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Monday, July 23, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"The first and probably only overseas trip of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is full of opportunity for the Republican candidate. But the expedition also carries its fair share of risk. Romney hopes the trip to Israel, Poland and the United Kingdom will burnish his stature, and that the Israel leg in particular might help capture extra support from a constituency — Jewish voters — that traditionally leans heavily toward the Democratic Party.The trip is expected to begin Thursday and last for about four days. The schedule has not been finalized. Critics charge that Romney has been less than sure-footed on foreign policy, and even prominent members of the GOP establishment have publicly dissented from some of his positions. That context raises the stakes for this week’s journey. The Israel leg of the trip will be more heavily freighted with political meaning than any other. President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have long had a strained relationship. Romney and Netanyahu, by contrast, have known each other for decades, since working together in Massachusetts in the mid-1970s for the Boston Consulting Group. Romney has in the past criticized Obama for having 'disrespected' Netanyahu. He has been equally emphatic about the president’s policy choices. Obama’s suggestion that a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians should be based upon the pre-1967 borders was tantamount to having 'thrown Israel under the bus,' Romney said. Romney’s vociferous support for Israel raises hopes in some Republican minds that he can hold Obama below the 78 percent of the Jewish vote that he won in 2008." (TheHill)


"President Obama will travel to Israel if he's elected to a second term, a campaign aide said Monday. 'We can expect him to visit Israel in a second term should he be elected,' Colin Kahl, the former deputy assistant secretary of Defense for the Middle East, said on a conference call with reporters. Obama has been criticized for not visiting the Middle Eastern ally since a trip during the 2008 election. Republican candidate Mitt Romney will visit the country during a trip that will begin later this week, and he plans to meet with Israeli leaders including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Romney has also said, if elected, his first foreign visit would be to Israel. On Monday, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton blasted the president for not scheduling a trip during his first term." (TheHill)
"By most accounts, Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, is one of the top names on Mitt Romney’s list of potential vice-presidential nominees. Mr. Pawlenty is liked, though perhaps not loved, by the main pillars of the Republican Party — social conservatives, the Tea Party and establishment Republicans — making him a safe choice for a risk-averse Romney campaign.But if Mr. Romney is looking for a vice-presidential nominee that might also bring along votes from their home state, Mr. Pawlenty might be a poor choice compared to someone like Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, who comes from a state that is a genuine tossup. The home-state effect of a vice-presidential nominee can be overrated in any case, but Minnesota has the longest streak of voting for Democratic presidential candidates than any other state in the nation.Still, like many of the states we have profiled, partisan allegiance in presidential voting can mask a more nuanced picture on the ground. In four elections since 1972, the Republican presidential candidate has come within 4 percentage points of winning Minnesota. And in the early 2000s, Republicans gained ground in the state. Enough ground, in fact, that the Republican Party held its national convention in St. Paul in 2008. 'It’s a mistake to think of Minnesota as blue rather than red, and even a mistake to talk about Minnesota as purple,' Mr. Jacobs said, 'Minnesota is really more polka-dotted.'" (538)
"Books by public intellectuals, pundits, and politicians heralding our imminent collapse have been one of the few reliable growth industries in hard times.  The outpouring traverses the political spectrum, from the apocalyptic hard right (Patrick Buchanan’s Suicide of a Superpower, Mark Levin’s Ameritopia) to the conservative Establishment (Charles Murray’s Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010) to the centrist Washington ­Establishment (Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann’s It’s Even Worse Than It Looks) to centrist liberalism (Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum’s That Used to Be Us) to the classically progressive (Timothy Noah’s The Great Divergence). Depending on the political coloring of the authors, the books have different villains: the tea party, coddled Wall Street plutocrats, coddled welfare-state entitlement junkies, the yapping and trivializing news media, broken schools, a polarized and broken Congress, a politicized Supreme Court, a socialist president. And China Über Alles (with an occasional cameo by India). The books’ pet issues also vary, from the collapse of the family to the debasement of cultural values, the demise of political compromise, the extinction of the 'vital center,' the president’s feckless 'leading from behind' in foreign affairs, the rise of income inequality, the ballooning of the national debt, and unchecked federal spending." (NYMag)


