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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"High unemployment is the domestic equivalent of an unpopular war--an overpowering drain on presidential popularity that can’t be countered with policy achievements in other areas, personal charm, or any other conventional political weapon. Barack Obama may soon offer the latest affirmation of this. A few weeks ago came news that the unemployment rate for June had climbed to 9.5 percent—a slight uptick that silenced wishful suggestions that the economy had bottomed out and that a recovery would soon take hold. Now comes the Wall Street Journal’s latest survey of 51 leading economists. Their consensus: unemployment will soon hit 10 percent and will stay there through the first half of 2010, declining only to about 9.5 percent by the end of ’10. If this bears out, the political implications are obvious: Republicans will fare well in the 2010 midterm elections—and their success will be universally interpreted as proof that the public has turned on Barack Obama. Why is it worth pointing this out now, 16 months before voters head to the polls? Because we’ve actually seen a script very similar to this before, and it offers some significant lessons as next years approaches. The last time unemployment soared this high was in Ronald Reagan’s first term." (PolitickerNY)



"Last night I grabbed a quick bite with Charlie Scheips at Swifty’s. Karole Armitage, the brilliant modern dance choreographer and dancer, was having dinner with a couple of her foundation’s board members." (NYSocialDiary)



"As soon as I heard Steve McNair got offed by his mistress, Sahel Kazemi, I couldn’t help but wonder: Jeez, didn’t this girl know the rules? Among pro athletes and those who love them, Groupie Rules are so entrenched that legions of spandexed women manage to abide by them on a regular basis and no one ever gets killed. In fact, if you look at the statistics—as CNN solemnly reported in the wake of the McNair murder-suicide, '80 to 90 percent' of pro athletes cheat (presumably the other 10 to 20 percent are recovering from groin injuries)—and factor in the jealousy and money involved, you might be amazed no one ever got murder-suicided before. But as with any evolved society, there’s a reason for that: there are rules. And as I discovered during an extended visit into their world, the good groupies know them. Rule # 1: You do not fall in love. EVER. Unless you are Eva Longoria. And even then…. Rule # 2: Never, ever even entertain the notion that they are going to leave their wife for you. These guys have even less of a chance of doing that than your average philanderer. Their wives know the score—that’s part of the reason they aren’t leaving, either." (TheDailyBeast)

"About to do The View which is like dessert for me. Then lunch with my old friend Vernon Jordan. Nice pleasant day." (BarbaraJWalters/Twitter)



"In probably what was one of the coolest events ever, science and fashion joined forces last night at the Museum of Natural History in NYC as Louis Vuitton celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing. Former astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell (only 24 people have walked on the moon) were joined by Daniel Lalonde, President and CEO of Louis Vuitton and a ton of celebrities, philanthropists, scientists, and other to mark the historic occasion. Higlights included Lois Aldrin’s space-age accessories and Aldrin posing with Gossip Girl’s Jessica Szohr for a photo-op." (Guestofaguest)

"As I mentioned awhile back, I devoted a good chunk of my vacation out west reading Piers Brendon's The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, 1781-1997. As you might imagine, I spent a lot of time thinking about possible parallels and lessons for America's current global position, just as English imperialists spent a lot of time pondering the Roman experience (ably documented by Edward Gibbon). In a tapestry this rich and varied, it is easy to read into it just about any "lesson" one wants to draw. With that caveat in mind, here are the top ten lessons on empire that I drew from Brendon's book." (ForeignPolicy)



"As I travel around the country talking to women—in ones and twos, or in groups both large and small—I always talk about a phenomenon so common that I have yet to find a woman who hasn’t experienced it. You’re sitting in a meeting with all or mostly men, I say. And you say something that you think makes a lot of sense. Before I even finish the sentence, the heads start nodding; they know where this is going. Everyone ignores you, I continue. Then, a minute or two later, a man says essentially the same thing. And everyone agrees that it’s a great idea, a brilliant idea, the right course of action. Every woman in the room laughs because every woman in the room has been there. But it’s really not very funny. Being ignored is tough on the soul. And no matter how smart or accomplished women are, they’re not immune. Not even when they serve on the United States Supreme Court." (DeeDeeMyers/Vanity Fair)



(Alina Cho via fashionweekdaily via Patrick McMullan)

"As the theatrical assault of popcorn flicks wears on, cinephiles and comedy aficionados must find independent refuge. Enter In the Loop, a British satire that recreates the Anglo-American drame leading up to the 2002 UN Security Council resolution. Andrew Saffir's Cinema Society and The New Yorker premiered the comedy last night at the IFC Center. 'It must be said that this film bears no relation to any historical event that may or may not have happened,' deadpanned director Armando Iannucci, who flew over from London along with ace writing team Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche and Ian Martin. Actors Steve Coogan, David Rasche, and chronic scene-stealer Zach Woods introduced this festival favorite to the (very select) masses including Doutzen Kroes, Beth Stern, and Nicole Miller." (Fashionweekdaily)



"(Margaret) Thatcher, (journalist Simon Heffer) says, was first a scientist, then a tax lawyer and then married a wealthy business executive. She knew her way around the world. Her cabinet was full of men who entered politics in middle age after careers at the top of industry: construction, coal, paper, consulting. The Labour Party was a mix of university dons and manual laborers. 'At one end or the other,' Heffer says, 'they’d done a decent day’s work.' By contrast, today’s young Conservatives rise as 'special advisers,' work in the central office and then get themselves nominated for parliamentary seats .. One complaint Tories commonly made about Blair as prime minister was that he abandoned the tradition of cabinet government in favor of a 'kitchen cabinet' or even a sort of royal court. Power was no longer based on your position in any constitutional hierarchy but on your status as a pal of the leader. The Cameron circle is even more tightly drawn. The party is run, for the most part, by the intimates of Cameron who occupy a single suite of offices in Norman Shaw South, a parliamentary office building on the Thames, a block away from the Palace of Westminster. Iain Martin of The Telegraph coined the term 'the Quartet' to describe the four figures — Cameron; his shadow chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne; his policy adviser, Steve Hilton; and his director of communications, Andy Coulson — who are at the heart of all the shadow government’s decisions." (Christopher Caldwell/NYTimes)

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