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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"When Janis Joplin sang, 'Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose,' the current economic doldrums probably aren't what she had in mind. Nevertheless, a dispiriting U.S. Census Bureau report revealed that more Americans than ever are impoverished. 2.6 million Americans dropped below the poverty line in 2010, expanding the ranks of America's poor to 46.2 million -- the highest number in the over half-century that this has been tracked. Comparing international poverty statistics can be a dicey business because the cost of living varies across continents and countries set their own national poverty lines. However, it is helpful in determining how other countries perceive their poverty problem and provides some context for the relative impoverishment of the United States. In Europe, the rising U.S. poverty rate -- which currently stands at 15.1 percent -- would not raise eyebrows among the continent's major economies. 15.5 percent of Germans were living below the poverty line in 2010, and the country is dividedinto regions of haves and have- nots. France does a little better, but not much: 13.5 percent of French citizens in 2009 lived off less than 60 percent of the median household income, which the European Union uses as its poverty threshold. Things get trickier when trying to compare U.S. poverty rates to those in China. By the Chinese government's own standards, only 2.8 percent of rural Chinese were living below the poverty line in 2004. That's hard to believe, as the World Bank reported that the per capita income of all Chinese that year, after correcting for regional price disparities, was only $3,590. But while the precise figures may be fuzzy, the trends in China's war against poverty are clear. Using the World Bank's own standards, the number of Chinese below the poverty line fell from 65 percent to 10 percent between 1981 and 2004 -- an advance that removed more than half a billion Chinese from the ranks of the country's impoverished. The United States may still be far richer than China -- but the trends are heading in the wrong direction." (Foreignpolicy)


"What is Delta One? Despite being one of the fastest-growing businesses for the world’s biggest banks, Delta One remains a relatively unknown corner of the financial world. In simple terms, the Delta One business involves banks trading or creating securities that track an underlying index or asset, such as shares or silver, as closely as possible. In some cases, banks are known to deploy high-frequency trading technology and algorithms to make money from tiny deviations in product and asset values. For the most part, however, the banks provide clients with exposure to securities or indices, taking responsibility for hedging those exposures on their own shoulders. Any excess profit generated by managing the risk in a cost effective manner can be kept by the bank – meaning money is made as much from creating innovative hedges as it is from collecting margins or fees from clients. JPMorgan predicted last year that Delta One would be a prime future source of revenue for global investment banks." (FT)


"Michael’s to lunch. Big crowd of the usual suspects plus some surprises including Euan Rellie with Clay Speakman of the Robb Report; the Fearsome Fivesome (minus one): Dr. Gerry Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Michael Kramer and Andy Bergman, and no Jeff Greenfield; Geraldine Laybourne (of Oxygen Media). Francine LeFrak hosting a table; Wayne Kabak and Lauren Green, Molly Jong–Fast and Jamie Brickhouse (I wrote about Molly’s new novel Social Climber's Handbook on Monday’s NYSD); literary agent Luke Janklow; Jim Abernathy; Diane Clehane with Andrew Amill of Weight Watchers; Michael Fuchs with Nancy Peretsman; Phil Robinson with the Lakers’ Matt Barnes; Barry Frey of Cablevision with Charles Bonan; Edward Cox, chair of the NY State Republican Committee whose father-in-law was President Nixon (Tricia Nixon is Mrs. Cox); Alexis Glick of Fox News with former First Lady of NY State, Michelle Patterson; Rob Weisbach; Democratic National Committee chair Andy Tobias; the FT’s brilliant US editor Gillian Tett; PR honcho Catherine Saxton; Liza Finley with playwright Mart Crowley ('Boys In the Band'), Vartan Gregorian; and attorney Rob Barnett and thousands more just like ‘em (a slight exaggeration in the number). I was lunching with Emilia Saint-Amand whom I’ve known since the early '70s when I was in the shmatte business in Westchester and Emilia was a regular customer. Right after lunch, we grabbed a cab and went up to the Tent at Lincoln Center for the Chado Ralph Rucci show." (NYSocialDiary)


"Rapper Snoop Dogg will star in biopic The Legend of Fillmore Slim, announced today by Ames Universal and SRI Entertainment. Fillmore Slim –real name Clarence Sims– is a blues singer and guitarist. During the 1960s and 1970s, he was also a well-known pimp in San Francisco, referred to as 'The West Coast Godfather of the Game' and 'The Pope of Pimping.' Shelly Liebowitz is executive producing. Alan Ames, who is co-producing with Wayne Anderson and writing the screenplay with Carole Parker, produces the syndicated TV series Texas Roadhouse Live. He was approached by Sims’ daughter Rebecca, who helped put the project together. 'This film will span decades,' said Ames, 'from Slim’s emergence as a musician, to his fascination with the fast life, through his years of incarceration and his redemption.' Sims, now 77 years old, is currently touring." (Deadline)


"As we take a look at the group publishers' ad-page review for first-half 2011 versus 2010, we count 22 (with Hachette Filipacchi Media now fully nestled in Hearst Magazines) in the mix. Condé Nast (19 titles) is the ad-page-gain leader with +280.72 more ad pages in the first six months of 2011 than in the same period 2010, with Vogue contributing 109.15 of them. Bonnier (18 titles) is second with +227.72, thanks to the now (as of September 2011) digital-only Motor Boating. Cumulative ad-page total for the 22 groups was 65,550 in first-half 2011 compared with 64,930 in 2010, producing a minor 620-page gain (+ 0.96%). Twelve of the publishers were up in ad pages and 10 were down. First quarter group publishers' statistics were better with a +2.30% differential. But min's September monthly boxscores showed some worsening conditions, -3.68% for the 173 magazines tracked, which suggests an impact from the troubled economy." (MinOnline)



"Russell developed a reputation as a liar and a thief. His background is littered with legal problems: A guilty plea to tax evasion (1995), a bankruptcy (filed in 2005 and terminated in June 2010) that mysteriously never seemed to curb his expensive lifestyle, charges that he was violent to his ex-wife and a fiancée, and a string of lawsuits regarding missing money at companies for which Russell was supposed to be raising capital. Many who spoke to The Daily Beast say that, since the Armstrongs got married in 2005, Taylor had been the arm candy for her husband’s business ventures, helping him rope in rich investors—a notion echoed in a complaint filed in July in Superior Court of California by MyMedicalRecords.com, a company in which Russell, at one time, had a significant stake. It says Russell engaged in 'self-dealing' and, 'in concert with Taylor,' the couple 'secretly funnel[ed]' money to themselves to fund their “lavish lifestyle.' Phone calls to L.A.-based attorney Ron Richards, Russell's lawyer and spokesperson, were not returned. On Taylor Armstrong’s behalf, The Daily Beast received a letter from famed celebrity libel attorney Martin Singer responding to certain of The Daily Beast’s questions about her and directing that Singer’s letter not be published. According to people familiar with their ventures, Taylor’s most blatant tactic was to tell people that she was a member of the prestigious Ford family and by implication put a stamp of approval on her husband’s proposed investments." (TheDailyBeast)

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