"'... THE STRATEGY in this novel (is) based upon a disturbing blueprint designed to assist in and encourage the destruction of America. This blueprint, entitled ‘Unrestricted Warfare,’ is real .... Many of the vulnerabilities depicted in this novel continue to exist.' So writes thriller author Brad Thor in introducing his new Pocket Books paperback — 'Full Black,' which is on newstands even in places like Walmart. (Well, that’s where I bought mine for about $8.)   THE NIGHT before the Aurora, Colorado killings in the movie theater showing 'Batman: The Dark Knight Rises,' I was actually reading this very frightening fictional scenario. In reality it seems that a lone gunman killed a dozen people and wounded many more. In the book, Islamic terrorists set off a series of murders and bombings in U.S. theaters across the nation. This novel offers a conservative conspiracy view which was meant to launch one terrible scene of chaos and destruction after another, over the nation. (The author offers that Islamic terrorists have stolen a Chinese plan for total warfare and are operating behind the scenes funded by a crazy super wealthy tycoon who eats at places like Le Bernardin in Manhattan. And he has operatives in Great Britain who will do anything for money. Of course, the CIA and FBI and a socialist government aren’t doing a thing about this and it’s up to Black Op veterans to solve everything.) There are subplots about a Hollywood producer and attempts at various love affairs, Russian hitmen, the insertion of agents into terrorist groups, and all the rest of it." (NYSocialDiary/Liz Smith)


"Louis Vuitton powered into Shanghai's iconic Bund last night, not merely to celebrate the 20th anniversary of LV in China, but to demonstrate how much mileage the brand still sees in the country's luxury market. The same fabulous custom-made carriage that arrived at the Louvre's Cour Carrée earlier this year was transported across two continents along the Trans-Siberian railway (as documented by The Selby),demonstrating just how far Vuitton will travel to give the likes of Chanel and Hermès a run for their top-tier clients' yuan. Marc Jacobs masterminded a collection that played to two of the three main aspirations of wealthy Chinese—heritage and workmanship. Descending from the train, models wore this season's elongated silhouette in embroidered brocades and increasingly embellished fabrics, towering over the pint-sized porters who carried the luggage—handbags, portmanteaux, and suitcases made of rarities like python, crocodile, and mink. Afterward, actress Clémence Poésy gushed, 'it had the same magic of a film set, when the train pulled in and the smoke.' Alexa Chung was more direct: 'Fucking phenomenal, it was amazing. There's only a few brands that get the opportunity to put on a full extravaganza. It's more like going to the theater.' Perhaps 'rock show' is the best analogy. After the catwalk spectacle, Lana Del Rey performed. But the runway show and concert were just part of the celebrations. On Wednesday, Chinese stars like Gong Li and Fan Bingbing and It girls, including Alexia Niedzielski and Poppy Delevingne toured the newly opened Louis Vuitton Maison, the largest store in China and 16th Maison worldwide. Guests were led through the Louis Vuitton Express exhibition, a nostalgic multimedia journey documenting the golden age of rail travel, before venturing into the four-story emporium. Then up an opulent gilded onyx staircase to a private 'apartment' where only super-rich invitees are allowed." (Style)


"Harvey Weinstein and Anna Wintour are teaming again to throw a fund-raiser for President Obama. The shindig will take place Aug. 6, in Greenwich, Conn., we hear. The movie mogul and the Vogue editor will co-host, sources said, while other co-chairs remain to be announced. The pair previously hosted an Obama dinner last year at Weinstein and Georgina Chapman’s West Village townhouse. Tickets will go for $35,800 per head. Guests at Weinstein’s fund-raiser last year included Gwyneth Paltrow, Tory Burch, Alicia Keys and Quentin Tarantino. Democratic booster Weinstein’s also supported GOP candidates in the past, including Gov. George Pataki." (P6)

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