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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"For the past 20 years, the world has been reshaping itself. Since 1991, then, the countries of the world have been feeling out the edges of the new system. The past two decades have been an interregnum of sorts, a period of evolution from the rule of the old to the rule of the new. Four things had to happen before the new era could truly begin. First, the Americans had to learn the difference between extreme power (which they had and still have) and omnipotence (which they do not have). The wars in the Islamic world have more than amply driven this distinction home. Second, Russian power needed to rebound from its post-Soviet low to something more representative of Russia’s strength. That occurred in August 2008 with the Russo-Georgian war, which re-established Moscow as the core of the broader region. Third, China — which has linked its economic, political and military future to a global system it does not control — had to face a readjustment. This has yet to happen, but likely will be triggered by the fourth event: Europe’s institutions — which were created to function under the rules of the previous epoch — must be rationalized with a world in which the Americans no longer are suppressing European nationalism. With the benefit of hindsight, we know that the 2008 financial crisis initiated the last two events. The first result of the financial crisis was the deep penetration of the state into those financial markets not already under state influence or control. The bailouts, particularly in the United States, created a situation in which decisions by political leaders and central banks had markedly more significance to the financial status of the country than the operation of the market. This was not unprecedented in the United States; the municipal bond crisis of the 1970s, the Third World debt crisis and the savings and loan crisis had similar consequences. The financial crisis, and the resultant economic crisis, hurt the United States, but its regime remained intact even while uneasiness about the elite grew. But the financial crisis had its greatest impact in Europe, where it is triggering a generational shift." (STRATFOR)


"If, as many Republicans hope and most GOP political operatives seem to expect, Virginia Republicans win enough seats tonight to take control of the state’s Senate, you will hear another round of talk about Gov. Bob McDonnell as a potential running mate for the Republican nominee in 2012.
A Republican victory would be seen by many as a victory for McDonnell because he has been actively involved in promoting his party’s legislative candidates and also because local and national reporters always want to draw big conclusions for every political development, regardless of whether those conclusions are justified. Republican control of both chambers of the Legislature and the governorship in Virginia would let Republicans redraw the state’s Congressional lines. Currently, the Democratic-held state Senate and the Republican-held state House have been unable to agree on a new map, and political insiders believe state Democrats would be happy to let a federal court draw a new map for the next decade. GOP operatives are concerned that a court might decide to create a new minority-influence district, which might end up forcing two Republicans to run against each other in southeastern Virginia, thereby costing the party a House seat. But while a Republican takeover of the state Senate would allow party strategists to solidify their Congressional incumbents, it probably wouldn’t mean very much for McDonnell. His potential attractiveness as a running mate predates the election results and has more to do with his attributes and appeal." (Stuart Rothenberg)



"That’s what the struggling Internet search company hopes to accomplish as it unveils today what it calls 'the first stage of an ambitious yearlong program' to build on its partnership with ABC News and cover 2012 campaign issues — and especially the horse race. The effort includes a 'TV-quality web show' called Remake America that will launch in January and track how eight families perceive the unfolding national debate. (People who want to be considered for the show can apply here.) Yahoo also plans to create social networks for groups such as mothers and young voters who want to discuss common interests. The Internet company has beefed up its political reporting and analysis staff under Washington Bureau Chief David Chalian, who used to oversee political coverage at ABC and the PBS NewsHour. In addition to its original content, the company will tap reporting and analysis from The Atlantic, The Blaze, FactCheck.org, Forbes, National Journal, Reuters, and This Week. Yahoo promises “deep integration” with ABC News, including lots of newsmaker interviews based on questions solicited from Yahoo users." (Nikki Finke)



"Last night at the Stephen Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, the Board of Trustees hosted their annual 'Library Lions' dinner, which honored authors Jonathan Franzen, Tony Kushner, Ian McEwan, Stacy Schiff, Isabel Wilkerson and poet and recording artist Natalie Merchant. The Library Lions gala is a fundraiser for the library and although I don't have the final tally for last night's, I believe last year they raised close to $3 million. The library's new president Anthony Marx opened the evening by presenting the medals to the honorees. He then introduced City Council president Christine Quinn and Mayor Bloomberg, who had a special gift (a book of memories) for Catie Marron, who has served with great distinction as Chairman of the Library. She is succeeded by Neil Rudenstine, literary scholar and former President of Harvard University. This annual dinner holds a very special place on the calendars of a lot of the city philanthropists and citizens active in civic institutions. The list of its Gala Co-Chairs provide a clue: Mr. and Mrs. Oscar de la Renta, Ms. Antoinette Delruelle and Mr. Joshua Steiner, HRH Princess Firyal of Jordan ..." (NYSocialDiary)



" week ago last Thursday over at Bergdorf's, there was a reception for Martha Stewart and her new book Martha's Entertaining: A Year of Celebrations. Many in the crowd were from the worlds of fashion, food, design and media including Clive Davis, Sirio Maccioni and his wife Egidiana, Alex von Bidder, Richie Notar, Todd Eberle, Johnny Pigozzi; John Derian, Jeffrey Bilhuber, Cornelia Guest, Charlotte Beers, plus Bergdorf's Linda Fargo. Pierre Schaedelin made a great selection of hors d'ouevres inspired from the book ... Martha Stewart lives better than almost any rich person that I know. She is obviously rich herself. But it's not the money part, it's what she gets from it. Her estate in Seal Harbor, Maine, which was built by Edsel Ford I for family summers, looks like the ideal summer house -- mansion really -- by the sea. But that's just the beginning. The weekend parties she gives –breakfast, lunch, dinner – photographed with the guests at table. And then the table after the guests have gone --- you want to be there even for that. The life you see in these pages is made for a magazine layout. Yet the life that you see in these pages is also the life of the author. She created it that for herself, as well as the fortune needed to acquire it. The power, not to mention the wit and intelligence to pull it off defines a kind of genius." (NYSocialDiary)

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