alig in 1996. An hour turned into three as the story of that very bad thing that happened back in the good old days continues to be a hot topic. One thing that I tried to get across was that although Michael and his cohorts were indeed a colorful cult that jumped in front of every lens and went out of their way to be seen and heard, there were many other players succeeding in creating wondrous nights at all the Gatien venues outside of Michael’s scope. Disco 2000, the insane Wednesday party that everyone refers to and remembers, was only one night a week at the Limelight. Michael’s influence on the other nights at Limelight was limited. There were four clubs running simultaneously in that empire: Limelight, Palladium, Tunnel, and USA. And although Michael deserves a great deal of credit for mucking things up at the end, he certainly had a run of brilliance that could have and should have been remembered for creativity and fashion and a good time had by all. His Times Square design executed by Eric Goode at Club USA was iconic. The mixing of his club kids with the ravers, the model crowd, the art crowd, and the hipsters at Tunnel and Palladium looked easy at the time, but is rarely duplicated today. Michael remains locked up. He continues to fuck up in jail and continues to delay his inevitable return to the street. I think he is afraid to join the living." (Blackbookmag)

"Director Martin Scorsese celebrated his 70th birthday with just about everyone he’s ever worked with at The Monkey Bar on Saturday night. A four-course dinner, highlighted with videos displayed on flat-screens throughout the trendy West Village restaurant, ended with a champagne toast and chocolate cake. Well-wishers included 'The Wolf of Wall Street' stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, 'Gangs of New York' star Daniel Day-Lewis, 'Taxi Driver' star Harvey Keitel, 'Boardwalk Empire' stars Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt, as well as Steven Spielberg, Patricia Clarkson, Fran Lebowitz, Elvis Costello, Emily Mortimer and Michael J. Fox." (P6)

"Katie Couric has sought advice from power lawyers including Allen Grubman after her executive producer Jeff Zucker’s name repeatedly came up as a candidate to head up CNN, sources exclusively tell Page Six. Zucker, former head of NBC Universal, has been in the frame to take up the position as head of CNN Worldwide after Jim Walton announced he was stepping down. Zucker owns a large portion of Couric’s new daytime show, creating huge complications should he leave. However, last week Mark Shapiro, formerly Dick Clark Productions chief executive, listed as a CNN front-runner. A source said, 'When Jeff’s name was first touted, Katie met with Grubman to look over her contract. This happened about three months ago. She wanted a second opinion on how to proceed if Jeff leaves.' But sources said Couric didn’t end up hiring Grubman and sought advice from other lawyers. Despite rumors of friction with Zucker over the possibility of him leaving so soon after the debut of her show, the source argued, 'There is no bad blood. Katie understands he wants a big job and will eventually leave. This isn’t about suing him, this is about her getting the best overall deal for herself, and if in the event he does leave, she has proper counsel ready.' Couric’s rep said, 'Syndication is complicated, so I’m sure Katie has consulted lawyers. Katie and Jeff are excited about the show’s success and are having a great time working together.' Zucker didn’t get back to us." (P6)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Feargal Doyle at Orchard Windows Gallery

On November 15th Feargal Doyle had an opening reception for his exhibition "The Thinking Hand." The Irish artists who studied architecture in University College Dublin has a painting technique that marries the self-taught painter that he is as well as the representational vocabulary of architecture.

There is a lot of intuitive intelligence going non in these paintings. For a self-taught painter, Doyle has an amazing sense of color. Doyle, as gallerista Dino Eli informs us, has already sold three pieces. If you get a chance I highly recommend you check the exhibition out at Orchard Windows Gallery, 37 orchard Street in Manhattan.
Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"In the summer of 2011, Cameron Munter, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington and asked her to intercede with the White House to give him greater control over the CIA's use of drones along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, and to let him speak openly to the Pakistani people -- who viewed  drone warfare as a gross violation of national sovereignty -- about the rationale for the strikes. The stakes, in Munter's mind, were very high. A few months earlier, the White House had dispatched Senator John Kerry to Pakistan in the hopes of cooling the public fury over the killing of two Pakistanis by Raymond Davis, a CIA contract officer. Kerry had succeeded, in part by promising greater coordination on counterterror measures -- and then, soon after his plane left Islamabad, the CIA launched another drone strike. By the time Kerry landed in Doha, Pakistan's political and military leaders were apoplectic, and Munter had a new crisis on his hands. Clinton brought the issue to the White House -- and got beat by the CIA. 'The State Department threw him under the bus,' says Christine Fair, a South Asia scholar and an expert on counterterror warfare in the region. Today, Pakistanis know next to nothing about the drone program, and believe the worst about it." (ForeignPolicy)

"Michael Kinsley: When you took over Newsweek, after Sidney Harman bought it and brought you and Barry Diller in as partners, everyone I talked to had the same reaction: If anyone can pull this off, it will be Tina, but no one can pull this off. That turns out to have been correct. Tina Brown: I think it was a romantic gamble that there was still life to be had for Newsweek. We felt that for the Daily Beast—such a frisky digital brand—to have a print platform as well would be great. And, actually, that proved to be true. But every piece of the Zeitgeist was against Newsweek, combined with an unfixable infrastructure and a set of challenges that really would have required five years in an up economy to solve. Kinsley: What was your vision for it? Tina: I’ve always been very enamored of European newsmagazines—the Spiegel kind of magazine, which has an energetic, high-low approach to news. But those magazines also need a lot of pages—there’s something about the way a magazine looks and feels when it doesn’t have advertising that is unbelievably disappointing, both as an editor and as a writer. Pages are not meant to be adjacent to one another. They need the advertising to give it body and fullness. There was always that sense of Newsweek being not the full-bodied thing that it ought to be." (Tina Brown interviewed by Michael kinsley)

