blog advertising is good for you

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"On March 5, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with President Barack Obama at the White House. The Iranian nuclear program will undoubtedly be the prime subject of the meeting, the outcome of which could decide for the Israeli leader whether to send Israel's air force to bomb Iran. In a recent column, I discussed the time pressure weighing on Netanyahu and his military advisers, and why the sanctions effort organized by Obama and European leaders is not working fast enough for Israel. At next week's meeting, Netanyahu may ask that Obama publicly issue an ultimatum threatening U.S. military action unless Iran lays itself bare to international nuclear inspectors. Without such a dramatic escalation, Netanyahu and his colleagues may conclude that Israel will have to attack Iran alone, and soon. Obama will be loath to commit the United States to such a drastic step to resolve a problem it sees as having much less urgency. With an Israeli strike imminent, Obama must select between two courses of action. First, he can attempt to forestall war by joining and reinforcing the Israeli military threat against Iran, in the hope that such a strong commitment will convince Iranian leaders to open their nuclear program to full inspections, or risk losing it to bombing. A March 1 Bloomberg article hinted at 11th-hour support from some officials inside the Obama administration for this course of action. And recent suggestions by unnamed Pentagon officials that Iran's Fordow mountain uranium enrichment site might not be impregnable after all, as previously suggested, could be a late-arriving signal of U.S. resolve.However, such a late conversion to a hawkish stance would be a great gamble for Obama." (Foreignpolicy)


"As a nation, and as individuals, we Israelis carry a lot of pain within us. It is the pain of pogroms and disasters, most significantly the Holocaust, that have struck our people throughout the generations. It is the pain of wars, of numerous terrorist acts, of casualties from missile attacks. It is the plight of new immigrants from the heart of Africa or the former Soviet Union relocated to a new homeland. But there is something more—for the past decade, we have been turning on our radios and television sets every morning and listening to leader after leader from Tehran declaring his dream of annihilating Israel and showing us how he intends to do so. We almost get used to it and go on with our daily lives, but every now and then we are reminded of the lessons from our past, as memorial days and Jewish feasts teach us the lesson not to trust anyone but ourselves. For more than two years, every Israeli has had to prepare for a possible war with Iran. Drills have taken place all over the country day in, day out. Special units of the Home Front command have been established, and national exercises held, with the prime minister down to the last civil servant all participating in a national disaster drill. I will never forget when, as minister of welfare and social services, I attended a drill at a home for mentally challenged adults and escorted them to the shelter amid the sound of the sirens. Command and control centers have been established in expectation of the moment the Iranians and their agents in the region, such as Hizbullah and Hamas, could launch a grand missile attack." (TheDailyBeast)


"HE GAVE it all he had. He quoted from Martin Luther King—'I have a dream' —before moving on to Lermontov’s poem Borodino—'By Moscow then we die/As have our brethren died before!'—and then seamlessly into Vyacheslav Molotov—'The fight continues. The victory will be ours.' He worked the crowd hard: his voice roared, his face twitched. 100,000 people brought in from all over Russia cheered.Public campaigning does not come naturally to Vladimir Putin, former KGB man, former Russian president and current Russian prime minister; preferring to wield power behind closed doors, a staged photo opportunity is more his mark. When, last September, he announced in the same Moscow arena that he would swap jobs with Dmitry Medvev, Russia’s president, and return to the Kremlin after the March 4th election, he was distinctly low key.Since the outcome was predetermined, there was at first not much by way of a campaign. But after a wave of protests against his job swap, and the subsequent rigging of December’s parliamentary elections, Mr Putin has been forced into a much more combative mode; Russia is under threat, he says, calling on his supporters to mobilise for a final battle against enemies foreign and domestic.The threat to Russia is imaginary; the threat to Mr Putin and his system is real. It can be seen in the way he has become the subject of jokes. Stunts such as diving for (planted) ancient amphoras have been met with ridicule. State television’s decision to report a foiled assassination plot against him in the week of the election provoked cynical laughter. The colourful, almost festive protest marches against him have attracted celebrities (openly) and the wives of government officials (secretly).A few days after Mr Putin’s rally, 'the enemy' encircled the Kremlin. On a snowy Sunday afternoon some 20,000 Muscovites held hands along the 16-kilometre ring road, sporting the white ribbons that have become the symbol of protest. Motorists honked support." (Economist)


"Every year around late February, the government puts out the Economic Report of the President, which includes a whole bunch of historical charts on the state of the economy that you can download as Excel spreadsheets. Most years I combine them all into one big spreadsheet and try to draw some conclusions. The exercise has been fun because through the 1990s and 2000s, it showed that, on average, Democratic presidents make better Republicans than Republicans do. That is, if you’re interested in higher growth, lower inflation, less government spending and taxes, and so on (and even if you don’t care much about the poverty rate or number of Americans without health-care insurance), your best bet over the past half-century -- on average -- has been to vote Democratic for president. Of course, this assumes falsely that the president controls the economy all by himself, without Congress or the Federal Reserve or the laws of nature playing any role. But then, the same false assumption is the basis for most of our presidential politics. You can also quarrel with my 'methodology,' if it even deserves such a term. But any conceptual errors or mistakes of math on the attached spreadsheet are truly accidental and don’t skew the results in favor of my own preferences. Honest.  However, my own preference this year was to skip the whole thing, because I feared the result. When George W. Bush was busy turning a federal surplus into an enormous deficit, the spreadsheet provided plenty of opportunity to gloat. But now that President Barack Obama -- though largely for good reason --has made Bush and all his other predecessors look like pikers in the deficit department, I worried that the spreadsheet might spread disenchantment." (Michael Kinsley)


