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Thursday, August 09, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Voters in 2008 made Barack Obama the nation’s 44th president to lead in the rebuilding of a healthy economy and out of the Great Recession into a new era of prosperity. This was his mandate. His presidency should be judged by voters on how well he has delivered on this mandate. Their votes in 2012 should be based on whether he has managed the economy well or not — on whether he delivered. So what is the economic record of the Obama presidency? Has he fulfilled his mandate to get the economy on its feet and on the road to prosperity? I think we all know the answer to this question in general, but we can get a better idea of the shape of the economy and how President Obama’s record stacks up compared to past presidents who sought reelection by taking a look at some of the hard numbers compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). There are a number of ways to look at economic conditions — different measures and different time frames. To be fair, we should look at the record from different angles. The first take is the short-range perspective. As we enter the general election campaign season, how does the economy look? The best overall measure of economic conditions is the real growth in the gross domestic product (GDP). The most recent measure of real GDP growth is from the second quarter (April to June) of this year. This is the quarter that many election forecasters (including myself) rely upon for their forecasts. The BEA’s initial measure of real GDP growth (and they will have two revisions of this before the election) is that the economy grew in the second quarter at an anemic rate of 1.5%. The median growth rate when the economy is not in recession is 3.6%. How does this compare to the election year economies of past presidents running for reelection? As Table 2 shows, President Obama ranks tenth out of 11 presidents who ran for reelection since the BEA began reporting quarterly GDP data. Only Jimmy Carter had a worse (and disastrous) second quarter economy heading into the election. Taking the limited perspective of economic conditions immediately before the campaign gets into full gear, one must conclude that President Obama comes up well short of delivering on the economic mandate and has fared much worse than other presidents." (CenterforPolitics)


"At Table One in the bay, PR guru Catherine Saxton with Emma Snowdon-Jones; Norah Lawlor (PR) with Tara Palmeri of the New York Post; Catie Marron with Susan Gilchrist (financial PR); Mark Simone of WABC Talk Radio, one of the longest running, most entertaining voices on New York, and one of the nicest guys in New York too; John Huey of Time; Dini Von Mueffling (PR); David Sanford of the WSJ and Louis Stein; Joe Armstrong the Mayor of Michael’s with Susan Lehman of the Times; Bob Schieffer with Susan Zirinsky of 48 Hours; Richard Belzer who was celebrating the publication of his new book ... He’s notable in Michael’s (besides for being Richard Belzer) for bringing his dog with him. He’s the only one who does. Cute little white dog." (NYSocialDiary)


"Could Taylor Swift be a Kennedy cougar? Sources tell us the country singing star, 22, kicked off her friendship with Conor Kennedy months ago, when he was still a minor. We’re told Conor’s cousins would accompany them on dates, but the family insisted they wait until after he turned 18 to come out as a couple. Now People magazine reports: 'Their romance became quite public on July 25 — just a day after Conor’s 18th birthday — with a hand-holding pizza outing in his hometown of Mount Kisco, NY.' Since then, the two have been spotted kissing in public, and a source tells us, 'They’ve already said, ‘I love you.’ ' However, a rep for Swift insisted, 'This is not true.' " (PageSix)
"The most formidable editors and tyrannical designers have always been at heart starstruck movie buffs, and their fellow dream weavers in the film industry have graciously returned the compliment, offering up sylphs to adorn and epochs to revive. Reflecting on the golden age of Hollywood, Diana Vreeland rhapsodized, 'Everything was larger than life. The diamonds were bigger, the furs were thicker and more.' Vreeland’s extravagantly outré 1960s Vogue spreads were sometimes mod allusions to such favorite over-the-top spectacles as The Scarlet Empress, featuring the sable-swathed Marlene Die­trich. Elsa Schiaparelli based the surrealistic torso-shaped bottle for her signature scent, Shocking, on the hourglass physique of Mae West, whom she dressed as the man-eating Fifi in Every Day’s a Holiday. Lured by Samuel Goldwyn’s million-dollar offer to elevate the taste of his stars, Schiap’s arch-rival Coco Chanel embarked for Hollywood in 1931. But, denouncing the town as 'the Mont-Saint-Michel of tit and tail,' Chanel lingered barely long enough to clothe celluloid siren Gloria Swanson for Tonight or Never, dressing her as a Coco clone, in a belted tweed suit. In spite of the couturière’s early antipathy for movie actresses, the house of Chanel was among the first to enlist film idols as models. For years Catherine Deneuve appeared as the flawless face of the brand, and a whole phalanx of red-carpet royalty—Vanessa Paradis, Nicole Kidman, Keira Knightley, Audrey Tautou, and Blake Lively—has since followed in her spangled wake." (Vanity Fair)
"Whether writing or broadcasting, Hughes united a formidable scholarship with an infectious enthusiasm for his subject. His style was forthright, humorous and often irreverent. At a time when much of modern art was riddled with posturing and hyperbole, Hughes fixed his gaze unwaveringly on the work of art itself, regardless of its political or social agenda. His judgments could be merciless. Of Jeff Koons, for example, he said: 'Koons is the baby to Andy Warhol’s Rosemary. He has done for narcissism what Michael Milken did for the junk bond.' The duo Gilbert and George were among the 'image-scavengers and recyclers who infest the wretchedly stylish woods of an already decayed, pulped-out postmodernism'. Robert Studley Forrest Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia, on July 28 1938. He was educated at the Roman Catholic St Ignatius College and Sydney University, where Germaine Greer was a fellow student. He left before completing his Architecture course. For a while he painted abstract pictures — 'Australian De Koonings' he called them — and contributed political cartoons to local newspapers. Then, after covering an exhibition for a journal that had just fired its regular contributor, he became a full-time art critic, financing his apprenticeship through the sale of his own pictures. In 1964 he moved to Port Ercole in Italy where, having seen the Piero della Francesco frescoes in Arezzo, he gave up serious painting: 'I realised... I could never give my own work a decent review.' He began to travel extensively throughout Europe studying medieval and Renaissance painting, sculpture and architecture. He spent time in London, sampling the Sixties counter-culture." (Telegraph via David Patrick Columbia)
"Since 2010, Central Asia has become increasingly volatile, a trend many have attributed to a rise in militant Islamism. Militancy has indeed risen since 2010, but the notion that militant Islamists primarily are responsible for Central Asia's volatility is shortsighted because it ignores other political and economic dynamics at play in the region. But if these dynamics, not jihadist designs, inspired much of the region's recent militant activity, the impending U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 could put Central Asia at greater risk for militant Islamism in the future. Combined with upcoming leadership changes in several Central Asian states, the withdrawal could complicate an already complex militant landscape in the region." (STRATFOR

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