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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Richard Twesigye says he shops at Massmart Holdings Ltd.’s Game store in Kampala, the Ugandan capital, because the quality is better than at the local market. Like millions of other Africans, he can afford it if the prices are a little higher. 'These stores are high class,' Twesigye, a 61-year-old businessman, said while shopping at the chain store. 'In ordinary stores there are a lot of counterfeits, but these big stores care about their reputation.' It’s people such as Twesigye, members of Africa’s burgeoning middle class, who prompted Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Sept. 27 to propose purchasing Massmart, the continent’s third- largest retailer, for $4.6 billion. With 288 stores in 14 African countries, purchasing Johannesburg-based Massmart would enable Wal-Mart to profit from one of the world’s fastest- growing retail markets. Africa’s population reached 1 billion last year and after economic growth averaging 4.9 percent from 2000 to 2008 the number of families with an income of more than $20,000 a year has exceeded India’s, according to a report by McKinsey & Co. Inc. With China investing in African mineral and infrastructure projects and the continent’s population rising by more than 2 percent a year, that market is set to expand." (Bloomberg)


"This fall, a group of kamikaze conservatives, terrified by mounting debt, outraged by excessive government spending, and unafraid of hard truths, are rallying to save their children and grandchildren from a future mortgaged to the central bank of China. Too bad they live in England. I have my philosophical differences with British Prime Minister David Cameron, but give him this: He is what he says is, a man who hates debt. His new budget, unveiled this week, cuts government spending by a whopping $130 billion over the next five years. He’s proposed brutal cuts in pensions, welfare, and government employment. And more remarkably, for a conservative, he also wants to cut the defense budget by 8 percent and raise both value-added and capital gains taxes. To cut the deficit, he’s transgressing the ideological taboos of both left and right. He’s even slashed funding for the upkeep of the palaces of the queen. The contrast with our supposed deficit-haters in the GOP could not be starker. Cameron started attacking his country’s budget problem within weeks of taking office. Republicans held the White House for eight years and did exactly the opposite. Tea Party types are quick to say it’s not just Barack Obama’s deficit spending that bothers them; they were outraged, outraged by the Bush deficits too. Really? Where were the folks with flags, muskets, and mutton-chops when Bush masked the cost of the Iraq and Afghan wars, year after year, by funding them through supplemental appropriations that fell outside the normal Pentagon budget?" (Peter Beinart)


"The e-book rift between Random House Worldwide chairman Markus Dohle and lit agent Andrew Wylie really is in the past history books. The duo has formalized a far-reaching deal to publish a memoir by Salman Rushdie. The book will be published in 2012 and will cover the Booker Prize-winning author's entire life, including the time when he was forced into hiding after the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa on his life following the publication of The Satanic Verses in 1988. It revives a long relationship between the author and publisher. The seven-figure deal will involve multiple imprints under the Random House roof, and covers hardcover, paperback, audio and e-book rights for English, German and Spanish-speaking territories. Random House will publish in most of the territories, while Knopf Canada will handle the book up north." (Deadline)


"On an unlikely battlefield, second-term Rep. Phil Hare is amassing an army.  Unions are on the front lines, but the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has also joined with money, advertising and boots on the ground. At a weekend rally in a crowded union hall with Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) sitting in the front row, Hare, a former steward for UNITE HERE, drew the battle lines. 'Organized labor is who I am, where I came from, and my opponent talks about being a member of a union,' the Democratic lawmaker said. 'He talks the talk, except he doesn’t really support the Employee Free Choice Act because he says we’re taking away the right to a secret ballot.' On the other side is a scrappier contingent. Republican Bobby Schilling, the owner of St. Giuseppe’s Heavenly Pizza in Moline and the father of 10 children, is mounting his first campaign. Early in his career, he was a steward for the United Paper Workers International Union and later a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. Following an event in Quincy, where he accepted the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business, Schilling said his goal would be to bring labor and business together. 'The biggest thing we can do is let people know — business owners know — that we’re going to create an environment to where it’s going to be great for them to do business, rather than the environment that’s been created the last year and a half [that] has really just scared people,' he said. 'People are scared.' This is Hare’s first competitive race, and the fact that he’s in a dogfight is emblematic of the environment for Democrats." (CQPolitics)

(image via NYSD)

"And on this past Monday night over at Doubles, The Cresta SCARS Dracula in New York held a dinner. The party was so private, they didn’t even send invitations, only messages by separate email. They know who they are. The St. Moritz Tobogganing Club (known as the 'Cresta') has been holding an American dinner each year for past 19 years called 'SCARS.' Among its members are names like Habsburg, von Bismarck, Badrutt, Niarchos, al Saud, Heineken, Hohenlohe, Hohenzollern, von Bohlen und Halbach, Jackie Stewart, Arpad Buson, Flick, Furstenberg. You get the picture ... Dracula’s is the private nightclub in St. Moritz founded by Gunther Sachs and several other playboy tycoons like Gianni Agnelli and Heinrich Furstenberg almost 40 years ago. Rolf Sachs (whose link you just viewed), son of Gunther, is now the President and liked the idea of this first ever New York Dracula event, one night only.  There was a similar evening in London last November which was a huge success with many guests who flew in from all over the world to attend. This years group produced a bumper crop of Euros and Brits as well as friends from the Rio Country Club in Rio who also ski (as do many others present) in Corviglia InterClub each year." (NYSocialDiary)

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