Calling Barbra Steisand: Lost & Found at Clinton Global Initiative


streisand brolin cgi.jpg
I very much hope that the Clinton Global Initiative posts a video link to the outstanding gala dinner celebrating its Global Citizen Awards.
It was a stunning event and made even a cynical realist like me feel good about the value of high octane humanitarian gestures made by others.
Listening to Bill Clinton confess his shame about his own cynicism and occasional self pity while recounting how Rwanda President Paul Kagame was able to take his people out of their hell and into a place of real hope and a vision of the future is a pretty overpowering experience. I was there. Bill Clinton was predictably amazing.
The 2009 CGI Global Citizen Award recipients include Asha Hagi Elmi Amin, Chairperson, Save Somali Women and Children; Ruchira Gupta, President, Apne Aap Women Worldwide; Peter Bakker, Chief Executive Officer, TNT; Quincy Jones, Founder, Quincy Jones Foundation; His Excellency Paul Kagame; President of the Republic of Rwanda; and Dr. Rola Dashti, Parliament Member, State of Kuwait.
And there was an amazing and diverse audience. Those I saw included Barbra Streisand & James Brolin, Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley & Smith Bagley, Hani Masri, Ben Stiller, Juanes & Alicia Keys (both of whom gave incredible performances), former Saudi Ambassador to the US HRH Prince Turki al-Faisal, Huda Farouki, General Wesley Clark, former US Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad, environmental wiz kid PJ Simmons, Quincy Jones, John Bryant, Sidney & Jackie Blumenthal, former Senator and UN Foundation President Timothy Wirth, former USIA chief Joe Duffey, John Podesta, Bracken Hendricks, Inter American Development Bank Luis Alberto Moreno, and a thousand others.
But this brings me — oddly — to the photo above. Barbra Streisand and James Brolin were seated with the Bagleys and some other folks I don’t know at the table next to mine.
I “think” that she left her sunglasses at the dinner. Otherwise they are the lady’s that sat just next to her.
I tried to give them to some Clinton Global Initiative staff members to get up to her at a private, more exclusive event with President Clinton upstairs in the Sheraton. But I could tell that the staffers were confused and didn’t feel comfortable taking them. I thought of giving them to the hotel staff, but the concierge/guest services folks at the Sheraton had been under siege for days from all the traffic at the conference and were pretty rude and abrupt when I tried to leave the glasses with them.
I mean these are/might be Barbra Streisand’s sunglasses!
So, I am going to post this in the hope that her crowd, or someone higher up the command chain of the Clinton Global Initiative can reach me if she really wants these back. I have them.
And I am going to confess that I am a fan of Barbra — and I am part of the “Barbra Streisand Community email list.” Feel free to sign up as well at her official site.
If these glasses belong to the lady who sat next to Ms. Streisand — zap me an email as well.
— Steve Clemons


17 comments on “Calling Barbra Steisand: Lost & Found at Clinton Global Initiative

  1. David says:

    Just an observation, Outraged American, just an observation. I’m not much into celebrity, and mostly annoyed by most of its incarnations and implications. But I stand by my observations regarding Bill Clinton as a celebrity using that status for the common good and Barbra Streisand as someone who has put her money where her mouth is regarding the environment and has stood as a champion of gay rights.
    Your legitimate criticisms of celebrities and their ability to be jerks and/or lightweights aside, you are glossing over some pretty important positives.
    By the way, what is a fan girl? My father was a spear carrier/fanner in a musical production centered on Cleopatra by the Philadelphia Orchestra in the 30s. He also used to watch Leopold Stokowski rehearse the orchestra. His aunt was in the chorus. He too was a fan of Streisand’s music and her support for environmentalism, and on his own intiative at age 84 donated $50 to Clinton’s ’92 campaign, and was quite happy about Clinton’s post-presidency global initiatives. Dad lived to be 98.
    Couldn’t resist a bit of sort-of free association, Outraged American.


  2. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Steve…probably should lighten up…sometimes cynicism can be all enveloping…so keep the sunglasses as a momento…they’ll give you knahkhahs(phonetic yiddish)…now if they were Santana’s sunglasses, it would be totally different….


