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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

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"It appears there are second acts, or is it a third? Jim Rutenberg in the New York Times on Sunday described the 'dramatic return to the public stage' of the neocons, who hope to finish off Chuck Hagel's nomination with theatrically embellished claims about his stances on Iran and Israel. There would be no such drama and no return to the stage but for the eagerness of media editors to stimulate the appearance of a conflict. These folks -- the William Kristols and Elliott Abramses of the policy right -- should be condemned to the dustbin of history for their fatally mistaken fantasies that left a deep, lasting, and negative legacy for U.S. security interests and goals around the world. Kristol is certainly no 'mainstream internationalist,' as he tries to repaint himself in the Times story; he is a policy extremist, one among many who caused this damage over the past decade.  They fantasized hegemony -- that the 21st century would be an 'American century,' with U.S. military power ensuring dominance, stability, and the ability to shape events around the globe. But the 21st century, as a recent National Intelligence Council report makes clear, is a global century, with changing coalitions and rising powers, not ours to dominate. They hoped that sending American men and women in uniform into Iraq in sheer ignorance of the political and cultural conditions on the ground would instantly install democracy (it didn't), eliminate a sponsor of terror (it was not), and end a threatening program of weapons of mass destruction (there weren't any). That a surge left in place a shaky and hardly democratic regime and a country in shreds is no victory; it is escaping a bad situation without tar and feathering on the way out. They screamed that we should have left troops there to prevent disintegration, ignoring the reality that the presence of U.S. troops could only delay a resolution of Iraq's historic and internal cultural conflicts, at the cost of a continuing loss of American life. They hoped to eliminate the Taliban as a host to al Qaeda by invading Afghanistan. They accomplished about a third of that task (throwing out the Taliban, but not eliminating it) and then completely dropped the ball in their eagerness to take on Saddam Hussein."(Foreignpolicy)


"In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, Southern conservative Democrats and Northern Catholics and ethnics left the party of their fathers in droves to join The New Majority of Richard Nixon, which they saw as representing their values and standing for peace with honor.  Barack Obama seems to be taking a page out of the playbook of these coalition builders. Since re-election, he has been actively seeking out confrontations to drive wedges through the Republican Party. 'Positive polarization,' it was once called. Rather than do a deal with Speaker John Boehner and offer one-for-one budget cuts for tax hikes, the president forced congressional Republicans into a humiliating climb-down and public retreat that split the House majority asunder. He spiked the football to rub it in, saying he had made good on his pledge to make the rich pay. While Obama declined to do battle for his favorite for State, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, a battle that would have united Republicans, he has chosen to do battle for Chuck Hagel for Defense. As Hagel is a conservative Republican, this has already divided the GOP foreign policy realists from the neocons and the War Party. If Hagel is confirmed, Republican resistance will have been routed. If Hagel is rejected, the Republican Party will be damaged in the eyes of many for having trashed a patriot, war hero and friend of veterans who put America first and wanted no more unnecessary wars." (Pat Buchanan)



"President Obama’s approval rating has seen a modest jump in favorability over the last month, as the public seems to have warmed to the idea of stricter gun laws, a new survey found. According to a Time-CNN survey released Wednesday, 55 percent said they approve of the job the president is doing, against 43 who said they disapprove. Obama’s job approval was at 52 percent in the same poll conducted in late December, a marked increase from his first term, when he generally tracked in the 40 percent range. The public’s support for tighter gun laws nearly matches Obama’s approval rating, with 55 percent saying they support stricter measures, against 44 who said they oppose, according to the poll. Vice President Biden, who spearheaded the president’s gun task force initiative, enjoys the best rating of all at 59 percent approval, up from 54 in December. Obama is locked in a heated battle with Congressional Republicans and some conservative groups, most notably the National Rifle Association (NRA), over the future scope of the Second Amendment after a string of deadly mass shootings. Obama called Wednesday for Congress to approve new bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips, and unveiled a plan that includes legislation and 23 'executive actions' the White House said could be put into place immediately.
The NRA has vowed 'the fight of the century' in opposing Obama’s proposed initiatives." (TheHill)




"Lindsay Lohan’s upcoming film 'The Canyons' has been rejected by Sundance. The producers of the campy indie flick are said to be flat out stunned that their movie has been rejected by the annual Park City, Utah film festival and they believe Lohan’s to blame, TMZ reports. Sources told the gossip site that her appearance in the movie has been deemed a major 'turn off' by Sundance folks. Perhaps they read the epic New York Times Magazine article that chronicled the madness during filming of the Paul Schrader-directed movie. (Lohan told Page Six the piece was 'bulls--t.') Or perhaps they saw the widely divisive preview clip in which Lohan’s character Tara is frantically searching for her phone, only to wake up her pornstar co-star James Deen, who then assaults her. Undeterred,'The Canyons' producer Braxton Pope told TMZ that his agents are holding a screening for buyers at the end of the month and a number of big companies are interested. Lohan has not commented on the snub, but Deen brushed off the Sundance rejection, (hilariously) saying, 'It coincides with AVN (the adult video awards). Priorities man!!!!!'" (PageSix)


