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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"One is the type of conflicts that the president in the year 2021 may be dealing with. By that point, cyber-warfare will be a far more real zone of competition and conflict. War in space will also be on the agenda. And I don’t mean Klingons; I mean the fact that our global security apparatus will depend on nodes in space, and we’ll likely see more competition and even conflict there. Second, to build off what Larry was saying, one of the implications of global warming is that the Arctic is melting and underneath it you’ll have as much oil and natural gas as Saudi Arabia does. You will have a division of the globe that will have to be figured out that will be the largest division of land area since the Pope divided the New World. Finally, the America the president leads in 2021 will be different. Detroit won’t be a powerhouse of manufacturing, as it’s been for past presidents; in an ideal world, maybe it’s a powerhouse of green energy. Or, in a less ideal world, it’s just done. The demographics of America will be very different. The nation will be as much as 30 percent Latino. That has huge implications for our alliances and potential alliances. Maybe we’re looking more southward, instead of toward NATO, for allies. Finally, the president in 2021, and a majority of his or her staff, won’t be of the Boomer generation. If you go into the 2021 White House and say, we have to avoid another Vietnam, that’s a lot like going to Obama right now and making a comparison to World War II. Because, to a president in 2021, Vietnam will be as distant as World War II is to Obama." ( P.W. Singer on the Presidency in 2021/Democracy Journal)




"As the world's most powerful media magnate said when he happily spoofed himself on The Simpsons a few years ago - 'I'm Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire tyrant'. For those who hold that description to be true, the news that Mr Murdoch wishes to regain full control of UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB will fill them with dread. Currently holding a stake of 39.1%, Mr Murdoch's News Corporation has so far offered 700 pence a share, which values BSkyB at around £12bn. BSkyB has rejected that offer, but committed to talks in the hope of doing a deal above 800p a share. With most commentators saying it is all but inevitable that the two firms will ultimately agree a price, it is not clear that the deal will be given regulatory approval. But if it does, what would it mean for the UK's media industry and for the people of the UK?" (BBC)



"The U.S. Senate has confirmed Marion Superior Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt as a federal judge for the Southern District of Indiana. The Senate voted 95-0 Tuesday to approve Pratt for the lifetime appointment. She was nominated by President Barack Obama in January and will become the first African-American federal judge in the state's history. Sen. Evan Bayh says Pratt's confirmation is a step toward realizing equal justice under the law and that he hopes her success will inspire children of all backgrounds. Pratt has been a Marion County judge since 1997." (TheRepublic)



"A federal agency has given the go-ahead to Chicago-based Media Derivatives to begin trading futures based on the box-office performance of movies. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Monday announced that it has 'found that the terms and conditions of the proposed Weekend Motion Picture Revenue futures and options contracts submitted by Media Derivatives, Inc. (MDEX) do not violate the Commodity Exchange Act or the Commission’s Regulations thereunder.' The trading was approved with a 3-2 vote. With approval in hand, Media Derivatives expects to begin this winter trading contracts tied to box office receipts on the first weekend of a movie’s release in wide distribution, with futures contracts and options going on sale a month before the movie comes out." (TheWrap)



"Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is working hard to elect more Republicans to the Senate and hasn’t ruled out personally targeting incumbent Democrats. But one stop not on his midterm itinerary is Nevada, home to politically vulnerable Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Kentucky Republican has traveled extensively to campaign and raise money for GOP candidates and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, with plans to accelerate those efforts as Nov. 2 approaches. But while McConnell has left open the option of campaigning directly against incumbent Democratic Senators, even traveling to their home states to do so, targeting Reid is off the table .. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) traveled to South Dakota to campaign against then-Minority Leader Tom Daschle, a deviation from tradition that rankled even many Republicans who were otherwise happy to see Daschle ousted. 'McConnell’s view is that we can have the most aggressive opposition possible. But at the end of the day, the Senate has to run,' the Republican source said. 'To do that, the two leaders need to have a relationship.'" (CQPolitics)



(Jeffrey Deitch via HarpersBazaar)