  3. Outraged American says:

    My first real job, well, after teaching impoverished youths in the
    barrios of Phoenix, was in celebrity gossip. So blame me. My
    family sure does, for everything.
    Then I went off and did something “meaningful,” but ended up
    yet again in the midst of celebrity culture.
    I had to interview a number of the asshats who pass for stars.
    Steve’s eyes glaze over when he has to stand there and listen to
    Zinni or Wilkerson natter on — his inner zombie comes out– I
    had to actually pretend to pay attention to Daryl Hannah and
    Kathleen Turner.
    Although my favorite interview will always be Tom Cruise (and I
    didn’t make this one up, and don’t endorse it) who has been
    referred BY OTHERS NOT ME as the “Tiny Gay Midget Dwarf” (his
    legal team would have me by the balls of my undescended
    penis) Arthur Decco got a kick out of that one.
    While I hate not to blame the UsRael government for anything,
    much less the atrocity that is celebrity culture, I do think that
    the world’s obsession with these mentally and emotionally
    challenged wh-actors is normal human behavior.
    During the Depression (the last one not this one) Hollywood
    churned out movies about impossibly glamorous lifestyles.
    Moviegoers ate them up, maybe because it’s all they had to eat.
    Escapism has always been a part of human culture, whether it
    be dancing around a freshly killed virgin, drinking fermented
    corn water and praying for rain, or actually believing that the
    Tiny Gay…fathered a child. I actually met his “wife” too. She
    was very nice — another cereal box that could smile.
    It’s a sad state of affairs, made even sadder that the obsession
    with celebrities combined with the Every Child Left Behind
    “education” in the US will leave millions so vapid that they will
    be ideal cannon fodder. Which is exactly what UsRael wants.
    Looks like David’s a fan girl too. There was this very funny play,
    and I hate plays, too cultural, that was a spoof on Streisand,
    probably back when Steve was making his living in We Ho on all
    fours. Steve, did you ever see it?


  4. David says:

    There is a foundational Bill Clinton, the person his youth shaped out of the potential with which he was born, and it is that Bill Clinton that continues to emerge, with impact that never could have been were he not a former POTUS.
    And there is a progressive impulse and mindset in Babs that trumps issues of personal ego, much as I dislike anyone who treats service folk high-handedly or parsimoniously.
    But whatever either of these individuals achieve or at least enhance relative to the wellbeing of the planet and its inhabitants far, far outweigh any personal shortcomings. The grandchildren of those spa workers will benefit far more from Babs’s environmental and political efforts than from any tips to their grandparents. If she were the nicest person on earth but a benefactor of reactionary causes, that would make her a significant net negative for society. Instead, she is a net positive of major import. Steve has this one right.


  5. Steve Clemons says:

    Kathleen — I’m a great fan of Barbra Streisand and am pleased that she is attached to progressive issues. She has Hollywood power — and its good that it’s on our side of the equation and not on the other side. You folks need to lighten up!
    😉 best, steve


  6. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    OH barf-o-meter is off the Richter scale…I’m not a celebrity junky and while I appreciate them lening their names and talent to a good cause, I get nauseous at the over the top luxury and glitz…
    I’m not a Babs fan..prefer other styles of music…outside of Malibu, her penny pinching is legendary…friends of mine who work at a Spa that she frequents say she’s tighter than the bark on a tree…never tips and acts like she’s doing them a favor to let them serve her.
    So Steve, maybe she’ll want you to mail those glasses back to her, at your expense.


  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Well, I hear Barbara Streisand is fluent in Fabulous, so maybe she can be posted somewhere.”
    Well, those living in the Malibu Colony and surrounds would hardly use the word “fabulous” to describe Bab’s fluencies. Any number of adjectives used to describe the business edge of a stilletto would be more commonly heard. Your suggestion about a posting is a good one. She woulda whipped Saddam into submission in record time, and instead of hanging him, we coulda just hosed down the pool of blood. Surely there are any number of foreign postings where we could use an accomplished hatchet lady.


  8. JohnH says:

    Anybody else have the feeling that we’re watching a 21st century version of the Great Gatsby, all bought and paid by tax dollars and corporate sponsors? Party on!


  9. Dan Kervick says:

    “31% of overseas officers stationed at language-designated positions fall short of the speaking and reading proficiency requirements for their jobs.”
    Well, I hear Barbara Streisand is fluent in Fabulous, so maybe she can be posted somewhere.


  10. JohnH says:

    … raises an important concern–the whole celebrity culture of foreign affairs. The G-7, G-8, G-20, opening the UN General Assembly all seem like little more than stops on the party circuit.
    Meanwhile, who’s minding the store? Apparently not the US Foreign Service. “GAO recently released a report (.pdf) on “persistent foreign language shortfalls” in the Foreign Service, the diplomatic arm of the State department. 31% of overseas officers stationed at language-designated positions fall short of the speaking and reading proficiency requirements for their jobs.”
    I remember reading that at the height of the Iraq Occupation, the US embassy had only about a dozen employees fully proficient in Arabic! Truly pathetic.
    Hillary commented on the GAO report, though I couldn’t find a single mention in an English language article after trying several Google searches. However, it was on of the most read articles on the BBC’s Arabic language service:
    So who’s minding the store? Apparently nobody. The foreign policy mob fabricates the news from overseas, and the media suppresses what is actually happening. And so you end up with this “group think” culture that no one on the Washington party circuit is willing to challenge.


  11. ... says:

    johnh – thank you for articulating the finer points that have been turned upside down by those wishing to either consciously distort and alter or reshape reality to fit an ugly agenda…steve why not cover what johnh articulates here as well? it would serve a useful purpose to do so…
    steve, while i enjoy your escapades and diversions including this post, it would be a positive move to make a post about celebrity culture and how it directly accommodates those in the propaganda business…i am thinking specifically with regard to the ordinary americium citizen who seems so wrapped up in this same obsession with ‘celebrities’ that they are unable to grasp how issues of major import are going to have a much bigger impact on them then whether steisand gets her glasses back or not… personally i find it all pretty vacuous and a real distraction.. the same could be said for most all of hollywood… to think hollywood (for lack of a better term) has displaced the ability of the average american or person of our western culture from being able to see how important issues like the ones sibel edmunds raises is really cause for concern… not sure how much your ‘foreign policy’ blog is doing anything to alter any of it either as you seem entrenched and infatuated with a particular culture that you are very much a part of to the point of not having much separation or detachment to see how someone with a very different background could view things, whether the usa in general or any number of issues…


  12. JohnH says:

    The neocns noise machine is cranking it up. Now Obama is their cheerleader, making more threats towards Iran about their “secret nuclear facility.”
    Of course, if you actually read the news, it wasn’t a secret nuclear facility at all. It was a facility that Iran was building in secret to enrich uranium. The difference? According to the agreements Iran signed, they had to alert the IAEA 180 days before they introduced nuclear materials into the facility, which it seems they did. So Iran appears to have been in full compliance with the NPT.
    But not according to Obama. He’s busy waving the red cape in front of the snorting snorting militarists, urging them on.
    Steve has complained about America’s exposing the limits of its power. Instead of waiting around and complaining about it after it’s happened, Steve could get engaged now, pointing out the fraudulent claims of the “bomb Iran now crowd.” He could also point out the the US intelligence community views the Iranian leadership as rational actors, which means that you can negotiate with them, given the right incentives.
    But instead of engaging in the debate, Steve seems content to prepare for his next career as the “back-up dancer for the screen version of
    Cats,” as OA puts it.
    Silence will only encourage the neocons to engage in more behavior that is ultimately destructive to the United States. Might as well be a neocon instead of a realist…


  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And seeing as how I’m a shameless diverter when it comes to contributing on thread topics that have copious amounts of celebrity induced drool, perhaps I should take a moment to thank Dan Kervick for his engagement.
    But I’m afraid his optimism about Hodes is sorely ill fated.
    From the Concord Monitor…
    Whistleblower case merits investigation
    Dan Kervick, Bow
    September 25, 2009 – 12:00 am
    I am alarmed about the detailed allegations that have now come to public light in the case of Sibel Edmonds, the former FBI language specialist who was fired after accusing a colleague of covering up illicit activity. The allegations, outlined by Edmonds in a recent interview in The American Conservative, concern a massive corruption scheme involving U.S. government employees, members of Congress and agents of foreign governments, primarily Turkey.
    Taking bribes and receiving favors from foreign governments seeking to influence decisions on vital matters of U.S. national security constitutes the gravest possible breach of the public trust. If these allegations are true, and we now have very plausible evidence that they are, then they merit the highest possible level of public concern, and urgent congressional investigation and action.
    Rep. Paul Hodes serves on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform which, according to the committee’s website, “is the main investigative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives” and “has jurisdiction to investigate any federal program and any matter with federal policy implications.” Surely these allegations fall under the committee’s jurisdiction. We should expect to see prompt action.


  14. pissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads, sometimes the truth IS really stranger than fiction….
    Now tell me, could this guy’s name and appearance be more appropos????


  15. Steve Clemons says:

    Outraged — that was art. POA, I get your point. best, steve


  16. Outraged American says:

    Steve, your West Ho rent boy roots are showing. Fan girl. Steve,
    Hollywood for Ugly People.
    Next thing we know you’ll quit your job being a Serious Policy
    Maker and become a back-up dancer for the screen version of
    Then at least you won’t have to sit their feigning interest while
    secretly nodding off with your eyes open while Zinni rabbits on
    about Smart US Power , which is a contradiction in terms.
    You’re going to hate me for this one, but the publicist I worked
    for, who has now gone to whatever is Hades for the Tribe, and
    hopefully it’s not Palm Beach, used to represent …
    Let’s just say… oh, I’ll just say nothing, and hope that whoever
    tried to get close enough to her handlers to give the glasses
    back still has a few limbs intact.


  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, you could always just get the sunglasses bronzed, and hang them on a prominent area of your living room wall.
    Then, everytime you fool yourself into thinking we should concern ourselves with FBI whistleblowers, foreign agencies dictating American foreign policy, known criminals in the high reaches of our government going unindicted, or the huge inconsistencies in the official narrative about 9/11, you can gaze upon the bronzed monument and remind yourself whats REALLY important in Washington DC.
    We live on two floors, Steve. The one you have ascended (?) to, and the one that houses the people that pay the price. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the window you provide us. But it is a window, not a staircase.


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