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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"As we all know, the origin of the current financial crisis was the subprime mortgage meltdown in the United States. To be more precise, it originated in a financial system generating paper assets whose value depended on the price of housing. It assumed that the price of homes would always rise and, at the very least, if the price fluctuated the value of the paper could still be determined. Neither proved to be true. The price of housing declined and, worse, the value of the paper assets became indeterminate. This placed the entire American financial system in a state of gridlock and the crisis spilled over into Europe, where many financial institutions had purchased the paper as well. From the standpoint of economics, this was essentially a financial crisis: who made or lost money and how much. From the standpoint of political economy it raised a different question: the legitimacy of the financial elite. Think of a national system as a series of subsystems — political, economic, military and so on. Then think of the economic system as being divisible into subsystems — various corporate verticals with their own elites, with one of the verticals being the financial system. Obviously, this oversimplifies the situation, but I’m doing that to make a point. One of the systems, the financial system, failed, and this failure was due to decisions made by the financial elite. This created a massive political problem centered not so much on confidence in any particular financial instrument but on the competence and honesty of the financial elite itself." (STRATFOR)


"Barack Obama’s aides and advisers are preparing to center the president’s reelection campaign on a ferocious personal assault on Mitt Romney’s character and business background, a strategy grounded in the early-stage expectation that the former Massachusetts governor is the likely GOP nominee. The dramatic and unabashedly negative turn is the product of political reality. Obama remains personally popular, but pluralities in recent polling disapprove of his handling of his job, and Americans fear the country is on the wrong track. His aides are increasingly resigned to running for reelection in a glum nation. And so the candidate who ran on 'hope' in 2008 has little choice four years later but to run a slashing, personal campaign aimed at disqualifying his likeliest opponent. In a move that will make some Democrats shudder, Obama’s high command has even studied former President George W. Bush’s 2004 takedown of Sen. John Kerry, a senior campaign adviser told POLITICO, for clues on how a president with middling approval ratings can defeat a challenger. 'Unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney,' said a prominent Democratic strategist aligned with the White House." (Politico)


"George Malkemus and I have often lunched at Michael’s on the same days for years. He is often seated at a table next to mine, and a frequent guest has been Andre Leon Talley, although I haven’t seen Andre lately. Although I knew nothing about his business, George always looks like he’s been very busy at the office. Often shirtsleeves (with tie), no jacket; lunch on the run. Andre of course, often looks his Andre potentate fashionable. As I said, I never knew anything about George’s life or his business. I just knew this very pleasant fellow-Michael’s patron whose name was George. Then one day he was having lunch with a man who was introduced to me as Manolo Blahnik." (NYSocialDiary)





"The D.S.K. affair was also an opportunity for class warfare. Much was made of the cost of the suite at the Sofitel ($3,000 a night, and probably even more if you open that can of Pringles above the mini-bar) and the wealth of Strauss-Kahn’s wife, Anne Sinclair, without whose providence he would still be doing crossword puzzles at Rikers. 'Not only did the sophisticated and comely TV figure, known as the Barbara Walters of France, pick up the tab for DSK’s release,' reported Sandra McElwaine in the Daily Beast, 'she also plunked down thousands for a temporary refuge near Wall Street—he’s since moved to a Tribeca building—and $200,000 for 24-hour security guards for the duration of his trial. There is also a $4 million home in Georgetown, a lavish apartment on the trendy Place des Vosges—one of the priciest pieces of real estate in Paris—and a comfortable hideaway near Marrakesh, Morocco.' This is to the good, hearing how the have-everythings scrape by. But so much of the populist outrage in the press reeked of bad faith, if I may quote Jean-Paul Sartre, the French existentialist philosopher whose hair never achieved the aerodynamic contours of Lévy’s. The same press that indulges in a storm-the-palace fit over D.S.K.’s V.I.P. treatment lavishes worshipful attention on ultra-wealth, revels in extravagance, fawns over preening moguls (complicit for decades with the dirigible inflation of Donald Trump’s ego and acumen), paints Paris Hilton’s toenails a lovely coral, and fetishizes the sky-high price of square-footage in Manhattan, elevating real-estate porn into Byzantine splendor. Manhattan under Mayor Bloomberg has become a billionaire’s playpen, the middle class has become pressed duck, and class warfare is conducted in fits of pique and facile comparisons, like a retired boxer throwing left jabs in his sleep." (James Wolcott)


