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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Media Whore D'Oeuvres




"Images of multiple dead bodies emerged from Syria last week. It was asserted that poison gas killed the victims, who according to some numbered in the hundreds. Others claimed the photos were faked while others said the rebels were at fault. The dominant view, however, maintains that the al Assad regime carried out the attack. The United States has so far avoided involvement in Syria's civil war. This is not to say Washington has any love for the al Assad regime. Damascus' close ties to Iran and Russia give the United States reason to be hostile toward Syria, and Washington participated in the campaign to force Syrian troops out of Lebanon. Still, the United States has learned to be concerned not just with unfriendly regimes, but also with what could follow such regimes. Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have driven home the principle that deposing one regime means living with an imperfect successor. In those cases, changing the regime wound up rapidly entangling the United States in civil wars, the outcomes of which have not been worth the price. In the case of Syria, the insurgents are Sunni Muslims whose best-organized factions have ties to al Qaeda. Still, as frequently happens, many in the United States and Europe are appalled at the horrors of the civil war, some of whom have called on the United States to do something. The United States has been reluctant to heed these calls. As mentioned, Washington does not have a direct interest in the outcome, since all possible outcomes are bad from its perspective. Moreover, the people who are most emphatic that something be done to stop the killings will be the first to condemn the United States when its starts killing people to stop the killings. People would die in any such intervention, since there are simply no clean ways to end a civil war." (STRATFOR)


"Why is the United States poised to engage in military intervention in yet another Middle Eastern nation? Over the past two days the Obama Administration has made an effort to limit the ambitions and rationale for a strike in Syria, and to lower expectations for what an intervention might accomplish. First, a strike against the regime of Bashar al-Assad would not be an attempt to win the war for the opposition forces, the White House said Tuesday. 'There ... should be no doubt for anyone who approaches this logically, that the Syrian regime is responsible for the use of chemical weapons on August 21st outside of Damascus,' Press Secretary Jay Carney said during his regular briefing. 'We have established with a high degree of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons already in this conflict.' But any response will have a limited aim. 'I want to make clear that the options that we are considering are not about regime change,' Carney said. 'It is our firm conviction that Syria's future cannot include Assad in power, but this deliberation and the actions that we are contemplating are not about regime change.' And while an assault might be motivated by humanitarian concerns, it will not be a humanitarian intervention. Despite Secretary of State John Kerry's strong words Monday about the immorality of the slaughter outside Damascus, the most likely U.S. response will not be a robust effort to end the war, nor directly address itself to the ongoing humanitarian crisis caused by a civil war that the U.N. calculates has killed more than 100,000, many of them civilians, over two and a half years. And so the killing will go on. Displacement will go on (more than 2 million people have been registered as refugees, half of whom are children). Slaughter of innocents will continue, so long as the conflict there does, because that's how modern wars are conducted -- through the bodies of civilians." (TheAtlantic)




"Shonda Rhimes—writer-creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal, three smash hits once simultaneously on the air—is a three-time Emmy nominee, a powerful spokeswoman for racial diversity on television, and a deft coiner of pop-lexicon mainstays (McDreamy! McSteamy! Va-jay-jay!) that we challenge you to try to forget. But the higher Rhimes ascends in the Hollywood pecking order, the more she clings to her writerly, Dartmouth-educated roots, skipping L.A. nightlife to raise her two adopted girls, listen to composer Rachel Portman’s tunes, or plow through heaps of books on her nightstand. Here, the show-running geek gone chic on her habits, habitats, and (childhood) habiliments. A POLITICAL junkie turned political-thriller writer, she says her first memory of televised politics is the grainy flicker of the Watergate hearings, watched from the kitchen floor as a toddler." (VanityFair)


"Eric Brown is the well-known and highly respected co-director of Tibor de Nagy Gallery on Fifth Avenue in New York — one of my favorite galleries. I have covered two major exhibitions at Tibor for NYSD: Painters & Poets and, more recently, Jane Freilicher, Painter Among Poets. A graduate of Vassar where he majored in fine art, Brown now has the first showing of his own paintings on view at Ille Arts in Amagansett. Brown calls his exhibition Monday Paintings because like all gallery owners, that is his day off — the day he can concentrate on his own work in his New Paltz studio. 'Mondays are blissful,' says the artist, referring to his life in the studio. 'Things are quiet in the village and my neighbors are working. A church bell rings each hour and the school bus brings the children home at three. No wonder it's my favorite day to paint.' It was a pleasure for me to finally visit Ille Arts where I've heard so much about its innovative owner, Sara De Luca. In addition to showing well-known artists, Ms. De Luca has been presenting the exhibitions of many painters and sculptors who are making their debuts. Such is the case of Eric Brown aka E.L. Brown." (NYSocialDiary)



"John Legend is The Box. Or at least that was the prevailing view during his private performance for SCENE magazine at the infamous venue last night. 'There’s nowhere like the box,' Mercedes Pulido, president of Vendôme Macaron, said as a gymnast danced in a hoop suspended above the bar, between chandeliers and vintage pornography." (Observer)

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