Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Little of the Old In and Out


(image via nyreviewofbooks)

In: The Resurgence of Jimmy Carter. Who would have believed that Jimmy Carter, arguably the most tragic failed Presidency in the last quarter century, could rehabilitate himself into an Elder statesman of the floundering Democratic Party with a hot new bestseller outlining a viable roadmap for gaining ground in the electoral red-states and -- for good measure -- the go-to guy for how our foreign policy ought to react vis-a-vis the Hamas victory in the Palestinian Authority elections?

Granted, George Will has a trenchant critique --vivisection? -- today of the Carter approach to dealing with Hamas. We are more interested, though, in the phenomenon of the resurrection of Jimmy Carter rather than in a general critique of the specific procedural remedies he offers. That reversal of fortune is astonishing.

The former President has made it his mission to bring Hamas "to the table." While that remains to be seen, Carter -- if only as an ex-President -- can be useful to his country. Gary Wills in his brilliant essay in the current New York Review of Books writes:

"In his new book, Carter addresses religion and politics together in a way that he has not done before, because he thinks that some Americans, and especially his fellow Baptists, have equated the two in a way that contradicts traditional Baptist beliefs in the autonomy of local churches, in the opposition to domination by religious leaders, and in the fellowship of love without reliance on compulsion, political or otherwise.

"... The marks of this new fundamentalism, according to Carter, are rigidity, self-righteousness, and an eagerness to use compulsion (including political compulsion)."

Whether these formulations --like his Presidency -- are fundamentally naive will ultimately be tested in the crucible of Hamas reaction to his private diplomacy. The years in the wilderness have added to Carter a dimension of dealing with fundamentalism in addition to his human-rights-approach-to-foreign-policy. We'll keep an eye on further developments.


(image via businessweek)

Out: Dick Parsons. We love us some Dick Parsons. His game is tight; his moves are cool breeze. But the stock price has been stagnant, and Carl Icahn, that tireless gadfly, is gathering steam. Icahn versus Time Warner is heating up. In addition to the bewildering reports of Barry Diller at the margins, Carl Icahn has enlisted Frank Biondi. And they are pressuring Parsons to spin or outright sell off AOL. According to NewYorkBusiness (link via iwantmedia):

"Frank Biondi, former Chief Executive of Viacom Inc., has joined billionaire investor Carl Icahn to lead a proxy fight against Time Warner Inc. Mr. Biondi is joining the Icahn Group, which has been trying to elect new directors to Time Warner�s board and implement a turnaround plan. For months, Mr. Icahn has been calling for Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons to spin off or sell the America Online unit and buy back more stock.

"Mr. Biondi has agreed to serve as chairman and CEO of Time Warner if appointed by the board, according to a statement from the Icahn Group. 'He helped make Universal, Viacom and HBO into the successes they are today,' said Mr. Icahn. 'We are confident he will do the same for HBO�s parent company, Time Warner.'"

Stay tuned.


(image via ultragrrrl)

In: Ultragrrrl's Def Jam Company Retreat. We quite liked Ultragrrrl's latest blog post. She's been getting remiss in her blogging from the times we drop by and it was a pleasant surprise to realize why. She was on a Def Jam company retreat, brimming with boldfaced names. To wit:

"We got to hear the up and coming singles in hip hop, rock, r&b... whatever we were putting out. The presentations, which lasted about 6 hours, was mostly hosted by LA Reid and Jay Z. It was accented by live performances by people like Damone, Loser, Crisette Michelle, Lionel Richie, and LL Cool J, among about 30 others that you'll all probably hear about endlessly.

"Two highlights of the presentation was hearing the Rhianna single for 'S.O.S.' for the first time. That shit is THE JAM. It's along the lines of Gwen's 'What U Waiting For' and Madonna's 'Hung Up.' The song sample's Soft Cell's version of 'Tainted Love,' and the track moves between new wave and pop hip hop/r&b seamlessly. I managed to get a copy of it to DJ, but I'm 100% positive that I can't spread it out. I have been playing it non-stop at my desk... Jay Z and his boy TyTy A&R'ed it. It's a hit.

"Another highlight was when LA Reid played former Recover singer Dan Keyes' "Discoteque." Flashed up on the massive projector screen was a lanky white boy whose photos hardly showed off how totally gorgeous he is. Instead, he appeared slightly awkward like a Dior Homme model. When the song started blasting through the deafening sound system you could practically see the disbelief on the staff's faces. Once the song was over the room applauded. It was the only track the room applauded for. 'Yup, it's a hit,' said LA Reid, as he laughed in stokedness for how well it was recieved.

"'That was a Rob Stevenson Stolen Transmission...' me, alex, and eric speck woooed 'do you guys know about Rob's new label Stolen Transmission?'

"'wooo!' i said.

"Jay Z found me in the crowd, laughed and nodded at me. 'it's his new label. stolen transmission.'

" we had been officially introduced." More here.


Out: David Lee Simpson; David "Weave" Roth. We can't bear to listen to the scraggly-ass ex rocker's radio show. Especially after this, via Perezhilton, via Cityrags.


(via beatsandrants)

In: Dave Chappelle on Oprah. Goddamn it, we forgvie Oprie. Once again you may count us as elect members of the Oprite sect. We wanted to be mad at her for the blurring of truth on Larry King (And you know, of course, that she reversed herself to save the Harpo brand and not out of an alert from her internal moral compass), but how can we? After all, Oprah did tear Frey's ass up -- tore it up! -- for an hour and, worse, for another white knuckler 30 minutes on the Oprah Aftershow on Oxygen (Which, we believe, is viewed by 7 people in Montana).

You know she's going to get David Chappelle to reveal his innermost demons about why he went apeshit and had to flee over to some Muslim brother's crash pad in South Africa --! -- instead of finishing out his contract at Comedy Central and collecting $50 million.

Oprah, The Corsair loves you again.

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