blog advertising is good for you

Monday, June 03, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"The sushi chef was leaving his apartment when he noticed the stranger outside. He could tell by the man's suit—black and badly made—that he was North Korean. Right away, the chef was nervous. Even in his midsixties, the chef is a formidable man: He has thick shoulders, a broad chest; the rings on his strong hands would one day have to be cut off. But he'd long since quit wearing his bulletproof vest, and the last time a North Korean made the journey to visit him in Japan, a decade ago, he was there to kill him. The chef's name, an alias, is Kenji Fujimoto, and for eleven years he was Kim Jong-il's personal chef, court jester, and sidekick. He had seen the palaces, ridden the white stallions, smoked the Cuban cigars, and watched as, one by one, the people around him disappeared. It was part of Fujimoto's job to fly North Korean jets around the world to procure dinner-party ingredients—to Iran for caviar, Tokyo for fish, or Denmark for beer. It was Fujimoto who flew to France to supply the Dear Leader's yearly $700,000 cognac habit. And when the Dear Leader craved McDonald's, it was Fujimoto who was dispatched to Beijing for an order of Big Macs to go. When he finally escaped, Fujimoto became, according to a high-level cable released by WikiLeaks, the Japanese intelligence community's single greatest asset on the Kim family, rulers of a nation about which stubbornly little is known. We don't know how many people live there. (Best guess: around 23 million.) It's uncertain how many people starved to death during the famine of the late '90s. (Maybe 2 million.) Also mysterious is the number of citizens currently toiling their way toward death in labor camps, places people are sent without trial or sentence or appeal. (Perhaps 200,000.) We didn't even know the age of the current leader, Kim Jong-un, until Kenji Fujimoto revealed his birth date. (January 8, 1983.) What we know of North Korea comes from satellite photos and the stories of defectors, which, like Fujimoto's, are almost impossible to confirm. Though North Korea is a nuclear power, it has yet to build its first stoplight. The phone book hasn't been invented. It is a nation where old Soviet factories limp along to produce brand-new refrigerators from 1963. When people do escape, they tend to flee from the countryside, where life is more dangerous. Because people rarely defect from the capital, their stories don't make it out, which leaves a great mystery in the center of an already obscure nation. Which is why Fujimoto's is the rarest of stories." (GQ)


"President Obama made a secret deal to support Hillary Clinton when she runs for president in 2016, campaign sources say, payback for the support her husband gave him in 2012. Bill Clinton’s animosity toward Obama is legendary. A year before the last election, he was urging Hillary to challenge the sitting president for the nomination — a move she rejected. According to two people who attended that meeting in Chappaqua, Bill Clinton then went on a rant against Obama. 'I’ve heard more from Bush, asking for my advice, than I’ve heard from Obama,' my sources quoted Clinton as saying. 'I have no relationship with the president — none whatsoever. Obama doesn’t know how to be president. He doesn’t know how the world works. He’s incompetent. He’s an amateur!' For his part, Obama wasn’t interested in Bill Clinton upstaging him during the presidential campaign. He resisted giving him any role at the convention. But as last summer wore on, and Democrat enthusiasm waned, chief political strategist David Axelrod convinced the president that he needed Bill Clinton’s mojo. A deal was struck: Clinton would give the key nominating speech at the convention, and a full-throated endorsement of Obama. In exchange, Obama would endorse Hillary Clinton as his successor. Clinton’s speech was as promised; columnists pointed out the surprising enthusiasm in which he described the president. It also lived up to Obama’s fears, as more people talked about Clinton’s speech in the weeks following than his own. But after his re-election, Obama began to have second thoughts. He would prefer to stay neutral in the next election, as is traditional of outgoing presidents. Bill Clinton went ballistic and threatened retaliation. Obama backed down. He called his favorite journalist, Steve Kroft of '60 Minutes,' and offered an unprecedented 'farewell interview' with departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The result was a slobbering televised love-in — and an embarrassment to all concerned." (NYPost)


"The political world is mourning the loss today of a New Jersey icon, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), who died at the age of 89. The fact that it is an election year has the same people eager to know what will happen to the seat that Senator Lautenberg held. There are competing statues.
According to the state Office of Legislative Services, the federal Constitution and N.J.S.A.19:3-26 allow the Governor of New Jersey to make a temporary appointment to fill the vacancy if it is the result of a cause other than the expiration of the term, in which case the appointee is to serve until a general election is held. Championed by Democrats, who want the U.S. Senate contest on the same ballot as the gubernatorial contest, the statute gives Gov. Chris Christie the power to appoint a replacement for Senator Lautenberg, who would then run specifically in November to fill the late Senator’s unexpired term. But Republicans are citing 19:27-6, which provides that if the vacancy occurs within 70 days before the next preceding primary election, it too is to be filled by election at the second succeeding election, unless the Governor decides to call a special election to fill the vacancy. The GOP is citing the statute as a way for Christie to schedule a a special election at a time different from the general election, thereby avoiding the complication of having to run against a ticket that might include, for example, Newark Mayor Cory Booker." (Politicker)


"Octogenarian supermodel Carmen Dell’Orefice didn’t show any evidence she was recovering from double knee replacement surgery at the opening of Brasserie Cognac East on East 70th Street the other night. The catwalker, 81, gracefully glided into the new restaurant and declined a chair to sit in when offered one by a staffer. Spies said even photographers went crazy over Dell’Orefice. 'It was as if they were tired of the young and mesmerized by Carmen,' said one. Arie and CoCo Kopelman, Sandra Ripert, François Payard, Ramona Singer and Harry Dubin were among those at the event, which kicked up a notch after Cognac chef Florian Victor Hugo sprayed Champagne on guests." (PageSix)


"Last Wednesday noontime, the National Audubon Society’s Women in Conservation celebrated the legacy of female leadership in conservation at its annual luncheon benefit at the Plaza. They presented two life-long conservation champions with the Rachel Carson Award. The prestigious Audubon award, launched in 2004, recognizes visionary women whose dedication, talent, and energy have advanced environmental and conservation positive change locally and on a global scale ... CBS anchor Anne Thompson opened the event and introduced historian Douglas Brinkley. The very prolific author is finishing up a book on Franklin Roosevelt (“Forrester in Chief: Franklin D. Roosevelt, the CCC and Wild America”). He told us how Rachel Carson worked in FDR’s Administration, and that it was there that she first wrote about the Sea (as part of her job), where she began made the kinds of discoveries that eventually led to her seminal study, 'The Silent Spring.” (She also wrote 'The Sea Around Us,' and 'The Edge of the Sea.')  Allison Rockefeller who is the founding chair of the Rachel Carson Awards Council, presented Marian Heiskell with the Rachel Carson Award in thanks for her numerous accomplishments as a lifelong conservationist and leader in numerous public and philanthropic activities focused on making the neighborhoods of New York City green. Mrs. Haskell was born a Sulzberger of the New York Times family, sister of the Times’ late publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, widow of Orvil Dryfoos, also a publisher of the Times, and widow of Andrew Heiskell, Chairman and CEO of Time, Inc., She herself is a former newspaper executive." (NYSocialDiary)


"For reasons beyond my control I was raised in the rain prone United Kingdom, so I am partial to the rain. I love the rain even more so here in the tropics, when the sun is lost in watery clouds and all recognizable sounds of life are replaced by the clattering downpour, meanwhile the air is sweetly spiced and warm. I was at home, lolling in my white armchair, watching the hypnotic storm outside my windows and I was lulled asleep. I know I fell asleep because I recognized my dream, more a recurring nightmare that I have traipsed through for decades where I am in a vaguely familiar house, it is dusk and the place is consumed by shadows. I am afraid of the dark, especially in this dream, and I rush from room to room flipping the switches on the walls, trying the lamps, but no lights illumine. Occasionally a lamp will light momentarily, like a sneer, before turning off, leaving me in a darker darkness, and filling with anxiety and scurrying in the encroaching night. Waking me with a thrum was Martha sending a text, asking if I would like to housesit the mansion by the sea for a few days. Yes, I replied. The mansion is two miles from my home, but I had no intentions of leaving once I got in. I cancelled my plans for the week, stopped in at the grocery store for provisions, and drove over." (Christina Oxenberg)


"At MSNBC they view it as rooting against death and destruction: the last thing the channel wants is more months like the last two, filled with terror bombings, tornadoes and plant accidents. It’s not all altruism. The destruction MSNBC also wants to avoid is the havoc such news has been wreaking on its competitive standing.In May, MSNBC, which generally runs second to the dominant leader, Fox News, among cable news channels, plunged all the way to fourth place, dropping behind not only its closest rival, CNN, but also that network’s sister channel, HLN (formerly Headline News).       
At a time of intensely high interest in news, MSNBC’s ratings declined from the same period a year ago by about 20 percent. The explanation, in the network’s own analysis, comes down to this: breaking news is not really what MSNBC does. 'We’re not the place for that,' said Phil Griffin, the channel’s president, in reference to covering breaking events as CNN does. 'Our brand is not that.'" (Bill Carter)


"More and more embarrassing stories of keep leaking out of the SEC, which is beginning to look somehow worse than corrupt – it's hard to find the right language exactly, but 'aggressively clueless' comes pretty close to summing up the atmosphere that seems to be ruling the country's top financial gendarmes.    The most recent contribution to the broadening canvas of dysfunction and incompetence surrounding the SEC is a whistleblower complaint filed by 56-year-old Kathleen Furey, a senior lawyer who worked in the New York Regional Office (NYRO), the agency outpost with direct jurisdiction over Wall Street. Furey's complaint is full of startling revelations about the SEC, but the most amazing of them is that Furey and the other 20-odd lawyers who worked in her unit at the NYRO were actually barred by a superior from bringing cases under two of the four main securities laws governing Wall Street, the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 and the Investment Company Act of 1940. According to Furey, her group at the SEC's New York office, from a period stretching for over half a decade through December, 2008, did not as a matter of policy pursue cases against investment managers like Bernie Madoff. Furey says she was told flatly by her boss, Assistant Regional Director George Stepaniuk, that 'We do not do IM cases.'  Some background is necessary to explain the significance of this tale." (Rolling Stone)

No comments: