Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Little of the Old In and Out


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In: The Paramount Synthesis. In this ultra-slow news week (The Chattering Classes take the last week of the year off), Paramount's reshuffling process is bigger than Liam Neeson's "wenis." Well, almost. (Exaggerate cough suggesting feigned detachment) According to TheHollywoodReporter:

"Wayne Lewellen, president of distribution at Paramount Pictures, is stepping down from the post he has held since 1993. Jim Tharp, who heads distribution for DreamWorks, is expected to take over the distribution reins at Paramount once the studio's acquisition of DreamWorks is completed early next year.

"Lewellen informed his staff Tuesday, studio sources said. He declined comment, and other executives at the studio could not be reached.

"On the television side, Hal Richardson, head of worldwide television distribution for DreamWorks, is expected to take on similar duties, overseeing TV sales for Paramount, sources familiar with the situation said. With Viacom, Paramount's parent company, about to split into two companies, Paramount's TV syndication operation will move to the new CBS Inc., so Viacom will need to assemble a new team to oversee the TV sales of Paramount features and other product from the new Viacom's various units."


(image via nndn)

Out: Senator Trent Lott. Desperation over the stalling of the Defense Appropriations Bill -- avec ANWR -- drove the increasingly ineffectual Bill Frist to allow Senator Trent Lott to freelance (audition? moonlighting? suicide mission?) as Majority Whip to peel off crucial Democrat votes in last week's epic Senate showdown. It didn't work; Lott failed in that test, thus ball but guaranteeing the certainty of Mitch McConnell as the next Senate Majority Leader. According to TheHill:

"(Alaska Senator) Stevens and other GOP proponents argue that oil taken from the Arctic belongs in the defense bill because it is critical to the nation�s security.

"But critics say it is extraneous and have objected to the effort to attach a controversial rider to the must-pass defense bill. Stevens tried to sweeten the package with the promise of funding for Gulf Coast states hit by this year�s hurricanes, money for low-income heating assistance and other items intended to draw support from Democrats and centrist Republicans.

"But Democrats, with the help of Republicans Mike DeWine (Ohio) and Lincoln Chafee (R.I.), stopped the Senate from voting on the defense measure. A vote today to invoke cloture and cut off debate failed, 56-44. Sixty votes are needed to ensure cloture. Four Democrats � Hawaii Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, and Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson - voted with the Republican majority. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) voted against the motion for procedural reasons.

"Earlier in the day, Republican leaders lost an important vote on the $40 billion package of spending cuts that had originally included the ANWR language. On that vote, Democrats were able to stall enactment of the budget with a parliamentary maneuver striking provisions unrelated to drilling. Though the Senate immediately passed the budget billwithout the offending provisions, the move means the House will have to act on the measure again."

And, the rest is History (Or, if Ted Stevens gets his way on ANWR, "Eternal Recurrence").


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In: The 300 Production Blog. In the spirit of comic book movies and their "avids," which, quite frankly, took Hollywood by storm this year, we give you the "300" blog. The comic was created by Frank Miller and it tells the story of the Spartans heroic battle against the tyrannical King Xerxes of Persia at Thermopylae (A topic, incidentally, that is particularly timely in the midst of this War on Terror). Now, Classics geek that The Corsair is: If only we can get Ridley Scott to helm Xenophon's Anabasis, then we could die in peace. From the blog (link via Cinematical):

"Alright, here we are, finally making '300'. This week concludes our 9th week of principle photography on the film and so far, it has been an incredible journey. Four more weeks of shooting to go and I'm sure they will prove to be just as challenging, but more importantly, just as rewarding. To get things started, let me give you a quick tour of the website. Take a look at the synopsis page for a little insight into the story of '300'. Located in the video journal section you will find periodic video podcasts. Each one will take a look at a different aspect of the filmmaking process as it relates to '300'. Located in the artwork section of the website you will find artwork from the many stages of production. This may include set photos, storyboards excerpts, concept art, set designs, visual effects composites, etc. There is also a downloads section where you will find cool '300' stuff to download."


(image via doe)

Out: Gazpron Versus The Ukraine. There is something rather touching about Vladimir Putin's desire for Respect -- with a capital "R." (The Corsair turns on Tchiakovski) It is comically adolescent.

Now, even though The Ukraine, quite rightly, has agreed, post Soros-financed Orange Revolution, to pay higher prices after a sufficient buffer period to get on their feet, Russia is threatening to cut off their oil supply if they don't phase in the price increases immediately. If this sounds familiar it is; Russia attempted the same miserable tactic on the newly independent Lithuania in the 90s.

It failed then and it will fail now. Via RIA Novosti:

"Russian-Ukrainian relations are not getting any better with the approaching New Year, when the bilateral contracts on gas deliveries and transit will run out.

"While accusing Moscow of political decision-making on the gas problem, Kiev is also sticking to political arguments. It is enough to mention its threat to oust the Russian Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol, or a new spur of the conflict on December 22, when Ukrainian Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk bluntly charged Moscow with gas blackmail and even hinted that Ukraine might leave an 'inefficient' Commonwealth. Instead of the CIS, Ukraine will concentrate on cooperation with the EU, NATO, and the U.S., he said.

"Under the circumstances, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yury Yekhanurov immediately discussed the gas issue with EU and U.S. ambassadors. He conspicuously forgot to invite the Russian envoy."

(A considerable pause) Chared, I'm sure.

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