"Danilo Stern-Sapad writes code for a living, but don’t call him a geek. He wears sunglasses and blasts 2Pac while programming. He enjoys playing Battle Shots—like the board game Battleship, but with liquor—at the office. He and his fellow coders at Los Angeles startup BetterWorks are lavished with attention by tech industry recruiters desperate for engineering talent. 'We got invited to a party in Malibu where there were naked women in the hot tub,' says Stern-Sapad, 25. 'We’re the cool programmers.' Tech’s latest boom has generated a new, more testosterone-fueled breed of coder. Sure, the job still requires enormous brainpower, but today’s engineers are drawn from diverse backgrounds, and many eschew the laboratory intellectualism that prevailed when semiconductors ruled Silicon Valley. 'I don’t need to wear a pocket protector to be a programmer,' says John Manoogian III, a software engineer and entrepreneur. At some startups the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction that it’s given rise to a new 'title': brogrammer. A portmanteau of the frathouse moniker 'bro' and 'programmer,' the term has become the subject of a Facebook group joined by over 21,000 people; the name of a series of hacker get-togethers in Austin, Tex.; the punch line for online ads; and the topic of a humorous discussion on question-and-answer site Quora titled 'How does a programmer become a brogrammer?' (One pointer: Drink Red Bull, beer, and 'brotein' shakes.) 'There’s a rising group of developers who are much more sociable and like to go out and have fun, and I think brogramming speaks to that audience,' says Gagan Biyani, co-founder and president of Udemy, a startup that offers coding lessons on the Web." (BusinessWeek)


"Standing on bohemian, buzzing Bermondsey Street in south London, outside Europe’s biggest commercial art gallery, its owner Jay Jopling gazes through a row of upright, painted steel fins that demarcates the courtyard. “I wanted a low wall, to be welcoming, open, but the local planning department wouldn’t allow it,” he explains. 'I never forget walking down Cork Street [in Mayfair] as a student and the gallerists watching me, sizing up whether I could afford pictures or not. All my galleries have big glass doors. This building is simple, democratic – an open front, a white cube in the middle. It’s very transparent. It isn’t just for people buying art' ... Since he began representing the Young British Artists in the early 1990s, Jopling, Eton-educated son of a Tory peer, has trod a tightrope between privilege and populism. 'I always liked to collide the establishment with the avant-garde,' he says. Today, in art world terms, Jopling, 48, is the establishment. Three White Cube galleries – the others are in Hoxton and Piccadilly – dominate London’s contemporary art landscape; a fourth opened on Friday in Hong Kong. From March 9, all four will simultaneously show Gilbert and George’s “The London Pictures” – a statement underlining Jopling’s global ambition." (FT)


"In 2010, New York social dynasty darling Daphne Guinness bought the entire wardrobe estate of late fashion editor (and personal friend), Isabella Blow, to avoid her myriad of unique items from going up on Christie’s auctioning block. (She later called the impromptu purchase 'the maddest decision ever.') Perhaps paying off her karmic debt to the auction house for denying them Ms. Blow’s iconic outfits, Ms. Guinness will be donating 100 of her own pieces for her own Christie’s charity auction on June 27th. All the proceedings from the event will be going to the brand new Isabella Blow Foundation, dedicated to funding young talent in art and design. According to Christie’s site, they hold no hard feelings about the Isabella Blow incident." (Drew Grant)


"Super Tuscan wines have gone in and out of fashion several times since someone first thought up this moniker for wines that didn’t fit the DOC rules for Chianti. Among the first Super Tuscan wines to make a splash were Tignanello and Le Pergole Torte which were, like Chianti, sangiovese based wines. But the term has come to be most closely associated with Bordeaux-blend wines from the Bolgheri region, particularly since Sassicaia grabbed the attention of the wine world with its spectacular 1985 vintage. Sassicaia, Ornellaia and Solaia were all the rage in the late nineties, when I first visited the area, their profiles raised in part by the new wave of Italian restaurants springing up in this country at the time. Angelo Gaja, the baron of Barbaresco, ended up buying into the boom, purchasing land in this area whose proximity to the sea gives it more moderate temperatures than the hills of Chianti. The inevitable backlash set in, fanned by some poor vintages and the high prices that these wines had come to command. Nevertheless, winemaking has continued to improve as the vines get older and a recent string of great vintages make this a good time to revisit the category. These wines are still expensive, and take years to come around, but all of the major houses make second and even third wines which offer good value while being approachable on release." (Jay McInerney/WSJ)


"Like a sword with its hilt exposed and blade in the earth, I found a rusty machete. Inspired by the flower-scented day I decided I should try horticulture. I marched around my garden cutting everything unattractive. To tidy up some ragged browning tips I chopped at a plant taller than myself with impossibly long leaves like gigantic rabbit ears. Horribly, the stumps proceeded to leak sticky beads of milk with a garish stink like molten rubber. I had hurt the thing. I felt awful and I began to apologize, but I did not know how to convey my sentiments. Should I hug it?"(Christina Oxenberg)


"While Pierre Casiraghi is nursing his wounds in Monaco after a bar fight at Double Seven, his sister, Charlotte, has become the new face of Gucci. The 24-year-old beauty — granddaughter of Princess Grace and daughter of Princess Caroline — replaces Evan Rachel Wood as the luxury brand’s ambassador. Charlotte, an equestrian who wears custom Gucci attire to compete, is a fixture at fashion shows and appeared on the cover of French Vogue in September." (PageSix)

No comments: