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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Obama is really a liberal, and free of political constraint -- particularly on the foreign policy remit -- he'll revert to type. There's just one problem: based on recent evidence, there's an excellent chance Obama will be less liberal in the second term.  Consider the last three two-term presidents: Reagan, Clinton, and Bush 43. I'll grant this is a very small sample, but bear with me. Did their second-term policies look different from their first-term?  You bectha. Reagan tacked in a decidedly liberal direction with respect to the Soviet Union, switching from rhetoric about the 'evil empre' to cutting substantive arms control agreements with the Soviet Union. Clinton, on the other hand, tacked in a more conservative direction. After being enamored of multilateralism and leery of using fore in his first term, he became more comfortable with using force and using it outside of UN strictures in his second term. Finally, Bush 43's second terms was decidedly more liberal. In his first term, he declared an 'Axis of Evil' and invaded Iraq without UN support. In his second term, however, the Bush administration was decidedly more dovish, working through the UN on both Iran and North Korea, demonstrating a willingness to directly negotiate with the Iranians, and refusing to use force in Syria. This, by the way, is why claiming a continuity between Bush 43 and Obamas is not quite as much of a political jab as people like to claim. The dfifferences between Bush in 2003 and Bush in 2008 were massive.  Now, these narratives are not really as clean as the last paragraph suggests. Reagan also embraced Iran/Contra in his second term. In Clinton's second term he pushed hard to address US arrears to the UN. And Bush had some elements of compasionate conservatism liberalism in his first term, what with PEPFAR and a refusal to declare a clash of civilizations following the 9/11 attacks.  What's striking, however, is that recent second-termers have not reverted to their ideological bliss point -- if anything it's been the reverse, they've tacked away from their starting point. Part of this is circumstances. Reagan had, in Gorbachev, a real negotiating partner in his second term. Bush had to be more circumspect on Iran and North Korea after the cost and constraint of military operatons in Iraq and Afghanistan. All three presidents had less favorable legislatures in their second term than their first." (ForeignPolicy)


"A coalition that helped Republicans retake the House majority in 2010 is back and plotting even bigger plans in 2012, with more money, more players — and more problems. The top conservative operatives who make up the alliance were scheduled to huddle this week behind closed doors to discuss how to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to attack President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats. And participants were reminded in an email that the gathering shares a key rule with Fight Club: no talking about it. Karl Rove first pulled the group together to coordinate independent spending in the run-up to the 2010 midterms – and it worked. The coalition — including groups that hadn’t always played well together — has been credited with helping boost Republicans to sweeping victories across the country. But this time around, the tenuous alliance is being tested. New players are joining, heightening already intense competition for money, voter intel and, in a broad sense, control of the Republican Party. Meanwhile, some conservative groups that participated in the 2010 effort — including Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth — seem to be keeping their distance. Dubbed the Weaver Terrace Group for the Northwest Washington address where Rove convened the first meetings in his living room, the meetings are now hosted in the downtown Washington offices of a pair of linked powerhouses conceived by Rove, American Crossroads and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies." (Politico)


"The New Yorker comes to my mailbox on Mondays. I have that age-old relationship with the New Yorker. There are probably millions of us. I save them intending to read things I don’t read. I always open them before I open my mail just to see. Because the New Yorker still does its job. I recall the day the first installment of Truman Capote’s 'In Cold Blood' came out. I started it with what is usually a passing glance, with no intention of reading it then and there, and finished it an hour and a half later shocked and enthralled. After that I counted the days until the next installment. It was the kind of 'literary' sensation that you, the reader, get from actually reading it. I remember reading Charles Reich’s  'The Greening of America,' also somewhere around that time, having no idea whatsoever what it was about, and putting it down having altered my consciousness forever. I also have the stacks of unread, unfinished, although never unopened New Yorkers. Every now and then I’ll throw some out, having admitted to myself that I won’t get to them, or that if I should be curious, there are now the archives on the web. I know this experience that I’ve just recorded is common, ordinary for those of us who read the New Yorker. It’s part of the perfect relationship. All this because yesterday afternoon when I started opening my mail at the desk, I happened to look at the latest New Yorker, learning that it featured an excerpt from Robert Caro’s upcoming third volume of the life of Lyndon Johnson. I’ve seen Mr. Caro speak about this book more than once. His reportage is compelling even when spoken. I am a child of that era and I have mixed emotions about Lyndon Johnson. First of all, I’m not a hater and so 'mixed' takes on some strong colors at times. Secondly, he wore the mantle of Presidential power almost majestically at times, no matter what one thought of him, and tragically at other times also. And when he could see the writing on the wall, he left respectfully." (NYSocialDiary)