"The Museum of Contemporary Art has added Laurence Graff, a London-born diamond tycoon with a reported net worth of $2.5 billion, to its board of directors, along with New York City real estate developer Edward J. Minskoff – who spent his adolescence and young adulthood in L.A. – and Wells Fargo private banking executive Charles L. Conlan II ...Graff becomes the third Forbes-certified billionaire on MOCA’s board, after Eli Broad (a life trustee who the financial magazine says is worth $5.7 billion, largely earned building and financing homes) and Victor Pinchuk, the Ukrainian industrialist who has made an estimated $3.1 billion selling steel pipes. With the three new board members, MOCA reports, it has brought in 15 new board members since the beginning of 2009, while luring back two others who had resigned. The museum will be counting on its board and new museum director Jeffrey Deitch to complete the work of rebuilding its finances, which collapsed late in 2008 when the global economic meltdown hit after years of spending down its endowment." (LATimes)



"I went to Michael’s to lunch with Caroline Weber who wrote 'What Marie Antoinette Wore to the French Revolution,' published four years ago. Caroline is a professor of French literature at Barnard. At the table next to us in the bay, Ellen Futter, Lesley Stahl, Lynn Sherr, Linda Fairstein and Jurate Kazickas were having what I think is their monthly luncheon confab. A ladies lunch for five women who move worlds, shake it up, write books, run museums, raise families, contribute to the charity circuit of the world. And have lunch. At Michael’s. Across the way, Bill Rondina was lunching with Micky Ateyeh, Sir Derek Jacobi and Richard Clifford. Sir Derek and Clifford, who have been touring (and who are also domestic partners), are here briefly and staying with their old friend Mr. Rondina where, Sir Derek told me when we were introduced, it’s better than a five star hotel. Rondina’s friends all know this. He and his partner Giovanni LoFaro are famous hosts, both dinner and weekend." (NYSocialDiary)



(image via observer)

"According to the lovely Liz Smith—and if you know anything about New York society you know her word is tantamount to the gospel—last year’s Fourth of July must-do event was the Rhinebeck, N.Y., wedding of actor/director Griffin Dunne to his Australian bride, Anna Bingemann, a film and magazine stylist. The glamorous wedding list read like an embassy delegation of Aussie A-listers. Guests included Nicole Kidman with husband Keith Urban and baby in tow; Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber; Isla Fischer with hubby Sacha Baron Cohen; and Hugh Jackman; as well as Uma Thurman and various members of the New York literati, the reigning member being the groom’s late father, Vanity Fair scribe Dominick Dunne. Indeed, Griffin Dunne is an octopus of sorts, each tentacle touching another family member with a steady foothold in the canonical New York intelligentsia or high society." (Chloe Malle/Observer)



"Later this summer, Rwandan President Paul Kagame will face a test as the country holds its second presidential election since the 1994 genocide. The test is not so much the vote itself -- Kagame is almost guaranteed to win -- but whether he can survive the political lightning storm surrounding the vote. In April, Victoire Ingabire, a Hutu presidential hopeful, was arrested for challenging Kagame over crimes committed in the genocide's immediate aftermath. In May, her American lawyer was arrested too, over genocide denial. In what many see as a fit of defensiveness, Kagame has clamped down on newspapers, other politicians, and members of his own cadre, and has delivered fiery sermons defending his virtue. From their economies to their geology, Rwanda and Burundi are virtually identical in almost every way. The two countries share the same two ethnic groups and the same tensions between them -- specifically, that from roughly the 16th century on, the minority Tutsi have ruled over the pastoral, majority Hutu in varying degrees of strictness, and the two countries' conflicts have affected one other's with often tragic results. But recently, the two countries have taken starkly different paths. In contrast to orderly Rwanda, the darling of the international aid community, Burundi is violent, dysfunctional, and chaotic. On the plus side, civil society in Burundi is indigenous and true, and unlike in Rwanda, ethnicity is not being ignored. Politics can breathe. Burundi is also holding elections this summer, a series of local, presidential, and parliamentary votes." (ForeignPolicy)

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