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Friday, January 23, 2015

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"President George W. Bush held his hand and walked with him through a field of flowers at the ranch in Crawford, Texas. President Barack Obama, when he first met him, performed a courtly bow. For Saudi Arabia’s aged King Abdullah, whose death was announced in Riyadh early Friday morning, physical gestures of friendship and respect were important, so even American presidents indulged him. He was one of the most powerful men in the world, after all, and he was also one of the easiest to understand.  A former U.S. ambassador to Riyadh described Abdullah as 'in many ways a throwback to that desert warrior ethos where men stand by their word, they look each other straight in the eye, they are direct, and they apply a code of honor.' Abdullah’s daughter, Princess Adelah, once told me, 'My father doesn’t have two parallel identities. What you see as a monarch and a ruler is what you see as a father. He is very straightforward, very honest, he hates injustice, and he likes truth.'  But Abdullah was doomed to disappointment. The ambassador remembers that when they were together the king would ask rhetorically, 'Where are the men of honor left in the Middle East?'  And the answer, clearly, was 'none are to be found.'  In recent years Abdullah’s traditional values and attitudes became a source of huge frustration for him. People close to the 90-something king say events seemed to overwhelm him, baffle him, infuriate him. He believed he had made a peace offer to Israel that it could not refuse, and yet it had. He could not accept the news that those who carried out the 9/11 attacks on the United States, the 'miscreants' as he called them, were sons of Saudi Arabia. But they were. He had wanted to bring stability to the Middle East, and all he saw was growing chaos." (TheDailyBeast)

Saudi Arabia's new king, Salman, shown in this Jan. 6 photo, is a veteran of the country's top leadership. (Uncredited/AP)
"When wayward Saudi princes misbehaved, they ended up in Salman’s private jail. During the 48 years he was governor of Riyadh, from 1963 to 2011, now-King Salman bin Abdul Aziz maintained a small jail on the grounds of his official palace, where he would lock up royals who ran afoul of the law. 'Who else was going to discipline a prince?' said Robert Lacey, a British author who has written extensively about the Saudi royal family. 'Salman has great authority within the family. He is beloved and feared. He is a tall, upright son of the desert.' Serious questions have been raised about the health and ability of King Salman, whose rule began upon the death of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. Salman, 79, is widely believed to have significant health problems and to suffer from dementia.
'He can perform quite well for a few minutes, but then he gets muddled and goes off message,' said Simon Henderson, an authority on Saudi Arabia and succession issues at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy." (WashPo)
Entering the Park Avenue Armory last night, heading into the Winter Antiques Show in the Ward Thompson Drill Hall.
"Last night at the Park Avenue Armory was the Opening Night Party of the Winter Antiques Show to benefit the East Side House Settlement. The W-A-S as some are now calling it, marks the beginning of the social season that will now extend until late May when people start preparing for summer (and many leaving the city whenever they can). The Winter Antiques Show runs through the next two weekends ending on February 1st. This is the 61st year of the show which was launched in 1954 by the East Side House Settlement. It is always a very successful show, and that’s good because the opening night is critical to East Side House’s work in the South Bronx – which is one of the nation’s poorest Congressional Districts. The evening’s co-chairs were Lucinda Ballard, Arie Kopelman and Michael Lynch. Arie Kopelman, now retired President of Chanel US, has been at the center of producing this Opening Night for many years, and has been a hands on contributor to its successes. The Opening Night Party Chair was Kathleen Tierney, Executive Vice President and COO of Chubb Personal Insurance. The East Side House Settlement was established 124 years ago in 1891 as a non-profit community service organization. The “settlement houses,” of which there are several in the greater New York area, were all founded to assist newcomers (immigrants) and the poor in the neighborhoods. They are the glue to a cohesive community that moves and grows in every direction by leaps and bounds in the city called New York." (NYSD)

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