Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Corsair Classic

Via frostfirezoo CLICK TO ENLARGE:

Emily Stern: I Can't Tell You How Shattering Howard Stern Divorce Was On Me

Emily Stern, the actress and eldest daughter of radio shock jock Howard Stern is quite honest. Almost over-honest. In 2006, Emily, who takes after her rebel father, appeared nude in the off-Broadway play "Kabbalah." Her father, fearful that his enemies would snap pictures of his daughter -- like he has done to so, so many young women over the years -- begged Emily to quit the show, which she did, causing the show to close.

Emily Stern is back, and talking this time about Howard's divorce and the effects on her psyche. Curiously, Stern makes these comments on the cusp of Howard's upcoming nuptials to model Beth Ostrosky. Hmm. Just putting that out there. From The Jewish Journal:

She further felt lost then, she said, because her parents had recently divorced: 'All the time there was my dad on the radio with women, doing whatever, I had such a strong knowingness and belief in my parents' marriage,' she said. 'The loss of that bond between mother and father -- I can't tell you how shattering that was.'

Asked if she foresaw the divorce, the actress responded, 'Living this character on the radio, there's only so much you can say, 'It's not me' before you embody it -- I think that's a bit of what happened." She said she has come to understand that her father has been in the process of "integrating all selves," which is important for every person to do."
A Little Of The Old In And Out

(image via hulu)

In: NBC News. There are several reasons why this is a good time for NBC: 1) In the Evening News Ratings for the week of September 22nd, NBC tied ABC to top the 25-54 demographic with 2,570,000 viewers. 2) NBCOlympics.com claims to have drawn 7 million viewers. 3) On the "Meet The Press" host question, according to the NyTimes, "[NBC] is leaning toward an ensemble of hosts that would be led by Chuck Todd, NBC's political director, and include David Gregory." And 4) CNBC -- the financial arm of the Peacock Network -- is doing gangbusters covering the financial news story of the millennium.

Out: Roy Blunt. Counting heads and "cracking the whip," when necessary, are the two skills that House Whips need to have in abundance if they are going to do their jobs correctly. Roy Blunt, unfortunately, seems to be having some problems with his numeracy, as evidenced by his short count on yesterday's bailout bill. From TheHill:

"When Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) went to the floor on Monday, he anticipated that 75 House Republicans would vote for the revamped financial rescue package.

"But only 65 voted for it.

"Had 75 voted yes, the rescue plan would have been within striking distance of passing the lower chamber."
George Michael Escapes To Africa

(image via theage)

Wham! George Michael, who likes to use public restrooms for other than their intended use (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment), is headed to Africa to escape the paparazzi after his latest imbroglio with the cracks. From the 3AMGirls:

"After being caught monkeying around with drugs, George Michael is having an even wilder time - on safari in Africa.

"The former Wham! star is currently shooting wildlife with partner Kenny Goss-with their cameras, of course!

"The jeep journey was booked long before George, 45, was arrested in a public loo for possessing crack cocaine, last week.

We're told: 'Kenny booked the holiday weeks ago.

"'George was particularly keen to see lion cubs. He was determined to see the Big Five - buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and rhino.

"...Our spy adds: 'He is adamant he'll return to London a changed man.'"

And, as on safari there are no public restrooms to speak of, that issue shouldn't come up.
The Somali Pirates Did It All For The Money

(image via cbc)

Despite the fact that this blog is called The Corsair, we are not pro pirates -- kidnapping and theft is not cool -- but we can understand how people in a failed state with no other means of an income can resort to piracy to put food on the plates of their children. It is a tragedy of cosmic proportions the Blackhawk Down incident, which forever made Somalia toxic for United States peace keeping operations. From The NYTimes:

"The Somali pirates who hijacked a Ukrainian freighter loaded with tanks, artillery, grenade launchers and ammunition said in an interview Tuesday that they had no idea that the ship was carrying arms when they seized it on the high seas.

"'We just saw a big ship,' the pirates’ spokesman, Sugule Ali, told The New York Times. 'So we stopped it.'"
Media-Whore D'Oevres

(image via JH/NYSocialDiary)

"THAT 'ABC World News Now' has added Gotham and Avenue columnist R. Couri Hay as a weekly contributor to its gossipy 'What's the Buzz' segment."

"On the bathroom line at Beatrice Inn last night, an attractive blonde woman was buzzing to her male friend about me, so I gave her a 'hi there' to break the ice. 'How do I know you?' she finally wondered. 'I'm an entertainment reporter,' I replied. The good-time gal seemed to get nervous. I asked her name. 'What's yours?' she countered, defensively. 'Mike. And yours?' I stammered. 'Kirsten,' she divulged. 'Huh?' I said. 'Kirsten,' she repeated. OMG, it was Kirsten Dunst! And I had asked her for her name--and then made her say it again! This could spiral the girl right back down!" (Musto)

(Barbara Bush at the Pisa Dinner in Paris Fashion Week)

"Alex Kiselev and Maia Tarkhan-Mouravi, the London-based, Russian-Georgian team behind the Kisa label, are pretty excited that their wares are now being stocked in Moscow as well as across Europe and the United States, and on Sunday night in Paris they celebrated their Russian expansion in appropriate fashion: i.e., with cocktails and caviar at perennial hot spot Caviar Kaspia." (Style)

"In 1969, Spike Lee brought home a clump of dirt from the Mets championship game, and his mother made him throw it out .." (CindyAdams)

"Harry Potter star Emma Watson looked a bit out of her depth sitting with a trio of "bad girls" at Paris Fashion Week. The petite 18-year-old, who plays goody-goody Hermione in the films, was sitting to attention in a sensible coat, with a notebook at the ready to jot down her thoughts at the Christian Dior ready-to-wear show. In contrast, her front-row pals - mouthy pop star Lily Allen, burlesque dancer Dita von Teese and Katy 'I Kissed A Girl' Perry .."(Thisislondon)
Chris Rock Shows Up At Howard Stern's Bachelor Party

