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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Policy makers in Europe now understand the severity of the sovereign-debt crisis and the actions that need to be taken, according to Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Mohamed A. El-Erian. 'What I learned in Washington is that Europeans finally get it,' El-Erian, chief executive and co-chief investment officer at the world’s biggest manager of bond funds, said in a radio interview today on 'Bloomberg Surveillance' with Tom Keene and Ken Prewitt. 'They recognize they have deep problems and they recognize they need to do something about it. And now they are going back and will try to do something about it. This was a very important wake-up call for Europe.' Euro-region finance chiefs committed at a gathering of the Group of 20 in Washington on Sept. 22 to boost the flexibility of their rescue fund and 'maximize its impact' by the time of the next G-20 conclave. Euro-area finance ministers meet Oct. 3. European Central Bank officials have indicated they will consider expanding liquidity provisions when they meet Oct. 6. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner set the tone at the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank by warning that failure to combat the Greek-led turmoil threatened 'cascading default, bank runs and catastrophic risk.' That gathering followed the G-20 session." (Bloomberg)



"Hollywood is not my natural habitat. I have known several actors and directors over the years but have found it hard to generalize about them. One of them was Ronald Reagan, whom I worked for in the White House, and while he was a good deal more conservative than I am, I found him to be one of the best leaders I have ever known. A few others from Hollywood also impressed, but — as in politics — there were a disproportionate number of egomaniacs and phonies. Before my trip, Sony had allowed me to preview his new film, The Ides of March (opening October 7). I found it riveting. It's a political drama but could have just as easily been set in corporate America, as it explores the tensions between loyalty and betrayal, sex and power. Clooney co-wrote, acted and directed. Sometime soon, I hope to show it to students at the Harvard Kennedy School (my day job), as it will spark good conversation. Still, it didn't tell me what I really wanted to know: who is George Clooney when the cameras stop? What makes him tick? And, by the way, would I be able to keep my eyes open? This was my third trip across the Atlantic in the space of a short time, and as I landed in Milan, I was beat. Would I be a total bore? Would he look upon my presence as a total pain-in-the-ass?  He had sent his driver to fetch me, and we zoomed off on the 45-minute drive toward his villa. A narrow road winds up from the town, along the lake, homes and shops pressing in from each side, and then suddenly a gate appeared. We slipped in and down the short drive to his home. It was just after 9 a.m.   To my surprise, he was waiting there alone, reading and sipping a cup of coffee, dressed in a gray T-shirt and cut offs. He offered to make coffee, and went off to fetch a cappuccino. Then we sat outside in a brilliant sun and talked for a steady hour, chatting about this and that, starting to exchange funny stories laughing. He was setting the tone for the weekend." (David Gergen)



"It’s been the recurring theme in the race for the GOP presidential nomination: A candidate enters with a splash, then quickly fizzles, leaving Republicans clamoring for a new white knight to hurtle them into the White House. It happened with former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. It happened with Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.). Now it’s happening with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is fending off freefall after a meteoric rise to frontrunner status. A new round of calls for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to enter the race just months before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses is feeding the narrative that Republicans are underwhelmed by their choices, although conservatives insist that the public complaints won’t hurt the eventual nominee’s chances to defeat President Obama. While Obama is raising money in California and campaigning against GOP obstructionism in Congress, many Republicans are openly musing about if only Christie, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin or Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels would get in the race. Republicans in Florida bucked their party’s two front-runners on Saturday, with businessman Herman Cain, who polls nationally in the single digits, winning more votes than Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney combined. 'Everyone’s willing to settle for Mitt Romney, but nobody wants to settle for Mitt Romney,' said Erick Erickson, the publisher of the conservative blog RedState.org." (TheHill)



"The global financial system is currently being roiled by one thing and one thing only: the fate of Europe. This past weekend, high-level meetings of both the International Monetary Fund and the G20 nations took place in Washington, and the predominant focus was on Europe and whether the nations of the European Union and the euro zone would be able to stave off what increasingly appears to be a make-or-break crisis over banks, the sovereign debt of Greece, and the stability of the international financial system. The markets—save for a rally on Monday—have been placing their bet, and it is a decisive no. For a change, this isn’t about the United States, or the size of the American national debt, or for that matter about Obama and the Tea Party. It is about Europe (and for all those who believe that the entire global financial system hinges on America, sorry, this one really is about Europe and its implications for the cost of mortgages in Eureka and small-business loans in Athens, Ohio). The assumption in finance land is that Greece will default on its debts, and that will then trigger a financial crisis to rival, if not surpass, what happened three years ago. Mavens such as George Soros have predicted as much." (TheDailyBeast)