"Are you rolling in cash these days? Magazine publishers seem to think so. It’s only March and four luxury titles have revealed they will launch (or relaunch) to tell the tales of billionaire bachelors, fine Parisian restaurants and the latest antiaging skin procedures. In February, Bloomberg Pursuits was introduced to 310,000 subscribers of the Bloomberg Professional service, who pay $20,000 a year to use the Bloomberg Terminal. The average household income of the Bloomberg Pursuits reader is $452,000 and 90 percent are male. That first issue carried 30 ad pages, from the likes of Herm├Ęs, Chanel and NetJets and included a story about a Bloomberg subscriber who travels to Antarctica on an icebreaker to witness a solar eclipse. Jason Binn, founder of Niche Media and now a chief adviser to Gilt Groupe, will publish Du Jour magazine in September. If you have a net worth of more than $5 million and average home value of $1.5 million, the title may land in your mailbox this fall. When Binn spoke with WWD last month, he said the 'superluxurious content' in the quarterly print title will also appear online, where those $4,700 clutches are just a click away. Last week, Time magazine dusted off its old luxury title Time Style & Design and brought it back following a three-year suspension. Harry Winston and Bulgari are just a few of the advertisers in the magazine, which is being delivered to only 500,000 affluent subscribers who aren’t put off by phrases such as 'price upon request.'" (WWD)


"Contrary to popular belief, absence doesn't always make the heart grow fonder. There have been several instances -- Futurama we're looking at you -- where a show has left the airwaves for a prolonged period of time and, after some initial discontent, we got used to it being gone. Then when it returned, it seemed noticeably diminished; the familiar elements were there, but the magic was missing. (Honestly, we have the same fears about the upcoming Arrested Development reunion. The finale ended the series on a perfect note; to quote the Beatles, let it be, guys.) So we approached the delayed Season 5 premiere of Mad Men -- the first new episode of AMC's flagship series to air in 17 months -- with a fair amount of trepidation. Would it still be the smart, witty show we instantly fell in love with when the pilot hit the airwaves in 2007? Had creator Matt Weiner decided to flex his creative power (and get back at AMC for dithering during the negotiations) by giving some of our favorite Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce characters abrupt Sal Romano-style exits during the hiatus? Could Jon Hamm still pass as the handsomest leading man on TV with Timothy Olyphant rocking that Stetson hat week in and week out on Justified? The answer to the above questions (minus the second one, fortunately) is a resounding yes. Last night's two-hour episode 'A Little Kiss' was vintage Mad Men, reminding us what makes the series so unique and readying us for what looks to be a pretty fantastic season. You can read our recaplet of the episode for the play-by-play -- look for the full recap to follow later in the week -- but we wanted to use this space to list the five reasons why 'A Little Kiss' made us so happy to have Mad Men back." (TVWithoutPity)


"Angelina Jolie launched an international phenomenon, and a very popular Twitter feed, when she struck an awkward pose at the 84th annual Academy Awards, showing off her right leg in a high slit gown. 'What’s funny is when you have no actual, conscious thought of anything,'  said Jolie, explaining to Entertainment Weekly that the pose just felt natural for her given the voluminous nature of her black velvet gown. 'You just feel like, 'Eh, I like this dress. I feel comfortable in this one.' It’s interesting that you just really never know.' Jolie appeared a bit uncomfortable at the fact that her appendage inspired one of the most popular memes of 2012. 'I don’t pay any attention to that stuff,' continued Jolie." (PageSix)


"Dara-Lynn Weiss, Vogue 'Up Front' writer and author of this month’s controversial 'Weight Watchers' article, has sold a memoir on the same topic to Marnie Cochran at Ballantine on an exclusive submission by David Kuhn. It is called The Heavy. The article narrates the one-year diet Ms. Weiss inflicted on her seven-year-old daughter, Bea, after her doctor reported that she was in the 99th percentile for weight at her age. After months of fighting over baked goods–plus a heaping portion of projection from her food anxious, Vogue writer mom–Bea achieved her goal weight in time for their photo shoot for the magazine’s annual 'Shape' issue. The girl was rewarded with a pile of new dresses, a feather hair extension, and, seemingly, some self-image issues." (Observer)



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