"Speculation about who will be selected to serve on the debt 'supercommittee' is rampant on Capitol Hill, K Street and Wall Street. The four congressional leaders of the House and Senate have until Aug. 16 to make their appointments. While it is unclear which members will be tapped, Capitol Hill leaders are widely expected to pick party loyalists. Both the left and right are wary of any possible defectors who would give the opposing party an edge in the talks, which will be aimed at reducing the debt by $1.5 trillion. Each of the four House and Senate leaders will pick three members to serve on the joint committee. The leaders are allowed to appoint themselves to the supercommittee, though that is unlikely to happen. The supercommittee’s recommendations must be reported out by Nov. 23 and voted up or down in the House and Senate by Dec. 23. The following is a rundown of the contenders, dark horses and long shots to be appointed to the panel, categorized alphabetically ..." (TheHill)



"Howard (Stern) started the show by taking a phone call. The caller said he saw that his buddy George Clooney was in the paper and he wondered how close he is to him. Howard said he was at Jimmy (Kimmell's) party but they're not that close. The caller, Tommy, said he read that George is going out with Stacy Keibler. Howard said she's got an incredible ass. He said her body is great too. Tommy said that she'd be perfect for Howard if he was single. Howard said she is very pretty and she was nice when she was on the show. Howard said she was quite captivating. The caller said she looks gorgeous. Howard said that George Clooney gets rid of one chick and moves another one right in. Howard said he has girls on deck ready to go. Robin said maybe he has a friendship going and then when he x's the other one out he has the next one ready. Howard said George is great for her because he's high profile. Howard said he's not sure what she does. He said he'd have a hard time dating a wrestler though. He said that doesn't go well with him but he might make an exception for her. Howard wondered if she was a wrestler. Tommy said she was a Diva and he's not sure what that even means. He said he's not a wrestling fan. Howard said JD knows a lot about her. JD came in and said that he has a poster of her hanging in his office. He said she did wrestle. Howard said that's a crazy, seedy world and he doesn't think he'd date her. He said he might bang her though. Howard said it's kind of like being in porno. He said it's an odd choice for your path in life." (Marksfriggin)


"Elisabetta Canalis doesn't appear to be wilting over her ex George Clooney's new relationship with former wrestler Stacy Keibler. A confident-looking Canalis has been doing the rounds in Los Angeles taking meetings, sources tell us. Showing off her figure in leather pants, she was spotted late last week dining at Ago in West Hollywood with girlfriends including 'Watchmen' star Carla Gugino. A source told us, 'She looked carefree as she and her friends sipped white wine and dined on steak and langoustines.'" (NYPost)

 
"The fall of 2004 kicked off a television season that brought us some of the biggest hits of the last decade, launching Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, and House. Seven years later, those supernovas are either burning out or dead altogether, victims of audience fatigue or oversight, as their once-huge numbers dwindled year after year. ABC announced on Sunday that Desperate Housewives will end its run in May—the demise of the once powerful drama signals a death knell for serialized storytelling at the broadcast networks. The TV graveyard is littered with the remains of ABC’s attempts to find replacements and companions for its surprise hit Lost (which ended in May 2010), none of which clicked with viewers. (Remember The Nine? No? You’re not alone.) With the loss of Desperate Housewives and the eventual loss of Grey’s Anatomy, ABC faces a terrifying challenge of making do without its event series, as its viewership erodes under competition from cable, the Internet, Netflix, and delayed DVR viewing. Can any upcoming serialized show on the broadcast networks even dream of the enormous ratings these shows once pulled in their prime? (Grey’s Anatomy lured 11.4 million last season, compared to a second season high of 19.8 million; House has lost nearly half of its audience in the last four seasons, as Season 7 drew 10.3 million versus Season 3’s 19.4 million; Housewives’ 11.9 million last season is way off from the 23.7 million in Season 1; and Lost’s final season drew its lowest ratings ever.) Fox believes it has a shot at ratings glory with its prehistoric/time travel drama Terra Nova, or it could have an expensive disaster on its hands." (TheDailyBeast)

2 comments:

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