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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



(image via bbc)

"China, the largest holder of foreign currency reserves, renewed its call for a stable dollar and damped speculation the nation is seeking talks on a new international currency at next week’s Group of Eight meeting. 'We hope that as the main reserve currency the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar will be stable,' Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei told reporters in Beijing today. The official said he’s 'not aware' of China pushing to put the subject on the G-8 agenda. The dollar strengthened as He’s comments eased concern that China plans to diversify its $1.95 trillion of currency reserves. Central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan called in March for the creation of a 'super-sovereign' currency, after Premier Wen Jiabao voiced concern that a weakening dollar would erode the value of the nation’s U.S. assets." (Bloomberg)



"Christopher Weiss wants to be a doctor, but he is not, at first glance, a dream candidate for medical school. He went to junior college and got mediocre grades—and then he spent the better part of the next decade trying to make up for his feckless youth .. Then, in 2007, his boyhood friend Ben Evenstad, also 29, offered Weiss a chance to make a lot of money. When Evenstad co-founded the photo agency National Photo Group, he hired Weiss and taught him how to be a paparazzo. Though Weiss says he’s not very interested in celebrities, he came to enjoy the job, especially when he got to shoot Michael Jackson. 'From the first time I saw him in person, at a Barnes & Noble, when he was wearing Band-Aids on his face, I was mesmerized,' Weiss says. His boss, Evenstad, shares the fascination: 'As a (papparazzi), you spend most of your time chasing sex symbols, but M.J. was different, almost like a Howard Hughes character,' he says. 'With the masks and the umbrellas and the mystery, I thought Michael was more interesting than any other celebrity, and he has more interesting fans than any other celebrity—this group, mostly female, who would follow him all over the world. If he went to Ireland, France, Bahrain, Neverland, they were there. The same individuals. Nobody else had what he had. I set out to document why.'" (VanityFair)



"ON the first night Graydon Carter ever ate in a New York restaurant, he mistook one well-known person for another. 'I thought I had seen Larry Fine of the Three Stooges, which made me very excited,' he said last week, sitting behind his long curved desk at Vanity Fair. 'But I learned later it was Bobby Zarem.' That was at Elaine’s in 1978, and Mr. Carter was a new arrival from Canada. Larry Fine was, well, Larry. Bobby Zarem is a publicist. But Mr. Carter learned fast who was who and made a career of chronicling it, as an editor of Spy magazine, The New York Observer and, for the last 17 years, Vanity Fair. Lately, he has been putting his knowledge to use in a different context: the restaurant seating chart." (NYTimes)



"Somebody needs to do a new wiring diagram for Washington. Because much has changed and much is changing about the way power and influence flow through this town and while some of it is related to having a new president in place, some of it is linked to other technological, political, and social trends. In fact, while motives and many techniques for getting things done in Washington might look very familiar to the old time fixers and back room pols, much would be as alien as a lunar landscape. Here are just a few random observations from the past few weeks that lead me to this conclusion .." (ForeignPolicy)



"Instances of people attacking one another 'face' to virtual 'face' occur with such frequency, and in so many corners of the web, that it's hard to keep track of what the best fights are. In fact, this week, there have already been four big ones, and it's only Wednesday! Which is why we're providing a handy guide to the best fights on the Internet this week (so far!)." (NYMag)



"Serena Williams saved a match point and overcame Elena Dementieva 6-7 (4), 7-5, 8-6 in a riveting contest Thursday to advance to the Wimbledon final and another possible championship match against sister Venus. Williams, a two-time Wimbledon champion, was pushed to the limit by the fourth-seeded Russian but raised her game when she needed in one of the most compelling women's matches at the All England Club in years." (NYTimes)



(Max Baucus via nytimes)

"When the president's party reaches 50 senators, it gets to use the vice president's tie-breaking vote to obtain a majority. The bare fact of a majority has consequences. Your party's leader gets to be majority leader, which carries with it the right to set the Senate's schedule. Your party's most senior members get to chair the committees on which they sit, controlling their schedules and a majority of the staff positions. A 50-50 Senate is always a dicey proposition, but there are distinct benefits to being in the majority even if the majority is razor thin. The 60-vote threshold, by contrast, is important because that's how many votes it takes to break a filibuster. But while the Democratic caucus presumably could get together and collectively commit to refrain from joining any filibusters, there's no sign that they actually will. This means that to move legislation in the modern era, the majority party still needs to painstakingly assemble 60 votes. And it's going to be a difficult task. For example, considerably more people live in the Bronx than live in Montana. But while the Bronx's 1.4 million people need to share Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand with 18 million other residents of the Empire State, Montana's cozy crew of 960,000 people has Max Baucus all to themselves. And not only does Baucus' vote count as much as Schumer's or Gillibrand's, he actually has dramatically more power than the senators from New York (or, for that matter, California) because as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, all health-care legislation absolutely must meet with his approval. The fact that Obama only secured the support of 47 percent of Montana's voters is the kind of thing that must weigh on Baucus' mind. Similarly with Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad and Obama's 45 percent of North Dakota's 641,000 residents." (TheDailyBeast)



"Downtown, another possible romance had diners at The Standard Grill raising eyebrows. (If there was any doubt that this joint will emerge as the Meatpacking District's sole dining destination, it was quelled by some fried squash blossoms and a brutally delicious roast chicken.) Cameron Diaz dined very casually en booth with Andre Balazs and an unidentified female." (Fashionweekdaily)

"RYAN O'Neal allowed TV cameras into Farrah Faw cett's funeral, but not his own son. Griffin O'Neal, Ryan's son with Joanna Moore, drove 300 miles to LA to attend Fawcett's service, but Ryan had him barred. Ryan was once dubbed 'Hollywood's Worst Father' by Britain's Daily Mail because all of his children -- Griffin, Tatum (who also was not allowed to attend) and Redmond (his son with Fawcett who was allowed out of prison to attend) -- have had drug problems. Ryan told 'Inside Edition' Griffin was banned 'because he's a bad guy.' Griffin told the show, 'I just wanted to say goodbye to someone that I knew and loved for 33 years.'" (PageSix)



"The literary critic James Wood wounded his hand in Bryant Park today while playing the tambourine. 'I picked [it] up in a rather awkward way and was playing a song with it, and it began to rub away,' Mr. Wood said, showing off newly applied band-aids on his fingers. 'It just took the skin off.' The injury was sustained during the first of two lunchtime sets that Mr. Wood, a regular critic for The New Yorker and a professor at Harvard, performed at the park with folk rock duo Fayaway to celebrate the publication of Heavy Rotation, an anthology of essays on music edited by Peter Terzian." (Observer)



"Turning operations around in Germany, where News Corp. has invested about 600 million euros ($845 million), may become a test case for the New York-based company’s TV ambitions in Europe. The German pay-TV market, which led to the collapse of media magnate Leo Kirch’s Kirch Holding GmbH in 2002, has resulted in losses of 349.4 million euros for Premiere since Murdoch’s initial stake purchase in January 2008. The number of subscribers at the channel dropped 3.2 percent in the year ended March to 2.37 million as the economic slump forced consumers to spend less. 'Germany is Europe’s biggest economy, so it’s essential for (Rupert) Murdoch to have a local presence and he may accept more setbacks there than in other countries,' said Diel. 'It would make sense to create some kind of pan-European pay-TV broadcaster as it would give them more buying power and would help to slash costs.'" (Bloomberg)



(Tins and Elizabeth Meigher via DPC/NYSocialDiary)

"Last night I went down to the Samantha Thavasa boutique on Madison and 75th, up the block from the Whitney. There was a party called 'Tinsley Mortimer with Q Magazine.' Since my name sits somewhere in that magazine’s roster, and we’re celebrating the Summer issue of Q, I thought it might be nice to make an appearance for Elizabeth Meigher, who really put this beautiful magazine together with her cohort, Edward (Fast Eddie) Barsamian." (NYSocialDiary)

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