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Monday, January 23, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"While some were off to the sliding, others were working, like this entrepreneur across the street from me. You can’t say these people aren’t willing to do anything. As I’ve noted before about this growing recycling workforce, it’s not a job that would be anyone’s first, second, or third choice. Maybe it’s the very last on anyone’s list. But it pays something, no matter how small. I’ve noticed that as this kind of workforce has increased in size all along the Upper East Side. It’s also grown more organized and is clearly prospering. I know that statement is relative. But as you can see, this man is well dressed for the weather, protected and very organized. It’s just he and the wagon and the bags of aluminum and plastic. He works fast. He knows what he’s looking for and he loads it up quickly and on his way. Fortitude, self-respect. Self-starter. Self-reliant. Admiration. He knows a lot of something that still escapes a lot of us, employed and not." (NYSocialDiary)


"Safely reducing debt and clearing the way for economic growth in the aftermath of the global credit bubble will take many years and involve difficult choices, as MGI’s 2010 report showed.Two years later, major economies have only just begun deleveraging. In only three of the largest mature economies—the United States, Australia, and South Korea—has the ratio of total debt relative to GDP fallen. The private sector leads in debt reduction, and government debt has continued to rise, due to recession. However, history shows that, under the right conditions, private-sector deleveraging leads to renewed economic growth and then public-sector debt reduction. These are the principal findings of MGI’s latest perspective on deleveraging, which revisits the world’s ten largest mature economies to see where they stand in the process of reducing debt ratios (United States, Japan, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Spain, Australia, and South Korea). It focuses in particular on the experience and outlook for the United States, United Kingdom, and Spain—three countries covering a range of deleveraging and growth challenges." (McKinseyGlobalInstitute)


"Amid growing concerns about security in Damascus, the Obama administration is considering closing the U.S. Embassy in Damascus unless the Syrian government can guarantee security in the area, The Cable has learned.An administration official confirmed to The Cable Friday that U.S. officials have been in discussions with the Syrian regime in an effort to negotiate new security agreements for the streets surrounding the embassy, which have become more and more dangerous for U.S. personnel as the violence in Damascus has drawn closer to the central city. Those streets house several other foreign embassies as well, meaning that if the Syrian government does not meet requests for better security guarantees, several countries could be forced to roll up their diplomatic presence in Damascus, despite their preference to stay.'We've had serious concerns about the fact that the mission is exposed, as have other embassies,' the administration official told The Cable. 'We've been in to see the Syrians to request extra security measures. They are deciding what they can do. If they can't meet our concerns, we're going to have to consider closing [the embassy].'Over the past few months, U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford has worked to keep the embassy open and functioning amid physical attacks on him and the embassy building, usually by groups of thugs who support the Syrian regime. Unlike newer embassy designs, the U.S. facility in Damascus sits right on the street, dangerously exposed." (ForeignPolicy)


"With total partisan war (still) consuming Washington, the Obama White House spent the last two weeks blasting away at an unlikely antagonist: 36-year-old New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, author of the new book The Obamas. The text, while containing embarrassing anecdotes detailing schisms between the First Lady and West Wing advisers, largely presents its titular couple in a favorable light. As Jon Stewart put it to Kantor last week: 'The book seems to portray Michelle Obama as a complex yet human individual, struggling with this unbelievable situation yet remaining the moral compass and center of an administration trying to find its footing. I guess the only thing I would say to you is, how dare you?' The joke had the ring of truth; for this particular president, Kantor’s sin was in writing her book at all. Of course, as soon as reports of Kantor’s seven-figure advance put the book on the administration’s radar in 2009, it was certain to be scrutinized. The Obamas’ tightly choreographed debut via a page-one Times excerpt—and the follow-up coverage of the most tabloid-friendly anecdotes—then guaranteed that the White House would have to respond. Still, the ferocity of the White House’s push-back, which was directed by Eric Schultz, the press officer more commonly tasked with scandals like the Solyndra bankruptcy, was striking. 'I’ve been writing highly personal stories about [the Obamas] for five years,' Kantor told me. 'And nothing like this had ever happened before.' But the White House’s reaction starts to make more sense if you consider this fact: Barack Obama is the country’s first memoirist-in-chief." (NYMag)



"Midway through our visit to the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, your blogger decided it would be a good time to stop and assess the slushy, star-studded scene on Main Street and beyond. Ahead, the most notable films, festival-goers, and swag in Park City so far this year. Be warned: your opinion of Lil Jon, agency parties, and'“meal-soup chalets' may never be the same. Films Hottest movie: The documentary Searching for Sugar Man, the first film to find a distributor at Sundance this year and one that left its audience in tears. Biggest dud: The Comedy, the other Tim & Eric movie that was clearly not a hit, if the steady flow of audience members leaving its first screening on Sunday is any indication. (Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie met a slightly happier fate.) Biggest disappointment: Lay the Favorite. At best, this gambling comedy from Stephen Frears is a fun Friday-night movie, but when an ensemble cast includes Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Vince Vaughn, you expect much, much more. Most controversial film: Compliance. Based on real-life events, Craig Zobel’s provocative drama centers on a teenage fast-food worker, played by Dreama Walker, who follows humiliating orders from a telephone caller claiming to be a police officer. At the Saturday-morning premiere, The Hollywood Reporter reports, the screening was followed by boos and cheers, while some in the audience catcalled the cast." (VanityFair)


"The man who is schooled in the art of political destruction sits in a mahogany bar called Morton’s in Washington, D.C., a hangout for Republican consultants and lobbyists, and occasionally Congressman John Boehner, who meet to drink cocktails and talk shop under pale lights. A veteran of past presidential campaigns, and an associate of Mitt Romney’s team, he sips a stiff drink and talks about the imperatives of the 2012 presidential election. 'How are we going to punch him every fucking day in the face with the best fucking message that is going to drive voters in our favor?' he asks. The face in question is that of President Barack Obama. 'How do we do it nationally? How do we do it in the states? How do we do it over and over and over? We’re not going to win the fight with a knockout punch; we’re going to win it with kidney blows that make your opponent so feeble that he can no longer raise his hands to cover his face.' It’s going to get ugly—it always does, and this year, it already has. But by almost every measure, the 2012 election is going to be the most negative in the history of American politics." (NYMag)



"One performance that had Sundance buzzing Saturday wasn’t by an actor. After reports that Nicholas Jarecki cast Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter in his directorial debut, 'Arbitrage,' the audience at the premiere was surprised to see the role was substantial. 'He has two scenes that are really good, playing the head of a bank,' said producer Laura Bickford." (PageSix)

2 comments:

Gigi Claudette said...

"It's not a game and you're already out(ed)"... His eyes remind me of that song, don't you think, Ron??

Ron said...

Gigi!!! :)