"Last night at the Plaza in the Grand Ballroom, The American Theatre Wing celebrated its 2011 Gala, honoring Sir Howard Stringer, the CEO of Sony, and paying tribute to the late Douglas Leeds, a former president of the Wing and a dear friend not only to the organization but to many. Doug served on the board and many capacities of the Wing for twenty-one years. He was president between 2004 and 2008. That face you see in the picture is one of a cheerful man, a friend to many, a love to many especially his wife Anki. He came to an untimely end, age 63, of cancer, last May 9th. In last night’s program Sondra Gilman, who was Chairman of the American Theatre Wing board when Doug was president, said of the man: 'We’ve heard the statement He was a beautiful person but after I knew and worked with Doug over many years, I understood exactly what it meant. Doug took every day of his life with gratitude. He gave everything he had to what he loved: his family, his work and, of course, to theatre and the Wing' ... Last night’s program, fittingly, had a lot of Broadway entertainment besides Mr. Donnell and Ms. Mackay. James Naughton performed Rodgers and Hart’s 'My Funny Valentine,' as well as a parody of their 'Thou Swell' that was written for Sir Howard. Breandon Victor Dixon sang Sondheim’s 'Being Alive.' Elaine Paige sang 'With One Look.' Jennifer Hudson performed also, and Angela Lansbury presented Sir Howard with his award." (NYSocialDiary)

"Everyone has been going crazy about 'frictionless sharing' for the last week. That's Facebook's cute new term for what happens when you give permission for something new and fun to enter your life and then it takes you to a party and 'auto-shares' your activity with the world. You drunk slag. What to do? Short version long... you should probably get off the Internet now while the getting is good. (Well? At least consider it!" (Choire Sicha/TheAwl)



"GOV. Cuomo, his father Mario Cuomo and brother Chris Cuomo gave touching tributes to family matriarch Matilda to celebrate her 80th birthday. At a party at the rolling estate of Maria Cuomo Cole and husband Kenneth Cole in Purchase on Sunday, the gov said of his mother, in front of nearly 200 guests, 'When I was growing up, the kitchen table was the center of the universe. Everything I ever learned was first learned there, from you ... We’re at last at an age where we can really appreciate how powerful your love has been.' ABC newsman Chris said, 'My mother is the untold beautiful story in the family.' Ex-Gov. Mario told the crowd, 'Matilda has produced two governors ... one when I first ran and she campaigned all across upstate and got us two extra points we needed ... and again, when she had Andrew.' He said of his wife of more than 50 years, 'The whole world is discovering your strength and goodness.' Guests included Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sandra Lee and Harold Holzer." (PageSix)


"It looks like companies like College Humor, Vimeo, Match.com, and Newsweek/Daily Beast could soon be getting business advice from American royalty. The Financial Times reports that 31-year-old Chelsea Clinton isn’t too busy with her graduate studies at Oxford or work at the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative to join the board at digital media powerhouse IAC over at the “big white frosty” building on West 18th. She’ll be the youngest member of IAC’s board by seven years, joining heavyweights like Michael Eisner and Edgar Bronfman Jr., chairman of Warner Music Group or as we like to think of him, MIA’s future father-in-law. We’d also like to wish the former hedgie, who worked at both McKinsey and Avenue Capital, a warm welcome to startupland–and business caz. It seems the same whispers about a last name that opens doors have followed Ms. Clinton into the digital sphere. When she joined Avenue back in 2006, the Wall Street Journal points out, 'There was crowing about how Avenue Capital founders Marc Lasry and Sonia Gardner had both donated to Mrs. Clinton’s New York Senate re-election campaign.' In the case of IAC, the Journal notes that Barry Diller, now IAC’s chairman, supported both Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid." (BetaBeat)


"Did you hear the news? Chris Christie is going to save the Republicans from Rick Perry, who was supposed to save them from Mitt Romney but turned out to be a completely inept debater and a traitor on issues like illegal immigration and injecting little girls with mental retardation. Now, granted, Christie has said a hundred times that he isn't ready to run for president and won't do it. He's even threatened to kill himself to show how serious he is. But with Perry proving himself less than ideal, the never-satisfied GOP elite is once again pining for a conservative savior who can unite the party (or at least the anti-Romney faction of the party) and defeat President Obama. According to various reports, Christie is telling donors that, public refusals notwithstanding, he's open to reconsidering. Yesterday, former New Jersey governor Tom Kean said Christie is 'giving it a lot of thought.'
But if conservatives think Christie is the answer to their every prayer, they may be making the same mistake they made with Perry — allowing themselves to become enamored with the idea of Christie, while overlooking who he actually is." (NYMag)

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