"Alleged remarks by Barack Obama criticising Benjamin Netanyahu for his expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank have stirred anger before Israel’s national election next week. Quotes attributed to the US president saying 'Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are', which were reported by Bloomberg columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, were the main story in leading Israeli newspapers on Wednesday. An Israeli official told the Financial Times that Mr Netanyahu’s government would respond if it confirmed that the remarks attributed to the US president were authentic. 'Surely it’s for the Israelis to determine what their best interests are and they’ll be doing so next week,' the official said.  Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper cited officials in Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party accusing Mr Obama of 'gross interference' in the January 22 election, which the incumbent prime minister is favourite to win. The newspaper reported that the president was 'taking revenge' on Mr Netanyahu for his perceived intervention in November’s US election in favour of Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate. 'Israelis expect their prime minister not to give in to pressure, even if it would give them applause in the United States,' the Jerusalem Post quoted Gilad Erdan, environmental protection minister, as saying.Mr Netanyahu’s strained relations with Mr Obama are followed obsessively in Israel, where many opponents of the government worry about their country’s growing isolation. The daily Yedioth Ahronoth also picked up on the president’s quoted remarks, writing: 'Israel is becoming a pariah state that is alienating the affections of the US, its last steadfast friend, and in such a situation it won’t survive'." (FT)


"At three yesterday afternoon, in the Central Park West apartment of Sarah Frank, a group of supporters of a performance by the New York Theatre Ballet’s upcoming first-time fund-raiser, 'Bark! In The Park' gathered to hear a preview of a new children’s ballet with story and music composed by Karen LeFrak ... Karen LeFrak is very well known in social and philanthropic circles where she is very active, as the wife real estate magnate Richard LeFrak, as a writer of children’s books (having to do with horses and with dogs); and as a breeder of Blue Ribbon championship Standard Poodles. Less well known is her lifelong commitment to the piano and musical composition. In May 2008, her original ballet score 'Cake' on the life of Marie-Antoinette had its premiere with the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company. It was also performed at Guild Hall in East Hampton and at the Long Island Mozart Chamber Music Festival. Two years later in 2010, her second ballet Pavlovsk premiered with the ABT2 in New York and continues to tour across America and Europe. In April of last year the ABT performed another composition of LeFrak’s for choreographer Jiri Bubenicek, Gentle Memories. The piece had its Russian premiere that September with prima ballerina Yekaterina Kondaurova. Among the guests: Duane Hampton, Leelee Brown, Pamela Fiori, Daisy Soros, Somers Farkas, Jamee Gregory, CeCe Cord, Kathleen Hearst, Hilary Geary Ross, Marjorie Reed Gordon, Sharon Handler, Michele Gerber Klein, Amy Fine Collins, Helen Lee Schifter, Kamie Lightburn, Noreen Buckfire, Melissa Berkelhammer, Helen O’Hagan and the Company’s founder Diana Byer." (NYSocialDiary)



"Howard (Stern) told Lena (Dunham) he wants to tell her the full story about what he said about her. Howard said when he does the show he thinks out loud. Howard said Beth told him to catch up on 'Girls' so they can watch the show together. Howard said he hadn't seen the first season. He said he watched 2 episodes and got on the air and said he hated the show and hated Lena. He said she was obnoxious and he felt that she got naked too much and it felt like rape. Howard said he works it through out loud. Lena said she gets that. Howard said normally no one even pays attention. He said that night he watched 3 more episodes and he got the show. He said he was in love with her and with her character and he changed his mind. Howard said he's apparently not allowed to change his mind. He said his fans called him a jerk and he was full of it. Howard said he heard a line in the show that he thought was brilliant. He said he started to compare Lena to Woody Allen. Howard said the whole thing came together for him. He said he came in and told Robin he changed his mind about the show. Howard said Perez picked the story up and he did say those things that he wrote. Lena said she has people who work on the show who listen to the show every day. Robin said she was wondering what her exposure to the show was. Howard said the Hollywood Reporter said that he apologized to her because she won two Golden Globes. Howard said that's not what he did. He said that it took a little while to warm up to her show. Howard said she must know that her character can be annoying to some. Howard said he really does like her show. Lena said that she was excited about what he said about her and she said that on Letterman. Howard said she was very gracious. Robin asked how she found out about the whole thing. Lena said that she found out about it because she was at the Today show and a producer said that Howard said he loved ''Girls.'' Lena said she doesn't listen to the show every day but when she does she loves it. She said that someone said that Howard said that he hated the show and she looks like Jonah Hill. Lena said that Howard has a very slim wife and she's really not that fat. She said she's thin for Detroit. Howard said she plays up the fat thing though. Howard said she has that scene where the guy jiggles her belly. Howard said he's hyper critical about that. Howard said she plays up that fat thing and he loves that. Howard said he has that same belly though. Howard said she's not obese or anything.Lena thanked him for that and said that she's got another line from Howard saying that she's not obese or anything. Howard said he thinks she's brilliant and he thinks the show is great." (Marksfriggin)



"What he does: Managing Director of Business Development Asia, a Manhattan-based investment bank. Euan Rellie may be a banker by day, but the Brit has also established himself on the New York social scene. As if he didn't have enough on his plate, he is also a style contributor for Park & Bond. It's no wonder he managed to scoop up the gorgeous Lucy Sykes, consulting fashion director at Rent The Runway. The couple met in 1998, while Sykes was dating Euan's then roommate, but despite that, the couple fell in love and married in 2002." (Guestofaguest)








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