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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres





"It's not often that one hears a truly historic speech. Russian President Vladimir Putin's address to the Russian parliament calling for the acceptance of Crimea as a Russian region was one. It heralded Russia's unabashed resurgence as an unscrupulous, unpredictable player in a world where lies, half-truths, bad precedents and raw might have replaced any kind of legal framework. Though such a world may have lived previously only in Putin's head, it is now as real as Russia's annexation of Crimea. It was a truly regal speech. Speaking in a Kremlin hall full of imperial splendor, flanked by no fewer than six Russian tricolors and with a double-headed eagle carved from marble soaring above his head, Putin was the benevolent czar, carrying different messages to his good subjects, his loyal allies and his enemies, domestic and external. His emotional range was Shakespearean in its breadth: from wrenching pain at past hurts to the unconcealed triumph of the present victory. Not even the colloquialisms of a working-class Leningrad boy detracted from the majesty of the 46-minute performance, interrupted with applause no fewer than 32 times. The pain was reserved for the description of the Soviet Union's demise and the weakness of the new Russia that emerged from it: 'What seemed incredible became an unfortunate reality. The USSR fell apart... I recently heard Crimeans say they were handed over [to another country] like a sack of potatoes. And what about the Russian state? What about Russia? It bowed its head down and acquiesced, swallowed this hurt. Our country was in such a grave condition then that it could not defend its interests. The audience of parliamentarians, Russian dignitaries and Crimean representatives appeared to be on the verge of tears." (Bloomberg)


"Geopolitical winners from the Ukraine crisis: China, Iran. Less attention, more flexibility." (Ian Bremmer)



"Monday night when I was putting together yesterday’s Diary aboutBunny Mellon who died much earlier in the day at 103, I was going to make note of the tragic death of the young fashion designer L’Wren Scott who took her own life in her Manhattan apartment the day before. I thought better of it because I had nothing to add that would have brought comfort to any of her loved ones, including her boyfriend Mick Jagger whom I don’t know but who must be deeply disturbed by her loss and her decision to leave. Ms. Scott was still a young woman with great promise although she might not have believed that since the media reported that her business was in terrible condition financially.Coincidentally, I had also planned to run a second obituary about an Englishwoman named Clarissa Dickson Wright who died a few days ago at age 66. I changed my mind because the Mellon piece got longer and longer, but several people had sent me a link to Ms. Wright’s obit that ran on Monday in the Telegraph of London, urging me not to miss it. Every message I got implied that I would 'enjoy' reading it, and a couple of people even said 'if you read nothing else today, read this, So naturally I read it. And although I wouldn’t call it “hilarious,” it came close. Ms. Wright had an attitude, a history and a life style that was particularly British to American thinking, and I laughed off and on throughout the reading.Many Americans, I learned, including my NYSD partner JH, were very aware of her and her cooking show 'Two Fat Ladies' on television, and loved watching her. I never saw it but having read the obit about her classically British eccentric life, I can now see why. So, if you haven’t read it, or didn’t know of her, or even if you did, you can enjoy the fact that despite her highs and lows, ups and downs, crazy family characters (mother, father, etc.), she nevertheless did it “her way,” and it sounds like she had a damned good time, no matter what." (NYSD)
Fat Ladies. adding that it was “hilarious.”

"Media mogul Oprah Winfrey will headline a D.C.-area fundraiser next month for Lavern Chatman, former CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League and one of nearly a dozen Democrats running for Virginia’s open 8th District seat. According to a Chatman campaign release, the fundraiser will be held April 5 in Arlington, Va. Further details were not provided. 'Oprah is a good friend and we both share a passion for empowering women and girls for leadership,' Chatman said in a statement. 'I’m delighted she is coming to town to help with my congressional campaign.' Oprah was a big draw for events and fundraisers for President Barack Obama during his 2008 campaign, which was the TV talk show host’s first major play in national politics. The retirement of Rep. James P. Moran from this safely Democratic district invited an influx of ambitious Democrats to the race. They include former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer, whom many Democratic operatives say is the front-runner in the race; state Sen. Adam Ebbin; state Dels. Charniele Herring, Patrick Hope and Alfonzo Lopez; and radio show host Mark Levine, among others. The June 10 primary will essentially determine the next member of Congress from this district in Washington, D.C.’s inner suburbs." (RollCall)


"Yahoo! has been highly acquisitive recently. Since Marissa Mayer joined Yahoo! as CEO in 2012, the company's stock has doubled. Yahoo!’s mkt cap is now $40bn. But the growth has been primarily driven by the company's 24% stake in the Alibaba, not by actual growth within Yahoo. Yahoo! has US$2.3bn net cash plus its stake in Alibaba, which is worth around US$25bn." (Euan Rellie)


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