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Friday, May 14, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"The risk off trade is back on and the U.S. dollar and yen are bid Friday while the euro is in a no-win situation at this point. There are renewed concerns over the situation in Dubai and China while the eurozone economic and social outlook is being questioned in the wake of the latest austerity measures. Commodities currencies have lost momentum as oil prices eased back below $75 a barrel. The euro has fallen to its lowest level since late 2008, with downward momentum in place getting in the U.S. session. White House Economic Advisor and ex-Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker's doubts over the euro aren't helping sentiment, nor are press reports -- later denied -- suggesting that French President Nicolas Sarkozy threatened to leave the euro at last week's European Union bailout negotiations for Greece." (TheStreet)



"Who ever saw this one coming? But fresh off her ratings bonanza as the oldest host ever of 'Saturday Night Live,' with an MTV Movie Awards nomination in tow and now a surging campaign to host the Oscars – and re-host 'SNL' -- the resurgence of Betty White couldn’t be at more of a fever pitch. Thank Sandra Bullock. Indeed, the renewed interest in White started with the release of 'The Proposal' last June, which White stole from both Bullock and Ryan Reynolds as the heart-attack-faking Granny Annie. And it was solidified when Bullock presented her the Life Achievement award at the Screen Actors Guild awards in January. The role also garnered the 88-year old actress, who Bullock has called a 'national treasure,' an MTV Movie Awards 'Best WTF' Moment category nomination for her copping a feel of Bullock's breasts. WTF is right. 'Betty White is comfort food; she is loved by every demographic,' says veteran PR agent Howard Bragman." (TheWrap)



Roomates Hon. George Miller, Senator Richard J. Durbin, Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Bill Delahunt via NYTimes)

"It's going on 10 p.m. when House Democrat Mike Quigley, in track pants and a T-shirt, tosses a flimsy mattress on the floor of his congressional office and prepares to call it a night. The 51-year-old Democrat from Chicago regularly sleeps there. Several other members of the House of Representatives, perhaps as many as one in 10, also bunk out in their offices, according to estimates. Quigley and other House members, who earn $174,000 a year, cite two reasons for taking advantage of this little-known perk. One is frugality. The other is image. With two daughters in private college, Quigley says, his home in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood is all he can afford. Moreover, planting roots in the nation's capital — a place plenty of Americans love to hate — doesn't seem like good politics to Quigley, who is fifth from the bottom of the House seniority list. 'I like to think that this reinforces the point that I live in the district, that I spend most of my time in the district, and I'm trying to be in solid contact with my constituents,' he said. But it's not just House newbies such as Quigley who are bedding down where they do business. Two other Illinois Democrats, Reps. Dan Lipinski and Luis Gutierrez, also sleep in their offices. Another, Rep. Bobby Rush, either crashes on his office sofa or a hotel bed 'depending on his schedule, mood or comfort level,' said Sharon Jenkins, his communications director. On a night last week, Quigley shed his power suit and slapped a sign on the door to Room 1319 in the Longworth Building, giving fair warning to third-shift cleaning crews. 'Member sleeping,' it announces. 'Miembro durmiente.'" (Chicago Trib via Observer)



"A painting of a blue-eyed nurse by Richard Prince and an aluminum couch by Marc Newson were among the artworks sold by Halsey Minor that helped the CNET Networks Inc. founder raise $21.1 million to pay his creditors. His collection accounted for just 22 of the 74 lots offered at a contemporary art-and-design auction last night held by Phillips de Pury & Co. in New York, yet they took in more than half of the $37.9 million total, and were the highlight of the evening. 'He’s got a good eye,' said John Good, a director at Gagosian gallery in New York. 'Between Prince, Newson and Ruscha, these are A pieces.' Proceeds from the sale of Minor’s artworks will go toward a $21.6 million judgment obtained in October by ML Private Finance, a Bank of America affiliate, on a delinquent loan to Minor ...Fashion designer Marc Jacobs, art dealer Larry Gagosian and jeweler Laurence Graff attended the auction ... Prince’s 69-inch-tall “Nurse in Hollywood #4 (above),' the 2004 canvas depicting a Grace Kelly look-alike, fetched $6.5 million .."( Bloomberg)




(image via LarryFink/BloombergBusinessWeek)

"'First of all, I like to work,' says Jon S. Corzine, in his new office on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, explaining why he took the job as chief executive officer and chairman at a little-known derivatives trading firm called MF Global (MF). 'Second, I have generally worked in large institutions where I didn't have the same entrepreneurial opportunity that MF provides. It may not be a startup, but if you have a long-term view of building a competitive financial institution of excellence, this is an extraordinary vehicle to try and get at that opportunity. It's in the part of the world that I have some experience and knowledge of, so I don't feel uncomfortable.…' Corzine pauses, then adds, 'A little dated, but we'll get caught up.' Two of the last three jobs Corzine held did not end well for him." (BloombergBusinessWeek)



(Lisa Plepler, Sarah Simms Rosenthal, and Linda Janklow via Steve Millington/NYSD)

"Down at Michael’s Dr. Sarah Simms Rosenthal was being feted at a lunch for friends by her friend Linda Fairstein, the serial crime novelist (and former assistant D.A.). This week Sarah published her The Unavailable Father. Steve Millington, the multi-talented General Manager of the place, took the pictures for NYSD." (NYSocialDiary)



"'There’s about to be a backlash against the Ivy League lock on the court,' explained David Brooks this week. In fact, it has already begun. From left to right, just about the only thing that liberals and conservatives have agreed upon since Elena Kagan’s nomination is that there are too many pointy-heads on the Supreme Court. 'I think it would be good to have a nominee that stood up against powerful interests like the elite law schools, which are a powerful interest in the U.S. and have done a lot of damage,' explained William Kristol recently. Several days later, in what may be a sign that the apocalypse is nigh, the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein quoted Kristol with approval. I’d like to propose a backlash against the backlash. (And yes, shoot me, I attended an Ivy League college myself.) When critics bemoan the fact that if Kagan gets confirmed, every Supreme Court justice will be tainted by the Ivy League, what they generally mean is that the Supremes won’t have anything in common with average Americans." (Peter Beinart/TheDailyBeast)



(image via bet)

"When the Oprah Winfrey Network launches in January, we’ll see whether her star power is enough to carry a whole network—and what it can do for one person in particular whose name we can’t even imagine today. Oprah elevated relative unknowns like Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and Nate Berkus to stars by featuring them regularly on her syndicated TV show. Now she’s going to pull out the digital stops to find the next person she’ll give a shot a stardom by hosting Your OWN Show, a project announced during the network’s upfront. Anyone interested in being hosts of a show designed for them on OWN can audition online with their own videos or using tools provided by OWN. It’s the biggest digital effort for OWN yet, says Christina Norman, CEO of the joint venture with Discovery Communications. Oprah.com, which is part of the JV, has 8 million uniques and a 'super-fan' audience anticipating the new network, she added. 'We know we have to tap into them first.'" (Paidcontent)



"#1. Godsmack "Oracle." Sales this week: 117,481. Debut. Once upon a time, the 'Billboard' chart was evidence of overall popularity, you could peruse it and get the pulse of what was happening in America. But that was before SoundScan. When suddenly math entered the picture and opinion dropped out. Yes, in the old days, the 'Billboard' charts were fixed. And I don't advocate a return to those days. But I will say that without interpretation, this chart is only marginally meaningful. It tells you what is selling this week ... Godsmack has a hard core fan base. Which rushed out and bought this album this week. After they've all got it, then what? Maybe there'll be airplay and sustaining sales. But I doubt they'll be anywhere near enough to put 'Oracle' at the top of the chart. In other words, Godsmack had the number one album this week and that doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot." (LefsetzLetter)



(courtney via popshifter; circa 2004)

"SOMEBODY, anybody, please help save Courtney Love. The woman is not together. At Heathrow, heading for here, a total meltdown. Sprawled on the floor, packing and repacking her luggage -- bras and panties under people's feet. And in the crowded hall shrieking . . . shrieking . . . at her assistant: 'I told you already to get rid of that f - - - ing Burberry scarf. I'm keeping the Chloe.' Then, eight hours of performance art in first class, which is always enjoyable to make a flight go faster. Again, screaming into coach where her poor harried assistant sat: 'Why are you just sitting there? What are you doing about my Kindle? I need a charger cable for my Kindle.' What she wanted to read, who knows?" (Cindy Adams)



"The UK has a coalition government between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. Having called for such an outcome ('Britain can love hung parliaments', February 11), I am happy with the result. This coalition is more likely to grapple effectively with its grim inheritance than any alternative: it not only has a decent majority, but obtained close to 60 per cent of the vote in the general election. This gives it the legitimacy it needs. I wish it success. Yet before the government starts, it is important to ask just why its inheritance is so grim. In a column on May 9, my friend, Niall Ferguson, referred to Gordon Brown’s stewardship as a 'disaster'. But was Mr Brown alone responsible? Hardly. I would argue his big underlying mistake was to put too much trust in the orthodoxies of contemporary economists and financiers. The Brown era started with hubris about ending Tory 'boom and bust' and duly finished with an even bigger bust. But the underlying belief in what economists called 'the Great Moderation' was held on both sides of the Atlantic. Mr Brown trusted such economists, poor man. It is evident, again, that the 'light touch' regulatory regime promoted by the Financial Services Authority was a huge error. Adair Turner, who became FSA chairman in September 2008, made this quite explicit in his review. The Tories have concluded from this that regulation of banks should be handed back to the Bank of England. On balance, I think this is correct. But, given the temper of the times, would the Bank have done better as a regulator? I doubt it. In retrospect, the government also trusted too readily in the stability of contemporary finance. Would a Tory government have been much more distrustful? If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you." (FT)



"Oliver Stone didn’t want to make a follow-up to his 1987 film, 'Wall Street.' At least back in 2006, when he was approached with the idea by actor Michael Douglas and producer Ed Pressman, Stone was against it. He revealed his initial lack of interest in the project at the Cannes Film Festival today during a press conference for the new film, 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.' Stone’s mindset changed in the wake of the financial crisis when he received a new script from Douglas & Pressman. The story of ‘Wall St. 2’ picks up infamous financial figure Gordon Gekko (Douglas) after he’s been released from prison. No one is there to meet him when he gets out and his estranged and idealistic daughter (Carrie Mulligan) won’t talk to him, but he has taken up with a young Wall St. buck (Shia LaBeouf) who—like a younger Gekko—has dollar signs in his eyes. From there starts a story of more greed and deception set amidst the recent financial crisis within New York’s financial community. 'It had to be done and the time had come,' Stone added today, feeling a committment to resurrect his now classic characters. Talking about the film today Stone spoke out candidly about the recent finanacial situation. 'It seems that we got drunk. In 1987, I thought it was going to correct itself, but it didn’t. It got worse.' His comments prompted a question from a journalist about how he feels about the American system today… 'I am confused whether capitalism in its present form can work,' Stone elaborated today, 'It seems not - it seems extreme and unregulated.'" (IndieWIRE)

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