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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres






Burning vehicles near the village of Ghajar, on the Israeli border with Lebanon, after a missile attack on an Israeli military convoy by Hezbollah. Credit Maruf Khatib/Reuters


"Two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven wounded in a missile attack Wednesday on a military convoy in a disputed area along the Lebanese border, Israel said, in the most serious flare-up in the area in years. Hezbollah claimed responsibility. The attack raised the risk of a further escalation between Israel and Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group that is one of Israel’s most tenacious enemies. The two sides lobbed rockets and artillery at each other for hours afterward. Hezbollah, which had vowed to avenge a deadly Israeli strike on its fighters earlier this month, said in a statement that its Quneitra Martyrs Brigade had carried out the missile strike at 11:35 a.m. The attack was the latest in a string of recent events along Israel’s northern frontiers that have sharply escalated tensions between Israel and Hezbollah after a prolonged period of relative calm since the last war between them in 2006. About an hour after the initial attack on the convoy, several mortar shells were fired at Israeli military positions in the border area and on Mount Hermon in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, without causing injury." (NYT)


David Koch, executive vice president of chemical technology for Koch Industries Inc. is pictured. | Getty


"The Koch brothers’ conservative network is still debating whether it will spend any of its massive $889 million budget in the Republican presidential primaries, but the prospect of choosing a GOP nominee loomed over the network’s just-concluded donor conference in the California desert. In an informal straw poll of some conference donors, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida came out ahead of four other would-be GOP presidential candidates who had been invited, according to an attendee familiar with the results. The poll was conducted by Frank Luntz, a veteran GOP pollster, during a break-out session of the conference, which wrapped up Tuesday after a long weekend of presentations and discussions at the Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul — who received the least enthusiastic response from donors during a Sunday night forum of prospective candidates that also featured Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — finished last in Luntz’s poll, the source told POLITICO. The poll is by no means a definitive assessment of the feelings of the hundreds of wealthy business leaders who comprise the vaunted network created by billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch. But it does provide an early glimpse into the leanings of a pool of megadonors who are being hotly courted by the field of would-be candidates, and whose checkbooks could go a long way toward determining who emerges with the GOP nomination — regardless of whether the Koch network decides to formally back a candidate." (POLITICO)








"On graduation, many members of America’s future elite will head for the law firms, banks and consultancies where starting salaries are highest. Lauren Rivera of Kellogg School of Management interviewed 120 people charged with hiring in these sectors for a forthcoming book. She found that though they did not set out to recruit students from wealthy backgrounds, the companies had a penchant for graduates who had been to well-known universities and played varsity sports (lacrosse correlates with success particularly well). The result was a graduate intake that included people with skin of every shade but rarely anyone with parents who worked blue-collar jobs. 'When we are asked to identify merit,' explains Ms Rivera, 'we tend to find people like ourselves.' Something similar has happened in corner offices of America’s biggest companies. As computing power has increased and clerical jobs have been automated, the distance between the shop floor and executive positions has increased. It was never common for people to start at the bottom and work their way to the top. Now it is close to impossible. Research by Nitin Nohria, the dean of Harvard Business School, and his colleagues has shown how in the second half of the 20th century a corporate elite where family networks and religion mattered most was replaced by one whose members required an MBA or similar qualification from a business school. This makes the managers better qualified. It also means they are the product of a serial filtering that has winnowed their numbers at school, college and work before they get their MBAs. More than 50 years ago Michael Young warned that the incipient meritocracy to which he had given a name could be as narrow and pernicious, in its way, as aristocracies of old." (TheEconomist)


Courtney Love reveals heroin use during pregnancy


"'KURT COBAIN: Montage of Heck' is the first family-authorized documentary about the life of late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, taking audiences inside the mind of the talented and troubled musician. 'In 2007 got a call from Courtney [Love, his wife] who wanted a film that went beyond the music. The journey started there. But I made this for Frances [Bean Cobain, the couple’s daughter]. She gave me the keys to go and make the film,' director Brett Morgen told FOX411. 'If you come to the movie thinking that you are going to see the story of Nirvana, you are only going to be sorely disappointed. This is the Kurt Cobain story.' Bean, 22, served as executive producer on the film, offering up very personal Super 8 footage of her early months being raised by rock-star parents devoted to their daughter while struggling with drug addiction. At one point in the film, Love admits that she used heroin while pregnant. 'I used it once, then stopped,' Love said. 'I knew she would be fine.'" (PageSix)


Barbara at Swifty's after being presented her birthday cake, with Stephen Holden looking on.


"Nevertheless, early afternoon, I went to a luncheon that Lisa Schiff gave for our friend Barbara Carroll, the jazz pianist who turned 90 on Sunday. It was a complete surprise. Barbara thought she was having lunch with just Lisa, and because of the weather she wasn’t certain she’d be able to make it. There were eight of us including the birthday girl and her husband Mark Stroock and Stephen Holden, the music, theatre and film critic for the New York Times, Ann Dewey, Lisa Schiff’s sister; Marti Stevens, Joy Ingham, and Deborah Grace Winer, the artistic director of the 92nd Street Y’s Lyrics and Lyricists program. The last to arrive was Barbara’s husband because he went along with the 'story' that Barbara was having a lunch with just Lisa, so he had to wait until she left the apartment before he could leave. Barbara and I have been friends for thirty years. We met through another Lisa – Lisa Drew – who was the editor on the book I wrote for Debbie Reynolds. Lisa had come out to California to work on editing the manuscript with me and Debbie. Barbara, coincidentally at the time was playing a gig at the old Westwood Marquis Hotel and Lisa and I went to see her. She was a girl from Worcester, Massachusetts, Barbara Carole Coopersmith who first came to New York in the late 1940s to pursue a career as a jazz pianist.  She’d begun her classical piano training at age eight but by the time she was in high school she wanted to be a jazz pianist. She attended the New England Conservatory.  As a kid her idols were Nat Cole, Teddy Wilson and Art Tatum. By the time she was fifteen she  formed her own trio which played at school dances, an enterprise that gave her enough money to study at the Conservatory." (NYSD)

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