"Last Thursday night at the American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West and 77th Street, they held their annual black tie Museum Gala with more than 700 attending. Cocktails, called for 7 were held in entrance gallery around the massive dinosaur skeleton. At 7:45 the first dinner gongs were heard throughout the hall, directing guests to move downstairs to the gigantic Millstein Hall of Ocean life with the great blue whale (94 feet in length) suspended above. Getting a crowd of 700 who are enjoying themselves at cocktail hour to move is a bit of a challenge. It was 8:30 before everyone (or almost everyone) was seated. And then greeted by Tina Fey ... Lorne Michaels, the creator/producer of Saturday Night Live was, with his wife Alice, was one of the gala chairs, and there were many attending from the cast and staff of the show. So you could assume that was how we had the pleasure of Tina Fey as mistress of ceremonies. However, there have been frequent sightings of a 'Tina Fey look-alike' in the museum exhibition halls over the past few years, always accompanied by children. That’s because the lady herself (and her kids) are frequent visitors. After brief messages from Lewis Bernard, the museum chair and from the great Ellen Futter, President of the museum, the guests dove into the delicious menu created by Mario Batali especially for the occasion. After the main course, Jamie Niven, Executive Vice President of Sotheby’s came onto the podium to conduct a fund-raising auction. He told us beforehand that a generous donor had already volunteered a matching fund up to a million dollars. After that announcement one individual donated another $100,000; three more donated $50,000 each and before Jamie was through, he’d raised another half million dollars, which of course was doubled by the anonymous donor’s matching gift. The final tally raised from the evening was well over $2 million. After the auction Tina Fey introduced Maroon 5, the rock band. As they were coming up on stage, someone said to me, 'did you see Mick Jagger?' No. Then he was pointed out to me as he and L’Wren Scott were reaching the top of the stairs exiting the hall." (NYSocialDiary)

"I am down here in the migratory pattern of the perma-tanned for the Grand Masters World Judo Championships. The last time I won the thing was in 2008 in Brussels, and I have medaled every time since. This was going to be my swan song, something I have threatened before, especially since an Austrian by the name of Marius Vizer bought the International Judo Federation and runs it like his fiefdom. This wily Austrian corporal charges large monetary sums for registration and gives nothing in return. In Miami the organizers had volunteers doing the heavy lifting, which led to total confusion. There were more than 850 competitors at $150 each. I was put in a younger age group because there were no competitors in my own. I ended up fighting for a gold medal with someone twice my size and who under his own admission had not been required to weigh in. His name is Bo Svenson and he’s reportedly Quentin Tarantino’s favorite actor. He’s been in The Great Waldo Pepper, Kill Bill, Vol. 2, and Inglourious Basterds. He made his name in Walking Tall, and tall he is. When we met in the lineup to go in for the match I thought it was a joke. He’s 6’6” and looked to be about 220 pounds. I’m 5’8'' and 185 pounds. He is also six years younger." (Takimag)

"Harvard had been Maria’s dream school for years. (She requested a pseudonym, but not because she’s not proud of her alma mater.) A valedictorian of her New England public high school, she got in on the basis of a 4.0 GPA and started working toward an English major. Last year, she began looking around for some extracurricular activities to enrich her college experience. There were more than 400 student groups to choose from. Maria chose a group called Munch. Her goal was to meet new people, to explore something new, maybe to release some of the pressure that comes with trying to compete in an intimidating hothouse of rampant overachievement. Maria is petite, with honey-blonde hair and brown eyes. They widened as she ticked off a few of the areas she hoped to explore in her free time: 'Bondage, handcuffs, ice play…' Maria is, she said, less a masochist than a submissive. 'So a lot of taking orders and stuff like that,' she explained. 'I’m really into the whole exhibitionist thing, semi-public places, mirrors…' ... The popularity of 50 Shades of Grey has accelerated a mainstreaming of the BDSM subculture already underway—the initials stand for bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism—and the trend has been especially pronounced in our more elite institutions of higher learning. Columbia has a BDSM group. So do Tufts, MIT, Yale and the University of Chicago. Brown, UPenn and Cornell have hosted BDSM educators for on-campus seminars entitled 'The Freedom of Kink' and 'Kink for All.'" (Observer)

"Happy 70th birthday to Calvin Klein, who shares the day with Indira Gandhi and Allison Janney and other spiritual notables. Klein is proof—like some other very rich people in New York City who are of the exact same age—that life, and the expenditures of great sums of money, really does begin at 70. Having sold the company 'Calvin Klein' almost exactly ten years ago, he has spent the last ten years really coming into his own: buying a monstrous Hamptons estate, then tearing it down; taking up with an extremely young lover, then having the young lover promise to write a tell-all about it, after breaking it off when the young fellow was mandated to rehab after being charged with assault and cocaine possession." (Choire Sicha)