blog advertising is good for you

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"A generation ago, developing countries only hit the economic headlines when a Latin American country defaulted or a Saudi minister announced a new oil price target. The Soviet empire still lorded over Eastern Europe; China and India remained largely closed to the world; and conflict, disease, and corrupt regimes kept sub-Saharan Africa's population mired in poverty and economic isolation. But today, developing countries are propelling the world economy. Already, four (China, India, Russia and Brazil) of the seven largest economies are developing countries. Thirty years of 10 percent annual growth has transformed China from a poor, agrarian economy to an industrial giant and the world's second-largest economy. In Juggernaut: How Emerging Markets Are Reshaping Globalization, we predict that, in the next generation, Japan and Germany will fall further behind and the United States will be the only advanced country to rank among the world's seven largest economies. Paradoxically, the new powerhouses will remain relatively poor. By 2035, China's GDP will surpass that of the United States, but China's per capita income will still be only half that of the United States. India's economy, the world's third-largest by 2035, will be three times larger than Japan's, but its per capita income will be only a quarter of Japan's. The emergence of relatively poor countries as the largest global economies is unprecedented. We can only guess how this uniquely 21st-century phenomenon will affect international relations. What we know for sure is that representatives of poor people will hold great sway in international forums and they will be eager for the kinds and quality of goods and services the West takes for granted." (ForeignPolicy)


"Getting a parking spot across the street from your office is a challenge in this city. But Barry Diller has his super-yacht--the world's largest private sailing vessel, the Eos -- moored directly across the street from his IAC offices. It's believed to be costing Diller about $2,000 per day, mere pocket change for the mogul, to keep his 305-foot tri-mast craft at Chelsea Piers. He's racked up about $40,000 in docking fees since the Eos arrived from Martha's Vineyard and Boston after sailing here to serve as a party venue for wife Diane von Furstenberg's new fragrance on June 5. About 85 lucky guests got a two-hour cruise for the fete. Diller's wife has her studio in the nearby Meatpacking District. But time's running out to admire Diller's mega-vessel, for which he paid a reported $100 million: It'll soon set sail up the coast and then over for a party in St. Tropez next month, sources said. A rep for Diller declined to comment." (PageSix)


"Why Game of Thrones is the best thing on television ... Sean Bean as Ned Stark was shown heavily in the show's marketing, and viewers who hadn't read the books fell into the trap of believing he was the show's protagonist. He was noble, powerful, and in a world filled with people whose motivations were twisted and obscure he seemed to be a genuinely good person. In fact, this was his fatal flaw: the idea that as long as he did the right thing with the right motivations, everything would be okay. By the time he was standing in front of the people, confessing treason, it was too late for him, and his beheading was shocking. Just in case you didn't get the message that no one is safe, last night's episode began with the image of the sword used in this execution dripping with blood clots and hair. Joffrey, who is becoming everything you want in a truly hateful villain, forces Sansa to gaze upon the head of her father, and has one of his men strike her for suggesting he may be on the losing end of the upcoming war. Sansa has never been a sympathetic character, and again the views fall into the neatly laid trap of getting what we wanted. Which is maddening, as we may have hoped something bad would happen to her during the early episodes, but now that Sansa's in a truly wretched situation it's hard to watch. The scene between Sansa and Joffrey is well done, filled with tension and a very subtle shifting of control that takes place as Joffrey realized she's not learning the lesson he's hoping to teach. For just a moment, as both characters realize that Sansa is a Stark in both a literal and figurative sense, Joffrey looked afraid." (ArsTechnica)


"Last night Kathy and Billy Rayner gave a Southern-style dinner – Mrs. Rayner grew up in the South – to celebrate the upcoming new book by their friend Amanda Foreman, the author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire. The book is called The World On Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War and will be in the stores next Monday. I first heard about the book several months ago when I ran into Amanda at a party and asked her what she was working on. How she went from an 18th century British duchess to the 19th century War Between the States begged the obvious question: how come? It turned out that when she was doing her research on the Duchess she discovered that Georgiana’s great nephew who would become the 8th Duke of Devonshire, Spencer Compton Cavendish 'had spent Christmas Day 1862 making eggnog for the Confederate cavalry officers of General Robert E. Lee’s army.' Amanda already knew something about the British relationship to the War Between the States because of a thesis she had written for her doctorate about race and color in pre-Victorian England. What surprised her was that this duke – then the Marquess of Hartington (and known to his pals and the press as Harty-Tarty for reasons alluded to in the nickname), was that the “heir to the greatest Liberal peerage in England thought the slaveholding South had the moral advantage over the anti-slavery North.' Why?" (NYSocialDiary)


