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Monday, June 21, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"President Obama must go to Jerusalem next week. Seriously. He needs to go to Jerusalem in the same fashion as Egypt's Anwar Sadat went to Jerusalem in 1977. He needs to use his presidential prestige and unique oratorical gifts to impose a dramatic new paradigm on a Middle East mired in a dangerous stalemate. I write this knowing full well that America has no viable partners in a 'peace process' that is going nowhere. All the players on the ground are politically weak and perceive the status quo as less risky than the prospect of making the necessary compromises everyone knows are necessary. But that is precisely why the only realistic policy at hand is one that requires a game-changing, high-profile initiative from the Obama administration." (Kai Bird/TheNation)



"In the summer, when Congress leaves town and political news grows scarce, pundits often get desperate. Shark attacks, missing blond girls, killer rabbits--suddenly, nothing is too trivial. This summer looks like no exception. The oil spill story is getting old; the recession story is older; the midterms are still months away. Thus, prepare yourself for this doozy to begin making the rounds on cable: Hillary Clinton in 2012. On the right, speculation is already rampant. On the conservative site RedState, several bloggers have recently mused about a Hillary primary challenge to President Obama; Peggy Noonan floated the idea in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal; Dick Morris recently told Bill O’Reilly that 'if Obama gets radioactive, there’s a significant possibility that she challenges him in 2012.' No, actually, there isn’t. Put aside the fact that Hillary has said she is 'absolutely not interested' in running for president again. And put aside the fact that by becoming secretary of state she has given substance to that rhetoric—since Foggy Bottom is a terrible place from which to launch a presidential campaign. (It gives her no profile on the domestic issues that matter most in a presidential campaign and no platform from which to raise money or visit early primary states). Even if you discount the supply-side problems with a Hillary primary challenge, there is a massive demand-side problem." (Peter Beinart/TheDailyBeast)



"The question about the death of the West is really about the rise of Turkey, which is actually a wonderful story. The Turks wanted to get into the European Union and were rebuffed, but I’m not sure Turkish businessmen even care today. The E.U. feels dead next to Turkey, which last year was right behind India and China among the fastest-growing economies in the world — just under 7 percent — and was the fastest-growing economy in Europe ... 'Turkey is not a bridge. It’s a center,' explained Muzaffer Senel, an international relations researcher at Istanbul Sehir University. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Turkey has become the center of its own economic space, stretching from southern Russia, all through the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and down through Iraq, Syria, Iran and the Middle East. All you have to do is stand in the Istanbul airport and look at the departures board for Turkish Airlines, which flies to cities half of which I cannot even pronounce, to appreciate what a pulsating economic center this has become for Central Asia. I met Turkish businessmen who were running hotel chains in Moscow, banks in Bosnia and Greece, road-building projects in Iraq and huge trading operations with Iran and Syria. In 1980, Turkey’s total exports were worth $3 billion. In 2008, they were $132 billion. There are now 250 industrial zones throughout Anatolia. Turkey’s cellphone users have gone from virtually none in the 1990s to 64 million in 2008. So Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sees himself as the leader of a rising economic powerhouse of 70 million people who is entitled to play an independent geopolitical role — hence his U.N. vote against sanctioning Iran." (Thomas Friedman)



"As Popeye says, I am what I am what I am, and since 2001 that’s been host of a talk show in a restaurant, where men and women eat lunch while I interview a notable person. To me 'notable' can mean anything from creating a global delivery service like Fred Smith did with FedEx, to being among the architects of a controversial war, like former Pentagon officials Douglas Feith and Kenneth Adelman, to writing acclaimed literature like Erica Jong, or to being a successful but indicted 'madam,' like the late Deborah Jeane Palfrey. They are among the almost 300 people I’ve interviewed since The Q&A CafĂ© began. But notorious White House 'gatecrasher' and soon-to-be reality TV star Michaele Salahi is the first guest to growl at me. Not once, but twice. It was a good growl, too, in the style of Eartha Kitt. Literally, 'grrrrrrrr.' It came midway through an interview last week with her and husband Tareq Salahi. She thought my questions were hostile. They were meant to be pointed, not heated. If I wanted to give her hostility I could have produced a dozen or so of the hate emails that arrived after scheduling the interview in the first place. 'I am appalled that you will give those losers another platform for their crap,' said one message that reflected the tone of most. 'I have come to your Q & A's for years and thought you were a decent person. Wow.' Wow, indeed. Nobody questioned my decency when I interviewed the Bush Administration’s war hawks." (WashingtonSocialDiary)



"The phone in Sen. John Thune ’s office is about to start ringing — a lot. The South Dakota Republican — who also leads the Senate GOP Policy Committee and is widely viewed as a 2012 presidential contender —is up for re-election this year. But no Democrat or Independent filed to run against him, leaving him with plenty of time and money to help Republicans win seats this November as the party seeks to regain a true sense of relevancy on Capitol Hill. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) said Thursday he planned to meet with Thune soon to explore ways the up-and-coming first-term Senator could help the NRSC and GOP candidates from now until Election Day. Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) added that he fully expects Thune to be a strong political asset over the next 135 days. So, once the phone starts ringing in earnest, Thune is prepared to answer it." (CQ)



"Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, will make a rare on-stage appearance before the world’s advertising community this week as the social network strives to generate revenues that match its huge reach. Mr Zuckerberg, who is usually more at home among software developers than ad men, will receive the 'media person of the year' award at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival on Wednesday, after being interviewed in front of its audience of agency bosses and marketing chiefs. This year’s Cannes Lions, historically an opportunity for ad creatives’ backslapping, will see more representatives than ever from the companies that pay ad agencies’ fees. Chief marketers from Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Kraft and Coca-Cola, some of the world’s largest advertisers, will all present seminars at the event, in a sign of the shifting balance of power in ad land." (FT)



(Jordanian Princess Haya Bint Al-Hussein via dailymail)

"Equestrian events are an important part of the summer social calendar, but none sets the standard like the Royal Ascot at the Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, England. The four-day event comes to a close on Saturday with the Golden Jubilee stakes. Yesterday marked Ladies Day, when the fillies race. In the early days of the Royal Ascot, Ladies Day was an opportunity for men to show off their wives, decked out in finery. Today, there is still an emphasis on the preen and strut, as female spectators are encouraged to dress up and show off, making creative use of decorative hats, or 'fascinators.' We thought Queen Elizabeth looked lively in fuchsia and lilac yesterday and loved the vibrant red worn by Jordan's Princess Haya bint Al Hussein. Ladies looking to get some attention must remember the dress code: dress straps must be more than an inch, and midriffs may not be exposed. If the dress guidelines seem a bit stuffy, one must remember that the Royal Ascot has quite a pedigree. The racecourse was established in 1711, and the oldest race, yesterday's Gold Cup, has been running since 1807. Even back then, there was an emphasis on attire." (VanityFair)



"Sun was bouncing off the miles of Jerusalem stone and the black hats of the Hasidim on the afternoon when Mike Huckabee went to visit the Wailing Wall, earlier this year. Huckabee—the former governor of Arkansas, the host of a Fox News show, and, according to the most recent Rasmussen poll, the top pick among likely Republican primary voters for President in 2012—was making his fourteenth trip to Israel. This time, he was leading a group of a hundred and sixty evangelicals on a tour of Christian holy sites with the singer Pat Boone. Huckabee wore mirrored Ray-Bans and a polka-dot shirt with gold cufflinks in the shape of Arkansas. Boone, who is seventy-six and still keeps his hair strawberry blond, was in a light-blue leisure suit and white bucks. Both men were wearing yarmulkes. 'I think what I should do is convert,' Huckabee said, squinting in the sunshine. 'This covers my bald spot completely.'" (NewYorker)



"While NBC continues its battle for viewers, the net is making a heavy online push as well. The Peacock's digital division, under topper Vivi Zigler, has assigned writers to pen web-only episodes to complement existing shows that are intended to help build buzz for comedies 'Community,' 'Parks and Recreation' and 'The Office,' as well as other skeins. Scribes aren't part of the show's staff but rather are members of the net's online team and are embedded in the writers' room. 'We start early,' says Zigler, whose team is already prepping the digital accompaniments to a handful of upcoming fall skeins, such as serial drama 'The Event' and sitcom 'Outsourced.' 'We want to develop an online experience that's organic to the show.' From a business standpoint, the webisodes and other online components are a way to generate ad coin from sponsors and companies trying to reach the 18-34 demo which might not be able to afford or want to take part in an on-air spot." (Variety)



"(Adam) Carolla cites his experiences as a frequent guest with Jay Leno in both late night and prime time. 'I'd get a plug: 'Adam's going to be at the Irvine Improv,' he says. 'Jay Leno probably has 4- to-5 million viewers a night. You check back with the ticket guys. 'Yeah, we sold 11 tickets.' ... Everybody thinks if they just get on TV, if a talking head in late night can mention your gig, you're gonna be successful. But that's old wave thinking, that a scattershot approach, that's what's got traditional media in a tailspin. Newspapers now want the government to save them. Bad plan, they would have saved the music industry first. Then again, do legislators and bureaucrats really listen to music? But the point is if you're looking to save your old model, you're spiraling down the drain. Once upon a time, there were three television networks. In some markets, they didn't even get ABC. So whatever was featured had a huge impact. Crack a joke on 'Laugh In' and everybody repeats it the next day in high school. Last Thursday night friends were discussing medical problems at dinner and referenced 'Grey's Anatomy' to make a point. My response? I've never seen it." (LefsetzLetter)



"When John Updike died of lung cancer in January 2009, at 76, there seemed little left to learn about him. Not only was he among the most prolific writers of his time, but he was also among the most autobiographical, recasting the details of his life in an outpouring of fiction, poetry, essays and criticism that appeared with metronomic regularity in the pages of The New Yorker and in books published at a rate of almost one a year for more than half a century. Yet Updike was a private man, if not a recluse like J. D. Salinger or a phantom like Thomas Pynchon, then a one-man gated community, visible from afar but firmly sealed off, with a No Trespassing sign posted in front." (Sam Tanenhaus/NYT)



"Before the Internet could finish off newspapers, the pillars of the digital age are already suffering their own slide. Portals Yahoo!, MSN and AOL -- for years the largest source of traffic on the web -- are seeing recent dropoffs in visitors, pageviews and, most dramatically, time spent by users. But unlike slow-to-change print companies, the portals saw this coming -- and are already trying to do something about it by focusing on content creation and its associated 'stickiness.' In keynotes, on panels and in the halls at the eighth All Things Digital Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., earlier this month, the consensus was that the portal strategy employed by the big three of AOL, MSN and Yahoo is as good as dead – with Facebook holding the smoking gun. What's more, portals' push toward original content – Yahoo’s $100 million acquisition of Associated Content, AOL’s declaration that it will be 'the largest net hirer of journalists in the world next year' – only underscores how much trouble they’re in." (Dylan Stableford/TheWrap)



"In 1961, the Belgian economist Robert Triffin described the dilemma faced by the country at the center of the international monetary system.1 To supply the world’s risk-free asset, the center country must run a current account deficit and in doing so become ever more indebted to foreigners, until the risk-free asset that it issues ceases to be risk free. Precisely because the world is happy to have a dependable asset to hold as a store of value, it will buy so much of that asset that its issuer will become unsustainably burdened. The endgame to Triffin’s paradox is a global, wholesale dumping of the hcenter country’s securities. No one knows in advance when the tipping point will be reached, but the damage brought about by higher interest rates and slower economic growth will be readily apparent afterward. For a long time now, the United States has seemed vulnerable to the fate that Triffin predicted. Since 1982 it has run a current account deficit every year but one, steadily piling up obligations to foreigners. Because foreigners have been eager to hold dollar assets, they have willingly enabled this pattern, pouring capital into the United States and financing the nation’s surplus of spending over savings. The dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency has become a facet of U.S. power, allowing the United States to borrow effortlessly and sustain large debt-financed military commitments. Capital has tended to flood into the United States especially readily during moments of geopolitical stress, ensuring that the nation has had the financial wherewithal to conduct an assertive foreign policy precisely at moments when crises demanded it. But the capital inflows associated with the dollar’s reserve-currency status have created a vulnerability, too, opening the door to a foreign sell-off of U.S. securities that could drive up U.S. interest rates and render the nation’s formidable stock of debt far more expensive to service." (CFR)



"Howard (Stern) said he was gong through his email yesterday and Mark Cronin sent him a note about getting married. Howard said Mark was married when he was younger. He said Mark was an engineer before he started working with them back at the channel 9 show. Howard said they hired him cheap and he was their liaison with the channel 9 show. He said he went out to California to be a writer and producer and now he's a successful reality show producer. Howard said he has a company called 51 Entertainment or Mindless Entertainment or something like that. Howard said Mark sold his company for hundreds of millions of dollars and he's a very successful guy now ... Howard said he got a thing in the mail announcing Mark's wedding registry. It's linked to Hermes which is a really expensive place. Howard said the guy has tons of money and he didn't even want to go to the link to look ... Howard wanted to go on the registry to show Robin. He thought he left it at home. He said he might have it in his Blackberry though. Howard said he'll forward it to Jason so he can bring it up on the computer. Howard said Cronin is a pisser. He said a rich guy shouldn't ask for gifts. This is his second marriage too so that's even worse." (Marksfriggin)

1 comment:

Laura said...

Hermes?!!!! that's nuts! We registered at myregistry.com and the most expensive (and probably only expensive item) was a flatscreen television which my family said they wanted to get for us anyway. Oh boy!