(image via grooveshark)

How curious that two of the more critical American comedians on the subject of marriage met up at a bachelor party. On The Howard Stern Show yesterday on Sirius, Stern let drop that Chris Rock showed up at Nobu for his bachelor party. Also attending was comedian Artie Lange, who is recovering from a heroin and alcohol addiction. Lange declined to join the festivities when things moved over to a local strip club because the temptation to drink would be too great. In a sign of a kinder, gentler (married) Howard Stern, he, too, declined the strip club. Also attending were Richie Notar, show regulars Gary Dell'Abate and Ronnie the Limo Driver.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Media-Whore D'Oevres

"According to estimates from Rentrak this afternoon, Saul Dibb's 'The Duchess' led indieWIRE Box Office Tracking (iW BOT) - which ranks the per theater average of all reporting specialty films. In its second weekend, the Paramount Vantage released grossed $570,000 from 55 screens, averaging a potent $10,364. Just behind was the surprisingly strong performance of IDP/Samuel Goldwyn Films's Christian romance, 'Fireproof.' The Kirk Cameron headliner grossed $6,513,996 on 839 screens, the second-highest gross for any debut on under 1000 screens this year. Fox Searchlight's 'Choke' did not do quite as well." (Indiewire)

"When the economy is in crisis, New York turns to vices. This week peeps were out. And who doesn't need a drink after hearing Sarah Palin explain foreign policy? Or maybe everyone was out hoping to wake up with a new rich Euro-lover. Whatever the case here's the debauchery I caught: ... Lit is back and Wednesdays are my pick of the week. This week DJs Cassie Coane and Harley Viera Newton spun every hip-hop song you forgot with help from friend Cory Kennedy. The crowd was cute scenesters, some MisShapes and even model Daria Werbowy!" (Papermag)

"I'm a sucker for those weepy Lifetime movies (I'm a big fan of Markie Post), so I was there for last week's premiere of Living Proof, an uplifter about the real-life trials for a breast cancer drug that ended up saving lotsa lives. Yes, Lifetime has premieres now! And even an after-dinner at the Plaza!" (Musto)
Liu: "This Is A Moment For Senator Obama To Rescue The Rescue Effort"

A fine mess we are in. We will probably have to recapitalize the banks, which made faulty loans and should probably -- theoretically at least -- take their goddam beatings like adults. Unfortunately, we, as adults, cannot do that; but we can force the bankers, int he next incarnation of the bailout, to clean up their act.

Today's financial rescue plan failed in the House of Representatives, brought low by votes influenced in part by 2008 election realities as well as the desire, as one Congressman put it, "not to play Russian Roulette with America's future." The credit markets are presently frozen. The Dow Jones fell a record 770 points. Stock losses have been driven down by a profound crisis of confidence.

We cannot fail to note that congressional constituents from sea to shining sea generally did not like this bill. It wasn't politically yummy, readers. It reeked of Establishmentarian elitism and the rescue of financial industry douchebags (In San Fernando Valley, constituent phone calls went 300-2 against the bailout's price tag). And no one -- no one -- likes those thumotic douchebags that work in the financial industry and their disgusting aggession.

And now, given the urgency of this financial crisis, Congress will have to go back to the table -- humbled, to be sure; ass-dragging -- to craft another bailout. But their heads will be held a little lower this time. there will be no pep in their step. And those who want results had better look to Obama and McCain, the standard-bearers of their parties, to make something relatively post-partisan happen and not fall prey to their own hubris. We are post-hubris now; we are post-Thumos.

Senator Obama has lent his soaring rhetoric to the subject of race in Philadelphia, launching a thousand conversations on the subject nationwide. Former Clinton advisor Eric Liu via Politico's Arena argues that he ought to lend his talents to explaining the crisis and the need for some sort of bailout package -- a much better bill than the present one, to be sure -- to Americans in a way that clearly is beyond President Bush's abilities:

"We need one of our three would-be Presidents to explain the reasons for a rescue plan in a clear narrative based on clear principles.

"Sound easy? So far no one has effectively painted the big picture. No one has told the American people in plain terms that when a block of houses is on fire you put out the fire first, then later you punish the arsonists and reform the building code. Nor has anyone laid out the social contract implied in any bailout plan: that in exchange for eating the bad debts of private interests, we the people will get ... what, exactly? Experts tell us -- as does history (see the early chapters of David Kennedy's 'Freedom From Fear') -- that what we would get from a bailout is an unfreezing of credit that will prevent a total choke and stall of the economy. But right now, the voters and their spooked can't see this big picture or the principles of reciprocity at work. All they see is something massive and scary that offends their sensibilities. This is a moment for Senator Obama to rescue the rescue effort, and to give us the frame of purpose and context that we need. Among our uneasy troika of national leaders, only Obama has the credibility and the cool to remind us not to fear fear itself. He doesn't need the office at this juncture to lead us like a president.
Media-Whore d'Oevres: Financial Crisis Edition

"Not only have producers and anchors at FoxBiz been working overtime this weekend, so has the marketing team. The network has rushed to air a promo which reminds viewers that while FBN was live covering the weekend news events related to the bailout bill, CNBC spent the weekend mostly in infomercials." (TvNewser)

"1,000 comments and counting on the NYT story about the bailout package" (BrianStelter/Twitter)

"It's no coincidence then that of the 205 Members who voted in support of the bill today, there are only two -- Reps. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) and Jon Porter (R-Nev.) -- who find themselves in difficult reelection races this fall. The list of the 228 'nays' reads like a virtual target list for the two parties." (WashPo)
NYSocialDiary Remembers Paul Newman

(image via JH/nysocialdiary)

There are lots of Paul Newman stories out there. Our favorite was this one by Gore Vidal, recounting a conversation with his old friend (from pierretristam): "Paul did tell me that when he was a young sailor, on a troopship in the Pacific, `I went up on deck with a copy of Nietzsche to improve my mind.' While he was improving his mind, a kindly chaplain engaged him in a conversation, then made a pass. Paul shook his head. `Now that really put me off.' `Off Christianity or homosexuality?'`Neither. Nietzsche.'”

Unlike so many limousine liberals, Newman leveraged his power to create a brand -- Newman's Own -- that funneled millions into helping the disadvantaged. Newman, who is also one of the owner of The Nation, died early this weekend. NYSocialDiary today publishes a recollection from Joe Armstrong, the Mayor of Michaels, who knew old blue eyes:

"My friend Joe Armstrong has been volunteering for a week for several summers now as a Counselor at one of the Newman’s Own Hole in the Wall camps. Paul Newman and he shared many several mutual friends. I asked Joe last night if he’d share some memories of the man:

Last year at the camp, Newman walked over to me and said 'Armstrong, don't forget that a lot of these kids are a lot sicker than they look and act. But it's hard to see sometimes because they are having the time of their lives. My admiration and respect for these kids is enormous.'

He told me in his always modest way, 'Last summer I was sitting at a table of small guys --- hell, they probably hadn't seen any of my pictures and didn't know who I was.'

But this one really bright inner-city kid kept looking at me then looking back on the side of the lemonade carton where my picture was, and then he'd look back and study my face, and then back to the lemonade cartoon. He did it over and over, until he was totally baffled and confused. And then I could see he got a bright idea. He looked right up at me and said 'are you lost?'

Talking about my tenure there, he said to me 'Joe you are one of our oldest volunteers who lives night and day in the cabin with the kids and watches over them for one long, solid week. I did what you are doing,' he said, 'until I was about 75.'"

Much, much more here.
Roadblaocks On The Road To An Age Of International Law

(image via unesco)

Can you feel the thickening of the network of multilateral institutions powered by the pulse and engine of History? "May you live in interesting times," the old Chinese blessing and curse is doubly relevant, it seems, to this historical age. The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's crystal ball was remarkably clear, while so many others' future-gazing media were opaque on matters regarding the global fundament. A sprint ahead of the curve, the former United Nations Ambassador and cabinet minister to three Presidents of both parties anticipated issues as wide-ranging as the rise of ethnicity in politics in the 1970s and 80s, post_Cold War Balkanization (the internationalization of his argument in Beyond the Melting Pot), the need for transparency in our intelligence agencies, and, of course, the subject of this post: the rise of International Law.

On the subject of the Law of Nations, it is not a matter of what but, we believe, when. To extrapolate from an oversimplified sampling from Modern History: the bilateral Cold War begat The Pax Americana begat the present pandemonium will beget, we surmise, an Age of International Law. Logical? And that time -- the time to confront the immediate questions proximate to how America might deal with Constitutional issues surrounding International Law -- might perhaps be now. From Noah Feldman of The New York Times magazine:

"Every generation gets the Constitution that it deserves. As the central preoccupations of an era make their way into the legal system, the Supreme Court eventually weighs in, and nine lawyers in robes become oracles of our national identity. The 1930s had the Great Depression and the Supreme Court’s 'switch in time' from mandating a laissez-faire economy to allowing New Deal regulation. The 1950s had the rise of the civil rights movement and Brown v. Board of Education. The 1970s had the struggle for personal autonomy and Roe v. Wade. Over the last two centuries, the court’s decisions, ranging from the dreadful to the inspiring, have always reflected and shaped who 'we the people' think we are.

"During the boom years of the 1990s, globalization emerged as the most significant development in our national life. With NAFTA and the Internet and big-box stores selling cheap goods from China, the line between national and international began to blur. In the seven years since 9/11, the question of how we relate to the world beyond our borders — and how we should — has become inescapable. The Supreme Court, as ever, is beginning to offer its own answers. As the United States tries to balance the benefits of multilateral alliances with the demands of unilateral self-protection, the court has started to address the legal counterparts of such existential matters. It is becoming increasingly clear that the defining constitutional problem for the present generation will be the nature of the relationship of the United States to what is somewhat optimistically called the international order.

"This problem has many dimensions. It includes mundane practical questions, like what force the United States should give to the law of the sea. It includes more symbolic questions, like whether high-ranking American officials can be held accountable for crimes against international law. And it includes questions of momentous consequence, like whether international law should be treated as law in the United States; what rights, if any, noncitizens have to come before American courts or tribunals; whether the protections of the Geneva Conventions apply to people that the U.S. government accuses of being terrorists; and whether the U.S. Supreme Court should consider the decisions of foreign or international tribunals when it interprets the Constitution.

"In recent years, two prominent schools of thought have emerged to answer these questions. One view, closely associated with the Bush administration, begins with the observation that law, in the age of modern liberal democracy, derives its legitimacy from being enacted by elected representatives of the people. From this standpoint, the Constitution is seen as facing inward, toward the Americans who made it, toward their rights and their security. For the most part, that is, the rights the Constitution provides are for citizens and provided only within the borders of the country. By these lights, any interpretation of the Constitution that restricts the nation’s security or sovereignty — for example, by extending constitutional rights to noncitizens encountered on battlefields overseas — is misguided and even dangerous. In the words of the conservative legal scholars Eric Posner and Jack Goldsmith (who is himself a former member of the Bush administration), the Constitution 'was designed to create a more perfect domestic order, and its foreign relations mechanisms were crafted to enhance U.S. welfare.'

"A competing view, championed mostly by liberals, defines the rule of law differently: law is conceived not as a quintessentially national phenomenon but rather as a global ideal. The liberal position readily concedes that the Constitution specifies the law for the United States but stresses that a fuller, more complete conception of law demands that American law be pictured alongside international law and other (legitimate) national constitutions. The U.S. Constitution, on this cosmopolitan view, faces outward. It is a paradigm of the rule of law: rights similar to those it confers on Americans should protect all people everywhere, so that no one falls outside the reach of some legitimate legal order. What is most important about our Constitution, liberals stress, is not that it provides rights for us but that its vision of freedom ought to apply universally."

We are not so blithely naive as to believe that International Law will -- by fiat voluntas tua -- fill the universe with light and chocolates and a choir of celestial voices culminating, climactically, in "The End of History." The age-old conflict between the The Parties of Heaven and Hell will never melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew. Tradtional power politics in its various iterations -- such as Conservative Internationalism -- will always exist but, we believe, those parochial philosophical aberrations will have to operate their pessimistic dark magic at the margins, past the spiderwebs, through the kaleidoscopic prism of international law.

There are and always be the Syrias of the world, utilizing "Syrian diplomacy," usually involves enough dynamite to level a Mideast city block. We are also not blind to Big Evil, alive and well in the arena of international politics (Name: Mwangaguhunga, Ron; born: Kampala, Uganda 1971). But as the forces of History propel us towards the growing importance of international law in resolving apparently unresolvable conflicts and, to that end, the multilateral pressuring of rogue regimes to conform to the inevitable collective will of the law, America, we predict, will have to navigate the treacherous narrows and rocky straights with what can only be properly construed as a sort of Wilsonian-Realism. Using this Wilsonian-Realism, the United States will have to protect itself from the traditional power political maneuverings of the Syrias and the Russias of the world, who will endeavor, mightily, to tilt the levers of the law towards their own Realpolitical ambitions. Of this we are most certainly not naive.

The issue of International Law is actually one of the fundamental questions of the 2008 Presidential race, whether or not anyone wants to admit it. The Corsair could see, for example, why the Obama campaign wouldn't want to bring this up: No one has ever won an American presidential campaign arguing over the vagaries of international law. It is a turkey of an issue in American domestic politics. Americans have historically been distrustful of international institutions and it would be a toxic addition -- for the Obama campaign, most certainly -- to introduce into the American political bloodstream. A skepticism towards "foreign entanglements" is embroidered into the very fabric of the American tradition going as far back as Washington's Farewell Address of 1796. We would be foolish to dismiss the paleoconservative "America First" tradition -- presently ascendant -- surfaces, in strength, whenever the United States is at an historical crossroads (Remember Neo-isolationism at the cusp of the First Persian Gulf War?).

International law was an issue that arguably influenced the Kerry campaign's loss in 2004. The Machiavellian same-sex marriage initiative in Ohio notwithstanding, we have never precisely calibrated the importance of the introduction of the Osama-bin-Laden video as well as Kerry's comments on international law in the closing days of the 2004 campaign on his defeat. "Kerry's Undeclared War" also originated in the New York Times magazine, this time by Matt Bai, but also with regards to international law. And the 8,000 word article was published late in the campaign, in the final weeks. Kerry told Bai in a fateful quote, "We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance ... As a former law enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life."

Predictably, the Bushies pounced, and -- mirabile dictu! -- Kerry lost (for many reasons, to be sure, including this). But an Age of International Law will come, after, perhaps, a prolonged period of international instability. Whether or not it comes in twenty years, or fifty years or far beyond our lifetimes, International Law is a logical conclusion to this present impasse and erosion of global will on the part of the soi-dissant "Party of Heaven." For further reference see: Somalian Piracy.

That Age will come, and hopefully not before we do such damage to our environment or ourselves through war that it becomes a survival imperative and not an elected choice by enlightened minds.

The full article here.
Corsair Classic

Separated At Birth

Generic run-of-the-skill porn star turned Italian parliamentary reality, Ilona Staller. (image via sneakpeaks)

Generic run-of-the-skill "Rocker" turned VH1 reality star Brett Michaels? (image via thesunblog)
Separated At Birth?

Embattled, punchy US Senator Liddy "Sugarlips" Dole?

--Or the late, Saucy French Chef Julia Child. (image via collegepublisher)
Roger Ebert: "Obama Is My Guy. If You Are Rude To Him, You Are Rude To Me."

Honorary African-American and Pulitzer Prize winning critic Roger Ebert weighs in on what he thought of McCain's aggressive performance in Friday's debate. Opinion is divided as to who was the actual victor. The Corsair thinks McCain won by a whisker; many other pundits call it a draw; and some polls are actually calling it for Obama (?!). Ebert, for one, just didn't like the cut of McCain's jib. he writes:

"I do not like you, John McCain. My feeling has nothing to do with issues. It has to do with common courtesy. During the debate, you refused to look Barack Obama in the eye. Indeed, you refused to look at him at all. Even when the two of you shook hands at the start, you used your eyes only to locate his hand, and then gazed past him as you shook it.

"Obama is my guy. If you are rude to him, you are rude to me. If you came to dinner at my house and refused to look at or speak with one of my guests, that would be bad manners and I would be offended. Same thing if I went to your house. During the debate, you were America's guest.

"What was your problem?"

We do not look forward to the response of Vincent Gallo, who supports the McCain-Palin ticket. More vintage Ebert here.
Mikheil Saakashvili Parties With Models At Cipriani Downtown

(image via daylife)

"Today we are all Georgians," said GOP Presidential candidate Senator McCain in York, Pennsylvania in early August. If only. Page Six informs us, "GEORGIAN President Mikheil Saakashvili, in a plaid shirt and khakis, partying with a gaggle of models at Cipriani Downtown."


Glad to know that as his nation balances precipitously over an infinite crevasse, this American-educated stooge, this douchebag, is out scoring the hot chicks. One would think that he would have more important imperatives eating his time.

We cannot fail to note that the President of Georgia was -- according to diplomatic gossipist Richard Holbrooke, who told Fareed Zakaria on GPS -- at a weight loss spa in Italy when Russia did it's thing. Russia, it seems, had a more aggressive "weight loss regime (Honey, I lost two provinces!)" than those delightful Italians. As philosopher Henry Bernard Levy wrote in HuffPo:

"'Let me make one thing clear,' (Saakashvili)interrupts me, with a sudden gravity. 'We cannot let them say that we started this war ... It was early August. My ministers were on vacation, as I was too, in Italy, at a weight-loss spa, getting ready to go to Beijing. Then in the Italian press I read, War preparations are under way in Georgia. You understand me. Here I was just hanging out in Italy and I read in the paper that my own country is preparing for a war!"

Charmed, I'm sure.
Media-Whore D'Oevres

(image via infinitedial)

"This is the town of money -- freewheeling, high-stakes, high-risk and big-spending. The home of the $20 martini, the seven-figure bonus, the multimillion-dollar condos owned by the titans of the Street. Washington is the town of politics -- bureaucratic, stodgy, conservative. The home of cheap happy-hour beer and clean-cut young interns living in cramped quarters on the Hill, who are about making a difference, not making money. But with Wall Street hobbled by the biggest financial crisis in generations, the culture of big money has lost some of its luster. And with the Street now looking to the U.S. Treasury for an unprecedented bailout, it's suddenly Washington that has become the center of financial action -- creating, at least for this instant, an unlikely shift of power and influence." (WashPo via DrudgiePoo)

"Sean Penn was so chuffed about snogging a bloke he sent a text to ex-wife Madonna to brag. The star plays a gay man in new movie Milk and has to kiss actor James Franco. James said: 'After our kiss Sean texted Madonna and said, I just popped my cherry kissing a guy. I thought of you. I don't know why.' " (3AMGirls)

"CHRISTOPHER Walken is a card-carrying heterosexual, but the quirky star is OK with kissing men. In his new book, 'Christopher Walken A to Z,' Robert Schnakenberg recalls how Andy Warhol claimed in his diary to have seen Walken kissing Mickey Rourke on the lips at a party. Asked later about the liplock, Walken remarked, 'Actors do kiss each other. I don't think there's anything going on between me and Mickey.'" (PageSix)

"Here is John McCain’s Republican running mate showing off her curves in a saucy red Baywatch-style swimsuit. She was just 20 and known by maiden name Sarah Heath when she did her Pamela Anderson impression during the 1984 Miss Alaska contest." (Newsoftheworld)

"The old hunter-gatherer model of journalism is no longer sufficient. Now that information is so plentiful, we don't need new information so much as help in processing what's already available. Just as the development of modern agriculture led to a demand for varieties of processed food, the information age has created a demand for processed information. We need someone to put it into context, give it theoretical framing and suggest ways to act on it. The raw material for this processing is evidence-based journalism, something that bloggers are not good at originating. Not all readers demand such quality, but the educated, opinion-leading, news-junkie core of the audience always will. They will insist on it as a defense against 'persuasive communication,' the euphemism for advertising, public relations and spin that exploits the confusion of information overload. Readers need and want to be equipped with truth-based defenses ...Nonprofit-financed investigative operations like ProPublica and the Center for Public Integrity might lead to a demonstration effect for local philanthropists. Mixing profit and nonprofit motivations might be awkward, but ProPublica's cooperation with '60 Minutes' for its maiden effort was an encouraging start." (AJR)

"Wearing black to a wedding is a major faux pas, but that didn't seem to stop the attendees of last night's Cinema Society and Lancôme-sponsored screening of Rachel Getting Married ... The film's writer, Jenny Lumet, didn't quite have the same luck with her first choice of outfit. 'I'm wearing a beautiful black suit from Theory,' she said. 'I was wearing a Gucci suit, but my 5 month old daughter spit up all over it' .. Guests including Alan Cumming, Bobby Cannavale, Matthew Modine, Jill Hennessy, Beth Ostrosky, Georgina Chapman, Amy Sacco, Rachel Roy, Dennis Basso, Bee Shaffer, Nigel Barker, Meredith Melling-Burke, Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss, Eleanor & Jon Ylvisaker, and Daniel Benedict crammed into the hotel's lobby .." (Fashionweekdaily)
Bono Blogs Against Malaria

(image via theage)

Just read about The Bono Blog on FT. Who knew? No one name drops quite like Bono, who has become something of a jet-setting ambassador of -- what? Compassionate Chic? The First World helping the Third? Whatever the case, Bono has leveraged his cool -- Bill Clinton-like -- into something so much more than the opaque environmentalism au courante in Hollywood. It is an interesting turn, this, for a man once self-described as a "poet." Poets are, by and large, politically impotent -- though Romantic -- actors in the global theater. Bono is not. From FT:

"Due to gridlock in Manhattan and the markets yesterday, our ONE campaign meeting with Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin morphed into a phone call. Amongst other things, we discussed malaria, that preventable treatable disease that means 2,200 kids in Africa die each day because of a mosquito bite. There’s a lot of excitement at the UN today because it looks like we are finally going to squash those bugs, metaphorically speaking. Senators Obama and McCain both spoke at CGI earlier to commit to this if they get elected. I went to the Malaria No More event where Bill Gates and Gordon Brown, Bob Zoellick, Global Fund chair Rajat Gupta and a host of developing world presidents lead by President Kikwete of Tanzania (who also leads the African Union) declared war on the bloodsucking anopheles mosquitoes in countries like Ethiopia and Rwanda, where dramatic scale up of bed nets has cut deaths by more than half. WOW, seriously WOW. The room committed an extra $3bn to the drive of 'no more malarial deaths by 2015.' Hosting the event are Ray Chambers and Peter Chernin who have pulled the private sector in - their money and their know-how. It’s a new model.

"I enjoyed an exchange with three great African presidents, President Kikwete of Tanzania, President Kagame of Rwanda and President Kufour of Ghana .."

More here.
Citigroup Is Buying Wachovia

The week begins fast moving. The NYTimes is reporting that Citigroup is buying Wachovia. The key paragraph is a little distressing:

"The sale would further concentrate Americans’ bank deposits in the hands of just three banks: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup. Together, those three would be so large that they would dominate the industry, with unrivaled power to set prices for their loans and services. Given their size and reach, the institutions would probably come under greater scrutiny from federal regulators. Some small and midsize banks, already under pressure, might have little choice but to seek suitors."

Only the strong survive? Things have got a whole lot more "Darwinian" in the baking sector, no? More here.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

McCain Won Last Night's Debate

(image via washpo)

This debate was kind of a disappointment for Obama supporters, considering all the build-up over McCain's "postponement" argument. He didn't win by a large margin, but Senator McCain was the more aggressive and more often than not got in the last word. Only the most myopic Obama voters would argue that it was a draw. Accept this fact: McCain won, narrowly; there was no draw.

Actually, McCain was quite impressive, name-dropping in such a way as to contrast his experience with Obama's relative inexperience. And while Obama did okay -- meh -- standing toe-to-toe, looking "Presidential" -- McCain got off the line of the evening saying he was friends with Kissinger for more than 35-years. Obama should have answered, as we would have: "You might want to ask your friend of 35 years what he thinks of your plan to kick Russia out of the G8? And while, yes, this blog believes Kissinger to be a fungal blight on America, and a filthy Machiavel, that "35-years" part made us wonder -- however briefly and evocatively -- if Senator Obama were not in shortpants in Hawaii when McCain and Kissinger began palling around all those decades ago.

A few observations: 1) Senator Obama must resist the urge of being too "nice." Gentlemanliness is for Secretary of State, and if he wants that position he should have stepped aside for Hillary, who is perfectly capable at being "not nice." Both Kerry and Al Gore were gentlemen at the debates -- is this a psychological marker of Democrat men? -- and both got their clocks cleaned.

2) Obama has to get in touch with his anger. Is America ready to see Obama -- an African-American -- angry? I don't know. Pennsylvania and Ohio certainly would, if in a contained, righteous manner. We may not be ready to see an angry black man nationally; still, the working class of Pennsyltucky and blue-collar Ohio needs to know he feels their pain and is scorching mad over it.

3) Obama should not reflexively pull back from the killing strike. This is the gladiatorial fundament of American politics; the Arena; the big leagues. We thought he had McCain on the ropes with that remark about the bomb-Iran singer lecturing him on how to speak on foreign policy. Unfortunately, Obama didn't follow up. Nor did he deliver the coup de grace. Obama concluded that it was "hard to swallow." Weak. You see, if Obama had the killer instinct in argument -- as The Corsair most surely does -- he would have said something sort-of-vicious, like "To have the Bomb Iran singing Senator who wants to throw Russia out of the G8 lecture me on how to speak about Pakistan is, quite frankly, laughable."

He should then follow with an exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment. Corsair style.
RIP, Paul Newman

Friday, September 26, 2008

The President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko To Address The National Press Club

(image via smh)

As the "Morning Newsmaker" News Conference headliner on Monday, September 29, 2008, 11 a.m., The President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko will address the National Press Club. As you can imagine, this is a sensitive moment with Russia, flush with petro-dollars and an almost visceral dislike of the United States, clamping down on countries that are on it's borders that are flirting with the idea of NATO membership.

Yushchenko's speech, "NEW SECURITY CHALLENGES FOR EUROPEAND THE UKRAINE-US STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP," should be well-covered. According to the wire announcement, "He will give a brief sketch of Ukraine's history as a background for its dynamic present and future development. He also will highlight the prominent role of the media in educating the people and bringing truthful coverage of events to their multiple audiences."

Considering Yushchenko's history on the issue of his personal security -- remember the mysterious poisoning that robbed him of his matinee-idol looks? -- we asked National Press Club President Sylvia Smith. Are you worried about security? Ukraine President Victor Yushchenko has had some issues in the past. She emailed us: "Security of protected parties visiting our facility is handled in a manner consistent with federal government standards. We have confidence in the adequacy of their planning and practices. As with any facility that is used to host protected parties on a regular basis, the Press Club is well known to security agencies. Staff and building security are available to make the job of professional security easier."
A Little Of The Old In And Out

(image via agoravox)

In: The Debate. Will Senator Obama's rhetoric be calculated to rasp Senator McCain? Will McCain, taking the bait, flash a toxic amount of his infamous temper? Will Senator Obama press the issue of temperament, calling Senator McCain "erratic"? Will Senator McCain beat expectations and turn in a surprise performance, reminding everyone that he's been doing this -- in some form or another -- for the past 30 years?

How much will the financial crisis intrude into a debate that was ab initio about foreign policy? Will there be a game-changing gaffe that all-but-ends the candidacy of one of these men? Inquiring minds want to know. From Salon:

"Even though McCain has gambled that the voting public's clamor for debates can be delayed at least through the weekend, Obama has the most to gain or lose when the candidates finally stand behind their dueling lecterns. As a freshman senator, who was in the Illinois Legislature just four years ago, Obama must in the first 30 minutes or so of the debate establish himself as a credible 44th president. During the first presidential debate 48 years ago, this was the major hurdle that John Kennedy surmounted, putting to rest his image as a callow, playboy senator."

More here.


Out: "Giggliani." Cue: Luciano Pavarotti's"No, pagliaccio non son." Those of us New Yorkers who endured his oily, sausage-fingered rule -- the thuggish loyalists, the seedy "associates," the sexual hypocrisies, the vague air of crypto-fascist "lawr-n-order" -- knew that at some point in the near future the greater country's inamorata with Rudy Giuliani would fade into the sunset. That time is now. He is louche. A punk. And now, not too long after his laughable Presidential campaign faded into the recesses of modern American memory on the bloody electoral battleground of Florida Governor Christ's endorsement -- a Mayor? as President? oh really? -- Giuliani implodes once more, spontaneously, this time all covered in flop=sweat. From The AP:

"A former aide to Rudy Giuliani is out of prison and attacking the ex-mayor's ethics, saying he was ordered to help Giuliani's then-girlfriend get a below-market rent apartment.

"Russell Harding, who got five years for embezzling more than $400,000 in city funds and downloading child pornography onto his computer, claims on his Web site that Giuliani's two terms as mayor were marked by ethical breaches.

"Harding, 43, claims that in 1999, while he was the head of the city's Housing Development Corp., he was instructed to help Judith Nathan get a Manhattan apartment that would normally cost more than $3,000 for about half that price.

"Harding claims that by working with executives at a real estate company, he eventually helped Nathan secure a great deal on an apartment not far from the mayor's residence, Gracie Mansion in Manhattan.

"Nathan later married Giuliani. Her spokesman, Bob Leonard, denied Harding's allegations, saying she paid market rent for the apartment.

"Aides to Giuliani also denied the claims. They supplied a letter Harding wrote to another Giuliani adviser last year in which he said he doesn't want to talk to the press about Giuliani but does need money."

How fucking oily. "Thug life"!

(image via electoralmap)

In: Indiana. Indiana is like the prettiest girl in school around Prom time. Colorado may be the head cheerleader with regards to the electoral map game changer hotness, but Indiana is perhaps the true bellwether of this Presidential campaign. The excitement of the Obama-Clinton race -- which went way into the night -- galvanized Indiana Democrats and Independents in a way that suggests that they might come out, this time with gusto, and vote Democrat once more.

If early in the night Indiana veers Obama, then the McCain team can pack it up and call it a day (even before we get to Colorado's electoral results and their time zone). From Ben Smith of Politico:

"Two sources familiar with the media-buying plans say the Republican National Committee is set to spend six figures shoring up John McCain in the traditionally Republican state of Indiana.

"The RNC's independent expenditure arm — which is outside the direct control of the campaign or the committee — has placed a $100,000 buy with WISH-TV in Indianapolis, the CBS affiliate in the capital, one source said. Two sources said the buys across the state start on Tuesday, Sept. 30.

"I'd previously reported, incorrectly, that these were McCain campaign ads. The rate requests I reported then were in fact being made by the independent expenditure, which is being run by consultant Brad Todd.

"Todd didn't respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

"But the meaning of the move is the same: With its own polling presumably confirming public polls showing Obama seriously competitive in Indiana, which hasn't gone Democratic since 1964, the Republicans are being stretched thinner than they would like."

By the way, after reading this in which an excellent reporter of Ben Smith's calibre err basically on the side of not being able to initially tell the difference between an "independent" 5-2-7 and the Republican National Committee we have to ask ourselves, skeptically: Is McCain-Feingold "campaign reform" even worth the goddam paper on which it is written? Just saying ..
More Kate Moss Drunk Pics. Amateur

The War against the spins. (image via thisislondon)

A rolling moss gathers no -- what? Kate Moss, the drunkiest supermodel with what Johnny Depp calls 'the highwater booty ("She's got that high water booty," Depp bragged in VF. "A high-water booty is important...,") was once again pictured in a boozy state. Amateur (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment).

"Overtired," as concerned grandmothers everywhere call it with Rockwellian understatement, is fast becoming Kate Moss' general state of being. As someone who knows something about leaving the club "overtired," we'd like to say that we are running with these pictures because, quite frankly, at age 34, they are culturally significant. They suggest an astonishing foolishness, a "Keifer Sutherlandishness." If you are 34, and you are still stumbling out of the club every weekend, there is something seriously wrong with you. One must learn; adapt; make it to the ripe old age of 35. A 26 year old getting drunk? Pshaw. Commonplace. The stuff of amusing short films and scenes on the Lower East Side of New York. At 34 -- to wit: roughly ten years experience at mastering The Booze -- one expects a certain savoir faire in the matter of getting quietly tight.

And Kate Moss is not only 34, she is a supermodel. 34 in Supermodel Years, people! A 34 year old supermodel is like a 65-year old sommelier in liver years. Why is she still getting carried out of the clubs? Any self-respecting and hard-partying supermodel should have mastered the arts of pacing, aspirin before bed, bottled water, vitamin E&C and the tried and true sticking to one type of booze way back in their late teens.

Lightweight! (image via thisislondon)
Obama Strategy: Painting McCain As "Erratic" On Debate Postponement

(image via michaeltotten)

Temperament, according the Obama team, is a winnable issue. Yesterday afternoon we noted that Senator Barack Obama's Spokesman Robert Gibbs was on The Ed Schultz Show calling Senator McCain's decision to suspend his campaign and postpone the debate as "erratic." "I don't know what they're trying to do," said Gibbs. "Sometimes you read your blackberry and you think you're in an episode of the Twilight Zone." Another day another use of the word "erratic." From Politico's Ben Smith:

"When John McCain announced Wednesday that he was suspending his campaign to tend to the nation’s economic crisis, a top aide said McCain wanted the presidential candidates and members of Congress to 'lock themselves in a room for the next 100 hours' to achieve 'consensus on something.'

"Yet on Thursday afternoon, McCain swept into Washington, walked to his office with pal Joe Lieberman, said little at a contentious White House meeting, did a few TV interviews, sped off to his home and proclaimed, through a spokesperson, that he was 'optimistic' about bringing House Republicans 'on board.'

"McCain’s high-wire intervention in the financial crisis is his latest showstopper move – and his riskiest. He might succeed, but the candidate’s penchant for the dramatic has also raised anew potentially damaging questions of his age, executive abilities and, most of all, his temperament.

"'He has been pretty erratic – there's no other way to describe what we've seen out of this guy in the last week,' an Obama aide said of McCain's conduct during the financial crisis."

That's two separate uses of the word "erratic" in connection with Senator McCain's debate postponement in as many days. If you think that is a mere coincidence, we have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn ..
Media-Whore D'Oevres

(image via nbc)

"SNL has experienced a hefty bump in the Nielsen polls this election season, boasting a 50% gain over last season’s first two episodes. And it’s not the only beneficiary of this year’s bitterly waged presidential campaign. Comedy Central’s The Daily Show is coming off its most-watched week in history, averaging 1.9 million viewers last week — up 28% from last year. Of course, last year, the world hadn’t yet heard of Sarah Palin, and both Barack Obama and John McCain were considered longshots for their respective party nominations. A year later, the U.S. is in the midst of a presidential campaign that many have described as unusual and unexpected — in other words, perfect fodder for SNL and The Daily Show, not to mention Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report and HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher. The Daily Show’s take on this election cycle no doubt contributed to the show’s recent record-breaking sixth Emmy award for variety, music or comedy series. Ditto The Colbert Report’s win in the category of writing for a variety/music/comedy series." (Variety)

"Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison told her Republican colleagues Thursday that she will not run for a leadership post next Congress, another sign she may resign her Senate seat to pursue a bid for Texas governor." (TheHill)

"Tommy Hilfiger was supposed to to marry Dee Ocleppo six weeks ago on the Caribbean island of Mustique. But just days before the big event, the duo called off the nuptuals. Now BlackBook says the fashion mogul has reunited with his ex-wife, Susie, and he's moved back into the Greenwich mansion where they're "living together as one big happy family." Which is a little strange considering he was with Ocleppo in San Francisco last week for some sort of gala sponsored by Macy's." (Cityfile)

"We’ve heard of some sick stunts in our time – but Amy Winehouse’s latest escapade beats the lot. She’s landed herself with a massive ($46,015) bill after borrowing posh designer frocks – and returning them with her own unique calling card… splattered with vomit. Our insider reveals: 'Harvey Nichols loaned Amy $46, 000 (USD) worth of silk and satin dresses. Unfortunately, while wearing one of the frocks, she went on an all-night bender.'" (3AMGirls)

"After a basic deal was reached earlier on Thursday afternoon, an agreement on the $700 billion bailout plan stalled after talks between congressional leaders at the White House descended into partisan bickering. Republican leader John Boehner announced that his caucus could not support a plan with so large a role for government, which led to a near brawl with Democrats accusing Republicans of sabotaging the deal to help John McCain's presidential campaign. In a bizarre scene, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson got down on one knee to beg Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi not to withdraw democratic support for the bill." (ForeignPolicy)

(image via vv)

"I never plug another publication unless it has a big, splashy photo of me, me, me! So I have to urge you all to run out and buy Blackbook magazine's new Nightlife issue, which features all the luminaries of the club scene, including my own haggy, yet (thanks to a head injury some years back) optimistic self. In the photo I'm in—taken in the bathroom of B Bar by the brave Lizzie Sullivan—I mingle with downtown stars Joey Arias, Amanda Lepore, and Andre J, as organized by the really brave editor Nick Haramis." (Musto)

"Coincidentally, the portrait of George Gershwin was taken by Edward Steichen in 1935 for Vanity Fair is one of an extraordinary new collection of 300 portraits done for the magazine over the past 95 years, now compiled in a beautiful coffee table book by Graydon Carter, the magazine’s longtime editor-in-chief. It also marks the 25th anniversary of the revived Vanity Fair." (NYSocialDiary)

"Russia will loan Venezuela $1 billion for arms purchases and military development, a Kremlin spokesman said Friday, the second day of a visit here by resident Hugo Chávez aimed at tightening a relationship that has caused increasing discomfort in the West." (NYTimes)

"Last night was pretty epic. Whenever I'm in LA, I stay with my good friend, Blake Mitchell, who always knows how to have a good time (see skateboarding-in-living room shot), what's up, and where to go. Last night, we went to the gallery opening of Cole Sternberg's Oil Projects exhibit. GenArt supplied the tequila, Cole supplied the talent and we supplied the entertainment (see the pics). Blake, along with Sophia Boedecker (diviiiiiiiiiine LA it-ness), and Logan Hufford took in Cole's brilliant mixed-media, post-modern works (a mix of acrylic, oil and spray paint). Afterward, we sojourned to the Chateau Marmont where we bumped into my old buddy, Hayden Slater, who was there holding court with glowing new mom, Nicole Richie." (Paul Johnson-Calderon/Papermag)

"Director Clark Gregg attended the New York Premiere of his 'Choke,' which Fox Searchlight is releasing this Friday nationwide. The film, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year, is based the book by Chuck Palahniuk, and stars Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston and Kelly Macdonald. 'Its a magnificent feeling of accomplishment,' Gregg told indieWIRE at a post-screening party in the Lower East Side." (Indiewire)
Harvey Weinstein To Tarantino On Robert Deniro

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The President Of Pakistan Turns On The Sleaze

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari -- also known as "Mr. Ten Percent" for his corrupt going rate years ago (he spent 11 years in jail) -- met Governor Sarah Palin. The exchange, as you can imagine, was predictably sleazy. From The New York Times via The Plank via ForeignPolicy:

"'I am honored to meet you,' Ms. Palin said.

"'You are even more gorgeous than you are on the (inaudible),' Mr. Zardari said.

"'You are so nice,' Ms. Palin replied. 'Thank you.'

"'Now I know why the whole of America is crazy about you,' Mr. Zardari continued. At which point an aide told the two to shake hands.

"'I’m supposed to pose again,' Ms. Palin said.

"'If he’s insisting,' Mr. Zardari said, 'I might hug.'"