"President Obama plans to announce his decision on the scale and pace of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan in a speech on Wednesday evening, an administration official said Monday ... The White House said Mr. Obama would visit the Fort Drum Army base in upstate New York on Thursday. Fort Drum is home to the 10th Mountain Division, which has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years. Administration officials said Mr. Obama would most likely pull out the entire 30,000 troops by the end of 2012. What is still not known is how soon and how fast, though as the administration’s deliberations wind down, the outlines of the main proposals are becoming clearer.  Some senior White House officials advocate a plan under which 15,000 troops would return by the end of this year and the other 15,000 by the end of 2012, said an official who was briefed on the deliberations. Backers of this timetable include retired Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, the president’s senior adviser on Afghanistan. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has long pushed for the United States to curtail its military engagement in Afghanistan, favors a plan under which all 30,000 troops would be pulled out within 12 months, said this official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has said that the initial withdrawal should be modest, and that substantial combat forces should remain into next year’s fighting season so as not to risk successes earned through the surge. In keeping with that concept, according to Pentagon and military officials, would be an initial reduction this year of about 5,000 troops — the size of a brigade — followed by 5,000 over the winter, when fighting recedes. The final 20,000 troops could remain into the next autumn, through the 2012 fighting season." (Mark Landler and Helene Cooper)


"Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has won the famous Capitol hideaway office that once belonged to his old friend, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), which has long been considered the pinnacle of insider prestige. It’s a nice prize and the envy of colleagues, but Hatch would prefer not to talk about senatorial perks as he faces a potential Tea Party-backed challenge in the 2012 Utah Republican primary. Second-term Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has signaled he will vie for Hatch’s seat and might well use the hideaway to help paint Hatch as an entrenched incumbent steeped in Washington’s culture.  'I’m not allowed to talk about that,' Hatch said when asked about the secretive process for assigning hideaways. A spokesman for the Rules Committee declined to confirm or comment on Hatch’s move. Senators have spent the past five and a half months picking office suites, and are only now getting around to hideaways.  These private offices are hidden throughout the Capitol behind nondescript doors. They give senators a private place to work or rest between meetings and late-night votes. While spaces for junior lawmakers are cramped and windowless and could double for broom closets, some of the fancier spaces for senior members offer stunning views of the Capitol’s west front and quick access to the floor, which is perfect when the majority leader has scheduled a series of votes late into the evening. Hatch didn’t think he would have a chance to snag the famous hideaway, since a few Democrats rank ahead of him in seniority ..." (TheHill)


"The legacy of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) haunted me even before his death. The senator rarely visited the Senate since his diagnosis with brain cancer last year. But I felt his presence, and more importantly, his absence, during my daily journeys around the U.S. Capitol. The most-senior of senators are awarded what are called 'hideaway' offices in the Capitol. Each senator is assigned a personal office in one of the three Senate office buildings. But depending on your seniority, senators also score some sweet digs not far from the Senate floor. The hideaways are not a satellite office with space for staff. They’re a sanctum for senators. A retreat to study. Read. Think. Write. Meet guests. Return calls. Catch a catnap. Or just relax. Maybe with Scotch or a glass of wine. Senators can decorate the hideaways any way they want. They stock the bookshelves with very personal volumes. The artwork and mementos adorning the walls are often a tribute to that senator’s political legacy. There are framed copies of bills they authored signed into law. Pictures of family and presidents. Bats from baseball sluggers. Autographed footballs. Musical instruments. They’re repositories for the icons that define these men and women of the world’s most exclusive club. The locations of the hideaways aren’t advertised. There’s no sign on the non-descript doors. Just a room number. And unless you spy a senator coming or going, chances are, you’ll never know who toils behind these otherwise innocuous-looking passageways." (Chad Pergram)


"Sewer workers in 1910 had a nickname for the mold that grew in Lower East Side sewers. 'Lace curtains,' they called it, because the stuff was white and draped prettily across the sewer arcs. At a time when the city was steeped in filth—children romped in the slime of horse troughs, industrial rendering plants rendered—the Lower East Side was exceptional for its grease deposits, and smelled persistently of shit. There are no lace curtains to be found a century later, as the price of an apartment on Orchard Street indicates. If there’s any scent at all in 2011, it’s the scent of discretionary income: of gluten-free doughnuts, premium jeggings, artisanal cigars. One particularly striking exception remains. It’s a mystery, the stretch of Broome Street between Allen and Eldridge—a quiet little block that smells like high meat and old squeegees. It gets bad in the spring and worse in the summer, when the smell of decay is overpowering. 'Everyone around knows that block is the stinkiest block in all of Manhattan,' a resident named Kate told me. Elie Z. Perler, a neighbor who edits the website Bowery Boogie, agrees. 'Not even the most disgusting subway smell compares,' he says. 'I try not to eat while walking there, since I’d probably throw up.' David Swanson, a former resident who has lived in several Third World cities, says he has never experienced anything like the 'flushed-out catacomb' smell of the block, and it is true that the street’s stink has a menacing quality. To walk down Broome on an August afternoon is to spend a few minutes confronting the idea of dying, rotting, and smelling like Broome Street. The source of the smell is unknown." (NYMag)

No comments: