Friday, June 08, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Well, let’s just say Barack Obama hasn’t been on his game this week. The Friday-morning stumble at the press conference—'The private sector is doing fine'—is going to live on in thousands of 30-second attack ads. But that isn’t the biggest problem by a long shot. In fact, it merely draws attention to his biggest problem, which Eleanor Clift nicely identified in her Friday column: the campaign isn’t telling a story. And there is a story to tell, even about the private sector. It’s a slightly more complicated story than the one Mitt Romney is telling, and more complicated means harder, but it doesn’t mean impossible. The story, in a nutshell, is this: we inherited a total disaster, things are getting better, and Romney will bring us back to disaster. The last part is the most important: putting the emphasis back on the challenger. About the gaffe, there’s no question that it was bad, and liberals and Democrats shouldn’t be complaining that it’s unfair that so much be made of it. If Romney had said it, the liberal blogosphere would be hooting and howling, me included. So conservatives are entitled to their fun on this one. At the same time, Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein are correct to point out that private-sector job growth has been substantial since 2010. Yglesias’s chart shows that since the beginning of 2010, private-sector jobs have grown substantially (although they are not up to pre-recession levels, back in early 2008). Klein explains that Obama is now in the black on private-sector job creation, to the tune of 780,000 jobs. That’s bouncing back, getting stronger, any number of formulations. But it isn’t 'fine.' A jobless rate of 8.2 percent isn’t fine, and even accepting that it would be 7-point-whatever if the Republicans weren’t forcing all these public-sector layoffs, that’s not really fine either." (DailyBeast)

"'What you saw in Wisconsin is something that can be replicated all over America,' Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told The Hill after the GOP’s recall victory.'Governing like you campaign, following through on promises, taking a reasonable approach as to how you’re going to curb the size and growth of government.' If the presidential race has tightened, so too has the topsy-turvy battle for control of the Senate.Republicans are enticingly close to peeling off the four seats they need to regain control of the upper chamber (three if Obama is not reelected), but Democrats still seem like they have a chance to just barely hold on to the majority.
Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren has been on the receiving end of six weeks of relentless pummeling over revelations that she claimed minority status as a faculty member at multiple law schools despite being unable to prove she has any ancestors who were Native American. But her opponent, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), is still one of the most vulnerably senators up for reelection.
Brown shares that distinction with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who polls show in a dead heat with the three Republicans vying to unseat her. In neighboring Nebraska, Democratic prospects for holding on to retiring Sen. Ben Nelson’s (D) seat have diminished now that state Sen. Deb Fischer is the GOP nominee." (TheHill)

"It cannot be easy to be the foremost champion of Catalan nationalism and stay cheerful. Once the heart of a Mediterranean empire, Catalonia is now just one of 17 Spanish autonomous regions stricken by economic crisis and facing the threat of a humiliating international bailout. These days, its name is less well-known abroad than its capital Barcelona and the city’s celebrated football team.
Yet as I wait in the quiet, drawing-room decor of Racó d’en Cesc, the Catalan restaurant Jordi Pujol has chosen in Barcelona, I wonder whether vindication might finally be near for the man who was Catalonia’s president for more than two decades and who in his eighties continues to campaign vigorously for its recognition as a European nation.First we must resolve the question of which language the polyglot Pujol will use to communicate with a journalist who does not speak Catalan, German or Italian. In the end we opt for French, although he is also fluent in Spanish and English, and he immediately seizes control of the conversation; first by praising the adventurism of Ferran Adrià, the renowned Catalan chef behind El Bulli; then by asking me when I arrived in Spain – September 2008 – and joking that I must have brought the financial crisis with me.As we spoon into our mouths a delicately flavoured appetiser provided by the restaurant – cream of celery, with dashes of anchovy, pine nuts and lemon – I bring the discussion around to the topic of Catalan nationalism and his long career, which included going to jail for more than two years for Catalan activism against the Franco dictatorship. 'I didn’t go to prison – I was taken,' he corrects me drily." (FT)

"Epicurious: You have two children. Do you hope to impart some of this wine wisdom to them?
Jay McInerney: Well, I sure hope one of them likes wine because they'll probably inherit some! It's often the case that the children rebel against their parents. One of the reasons why I think I liked wine is because my parents had no interest in it. They were the cocktail generation. So who knows if my kids will follow me down this road. So far, they think I'm pretty eccentric in my appreciation of wine ... Drinking is the best way to learn, but there are lots of great classes here in New York City. Mary Ewing-Mulligan teaches a great one at the International Wine Center. Otto offers wine tasting classes. In fact, a lot of restaurants have them. It's easier now more than ever to learn about wine. There's also lots of good wine writing out there now. One of the reasons why I decided to write about wine was because there was very little good wine writing. Most of it was technical, boring, and not very instructive. That's not really the case anymore.As strange as it might sound, The Wine for Dummies series is really good. Mary Ewing-Mulligan and Ed McCarthy are terrific. They're real experts but they speak in a way that's very easy for the novice to follow. Mark Oldman has written a couple of very good primers. Kevin Zraly, of course. Those are some good places to start. And of course, my books!" (Epicurious)

"Last night was the New York Botanical Garden’s Conservatory Ball. The evening was presented by Chanel. This is a longtime annual dinner dance at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. For a lot of New Yorkers who attend, it also marks the end of the Spring social season and the beginning of summer. It is one of the most beautiful dinner dances in New York, no matter the time of year.The Botanical Garden, right there smack in the middle of the borough of the Bronx, is beyond beautiful in its landscaping, its woodland and forests, its gardens, and its stately and elegant Enid A. Haupt Conservatory where the feature show right now is Monet’s Garde ...Because of Chanel’s sponsorship, with the special assistance of Bronson Van Wyck, they transformed the tent into its own wonderland with a dance floor ingrained with images of white roses. Bob Hardwick and his orchestra and vocalists kept the music playing and the dancers dancing. The crowd is traditionally an 'older crowd' that has taken on a younger group of supporters, so it has become a newer more interesting mix. Newer, older, it doesn’t matter because the evening remains what it has always been as long as I’ve known about it – a beautiful evening dinner dance held in a tent during the fairest June weather in an verdant and floral oasis in the middle of the world’s greatest metropolis." (NYSocialDiary)

"Make no mistake: The Extreme Entertainment Network, coming to Roku this summer, doesn’t cater to fans of sky diving or BMX competitions. Instead, it’s trying to push the envelope in a different space: porn. Extreme Entertainment will offer Roku users unlimited viewing of adult content for a flat monthly fee of $14.95. 'Picture it like the Netflix of porn,' Extreme owner Rob Black told the trade publication Xbiz a few months ago.The Netflix of porn: That sounds like a match made in heaven. Netflix is the biggest source of video traffic in the U.S., accounting for as much as 30 percent of all residential broadband traffic. Adult pictures and videos, on the other hand, remain hugely popular online. So why hasn’t anyone tried to offer porn through a Netflix-like subscription model before? ... If you ask people in the adult industry about the inability to replicate Netflix’s success story, the first thing everyone will point to is piracy. 'Quite frankly, I’d attribute their limited market penetration (no pun) to the explosive prevalence of free porn via “tube' sites such as,' Xbiz President & Publisher Alec Helmy replied via email when I posed the question to him earlier this month.That sentiment was echoed by Allison Vivas, president of the Southern California-based porn studio Pink Visual (site not safe for work), but she also put some of the blame on the industry itself: 'The biggest issue with launching anything in today’s market is piracy and over-licensed content' ... " (GigaOm)

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