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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Media-Whore D'oeuvres


"The twenty-first century began with a very unequal distribution of power resources. With five percent of the world's population, the United States accounted for about a quarter of the world's economic output, was responsible for nearly half of global military expenditures, and had the most extensive cultural and educational soft-power resources. All this is still true, but the future of U.S. power is hotly debated. Many observers have interpreted the 2008 global financial crisis as the beginning of American decline. The National Intelligence Council, for example, has projected that in 2025, 'the U.S. will remain the preeminent power, but that American dominance will be much diminished.' Power is the ability to attain the outcomes one wants, and the resources that produce it vary in different contexts. Spain in the sixteenth century took advantage of its control of colonies and gold bullion, the Netherlands in the seventeenth century profited from trade and finance, France in the eighteenth century benefited from its large population and armies, and the United Kingdom in the nineteenth century derived power from its primacy in the Industrial Revolution and its navy. This century is marked by a burgeoning revolution in information technology and globalization, and to understand this revolution, certain pitfalls need to be avoided." (Joseph Nye/ForeignAffairs)


"The president’s presumptive chief adversary, Speaker-in-Waiting John Boehner of Ohio, has shown admirable signs of treading humbly. He may have the marbles, for now, but he is wary of overreach, and he is no Newt. He knows that leading is infinitely harder than blocking, and he has signaled, insofar as it would be possible for any modern Republican, that he would like to get things done. Just what Boehner and Obama might get done is another question. On foreign policy, they share some clear goals. There is abundant room for compromise on tax policy. Obama’s bipartisan debt-and-deficit commission—due to report December 1—might yet provide some political cover for politically tough decisions. Whether Boehner can bring the foamers-at-the-mouth in his own caucus to actually make laws remains to be seen." (VanityFair)


"Wealthy candidates spent more than $500 million of their own money running for office this year. They don’t have much to show for it. Former Hewlett-Packard Co. chairman Carly Fiorina, former EBay Inc. chief executive Meg Whitman, and World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. co-founder Linda McMahon were among the losers in U.S. elections yesterday. Whitman failed in the California governor’s race after contributing $141.6 million to her campaign, the largest personal expenditure for a race in U.S. history. 'You can have all the money in the world, but you still have to convince voters you’re the best candidate,' David Levinthal, spokesman for Washington’s nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, said in a telephone interview. “If you’ve struggled to connect with them, your candidacy will struggle.' Of the 58 self-funded candidates for federal offices this year, defined as those giving at least $500,000 to their campaigns, 30 lost in primaries or dropped out before Election Day, according to data the center compiled. Those self-funded Senate and House candidates spent at least $158.9 million combined." (Bloomberg)


"Cipriani on 42nd Street was literally the most fashionable spot in town last night as every single fashion person on the planet showed up to celebrate a century (can you believe it?) of WWD. There were tableaux throughout the space highlighting the history of the daily style bible. So who was there to toast 'WWD @ 100'? (Who wasn’t is really the question). I spotted: Ralph Lauren, Katie Lee, Richard Chai, Olivia Chantecaille, Graydon Carter, Fern Mallis, Prabal Gurung, Ann Caruso, Michael Kors, Mary Alice Stephenson, Alber Elbaz, Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman (together, squashing the rumor that Craig was leaving their label Marchesa), Reed and Delphine Krakoff, Padma Lakshmi, Mark Badgley and James Mischka, Dennis Basso, Jessica Szhor (shockingly the only Gossip Girl star at the party) .." (Avenue)


"William Kristol: 'Russ Feingold, now freed of his Senate responsibilities, is liberated to consider a Gene McCarthy-like run against the president in the 2012 primaries on an end-the-war platform -- pre-empting Howard Dean, who is undoubtedly also considering such an effort.' Interestingly, Ben Smith notes that at the conclusion of Feingold's concession speech, he says, "It's on to our next adventure. It's on to 2012! Forward!" (PoliticalWire)


"Snapshots. At my table Monday night at the Library Lions dinner was a professor who teaches Information Systems at a local university. I I told him I didn’t even know what that meant, Information Systems. Computers, he replied. I asked him about his students; what they were like. They’re not interested in reading, he said. They say they don’t have time. He gave an assignment to make a record of an average day to see how they spent their time. A great deal of it is spent on texting or on the computer. My professor friend felt that they were distracted by the technology of their world. Everything is suddenly different. They are 'not present,' he said. He’s not pessimistic. He has a daughter. Her assignment last summer was to read ten books. Reading, he believes, is everything. He believes it's his challenge as a teacher to find ways to bring his students into the present. And to read." (NYSocialDiary)


"Howard (Stern's) phone rang. He said he put it on last night and forgot to turn it off. Howard said he was very busy last night. He said he goes to the psychiatrist's office and then he yells and screams. Howard said he likes that show 'In Treatment' and he thinks it's good for him to watch. Howard said he doesn't know what to do at the office so he watches that show and does what they watch on there. Howard said it kind of loosens him up. He thinks it's helping. Howard said he's not sure why he likes 'In Treatment' so much. He said it's just two people talking and that's usually what he hates about TV and movies. He said it's really good though and gets into it. Fred said he loves the show. Howard and Fred both said that they like the Indian guy who is on this season. They weren't sure why he was such a big deal though. Fred said he may have been in Slumdog Millionaire. Howard said the show is great. Fred said that he has trouble following what the guy says sometimes. He said he thinks he's putting that accent on a little bit. Howard said he's not sure how Gabriel Byrne remembers all of that dialog." (Marksfriggin)

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